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ren quest clarity

i ♥ surveys, it's always so helpful to get feedback.

the survey responses are still coming in (click here to take it if you haven't already!) but i'll be doing some responses to feedback here as they come, so hopefully those who haven't done it yet are a bit more informed and can give more precise feedback on exactly how to change things etc.

so! here's some clarity on how rens/levels 8-10 work at the moment. those of you who have been around for a while may remember that when the site first opened and for quite a long time, we only went up to level 7. levels 8-10 were introduced after a lot of players reached level 7 and asked us for more levels. i don't recall where the idea of branching them off into different magic specialisms came from (probably inspired by hoof prince/other horse rpgs), but i think we were trying to empower people to be able to make their characters a little bit more unique. quil and merl and i had a massive brainstorming session which left us all with headaches, and the entire current system came out of that one evening. the system hasn't been touched since then, so it makes total sense that it might need some tweaking or even some more significant changes, so we'd really like your feedback on it.

here's how it currently works.

when your character reaches level 7, they have to meet with a deity, master or quest character (such as omni or tally) who will tell them the shape of their ren. these meetings are sometimes arranged ooc, or quite often people just post in the pantheon looking for a deity. rens are inanimate objects which are meant to represent your character's identity - the word "ren" is ancient language for name/identity. the ren shape is usually discussed between at least one admin and whoever plays the deity/quest character/master. so far i think it's just been me, merl and edel who have given out ren shapes, and we nearly always talk about ideas for ren shapes either as a three or in twos. the player of the lv7 character isn't consulted at this point, though. ren shapes are usually deliberately very vague to enable you to customise them a little bit. e.g. joel's ren was a "wooden horse", and alora interpreted this as a series of tree branches which had interwoven into the shape of a horse, if i recall correctly.

once the ren shape is given, the lv7 character has until they reach lv8 to find their ren in any way they like. this is completely open and flexible and is meant to be a 'journey of self-discovery' type thing. some characters have done this individually (e.g. nepenthe/draco), others have done it in threads or big plots (e.g. arthur/thoth). once the ren is found, the character should return to the deity/master/quest char who gave them their ren shape, and that character tells them their level branch. it is not necessary to bring the ren back with you (joel didn't as his was too large) so it's perfectly possible for your character to find their ren and then lose it again almost immediately, or be unable to recover it. the important part is the finding, not the retrieving.

level branch is again discussed between a pair/group of people, and the following factors are taken into account:
- the player's preferences, if they have any
- what we think would suit the character
- the quality of the ren quest, incorporating literary technicality, originality, impact on the character, etc.

we try and give first or second choice preference to people as much as possible. finding the right match for the character/taking people's preferences into account is prioritised over a formal judgement of the quality of the ren quest posts. we may also take into account the rarity of the different level branches - e.g. sentio is meant to be very rare, so if there are already a number of active characters on the site with the sentio branch, your character is less likely to get it.

there is also this:

When they discover their level branch, the character's ren will mark them on their left upper arm by burning a metal into their skin. The type of metal is determined by their branch, but you can choose the shape the metal takes. This acts as a kind of tattoo, and allows other characters to identify your fairy's branch simply by looking at the colour of the metal.

which is a thing, but as far as i'm aware nobody has ever actually done it. it's not enforced or anything.

if a character fails to find their ren before they hit lv8, they get "stuck" at lv7 permanently.

level branches were designed to be a bit more unique and different to the elemental type branches you see on other sites. we also wanted them to be power specialisms that characters wouldn't necessarily already have. inspiration was taken from a number of places, including inception and doctor who. because we knew we'd have the final say in who got what branch, we allowed for some branches to be very powerful (sentio/somnium in particular). if everyone were allowed to choose their branch for themselves with no restrictions, we might have to rethink the power limits on some of these branches.

the high levels are designed to be hard to reach, too. since lv7 was the old max, it's still a heck of an achievement to get your character to that point. it's not expected that every character will actually participate in ren quests; most characters seem to average out at level 3-6.

hope this long ass post has been informative and not too boring. hopefully if it's really visible how the process works, you all can give us some more precise pointers on how to improve it!

you can give us feedback in the survey here :)

if you want clarification on anything else in order to give feedback, let us know!

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