Chapter 0: Origins
Summer, Eastern Texas, 1871:
There's a wooden roadsign casting a crooked, pale shadow into the scattered prairie grass beside it. As you ride closer you're able to read it clearly. In clumsy red-black scratches the sign proclaims:
A quarter of a mile beyond, the dirt road you're on blossoms into the main thoroughfare of a small community. In the light of a setting sun you can make out the shapes of several single and two story buildings; the steeple of a church dwarfs all its neighbors. The people of the city are ending their day, either heading home or congregating toward what must be the city's saloon. The noise of an argument is carried toward you, but the length of its journey steals away its meaning.
As you take in the city, a raven silently perches itself on the signpost beside you. It cocks its head and seems to be glaring directly into your eyes, daring you to continue...
12 to Midnight CTO and Shopkeep
Last edited by Lord Monkey; 05-31-2009 at 12:26 PM.
I'll be running this PbP using SWEX, but because of its nature, will have most of the mini/distance rules removed/modified to fit in with the narrative. Consider distances more like close (melee distance), short (on the other end of a bar), medium (the length of a tavern), long (down the street) or significant (one side of Pinebox to the other)
Everyone starts at Novice with the standard build options as defined in SWEX. Feel free to post things here or shoot me an email or PM if you want to keep things private.
Go ahead and work out as much background as you'd like, but there's two pieces of info that I need to have:
1) What's your character running from (dark secrets, mistakes, tragedy, etc.)
2) What's your character running toward (motivations)
This will help me create story arcs that will pull in your characters.
I'll make another post below describing more specifics of what I'd like for characters
I'd like everyone to try and post at least once a day so that we can keep a steady progression. Please post in the following fashion:
Narrative Text and dialogue in Italics
Meta-conversation in regular text (like mechanically what your character is doing)
Because it's a PbP I don't mind if the group wants to split up to do its own thing. To accommodate this, I'll create a new thread for each sub-group and the appropriate members can post their actions there. During splits like this, I'll also try and add a time of day so that separated groups will have a sense of how long things are taking. I'm going to try and keep the adventures in and around Pinebox to reduce problems of travel time, but if the group wants to make a field trip as a whole that's fine too.
I'll break the game up into Chapters (A complete story arc) and Scenes. Each Chapter will have its own child forum, and each scene will have its own thread. Chapters and Scenes will be numbered so chronology will continue to make sense, but if scenes occur in parallel (like if the party splits up) they'll be given letters in addition to numbers (Scene 1a, Scene 1b, etc).
Dice Rolling and Card Drawing
We'll go with honor system for dice rolling, go ahead and roll your trait and wild die and just type out the results.
For any card drawing, go ahead and do the same with the exception of initiative. I'll draw all of those cards since we'll need a running deck.
12 to Midnight CTO and Shopkeep
Last edited by Lord Monkey; 05-30-2009 at 11:24 AM.
Please post what your character looks like, and the general demeanors so that other players can involve your character when needed. You don't have to divulge all of your secrets, but tell us all how you want your characters to act so that if need be we'll accurately represent them.
Standing orders are essentially what your character would be doing during the listed situations. The reason for them is if for some reason you're not able to post I can make a post on your behalf that will describe what your character would be doing during those situations. This will help the game continue to move forward.
I'll create a thread containing a cast of characters as I go, but there will probably be times when you'll need to talk to an NPC that I haven't created. Feel free to make someone up, but make them realistic. Creating a shopkeep on the fly is fine, but the idea of them giving their goods away for free isn't. Survival is going to be a key theme in this game, so please use that accordingly.
Same thing goes with stores/shops/official offices. If you need something, and you know it'd probably exist, make it and I'll make sure there's a place for it in the world.
The only way a PbP like this will work is if players have a limited scope of world-creation. I think the main rule of thumb should be this: When you create a building or NPC, define it as how your character interacts with it. Let me deal with underlying motivations, backstory (at least the parts that don't involve your character).
If you pick up a Connections Edge, feel free to use it toward creating and interacting with NPCs in this fashion and then getting them to do you favors. Because Pinebox is a small town, consider the check to accessing your contact to be a Streetwise with a +1 situational bonus.
Basically, if you need an NPC, go ahead and create one. I'll add it into canon to keep everything consistent as things grow but for now consider Pinebox to be pretty malleable.
12 to Midnight CTO and Shopkeep
"Can you give me a little more direction on what kind of campaign this is going to be? Is it basically going to be like our modern adventures (heavy on paranormal investigation with brief interludes of violence), or something more combat oriented? How prevelant is magic? Do you even want us to use magic, miracles, or weird science? Are we using the system straight out of the SW book, or are we using the ETU ritual magic and talisman systems? Are there any feats you don't want us to take?"
Combat will be a part of the game, certainly, but for the most part
the fights will be quick and easy. Longer fights will end up being
more cinematic than mechanic since without a table and minis things
would probably get confusing (at least for me :) ). Consider the
majority of encounters to be character building/RP/investigative
situations, but considering the setting bar room brawls are entirely
accepted and encouraged!
If you'd like to have a character that has some kind of Arcane
Background I'd rather, at least at the beginning, it be something
along the lines of coincidental magic rather than flat out spell
casting. Basically, if you think a gypsy/indian shaman/true holy
priest/wild wild west scientist could pull something off I'm for it.
But tossing around fireballs, teleporting, and magical barriers would
affect the tone of the game too much; I'd still like normal folks with
guns to be a threat if they get the drop on the party.
I'm fine with the feats in SWEX and ETU (primarily because those are
the books I have ;) ), though I'd suggest against things like giant
killer (unless you've really got a desire to kill some giant cacti or
The ritual and talisman system in ETU is something I'd like to develop
as the game goes on. I'd like the system not to exist at start (or
exist at low-levels secretly) and then grow. If you have a character
who's focus it is to learn more and more about the arcane, I'm happy
to build encounters/story arcs around it.
Since the game's taking place 16 years after the resettlement, I'm
thinking that things are just starting to get weird. The natural ley
lines are beginning to influence things, ghosts are starting to become
slightly more than drunk rumor, and more and more visitors find their
way to Pinebox as if they were called there.
12 to Midnight CTO and Shopkeep
I'm going to keep a running reputation system as in ETU. Gaining
favor/dislike in Pinebox is going to be really important.
I'd also like to borrow something from Burning Wheel: Instincts.
Instincts are like standing orders in that they're assumed actions
that your character will *always* do unless somehow bound against it.
For instance, a character could have an Instinct of "Always sleeps
with his gun" so that no matter what, if that character goes to sleep
and is woken up they will *always* have their gun with them under a
pillow, or hat, or something.
These have to be very specific things: "Always fill my bandoleers
before leaving town", "Always bring rope", "If someone pulls a gun, I
move in front of the closest child in the room" etc.
Choose three of these things that we can count on your character doing
without you having to tell us. Feel free to ask if you have questions
on what's allowed. I'll try to only turn down Instincts that aren't
specific enough ("I always protect the weak", "I always try and get
more money from my negotiations")
12 to Midnight CTO and Shopkeep
Ed's Character: Shepherd
Shepherd (Ace Davis) was born and raised in Whitechapel, Mississippi, the son of a Baptist minister. Ace was always in trouble and ran away from home several times. In fact he had gotten in trouble for rolling in the hay with Promise Mercy, the daughter of the Mayor. He and Promise were hiding from her angry father, when the Macon Gang, led by James Macon, an ex-Confederate turned bank robber and murderer. The Gang came upon the small town of Whitechapel and when the Mayor and others refused to give into their demands for money, whiskey, and gold, they began exterminating the good people of Whitechapel.
Ace watched as the people he had grown up with were murdered. Promise tried to run, but was taken by James Macon. Ace had a gun, but was too afraid to shoot and watched helplessly as his family and friends were killed. The Macon gang took Promise and a few other young ladies and fled the dead town.
Ace went to the Church and cried for a day, praying, for forgiveness and ashamed of how he had not acted when he should have. He then buried the town in the local cemetery in shallow graves. He considered taking his own life, when he was visited by the Angel Vesper. He was told to take up his father's Bible and to devote his life to fighting evil and darkness and to protecting the good people of the world.
Three years later, he was a 20 year old minister, and arrived in Pinebox, Texas. He had been assigned a temporary position to help start a new Church there. He now ministers to a small flock of people in what has become known as Shepherd's Chapel.
Agility d6 Smarts d6 Strength d6 Spirit d8 Vigor d6
Vow (Fight the Darkness, Protect the Flock)
Code of Honor (Serve as the Righteous Hand of Justice)
Parry: 5; Toughness: 5; Charisma: 2; Pace: 6
Faith d8, Fighting d6, Guts d6, Intimidation d6, Knowledge (Religion) d4, Notice d6, Persuasion d6+2, Riding d4, Shooting d6
Gear: Bible, Bowie Knife, Silver Cross on Gold Necklace, Colt Peacemaker .45, 24 shots
Running from: His past, his shame for being inactive and watching others suffer and die
Running To: Pay for his sin of inactiveness, being scared.
Always carries pistol and knife as well as his Bible.
Always tries to persuade to diffuse situations if possible.
Never tries stealth. He will walk up to the door and knock.
Only fights to protect the lives of others, when there is no other option.
The Faith Skill is from ETU. Hope that is okay.
I check my EVP recorder, anything interesting?
Personal Blog is www.12tomidnighted.blogspot.com
Hey Mr. Dinosaur, you really couldn't ask for more. You were God's favorite creature, but you didn't have a future. Walking in your footsteps.
Neal's Character: Donovan Brogan
Born to a poor family in County Cork, Ireland in the year 1837, Donovan Brogan suffered much during his early years from the Great Potato Famine that swept his native land. As a consequence to near-starvation, the lad’s growth was stunted and he’s a head shorter than most men. At the age of 12, he came to America’s shores and lived in New York’s notorious Five Points neighborhood. At sixteen, he went west, eventually taking a job on the Ohio River, where he learned the finer points of boating.
When the War Between the States erupted, Donovan did his level best to stay out of what he considered an Englishman’s war. However, come late 1862, he was persuaded by a silver-tongued Union recruiter (and a lot of sour mash) that he could join up, suckle off Uncle Sam’s largess, and see no fighting. When he gathered his senses, he was part of the Ohio 113th Regiment and on his way to war. Although considered a troublemaker, he fought well, seeing considerable action in Tennessee, Georgia, and the Carolinas. He mustered out in 1865 in Tennessee and immediately went west, hoping for a better life.
It was during the war that Donovan lost much of his hearing, as well as his belief in a merciful God. As far as he was concerned, God was a petty and cruel tyrant and life was nothing but bitterness and gall. This attitude didn’t set well with most folk, and by 1870 he found himself a sour and angry little man without prospects.
A bullet from a brawl-turned-nasty in Omaha nearly took his life and ultimately saved it. While bleeding out from the chest wound, Donovan had a near-death experience. He was visited by the spirit of his dead mother, who berated him for his ways and told him that his destiny was waiting for him in an ungodly town in Texas.
After a long recovery, Donovan was a changed man. Although still not a man of faith, at least he was no longer a drifting jackass. He set out for Pinebox, following a vague sensation in his gut and a belief that whatever God had in store for him, it would be found there.
Agility d8; Smarts d4; Spirit d8; Strength d6; Vigor d6
Hard of Hearing (minor)
Hard to Kill
Parry 6; Toughness 4; Charisma 0; Pace 6”
Boating d6, Fighting d8, Guts d6, Knowledge (Irish Folk Tales) d4, Persuasion d6, Riding d4, Shooting d6, Stealth d4, Taunt d4
Low-qualilty horse, bottle of moonshine, bowler hat, Colt Army revolver (18 shots)
Running From: The ghosts of war and the grinding poverty of his youth
Running To: A destiny promised him by the ghost of his mother, which somehow involves Pinebox as an ungodly place
1) Combat: Will try to rush an enemy to use his Fighting skill rather than stay back and use his Shooting skill.
2) Negotiation: Has always believed that he “kissed the Blarney Stone” and will try to use charm first, then bargaining, finally getting angry if fails
3) Stealth/Recon: Knows he can’t hear as well as most folk, so he tries to use his eyes more, preferring to skulk about during the day.
4) Downtime: Likes to find a shady spot, pull his hat over his eyes, and catnap.
"Evil enters like a needle and spreads like an oak tree." Ethiopian Proverb
Clarence lived a life that some would call priveledged. He grew up the second son in a moderately successful West Texas ranching family. As the son of a rancher he couldn't help but learn how to ride and shoot, but his heart was always in the books of his parents' library. When he came of age, the Burns' sent their son to law school up East. Finally, he was in his element! He excelled in school and quickly rose to the top of his class. Then, his second year, tragedy struck. Clarence received word that both his parents both of a sudden fever within days apart. His instructors excused his absence while he returned home. Back in West Texas, he found his older brother running the ranch. His brother Thomas revealed that their parents had drained their savings to send Thomas to school and the ranch was nearly broke. Yet it was Thomas who scraped together enough money for a train ticket to send his kid brother back East, in exchage for a promise to finish his schooling and make a name for himself.
Clarence took a job a clerk in a law office to pay for his tuition, room, and board. The next year and a half would have been unbearable, if it hadn't been for Elise McDermott. Clarence met Elise when she asked the law office to secure a safe deposit box on her behalf, and they spent the next year courting. She was like a single candle burning in his lonely darkness. At first, she resisted his advances, yet she neither did she turn him away. After months of slowly courting her and building her trust, he learned that Elise was a fellow Texan who had moved North to start a new life after the death of her fiance. She challenged him intellectually and inflamed him emotionally. She had a temper to match her red hair and Irish heritage, but her passion ran just as hot. Although sometimes she got a faraway look that told Clarence she was remembering another life with another man, those times came less and less frequently.
Clarence no longer was at the top of his class, and between his job and studies he lived in a state of perpetual exhaustion. Yet, those months were the happiest of his young life. When not haunted by case law and court opinions, he daydreamed graduating and asking Elise for her hand in marriage. The final months of school marched nearer, and Clarence scrimped and saved even harder to afford an engagement ring.
Then, one Spring day when Clarence came round her to take Elise for ice cream, she simply wasn't there. She'd quit her job at the library. At her boarding house, Mrs. Haskett told Clarence that the girl had packed up and left the night before. However, before leaving she'd given the kindly lady something to give to Clarence-- the key to the safety deposit box that he had secured for her when they first met. In a panic, Clarence ran all the way to the bank. His hands shook so badly that it took four tries before he could fit the key in the lock. Inside the box was a simple scrap of paper with a handwritten note. "He's alive. I'm sorry." Elise was gone.
Clarence stumbled through the last few months of school in a daze. Somehow he passed his exams, but purpose had left him. What now? Without Elise, it all seemed so pointless. With no better plan, he found himself on a train heading home. At the Burns ranch, he found things in disarray. In his near-stupor of the last few months of school, he'd failed to read the letter informing him of the death of his brother. The Burns ranch was his. Clarence took residence in his old family home, but allowed ranch hands to continue running the day-to-day operations. As days turned to weeks and Clarence slowly deciphered the family papers, he realized that he'd been deceived! The Burns Ranch was better off than his brother had led him to believe. Far from being nearly bankrupt, it was practically a golden goose. His brother had tricked him into thinking there was no money so he wouldn't have to share with Clarance. Yet, with his brother buried in the ground from the same sudden fever that killed his parents, Clarance couldn't hold much grudge. He had his law degree, he had the family land, and he had the family wealth. He had everything, except for the one thing he wanted.
Months went by and life fell into routine. Clarence studied for the state bar exam and passed. The ranch didn't need him, it was being ably run by the crusty old ranch manager who had kept things running smoothly since Clarence was a boy. For lack of anything better to do, he set up a small law practice in town and did his best to discourage the predatory young ladies who had set their sights on a potential husband. Rescue came in the form of a telegram. It said, "Need help in Pinebox. - Elise."
Clarence had been traveling two days before it occurred to him that he could have ignored the plea for help. He shook his head. He needed this. He even understood why she'd left. She couldn't move forward until she'd closed that old chapter in her life any more than Clarence could move forward with his. Whatever kind of trouble Elise had found when she went searching for the fiance she'd thought dead, he'd help her fix it. Maybe she was pregnant and abandoned. Maybe she was destitute and somehow learned that he come into money. Maybe she would beg for him to take her back, or maybe she would smile sadly at him from the arm of her first love. He had no idea how he would react, but he knew that ignoring that telegram was never an option.
Code of Honor
[extra points put into raising an attribute]
Knowledge (law) d6
Running From: a life of predictability
Running To: his first real love, and his first real heartbreak
1) Combat: Tries to avoid killing whenever possible, as he has too much to lose if the law were to get involved. Using his quick wit and sharp tongue, he Taunts his enemies to gain the upper hand.
2) Negotiation: He has been trained in negotiation during his law school education, so will always try to use his Persuasion to defuse a deadly encounter before it turns to combat.
3) Stealth/Recon: Will do anything to avoid a straight fight, but allows others to recon and be stealthy because he knows he's not very good at it.
4) Downtime: Likes to read. Checks in with his ranch from time to time to make sure things are still running smoothly. Appreciates the opposite sex, but is very jaded about love.
Always keep money hidden in secret pockets sewn throughout his clothing "just in case".
If I see someone weaker being bullied, I single out the bully with verbal ridicule.
If I hear a sob story from a woman, my first instinct is to question its truth.
Last edited by Prest0; 06-09-2009 at 08:05 AM.
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