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Meta Linkshell Concept for ARR


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So. I have been kicking around a concept for a Meta-Shell. Basically, a shell that contains a membership that actively crosses the boundaries of other link shells in the community. More than a group of friends, companions, mercenaries, adventurers, et cetera, this would be a group that specifically unifies any and (hopefully all) characters that fall into a broad bailiwick. The idea being to inspire cross shell role-play.


The base concept is a collection of Oschon followers, and is expanded to include others. The "other" category would be those who do not necessarily follow Oschon as a deity, but do fall under what would be considered under Oschon's bailiwick. Examples being; vagrants, adventurers, explorers, thieves/bandits, and even teachers (Halone is Oschon's student and companion after all). This collections purpose is to share information, not to be confused with knowledge (which would be more Thaliak's bailiwick). The group is much more interested in that which can be practically applied, rather than studied and debated. They gather information, secrets, et cetera, and share it with one another. They also probably tend to meddle, but that is not a hard requirement.


The collection is a secret one. There are no limiters put on the individual members to keep the group's secrets, other than the trust that the rest of the group places in it's members, and the social stigma that would result from betrayal of that trust. The organization has no leadership, and no overly complex structure. In the rare event that the group must adopt some sort of overarching policy (which is probably incredibly temporary in terms of length) it is determined democratically, with each individual member receiving one vote (think how pirate crews and such determined a captain or charter terms). The group also does not impose or enforce any specific form of morality beyond what individual members adhere to themselves. Likewise, the group will have not restrictions on the types of organizations individual members are allowed to join. In short, this is a group very much dedicated to the concept of individual freedom over structure.


There are a few rough cultural ideas bouncing around in my brain. Stuff like coded markings left on trails or in cities, methods of covertly identifying individual members in public, etc. Ideas that keep sticking around for me at present are things like one member marking part of Oschon's symbol down, to have it be completed by another member (similar to how early Christians identified one another with the fish symbol), or verbal triggers such as specific songs or subject matter being referenced in public conversation.


If interested in membership of collaboration in bringing this thing to life, please reply to this thread and we'll get some conversation going. All the better to hash out details before we all pop up in Beta in about a month.


Thank you in advance for your time/interest. I look forward to hashing this out and RPing stuff with you guys.




PS - It should be noted that I am flexible as far as anything already set down in this post. I would like for this to be a true collaboration with members of the community.

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Just as a forward, there isn't going to be any structure at all to this post. I'm just letting the stream of consciousness take flow. So you briefly mentioned about symbols and what not that the group, I'll refer to them as the Brotherhood for now. That made me think of the Shadowmarks from Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Now unfortunately there would really be no way to represent this in game. Unless we had a sort of wiki of our own, or it was passed around by word of mouth on the shell.


Such an organization shouldn't really have any sort of 'organized' leadership, nor should there ever be the illusion that one member holds more weight than any other. (Even if that member is constantly providing information or other resources to the rest of the Brotherhood.) To have some form of true leadership would detract from the nature of this idea and what it represents. It is, and I don't want to just echo the OP but I do feel he's got it right on a lot of levels, a society of men and women that follows the 'tenants' of Oschon. And while these aren't exactly known or strict guidelines, I think that adds to the overall feel of the society.


I don't think that anyone should approach this with the thought that this sort of things is going to be their 'main shell' as it were. Rather, it should be the network that the members can fall back on and probe when in search of information or perhaps extra hands in activities that require delicate work.


Personally, I don't this society will be some sort of "thieve's guild". That would give the group too much of a slant and too clearly define what it is. Rather it should always remain ephemeral. Any sort of meeting between members staged as such should be few and far between should there be any at all, and it could go so far that the members of the Brotherhood don't even know all the names to the voices that would be a part of it.


One asks, "How would I get into this exclusive club?" Well you would simply have to role-play with members and if they thought that you fit the bill, then you might find yourself in possession of a shell. No member should have any more say on who gets into the shell than any other, but the members should certainly be choosy, and have every right to be. It wouldn't exactly be a secret if everyone was in it now would it?


Some initial random thoughts. I'll add more later as I very much like this idea. I'll close with this, this shell isn't for everyone and it shouldn't ever be for everyone. This shell is for those who are infatuated with the concept of Oschon. A wanderer, vagrant, teacher, sneak, etc.

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As far as the marks go, I am envisioning passing such information along via the shell. I am not against having a wiki thing, but that would seem to be a bit much on the effort front at this phase. Once we have a great handle numbers of people involved, we can cross that bridge. I also agree that this should by no means be considered a main shell. The initial concept is for it to be a "linking shell" for lack of a better term. That being, something that links characters across many "main shells." I also very much want the main culture of the shell to be determined by its membership. There will be thieves, but by no means will every member be a thief. If that makes any sense. It is also worth pointing out that the concepts of a "Brotherhood" or "Fraternity" fit very well along the lines of my thinking. I am also a fan of passing out pearls being based on the individual. The idea of the 1.0 officer stars meaning anything IC at all with the shell sticks poorly in my craw as well.

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I absolutely love this idea. I wish I had caught back up fast enough to post some more thoughts, but at the moment they escape me. More or less, though, I'd love to see this come to fruition.


First off, let me say that I'm thief biased-- it's been my archetype in games since...forever! When I initially read the OP, I immediately thought of the Elder Scrolls' Thief Guilds (Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim, take your pick!), especially at the mentioning of the shadowmarks, but depending on what the marks mean, or even how many there are, it's really not such a thief aspect. Grazing through your OP again, and looking at your latest post, I realize it's brotherhood, more than anything. And it's sorta hard to explain in real-life terms, but the closest thing I can relate it to is the feeling you get when you enter a new city, or a new town or heck, across the world-- wouldn't you want to be able to fall back on a family, or a group of people you know you can trust? Adding the marks, when you enter a new area you've never been, it allows you to know that someone /is/ there if you look hard enough. Adding the verbal signifiers definitely helps build that, as well. I just so happen to be part of a large (like...worldwide) fraternal organization, so while I cannot explain it completely, I can at least understand completely and relate.


So, for these markings. You mention that a single one person can create the mark, then someone else can finish it. Was there an idea behind that? At first I thought that wouldn't mean too much. Once the mark was fully completed, then what? But I reconsidered-- There was at least one adventurer nearby or in the area. Another comes by, sees it, and marks it. A third will come by and see it, and notice that there is at least a couple, if not more of his/her brethren in the area. Of course, where these marks are placed, what will be on them and what their actual meaning still has to be fleshed out, but I see a lot of potential. For example: building off the previous mentionings of the mark, what if there was a design or mark you could keep adding on to show "how many" of these people are actually in the area? But then, if they're wanderers, certainly they're not there for long, so perhaps there should be a specific mark outside a tavern if there's either known brotherhood influence, or if it's a safehaven (cheaper supplies, a roof over your head even at full capacity), or if it's a mixture of both and someone from the brotherhood OWNS the place? I'd hate to copy right from Skyrim, but it's a great idea, and at any rate I'm sure it's not the first time an organization made subtle markings outside of buildings to help the members out. But then again, with the correct vocal recognition, that may not be even needed, so it goes back to where should markings go, and what do they mean if you find one, and if they indicate the area has members, what if they...well...wander somewhere else?


As for the leadership thing, I'm mostly in agreeance. Other MMOs had permissions built in to designate who's allowed to recruit. Before those permissions were in place, I think only officers could invite. I'd say, let that be the only reason why there's an officer status, unless if there's a way to let everyone (or most everyone) invite. I like the idea of allowing only officers to invite, though. To me it's traditional, but also adds that sort of...approval needed to make sure the person receiving the invite should even get one. Not to make it sound elitist, but that's often necessary due to trolls and those who may have scorned their reputation in the RP community. The only problem I see is making sure there's always an officer on. In order to remedy that, there's gotta be a lot of officers...which means there's probably going to be less of a filter on the incoming people. Another option I guess would be to give new recruits an invisible 'probation' period and, if the permission allows it, let them have inviting status. I dunno, just throwing it all out there. >.<


The secrets sharing again reminded me of a Thieves Guild, but I can kinda see the wider use for it: Where's the best place to hunt? Where's a good place to stay? Which merchant is more likely to bend on his prices if you bake him a pie? It's about having a solid family or brotherhood behind your back, knowing the ins and outs of the world around you, giving you the lesser known secrets of the world to more or less help a member out to only ask you pay it forward. Am I at least close to thinking that's the right idea?


I think you'll be able to draw in a lot of players. Secrecy and personal identification via secret handshakes or phrases get ate up like a Moogle in a Kupo Nut store. Giving players the feel of being a part of an organization that, even if it's not secretive, is seclusive and less known about, and giving them organizational identifiers in any way is a great incentive to want to join.


But what is your idea of content? I think for sure this is an adventuring linkshell that players can definitely fall back on if they need assistance, but what about RP-wise? Do you plan for the LS to hold events? In a guild like this, I can kinda see the RP just...well, /happening/ regardless of anything planned, so I think that's something you may not even have to worry about, but how do you make it so that this isn't just the last RP ls on the list that people call on backup for for filling a hole in the group? Granted, this isn't to be a main shell, but having it on the back burner would allow the guild to collect a lot of dust from inactivity.

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Personally, unless there's some crazy business going on, I don't foresee there really ever being any organized events and what not. I think that takes away from the overall concept of the 'brotherhood." I think Yssen would agree with me when I say that the primary purpose would really just be the free exchange of information and perhaps an extra hand in a less scrupulous activity. You touch on a lot of what I think the shell ought to be used for in your above post Molt, but I think taking that idea a step further it can be the free exchange on information about other PCs. Say you hear an interesting rumor about someone and you can share it with the rest of the brotherhood if you so desire. There are a great deal of very interesting applications for this concept, and I think that the biggest thing to keep in mind is that this shouldn't be a 'main shell' type of atmosphere.

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I admit I really like this idea and I've been kind of mulling over it since the OP to properly organize my thoughts on it. At first glance it reminds me of what I had hoped for Crystalline to be prior to ARR - that is a sort of "secondary" linkpearl that RPers across a variety of "main" companies could fall back on if RP was scant or just for the sake of variety. With Crystalline being repurposed in ARR I was hoping that at least one or two of these sort of networks would crop up to help tether everyone together, and from what I have read so far I really admire the direction that this has taken.


For ideas, I played a text-based game (MUD-ish?) about 16-17 years ago called GemStone III (I think it's still around in some form now as GSIV but it's been a very long time). In this game there were a couple of societies, one called the "Council of Light" which is similar in many ways to what you are describing. There was a sort of leadership structure in place, but they were all NPC's and the signs were integrated into the game's coding, so everyone who was RPing was essentially all on the same standing. This is to say if you used the Sign of Recognition (the very first sign you receive), you would automatically conduct a seemingly random emote such as: "You touch your right index finger to your left earlobe inconspicuously." Anyone else in the same room would receive this text, and you in-turn would notice their reply, whatever the emote may be - I think it might have been random or possibly based on rank but this was a long time ago and I don't really remember. Anyone not belonging to the organization would simply not be privy to the signals. You can read a little more about it here if you're interested: http://www.krakiipedia.org/wiki/Council_of_Light - though it also goes into information about the mechanics of the game. But one thing that was paramount was that you not talk about the council to anyone not belonging to the council. Kind of "Fight Club" and since RP was actively enforced by the GMs, if anyone was found out than assassins were hired against them and such. It was actually pretty well-conducted and you may be able to draw upon some aspects of it for what you're trying to do.


I'm not really sure my character could fit into such an organization, not because I think it's a bad idea or any such thing. Just given the direction she's going lately I'm not sure it would make a lot of sense from a RP perspective. But I do think it's a great idea and I'm looking forward to hearing more about it (at least OOCly ;)). I know at the game's launch a couple years back there was a fellow who was making a kind of LS geared towards Duskwight Elezen characters only, possibly along a similar vein but somewhat exclusive in that regard (I know yours isn't but the underlying theme feels similar in a way). I think this could work for any race/clan designation but seems most fitting for Duskwight ICly given the kind of xenophobic nature the lore suggests at. I always liked the idea of having a LS like this as a secondary and was sad when he sort of disappeared from the RPC. Forgive my tangent there.


Very seldom have I ever carried only one linkpearl though. Having options is what makes the game so great and keeps RPers interacting across the boundaries of multiple LS's, and being able to RP in a sort of subgroup like that which spans across several other groups is such an awesome concept. For Crystalline it was just an amalgamation of friends. You could do something more interesting, or even more sinister with it where it's like a secret fraternal order that has agents scattered across other groups. I bet there are a lot of fun possibilities there!


I do know there's been at least one "secret society" LS, but I think this was intended to be a kind of primary linkshell for its members also. I never belonged so I don't want to make any assumptions but I just wanted to put that out there. One who was a member of Stormguard may have further comment on that.


I think that's about all I had on my mind, but from kind of an outsider perspective I think it's a great idea!

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Wow. I played GemStone III & IV for ages, Eva. I never knew you played there. Ravinder, a dark elf sorcerer, would've been my character 16-17 years ago when you played, and then I believe that's around the time I created the first incarnation of Teveriel. Small world!


At any rate, I don't really have anything to add to the discussion, but a secret society linkshell is a cool idea.

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Just a couple of notes here on OCC and IC mechanics of the shell, at least in my mind. As always, feel free to add your own thoughts.


On an OCC level there will be a link shell leader and officers/sack holders, I want to state very clearly that in my mind this is not an IC mechanic. The "officer duties" of such individuals will be largely OOC (moderating, preventing spamming, harassment, etc.) no character will have IC authority based on a little graphic next to their name. Ignore them, they don't exist IC. Everyone should be just an individual member. The only IC reason I see for someone being kicked would be if they revealed the existence, membership details, or other secrets of the group. Even under these cases I would rather leave that up to the judgement of several individuals with in the shell itself, something like each individual member voting on whether or not the violator gets to stay. These situations cause conflict and good drama, which is fairly enjoyable in most cases, so why hamper it. :D


I feel I should clarify the nature of the symbols and symbolism. I really was not thinking along the lines of anything too mystical. Markings in areas being a rough equivalent of real life hobo code. These would be different from alerting a member to your presence (the early christian fish symbol I referenced earlier). Markings for things like "this is a safe place" or "beware of what lives in this cave," and so one. Signs for occasions when (and if) you wish to make person to person contact with another member. Markings are probably best handled in shell, unless we garner enough members to make a form of living document or wiki to distribute. Signs best handled and Eva pointed out (thanks for your input btw Eva ^ ^) with a public emote, and an OOC note in the shell that you are in fact making your presence known in a way members will recognize. I imagine there is probably a whole slew of symbology and code that each member uses.


I also want to echo what Zesiro said about flexibility of adding members. I believe this should totally be handled ICly with individual members handing out pearls to people they think are worthy. It stands to me as one the best possible expressions of valuing and preserving individual freedom. All it takes is one person vouching for another, and nothing more complex than that. The due diligence, observation, and probation was all completed before the new member was even offered the pearl. Each member trusts that the others know what the group is, and that they abide by each other's individual judgement. After all, who are they to say "you cannot do that."


Lastly on the note of whether or not the shell will hold events of its own. It is possible, but I believe that it should only be done if necessary. The core concept is to link the community together ICly, and to help establish shared narrative and experiences between RPers. Will the shell run events of it's own? Maybe, but I really only think it should do so when necessary. I want to be clear that people can get the shell involved in whatever they wish, even if it is a scenario of purely your own creation. In fact, I would like to encourage this. Plots and scenarios that require the attention direct intevention of an entire secret society would probably have to be ridiculously epic by nature, and I think the shell should shy away from an "epic of the month" scenario, and focus on what content other RPers are putting out there. Just my personal opinion though.


I am very excited to see collaboration continue, and see other people's thoughts and opinions. I am very much looking forward to when this goes live in ARR. I really have only a few clues as to where this will lead, but I am very much excited to see what the trail getting there looks like. Thank you for your interest and opinions and keep stuff coming.

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