How to Organize a Small Group Roleplay Event

male elf bard

Have you ever attended an event in your favorite online game? Whether it is something like a meeting for members of the same house or city, or something that involves characters from other houses and cities from across the realm, someone has to do the work to put these events in motion.


Some events might seem unnecessary, regardless of which group of players they target. They eat up time that people could be questing or hunting and a lot of them do not seem to have any reward other than emotions associated with its inevitable end. Regardless of how you feel at the end of the event, there are some real benefits.


Events require people to interact and team up. No matter if it is the good side versus the bad side or everyone teaming up to serve a single purpose, an event gives you the opportunity to interact with players that you might have not met otherwise. Events are also a great way to attract new players into the game.


The 5-Point Event Planning Checklist


Just because you are not a Divine or serving in some other kind of administrative position in an Iron Realms game does not mean that you can’t set up an event. Just like with real life, hosting something spur of the moment that you failed to think through will not go over as well as something that is well planned. Here are some tips for setting up your next RPG event.


  • Planning – If you need help from others, try to set up a meeting with interested parties before doing anything else. This gives you an idea of what skills and talents people on your planning team can offer, what type of budget is necessary to pull off the event, and when is the best time to hold the event.
  • Venue – The venue is where you will hold your event. I cannot stress this enough – always have a backup venue. What happens if ogres storm in and smash the tavern where you planned to hold a drinking contest? Or what happens if the city where you planned to host a series of lectures is swallowed up by the sea? This saves you the embarrassment of looking unprepared.
  • Invites – Who do you want to invite to your event? Is it just players in organizations where you hold membership? Is this something worldwide? Do you plan to invite the Divine? Once you nail down the guest list, how will you invite them? Will you use the news, post office, or messages? If you are selling tickets, you might use an advert and also the market channel. Although if you are inviting Divine guests, I highly recommend providing them complimentary access!
  • Divine – Do you need Divine help to plan your event? Perhaps you are hosting a city festival and want a denizen to sell special items to commemorate the happy occasion. Maybe you need a denizen to interact with you in a special way to help get the event started, or as part of the closing. Be sure to contact the Patron of your organization first, and give them plenty of notice. And always, always remain in character!


The Big Day

Now that the big day is here, you have to obsess over every little detail and micromanage your team, right? Wrong! The reason why these people are still in your committee is because you have some level of trust in their abilities. The cliché that there is no “I” in “TEAM” is overused, but in this case it totally applies. Besides, after all that hard work in planning for the event, you deserve to kick back and enjoy it, too!


After the event, give yourself a day or so to relax and recharge your batteries. Then meet with your team to evaluate how things went. What can you do to improve next time? Were there any complaints you heard through the event? Did you hear any compliments of things you want to be sure and repeat in future events?


While running an event can be stressful, if you plan carefully and delegate the work to committee members who you know you can trust to get the job done, then it can be very rewarding. If you like working with different types of people, have a healthy respect for time management, and do your best work under pressure, then what are you waiting for? Let’s plan an event today!



About the Author 

Annie Foster has been leading roleplay events since her freshman year of college when she led a group of newbies through a cavernous lair, straight into the gaping maw of a ferocious dragon. As a freelance writer, Annie plays her favorite MUDs no matter where her job leads, whether it is from a mountain lodge several thousand feet above sea level or in a hotel room that overlooks the ocean.


I think this is an article that a lot of people really needed to read, since it seems like there's always a huge number of people who are nervous about arranging things. That said, I do think the advice is a little too broad and I wonder about the usefulness of some pieces.

well, it's not like the writer can give specifics, since this article can apply to many, if not all events. Give him a break. But many do need to read this, as any advice can be a big help if they have never done this before

Why couldn't the writer give specifics, examples are specifics.

specifically true, in this case!

Uh huh

Don't argue!

But it's so fun to.

arguing is pointless.

it is

This box keeps getting smaller :o

tiny box

Nuh uh



I agree, but it's a great starting point for things to think about, especially for someone who's never tried running an event before!

events are boring... NOT!

I'm sure this will be helpful, though!

This was a good read, cheers


last call.

It was.


Hmm.. *Takes notes!*

Useful stuff!











Tema wins!

Disagree. +infinity


Yeah. infinity^i

that's a big increase!

It's such a pain to schedule an event days in advance. Inevitably someone you've been planning with doesn't show up.

With big global events you can have a few people missing and no one would really notice, but when it's a small group you don't get that luxury.

Yeah, but they are easier to organize



flake... ugh.

Points well taken.


Midkemia doesn't have them and I think that's best. It means we can apporach administrators without having to do the whole in character song and dance. We also have the OPTION to do the In Character song and dance, but only if it fits our character's role play.

I should try out Midkemia, seems to be pretty different from the other IRE games.

no it's not, unfortunately.

There are options for contacting admins OOC in the other games, but yeah, it's probably more required in Achaea.

But it does have a much smaller player base so involving 5 people is actually 1/4 of the people online at any time

Wow, that's pretty small.

I'm not sure if that's an exaggeration. I had no idea Midkemia was so small!

I would imagine it is an exaggeration

I'd hope so, but even if it is it still makes me feel good about Lusternia's population by comparison.



I enjoyed this.


So did I, interesting stuff!

Good read!

sounds difficult

But then, I've always kept to myself anyway =/

article quality has gone way up

Agreed, you don't notice as much that there are certain words that have to be used thirteen times, for instance

and they actually have more of a purpose

good article



good read

I can learn from this

I enjoyed this article. 

Thanks for the tips!

Well-written, helpful article!

Good to keep in mind :)

being on time

also seem to make people join games, events, and contests.

Guild masters in Lusternia have a guild rite command that can give a little xp to five guild members present. It's not much but a handy little carrot to encourage participation and recompense people for their time.

I mean, to all guild members present when there are at least five there.

I'd be curious to know how many guilds can reliably get five people together, though. I know that it seems like mine usually can't.

some guilds in lusternia manage it on a fairly regular bases Ithink.

That rite sounds great and it could be useful for some of the smaller Houses in Achaea. I'd also agree with the post above in that contests and games seem to get a great turn-out.



You can spend days, even weeks setting up an event, roleplaying, including as many people as possible, handing out dozens of opportunities with plenty of notice  to get people involved, and sometimes, in the end, all they'll do is complain from word one till the next event. There's nothing you can do about it. Especially those that only start complaining about it once they've proven they have no clue what's going on cause they weren't paying attention.


Sadly, they will always be around, and they will always be vocal. There's nothing you can do about them. But don't let them ruin your buzz. Anyone worth your time will be appreciative and at least cooperative, within the parameters of their character. And then you'll know for next time who deserves your time and efforts!

And a sincere thank you to all of those in leadership taking on the responsibility of creating that atmosphere, those events and those systems that make for good roleplay, and not leaving us stilted towards combat-only. You are the reason we keep playing!

To the people that complain, at least stay in character about. There's always going to be someone finding something bad to sad, but if its done IC at then its more flavor.


And I second the big thank you to those who take the time to create these events.

Or they won't read your painstakingly crafted text-walls.

I did kinda go on a bit there, didn't I? Sorry about that.

"Or what happens if the city where you planned to host a series of lectures is swallowed up by the sea?" Did someone plan something in Shallam before it went sploosh?

Exellent article! I believe that events are important, because they bring adventurers closer. I considered organising an event or two myself and I was most worried about the right time to set it up. Sure, invitations can help, but I think that organiser should track when targetted group of players spends time awake, so they wouldn't have to alter their insane obligations too much.

Sounds a lot like stalking, heh. Best is to just have something more free-form that can work with whatever people are around, rather than something highly structured that's doomed to fail if key people are missing.

Credit, but still worth reading.



bringing out alcohol usually does the trick.

Most of the events that I have seen have been done really well. I assume they have used this formula because otherwise there would be a lot of trouble getting that many people to work so well together.

Is always good for getting people to come but then you have to get them to behave, thats the hard part.


Just like anything else. A person is reasonable, people are the problem.



good article

I really should try and learn from this

love the new articles

they still aren't policing the comments at all, I see

talk to house/clan mates!

Credit comment.

anybody notice that their five point checklist has only four points?

Not till you pointed it out. Ha!

mud games are great for character roleplay + player events

true that







I wish these articles had a date to tell you when they were written.

It can happen to you where and when you least expect it. True story.

I have a hard time attending events. My character wants to be around people, but I need lots of breaks from them. Events means too many people for me usually. 

gosh, two days and no new article, slowing down there

lol, better than months

indeed, but timestamps would help a lot..

a good read on the second read through

actually read it this time, and it is a good read

good read

Are unplanned. Sometimes. ;)


worst roleplay ever: group birth ritual

You have to be kidding me....

I mean...


heh heh

Good article





Very much agreed, mhm

I'm still working on getting basic roleplay stuff down

Sometimes, it can seem overwhelming, starting one of the Iron Realms games. I found that when I started, too. There's so much to learn, and you're never sure what's taken for granted and what might have a widely-accepted worldwide roleplay. Can't tell you how many months it took for me to learn to misspell magic. It still looks strange.


And if you're not coming from a background where you're used to roleplaying (I play a lot of White Wolf games, the Minds Eye Theatre stuff) then sometimes it can get tiresome to be reminded that "It's just a game" and "It's not you, it's the character".


Personally, I feel roleplay is the most important part, but I'm biased, and I know it's not that heavy for a lot of people. But please take my word for it when I say in the end, I find it's the most cathartic part. It's saved thousands in therapy, broken cell phones and jail time from wantig to beat stupid people. I'm only half joking.


But seriously. Had great news? Get on an energetic character and talk to friends. Had a bad day? Get on a cranky character and just EXPEL. Helpful!


Even if it doesn't always make the characters popular.

I do like this one

now you have your audience



I should do a ritual again sometime.

Ritual... I like that idea.

nice overview.  I remember getting asked to perform a wedding at the very last minute when someone didn't show up to do it.  Let's just say that preparation counts.

It does for me too, but there are some people who can produce witty, engaging interactions at frightening speed

And then major events happen while you're sleeping. :(

What is this? Small group roleplay? I expected to learn how to RP dwarves!

It seems kindof basic to me but meh, if people find it useful.

not bad, some new content, too.



Good summary, good ideas, planning does count!

I'm awful at organizing actual rp. My gameplay is much more reactive. Maybe I should give it a try.









I should keep this checklist in mind!

Its hard to get everyone together but very rewarding if you can.

Still +1


good read

Anything with more than four people is just asking to get out of hand.


Big events are noisy and do get out of hand, its true.

but then again, im bad at organising...

yeah, agreed


Thanks for the article.


Ty Beirdd usually do these things. Cyrene to some extent, but Ty Beirdd is the driving force behind it. I agree that planning and invitations beforehand would be mighty useful. Choose a time where you'll at least have more people able to attend.


..if someone is willing to do the organizing.

I do love RP especially when everyone is good at it/tried to take part

this is a good read and good points to keep in mind. thank you.

for a last credit I hope