Ektrosis Quaestor Report #1: With A Bang


Ektrosis Quaestor Report #1: With A Bang

House Ektrosis Quaestor Report


Greetings Ektrosis and all of Taldryan! As was announced in Rian’s most recent Consul Report I have been appointed to the position of Questor of Ektrosis. This house and it’s members have such a rich history that I felt I could only do this honor justice by bringing to you something I hope is worthy of that history in my first report. For the past year or so Rian has teased the Sphere of Research and Intelligence (SRI) and with his new responsibilities I have taken over developing this project. I am very excited for what this has turned into so my entire first report is dedicated to introducing the SRI to you all. I do apologize this is a long report, and I did consider splitting it up, but I thought it best to detail everything at once. Without further ado, I bring you the Sphere of Research and Intelligence and the associated “systems”.

The Basics

Fictionally the SRI is a joint task force between the remains of the former Taldryan Intelligence Directorate and the members of House Ektrosis. The SRI is one part advanced research institution and one part paramilitary organization. In his new role of Consul Rian has tasked Justinios with creating an organization that is capable of both pushing the limits of researching the physical and metaphysical bit also must be able to operate outside of traditional supply lines. Essentially the Clan has very little resources it can spare for this fledgling organization so the SRI must be capable of acquiring the resources it needs.

That is where our characters come in, the SRI will be looking to its members to undertake missions that help provide equipment, personnel, and other resources to the organization. The paramilitary division of the SRI is key here, it fully supports the research staff with a division of field agents of varied skill sets. As an organization, the SRI must be able to acquire resources by force if need be (and there will be a need).

The SRI’s mission takes it to all corners of space and requires the services of a wide variety of beings including academics, pilots, spies, soldiers and many others with unique skill sets. It is my hope that characters of all types should be able to find a role within the scope of the SRI. Whether it is being drawn to the research itself, feeling a sense of loyalty to House and Clan or just looking to get paid a quick buck there should be sufficient justification for many different types of characters to work for the SRI.

My goals for the SRI, as it relates to us in “real life” is threefold: 1. Re-establish a fictional identity for Ektrosis that is separate but related to the Clan. 1. Generate regular, ongoing content for members to engage in on a semi-regular but not overly intensive basis. I don’t want to crowd out other activities. 1. Create a system in which there exists a feedback loop between activity/participation and the on-going fiction. The current state of the SRI generates activities, the participation in those events changes the fictional standing of the organization which then generates another round of content to consume and participate in.

The Core - Research Projects

To create a system that exists beyond a single set of competitions that has lasting impacts requires some moving parts. The core of the entire SRI system revolves around recurring, month-long competition containers called Research Projects. Each Research Project is made up of five sub-competitions: one monthly fiction and four weekly, quick hitting competitions such as trivia or a puzzle. As it currently stands, the container itself does not having the scoring to determine a “winner” but it is the combination of participation and performance in these individual five competitions that determine what each members monthly impact is on the SRI. The end result could be an SRI that hasn’t changed much but the organization could also see its principles change drastically depending on the results of activities.

In order to track and quantify the impact each member has on the overall organization it requires converting individual activity into raw numbers. To accomplish this I developed two new “currencies”, Morality Points and Reputation. I started by ripping off Rian’s ideas for the upcoming Clan competition but the similarities do end quickly.

Morality Points are generated by participation and performance in the monthly fiction competition. Each participant automatically gets one Morality Point for participation and the top three placements earn two, three and four Morality Points for third, second and first place respectively. Whether your efforts end up reducing the moral standing of the organization or increasing it depends on which prompts you submit for as your entry. Be warned though, as you will see below your character may find it to be just as difficult staying “full evil” as it might find it to stay a “holy roller”. Actions considered off the table by the SRI one month could be encouraged the next, and vice versa.

Reputation is earned through participation in the weekly events during each Research Project. Each event itself generates a single point of Reputation with a bonus point given if participation in all four events is completed for that round. The sum of this Reputation earned for the month is then used a multiplier to increase the Morality Points you have generated for that month. The theory here is that within any group the members that are held in higher regard also have more influence on others. The more Reputation you earn, the more your decisions impact the whole organization.

Moral Standing, which I will go over in more detail later, is the running total of the Morality Points generated by each member. This sum correlates with a set of values or principles encouraged or discouraged by the organization.

To have the greatest impact on the Moral Standing of the SRI each month requires a combination of fiction placement and overall participation. The system is intentionally designed so that even if one person is dominating the fiction month over month but ignoring the rest of the Research Project other members can easily overcome their effect on the system through their own participation.

Below is an example of Warrior Mavstheworst’s activity for a Research Project. In this month Mavstheworst placed third (out of three) in the fiction competition and participated in all four of the weekly competitions:

Total Morality Points generated = (morality) * (sum of reputation) = 10

Fiction Placement, 3rd Place = 2 Morality Weekly Event 1: 1 Reputation Weekly Event 2: 1 Reputation Weekly Event 3: 1 Reputation Weekly Event 4: 1 Reputation Bonus: 1 Reputation

So for this month, Warrior Mavstheworst generated 10 Morality Points that will end up moving the total Moral Standing of the SRI up or down by that amount depending on which of the two fiction prompts he submitted towards.

Ever-Shifting Morality

So what? Warrior Mavstheworst generated 10 Morality Points, what does this mean? His activity has been added to the cumulative activity of the SRI members to date to calculate the organization's Moral Standing. My intention was to create a system that was separate from Force Alignment and would be something that ebbed and flowed instead of just pegging itself at “good” or “evil”. The listing below details each level Moral Standing, from the highest level of negative to the highest level of positive, and how each one impacts the operations of the SRI:

  • Decidedly Unprincipled: All actions are on the table and there is no discretion in targets. There is no limit to what should be done to accomplish a mission and the SRI expects a successful mission regardless of consequences.
  • Highly Unprincipled: Little thought will be given to anything but major collateral damage and mass murder of bystanders. Local laws are all but disregarded. Anything that is seen as even a minor threat to the mission is to be eliminated proactively.
  • Moderately Unprincipled: Unprovoked attacks against enemy combatants is allowed and low levels of collateral damage to equipment or other property will be overlooked. The lives and well-being of non-combatants should still be protected but disregard for laws protecting personal property will be overlooked.
  • Marginally Unprincipled: Members should take care to minimize all casualties, especially innocent casualties. While on a mission the member can aggressively defend itself if under duress but should not initiate combat. SRI officials will likely look the other way over members breaking property laws or misdemeanors.
  • Weak Principles: Members should take care to minimize all casualties, especially innocent casualties, on missions. Members are expected to attempt a peaceful resolution before engaging in hostilities if possible. SRI officials will likely look the other way over members breaking property laws or misdemeanors.
  • Moderate Principles: Members are expected to obey all local laws to the letter, especially those concerning violence against others. This excludes action against enemy combatants and enemy material, equipment or installations.
  • Strong Principles: Missions are designed to minimize casualties and members are highly encouraged to avoid engaging in any violence or destruction of property. It is acceptable to defend oneself but if proactive and aggressive violence is required the member should abort the mission.
  • Indisputable Principles: No level of violence is acceptable to the organization, even violence in self-defense. Values are more important than success and any acquisition of resources should be done in a fully legal and compliant manner.

I will continue to further flesh out the different levels of Moral Standing but I hope you can see that the extremes will be very difficult to sustain for the most cold-hearted Sith or rainbow-wielding Jedi. The expectations on what is considered “good” and “bad” change within these eight levels as will the SRI’s expectations of its members.

Why Go To All This Trouble?

The entire point of creating a tracking and measurement system is to enhance the member-driven portion of the entire experience. But member impact is about more than just the math, member activity has the following effects on the SRI’s development:

  1. As previously detailed, each members’ own personal moral choices impact the overall Moral Standing of the organization.
  2. The Moral Standing of the organization directly drives fiction prompts. A less principled organization will expect it’s members to accomplish objectives regardless of consequences and a more principled organization will put values above success.
  3. The first place fiction entry becomes canon. For example, if the winner one month took the prompt that generated positive morality but resulted in a lost opportunity that choice will affect the prompt next month’s fiction. Maybe a more dangerous mission has to be undertaken now to accomplish the task at hand.
  4. Bonus: If this concept takes off I plan to add additional ways member activity drives development. One idea I really like is that the SRI itself can earn Clan level resources based on reaching certain cumulative Reputation milestones and then these possessions could be used within monthly fictions. (Ex: Attaining 300 total Reputation earns the SRI a platoon of Stormtroopers) This would open up a whole new realm of what we could do with fiction prompts if you could now use “possessions” of the SRI to complete missions.

Bringing It All Together

This may all seem very complex I think it is only because explaining it all using a text-based medium is very difficult. How much harder is it to try to type out a guide for Blackjack, as an example, rather than just taking out a deck of cards and showing someone? As we all work through the Research Projects and see how the results of the activities play out it will all make a lot more sense, I hope. In an attempt to help solidify the concept a bit in advance I will lay out an example of a single months fiction competition based on the current Moral Standing of the SRI:

Current Moral Standing = Decidedly Unprincipled. Let us assume that it has been a few months and that members within the SRI have been constantly generating negative morality which has pushed the organization to that extreme of the spectrum. This now has a direct impact on the fiction prompt because the organization now puts successes above any an all values.

Main Prompt: A hospital on Corellia has an advanced new blood scanning device that the SRI could use to advance research with midiclorians. This device is currently in use within the children’s ward of the hospital and its removal is estimated to result in the death’s of at least three dozen children but is guarded only by lightly armed private security personnel and civilian security technology. Acquire this device, destroy any opposition and return to the SRI.

As an organization with zero principles acquisition of the desired device in the easiest manner possible is the only concern. A more principled organization would never attempt this mission because of the collateral damage but because the members have pushed the SRI to the extreme these are the types of missions the SRI will undertake until there is a shift. Even a character like Justinios, with a single-minded purpose on research, would probably hesitate to complete the mission knowing the consequences. For these characters, there is an alternate choice.

Alternate Prompt: Buried deep in the dossier you notice that intelligence assets located another version of this device at a First Order Base. You instead attempt to acquire the device from the First Order. NOTE: To achieve placement this mission must fail, you cannot acquire the device this way but feel free to fail in style.

It is important for there to be real and lasting effects of the choices. It may seem like a bit of a “cop out” to force members to fail a mission but the point isn’t your characters abilities. We all have plenty of fiction opportunities to be whirling dervishes of death but these prompts instead ask you to think about what your character is willing to undertake and where they draw lines in the sand. Without the explicit requirement for mission failure, the choice is simply between slaughtering a bunch of security guards and leaving kids to die versus figuring out how your character slaughters a base full of First Order soldiers. Most of us likely just write a story where we fight our way through a bunch Stormtroopers with bad accuracy and easily walk out with the device, giving no reason to even consider stealing from the children’s hospital. With the requirement of mission failure, there is a legitimate choice between doing something that might be against everything your character stands for or failure.

After this event wraps up, let us say that the winning fiction entry was someone that took the alternate prompt. This now means that canonically the SRI failed that mission and there will be fall out from that decision. Research may fail and maybe an entire experiment shuts down but most importantly the next fiction prompt will also play off of the fact that a failure has occurred. Where the SRI ends up is heavily dependent on the participation of the members. I am very excited to see what happens.

Wrap Up

I will freely admit this is a lot to digest in one sitting but I hope I did my best to explain the SRI from a fictional standpoint as well as how the systems associated with it work. As this idea developed Rian, I think very correctly, described it as a mini-society. I hope that the Sphere of Research and Intelligence can turn into a focal point for regular and accessible activities for new and old members of Ektrosis alike while providing “a sense of pride and accomplishment” (thanks EA) as the SRI grows and develops with the direction of its members. I look forward to any and all feedback anyone in regards to this concept and I am happy to brainstorm development ideas over email or Telegram with anyone that has them.


Justinios Drake

First ;)

Great Report Justinios, that's a lot of useful informations.

That was a lot of information, but I really hope people read through it all, because it's all useful. It sold me on Ekky at least

Seems like a great way to get characters invested in the story. Excited to see how this works out and how it's presented and documented.

Lovely lovely lovely.

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