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Victory-II Star Destroyer Paladin, Main Hangar "Not a prisoner," that vexatious voice cut in, sounding almost bored. "A guest." "A guest, then," Laren replied curtly with a nod toward the cloaked figure. "You...

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Victory-II Star Destroyer Paladin, Main Hangar

"Not a prisoner," that vexatious voice cut in, sounding almost bored. "A guest."

"A guest, then," Laren replied curtly with a nod toward the cloaked figure. "You take me as your guest, and for what? I'm flattered that I'm considered important enough by one with the power of a Star Destroyer in their possession, but frankly -"

His voice cut off again. There was a tightness around his throat that made it difficult to breathe. He reached up, attempting to loosen the collar of his dark shirt, but he found it was already loose. It was as if the air itself was suffocating him, tying invisible threads tighter and tighter around his slender neck. He sank to his knees, spots beginning to appear in his eyes. He could faintly see polished boots striding forward toward him, the dark brown cloaked figure stopping inches from where Laren suffered helplessly. Frantic golden eyes looked up, and they bulged. A gnarled, tree-like hand was out-stretched, fixed on Laren, and he could see the faint shape of an eyeless face contorted into what could be a grin of pleasure. It seemed he had walked straight into the clutches of a Sith.

"Release - me," Laren struggled hoarsely. His vision was beginning to fade, and he knew his face must have been flushed dark blue with effort to continue breathing.

What felt like an eon later, the pressure around his throat disappeared. Desperately he drew a powerful breath, though he quickly regretted the act. His chest heaved and swayed as he coughed, his body filled with the sweet bliss of air once more. He turned his eyes toward the gnarled tree-like man - it was a man, considering its deeper tone, he decided - and his gaze burned with fury. He did not like being taken by surprise, let alone by one who could wield the Force. Feeling helpless to anyone made memories of his enslavement, so carefully shoved into the distant corners of his mind, bubble to the surface with his rage.

"Have I come to be tortured," Laren said after a time, rising to his feet. "Have you brought me here to satisfy some debt?"

"Nothing so petty," his tree-like captor replied. "No, you're here to be tested."


You can find the ongoing Shadow Academy Run On here. If you like what you're reading, you catch some typos or other mistakes, or both, feel free to contact me over Telegram or by e-mail (see dossier for e-mail).

Introduction

Now some of you might be asking yourself, “Wait a minute, where’s the real Headmaster? Like all of us do from time to time, he’s off enjoying himself on a fantastic cruise somewhere until sometime. Until that sometime elapses completely, I have all of the power. And all I’ve really done with that power is force Ood to take less naps, send Kelly away on errands with a bad mood, and leave Bentre a massive pile of paperwork that had to be done two months ago. And burn the office down. Notionally.

In all seriousness, however, this report is (as usual) going to cover a few bits and pieces. First off the mark I’ll actually be handing this report over to two staff members, Kelly Mendes and Sang Entar. Before Farrin left, he agreed that it might be kind of a neat’o idea to highlight a small portion of our wonderful staff, and have them talk about their experiences with the Shadow Academy. Following that, this report will cover our ongoing projects, some exam numbers, as well as the #AskthePHM portion, which turned out to be quite interesting this go around.

Without further adieu, let’s get started.

SA Staff Highlight

  • Kelly Mendes, Magistrate to the Headmaster

Hey all, for those who don't know me, first that's a lot of rocks to be living under and secondly well I'll tell you just a bit (can't have a bunch of strangers knowing everything about my life.). I've been around a little over 3 years, all spent in Plagueis. #darksyde4lyfe I've been known to dabble in everything, though my passion for the club first expressed itself in the venerable halls of the Shadow Academy (overseen by Dacien at the time I believe). Now this is still a passion of mine, though I really need to do more of it (will have to make sure that's allowed).

Anyways, I've been trying to get a SA staff position for a while now, this being my third or fourth attempt. It just goes to show that if you bother someone long enough they'll give in. In all seriousness, persistence pays off. Before the move up to Magistrate I was the professor of the Leadership blah and blah department. It was fun and a promotion from just handling Leadership Competitions, which was part of my role as M:MAA that I carried on since nobody was put in place to replace me.

Now, jobs in the SA, there's a good many of them that exist. Most of them are Professor roles, where you'll be responsible for grading certain exams. Some courses still have Docents too, which are a junior version of professors and a more manageable workload than a whole department at once. Be on the lookout for these when they come up. If you want a promotion, shiny, or just to give back to the community, PROF and DOC roles are great ways to get your foot in the door. Of course, the current Praetor and my murder buddy Laren didn't start off with a lower role. He went straight in and claimed his place as Farrin's second. (though we know Ood is always first in his heart) This is also a possibility and by no means am I suggesting anyone wait forever until Sang's graded a billion exams and calls it a day. If you're interested in a job and one comes up, go for it.

Seeing interest in what the SA does motivates us to be the best staff we can be, keep courses up to date, (the error form is also quite useful) listen to suggestions for courses (Laren handles that but it's something we as a staff like to see.). The goal of the Shadow Academy is to expand members' knowledge and for some courses skill sets. We want to make the best members we can and I think the SA does a damn good job of it. Now, Laren asked me for a paragraph or two, this should be enough and sorry for the wall.

  • Sang Entar, Professor, Department of Lore

Hi, I'm Sang.

I've been in the club for going on 8 and a half years now. During that time, I've been involved with the Shadow Academy in one way or another as a Docent or Professor for 7 and a half years! I started off as a Docent marking Clan Arcona's History exam and from there somehow managed to blag my way into becoming one of the longest running SA staff members outside of Ood, my beloved Belgian manservant.

I've gone through several different Headmasters; Taigikori, Ronovi, Solari, Dacien & Farrin, Each one of them brought something different to the table, a way that bettered the Shadow Academy and made it a more fun and useful experience for our members, new & old.

I've marked 1162 courses during my time as a staff member, ranking just behind Ood and dbbot (who has THOUSANDS!!!!) and I've loved every minute of it. When I see an exam from someone who has truly put time and effort in and given me a fantastic answer, it makes my day a little brighter.

If you're wanting to get some cool stuff for your dossier from the SA society, or you are a Journeyman grinding to Knighthood or an Equite earning your Mavens, your exams often light up my day. Keep up the good work, guys and girls!

Troubleshooting

Just like Farrin did in his last report, there will be a double reminder about the Google Form we use to track troubleshooting. E-mails or direct communication on Telegram is great, but submitting to this form (it’s quick I assure you) allows us to track all issues with the Shadow Academy, and have them all co-located in one spot. This form will also be linked at the end of the report, in case you didn’t read all the way through. :)

Ask the (P)HM!

“Ask” portions are always a blast, and this time around was no different. We had a good variety of questions from loads of folks. Take a gander below and see what people have asked the P:HM.

Let’s begin with our featured question, by none other than the former (and super amazing) Praetor to the Headmaster, Marcus himself!

Marcus asks:

  • #AskThePHM what is the most exciting thing you have in store for us in the near future?

God I really like this question. Besides our on-going project (which isn’t all too exciting) making some upgrades and changes to the Leadership courses, not much in the ‘near’ future. But I suppose it depends on what you consider the near future. If we can consider the ‘near’ future to be within the next six months, lots.

As some may know, and others may not, the Shadow Academy works heavily across departments. In fact, some departments write their own courses, providing us with quality, completed material that simply needs to be implemented on the site. As of now some of these projects have slowed for the upcoming Great Jedi War, but they are by no means in the dust.

One of my first projects as Praetor was to work with the Fist and create a new Advanced Warfare course. My hope is in the future to continue a revamp of our available warfare courses, with the Fist’s cooperation and approval. I would love to see our current selection of warfare courses updated to reflect Star Wars canon, and perhaps to expand the department with another new course or two about warfare in the Star Wars universe.

Other departments, such as the Voice and Herald, also have concepts and courses in mind. In the near future, expect Wally and his crew to work with us to release another updated writing course or so. And let’s not forget Atra’s beta testing with the writing workshops, as well.

Speaking of workshops and interactive learning… no. You know what, I’m going to stop there and leave you all thinking. Let’s just say it’s an upcoming proposal, and you’ll hear more once action has been taken.

Terran Koul asks:

  • #AskThePHM What did you do to piss off Farrin?

Might leave his office a little messy upon his return. Besides that... perhaps a few too many eager messages over Telegram. I think I’m at a five or six-to-one message ratio. I swear I’m not annoying, okay?

Kojiro Keibatsu asks:

  • #askthePHM will the leadership and communication savant be updated anytime in the near future. Last update was waiting on a new CoJ course.

The CoJ courses themselves are an ongoing project and the purview of our friends in that department. The current goal now is broad: we're attempting to overhaul the existing leadership courses where possible. In short, it's in the pipes, but no action has yet been taken. Yet. :) Please stay tuned.

Marcus also asks:

  • #AskthePHM Lotus or inquisitors?

Both? Neither? Perhaps I’m just Plagueis #darksyde4lyfe #selikafanclub #abadeertooiguess . In all seriousness, however, Laren currently doesn’t openly align with either party, preferring his loyalties to be in the hands of powerful individuals rather than larger organizations. It’s easier to serve a master with one head, rather than numerous.

Andrelious J. Mimosa-Inahj asks:

  • #AskthePHM Will we ever see courses that rely on material outside of the notes getting more readable materials? There's at least one course that uses a hard to read document.

Oh yes. Here’s a prime example of a fantastic non-notes oriented course right here, and the notes found here. The magnificent Wally himself just hammered out this fantastic course. There are other examples of non-notes courses as well that are easy to read and super informative, though I would hope you folks will take the time to explore the Shadow Academy, do some courses, and find out which for yourself.

And regarding that one example, I think you’re referring to Alchemy? I know I found it difficult to read, though I appreciate all the work that went into creating the document.

Dek Ironius II asks:

  • #AskthePHM Does the Shadow Academy have any events or involvement in the GJW at all?

Perhaps. :) Stay tuned for more.

Maximus Alvinius asks:

  • #AskthePHM I am horrible with acronyms, what does PHM stand for?

Phat Headmaster. Or in reality, Praetor to the Headmaster.

Qor Palpatine asks:

  • #AskthePHM How's the history courses? You better not have ruined them -.-

I like to think they’re excellent! The entire team worked super hard on getting these courses done. Besides the Advanced Warfare course, the history courses were my first ‘big’ project coming into the Praetor’s chair. And as I said in the chat, without Marcus’s and Lexiconus’s work that they left for us, none of this would have been possible so quickly or efficiently. And to that, I tip my hat to you folks, as well as to the awesome Magistrates who helped the SA Staff make these courses a reality: Celevon and Bentre. For more information, check out this report for more information.

Marcus finally asks:

  • #AskThePHM You get to give yourself any title you desire, including Supreme Purple diktat of snazzyness. Which do you choose?

Well after using the assistance of a medieval name generator, this is what I got: Phillipos Flambard Al’Rheanion, Lord of the Supreme Purple Diktat of Snazzyness, First Lord of House Plumbuss, Defender of the Gumdrop Fairies and Shield of the Unicorns.

Does that work?

Thanks for all the questions, folks!

Projects

Current

Shadow Academy Staff are currently engaged in the following projects:

  • Core Leadership Courses Audit - Laren, Kelly, Bentre: Farrin has tasked the staff proper to give the Leadership courses an overhaul. With the exception of Report Writing, which was completed by the ever-amazing super worker known as Wally, we intend to keep the current courses and department structure. The audit has us examining the finer details, everything from the current course notes to question. Estimated completion: end of 7/2017

  • DJB History I & II Update/Rewrite - Alishu: Alishu has completed first drafts of both courses and they've been sent to the DC for approval. The DC has a lot on its plate right now, but I think we'll see some movement on this soon to get these courses released for all to enjoy. Estimated completion: TBD

  • Operation Remodel - SA Staff: In an effort to streamline the organization of the Shadow Academy and make it easier to initially get to information and then to find similar information, the SA will see a fairly extensive reorganization. The first phase of this is done, and the graphical elements will begin shortly. Estimated completion: end of 8/2017

  • Operation Remodel (Degrees) - SA Staff: The reorganization, as well as the addition/removal of various courses, has left some of our degrees a bit outdated. With the release of the new History courses, we’ve asked James to rework the History and Legends degrees as outlined above in my report. The Leadership and Law degrees are still being sorted, and I don’t have a timetable for their completion. Estimated completion: TBD

Upcoming

  • There are a couple of things in the earliest planning stages, but aren’t quite ready for prime time. Stay tuned for more.

Top Exam Takers

Name # of Exams # of ACs
Professional TuQ'uan Varick 31 85
Augur Atra Ventus 21 27
Neophyte Casey Denimore 19 6
Warden Celevon Edraven Erinos 17 40
Proselyte Angel Snow 15 4

Note: these numbers cover the period from 6/15/17 to 7/19/17 and count both initial attempts and retakes.

Conclusion

While Farrin looks something like this on board an awesome cruise ship:

farrin

We the Staff continue to serve. Grading times have been excellent, and exam takers have been fairly diligent. Keep up the good work on that front.

The Shadow Academy is an amazing resource, created and administrated by some imperfect human beings who strive for perfection. We try our best to catch and fix any and all errors before we release courses, but we're not always successful. Because of that, we will always need your help. If you spot an error, please report it to the SA Staff using this simple form; if it's a major enough error, or you spot enough, you'll be rewarded. With cookies. And an SA team thankful for pointing it out. And a Headmaster thankful to scold his staff. I kid, he gives us cookies, too.

In Darkness -
Laren Uscot,
Praetor to the Headmaster of the Shadow Academy

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Just a few updates to get out of the way, but first War Game results! Wargaming Results The Wargaming event is complete, and it was a nice little event that drew out some excellent competition. We saw a number of people placing across the various...

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Just a few updates to get out of the way, but first War Game results!


Wargaming Results

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The Wargaming event is complete, and it was a nice little event that drew out some excellent competition. We saw a number of people placing across the various events, with no one member absolutely dominating across the board.

Week One Events

Puzzle Flash Gaming Word Search Gaming Fiction
1. Oric Ral 1. Ronovi Tavisaen 1. Silent 1. Kelly Mendes 1. Ronovi Tavisaen
2. Azmodius 2. Oric Ral 2. Teylas Ramar 2. Azmodius 2. Tra'an Reith
3. Vanessa Rhode 3. Obsidian 3. Furios Morega 3. Teylas Ramar 3. TuQ'uan Varick

Week Two Events

Gaming Jedi Hunt Flash Gaming Graphics Fiction
1. Kelly Mendes 1. Tra'an Reith 1. Silent 1. Furios Morega 1. Ronovi Tavisaen
2. Teylas Ramar 2. Kelly Mendes 2. Taranae Rhode 2. Azmodius 2. TuQ'uan Varick
3. Silent 3. Ronovi Tavisaen 3. Azmodius 3. SIlent 3. Kelly Mendes

Overall Results

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We saw a good number of entries, especially given that we only had five events each week (unlike our normal 7-8 events). Congrats go out to Kelly, Furios, and Azmodius on their hard fought victory, especially with that one point allowing Furios to edge out his competitor and claim second place. A decent number of participants and a good number of entries, especially for a low key event that was running during the ACC portion of the Great Jedi War prelims. Which is a nice way to segway to my next point...


Great Jedi War Delay

For those that haven't read it yet, I'd highly recommend giving Pravus's recent report a read. Amongst many other salient points and plans, the news has reached us that the Great Jedi War originally scheduled to kick off in less than two weeks has been delayed. Pravus and his Dark Council have decided to delay and present the Brotherhood with a product that is everything it can be, as opposed to a sub par product now. In the interim, however, we'll be looking for something else to keep us busy of course. It is likely that we will be exploring competitive options with other Clans, or running another large scale event internally. So, keep your eyes open for further updates, same Sith time, same Sith channel!


Staffing Changes

Malice, Aedile of House Karness Muur, recently let me know that she was going to be stepping down due to real life time and availability constraints. As always around here, real life comes first! As such, I've decided to move an old face into the vacant position, everyone's favorite Mercenary, Laren Uscot. Additionally, in my quest to brainwash welcome new members to the summit, I've asked TuQ'uan Varick to take over for Laren as Battleteam Leader of The Circle. As you should see from how many times his name pops up in the results for the War Game event, TuQ'uan is one of the bright, ascending stars of our Clan. Everyone give him a hearty welcome to his new job!

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clan report plagueis

Greetings Everyone, I will be running a G Hang tonight with a first come/first serve basis. If you have any questions or just want to Bs, please feel feee to hop on. Tentative time: 7-9 Eastern. I'll plan on running a few more this week too.

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Greetings Everyone,

I will be running a G Hang tonight with a first come/first serve basis. If you have any questions or just want to Bs, please feel feee to hop on. Tentative time: 7-9 Eastern. I'll plan on running a few more this week too.

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Covenant: Section 3.04 (b) Grand Master's Semi-Annual Report The Star Chamber will work with the sitting Grand Master to ensure that there is a workable long-term plan for the Brotherhood. On at least a semi-annual basis, the sitting Grand...

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Covenant: Section 3.04 (b) Grand Master's Semi-Annual Report

The Star Chamber will work with the sitting Grand Master to ensure that there is a workable long-term plan for the Brotherhood. On at least a semi-annual basis, the sitting Grand Master of the Brotherhood must send a report to the Star Chamber detailing the following:

(i) the current state of affairs, including details of positions assignments and training of leaders;
(ii) the short and long-term plans for the Brotherhood;
(iii) relevant membership metrics indicating the health of the Brotherhood; and
(iv) any hardships or problems in the foreseeable future.

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Members of the Star Chamber and Members of the Dark Brotherhood, welcome to my #49th report as Grand Master of the Dark Brotherhood. This special report will fulfill both my semi-annual obligation to the Star Chamber as well as provide an update to all of members on the upcoming future of the Dark Brotherhood. I decided to combine my report to the Star Chamber with a regular report in order to maintain a high level of transparency and ensure that everyone in this club, from the Grand Masters to our newest members have the same information on the health of our club as well as my plans for the remaining time I will serve as Grand Master.

In March of 2018, I will meet the three year term limit imposed on Grand Masters. At that time, I will nominate Prophet Telaris "Mav" Cantor as my replacement. Mav and I have worked in a highly collaborative relationship over the past three years and that will continue on all of the projects identified in this report. My goal is to ensure that we do not start a project that does not have Mav's support and therefore will not continue throughout his reign as GM. It would be silly for me to create new changes only to have Mav overturn in them in the future. We will work to ensure that does not happen.

This report will include a large volume of information and will be broken down in the following format:

  • The Current State of the Dark Brotherhood: The Dark Council
  • The Current State of the Dark Brotherhood Membership
  • Short and Long Term Plans: A focus on the next eight months
  • The Great Jedi War: A Decision to Delay
  • Ask the GM: Great Questions from the Members
  • Final Thoughts: Including Future Concerns

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The Current State of the Dark Brotherhood: The Dark Counciil

The Dark Jedi Brotherhood continues to evolve as a system of integrated systems designed to off our members a high level of activity and content. These systems are driven by a Dark Council that operates under the simple vision to improve our member's experiences. Our current Dark Council is a diverse group of talented individuals who have been empowered to make decisions, take risk, and make rapid changes to any systems within their area of expertise.

The present Dark Council is composed of five first time members and five members with past DC experience. We have a combined 235 months of current DC experience and an average of 23 months in our positions. This ranges from Howie with just six months of current experience as the MAA to James with 62 months of consecutive time as the SCL. Our ranks include members from different continents, multiple countries, and has an educational and professional background that includes tax lawyers, academics, government servants, three technology based professionals, a student, a teacher, and two Officers in the United States Army.

The Dark Council currently operates under a construct that allows for us to surge on projects in cross functional teams. It is not out of the ordinary to have the Fist ask to work on MAA projects or to see the Herald working with the Voice on fictional updates. Due to the manner of our systems and processes requiring integration, the Regent is a jack of all trades working with nearly every member of the DC on the possessions system.

I am extremely comfortable and confident with our current Dark Council and believe they are the right leaders to continue moving the Dark Brotherhood forward. I am also confident that this Dark Council has the potential to fill any positions that could become vacant in the near future. I assess that we have no less than 3 current DC members who could serve as the Grand Master and I would be confident to place most of the Elders into the position of Deputy Grand Master. Likewise, I also believe that we have a key demographic of Consuls and Clan membership who possess the leadership traits and understanding of team work to move to the any vacant Dark Council positions. This includes the position of Justicar which could be filled immediately in the event Jac died in a buffalo stampede.

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The Current State of the Dark Brotherhood: The Membership

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The membership of the Dark Brotherhood has remained relatively consistent in the 2014 to 2017 era of automatic AWOL. In those years we had a peak membership of 450 in 2016 with a low membership of 296 in 2014. The automatic AWOL era has an average of 369 active members with our present number of 373 just over that. I have also placed the pre-automatic AWOL era of 2013 on the spreadsheet to give a little context to the roster sizes from the days when some Clans would simply leave APPs on the roster for over a year without activity. It is hard to measure numbers from 2013 and prior without looking at detailed participation metrics in order to make some sort of determination on just how many members were active.

These automatic awol era numbers have remained relatively stable and should give pause to all of us when making value judgments on the Dark Brotherhood's health. Our club has always had membership and activity swings that have mirrored major Star Wars events (the 2016 numbers are after EPVII and right before Rogue 1) and I do not see those trends changing in the future.

I am satisfied with our current membership numbers, but I will also detail a series of initiatives in the upcoming months designed to look at how we self organize (Clans, Houses, Teams), how we award recruitment, and how we continue to develop immersive content that can attract old members and future members to the club. The latest Newsletter for the Rogues just went out to 470 of our Rogue brethren and will hopefully bring some of them back for the GJW and/or to check out all the new stuff. For those curious to what we sent out, a HTML version can be found at Rogue Newsletter. Our goal is to bring back members to participate in the Great Jedi War and to engage them for a consistent activity in the club.

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Short and Long Term Plans: A focus on the next eight months

The Dark Jedi Brotherhood must continue to evolve as an online club in order to attract new members, keep our current members, and give us all something to do for fun. The following collective plan is the brainchild of our Dark Council with additional tasks that I have directed.

1) Something New: The Dark Brotherhood has used the same method for story telling dating back to 2008. We create an enemy for a Rite of Supremacy or Great Jedi War, we write stories to explain why that enemy is a threat, and we build competitions on defeating them during the RoS or GJW. We have used this "Vendetta" cycle without creating an immersive environment for our members to actually care about our stories. Who are these enemies? Why do we care about them? Why would a JA FFA player care about a 25 page story? Why do we do more research on an ACC match than we do on a Vendetta fiction?

I have decided to stop using this cycle have tasked the Dark Council with developing a Dark Brotherhood enemy that uses our systems. The DC will begin working on a "enemy" that utilizes "like" systems to existing DB Clans. In other words, you can expect an enemy to have a credit account, possessions, character sheets, order-like backgrounds, and nearly every other aspect that our existing Clans have. This "enemy" will also persist for a period that extends beyond a single Vendetta.

James, Mav, and Evant have all allowed me to sell them on this idea and for the most part it is feasible to create in a relatively short amount of time. Which is rather important and highlighted in the GJW section below.

2) Increased Recruitment Awards: The Dark Brotherhood's current members have the opportunity to be our best recruiters. I have tasked Evant, James, and Mav with developing an increased incentive program for recruiting new members to the Dark Brotherhood. This program will use the existing Trophies System, Possessions, and Awards as an incentive to recruit your real life friends. Evant has submitted an initial proposal that will reward our members when their recruits meet certain rank gates in their DJB career. These gates will consist of multiple ranks and will rewards credits and unique possessions only obtainable through recruitment.

3) Graphics Society: Vyr has discussed this in the past and it is a project that we intend to see go live in the next eight months. The Graphics Society will introduce a criminal element into the DJB and will be integrated with many of our other systems. This continues our trend of developing societies to award activities our members already do, encourage them to do more of that activity, and provide our artists with additional room to progress in the Dark Brotherhood. An incredible amount of work has already been accomplished on the society to include testing of ranks/activities/awards and Cluster balancing.

4) An XP Based Promotion System: If the Dark Brotherhood is truly an integrated system of systems it should provide our members with a promotion system that appears to be less subjective and a lot more objective than current promotion rules appear. Don't get me wrong, Howie has done a fantastic job as the MAA and his adherence to policies has made our award and promotion systems operate at nearly unheard levels of smoothness. This is probably the first time in my 4+ years of combined GM time that I have not seen a complaint about a promotion in a 3 month window. However, we have toyed around with an XP system for promotions for a long time, it provides an additional layer of immersion, and the proposed point system will take away some of the mystery from our members. Howie and Mav will have the lead on this moving forward and you should expect to hear more from them in the next several months.

5) Arx: Wally and his team have worked very hard on putting together our new capital planet. This was a painstaking process for several members of the team due to my revisions and constant desire to have things look like Colorado Springs. The Wiki Article for the planet is on standby and we should see it launched over the next seven days. Wally and Vyr will launch a series of Graphics Competitions to help fill the article in with visual depictions of some of our new key locations and structures.

6) Sacred Cow Review: The Dark Brotherhood has operated under the same command structure two decades. We have Clans, Houses, Teams, and a set of leadership positions to usher those units along. This command structure has worked well for us over the years, but I will direct the Dark Council to review these structures to help determine if they are the right organizations for DB 2017. Organizational structure, team studies, and a host of other relevant literature may point us in direction that could see the DJB alter it's units. This same review will continue to look at short term evaluations of current positions within Clans. Don't worry, I intend on eliciting feedback from our members during these processes.

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Great Jedi War: A Decision to Delay

The Dark Council has done an outstanding job putting together competitions, a set of rules, and a story for the planned August Great Jedi War. Wally, in particular, has written a story that provides a conclusion to the past two years of our Darth Pravus hunting down aliens and Jedi across the galaxy.

Unfortunately, it is not the Great Jedi War I want to deliver to the DJB. This is my fault. I painted Wally into a corner in our DJB plot by artificially using the story to explain OOC events. The plot explained our OOC decision to remove certain alien species from the club in order to stay in line with Disney Canon. The plot explained our OOC decision to conduct another fleet reset. These events resulted in a story that I have have lost faith in. This is also my fault.

As mentioned in point 1 in the above list of projects, I have asked the DC to begin working on a more immersive vision of what a DJB war could look like using our website. Why in would I make a PPT battle plan rules page when our members could simply go to the enemies possessions page? Why would I make a dozen word document profiles of the enemy when I could just make a character sheet? These are something that I want to deliver upon.

So now what? The DC is going to do some work, Wally is going to release a series of plot updates and host some fiction competitions to give everyone closure, and then we are going to progress to something a little different. Who that is, or what that is, has to be a Dungeon Master secret for now.

I know this decision is going to upset some people and I apologize for that. Our Clan leaders altered some of their own internal schedules to make a August GJW work for their members and it is unfortunate that I have decided to delay again. However, I truly believe this is the best decision for the DB. A good GJW is not good enough.

Once we understand the requirements (data input, coding, graphics) behind what I have asked the DC to design, I will release an updated time table. The intent....although no promises, is to get this thing done as soon as possible.

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Ask the GM

1) Vic Asks: Have you considered whether the number of Clans needs adjusted? Answer: Yes. I am not opposed to closing any Clan if they show an inability to keep their current and prospective members engaged. Mav and I keep a pretty close eye on the pulse of each of the Clans and will stealth-mode inquire when we believe things are off course. However; I will not close a Clan without putting them on probation first and allowing them an opportunity to rally. Tarentum is a fine example of why we should give Clans a chance to rebound.

2) Turel Asks: How do you feel about Consul Term limits? Answer: I don't see a need for Consul term limits. It is my job to monitor the activity of our Consuls and the health of their Clans. Example: If I receive a complaint about a Consul, I will make sure it's not a move for powah, review the Consuls activity in detail, review the Clan's Group Email, review the Clan's Telegram Channel, and speak to senior members of that Clan in a discrete manner. In some cases a Consul is given the opportunity to resign or be fired that day. In other cases we let a Consul know that an anonymous concern was raised and give them an opportunity to fix the situation/perception on their own.

3) Evelynn Asks: What is the purpose of restricting gaming to a handful of platforms? Answer: The Fist staff is awesome, but they have a limited amount of time to review a game, determine if that game can be exploited, balance it with our other games so the CF/CE value is fair, and establish a manner for members to submit submissions. We can't do this for every game. This is why I, not the Fist, instituted a number of players policy as a general guide for when we add a Game to the DB Roster. We just can't expend the time on games that only two people play.

4) Anonymous Asks: There are only so many leadership positions in the DJB. Why do some members hold so many of these limited positions? Answer: Bottom Line, no one applies. I know this isn't true in all cases, but in many cases we will open a position and no one will apply. Or we will receive an application, but the applicant has shown previously that they are unsuitable for the job or they simply lack the technical know-how to hold it. Arcona, one of our most popular Clans, has a hard time filling leadership positions. Our "Recruitment Position" has not been filled in nearly a year because the applicants have had a hard time showing any vision that we would trust for the position.

But, I do see and understand a member's concern when they see another leader with 3 x current positions. QUA/PROF/M:Whatever seems like a lot of work. Mav and I take this into consideration when we review the staffs and often discourage our DC from making those selections, but sometimes...the best person for the job is simply the best person for the job.

5) Kaz and others asked: After two stints as the GM, how do you see your retirement? Answer: I am only retiring as the Grand Master. I have no plans to go to the Rogues or step away from being a contributor to the Dark Brotherhood. I will more than likely transfer to a Clan that appeals to me, has a sense of community, and is willing to put up with an active GM. I plan on participating in our writing and gaming communities and more than likely I'll look to fill the void where people are interested in having me help out. At present, I have not made a decision on where I will go.

6) Mark asked: Are Clan Named members defacto Summit Members. Answer: No. Clan names are honorifics for members who have long and productive careers in a single unit. The honorific does not extend beyond a name on the dossier. Each Clan has their own culture and views the name holders in various lights, but the DC does not view a Clan Name holder any different than any other non-positioned member.

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Conclusion

That was a long report and weaved and bobbed on a series of different topics that encapsulated some of my concerns as well as updated everyone on our plans for the next few months. The GJW announcement is a bummer, but I believe it is the right one. I left the last ASK the GM for this section because I wanted to just take a moment to convey a few things.

Qor Asked: Have you learned anything about leadership in this tenure? Answer: Of course. The Dark Jedi Brotherhood is an eclectic mesh of cultures, attitudes, and beliefs. Our members come from all walks of life and have experiences that have shaped their views on how the world works or should work. We might not always agree, but the value of dialogue to solve our problems and make the club a better place cannot be underestimated. Sarin/Pravus 2.0 is a much kindler and gentler GM compared to 1.0. That is because I'm older, because I've grown as a person, and because of the great interactions I have had with our members over the years. I've learned a ton from everyone and hopefully that has made me a better GM.

I'd also like to highlight the few leadership qualities we really value in our members right now. We want resilient leaders capable of handling adversity, capable of building teams, capable of identifying problems and fixing them, and having a desire to improve the club daily. Those are the traits we look for when selecting Consuls or DC members. One of the biggest things I have learned is that we might have members who are machines at content creation and activity, but if they can't work as a team....then they aren't right for the DC/Leadership. We aren't a real empire and we can't order anyone to do anything (even though a lot of our 14-18 year old past selves might have tried that in this club or similar clubs), so having the ability to team build is paramount.


Okay, that was a lot. I hope it was informational and provided some insight into our plans for the future. I know the GJW decision was a bummer, but I believe it was truly the right thing to do.

I'll be around most of this week, with a lot of G Hangouts up, to talk if anyone has follow on questions (or post them here). If I didn't answer your Ask the GM question, please engage me privately one more time and we will chat about it.

Grand Master Pravus

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Greetings everyone, The Covenant requires the Grand Master to submit a report to the Star Chamber two times a year. I will be publishing this report within the next 24 hours. The report will also include standard report areas to include an ask the...

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Greetings everyone,

The Covenant requires the Grand Master to submit a report to the Star Chamber two times a year. I will be publishing this report within the next 24 hours. The report will also include standard report areas to include an ask the GM.

I am taking questions via Telegram private messages during this window, but will also respond to questions posted on this news thread. Please post your questions in the comment section. Questions may focus on any area you like, but my report will focus on the next 8 months of DB activity as I conclude my term as Grand Master. That may help you scope some questions.

Thanks.

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July Gaming News and Updates Welcome to yet another Gaming News report. We are all looking forward to Battlefront 2 this November but before we can get there we have a little thing known as a Great Jedi War. Expected start date is August 1st,...

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July Gaming News and Updates

Welcome to yet another Gaming News report. We are all looking forward to Battlefront 2 this November but before we can get there we have a little thing known as a Great Jedi War. Expected start date is August 1st, official news and announcement I’m sure will be coming from the GM soon enough.

Also in Drac’s Last Report, he teased a pre-war event: The Wargame. This will be a space warfare event and I’m sure Drac will be releasing more information on this soon. So keep an eye out for it and make sure you read over all the other information in the report. You will get an inside track on some new things coming after the war.

Friendly reminder from the FIST Staff - Please make sure you update your dossiers to include ALL of your gamer ID’s (i.e. PSN ID, Steam ID, XBox Gamertag, Force Arena and so on). Submissions have been and will be delayed even if only one member is missing their info. So please double check to make sure it’s listed and if your playing with a new member please help them edit their dossiers correctly.

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News for DJB Games - E3 releases

  • Battlefront 2 - Release date November 17, 2017, and we are getting close now almost 4 months to go. To follow all the Official Information check out EA’s Battlefront 2’s Page. One of the big things coming is that the MP Beta starts on Oct 4th for anyone that preorders the game and Oct 6th for the public on PC, PS4 and XBox 1. There are reports that BF2 will be available for the new XBox console as well.

  • Diablo 3 - Season 11 will go live on July 20th, so get ready to hop into the rifts again!

Also, the Necromancer was released on June 27 if you haven’t bought it yet you can do so from the Blizzard Shop

As a carry over from last month I’ll leave up this tips on how to play the game for any new players or seasoned vets wanted to brush up on how things work in HotS - The developers have released some Core Concept articles to help new players and players that have been playing a while to get the most out of every match. They are actually pretty good so take a look at the Team Leveling Part 1 and Team Leveling Part 2

  1. PS4 closed beta starts Tuesday, July 18th.
  2. Xbox1 closed beta starts Wednesday, July 19th.
  3. Open beta for both consoles starts Friday, July 21st, and requires no code

This Beta round ends on July 23rd for all. FYI a PC beta is not scheduled beyond a placeholder statement of Late August. So this Beta is for PS4 and XB1 only.

The Game Launches on Sept 6th.

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Gaming Deals - A place where if I find a good sale I’ll pass it along.

  • IGN has a nice Deals page which lists some of the web’s biggest gaming deals.

  • Also Reddit has a gaming sales page.

  • Good Old Games is a good site to find older games for a good price. Every now and then the Old Star Wars games do go on sale so keep an eye out.

  • Steam as always has something on SALE, including the old SW games as well. BTW if you're not already in the DJB Steam group let us know.

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Gaming Comps

Reminder There is a Competition blackout in August due to the Great Jedi War but I’ll still list these since that are active in July and will pick up in Sept.

  • GMRG Gorefest 2017 - All your Gorefest needs in one handy container! Double Clusters for all GMRG members. If your not a member take the GMRG History SA COURSE, now! July’s Gorefest is on NOW! Go get your double clusters.!

A quick note: With the GJW occurring in August, there will be NO August Gorefest weekend nor a FIST Monthly Cluster Race.

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Important FIST Information

Below are all the links you will ever need to either contact the FIST staff, join a gaming channel, look up a rule or game mode cluster value. I will update this as needed with each report.

  • Rites of Combat - is the place to find all the rules for gaming in the DJB.
  • FIST-o-matic - a quick guide on how to use the Telegram FISTbot.
  • Pendant of Blood - how to earn PoB’s.
  • Cluster Tables - is the place to find out what game mode offers what Cluster (Earth and Fire) value.
  • Tier 1 and Teir 2 games - os the complete list of all our approved game AND SAMPLE SCREENSHOTS! Not sure what shot to submit look HERE!
  • Don’t forget we have our very own Teamspeak Server. It’s a great way to voice chat with your fellow members and also a great way to communicate when gaming. Check out the details.

How to contact the FIST staff anytime using these methods:

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[fist] [gaming] [praetor] [report]

HELLO DUCKLINGS, THIS IS ATTY. WELCOME TO YOUR FIRST NEW PRAETOR UPDATE! (This and that eye-bleeding awful graphic edit is your world now, accept it.) I've got a couple items to talk about with you all today concerning Voice staff and Fiction...

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HELLO DUCKLINGS, THIS IS ATTY. WELCOME TO YOUR FIRST NEW PRAETOR UPDATE!

(This and that eye-bleeding awful graphic edit is your world now, accept it.)

I've got a couple items to talk about with you all today concerning Voice staff and Fiction business, so let's get right down to it (because I'm gonna keep this short...for me).

New Magistrate!

Last week, we went ahead and opened up applications for a new Magistrate in order to replace Justinios. We thank him again for his service and, I'm pleased to announce, got a lot of nice apps to choose from! Seriously, I was happy to see all the interest, and you all should know I've got my eye (it's cybernetic, just for such occasions, his name is Tilluame, very observant.) on you! Keep that interest stoked and look out for Voice projects and openings in the future. That goes for all of you. This is a reminder that project work is a great way to get involved in things, for you and for our community.

But enough waxing. Without further ado, I'd like to welcome Marcus to our team. Magistrate Minnow is being trained diligently already, and will soon be a friendly face to talk to about any fiction questions you may have. Just talk to him! Talk to us! Fish are friends, not food.

A Note From the Staff

Speaking of talking to friendly fish and the occasional scare when sharks smile, we've got to level with you all for a moment. We've heard a lot of comments lately about our changing guidelines and policies for the Character Sheet system — gripes about remands, about tightening rules, so on. That's okay. We're here to listen. We're here to help. But just remember that everything we're doing, we're doing to better YOU and to better the club and our fiction as a whole. Nothing is done just because. We know getting remands can be stressful, and we know frustration can be high when you had a sheet you loved before that feels impossible now under evolving standards...but hey, we're all here to help you. I can't say that enough. Your summits, your friends, us on the staff, just ask: email our Voice staff email ([Log in to view e-mail addresses]), PM us, ask questions and share concerns. We'll all get through this, promise.

And now, a word from our esteemed Voice. Pay attention, guys and girls.


Hey, Fiction peeps. Quick note on CS Approvals/Remands, since I've overheard a few complaints here and there and know some people have said things that I probably haven't seen (welcome to the DB, right?).

To be as blunt and transparent as possible: we've been more strict recently with what's coming through and what's not coming through. You might be thinking, "well, it was approved last time!" or "I don't get why I can't put this or that, I used to do it that way."

For one thing, as per the guidelines, a previous approval doesn't mean you get a pass for a new one. Standards are updated and evolve all the time, so any sheet submitted is treated like any other.

The reason for this is simple: Possessions. In the past, we did not have Possessions. Now we do. Between the customization offered in Possessions (thanks to Item Aspects) and the Loadouts and Loadout Details field, we are finally able to clean up and standardized the Physical Description field.

This means that when I look at a character's Physical Description field, I want to know what the hell they look like. I don't need to know their history, backstory, or where on the doll they were touched to have the scars they currently have. You can mention and detail scars, and surface level history like "has a right criss-cross scar on his cheek from a vibroblade wound back on Endor". That's about as deep as it should go, though.

You can touch on their clothing style, but not what they wear between covert ops and formal occasions (you can build these with Loadouts).

You cannot have "eyes that intimidate everyone they look at". What if someone is not afraid of your character at all based on status, rank, etc.? Instead, you would say something like "has piercing, intense eyes". These are descriptive attributes, and not "effects" that they have on other people.

In the end, this creates and encourages members to put more thought into what their characters look like. This in turn leads to better development and a stronger sense of character, in my experience/opinion.

If you have any issues or complaints, feel free to throw them at me; but my staff tends to run everything by our group chat, and I check in all the time/review things. Sometimes we might miss something, but we're human and if so we'll figure it out.

If you're struggling, just hit us up. Almost every major remand I've seen so far is ended with "if you have questions, hit us up" to some extent.

We also are working on a CS exam that should help with the process, recapping the Guidelines and showing examples of good/bad CS's to help with new people coming into the system. Ironically, I've seen more remands with veterans than new members, so I don't think that are any glaring issues right now.

Thanks for your patience, I appreciate it. Any issues, questions? Let me know. Thanks again. ^_^

-W


So that's the thing, our writers and big dreamers. Just remember that things change, that we mean them to change for the better as our club changes too, and that we're doing the best we can to make that process smoother. Don't take remands personally; remember that they're here to help you, even if they feel harsh. Write, practice, write, get help, write, take critiques, write, improve, write, get better.

And always remember that we're all in that together.

Word of the Day Update Something!

So, we're here now and that's as good a reason as any for me to kick this off today! It came up in fiction chat the other day that doing a "word of the day" sort of kick might be fun for folks who want to expand their vocabulary some, and thanks to Julie and Reiden's idea, I'm happy to try helping!

Rather than pick a new one, I'm just going to go into a bit of detail about the word that was the case then: disdain. A grand word, in all its forms. We ended up discussing a bit how disdain was different, exactly, from annoyance.

Like most words, that comes down mainly to connotation over denotation. Denotation is the literal definition of a word, its primary meaning. Connotation is, essentially, how it "feels." For instance, "pain" and "agony" (#edgelord) mean about the same thing, when you look at their denotation. Pain is "physical suffering or distress, as due to injury, illness, etc." while agony is "extreme and generally prolonged pain; intense physical or mental suffering." Not...you know, significantly different. But they sound different. Agony sounds way worse, yeah? Sure, a headache is painful, it throbs in your skull and behind your eyes, but it's not agonizing, it's not feeling parts of you ripped out and burning and it is all you can do is clench your eyes through the tears and pray it stops! That's connotation — the extra layer of meaning we give words, usually because of associations we make with them or how we see them used.

annoy

disdain

There's your definitions. If you look at one or the other they have pretty different meanings, and especially different connotations — you won't find them side by side in a thesaurus. You looking at someone with annoyance is not you looking at someone with disdain. If a character looks at someone with annoyance...maybe the other person is irritating them, yeah, but if it's with disdain? That other person disgusts them. The character may consider themselves far above the other. It's like looking at a particularly vile bug that's invading the air you breathe. It's staring at something that doesn't just offend you, doesn't just irritate you, but that manages to do so while not even being good enough for you to acknowledge — and oh, if they're forcing you to acknowledge them? What an impudent little pest. The hatred only grows.

To help further illustrate disdain, and any other Words of the Day, I thought I'd go ahead and use them in an example. I'm being a bit lazy today and using an excerpt from something I've already written instead of penning something new (ACC posts to get to an all...everyone, go participate for your Clans!) See below for a little introspection from my Alternative Character, Satsi, during her time on Kiast:

"The nearest bazaar was busy, busy as she liked for the noise and energy but busier than her exhausted temper cared for. The fact that she couldn't move as easily or quickly through miniscule gaps in the crowd as she once could just made her grumpier — as did seeing the cantinas and smoke parlors across the way that she'd been banned from.

Still, the air was clear, not stale, as it tended to perpetually be around here, a curiosity amongst most airship life that she blamed on their open designs, high altitude, and the fastidiousness of the Sephi folk. They were a little too proper for her tastes, and all smiled in the way that highborn brats did: indulgently and dagger-sharp in a manner that would be mean were in not for the rigors of polite society. The little smiles were an art she had herself mastered. You don't matter, they said, not at all. You're a blip, a dot, a silly dream. You'll be gone by morning and I will be here, living as always, completely unaffected by your passing existence.

Nobles and richies did it, the sparkfingers did it, and apparently naturally long-lived species like the Sephi did it too.

Two of three, Shadows help me, Satsi often thought, resisting the urge to break their straight, pretty teeth or otherwise give them her most disdainful look right back. They were, for better or worse, her hosts; and she, for better or worse, was discouraged from picking fights by the bulge of her tummy…"

And that, hopefully, is a bit of an example of the word's feeling in use!

Did you like this section? If so, I'll continue them in some form, in an update or along with daily questions or otherwise. If not, no worries, though I'd encourage you all to go find a free "Word of the Day" subscription from a site you liked, like dictionary.com or merriam-webster.com to help expand your vocabulary anyway. Keep learning, reading, and writing, folks!

Wrap Up

So, that's it, darlings. Thank you to everyone who applied and who is participating in the ACC event thus far, congratulations again to our swimming new staffer, and remember, guys: we're here to help you, and things change.

Let both happen.

-Signed,

Atty

Praetor to the Voice

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Now that Len has stepped down, there's an open Aedile position for Satele Shan that we would like to have filled as soon as we can. Requirements Applications are open clan-wide and are due to A'lora ([Log in to view e-mail addresses]),...

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Now that Len has stepped down, there's an open Aedile position for Satele Shan that we would like to have filled as soon as we can.

Requirements

Applications are open clan-wide and are due to A'lora ([Log in to view e-mail addresses]), Turel ([Log in to view e-mail addresses]), and Alethia Archenksova ([Log in to view e-mail addresses]) no later than 8PM EDT on July 22th. Failure to send your application to all three addresses will look really bad, so double check. There is no minimum rank or DB experience requirement. Be prepared to answer follow-on questions via email.

The Aedile's Duties

  • Set a good example for House members through strong regular activity and a positive attitude in chat
  • Maintain regular communication with members through email and Telegram
  • Assist in evaluating and recommending members for promotion and merit awards
  • Assist in planning, running, and promoting competitions for the House
  • Assist in developing House lore and maintaining our wiki page(s)
  • Serve as acting Quaestor in the absence of the Quaestor

What to include on your application

  • Relevant leadership or project experience in or beyond the DJB.
  • Any ideas you have for improving or developing the House. A 30/60/90 plan isn't a disqualifier, but it probably won't be helpful
  • Any time constraints we would need to be aware of
  • Describe your vision for what a leader in Odan-Urr should be

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Introduction And I'm back! It seems you can't get rid of me, folks. But for good reason! I have news to share about some of the work the SA Team - well, what Wally (the man is a super hero) accomplished with regards to a specific...

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Introduction

And I'm back! It seems you can't get rid of me, folks. But for good reason! I have news to share about some of the work the SA Team - well, what Wally (the man is a super hero) accomplished with regards to a specific Leadership course. After god knows how much back-and-forth discussion and thoughts on the subject, a new product has been born: the ever adapting Leadership Reports course. Keep in mind, though the changes to the course are live, if you see a glaring error or something that could fixed, please let the SA Team know and we'll get on fixing it as soon as possible.

Below, I will briefly break down the changes introduced in this new iteration of the course. And if I missed anything, I know the Voice will send the Inquisitors after me.

Course Notes

Firstly, let's cover the course in broad scope. When you click on the above link and view the course, you will notice that the course notes on the website are short and sweet. But fear not! If you notice in the course notes, a specific word (here) will take you to this very wiki page. As mentioned above, the entire page was written by Wally, and edited by Korroth, Atra, and myself.

You will quickly notice that the course notes are extensive, providing numerous suggestions and alternatives to make report writing as simple and streamlined a process as possible. Wally went so far as to provide numerous methods with which to proof report-writing, standardized formats for everything from titles to report organization, and numerous coding details that will likely save you from broken image links or off-centre images in the future. Changes may occur to the page beyond edits in the future, though likely nothing major, and nothing without consultation of multiple individuals.

The good thing about content like this being on the wiki is that it's accessible even beyond Shadow Academy use, and I guarantee it's useful in any report writing situation, including this one.

Course Exam

The exam has also been updated to reflect the new course material. Previously, the exam was only 6 questions, but that has been pushed up to 16. The reason for this is twofold. Firstly, the majority of questions are (we think) fairly straightforward, guiding the reader and exam-taker to knowledge we consider absolutely essential to understanding and learning about Leadership Reports. And secondly, the additional questions cover most of the course material in a concise manner, rather than focusing on specific aspects of extensive amounts of course material.

Now, I also wanted to address Question 16 of the exam before anyone else asks. We're asking you to create a report based on the criteria highlighted in the course material. The questions reads:

  • This final question will put into practice everything you have read thus far. Your task is to create or provide a previously written report that meets the criteria listed in the course material. As stated, the submission of previously written reports is acceptable, but they must be modified according to the course material in order to receive full marks.

So to answer anyone's question that hasn't already taken the exam, yes, you can use previously written reports. However, don't expect to be able to copy-and-paste a report directly into the answer box and receive full marks. Please still take the time to go over the content, improve you report, and present a final product to the grader that shows you read the course material and learned something from it. That's all we ask!

Praetor's Tip

Now I'm not going to make this a regular thing, as I don't get regular reports. However, after talking with James about an issue I had last night regarding course exams, I felt like I should share my experience in case anyone has the same issue in the future.

So last night as I was drafting this update, I took a quick peak at the Leadership Reports course. When I went to go take the exam, I still had the old version of the exam coming up. Confused, I did some wizardry and checked the back-end. Everything seemed in order. And yet, when I looked at the exam a second, and then a third time, it was still there! The old version, that is.

And the reason for this is super simple. James quickly explained:

  • "My guess would be that you started the exam at some point before you added the questions. When a user starts an exam for the first time, the site creates sort of an 'answer sheet' based on the questions that are active at that point in time. This allows you to save answers and come back later. When you later return to the exam, you will continue from that saved answer sheet rather than any new questions. Clicking delete on https://www.darkjedibrotherhood.com/shadow_academy/exams should allow you to delete the attempt in progress, which will ensure you get a 'fresh' exam when you restart."

Once again, a round of applause for the ever-amazing James, answering my noob-like questions. It happens to us all, and never be embarrassed to ask questions to the right person. It's usually a part of our job description!

Conclusion

When the Shadow Academy develops and maintains courses with an out-of-character value, it is always done so with the best interest of the club members at heart. Specifically, the leadership courses are designed to meet the needs of the membership who are seeking to pass the hurdle from participant to producer, from member to leader. More course updates are on the way for the other courses as well, but Farrin is saving that goodness for his next report.

I suppose I'll end by saying that even if you're not in a leadership position somewhere in the club, there are tonnes of ways to be a great leader. Lead by example and encourage others to do the same. Reach out to new members of your own accord and help them navigate the massive sea of information. Hell, reach out to old members and do the same, if need be. Simply keeping the lines of communication open between folks can go leaps and bounds in terms of tangible results. For every member you reach out to, perhaps that's another five competitions a month that they will complete, or another five exams!

Until next time, folks, keep your eyes peeled for Farrin's next report.

thekingishere

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I’m going to keep this brief. Time is short, and there is a lot of work to be done. There will be no TL;DR. Please just read the report. (Read all the things! - blind Preator) M:Voice Applications: Open Due to real life tissues, Justinios has...

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I’m going to keep this brief. Time is short, and there is a lot of work to be done. There will be no TL;DR. Please just read the report. (Read all the things! - blind Preator)

M:Voice Applications: Open

Due to real life tissues, Justinios has resigned his Magistrate position. It saddens me to see him go, and we’ve held back on opening applications while I tried to find out more. We wish Justinios the best, and hope he comes back to us and the DJB soon.

With that said, we are now looking to fill the empty Magistrate slot, especially with how busy things will be getting in the upcoming GJW for me. I'm writing the plot, working logistics, supporting the other Dark Councilors' events, and running multiple events of my own. It will be important for the Voice Staff to be functioning even while I'm focused elsewhere.

Magistrate to the Voice

Taken from the Voice Staff Expectations document (internal), the duties of M:Voice include but are not limited to:

  • Administrative action on Character Sheet approval and remands.
  • Administrative action on Fiction Competition approval and remands.
  • Provide feedback on Guideline or System changes/proposals.
  • Work on and complete assigned projects/tasks.
  • Proofreading Voice Staff documentation
  • Read and stay updated on Voice Reports and Updates

Applicants should:

  • Have a working knowledge or comprehension of the Character Sheet system and the various documentations used such as the Character Sheet Guide and the Character Sheet Approval Guidelines. Any Magistrate selected will receive training on how we go about approving Character Sheets, but having a baseline understanding helps a lot.
  • Have less than a 24 Hour turn around time on email.
  • Maintain active presence and regular communication via Telegram, the Brotherhood's main communication platform. The Voice staff discusses a lot of things over our Telegram channel, and allows us to quickly answer questions and help each other out to make sure we’re turning around Character Sheets for members as quickly and effectively as possible.
  • Confidence in proof reading both fiction and technical writing.
  • Familiarity with the Wiki (helpful but not required).

Please submit all applications to my Praetor and I: [Log in to view e-mail addresses] and [Log in to view e-mail addresses]. Applications will remain open until Monday July 10th 2017. The selected Magistrate will start right away and work closely with the Praetor to get situated.

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GJWXII: ACC Phase I

ACC Phase I is underway. So far, we’ve seen a staggering amount of matches. Most impressive, however, is the rate of completion so far. Per my last update from the Combat Master, the numbers are looking like this:

  • Active Matches: 47
  • Completed (including Awaiting Judgement): 34

(As of this reports publish date) 34 Completed matches is no small feat, considering we’ve been live for 12 days or so. There are roughly 11 days left until the July 16th cut-off for new match creation. This means that when the site changes over to July 17th, no more matches will be allowed to start. Beyond that point, ongoing matches will have until July 24th to finish out. All matches will close at that time. Please see the competition details for more information.

I just wanted to take a quick moment to let everyone know how pleased I am to see the reception here to the event. Even when I know some of you dislike despise the format and rules, I appreciate everyone that has thrown in to compete anyway. I’m also excited that I get to see a lot of characters I’ve only gotten to observe or learn about through Fiction Chat questions over the past few months. So, it’s been enjoyable to read these matches.

That said, there are a few things I’d like to cover before I let you get back to fighting mercilessly bathing in the blood of battered bones and flayed flesh one another.

smile

Additional Judge

After discussion with the Dark Summit, and as some of you may have already learned, members of the DC were asked to volunteer as additional judges for ACC grading.

I’d like to formally congratulate Farrin on becoming a certified ACC Judge. Farrin has gone line by line through three ACC matches now, with direct guidance and communication (usually about 1-2 hours per match) working with myself, Mav, and Atra. I am confident that Farrin is as qualified now to judge matches as any member of the ACC Staff, and we’re grateful for him jumping in and eagerly lending a hand. He will be invaluable towards the end of the event where Mav and Atra are both away. Thank you again, Farrin, for coming on board to help. We appreciate it.

Tips from the Judges

Judgestats

As you can see, we’ve been hard at work. Mav has been slacking, because he is the worst, obviously. Kidding aside, here are my notes to participants after grading my first few matches:

  1. Lightsaber wounds. - Be careful with these and how your character “continues fighting”. My best advice would be to re-watch the lightsaber duels in the films on Youtube. I’d pay close attention to Finn vs Kylo Ren fight especially, as you learn a lot about how lightsaber “grazes” can be described. (Finn screams in agony as Kylo presses the ignited cross-hilt of his saber into his shoulder, Anakin passes out when he gets his arm cut off by Doku, etc.).
  2. POV switching - POV, or Point of View is when you write from the perspective of one character. It can be jarring to the reader to suddenly be switched to the other character’s point of view without some kind of transition. I prefer line-breaks, personally, but even a “meanwhile” can sometimes make a huge difference. This would falls under the Story category in grading. In a lot of popular published science fiction/fantasy novels, authors tend to use a chapter or subchapter to cover a point of view. Game of Thrones, for example, each chapter is named by the character it follows. (Jon, Arya, Jamie, etc.). Authors like Brandon Sanderson will even change their writing style based on whose point of view they are covering (hello, Wayne).
  3. Proof reading. Always. If you can’t find a proofreader, try reading your posts out loud to yourself. Your ears will catch things your eyes miss. Trust me. It’s a trick we used in Screenwriting class and with working with actors.
  4. Please Read the documentation. I’m serious. CS Guide, ACC Guide, the Fiction Center, and the Resource hub are all at your disposal. Most of the Realism errors we are seeing pop up are not semantic. They are pretty obvious, easy mistakes to avoid. As a general rule of thumb, for example, Force Powers need to be at +3 to be “combat ready”. That is to say, +3 is where the powers tend to be able to be triggered fast enough to be useful in a combat situation.
  5. Force Power levels - A +1 Force Lightning and a +4 Force Lightning have the same power and duration. The difference in levels is “ease of use,” or how readily you can draw on the power.
  6. Endurance - Endurance is not your resistance to pain. That is a combination of different Skill attributes (Endurance, Might, Resolve, etc.), feats, and Force Powers if you have them (Control Self, Healing). In short, Endurance is how long your physical attributes stay at their peak. How long can you stay at your +4 Athletics before tiring? Time is a really hard thing to get critical on in ACC writing, but it is up to you, as a writer, to control pacing. If you have someone with +1 Endurance panting heavily after three saber swings...you might be over exaggerating a bit. If you’re curious, just ask. We will do our best to answer your questions.
  7. Please make sure to read this FAQ section of the CS Guide. Most people forget about it, but Atra brings it up all the time.
  8. Word Caps - I know they suck. I know that some people struggle and that sometimes you get into a flow and the words fly. For people who struggle with block, this can be harrowing and crippling. I get it, and I'm sorry. On a positive note, what I can say is that people are finding ways to make it work. For the best results, my advice is to not think of the word cap as a limitation. Think of it as yet another challenge. I know not everyone thrives on banging their head against an obstacle until it cracks like me, but it is true and has helped me deal with things I haven't liked in the past. Find a way to make it work. You can do it. If you have questions, ask.
  9. Second Poster - A time management trick I've shared before: if you have the second post, you are technically following up your own post for the final post. With that in mind, you can technically just write one longer post, and then cut it in half and have your final ready to go when your opponent posts. Just be mindful of where you decide to break it off. I hope that helps a bit.

That’s all I have for now.

Atra adds:

Biggest tip would be to focus more on a simple yet powerful hook and then carry us through the fight with a mixture of emotions when you have the first post rather than a lot of build-up without much payoff.

Also, don't be afraid to ask questions when you aren't explicitly sure about Realism.

Never "count yourself out". There's been a couple times where it seems like a member gave up for their second post when they had a real chance at winning, and that lack of effort became a factor.

Also, to reiterate: "participation" means actually managing a post.

Atra raises some excellent points. The Combat Master is wise and sagely.

Mav says:

I've noticed several posts have almost a throw away combat line.

Mav may be the worst, but he is the former CM/Voice. He trained me, so you could consider him the “grandfather” of the current CS’s and ACC. (Because he’s old, you see).

To follow up on Mav’s point: in short matches like these, it is good to make a conscious effort to include action in your posts. It’s very important to set the stage quickly and get right into the conflict. And since you only have two posts to tell your part of the story, only having a single line of action can work against you.

Farrin adds:

Something I've noticed more than anything else judging these matches is that clarity is key. You want the grader (and anyone else) to be able to read your prose without any kind of issue. It might make sense in your head, but we're not in your head.

This is nice to hear from a fresh set of eyes. Clarity is indeed king. Again, one of the easiest ways to catch awkward phrasing or wording is to read it out loud to yourself. You'd be surprised how many things you catch that way.

Please read the ACC Phase I - Launch news post for more details.

If you have any questions, please contact myself or Atra through:

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Ask The Voice

I hate doing these, but made an exception for once. These are actually very good questions.

Archenskov asks: Will participants in Phase 2 of the ACC tournament be given an opportunity to change their loadouts between matches? I.e. if I'm fighting Turel in my next match, do I have a buffer to switch to a Turel-centered loadout?

This is an excellent question. We will have an answer for you by the time Phase II is reviewed and finalized by the DC and Consuls . We need to check in with James on some coding related things, but right now the answer we are leaning towards is "no". Members will most likely be asked to create a "Tournament" loadout that they will stick to for the duration of the event. Members will be free to utilize their other loadouts for Fictions.

Blade asks: I was told that droid weapons had to be in your loadout. Does this apply to the [IG-100] MagnaGaurds, or do they come with their weapons?

Atra answers: There's an entire Droid section in the ACC Guide that explicitly states the weapons come from their Loadout if it's not listed as part of the Droid. The description for the Magnaguards in Possessions only says they're known for using the staff, not that they have one included.

Slagar asks: How much will all the Clans be featured in the GJW story arc? The mad Pravus/Lotus arc has seemed to focus on a smaller cross section of units, and I know I've had members making the inquiry.

This is another great question but it is hard for me to answer it right now. The Great Jedi War plot hinges heavily on the storyline we’ve been working with for the past few years, and a lot of that is tied to Pravus, the character. With a cross-country move, Sarin has been busy IRL, so we’re still working out details of how the events of the War will play out, but are getting close to figuring it all out. It’s one of those chain-reaction things that once we narrow down what we want, we’ll be able to streamline and quickly execute.

That said, my goals for the GJW are as follows:

  • Provide a storyline that drives the main conflict while giving flexibility and freedom for members of all archetypes and backgrounds to feel like they were a part of it in some way. I don’t care if you’re a Light, Gray, or Dark Jedi. I don’t care if you’re a Loyalist or Merc. A War is the single largest and most impactful event the Brotherhood has, and if I accomplish one thing with this storyline, it will be that there is something for everyone.
  • Ensure all seven units feel like they have a stake in the War and are included in equal parts. This will come as a result of communication and consent between the unit leaders.
  • Make sure that active members and leaders have cameos and features.
  • No GM vs GM saber fest.
  • No Vong.

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In-Closing

Keep up the great work, everyone. Keep completing those matches. Make us sweat. (Atra looks much better wet than I do).

If you have questions about your Character Sheet, please check in with Atty and the Magistrates. They can be reached at: [Log in to view e-mail addresses].

Oh, and one more thing.

Great Jedi War XII officially kicks off August 1st. This is a hard date. Stamp it, book it, mark it, scream it, check it, now upgrade it. Thank you, everyone, for your patience. I promise to share more details from the fiction side of things when I have more details. Promise.

In closing, I know that many people wonder what we actually do on the DC, so I figured I’d share a glimpse into our “process”.

lol

For real, though, everyone on the DC is working very hard to make this War something special. We haven’t had one in 2 years, and want you, as members and leaders, to have the best experience.

Thanks everyone. So much for being short, I guess.

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