My first Empire group I didn’t know anyone else on start-up, although a few others knew each other.
Having recruited online, there was a meeting about many of the above issues a couple of months before Empire started.
Issues covered included, yes, IC and OOC leader/organisers, and a sliding scale of OOC contributions: basically we asked everyone to be able to make some sort of contribution to the group, in terms of cash, or transporting things, or props, or effort. My part, for example, was transporting our IC group tent (a large burgundian), and supervising the pitching and striking thereof, but paying for the hire of it was done out of group funds. Others volunteered to do plenty of set dressing, or cooking, or even just able to throw in more cash.
We sat down and discussed such froth as where we were in setting, previous links to established history, and group symbol. I remember I got carried away and produced a map of our lands and last years tax roll in the style of the Domesday book…
Slightly to my (Why are we bothering with this?) there was a long discussion on the level of loyalty to the group. This resulted in a setting of “knives out at start” (ie, knives outwards from the group, all loyal to the group and not going to turn on each other, able to be altered through play).
(Other options were “knives out permanantly”, so that no-one ever betrayed the group, or “knives in”, so we’d start with internal PVP)
This is probably a good idea to agree, OOC, before play starts and characters are generated. Because you don’t want to find out 3 events in that your group priest is having you all executed as heretics so that he can inherit the family castle, and they’ve been planning this since day 1, and don’t know why you’re so angry about it OOC…On the other hand, you don’t want a character locked into loyalty to the group even if IC events leave her feeling betrayed and wronged and slightly murderous, but unable to act on these IC feelings due to OOC agreements.
What it boils down to is:
- Make sure everyone agrees on what sort of game they want to play
- Make sure everyone knows and agrees on their group contributions, in various forms.
- Plan a few things in advance, including a starting group objective, costume guidelines, and similar.
- Ensure everyone has some media to keep in touch OOC, whether email, facebook, phone numbers, or so on. This allows for messages like “I can’t make it, can someone else supply tent?” or “If I bring a BBQ, will you lot eat it?”
Just my 2 rings, hope that helps…