Project Reference Book

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The Scope of a Project

One of the most commonly asked questions and frequently voiced concerns about journeyman projects has to do with the amount of work implicit in the concept. How much time and effort should a journeyman project take up? Is it closer to a college thesis, or a role-play session?

The first real bit of information which is pertinent to this question is the role the journeyman project plays in Staff deliberations. This has changed a lot over the years, but at the present time, it is there to demonstrate a few things:

  1. Competence. This is the simplest of the categories to explain and perhaps the hardest to measure. It's a chance for people to prove their ability to RP effectively as Harpers to Staff members who perhaps haven't been noticing their growth as HTers.
  2. Creativity. We want journeymen who can think outside of the box and come up with new and original ideas. The project is a way to prove that you can do that. Feel free to have some fun with the idea.
  3. Dedication (and here's the stinker). The project should prove that you have the dedication to stick with the craft, and put some amount of effort into it as a player, not just with your character.

If you feel your project can demonstrate all three, its scope is probably sufficient. It shouldn't be something pulled together in five minutes, but something into which you put a lot of thought and consideration. The analogy most frequently made is to a ten-page paper for a college course. Most of the time, those are done in a few evenings (with a lot of concentration those evenings). It doesn't need to be a major focus of your life for months; this /is/ a game, not a career. It just needs to demonstrate that you have a real commitment to the craft and the game.

Interesting Past Projects

Some interesting projects over the past few years:

  • Arialla's play: Everyman. A dramatic exploration of a man exploring Pern, with some amusing OOC references to HT newbies.
  • Torlan's census. A random sampling of HT's population and a number of statistics on them.
  • Kaeryn's mural. A series of paintings which now grace the Ballroom, portraying Harper life and some past and present figures.
  • Thanatos's story. A compelling story set in Pern with an original concept, worked around the foundations of Pernese life and told to a group of people in RP.

These are some of the more unique ideas that have been done in the last two years. Bear in mind, the fact that things aren't one hundred percent original doesn't preclude their use; concerts, dances, lesson series… all of these are perfectly legitimate projects. :)

Finding a Project Idea

Finding a project idea is probably the most difficult stage of the promotion process for most people. The idea has to be something which fits your character ICly, demonstrates knowledge of the Harpercraft, and gets others involved and interested. There are a few things to think about while selecting an idea:

  1. The idea should promote role-play. The more people who get involved, the better the idea is…to a certain point; we don't want the entire MOO forced into reacting.
  2. The idea should demonstrate some sort of OOC harper skill, whether it be posing performances, understanding of law, research skills, teaching, organizational abilities…. anything, really, though a topic within your area of speciality is preferable.
  3. Make sure it's something possible for your character. If you're ICly a composition specialist, don't do a series of sculptures of famous masterharpers. Whether or not you're an instrument building specialist, don't do something involving construction of brass instruments; the metal would not be available to you.
  4. Be sure it demonstrates the points listed in the section on scope: competence, creativity, and dedication.

Before proposing the idea to the Harper Staff, you should probably talk it over with your mentor. If you don't have one, now is a good time to get one. Their job will be, mostly, to help you work out any kinks in the idea, to give you insight on how Staff might react given and inside perspective, and to talk about how best to approach it ICly and OOCly. They're also there to help with the snags you hit while /working/ on the project; more on that later.

Getting the Project Approved

The only thing you need to do to begin a project (once you have the idea) is to get it approved by the Harper Staff. Once you've talked with your mentor, you really only need to write up a mail to *HarperStaff detailing the project. Bear in mind, this mail is the first view Staff will have of you as a prospective journeyman. You should make every effort to represent yourself well, as well as the project. This means, among other things, that you should avoid all spelling/grammar errors, keep it concise and easy to read, and (to some extent) try to be professional about the proposal.

You should probably proofread the mail before shipping it off; your mentor can also usually help you with that.

Once the mail has been sent, Staff will need to discuss and vote. This will take between one and two weeks. If it begins to stretch longer than that, ask your mentor before sending the mailer a second time.

Completing the Project

This is the stage which will take the most active time for most people. This is the stage where you take that proposal, your concept, and translate it into a final product. If your proposal was a TP, this is the time where the TP takes place, and /also/ the time when you complete last minute pre-TP arrangements, edit logs, write up a description of the process you took, check to make sure you haven't forgotten anything, deal with any IC aftermath, etc.

The process of completing the project is where most people stall out. Once the project's approved, it tends to loom as an obstacle. The best bit of advice I can give here is that you not give up. If you hit a stumbling block that you can't surpass, ask for help. This is another thing mentors are good for. No one works in a vacuum; we certainly don't expect you to do so. If you can't find a bit of information, ask. Even if your mentor doesn't know, they may be able to direct you onward. Imagine Staff as a multi-volume reference book, where each volume contains a full index. You may be able to find your answer with your mentor, but if you can't, you can at least check in the index.

A few simple guidelines for completing the project:

  1. Don't give up. This one may seem simple, but it's something that not all people follow through on. If you give up, I can guarantee you the promotion won't happen. ;)
  2. Stick to your original outline. If you need to make major changes to the idea, run it by Staff. If you don't, Staff is less likely to approve the final result.
  3. Seek advice. Have someone proofread your results. Talk it over with your mentor. Get others involved ICly. The more you do this, the more kindly we will look upon it.

Submitting the Project

Once the project is completed, things are edited, and the entire thing is over and wrapped up, you can submit it to Staff. The way most people opt to do this is to get everything up either online or on a book object on the MOO and @send *HarperStaff with the URL or dbref#. This is really the only feasible way to do this; anything that would make a good final project would be too long to safely send to a mailer, and everyone on *HarperStaff must read it.

Your mail should be grammatically correct, concise, and containing all relevant information. Once the council receives it, we need to vote on it. Discussion and voting on a jman project will take anywhere from one to three weeks; please do not prod about it until at least week three; there's a lot of process that need to be handled.

The Journeyman Exam

Once the project is approved, Staff will get in touch with you asking about convenient times for your journeyman exam. In picking these times, bear in mind that you will be asked to do some serious thinking, and also that your exam can last for several hours. If you generally get home at 11 PM Wednesday half brain-dead, and need to be in bed by midnight, that is /not/ an available time.

It will be at least a week before the exam, probably more like three or four. Each exam is written up uniquely, to focus on an individual character. The questions tend to be focused on three areas: law, archives, and performance. If you want to see some exams from the past, check the harper webpage: http://htharperhall.tripod.com/exam_logs.htm. Once the exam is over, you'll have another week or two of waiting, while we vote on whether to promote.

If the decision is no, we'll approach you privately to let you know. If the answer is yes, you will be promoted at a meeting with the full craft there to cheer you on.

Promotion "Tracks"

As a reminder, the project/exam route is only one of two possible routes to promotion. Harpers who show a continuous commitment to the craft and the MOO may be promoted without the project and exam. However, if you wish to actively pursue journeymanship, the route outlined in this book is probably the best route for you; it gives you an opportunity to be noticed and to strut your stuff for the whole council.

Also: remember that Harper's Tale is all about fun. The journeyman project is meant to demonstrate that you're prepared for the work of being a journeyman, preparing lesson plans, teaching lessons, helping mentees, etc. If you don't have the available time/energy, don't worry too much about it. Just do what feels right for you.


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

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