Voice Report #11 - So...What Now?
Hello. Yes, this is Wally.
In my 11th full report as Voice of the Brotherhood, I will cover Voice Staff projects and goals for the upcoming year, but mostly I just ‘rap a bit about the events and conclusion of Great Jedi War XII.
No, not that kind of rap.
Or that kind. Dammit. There goes my gif limit for the report. I will mostly talk about the events and conclusion of the Great Jedi War.
So, the war is over. I guess I can’t use the “it’s on hold until after the war” excuse anymore. Never fear. There is plenty of work to be done, and I’m excited to take a step back and fall more into a project management role and enable my teams to have more opportunities to step up and make projects their own.
With that said, I want to take a second to let everyone know that Atra will be taking the lead on some of the larger projects we have coming up. This is because a lot of them tie into the ACC, but also because I want him having a larger role in the overall Character Sheet system. Please continue to show him the same respect you show me. If it involves having your Character Sheet approved or issues that you see with competitions, direct your questions to my Praetor, Atty.
- Tooltip Update — James has made it so that the tooltips (what comes up when you hover your mouse over a Skill or Force Power) will display the description of the respective tier as listed on the wiki. The idea here is to make it easier to know what a +1 in Piloting can do against a +3. Just remember that, like their wiki counterparts, these are just reference guidelines. If you’re still curious after reading, feel free to ask us. We’re here to help. There was a bug initially with the display tree being off, but that has been patched as of the writing of this report. Thanks to James for the quick fix and for creating yet another amazing feature to make the Character Sheets easier to read and reference. Thank you to Atra for doing all of the manual backend admin.
Feats Linked To Skills/Force Powers — James and Atra are currently working on making it so you will only see Feats that are relevant to your character’s selected Skills or Powers. Keep an eye out for Atra’s reports. James says this will also be present on the front-end of sheets as well if he has his way.
[SA] Writing Department Revamp — We will continue to audit existing exams and create new ones to help make the Writing Department exams helpful tools for members looking not just how to use the club's fictional systems, but to also learn how to improve upon their own writing.
Possessions Integration — We will continue to work with the Regent Staff to incorporate Possessions, Loadouts, and the Character Sheets. This will involve some auditing, tweaking, and additions.
Armor and the ACC — Atra will be covering this in his reports. This is his project. I am providing input and guidance, but this is his project.
ACC Improvements — Again, Atra will be working with his staff and others to continue to make the ACC into an inclusive platform for members to participate in.
CS Mechanic Tweaks — Atra already has a document going for me to look at that looks to update some of the CS mechanics. I’m going to hold off on making any major changes until after The Last Jedi premiers. Last time we had to figure out a way to incorporate Kylo Ren’s
stupidability to freeze a single blaster bolt in place. I’m sure we’ll have a lot to review when the movie drops. Thanks for continued patience.
Character Sheet Creation Guide — This is my personal project I’ll be taking point on. My goal is to revamp the Character Sheet Creation Guide on the Wiki, and to provide complimentary Shadow Academy Exams for it. The goal here will be to help educate new and returning members on how to create and have their character sheet approved.
That should be good for now. There are some more things that I have in mind, but if you have questions, concerns, or want to get involved, please send me an email: [Log in to view e-mail addresses]. Doors always open.
Great Jedi War XII
Well, that was fun. At least, I hope it was as fun for you guys as it was for me. I’ve competed in the last three major Wars that the Brotherhood has run. I competed in every Vendetta and club-wide competition that came in between. This was my first time, though, running something as big as a War. Lets just say it’s humbling. I take back all
most of the shade I’ve thrown at Muz and previous Dark Councils that ran these types of events. To put it simply: shit's hard, yo.
For those of you that missed it, you can find everything you need to know about Great Jedi War XII here on the Twelfth Great Jedi War article. You will be able to see the results, Heros, and rewards. You’ll also start to see some images pulled from graphic and comic entries that were created by members during the War. You can also see the various entries and leaderboard here on the parent competition.
Congratulations to Clan Odan-Urr on their victory. They dominated across the board and earned this through and through. Congratulations also to First Hero Satsi Tameike aka Atty.
The Prologue as well as the first four chapters are present for you to read and catch up on. Sarin is currently working on the 5th and final fiction, and I will follow it up with an Epilogue. We ask for your patience as we get these done— our primary goal was to deliver the results rapidly and to have everything finalized. With both our schedules getting hammered, it’s been tough. Rest assured, you will see these fictions in the coming weeks. Thank you for your patience.
I also plan to, once back from vacation and the holidays, write an anthology series of short fictions covering Marick’s time inside the Collective. This will allow me to answer some questions that came up about the inner workings of the Collective, and explore that story that happened concurrently to the War and sets up the Collective’s internal struggles as an organization.
Speaking of the Collective— a lot of work went into the creation of the Collective. Personally, I poured a lot of my creative energy into making all the NPCs, their quirks, positions, and roles that they filled. I formatted and made the Wiki, their templates, and tried to give as much information as possible to help you guys creatively bring them to life in your stories and artwork. Evant did an amazing job creating the Collective Forces and Fleets, and Vyr made a killer planet to be our setting while also creating the leadership of the Collective. He even wrote the introduction fiction for them, which helped set Sarin and I up to pen the rest of the War fictions. Oh, yeah, and James coded it. All of it. Factions were not a thing before this War. Now they are. (Thanks, James).
The Collective Wiki article will continue to grow and expand, as will the Collective Faction page. More characters will be created as they are flushed out further. Mav and I also have a “Create a Collective NPC” competition in mind for the new year. So, make sure you look out for that, as we want you and your characters to feel connected to the Collective both in and out of character.
But most importantly, thank you to everyone who rolled with the creation of the Collective. As I said, it wasn’t easy, but I’m really excited to have been able to help creatively create this rival for the Brotherhood. It was even better to read all your stories, and to then get to see the art you created about characters I invented in my head. It really made me happy to see, so thank you. I look forward to seeing the Collective in future events and storylines, keeping us honest as we inevitably shift back towards hating one another.
Great Jedi War XII featured two main fiction events— one for each Phase. Concurrently, Atra ran an Event Long Combat Writing Prompt that mirrored fiction but with a focus on combat against the Collective NPC roster. I compiled some quick stats, as well as the Top 10 placements in each of these events, and created an infographic! And there was much rejoicing across the land.
For the web-version, click here.
Before I go into the numbers and charts, I wanted to share the process we used for grading.
For each round, I set out to read every entry that was submitted. This resulted in me reading 80 fictions in a week, followed by 67 fictions in another week. In total, I read 147 fictions. I didn’t count the word counts/pages. Why did I do this? I spent a lot of time pushing each of you over the past year. I’ve talked about how getting an entry in, even if it’s not your best work, is better than no entry at all. I’ve tried in different ways to motivate and get you to write and write and for this War, to compete. Because I asked such a thing of each of you, I felt it was the right thing to read all of your entries personally before paring down my top selection for grading.
After reading through all entries, I selected (based on my quick scribble notes to myself) the top 16 entries I felt stood out from the rest. That top 16 were passed to Farrin and Sarin. Each of them read those top 16 entries, and ranked them in their prefered order. Sarin then averaged all three of our placement scores out, which determined the final placements.
In previous events of this size, fictions were split up into “piles” and given to each grader. The top entries would then be re-read and averaged together to create the final. While I admit this is how I should have handled grading, Sarin and Mav trusted me to try things my way. I appreciate that, and hope that anyone who has concerns or issues with this method takes my transparency here as an olive branch in hopes of sharing my thought process as much as possible with you.
That said, if you are curious about your entry, or want any kind of feedback, please just reach out to me. On Telegram I might be quick/short, but if you email me I can better guarantee I’ll remember to pull up your fiction and chat with you a bit about it. For now, I’ll highlight the things I saw in each of the top entries for each competition.
Please note: The Run-On event was handled by Sarin, and not me. If you’re curious about feedback on that event, drop him a line.
Phase I: Multi-Objective Prompt
This competition earned a lot more entries than the second. I attribute this to two things: the attrition of the overall War and the flexibility of the multiple prompts. Members polled in fiction chat seemed to enjoy the flexibility and option of multi-objective prompts. I think these will be used going forward in Fiction competitions that I run. The idea was to have something for everyone, but I know you can’t make every character type happy. Still, I think we did a good job with this.
The problem with this kind of prompt is that a lot of entries blurred together. That’s not to say there was anything wrong with the technical writing or crafting of stories– more, that the top entries really stood out from the rest in terms of incorporating not just the prompts themselves, but how their character(s) fit into the larger scheme of the overarching war. There were also some instances of trying out different styles of linear storytelling by telling things out of sequence. This is a common trope in war movies and stories, but some members made it rich and organic in their narrative to help them stand out. Esca and Bubba, for example, both wrote stories of reverse-interrogation. The stories began with a character being reprimanded and then asked to explain what happened, so we’re treated to the story from that perspective.
Bubba, the winning entry, worked in a whole arc about the Brotherhood and the Collective's technology. He made the Braga into a living plot point, and his story really hit the ball out of the park. Grot, who I believe this is his first major Brotherhood competition (4th place!), took the infiltration angle and really sold it and covered his characters inner dilemma as becoming a part of a Clan of “Dark” Jedi while simultaneously doing his duty for someone he wants to impress.
All in all, I was really proud of everyone that submitted entries.
Phase II: Survival
I’ve wanted to run this kind of fiction for a whole year now, I think. War prompts can get repetitive – which could be the Dark Crusades burnout still hovering over my shoulder – and so I wanted to change things up and offer a different kind of scenario to put members' characters into. When I explained the event to the DC, both Vyr and Evant seemed to really like the idea. Vyr and I both wished we could even compete in it. I’d have loved this kind of challenge for either of my characters. I know from talking to people that this wasn’t as popular of an event. I understand that, but thank everyone that participated in it despite it not being their favorite. I hope some of you did enjoy this challenge, and I will say that the top entries here really stood out to me as a reader. Whether it was not liking the scenario, or simply war fatigue, I could tell that a lot of the entries were “for participation”. That’s not to say they were bad in anyway, just that I could tell, and sometimes things ended on an ending that was simply unfinished and not really an actual cliffhanger.
What I liked most about the top entries were things like Atty’s visceral, gritty descriptions of her character’s journey in what reminded me of a Tarantino film. Kill Bill-esque, if you would. Bubba, the winning entry (again!) told a longer, more wider-reaching story that tied into his previous fiction and really made it feel like his story was an organic part of the larger war. Qyreia went full on Bear Qyrils, but really won me over with working in the Collective’s cast of NPCs and characters into his story. Vodo’s entry was very, very personal and I loved seeing the character's unrelenting drive. The twist he used at the end was also very good, and I personally enjoyed it as a reader.
This event was created to ensure that anyone that missed out on either the ACC Ladder (from a few months ago) and the ACC Tournament (closed format unit champions) could gain participation credit in the Combat Writing bin. It also allowed members that were not ACC Qualified to participate and get credit, and was hopefully a way to help reach members that were interested in combat writing but had avoided the ACC for one way or the other. I’ll let Atra talk more about that in his own reports, but I have read some of these over and was impressed with what I saw.
We tested two new things in this War in terms of Fiction and Possessions. This was the first major competition where Snapshots and Loadouts were required. I can confidently say that this system works as intended and was a success from a deployment and logistical standpoint. I believe we also proved, similarly, that Alternate Characters can be used in these kinds of events. I anticipate that they will be more integrated going forward.
In closing, I just wanted to thank everyone for the work they put into their entries. It was a pleasure to read all of them, and again, I’m happy to talk about anyone's entries with them. Just remember I’m away for the next week, so email is best and I might be slow to respond.
Since we reached our stretch goal for entries in Phase II, as promised, I finally bit the bullet and took the GMRG exam. You’re welcome, Drac. I hate all of you.
I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you. Thank you to everyone that takes the time to read my reports, leave comments, and give me feedback about the things we are doing everyday. The Voice Staff doesn’t stop working. The ACC Staff is just as much a part of that, and I am confident we will continue to see both teams continue to thrive.
The other night, I was given the privilege of receiving a promotion to the rank of Master (Elder 2). Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think this would actually become a reality. I am humbled, honored, and sincerely grateful to Sarin, Mav, and the rest of my fellow DCers for supporting me and being sympathetic ears to both my struggles and my triumphs. We don’t agree on everything (hi Vyr), but I’m truly blessed to work with this team. Team DC rolls hard, and make sure to congratulate Farrin on his promotion and the rest of the team on their sacramental awards. I hope I can continue to pull my weight in helping them however I can going forward.
Thank you to the friends that have stuck with me through thick and thin, both active and retired. Thank you to those that give me a hard time or doubted me, too. Without you, I doubt I’d have pushed myself so hard to keep working hard and moving forward ;). Forward, always.
Voice Staff Resources Guide - Your one-stop shop for all your fiction needs. You can catch up on past reports and easily find links to Voice Staff policies, guides, and other documentation.
Fiction Center, the one-stop resource for fictional information on the Dark Jedi Brotherhood, it’s characters, stories, and history.
Click here if you’d like to join the DB Fiction chat! We are currently in discussions on how to handle the “Daily Questions” we had going last year, and seeing where we can use this concept to grow the fiction community.
One More Thing
Now that the War is over, just a quick reminder to read the Competition Approval Guidelines when submitting competitions. If you get a remand from one of my staff members, don’t take it as a slight. They are just doing their job. Please make that job easier by reading the guidelines. If we’re missing something in our documentation, let us know and we’ll update or add it. If something is unclear? Let us know and we’ll take care of it. Help us help you.
Finally, I will be out of the country on vacation from Thursday, December 7th until Tuesday, December 12th. If you want to track my escapades, you can follow or message me on Instagram: @w4lly. I will be uninstalling Telegram and not checking my DJB email for the duration of the trip, so please direct any inquiries to Atra, Atty, or Mav. They are your adults while I’m gone.
Thanks, everyone. Happy holidays and winter breaks to those that celebrate or have them.