New Staffing System
Also while musing at my day job, I agreed with someone in another thread that the (Edit:) Splat (Changeling/Vampire/Werewolf/ect) Sphere staffing system is absolutely horrible and should be overturned and tossed out the window. I thought I'd write down some thoughts and let people poke at them as well.
Staff 'Spheres of Influence':
Administrative (XP, Mundane Equipment, Retainers, notes, ect.)
New Player Rep
'Other World' - Hedge, Astral, anything else someone can come up with.
Storytelling (Focus - 2-3 different splats)
Metaplot / World Changing
All staffers would have 2-3 spheres they have listed as 'Knowledgable' so if an Application staffer gets a Changeling App they can poke some different staffers for questions.
All magical items from the books, auto approve. Any custom ones need to go through the Magical Item Staff, but that doesn't need to be finished before the player gets approved on the grid.
Application staff should have a list of all the basics, and be able to open up a book to that page that says 'This is what you need to make a character!' that is in all the books. A BG Questionnaire should be enforced rather than storytime, for quick processing and so its not possible to slip in some weird BG thing in the walls of prose no sane staffer has the time to read.
Since there is already some very good mostly automated XP code and equipment request code and such, no reason that can't just be administrative.
New Player reps are half storyteller half app staff - They help new players get through the app process, and they run scenes primarily for new players. (under 50xp or under 1 month on the grid or whatever)
and the big one, the 'Spheres' They have all power over everything in that area, and it doesn't matter what splat is running into it, they control it. the Underworld staff does everything with the underworld, for all Bone Shadows, Geist, Death Mages, Changelings with the ghost/death contract ect.
Team Leads if you want, but I wouldn't even do that, just a group that makes decisions together. 3-5 staffers per sphere, depending on the popularity of that area.
Storytellers and Metaplot run stories. Doesn't matter what,they can have a focus of 2-3 spheres if they want or whatever, and their job is to run plot. Anyone can of course, but these people get to run the bigger plots.
Any PrPST can run a Grid Changing/World Changing plot, but it goes through metaplot to approve.
PrP STs have a guidelines, but generally need no approval, as long as its in the guidelines: All they do is put in a job with a 'Who What When Where' for staff to review and go to town. Some guidelines would be 'No spirits of rank 3+ without approval, no True Fae,' and that list gets updated every month: 1 true fae plot available this month. 3 plots for use with Pure available this month. 2 Banisher plots available this month. Unlimited Hedgebest/Hobgoblin. Unlimited Cryptid/Monster. Unlimited Rank 1-3 Spirits. Special, this month only: Unlimited Beshilu plots (They have infested the city!)
@iceshinagami So, You basically just said that Sphere staff is ridiculous and then proposed that we all still do sphere staff. Right.
@Alzie well I meant 'Splat sphere' staff. Changeling staff, Vampire Staff, ect.
I support the idea of having things be tied more to area of influence rather that straight splat, but I think realistically you are severely limiting your pool of otherwise excellent staffers by requiring people be well versed in all splats you offer to do anything beyond very specific spheres (some admin/magical items/build)
But if you could find enough knowledgeable people who are able to know the systems well enough to be able to handle multiple splats, I think that's an excellent way to avoid some of the sandbox issues or inter-splat weirdness/staff disagreements/protectionism that comes up.
I'm just not sure how realistic that is, depending upon the size of the place you're hoping for and how many splats you want to offer.
On Eldritch, I am the first contact for code but not wiki, and I have a say in meta plot and I will probably be the changeling expert. I exist in only one sphere: the decision-makers. I am in this sphere because I am trusted to say, "I don't know, ask this person."
The problem I have with spheres in any sort is that the people in them feel responsible to come up with an answer even if they don't know. This too often means that they expect their answer to be the only answer, this creates fiefdoms, which precludes the conversation that is critical to the system of effective staffing.
It turns game running into political groups. Do you really need a law staffer? No, no, and hell no. What you need is communication among all staffers the kind of problems someone trying to break or even enforce the law will run into. Having an expert is good, but not critical.
The same goes for high society and streetwise staffers, which I think would be more critical than law/crime.
Anyhow, that's my thing,
If anything, I think the divisions should be of function rather than theme (e.g. Build, Code, Plot, Apps, Admins).
The problem I have with spheres in any sort is that the people in them feel responsible to come up with an answer even if they don't know.
Don't forget about the people who ask the sphere staff with the expectation of an answer. They are a massive problem too.
All problems come from players.
Ultron was right.
Once upon a time, I thought the solution was just breaking it up into different spheres -- admin (approvals, judgenotes, xp spends), support (build/code), and roleplay (storytelling, jobs that aren't strictly administrative)-- and while that's closer to the goalpost, it still misses.
My thought is to completely remove the little fiefdoms that come with a sphere-based system. The idea is to have subject matter experts on staff -- people that can handle the weird shit that requires an in-depth knowledge of a particular area -- but otherwise just looking at levels of responsibility. Me, those making adjudicative decisions, and those that don't, simply working within the framework they've been given and working assigned jobs. This thought uses a worklist system, and requires that someone keep an eye on the system as a whole to ensure nothing falls through the cracks; I can think of a myriad of ways to accomplish that part of things, but I think that's a per-game (and based on the personality of the game lead) decision, rather than something I'd advocate as part of the model.
It requires communication on the part of staff way beyond the level that the sphere system requires, and it has its own pitfalls/downsides/etc. I think those downsides are way more easily managed than those that come with people setting up their own personal fiefdoms and having games within games, particularly when we desperately need to break out of the oWoD way of approaching where the spheres actively discouraged crossover to the GMC way of doing things, which ties things together a lot more.
Blah blah Lean blah blah.
But I don't want to staff for Vampire players. They are freaks.
Ultron was right.
That's kind of the point to the movie, I thought.