“Hey, I’m gonna visit the sky today
Hey, I’m gonna dance on the clouds today
And make it rain on everybody beneath us
Just because they try doesn't mean they can be us
No, nobody can be us…”
The Best Laid Plans
A Tyler Durden Production
They rise thousands of feet into the air, towers of blackened steel, their glowing orbs of lights fiery torches in the eternal darkness of this polluted wasteland.
And from them comes a message, droning in the air of a perpetual night.
“Please, all craft evacuate Sub-District 1745. Gas leaks have lead to emergency conditions. Do not enter. Repeat: all craft evacuate Sub-District 1745, a now off-limits zone.”
The broadcast fizzles out.
And it starts again.
Home to twenty three hundred citizens, wiped off of the face of the planet.
They tell us it is gas leaks.
But even children think otherwise.
This last line gave me chills like you wouldn't believe.
The Story So Far
You give a man a nut and a bolt, you give him the resources to build God. You give him a screwdriver and wrench to go with it, and you challenge him to do it.
The Matoran and Agori had to learn that the hard way: not very long after the death of Makuta Teridax, everything was all about peace and goodwill between the two vastly different species. The humanitarians of the two societies brokered different deals, negotiated day and night, worked to try and unite the yin and the yang that the two cities had become into one autonomous shape. Suffice it to say, it went nowhere, fast. The Agori just didn't have the trust in the Matoran and Toa, considering them half-sentient at best, while the Matoran and Toa, proud beings by any right, refused to deal with the scorn their organic counterparts bestowed on them whenever they so much as walked across the street. Tensions flared, and soon, elements followed suit. On the brink of a war they knew they couldn't afford so soon after the destruction of their old home, the Toa and Matoran fell back to the old Great Spirit robot and began cobbling together a masterpiece.
War. War never changes.
The best part of a masterpiece, as any true genius will tell you, is that no one knows what exactly it is you're putting together, so naturally the Agori and Glatorian were taken by complete surprise when on a day like any other, a masterpiece, in the form of a city, shot itself up into the clouds, carrying along an entire civilization for the ride. And what a masterpiece it was: the city was an entirely self-sustaining work of engineering, just as much art as it was a habitat. The Great Spirit robot had been torn apart, its technology repurposed and its technological quirks used to create the city of Phan-Metru.
My inner steampunk squealed when I read this. I imagine this is steampunk to a degree?
But as much as the Matoran engineers tried to avoid cutting corners, a project of Phan-Metru's magnitude just didn't work like that. Namely, the problem had popped up over and over again during conception, design and construction was also the problem that needed to be solved most: how to power the city. Self-sustaining technology was all well and good sounding, but the Great Spirit Robot's machinery was completely totaled by the Melding, and the Prototype Robot's power source would be good for about fifteen minute's worth of energy before completely evaporating. Mata Nui's power was gone and the Ignika's usage to power a city would have detrimental effects on the entire population. The debate raged on for weeks until finally, one Nynrah Ghost posed an idea that was mad, pure folly, but the more and more the engineers thought about it, the more and more they liked the idea.
The city, the engineers decided, would run on Antidermis.
There had been tests run on Antidermis in the first days of the new civilization, and it was discovered that when mixed into a certain compound and distilled just right with Toa Power, Antidermis would react placidly enough that it could be bottled up and still used as an energy source, without the volaitility of the original Antidermis. With that in mind, enough Antidermis was "purified" so that the city could properly run autonomously. And run it did. It ran hard and it ran valiantly and it ran like a dream for a good fifty years or so before there were any problems. As a matter of fact, it ran so long that the government didn't even believe there would be any problems.
Hehe. Silly politicians.
Until there was a problem, and when it hit, it hit with the force of a sledgehammer.
Am I the only one who thought of Red Faction: Guerrilla when they read this?
The Antidermis had escaped: somewhere, in the purification process, something had gone wonky, and quite a bit of sentient Antidermis slipped through the cracks in the Phan-Metru security system before the entire control room was put on lockdown; it's not enough to completely quell the leak, but it at least keeps the city floating for now. The Antidermis, as of now, is AWOL. The Suits are not quite sure what became of it, though The Powers that Be have certainly taken note recently of the fact that there is a slowly climbing variety of violent crimes taking place in areas that don't fall into the purview of the Rabble: the press has also caught onto this fact, and is doggedly pursuing the cause of the growing crime rates, unaware of the broiling, hellish substance beneath their very feet that both gives their city life and could be its death.
This is why power sources shouldn't be sentient. Or encourage crime.
Welcome to the world you live in: some of the Antidermis used to power Phan-Metru has escaped, with more leaking slowly by the day. Who screwed with the once-perfectly running machines, enabling a leak? Why do they want to knock the city out of the sky? Where is the Antidermis at now, and is it related to the growing surges of crime and hostility throughout Phan-Metru? That's what the Suits would like to know, but they're running out of time to figure it out. The Gumshoes are looking for answers, and fast, and the Rabble is growing impatient with the increasing opaqueness of their government. The Coppers are on standby, ready to fire on their own family and friends for the good of their country. The city in the skies is floating above civil war by just an inch, and one good shove from any side...
Well. You get the idea.
OVERALL IMPRESSIONS: Very well thought out and engaging. I feel I'm going to really enjoy the city and characters as they develop. I must ask, though, is the city flying, or just really freaking tall?
This game is rather outside the box when it comes to factions. There are no factions in this game in the traditional meaning of the term, due to the motives and objectives of various groups being mostly incompatible one with another. However, there are four main "interest groups", if you will. These would be the government, the press, the military, and the masses, or as they are popularly referred to, the Suits, the Gumshoes, the Coppers, and the Rabble.
The main goal of the Suits is, primarily, keeping the entire city in one piece and under their control. With the situation worsening every day, they now resort to often authoritarian, mostly underhanded, tactics to retain power and order, often at the expense of the other groups. As of yet, they still retain command of the Coppers, but if cark goes down, and the Rabble - which by now remains, aside from all the catastrophes, the most likely thing to break the Suits' grip over the city - gains an upper hand over the Suits, the Coppers can turn the tables on their employer. The Suits' relationship with the Rabble, while we're at it, is rapidly deteriorating - the Rabble are gradually and anything but slowly losing more and more rights, being forced into more and more difficult conditions of life every day. The Gumshoes aren't entirely safe, either: for now there's still a free press, but that right just might slip, given the proper motivation.
Good Karma: Friends in high places; assistance from the Coppers, when required.
Bad Karma: Characters are almost universally hated, often victims of personal or propreitary (typo) attaks (typo)
Basically, politicians. I can't see why anyone would want to play as a politician, but this is the Internet, so I'll allow it.
The Gumshoes have, primarily, one objective: to discover the truth of what the cark is actually going on here. Unfortunately, nowadays that's becoming a rather difficult task. The Suits, as mentioned before, still allow free press - but what "free press" means in this city, exactly, is a matter as subjective as deciding what music is the best to listen to when cooking risotto with salmon while drinking a cup of hot chocolate. They are usually under constant surveillance, if somewhat passive, by the Coppers, and viewed with immense distrust by the Rabble. With no friends, no subordinates, and no supporters, the Gumshoes, more than ever before, have to rely on their own wits and skills to reveal what the actual rabid pancake is going on.
Good Karma: Access into otherwise restricted areas; can get high ranking sources in Suits or Coppers.
Bad Karma: Their dogged protection of their sources leaves them open to persecution and smear campaigns.
Private Detectives. ALL MY YES.
The Coppers do, mostly, what they're paid for - maintain order. Under the current circumstances of life in Phan-Metru, the task is neither the easiest nor the most simplistic, which is often problematic because thinking is often not a Copper's favourite pastime - they prefer donut eating. With the Rabble being more and more troublesome every day, more often than not the Coppers find themselves the enforcers of the Suits' authoritarian ways, more often protectors of the regime than of the law. It is under these circumstances that many of them find questioning - yes, their brain cells are active enough to process such complex thought, I know, amazing, right? - their loyalties.
Good Karma: Access into otherwise restricted areas; the Suits and Gumshoes, when required, may give assistance.
Bad Karma: Characters are occasionally hated, almost universally disrespected; need to follow orders from the Suits.
Stereotypes. Stereotypes everywhere. But hey, they seem fun.
Lastly and unfortunately leastly, there's the Rabble. There are about 200,000 people on this city, but only an obscure, perhaps ten percent minority is not part of the Rabble. They are the the overarching grey masses of working class citizens pushed to the very edge, living a shallow existence on a dying city where the Coppers are untrustworthy, the Gumshoes are untrustworthy, and the Suits are doing their very best to maintain an atmosphere of mistrust by both willingly and unwillingly pushing the Rabble further down. The Rabble, of course, resents this, and when capable, or when it thinks itself capable, it resists. It is the Rabble who are the most dangerous threat to the Suits, though it may not look that way - there is nothing stronger than a guy down on his luck who is just trying to survive and might just possibly decide that tossing a rock at you will help.
Good Karma: Support from other members of the Rabble; undisputed control over some of the more...lawless...regions of the city.
Bad Karma: Terrible financial status; disrespect from the Suits, often from the Coppers.
Yay, I get to be poor! Sort of like in real life! Once again, they seem like fun, and it'd be nice to see the Rabble make some massive changes in the game world.
The City Itself
Picture a city the size of Metru Nui, but largely divided by class instead of by element. A city of 20,000 strong and growing, Phan-Metru is an amalgamation of the latest and greatest tech from the old Matoran Universe, plus a series of generational improvements and experimental ideas. Viewscreens like those of Metru Nui line the skies, along with budding chute systems where personal speeder races - highly lucrative, but totally illegal - have become the norm in many parts of the city. Meanwhile, the center of the city itself and its outskirts have become where the well-to-do stay, along with many journalists and cops who don't work the beat in the grimier parts of the city.
Places of Interest
Plaza Nuva - The throbbing heart of Phan-Metru, the Plaza Nuva is the business and tourism center of the city. It's the place you want to be if you expect to have any sort of quality of life beyond lower middle class. Businesses, police stations, and high rise condominiums dot the streets, stabbing up towards the skies like giant Protosteel swords, attempting to impale the clouds. Almost always crowded with people.
City centre: now with padding and guff!
Typewriter Town - As you can plainly guess, this is where most of the Phan-Metru journalists camp out and talk. It's a quiet little part of town, with cafes, low-key bars, and various parks and the like; it's almost as if the entire district were solely invented for the sake of having Gumshoes meet up with their sources inconspicuously. There are about half a dozen small residential buildings, but nothing much in the way of creature comforts beyond a simple safe house for a high-placed source.
This appeals to me as a writer. I shall live here.
Gearheadville - Screw Antidermis: adrenaline runs through the very veins of this part of the city. Speeder stores, garages, repair shops...if you can think of it, and it pertains to personal transportation, it's in Gearheadville, and it's in spades. The mechanics are a wily sort; jaded and rough, always stained with a touch of motor oil. They know more than they let on, too: Gearheadville is where you go if you're looking to get involved with a street racing league and earn a few bucks. Just expect to earn yourself a bit of a rap sheet while you're there.
I shall live here also. I shall have two houses. *crosses fingers for combat racing*
Stab 'N' Grab - Not exactly The Ghetto, not exactly Gearheadville, but close. the Stab 'N' Grab, as it's so coarsely named by the more highbrow citizens of Phan-Metru, is not the kind of place you want to rep. It's similar in appearance to the Plaza Nuva, if darker and more wicked. The air is slightly thicker and more dangerous here, as though there's blood intertwined with the carbon and oxygen. As you'd expect, there's no honor among thieves here at the Stab 'N' Grab, so don't just watch your back, watch your front, your sides, your diagonals and your wallet, too.
You may have noticed I said wallet: yes, I know bringing your cash into a place called the Stab 'N' Grab doesn't sound smart, but this little corner of the sky happens to have the best black market this side of the stratosphere. Technology months - sometimes even years - ahead of what the Suits have under their belt can be found in prototype form, depending on who your connections are. Background checks for weapons? Well, well, it looks like we have a funny guy on our hands.
I've played enough Jak II to survive in the slums. *stand back, I got this*
The Ghetto - You may have noticed I mentioned The Ghetto. Also known as the Outskirts ('Skirts) or the Fruit Loops for their distinct shape and coloration, this place is almost as aptly named as the Stab 'N' Grab: this part of the city is pretty much the epidermis of town, wrapping around Plaza Nuva in three levels color coded Blue, Green, and Red, Blue on the outside edge of the city, Green in the middle, and Red being the closest to the city itself. Repping these colors in the wrong places could get you robbed, beaten down, or worse if you don't play your cards right, but they all share a certain camaraderie in that a good 80 to 85 percent of the population calls one of the colors home. Many of the chutes from Gearheadville that are home to street racers run through The Ghetto as well, as well as certain black market operations that have been pushed out of - or escaped from - the Stab 'N' Grab, so it's not uncommon to see a good bit of crime here, either.
It's like the slums, but... not the slums.
OVERALL IMPRESSIONS: Some interesting locations (of which I will have houses in) and some not-so-interesting locations. They balance out nicely, though. Gearheadville sounds particularly dynamic.
1. No god-modding. Most of you probably know what this means, but in the event that some of you do not, there are three basic types of modding. The first is autohitting, wherein you hit another PC without either permission or having given a chance for them to respond. The second is metagaming, which is when your character knows something they should not be able to know. Like a character all of a sudden knowing what is happening across the city with no reason. Finally, no performing things your character should not be able to do. This means no elemental manipulation at insane levels, like using lightning to atomize a solid object. No dodging things that you should not be able to dodge. That includes "sudden feelings" that make you want to dodge an unseen attack. And no "He tripped, acidentally (typo) avoiding the attack". Both of those are very large no-nos. In conjunction with the above, Nova Blasts are expressly forbidden without prior staff consent.
2. As you might have guessed from the above, there is no "Thou shalt not kill PCs" rule. If your character is put into a situation where they cannot escape without modding, your character will die. This does not mean, however, that you have permission to go around killing other people's PCs. Character death will be strictly monitored.
3. Use IC (In Character) and OOC (Out Of Character) in your posts. Example:
Vakama ducked down, barely evading the shadow hand that grabbed the pillar above him. "Going to have to try harder than that!"
OOC: Anyone want to back him up? I'm kind of outgunned.
4. Keep OOC only posts to a minimum. And by minimum, I mean that one or two is allowable, but any more than that, and I'm going to step in. PMs are around for a reason.
5. Respect the staff. This includes the Head GM, and any other staff members that he may hire. They are where they are for good reasons, and they are just trying to do their jobs. If you feel a staff member is being unfair, contact one of the other staff member, or the Head GM, and we will sort things out.
6. As much as we would prefer not to use it, there is a punishment system in place. The first offence will come with an official warning, carried out both in PM and in the topic. Second is a warning, plus a major character injury. This is your last chance to turn back before we have to start bringing out the heavy consequences. Third is a temporary ban, the length of which will be decided based on the severity of the offence. The fourth offence will kill all of your characters, and carry a second temporary ban. This is your last chance to turn yourself around. The fifth offence will ban you from the game, forever. Leave the topics, do not come back. Now, due to the inherent flaws of a tier system, some of these skips can and will be skipped over if your action is severe enough to warrant it.
OVERALL IMPRESSIONS: Good solid set of rules.
This is the profile template you'll be using. Please note, that species such as Makuta, Great Being, Krahka's species, and a few others are explicitly forbidden. The Glatorian and Agori are more or less banned due to the backstory, unless you have a really good reason. Masks such as the Avohkii, the Mask of Shadows, the Vahi, Olmaks, Masks of Summoning, and the Olisi are forbidden. Any and all unique masks are forbidden, and the staff reserve the right to deny any overpowered masks that we have not yet thought of. Elements are the same story: no Light, no Shadow, no custom elements except Crystal and Oil.
A bit restrictive, but all understandable. Except for the custom Kanohi thing. I can't see why people shouldn't be allowed to use their own unique masks. With approval, of course, but still.
Name: Pretty straight forward. Keep it Bionicle-y, and no canon characters.
Species: Again. Pretty self explanatory. See the above for any banned species.
Gender: Do I even have to point this one out?
Appearance: What your character looks like.
Powers: Here's where you list your element, your mask, or any other power types inherent with your character.
Skills: Good at using your element? Strong fighter? Psychologist? What your character is good at.
Weaknesses: You have to have one. What is your character bad at? What problems do they have?
Equipment: Here's where you put your weapons, your pencils, your first aid kits. What does your character carry with them?
Bio: Your character's past. What are they like? What have they been through? Also doubles as your character's personality section. Must be at least two sentences long, and if you go for the minimum, they'd better be exceptional sentences.
Profile building fluff. All fairly reasonable.
Even though this was mainly an in-house production, and I kept most of the details to myself beyond the introduction and basic premise, I think it would be apt here to make some dedications and special thank yous to the people who not only inspired me to make this game possible, but to the people that inspire me on an all-around basis almost every single day of my life. Get some Kleenex handy, smoke if you got 'em: there are feels on the horizon and there's no way around 'em.
Special thanks to the people who inspired me to get into the RPG forum: to everyone who's still kicking that played Requiem, this one's for you, to Exo-Fat, you mad frickin' genius, to anyone who ever read one of my pre-2011 "open for interaction" posts and figured "eh, why not?" this one's for you. Thanks for giving me a ride for this long and this far: from here on out, it's my turn to drive. Be warned, I don't like speed limits.
Special thanks to everyone in the BZPRPG that, for some unfathomable reason, put me and my writing on a pedestal and gave me a shot to shine in a game where nobody is really supposed to shine. Special thanks to Dov and Krayzikk, who will stay up at night as late as they need to if it means me pitching them one of my crazy ideas during a hallucinogenic fugue staTe. Special thanks to Snipe for so much more than I could ever list. Special thanks to Grochi for giving me a chance to keep my insult Humor sharp. Special thanks to Vorex for keeping my real insults sharp. You all are my muses. Never change.
Much love to everyone in my WC crew: here's to Ghost, aka David Tennant's young doppelganger, you're pretty alright, even if you are the new kid. To Veef/Corv, aka Commander Shepard, aka Joss Whedon of Western Europe, you have an incredible talent for doing what you do: you're a genius artist, a great writer, and one of the realest and kindest people I know. To Francis, aka the Master of Disguise, aka OG Fruit Bowl, I have nothing in my heart for you but love and admiration. We've been doing this thing togethEr since the beginning, and I want to thank you for giving me a boost when I've felt like quitting, having my back at the good times, the bad times, and the worst times, and being just a general astounding human being every day. Special, special thanks to Biebs and Rene, aka Dr. Jekyll and Mister Indeterminate Gender, aka Beauty and the More Beauty, aka What Would I Do Without You Two?, two of the most astounding human beings I've ever come across, for their constant love and encouragement, whether it's necessary or not. I'm proud to have you two as spouses, and I'd like to thank both of you or molding my writing Style and making me what I am as a writer and a person - or, rather, what people tell me I am - more than either of you could ever know.
Finally, last, and anything but least, thank you to Nuju Metru, aka Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of San Francisco, aka Brunette Joffrey, aka Skinny Love, aka The Cheerio Bandit, aka Aaron. Whether you know it or not, RPing under you This past year, getting to know you, hanging out late at night telling terrible jokes and coming up with actors for our characters, all that stUpid stuff that we took for granted ended up changed my life. Even though I maDe sure never to tell you I even had an RPG concept caught up, even though you never saw a word that's in this post before today, your fingerprints are on almost every inch of this entire game from the intro to even these dedications. You have so many talents, and I got nothing but faith that you're going to use them to the best of your ability, squared, throughout your entire life. You're going to change the world by the time you're done with it: it's just a matter of when you start. I'm honored to call you one of my best frIends in the world, and I love you, Aaron, even during the times where I pretend that you're not, and that I don't. Here's tO the future: it's ours for the taking.
Take care, everybody. Enjoy the game, and God willing we'll all meet again in Techna III: The Search for a Proper Ending.
Yup, they're certainly dedications.