Founding a new chapter of the Organization of Gamers & Roleplaying Enthusiasts can be a rewarding experience. Chapters of O.G.R.E.s are part of a large network of gamers who strive for inclusion and comradery which can result in lifelong friendships. If you are looking at this article, then you must be interested in joining, and as no chapter exists near you, you're looking to form one yourself. Before you continue, please read up on the history of our organization, which can be found here and that you agree with the philosophy of OGREdom: to promote fun gaming across the globe, regardless of game system, play style, publishing company, or any other dividing factor.
By following the below guidelines from start to finish, the process of forming a new chapter is streamlined and easy. The method is broken down into our three Ps: Prospecting, Planning, and Proposal. Keep in mind that at any point in this process, you may contact the chairman of the New Chapter Recruitment Committee, for assistance. This person is currently Hooper of the Quilt City Ogres, and he can be reached here on OgreLair.org on his talk page or via OgreLair.org email here.
Learning about O.G.R.E.s
Before going any further, any individual interested in founding a chapter should read up on our organization. Some of the pertinent information can be found on the following pages here on OgreLair.org:
- Organization of Gamers & Roleplaying Enthusiasts - A brief rundown about us, our history, our goals, as well as our Constitution
- Officers - A list of our officer structure and how the organization is ran.
- Ranks - Our fictional-but-fun rank system to award members
- Awards - Another fun factor of membership
- Ogswald Academy - Another fun online tool for members
- The Oggies - Our own member-driven industry awards, similar to the ENnie or Origin Awards
The goal of this is to make sure that your personal feelings and philosophy towards gaming meshes with that of the Organization of Gamers & Roleplaying Enthusiasts, and that a mutual benefit could come from starting a chapter in your area.
Discovering Benefits of Membership
As an Individual
- An established identifiable name, moniker, and logo shared by over 30 chapters across three continents with over 3,000 members as of 2012.
- Established market base of players, which continues to grow.
- Unlimited growth potential with a shared demographic reaching millions of self-identified analog gamers.
- Online presence with a chapter sub-domain of OgreLair.org, as well as officer e-mails (redirected to a preferred email account) for branding use.
As a Business
- Ability to support, and help grow, your own customer base by providing an immediate network of gamers for them.
- If you own a store with gaming space, or a plot of land for events, you'll grow your customer base for that property.
- A network of street team supporters for events.
- Inclusion in the O.G.R.E.s Sponsor Program.
- Marketing through member attendance at major conventions as well as regional smaller events.
Finding nearby Chapters
By using our interactive map of chapters on our Chapter Portal, you can verify that no chapter exists where you're looking at starting up. If a chapter does exist near you, you can contact them by clicking on their page on the portal and start gaming. If not, continue on and learn how to start your very own chapter. If chapters exist somewhere in your region or nearby, you may feel free to contact them for tips - and to have them advertise in the region at large about your new chapter.
If no contact information is provided, it means that this chapter is either in it's infancy or that it is for some reason inactive, so contact the Director of Communications to help get the chapter off of, or back off of, the ground.
Discussing with your Gaming Group
Once you've familiarized yourself with our organization structure and goals, you should bring up O.G.R.E.s to members of your own gaming group or community. The most simple method is discussing it with a current regularly-meeting gaming group you have. A simple and canned way to say this is as follows: "I've been researching this group, called the Organization of Gamers & Roleplaying Enthusiasts, or OGREs. They're a tabletop gaming group that is gamer-ran, and promotes all types of gaming. Membership is free, and I think creating a chapter in our area would be really great. The moniker would give us a recognizable name, and we'd be shared members of a club that shares our own ideologies. Membership has many benefits, including the possibility of playtesting unreleased games (which often provide free materials), and increasing our gamer base here. They'll even do all they can to network us with local gamers we may not know and regional gaming stores."
At this point, you should be open to answer any questions about the Organization of Gamers & Roleplaying Enthusiasts that your friends may bring up. We've highlighted many of the common questions, so you should study up on New Chapter Portal/Frequently Asked Questions.
Voting to Join
Unlike many other groups, where membership hinges on the current membership's voting of the prospect, O.G.R.E.s only ask that those wishing to join vote to do so themselves. This can be as simple as, after having the discussion from the previous step, asking to see who is in favor of joining. You do not need to keep a record of this, it should just be done to make sure all members of your group can have any possible unanswered questions or concerns highlighted a final time. Any unresolved concerns should be brought up to the chairman of the New Chapter Recruitment Committee, which is currently Hooper of the Quilt City Ogres, and he can be reached here on OgreLair.org on his talk page or via OgreLair.org email here.
Now that all your members are in agreement, simply fill out and send in the Chapter Contract.
Choosing Chapter Type
As you may have read already, there are four types of chapters that one can form. These types are similar to categories or genres, and just explain the target audience of potential members a chapter is striving towards. These four types of chapters are: City Chapters, School Chapters, Church Chapters, and Cyber Chapters.
The most common type of chapter, a city chapter is based in a particular city and most of its members are residents of that city or surrounding areas. These players will usually meet in person at pre-determined places and times to play, and recruitment for new members is usually done at local gaming and comic shops, or other demographically appropriate places.
A school chapter may exist as part of a large city chapter, alongside a city chapter, or independent of a city chapter. In a large city with a large amount of Ogres, the School Chapter is typically made up of the student-gamers of the chapter, who may meet on campus (if in college) or actually create a School-sponsored student club (in High School). Though they may share members with the larger city chapter, they also play together quite a great deal. A school chapter working alongside a city chapter is usually for large cities with colleges, where a rotating student body is common. A representative of the local city chapter may ambassador to the group, but they are culturally separate. Lastly, a independent school chapter exists in a city with no chapter (but may grow into a city chapter as the student gamers age) or exists entirely separate of any local chapter, usually for age/culture reasons.
An example of a school chapter would be the Tilghman Ogres.
A church chapter is centered around a particular church or temple or other religious worshiping center, and is populated by members of that particular congregation. The group may simply be a social group of the church for simple family-friendly fun games, or may actually be a fellowship tool of the church with a youth pastor or game master that runs a faith game. Faith games are Role-playing Games ran through a campaign, typically made by the GM, that help reenact stories from the congregation's holy book (i.e. Bible) or as other ways to put the players into situations where they have to roleplay a character through crisis of faith. If a chapter exists within the same city, or at a nearby school, they could share an "ambassadorial" member or members between each other. Church chapters that exist within a religion that does not call their worship center a church, such as the Jewish Synagogue or the Islamic Mosque, are referred to respectively by their own naming (i.e. Synagogue Chapter, Mosque Chapter, etc.).
Lastly, the least common type of chapter is the Cyber Chapter. A cyber chapter exists entirely of internet-gamers, usually of members who routinely play together by email or forum. A cyber chapter is a much more loose chapter – but may accept the Ogre moniker for recruitment and brand purposes. Members of a city or school chapter may also participate in online-only games with other cyber chapters, but their “main” membership will always be considered a physical chapter.
An example of a cyber chapter would be the Stronghold Ogres.
This step is only for School or Church chapters. If you are planning on forming a city or cyber chapter, please skip this section and continue on.
All upstart School and Church chapters will need to find faculty sponsorship. Every school and religious institution may have a slightly different policy, but it is very typical that a school will require at least one staff member (teacher) to sponsor the creation of a new school club, and this teacher may be additionally required to stay at school after hours to monitor your sessions. Religious institutions will usually ask that you first discuss the idea with a member of the clergy. If available at your place of worship, a youth pastor is usually the person to speak to. Keep in mind when bringing this up that years of extremely-wrong press has resulted in many myths, lies, and misconceptions about role-playing games exist in society, and you should be prepared to answer and disprove these. Any member of the Organization of Gamers & Roleplaying Enthusiasts is willing to assist in this sponsorship process, and you should contact the chairman of the New Chapter Recruitment Committee, which is currently Hooper of the Quilt City Ogres, and he can be reached here on OgreLair.org on his talk page or via OgreLair.org email here.
Naming your Chapter
The name of your chapter will be heard throughout your region, and should be instantly recognizable. The standard for determining a chapter name is as follows: "[City Nickname Here] Ogres," with a variant being "[City Nickname Here] O.G.R.E.s." Using this standard, gamers in your region will recognize the O.G.R.E. moniker and instantly understand that it is a gaming group (as more chapters are created, this brand recognition raises). Secondly, residents in your region, whether gamers or not, should instantly associate your chapter with your city and region by use of your city’s commonly known nickname. A city’s nickname is usually an established item, such as Chicago’s “Windy City” or Louisville’s “Derby City.” Although some, like the given examples, may be widely known, your city’s nickname may only be known to residents of the area (i.e. Paducah, Kentucky's "Quilt City"). Either way, you’ll be able to reach out to your target audience and to a lesser degree the general public. School chapters may choose to use the name of the school or the school’s mascot, whichever is more colloquially appropriate (i.e. – the Central High School Cougars may refrain from using the mascot, as the Cougars Ogres sounds odd, in which case they’ll be the Central High Ogres. This oddity is usually true of animal mascots, so use your most appropriate possible name). Cyber chapters may include the website, forum, or listserv they play on (i.e. play-by-posters on rpg.net may be the RPG.net Ogres). Should an upstart chapter have a city nickname that can not follow the formula, share their city nickname with an already-established chapter, or believe that they should choose a different name, that should be discussed with Ogre Headquarters first. Typically it will be fine, just remember that your name needs to convey two things: the region (city/school/online forum) that you game in, and that your chapter is an Ogre chapter.
Already Established Gaming Clubs
Gaming clubs that are already self-named may petition O.G.R.E.s for membership keeping their original name, as well as having a new Ogres name, for dual branding purposes. These requests must be made to the Chairman of the New Chapter Recruitment Committee, with a history of your club and why keeping any particular name you've self-branded should be important.
As you read on our officers page, every chapter has two officers: the Chapter Coordinator and the Senior Dungeon Master. Usually, but not always, the first chapter coordinator is the individual who does the ground work to establish the chapter (if you're reading this, it means you're most likely the said individual). The Senior Dungeon Master, or SDM, is usually the person with the most years of tabletop gaming experience, who can assist with technical gaming questions on rules and procedure and help settle any in-game disputes.
A new chapter will require these two positions to be filled, and you and your gaming group should discuss amongst yourselves who best fits these descriptions. If all the members of your upstart chapter are still pretty new to tabletop gaming, then it is best to have someone who is an easy and quick learner to become your SDM, and that person will grow over time in their gaming knowledge.
At this point, if you have not already done so, contact the chairman of the New Chapter Recruitment Committee. As stated before, that person is currently Hooper of the Quilt City Ogres, who can be reached on this website at his talk page and via OgreLair.org email here.
A sample introductory email to streamline a response is as follows:
- To: Hooper or' Hooper's talk page
- from: your email address here 'or register for an account here on OgreLair.org
- Subject: Forming a New Chapter of OGREs
- Main text
- Hello, my name is your name here and I've been researching O.G.R.E.s. I've followed the steps found on OgreLair.org and discussed this with my gaming group, and we're interested in forming the name of your chapter based out of name of your location, school, religious institution, or website here. We would have name of chapter coordinator here as our Chapter Coordinator and name of senior dungeon master here as our Senior Dungeon Master.
The above is only an example, and one can take or leave what you want out of it. The most important thing is to get across the name, location, and officers. The chairman of the New Chapter Recruitment Committee will reply, and will ask for your current gaming schedule including the game, day and time, and location; a chapter roster of members if available; and clarification on your chapter name if it was not easy to figure out. Additionally, sent in this return message will be the Chapter Contract that will need to be filled out and signed with appropriate identifying information as the contract requests.
After this information is passed back and forth, a page for your chapter will be created here on OgreLair.org, and a website redirect will be made so you'll have a easy domain to give your members and to promote. For example, for the OGREs chapter known as the Friendly City Ogres, they have a domain name of friendlycity.ogrelair.org. A chapter is more than welcome to create their own personal website if they have the resources, but OgreLair.org can be maintained to let your members know of upcoming events, schedule, and to just generally converse. It is asked that the officers of each chapter have an account on OgreLair.org, though it is promoted that all members keep an account as well. Registration is quick and free and is done through wikia - the wikifarm that hosts this informational website.
Once this is done, you are now considered a new chapter of O.G.R.E.s, and we'll welcome you to the extended family with smiles on our faces. You will quickly receive electronic copies of the Oggie the Ogre logo, your very own custom chapter logo, the Membership Handbook, Ranks and Awards pamphlets, as well as the myriad forms associated with those files.