Hello again everyone and welcome to the latest blog in WE ARE BLACKSKY! This blog as many of you have likely figured is kind of a Developer Blog for me as the Leader to sit back and describe my plans, and designs for the guild that is close to my heart. I want to preface this particular entry because its going to be slightly rambling and cover a lot of ideas which I will eventually evolve into further entries down the road. This entry in particular comes in the wake of discussion with several members about their characters, and personal roleplay. After hearing all of this, and wanting to get a few more ideas out there I decided to put things down in text so I could describe things in a more proper manner. As I mentioned back in Brotherhood and Prospect to Member our guild focuses on strong identity and bringing people in to make them feel like we’re one big happy OOC family.
We do not give people numbers and we consider them a full member. Strange right? Not a big guild so we can put a lot more time into knowing people and caring about how they feel. I do want to say that this care is part of the idea that we want our members to do a few things. First, we want to encourage participation, we energize people and we hope they go off and spread around the good karma. Second, we want members to take initiative in story and provide a means for the Officers to bounce off of. What we mean by this is simple, if Officers and the Leaders create events, we then hope that the Members will then in kind do the same. By bouncing off each other we can create a pattern or even a cycle of renewable story. This way members get a sense of direct interaction, while then Officers can maintain an ongoing story line that pops into keep things fresh. But this still doesn’t cover personal stories.
Why we have Achievements
One aspect of this guild is we don’t really have a pile of ranks for people to attain IC or OOC. We have Prospects, Members, Officers, and then the Leaders. Everything else even IC is pretty much what we call an achievement. Why achievements? Well, there is the simple reason that people like to have goals, and if you give people a goal it gives them incentive. By creating and being able to expand upon our achievement system we provide the players an ever growing way for them to define their character and also seek to gain things IC. Achievements are earned by action so that each story becomes more memorable. Do a job for the Unit and you end up lighting your bike on fire? Maybe you get a nickname as “Trouser Fire”, or if you slum around you become “the Dog”. If you do well on a job you earn more job opportunities and much more
For those of you who have not glanced at our IC Achievement system on our IC Structure Page might also notice that we have a separate Achievements List for the Sovereigns and the Malverines separately. Each group we hope will evolve its own list of achievements to respect the IC culture that will grow up within the faction. The truth is that even though we have an idea and theme for each faction, we cannot fathom where that part of the guild will go. So we’ll have to meld ideas as the personal and the player driven Rp of the members of each faction plays out. That’s the simple utter truth.
Personal RP = Backstory
So many people have made jokes or at least I have seen jokes about Rpers and their “awesome backstory”. So this is where I want to talk a bit about personal roleplay. As mentioned about we have Achievements as a means of marking and giving goals for character growth. This is an aspect of a personal storyline for every character found within the Saga. Now as I have mentioned before in past blogs we want to aim for what we call the “curious cast” and an slowly changing ebb and flow of story called the “Tide”. All of these aspects are made possible by the deep connections which are found in the form of being employed by the Club, working in Club or Unit backed businesses, being in relatinoships with members of the BlackSky, or being relatives of them.
Point, we want to catch that feeling at you get from your favorite crime drama, your favorite scifi drama, or your favorite drama in general. Those long standing well played connections that show how people can change or deal with the Tide of plot. Much of this can only happen if players have fun creation stories about their characters and feeling a return in the investment they take in Rping with the guild. What we want to do is to encourage and help direct players to see the guild less as a singular outlet of Rp and as a large group they are all within.
If a Player wants to stick their character in a Secret Society, then why not bring this connection into t he Club? If a member runs the worst of an old friend why not bring this in? In fact we want to have episodes where players can take that personal story and get others involved. Think of it as a means to offer up connections and allow members to take the directors seat. As a means of keeping things fresh we want to use what players develop and give them the chance to also take the reigns and design and an episode. If a player wants to kick off a new business and needs some painting, why not do a storyline where we all show up and mess around. Sounds like fun and a great simple social event right?
Achievements and Impacts
I’ve talked a bit about our achievement system as a means of basically allowing people to evolve how they want. This is called horizontal progression and its something wen want to provide in content. One thing I have not yet mentioned is what we want to do with our Seasons (what we basically call a prolonged ongoing period of storytelling). We want our seasons to be a lot like what get in any anime, any TV drama, or any form of story with episodic content. At the end of the story we’ll have a winding down period (a few weeks) where we’ll then hold a vote on a few things. First, we want members to select their favorite quote or line during the last season. We then want to nominate their favorite scene, and finally we’ll prepare a little summary of the season (along with rough sketches of the top three scenes of the story). Think of it as an active chronicle of what the players do being documented for the rest of the community.
Tying it all back to Character Growth
At the end of the day if you ask me what this guild is about I’ll respond “bikers, roughriders, feuds, story, and blood grey all between.” Another way to phrase it is, “we’re a bunch of kids who want to tell a story as friends and laugh about the good times, cry at the worse, and wonder whose going to get their comuppence.” Basically when you invest your time with BlackSky I want you the member to feel like not only are you a member, that you identify, but that your story is part of ours. I know its something I talk about in all my games, and when it works its utterly beautiful. There’s nothing like having that one little story and then seeing how it all works across the board.
Every member if they commit, and want in should have a chance to take the spotlight and be a hero or villain. Everyone should get an equal chance. We’re a biker gang, our story is about brotherhood, sisterhood, guns, bikes, and the life we live. If anyone has seen Sons of Anarchy or Star Trek we don’t love it just because of the world, we love the story because we love those characters (note I still think Riker is an arse for a chunk of TNG >>). When we talked about “signature characters” and that “curious cast” we wanted players to focus on developing those relationship; to let that character actively evolve around them.
Some other things to consider
Before ending this blog there are a few things we are looking at to make sure that players get the ability to toss their stories into the fray. As a Guild Leader I sadly cannot record or notice everything that goes on Rp wise. So in a way this is one thing I need to ask the players to step up and decide if they really want something included into the Guild’s IC history. The thing I want to note about this is that there is no such thing as “bad RP” or a “bad event”. These stories should be added because the enrich the guild and show that player actions matter. We can do this in many ways, with one likely being a thread where players can commit which actions they want listed in the guild history.