Staff & Credits
The Swordsmen's Resource Page
Symbol: a white sword, vertical and rather heavy-looking, point up and hilt down, on a field of red.
The Brotherhood of Swords is the only organization in Valrona authorized to bear arms and armor and to offer bodyguards and mercenaries for hire to the city's denizens. The only way to get a military role is to join the Brotherhood and go through its certification process in order to get a contract through it.
The Brotherhood of Swords was established in 2175AH in Valrona by Count Uwin Nesmith of House Tybiris, under the authority of Duke Teodor Welleslan of House Barrister. Such contracts are called monopolies and are very common in the Eastern Cities.
Anybody wishing to do anything with armor or weaponry will need to look into joining the Brotherhood. Rulers don't actually like having lots of potentially violent, armed people floating around their cities, so many of the Eastern Cities have instituted monopolies on soldiers, forcing them all to be funneled through one organization. That organization is the Brotherhood in Valrona. In other cities others own the monopolies and they have their own name for the authorized group they use.
Anybody may join the Brotherhood provided they look to be in fit condition and demonstrate a good demeanor, as well as have decent references, be free of criminal convictions, and have a decent reputation in Valrona. Men and women both may join, though few women do. The orientation itself costs 1500p, payable upon acceptance, and few people are allowed in for less than that. Nobles often put their retinues through orientation for training as Duellists (see below under Orientation) and sometimes an organization will pay to put a person through training. This is rare, though.
It's important to note that the Brotherhood itself is not a combat organization. It supplies combatants to the various orgs ingame in the Valrona area. Recruits do not get any kind of enforcement privileges, cannot wear weapons or armor in town, and graduation doesn't give automatic privileges either. Once graduated, the Swordsman has to get a contract with an organization that actually has such license in order to actually fight.
But but but wait, how much does a newbie start with again?
That said, it's not so bad as it may sound to veteran RPI gamers who may be more used to getting an app accepted and two hours later they're swinging swords. Various noble organizations are happy to lend the money in exchange for service and considerations, and since the average job pays 70-120p a month (a RL week), the amount of money represents either dedicated hard work or else skill at social manipulation. If you lack one, you can expend the other. Once you get into the Brotherhood, you will know that you are entering one of the highest-prestige positions in the game, and better yet, so will the other players!
The main chapterhouse of the Brotherhood is located in Azure Square in Valrona. It's very easy to find on the southeast corner of the square, and its grant of arms is located right on the door to make it even easier.
Anybody can enter the entrance foyer, and there is a messenger there for people to utilize if desired. Beyond the foyer, though, is a locked door through which only Swordsmen may pass. Beyond there, one may find living quarters, practice arenas, and all sorts of fun stuff. It's said that a Swordsman could easily live within the Chapterhouse and never need to leave for anything but a haircut, and even that could be arranged if enough people wanted it.
The rules of the barracks, or Chapterhouse, are very simple. Don't steal, don't lie, don't backtalk, and don't shirk. If it's dirty clean it up. If it's clean keep it that way. Keep your stuff put away. If you're going to fight with another Swordsman, do it in an arena and don't kill anybody. Follow any order from an officer, and absolutely do not break any city laws.
Those who follow the rules will find the Chapterhouse a dream come true, provided their dreams involve plenty of training and learning. There's even a stable for those whose contracts may involve horseback riding, and an archery range for those who want to learn distance attacks. Other Swordsmen may learn how to work with hunting dogs. The Chapterhouse also stores the records of all the Valrona Swordsmen from its inception.
Most people who get discharged from service typically end up thrown out due to backtalking or stealing. These two crimes are considered zero tolerance. Both are easy to detect. There are up to a hundred people filtering in and out of the barracks at any given time; the chances of being seen filching are almost dead certain. There is always a guard posted in the barracks itself, where the bunks are and where the food's kept. Needless to say, someone who is caught stealing will never be allowed in the Chapterhouse ever again. So play smart!
Count Victor Nesmith Tybiris, Commander
Captain Treaton Norris
Lieutenant Lewis Bertrand
Lieutenant Albion Garain
Captain Rainen Arnos of the Valrona City Watch
Instructor Aldus Beyblade
To enroll in the Brotherhood, you must first report to the Chapterhouse in Azure Square in Valrona. You'll be interviewed, and you'll give your references to the recruiter. You'll be told when you can check back for your answer, and you may need to give information about how to contact you if necessary.
OOCly, you can expect to be in the school for a RL month or two depending on how fast you get the basics and get your skills where they need to be. The money gets paid right before you sign your initiation document, and it is not refundable -- if you wash out, you lose the money. The document signed is acually OOCly an object of type BOOK, which you will receive a duplicate of once a staffer gets to it.
If accepted for enrollment, you'll be told when you'll need to report to the Chapterhouse for your first orientation session, and you'll sign your life away for a while. You'll also swear the first of several oaths to the Brotherhood:
"I, (name), do hereby take this Oath to join the Brotherhood of Swords as a recruit with loyalty and dedication. I will obey my trainers and superiors in full and without question. I will uphold the name of the Brotherhood in all things and conduct myself as a worthy recruit. I will obey the laws of Valrona in all things, including in the bearing of arms and armor. I swear to honor the Brotherhood of Swords during my training and thereafter."
You'll be required to reside at the Chapterhouse during orientation, until you're ready to sign your first contract most likely, so bring whatever you think you'll need for the next few months. You will be allowed to leave the Chapterhouse from time to time, so you needn't get too worried about supplying yourself overmuch. You will not be paid for your time in orientation, but you will be supplied with food, drink, practice armor and weapons, and basic bedding. Anything else is up to you. If you want to go out drinking with your buddies on your own time, bring money for beer!
The orientation will last till your trainers decide you're ready to be hired out. Some people may find themselves going through orientation in just a few weeks. Most, however, will find it takes a couple of months. In that time, you'll become proficient/adroit in various weapons skills as well as learn the discipline you'll need to follow the orders of your employer to the letter.
One of the main things you'll be learning in orientation will be how to work as a group. Another very important lesson will be military discipline. Following orders is very important to a soldier of any kind. Therefore, any sort of disobedience--in the form of backtalk, sneaking around, or violating any commands given you--will be very poorly looked upon.
Once your trainer decides you've learned what you need to learn, you'll be publicly sworn as a full Swordsman. You may invite friends or family to this ceremony; it's the only time guests will go anywhere past the foyer. Not long after that, you'll get your first contract.
Graduated Swordsmen are sometimes called "Blades." They get to wear the silver pin of the Brotherhood (all orgs allow for this pin) on any occasion. They also have an open invitation to attend the Brotherhood's annual ball, held every summer. It is a formal dress occasion, and members are allowed to bring a guest. It is usually held in Plume Quarter on the Tybiris estates.
In order to be hired by anybody, you'll have to pass orientation. Once you finish the orientation, you'll be offered a contract. This contract will tell you who you'll be working for, as well as for how long, and in what capacity.
You can, of course, choose not to accept the contract(s) given to you. With permission, you may be able to stay in the Chapterhouse until a contract arrives that you're suited to work. Otherwise, you're welcome to take your things with you and get a place to stay outside the Chapterhouse, though you must remember that as long as you are not contracted, you absolutely are not allowed to wear arms or armor in the city of Valrona.
Your duties will be very clearly spelled out in the contract. If you bear arms and armor, you'll know when and how you are allowed to do so. If you fight, you'll know under what circumstances. You'll also know when you're allowed to break those rules. Some organizations are allowed by charter from the Duke to assist the City Watch. Some are strictly barred from it, and may not participate in any Watch activities no matter what. And, of course, those who get contracts with the Watch itself will have limits on what kinds of fights they can get into while on and off duty. Read your contract carefully, and know ahead of time what you can and can't do if something comes up. Any Noble or City Watch officer of Lieutenant rank or above may request aid of Swordsmen, by the way, on provisional basis and with a signed temporary contract.
Contracts are legally binding in the sense that if you act against that contract's provisions, for example aiding the employer's enemies or giving valued information to unauthorized people, your employer may elect to take legal action against you. At the very least, you may be liable to pay a fine. At the other end of the Awfulness Scale, you may be fired and even blacklisted from the Brotherhood for a temporary or permanent period of time, in which case you really screwed up. Future employers may find that information easily by asking for references from the Chapterhouse. Once fired from a contract, you will find it very hard to find future contracts. Most employers will shy away from a problem child.
Duke Severan has the ability to draft soldiers for his armies, as does the Kiassan Empire. The soldiers from Valrona get funneled through the Brotherhood unless an Imperial edict declares otherwise (which hasn't happened in a while). While in service to the Duke, Swordsmen are under contract. He can also usurp Swordsmen from other organizations which have signed their own graduates, but in this case, the organization itself will transfer the Swordsman. Except in times of war or serious need, this won't happen, but the option is there.
Once you're finished with your contract, you'll now have to decide if you want to get another contract, or if you're going to take another path. The laws of Valrona are very strict: if you want to bear weapons and wear armor in the city, you need to be in a contract and performing your duties. But there are some other paths to take. See the Professions page for some ideas for post-contract Swordsmen.
If not bound by any contracts, you're considered a noncombatant while in Valrona. The men and women who are between contracts--or who've gotten out of "the life," as it's called--sometimes wear a pin with the Brotherhood symbol on it somewhere on their persons, but this is optional.
If you want another contract, it's best to check first with your current employer first to see if he or she needs you for another term. If you don't want to work for your current employer again, then it's customary to visit the Chapterhouse in Azure Square about a month or two before your contract's up to see about getting another. About every six months, your employer would have been updating your file with the Brotherhood, and about the time the contract ends, they'll put in a final note about whether or not they'd hire you again. It's best to make sure you leave on good terms! Most Swordsmen have the next contract figured out before the current one ends; once that final note comes in to finish the Swordsman's file, the new contract gets signed and sealed and the Swordsman is off to the next adventure.
If you want to stay in the chapterhouse between contracts, you're most welcome to do so. While in the chapterhouse, you are under the jurisdiction of the trainers and officers of the Brotherhood. No guests are ever allowed into the chapterhouse without express permission of a Brotherhood officer, but the rent's free and you'll always have a sparring partner around.
While in training, recruits can wear pretty much whatever they wish. They will not be allowed to wear armor or weapons outside the Chapterhouse anyway, so within the Chapterhouse, they can invest in whatever custom gear they can afford, with the understanding that whoever hires them may not allow that gear to be worn.
Most organizations will require their Swordsmen to wear certain armor or carry certain weapons. Within the contract, a Swordsman can usually wear whatever he wants as long as he holds to the employer's wishes. Whoever hires the Swordsman will include those rules in the contract.
As a note of etiquette and protocol, it's probably best not to buy something too fancy if you're just starting out. And someone who has the money to afford hugely expensive gear may draw unwanted scrutiny. If you do find yourself loaded with money early on, you might want to use some discretion about how you display that wealth. Employers in particular look askance at potential employees who flaunt themselves too much.
Vnums of note:
Most admins should be able to do whatever you need done, but your best contact for RP is Chance. PM Caris if you have trouble finding anybody. Email Caris if you have any need that hasn't gone fulfilled for more than 36 hours and we will get you resolution as quickly as we can.
If you are going to be on hiatus, please alert us as soon as you know so we can work around your absence. It's nice if you can also RP around the upcoming absence by making up a good excuse--a sick relative or the like will almost always be a contextually-sound excuse to be gone for a few RL days or weeks. If we don't hear from you, though, we may have to remove you from your RP position ingame, on the chance that you'll be gone a very long time. Also, if your absence is measurable in months RL, you may be asked to give up your contract and re-situate your PC in the Chapterhouse on the IC excuse of a very long-term IC absence. Please just make sure we know ahead of time if it's going to last a while, and we'll work with you to make sure your PC is still viable when you return. It's important to note that while you will not be penalized for having an OOC situation crop up, we do ask you to be reasonable and not expect the gameworld to just freeze while you're gone. If you're the Captain of the Guard for the Stardancer Summer Palace, nobody could reasonably expect the game to function for six RL months without a Captain. Nor would it be reasonable to expect your IC job to remain after you vanished without giving us word about what was going on. There's only so long we can maintain IC cohesion. Please be aware of this before planning hiatuses.
Along with every contract given out, we also make an effort to let you know OOCly how much ingame time a week will be expected of you to fulfill your new role. If you take a contract and then realize your time allowances have changed to the point that you just haven't got enough time to do your contracted job, please do the honorable thing and email us as soon as you realize the problem so we can help you get out of it as ICly as possible. If you're the aforementioned Captain of the Guard and vanish for weeks at a time, we may need to have an uncomfortable talk with you about possibly finding a replacement so you can take a role that's less time-demanding. Don't let your reach exceed your grasp--if you know you only have 3-5 hours a week to game with us, please don't take a very big commission. We plan to have contracts for higher-end commissions that don't involve a ton of facetime ingame, for those who have excellent RP skills and tenure. However, most commissions for higher-end jobs will involve clan organization and leadership--we need you here for those.
If, on your return, you want to look at another path for your PC (people often change professions ingame after a long hiatus or simply can't assume their previous position due to the position having been refilled in their absence), of course we'll help you with that too! We want you to deal with your RL situations as appropriate and will do everything possible to re-accommodate you upon your return.