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The Lord Ruler's perfect capital city, Luthadel, is doing the impossible: rebelling. Skaa half-breeds are being taught the power of Allomancy, something that the Lord Ruler's obligators said only existed in the nobility. The enslaved skaa, with their murderous benefactor, now fight back against a living god's oppression.

So, the Inquisition was formed. The nobles begin to fear assassination from all sides. The times of nobility Mistborn killing each other are over. The Steel Inquisitors look for aristocrat traitors and insurgent skaa, and the skaa try with all their strength to merely survive. The Lord Ruler's perfect Final Empire is slowly devolving into chaos.

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Great House Ascension Guide

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#1 KChan

Atium Chandelier

Posted 27 September 2013 - 07:44 PM

Ascending to the prestigious status of Great House is the pinnacle of achievement in the Final Empire, so it's no wonder that so many houses have attempted it. However, those who try will find that the process of ascending is far, far more difficult than anything they could have ever imagined. Exponentially more so, even, than any of the upward climb they've faced so far. Those who climb close enough to ascension may find themselves attracting attention from the existing Great Houses, and not always in a good way. Deadly, powerful, and extremely protective of their current positions, the Great Houses might not always see it in their best interest to allow new houses to ascend. Not only that, but rival ascension candidates will see this upward climb as a direct threat, and may act in extreme ways to prevent a potential rival becoming a Great House before they themselves can manage it.

Climbing up to a certain point is all about careful planning and politicking, but entering that final race to the top has, in literature, been commonly likened to sending an Allomancer into a deadly battle. Send a Smoker to dance with the Great Houses' Mistborn and you'll be ripped apart, but wait until your own Mistborn is armed to the teeth and you might just make it.

Houses on the Brink of Ascension

Translated into RP mechanics, we have chosen to define this crucial threshold as a Socioeconomic Rating of 6.5. Up until that point, houses are considered to be preparing for ascension and do not have to fulfill any additional requirements or obtain extra approval. However, houses rated 6.6 to 6.9 are considered to have entered the last leg of the race, so to speak, and to reflect the prestigious and extremely risky position must not only prove their mettle not only to Luthadel via RP and/or planning and to the admins in a round of special approval, but they must also accept the gamble inherent to this position in society.

In simpler terms, anybody who applies for a rating of 6.6-6.9 must accept that their house might fail in its bid for Great House status and be willing to accept the consequences. Application for this status is indicative of a player's agreement to these rules, and by applying the player agrees to abide by the administrators' decisions and rulings regarding ascension and the consequences of failure.

Please note that that if your house is accepted for this status but you later decide you are no longer comfortable with the risk, you are welcome to role-play your house taking a hit in-world (lost contracts, betrayal, etc. - it's up to you!) and reduce their socioeconomic status to 6.4 or lower with no further penalties.

Houses vying for a rating of 6.6-6.9 must prove their strength in the following areas:

Viable economic stability The candidate house must have a financial avenue(s) that can support a Great House, and a reasonable sampling of contracts (with players or NPCs) to back up their economic success. Examples of viable financial avenues include dominance in an in-demand trade such as shipping, agriculture, or mercantile goods with a strong market such as weapons. Examples of trades that do not constitute ascension worthiness on their own are a single mercantile trade with less demand, such as furniture or art, or dependence on an already saturated market without an established and substantial niche (selling metal weapons right now, for example, will likely be very difficult as two Great Houses have already filled that market to a substantial degree, but House Perrault has filled a substantial niche by specializing in obsidian).

Players who choose to enter saturated markets, or those with less demand, should be prepared to expand or adapt their financial avenues in a way that would support maintenance of a Great House and paying the exorbitant taxes that come with it and also make sense for the house itself. In addition, the more a house grows in power, the better it is for them to diversify their trade. Think of what happened to the Tekiels in The Final Empire: houses with only one financial avenue are easier to bring down, while those who diversified have a much stronger foundation.

Political Connections An ascension candidate must have known allies and enemies in their home dominance and must create ties with player houses in Luthadel. Houses who have made it this far could not have done so without making the right friends and allies, but neither would they have ascended this high without ruffling a few feathers. No house at this stage should be devoid of rivals or enemies. Please see the addendum to the Diplomacy System for more information.

Resources and Manpower Ascendant houses must not only amass wealth, but they need to manage it properly as well. A good candidate for ascension has numerous resources at its disposal, including a reasonable amount of military power and enough members to support the continuance of a Great House. You will not see ascension candidates with only five members in the entire house; nor will you see any who cannot afford to train, arm, and maintain a force of guards, Hazekillers, and Allomancers. Their keep at this point is under construction, but not yet complete.

What Happens Next?

If approved for the rating, the house will be considered for Great House candidacy when the admins decide the RP is ready for another house to ascend. If they are chosen, their Socioeconomic Rating is promoted to 7.0, the family is allowed to move into their keep (which would now be considered to have been completed), and they will be declared a Great House. However, if they fail to ascend (that is, if they are any of the houses who are not chosen when a promotion is made), then they must suffer the consequences of a failed attempt.

Depending on the circumstances, the house decreases in status to a maximum rating of 5.9, ranging all the way down to utter annihilation. The admins will decide the exact penalty for each house depending on their individual circumstances and the needs of the plot. Remember that anybody who applied for this status has already agreed to abide by the admins' decision in this regard; the only exception is that if you wish to impose a greater penalty on yourself, you are allowed to do so. For example, imagine that a house has failed in an ascension attempt and the admins have declared that it fell to a rank of 5.1. A player who wishes to reach 5.6 status must do so by building their house back up via RP and careful planning, but a player who decides they would rather have their house fall to a 4.3 may simply add additional catastrophe to their fall via RP (such as assassinations by a rival house, an attempted coup, part of the house splitting off, or anything else that would make sense in this context) and adjust their rating accordingly.

The Decision Process

Because Great Houses are such a big commitment, and such an important part of the storyline, the staff have decided that it's in the best interest of the story to take great care when deciding who should ascend. We will always pick new Great Houses based on merit, not whoever happened to be approved for a rating of 6.9 before everyone else.

Also, please be aware that we will not choose new Great Houses exclusively from the 6.5-6.9 category. If there is a house rated below that group (a 6.4, for example) who we feel has earned the privilege of being a Great House, we will offer that player the chance to ascend.

If your goal is to ascend, just remember that we value dedication, responsibility, strong writing, and authenticity more than the rating attached to your house or who got the highest number first. Play your house well enough, get involved, and you might well find yourself rewarded one day!

Also, please note that there will be times that are better or worse for ascension than the others. There might be a period during which almost everybody fails, but that won't always be the case. Just remember that we never make these decisions at random; our goal is always to carry on with the story in the best way possible.

On the Great Houses in General

You might be wondering why this system is so strict, and why the admins so fiercely guard the entrance to the upper echelons of Luthadel society. Why not let everyone who wants to make a Great House have one? Why not let anyone who wants to exist in any point of the ascension process do so without approval?

The answer is simple: the staff, as the Game Masters of the RP, have a duty to keep the plot and the setting running smoothly. Running a Great House is a significant responsibility: anyone in charge of a Great House must contribute extensively to the overall story. For every plot event, for every decision by the Ministry and every significant action by another Great House, that player must contribute his own house's policies, feelings, and reaction if any to the story surrounding the event in question. He or she must be able to communicate effectively and thoroughly with the other heads of Great Houses on politics, trade, and even the actions of other members entirely.

Take, for example, the assassination of Mikhail Elariel by Phyra Venture. This action was planned in advance and agreed upon by the players of those two characters, and even though neither Comatose nor I who head up Elariel and Venture, respectively were the players for those characters, we were the ones who had to decide how Venture and Elariel would respond to one another, how they would attempt to prevent a war, and also in my case communicate with Phyra's player to ensure that he knew what Venture would do to his character if she went through with it, and so on. Had we not quickly and effectively communicated while this plot was being enacted, it would have left a hole in the storyline and left other characters without crucial information.

In addition, as the Game Masters of the RP, it falls to us to make the appropriate modifications to the story when a player leaves the site and does not return. Now, for most players, this isn't a big deal, and we can let the players he or she was involved with come to their own conclusions. But what it that player also ran a Great House?

When this happens, everyone suffers. Losing an RP partner is bad enough, but losing an entire piece of the setting is a disaster waiting to happen. Because of these types of incidents, and this has happened before, the staff realized we had to take greater care about who we allowed to have Great Houses not to keep people out, but to give dedicated and responsible players the chance to rise above someone who might claim a Great House slot and then flake out not long after, never to be heard from again. Not to mention, consistent storytelling is extremely difficult when new Great Houses keep popping up out of nowhere. It's just not realistic.

It's not a coincidence that most of the owners of Great Houses are staff members. But it might surprise you to learn that when each of us came into power with our first Great House(s), none of us were staff yet. We were regular members, just like you, who proved our dedication through meticulous and thorough planning, open communication, and a commitment to strong writing that not only feels authentic in the context of the setting, but enhances the world of the RP and brings it to life. It was that dedication that earned us our Great Houses, and it was that same dedication that eventually got us promoted to staff members. Now, this isn't to say that anyone who has a Great House will be made staff, but it is to show you that we're not abusing our privilege. We had to earn our stripes too; we've just been doing it longer.

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