The Black Tontine Signup & Info

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Excession, Sep 9, 2016.

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  1. Long ago, when the Empire was at its zenith and the seas were a tamed thing, the Crown was challenged by a fleet of pirates; disaffected governors, thief-kings, and traitorous commodores who dared deny Her Majesty's law.
    And so the Royal Navy descended upon them like the wrath of the gods, scattering their forces and breaking the will of their leadership - all but thirteen captains, each a deadly cutthroat and corsair in their own right.
    Reeling, the captains were seduced by a crazed prophet who spoke of a voice from the deep and a treasure that could fuel a war for freedom. They traveled to a barren rock at the very edge of the world, and there made a compact.


    Now, after a century or more of decline, madness, and heresies, the Empire crumbles - sickness and blight spreads through her cities, and men are made into monsters, and the release of death is denied every last one.
    Terrible things rise from the depths and the very ocean seems bent on mankind's doom. Some brave soul must heed the call others are too craven to hear; defeat the Thirteen Captains of the Black Tontine or the demons they have become, before the Deep consumes us all.


    Maybe you’re the one to answer that call.

    You are of the Deadmen, those damned souls trapped in their own corpses. You can be killed, aye, but you come back with a head full of nightmares and bit less of yourself. Sooner or later all Deadmen get overgrown, becoming feral, bloodthirsty revenants with the sea singing in their veins. Some are even transformed; the curse bursting through their flesh as barnacles and tentacles, teeth and eyes, the ghastly visage of the deep seas’ secret rulers.

    Some can be put to work in mines or mills, but the Empire most often piles the freshly dead on coffin-barges and casts them out to sea before they wake. Maybe you were one of these exiles. Maybe you were a proud and noble soul who found the Black Spot upon them and set out while still lucid to seek a cure. Perhaps you dragged yourself from a shallow grave on some rotting colony island, or washed up on a foreign shore.

    What really matters is where you'll die next, but where did you come from?

    BACKGROUNDS

    • You will never see her shores again. The plague of Deadmen has no cure, and where they cannot be used to operate mills or dig coal, they are piled upon a barge with a bound Sidhe and cast out into the open ocean. Carried by the sorcerous currents of the awakened ocean to the Abyssian Sea, where the Thirteen haunt the waves and old colonies putrefy in isolation. What you might remember of home is a murky tangle of propaganda about her heyday, and the twisting decrepit alleys of her present.
      Albion is ruled by Queen Gloriana, spoken of in whispers and seen in the flesh by barely anyone.
      Always a nation of sharp divides and a great colonial power, Albion is split into the nobility and commoners, with an underclass of immigrants from their colonies.

      Highborn: You were raised in the upper crust of Albion society, well-educated and provided all comfort and opportunity available. Propriety and manners were your paramount concerns beyond your personal ambitions, whether you joined the Royal Navy or served the Crown domestically. +1 Academics, Subterfuge, one other Skill.

      Lowborn: You were a commoner, back home. Living in the cramped streets of the sprawling capital or in a small town, you worked your fingers to the bone - unless you were lucky enough to run your own shop. You’re used to showing deference to the highborn and took a certain amount of pride in knowing your appointed place. +1 to any three Skills except Occultism.

      Pauper: Whether you were born unlucky on Albion’s shores or came seeking fortune from your subjugated homeland, you ended up living in downtrodden squalor on the streets of Viroconium. Begging or crime were your only options and really, your death should have come as no surprise. In a way, it’s more of a blessing than a curse… +1 Stealth, Awareness, one other Skill

    • The revolution was meant to free the people. The Aurum Church gave the aristocracy leave to do as they pleased, allowing them to buy absolution, justifying their position as the gods’ plan. Nobles often became priests, and the Pontiff was the King’s own brother when things were at their worst, and the whole incestuous mess weighed on the people most cruelly. And so the people rose up, winning a bloody and brutal revolution followed by an gruesome run of executions by sorcery. In those days, it was a nascent discipline, long suppressed by the church, and in truth it was more by blade and shot that the day was won.

      The bloodshed didn’t end there; not every citizen was a revolutionary, and when the executions reached a peak the softer-hearted of the people turned against the worst of the ringleaders. When it was all over, Gaule sought redefine itself as a land of equality and brotherhood, learning and compassion. They set up great academies to study sorcery, restructured their government, and reduced the powers of the church to some vestigial.

      Who can say if it was the weakness of mortals or the creeping influence of the curse that reduced them to their sorry state now? The academies became corrupt. The families of sorcerers received unwritten privileges, the law ruled in their favour, and entry into the academy was virtually impossible for those without wealth or connections. The sorcerers reigned with increasing cruelty and depravity, conducted vile arcane experiments on desperate poor, twisted their bodies and souls with strange magics. The nation is as much a tyranny now as it was in the past.

      Silver Blood - You were born into a sorcerous bloodline, and even if you did not enter the academies or show real talent, you were afforded luxury, time, and perhaps a high station in government. +1 Academics, Occultism, one other Skill.

      Academy Ward - You were taken in by an academy from a life of poverty, and promised instruction in sorcery due to great talent. Perhaps you even received it, but most wards found themselves taught a few simple spells and trained as secret police. +1 Stealth, Melee, Occultism

      Dullblood - You grew up outside the academy system; an ordinary person who was either moderately wealthy or just scraping by above poverty. There’s good odds you were in the navy, military, or watch, or very likely a merchant or craftsman. You may have been one of the luckier colonial immigrants. +1 to any three Skills except Occultism

      Pauper: Whether born to ill fortune or denied the promise of a better life after coming from the colonies, you only ever had your life and now you don’t even have that. Beggar or thief, whatever you were, maybe this is a chance to be something else. +1 Stealth, Awareness, one other Skill

    • Carto

      Also known as the Brothers Ibrian for the peninsula they share, Carto and Hispalis were once friendly rivals. Carto, the smaller and older, gone from disparate fiefs to a true kingdom hundreds of years ago, was the first to cross the Abyssian Reach and bring back treasures from the new world. Despite their size, they were wealthy, and mighty such that only Albion could be expected to defeat them were it ever to come to war. As competition grew fierce, of course, they and Albion found another way in the privateers who would become pirates - though Carto's holding were nigh untouchable, on the dark continent, and they merely coveted the coasts and islands claimed by Albion.
      Initially, they hired from their neighbours in Hispalis, promising protection if Albion ever dared to war against them. But Hispalis saw an opportunity to seize their own colonial holdings or take them from Albion, and so they did. Carto were assured their own ships and colonies were never under threat, and yet cargo ships full of gold would vanish from time to time without evidence of Albion's involvement. For years, political tensions were high and peaked around the time of the Rebel Fleets insurgency - and with the destruction of the fleet, it seemed that Albion and the Brothers could negotiate a peace. They did, and it endured as the Curse took hold over generations.

      Carto was ever a nation known for music, poetry, and piety in addition to their adventuresome spirit, and over the years that the Curse fell these things were perverted. They accused Hispalis of heresy over the merest things, treated foreigners with suspicion, and watched thousands of their young people flee to the colonies as they suspected war was to come. Perhaps they brought the curse with them. They argued over the true doctrine of the Aurum Church and cut ties with their ally Albion over perceived heresies. Famous Cartone troubadours produced music that drove the listener to suicidal despair; those who became Deadmen fused with their instruments and the Deep imbued their songs with terrible power.

      Eventually, Hispalis sought to conquer Carto with claims of birthrights and destinies, and the backing of their inquisition. Those still with their wits about them would joke Hispalis had simply run out of their own to purge. The two have been embroiled in war ever since; great lines of Deadmen at the borders rising and falling and rising again, until the Deep overtakes them and they turn their attentions to the still-lucid...

      Noble Exile: A member of the Cartone Court, you fled to the colonies when the war broke out. You didn't make it.
      Colonist: An ordinary colonist, perhaps fortunate and making a grand new life in a new world, or reduced to serving staff at a noble's estate, the Curse killed you by starvation or violence and now, you cannot die.
      Citizen: Many fled Carto. You had family, or a business, or simply no money, and were forced to endure the horrors of the war. Whether you fought as a conscript or struggled to keep the army supplied, when you died they threw your corpse into the sea.

      Hispalis

      Hispalis, the Younger Brother, had a larger share of land split into feuding kingdoms which were united a generation after Carto, being more like a federation than a true kingdom. The mortar which held them together was the Aurum Church, faith uniting them and making them strong. Years of infighting now had to be turned outward, and Hispalis gained a reputation for belligerence and passion that seemed at odds with their devotion. Or so the Albion elite would say, and they disapprove of anything as vulgar as a smile.
      Hispalis built a reasonable empire for themselves and as the Rebellion loomed on the horizon tensions with their neighbours were high. But the rebels were shattered, and no one anticipated what would follow.

      As Hispalis succumbed to the Curse, they prayed for deliverance and laid the blame at the fault of witches and other undesirables. An Inquisition was founded was to root out evil, and at first, it worked, in its own way. Deadmen early in their decline were banished to a fortress-monastery on the coast and their families monitored. But the Curse crept into the hearts of the Inquisitors, and they became colder and crueler. Their tests more brutal, their mercy rarer. Deadmen were cast into pits of flame kept ever-burning, and their screams used to tear confessions from their families. Eventually they turned on Carto, for the blasphemers of Albion were out of reach now that the sea had become a living thing of malevolent intent and crossing was all but impossible.

      It was a stalemate. Both employed miracles of Aurum to keep their troops standing or smite their foes, but Hispalis' was reduced to a small army of elite warriors where Carto still had numbers on their side. They say the border is still home to bloated, monstrous Hispalian knights templar fighting eternally with rotting swarms of dead Cartone conscripts.

      Noble: Born to one of Hispalis' noble families, you were groomed to take over a county in the fullness of time. Perhaps you were even lord of your estate, before the Curse. Perhaps you tried to flee to the colonies when the Curse visibly took hold; perhaps your were executed again and again for treason and blasphemy.

      Citizen: An honest man or woman, working for their living and serving their nation, until the Curse robbed you of all that.

      Prisoner: Whether noble or commoner, you were tried and found wanting a long time ago, and confined to the asylum where the early Deadmen were kept. Memories out of the outside world fade, and you have been trapped in a terrible purgatory... until the sea devoured the prison.

    • Unterland enjoyed a number of colonial holdings, but their real triumph was beating back the sea. Using the wealth of their colonies to support a drive for innovation and expansion, the ambitious people of Unterland built, great sea-walls, dykes and steam-powered pumps. They reclaimed huge swathes of valuable farmland from salt-marsh and sea, expanding their country dramatically. Between the sale of salt, their excellent engineering, and increasingly efficient colonial mines and farmland, Unterland was thriving before the curse came. And it hit them most abruptly of all.
      At first, it was subtle and hard to catch; more men drowned in a year than usual, excessive rust, leaks and ruptures without explanation. The rise of Deadmen lead to sabotage, and then the sea rose up in anger and wiped all but the capital lands off the map.
      Now, a once-prosperous and peaceful nation is a paranoid and isolated wreck. The Underlanders fear outsiders and have built walls and moats to keep them out. They filled the moats with Deadmen or banished them to the lowest lands, where the sea had returned verdant farms to toxic marsh. Scattered enclaves of survivors litter the landscape, and many have fled to the colonies in the hopes the curse had not spread so far.

      Homelander: Having survived the cataclysm that ruined your country, you lived in fear of outsiders and infiltrators. The risen dead that plagued the capital provinces and strange creatures that crept behind the walls. Whatever legitimate professional you were before, the curse forced you to turn the Unterlander predilection for science towards the occult. +1 Academics, Occultism, Investigation

      Survivor: You survived the worst of the collapse in an emergency bunker. Most people never believed the dams could break, but the little water-tight safehouses were built anyway at maintenance stations and places of civil import. You spent a long, dark while submerged, and then had to learn to live with the sea when help never came, to survive in the marshes or climbing through the roof of your sunken fastness to scavenge in a crude boat. +1 Awareness, Academics, Sailing

      Exile: Whoever you were in Unterland, you left that life behind to become a farmer, or whatever else the colonies needed. You didn’t make it. +1 to any three Skills


    • The Sublime State (Devlet-i Âliyye)

      Long regarded as a Sick Man among the empires of the world, The Sublime State was only a hollow husk of its former glory days. Riddled with religious and political turmoil, The Padishah was caged in his own Palace as overly-ambitious military officers governed the state with promises of 'democracy' and 'equality,' despite ruling the state wih an iron fist. Of course this did not sit well with the Ulema, the religious scholars who consider the proper rule of a Padishah to be divinely mandated. They organized a coup to take control of the State and reinstate the Padishah as the true ruler of the Sublime State, Caliph of the Faithful.

      Faith and fervour were repelled by the training and gunfire of the parliamentarians, and as the fighting neared a calamitous end, it's said the moon turned red and those dead in the streets rose again. The Ulema said Îblis and his minions had appeared from the depths of Jahannam to torment the faithful and wicked alike, wearing the bodies of the dead until they could assume their true and terrible forms. A truce was agreed - together the parliamentarians and traditionalists would fend back the legions of darkness, and when it seemed victory was attained the Ulema backstabbed the parliamentarians with the support of the now terrified populace.

      The Ulema declared the state's suffering to be the product of heretics and outsiders, whether a divine punishment or an evil welcomed by wicked men, a direct result of involving themselves in the colonial conflicts of foreigners. Thus the Reformists were exiled, and the Dhimmi, the adherents of the Church of Aurum or other foreign faiths who had previously enjoyed protection, were enslaved - some even executed.
      Alas, this did nothing to stem the growing tide of Deadmen, and it is said some among the Ulema have turned to darker fields of study in an effort to combat the threat, perhaps even harness it.

      Pashazade: You were born a noble to one of the Governors of the Sublime State, safe from the clutches of the Ulema and the Court far from the Imperial Capital. Living a happy and decadent life, ignorant of the poor souls that dwelt in the very streets of the city and given a comfortable job in the administration of the colony. Yet as the Ulema preach, 'every mortal shall taste the dirt in the end' and it seems like your decadent life-style has followed you into afterlife - after all you have been denied the right to enter Jannah or Jahannam, left to forever wander the world to pay for the sins you committed during your wicked lifetime. Or so the Ulema would tell you.

      Dhimmi: An unfortunate soul born to the wrong family at the wrong time wrong time. Perhaps you were one of the children given to the State to pay the blood-tax - perhaps thus one of the famed Janissaries. Or your family was wealthy enough to pay the Jizya up until the betrayal of the Ulema, and so enslaved, made a servant in distant imperial holdings. Perhaps in defiance of your masters you joined a pirate crew, or died a heretic. You live again now, or something like it.

      Revolutionary: One of the many citizens of the Sublime State who took the losing side during the schism between the Padishah and the Parliment. Perhaps you believed in the democratic ideals imported from the West, or were simply a nationalist who believed that the southern territories should be free from the shackles of the imperial capital. Whatever the case, you were almost certainly military, and after the Ulema's betrayal assigned to the Pasha of some far-flung and demon-haunted imperial holding.


    Characters are somewhat amnesiac - specifics will escape them, some to be revealed in play.
    The world is stranger than it appears.


    A list of professions will also be offered, to ease the workload of those who struggle with stats and dice.

    Background will provide some minor bonuses which will rapidly be outstripped by character advancement. It will also influence starting location in some way. I have no objection to an all-Albion group, for example.

    More to come; been a bit ill lately which has slowed development.

    Five players is preferable.


    Sheet


    Name

    What You Remember

    Appearance (is going to change over time so I wouldn't get too attached to any pictures if you don't use text descriptions)


    Attributes
    Strength 1
    Dexterity 1
    Fitness 1


    Intellect 1
    Intuition 1
    Willpower 1


    Bearing 1
    Guile 1
    Composure 1
    ------------------


    Physical Skills
    Awareness
    Athletics
    Defense
    Melee
    Stealth
    Sailing
    Thievery


    Mental Skills
    Academics
    Artisan
    Craft
    Medicine
    Occultism
    Navigation
    Investigation


    Social Skills
    Empathy
    Leadership
    Persuasion
    Perform
    Taming
    Subterfuge


    Mysteries
    soon
     
    #1 Excession, Sep 9, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
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  2. @Moogle-Girl @redroses @atmanSeijo @Korigon @CAS @Krimp

    If you're still in, lemme see some character concepts. Feel free to take some liberties with the material provided.
    I plan to add a background loosely based on Ottoman occupation of the Maghreb, in case anyone is a little burnt out on faux-Europeans.
     
  3. Looks great! I'll get something up later today, time permitting.
     
  4. I've never done a dice/stats kind of roleplay before so I might wait for some others to do theirs first or until you get some kind of character skeleton up
     
  5. @Excession

    I'll probably roll an Albion Highborn Character. They would have served in the Royal navy working with canons or other forms of bangsticks if they're permitted. Otherwise give him a sabre and he'll do fine. Overall the character would be focused on completing tasks and either finding a cure or destroying the reason for the curse. All of this is y'know, in the event that he doesn't go insane and forget his purpose upon waking up on some dead coastline.
     
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  6. That's quite alright, but don't worry about the stats immediately - do you have an idea for a character? Right now that's all I need to know, and we can worry about the numbers afterwards.

    I've edited the OP with some stats-related stuff, but no one needs to be too concerned about it right now. That said, if there are questions, fire away.
     
  7. @Excession

    I'm thinking some sort of pauper thief / cutthroat, probably the exact opposite of a gentleman thief. As for why, probably something along the lines of hearing a rumor about the remaining treasure of the captains or something along those lines.

    I don't know how much of their past our characters will remember, but maybe the only thing my character can recall is the hidden hoard of gold? I haven't really fleshed anything out yet.
     
  8. That's cool. They mostly have their personalities intact, and remember the stuff in the info tabs plus any small embellishments you feel like making. They may not remember how they wound up out here, but if we get an all Albion group I'm going to start you on a coffin ship.
     
  9. I was thinking of an Albion Highblood as well, but he would have actually served domestically rather than in the Navy. A Royal Guard of sorts. Someone important to him (a daughter, I think) is sick/dead as well, and he wants desperately to find a cure to return her back to normal.

    Also, have you ever heard of Roll20? If not, I highly suggest you look it up. It may prove extremely useful.
     
  10. I'm thinking a Gaule Silver Blood, a scholar who was right up with the other sorcerers in conducting brutal experiments on the poor. He did it all in the name of knowledge, seeing himself as morally right no matter what the consequences, and had quite the breakdown when he became a Deadman. He always saw himself as "above" horrible curses like that, more the one controlling them than succumbing to them.
     
  11. I'm thinking of a Lowborn Albion labourer, with more brawn than brains. Always been good at following orders and lifting heavy objects. Was content to serve the Highborns without really questioning why it was that he had to serve. Brutishly strong, but lacking somewhat in terms of motivation: all he's ever known is work, and being dead isn't going to stop him. Just seems like the job description has changed, that's all.
     
  12. Apparently I wasn't watching this thread.

    Updates soon.
     
  13. Whoops looks like I'm the only one not doing an Albion character. c:
     
  14. That's fine. They could even have been visiting Albion to study the Curse when they became a Deadman.
     
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  15. Oh, that works! :o
     
  16. Yeah, I just now noticed that I wasn't watching this either. I could have sworn you auto watched a thread after commenting on it.
     
  17. It's an option you can turn on. Might have gotten turned off by accident? Or it could be the wonky alert thing if you were watching the thread but not getting alerts for it.
     
  18. That sounds perfectly fine.

    I'm aware of Roll20 but I don't expect it to suit my purposes.

    I like this concept, and it's up to you whether he was in Albion at the time of his first death.

    It'll be interesting to see if undeath changes him.

    If you guys want to leave implications of events in your character write-ups, feel free. Since you'll be starting out amnesiac we should have some cool opportunities to reincorporate these things as plot elements and character reveals.

    I'll better explain stats soon, but if anyone has questions about anything feel free to ask.
     
  19. It sounds like that would make things a lot easier on you, and I think it fits pretty well.
     
  20. The tabs keep breaking and I have no idea why. Does anyone know why the code keeps generating duplicates of itself and refuses to be edited?

    Anyway, are you planning to be a Sorceror, @Moogle-Girl ?

    As for stats, everyone, I'm going with something simple for everyone's sake. If you'd rather not dabble with it, you can just give me an idea of your character's competencies and I'll take care of the rest.

    Attributes
    Pick one Attribute to be 4
    Pick two Attributes to be 3
    Pick one Attribute to remain at 1.
    All other Attributes are 2.

    Skills
    Pick 2 Skills to be rated 4
    Pick 4 Skills to be rated 3
    Pick 3 Skills to be rated 2

    There's a more complicated XP build version if anyone wants to grapple with that for more fine-tuning, but this'll do for now.
     
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