Rank Within Poets’ Circle

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The Bards of Poets’ Circle Guild is a unique RPG playing environment where creativity reigns supreme. This is not a militant or highly regimented organization where folk are expected to fall in line and think alike. Poets’ Circle represents individuals, and the Guild ranks are structured so as to reward merit.We offer a fun environment full of creativity and collaboration. If you are looking for specific members, visit our Roster.

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The Council of Masters

The Grandmaster (the position that I, Holt Ironfell, currently hold) serves to organize, to introduce, to mediate and advise; a face for the Circle, an ambassador to the other large organizations of New Britannia. The position holds as virtue: wisdom, reservation of judgement, patience and ideological neutrality. Mind you, a wily old Bard like myself always has his own plans for the betterment of the Guild, but my veto is a rarely used thing.

The Grandmaster’s role is to make sure the right people get connected, that collaborators and co-conspirators are introduced and can start and finish their artistic projects, that Initiates and Apprentices are taught the skills that make them better at being future Bards, and that the general society of Bards in New Britannia is enriched. For while preference and privilege is given first to members of Poets’ Circle, all those who breathe life into the fabric of the world are invited to join us in our cultural vision.

The Grandmaster tries to set an example, and tries to behave as a teacher, mentor and producer rather than authoritarian leader. He is concerned with the nurturing of talented Bards into Masters, and with the Guild’s sum production of works (musical, theatrical, storytelling, etc.). He is also in charge of the business side of the Guild, the management and maintenance of resources and acquisition of gold.

The Guild Master is a designated position that acts as an assistant to the Grandmaster, and may generally speak with the voice of leadership. This role is not always filled, but may become so during times of high activity and business.

The Bard (or other equivalent rank) that excels beyond expectation, exhibiting a full mastery of song and story, cunning and wisdom in politics, and who advances the wealth and power of the Circle, may become a Master Bard. The prime virtue of all Masters is the display of wisdom, a nebulous but important art form.

Poets’ Circle may be agreeable on accepting unaffiliated bards, but it does not recognize the title of Master Bard, save when earned through its own traditions, its own members.

A Master Bard (in essence an ‘officer’, in Guild terms) may remain in the House within which they where an Apprentice and Bard, or they create a new House of their own. This House acts as a sub guild or ‘Faction’ and has full authority over its membership — excepting veto powers of the Grandmaster.

A House has a philosophy and creed, so a Master cannot form a House without having this philosophy challenged by the current council of Masters and the Grandmaster. It insures that Houses are founded upon rock-solid ideals, and ensures the final result: that many unique ideologies and opportunities are represented. A Master Bard must also compose a musical theme or anthem for their House, before it is founded.

The Inner Circle

* These ranks are created equal, though individual contributions may shift the focus from time to time.

The following is an RP ideal. When an Apprentice is ready to become a Bard in a House, he or she must Audition before the Master of that House, and the Grandmaster. For some Apprentices, this will be their first formal interaction with the Grandmaster. Masters will want to coach their Apprentices for this moment, as a good Apprentice earns the House reputation and favor on the Council.

Auditions are very formal and follow a traditional ritual. The Master reports on the progress of the Apprentice, presenting him or her in a fully in-character fashion. Then the Apprentice presents his best piece and suffers a Critique from the Grandmaster. These are not typically meant to be a positive experience; the tradition is symbolic of actions speaking louder than words, ie. the Apprentice is promoted and awarded a monetary stipend to fund their further endeavors, while embracing, with humility, that there is still much to learn.

Most importantly, the Grandmaster now ‘hears’ the newly promoted Bard, though they are still expected to deal primarily with their Masters. Going over the Master’s head is almost always frowned upon, unless there is some form of OOC abuse going on.

The Bard rank is where most careers stay, for a long time — it is an earned title, and to be a Poets’ Circle Bard is regarded as having been tested and recognized by those with the earned authority to do so. Anyone can ‘call’ themselves a ‘Bard’, but only a Poets’ Circle Bard is an esteemed graduate.Some Bards leave to become Ambassadors to other Guilds, or to serve the courts of Lords or Kings, while remaining in contact with the Circle. This all to say that no further striving is necessary in the rank system, as a Bard is a Bard is a Bard.

Playwrights concern themselves with theatre productions, role playing and storytelling. Writing is far more important to them than the music common to the Bard.
The Jesters are the clowns, comedians, fools and psychotic madmen of the Circle. The Apprentices who have specialized in light hearted entertainment, satire and mockery find themselves with an appropriate rank. Here too are Jobi Mockery’s ilk, the insane, the true killers. The world will come to both laugh and/or tremble in the wake of Jesters, whose role it is to always keep us on our toes with their cleverness and guile.
Artisans are concerned with illustrator or visual art.
Short hand for Unity Asset Developer.
Ambassadors are actually normally honorary members of the Inner Circle, as they have officer or leadership positions in other Guilds. However, as Poets’ Circle is an atypical association of individuals, there are often cross-promotions and mutual friendships and alliances in other powerful organizations. These Ambassadors act as liaisons between two or more organizations.
Hear ye! Hear ye! The Herald’s major art form is drawing attention where he or she so desires attention to be drawn! These are the marketers and promotors of the Guild, and the ‘news’ people who are passionate about keeping others informed of what is happening, and why it is important.

The Bards College

Patrons are the financial backbone of Poets’ Circle. They are the merchants or crafters and artisans who consider their profession an art form. They are the political players, the Lords and Ladies, who see value in having a full host of bards at their disposal, whether because of their love of the arts, the information and secrets they can learn, or the powerful propaganda machine it allows them access to. Patrons are also the Guild’s most zealous fans and promotors, people who may not have confidence in their artistic skill, but are throwing their strength behind us anyway. Patrons are expected to be worth their weight in gold, pure and simple. They are often the first to encourage and help new artists. 
An Initiate becomes an Apprentice when they join a House. They understudy a Bard (or if lucky, a Master) and join that Bard’s House. The Grandmaster meddles very little in the operations of Houses, and rarely ‘hears’ an Apprentice formally, so Initiates are warned to choose wisely, as they will be at the mercy of the House they align with. The ultimate objective of an Apprentice is to be prepared for their Audition with the Grandmaster, which happens only once the Master of their House is convinced with their ability. To advance in rank, an apprentice requires five artistic works judged to be worthy of their personal historical record within the Guild’s archives.
The lowest rank, a recruit. Initiates are adopted purely on a trial basis, and allowed to ask questions and observe so as to find a House to align with, and a Bard to Understudy. It is so-called because the Circle expects initiative from its members. Initiates are not ‘carried’ and must stand on their own two feet while finding their niche. No one can be creative for you, and you are expected to find creative ways of contributing to Poets’ Circle. Members at this rank are never listed on the Roster.


Earning Rank and Roster

To advance in rank within the Bards of Poets’ Circle Guild, you require a body of work, and you must be a member of the Guild. Initiates and Apprentices must attain the rank of Bard (or equivalent) or Master to be featured in the showcase. If you have five game-ready tracks, or have contributed to one extremely exceptional collaborative effort, you are in a prime spot for consideration as a Bard. Important supporters (those who provide services, or money to the Guild) may also be considered for the Patron rank, which is an honorary position of high esteem.

We require our ranked members to provide a high resolution profile picture or crest, and a write-up about themselves for our Roster. You may do so with this Official Guild Signup Form.

Please include how your fans can connect to your social networks, too, in particular your soundcloud URL, twitter URL, and Shroud of the Avatar forum profile. We will also consider including personal sites in the roster information, if they are professional and useful to fans of your work.

To become a Master Bard, you must have a demonstrated history of creative work and, usually, at least 10 contributions to the Guild. You must have a demonstrated ability to attract and manage a fan base. You must have demonstrated leadership skills and initiative. Master Bards are often delegated tasks and manage their own projects from within a House of their own creation, similar to a subguild. In other words, these are officers.