Grand Master Report


Grand Master Report

The display stood frozen in front of them, silent, looming. Some smiled, some grimaced, but all had a response to the Grand Master's words. All except for the Elomin.

The brute just breathed, eyes glowing with the same heat as usual.

Genuine surprise bloomed in several hearts, the question of why, the temerity of it all bogging their minds. The old adage of keeping one's enemies closest could not justify this reach.

Yet within the ageless constructs of the Sith, it made perfect sense. Raken watched the man move, the passive gaze gliding over staff, councilors, other lords. One to crave power.

The Lion moved calmly, measured steps, sweeping his vision across the councilors before him. None challenged him, his wisdom, his sword arm. One to crave power, and one to possess it.

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This report will be a little bit more sweeping than most. Bear with me.

Raken has been announced as my Deputy. I don't need to explain why, as I think anyone who has read his report can make their own conclusion as to how he would benefit the club greatly.

As I have had to go over pretty much every project under way with him, I figured it would be a good time to briefly explain where we are going with this on a Clubwide scale.

You'll note that I am not announcing any dates for release on anything. This is because of Rebirth. I can not force a volunteer staff to do free work to a schedule and expect it to be any good. The old gaga about 'free, good and fast, you can pick two' applies for certain here.

1.) Recruitment: We are still going quite strong on this front. We average 2-3 joins a day here. Yet we have very few members actually make it to the clans, and fewer yet get to knighthood. For years, we have held knighthood as the point where our hooks have set in and those members are more likely to stay. So a few years back, I talked with Anshar and his praetor back then (Taigikori) about getting this little project called The Grind Path off the ground.

The Grind Path is an expedited, self-paced crash course, a path from join to Jedi Hunter that will teach the new members about the club, our history, the orders, the clans and houses, and all the very complicated systems we have in place, like the ACC. These will be done with a variety of courses, multimedia, and other ways that are currently under trials. The idea is that a person can go from join to JH in a short time (if they have the drive to 'Grind' it out, hence the name) and entirely without human intervention.

Taigikori is spearheading this project, and whomever gets Headmaster will be working with him to help do this project. The same method will be used to create more paths, for various degrees and enhancements to things in other portions of the DB. for instance, a way to get some free extra points in your piloting skill on your character sheet might be to run through the Piloting Maven.

We have tried some real life recruitment things, advertising, etc. In general, we get no response from these programs. This is why we have done comics instead for the last few vendettas. These not only have the benefit of helping our members get a feel for the event without needing to read through a lot of fiction, but they also serve as ready-made recruitment tools. Print out one of these and show to a buddy, and there's a good chance that they will ask more. We're planning on using that medium more as time goes by. Raken and I have a couple of different ideas on how to up the frequency of them, and we'll be looking at that.

2.) Site woes: Our site is dated. It looks sharp, but the functionality has been getting steadily worse and worse, and there's so much more that we wanted to do that we simply can't with the infrastructure that we have now. To that end, a full site recode has been under way by Jam3z for the last several months. We're changing our coding language entirely, and we will almost certainly have to change servers at some point. We're doing this not only for more stability and security (those bloody php errors that stop us from seeing dossiers are a pain in the ass) but also to build things into the backend that can support big programs in the future. More on those below.

3.) Refining systems: Jam3z and the ACC staff have been working on a pretty big drop-in for the new site as regards everyone in the club. The Character sheet, which for years has been pretty much exclusive to ACC concerns (Despite what we have tried to say) will be getting a much needed cleanup and expansion. Force powers are getting streamlined, some of the complexity of stuff is getting weeded out, and non-combat stuff will be getting added in.

The Shadow Academy will be getting more in line with the rest of the site. There will of course be a chunk of stuff for those of us who are interested in padding their prestige points and adding degrees, but a large chunk of the courses will be devoted to learning DB systems, geared towards people who aren't complete noobs in the club. The noobs will have the Grind Path to de-Noob them. We're getting back to the original concept of the SA as a place for people who are having trouble with stuff (the character sheets, how to write reports, how to apply for Aed, how to make sense of the ACC, etc.) and give them the quick brush up on how to do stuff.

The Lightsaber Combat Guide is getting a new lease on life. While the work has dwindled on it some due to the Horizons and subsequent feuds, we can expect some good stuff there, including sections on how to effectively write the different forms. After that is complete, we can expect calls for people who want to work on the Hand-To-Hand combat guide rework.

And then there's the matter of the crown jewel (in my opinion): Possessions. This system will grant credits based on rank and position (for salaries) and come with medals (as a one-time award). The code is possible to go back in time and award credit for work in the past. It will take some time yet (as Jam3z is working on the recode for the site first), but this is coming. The graphics have been all drawn and the documentation done for some time now. Some finishing touches have been added as of late, but this is just waiting for me to make Jam3z drink copious amounts of caffeine and work on. I'll post up some screenshots of the stuff that has been drawn already... the Gui is a tricky part, and hasn't been nailed down yet, as it requires coder intervention far beyond my meager skillset.

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4.) Fiction: Let's be honest here. Lucas hasn't put out a real game for us in almost a decade. The reasons that clubs like us, like the Hammer were formed were to help people find multiplayer matches, to help people trade mission packs and levels that they made.

There's a few old members who bemoan the changes in our organization, complaining about how the way things used to be just aren't any more. Some even say that the DB is dying.

They are right.

The games do not need us for that any more. If we keep on doing what we did back then,

So we evolved. We are not the DB of 1997. We're not even the DB of 2005.

We evolved into fiction. We changed our thrust and got deep into nerd territory, writing about our clans, our characters, our ships. We got into it. And while the RPG element of it is pretty tough to do (so far), we've worked hard to make a new world for ourselves as players, as members. We know and can write about the intricacies of our characters lives. Menial details have backstories, reasons for being where they are, and places that they can go afterwards.

This, in a nutshell, is the very essence of Star Wars.

Think back to the Cantina Scene. Every bloody thing in that scene had some sort of story. Maybe it was to sell toys originally, or to move comic books back in the old marvel years. But they added depth, made that galaxy all so very real...and made it easier for us all to escape into.

That's where the Brotherhood lives.

In our mind's eye. In our writing. In our escapism.

Neil Gaiman would smile.

There's a few things that Raken and I have discussed for fictional direction. One of the things that we used to talk about is having an immersive version of the DB site...done all in-character. Another was the idea of having certain more mature story possibilities be hosted in different ways. Ways for people to enhance and expand their own character's universes, to help us all grow into a better and more immersive place.

The next Voice is going to have a lot on their plate.

So the stuff you see above? These aren't 'Eventually coming' things. These are things that we are going full tilt on and hoping to have done as soon as possible. The people working on them have the potential to make big awards happen for them. And I expect no less than greatness. My DC has been seeing a very different side of me lately, one focused on results, on actual work, not just talk about work or excuses as to why things aren't done yet. The time for action is now.

And that's not all.

Those of you who have asked for more vendetta style stuff are going to be sorry.

Come January, the Brotherhood will start a cycle of events that will last most of the year. The storyline will lead us from where we are now, nursing our wounds after dealing with Zoraan to the next Great Jedi War.

The Dark Brotherhood will be taking some severe and unexpected twists into canon material over the next year. Member participation (a much more important metric than 'who managed to recruit the badasses this year?') will determine failure or success in our campaign. Inclusion in the plotline will be determined by your own personal successes, up to and including badass cameos in the comic. There will be repercussions for weakness and awards for strength over the next year that will last for decades in the Brotherhood.

This is why i said that the clan feuds had to be over before too long. You guys are going to need some recuperation time.

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Ronovi has retired as Headmaster. If you have what it takes, and can help Raken, the Dark Council and I revolutionize the way that the club operates, send Raken and I your application. We'll only hold the application period for a week, but we reserve the right to select someone sooner, if an applicant is that good.

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That's about all for this time. Next month, I'll be talking a bit less sneakily about what we are doing for next year's events and so forth.

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Oh my gosh, updates on all of that at once, wonderful!

I was just thinking today how our site looks cool, but visually may not appeal to the next generation of young (teenage) Star Wars fans because their idea of cool may be different than ours and we will probably get a lot of hits from them once the new movies begin.

Well. My head asplode.

I'm lovin' this.

Is it weird that my favourite part of this whole report was mentioning a complete re-write of the site?

Yes, it is weird. You lunatic freak.

Good stuff, Muz. When the Possessions system comes into play, I want a pony.

I'm excited to see possessions too. The new robe and armor descriptions ought to be pretty cool, as some insane guy wrote them. ;)

/me would love to have a face <3 and a pink whip

I'm looking forward to all of it. It shall be nifty.

But, some of the items in the screenshots...first screen, top row, third from left: that's not one of those Comtech chip reading deals from when Ep. 1 came out, is it?

Then there's the last weapon on the top row of the second screen........really? Did anyone else catch that it's a Covenant plasma rifle? And I swear there's a phaser or two in there.

How much for the blonde with the AT-AT?....what am I thinking?! Now I can buy Beskar'gam! XD

Totally spotted Mal's pistol. Gives hope for Vera.

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