The Tea House

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.

History

There are really two histories, the in game and the OOC version.

In Game

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.

Founding Principle

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.

Guild Ranks

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.

Visitor

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.

Legacy Guest

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.

House Guest

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.

Host

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.

Future Developments

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.

Membership Applications

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.

Deciding your Digital Destiny

No matter the game, a Meta will always form which dictates a ‘correct’ way to play. This Meta seems to be created by the most vocal and driven people who seem to have a need to dominate the game, devouring the content as quickly as possible. When new content is released, they rush out en masse to complete it in the shortest time possible so they can then return to their favourite activity which seems to consist of PvP and complaining about the lack of content. Continue reading

The Tea House Food of the Month

We’re starting a new initiative for The Tea House, our GW2 guild. Each month we are sending all guests one of the favourite foods used by our individual characters. So, if you are a guest of The Tea House, you should receive a mail near the start of each month with some free samples. Each mail will also have a few words from the recommending character explaining why they enjoy that food.

For non-members, our chosen food will be posted here, along with all relevant links to help you buy or make the food for yourself.

Costs are valid as of time of publishing. Cost to make uses Bid prices from Black Lion Trading, Cost to buy shows the range between Bid price and Buy price on Black Lion Trading.

Continue reading

To Dance with the Porcelain Pig

I recently completed a large purchase of tabletop RPG books, getting ever nearer to having the complete set of Classic D&D Modules. I embarked on the journey of collecting the books years ago, but only recently started to really make headway. With the purchase complete I emailed the seller to say thanks and that I hope to purchase again. We chat some more and swap details about our favourite games wherein he reveals a large stash of other RPG stuff I was going to get one day. I want to jump onto the purchase right away, but funds are limited so I start making plans for later, deciding what I do and do not want and what takes priority. It then occurred to me, I had found my Porcelain Pig, and it deeply upset me. Continue reading

The Art of Immersion

It’s a common catch phrase; Immersion. In times of stress I crave immersion as a way to escape from the pressures of life and relax. For me it’s like meditation, only more effective in some respects because the environment is easier to control.

As I talk to others I have realised that while immersion is one on my fundamental survival tools, others struggle to really see the benefits. Among the bustle and pressure of modern life immersion can seen like an impossible goal. How can you possibly immerse yourself in a game when you have kids tugging on your sleeve, that assignment is due next week and you just received the internet bill for the month and some mongrel must be leeching your Wi-Fi because there’s no way you used that much data.

In an effort to help others find the nirvana of immersive gaming I’ve decided to share a few of the things I do to facilitate the process. While there is no sure fire way to stop that brain static, I hope these tips at least turn the dial down a little. Continue reading

Life as an INTJ Gamer

Both Incarnica and I test reliably as INTJ on the Myers-Briggs based personality tests. I might sometimes drift into the INTP zone, depending on the test and my mood at the time, but more often than not it’s INTJ. It can be difficult at times being out of step with 97%-99% of the world’s population, yet because of the nature of the personality type, computer gaming is a regular haven for me. However, MMOs offer a special set of challenges which I think are worthy of sharing. Continue reading

Definitely not a goodbye

RPGDollies is a labour of love for Incarnica and I, so despite a limited readership we post articles because we like to talk about what we are doing. We also like providing tips, information and inspiration to others where possible. However, we also have other professional writing commitments that must be met. In order to meet those other commitments, RPGDollies will have to become a tertiary consideration. We will still create articles when we can, it’s just that our weekly schedule will have to be reduced to sporadically posting when we can find the time.

We are still playing games and we still have a lot of things we’d like to share, so if you find value in our site please do keep checking in. Better yet, use the Contact page to send us a message and let us know what you’d like to see posted. Nothing is more inspirational to a writer than to hear from people genuinely interested in their efforts.

On an unrelated note; it was brought to our attention that the site navigation was not working effectively on some mobile devices. Our most sincere apologies for that. We will be having the site upgraded to a new responsive look some time soon, so if we suddenly go into maintenance mode don’t worry, it’s just us ensuring things are working properly.

So until next time,
Happy Gaming!

Game Mastery Part 4
Writing a Good Campaign Adventure

I really appreciate the value of a store brought premade adventure. They are great for learning the game and for filling in when you need a break from adventure writing. However I much prefer to write my own adventures. By writing your own adventure you can custom made the story for the characters you have, and piece each adventure into a larger meta-plot which gives the entire campaign a more epic scale and feel. Yet writing your own adventure can at first seem very daunting, so here’s a few tips on how I make best use of the option. Continue reading

Cursed, -2 Mop of Maturity

I’m the older of we two sisters. I’m the responsible one. I’m not saying Kaly is not responsible, because she is, she’s very responsible. What I’m trying to put into words is the terrible feeling I am overcome with, the feeling that stops me from just sitting down and playing a game when ever I feel like it. There’s an overwhelming sense of responsibility that kicks in, pointing out what needs doing. There’s always ‘just one more’ floor to be mopped, bench to be wiped down or cushion to be tidied before I can be allowed to sit and enjoy myself. Continue reading

Digital Romance

No, I’m not going to talk about online pick-ups, MMO cybersex or eRP. I’m going to talk about one of the few games that allow for a step into the Uncanny Valley, where you romance completely scripted characters in a single player roleplaying game. I am of course talking about the Dragon Age and Mass Effect series, which to my knowledge, with the exception of dating sims, are the only game series that have made a serious effort in this direction. While I wanted to discuss both games I know how I tend to ramble, so with the release of Dragon Age III just around the corner I’ll focus on the Dragon Age series first. Continue reading