Thursday, January 29, 2015

Knigh tError by Michael "Panther" Palumbo

With great power comes great potential...to screw up.

Being knighted was a wonderful recognition for my efforts and contribution, and I was squired to a successful knight who took the time to show me the path. And for every knight there comes a time when you think, it's time for me to take a squire of my own and give a willing eager young cadet the full benefit of all I've learned. I'm here to tell you to think twice. It's not that I discourage the squiring of would-be knights, I just want to caution you to take the responsibility seriously and think about whether you are ready for it.

I personally failed my first two squires. The first left the game not with animosity, just didn't see it going anywhere and didn't enjoy it anymore. The second left our group and found his own way. In both cases, my failure was in commitment. My first squire was one of a pair of brothers that came to us as newbies. After some time with us, Randal wanted to squire one of them. I thought that was great. Then he convinced me that I should squire the other, so as not to have him feel left out. That made sense to me, so what the hell. Let's do it.

No. I suppose it could have worked out, but from the get-go, I was doing it for the wrong reasons. I didn't really want a squire; it was someone else's idea. I had no plan, no expectations. I saw it as a reward I could bestow instead of the start of a journey through which I would lead them. Wrong.

The second squire I took for better reasons, this time I wanted the squire. He had expectations and I failed to meet them. He left me and the group, having made the complaint that he needed people who play the game more than we did. And he was spot on. I took the squire at the height of my involvement in Event Holding and then our group's involvement in event production began to wane. We went from throwing 3 or 4 events a year to just one, and then only one every few years. Even our PC involvement waned as lives changed and other players dropped out. I had no business taking a squire when I couldn't commit to being involved at the same level the squire desired.

What did I learn from this?  Well of the three knights in our group, none of our squires had advanced in any significant way. We realized that individually we were not able to sustain the responsibility. Not to mention, the whole squire/knight relationship doesn't particular go well with our PC shtick of a thief/assassin guild. So we started to treat our guild as a local knighthood, with levels within them. In the spirit of "it takes a village..." we decided that we'd each take the best of our entry level associates and work with them, but after a time, they'd rotate. Each knight could in turn, teach the "squire" what the others lacked. Ultimately, we believed the product would be the sum of our individual parts. I'm happy to say that we were more successful. We were able to produce a small handful of outstanding community members some of which continue to contribute, as well as one who went far enough to earn his own white belt.

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