The Tea House is our personal guild, created many years ago and only recently opened to allow others to join. For the benefit of members, this article should explain how The Tea House came about, what the various ranks mean and what The Tea House is all about. For others, this article should offer a guideline for a different way to create and run a guild. So let’s start with the basics and begin with the History of our humble little guild.
There are really two histories, the in game and the OOC version.
The Starell sisters, Kelletti and Kiara, come from very humble beginnings as commoners lost in the sea of faces within the walls of Divinity’s Reach. Kiara was especially attracted to the wonders of magic and she was determined to change her stars and make something more of her life than being a barmaid or carnival worker. Kelletti was swayed by Kiara’s stories and promises of adventure, so when Kiara set out to make her name, Kelletti joined her sister and did what came naturally to her; defending those in need.
The sisters certainly found their adventures, and as they grew in wealth and experience they joined the fabled ranks of other heroes of Tyria. Much to their disappointment though, these heroes were not bonded by any sort of camaraderie, but were in fact often rude, slovenly and downright horrible people. The Sisters established a guild of their own, hoping to find some some place for their guild among the big names of the world. Alas, their guild suffered terrible ridicule, mainly from walkers of the mists who scoffed at what they saw as the naivety of the sisters.
With their name besmirched by the cruelty of others, the sisters were inspired by the tranquillity of the Canthan tea shops which they would sometimes visit after a long day. In hopes of replicating that tranquility, they created The Tea House, hoping for a fresh start among different people. The new guild was created as a haven, where people could simply relax and find solace between their adventures. A place built upon the ideals of community and reflection, where people are encouraged to find their own way of living.
As the years passed the sisters did try to join other guilds, while keeping The Tea House a separate and sacred sanctuary. In so doing they managed to create a few precious bonds with others of similar mind. They helped the sisters clear a section of the Lost Precipice to establish a grand Guild Hall for the Tea House. With the Guild Hall, the sisters finally opened the doors of their guild to allow others in as guests, inviting people to share in the tranquil little spot and enjoy some peace and safety from the cruelty of the outside world.
Out of Character (OOC)
The above story is a fairly accurate reflection on our struggle to find our place in GW2. Burnt badly by other guilds in the past we actually vowed to never join any Guilds in GW2, but made a guild just for the shared storage and to ward off invite spam from others. Our first guild did attract a negative feeling for us when we tried to get involved in WvW and met a really horrible bunch of people. So, we moved servers to Tarnished Coast and made a new start with a new guild; The Tea House.
The Tea House became a little more than just a storage guild for us, because it was our haven from the outside world. However, there was still game content which we could not try because our past experiences made us unwilling to party up with strangers. Over four years into the game, we finally did join another guild, and then another, seeking people who wanted more from their game than just mindlessly following a Meta. Thankfully we did find a handful of people, and they were kind enough to help us secure a Guild Hall.
At first we were fairly determined that we could still manage the Guild Hall all on our own. With the exception of PvP potions we were happy to build everything in the guild hall ourselves, with our own resources. Yet, we also wanted to include as members of the Tea House, those kind and decent people we had found through our travels. These precious few were people whose company we actually valued, and we didn’t want to have that connection broken when the vicious guild politics of the other guilds eventually forced us to leave. So, we created ranks and set the guild up to run as a proper guild.
From past experience we knew all too well that it only takes a single person to totally destroy a guild. Therefore, The Tea House is not open to inviting random people into our ranks. Only people who have a proven record of being decent like-minded people may stay within The Tea House. Others may visit, but are soon removed if they prove in any way vexatious to the harmony of our halls.
So it is that The Tea House is a tiny guild, run by two elitist dictators who rule with an iron fist, in order to maintain a true peace and harmony for the precious few members. Our methods might be odd, but for those willing to work within our rigid structure, The Tea House offers many of the benefits of a big guild but without the unstable politics and back-biting nastiness common in too many large guilds. It’s a place where you can actually just relax, and be yourself.
Communication is key to a healthy and productive guild.
We ask nothing of members except that they communicate with others. Let people know if you’re taking a break. Let people know if you are not up to communicating for a bit for ‘reasons’. We don’t need to know what’s happening in your real life, as we respect your privacy, but we do want to know how your game life is going. Why? Because through communication we can all be respectful of each others boundaries, needs and aspirations.
The Tea House doesn’t have any lofty military ranks, as we would like to be seen as a relaxing retreat from the violence and struggle of the outside world. Hence, we view members as guests. From lowest to highest rank The Tea House ranks are as follows.
New members start here. You have been invited to visit the Guild Hall or join us on a few things. It’s a probationary rank which will rarely last more than a week and can be revoked at any time. It’s basically our way of sharing the Tea House experience with strangers. This rank comes with no rights or privileges.
For whatever reason, you have been a valued member of the guild at some time but for whatever reason you are now effectively inactive. We want you to have a home to come back to when you do decide to return but we don’t expect you any time soon. Legacy Guests may have their membership revoked if they have not returned for an especially long time, such as six months to a year. No rights or privileges are granted to a Legacy Guest as we cannot know your state of mind when you return. Moving back to a higher rank is likely if you return for any decent length of time. Legacy Guests will no longer receive Guild Mail-outs so as not to fill up their mail boxes unnecessarily.
You are a valued member of The Tea House and your company is cherished. You may freely access the food in the Guild Treasury which is periodically restocked (when we remember to :P). You can also use some of the various guild services.
Guest of Honour
You are a very active and devoted member of The Tea House. Not only do you regularly take part in activities with other guild members, you also contribute to the building of the Guild Hall on a regular basis. The rank will not be granted based solely on any one thing, but looks at the full spectrum of both your guild input and social interaction. You not only have access to the regular guild services, but are entitled to start guild missions and even recruit visitors to help you complete tasks for the guild. You have our full trust, until such a time when such trust is proven unfounded.
There are any will only ever be two Hosts, and that is us, Incarnica and Kaly. The Tea House is our playground and we make no pretence that we are anything other than dictators. However, we work hard to service the Guild and provide benefits to our members. We see ourselves as being responsible for maintaining the sanctity of The Tea House, and will not hesitate to remove vexatious members. Only the Hosts have the right to decorate the Guild Hall, though we respond to requests by others and might grant temporary rights if required to allow members to level things like their Scribe skill.
As the Guild Hall expands, we will see about allowing Honoured Guests to decorate their own places within the Guild Hall. This will depend a lot on certain factors so it may or may not happen.
We don’t recruit. However, there are times people ask us if they could join our guild as they like our concepts and the social safety aspects we adhere to. If you find you enjoy the company of members of The Tea House, feel welcome to apply to join us. We will consider your application and make an assessment based on a multitude of things. At first we might give you a visitor rank and invite you along to a few things to see how you fit in. Don’t expect an invite though, as it’s rare that we welcome people in.