(NOW ACCEPTING CHARACTERS!)
Hello all, I am Avery Welcome to the OOC section for the first installment of the Blake “Ironsides” Chaplin story. This story will begin in the port city of Combirth off of the coast of Sardonia. Here a bit if treachery will have to be dealt with before the crew sets out on the open ocean. Once they have set sail the perils of a life at sea will face the characters before they even become involved in the mysterious affairs of the Avarice and her crew. Before the end of this voyage each crewmember will have to face a deeply personal choice that could see them gain notoriety beyond compare or the infamy of entire nations.
In this OOC you will find gathered, all the information needed to create a character to participate in this story. It will also be a place to get together with the other writers and the GM so that ideas can be brainstormed, tossed back and forth, and then molded into something we can all apply to the story. I love working with people when it comes to the worlds I have thought up so if you have ideas and want to include them and they jive with the outline below bring them up here and we can see what happens.
So without further delay here is the information you should require. For those of you from the Interest Check this is the information you have already digested just in a new forum. There is a LINK to an album where I have collected images for inspirational purposes that is new to all.
As the Avarice drifted through the debris field smoke rolled away from her bow, the ship cut a clear line through the choking fumes, the sculpted eagle’s head prow oblivious to the smoke and fire. Around the frigate the sea undulated like the breath of an angry demon was driving the waves and flickering flames as tall as a man twisted atop the murky green water in patches fed by inky black oil, floating powder kegs, and splintered wood. The shouts and moans of the wounded and damned could be heard over the sharp snaps of timber cracking, block and tackle snapping, and canvas tearing apart as what remained of the Edo Imperial Trading convoy broke apart and began the long journey to the abyssal plains far below the Emerald Sea. The crew aboard the Avarice stood transfixed, carpenter’s mates, gunner’s mates, linemen, and seamen all captivated by the Hell they had entered. Along the rails and ratlines the men stood slack jawed, only the slightest flinch detectable upon their faces when each, in turn, realized the lapping thumps against the Avarice’s hull were being made by floating corpses.
“Mr. Camden…” A voice, steady and firm as granite and just as cold shook Lieutenant Harry Camden’s stupor and brought him back to the present situation. “…it would be best if the crew hastened to their duties in order to remove us from this, tragedy.”
The man that spoke stood upon the Avarice’s quarter deck, a handsome fellow, long of hair and stout of limb. He wore the cloth of the ship’s Captain and his determined stare, focused on Mr. Camden and not the abattoir floating about them, reinforced his authority. “Very good sir.” Mr. Camden replied quickly, turning away and raising his hand and dipping his cover’s brim. The young lieutenant’s voice rang out in the silence, pipes sounded, junior officers and watch commanders began to call out as well, and men began to move about their duties once again. Quickly the sails were trimmed to catch the prevailing wind and the Avarice moved smartly away from the remains of the destroyed convoy. Seeing that the deck crew was once again gainfully employed the Captain passed the helm to a young helmsman, “Keep her northerly Mr. King and put thoughts of that mess behind you, it is not our concern.”
Below decks the Captain had returned to his quarters and with a feathered quill and inkwell handy he began noting the incident in the ships log.
15th of Midsummer, encountered debris field just after nine bells. All indications point to the ships being part of the Imperium of Edo’s trade convoy; I estimate eight in all. As to their reason for being so far south in the Emerald Sea I cannot speculate. Cause of destruction unknown, manner of destruction… complete. With clear horizons in all directions no aggressor could be spotted though the carnage appeared not but hours past. The Avarice presses north under my direction, we could not take the liberty of taking on drifting survivors, our cause is too perilous and our cargo too precious. So far from home and confronted with such abominations I fear the spread of rumors amongst the crew. Discipline must be maintained.
The Captain set aside his quill and sighed heavily as he closed the voluminous log. “Has there been a difficulty Captain?” A woman’s voice, demure and reserved, asked moments after the book was closed. She sat at a small table tucked in the corner of the Captain’s cabin, her veiled face could not be seen but he knew she was observing the ugliness left in the Avarice’s wake. “It is but a curiosity that concerns the Young Emperor more than it should concern anyone aboard this ship.” The Captain said in reply as the cries for help drifted away as the distance grew. The woman’s hands folded neatly atop a case that looked like it contained multiple scrolls, sealed with wax, and linked to her wrist by an ornate golden chain that struck a brilliant contrast against her black, concealing, and formless garments. The Captain’s eyes fell on the scrolls before he stood from his chair and made his way from the cabin. “I beg your pardon mistress Jal’adar but I must see to my crew.” In truth her presence was the sole thing about this voyage that struck his soul cold.
All the events of today's world swam around in the mind of Captain Blake “Ironsides” Chaplin, like a school of sharks feasting on the overworked gray matter between his pierced ears... it all gave him a headache. He sat back quietly in a simple wooden chair in his cabin at the far aft of his ship, the balance of his weight tipping the chair back onto two legs. The sea was glass-like and calm as the night settled upon the Cerberus. The sun had long ago drifted below the horizon and night had fully enveloped the ship and her crew who, at the moment, were sitting off the coast of Sardonia. Things had gone well for the past few weeks, the crew had spent all the loot from a recent blockade breaking contract in the port town of Combrith. Captain Blake had taken what he needed to maintain the ship, supplies, and men and then had the Quarter Master divide up the rest evenly, according to station and rank, among the crew and they were given liberty for the week. Now the top decks of the ship were kissed by the cool breeze that settled around the Cerberus as the ship sat in the warm tropical waters off the Sardoniaian coat. Right on time Blake heard the first pipes of the second watch echo out into the still night and a bell was struck, two pipes and six rings. The time was near or about midnight. Like wisps of shadow the duty crew changed watch quickly and efficiently, this was to be the forth watch of the day and second of the night. With a crew of over eight hundred the ship was well crewed and cared for and could afford four sets of six hour watches. It was a good system, thought Blake idly as he rocked back and forth in his chair wishing for sleep to take him. The crew spent one six-hour period on watch, manning the guns, and assisting with the sailing or maintaining of the ship, another six-hour shift of work following that. The watch that just came off did whatever needed to be done, maintenance, rigging, and working parties before they were free to have twelve hours to themselves, a tight schedule but a good one. Each watch was roughly two hundred strong, and while they watched, another two hundred slumbered, the next two hundred were occupied with working parties, and the last watch would be on its blessed free time if the luxury could be afforded.
Blake sighed heavily, standing and tossing aside the handful of papers that had been given to him at the last port call. All of them were potential contracts from warring Nobles and Lords in Wind Haven, angered city-states in Sardonia, dissident factions in Edo, unhappy guilds everywhere, rouge traders trying to run blockades, and everything else one could think of. He paced around a heavy oak table he had brought with him when he assumed command, considering the merits of each contract now scattered on the table top along with other papers, tools, books, and charts. He turned away from the tasks, exasperated... an affliction he could only express in the privacy of his cabin, and looked at a fine and detailed model of the Cerberus fixed upon his wall… she was a beautiful ship. A three mast, fully rigged, first rate, ship of the line first leased to Captain Blake by the Royal Navy of Wind Haven when he was still a Commander in the King's fleet. Command of the Cerberus was gifted to Blake by the King upon Blake's successful sacking of a Sardoniaian port during the Schism War. In those days political considerations did not favor Captain Blake "Ironsides" Chaplin bid for Admiralty and instead of making an enemy of the seasoned Captain the King enlisted him, with command of the Cerberus as a privateer. Blake was little more than a pirate sanctioned by the Royal Lands of Wind Haven at that time, paid handsomely to hunt down and capture rouge traders, unsavory people, and pirates under contract with other nations and dispense with them at will. It was a profitable business, and shortly after his thirty-eighth birthday, he had won enough favor, a loyal crew, and enough personal gold to buy off the Cerberus from a financially strapped Kingdom and most of her crew gladly stayed on to sail with Blake under his own flag. To this day a better crew of mercenary privateers for hire to any nation or man with a gripe and enough money does not exist.
The model represented the Cerberus as an impressive 227 feet long with a 51 foot beam, 6,510 square yards of sail, which included 42 square sails, 18 fore-and-aft sails, 18 stay sails, 4 jibs, 3 spanker sails, and 22 stun sails. Her masts reached up just short of 210 feet, and she had enough line, net, pulleys, and rigging to baffle the mind. She weighed in at a hefty 3,500 tons of displacement, and with all her sails set could reach a top speed in a good wind of 10 knots. She held an 850 soul crew along with over 100 guns, some of Kel’es make. She was a warship, an older ship of the line, slow, powerful, and steady and her deep gold and black sides, darkened by age, reinforced with iron, were two feet of solid oak... making her the most feared privateer on the seas today. She carried enough supplies, wheat, bread, yeast, oats, grains, barley, hops, ale, salted meat, chickens, pork, fish, fresh water, dried fruit, jerky, vegetables, fresh fruits, stored beef, and on occasion the odd livestock to last a good four months at sea, a normal seven months, or a very bad year plus. The sleeping decks gave each man a hammock and personal chest, whilst the officers, doctor, cook, and other unique and high-rate billets had cabins at the stern. Her hold could carry additional supplies but was kept empty for the loot that their profession usually encountered and of course the brig deep below was also open for now.
Captain Blake Chaplin broke away from the ships model and walked the circumference of his cabin running his hands along the elegant scroll work and carpentry. Today had seen the completion of the re-provisioning and now the Cerberus was fully stocked with fresh supplies, newly repaired and refitted equipment, and ready for any one of the myriad contracts laid out before the Captain. Ironsides Chaplin settled into his rack after admiring the view of the nighttime Sardoniaian cliffs that the ship sat off of along with smaller emissary ships drifting a few hundred feet away. Each one awaited the Captain’s reply to their contracts. The fourth watch, under the command of one of his young Lieutenants no doubt, kept the sails drawn up and stowed, the Cerberus’s masts looking like skeletal fingers wrapped in all manner of lines and rigging, reaching into the sky while the crew, mostly at rest, awaited another contract from their Captain. Finally the cabin boy, Garret was his name, blew out the candles in the Captain’s cabin and the last light aboard ship save for the bathing moon light was extinguished.
What you see in the Hider "A Flavor of Things to Come" is what I expect concerning post quality. I do not expect posts to have quite that length each and every time because that was an introduction and by necessity longer. What I do expect is an attempt at or the surpassing of the quality I have demonstrated. Is it perfect? No. I am sure it can be picked apart in many ways but it flows, it gives you an idea of whats going on, it sets a scene and advances characters in a plot... that is what I am looking for not monolithic length.
[FONT=Georgia][SIZE=2]As you may have guessed this is not just another pirate, privateer, or sailing story. I have (what I think is) an intricate story behind this, it will not be just about flamboyantly dressed ninnies hopping about from deck to deck, swathing through the sails and killing armies of enemy sailors for no reason.
Second on the agenda, I would like people to know at least something about actual open, deep-water sailing. I myself am no scholarly expert but when something of a nautical nature comes up I want you to know what the heck it means, or if you don’t, to be able to quickly look it up and make an intelligent reply using the terminology and slang of the time. I will always be happy to share what I know in this OOC and I will provide these links for you to brush up, if you so desire. REED & HEED
Rigging Want to know what all those ropes, stays, blocks, tackles, yardarms, pulleys, cranks, and jibs do? Find out here.
The life at sea Good notes on what life was really like at sea. Covers food, hygiene, life, and many other interesting topics.
The RHS Cerberus AKA the HMS Victory in the real world This is a most excellent site to see what life on a warship was like and all it entailed. It is the primary reference for the RHS Cerberus the main ship that will be featured in this story.
BACKGROUND & HISTORY
This does take place in a world much like our own, only with slight differences that will be explained latter. Now understand this, this is not a “fantasy” world… the only race is human and its ethnic branches with relation to common day ones as amended in the following sections. Weapons are swords, knives, and the like, black powder is not yet perfected or stable really. There are flintlock pistols and rifles / muskets and cannons in abundance, but they are horridly inaccurate, take copious amounts of time to reload, are fragile and fickle to moisture and humidity and all together unreliable so your main weapon, if you even need one… should be steal.
The World Details:
The Royal Lands of Wind Haven:
The largest and most powerful Empire is the Royal Lands of Wind Haven. Here the lands are controlled by a brutal but just King named Victor the VIII. He is the most law abiding King to ever sit on the throne, reaching his high status through conflicts and adherence to the laws set down by the royal line before him. There is no deviance from the letter of the law for this King, no gray areas, only black and white as he sees it. His kingdom has had an undefeated naval presence in the West Seas for generations beyond count. However a schism is brewing within the ranks due to internal political struggles between Wind Havens commodores and admirals (Some ex pirates and privateers, others official naval officers) the naval forces are hard pressed to extend their reach effectively. With advanced knowledge of rifles, cannons, pistols, building methods, etc they are comparatively the most advanced Empire to date. Only Kel’es stands above The Royal Lands of Wind Haven with their knowledge of black powder and the Sardonians are quickly threatening Wind Haven with their newfound advances in ship building skills but are still considered marginally inferior. Wind Haven ships are strong-hulled, metal plated, behemoths and most carry over 100 guns. Slower than most other ships, in fact the slowest of all navies they are floating fortresses of power and range. The Wind Haven armies are the rank and file, stand in formation and fire type; brightly uniformed and well renowned for discipline and marksmanship. Socially the lands of Wind Haven have a distinct upper and lower class with a very minimal middle “tradesman” class, and if you are not of the upper class or serving them you might as well not exist. Many of the people of Wind Haven are more worried about who they will be seen with at the next royal ball then the wars beginning around them. Politically many upstart Lords wage civil war within the lands of Wind Haven in an attempt to overthrow the King and this nobility war is draining valuable tax money from the Navy to the Army. Some Wind Haven Lords claim independence, others cite that this tyranny of strict moral adherence must be ended, still others are just power hungry. In turn King Victor has launched a bloody campaign of attrition within his lands devoting most of his Army and leaving his Navy to blockade his holdings in the West Seas, he is busy at his own boarders which has prompted many probing attacks from the raiders of Kel’es, the country of Sardoina, and even his long time ally Emperor Orishu of the Edo Imperium seems to be testing the mettle of the King, looking to procure technological favors for the Edo Imperium.
The Edo Imperium:
To the North is the Edo Imperium, a land modeled after the post isolationist Japan just when the lure of technology was enticing a young Emperor. Edo began being ruled by the young Emperor Orishu after his father past away five years ago amid a conspiracy of murder and deception that still shakes the foundation of the Empire. The Young Emperor also employs a hand-selected counsel of advisors of landowners, military officers, and businessmen, both foreign and domestic to aid his governance.
The country is steeped in many traditions and cultural moors much like the ancient orient, the old generation fighting the new in quiet civil wars in the mountains. Many say that the very soul of the Imperium and the nation of Edo is itself threatened by the expanding culture and power of places like Wind Haven. Their trade however has evolved much more quickly than the rest of the world despite their recent entry onto the world stage. The Imperium merchants are the world’s best traders and merchants with lines that run both across land and sea all over the world offering impartial if not overpriced trade to all... if you can’t get it in Edo it does not exist. The ships the Imperium uses are midsized, most are converted merchant ships, armor and weaponry having been added when wars arise. This factor makes them very easy to conceal as merchant ships rather than ships of the line and the Imperium’s favored tactic is ambush. The regiments of the army still employ sword carrying soldiers along with riflemen and the officers are very green when it comes to tactics but will die to the last. The young Emperor’s council is made up of landlords and business owners that are pushing for a quick adaptation of the world’s technology, while the Emperor struggles with loosing the traditions of his people. Socially in Edo it is a very traditional culture with set positions in life that all should be happy to serve the Emperor in, honor and loyalty are paramount but a black stain of dishonor is beginning to infest Edo as it quickly vaults into modernism and it seems as if the Imperium is ripping herself apart. The land lords of Edo look to the south and the Wind Haven lands, civil war for new conquests are being fought in the high mountains, and political deception is the norm in the Edo Imperium.
The Northland Tribes:
The lands Farthest to the north are called simply, the Northlands. Ruled by a tribal council that meets semi annually at Widow Peak Fortress to discuss matters that pertain to all Northerners, besides this the people of the Northlands are left to their clan or tribe rule. Modeled after Scotland and Scandinavia the Northlands are a harsh land mostly covered in snow and jagged highlands but with short growing periods in the valleys. The people of the North live in clans some modernized with some knowledge of black powder but many still live as barbarians and Viking style raiders, attacking the coasts as far south as the borders of Wind Haven. The main religious belief is druidism, and the shamans and clan family leaders rule the clans but within the line of the Widow Peak council. Many border skirmishes always rage but they are nothing compared to the civil wars of Wind Haven. The Northland sailors are the only men and women ever brave enough or knowledgeable enough to sail the frozen seas and no one will venture there without a north man navigator. The Northlands have remained free of outside influence since the clans came together in loose and fractured peace, because every army that has tried to march past the Frozen Point Mts. or any navy that has sailed the frozen sea turns back long before an invasion can be completed. Isolated and hardy these men and women hardly ever venture from their own clan lands let alone out of the Northlands but there are exceptions. Socially the culture is based on hard work and community, very little royal corruption or scheming exists because survival year to year is paramount. Black powder is nonexistent in all but the rarest cases and sword and shield are still the main weapons and they are brutal and deadly with these weapons, their ships have no cannons and are nothing more than coastal longboats. The only danger is if the mass force of the clans were to one day unite or worse yet be provided black powder weapons. This could possibly pose a great threat to the lands of the south and this is a fear that pervades throughout the political circles of the world.
The Kel’es Kingdom:
Far to the South of the Northlands are the Deserts of Kel’es. This realm is shrouded in mystery because few except Kel’es natives can brave the vast deserts that surround the “One City” and fewer still face sailing the harsh sun and constant doldrums of the burning seas. This land is based on the Babylonian times in Egypt and the Middle East. Besides the One City, which is rumored to be a massive complex of unparalleled architecture, tribes are rumored to camp at oases scattered throughout the sands but they have no influence in any part of the government. Technologically the people of Kel’es were the first to discover and use black powder and they have guarded the secrets of its most advanced uses with the very lives of their peoples and kingdom. At one time a treaty between King Victor and the Government of Sardonia nearly ended the Sultan’s rule of the lands of Kel’es in a deadly two-pronged invasion. The invaders were beat back though at the former city of Golgotha which was destroyed in the fighting. Golgotha was said to be a city that today’s survivors of that first war cannot find words to describe in size or grandeur. The people of Kel’es have a technology base set farther forward than any other country. Socially little is known about them except a woman from Kel’es has never been seen outside Kel’es and politically they are ruled over by a family of Sultans who rarely leave Kel’es but send emissaries often to express interests and parlay the other governments with promises of new technology. The people of Kel’es control the Burning Seas, their ships are lightly armored but heavily gunned, even out gunning Royal Wind Haven ships and possessing more speed but frighteningly little armor, and their use of black powder makes their cannons far more powerful and deadly than any other. Their army however is in shambles after the Wind Haven / Sardoniaian invasion and they have resorted to raiding the civil war ravaged lands of Wind Haven and the corrupted lands of Edo to bolster their forces.
The Free Haven of Sardonia:
The last land to the south east is Sardonia, a land modeled after the colonial United States. It was founded by a group of Wind Haven explorers exasperated with King Victor’s rule. When they found the new land they broke away from Wind Haven’s monarchy and started their own republic government. Bloody wars of independence followed and after years of fighting these Anarchy Wars and false treaties the Sardonians won their freedom in a bloody show of cooperation expressed by their aid of Wind Havens invasion to Kel'es. Today, socially, they are much like Wind Haven though the majority of the people are independent, governed very little if at all by representatives, and live in a society based of voluntary contract and private property. This can lead to Sardonia being a bi-polar country with its government representatives and people being mostly good people or vile pigs… there are few in-between and each actively opposes the other in subversive manners just short of war in the streets. The armies and navy of Sardonia are modeled after the Wind Haven army and navy only they are much smaller and tend to engage in more raiding and guerilla style attacks. The fledgling country once attacked Kel’es with Wind Haven at its side but was beaten back soundly at Golgotha, it is whispered though that in the attack on the city that Sardoniaian spies gained some of the Kel’es research on black powder and this is causing much unease in both Kel’es and Wind Haven.
King Vincent the VIII began the Wind Haven Baron Wars nearly a decade ago and Wind Haven is still embroiled in combat and treachery. Lords and Barons fight each other and the King in a bloodthirsty bid for the crown that hardly ever has clear and defined sides. Armies march in rank and file slaughtering each other in intense ranged combat, walls of flesh falling before cannons and muskets. The kingdom is at war with itself, laying siege to her own lands, burning her own fields, and destroying herself in a horrid struggle for power and status. The West Sea blockades long held by Wind Haven navies are falling; constantly smugglers and traders from the North, Kel’es, Sardonia, and Edo are running the blockades and bringing black market weapons and supplies to the warring Lords for a huge profit.
On all sides of Wind Haven the other countries are testing the borders and each other, the armies of the Edo Imperium, fledgling and young in the modern ways, move forward with both the ancient orders and armies that hold black powder weapons, each day they test Wind Haven’s borders. Mounted raiders seize towns and then fall back, cannons fire into the country side and then vanish and a state of unease grows. Warships disguised as merchants hammer away at any other ships engaged in trade within Edo’s waters, creating a strangle hold on the Eastern Imperial Ocean and imposing dreadfully high tariffs on any who enter their waters under penalty of death. Internally the Imperium of Edo is crumbling, the Emperor is young and naive and distant from the people and with no successor to his throne a council of Land Lords and businessmen have been appointed to rule in matters the Emperor cannot, which more and more becomes everything. Each one of these men are dreadfully corrupt each fighting in much more political ways then the warring Lords of Wind Haven but just as deadly and hateful.
Far to the cold Northlands barbarian hordes have amassed for the first semiannual meeting at Widow Peak Fortress. Whispers are running through the various clans of spy guilds and governments and that a war is brewing and the entire world is the target. All fear the unified Northlands. Clans to the North dissatisfied with being confined by the other Empires of weak, fat people are amassing to push out of the frozen wastes. Already raiding parties have ventured out on brash and effective raids against towns as far south as Wind Haven's north border. The barbarians are funding their raids and what is rumored to soon be a war with the arms sales from their master blacksmith’s to all the worlds warring people and the plunder from their raids. Costal long ships sail down deep water rivers and inland avoiding the Royal blockades and setting a startling foothold in the Royal Lands. All though the use of black powder is unheard of yet, the barbarians sheer size, number, force, and tenacity, and their ability to sail the rivers has set many governments at guard and as the hordes move, the corruption of Edo and the wandering eye of the King follow. It is even rumored that far to the North, in the frozen sea that no man sails, spies have spotted mast bearing capital ships sailing through the ice, though these stories are hard to believe as no ship should be able to sail the ice.
To the south in the barren deserts of Kel’es and in the oil filled burning seas the desert nomads are moving in defense, aiming to stay immune to the world destroying itself. They fear that the coming events will threaten their borders as every country desires the secrets of black powder and the rumored wealth of the Kel’es oil fields. Wind Haven and the Imperium blockades have isolated the Oil and Black Powder trade of the Burning seas and thus the world. Within the One City, forge masters, and technicians’ craft cannons that are unmatched, lining both city walls and the swift destroyers of the Kel’es Sultans fleets in preparation for war. Raiding armies search for more bountiful lands along the borders of Kel'es and into the Empire, Wind Haven, and Sardonia. No one can match the power and knowledge that the Kel’es people have over black powder, nor their resources of it. This leads the Sultans to fear that if all out continental war is to break out that they will be a prime target, so they have isolated themselves, secure in their defenses of impassable desert and superior cannons. Though even the Sultans are not foolish enough to think that they can stay the coming tides of war and representatives and mercenaries flock to and from the deserts.
In the free lands of Sardonia the senate is moving quickly, and a people are backing it with fervor for war. A youthful nation of controlled democracy and freedom they are seeing the oppression of slaves in Kel’es, the corruption and theft in of Edo, the uneducated masses of the North, and the Brutal civil wars of Wind Haven and they have all become the Sardoniaian charge willfully or not. At one time they were allied with Wind Haven in an assault on Kel’es, old connections and ties are being reformed with Wind Haven Lords, at the same time Sardoniaian militants move against both Kel’es and Wind Haven borders raiding and testing their military might while still some barter with Kel'es and the Imperium of Edo. Diplomatic emissaries’ sail to the Northlands, Edo, and Kel’es not far behind them are always mercenaries, privateers, and other contract warriors all to test the mettle of this ever-changing world. Sardoniaian shipbuilding has grown by leaps and bounds and with rumors of Sardonia either working with or stealing from the Kel’es people, their secrets of black powder lead to unsettling possibilities, Sardoniaian warships are becoming the thing to fear.
The world is crumbling into all out war between every nation, soon barbarian hordes may come from the North, corruption in Edo might spill to every government, Kel’es could burn the world around them before giving up their secrets, Wind Haven stands weak with infighting and Sardonia grows in both brazen outburst and subtle maneuverings. These are the right times for mercenaries of the sea. Not pirates, though some may have been… but privateers holding contracts with the governments and Lords, to further their plots and line their pockets, but there is always more than just the cover of a book and these men and women, these independent parties will be the ones to decide if the world falls into open war or if it is all a rumor, their actions are what it all depends on.
The World Details:
A few other things I have to say about this world...1. People can play more than one character but don’t get stupid with this, if you can’t handle one or are treading water, do not take on another character.
2. Women are not considered bad luck on a ship unless it is by a characters personal preference
3. However, no women characters can come from Edo because of cultural reasons, think of ancient Japan… women did not leave home. Unless you can really write out the history of it I won't allow this.
4. No chars male or female from Kel’es unless cleared with me, I need this place for story purposes to stay shrouded in mystery.
5. Keep in line with the histories and my rules along with guild rules.
6. Every character that joins will be an Officer on the Cerberus which will be Capt. Blake “Ironsides” Chaplin’s ship. It is modeled off of the HMS Victory, see the above links for reference and was once a Royal Haven Ship (RHS) but since its Captain has fallen from grace it need not be crewed only by those from Wind Haven. Thanks to Waxwing for pointing out that I should address that point. Here are the common Officer positions.
First Lieutenant:TAKEN: A trusted 2nd in command handpicked by the Captain. Normal with military service and a majority of life at sea. Next in line to the Captain in the chain of command, apt at all manners of sailing, gunnery, and seamanship
Lieutenants:4 OPEN: No more than four; all young men or women (Ages 18 -25) aiming to become Captains.
Gunnery Officer:TAKEN: Is in charge of all gunners, cannons, and gunnery matters. This was also the Officer charged with the care of the young Midshipmen. Often referred to in common as "Gunner" or "The Gunner"
Deck Officers:2 OPEN: Officers that oversee the crew on deck in the working of sails, and general seamanship. Often much older gentleman or ladies that have spent a life at see. These were the trusted advisers to the Lieutenants and Captain, they fill the role much like the senior enlisted adviser in modern navies (master chief / command master chief)
Midshipmen:2 OPEN: No more than eight, all very young men and women (Ages 12 - 16) aiming to become Deck Officers, Gunnery Officers, or move on to Lieutenants and command. They were very young boys and girls that would have been from well off families (like all officers) and would have attended two to four years at a sailing academy before coming aboard.
Master at Arms:OPEN: Trusted person charged with the distribution of the crew’s weapons and keeping the stocks of powder and shot in stock and in prime condition. Often worked closely with the Gunner and was not a commissioned officer but a senior rated enlisted man often included at the Captain's mess.
Doctor:TAKEN: Often accompanied by a few aids this is the ships surgeon, sometimes a military officer, many times not. The ship's doctor would most likely be the most educated man or woman aboard and would defend against disease and battle wounds... more often than not by amputation.
Captain of the Cerberus:
Captain Blake "Ironsides" Chaplin played by Avery CalhounPendingFirst Lieutenant of the Cerberus:
Charles "Charlie" Lark played by WaxwingName: Charles (Charlie) Lark
Appearance: Lt. Lark has greenish eyes and a distant smile, sometimes coming off as more serious than he means to. His ash-blond hair is long and as well-kept as is possible in a career such as his; he ties it back more often than not. At 5’5”, he is somewhat short with an average sailor’s build. Though born noble-pale, his skin has darkened beneath the sun and wind of the open sea. He keeps his face shaved and is usually found in well-fitted clothes that match his position, carefully fashionable but not remarkably so. He has a tattoo of an albatross on his right shoulder.
Personality: What Lark may lack in height or power he makes up for in camaraderie. He has a way of endearing himself to most that he meets, finding goodness and strength in even the foulest of men. Though he is not the most talkative creature, he enjoys the company of others. He prefers to earn respect not by intimidation but rather through persuasion, charity, and good cheer. He treats disobedience with practiced disappointment, known to sigh as he holds the rod or the whip.
He is not offended easily, but neither does he seem entirely aware how others may take advantage of his kindness. He can often be too forgiving, considered by some cynics to be soft or even daft. This is only amplified by his tendency for superstition and hyperbole, which are the sad result of his discovering that the sea is not as romantic as storybooks might have suggested. When in the company of friends (or a few too many drinks) he can sometimes speak too long about strange stories and fanciful ideas. Nonetheless he is a generous man and a hard worker. He learns quietly but quickly, valuing diligence, confidence, and goodwill.
Talents/Abilities: Having spent the majority of his career as a midshipman on the ropes, Lt. Lark most enjoys with the working of sails, but he is no stranger to cannons or deck maintenance. He is not unfamiliar with conflict and can hold his own in a swordfight, though he is no trained expert and his style tends to betray his noble upbringing. So too does his knowledge of Wind Haven literature, customs, and music; he speaks Edon in addition to Havener and he plays the piano and the violin.
Background: Charles was born in Wind Haven to a rear admiral of the Royal Navy and his opinionated wife. He was raised in the upper echelons of society, knowing little of the struggles of other worlds. His brother followed in his father’s footsteps like any firstborn, but his mother had always hoped that her second might become a true nobleman, an investor and a socialite. He did have a knack for color and entertainment, but his parents’ library had filled his head with stories of adventure and heroism. He enrolled in the King’s naval academy as soon as possible, and learned no exception to the preferential treatment that followed his family name.
At 14 he was assigned to the Cerberus as a petty officer, but his start was a rough one. He had dreamed so often of the beauty of the sea and the valor of the sailors, excusing their rough reputation for a wild and more intimate culture. While he knew how to rig a sail and man a winch, somehow he never anticipated how difficult it would be, or how dirty. He learned fast that his name was nothing but a quirk, that he was worth little more than the weight he could pull. He struggled to earn the respect of the boys beneath him, and by the end of his first voyage was preparing to swear off the life.
But just before they were to make port at his home city, the Cerberus was sent to neutralize a band of rogues in southern waters. When negotiations failed the crew boarded the enemy ship and fought just like they did in the stories: courageously, valiantly, and for the good of good people. Even Charlie, who had gone sheepish in his misery, held his own. The captain was inspiring when he presented the gravity of the occasion as well as when he fought; though he would never admit it, the young Charlie would remember that day as the one that convinced him that it was all worth it.
Of course, Lark had to change in order to survive the reality of the open sea. He initially attempted a more pragmatic approach to living, but when it came to suffocate him he learned to develop his na´ve sense of adventure into a healthy optimism, to morph his stories into fantastical superstitions. Though his reputation as a coward and a dandy has been hard to live down, his academy training and passion for the ocean have earned him the ranks that he came to hold.
Gunnery Officer of the Cerberus:
Harrald Helgeson played by OlNoSoulName: Harrald Helgeson
Appearance: A native of the Northlands tribes and does everything he can to keep it that way, he keeps his hair long and braided, and keeps a short beard, but has been slowly assimilated into Wind Havener culture, already knowing enough of the language to give orders on the deck, though, his voice bears a slight accent. It is no secret that he is a Northlander but he is quick to fool those who would discount him of any type of humanity because of his barbaric tribal heritage. He can haul a line, climb the rigging and swing a sword with the best of the Wind Haven men on the ship and is sure to let one know should his honor be challenged. This fact is further evidenced by the tattoos telling of his sailing prowess and of good luck that can be found on any of the other crew. These tattoos are all spelled correctly and hold their desired meaning, and while he clearly keeps the traditions of his people alive with him on this ship of foreigners, he bears the markings of a Wind Haven sailor proudly.
Broad shoulders and thick limbs mark him as a man who has spent a good part of his life bracing himself with his mates and hauling a line on the topdeck and the calluses on his palms only reinforce this, as well as telling of a man whose handled hilts and shafts of swords, boarding-axes and harpoons, respectively. His black hair is kept in braids, kept mostly out of his face and snags by a braided ponytail, with a few decorative and considerably thinner braids taking his bangs up. He is usually found in a simple white shirt whose sleeves are rolled into a cuff at his elbows. He wears a simple black frock coat like most of the other Wind Haveners and his tight fitting trousers slip into knee-high leather boots. Foregoing the usual tricorne or bicorne hats of most other Wind Haven officers, he wears a simple felt cap to keep his head warmed.
Personality: A person concerned with his duties, first and foremost, he makes sure that every sailor on the ship knows what needs to be done and sends them off to do it. He leaves no room for error, and is concerned with the well-being of the ship and her crew in all matters, aiming to keep it afloat and knows that the men on the top deck, hauling every line and climbing every rigging are what does just that, though, he knows to leave matters of command to those who are appointed to them, and so does not mettle in the affairs where he is not needed.
Though not often described as a jovial person, he is neither a grim-faced and stoic man with no knowledge of what humor even is. When it is not his time to take command of the gun crews, when on land, he can crack a joke or two and lend his hand to keeping spirits high as well as he can lend his hand to keeping the crew working and the ship afloat. Although he was formerly an enemy of the men on the ship, he now finds it as his home and the men his friends, and aims to do whatever he can to make sure that the Cerberus sails for many more years.
He does not take kindly to those who shirk their duties and will outright punish them unless commanded by a higher officer to belay the action. Though, such things are often unheard of, as he is a firm officer and there is no such thing as disobedience when his boots rest on the gun deck and his well-known accent is bellowing words of encouragement to the men and his orders to them.
Talents/Abilities: Where Harrald is a good leader of men and keeps the crew in line with the rest of the officers, he is supremely lacking in the ability to read and write in Wind Havener, but is steadily learning from the other men on how to form words in the odd shapes of the Wind Haveners. Though he does not know how to read or write things in Wind Havener to an extensive degree, he does have a small collection of books and scrolls in the runes of his people and keeps one book translated from Northlander to Wind Havener. It is in this that he is embroiled with the studies of history, of both his people and the rest of the world, by extension. He has gained an interest and knowledge of academic studies into the ways of cultures and delights in reading folk tales from different nations, finding books on history from the loot of ships and anything he finds on shore leave.
Background: Though some would distrust him because of his Northlander blood, they quickly learn that the loyalty of a Northlander to his captain and crew are made of the most hardened steel. Though, one may remember that even steel can flex, and it is for this reason that in this time of rumored wars and raids from the Northlands, he is torn between his duty to his captain and the call to his people, and his family first and foremost, who he has not seen in many years. It is true that he has spent more of his life with Wind Haveners than his fellow Northlanders, he still remembers the cold winds on the icy northern wastes and the feel of the chilling water on his skin when he would sail with his father and his fishing crew. Though his voyages were never too long and he never ventured deep into the waters of the far beyond, he gained experience in hauling lines and caring for sails. He knew how to use the wind and to navigate, good skills that most Northlanders on the Icy Plains knew by the time they were thirteen and mastered by their early twenties.
Frequent sailing had Harrald used to the rigors of the sea, spending weeks just out of sight from the Icy Plains of the north seas, catching fish in the nets and hauling their cargo to home to feed their village and sell to others. His life changed when he reached the age of seventeen, and a storm blew them off course and killed his father and most of the crew. The ice was not kind to the longship and Harrald found it hard to keep the vessel afloat amidst the tempest. Alas, his skills at sailing, though he thought them honed and ready, did not prove enough to save his ship or the life of his father's crew. He found himself washed ashore on a beach in Wind Haven, found in a terribly fragile state by a daughter of a minor noble. The girl's family agreed to take the boy in, and where they found his language odd, they taught him the ways of the people of Wind Haven, giving him quarter with the house's servants, though it did not impact his relation to the daughter, whose name was Abigail, a fact he would later learn before his time as a sailor.
He spent his life on land with Abigail and the Lionmont family, treated more like a loved bastard son by the mother, he found his life equal parts good and bad, on behalf of the father, who treated him in the exact opposite. Where he taught the boy to fight, he taught the boy also, the meaning of fear. He would often find himself streaming tears from his eyes at the memory of his father, and how that man was nothing like him, but Abigail's mother would be quick to hold him like any of her other children. He would bear this life for four years, just enough time to strike up a relationship with Abigail. He grew to love her, and she grew to love him. They would find many a night, sleeping together under the stars and talking of Harrald's home, while Harrald learned to speak the language and write in Wind Havener from her. It was after four years of this that one of the House's men caught the two with their lips locked together. After that, the father ordered his head be removed from his shoulders.
Fearing for his life and not wanting any harm to befall the boy that she had come to love, Abigail conspired with her mother to send Harrald into exile, rather than to let her father and his men kill him, something that Harrald readily agreed to. It was not long after that, that Harrald found himself a job at a local tavern, but it did not last after he was found and chased down by the Lionmont family's men. His skill at fighting was nothing special at the time, and any man would have run at such odds, so he fled the tavern, stole a horse and rode for the nearest town. As it seemed like he had left the lands that were in the grasp of the Lionmont family, he settled down in the next town over. Though he was a horse-thief and a wanted man with a price on his head, he knew he couldn't stay in Wind Haven for long.
When he met the men of the Cerberus on shore leave, he figured that their ship would be as good an escape as any. So, he signed on for service on the ship and came aboard. Since then, he has lived on the ship for thirteen years, starting at the position of Deckhand and then to Midshipman for a brief time after showing his skill at seamanship when signing on for service, and only getting better. Thirteen years of nothing but sailing groomed him into an impressive seaman and his place on the RHS Cerberus has been a good one, making friends and taking command when he was ready at the age of twenty-eight, rising to the position of Deck Officer, until he became apprenticed to the Gunner.
He has spent six years as a Gunnery Officer, learning how to give orders and taking to it with ease and only getting better at it with the help of the previous Gunner, until he had his life taken in a recent skirmish at sea. His time as a Deck Officer was spent fairly well, with nary a hitch or snag in service and his loyalty was without fault. Make no mistake, though, as the first of his skirmishes at sea on the Cerberus found him mostly sheepish and cowardly at the cacophonous explosions of the muskets, pistols and cannons going off all around him. He could've taken a man's life, and would in later skirmishes, but this notion of gunpowder frightened the once-savage and effectively put him out of the battle for the time being. After that, he vowed to regain his honor as a proper warrior and to never be disgraced by cowering away from battle. This was what started him on his way to becoming the Gunnery Officer. On his free time, when not commanding the Deckhands and Midshipmen, he would find himself below decks, on the gun decks with the former Gunnery Officer. He learned about his fears and to use gunpowder for himself, eventually becoming almost as knowledgeable on the subject as his mentor. It would be in the more recent skirmishes at sea that Harrald's mentor and the former Gunnery Officer would die. Harrald would be named as the replacement, being the closest at hand at the time and the most qualified of the crew.
Now, at the age of thirty-four with nine years of command in two different positions, he has earned every mark of seamanship he has tattooed on his body, from the superstitious pig on his left foot and rooster on his right, to the Hold Fast tattoo on his knuckles and the marks of skill and experience of the Full-Rigged ship on his back and the winged serpent twisting down around his right arm. He counts his service on the Cerberus a fine one, and the ship has become a true home the place of a temporary escape from pursuers. Though now, with the raids from the Northlands beginning, he is reminded of his heritage and his family, and should the Cerberus make port, it'll be a hard choice whether to stay or make a run for home. He fears the day that the Cerberus sails against the Northlanders, for he knows that each life could have been a childhood friend or worse, a member of his family. Even so, he confines these fears to his journal and braces himself against the tempest ahead with the rest of his men and his fellow officers.
Gorou Shiga Yamanda played by AvetwotwoName: Gorou Shiga Yamanda
Age: 35 (Looks 28)
Appearance: Gorou stands at about 5'5'', and has a skinny build. He is quite pale, and burns in the sun quite easily. His face is quite scrunched, with a small nose, thin lips and devious, bright green eyes. His hair is pitch black, and worn in a short ponytail. His clothes are always practical and bland.
Personality: Gorou is always thinking, scheming. His mind is alert and aware 24/7, and likes to apply it to challenges. He usually lets other speak first, then proceeds to point out every flaw in their solution, then presents his own. He makes other people feel stupid and insignificant without even saying a word, and he knows it. He actually thinks common people are not worth his time, and seeks people who can match his logical skills. He looks out for himself first, and then others. He will not openly disobey orders, but when he sees his chance to take a position of higher power, he will act swiftly to secure it, no matter the short term costs. He has no sense of morality or sense of ethics.
Talents/Abilities: His specialty is any task related to using his brain like problem solving, mathematics or recalling information. He lacks social skills, though, and is a bit weak when it comes to melee combat, like dueling or brawling.
Background: He was the only son of a wealthy Edo landowner. At a young age his superior intellect was recognized, and he was given the best tutors money could buy. He was sent to the most prestigious medical collage, where he outclassed and outsmarted his professors and got his medical license. The emperor himself appointed him the royal physician to the admiral of the Edo fleet. He spent many years attending to the elderly man, until the corruption started seeping into the government. Gorou could see this corruption slowly working its way through the political system, and he saw disaster for Edo. He defected from his position, and set about trying to become captain of his own ship, and maybe one day an entire fleet. He decided to find work on a ship as a doctor, and work from there.
Please feel free to add to the fields of this CS framework, these are just the basics. If you want to throw in something else be my guest.
Name: Stick with the naming conventions of each regions real world parallel, i.e. Germanic / Slavic names for the Northlands, English and European names for Wind Haven, Japaneses type names for Edo, and North, Central, & South American names for Sardonia. Also remember that all characters are officers so family names, titles, etc may be included.
Age: Look at the Officers descriptions above, each alludes to... or outright says the ages of normal men or women filling these posts. Please stick to them unless you can work in a good story hook as to why your character is a geezer of a Midshipman.
Appearance: Officers were generally better dressed and kept than the enlisted men and women and their mannerisms were more authoritative and official. With all that in mind this ship is only a short step up from a pirate vessel so to a degree, frivolities and such are allowed.
Personality: How is this person on the daily, their hopes, fears, desires, command presence, confidence...
Talents/Abilities: What aspects of the ship's operations is the character good at and at what points do they lack. Are there any odd talents that the gentleman or lady officer would practice like academics, literature, music, art, science, etc...
Background: The characters history, what formed them and made them into a sailor, an officer, and finally a privateer. How has their family taken to this choice, were they from national navies, guild navies, pirates, do they have a sully history with some aspect or another, or are they a paragon? Have they attended sailing academies, what was their life on land like, what to they think of land life, do the long for home, what motivates them to earn their cut of the prize, etc....