Staff Manual

The Herdercraft Staff Instruction Manual

Foreword: To the Herders
I became the first Herder Master of Harpers' Tale in the Spring of 1994. With one Apprentice and a small beasthold at Fort, we had very humble beginnings. In the intervening years, however, we have grown to be one of the most well-known and well-used Crafts on the entire MOO. We are also the most stable, for although I have taken a few summers off, I have never abdicated, making us the only Craft that has never had to undergo a leadership change.

Until now, of course.

The time came eventually for me to pass the reins (and there has never been a better Craft to make use of such an analogy than ours) to new hands. As I write this, I am preparing to make a step I never imagined I would be so reluctant to take. I was dragged into this gig, not trusting in my ability to manage and not wanting the responsibility of management. My temper and impatience have flared more than once against the unlucky people who broke me in. I learned early on that you can't be a Leader and make everyone happy. I also learned how leadership isolates you from other players, isolates you from your role-playing, and eventually isolates you from the *entertainment* aspect of the game. It becomes a job, a task that you perform for the enjoyment of other people. Still, you keep doing it, and I have been doing it so long, I hardly know how to stop.

I controlled a lot of this Craft on a very close basis, so now, as I prepare to leave, I find that I am the only person who really knows how to do a lot of the things I do for this Craft. I never was that good at delegating. And so I put pen to paper… or fingertips to keyboard, in my case. I will write down everything I can think of to explain and leave it here for my successor and hers, so that the future Leadership of the Herdercraft will always know how to run things so they work. There will still be amazing amounts of discovery for anyone who steps into this chair; nothing can replace experience. But there are some things I've figured out that I can pass on now and save a new person at least some of the stumbling time I took while sorting it all out. It's the least I can do.

When this work is finished, I will step back into the shadows. I'll RP from time to time. I'll keep up the website. I'll even be available for advice and help, but I will no longer be the OOC manager of this great part of this great game. My time is over; let another one begin.

Aeia, Masterherder of Pern
October, 1996

Introduction: On Being a Staffmember
In some respects, becoming a staffmember in the Herdercraft is a reward for the work you have put in to support the Craft and the game. Your promotion is a recognition that you have achieved skills as a player, have furthered the Craft and the game, and are ready for more responsibility. Your social life is freed up from the constraints of Apprenticeship and your status has moved up a sizable notch, as you gain for the first time some private quarters. As with all things, however, there is a trade-off: in return for your reward, the Craft leadership can now lean on you, and in some respects, you trade some freedoms for others, and your old constraints have left only to have others introduced.

A staffmember must set a good example, so your first duty is towards making your interaction within and without the Craft into a model for the Apprentices to follow. A Journeyman should not have to be upbraided by the MOO leadership for inappropriate TPs, nor should a Journeyman indulge in petty grievances against fellow Crafters to the point of making snide remarks or disrespectful RP. One of the burdens of leadership is that you cannot get angry lightly; you must try at all times to be politic no matter how much someone annoys you privately. It's very difficult, and many times I have failed; but your primary duty now is to keeping the Craft together, and insulting a player who is needed violates that duty. Taking your complaints through proper channels and talking things over is infinitely better than lashing out.

Along the subject of positive examples, a Journeyman should be keeping up role-playing and chores as much as possible, and further encouraging RP among Apprentices by leading classes and demonstrating standard activities. Because this is a game, you have no real authority over directing the RP of the Craftspeople, and trying to force it does more harm than good. It is mostly by setting an example and making suggestions that you can influence the RP around you. If a Herder is turning down Herder RP for non-Herder RP, you can quietly express an objection. If you believe this is a chronic problem with this player, discuss it with the Leadership of the Craft. People who refuse to work within the Craft at all do need to be dealt with.

Continuing obligations of Journeymen include teaching, which should be done as often as possible, both in live RP (logged and submitted when possible) and in submitted texts and lessons that can be placed on the website. A Journeyman's work is never done.

Breeding to Maintain the Herder Stock
When new puppies, kittens, or rabbits are needed for sale, someone should use the Herder Stock to breed some more, when available. Otherwise setup an animal as needed.

Note that those animals whose breed is specified should be bred as purebreds, their children desc'ed appropriately.

If the babies are needed earlier than the usual time, the Herder builder has the ability to cheat on gestation length. Setting the .when_bred property to something less than what it is (take off 86400 for each RL day, or 4 IC days, that you want to speed things up, remembering that 14 RL days is the entire length of a canine/feline pregnancy) will skip the pregnancy ahead. If you want to birth the litter right now, @set the .when_bred to 0.

'Real' descriptions (elicit contributions from Apprentices, trust me; you'll go crazy trying to come up with all of them yourself) should be set by the time the puppies are 1 month old. That is only 1 week RL time, so you need to get cracking right away!

All the babies of a pet are created on a littler object and runners produce one foal. Remember that sales in the Herdercraft are always done by the sell verb.

TROUBLESOME POINTS: Sometimes the kennel has far too many pets in it, causing traceback in certain sitatuations. If you get any traceback while birthing, you may have a puppy/kitten stuck somewhere in limbo, and the properties of the mother have been screwed up. You may have to add one to her .pregnant property (this is used to give the first/second/third names to the babies) and subtract one from the .littersize property by hand before trying it again. Please note that if the littersize is now 0, you should set the .pregnant to 0 as well, for she is done. If you have gotten traceback once, you will again. I often cheat and take the mother elsewhere for the actual birth so everything works smoothly.

** Interviewing a New Herder **
Any staffmember (anyone of Journeyman rank or above) is authorized to interview new Herders. Get together with the applicant and conduct the interview along the following lines - you don't need to ask these exact questions, but these are the things I want people to have to think about before they become Herders.

* What interests you about the Herdercraft? Why would you like to be a Herder?
* What experience do you have with animals?
* What areas of the Craft are you most interested in? Livestock? Riding beasts? Small animals?
* Are you a fairly self-motivated learner? Can you work and study without people pushing you forward?
* Do you have any questions about the Craft I could answer?

Anything of particular interest can of course be passed on to *herderstaff. After this part, you do the formal swearing-in. My standard questions are:

* Will you devote yourself from this day forward to the betterment of your person through your Craft and your studies?
* Do you pledge your loyalty to the Craft and to the service of the animals of Pern?
* Do you promise your obedience to [Aeia] as your Craftmaster and to those whom she appoints your superior?

That done, RP giving him his knot and then use the following commands to add him to the craft:

* addplayer <player> - This does the following things: It @chparents the new player to our Herder parent, sets his home to the Apprentice Barracks, changes his title to 'Herder,' subscribes him to *Herdercraft, puts him on [Herder], and sends him mail welcoming him to the Craft. It also sends you mail confirming that this has all been done.
* promote <player> to Apprentice - This will change the player's title to 'Herdercraft Apprentice' and set his rank to 'Apprentice.'

This done, you can then introduce him around, show him the ropes, make sure he checks out the website… the usual deal.

Promotions are handled by the Master in charge of the Craft, though other staffmembers can recommend for promotion anyone they feel has been performing admirably. See the OOC Manual for guidelines for what is expected for each level. Summarized, they are as follows.

RP and activity promote someone from Apprentice to Senior Apprentice. A Journeyman project and an examination is required for promotion to Journeyman. More RP, activity, and contributions to the Craft (particularly in helping run it) pave the way to Senior Journeyman. Finally, a true mastery of the skills and activities of the Craft, and a helping hand in most Craft-running activities, are required to be a Master.

What defines a Journeyman project is the decision of the Craft head. My most basic definition is something that aids the Craft in some way. A text that enlarges our available knowledge base has always been my favorite, but coding projects and RP projects can also be acceptable, as long as the Craft benefits as a whole from the contribution, and it is something that requires some effort and planning. Journeyman projects should, when possible, become part of the Herdercraft online web site, whether as a text in the library or a RP log. Because of this, it is highly preferable that any text be created as a Generic Book (#108), since it can be htmlized for the website in one command. All RP that contributes to a Journeyman project should be logged.

Journeyman exams are, unfortunately, really hard to devise. I usually try to test the prospective staff member on a few of the basic classes, and to concentrate on his or her specialty if possible. All Herders should know some basic runner and small animal information; a Journeyman should have read all of the classes online and have understood them. The actual length of the exam, and its makeup, are the decisions of the Craft head.

To actually perform a promotion, the Craft head must use the command: promote (player) . With no rank specified, this command (conveniently) bumps the player's rank and title one notch - from Apprentice to Senior Apprentice, from Senior Apprentice to Journeyman, etc. No @ltitling is necessary; that is changed automatically.

If this person is now a staff member, you will want to do: addstaff (player) . This will subscribe the player to *herderstaff, add him to the staff channel, and send him mail with instructions. You will also receive mail confirming that this has been done. This player should now be given a room of his own. Use the @dig command with the builder to dig in some direction not already taken from one of the two staff hallway rooms, and then let the player @chown the the new room. Take care of renaming the exit and setting the messages from the hallway side of things.

Understanding the Player Parent
There are many properties on the Herder Parent (now #6591) that can be set by the builder in order to take advantage of the Player Parent verbs. For some help on this, do help player parent . Here is a quick summary of useful props to set:

For the 'addplayer' verb

The Barracks: the .dormitory prop holds the dormitories to set as the new player's home. We only have one dormitory, but the prop allows you to set a different one for each gender, so it looks like: {{"male", dbref#},{"female", dbref#} . Currently, those numbers are the same.
Channels: the .channels prop holds all of the channels to give to the new player. You also set up an alias for the channel (though, if the person is already on the channel and has an alias for it, it won't change that alias). The format is: {{"alias1", "ChannelName1"},{"alias2", ChannelName2"},…} . We have only one channel right now, but one could add to this easily.
Mailers: the prop .mailers is a list of the dbref#s for any and all mailers to which our new person should be subcribed. There is currently only one main Herder mailer.
Logs: If the Craft head does not want to get stuck with getting a message anytime someone is added/promoted, the .logmailer prop is (I believe) where mail would be sent instead. I haven't set that to anything yet. The .addpl_msg and .delpl_msg props are just the subject lines for these log messages.
Automatic mail: the .mailedhelp prop can be @notedited. That's the body of the message sent to any new person, and should always contain anything he/she should know to start off with.

For 'delplayer'

For 'addstaff'

Changing the Herdercraft's ICnews

To change the Herdercraft's entry in ICnews, log on the builder and @notedit #114.herder_hall . Make sure you delete the dummy line already in there. After exiting the editor, touch #114 to notify everyone of the change.
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