This page provides you with a flavour of the spirit of Grand Tribunal UK. It's split into two types of ethos; policies and guidelines.
Policies are formal decisions by the organisers which must be observed by all attendees, all contributors to this wiki/website and all members of the mailing list. Minor infringers can expect a quiet word from the organisers. Persistent or extreme violation of a policy could lead to your removal. If you think that a policy needs changing, discuss it on the mailing list or contact an organiser. If you wish to complain about a breach of policy, please contact an organiser.
Each policy has a separate page and can only be edited by an organiser.
Guidelines are good ideas, ethical principles, which shape how we run the event. They express our values, they set goals we should aim for, but there may occasionally be exceptions.
Guidelines should be listed below in full, although anything more than 500 words long can go on a separate page. They're open for editing by all attendees and mailing list members, although if you're going to radically change the meaning of a guideline then it would be a good idea to discuss it on the mailing list first.
You might call this "value for money" but it's about more than that.
Pencil-and-paper roleplaying games offer an inexpensive hobby which can be enjoyed by everyone regardless of income. Beyond a pencil, a rubber and some paper, the Ars Magica core rulebook is really the only essential purchase that is required to provide many years of gaming enjoyment for a troupe of half a dozen or so players. You can spend more and we strongly believe that the additional Ars Magica sourcebooks offer superb extensions to gameplay at excellent prices (and Lord knows it's helpful to have more than one core rulebook lying around). However, the point is:
- You can spend as much or as little as you like
- You will never feel excluded
- You will always get value for money
We feel this ethos should extend to our convention too. That's why:
- The ticket price should be affordable to those on low incomes, including those on state benefits or minimum wage. The basic ticket price should be just enough such that a minimum number of ticket sales will just cover the costs of hiring the venue.
- There will be no additional costs for participating in any games and no prerequisites for purchasing anything in order to play a game, beyond a pencil, paper and dice. For example, players must not be expected to buy a specific rulebook. Story Guides are encouraged to run games using supplementary Ars Magica books, but they will be expected to bring those books with them and share them with their players.
- Attendees will never be pressured into paying more. No shaking of donation tins. No guilt trips if you help yourself to a tea bag out of the communal box. You will not be asked to donate. Unofficial extras inside the venue, such as tea and coffee, or spare stationery, are paid for out of the extra money left over from ticket sales once the venue and other basic expenses have been paid for, or from entirely voluntary donations. If you want to make a donation, thank-you, please seek out an organiser - you will not be asked to donate. If we've already sold enough tickets to cover these nice-to-haves, your offer of a donation will be politely and gratefully refused.
- Fringe events, outside the venue, such as the teashop meet & greet, restaurant, pub, take-aways and café breakfast are entirely optional. You won't miss out on any gaming by not attending those. You can attend them and just order tap water and a bread roll if you like.
- Attendees should be allowed to bring their own food, drink and stationery. They should never be locked-in to purchasing from one "preferred", "exclusive" or "contracted" vendor.
- We will not tie you to specific accommodation, transport, caterers or vendors. If you want to pay for three nights at the Queen's Hotel, that's up to you (it is really nice, and we also have lots of other recommendations). If you want to ask on the mailing list if you can kip on a local attendee's sofa, that's fine too. The main venue should be located in a town with a good range of accommodation and good public transport links.
- Nobody is stopping you from spending more if you want to, and if you do decide to spend more, you should still feel that you're getting your money's worth. You will not be judged on how much or how little you spend. If you're loaded and want to donate towards refreshments, or buy a round of drinks or snacks for everyone - thank you! If you've saved up all year to treat yourself to a blow-out, great! (Cheltenham makes a good base for a Cotswold holiday, by the way.) If you can barely afford the ticket and have to hitch-hike and sleep on a sofa, no problem, we are grateful that you made the effort.
- We're not anti-commercial, we're just pro-inclusive. We want to support the games industry, especially small businesses. For example, if you sell dice, miniatures or roleplaying rulebooks, we could arrange for you to set up a stall. Contact the organisers if you're interested. Money raised will go towards venue hire, expenses and nice-to-haves such as refreshments. Sponsorship is also possible, but we will never sign any exclusivity deals.
Respect for our hosts
Our venue is owned by Gas Green Baptist Church, which is a member of the Baptist Union of Great Britain (BUGB). We ask that attendees respect our hosts and do not engage in any behaviour that would bring our hosts into disrepute. Not only do we like and respect them, we want them to welcome us back for future events.
In addition to the fact that our venue is not licensed for alcohol, Baptist churches often do not permit alcohol on their property (according to BUGB). So please do not bring alcohol to the venue.
Grand Tribunal UK is not a religious event and does not promote any religion. We just happen to be using a Baptist venue, and they happen to be really nice people. Attendees of all faiths and no faith are welcomed at the church, which is just around the corner on Russell Street.