Lead, Steam, and Spirit
"By Lead, Steam, Steel and the Will of Almighty God, We Will tame this hellish land and bring the true faith to its heathen outcasts. From the eastern shores past the hinterlands, the endless plains, scorched deserts and up to the great mountains where stone meets sky, we will carry Your Holy Word until we can tell it to the Heavens themselves."
~excerpt from sermon given by Reverend Silmon Reese, 289 PC (post cataclysm)
"You ask me to sell you this land so you can tear at her, pull up her bones and blood to burn in your steel devils. You ask me to cut out the heart of my mother, my father and serve it to you red and beating so that it can feed your hunger, your hunger that knows no end."
~excerpt from a letter sent by Chief Red Eagle to the Office of the President
A frontier realm where technology clashes against wild nature and old magic. A lawless place where those who pursue justice become outlaws and where sixguns rather than judges settle disputes. An untamed land where *savages* still roam the vast plains and high mountains. A land of sky where zepp trains ferry brave settlers over the landscape and raiders hide behind every cloud. A land where magic, technology and nature intertwine, often with dangerous and unpredictable results. In otherwords... just your typical Western.
"After innumerable experiments and countless observations, I am no more equipped to explain what dross is than the ignorant Wikani who might stumble upon a chunk of it in the mountains. What I can say definitively, is that it contains enormous energy, enough, I dare say, to change the course of history. As an alchemist I am illequipped to postulate beyond this, but in secret I wonder if this simple blue stone is not the very essence of magic..."
~excerpt from the journals of Dr. Illius Fragmere, early Altrayan alchemist
Atraya, named for it's Ordinian discoverer Kalvus Atran, is a vast continent of harsh, imposing terrain which seems to stretch on infinitely. When the Ordinians, an island people, first landed there they found a primitive people, still practicing spirit magic and hunting with bows and arrows. These natives, the Wikani, were quickly and often brutally displaced by the Ordinians with their advanced arcane magic and steel weapons. By sword and spell the east coast of Atraya (Ixsa to the natives) was cleared for habitation. Colonies and farming communities sprung up, driving the wilds and the natives further into the West. Then 53 years after the first colonies, disaster struck the homeland, the volcano beneath Ordinus (the main island) awoke and the great archipelago was utterly destroyed. Only the colonies of the once great civilization remained, those in Atraya to the West and those in Skoria to the South. Severed from the institutions of magical learning and vast libraries, much of their arcane knowledge sunk into the seas with their island home.
In the wake of the great cataclysm, deprived of their former magical prowess, both colonies struggled to become self sufficient. In Skoria slaves became the backbone of a new economy and these dark skinned natives along with the sugar they harvested by blood and sweat soon came by trade to Atraya. Unfortunately for the Atrayans, and fortunately for the Wikani, all attempts to shackle their indigenous population failed, for they died in captivity to a one. Without slave labor or arcane magic, the Atrayans had to develop a new source of power, technology. Beneath the mountains of their new land, they discovered two magical substances, mana, a bluish oil, and dross, an iridescent rock. It didn't take long for the industrious Atrayans to discover that these substances flared when exposed to flame, emitting heat and raw magic. It took them only slightly longer to discover technological applications for them. Dross became the fuel for massive steam engines, shoveled into boilers to drive great machines of steel. Mana became the fuel of alchemy, serving all varieties of purposes. As a distilled liquid it lit lamps and illuminated cities, as a dried powder it propelled bullets and in a gaseous form (called aether) it lofted balloons and made all manner of airships possible.
The Steam revolution that followed the discovery of dross's applications ushered in a new era of conquest and violence as the colonies, now the United Atrayan Territories (UAT) spread with renewed vigor into the uncharted frontier. As new wars with the various Wikani tribes flare up throughout the wilderness, a brewing conflict rears it's head, a conflict between the Southern Territories who have grown dependent upon Skorian slave labor and the Northern Territories which have converted entirely to a dross economy. This conflict already devastated the East during the so called Border Wars ten years ago, but the issue of slavery remains unsettled and a new war which may consume all of Atraya looms on the horizon. Into this bubbling cauldron of multiple conflicts, I gleefully toss the PCs. There, take that PCs!
May the Plot be with you.
This will be a flexible story based RP. What that means is that there will be a story, but player choice will determine how that story plays out. This means I need players who can contribute to a narrative, but who are not 'deadfish' who flop over unless the GM is pushing them along constantly. I will review any number of characters, but will select only four based on the quality of the submission. Submissions should take the form of a typical CS (description, personality, history, equipment, all that good stuff), plus a scene from the character's background written like a typical post. This game is essentially high casual so I am looking for decent grammar and spelling as well as some style. Post characters here in the Interest Check and after a week or so, I will select four of the best and most diverse and we will move to the OOC and in short order In Character RP.
Note: Feel free to expound upon any aspect of the world in your CS. If you are a Wikani, create your own unique tribe, if you are an Alchemist or an Engineer, let's see some creative chemicals and inventions, if you are a Preacher expand upon the codex and it's messages. Always feel free to play with the world. If you contradict something, I will tell you and I will not hold it against you.
"I am a gunslinger, I am also a gunslinger, I too sling guns, I sling rifles.... Hey can I be Clint Eastwood?"
~a synopsis of character submissions in the GM's past western RPs.
Yes, you can be a gunslinger, but remember, I am looking for diversity in this RP. I want to see doctors, men of faith, drunkards, and women struggling to survive in a male dominated frontier. I want the whole spectra, so if I get ten submitted gunslingers, I'll choose one or two of the best and reject the rest. Below is a small sample of the available archetypes which should give you a feel for the diversity present in the world. Again this is just a smattering of the possibilities. You are not limited to these.
Settler- Most men and women on the frontier are settlers. They tend to be family oriented, religious, and hard working. Although they have no hand in the antinative policies of their government, they are often those who pay the price when enraged Wikani raid Atrayan settlements.
Lawman- The Rangers formed as an independent organization of Northerners and Southerners during the Border Wars, eschewing politics they chose to focus on protecting the common people and enforcing what they called 'natural law', the basic rights of life and liberty. Although, the rangers are not free of corruption, they continue to represent the ideal of justice for many people. Their competitors, the Marshals, are an officially sanctioned brand of lawman, often filling governmental posts like Sheriff. While the Rangers are viewed as unbiased idealists, Marshals are seen by common settlers as representatives of rich, powerful eastern interests who are more likely to follow the 'letter' than the 'spirit' of the law.
Outlaw- Outlaws plague the lawless Western territories like a disease. Many are veterans of the Border Wars who, having learned to live by the gun, continue this way of life in peace time. Some outlaws restrict their crimes to the land where they hold up banks and rob trains, often riding on versatile horses so they can quickly escape into rugged terrain. Others stick to the sky where they ambush zepp trains in their rogue airships and gyros. In recent years, these 'air pirates' have become a greater threat to sky traffic than the eagle riding Wikani tribes.
Veteren- The Border Wars created many veterans, some with crippling injuries, lost limbs and arms replaced by steam driven prosthetics. Many of these men continue to live lives of violence. Some join the calvary and make their coin as Wikani 'Hunters', while others turn to bounty hunting or violent crime to survive.
Preacher- The settlers have brought more than their technology west, they've brought their faith. Atrayans follow an altered form of the faith they carried across the ocean generations ago, a belief in one God (Orus) who sends emmissaries called Archon to lead people back to the path when they have gone astray. The combined writings of these Archons form what is called the Codex or Holy Word, a red book which all Preachers who carry the word west keep close at hand.
Miner/Prospector- Some men would rather take the chance at striking it rich than work the land, these miners and prospectors tend to be a rough bunch, mostly single men who spend their meager finds of dross on whiskey and whores.
Gambler- Where there are hordes of desperate, uneducated men, conmen are sure to follow. Like mosquitoes track a herd of caribou, the gamblers follow the prospectors from boom town to boom town, taking their hard earned coin at poker and dice tables.
Prostitute- The frontier is not kind to women and many are forced into that most elemental career in order to simply make ends meat. Some prostitutes are lucky and work in brothels run by an old dame, often an aging woman of the night, but many unlucky girls travel to the West with big dreams, only to become virtually enslaved in dens of debauchery called Slumps or simply Whore Houses.
Doctor- Wherever people go they need doctors, and some brave few have traveled into the harsh west to practice their craft. Underpaid and unappreciated, they tend to be altruistic characters or good hearted curmudgeons.
Skorian- While most Skorian's are slaves, since the so called Border Wars (Slave Wars to the Northerners), freemen of the dark skinned Skorian race have been allowed to live in the Northern Territories as well as the frontier. Whether slave, runaway or freedmen, the Skorians face constant prejudice and racism from the surrounding white Atrayan culture. In light of these pressures, some have joined the Wikani in the wild and in so doing rediscovered some of the life and magic they left behind in their home across the sea.
Wikani- Wikani are divided into the so called civilized and 'savage' tribes, but beyond this simple categorization, they are a people of boundless diversity. The civilized tribes have treaties with the UAT and tend to live on reservations while the 'savage' tribes still fight the Atrayans along the frontier. Even against Atrayan technology, the Wikani still pose a threat for they practice a spirit magic unknown to the Atrayans which allows some of their gifted to shapeshift into ferocious beastial forms. Furthermore, those tribes of the plains and mountains have domesticated the giant eagles in these regions, known as rocs to the Atrayans, and so present a constant danger to all airship traffic. In character the Wikani are a proud and spiritual people who live lives close to their wilderness homes. Instead of believing in a transcendent deity like the Atrayans, most Wikani believe in a Great Spirit which is one and the same with the earth itself and from whom all lesser spirits, those of coyote, hawk, even human, descend. Occasionally Skorians and Atrayans have adopted the Wikani way of life either by force, through abduction, or choice. Likewise many Wikani have become 'civilized' and live among whites in an atmosphere of near constant mistrust and racism.
Engineer- Whether transportation follows the iron rails or soars through the sky by balloon and propeller, it is always breaking down and so a hardy few are called upon to wade into the grease and soot and fix what is broken. Engineers tend to be level headed and pragmatic. They are also more exposed than anyone to the magical radiation of burning dross and so are far more likely to goblinize. As a result goblins and engineers have become one in the same within the minds of many settlers.
Goblins- One unfortunate side effect of dross technology is the random mutation caused by radiating magic. Those commonly afflicted are those who spend the most time around dross boilers and mana industries, this means poor laborers, engineers, and alchemists. So far goblins have proven to be sterile but as technology becomes more omnipresent their numbers continue to rise. Most goblins live in ghettos or isolated colonies like those built for leppers in ancient times.
Alchemist- Mana, the liquid phase of dross, can take many forms and serve many functions. Those who specialize in transmuting it are termed alchemists. Invaluable in the West as gunsmiths, they are of a scientific mind set, curious folk with introverted tendencies.
Aethernaut- Aether, the gas phase of dross, has allowed the colinization of the sky itself and the vanguard of this aerial frontier are the aethernauts, men and women who pilot flying craft, from the mighty derigables to the short range gyrocopters. Aethernauts are adventuresome types, rarely staying in one place for long. Among their ranks are freelancers, privateers, merchants, smugglers, air pirates and calvary officers.
Mage- When Ordinus sank into the oceans after the great cataclysm it took most of their magical knowledge and most of those gifted with magic into the depths. However, a few mages who happened to be in the colonies survived and continue to pass on their knowledge and talent. These mages are incredibly rare and seen by both the heads of religion and industry as a threat to the current order. As such most remain in hiding and only reveal their abilities when pressed.
"Good? Bad? I'm the guy with the gun."
-Post Regularly (1/week minimum)
-Don't be a douche
-Don't be a flake (Seriously, if you have dropped any RP in recent memory do not apply. I am sick of you flakes.)
-Don't be a power gamer. (Although this game will no doubt have an action component, it is a story based game not an arena.)
I will fill up this section as people ask inevitable questions about the game and setting so that players do not need to skim through the whole IC in order to find this information
Q: Where do I submit my character?
A: Here in the Interest Check. Only players who make the cut move on to the OOC.