A dozen message centers blinked at the same time, the missives from Antei's proprietary holonet having burned through space to reach them. At Sepros, at Yridia, at Selen, at Judecca, Kurufr, New Tython and some darker places.
The crimson glow of viewscreens bathed them all as they navigated the connections. Relays activated under security protocols. Passwords were needed, biometric readouts analyzed to ensure the right eyes were upon it before the stream decrypted.
Targets were uploaded, objectives scanned. Hyperspace lanes mapped. The intel wasn't just complete, it was comprehensive. How they had gotten it without their knowledge was a passing thought. The plan was elegant. Simple. Brutal.
It wasn't what they expected.
This was winnable.
All that remained was to decide where they would strike first.
The brief fiction above basically explaining what most of you may have heard already: the summits have been given the chance to select the targets that their units will be going after in the next month's Crusade. There's an element of tactics involved, based on what units that they want to go up against, as well as 'cool factor' based on what is on those canon planets. Between this and the actual plotline, this should be an interesting event.
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The word I have been using a lot lately has been 'Discovery'.
Not the channel with Gold Rush and Yukon men (although those are both super cool and manly), but the element of discovery. Allow me to explain:
Everyone here knows how to get to Dark Jedi Knight. The guidelines are listed on the wiki, and every summit member knows them almost by heart. Everyone knows how to get a Cluster of Fire, and what they need to do to earn a Emerald Crescent. These things are easy, quantifiable and simple.
In the past, we took this principle of making everything easy to understand and completely obvious, and spread it among a number of things.
The result is that there was no mystery, no cool secrets to find out for yourself. And let's be honest here, one of the coolest elements of playing a dark sider is the element of secrecy. (at least I think so).
Now, we don't want to make it a mystery as to how to get DJK. DJK is the 'graduation' rank for the brotherhood. Once you have earned your knighthood, you're basically released into the DB to find out what you want to do, where you want to focus your efforts, what exactly you plan to accomplish with your time here. If you want to own vendettas, awesome. If you want to build up a unit, perfect. If you want to do graphics or code, great. If you want to sit around on IRC and just hang out, that's cool too. There's a million ways to get equite ranks, which is why there's no checklist for them.
But what I've been doing for some time is build up some hidden(ish) stuff. Giving people stuff to do is easy. Any of us can run a competition, and most of us have. Even harder is running competitions that people want to do. We learn by those things that don't get a lot of attention and try to build things that people like more.
Raken talks about running the Brotherhood like a business.
Businesses sell something, and get money in return. Instead of money, we are vying for our members time and energy.
So we are trying to do things to make people enthusiastic. To make people want to spend their time and energy with us.
Having a 'price list' is cool for certain things. Promotions, medals, etc. Other things should have an air of exclusivity and secrecy. There should be things that are hidden, and ways to earn things that aren't listed on the menu, as it were.
There's something awesome about being the first guy to discover how to do something. To discover a new award or perk. To find something somewhere that no one knew about.
We started this with the new Grand Master's Royal Guard. The rewards were kept secret, and what people had to do to earn those ranks was kept quiet.
And then someone who should have known better put the secret list on the wiki and messed it all up. :(
But people were having fun messing around and trying to figure out how exactly to earn ranks and scrambling to discover what else unlocked for each rank.
Since then, we've had similar programs for the Antei Combat Centre society and we're working on another one for the Shadow Academy. We haven't published a list of prestige values for medals and ranks for a reason. I've had 'easter eggs' built into the possessions system since inception that some have spied in the screenshots i've posted. I'm going to build in kinda hidden messages into things that help forward the plotline and give those of us who have a mind to dig some sort of award for doing the digging, even if only in secrets and so forth.
So, what do you guys think about having hidden stuff in the Brotherhood to discover?
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Raken and I have gotten a good sized pile of applications for T:Forums. There were a lot of people who had logged a lot of hours in various internet clubs, working on message boards, forums, et cetera. There was a lot of skill running for the gig, and i hope that some of it will be willing to take up staffer positions. Unfortunately, we can only tell one person yes.
That person is Socorra.
I could tell you about her experience with forum-only clubs, and how she had a pretty solid plan for organization. I could talk about her career in Arcona so far and how this step for her is a pretty natural one. But I'll save that for her to explain in her first report.
Congratulations, Socks. Get to work. Bring a shovel.
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My staff is still compiling data for the 2012 year. Once that's done, Raken and I will put that together with the Internal Reports (and the responses to our questions therein) and the AWOL results so we can do a 'State of the DB' report. We'll also be crafting up individualised plans of attack for each unit to figure out how to get better.
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It's been announced that J.J. Abrams will be directing the new Star Wars films. Some people go 'Bah, lensflare!', but there's actually an interview out there where he pretty much apologizes for it. The other stuff I have seen gives me hope, and gives me a lot of faith in the Disney corp for letting a real director do it, one who cares about story instead of explosions and aliens.
Another tidbit I have heard through the grapevine is that the new films will be in the 30-40 ABY range of time. That is a double edged sword. The question that was posed to me was 'Should we freeze time and wait for the films?'
There's pluses and minuses on both sides of that. What do you think? Should we use the 'crusade' to hold time back a bit and wait for the films to catch up to us? Or should we just keep going and make people retcon based on canon?
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Ask the GM time!
Troutrooper asks: GM, what color are you going to paint the Avenger II (once we get it for you)? Also, are any Clans/Houses in danger of being reorganized out of existence after the recent AWOL purge?
I'm not sure. Probably leave it the normal grey/black that these sorts of ships get. We're going straight into war after a momentary refurbishment(the storyline where we are taking the thing is a few weeks displaced, due to people not running their clan/house feuds when they were supposed to), so we won't have much time for painting flames on it.
And no. All of the houses and clans fell on the right side of the AWOL check to avoid the mandatory screaming. We could have done better, and we'll be addressing that in our plans that we give them later on.
Vynn asks: _ So i have a question and figured this would be the best place to ask. In ToR some characters have Shield generators that either Block all damage for a few brief seconds or reduce damage taken for a longer period of time (both measured in Seconds). Would it be possible to use something similar in general use such as having the ability to activate it and it absorb blaster fire for 3 seconds or some such. Naturally i would write it so that it has a limited time frame and a high recharge rate or even a one time use before i have to recharge it or install a new power pack. Thanks_
Actually, if you look at the sneak peek for possessions in one of my last reports, you can see one of those so yeah, we're going to have those available.
Troutrooper and Vynn both score DCs for hitting up questions for AskTheGM. Raiju also gets a DC for emailing me the question regarding the Timeframe and the new films. If you want to score one of the easiest DCs ever, simply wait for me to change my nick to 'AskTheGM' and hit me up, or email me.
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