What is the Gray Church?

The Gray Church is an organization dedicated to helping new players to the game, and just about anyone else. They're like the Red Cross of Algoron, giving help to others when they need it. The Gray Church is politically neutral, and accepts followers of all races and alignments (though not necessarily all religions.)

The Gray Church will help newbies (as well as others) with learning the basics of the game, gathering gear, training, writing descriptions, healing, roleplay, or pretty much anything else. We're not slaves, and we appreciate polite requests and a nice "thank you." People can donate to the church, but it is not necessary to do so in order to receive our help.


Where is the Gray Church?

The Gray Church has a main branch east of Althainia, and a mission church on Arkane. There are currently plans to build mission churches on every continent except Shokono.

Althainian Branch: (from Althainia Market Square) 7e, s
Arkanian Branch: (from Arkane Town Center) 15n
Icewall Branch: (from Icewall Port) 4n e


Contacting the Gray Church

Unfortunately, there aren't many members in the Gray Church these days. To see if anyone is on in the Gray Church, type "whok gray" and it will provide a list of all Gray Church members on at any given time. In general, any member of the Gray Church can help with anything, but members with "missionary" next to their name are especially good at gathering gear, "protectors" are good at training and tanking, "healers" are good at healing damage and removing bad status effects, and "conjurers" are good at enchanting gear and granting magical buffs. To contact a member of the Gray Church, type "tell (name) (message)". Please be patient; sometimes we're very busy helping people.

If nobody is on in the Gray Church, all is not lost. Try typing "newbie (your question)" or, failing that, "ask (your question)". DSL is full of very nice people who are usually more than happy to help. If absolutely no help is forthcoming, feel free to write an OOC note to the Gray Church. We'll do our best to provide whatever help we can as soon as we get your message. To write us an OOC note, first type "oocn to Gray_Church" then type "oocn subject (the subject of your question)" Then, type "oocn + (your question)". We might not be able to help right away, but eventually we'll find an answer to your query.


Joining the Gray Church

The Gray Church is always accepting new members. To join, simply ask one of our recruiters for an interview. However, please be aware that the entrance requirements for the Gray Church are very steep. We want to ensure that we provide the very best help available to others, and therefore we must be a bit selective about our membership. You must be familiar with DSL, and preferably have played for six months to a year before attempting to join. Also, you must be able to roleplay well or you will not be accepted. Lastly, our interview process tends to be a bit long and arduous. If you feel that you're ready to join, type "whok gray" or "whok rec" to see if there are any Gray Church recruiters on. If there are, feel free to send a tell asking for an interview. If there are no recruiters available, feel free to send a note to the Gray Church alerting us of your desire to join, and a recruiter may work out a time to meet you for an interview.

If you don't make the cut, don't be discouraged! We love having new members, and we'll gladly help prepare you to join by teaching you what you need to know. Even if you're not a part of the Gray Church, nothing is stopping you from sticking around our building and helping other people, and we welcome such assistance readily. Feel free to do so until you finally gain entrance to the Gray Church.


Donation Pits

In all kingdoms of Algoron there are pits/boxes/altars where people can put unwanted but useful things for those of lower levels who may need them. Some well-stocked public donation pits are located:

-Temple of the Gods in Althainia: From Market Square - 3n
-Gray Church in Althainia: From Market Square - 7e, 2s
-Gray Church in Arkane: From Town Center - 14n
-Arkane's Temple in Arkane: From Town Center - 2e 1n 2e 1n

NOTE: Keep in mind that it is against DSL rules to take things from the donation pits and sacrifice or sell them for some extra change.


The Gray Church Constitution

The Gray Church is a constitutional democracy. We are currently in the process of amending and ratifying this constitution.

GRAY CHURCH RULES CHARTER

-=Conduct of Members=-

1. Members of the Gray Church are not to speak publicly on political matters. Privately, we may hold whatever opinions we wish, but publically we must hold our silence. Remember, if you speak in public you're speaking for the church, and the church is politically neutral. Elders are the exception to this rule IF and ONLY IF public speech on the matter is absolutely necessary. Unless dire circumstances prevent, the elders should vote on the public policy of the church in such circumstances before any one elder speaks publicly on the subject.

2. In keeping with our political neutrality, members of the Gray Church may not donate to any kingdom, nor may they hold title significant to another kingdom while in the church. This includes family names of Shalonesti; before joining the church such titles must be relinquished.

3. Members of the Gray Church must remain open to inquiry and requests for assistance, and must not deafen themselves to a plea for help, especially from those who need help most.

4. Members of the Gray Church must not discriminate when helping others on the basis of race, religious creed, kingdom of origin, homeland or any other such meaningless signifiers. However, members of the Gray Church MAY choose not to help others if such act of aid would violate that church member's personal code of morals. For example, a member of the church who worships the pantheon of light is not required to assist in an evil ceremony that directly violates their religious beliefs. In addition, members of kingdoms, clans or groups that choose to be belligerent or dangerous to the church need not be aided unless the member of the church chooses to do so.

5. Members of the Gray Church choose to aid members of belligerent groups at their own risk. It is suggested that a wary member of the church bring an accomplished Protector with them in case of ambush or trap. The Gray Church will not ask its protectors to perform rescue missions, nor will the Gray Church ransom its members back. Individual protectors, groups of protectors, members or groups of members may decide to perform the above actions, but they will not be done in the name of the Church.


-=Donation Rules=-

1. Members of Brother/Sister rank and above can accept donations. These donations should be given to an Elder or Prior at first opportunity. Priors should transfer donations to Elders, and Elders funnel these funds to the Treasurer Elder, who maintains the Gray Church bank account.

2. When you receive a donation, write a note to the Church and to the person who made the donation thanking that person. IF the donator requests anonymity, do not send the note to them and leave their name out of the note, but still note the church for our records.


-=Recruiting Guidelines=-

1. In order to become a recruiter, an active member must be approved for the position by an elder. The elder will then teach the recruiter the guidelines for recruiting, ensuring that the member is intimately familiar with those guidelines. The elder must also adjudge the member's worth as a recruiter and the possible good or ill that could come from the decision. If the member fails to display the necessary discernment, an elder has the duty not to grant that member the position of recruiter regardless of personal relationship with, like of or fondness for that member. In addition, all new recruiters will be required to perform at least one interview while under the watch of the elder deciding upon their recruitment before being granted the position. This is a "final exam" of sorts, and may be repeated until the elder is satisfied.

2. Although we do not discriminate when deciding whom we help, we absolutely do discriminate when deciding whom we allow to join. The Gray Church is an organization, and organizations must have standards to run properly. Those who have trouble with disallowing others what they should not have should NOT become a recruiter. It is the duty of recruiters to make difficult decisions that might hurt the feelings of others when such decisions are necessary, and it is the duty of the elders to ensure that recruiters are the sort capable of such decisions. Further, it is the duty of the elders to remove the recruiting powers of any whom they feel inadequate for the position or who may have been adequate at one point but no longer make sound decisions.

3. Prospective members of the Gray Church must maintain a decent appearance. We exist to help others, not scare them
witless. In addition, members of the Gray Church must be discernable from ordinary people. There is something about the right candidates that stands out, and any recruiter worth his salt ought to be able to spot it.

4. Prospective members of the Gray Church must express a good reason to want to join the church. They must also be able to recount a believable and acceptable past history to the recruiter.

5. Prospective members of the church are to be quizzed by the recruiter. They must have adequate knowledge to help others. This is largely in the judgement of the recruiter, but at a bare minimum they must be familiar with some basic areas and practices of Algoron and must be literate, able to both read and write notices. We do almost all of our communication in the church this way, so it is a necessary capability.

6. Those who worship Raije, Fatale, Dragoth, Devion and Mencius will require two interviews to join, one of which must be conducted by a prior or elder. Only in the absolute rarest of cases will they be allowed entry, for war, murder, the spread of disease, lies and anger are directly contrary to all that the church stands for.


-=Meetings=-

1. Meetings are to be held at the announcement of at least one elder. At least one week's advance notice is to be given for any meeting during which any kind of vote will occur. At least two weeks notice will be given for a vote to elect a new elder or ratify or amend our constitution.

2. Meeting attendance is not mandatory, but those who do not attend a meeting will not be allowed to vote on issues discussed during the meeting.

3. A meeting can be rescheduled if enough members have serious schedule conflicts with the date and time of the meeting. This is up to the discretion of the elder holding the meeting. All queries and letters on the subject of altering the meeting time should be directed to the elder holding the meeting.

4. During the meeting, the Elder presiding over the meeting will call the meeting to order. After this point, those in attendance should not speak out of turn for the sake of an orderly meeting.

5. The presiding elder will introduce whatever official business is to be taken care of. The elder will first lay out the issue in its fullness. After this point, others may comment by first raising their hand and asking to be recognized. The presiding elder will decide in what order members of the church receive floor time. Each member with something significant to say should be given full time, uninterrupted, to present their case. Members should avoid rambling or fillibustering, and may be asked by the elder to yield the floor if they abuse their time there.

6. Each issue before the meeting should be decided to its exhaustion, then voted upon. A simple majority of the church can decide most issues. If there is a tie in the church, a vote of the elders will break the tie.

7. Certain issues, including the ratification and amendment of the church constitution, require a 2/3 majority of the church to pass.

8. When all pre-decided issues are taken care of, members of the church may move to present their own issues. Again, members must request the floor and the presiding elder will issue floor time in what order she sees most fit. On most issues brought before the church by members, a simple vote of the elders can decide, although it may be requested that issues, especially those that would affect the whole church, be voted on by the entire church.


-=Major Votes and Elections=-

1. Major votes, such as the ratification or amendment of the church constitution, as well as elections, such as those for the position of elder, are to be held not in a single meeting but over a term of one week. Members of the church are to vote by closed missive, and it is up to individual members for whom or in which direction they vote.

2. Vote missives are to be sent to an elder, decided before the election takes place, who will hold and count the votes. The elder is not, under any circumstances, to reveal the ballots of specific members of the church or tell who voted in what way by name.

3. Members of postulant and pilgrim ranks may not vote in major votes and elections, for they do not have as much experience in the church or as large a stake in the election.

4. There is to be a definite start and end date, announced to the church at least one week in advance. Elections are to last for a minimum of seven days. No votes submitted after the end date will be accepted.

5. The results of the vote will be tallied and the results distributed to the church by the elder who counted up the votes. Again, specific names are to be omitted, but the results are to be clearly displayed to the entire church.

6. Voting multiple times, using espionage or foul play to affect a vote, or using any manner to determine how someone voted against their will are all grounds for banishment.


-=Banishment=-

1. Election fraud, the commission or murder or intentional bodily harm against another member of the church, excessive belligerence and conflict, intentional offense of allies of the church, incompetence and general insuitability are all grounds for permanent removal from the church.

2. Those banished for all but incompetence or insuitability are not to be allowed to join the church again. Those banished for incompetence or insuitability may petition for reinstatement at a later date after proving that they have become competent and suitable to join the church. This will require two interviews, the second of which at least must be performed by an elder.

3. Banishment of any single member of the church requires a simple majority of the elders to accomplish. Upon being banished, the former member's name is to be added to a list along with the offense for which they are being banished. A note shall be written to the church announcing the banishment and the reasons for the banishment.

4. Those who feel that they have been wrongfully banished and wish to contest the charges against them may attend a special meeting of the church. All three elders must attend this meeting. The member or members of the church who brought charges against the member to be banished must be present, as well as the one who is to be banished. The elders will hear each person's case in turn, and may ask for additional time to deliberate and speak to other witnesses. When the elders feel that they have been sufficiently informed, they will pass their judgement.


-=Interaction with Travelers=-

1. Members of the church are expected to help those who ask if the member of the church is capable. However, members of the church may refuse to aid others in the following circumstances: a) the church member is already aiding another person at the time, b) the church member is resting from strenuous activity or is attending to personal needs, c) the church member is unable to aid the traveler in their task, d) performing the task would unduly endanger the church member, e) performing the task would violate the church member's personal code of ethics or break a vow or promise, f) the church member is engaged in important personal interaction with another person, including friends and family, and performing the task would unduly interrupt such interactions for an excessive amount of time, g) the one requesting help is unduly rude or can obviously accomplish the goal without help and is simply being lazy or abusing the church member's hospitality, h) the church member is taking a break. Church members are entitled to take breaks when needed, but should generally be available to help others if such help is needed.

2. Members of the church should not provide assistance in the form of healing magic or any type of spell without first securing permission from the target of such aid. This is just a courtesy paid to those of differing beliefs who may distrust magic, or who may only wish to accept magical aid from certain sources.

3. Do not wake those sleeping within our church without good reason. Certainly do not perform such actions to harass people who might annoy you.

4. If a traveler is being disruptive, you may ask them to leave. If they refuse or become violent or begin to threaten you or those around you, send a call out for our protectors. The protectors will then escort the disruptive patron out of the church.

5. If a traveler is obviously loitering on our grounds to no discernible purpose and does not respond to you, please report them. Our healing room is a popular spot for such activities.


-=Interaction with Clans=-

1. The Gray Church officially has no position on the wars that take place between the clans. Therefore, we will not offer aid to the clans with which they can fight one another. If you do aid a member of the clans, extract from them first a promise that they will not use what assistance you give them to fight one another.

2. Under NO circumstances should you give ANY aid to a member of a clan who is locked in combat with a member of another clan of ANY kind, regardless of the circumstances. The consequences of these actions can be meted out by forces beyond the control of the church. More importantly, if a clan believes that we are favoring their enemies you may endanger the church by attracting the ire of powerful, militaristic factions.

3. For the same reason, do not harass members of the clans. Do not wake them while they rest, and do not bother them unduly. It is permissible to speak and interact with members of the clans, but do not distract them too much, for they live under constant attack.

4. Members of the clans are not permitted to engage in combat inside the church. If clanner combat takes place inside the church, we are permitted to ask them to leave, as well as using the Calm spell and the Song of Peace to break up their combat INSIDE THE CHURCH ONLY. Do NOT use these powers to interrupt clanner combat outside of our church, and do not use these powers indiscriminately when no combat is taking place as their effects can be felt throughout the room and last quite awhile.


-=Postulants=-

Postulant is the lowest rank in the church, a title given to new members for a certain amount of time.

Duties: Postulants should spend their time in postulancy helping others as normal, as well as learning the rules of the church and observing how members of the church act toward one another. Postulants are permitted to vote at church meetings, but are not permitted to vote in large votes or elections because they haven't yet sufficient stake in the future of the church.

Selection: All new members of the church start with the title of Postulant.


-=Pilgrims=-

Pilgrim is a title that denotes one who is temporarily visiting the church for religious reasons. Pilgrim is a rank equivalent to Postulant. Pilgrims are technically considered members of the church, but they may not vote in church meetings or in any large elections because they have no stake in the church. Pilgrims must request this rank when speaking to a recruiter.


-=Brothers and Sisters=-

Brother and Sister are the standard titles of the Gray Church. They are equivalent in rank to nearly all other titles.

Duties: Brothers and Sisters are full members of the church. As such, they are the baseline of the organization. They give whatever aid they can to anyone who asks. Brothers and Sisters and all ranks equivalent and higher may vote in all forms of election that the church holds.

Selection: After two weeks or so of postulancy, a postulant may petition the elders to be named Brother or Sister. If the postulant has done good work and displayed competence in their work as well as an understanding of the church rules, they shall be named with the title.


-=Healers=-

Healer is a title that denotes one who studies the arts of mending wounds and abjuring afflictions. It is equivalent in rank to Brother or Sister.

Duties: Healers are the most accomplished at mending wounds, purging poisons, breaking curses, healing diseases and otherwise keeping the health of others at its best. In addition to providing the above services, healers may be consulted when someone, traveler or church member, wishes for a consultation or advice in matters medical and dietary. Lastly, healers of the Gray Church are generally available to deliver the babies or consult on the raising of the young of most races.

Selection: Any Brother or Sister may request the title of Healer from the elders. Providing they have some proficiency in the professed duties, the title shall be granted.


-=Groundskeepers=-

Groundskeeper is a title that denotes one who keeps the church tidy and in good order. It is equivalent in rank to Brother or Sister.

Duties: Groundskeepers keep the enormous buildings of the Gray Church. They sweep, mop, wash the windows, weed and garden the grounds and keep everything polished and neat. They may be called upon to clean up after a battle if such unfortunately occurs inside the church. Many groundskeepers, including those in charge of the garden, ought to be familiar with many kinds of plants, and must be very careful when tending to the Big Tree.

Selection: Any Brother or Sister may request the title of Groundskeeper from the elders. Providing they have some proficiency in the professed duties, the title shall be granted.


-=Missionaries=-

Missionary is a title that denotes one who travels the lands of Algoron and the branches of the church. It is equivalent in rank to Brother or Sister.

Duties: Missionaries keep the pits of all churches, as well as the donation pits of all kingdoms, well stocked with valuable items that those who have fallen on hard times might need. Missionaries tend to spend their time out in the world or at the smaller branches of the church, preferring to actively search for those to help instead of sitting around waiting for inquiries. They often carry a great many useful items themselves, giving them away freely to those who ask. As well, they often carry money in order to help those in need.

Selection: Any Brother or Sister may request the title of Missionary from the elders. Providing they have some proficiency in the professed duties, the title shall be granted.


-=Conjurers=-

Conjurer is a title that denotes one who turns their magical gifts to the aiding of others. It is equivalent in rank to Brother or Sister.

Duties: Conjurers are most famous for enchanting the gear of others, especially those who are too poor to afford enchanted gear themselves. However, even those that do not specialize in enchanting become Conjurers. Any who spend their time in the pursuit of magical knowledge can become Conjurers/Conjuresses. Conjuers also grant magical spells to protect and aid others, and are also available to strip harmful magic from others who desire such services. Lastly, Conjurers can be sought when questions of magic and the arcane are brought forth.

Selection: Any Brother or Sister may request the title of Conjurer from the elders. Providing they have some proficiency in the professed duties, the title shall be granted.


-=Protectors=-

Protector is a title that denotes one who studies the martial arts and wishes to guard the life and security of others, especially the Gray Church. It is equivalent in rank to Brother or Sister.

Duties: Protectors defend the church and its members from any violent intent on the part of others, be they sentient creatures, wild animals, extraplanar demons or other forms of monster. If a member of the church is entering a dangerous place, they may request the escort of a protector. Protectors may also escort unruly or dangerous patrons out of the church if they begin to get violent. Lastly, protectors are tasked with training others in the ways of combat and how to defend themselves should dangerous times come.

Selection: Any Brother or Sister may request the title of Protector from the elders. Providing they have some proficiency in the professed duties, the title shall be granted.


-=The Priori=-

Prior and Prioress are titles that denote those who settle disputes and keep the law of the Gray Church. It is higher in rank than Brother or Sister, equivalent in rank to Champion and lower in rank than Elder.

Duties: The Priori are a liason between the elders and the rest of the church. If an elder is not available to answer a question or deal with a crisis, a member of the priori may act in their place. If, for some reason, an elder is temporarily unable to perform their duties, that elder (or, if that elder is unable to do so then the other elders) may appoint one of the priori to act in their place for a time. The priori also mediate disputes between members of the church when such disputes cannot be resolved easily. The priori are among the most familiar with the laws of the Gray

Church and, as such, are often the best to ask about such matters. Lastly, when an election for a new elder is held, the priori are the pool from which candidates are drawn. Only members of the priori may run for elder unless the church is in a serious membership crisis.

Selection: First, the member must have held a rank equivalent to Brother or Sister for at least three months, have displayed loyalty to the church, have actively helped others and must have shown impeccable conduct and a respect for and knowledge of the rules of the church. The member must consider the church their permanent home and not a transitory stop. The next step is to write a letter to the elders of the church informing them that the member wishes to join the priori. The elders may also approach a member of the church that they feel would make a good member of the priori. The member is, of course, free to refuse if they have no interest in the position. At least one elder will review all potential members of the priori, and those who are deemed good choices will be apprenticed, individually, to an elder or other prior. The elder or prior will apprentice each member individually for at least one month, teaching them the ways of the eldership of the Gray Church, dispute mediation and the subtleties of interpreting church law. At the end of the period of apprenticeship, each potential prior will be tested by the elder or prior under whom they apprenticed. This test is to be individualized for each potential prior. If the prior passes this test, they are to be given the rank of prior. If they fail this test, they are to remain apprenticed for a period of at least two weeks between each fresh test until they pass and join the priori, unless it becomes obvious to the elder or prior that the potential prior is not fit for the position, in which case they will retain their old title. They are free to, at a later date, ask the elders for another opportunity to join the priori.


-=Champion=-

Champion is a title that denotes a leader of the protectors. It is equivalent in rank to Prior or Prioress.

Duties: The Champion of the Gray Church shares all duties with the protectors. In addition, the Champion is responsible for training new protectors and teaching new skills to existing protectors. He is the leader of the Gray Church protectors. In times of crisis and danger, he is their general, and has the authority to give orders when necessary.

Selection: There is only one Champion at any given time. A potential Champion must have been a protector in the Gray Church for at least three months, must have reached the pinnacle of his training, must have proven his loyalty to the Gray Church, and must have shown his valor and skill in martial arts. Those who wish to be Champion of the Gray Church may send a letter to the elders explaining why he wishes to be champion, then each elder will devise their own test for the potential Champion. If the potential Champion passes all tests, he will be granted the title. If he fails, he may try again at a later date. There is to be only one Champion at any given time. If a Champion is no longer able to fulfill his duties for any reason, he is obligated to step down and allow the selection of a new Champion.


-=Elders=-

Elder is a title that denotes a leader of the Gray Church. It is the highest rank in the church.

Duties: Elders have many, many duties. They are the primary arbiters of the will of the church. They may resolve arguments and disputes. They may speak for the church in public. They are diplomats of the church to other kingdoms when necessary. They schedule and preside over church meetings, as well as setting the agenda for said meetings. They decide new priors, as well as the Champion of the Gray Church. They preside over banishment hearings. They determine issues brought up by other members of the church. They are the final word of church law.

The following duties of the elders may be carried out by individual elders without a vote:
a) Dispute resolution
b) Scheduling and running of a routine meeting
c) Appointing a new Prior or Prioress, or granting recruiter status to another member of the church
d) Speaking for the church in a crisis where there is not time to vote

The following duties of the elders require a vote of the elders:
a) Deciding the will of the church, including its public policy or its stance on an issue
b) Determining, testing and appointing the Champion of the Gray Church
c) Banishing a member of the church or deciding to rescind banishment
d) Determining general issues brought up by another member of the church

Even the elders cannot determine the following, requiring a majority of the church in a large vote:
a) The appointment of a new elder
b) Ratification of a constitution or other official document
c) Amendment of a constitution or other official document

Selection: There is a council of three elders. When one elder dies, steps down or becomes unable to perform their duties, a new elder is to be elected. A church meeting will be called to announce the election, and all members of the priori who wish to run for elder must send an open letter to the church stating why they wish to be elder. The election for elder must be announced two weeks in advance, and the election is to last one week. Elections are to follow the election bylaws detailed elsewhere in the constitution. When multiple elders are being elected simultaneously, members of the church will cast one vote for each elder seat open. Each of these votes must be cast for a different candidate to ensure that all open seats are filled.


-=Recruiters=-

Recruiting is a privilege that can be granted to any member of the church. It does not override a church member's normal rank.

Duties: Recruiters are tasked with one of the most important duties in the church, the selection of new members of the church. Recruiters are expected to be familiar with the recruitment rules of the church, and able and willing to go through the long interview process that the church uses to determine new members.

Selection: All members with the title of Prior, Prioress or Elder are automatically granted recruiting privileges. Other members of the church may petition the elders to gain these privileges. Those who wish to become recruiters must first study the recruiting bylaws, and must pass a test on those laws given by an elder. Lastly, the potential recruiter must perform at least one interview in the presence of an elder or prior. More "practice" interviews may be requested by that particular elder or prior until they are satisfied. At the end of it all, those who perform to the satisfaction of an elder will be granted recruiting privileges. Those who prove to be poor recruiters or who abuse their recruiting privileges will have their recruiting privileges revoked.