Esteemed Grand Masters of the Star Chamber, the Dark Council, and the Members of the Dark Brotherhood,
Welcome to my 44th report as your Grand Master and to my end of year address to the Dark Jedi Brotherhood. This report will announce several awards for our club leadership, reflect on the changes of the past year, and highlight current and upcoming changes to our club.
The "Coming This Year" section includes some pretty big changes to our club, to include decisions made this week. If you are bored and need to get upset/excited, skip to that :p
The Core Dark Council and Councilors of our club have extremely demanding and difficult jobs. The small tasks, duties, and responsibilities of their jobs are often overlooked and historically undervalued. I would like to take this opportunity to not only highlight their devotion to our club, but to also lead this end of year report by recognizing each of them individually. *Note, If a Dark Councilor or Consul is not awarded in the list below it is because they have a larger award pending over the next few months or they were recently awarded at a very high level. Each and every one of our seated leaders is worthy of recognition.
1) Dark Jedi Master James Lucius Entar has been promoted to the rank of Prophet. James has provided our club with consistent updates and improvements for his entire term on the Dark Council. We are lucky to have his abilities and dedication.
2) Vanguard V'yr Vorsa has been promoted to the rank of Warden. V'yr has improved our club through his talented art work and ruthless dedication to improving our nearly every graphical facet of our website. V'yr's dedication to our club places him in a unique category where his work impacts nearly everything we do. Like James, we are exceptionally lucky to have V'yr and his talents. He also has a great real beard.
3) Savant Evant Taelyan has been promoted to the rank of Seer. Evant is the most junior Dark Councilor, but perhaps the most productive in terms of the sheer volume and range of work he has accomplished. Evant completed the nascent Fiction Society into a full fledged organization, he has oversaw the evolution of the Combat Society, and he maintains the project lead on the DJB's new planetary system as well as the lead possessions data developer. Evant has brought a breath of fresh air to the (old) Dark Council and has made all of us better.
4) Prophet Yacks Cantor has been awarded the Ruby Scepter (* see notes below) for his dedication and consistent service to the Dark Brotherhood as both the Recruitment Tribune and as Consul of Taldryan. Yacks is consistent and reliable....two terms that are not often found on the internet. He also has a great fictional beard.
5) Battlelord Teylas Ramar has been awarded the Amethyst Kukri for his service as Consul of Clan Plagueis. Teylas has skillfully led his Clan over the past ten months and served as a consistent and focused leaders for his members to rely on. In a period of turnover and change, Teylas has been a constant that has benefited Plagueis and our club as a whole.
6) Warlord Montresor has been awarded the Grand Cross. As I wrote in his recommendation, Monty does more for Jac and I than any member really has any right to do. His behind the scenes advice on the Covenant, Leadership Changes, policy updates, and DJB mechanics are second to none. Thanks Monty.
7) Mav, Aabs, Bubba, Wally, Jac, and Xen have all been awarded the Steel Cross for faithful and dedicated service to our club. Each of them have served our members in their own unique, but exceptionally important ways.
As mentioned in the note above, all of our Dark Councilors are worthy of an award, but some of them are in awkward in-between periods that have led me to hold off on awarding them something smaller. I am greatly appreciative to those on the list above as well as those few not included.
I am also equally pleased with the exceptional worth that a few of our members have put forth over the past several months. I have highlighted a few of these members below.
1) Adept Braecen Kaeth has been awarded the Sapphire Blade. Braecen has basically been an insane dynamo of activity since his active return to the Dark Brotherhood. His work in Clan Arcona has improved their member's experience and has been phenomenal to watch. Thanks!
2) Professional Qyreia Arronen has been awarded the Dark Cross for contributing to the Dark Brotherhood through constant positive communication. Qyreia is one of three non-Dark Councilors I have chosen to award due to my assessment of their impact on our club. thanks Qyreia.
3) Lu'aisha Gresee has been awarded the Dark Cross for providing exceptional feedback on the Dark Brotherhood's strategic plans for capitalizing on Episode VII's impact on the Star Wars community. Lu'aisha took the time to send very detailed plan/idea on how to utilize EPVII in a manner to help our club. Thanks!
The Dark Jedi Brotherhood has gone through a series of dramatic changes, updates, and quick fixes over the past year. Some of these changes were well received (who doesn't like Trophies), while others were not as popular (ask the Krath types). The following is a quick recap of what we have done and my current thoughts on how the changes have gone.
1) Website Redesign: The Dark Jedi Brotherhood ushered in a new era with 5 new designs correlating with our 5 new Paths. These new designs were color coordinated with their respective paths and provided a background that was uniquely suited for the adherents of each. V'yr was able to accomplish this layout in near record time and the general impression has been overwhelming favorable.
2) The Introduction of new Paths and Traditions: This year, as mentioned above, also saw the introduction of our new Paths and Tradition systems. Our members were generally very happy about the addition of a Mercenary, Loyalist, and Gray Order; however, not everyone was as pleased with the loss of the Obelisk and Krath Orders. We had equal concerns about some of the ranks associated with our new orders and several members displayed (quite vocally :p) their displeasure with the Gray ranks. Because of this feedback, I will revisit our rank structure for the new orders in the new year and solicit feedback from our members; however, we will not be introducing any new paths in the foreseeable future (We have zero plans to bring Krath and Obbie back). I also anticipate the potential for additional Traditions added to our system.
3) The Fiction Society: The Inquisitorious released this year with some guffawing about the name, but the system as it stands remains one of the most interactive and member driven systems in the history of our club. Evant solicited DC and member feedback throughout the development of the Fiction Society and this resulted in some very large, but generally well accepted changes at the last minute. Overall, I remain very satisfied with the system and especially the robes/weapons associated with it (that armor!). A minor concern remains with some observation of members looking to exploit a few of our systems in order to rank up as quickly as possible. As always, remember the good dude rule :p
4) Trophies: Trophies are cool. They are something different, something extra, and something that you can discover as you progress (or discover through looking at Muz's dossier) to learn how to earn additional awards. James has also helped the system by offering our members a chance to help create new Trophies within the system. Overall, I see this as a win.
5) ACC and Character Sheet 2.0: Wally, Mav, Evant, and team Voice/CM have made a large volume of changes to the ACC and our Character Sheets (mine is invalid, what the hell?!). These changes have been field tested in our current and the last ACC tournaments and appear to have been very successful. The ACC remains one of those very difficult systems to monitor and track in terms of how well something works because of how subjective the grading of the matches will always be. Wally will receive flack from winners and losers and that often makes an evaluation of the ACC extremely difficult. Beyond the ACC, the language on our Character sheets have been updated and refined to a much better system. I'm happy with both our CS and ACC.
6) DJB System Update and Meta Game: Sad Face. Evant, Atra, and Slagar have put in a considerable amount of effort on the new DJB system. They have done so with minimal input from Mav and I until recently when I recommended we wait for the completion of TFA. Additionally, I have made some major changes to the document to include having a system that was inclusive to our Lightsiders, but now stands as exclusive. I haven't been helpful here, but we should see more work on the document now that nearly everyone has seen TFA and we know that there is some room in the galaxy to hide/operate. Likewise, the meta game will remain dependent on the completion of our system because the game...needs the system. I'm tentatively optimistic that the system and the meta game will be out during the first quarter of calendar 16.
7) Possessions: James has completed the bulk of coding. Evant has completed a large volume of data input. V'yr and his staff have drawn a large volume of items. We are now rapidly approaching our first closed beta that will allow a small group of members to play around with possessions on our test site. This is also coming with our rapid realization that possessions may require its own Dark Councilor to run it. "The Shop-keep" or a much sexier title may be required to handle the economic balancing, item entering, item updating, and combined staff coordination of our possessions system. At present, we have a hodge-podge of Dark Councilors performing their main duties as well as secondary possession duties, but I'm nearing a point where I may decide we need one person to run the show.
Outside of a potential Possessions Councilor, I'm steadily optimistic that this project will see the light within the next several months. It has been a long time coming, its never fast enough, but we are finally getting there.
8) Covenant Updates: Jac/Halc/Monty have done an exceptional job updating the Covenant and offering a blind taste test of the changes to a varied and wide swath of our club. These changes are now in their final stages and then will be formally presented to our club for approval.
9) Stats and the Test of Lore: If you have read my reports this year, you know I like to review our hard objective numbers. How many new joins do we have, how many of those new joins make it to JM3, how many to EQ1, ect. I also like to look at how many competitions our leaders are running, how many our members participate in, and on and on. So, what do the latest stats tell us? December will be our largest "new member" gain of the year, but it is still statistically minuscule to the numbers we pulled in following EPIII. We will watch these numbers next month to see if the EPVII spike comes in January, but I solidly believe that the health of our club is in the hands of our current members and the real life friends they bring to us. We all know that people we actually know perform better in the DB and I don't see that changing any time soon. Despite this, we will continue to refine our website, the new join process (This Year's updated Test of Lore/Identity was an amazing start), and any systems involved with welcoming and nurturing our random joins.
The Dark Jedi Brotherhood will continue to evolve and make major changes to our systems and policies in a continuing effort to improve our club. If you aren't growing/learning...then you are dying. The following are a list of upcoming club changes to include decisions I have already approved.
1) The Ruby Scepter and Silver Sash will no longer include their unique award identifiers of Mentorship and Loyalty. Instead, the awards will fall in the traditional role of simply being more valuable than those awards that precede them.
2) The Dark Brotherhood will adjust its timeline to EPVII and will be in that galaxy. As my wise mentor Jac Cotelin said, the second Disney said the EU was dead, the decision was made. I couldn't agree more. I understand that this brings up some slight individual character concerns; however, we will attempt to address those in the easiest manner possible. A new DB fiction, written by my horrible hand, will be out prior to the new year. This fiction will address some of our EU experiences and will provide an IC reason for the DB forgetting about some of its past. I'll do this in a manner that avoids a dues ex, in other words, no thought bomb memory wipe Death Star Galaxy reset event will occur.
3) Promotions: Mav and Aabs will present a revised and revolutionary update to the promotion system. This proposal will be on full display for the DC and eventually everyone to review, tear apart, and revise. If we all come on board and like it, it will go live. If the hate is strong against it, we will revise or we will scrap it. I think we all see flaws in our promotion system (I miss the simplicity of the TC) and I think we are all tired of the consistent and impossible to stop changes that come with each GM/MAA regime changes.
4) Clan Feuds: These used to be a big deal. They had ships as wagers, they had DC oversight, and they set up some of our club's epic battles. Mav is currently working with a few of our Clans to help re-establish the value and importance of the Clan Feud (Vendetta!). We expect to see our first "larger" scale feud in the immediate future.
And a host of other projects that were either covered in "work from this past year" or stuff I'm just not really ready to talk about (making promises is bad. damn possessions).
Merry Christmas everyone! I hope each and everyone of you had a great day (especially those of you who celebrate). My wife hooked me up with some great Death Star bourbon glasses, bad ass Mandalorian socks, and a host of other goodies (BB8). My kids also made out like bandits.
Its late, its actually the 26th now, and I'm rapidly falling asleep at the keyboard. Despite that, I'm still excited for what our club and this great Star Wars universe (thank you EPVII) has to offer. Thanks for being great members and making my job relatively painless (Except for you clones, i hate you).
*I've already found 5 typos. I'm not looking for more. We will just consider it a part of the GM charm on this report.
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