Right. All y'all who've read the interest thread will already know what's going but for those who haven't, here's the cliffnotes version;
I'm going to be launching an RP in my own homebrew steampunk world. Some relevant links;
* Wikipedia on 'steampunk'.
* Tvtropes on the same subject.
*The last three rps I held in this setting.
If you can't be bothered reading through all that (and there's a lot, maybe 1000 posts) then here's a summary. Because this world's a constant WiP you'll notice significant changes of people, places and things. This is a reboot, and occurs about 10 years before the other RPs I've done. If any of it's confusing you, consider the more recent stuff more relevant but if something older hadn't been overidden, it's still canon. If it's still confusing me, feel free to contact me and ask for clarification.
“I don't like the way this place runs, but you've got to admit it runs like clockwork.
-Katya Kuzetsova; Engineering prodigy
Alessgrad, the City of Ice and Steel, is comprised of fourteen mechanical blocks that jut into the sky like the toes of a strange metal god. Spread across the city, each is a marvel of engineering; a completely self-sustaining edifice where hundreds of families live out their days untouched by the ravages of the world. Outside the spires, however, the city is a hive of disease and misery. The last fifty years have been marked by the unprecedented rise of the Engineers' Guild. Factories blacken the sky with smoke, making even breathing difficult in much of the city. Every day they unveil a new technological marvel for the home or battlefield. The Engineers hold influence from the lowest household to the royal palace.
King Vasily XI has ruled for the last thirty years in declining power, a figuredhead lacking the will to keep control of the Guild. Under their prompting Vasily banned the practice of magic in the city and all surrounding territories. Brutal witch hunts destroyed half the city, and rebellion still lingers in the ruins. Gang-ruled slums house three-quarters of the city's population. Some crime lords own automobiles, a rare sight outside the Spires, their only competition the Theives' Guild, whose members swear blood oaths to keep their organization a mystery.
The Kosk river enters the city bright and clear and leaves thick with sludge. There's a saying that men don't drown in the Kosk; they are crushed. Still, many ships sail upriver and out to sea, exploring exotic lands and returning with tales of mystery and adventure.
Of the Outlands
Alessgrad is a city-state, but was once part of a great empire now fractured in a hundred quarrelling kingdoms. While they have common ancestry, each kingdom differs significantly from those around it. The north is in a constant state of war as each of these kingdoms tries to unite the lands in to their own way and shooting people who disagree. A GM should feel free to create their own kingdoms for plot purposes.
Little is known of the land outside the old empire. Sailors and airmen tell tales of the Demon King of the Eastern Isles, of Cannibal tribes of the great forest and in hushed tones, even of the mysterious technomancers of Sa'sihm.
Of note also is the great desert to the southeast. Alessgrad has claimed the area as its own and few are willing to contest this: the area has little of importance but for minor mineral deposits and for the most part it is and will remain a mess of shantytowns connected by notoriously unreliable trains. Those who leave the city for a better life find themselves inhabiting a barren wasteland ruled by outlaws and gunslingers.
The Engineers' Guild did not come to rule half the city through lack of talent: while their lack of care for the natural world strikes some as amoral, there is no doubt that they are very good building wondrous contraptions. Of particular note are the metal humanoids produced in recent years, primarily as servants for the rich. Known as 'mannequins', they are the pinnacle of modern steamtech. Their name derives from their origin: the first artificial parts created were arms and legs for injured war heroes. The derisive name 'Mannequin' arose, and was later applied to full-tech humanoids as well. Semiautomatic, steam-powered firearms are made in large numbers for the military, although some find their way down through the cracks to less salubrious owners. Automatic weapons exist but in very limited numbers and are too large to be usefully used outside a military context.
The guild considers technology to be 'pure'. While combinations of magic are possible, any who experiment in this area usually find themselves mysteriously vanishing in the night and their houses mysteriously burned down by mysterious teams of engineers with flamethrowers. There is no intervention from law enforcement: The engineers are their own law.
The largest spire in the city is the Engineers' headquarters. It houses over 1000 men, women and children of the Guild, with room for factories and workshops. Ignominiously known as 'Smoghaven' by the city's poor, the colossal structure towers over Alessgrad, so high that the top is only visible from atop the mountains to the city's east. Every day it rings with the sounds of construction; hammer and flame together creating more wonders of modern civilisation.
Of Angels and Demons
The antithesis to these wonders of science is magic. All humans have innate magical ability, but only those with proper training can tap into it. The power of the individual ranges significantly: in the year 452 of the Kings' Calender a powerful mage called Igor Bashkin used his powers to make an attack on the palace, killing dozens of guards and nearly the king himself, but not for the intervention of angels.
The angels, the watchers, the grigori, the untouchables. They have many names, but do not be deceived, they are human...almost. You see, the angels are the unlucky few born without any magical ability whatsoever. In fact, they possess a 'halo' that dampens and nullifies nearby magical fluxes. This is useful to those who despise mages, but horrific for the individual in question: they do not dream, have no imagination and some whisper no soul. Most are found and recruited by the Engineers' Guild at a young age where they are fitted with metal skullcaps, said to amplify their powers. In reality, they are what's known as a 'deadbolt'; a mechanical device that uses electrical impulses to send the wearer into a catatonic state at the whim of the handlers. Some angels deemed unstable are kept in this state for periods ranging from days to years on end, until eventually they are returned to service or terminated.
The name 'angel' was given by the Engineers. Before knowledge of the angels was well known, the Engineers had a habit of visiting certain homes in Alessgrad and offering large sums of money to remove 'problem children'. With Smoghaven the tallest spire in the city, the Engineers would offer the children a chance to live right at the top and thus be closer to heaven. The angels are told that when they rise in rank, they will be allowed to live higher and higher in the tower; eventually having residences at the very top.
The angels are strange beings. For the most part they're normal human beings, but are...detached. They find no joy in art, music or social contact. Some read books and collect art to try and fit in with civilised society, but to no avail. They simply do not understand what it is to imagine or to dream. From a young age they are taught that the closer to heaven they get, the more human they can become. Many fascinate themselves with this quest: their burning desire to be 'normal' leading them to be involved in whatever horrific actions the engineers see fit. It is not unknown for an angel to escape from their quarters and attempt to break for the guild building's roof. Those who manage to avoid security are often found on the roof, their incoherent cries of rage and grief ended only with a bullet to the head. It's considered kinder that way.
The angels' reputation proceeds them, and it is a time of great mourning in Alessgrad when the Engineers come knocking at a new mother's door. They are the angels; humanity's silent guardians against the evils of magic. And where there are angels, there are demons.
Demons lie on the other sidef the coin. While angels are born with no magical ability whatsoever, demons are born with an excess. Their power is often so great that it is uncontrollable: infants with the power to destroy buildings with their cries alone. They are often killed at birth: they are easily identified by the red birthmark on the back of their left hand. There is another danger to magic that very few know about: magic draws from...somewhere. Another universe, so the forbidden books say. When a mage draws power from that place, there is the risk of drawing other things too. Strange, depraved beings who see our world and covet it: if given the chance they will take it and all that we have. They cannot enter our world on their own accord, but if the mage's mind is weak enough they can gain influence over the body and reak havoc and destruction for their own sick amusement. Those that have so far are comparatively small fish, but whispers abound that if enough mages willed it then they could conjure forth dark and hungry gods and watch the world burn.
“Only the blind know what is it to see.”
“Now I aint a racist, but them things gives me the creeps. It's the eyes I swear it; big black orbs that don't never blink. I don't wanna see them hurt or anything, I just wish they went back where they came from.”
-Heinrich Keppler, thief
It is a simple fact that humans fear those who are different. Fear often comes from lack of understanding, although at times there is something greater at stake. The Tchervyak are a race shrouded in fear and suspicion, not all of it undeserved.
A Tchervyak is a strange looking creature. Tall and lithe, with glistening white skin that puts humans in mind of a maggot that's learnt to stand. They have impossibly thin limbs that are not strong, but can move with superhuman speed and precision. Their eyes take up at least a third of their face: great black orbs with no pupils. They are more potent mages than humans, mostly due to a lack of social stigma of the practice in their society. Their magics are generally not destructive; they focus on clairvoyance, deception and illusion. While they're now used to the sun, they remain mostly active at night. Once organised into brood-clans, each centered around a gigantic Brood Mother, these highly magical creatures serve as an indentured underclass in Allessgrad. Before humans arrived in the north, the Tchervyak were plentiful; thousands of brood clans living in mineral rich caverns deep beneath the earth. They had little reason to go above ground until the humans arrived and began to mine.
The war that followed was devastating. Tchervyak brood mothers are known to be powerful clairvoyants and the humans' grasp of the magical arts was weak. But the humans brought more with them. They brought guns and swords and steel. The brought explosives to destroy the caverns. There were many of them and their tenacity was terrifying to behold. The war was lost almost before it began.
Most of the brood mothers were killed, and the survivng Tchervyak forced above ground. The harsh sun blinded them and they found few insects to eat. The slums they were forced into were made of brittle wood and smelled all wrong. Many died of disease and malnutrition, many more were beaten to death by mobs who found them grotesque and terrifying. Less than a thousand remain, living in the shadows and scavenging from human waste. Many hold a deep hatred of humanity in their hearts and whisper that they day will come when they overthrow their conquerors and rebuild the clans.
"Big buggers. None too bright until you get some gearwheels in front of them, then away they go. Don't ask for much 'cept to be left alone. My kinda people really."
-Grigori Tarasov, Engineer
Muscular, red skinned creatures who originate from somewhere in the far south. Skin, horns, pointed teeth and forked tongues aside, they look remarkably like humans. Larger Orcs have larger horns, up to 1 foot in length. These horns are very hard and are used in fights to assert dominance over a territory or breeding rights. They are excellent tinkerers and mechanics, used as a workforce by the Engineers to help build and maintain their machines. Their skin is harder than human skin and is known to protect against magic. For this reason, some disreputable humans are known to hunt them. Orc horns are also considered good luck. Those within the Guild's protection are safe, but those remaining outside are the toughest of their race and are slow to trust any human who approaches them.
Character creation. I'd like to ask everyone interested to submit the following details about their characters.
If there's anything the background is missing, bring it up here. Like I said, the world is a constant WiP and if something's missing it's probably because I just haven't considered it. Bringing it up gets me writing and helps you enjoy the game, so it's never a bad thing.
So yeah. Go to.