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OUR PHILOSOPHY

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The Eldritch Collective recognizes that not all roleplayers agree on what the best approach to roleplay is. Therefore, we believe it is important to establish a clear vision and expectations where our Free Company is concerned.
One of the great challenges of roleplaying in Final Fantasy XIV is that while the game itself follows the oft-epic adventures of the Warrior of Light, the actual world and setting establishes these as the exception rather than the rule.
The vast majority of Hydaelyn’s populace are ‘normal’ people, not unlike the real world we live in. Most could never hope to master a single ‘job’, much less multiple ones. For many, traveling beyond the safety of their homes is fraught with danger, necessitating the services of adventurers to help stave off the many threats of the realm.
Of course, we understand that many people would prefer to roleplay as something a little less mundane than the experiences on offer in real life. As much as we love to see people who want to portray truly ‘normal’ characters and think they are super interesting, we acknowledge that most – ourselves included – prefer to skew more towards the ‘adventurer’ end of spectrum.
That being said, we are NOT Warriors of Light. If¬†we had to point to any in-game personalities as a benchmark for the upper limit of individual character power, at best it would be the Scions of the Seventh Dawn: typically operating in singular specialized roles at any given point in time, and often in over their heads against threats like Primals and Garlemald. While that doesn’t preclude any Scion from having individual moments in the spotlight, only by working together can they typically hope to overcome the greater challenges. Even then, they may still need the Warrior of Light to bail them out!
To facilitate this concept, the Eldritch Collective employs a series of roleplaying guidelines and expectations. If the style and choices outlined below resonate with you, great! If not, know that there are no hard feelings. Your preferences in roleplay are equally valid – they just may not be suited to a tenure in our Free Company and the environment we seek to cultivate.
Learn more about our specific philosophies by scrolling down or clicking the below links:
Finding Common Ground – Keeping elements introduced in roleplay grounded in the known world.
Hey Crystal, Go Crystal, Soul Crystal – Our handling of Soul Crystals in lore.
Be Prepared – How we keep adventures challenging and interesting.
The Hero’s Journey – The importance of growing a character as a person as opposed to a killing machine.
Hard Limits – The things we just have to say no to.
Note: As our community evolves and as new lore comes to light, we will continue to evaluate and revise our guidelines in order to best promote our vision.

FINDING COMMON GROUND

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Our first and most critical expectation is that characters within the Eldritch Collective should only have regular access to items, tools, and technologies that are commonly available (be it commercially purcahsed or routinely distributed) to the standard citizenry or soldiery of any known, near-present society or tribe on Hydaelyn. It is crucial to understand that we do not merely follow a rule of “if it exists, it’s feasible”. Many technologies ‘exist’ in lore but would still be far too disruptive, both to theoretical society but also the general roleplay and storytelling environment we have established for ourselves.
Understand that our concern is less with the ‘how’ or ‘why’ of things (after all, anything can be explained if you reach far enough) and more with the ultimate, tangible ‘what’. We want our members to feel comfortable telling creative stories and experimenting with the possibilities of how or why things might transpire, while still being cognizant of whether or not what is occurring is within reason.
For example:
  1. Technology such as Magitek Armor is routinely available to Garlean infantry – in other words, the ‘regular soldiery’. Therefore it is reasonable for a Garlean character to have been issued such a unit, or for a character of an alternative background to have stolen one.
  2. Contrarily, technology such as the Weapons (as in Ultima or Ruby) is extremely specialized, often prototypal and limited to a singular such unit or manufactured / utilized by a very select few people. While it is possible to experiment with similar technologies, actual acquisition or creation of such things would be outside the realm of feasibility.
Alternatively:
  1. While the (re)creation of the original relic weapons is considered to be a part of the Warrior of Light’s story, we know that Gerolt manufactures replicas of these designs in hopes of one day paying off his debt. Because this meets the ‘commercially purchased’ criteria, it is entirely feasible for well-off characters to purchase such replicas for personal use.
  2. On the other hand, even though the Warrior of Light may have been gifted a replica Regalia, there are no indications that the Ironworks is producing these vehicles for popular consumption.

Hydaelyn is chock-full of things to reference and build upon. Use them!

We do however facilitate the addition and use of such things through the Collective’s nucleus: the Black Vault. Serving as an archive for the Collective’s amassed knowledge and resources, those things which are deemed too disruptive or too dangerous are ‘Vaulted’, where they can be catalogued, researched, and if warranted, redistributed on a limited basis as part of ‘preparation’ (outlined below). Additionally, such things may be more loosely applied where they are necessary to tell – and remain constrained within – an outlined story or plot.
This provides us an avenue to ‘yes, and’ more concepts, while still allowing us to filter out those things which go a little too far out of bounds. It also creates additional roleplaying scenarios in which characters have the ability to hide such contraband or risk discovery. Be forewarned however that the failure of a character to surrender such items to the Vault upon request is grounds for in-character dismissal.

HEY CRYSTAL, GO CRYSTAL, SOUL CRYSTAL

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Debate about how to translate Soul Crystals into lore is as old as their introduction in 1.x. The struggle is an understandable one: in a game that encourages playing a single character, how can one explain the acquisition and mastery of so many different skills? Moreover, it’s reasonable to expect that in a 30+ year-old franchise such as Final Fantasy, many players will want to portray an iconic class fantasy that they may have identified with since their first exposure to the series. It’s understandable that some people will feel constrained by a lore that declares many of these jobs rare, if not outright illegal, beyond the Warrior of Light. As a lore-conscious Free Company, we believe that staying true to that means accepting things even when it may be inconvenient or counter to individual wants.
While our Free Company does not place any limits on the number of jobs a character may be trained in or which Crystals they may possess, we do ask that members are both reasonable in terms of what – and how much – a character is mentally and physically capable of mastering, as well as operate with consideration for a given Crystal’s rarity, the basic laws of aetherology, and the legality of utilizing certain abilities or magic in the open.

There are many powers which may be unlocked through the use of Soul Crystals.

Beyond this, we ask our members to incorporate three ‘laws’ in terms of how Crystals function in lore:
  1. Soul Crystals do not impart their knowledge readily to anyone who isn’t the Warrior of Light. Not only must a character’s existing knowledge, talents, and in some cases personality be aligned to attune to the crystal, but the knowledge contained therein can only be gleaned through moons – if not years – of study, training, and further bonding with the crystal. (Source: Encyclopedia Eorzea vol. 1)
  2. In order to properly function, Soul Crystals must be worn ‘close to the skin’. The Collective interprets this as meaning that a soul crystal affixed to the outside of armor, jewelery, or weaponry (think FF7 Materia), or kept in a pouch would not yield its benefits. (Source: Encyclopedia Eorzea vol. 1)
  3. In order for the defined jobs (or any player-conceptualized concepts drawing upon the powers unique to a defined job) to function at full efficacy or with their signature powers, the Soul Crystal must continue to be worn. In other words, it is not merely a ‘memory transference device’, but also a focus. (Source: Various job quest dialogues)
    1. We have elected to take this approach after reviewing quest dialogue for each job, and finding that the majority of them indicate an explicit or implicit need for the Crystal beyond memories and training. As no job explicitly states that the Crystals are not required for this purpose, we feel it is best to apply this concept unilaterally.
It is important to understand that although we have chosen to paramaterize Soul Crystals in this fashion, these remain purely flavor / communal storytelling choices. There are no ‘gamified’ disadvantages tied to choice of a player or character to adopt the use of a Soul Crystal – e.g. where rolls are utilized, a penalty will not be issued based on whether or not a character is using a Crystal. We only ask that players interpret these guidelines into a lore-congruent limitation or downscaling; e.g. a character may be able to cast Flare freely with a Black Mage Crystal, but attempting to do so absent one would have dire consequences.

BE PREPARED

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While we may be able to carry all manner of weapons, armor, and food in our player inventories, our characters’ bags aren’t quite so large. In order to avoid situations where characters have a solution to every possible problem, the Eldritch Collective has adopted a ‘preparation’ system. This enables us to favor more role-based party play in adventures, with greater interdependency and problem-solving between characters.
As a rule of thumb, the preparation system does not preclude characters from attempting to take any action that a player feels would be within their means. Rather, it provides an advantage for bringing the right tools for the job. As an example your character may be able to pick a locked door using a hairpin or dagger, but would be more effective doing so had they prepared a thieves’ kit containing lockpicks. Whether casual or DMed, roll-based or freeform, we ask our members to incorporate and to be prepared to encounter these advantages, disadvantages, and potential consequences or roadblocks.
Prior to setting out on an adventure, characters in the Collective are expected to ‘prepare’ by equipping themselves with any combination of three weapons and/or toolkits as well as attuning to one of their Soul Crystals if they so choose (think of it akin to how you are unable to switch out your job mid-dungeon) – there’s even a front desk managing our armory allowing you to roleplay this out! Items which were previously ‘Vaulted’ due to their exceptional power or danger may in some cases even be requested or distributed as an additional preparation element.

The Collective’s armory is the perfect place to prepare for your next adventure.

Weapons can be anything that falls within our ‘common availability’ principles. There’s certainly no need to adhere to the established core weapons – we won’t stand in the way of a Doman naginata or a Thavnairian shamshir. One member even asked if a battle chocobo could be used in place of a personal weapon, and as far as we’re concerned as long as it’s still one of three preparations, it’s still within ‘common availability’.
In addition, we consider classes and jobs to be decoupled from weapons. Warriors going beast-mode with a spear is perfectly reasonable! We only ask that players respect the concept of bringing the right tool for the job. Respecting things like the laws of physics and aetherology, attempting to spear an enemy with an axe or cast thaumaturgy without a focus made of the appropriate conductive materials would be at the very least ineffective or unstable. Because we only allow characters to prepare one Crystal at a time as well, those characters choosing to represent the powers of a traditional job should also be mindful of how that job may or may not intersect with chosen weapons or tools.
  • Note that for the sake of equity, a pugilist or monk choosing to go unarmed is considered a weapon preparation. Think of it like meditating or cleansing chi!
Toolkits on the other hand are pre-defined sets of various support items, many with limited use, which may be used to offset the absence of certain party roles or prepare for expected scenarios: think things like potions, bandages, rope, or flint and tinder. These kits are a great way for less combat-oriented characters to join adventures in a supporting role, or to enable alternative solutions to specific problems. A complete list current toolkits will be made available in the near future. We also remain open to suggestions from our members for new kits!
Once prepared, it will be up to a character or adventuring party to decide how to tackle various challenges based on the weapons, skills, and tools available to them. Exploring a pitch-black cave will be a very different experience depending on if a party has brought a lantern or torch!

THE HERO'S JOURNEY

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Another pitfall we’ve noticed other roleplayers encountering – particularly those new to MMORPGs – is the notion that the only valuable character growth is that of individual combat prowess. Understandably, when a game is telling you that you need more levels, more gear, and more spells every patch or expansion in order to effectively explore new places, it’s easy to fall into that mindset.
The Collective believes strongly in placing unexceptional characters in exceptional circumstances. Unfortunately when you assume that characters are always increasing in power, those exceptional circumstances translate into exceptional characters, and it only becomes a matter of time before power creep sets in. If you’ve ever watched Dragon Ball Z, you should have a good sense of how the stakes continue raising to the point of absurdity, and that is something we strive to avoid.
Consider that a true ‘master’ of a given job is very likely a rare achievement attained only through years if not decades of study, experimentation, or practice. While our characters may learn and grow through their experiences – particularly when facing more transcendent enemies such as voidsent or primals – it is best to incorporate these experiences into a character’s reputation and emotional growth (or instability) rather than their combat prowess. Consider Final Fantasy 6: though Locke and his companions defeat a God in the end, Locke does not become a demi-god as a result. He’s still a typical rogue; he just happens to be one that got swept up in an adventure and killed a God.

HARD LIMITS

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In addition to our core guidelines, our Free Company does have a number of hard limits. As much as we want to be able to ‘yes, and’ and leave story opportunities open-ended, there are some concepts or elements that are wholly unsuited to our objective.
    • Characters may not portray as the Warrior of Light, or as extra-dimensional / aberrant entities such as Ascians, Voidsent, Sin Eaters, or Undead.
    • Characters must originate from a known, near-present society or tribe (yes, beast tribe characters are okay!) on Hydaelyn, congruent with our ‘Common Ground’ philosophy.
    • While characters may portray any concept drawing upon similar principles as established jobs, characters should refrain from creating direct analogues to any known traditional jobs within the Final Fantasy franchise which have not yet been represented in lore (playable or not).
    • Any representation of abilities, technology, or magic must abide by the laws of physics (as they exist in Hydaelyn) or aetherology as we presently know them. This means, for example, that while characters may feel more inclined to favor a certain element, it would be impossible for a character to only ever cast ice magic without over-aspecting themselves and suffering the consequences of doing so.
    • Although characters may possess the Echo, any ‘active’ manifestations of this such as seeing memories or tracking aether must be limited to backstory, written narratives, or pre-approved storyline scenarios. As much as we like to see people play with this, it just gets a little too messy to arbitrate in regular roleplay.
    • The Free Company recognizes that Fantasias do NOT exist in lore. While players may change their race or appearance at any time to facilitate their enjoyment of the game, we ask that these are either represented as new characters, or overlooked as having always been that race/appearance (with tweaks to race-specific background elements as necessary). Alternatively, we do recognize glamour prisms as an option to overlay an illusory appearance, though these may be dispelled!
      • There is one exception to this: in the case of individuals who wish to represent their characters as transgender, we will accept any explanation you feel is necessary in order to accomplish that. Your representation is more important than lore.
    • Characters are currently incapable of physically traveling to, or from, the First.