General Ranking Information
Rankings are a means by which guild members can obtain recognition, and expand their responsibilities (and authority) within the guild. They are part of the command structure of the guild; progression through the ranks is a recognition of earned respect, and an acknowledgment of dedicated service.
Ranks are defined in terms of the responsibilities and expectations which must be met to hold the rank. In addition, the methods of obtaining that rank, including prerequisites, are detailed.
There are several levels of rankings. Guild Elders (Archons and the Avatar) are the highest ranks any member can hold, and serve the Guildmaster directly as advisors. These rankings are unique in that they supercede all others, and are only given out by appointment. These ranks cannot be explicitly sought or challenged for, but must rather be granted upon the Guildmaster's initiative.
The next highest level of ranking is that of Guild Leaders. The highest leadership positions in the guild can be earned through the absolute highest levels of dedication and skill. Guild Leaders help organize the guild, and perform some "management" of other members. They also give approval for various promotions and hold special authority within the command structure.
The remaining level could be considered the "main" guild ranking. The highest levels of these rankings are an acknowledgment of superior skill and dedication, and work directly with the Guild Leaders. Combat rankings, for example, reward highly skilled characters whose players are good at PvP combat. Crafter rankings reward those who have achieved high levels of skill in craftsmanship.
Each rank has information which explains how it can be achieved. Normally, all that is involved is meeting the prerequisites and obtaining "permission" from a Guild Leader and/or Guild Elder. In very rare situations, a Guild Elder may waive one or more of the prerequisites to achieve a rank. When this is done, it is because doing so is in the best interest of the guild. It is not done trivially, and is not an indication that the prerequisite will be waived for all candidates.
The highest leadership ranks are fourth-in-command of the guild. Before a member can achieve such an influential position, he or she must show more than simple skill, but also must prove dedication to the guild and an ability to lead.
Although rankings are described using male pronouns, female characters can hold the same ranks. In most cases, the gender of the character is irrelevant. Some exceptions exist, for example, the position of High Enchanter, which is called High Enchantress if it is held by a female.
Characters Vs Players
Rankings introduce a limited amount of roleplaying into the guild by their nature. Progression through the ranks is a reward for achievement, but also provides a title which can and should be a source of pride for the person who plays that character, as it denotes a level of trust and confidence from the Guildmaster.
Nonetheless, many guild members do not roleplay their characters and do not wish to. Ranking does not require they do so. However, the rank itself recognizes in part the skill and knowledge of the player behind the character, and in part the raw numbers and attributes that make up the database that "is" the character. This leads to some restrictions, and some requirements, for holding and maintaining rank. These restrictions and requirements are non-negotiable.
Some rankings require that one character squire another. The purpose of this is to create a formalized mentoring relationship, with the more experienced guild member imparting knowledge to a less-experienced guild member. This knowledge has little to do with the database that defines a character, but is rather a meta-knowledge of how to play the game and use skills to their greatest potential.
As such, squires will be informally recognized for all characters played by a single player. You are encouraged to take a squire with the character you intend to rank, but as this is not always possible or practical, it is acceptable to use any character you play so long as it is a member of OBD.
Ownership of Rank
As the rankings are a recognition both of player skill in fighting and the character skill scores on the character used, rank titles are earned by a player but held by a character. You may not use one character to rank for a title and then assume the same title with another character, under any circumstances. Rank titles are non-transferable between characters. No exceptions.
The OBD guildhouse is located in Trammel. The guildstone is located at the guildhouse, and characters in the guild have the letters OBD above their character's heads. While the guild permits red characters to remain on the guildstone, the game prevents a red character from travelling to Trammel while red.
Guild Leaders are restricted in that they cannot be held by permanently red characters. If a character goes red for a short period of time, this is fine. There is no set rule on "how long is too long"; if in doubt, don't go red without talking to the Guildmaster first. As an example, going red for a week once every six months might be acceptable, while going red for a week twice a month would probably not be.
This insures that Guild Leaders can be present at the guildhouse for guild events and functions. It also means that other guild members will see those individuals around. Very high ranks can be achieved by characters that are never around the guildhouse, but leadership ranks require leaders, and to lead the character must be at the guildhouse.
It goes without saying that if you remove your character from the guild for any reason he immediately loses all rank. This is the case even if it is an action taken in anger, and the character returns to the guildstone five minutes later. If you don't want to lose the rank, do not ever utter the words "I resign from my guild", unless the Guildmaster asks you to do so temporarily.
Multiple Characters, Multiple Rankings, One Player
One player may rank multiple characters within the guild without problem. However, each player may only have one character that reaches a Guild Leader rank, regardless of "type". This restriction is in place to avoid any issues where there is too much responsibility placed upon one player, and also to eliminate any questions of favoritism--whether the favoritism is real or simply perceived.