Gilfane Image  

The House System

Gilfane is structured into a number of sub-guilds, or Houses, each with its own theme, guildhall, etc. Each House allows membership of one or more professions and all individual members are given a rank within the House which determines the guild titles available to them.
While most activities are done as a single guild unit, the House system gives an extra element of RP and friendly competition with the best House earning the title of Ruling House. Members are encouraged to put as much effort as possible into establishing their House's identity and it is that, and in particular the efforts of the House leader, that sets the tone for the House. Members are welcome to break from an existing House and establish one of their own if they so wish, while other Houses may perish due to a lack of members.
Member Types
There are four main categories of members:
  • The Keeper of the Hall, or Keeper, is the GM of the guild and oversees all the other guild members. He is ultimately responsible for virtually every aspect of the guild including recruiting, diplomacy and the treasury and is empowered to modify guild rules or protocols provided it is done in a fair-minded way for the good of all, although he may instead have a Guild Vote or Landsraad Vote to determine a course of action.
    The Keeper establishes or disbands Houses as necessary and must ensure that they are administered correctly.
    The Keeper oversees the upkeep of the various communal buildings of Gilfane, in particular the Citadel.
    The Keeper has final authority on guild wars, but he should call for a vote of the Landsraad before commencing one.
    Should the Keeper do something that meets with guild disapproval, he may face a motion of Censure or, in extremes, Disinvestiture. If the Keeper position ever becomes vacant, the guild must undergo a Vote of Investiture. In the temporary absence or incapacitation of the Keeper, the leader of the Ruling House takes on his duties.
  • A prelate, or House leader, is the head of one of the Houses. He oversees the behaviour and duties of the members within his House and must ensure their guildhall is maintained. Above all, it is the leader's enthusiasm and efforts that determine the success of his House. Prelates are granted Emissary status, allowing them to set the ranks and titles of their members as well as enabling them to add new members to the guild. They are also moderators of their House forum.
    A House leader determines the theme and identity of a House and to what extent his members follow it. He may make his own rules and customs so long as these do not conflict with the guild's general rules of behaviour. The prelate decides which members can join his House and may also remove members by serving a Notice of Transition or a simple Expulsion. In most areas his rule is absolute, although he may chose to use a House Vote to determine actions and he can assign various duties to, and discuss policy with, the leading members of the House.
    If a House member is in serious dispute with his prelate and cannot resolve the situation normally, he may voice his disapproval by calling a Vote of Confidence, although an easier method would be to simply move to another House. If a prelate resigns his post or is removed from office, a Vote of Succession is held. In the temporary absence of the prelate, leadership cascades to the House's highest ranking member in the guild's preferred profession.
  • Housemen, or House members, represent the bulk of the guild. Each Houseman is part of one of the Houses and under the direct authority of its prelate. Members are expected to follow not only the guild's general rules of behaviour, but also those rules and customs stipulated by their prelate. If they object to these, they would be best looking for a House that does not make such demands. It must be stressed, though, that a Houseman's deference to his prelate is mainly from a RP perspective and all members are actively encouraged to participate in guild discussions and make suggestions about events and the running of the guild both in the private guild or House forums.
    Each Houseman must specify his primary vocation and this will help determine his nominal rank within the House as well as his guild title. Housemen are free to move House as they wish and can also change their vocation with the agreement of their prelate.
    If a Houseman is in dispute with their House leader, the best course of action is to move House. Alternatively, they may seek help from the Keeper or, in extremes, call for a Vote of Confidence.
  • Postulants are new members of the guild who are unattached to any of the Houses and have restricted forum access. They remain in this status for a minimum period of one month, at the end of which they may apply to, or accept invitations from, one of the Houses. When such an appointment is confirmed by the appropriate prelate and either the Keeper or a Steward, the postulant becomes a full guild member.
    If a postulant has made no effort to join a House after a second month of membership has elapsed, they are liable to be removed from the guild, although that does not preclude them from reapplying for membership in the future. They may also be summarily dismissed at any time if they are in clear breach of the general rules of conduct. The Keeper or any Steward may waive the minimum one month postulant term if the person is already well known to them, and they similarly may extend the minimum period if they believe the postulant has not yet proved themself.
The Landsraad
The Landsraad is a body made up of senior Gilfane members. They have access to their own forum where they discuss policy, problems and ideas and the Keeper may call upon the Landsraad to vote on certain matters. The Keeper and all prelates are automatically members of the Landsraad, providing a prelate has been a member of the guild for a period of at least one year. In addition, the Keeper may add or remove other members as he sees fit and may also grant them Emissary status.
Gilfane Citadel
Gilfane Citadel, or 'the Citadel', is at the heart of the town of Gilfane and serves as the main resource restock and central meeting place for all guild members. The focal point of the building is the Great Hall. Here, the seals of each House are set on a grey pedestal (darker and taller for the Ruling House). The Hall is also the resting place of the Staff of Law, the Keeper's symbol of authority which he uses at all ceremonial occassions. The Citadel entrance will have two banners in the Gilfane main colours (red and black) and one in black and the colour of the Ruling House.
The Keeper may appoint a Grand Provisioner & Grand Armourer from among the members of the guild and they will be responsible for maintaining provisions and armour stocks in the Citadel's stores. The Grand Provisioner & Grand Armourer may, if they wish, use these titles in place of any other.
House Status
Houses that contain ten or more characters, comprising at least five different active players, are known as Greater Houses while smaller ones are classed as Minor Houses. Only Greater Houses can have ranks of level six or higher and be eligible to be appointed as the Ruling House.
House status is only changed at the start of a month. Each House is evaluated and if it has sufficient membership it becomes a Greater House. For a Greater House to be re-classed as a Minor one its population must drop below either four active players or seven characters. All Houses start off as Minor, regardless of size.
House Properties
A House can have pretty much any rules and customs within it as long as these do not conflict with the central Gilfane policies. At a minimum, however, all Houses must have the following:
  • Name - The House name should be a single word and not be offensive or too light-hearted, but otherwise most names are acceptable. It is perfectly permissible for someone to name a House after himself. In addition to the full name (and if required), a six and four letter abbreviation should be nominated for use in guild titles.
  • Title - This is the 'hereditary' noble title by which the House prelate is known. Standard titles which may be chosen are Archduke, Baron, Count, Duke, Earl, Marquess & Viscount. Others noble titles may be considered if they fit in with House's particular theme. A female prelate will use the gender equivalent. A prelate's guild title will be 'title of House'. He should be formally referred to as 'title House' or' title name' or, by his own Housemen, 'My Lord'.
  • Colour - The House colour can be any one possible from a standard or special dye tub. However, on a standard tub it must be at least one square horizontally and vertically removed from that of any other House. On a special tub, it must be at least two shades removed in the chosen main colour.
  • Seals - The House seals consists of two elements: a cloth dyed in the House colour and a symbol represented by a game object. Usually, this symbol would be connected with some aspect of the House (for example, a staff may represent a House that emphasises magic). The symbol should be different (even if only in colour) from that of any other House past or present. As the symbol will need to be displayed in both the Great Hall and outside the House's guildhall, and House members are invited to display the seals outside their own dwellings, it should obviously be an item that is not too rare.
  • Motto - The House maxim.
  • Guildhall - The prelate must provide a building to act as the House's base, meeting place, refuge and restock for essential items. All House members will need to be friended to the building and at least one floor must be accessible to them. The building must be named 'Guildhall Of House House' and it must have the House seals visible near the entrance.
  • Theme - Any particular identity that the House will have. This may be a geographic one, an historical one (a Roman or Norse theme), an emphasis on particular types of character (mage, tamer), the House's chief interests (PvM, PvP, crafting) and any combination of these or anything else. Most themes will be acceptable, and it is not strictly necessary for the House to have any particular theme.
  • Precedence - If a House contains members of more than one profession, it must publish a precedence list for at least three professions. Those that are considered more important to the House are kept higher up the list than any others. The profession that heads the list is known as the House's preferred profession. The House should also make clear any professions that it does not allow.
Ranks, Professions & Titles
Unless their House uses a special ranking system, there are a number of guild titles available for House members to choose from. These titles are organized into various professions, each containing ranks from one to eight. The higher ranks are generally more desirable and reflect greater proficiency and/or leadership.

The guild title will be in the form 'House title', using the House's full name or an abbreviated one as room allows. For rank eight titles, available only to the Ruling House, the House name is omitted. Which titles a member can choose from and which they actually select is determined by several factors:
  • Ranking points - The most important factor in determining which titles a character may select is the player's ranking points within the House. Each rank level requires the corresponding number of points in order for a character to be eligible to use it. Ranking points are gained chiefly from the periodic Ruling House competitions. The exact mechanism for awarding points may vary from contest to contest, but in general the more ways the player helps a House the more points he will earn. Note that players are not limited to choosing a title from the maximum rank they are eligible for, they can choose from any rank up to their maximum.
  • Skills and general role - Characters should choose titles from professions related to their character's abilities or usual occupation. A bard/mage, for instance, should select a title from the mage or bard ones, but possibly also from the maritime list if they spend a lot of time hunting pirates, etc., or perhaps one related to house design and decorating if they enjoy and are proficient at that.
  • Player's ability - The rank given to a character should not drastically exceed the ability of the player in the chosen field, and those players given the highest ranks should be masters of their craft. A high ranking maritime character should know how to properly steer a ship and the best places to find pirates. A top mage should be able to do a lot more than just drop a Rising Colossus and then go back to stealth mode. A high level tamer should be able to tame any pet himself and know where to find them, in addition to adequately employing them in combat. And so on.
  • Leadership - Characters of higher rank are expected to act as leaders in the field and offer advice about their profession/role to those under them (both within their own House and outside it), so players may not necessarily want to occupy a higher rank even if they are able to do so. A Seneschal, for instance, is generally the top military rank in a House and so should have a good command of melee equipment & tactics and how to employ them in the field. The Marshal of Gilfane is the highest military rank in the guild and should only be assigned to someone with a firm understanding of all melee combat against both player and monster, and who is prepared to take charge and give direction to others during fights.
  • Maximum number per House - The top ranks are only available to the most powerful Houses and rank five & six titles are usually restricted in number.
  • The wishes of the prelate - The House leader has ultimate control over who occupies what rank and what title they assume, except that he may not promote anyone to a rank unless they are eligible to occupy it. He is not forced to grant a particular title to someone when requested and he does not have to assign the title at all even if he has members who are eligible. He may also demote characters who have been inactive for a certain period. But generally, of course, the leader will happily accommodate his members' requests if able to do so.

The following tables show the various professions and the titles available for each rank:

Military Profession
Rank Available Titles Maximum per House
VIII Marshal of GilfaneOne (Ruling House only)
VII ChampionOne (Ruling & Challenging Houses only)
VI SeneschalOne (Greater Houses only)
V Captain, SamuraiTwo total
IV Lieutenant, RoninUnlimited
III Sergeant, Yeoman, BajoUnlimited
II Man-at-arms, Bowman, AshigaruUnlimited
I AuxillaryUnlimited

Mage Profession
Rank Available Titles Maximum per House
VIII The Grand MagicianOne (Ruling House only)
VII IpsissimusOne (Ruling & Challenging Houses only)
VI ArchmageOne (Greater Houses only)
V Enchanter, Magus, Sorcerer, ThaumaturgeOne of each
IV Adeptus, Evocator, Warlock, WitchUnlimited
III Druid, Magician, Necromancer, WizardUnlimited
II Conjurer, IncanterUnlimited
I SpellcasterUnlimited

Maritime Profession
Rank Available Titles Maximum per House
VIII Grand AdmiralOne (Ruling House only)
VII AdmiralOne (Ruling & Challenging Houses only)
VI CommodoreOne (Greater Houses only)
V CaptainTwo
IV Trawlerman, Mariner, CommanderUnlimited
III Fisher, BosunUnlimited
II Angler, SailorUnlimited
I CadetUnlimited

Tamer Profession
Rank Available Titles Maximum per House
VIII The Grand TamerOne (Ruling House only)
VII Dragon LordOne (Ruling & Challenging Houses only)
VI BeastmasterOne (Greater Houses only)
V WhispererTwo
IV CharmerUnlimited
III HandlerUnlimited
II OstlerUnlimited
I HerdsmanUnlimited

Artistic Profession
Available Titles
Rank Bards Poets/Writers Maximum per House
VIII Gilfane LaureateOne (Ruling House only)
VII LaureateOne (Ruling & Challenging Houses only)
VI VirtuosoRaconteurOne (Greater Houses only)
V TrouveurChronicler, NovelistTwo total
IV Skald, BalladeerAuthor. StorytellerUnlimited
III TroubadourLyricist, Poet, WriterUnlimited
II Flautist, Harpist, Lutist, Lyrist Essayist, Wordsmith Unlimited
I MinstrelDilettanteUnlimited

Detective/Rogue Profession
Rank Available Titles Maximum per House
VIII The Hooded ClawOne (Ruling House only)
VII SentinelOne (Ruling & Challenging Houses only)
VI Warden, Investigator, PhantomOne (Greater Houses only)
V Agent, Detective, PurloinerTwo
IV Footpad, Spy, TrackerUnlimited
III Scout, Sleuth, SnoopUnlimited
II Outrider, SneakUnlimited
I ScroungerUnlimited

Architect Profession
Rank Available Titles Maximum per House
VIII Grand ArchitectOne (Ruling House only)
VII --
VI ArchitectOne (Greater Houses only)
V DesignerTwo
IV SurveyorUnlimited
III DecoratorUnlimited
II DraftsmanUnlimited
I BuilderUnlimited

Craftsman Profession
Available Titles
Rank Alchemist Blacksmith Carpenter Cook Maximum per House
VIII Grand MerchantOne (Ruling House only)
VII MagnateOne (Ruling & Challenging Houses only)
VI SyndicTwo (Greater Houses only)
V ArcheusArmourerCabinetmakerGourmetOne of each
IV SageWeaponsmithWoodcarverEpicureUnlimited
III ApothecaryMetalsmithJoinerCulinarianUnlimited
II HerbalistFarrierWoodworkerCookUnlimited
I TradesmanUnlimited

Craftsman Profession (continued)
Available Titles
Rank Fletcher Imbuer Lumberjack Miner Maximum per House
VIII Grand MerchantOne (Ruling House only)
VII MagnateOne (Ruling & Challenging Houses only)
VI SyndicTwo (Greater Houses only)
V BowcrafterEmpowererForestalFoundrymanOne of each
IV BowmakerInfuserForesterQuarrymanUnlimited
III FletcherImbuerLumberjackMinerUnlimited
II ArrowsmithUnravellerWoodsmanProspectorUnlimited
I TradesmanUnlimited

Craftsman Profession (continued)
Available Titles
Rank Scribe Tailor Tinker Maximum per House
VIII Grand MerchantOne (Ruling House only)
VII MagnateOne (Ruling & Challenging Houses only)
VI SyndicTwo (Greater Houses only)
V ScrivenerWeaverRepairerOne of each
IV ScribeClothierSilversmithUnlimited
III CalligrapherImbuerJewelsmithUnlimited
II IlluminatorCouturierArtificerUnlimited
I TradesmanUnlimited

Ranking Points
If a player wishes to take on a particular rank & title within a House, he must have the necessary ranking points available, with one point being needed for each rank level. Ranking points are primarily gained during the periodic Ruling House competitions. The exact mechanism for awarding points may vary from contest to contest, but in general the more ways the player actively helps a House the more points he will earn. It is important to note that points are earned per player per House and all characters a player has within the House will be able to benefit from the points earned regardless of whether they were actually used to help gain any.

At the conclusion of a Ruling House contest, the House prelate will reduce the rank/title of anyone who has not earned enough points to merit the one he currently holds in addition to taking rank/title requests from those who are eligible for higher positions. It is quite possible that a player will fail to make any contribution to the contest and therefore accrue no ranking points, in which case he will have "rank zero" and will be forced to use the title 'House Vassal' for all characters in the House. In cases where more than one member requests a title that has a limit to the number per House, and those applying are otherwise equally qualified, the prelate may decide based upon the total ranking points of the candidates.

In addition to points from the contests, prelates are entitled to award points to members themselves. They may, for instance, give a minimum number of points to members who were unable to take part in the Ruling House contest due to holidays, illness or other temporary inactivity. They may also award points for performing key quests and services to the guild/House. Nevertheless, prelates are encouraged to reserve the higher ranks for those who were major players in a House contest and/or who have made substantial contributions to the House.

New members of a House also start at rank zero but are instead given the title of 'House Acolyte'. They remain with that title either until the next contest or until awarded ranking points by the prelate as outlined above.
The Ruling House
Throughout its history, one House has tended to come to the fore and dominate Gilfane town and all its peoples whether by military or intellectual might, sheer weight of numbers, wealth, desire or any combination of these. This House is known as the Ruling House, and its members enjoy certain benefits of status over others. These benefits include:
  • Special titles - The Ruling House is allowed to appoint level eight ranks.
  • Higher guild rank - In nominal guild rankings, members of the Ruling House are considered superior to those members of other Houses of the same rank level.
  • Respect - During (game speech) conversation, all Gilfane members, including the Keeper, should refer to the prelate of the Ruling House as 'Great Lord' or 'My Lord'.
  • Leadership - In the temporary absence of the Keeper, the prelate of the Ruling House takes command of his duties.
  • Precedence - The members of the Ruling House are given first choice or preferential treatment in certain matters [that is, things of a roleplay nature rather than any materialistic ones].
  • Choice - Where decisions of a non-critical nature are required (for instance, where to hold a meeting), the Ruling House may be asked to choose.

Determination of the Ruling House is done by way of a contest. The precise format of the contest will vary over time, but each House will score points in a number of different categories which may include population, treasury donations, buildings within Gilfane city-state, military and maritime performance, and monster hunting ability. The score for each House is then totalled and the Great House with the highest is recognized as the Ruling House. If a tie occurs, precedence goes to the guild with most characters. If there is still a tie, the Keeper determines which is granted the title. The scores of all the Houses are noted as this determines the ranking order of the Houses. The House that finishes runner-up to the Ruling House is referred to as the Challenging House and is eligible to use rank seven titles if appropriate. Greater Houses always outrank Minor ones.

If at least ninety days have passed since the last contest to determine the Ruling House, the leader of any other Greater House may challenge for supremacy. If less than half a year has elapsed since the last contest, such a challenge requires the backing of two other Greater Houses. Once a valid challenge has been made, the Keeper shall, in consultation with the Landsraad, make arrangements for a new contest, giving sufficient notice so that all parties can fully prepare themselves.
Absolute Guild Ranking
Whenever it is desired to determine an individual's precedence in the guild, the following order applies:
  1. The Keeper of the Hall
  2. The prelate of the Ruling House, followed by the prelates of all other Greater Houses in ranking sequence.
  3. The highest ranking member of the Ruling House's preferred profession.
  4. Rank eight members of the Ruling House in profession preference.
  5. Rank seven members of the Ruling House in profession preference.
  6. The highest ranking member of each Greater House's preferred profession, in House ranking sequence.
  7. Rank seven members of the Challenging House, in profession preference.
  8. Rank six members of the Ruling House, in profession preference.
  9. As (viii), but for other Greater Houses in ranking sequence.
  10. Prelates of Minor Houses in ranking sequence.
  11. Rank five members of the Ruling House, in profession preference.
  12. As (xi), but for members of other Houses in House rank sequence.
  13. As (xi-xii), but with rank four followed by rank three, etc.
  14. Postulants

Main images (c) Andy Simmons @ ANS Graphics