Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us $3,400 per month for bandwidth bills alone, and since we don't believe in shoving popup ads to our registered users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
«9 »
  • Post
  • Reply
Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I値l always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Roy

A first class car. It's at just the right spot not to get a even whiff of the coal smoke while well insulated enough not to have one's ears ringing from the roar of the iron horse. Plush accommodations, excellent food, well to do people and friendly smiles from the man who takes your ticket.

Roy wasn't allowed in first class.

Second class passage wasn't so bad. Sure it was hot, made bearable only by open windows. Sure it was smelly from both the coal smoke and press of bodies. Sure it was cramped, but at least he wasn't next to the chickens. They were loud and smelly on a different level than mere people and that was saying something as the press of bodies was nearly overwhelming. The cage containing said chickens sat on the lap of a woman two rows back. Originally she almost sat next to him, but she saw his colors and wooden staff. She decided to give him a pass. It wasn't the law not to wear this specific shade of green and black clothing nor to carry a wooden staff. At least not anymore. Still, most Shepherds did so. Now it was just custom instead of mandate. Perhaps that's what people call progress. Still, prejudices persisted. Not a lot of people want to get near him, much less touch him or speak to him and the people on this train were no different than people anywhere else. So he'd spent the majority of the four day ride to Iron Hill without a soul to speak to, and that was just the latest train. He'd been on three others to get here.

However, the reputation of a Shepherd wasn't all bad. It kept the woman with the cage full of normally loud and smelly chickens away from him. It was a small mercy. It also meant that the seat directly in front of him and behind him were unoccupied as well. It wouldn't do to be accidentally touched, though there was nothing inherently wrong with that. No, it was more "common sense" or "horse sense" not to touch or be touched by a Shepherd save for limited circumstances. Normally people had the good sense to keep quiet if they didn't like a Shepherd, but the ticket taker refused to take Roy's ticket when presented. He was still allowed on of course, but there'd been a tense few seconds that ended in an insult. The older man went with the tried and true epithet of necromancer just loud enough to be heard, though Roy pretended not to hear it. Not that Roy raised the dead or had any inclination to do so. A Shepherd might as well hang him or herself if they defiled the dead.

The door at the front of the passenger car opened. The smell of smoke grew stronger as did the sound of the engine and whipping of the wind. The portly ticket taker stepped through in his black uniform which was stretched tightly across his midsection. In his hand was a brass pocket-watch on a chain. He closed the door behind him and began to rouse everyone as he walked down the aisle and he was careful to step over the people in the narrow aisle. They were mostly men and from what Roy overheard from his days on the train, mostly people seeking work in the mines.

"It is currently 6:45 AM! End of the line!" called the ticket taker. "Iron Hill, next stop!"

People began to stir and chickens began to flap their wings and squawk. Roy noticed the older, fat ticker taker eye him suspiciously as he repeated himself over and over. Roy winked at him. The man's back stiffened in surprise and his voice raised by two octaves. It also caused him to almost stumble over a man who was using a patchy burlap sack as a pillow. The man swore as the ticket taker accidentally booted him in the side, though the ticket taker took no noticed. Instead he made a sign of protection that older people do when a Shepherd pays them too much attention. Roy wondered if he'd pay for that someday when the man claimed that Roy cursed him with impotency or spoiled his next beer. It was known to happen from time to time.

There was a small thump as Roy shut the book on anatomy that he'd been distracting himself with for the hour. He was currently brushing up on the bones of the hand, though he knew it by heart already. He was just bored. Each page of the book was precious both in knowledge and material so he treated it with care. His staff even more so due to its size, though none would dare touch it, much less steal it. He carefully tucked his book into one of the large inside pockets in his black coat, took off his reading glasses, folded them up and stored them in another higher pocket in a small leather case.

He waited patiently for everyone to get up so he wouldn't accidentally bump into anyone and cause a fuss. This took some minutes for everyone to empty out. When the coast was clear he finally stood. The few people who were still sitting shrank away from him and he pretended not to notice. He grabbed his wooden staff, his luggage with his personal effects and his bag that contained the tools of the trade too large to fit into his coat. Tall drink of water that he was, he was thin enough that he probably wouldn't bump into people if they gave him enough room. Still, as he peered through the glass to the outside he noticed a number of people milling about. He tapped his staff on the bare aluminum of the floor of the passenger car. It clicked as he walked and people near the bottom and gave him space as he approached.

He stepped off the train and directly onto a mound of raised dirt. Unlike in the city, there was no platform. In fact he was not in Iron Hill all for there were only a few small adobe structures to service the train. He tilted his black bowler hat to get a better look. In the distance he could see what was undoubtedly Iron Hill, made obvious by the plumes of coal smoke. A short distance away he could see men laboring to build more tracks towards Iron Hill. It seemed that this truly was the end of the line.

As he pondered about what to do next, a person approached him. She was over foot shorter than Roy and was dressed simply. She wore a red and white checkered full length skirt, matching tartan long sleeved shirt, brown, dusty boots, a red neckerchief and a white Stetson hat which was all the rage these days out west with its wide brim. She looked youthful, her frame was petite, her complexion was pale and a few dark wisps of hair could be seen poking out from under her hat. Her dark brown eyes appraised him. She looked Roy up and down, quirked a lopsided grin and nodded to him.

"So I suppose you're the new Shepherd," she said, simply.

Her voice was lower than he expected for someone her size. She also had an accent. A sort of drawl that was new to him, though he could understand her.

"I..." he began.

He stopped, for his voice was rough from disuse. He cleared his throat and tried again.

"I am," he said. "Shepherd Roy Wilkerson. At your service."

His voice, cleared of the roughness, bore the cultured cadence of the cities. Specifically of the country's capital, Strosegate.

"A pleasure," she said.

She reached out her hand to shake. He looked at it, uncomprehending at first and then to other people who were watching him as he stood out. The handshake was tempting to take, but Instead he tapped his staff on the ground. It was six feet tall. Almost as tall as him. He swept his black hat off his head though as a sign of respect. Now his face was revealed to her in full. He was a man who looked to be his late twenties or early thirties. His skin was somewhat weathered from travel. He had short, light brown hair. His much darker eyes were wary and his nose was a little beaky. He was thin without being gaunt, respectful without trying to touch her and smiled pleasantly without being familiar.

She frowned heavily at him and didn't retract her hand. Instead she extended it further, as if threatening to drive it into him. He looked about again, cleared his throat uncomfortably and leaned in while doing his best not to touch her. She didn't back away like he expected, which surprised him and put him off balance.

"I wouldn't want to ruin your reputation, miss," he whispered.

"And yet my hand is still here," she responded, tersely.

His professional demeanor faltered. With a glance down to her small hand, he slowly took it and she gave it a few vigorous pumps. There was something about that touch that felt like a warm meal when famished or cool water when parched. A warmth spread through his belly. He would have shaken her hand all day if he could, and his touch lingered a little longer than what was strictly necessary. When she finally released it both his hand and belly tingled.

"I uh...Thank you," he said, quietly.

His voice was once again rough for reasons that had nothing to do with lack of use. He tried to remember the last time he'd been willingly touched. It had been over a month ago at guild headquarters. He ruthlessly stuffed down the sudden up-welling of emotion, though his professional demeanor was now disrupted.

"My pleasure," she said, politely. "You received my letters?"

"Your..." he began.

He halted as recognition dawned on his face.

"Oh! You're Brianna!" he exclaimed.

Brianna, now named, tilted her chin upwards.

"That's right. Steward of the One Tree," she said, proudly.

Roy reached into one of his inside pockets and produced a small, clay tablet with a flourish. It was one of several letters that she'd sent him.

"Right, your letters. I have your latest here. It's a bit dated since I haven't been able to receive them in transit. I've been studying up on the topics you suggested, but I must say that the literature at the guild headquarters was somewhat lacking on the topics you suggested," he said.

"I figured. That's why I'm here," she said. "Lots to do, little time to do it. Your predecessor departed this world rather suddenly, sad to say. Right over there at Iron Hill."

She nodded to the plumes of coal smoke and a sour look crossed her features as her lopsided grin fled her face. She continued to speak.

"One of your guild mates from a neighboring county came by to judge him and picked up the slack while you were being sent. I saw to his burial. It was a shame. I liked Shepherd Mathers. She was a good woman," she said.

"I'll take your word on her," he said. "Though I'm sorry for your loss. Apologies, I'm not from this part of the country."

She nodded seriously.

"So I gathered from our letters. You can tell me about it on our trip," she said. "There's plenty of daylight and if you're of a mind to do so we can head out directly. We'll be heading west. Don't worry about supplies. Your guild covered our expenses."

Roy looked back to Iron Hill. Sure it was a boomtown. He'd be gouged for a hot meal and a bath, both of which he sorely desired, but he had his duties as a Shepard. The job came first. He composed himself as best as he could, though despite being in an entirely new place far away from home, his spirits were lifted by that simple handshake.

"West it is then," he said.

CYOA Time

So we'll be taking the next few votes to describe the personalities of the characters. I've given them some basic traits, but we'll color them in by what the thread values. In this case they'll be starting items.

1. Roy will either start out with an advanced medical kit or his predecessor's notes on the county. If we go with the kit, Roy will specialize in healing and generally he'll be more professional and caring. If we go with the notes, Roy will specialize in dealing with the dead which will make him more martial and discerning. Which one we don't choose won't keep Roy from doing his job. He'll just be better at one than the other.

2. Brianna will either start out with an excellent rifle or a cart full of trading goods. If we go with the rifle she'll be more martial in nature. If we go with the goods, she'll be more about trade and diplomacy. Choose one. Again, which one we don't choose she'll have access to. It'll just be standard.

--

Hello!

I'm Ice Phisherman. I'm a novelist, once professional and looking to be one again in time. I am the writer of Blake Island School of Magic which was based in the Shadowrun universe. It capped out at 450,000 words spaced between four books and one novelette.Maybe go read it. It's pretty good. I'm trying my hand at a new story before I head back to Blake Island for year two.

What to Expect

Words. Lots of them. I'm pretty prolific. I checked my average words written per day for Blake Island and it came up to about 2000 words a day. Obviously I didn't post every day, but I do hope that you like to read. Fair warning.

On the flip side, if the story takes off like I expect it to, expect professional quality work. I used to do this for a living. Also you get a look into my creative process. I'm very responsive to questions and will often talk at length about a topic if you ask something. It's part of my creative process to think about and reflect on what people care about.

Unlike a lot of CYOA's, I'm not going to guide you from point A to point B. There aren't rails on the story as much as there are loose guidelines. Thread votes are rarely from a list. In fact I often give people a dilemma and ask, "What now?" I do give suggestions to help guide people as to what could be done, but people are 100% free to ignore them. Early on in the story these choices will be a little more restrictive, but once people get a sense of the story these choices are going to open up.

Also, please remember that this is just a rough draft. I'm not the best editor of my own work.

Voting, Posting and Participation

When voting, please bold your votes. I read what everyone has to say, but it's easier to parse out votes when they're highlighted. The less time I have to spend interpreting votes the fewer mistakes I make and the faster I get to writing. Also, I am big on improv. If you have a cool idea then throw it in there. If I can work it in I'll incorporate it. This isn't just a thread where the majority rules. Everyone can participate.

We'll also be doing approval voting. So if you want to vote multiple times for different options. So if you like option A, C and E, you cast your votes for those options equally meaning you approve of them. B and D in this case get no votes.

If you want to jump on Discord you can. I'm often found there as are other good and cool people. However, I don't hold votes in Discord. It's a hangout spot for people who are running their own CYOA's. Mine is just one of them.

https://discordapp.com/invite/97PkqpN

System

So not only is there voting in the thread, but I roll dice to see what happens after the vote to see if it was possible or not. I don't prejudice the results. Normal characters and even protagonists can die. It's why I tend to have multiples. I will say that smart play and being conservative will get you out of almost all bad situations. However, if you want to take a risk, you risk injuring or even getting a character killed. I'm very committed to my current method. Please be careful with my characters.

So last time I ran this novel/game in the Shadowrun fifth edition system. It was a bit of a mess since it's so complicated as a system. I'm using a simpler system this time. We'll be running the game in Prose Descriptive Qualities, or PDQ. Shadowrun had hundreds of pages of books to pull from. PDQ has thirteen, and most of those pages you don't need to know. It's a fairly rules light system that everyone can learn and enjoy fairly quickly. I am going to be adding a number of house rules, but I will explicitly state what they are in a different post.

Here's the entire rulebook.

So What's the Genre?

So it's a Western. Hey, wait a second! Yeah, I know. Maybe you don't like Westerns. That's cool. Maybe they're not your cup of tea, but hear me out before you go. This is low fantasy, some biopunk, some steampunk, but the setting is a Western. The setting is also coming out of my own head. There's no preexisting intellectual property for it. Before you say Westerns aren't for you, please understand that as a writer I believe that genre is primarily bullshit. It's a marketing tool to get people's attention just long enough to buy stuff. My focus is not to conform to genre, but to tell a good story. If that means that we meander into non-traditional ways of telling stories, subvert or ignore genre altogether, I'm all for it so long as I think it's entertaining.

Themes

So we're going to be working with a number of themes which I will slowly introduce over time so as not to overwhelm everyone. I'll spell out the basics here, but you don't have to read if you don't want to as there are some early spoilers. Also keep in mind that while I do tackle some pretty dense and heavy subjects, I don't expect everyone to understand them at a high level. I want my work to be accessible, but at the same time write as if I'm not talking down to you. Also, if the tone was too serious, I don't really take myself seriously 100% of the time.

If you don't care about early spoliers then feel free to read. Otherwise just enjoy the show. If you want to talk about these themes before I reveal these them, please spoiler them. Also keep in mind that I don't want to write extensively about these subjects in a way that confuses people. I like keeping my work accessible. The greater themes will be there for people to explore, but only if they want to. I did this in my Shadowrun thread. I'd often flirt with heavy topics, but understanding them at some deep level was not required.

1. Judgement - Roy is a Shepherd. Shepherds are an order of people who heal and judge the souls of the dead. Since people die everywhere, it means that Shepherds move around a lot. In the strictest terms, Roy is a psychopomp, meaning someone who leads the souls of the dead to the afterlife. In this case, one of two afterlives, one good and one bad. He's aware that they're real places. Other people are mostly aware that they're real. However, there is no god force that chooses where the souls go. It's left up to the Shepherds (and by extension, the thread) to either lift up a soul to "the fields" or drat a soul to "the fiery lake". Not by spells or incantations or magically knowing if a person is good or bad, but by actually talking to them. People are fallible and I will not give indications beyond the story whether the choices that are made are right or wrong. Further, if the dead are left on earth for too long, they slowly go crazy and begin terrorizing people. So Roy also moonlights as a sort of ghostbuster when the need arises.

No proton packs though. Sorry.

2. Honor - Half of the organizations in this story are going to be clan based. I'm going to be talking extensively about honor culture, which is a big part of Westerns, but never really spelled out. I'm going to be spelling that out as it's actually a pretty big barrier to enjoying some Westerns.

If you're unfamiliar with honor culture or some of its close relatives like face culture or shame culture, honor culture arises in places where there is largely no government or law that you can appeal to. The law isn't external. It's not written down somewhere. It's not given over to an outside force like a government. The law is instead built almost exclusively around custom and tradition. It's about being a person of your word, defending yourself, your tribe/clan/family from attack, brooking no insult, being polite, offering hospitality and giving honor to those above you. There's more to it, but it's both strict, unforgiving and alien to people who aren't expecting to walk into it. People who practice honor culture tend to be fierce fighters, polite and quick with violence. They also almost always reject law from external sources like government. Often violently. The Western genre often expects you to be aware in some way of honor culture and I do not expect that. So one of our characters is going to get a crash course in it.

For example of honor cultures you could turn to a number of sources. The states of what used to be the Confederate States of America and for a time both before and after were an example were an honor culture. Calling someone a liar or a coward can get you killed. Not responding to those sorts of insults? Well, they can get you killed in the long run because people can run roughshod over you. Reputation is everything. Another example are the Pashtun people who largely live in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They will often defend their guests to the death, even if they hate them. Also if you've ever been in a westernized public middle school, prison, or the military, you've most likely engaged with kinds of honor cultures in some way, shape or fashion. I'll do a write up on honor culture at some point.

For examples in fiction, you could look to the Fremen of Dune. They were taken directly from the Pashtun people. In Game of Thrones, guest rights where one takes bread and salt and they then get the protection of the lord of their house is an example of honor culture. In fact the Red Wedding afterwards where people get slaughtered would be the most grievous violation in almost all clan or tribal honor cultures.

Luckily, once you get the hang of honor culture it's really straight forward and I won't have to keep explaining myself. Imagine a bunch of super polite people who are intensely pragmatic, family/tribe focused, fierce and hold a grudge forever. Also in this story they're going to treat women better than they would in most Westerns.

3. The Environment - The place where this is set is the badlands and prairie biomes. Badlands are largely rocky, uncultivatable land with little vegetation. Few people can live there, though it is possible. Prairies are grasslands. The American Midwest is covered in prairies. As are the South American Pampas and the Eurasian steppes. These tend to be more complicated and can support more life and therefor more people. Lots of shrubs, lots of grass, lots of bushes. These places also tend to produce people who are fierce as hell. Just ask the Mongols.

Wood is uncommon and it is rare in the area. Lumber takes a long time to get from the east to the west and it is decidedly not worth it to bring in large quantities. What there are in large quantities are certain metals such as copper and aluminum, though iron and steel are rare as well. There's also plenty of clay and adobe. So when one sends a letter for example, a message would be pressed into wet clay, the wet clay is taken to the post office where it is baked in a kiln and then the tablet is sent off. Paper exists, but it's only for books as literature often needs to be condensed. Paper letters are rare and seen as extravagant.

The county is going to be called One Tree County. It will be called such because there is one enormous tree in the middle of the county, and the only real source of wood for hundreds of miles. It's skyscraper tall and trespassers don't die as much as they disappear forever.

Brianna, our second protagonist, is the Steward of the tree. She is of a different, mostly dead race of people who can talk to plants, including the One Tree. While people can survive in One Tree county without Brianna and her tree, they would not be able to sustain their numbers without the extra food that Brianna provides from the tree. As a trader, she's also constantly on the move and I plan on pairing her up with Roy in order to help show him the ropes.

4. Conflict and Change - What One Tree County does have a lot of is coal and iron. The once backwoods area is currently in the middle of a boom. A boomtown has grown up around an enormous iron mine and people from the east are flooding in to find work. The iron mining doesn't pay that well, there's a glut of workers and enterprising people from the east are going to clash with the existing tribes. They also look at the One Tree and see what is essentially a gigantic pillar of money. They have zero investment in keeping it alive as they're just here to get paid. Add in existing tribal rivalries, the clash between the government trying to assert law over unwilling tribes and a new Shephard whose predecessor who died mysteriously and you have an enormous mess.

On the other hand, the work that Roy and Brianna do is largely peaceful in nature. Roy heals people and guides the dead to the afterlife when he's not ghostbusting. Brianna supplies food to the tribes and trades in wood. Under normal circumstances no one would think of harming a Steward or a Shepherd. However, these are not normal circumstances.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at May 16, 2018 around 15:52

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I値l always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

House rules:

To explain in the shortest of details as a tl;dr

1. All experience is by following up with "troubles" which will be up to the thread to follow up on. Defeat a bandit? No experience. Send a troublesome hungry ghost to the fiery lake? No experience. The only way to gain experience is to follow troublesome aspects of their personality into trouble. Imagine a child touching a hot stove over and over again even though it's a really bad idea. We'll be developing a few of these so it's not the same hot stove and they can change during play as characters change.

2. Qualities give hit points and loosely define who the characters are and what they do.

3. Items give bonuses and the more complicated they are, the better they perform in terms of bonus to the dice and the more functions they can perform.

4. Relationships will give bonuses or penalties. They can be with individuals or with factions.

5. Experience is a general pool that can buy qualities, items or relationships. It's also an abstract for money.

Trouble and Experience

Normally in prose descriptive qualities, or PDQ, you have negative traits that will give a dice penalty. I've decided to waive these as they're not interesting enough. Instead we'll have what I'm going to call "troubles". Normally experience is awarded for completing objectives, defeating bad guys and playing intelligently, but bandits aren't just going to drop 2d6 silver pieces and award experience for their defeat. That's too gamey and I don't like it. In fact it's smarter altogether to avoid those bandits.

Roy and Brianna can get by in life almost 100% unmolested due to their positions in the community if they keep their heads down and mind their own business. So if those bandits would try to rob them, they would probably not shoot them due to the positions each of them hold. They're too important. In fact they might not even take everything. In the process of the robbery, Roy and Brianna would lose some of their gear, but not their lives. The bandits might decide it's not worth it to mess with people so vital to the health of the community either. I really can't overstate how vital these two are.

We'll be defining what those troubles are for each character because if either character wants experience, they will specifically have to engage with that specific trouble to get it. If you don't get into trouble you'll be pretty safe, but also don't expect experience.

For example, let's say that Roy is a lonely person. So the thread could simply define the trouble as "lonely". He knows his low status in society. Normally in civilized towns he would be ushered into a place to get a bath under the cover of night or through the back door while getting price gouged in the process. If he wanted food he'd be fed at the back door as well. However, that doesn't do anything to cure him of his loneliness. If his trouble was "lonely", in this instance, I'd award two experience for going through the front door of a saloon and trying to enjoy some human contact. This means taking whatever consequences arise whether they are positive or negative (probably negative). Brianna on the other hand has no such restrictions on her behavior, and unless she was following up on a trouble as well, she wouldn't get experience for helping Roy out of a jam.

I'll define trouble loosely. It can be a serious flaw in someone's personality, it can be trouble with a specific type of person or a specific person, it can be a virtue that is a weakness due to the harsher environment, anything really so long as possessing this quality can get either Roy or Brianna into trouble of some sort. By the end of this CYOA I want them both to have two troubles each, maybe three. These troubles are also not fixed. They can change if overcome or ignored for long enough. We'll be allowed to indulge in troubles once per new location.

Please note that these troubles won't be defined by doing their job as Shepherd or Steward. Healing people and helping them pass on is not trouble. Protecting the One Tree is not courting trouble. That's their duty. Troubles would be incurred by going above and beyond their duties and making stuff personal. So if Brianna has a soft spot for animals, confronting the owner of said animal about their rough treatment of their is trouble and I'd award experience in that case.

Anyway, I'm going to cause lots of trouble for everyone to embroil themselves in, because there will be a lot to spend it on. The more trouble the two find themselves in, the more experience they'll have to spend on qualities, items and relationships.

Qualities

So we're currently defining the character's qualities. These give bonuses to dice if they're applicable. They range from +2 at the low end to +6 at the high end for each trait. I'll be separating traits into two categories: Personal and items. Personal traits can be damaged and healed. Think of them like hit points. These qualities go from +2 at the low end to +6 at the high end, and you can have multiple traits. All traits cost 4 experience to raise by +2. Their qualities are fixed at creation and may not be expanded.

For example, Roy is a +2 Shepherd. He can heal people through mundane means and prevents them from dying when they ordinarily should with his magic. He's good at spotting lies, can intimidate people, send souls to the afterlife and combat hungry ghosts. Also if another situation makes sense for his +2 Shepherd bonus to apply, it applies so long as I'm not stretching what he could do too far.

Brianna is a +4 Steward. She's an outdoorswoman, is good with animals, knows local history, can interact with The One Tree and is good at diplomacy. Think of a park ranger.

Say we wanted to buy a new quality. In celebration of Simon Bolivar, hero of the original vaqueros, the cowboys of South America, we could buy "Iron rear end". At least as a for example. That was the title the South American cowboys awarded him for his ability to ride all day in the saddle. Iron rear end would give a +2 to defense, riding horses, being tough, being intimidating and getting along with people who traveled for a living, such as cowboys or messengers. Really, anything that can be justified by the term "iron rear end".

Items

Items range from -2 in quality all the way up to +6. So a thin, patched, scratchy wool blanket is a -2 item, but it lets you roll to stay warm at night. It allows for a roll instead of failing automatically. If items are damaged they lose 2 points off their status. So if Brianna's rifle was damaged for instance it would go down to +0 until repaired for 1 experience point each. They can reach all the way down to -2. If they go past that point they are gone forever. I will allow all damage to be shifted to an item any time anyone likes and it will only cost 2 points in damage to the item. In fact it'll be necessary as the current total of traits each character starts out with will only be +2 and +4. We'll be starting really low in hit points and they'll be very fragile.

Buying items will be mentioned below under "money".

Relationships

I liked loyalty from Shadowrun and it's making a comeback. There are going to be six factions to gain relationships with: Clan Rivers, Clan Horse, Clan Barrens, Iron Hill, The One Tree and the Government. These will range from -6 to +6. -6 being the worst, capture or kill on sight, to a 0 which is neutral and a +6 which would be allied.

We can also have relationships with individuals ranging from -6 to +6. We can get bonuses or maluses from being friends or foes with certain people or certain factions both in terms of permanent physical bonuses (which I will not name until they are achieved), but also narrative ones as well.

Brianna will start with some negatives and positives as she's embroiled in the local politics, but Roy will largely be clear of these relationships save for +2 points in government due to his affiliation with the Shepherd's guild, though he will be at a -2 for Iron Hill as he's a Shepherd and basically an untouchable. The clans and denizens of The One tree will have different opinions on Shepherds and will all start a +0.

If you wanted to buy a relationship from 0 to 1, that would cost 1 experience. From 1 to 2 would cost 2 experience. And so on. There must be a reason for it to be bought. We can't buy points in relationships for factions or people we haven't met.

Relationships can only be developed with experience. However, they can be spoiled by developing relationships with "the wrong people" or generally screwing said faction over. Now and again I will test the loyalties between two or more factions. A more diplomatic character may be able to thread that needle.

Money

Shepherds are actually pretty well paid and Brianna doesn't really have a need for money beyond getting what she needs. However, finding someone who will regularly and willingly do business with a Shepherd is another thing entirely. I'm going to be abstracting money as experience. Want to buy that +0 camping equipment so you don't freeze to death at night? Well, it'll cost you 1 experience point. Want a +2 item? It'll cost 2. Want a +4 item? It'll cost 3 and getting into trouble for free or having a good relationship with the seller. Want a +6 item? 4 experience points and either a lot of trouble or a fantastic relationship with the seller.

Items are less powerful than qualities, but they're more flexible.

Items will allow you to do things you normally otherwise could not, and unlike qualities we'll be able to choose what they do. So even a +0 and a +2 item will have a difference as I add an extra quality to them. That -2 camping equipment will keep you from freezing to death, but the +0 equipment will prepare hot meals as well. The +2 may keep the dust and rain off, prepare hot meals and keep you from freezing to death. And so on.

All -2 items are free save for major purchases. However, they can be easily destroyed and can't be replenished everywhere, so don't rely on them overmuch. Major purchases would be things like a house, wagons, horses, old tech, imported items, etc. Those will cost more. How much more will depend on the item.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Apr 19, 2018 around 11:57

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I値l always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Qualities, gear and relationships:

Roy Whitaker:

+ 4 Shepherd - A white hat necromancer, healer and judge.

Gear

+2 Shepherd's Journal - The personal notes left over from from the previous Shepherd, Maureen Mathers, now deceased.

+ 0 Shepherd's Kit-bag - Contains the basic impliments for casting both destructive and preservative death magic. Also contains an anatomy reference guide.

+ 0 Shepherd's Clothing - Green and black. Identifies him as a Shepherd.

+ 0 Medical Kit - Basic necessities for healing someone or performing field surgery.

+ 0 Shepherd's Staff - Made of wood. Used for preservative magic. Can cast a blue light with the help of bio-luminescent creatures that live on it.

-2 Camping Gear - A thin blanket and old bedroll. Not suited for the environment.

-2 Knife

No horse

Trouble:

Lonely

Relationships:

Government: 2

Iron Hill: -2

Horse Clan: 0

River Clan: 0

Barrens Clan: 0

The One Tree: -2

Brianna: 1

Experience

Experience Gained:

6 campaign experience

Experience Spent: 5

Free Experience: 1

Changes:

Threw Shepherd Ignacio under the bus for a +1 to reputation with Iron Hill. This was free.

Brianna Kendler

Steward of the One Tree +4 - She takes care of the one tree. Basically she's an outdoorswoman.

Ironwood Rifle +2 - A rifle of excellent quality made from the wood of the one tree.

Conestoga Wagon +0 - A wagon that carries goods from place to place. It has a team of eight draft horses. Made from aluminum, canvas and it has ironwood wheels that are painted to look like iron. Full of food and trade goods.

Steward's Clothing + 0 - Appropriate clothing for every occasion.

Knife + 0

Camping Gear + 0

Horse Clan Regalia + 0

River Clan Regalia + 0

Barrens Clan Regalia + 0


Troubles

Identity Crisis

Relationships:

Government: -2

Iron Hill: -2

Horse Clan: 2

River Clan: 0

Barrens Clan: 2

The One Tree: 4

Roy: 1

Experience

Experience Gained:

Beginning Experience: 2


Experience Spent: 1

Free Experience: 1

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at May 17, 2018 around 01:37

sheep-dodger
Feb 21, 2013



Aw yeah, in on the ground floor and bookmarked.

ThatBasqueGuy
Feb 14, 2013

someone introduce jojo to lazyb




Medkit and Trade Goods


Generally I'm inclined towards the martial values, but a lot of the enjoyment from Blake came from character interactions. Not to say you can't interact with people at the point of a gun, but it tends to be a bit more terse and limited than what some tea and a syringe of morphine could provide.

HiHo ChiRho
Oct 23, 2010

Then you remember. You have a message to send.

Something everyone must know.

You have the power. You have the means.

Let it be known.




1.) Notes
2.) Trade goods

JesterOfAmerica
Sep 11, 2015


1) Notes
2) Rifle

sheep-dodger
Feb 21, 2013



I'm gonna go with Medkit and Rifle. Roy is the softer person from the city, while Brianna is more hardened and well accustomed to the frontier life and its dangers.

HardDiskD
May 6, 2009

HaHAHhehehehuhehahehhahahhaue



Grimey Drawer

Notes and Trade Goods

Dog Kisser
Mar 30, 2005

But People have fears that beasts do not. Questions, too.


1) Notes
2) Rifle

edit: I would like to add: Oh boy oh boy! I'm excited to see where this goes.

Dog Kisser fucked around with this message at Apr 17, 2018 around 16:10

Toughy
Nov 29, 2004

KAVODEL! KAVODEL!


Notes and Rifle, Martial it all up in here

Nothingtoseehere
Nov 11, 2010


[quote="Dog Kisser" post="483240438"]
1) Notes
2) Rifle

Bear Enthusiast
Mar 20, 2010

I just want to start a flame in your heart, if you know what I mean.


Lipstick Apathy

Medical kit and Rifle. I really like reading Roy so far as a bit of a softie, especially given his place in the world. Cool rifle person sounds like a good addition there.

Very excited to be on the ground floor since I am loving bonkers about Blake Island. I should hit up that Discord sometime...

Ice, have you heard of the RPG/Setting Deadlands? I only ask because it's also an alt-western of sorts and I'm curious.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I値l always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Bear Enthusiast posted:

Very excited to be on the ground floor since I am loving bonkers about Blake Island. I should hit up that Discord sometime...

Pop on by. We're good and cool people in there.

quote:

Ice, have you heard of the RPG/Setting Deadlands? I only ask because it's also an alt-western of sorts and I'm curious.

I have. Also Dogs in the Vineyard as well. Though I've only listened to actual play podcasts, never played them.

Dog Kisser posted:

I would like to add: Oh boy oh boy! I'm excited to see where this goes.

Hexenritter
May 20, 2001

Buncha slack-jawed faggots around here

1: Notes
2: Rifle


Woop woop! Really looking forward to this!

Ask for the @Cowboys and Injuries role on the Discord if you want realtime pings when Ice posts an update.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

There was something about that touch that felt like a warm meal when famished or cool water when parched. A warmth spread through his belly.

This is going to be a problem, isn't it?

Ice Phisherman posted:

"West it is then," he said.




Vote: Roy; predecessor's notes on the county.

Vote: Brianna; trading goods.


Going with the traditional martial preacher, fast talking support build.

Ice Phisherman posted:

I'm Ice Phisherman.



Hi Ice, liking how this is starting so far.

Ice Phisherman posted:

I'm pretty prolific. I checked my average words written per day for Blake Island and it came up to about 2000 words a day. Obviously I didn't post every day, but I do hope that you like to read. Fair warning.

Yeah he is. Some days, its a full time job just to read his updates!

Ice Phisherman posted:

On the flip side, if the story takes off like I expect it to, expect professional quality work. I used to do this for a living.

Frankly he spoils us with his awesome work. You'll see.

I put on my six gun and ten-gallon hat.

JUST MAKING CHILI
Feb 14, 2008


HiHo ChiRho posted:

1.) Notes
2.) Trade goods

+1 on this option

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

I don't care if it's ethical; I want a Mammoth Steak.


Medkit and Trade Goods. I want at least one of them to lean away from the martial side of things, so voting that way for both of them is the most surefire way. Even if they get hardened as time goes on, what your start as colors the way a character is perceived, after all. It's the difference between a healer who can fight or a warrior who can heal.

Volmarias
Dec 31, 2002


Notes, Goods

PoultryGeist
Feb 26, 2013

Crystals?

Medkit and Rifle

Chatrapati
Nov 6, 2012


Medikit and Rifle

The only Western I've seen is Calamity Jane. I think she had a gun?

Not Alex
Oct 9, 2012


Medkit, Rifle

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

jagadaishio posted:

It's the difference between a healer who can fight or a warrior who can heal.

So, we're counting spell slots?

Chatrapati posted:

The only Western I've seen is Calamity Jane. I think she had a gun?

Annie get your gun?

dont be mean to me
May 2, 2007

I'm interplanetary, bitch
Let's go to Mars




Roy Medkit
Brianna Rifle

Xarbala
Feb 13, 2011

Rolling Thunder: War to the Knife, Knife to the Hilt

Why? , that's why.

Medkit, Rifle

cigaw
Sep 13, 2012


1. Medkit
2. Rifle


Oh boy I am so glad this isn't the Anime thing!

Ice Phisherman posted:

There was something about that touch that felt like a warm meal when famished or cool water when parched. A warmth spread through his belly. He would have shaken her hand all day if he could, and his touch lingered a little longer than what was strictly necessary. When she finally released it both his hand and belly tingled.
Edward PTSD Red Alert! This is not a drill!

I kid, this is a lot more heartwarming as opposed to the creepy factor associated with that drat kid.

edit:

Bear Enthusiast posted:

Ice, have you heard of the RPG/Setting Deadlands? I only ask because it's also an alt-western of sorts and I'm curious.
If Roy's Grit gets up to 5 and he starts hearing a thundering stampede in the distance I'll be worried. Or if a mysterious cowpoke named Stone comes poking around. It'd be pretty bitchin' if Roy died and the Prospector showed up, though.

I miss Deadlands.

cigaw fucked around with this message at Apr 17, 2018 around 23:22

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I値l always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

cigaw posted:

Oh boy I am so glad this isn't the Anime thing!

Yeah, I just couldn't make it work. Maybe another day.

quote:

Edward PTSD Red Alert! This is not a drill!

I kid, this is a lot more heartwarming as opposed to the creepy factor associated with that drat kid.

I've actually been reading up on the history of executioners in the last few months and that's what Shepherds are loosely based around. They were basically a European class of untouchables at one point and occupied a strange space in European society. So while I am going with touch starvation, it's coming from a different place. It's not conditioning. It's common practice.

CourValant posted:



Hi Ice, liking how this is starting so far.

Thank you.

quote:

Yeah he is. Some days, its a full time job just to read his updates!

I won't lie, it can be lengthy, but I do take breaks every few weeks so people can catch up and so I can unwind.

quote:

Frankly he spoils us with his awesome work. You'll see.



I'll still be taking votes for a few more hours before I begin writing.

RickVoid
Oct 21, 2010


Medkit, Rifle.

I'm already looking forward to this. I'm a sucker for Weird West poo poo and the supernatural elements you've alluded to are right up my alley.

Helical Nightmares
Apr 30, 2009


Notes and Trade Goods

mcclay
Jul 8, 2013

Oh dear oh gosh oh darn


Soiled Meat

Medkit, Rifle

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

I've actually been reading up on the history of executioners in the last few months and that's what Shepherds are loosely based around. They were basically a European class of untouchables at one point and occupied a strange space in European society. So while I am going with touch starvation, it's coming from a different place. It's not conditioning. It's common practice.

Hangmen in the Old West; it was a legitimate profession, and at the same time, they were about as untouchable as it got during that period in history.

Also, I have to admit, I too got the Edwards Red Alert!

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

1) Notes
2) Rifle

Lemniscate Blue
Apr 21, 2006

Here we go again.

Fun Shoe

Notes and Trade Goods

Hexenritter
May 20, 2001

Buncha slack-jawed faggots around here

cigaw posted:

I miss Deadlands.

Deadlands was awesome.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I値l always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

All right, here are the vote tallies:

Medkit - 12

Notes - 14

Rifle - 17

Trade Goods - 9

I'll begin writing in the morning.

Volmarias
Dec 31, 2002


Ice Phisherman posted:

I've actually been reading up on the history of executioners in the last few months and that's what Shepherds are loosely based around. They were basically a European class of untouchables at one point and occupied a strange space in European society. So while I am going with touch starvation, it's coming from a different place. It's not conditioning. It's common practice.

Another Hardcore History fan I see.

cigaw
Sep 13, 2012


Ice Phisherman posted:

I've actually been reading up on the history of executioners in the last few months and that's what Shepherds are loosely based around. They were basically a European class of untouchables at one point and occupied a strange space in European society. So while I am going with touch starvation, it's coming from a different place. It's not conditioning. It's common practice.
That's neat, I hadn't made the connection.

Do Shepherds have an ethnicity component to being ostracized or it it just part of the job? Are they even a super low caste or are they just avoided because they deal with death (and are able to drat souls) and that's scary? Untouchables usually get jobs nobody wants to do and I'm curious what exactly makes the guiding of the soul something you'd relegate to a group of outcasts.

Right now, given the limited information from a single introductory post and your Executioner parallel, Shepherds are giving me Japanese Burakumin vibes. Specifically the Eta (literally "filthy mass" or "abundantly dirty" if memory serves me), as they were the ones relegated to dealing with dead things like animal slaughter, leather tanning, undertaking and executions. All of this is super low work by feudal Buddhist and Shinto standards. Just be aware that I'm going from memory here and may be getting something wrong.

Untouchability is a fascinating topic and I think you'll be able to explore it well.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

I'll begin writing in the morning.

By the way, any reason you picked 'You Can't Steal My Joy'?

Because I've been humming the Firefly title song since last night; in my mind I've already linked the 'You can't take the sky from me' to this LP and am creating satirical lyrics as you roll-out more details on the setting.

cigaw posted:

Right now, given the limited information from a single introductory post and your Executioner parallel, Shepherds are giving me Japanese Burakumin vibes. Specifically the Eta (literally "filthy mass" or "abundantly dirty" if memory serves me), as they were the ones relegated to dealing with dead things like animal slaughter, leather tanning, undertaking and executions.

I think its less a true 'caste' of lowly undesirable, untouchable folks who can't do anything else except be a Shepherd (i.e., rat killer, corpse fetcher, garbage hauler, etc) and more an isolated order of separate yet equal folks (think warrior monks, the original al-Ḥashāshīns, 47 ronin, etc).

Shepherds are clearly educated, intelligent, and trained. On top of that, they're the folks who either elevate you to paradise, or drat you to hell. That sort of system breeds all sorts of 'back-room deals' and systemic corruption, just ask the Knights Hospitaller.

cigaw
Sep 13, 2012


CourValant posted:

I think its less a true 'caste' of lowly undesirable, untouchable folks who can't do anything else except be a Shepherd (i.e., rat killer, corpse fetcher, garbage hauler, etc) and more an isolated order of separate yet equal folks (think warrior monks, the original al-Ḥashāshīns, 47 ronin, etc).

Shepherds are clearly educated, intelligent, and trained. On top of that, they're the folks who either elevate you to paradise, or drat you to hell. That sort of system breeds all sorts of 'back-room deals' and systemic corruption, just ask the Knights Hospitaller.
I see your point but I made the comparison more on scope of work performed rather than them being a separate low caste. European Executioners only really executed people whereas the Eta dealt with dead things in general - which initially seems to me as a more apt fit. Sorry I wasn't clear on that!

Plus, who's to say that a Shepherd has any alternative in life other than being a Shepherd? Or that just because they are educated, trained and intelligent that they are anything above despicable to society at large? Erudition doesn't necessarily mean anything if there are other constraints that force you into doing that work - say, being able to perceive the soul or the afterlife or something else you're born with as opposed to simply trained on - and it turns you into an outcast just as much as being an uneducated Eta leather tanner despite possessing complex formal training.

It seems like a necessary job for society to function (lest ye get angry ghosts) but nobody wants to do the job. I'm curious as to why. Corruption may very well be a part of it, but I don't think people become fearful of you to the point of untouchability just due to selling indulgence or threatening damnation. I think there's something deeper here.

Maybe the Shepherds actually take some form of taint when they drat souls and sacrifice their own salvation just to do their jobs, their own souls fraying at the edges and singed by hellfire for every one condemned to the fiery lakes? Then people shy away because they can subconsciously feel how wrong and incomplete the Shepherds are? That could be kinda cool.

(Phone posting, so sorry for mistakes.)

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

cigaw posted:

Sorry I wasn't clear on that!



Its cool forum friend! No need to apologize, as a polite, meaningful discourse on how we interpret his writing is how Ice gets his writing mojo!

I appreciated your post and wanted to respond in a thoughtful manner.

cigaw posted:

Corruption may very well be a part of it, but I don't think people become fearful of you to the point of untouchability just due to selling indulgence or threatening damnation. I think there's something deeper here.

Me too. Also as a Catholic, the idea of selling indulgences in this LP tickles my fancy in some very odd and specific ways. Time for a dogmatic schism!!

cigaw posted:

Maybe the Shepherds actually take some form of taint when they drat souls and sacrifice their own salvation just to do their jobs, their own souls fraying at the edges and singed by hellfire for every one condemned to the fiery lakes?

That . . . would suck for Shepherds, yeah. Its also completely disincentives damning of souls, unless you enjoy having your soul frayed.

Which, because Ice is writing this, sure, checks out.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply
«9 »