Ashes to Dust

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Random, Oct 4, 2016.

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  1. Ashes to Dust.
    silence on the invisible air

    Plot (open)
    Names: Dust, Grain, dark sand, eitr, wind demon, Ash, pillar salt, death dust, Shadow
    Chemical structure: unidentified
    CAS No.: 9999-99-9
    Molar mass: 0 g/mol
    NFPA 704: 040BIO
    Appearance: Very fine matt-black dust, glows in low light conditions and when reacting
    Additional notes:
    • unidentified extraterrestrial substance
    • categorisation date: 07-18-2018
    • reacts in highly unpredictable ways with nearby substances
    • is not annihilated on contact with antimatter
    • does not react to fundamental forces with the exception of gravity
    • melting and boiling points unknown
    • momentary exposure to single particulate has exactly 50% chance of causing living organisms to instantly die
    It's 2037. It's been 20 years to the day since the first Duststorm.
    The first one was small. A meteorite fell and broke open in Russia. Nobody thought anything of it.
    Just over two pounds of Dust spilled out, and a breeze picked it up.
    Then people started caring.


    In months, shelters began to be built around the world. It didn't take much. One loose mote could wipe out entire cities, consuming them and their inhabitants in odd fountains of chaos and disorder that laughed in the face of natural laws and common sense alike.


    And people hid and cowered.
    Even in the shelters, life wasn't the same. It didn't take long to realise that even the newborn children were somehow different.


    Eight years went by. The fear began to subside.
    People grew braver. The Dust wasn't hanging over them anymore.
    They opened their doors.
    And the Dust was everywhere.
    It too had multiplied, permeating the entire atmosphere.
    The very air had become toxic, and the world had settled into something new.


    But it couldn't kill everyone.
    Just as the Dust had killed, it also brought new life.
    And even that merciless Dust which killed millions, perhaps billions, before, could not kill the children.


    New diverse creatures rose from the Dust, who bonded with it, could command it.
    The natural laws were decided by the Dust now.
    For that reason, these new beings, the Ashen, were more powerful than humans had ever been.


    The world was destroyed, but it was not ruined.
    It is only just beginning.
    Not all hope is lost for humanity.
    Some of us can still walk outside.
    The children from after that fateful day twenty years ago have a chance.
    Because we too are Ashen.


    From Dust we came, and to Dust we shall one day return.
    But until that day comes, the world of our forefathers is ours now.
    And we shall make it anew.

    Information (open)

    The Dust is a mysterious particle that came to Earth via meteorite, and has saturated the entire world in the space of twenty years. It randomly bends reality in strange ways and will kill any living thing that comes from a Dust-less environment in an instant just by being nearby, but appears to be sentient (although good luck trying to figure out any kind of motivation for it). It seems to be able to create its own life as part of its mysterious powers, and somehow rendered all humans born after it arrived Ashen, despite there not being a single mote of Dust in the shelters where they were born.

    If the Dust in an area reaches a "critical mass", there will occasionally be a Duststorm that temporarily rends its surroundings into a bizarre, headachingly incomprehensible messes called "Neverlands". It usually takes around four days for Neverlands to return to normal, and they aren't especially dangerous once the storm has subsided. In fact, finding a fresh Neverland is often a great thing for Ashen, as it allows them to gather a lot of Dust very quickly. That is, assuming they're willing to deal with a lot of newly-animated monsters, which can be dangerous for those unprepared. Not to mention, while the Ashen can commune with the Dust, it is still fundamentally lethal to living things, and so anything caught in the Duststorm, Ashen or not, can be prepared to be distorted into non-existence.

    The Dust is black, but glows in low light and when actively changing something. The individual motes are too small to see under anything short of an electron microscope, making any sample of Dust concentrated enough to be visible to the naked eye seem like "solid darkness", as well as being so small that despite the astounding quantity of Dust in the atmosphere, it's totally invisible in practical terms. It also doesn't appear to have any mass, and is nearly intangible, so it can't take solid or liquid forms, and any will it has is thus enacted by bringing something else to life.

    Beings that can communicate with the Dust. It's unknown what causes them to occur, but all life that can exist outside shelters is by definition Ashen, as the Dust will kill anything else. Even the grass is Ashen, which can cause curious things like forests that ensnare would-be explorers and statues that come to life to plant flowers. Ashen can utilise the Dust to manifest various abilities that are usually unique to themselves.

    Dust is naturally attracted to Ashen, so it's easy for them to utilise their abilities under normal conditions, but it's not unheard of for them to go and gather Dust for the purposes of using more powerful abilities. As such, Dust is a precious commodity for the Ashen, and given that it is the one thing it is impossible for them to be able to synthesise, it is also used as currency.

    Ashen aren't just humans, however. Even the ones who are human may have odd features, like strange eyes, animalistic features, or bizarre mutations. Some things are more subtle than others, but the standard of "normal" has long ceased to be come the Ashen generation.

    Non-human Ashen include literally anything that the Dust has created or animated, the most notable among them being animated buildings, sentient forests, talking cats, and even creatures such as fairies and dragons.
    Generally, non-human Ashen are hostile to humans by default, as they were not born of the Dust, only molded by it. It isn't unheard of for humans to tame, befriend, or command non-humans, however, as it has always been since the first smart monkey jumped on the back of a sabretooth tiger.

    Non-Ashen are restricted to underground shelters, which Dust, as a component of the atmosphere, normally won't enter. They are, on average, equipped to support a population of 5,000 for 50 years, but most shelters are just a little over half-full, since the shelters were built to outlast the Dust. It doesn't look like that's going to happen.

    The world is still young for the Ashen, and there is plenty to explore. Who knows how accurate those old maps still are with the Dust around? There's only one way to find out...

    Character Sheet (open)
    Remember, the Dust first appeared exactly 20 years ago, so anyone old than that is not Ashen and therefore dead the moment they try to go outside.

    Appearance: Try for 1-2 paragraphs, or just use a picture like the rest of us.

    History: Try for at least a paragraph, but if you can do more, go for it.

    Personality: Try for at least two paragraphs.

    Skills: Neat things they can do, like cooking, tailoring, compiling bestiaries, CQCing the everloving bejeezus out of anything in their way...
    Abilities: Anything that they can do using the Dust. Go wild, but try to keep it balanced and within a general theme.

    Other: Anything else that doesn't go in the above categories?
    #1 Random, Oct 4, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
  2. Hey~hey^^!!

    Info looks good so far. But k so like just gotta ponder a charrie for this world. And! Most likely gunna need help with History once I gets the charrie on the go too ;D

    Nevermind. Good luck with your RP, k? ;D
    #2 Boo Girlie BoomBoom, Oct 4, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2016
    • Thank Thank x 1
  3. Just shout if there's any details you need to clarify. If it's important enough to stick in the info, I'll apologise profusely and do that.
  4. Name: Otto Kregger

    Age: 17

    Gender: Male

    Appearance: He has an olive skin tone, darkened slightly from his time outside. His eyes are gold, bright. His black hair is curly and beginning to grey prematurely. He is about 5'9 and of thin build. If this was pre-Dust, he would be a track runner or a swimmer.

    His canine teeth are slightly longer than usual, giving him a predatory look. On his back are two large, feathered wings - a mutation that, due to the laws of gravity, can't actually fly without Dust power, making them at other times just an inconvenience. Over the years, his collection of Dust and attraction to Neverlands has led him to fashion rudimentary armors with Dust. They tend to be formfitting, but strong with an almost mechanical look. He usually wears a mask of gold while out exploring.

    History: He was shelter-born (obviously), ony discovering he was Ashen when he was around 8. His parents, dead from a Dust incident, obviously couldn't stop him, and the other sheltered were a superstitious bunch, so he left his shelter fairly quickly. On the outside, he adapted naturally to life with Dust, now devoting himself to making things with Dust and looking for non-human Ashen.

    Personality: While he is, in his own way, a friendly person, he generally spends his life solo in the Dust, so his people skills are a bit rusty. He is curious about the world, considering how he was only educated on the old world, and wants to be an explorer, a pioneer of sorts. Despite his curiosity, he is also naturally careful, with his head firmly on his shoulders. He does get angry sometimes, which tends to be either violent or sulking.

    In his life he has not met much Ashen. There was another one from his shelter, by the name of Darrion, but Otto hasn't seen him in years. Just like with animals, he likes to catalogue Ashen too. He is slightly gullible and too trusting at times, but is learning. He is tends to be attracted to areas of large dust, especially Neverlands.

    Likes: New things, new Ashen, making things out of materials at hand and Dust, finding old world books, cool temperatures, good food

    Dislikes: Bad surprises, false trails, wasted effort, being sad, being lonely (which he often is), bad books

    Skills: Crafting items with materials at hand and Dust, compiling books with stuff on humans and non-human Ashen, flying occasionally, exploring

    •Flying - he flies. Very tiring.
    •Dustcrafting - He can form any materials at hand into useful items, such as weapons, armor, blank books, walls, lights, etc. He actually has a shelter made with walls of solid water and his armor is made of rubble of buildings. His favorite materials are bone and steel.
    •Healing - Using this over a wound can heal it, obviously. This is fast-acting but not instant.
    •Dustwalking - Easier than flying but slower, it consists of forming a small platform below his feet for a split second (via consolidation of materials in the air, like water vapor or other gases), allowing him to jump. Sometimes risky if he loses concentration.
    •Teleportation - It's in the name. Strenuous, and can only be used in areas with Dust, which is admittedly basically everywhere except shelters.
    •Dust Razor - He can use the Dust to form a very sharp (and almost invisibly thin) blade along his hands and arms. It tends to have some heat to it, allowing him to go through walls or just plain out kill something. Once again, uses Dust the longer he uses it, so usually just flickers it on and off when he needs it.

    Dark Phantasm - SILVER
    Weapon: Dual revolvers (rifle while Nourish Thy Gods is active)

    STR: A
    AGL: A
    END: A
    DST: A++
    LCK: C

    Nourish Thy Gods
    SILVER can accept blood from her wielder for an increase in power. In doing so, her attributes are all increased by one tier (A→A+, C→C+) and her Dust reserves become effectively limitless (A++→S). This has the additional effect of all shots becoming perfectly accurate, but will only allow for seven successive shots before the wielder's blood loss is fatal.
    She is, to put it one way, snobby. She is rude, arrogant, and irritating. However, she does cooperate when needed and doesn't underestimate people. She likes to be in charge, but without actually doing any work. And while she is smart, she is not a master of communication, and thus doesn't always tell her allies things they should know. Maybe if you get to know her better, she'll start being nice. Or maybe not.
    #4 Viral, Oct 5, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2017
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Quick question, even though it doesn't pertain to me exactly, can non-Ashen humans ever leave the shelter? Like, do they have airtight suits? I mean, I can't see why they would have them unless they planned ahead, but still.
  6. It's good so far, albeit it needs a few edits. It's admittedly blink-and-you'll-miss-it, but I made mention to how the Dust doesn't seem to have mass, which means it's pretty difficult to do basically anything with. It can, however, be used to manipulate the world around it, so there's no reason Otto's Dust-centric abilities can't just be done with, say, actual grains of dust, sand or something similar.

    To answer your question, anything that isn't Ashen can't go outside. The Dust would simply either do something weird to the airtight suits like turning them into something else or bringing them to life, rewrite their fundamental properties so they weren't airtight, or just outright phase through them and kill anyone inside one anyway. The Dust is only in the atmosphere, though, so the underground shelters are pretty safe, with a few exceptions. Well, I suppose not, since the exceptions aren't around anymore.
  7. Okay, did some minor editing.
  8. Am I correct in assuming that the Dust Razor is made purely of heat?
  9. Would you prefer illustrations or real photos for the appearance @Random?
  10. On the whole, illustrations fit better. My own personal preference is illustrations of the weebtrash variety, but if you're of the opinion that basic human rights need not apply to weebs, you may use a less weebtrash image.
  11. But weebish images are the best man. XD (Looks at own profile picture.)

    <<<< Only in anime can a 6 year old girl have that face.

  12. I won't deny that weeb faces can be truly beautiful.
  13. Yep. Like a concentrated blowtorch, except more heat shimmery. Or whatever the adjective would be.
  14. @Viral, with that in mind, Otto is accepted.

    I'm willing to take on up to five more players at absolute most.
  15. I AM weebtrash, but I feel the pictures you used set a mood, and I'm not feeling like weeby pics fit that. /=w=/

    I'll dig up a really cool, nice picture though, for sure. :D
  16. Before you make any assumptions about whether or not weebtrash will fit, may I just point out this particular image again, among others: [​IMG]
  17. Hello. This looks interesting, but I dunno yet...
  18. Name: Admi Ketla

    Counting down the days until her 20th birthday. (19)

    Gender: Female.



    A strong, slightly stocky and broad-shouldered woman, with flowing blonde hair; she has a tendency to frown without meaning to, or to stare into space with a slightly uncertain look about her. Her eyes are a light amber, and she usually has an array of cuts and scratches from forays out into the Dust-strewn world.

    She favours easy, environment-resistant zip-up suits of the kind favoured by some shelter-dwellers, though anything that has pockets and doesn't take too long to get dressed into, she'll wear. Her skin tone is lightly-tanned from outdoor work, though she is naturally pale.

    ... Even though I tend to hate pictures and faceclaims, you asked so dearly I'll give you one!

    Artist is (apparently) giraffewithtnt though my google-fu seems to be a little weak, character is Noi from Q Hayashida's excellent manga, Dorohedoro.


    The events of the Dustfall had far-reaching consequences beyond the transformation of the land and humanity. Many untouched humans found solace in strange beliefs; one of those being that the Dust was a divine chastisement, punishing the chaotic and decadent world upon which it had settled

    Fanatics though they might be, Ketla's parents and the many like them successfully cloistered themselves amongst a corner of their shelter, the larger society hesitant to interact with them for fear of angering the often unpredictable fanatics. Cooler heads fortunately prevailed - at first.

    A strict society based on order was established, with the belief that it would somehow reverse the nightmarish powers of the Dust and restore the Ashen to 'pure' humanoid form. Children were not given first names, but virtue names designed to evoke a certain fate.

    Some of these names were based upon classical ideas, others the half-remembered past, and still other children received ambition names, names designed to encourage a pursuit in life. Ketla's virtue name was Administrator, a conceit that surely disappointed her parents as it became clear that she was too withdrawn for that career, though good-natured and dedicated.

    The years wore on and it became apparent that the world was irrevocably changed, and faith crystallized into mania.
    One day, the shelter-dwellers found the subsection the cult used entirely sealed off; the work done patiently and with great care over the course of a month.

    It took only a few days to breach the sealed-off interior, but upon arriving, the shelterdwellers discovered to their horror that the zealots had opened their subsection to the Dust, which had ravaged the area leaving the affected area open to the elements... And the Dust itself.

    While much of the interior was still usable, the remnants had been exposed to a Duststorm that had left the anterior all but uninhabitable. Ketla had attempted to close the sealed doors on her own, but the machinery that operated them had been sabotaged, and despite her Ashen strength - she had failed, collapsing in front of doors that had been designed to shut only at the whim of heavy machinery, drudged several feet through Dust-altered muck that had once been steel flooring.

    Thanks to intervention from the more skilled Ashen of the main compound, the was eventually re-sealed, but the damage was done. Several of the cult's children died from the misguided attempt at transcendence, and several non-Ashen rescuers perished, as well. Many of the Ashen were unable to re-acclimate to life outside of the cult, and though Ketla had not shared their beliefs, she had been raised in them - and sometimes, that is enough.

    Still - the shelterdwellers did not turn anyone out, and did their best to help those who chose to stay. But Ketla could not live with the idea that she had failed the charges around her, despite the fact that they had never been hers to protect in the first place, outside of a duty she felt obligated to keep.
    She left quietly, taking only what she considered hers - leaving to explore the new world that lay beyond.

    Her virtue name, Administrator, causes her some chagrin. In an attempt to make it sound more normal, she often shortens it to Admi, as she feels her surname (Ketla) is more personal, and is uncertain about sharing it with others unless they are truly close, though she's slowly growing out of the habit as she interacts with more Ashen.


    Doesn't open up easily. Talks a little slowly, and with great reservation, due to a lack of communication with Ashen her own age - for how little that means.

    Favours precise, concise statements and hates wasting time when action is called for - seeing it as her own mistake, even if there was nothing she could have done. Tends to laugh loudly and a little obnoxiously when she's nervous.

    Has a surprisingly gentle smile, but mostly frowns; frowns don't mean that she's unhappy, but it takes effort for her to find something to smile about.


    Novels, especially epic poems; cherishes a copy of Orlando Furioso that one of the shelter-adults left, and knows it almost by heart.

    Spicy food and dark liquor, as she has a blunted palate and doesn't taste or feel the effects of food and drink readily.

    Hard work and practicality, especially when it gets something done.

    Learning new things/making new friends.

    Being able to save people.


    Assumptions. Long-winded people, especially when they hold it against others.

    Callousness. Failing the expectations somebody had for her.

    Sweet things.



    Great chef with impromptu ingredients, though the more elaborate the recipe is, the more unskilled she gets.

    She understand some basics of mechanics repair and maintenance, self-taught in a desire to never again be powerless in a similar situation, even as unlikely as that is.

    Sings off-key, but loves to sing anyway, and infectiously encouraging about it, though getting her to share the hobby in the first place...

    Loves all manner of boardgames; the cult's self-made isolation meant that space was at a premium, and they were a simple and enjoyable way to pass the time.


    The Dust did not grant Ketla many boons, but one of them proved ironic. She has an internal oxygen purification system and several redundant organs that somehow do not complicate one another; as such, poison, toxins, and dangerous environmental effects leave her unphased.

    Capable of long-distance running without breaking a sweat, marathon swimming without batting an eye, and punches things really well. Doesn't mind carrying heavy weights for long periods of time, and is more than capable of lugging smaller Ashen outside of troublesome or dangerous areas.

    She is in exceptional physical health and condition, and spends roughly an hour every day training, minimum. Despite her inability to take advantage of the Dust for purposes of crafting or abilities like other, she is able to use it to stabilize her own wounds somewhat; despite her attempts, she has never been able to do so for the wounds of others. This ability only prevents infections; it does not prevent scarring or massive blood loss/hemorrhaging.

    Has a good knowledge of 'old-world' plants and their uses she has been slowly adapting to try to understand Dust-infected flora; it's all in her head, rather then written down, but there's a good chance she'll be able to tell what plants are edible, which have useful properties, and which will kill people without her Dust-augmented internals.

    Other: This looks really cool! Let me know if there's anything that doesn't work here for your worldview, and I'll fix it up; or feel free to reject this application outright, of course. I bolded likes and dislikes that are exceptionally important to her; I've no real reason way, but it seemed the thing to do.
    #18 Verdegris, Oct 6, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
  19. I hate that I'm rapidly evolving into a huge "that guy" of a GM, but there are a few holes I need to punch in Ketla's CS, because I do have a few questions.

    Wait, why? I mean, I get that fanatics do some pretty crazy shit, and they did presumably use those things to drive out the survivalists, but most shelters are equipped to support a few thousand more people that were actually in them, since literally all the resources and supplies had no reason to be outside anymore.

    Shelters, as mentioned earlier in the thread... *checks* wait, no, that was the other thread. My bad. Your average shelter can support 5,000 people for 50 years, and most have around 60-80% of that population as of 2037. I'll add that to the info. Still, one would think someone would go "oh jesus a shitload of guns and ammunition are just lying about the hallways that our children frequent we should probably do something about that".
    Why? Did they simply give up? Were they trying to ascend to a higher plane of fanatically religious existence? I'm pretty baffled to why they didn't take the children. Weren't they worthy?
    Is it just the taste that she likes? I figure with her ability of enhanced constitution, getting drunk must be tough, what with her poison immunity and all.
    This is listed under "Skills", but I would consider physical prowess enough to causally swim ten kilometres or continuously run for three kilometres and not give a single crap the entire time to be a part of her superhuman physique.

    Not something I have anything to quote for, but does she follow the beliefs of the movement that took over the shelter? If so, what are they? Also, if she lived in a shelter surrounded by weaponry, would she know how to use it? Not that guns have much chance of working outside, but you know.

    All in all though, it's a good start, especially considering how much information I thought I wrote down and didn't. Speaking of which, I'll go fix that now.
  20. Waha, no problem! That guy away! It's your RP, after all. Either I'll fix the app to your satisfaction, or... I won't. It's far, far better to have an RP running smoothly in the beginning than to start it only to realize your ship has sunk, because... Uh, it's full of holes, because... Well, there was a metaphor here, somewhere.
    Thanks for giving some clarification, because even if I don't work out for your RP, that'll be helpful to have and I didn't know any of it, woops

    Bolded quick fixes for ease of finding them!
    The crux of Ketla's character was to create somebody who had A: Good reason to be free-wandering without any attachments to other Ashen and B: Plenty of reasons to travel with the rest of the player-characters. I figured a young woman who'd just felt she'd failed traumatically, and felt an incredible sense of duty was a good start for her character concept, and built up from there.

    First, shelters: I'd actually meant to imply that the shelter had held the weapons before the fanatics took over, and the fanatics - and their charges - had zero training with them, whatsoever. My original idea is that they'd managed to sneak in whilst the guards were out, close heavy blast doors, and watch the Dust do it's thing. And so the backdrop was rusting, useless weapons and crates the fanatics didn't understand...

    Would this make more sense within the confines of your world: That the fanatics formed a sub-group in a civilian shelter, and refused to mingle with the rest of the shelter-ites, perhaps lacking the skills to keep their little closed-off area maintained?

    I felt like in a world as harsh as that strewn by the Dust, non-Ashen would either rely on each other more, or lose hope entirely. I kept the reason for the mass suicide vague, but drew upon some of the experiences I've seen. I think some expected a positive outcome, others had simply decided that perhaps the Ashen were 'pure' and they were 'unpure', and still others simply wanted to see the sun, one last time.

    Would it make more sense to have the group seal off their tunnels, in fear of being 'contaminated' by Dust, or perhaps exiling Ashen?

    As to why the nerve gas was there, I imagined most of the crates were unidentified and unopened, made of metal and military-standard; some of the older teens had a good idea what was in the crates, but not which ones were safe to open, or contained tinned food and supplies, or... Your revelation about how prepped the shelters were makes me want to revisit this entirely, though. Perhaps re-working it so that the cult itself decided to 'transcend'..?

    On the subject of dark liquor and spicy food, I wanted to imply her palate is kind of numb; she needs stronger tastes to really reach her, so she likes foods and drink that have more kick to them. She isn't really a 'drunk', but like you noted, when she wants to get smashed, it's really, really hard. I like giving characters downsides to powers, wahahaha!

    Uh, I actually though I put that skill-bit under abilities. See, I can be pretty scatterbrained myself!
    Regards though, she doesn't believe in the founders at all; I feel that very few actually did, but the constant peer pressure of it all hung over the shelter like a pall; but that might change too, what with me re-working the application to be more in line.

    She's just a nice, well-meaning Ashen who had a pretty bad couple of years. The future'll surely be better!
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