Houses as Ranks - Discussion
#1
Hey guys, I am working on a pack idea and I was thinking about how the pack ranks would be structured. To be honest, I don't think any of the current different styles would suit this pack, and I was wondering what everyone would think about my idea and whether it would be something they would like playing. First and foremost, rank is 100% IC. There are no post counts or activity requirements (excepting leadership, obviously). There are basically four ranks, Royalty, Nobility, Common, and Slave. What house you are a part of determines what rank you are sorted into.

For example, my character Ovid is the only surviving member of one of two Royal Houses. Therefore he is also the head of that house. Each house has one head of house, generally either the oldest member of the house or the member with the most merits at war, depending on the house's philosophy. They would have some sort of notation indicating they are the head of their house. 

Say wolf is a commoner. He wants to be promoted to a noble house. The only way to be promoted is to either marry into a noble house or do well enough in battle to be made into nobility. In most cases, if he were being promoted, the rest of his house would remain commoners. Occasionally, however, for exceptional deeds his entire house would be promoted and they would now become a noble house (especially if he was the head of house). 

Slaves have very little chance of being set free, and if they were it is more likely they would leave the pack rather than stay as Commoners. 

It is possible for a character and/or their house to be demoted. 

The idea is that, because the pack has such intense ideology, it wouldn't make sense for a commoner to rise to super high rank if they don't go to battle because their player is super active with them. I want a really smart and intense battle to be promoted and don't really want characters to be able to be promoted just because their players post a lot. It should make sense ICly for them to be promoted.

The downside to this is that ranks would likely be very static. The way I battle this is by introducing merits of war. Basically the more active a character is in battle/raiding etc the more status they have in the pack, even if they are commoners. I don't know yet how I will balance this to avoid people just going out and killing a bunch of NPCs, likely I will put a lot of pressure on players to design smart plots and smart threads (rather than having their character come across trespassers every other thread). It still needs work, and I'm really excited to finish writing it up and posting it so everyone can give me feedback. 

That being said, this mechanic will likely replace co-ranks. I think that, rather than having characters place a lot of value in having different jobs and specializing in them in a pack that finds doing their regular jobs something normal and placing a lot of value in warfare, it makes more sense to have a system that differentiates status by focusing on deeds in war.

But what about characters that don't like war? They won't have a lot of status. This is by design. There are ways around this, such as by becoming a shaman. By doing so, you are separated from regular politics and warfare and your entire goal is to become more connected with the spiritual world. You are still a part of your house, of course, but the rank system you are in will naturally be different. Otherwise, it is expected of everyone that they will spend their summer raiding and the rest of the year preparing for the next season (and trading their goods). If you aren't interested in that, then you won't be respected.

Would this be something y'all would be interested in? Again, still need to work on it, but those are the basics.
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#2
AAAAA JUNI'S MAKING A PACK AAAAAAA

Ahem. So. Here are my thoughts, thought they're purely my own opinions and personal preferences!

Quote:To be honest, I don't think any of the current different styles would suit this pack, and I was wondering what everyone would think about my idea and whether it would be something they would like playing. First and foremost, rank is 100% IC. There are no post counts or activity requirements (excepting leadership, obviously). There are basically four ranks, Royalty, Nobility, Common, and Slave. What house you are a part of determines what rank you are sorted into.

Just this sort of rank distribution and in-character requirements immediately reminds me of Salsola, but there's enough here to differentiate the two. I assume that, unlike SL, one won't be able to just fly up the "mid echelon" ranks? I know that in there activity alone can have your characters rocketing up three ranks in three months - but I do believe that's the same for all packs.

Questions:
  • Will there be sub-ranks, so that two members of, let's say, Peasantry of different levels of experience, prowess or renown don't enjoy the same levels of respect? Or will the ranks remain this broad, with respect being purely an in-character thing? If they do, I have to say that would be very unique for a 'Souls pack!
  • Could you tell us more about the expectations and duties associated with each rank? Looking at them, I would have no qualms playing any - a covering slave, a hardworking peasant, a silver-tongued noble, a righteous royal - but it would be nice to know how these various ranks interact and intersect with one another.
  • How would you prevent active members, or those with enough friends or NPCs to plot with, from flooding the upper ranks? Going back to Salsola, there are currently seven noble houses, three lesser houses and only one fell house. It makes it obvious most players strive to have their characters rank high, but wouldn't it make more sense for it to be the other way around? A few lofty noble houses, numerous lesser ones dreaming of status and perhaps many households of slaves, their lives reliant on their masters? 
Overall, its a good hierarchy. Very A Song of Ice and Fire. Leaves lots of room for spicy personal plots and stories of rise and fall!

Quote:For example, my character Ovid is the only surviving member of one of two Royal Houses. Therefore he is also the head of that house. Each house has one head of house, generally either the oldest member of the house or the member with the most merits at war, depending on the house's philosophy. They would have some sort of notation indicating they are the head of their house.

can't believe they let a drag queen become a royal
  • You mention each house has their own philosophy? How much is it allowed to differ from the morals of this obviously warmongering pack? 
  • Will there be premade houses at the pack's inception for players to join out-of-character? 
  • Will some houses be spared the obligations of warfare - expect for in dire circumstances - if they're, for example, a Commoner house of leatherworkers or carpenters? 
Quote:Say wolf is a commoner. He wants to be promoted to a noble house. The only way to be promoted is to either marry into a noble house or do well enough in battle to be made into nobility. 
  • How do we define "doing well in battle"? Because I imagine players would always write their characters as winning or doing cool stuff. How would you enforce realism?

Quote:It is possible for a character and/or their house to be demoted.

Oooh, that's the spice I was looking for.

  • How low can a member of a Royal house fall? How high can a Slave rise?
  • What sort of crimes - and how heinous must they be to - warrant demotion? Is it possible to turn a packmate into a slave as punishment?
Quote:The idea is that, because the pack has such intense ideology, it wouldn't make sense for a commoner to rise to super high rank if they don't go to battle because their player is super active with them. I want a really smart and intense battle to be promoted and don't really want characters to be able to be promoted just because their players post a lot. It should make sense ICly for them to be promoted.

The downside to this is that ranks would likely be very static. The way I battle this is by introducing merits of war. Basically the more active a character is in battle/raiding etc the more status they have in the pack, even if they are commoners. I don't know yet how I will balance this to avoid people just going out and killing a bunch of NPCs, likely I will put a lot of pressure on players to design smart plots and smart threads (rather than having their character come across trespassers every other thread). It still needs work, and I'm really excited to finish writing it up and posting it so everyone can give me feedback.

I like this! It somewhat bugs me that advancing a rank in other packs seems to be a wholly OOC thing. How does a pack member know they've advanced a rank? Who tells them? With this sort of structure and rules, the rank climb and fall - or even just basic interacting with other members - become more engaging.

But now a question: 
  • Who will the pack be battling? Other packs? How do they prevent or defend against retaliation? Surely it would eventually run out of prey or be swarmed by enemies bonding together to crush it.
...Aaaaand I wrote a lot more but my page refreshed and it was all lost. R.I.P.
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#3
Unfortunately I am on mobile but I really wanted to reply to this -- I will try to edit in quotes when I get back to my laptop!

My initial thoughts is that this would be great to run as a Loner Band before going for full-fledged pack status; they're a good way to gather players and characters and establish families in-game that could potentially become the Houses of the pack! I'm sure you've already thought of this but, y'know, wanted to plug LBs since they're tailored for that sort of thing to organically form a bigger and bigger group before becoming official ;D

I find the Houses very interesting, but I think it is worth mentioning that the reason most packs use post count for rank checks is it's usually pretty indictive of the player's (and character's) involvement in the pack; generally, more posts means the character is doing more around the pack and getting their name out there or earning jobs! Although I do think it'd be neat to have something a bit more static; I just think that standardized rank progression gives players a reason to be invested and want to post more (e.g. "I need at least 10 posts this month and a co-rank or two to get promoted, that's a pretty achievable goal").

That said, I dig the idea that IC prestige or 'marrying into' a Royal House is what drives rank progression! This is a concept we have over in NC but it's never really utilized bahaha, I think in part because the regular way of gaining promotions (post count/co-rank etc.) seems more conventional xD BUT it adds a nice layer of drama on top of everything and lord knows players like me love a little political drama, hehe.

I like that you've allowed for alternatives if a player doesn't want their character to go the war/raid route -- I think this is an area that can be expanded upon to allow for a bit more variety and give the pack some well-roundedness. This could be where charming upper houses or engaging in some debauchery could come into play, as well; "Grant me a seat at the table and I'll be in your debt" or "Do what I say or everyone will know your dirty laundry" sort of debauchery.

If players go in with the expectation that they are just as likely to rise as they are to fall, that could definitely lead to a lot of potential plots; I know that I personally love torturing my characters and would love to see them rise from being a slave to a good House, only to fall back down again xD

Anyway, losing my train of thought here, but I will be keeping an eye on this! I think fleshing out the rank progression and the potential group's overall goal and philosophy can give this more of a grounded feel. :> It's definitely a lot different than the typical 'Souls pack -- which can potentially be a deterrent, since it's inherently different, but I'm interested to see where you go with it!
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#4
Hello! I wanted to expand on something with a potential suggestion! <:

As veldt said - starting out as a loner band?? Is a great idea and tool and allows for a more natural progression towards building a structure for a pack, and I'd highly recommend it ;D

However: Having a noble house/more static ranking system would be interesting - but I do think you lose out on some of the motivating factors of gauging, well, engagement of characters and their contributions to a pack as a whole! Political intrigue is fun and driving way to engage players (just look at SL, with all it's secrets and naughtiness and how dang old that pack is!) but, perhaps some folks could benefit on some form of mobility within the houses themselves? You mentioned there's a head of house; perhaps there can be a handful of other positions, that way there's not only driving potential political friction between families but the opportunity to disseminate friction within households themselves as folks jockey for positions with the head's favor?

I actually rather like the idea of static groups within a pack, though it may be difficult to latch onto initially for some folks without the feeling of 'progression' <: so it may be best to utilize and expand upon the ideas of 'mobility' in other aspects!
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#5
Thank you for replying Bees! I was getting nervous as the views went up but nobody was commenting. ;-;
Quote:Just this sort of rank distribution and in-character requirements immediately reminds me of Salsola
I was definitely inspired by SL! In fact, at first there weren't going to be as many ranks, there was literally just going to be a war chief, a council of elders, a shaman, and everyone else. All other ways of earning respect had to be through IC achievements. Then, as the pack became more humanized and eurocentric it made more sense to expand the rank system to houses. I have also added a twist, adding internal strife between the older generation, which generally practices Catholicism, and the younger generation, which doesn't practice a religion but rather believes in animism. This comes from the younger generation getting frustrated with the brutality of the current king and wanting a change, and going back to their roots (hence the return to shamanism, rather than having Catholic priests, though there are still priests, they are just less important as those that practice Catholicism die out). So, yeah, look forward to reading more about that (can you tell I'm really into world-building? I keep on getting distracted from introducing the pack to you guys because I get all these new ideas and have to expand on the pack RIP).

That being said, the Salsolan rank system is very different from this rank system. In fact, I'd go so far to say that this rank system is a lot like the Salsolan house system, but nothing like the rank system. The key differences are why and how a character ranks up.
Quote:Will there be sub-ranks, so that two members of, let's say, Peasantry of different levels of experience, prowess or renown don't enjoy the same levels of respect? Or will the ranks remain this broad, with respect being purely an in-character thing? If they do, I have to say that would be very unique for a 'Souls pack!
There will not be subranks! Let me explain more thoroughly. In the pack, houses tend to live together in units, far from other houses, but convene for ceremonies, events, and war. Each house has a head of house, but does not have any other rank system besides puppy, which is a special rank (there are a lot of ceremonies in this rank that celebrates the major events in a puppy's life). The heads of house are (obviously) most important because they are the voice of their house. They are elected by their house to represent their house in meetings and to lead their house in making important decisions. These important decisions can include deciding which path a puppy will take in their life, or which of their family members will go to war, or (for noble houses) going to court and advising meetings. 

Therefore, respect between two adult commoners that are not heads of their house will be determined purely by IC achievements. 
Quote:Could you tell us more about the expectations and duties associated with each rank? Looking at them, I would have no qualms playing any - a covering slave, a hardworking peasant, a silver-tongued noble, a righteous royal - but it would be nice to know how these various ranks interact and intersect with one another.
Of course! Royals are expected to do. . . honestly not much except make decisions that will affect the entire pack. Some members of the royalty go above and beyond, excelling in warfare or becoming shamans, but generally speaking, many will not do much.

Nobility are officers in war. They are in charge of making decisions that will affect their subjects. They will, accordingly, also take on much of the achievements that they and their squad have accomplished, even if that particular achievement should rightfully go to a commoner soldier. This will vary on an individual basis. 

Commoners are the foot soldiers and the laborers. They will likely spend much of their time in the off seasons creating goods, trading, or herding sheep. Commoners can be extremely wealthy, despite their status, especially if they are traders and excel in war. 

Before I go any further I'd like to talk about the law. The law generally protects everyone to varying degrees except the slaves. This is something important to note, since the law is incredibly brutal. If a crime is committed against a slave, it is common that the perpetrator will have to pay a fine to the slave's owner to cover the time that the job wasn't able to work because they were recovering/dead. Even murder is often looked over, especially if done by a noble or royalty, and they will likely have to buy the slave's contract off the owner in order to cover the costs. Now that you have a hint into what life is like for slaves, onward.

Slaves are expected to serve their owners. Slaves are owned by houses, not by individuals, and thus serve entire houses. It is generally expected for houses to own more slaves as they grow larger/gain more status. Most slaves are enslaved as prisoners of war, and the Alaren can thus rationalize their poor treatment of them. It is unlikely that they should ever release their slaves, except for exceptionally long and loyal service or spectacular deeds. It is likely that these released slaves will leave the pack, simply because it wouldn't be safe for them to stay. 
Quote:How would you prevent active members, or those with enough friends or NPCs to plot with, from flooding the upper ranks? Going back to Salsola, there are currently seven noble houses, three lesser houses and only one fell house. It makes it obvious most players strive to have their characters rank high, but wouldn't it make more sense for it to be the other way around? A few lofty noble houses, numerous lesser ones dreaming of status and perhaps many households of slaves, their lives reliant on their masters?
Yeah! So right now I have to work on the rank system a bit more (which is why I posted here for help). I think this is why having a very static rank system is nice, because that would prevent the upper ranks from being flooded because characters are being promoted purely because they are active. That being said, if characters get promoted because of complex and in-depth plots, then I think that they deserve to be promoted in a system like this, don't you? 

A cool thing is that Ovid is coming here to set up a trading post. That trading post becomes something more as he creates a second pack and they start to try to expand their empire. It would make sense for them, then to have very few noble houses at first as a few members come with him from his pack. Then as new folks from 'Souls join, they join as Commoners. It takes a lot to be promoted, and it would make sense for the pack to be wary of promoting outsiders to nobility unless they were absolutely sure of their loyalty. Therefore we'd have an influx of characters joining from 'Souls as Commoners and then more joining from the pack itself as Slaves, Commoners, Nobility, and Royalty (yes, you can adopt a royal character). 
Quote:You mention each house has their own philosophy? How much is it allowed to differ from the morals of this obviously warmongering pack?
Honestly, I haven't thought too far into this besides how heads of house are elected. Some houses believe that age is the best determiner of wisdom and skill, while others believe that achievements are. There isn't a rule for how heads of house are elected, but there are certainly patterns. Obviously each house is going to be different, with different goals and ideals. They will be allowed to be however they want, but to be honest, if they don't align that well with the pack itself, they might not have that much respect within the pack. I think this leaves a lot of room for change over time within the pack, which could be really fun for folks as they establish their houses. 
Quote:Will there be premade houses at the pack's inception for players to join out-of-character?
Yes! There will be a few! I don't want to make too many because I want to give players the opportunity to make their own. But there are some houses already made just because I needed to make them during the world building process and I would like to give players the opportunity to adopt from these houses. For example, players can adopt from the reigning royal house and create a character that is also fleeing (or competing in) the succession battle. Alternatively, there is a Noble house, the Amata, that nearly succeeded in wiping out the (non-reigning) royal house Beatrix, failing to kill only Ovidius Beatrix. Those who knew of the attempt and those who participated in it were executed. Perhaps your character is holding a grudge or do they hate their relatives for bringing shame upon their house? There are a lot of options, and you can totally create your own house with its own history, within reason (don't create a house that tried to kill off another house without gaining permission from the other house first).  
Quote:Will some houses be spared the obligations of warfare - expect for in dire circumstances - if they're, for example, a Commoner house of leatherworkers or carpenters?
Generally speaking, no. At least some members of every house will be expected to participate in warfare, even if they are a house of leatherworkers. That being said, shamans are exempts from this rule. And, when you have a house full of skilled workers, they will be asked to put forward at least one person to go to war. Whereas houses that specialize in warfare will be expected to actually go to war (and these houses are very well respected). This is not to say that skilled workers are not respected, they absolutely are. This just means that they will likely not have as much status as a warrior their age and class. 
Quote:How do we define "doing well in battle"? Because I imagine players would always write their characters as winning or doing cool stuff. How would you enforce realism?
;-; Way to punch me in the gut. I think that these IC rewards are going to be very important to the pack, but they're also going to very hard to set up in a way that is fair. Most important to me is that players don't go out and start killing NPCs to gain achievements or starting wars with other packs without the consent of pack leaders. That being said, I think a point system would be good. This way players can see that killing an NPC isn't going to net them that many points, whereas setting up a plot with other characters (they don't need to kill other characters to gain a lot of points) and following through with this plot would get them points. I don't think that we should judge awarding points by how well a character does in battle, necessarily, but rather on a more individual basis. Players will have to submit a form to Leadership in order to be rewarded points, to be clear.

For example (and consent will have to be given by all players involved), say Wolf is a noble and he is in charge of a squad of fighters. He is also a coward and not a good fighter. Dog is a good fighter but he is a commoner under wolf's command. While on a patrol they come across Red Wolf and end up having to fight them off, and Dog saves Wolf's life. However, when they return to the pack Wolf takes all the credit for the battle and therefore he gets the merit for the battle, not Dog. 

This isn't fair, but that's how it is sometimes. It doesn't matter that Wolf was a coward, that he didn't do cool things, or that he didn't win. He was a noble and in charge of that squadron, so ICly he was able to claim those points. As long as all the players are alright with that, at least. 
Quote:How low can a member of a Royal house fall? How high can a Slave rise?
A member of a Royal house? Honestly, the only way they would likely be demoted is by committing treason and they're more likely to be killed for that than demoted, so Royals are likely out. Slaves, same thing. If freed, it's probably safer for them to leave the pack rather than stay. Theoretically, however, a Royal can be enslaved and a slave can be freed and marry into Royalty (very unlikely).
Quote:What sort of crimes - and how heinous must they be to - warrant demotion? Is it possible to turn a packmate into a slave as punishment?
I'll be honest, treason is it. If the treason is bad enough, you're more likely to be executed than demoted. If it's just baby treason then demotion for you and maybe your entire house. And yes, packmates can be enslaved, though it is rare. 
Quote:Who will the pack be battling? Other packs? How do they prevent or defend against retaliation? Surely it would eventually run out of prey or be swarmed by enemies bonding together to crush it.
Again, Ovid will be setting up a trading outpost. He isn't necessarily looking to go to war here. The pack is battling other packs, though they have definitely calmed down in recent years as they've absolutely crushed the other packs in the region and gained a lot of wealth.
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#6
Yay! Thank you veldt for the reply! <3
Quote:My initial thoughts is that this would be great to run as a Loner Band before going for full-fledged pack status
This is actually the plan! Ovid is going to arrive with a small group of other Alaren (I'll need to get a couple other folks on board, though I know some have expressed interest, so really we just need to do it) and they will form a loner band. Then they'll get to know folks and start grouping up and eventually form a pack! 
Quote:I find the Houses very interesting, but I think it is worth mentioning that the reason most packs use post count for rank checks is it's usually pretty indictive of the player's (and character's) involvement in the pack
This is something I had not thought of! I'll have to find some sort of way to replace this, perhaps an IC prize beside promotion for player involvement and posting. Just because I absolutely do want to reward activity, I just also want to avoid having a ton of high-ranking characters and few low-ranking characters (which would be an entirely different gameplay experience in this model!) because of activity. 
Quote:I like that you've allowed for alternatives if a player doesn't want their character to go the war/raid route -- I think this is an area that can be expanded upon to allow for a bit more variety and give the pack some well-roundedness
I definitely agree! I like when other packs have guilds and the like, and I'll have to think hard about how to incorporate other ways for characters to play in the pack when they aren't at war (because war isn't the only thing happening, it's only going on for one season, and in the pack itself they won't necessarily be raiding every year (unless that's something players are interested in)). I think it would be cool if Houses have trade specialties, especially common houses. Obviously slave houses are just going to be serving the other houses, and Noble houses will be focusing more on war and religion, while Royal houses are just making decisions about the pack. 
Quote:If players go in with the expectation that they are just as likely to rise as they are to fall, that could definitely lead to a lot of potential plots; I know that I personally love torturing my characters and would love to see them rise from being a slave to a good House, only to fall back down again xD
Yes, I love this! Especially since, with the politics in the pack, houses could totally frame houses. And it would be so easy to frame slaves and ex-slaves for your character's crimes.
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#7
Yay Despi! Thanks for replying! 

I think it would be good to talk about mobility, and how characters can still gain respect ICly through OOC effort! Because I think folks have misunderstood (I didn't explain clearly).

I think it would be really fun to have to have a really hard struggle to get your character promoted. Maybe it would even take years to get promoted, if we're talking Slave->Nobility or something. And there would be ceremonies and feasts when characters are promoted. And when you are promoted, you are trying to take your whole house with you, so you have to work so hard to prove to the king that you are loyal and worthy of this role. Newly promoted houses could be discriminated against by old houses, there could be drama and intrigue. And, of course, there is the whole fact that the Law isn't fair and doesn't protect everyone equally. 


Quote:so it may be best to utilize and expand upon the ideas of 'mobility' in other aspects!

Okay, so first and foremost I'd like to expand upon the concept of merits of war and the path of shamans. I've already talked about merits of war a bit in my reply to Bees, so if anyone has any questions regarding that, please ask and I'll answer! Now let's talk about shamans.

They have a different rank system than everyone else. Though they are still a member of their house, they have abandoned politics and dedicated themselves to the spiritual world, so rather than saying [Class] House of [House Name] (e.g. Royal House of Beatrix) as their rank, they would say their rank within the shamans (e.g. Apprentice Shaman or Elder Shaman). Promotions within the house is a mix of IC achievements (IC threads like coranks) and time spent within the shaman group (an Elder Shaman can't be 3 y/o no matter how genius they are when typically Elders are at least 8 y/o). 

Shamans can still get married and be with their house and family, but they have their own politics (technically, perhaps not in practice, depending on the shaman). They are in charge of all the ceremonies in the pack, guiding celebrations and funerals and ensuring that they don't have any spirits upset with them (in fact, they want to be in the spirits' good graces). Especially regarding puppies, who are viewed as vulnerable, precious, and weak, the shamans are in charge of protecting them from danger. This is why in the first year of life there are many ceremonies celebrating a puppy's major life development and ensuring that a puppy is properly protected. Shamans are incredibly important to the pack and are regarded in very high esteem by all. 

The concept of gaining wealth is another aspect of mobility that one can take advantage of. Believe it or not, sheep are also incredibly important to the pack. A landrace of sheep native to the area is shepherded by the Alaren, and those who own sheep are viewed in high esteem and regarded as wealthy members of the pack. Though Ovid is Royalty and he has many merits in war, he has no family and no sheep, and therefore he is not quite as wealthy as even a Common house with a lot of sheep. One can also enslave canines or buy enslaved canines in order to increase their status. 

Sorry it took a sec to reply, I went and ate breakfast! <3
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#8
I see - I'm still kinda struggling with some aspects! I've got a few follow up questions revolving, largely, I feel, around hypotheticals were this to graduate from "Loner Band" (which I think fits the 'static' aspect very well!) to a Pack:

  1. Does this mean that promotion would be largely up to Leader discretion?
    • Not to poke a hole, but it is something to consider! Looking at a 'promotional' system that isn't entirely a promotional system in this way may be very taxing to a prospective leader from the technical standpoint; it means having to have a bead on every which thing goes on within every players' plots, which, could be... Difficult, to say the least! If so, follow up question: On an OOC basis, what would determine a character's mobility through ranks, would it be based on activity or consistency?
    • A follow up with Bees' question in regards to standing in combat realism and plotting out conflict between characters in order to achieve an exalted status: Will Leadership have to sit in on players' plotting for this to ensure things play out fairly? What if a plot falls through? Are losses still weighed towards points with combat, or is it only tallied by successful wins, and if so, how will you balance players so they don't end up over-inflated with a disproportionate amount of wins? Would, perhaps, leaders weigh in with a coin toss determining combat outcomes if they're intended to move towards promotions? Expanding on this: if a character gets into an "unplanned" conflict and comes out a victor, would they be able to exploit this towards promotion?

  2. From an IC standpoint, what gives Royal/Noble houses legitimacy and authority, if, for instance, as you say, certain common houses may accrue more wealth than theirs? Would an exceptionally wealthy Common house be catapulted into a Noble status based on their capital, or is it strictly based on combat prowess? Are there ways to circumvent combat effectivity and get exalted in other ways?

  3. How do they prevent infighting within their social structures, should Common House X believe they are more legitimate as far as noble status than Noble House Y? Could entire houses be deposed by a sudden usurpation?
    • Alternatively: are there ways that noble or royal houses could even be dissolved? What if, on the off chance, the players for a royal house go inactive, does their house still qualify for legitimate standing on decisions?

  4. You mentioned Shamans in an example in regards to alternative 'houses'! For brevity's sake, I'll simply refer to these other groups as "null ranks", since it sounds like they are predominantly specialist guild type things - BUT, where do they fit in with the class hierarchy of the pack? You mentioned that they have a promotional system all their own; what's the difference between this and a sub-rank within the house itself (which you mentioned don't really exist), or are they entirely separate standing entities?
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#9
Many RPs I've been on pre-my arrival on 'Souls had a system where you either chose your rank going in, or, were allowed to "organically" work up the ranks through actual played-out RP content. So, a more static system is certainly doable, and has been done in places outside 'Souls!

I'm going to touch more on logistics than anything else x3

  • Reason for Post Counts
    'Souls ranking system being based on Post Counts allows Leadership to reward active players. Inactivity can get your character demoted, and can help Leadership "clean" their ranks of inactive characters, and also help prevent inactive players from hogging higher ranks. 'Souls' rules means that you can't force a player's character to make an action that would, ICly, get them demoted. Using a promotion system that, at its core, is based on Post Counts can help Leadership get rid of/move inactive characters without touching specifically on the "why," thus leaving it up to the player to decide on their own on "why/how" their character got demoted.

    Individual packs are allowed to: 1) set goal posts for promotion/demotion, 2) add additional reasons to bar/limit characters from Promotion. Some packs have IC time constraints (ex. must be within [RANK] for X months before they can be promoted), others require Co-Ranks (more recently, Co-Rank Tier requirements), and then there are some ranks that require specific Thread Prompts to be completed before a character can be promoted. Players are always welcome to contact their leadership as well if they don't want their character to be promoted — which is rare, and also is why most characters "skyrocket" up the ranks as they do; people don't want to be barred a promotion if they land one. If a player doesn't really care about promotion, they're not going to do the added work to get promoted (ex. meeting post count + other additional requirements).

    Post Counts are a tool to help keep ranks from stagnating (by allowing Leadership a means to move characters around) and encourage activity, which keeps the forum/pack active. So, while there's nothing inherently bad about 100% IC requirements for Promotion/Demotion, there are benefits -- as a Leader -- to having Post Counts play a role in the vertical movement of characters within your pack.

    I understand that this would be hard to implement if there IS no true rank system, but, rather, a system based on community social standing. Which leads me to...

  • Group Social Status vs. True Ranks
    In my opinion, this "Houses as Ranks" idea can work great for off-board areas (ex. San's Onuba), but, from a Leadership standpoint, would be harder to implement with an active pack. It can certainly be done, no doubt, but, it might mean more work on the backend to make sure things run smoothly. Issues you could run into:

    • Possibility for Player Toxicity — As the ranks are run more like groups/sects within the pack, you'd have to avoid players getting toxic and clique-ish with each other. Players can certainly have House pride, however, that "pride" can very quickly turn ugly. OOC can be taken into IC very easily, which can lead to things from overbalance of Houses (ex. Player has all their friends -- and only their friends -- join their House), players being barred from getting into higher ranks due to OOC bullying, or, simple in-fighting between Houses (read: player cliques getting shitty with each other) or even within Houses (House Leader doesn't like you as a Player, so, sucks to be your character in particular, or, you get ostracized within your own House because of OOC issues taken IC). Just something to keep in mind!

      Despite having a House/Social status system in place as well, I don't think this is an issue with Salsola, for example, because the House and its social status are more for "flavor" for player emersion and fun rather than what, truly, dictates your standing in the pack. Same goes for New Caledonia and how their children are promoted upon reaching adulthood; it's more for added flare, as the ranks are what truly decide your "status" within the pack.

    • Maintaining Houses — Unlike a true rank system, Houses could come and go as they become vacant of active players, yes? This would mean a lot of changes done on Leadership's end to keep up with the changes made to these. The alternative option would be to have set permanent Houses within your pack. Mistfell Vale had "Houses" for their characters to be sorted within, however, these Houses held no difference in social standing over one another, and had ranks within them.

  • Fighting as a Requirement for Promotion
    Keep in mind that, most players on here don't even like to do training threads, and less would consider themselves "good" at fighting threads. As well, when it comes to fighting, many people struggle with balancing out a fight where the "win" is not entirely one-sided. This is particularly seen when against an NPC. It's easy for players to make their characters overpowered, have flawless victories, or win battles with only few/minor injuries (if any at all). A few also struggle with grasping realism in regards to the fighting itself, severity of wounds, as well as recovery time and consequences from injuries. While there's nothing wrong with a pack whose promotion system is based off of fighting, these are things to keep in mind.

    Something else to consider though would be who your pack members will be fighting to garner their promotions. It's unrealistic to have an endless barrage of canon fodder NPCs to help players rank up. Organizing a fight between played characters can be tricky. Conflicts against other Packs/Loner Bands require a lot of OOC Communication to sort out beforehand. From a realism standpoint too, attacking one of 'Souls' current "super" packs would likely end up with your newbie pack being wiped off the map rather quickly...

    That is to say, there's nothing wrong with a pack that thrives off conflict! However, just keep in mind of the issues (IC, OOC, and with realism) that might come of it.

  • Player Stagnation
    If there are no co-ranks to be obtained, and no promotions to be had unless through very specific, very special means, you have to give other things for players to strive for in your pack to keep them interested and active. If your players have nothing to do or work towards, they'll become bored. Boredom can lead to inactivity, and inactivity can very quickly lead to your pack being disbanded.

    Running plots can be very tiresome as a Leader, and doing so month-after-month is a quick way to burn yourself out and drain your players, too, as they try to constantly keep up with what's going on. As well, not every plot is something every player (or their character!) will be interested in. If you have a non-combative or non-religious character, what do you have to work towards? Why be a carpenter if you can't even get recognition (via Co-Rank) from having such skills?

    Just some things to consider!

  • Re: Assumptions for Promotions / Demotions
    Since I saw it brought up, I thought I'd explain. It's largely OOCly assumed that your character is told they were promoted, as well as that their actions around the pack (or lack thereof) is the reason why they were promoted/demoted. How they're informed, is up to Leadership/the Player if they are particularly interested in writing such scenarios. Many packs have summaries that explain a rank's role and general duties, and, for simplicity's sake, it's generally assumed that, your OOC activity = your character's IC involvement "off-screen" in the pack and performing the duties of their given rank.

    If these OOC assumptions weren't made, that'd mean that you, as a leader, would have to RP out every promotion/demotion change within your pack. You'd either be wasting your time doing a lot of single one-on-one threads, or, a pack meeting every single month that there are changes within your pack (which, as a Leader, WILL get old).

    Using Post Count activity to roughly = a character's IC pack involvement helps players also focus on other things to write about. How many people are able to finish threads the same month that they start them? On average, it feels like most threads tend to take a full month, if not two months to complete. And that's just one thread. If these assumptions weren't used, that'd mean that you, as a player, would have to dedicate specific threads to your character performing menial tasks that are promotion-worthy instead of being able to use 'Souls as what it's meant for; a creative outlet for writing fun AU scenarios of a character you created and like. Each month would become a chore. As a leader, that'd mean that you would have to be heavily involved in everything and anything going on in your pack (we already are, but, not to such extremes :p). It's already hefty work doing normal leader stuff, so, unless 'Souls is your LIFE, you're not going to read each and every thread in your own pack, and keep tabs on who is doing what and then judge if their actual RP'd content in their threads started that month is good enough for a promotion.

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#10
Okay this gives me a lot to think about and I'm glad that I posted this discussion thread! I can see (especially after Song's post) that I didn't understand leadership roles or the game mechanics all that well except what I've experienced as a player and read in the guides y'all wrote (which makes sense). Thanks for the explanations, DMs, and comments, I really appreciate them! For now I'm gonna close this discussion (unless anyone else has something they're dying to say that hasn't already been said, also remember you can DM me on discord) while I rework the idea!

<3 <3 <3
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