So basically I've had this idea for a long time. It's fundamentally science fiction, but the way the setting's inhabitants view the science-fictional elements is ignorant enough that technology basically fills the role of magic in a more classical Fantasy setting. Socially there are frontier, wild west, gold rush sort of elements mixed in with the more classical sword-and-sorcery fair. Even having said this as concisely as I can think to, I don't think I'm really explaining it in it's entirety. To that end I've put together a few paragraphs of flavor text and the important events of the setting's past.
A figure trudged quietly along through the knee deep snow, the ice-cold melt of it seeping through his boots' lace-holes. In the thick forest, the only light came from the gibbous moon as he walked without lamp or torch. Over his shoulders was draped a great fur pelt, clasped at the collar with ebony claws that could cleave a man's bones. Pulled up in a hood from the fur cloak was the beast's head, carefully skinned from it's skull and mounted to the man's helmet. The bear hide marked the man as a Berserker, a peerless warrior whose name was sung in mead-hall tales. At the moment he didn't feel very much like a hero; he felt cold, and irritable, and very much in need of a stiff drink and a fair-skinned whore.
Cresting the ridge that he was climbing up, the hillside below him opened up. A ways down the scree slope space had been cleared, and tracks for a cart had been laid. The metal rails disappeared into a depression in the hillside, a tiny little mine that seemed as though it had been abandoned when it didn't pan out. At the mouth of the craggy hole in the earth crackled a fire, and the silhouette of a huge man squatted in front of it with its back towards the hill. The berserker knew that it was no man, though. The scrap of parchment in his cloak pocket had lead him here, on orders from his Jarl. The thing warming itself by the fire was the reason he was out in the cold at this gods forsaken hour, chill moist clinging to his toes. That bastard's fault...
Feeling his pulse pound in his throat and his breathing become ragged, the berserker hurled himself down the rocky hillside towards his quarry. About half way down the slope a blood-curdling yell bellowed from his lips, which made the creature whip it's head about to see what was making the racket. Just as it did, a thunderous 'crack' ripped through the night's air, a lead slug burrowing itself in the thing's face. It staggered back, catching it's balance just as another slug caught it's jaw. By now the berserker had closed the gap, and was right on it's toes. His shotgun was empty now, but not useless yet. He held it by the barrel, the wooden stock pointed out like an oblong mace. Turning and heaving the butt of the gun into the side of his adversary's head, the tarnished metal braces that surrounded the man's shoulders and arms wailed with a high pitched keening, driving the make-shift club with an unnatural force into the thing's temple.
A wet crunching noise followed the contact, and the beast fell to the ground on its back, twitching. Plain as day, it seemed dead. He knew better though: nothing he'd done so far was enough to kill a Troll. Dropping his now-bent gun in the snow, he crouched by the Troll and lifted one of its massive arms over his shoulder. With an effort that made even his 'gauntlets of strength' struggle, he hoisted the beast up on his back. Dragging it the few feet it had stepped from the firepit, he tossed it onto the licking tongues of flame. The twitching became more violent, and a weak moan of pain creeped from it's lips, but it soon fell still as the campfire whisked away the last of its life. Breathing heavily, sweat covering his brow, the berserker sat himself in the little depression where the Troll had been warming itself until a moment ago. He could at least afford the time to warm himself before making the long trek back home.
These are fundamentally optional notes.
They are so far in the setting's past that they've faded from common knowledge, so unless you roll with an awesome historian as your character you don't really need to read any of this. That being said, it'll probably help you get a handle on how things are in the RP, and more importantly why they are like they are.
- Mankind originated on another planet, dozens of lightyears away. The original humans that came from that planet became advanced enough that their empire spanned the galaxy, and consequently they left colonies of people on every planet they managed to make habitable.
- That galaxy spanning empire collapsed eons ago. For all intents and purposes, they were the gods of mythology; they could do anything and everything, and they're beyond the reach of 'mankind'. The humans of Heimr, the world where the RP takes place, refer to these 'original' humans as the Vanir.
- About four thousand years ago the descendants of the original humans who inhabited one of their colonies developed to the point that they could travel between stars again. These people were the Dvergr, who eventually found their way to Heimr roughly a millenia ago.
These events are relatively recent within the setting, and consequently they're a lot more relevant to the RP. I highly recommend you read them.
- Upon arriving on Heimr, the Dvergr were flabbergasted to find other humans already living there. Confusion gave way to greed as the Dvergr realized that the people of Heimr were practically living in a dark age. The natives of Heimr, simply known as Man, were quickly oppressed by the Dvergr and pressed into servitude.
- The Dvergr that settled on Heimr established their rule throughout the habitable lands, heralding themselves as immortal sorcerer-kings and using their technology to crush any uprising.
- Many scientists among the Dvergr found their kind's treatment of Man abhorrent, but their influence among the Dvergr waned more and more after they'd established themselves on Heimr.
- A schism occurred among the Dvergr, and the militant group that had entrenched themselves as the rulers held a purge to root out the dissenters among them.
- This proved a fatal mistake, as along with the dissenters, much of the Dvergr's technological knowledge was lost. As the years wore on, this problem became more and more pronounced. Much of their technology became inoperable without anyone who knew how to repair or maintain it, and their place as the rulers of Heimr fell into peril.
- Six hundred years ago the Dvergr Empire fell. The military force that they could bring to bear against Mankind had decreased enough that rebellion wasn't unthinkable, and much of the devices that remained were simple enough that Men understood how to use them as easily as the Dvergr did. With superior numbers, Man won their fight for independence, and nearly held a genocide against the remaining Dvergr.
- In the current era Dvergr technology is rare, but not unheard of. It is considered magic, each instance of it an irreplaceable and often unique device. The jarls likely have small armories of ancient 'enchanted' weapons, stashed away in preparation for the unthinkable; and the king himself sits atop the old Dvergr throne, kept alive well beyond his natural span by unknown 'magics'. Mankind's technology has moved forward as well, to the point that cap-and-ball firearms and steam engines are the fairly common. The few descendants of the Dvergr that survived the uprising often try to blend in with Mankind, an easy task given generations of interbreeding. Those few whose families tried to keep their blood pure are looked upon with an odd combination of pity, ridicule, and bigotry. At any rate, even those that remain are rarely called Dvergr any longer. That term is reserved to speak of the monstrous tyrants that are now long left in the past, and there descendants are as much Man as any other man.
And that's all of what I have so far. Let me know if you're interested or if you have any questions!
I'm not interested, but that title was so awesome I HAD to click it. good job!
YEAH, YOU'RE EYES AREN'T PLAYING TRICKS ON YOU, HE BEAT AN ELDER GOD TO DEATH WITH HIS BARE GODDAMN HANDS.
"...In your mind's eye, see your middle fingers growing into long blades, severing the heads of your enemies." -Angry Video Game Nerd.
"The rapist with the flamethrower? That's a combination I try to avoid."-Little Buster.
"You know what New Vegas taught me? That a lone package courier can get shot in the head, recover within a few days, and become an unstoppable killing machine that will murder the shit out of everything ever whilst simultaneously becoming the living God of people with so many guns they could re-destroy the planet AND displaying levels of scientific, technical, and medical know-how that would shame pretty much anybody; oh, and also somehow displaying levels of charisma and aptitude for manipulation that should only come about by creating the bastard offspring of JFK and Bill Clinton with a little side of young Mel Gibson. Not to mention all this is done while consistently outperforming the trained, veteran forces of two separate armies. Now THAT is a goddamn motivational story." -Cracked article comment, on Fallout New Vegas
"NOW IT'S HOLDING UP AN ARRAY OF FULLY ERECT HAND-PENISES! IF IT TRIES TO INSERT THEM INTO ANYTHING, ACTIVATE VIVISECTORS." -Dr.Klein"
You always do this, Klein! You're always yelling, my receptors can't take it anymore... [Voice breaking] AND NEITHER CAN MY FEELINGS!" -Dr. 0
"Ah, American high! Once, I was a student here, but now I am it's GOD-PRINCIPAL!" -Dr. BOROUS.
"Down at the end of the hall is BALL storage. For jocks who like BALLS, like RICHIE MARCUS. Do you hear me, Betsy? RICHIE likes BALLS." Dr. BOROUS. AGAIN.
I'm sold, count me in. This game sounds neat.
2. As far as steampunk, not so much. Human technology is at the point where steam power and black powder are available, but it's not as defining a point of the setting as it would be in proper steampunk. There won't be zeppelins and Victorian gentlemen dueling with their cane-swords. For the most part, the current civilization's technology sucks in every way compared to the Dvergr's leftovers.
3. Society couldn't be called modern at all. Heimr is mostly uninhabited wilderness, with the exception of the Kingdom. The king rules the kingdom, and his jarls rule the kingdom's various holds. Where the setting takes its western elements is that the advent of steam power and blasting dynamite has led to a gold rush on the fringes of the Kingdom. Banditry in the wilderness and along the roads that lead between the kingdom's holds has become common place, and consequently the jarls often send their warriors or whoever is willing to take up arms in quests against the villains in the backwoods. Society is pretty much a weird mashup of medieval Scandinavia and Dawson City: brothels, mead hall/saloons, outfitters, and blacksmiths.
Oh, nearly forgot: as far as the creatures that live on Heimr, they're pretty gnarly beasties. The flavor text mentions trolls, which are basically ten foot tall man-eating primates whose wounds shut miraculously, but the other wildlife is just as daunting. Giants, worgs, goblins, draugr (parasites that animate corpses), dragons, and monsters that have never been seen before, which warrant their own names.
Cool, so what sort of group are you thinking would be good for this? Fortune seekers? The "Law" (gunslinger style?) Lone ranger? Adventurers? Some nobodies to get swooped into the "magic" of things?
I'm going to give this another day or so to see if I can whip up a bit more interest. Ideally I'd like 3-4 players before starting up the OOC and IC threads. For now I'm off to do things of a un-internet variety.