Another important decision your character will make is choosing whether or not to join one of the house strongholds. These strongholds are akin to Player Guilds and represent a central part of the game’s story and are also one of the easiest ways to get your character more involved in the game. Each stronghold has a different belief structure that revolves around the nature of the Dream and how to best handle the Nightmare threat.
Further, each stronghold has their own rules and procedures for joining. House members can be identified by the crest they wear upon their chest or back. The background of this crest signifies positions within the hierarchy of the house structure. White signifies initiate, Red signifies Guardian, and Blue signifies Ruler or the highest rank of a house. For most houses, you will need to speak with a Guardian or Ruler to join.
Joining a house comes with many benefits: You will have allies in the house who assist you, Guardians or Rulers can grant you experience for aiding the house through the house message boards, house vaults and armories provide you a place to store weapons and equipment, and you will have easier access to the teachers necessary for character progression. These benefits do not come without consequence however. Other houses may disagree with what your house believes leading to intense politicking and conflict, up to and including an all out war.
The strongholds themselves are permanent structures but the groups inside will only remain as long as they have enough members supporting their cause. Should membership dip below acceptable levels, the group will be removed from the stronghold, and it will become available to be claimed by another organized group of dreamers.
You will need to speak with the crested members of the houses to learn about what that house believes in order to decide if your character will fit in or not. Alternatively, the Archives of Planes in the Library of Souls can be a useful resource for learning about the houses.
Will your character join a stronghold to banish the Nightmares back into the chaos from which they came? Or perhaps your character believes the Nightmares should be imprisoned instead. Your character may even seek to lend aid to the Nightmares. Join a house that you think your character should belong in, organize a group of dreamers and lead them to open their own house, or go it alone as a Free Spirit . The choice is yours.