Useful Facts for Harpers

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This book is intended primarily as a reference for new apprentices to use in their role-play. It should give some tips as to how to get by in the hall, and list some of the differences between what you, the player will be doing OOCly, and what you, the character, will be doing ICly. This is primarily meant for apprentices or would-be apprentices, and is almost entirely an OOC text. Please keep that in mind while reading it.

(Also, for the politically correct: The use of the pronoun 'he' throughout this work is purely for the sake of convenience.)

Becoming a Harper Apprentice

The first thing you need to do is build a character background for yourself. Figure out who your character is, where he came from, what motivations he has. Develop some quirks for him, something to make him easier and more entertaining to role-play without bothering others. Figure out his strengths and weaknesses — and he should have both.

Once you have a character concept, you'll need to find a Harper journeyman or master and ask for an interview. The best way to do this is to add the channel [Music Student] and ask there. To add the channel, type 'addcom ms=Music Student' and be careful! Capitalization counts. :) There's also an activity requirement for interviews; you need at least 10 hours of active time on the MOO. Check "+history me" to check on how much you have to go.

You should be sure to have a solid character and understanding of IC/OOC conventions when you come in for your interview.

A Day in the Life of a Harper Apprentice

This is a rough outline of how the typical apprentice's day would be likely to run at the Istan Hall; posted apprentices will have a somewhat different schedule:

  • Awaken fairly early.
  • Prepare for the day. (Wash, dress, etc.)
  • Breakfast (at Ista, our minor Hall, that will be in the Dining Hall with the Istan holders).
  • Classes: For new apprentices, classes will be things like vocal training, instrumental lessons, and ensemble performances. They will be fairly simple classes, focused primarily around performance — though occasionally, a new apprentice will be invited to sit in on a more advanced lesson. For intermediate apprentices, instrument crafting, history, theater, archives, and music theory will be more of a focus. For more advanced apprentices: law, diplomacy, composition, philosophy, and politics.
  • Lunch.
  • Chores. Apprentices will be asked to do most of the chores for the maintenance of the Hall, including cleaning, copying hides, re-filing hides in the archive vaults, carrying messages, etc. If you want some ideas for RP, look at chores; they can be really entertaining to play out.
  • Dinner.
  • Free time. This is most of the time that you are actually RPing out as an apprentice: your few candlemarks (hours) of free time between dinner and bed. This is a time to gossip with other apprentices, to relax and unwind.
  • Sleep.

If you are posted away from the central Hall, your schedule will likely be different. You will do more independent learning, supervised and directed by your mentor. Your chores will mostly be helping with their work: sorting correspondence, helping with children's classes, running errands, etc.

Apprentices may also be sent on errands which will take longer than their afternoon block. They may be asked to run a message or a package to the Weyr, which is a two day walk, or ten hours by wagon. As an apprentice, you would be unlikely to obtain frequent dragon rides back and forth, and thus would be likely to travel away from the Hall only when given a reason to do so by a journeyman or master. Feel free to invent said reasons, but you should have them.

Being an Apprentice: OOC Primer

Apprenticeship ICly is very different from apprenticeship OOCly, for the simple reason that an apprentice's IC teachers — Journeymen and Masters — don't want to spend all of their online time teaching lessons and handing out chores, any more than an apprentice wants to spend all of their online time taking lessons and /doing/ chores. Most of an apprentice's learning, because of this, is done off-camera, which means it is assumed to have happened despite our never RPing it out. Remember: Harper's Tale has a 4:1 time difference. For every day in the real world, four days go by for our characters. If you role-play for three hours one day, that's three hours out of ninety-six. That's another 93 hours for sleep, lessons, and chores. We RP out lessons from time to time to give you an opportunity to RP and to learn OOCly some of what your character would know ICly. Don't assume, however, that your character hasn't had any lessons because you haven't.

If there is a specific class that you need or want, don't be shy in asking for it. 9 out of 10 times, a ranking Harper will be willing to either teach a lesson, or set up a time with you to teach one at a later date. Real Life can get hectic some times, but ask nicely, and we'll be glad to help you out.

There are six lessons on-camera lessons required for promotion in most cases. These will be covered in more detail in the next section.


Time, place and method of promotion are determined by the Harper Staff. Below are the usual options and procedures regarding promotion, but nothing except a Staff vote guarantees a promotion of any sort.

From the Staff's perspective, a promotion requires a majority vote from Staff to officially okay the promotion (eg, Apprentice to Senior Apprentice, or from non-Staff to Staff). Promotion to Master is a special case; for this, the active and available Masters are consulted, and a 2/3 majority of them is required to enact the promotion. Promotions to Master are not fully discussed here.

In terms of the logistics for Apprentices, there are generally two accepted tracks toward earning a promotion to Journeyman. In both, the candidate should demonstrate maturity, involvement in and dedication to the Craft, competent RP, a passable knowledge of MOO commands and procedures and good judgement.

Track One - The @progress board

This is the method most recommended for those seeking promotion. It makes it easy to demonstrate both IC and OOC involvement in the Craft, and provides a framework for RP. Note that simply gathering all the 'X's does not guarantee promotion!

So, let's talk about @progress. It's a handy little verb on the Harper FO that will display the contents of the Harper Progress Board in the Harper Office, regardless of what room you're in on the MOO. To use it, type @progress or @progress focus <name>, to get the @progress information for a specific person. Pretty neat, huh? Now, let's talk about what all those numbers and X's mean:

Type @progress mname. You should see something that looks like this:

1. OOC-Rules-RP Class
2. Music Credit
3. Arts Credit
4. Law Credit
5. Language Credit
6. Specialty Set
7. Mentor Chosen
8. Promotion: Sr. Apprentice
9. IC/OOC Seminar: Teaching
10. IC/OOC Seminar: Handfastings & Interviews
11. 1st Specialty Class
12. 2nd Specialty Class
13. Teach Basic Class
14. Conduct Interview
15. Journeyman's Project/Exam

These are various 'milestones' that need to be passed in order to make it along the path to Journeyman. They don't necessarily have to be performed in order, i.e, you can take Specialty classes while still an apprentice, or take a mentor and a specialty before taking your OOC/Rules/RP class, but in order to be promoted to Sr. Apprentice all of the first 6 steps must have been accomplished. Also, one cannot interview or teach a class until one is a Sr. Apprentice.

The various 'credits' can be obtained in a few ways: One can attend a class in the given area, participate in RP revolving around that area, submit a small IC project or paper in that area, etc. The classes of credit are self-explanatory, for the most part: 'Music' covers all areas of music, from composition and instrument crafting onto performance both instrumental or vocal. 'Law' covers the legal aspects of Harpering, from diplomacy and mediation to courtroom techniques and tactics. 'Art' isn't limited to painting or sculpture. It also includes dance, drama, and other areas you'd see in the Fine Arts department of a university or college. 'Language' is the catch-all of the four, containing subjects focusing on either the written or spoken word. Poetry, philosophy, history, archiving, storytelling, creative writing and communications such as drumcode will be found here.

The IC/OOC Seminars are just that: An informal discussion of techniques and tactics, hints and tips, for performing the various IC duties that we all get saddled with, upon making Journeyman rank. Additionally, since Senior Apprentices are encouraged to help out with interviews and teaching classes, (And in fact, are required to do one of each as a goal towards promotion,) it makes logical sense to know what to do before setting out to do it!

Now, the Journeyman's Project!! An ideal idea for a project should do some or all of the following: generate RP for the MOO and the Craft in particular; demonstrate the candidate's competence in the field(s) touched upon, ideally the candidate's area of specialization; lay the groundwork for further work after Journeymanship; show the candidate's initiative and organizational skills. It is generally considered to be roughly worth the same amount of effort as a ten-page paper. Remember that presentation counts in both your proposal, (sent to *harperstaff after discussion with your mentor) and your actual execution of your project; communication skills are something Staff examines carefully in considering promotions.

Once a project has been accepted, the Senior Apprentice attempts to put the idea into practice. The candidate should by now have a mentor, who can prove invaluable as a source of advice, editorial comment, brainstorming, support, etc. Once the project has been completed, Staff will vote on whether or not to accept it as adequate proof of competency to take a Journeyman exam. Staff and the candidate will then schedule a time, and examine the candidate. Another vote takes place, based on that exam and its log, and if half of Staff accepts, the candidate is then promoted.

Note: We're aware of the fact that, from time to time, we may be short on qualified teachers for a 'Credit' area or two. Should this be the case, and should you have all your other requirements in place, we're willing to be accommodating.

Track Two - Continual commitment

This is a touchier process, and is really only recommended if you are, for some reason (odd online times, etc.) unable to follow the standard route. For this, the candidate should do his or her best to find a mentor because this is the best way to ensure someone on Staff will stay apprised of his/her activities. An Apprentice who wants to try this route should make it known to Staff. From that point, the Apprentice should continually engage in small-scale projects and Craft-related RP. Their mentor has a responsibility to stay conscious of what precisely they are doing and keep Staff similarly updated. Then, it is simply a question of when Staff thinks the candidate is ready for promotion, either to Senior Apprentice or straight to Journeyman. Either is likely to happen at a Craft dinner/meeting with no warning given to the candidate, so be sure you enjoy surprises if you wish to attempt this option. This option is also likely to take significantly longer, so be warned.

Whichever track you choose, remember this single most important factor in earning a promotion: Staff must trust the candidate and believe that they will do well in the position.

If a candidate is constantly getting into OOC trouble with Staff, it will be exceedingly difficult for Staff to develop any sort of trust for the candidate. For instance: an Apprentice who violates a number of the IC rules, gets caught, and didn't give a friendly OOC 'head's up' to the Harper staff beforehand. Apprentices who appear OOCly 'power mad', only playing the game in order to gain promotion, will also not be looked highly upon. This is, after all, a game. An IC promotion doesn't make you a better person, doesn't make you prettier or smarter, or more likely to someday become president of the U.N. Although an IC promotion and a dollar /will/ get you a cup of coffee…

IC Rules

The following is a list of IC rules for the harper craft, which encompass all ranks.

  1. Apprentices may not become involved in romantic relationships. As an apprentice, your main responsibility is to learn. A romantic relationship would take up time you should be devoting to your studies. Any type of romantic relationship forming will result in a warning. If, after that warning, we see it again, the parties will be separated. If the relationship continues past that point, the apprentice may be asked to do extra chores, to occupy that time. Eventually the apprentice will be removed from the craft. Any handfasting or child-bearing will result in expulsion from the craft.
  2. Apprentices who wish to leave hall grounds for an extended period of time should request permission from their mentor or someone with more rank than that mentor. If they do not, they will be confined to the hall for the amount of time that they are away. If it becomes a severe issue, further disciplinary action may be taken.
  3. All nights should be spent in the apprentice dorms by non-posted apprentices, unless special permission is given to do otherwise. Infractions will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, though such punishments as night posting to the drumheights may be appropriate.
  4. When assigned to a given class, an apprentice should be there for it. Skipping classes will result in repetition of the class and additional chores.
  5. Apprentices should not sell instruments that have not been stamped. Any apprentice doing so forfeits their stipend for the next seven-day and is forced to contribute any money earned to Harper Hall.
  6. Pets are not forbidden to apprentices. However, if they make messes of interfere with other's work, they may be taken away.
  7. Males should not enter the female dormitory; females should not enter the male dormitory. Socialization with members of the opposite gender should be confined to the dormitory lounge. Should this rule be violated by an apprentice, they will be given extra chores and possibly be put on water rations.
  8. Journeymen and Masters are representatives of the craft, and must present a mature, responsible example for apprentices and people outside the craft. When in public, behave as though you were the sole representative of your craft. Do not behave in a rude or otherwise disrespectful manner. Journeymen or Masters seen to be breaking this rule may be temporarily demoted to apprentices.
  9. All serious disciplinary action should be reported to the highest ranking Harper at the site of the incident. Failure to do so may result in the same action being taken on the discipliner.
  10. No Harper should condone another breaking the rules. However, this applies most severely to journeymen and masters. Any Harper aware of an infraction in the rules of a Harper of lower rank should take action. Failure to do so will be looked upon as an equivalent infraction on the part of the higher-ranked Harper.
  11. The main task of the Harper is impartiality. Every journeyman and master seen to be expressing more favoritism than necessary will be required to attend a lesson on impartiality or teach one.
  12. Every Harper should obey his or her superiors. Rank is not given indiscriminately, and, by earning a promotion, a Harper proves his or her ability to make decisions. Respect that ability. Failure to do so may result in taking over that Harper's responsibilities for a day, to get an idea of them.
  13. A Harper does not commit physical violence of any sort. Doing so will be firmly attended to, and will result in confinement to the Harper Hall for no less than four days. Depending on severity on the incident, it may result in expulsion from the Harper Craft. Any journeyman or master seen to be unnecessarily violent more than once will be cast from the craft.

OOC Rules

And these are the OOC Rules of Harperdom on HT.

  1. First and foremost, all of Shirgall's rules apply. We are here to enjoy ourselves. RL comes first, IC and OOC are different… Ask him about them.
  2. Secondly, no one here wants to discipline. We're all bad at it. So as long as nothing comes to the official attention of ranking Harpers, no one will be punished. We're all here to have fun, and punishing isn't fun any more than being punished.
  3. Please, if you're planning on doing something that will result in punishment, get OOC permission? Otherwise, it's a form of powerplay, whether intentional or not. It forces Journeymen and Masters to react. And if you /do/ want to break some rules… we're pretty likely to approve it, OOC. After all, it's no fun playing an angel all the time!
  4. Wherever it says "without permission," NPC permission is acceptable. We have lots and lots of NPC journeymen. Invent one. :) Just have an IC reason in case you're stopped.
  5. Promotions are generally decided upon based on completion of the @progress milestones, and the maturity level of the player. People who have been in the craft longer may be given some priority, just because they would, ICly, be more likely to get promoted. Remember to run your project by *harperstaff before beginning it. Also, please be patient about your exam. It's a big scheduling hassle for the people that need to show up, and it's a lot of work to create one.
  6. Remember to get instruments stamped and projects approved before trying to sell them or begin them. It's a minor thing, but very canonical.
  7. Due to the nature of the Harper Staff, its members cannot always answer questions about issues that have been brought to Staff's attention. Do not feel insulted if you are told that a Staff member cannot answer certain questions, and please do not move on to ask that question of other Staff members.

Finding Information

So now you're a Harper, but not sure what mailers you should have or where to go to find that elusive bit of info? No worries! Here is a list of the basic mailers that you should be subscribed to. In order to subscribe to a mailer just type @subscribe *<name>. For instance, @subscribe *fl would subscribe you to the *Firelizard Issues mailer.

The following mailers are ones you should be @subscribed to: *Harper (*harp), *Announcements (*ann), and *Admin-Announcements (*admin).

These are other mailers that you might want on your list, as they have bits of info that make life on the MOO more interesting: *Gossip (*gos), *Firelizard Issues (*fl), *TinyPlots (*tp).

These two mailers are ones that are for the Harper Hall, but that you cannot subscribe to until after becoming a Journeyman: *Harper Feedback (*hf) is an anonymous mailer where you can send complaints and problems for the Journeyman and Masters to read. Your name will not show, so you can feel safe in sending a complaint to the mailer. *HarperStaff (*hast) is the mailer for Staff, that group of Harpers who provide the leadership for the Hall. Questions about projects, concerns, 'formal' correspondences and such should be sent here.

Now you've your mailers set up, but you still can't find that bit of info you need? The Hall has books here on the database, you're reading one right now, but there is also a website that contains lots of good info and references. It's known as the Masterharper's Office and can be found at:

Sometimes you want info on another craft. Now while you can use the help files here on the MOO, you can also go to the MOO's homepage. Most of us got here through that page, but it never hurts to have the addy bookmarked. HT's homepage is:

That should give you a good basic platform for finding information. If you're having trouble with something, always feel free to ask on channel or page a Journeyman or Master. The only stupid question is the one you didn't ask. And remember… have FUN!

The above may also be accessed on the MOO itself via the @library

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