Headmaster's Report #17: War is Over Edition


Headmaster's Report #17: War is Over Edition



Don’t worry sports fans, I didn’t go anywhere - I simply was on a bit of a reporting hiatus because, y’know, the War. I hope you all had a great time competing against each other. This was my first GJW as a DCer and holy crap does a lot go into making this work for you guys. I’m really proud of the work we as a group put in, and I’m definitely proud of all of you who submitted to the comps I created or helped to grade. My staff and I were focused on other things during the War, but with its conclusion it’s full steam ahead on our task list. We’ve got some great changes coming up that I think y’all will love, so let’s dive in.

The SA Takes on the Wiki!

With the Shadow Academy settling into its new fictional digs on Arx, there’s a lot for us to fill out on the Wiki to make it feel more like home. Laren will be leading the charge on this and I’m excited to see the results. Hopefully this new fictional platform will be a great jumping off point for further SA competitions and the like.

Revamping Lore

The Department of Lore is one of our larger Departments and certainly the one with the largest scope. Sang, Professor Extraordinaire, will be leading the charge to revamp it. The idea setting out isn’t to create new courses but instead to ensure all of the courses are as useful and correct as possible. As Laren put it, the goal is to make these courses as clear, concise, and user-friendly as possible.

Now Hiring: PROF/DOC

In my last report I put out that we were looking for a new Professor over the far-reaching Department of Leadership, Law, and Communication. The GJW got us all a bit distracted, so I’d like to report this request. Additionally, we’re looking for a Docent to take over for Reiyden on his courses within that same Department. My plan is to take applications, with the top two candidates being chosen as PROF and DOC; if you’d prefer one over the other, you can of course let us know that, too. The DOC position isn’t necessarily specific to the courses that Reiyden was over and we can rework them to best cover this Department with the new PROF. Interested parties should email an application to Laren and I no later than one week from now, 12/15. You should let us know areas in which you think this Department can be improved. Position requirements are as follows:

  • No min/max rank.
  • You must have passed with no less than an 80% most if not all of the courses in the Department. Leadership Proposals is okay to have skipped. :)
  • Absolutely no more than a 24-hour grading turn-around time; 12-hour or less is the goal.
  • Desire and ability to not only mark exams but keep the courses under you current.

Ask the HM!

Len Iode asked: “Will some of the Degrees be altered to reflect courses being removed? If they are how so?”

  • Degrees will always be reworked whenever their courses change. To expand on the answer I gave in chat, there are some cases (like the CoJ degrees currently) that it’s impossible to alter them so we might temporarily suspend them. That’s never our goal, though.

Tarvitz asked: “Over the past year, might I ask if there is anything you feel you would like to go back and re-write or re-work?”

  • Oh, there's plenty I've not been satisfied to my expectations with. The good thing is, my team and I are constantly revisiting things to get them to the point where we are happy with them.

Beef asked: “Now having graded fiction entries for a GJW, what two tips would you pass on to aspiring Novae-winning authors? What two pitfalls would you advise us to avoid?”

  1. What the women say is true: length doesn't matter, it's how you use it. :P

  2. Own the prompt. Don't shy away from it. Even if you don't like it, half the challenge as a writer is finding a way to tackle the prompt in an interesting way while still showcasing your character.

Beef then asked: “How might long-standing enemies like the Collective be brought into the SA?”

  • Yeah, we've got some changes to the DB Histories sitting in the hopper, and they'll be worked in there. :)

Beef is in a questioning mood (lol) so he then asked: “Could there be "group-based" tests? Learn the secrets of your enemies kind of courses?”

  • That's something we could explore if the enemy/group is interesting enough, sure.

Kaz asked (a couple of different ways): “More "blast from the past" in the future?”

  • This was a proof of concept. The concept seemed well-received... so hell yeah. I can't speak for the other DCers, but I'm always interested in those type of events. My RL education is in history, so looking at stuff from the past appeals to me. :)

Kaz also asked: “Aside from the "Brotherhood fundamentals" courses offered by the SA. Which courses do you feel are best taken by new members?”

  • I think DB History is useful to get a sense of where we've come. If someone wants to delve deeply into the Krathy arts (RIP) the Department of Lore as a whole is a great resource. For writers, the ACC courses are a given and are super useful to boot.

Tasha’Vel Versea asked: “What would be the one exam you enjoy the most and why?”

  • That's like asking me to pick one of my (non-existent) children, lol. I'd say ACC Combat Studies. It's an extremely practical course and I really enjoy the way it's setup as such.



Shadow Academy Staff are currently engaged in the following projects:

  • Leadership Proposal Update - SA Staff: This is the only course pending review and audit from last month’s completion of the Leadership Dept. changes. We are still working to determine its fate (rewrite? removal?). Estimated completion: TBD

  • 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. I’m hoping now that the GJW is done, we can work with the DC to get these updated and out soon. 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 have been completed by Vyr. James is working on deploying them, so this should be done very soon… maybe even by the time you get around to reading this report! Estimated completion: Very Soon (tm)(c)

  • Lore Revamp - Sang: The Lore Department will be revamped to make them as clear, concise, and user-friendly as possible. Estimated completion: 2/18

  • Operation Remodel (Wiki) - Laren: The SA Wiki pages will be updated or created as necessary. Estimated completion: 2/18

  • Writing Department Update - SA and Voice Staffs: Wally Q. Wallerson, his staff, and my staff are combining our considerable talents/nerddoms to overhaul the Writing Department. The goal is to make it an invaluable resource for all who engage in any sort of writing activity in the DB. A Fiction Studies primer is nearing release, while most others will need to wait post-GJW. Estimated completion: some soon, others not :)


  • 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 Grot 103 158
Neophyte Sath Kekel 36 31
Warrior Magik 26 77
Acolyte greenfire 18 27
Battlelord Bentre Kairn'tel Stahoes 16 30

Note: these numbers cover the period from 10/1/17 to 12/7/17 and count both initial attempts and retakes.


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.

In Darkness -
Farrin Xies,
Headmaster of the Shadow Academy

Much excitement!

Looks like I also get a bit of overlap between my SA Magistrate and Wiki Staff positions, so I should hopefully be busy!


Wooo, look at that lizard man go!

Congrats to Sath and greenfire on their virtually flawless SAing!

Good stuff. Thank you for your work!

Congrats to all the test takers. 103 exams is no joke. Well done.

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