Ranking Systems?

Regardless of genre, ranking systems are practical to have. While some are easier to create based on real-world groups. A military influenced ranking system is often the easiest to construct. However, others are a bit more challenging to build, since they have limited examples. While examples of warrior/ mercenary or mage guild are easier to find due to their common appearance in video games and literature.

Setting those type of guilds aside for the moment, writers should also consider guilds/associations for priests/monks, thieves, assassins, pirates, and even spies. Depending on the technologically advanced the world in question you could also consider a ranking system for hackers, racers, smugglers, weaponsmiths, builders and, probably a few more.  Yet how would manage to rank associations like those? Granted you could sort the members by their skill set or specialties.  However, in my opinion, that only gets you so far.

I could take the time to focus on each one of the above-mentioned groups but, that would time consuming and make for a large post. Instead, I will choose to focus on constructing a thieves guild. Stripping it down to the basics, since time period and available technology are large limiting factors. Along with ignoring the internal ethical code, the guild uses to operate.

  • Starting rank: Novice/Initiate
    • Clothing color: Tan
    • Weapon choice: Heavy Training weapons
    • Armor Choice:  Light to medium weight clothing
  • Secondary Rank: Apprentice
    • Clothing color: light grey
    • Weapon choice: Standard guild weapon of choice, or recognition
    • Armor choice: Minimum, preferably of moderate weight
  • Third Rank: Veteran
    • Clothing color: Dark Grey
    • Weapon Choice: Standard guild weapon of choice, and one weapon of character’s choice
    • Armor choice:  Minimum: preferably of slightly lighter weight than apprentice
  • Fourth Rank: Accomplished Veteran
    • Clothing color: Dark Grey
    • Weapon Choice: Standard guild weapon of choice, and two weapons of character’s choice
    • Armor Choice: Minimum light
  • Fifth Rank: Master
    • Clothing color: Dark Grey, with a black hood and sleeves
    • Weapon Choice: Two Standard guild weapons, and two weapons of character’s choice
    • Armor Choice: Minimum light, can be heavier at area of vital importance
  • Sixth Rank: Exalted
    • Clothing Color: Black
    • Weapon Choice: Two standard weapons and three weapons of character’s choice
    • Armor Choice: Minimum light, can be thicker at vital areas

While this concept ranking system is simple, it can allow for a complex guild without having an overly complicated ranking system.  Keeping to the idea that a thief archetype character should keep a low profile, but still be recognized by other members of the guild with ease. Depending on the influence of the guild, the same thing could be said of security/guard forces.

Can Magic be Genetic but Commonplace?

As I was working on one my  Steampunk/magic concept story, I began to realize this would be something I would have to consider as I build the world. While the question may seem like a paradox in the making, there are ways to work around it. Making everyone have innate magic capabilities, but their natural potential for it differs. Allowing me to do two things that contrast and complement each other.

The first being a symbolic/rune-based magic with everyday machines. Creating objects with an internal charge, that can be activated with a specific phrase.Forcing the notion that magic is a common idea, that a world can be built around both it as the technology of the world changes.

Yet at the same time allowing the creation of extremely personalized weapons, and other items that work on the principal of a genetic/magical signature. That can be used with or without a phrase. Which complements and contrasts vastly with the notion of magic being commonplace.

Given how oddly well those two ideas seem to work together, the issue now becomes about potency.  However, that seems to be the reason these two ideas work together. Those that have a higher potency for magic will get more training and tutoring in learning how to use their magical capabilities. While those that have lower potentials, get the basic knowledge they can use in their everyday lives. Creating a system that forces both to cooperate with each other to keep their civilization working.

Does anyone else agree with me, on this notion? Should it work despite the contrasts? Please comment if you have anything to say.


I need some help/advice on crafting a magic system. Given the heavy influence and atmosphere of noir in the world, trying to create a magic system is a challenge. I have barely began to deal with the intricate nature of world, that has been merged by accident. Creating an pseudo-fantasy world, inside a world of tobacco smoke, crime, sex,  and gunpowder.   For the most part, I have tried to keep the world in a state of black and white. Using the magic to add a subtle shot of color, in a mostly colorless world. The beginning of the story can be found here. Any ideas, suggestions, or advice would be appreciated. Even someone to discuss ideas would also be appreciated. Thanks 🙂


Alignment and Symbolism, are they separate or intermingled?

Character alignment could be considered a defining part of what makes up a character, or even what the character represents. Of course it could be argued that if a character,or  group of characters belong to a organization with a set of rules/mantras that they represent that the alignment of that particular group. In my last post I talked about creating a warrior’s mantra, if you didn’t see that click here. This post borderlines on being extension of that, or at least feels that way.

Of course while most of the world see alignment as three branches; good, neutral, and evil,  with little to no gray area in between. However one might say that “rogue,” characters are an exception to that. Which is something I partially understand since mercenary, pirate, bounty hunter, sellswords, etc; characters by definition(s) are driven more by greed than by morality.  That being stated I’m choosing to ignore those style of characters, in this post. Otherwise this post could be gigantic.

Given how alignment is seen in things outside of literature including dungeons and dragons, video games, TV, movies, and of course comic books. I imagine given the elections that are taking place right now, I could probably find one about the political candidates if I searched hard enough. As much as that would be amusing, I’m going to ignore the opportunity for now. However given the exposure of comics books based television shows, and movies; it seems fitting that someone who knows maybe a little too much about superheros/ and super-villains would use that medium as an allegory for alignment choices.

alignementI will admit the idea of adding steps in between good and neutral, and neutral and evil makes sense. Even in adding separation between Lawful Good, Neutral Good, and Chaotic Good seems reasonable. The intentions between the five groups are the same, but the methods of the individual characters differ vastly. Even if you choose to ignore that, there is a massive difference between the Lawful Good of Superman, and the Lawful Moral of Batman.  Superman for instance is seen as a symbol of hope, while Batman in contrast is a symbol of fear.

Even if you compare the other side of the scale,evil. While the Lex Luthor could be argued as a symbol of lawful impure, since as a character he more driven by a desire to destroy Superman, than to improve society. Than on the other side of the spectrum we have the Mister Mxyzpltlk, who is pretty much the equivalent of a omni-powerful mischief loving imp. I would say he definitely fits the chaos impure label. Even the next level down icon of the extremely anachronistic violent Joker, is an almost embodiment of what chaotic evil should be. Someone without reason, rules, or a sense of morals.

Maybe that is why some characters have left such an impression on fans and society alike. Not so much who they are but, what they embody. What do you my followers think? Are alignment and symbolism similar, or different? Can one represent something like fear, but still be considered good? Could alignment and symbolism be intermingled, or should they be separated?