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There is shadow under this red rock, (Come in under the shadow of this red rock), And I will show you something different from either Your shadow at morning striding behind you Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you; I will show you fear in a handful of dust. -T.S. Eliot, "The Waste Land" I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night -Allen Ginsburg, "Howl" * * * 1.0 – Intro You awake. When did you lie down to sleep, and for how long? You know not the answers. Your memory retreats to the darkest corner of your mind, leaving nothing but your name. You know your name... or you think you do. Perhaps it is only a fragment of sound, a piece of something you used to be called. Whatever it is, that name will serve for now. Your eyes are weak, but your surroundings come into focus as you blink the dust away. You lie upon grey sand, underneath a grey sky. Low-hanging clouds threaten rain, but the surrounding desert bears no witness to the threat. Everything is parched and dead. This land has been thirsty for so long, it has forgotten the taste of water. You struggle to your feet. In the distance, you can make out mountainous silhouettes rising above the endless expanse of dusty land, their peaks lost in the clouds. Before them, yet still many miles away, you see a black tower jutting out from the sand. Its foundations obviously long decayed, it leans over the desert like a dead tree, perpetually on the verge of crashing to the ground. Your gaze drifts downward; you see a settlement (if it can be called even that) only a mile or so off. There- that's where you must go. Perhaps the settlement will have water, and some shelter against the bitter wind that begins to pick up, pulling at the sand and at your skin. Perhaps its inhabitants can tell you where you are. Or perhaps it is deserted, like the rest of this desolate land. But you have no other options, so you begin to trudge across the sand. You are desperately thirsty, and your muscles ache; you feel like you have not used them for a very long time. But you are strong enough to walk, at least, and you reach the outskirts of the settlement within half an hour. As you approach, you realize the shelters you saw from a distance are little more than pieces of rusty metal hammered together and erected over holes dug in the sand. One or two have four walls and a roof; the rest can't even be called huts. You attempt to call out, but nothing more than dusty cough escapes your throat. It's enough to alert the inhabitants to your presence. First one pair of eyes, then another, then another; you see gleaming orbs appear in the cracks of each shelter, but their owners say nothing. “Please...” you whisper. “Water...” A long silence follows, then a Matoran emerges from one of the larger shelters. Clad in dark green-brown armour (the metal almost indistinguishable from the rust), he carries a crude spear in one hand and a canteen in the other. He eyes you warily, then speaks. “Wh'are you?” His voice is half-strangled by a thick accent, but you understand well enough. You tell him your name. “Don'now you,” he says with a frown. “Where y'come from?” You point back across the sand, and his frown deepens. “No'ne comes from there.” You shrug. He waits, mulling this over, then tosses you the canteen. You barely catch it, fingers scrabbling greedily over its surface. The water inside is lukewarm and tastes metallic, but you don't care. Sated, you hand the tin back. The Matoran takes it, then beckons for you to follow him deeper into the settlement. You figure he could have killed you by now if he wanted to, so you might as well follow. Perhaps you will find the information you seek. 2.0 – Overview Welcome to the Wasteland. It is a vast desert, dry and dead, overhung by dark clouds that promise rain but deliver only acid. Everything is bleached grey and brown, from the harsh sand to the bleak mountains to the handful of villagers who manage to scrape a living out of the rocks. Little lives here, and less survives. You are a being who has awoken on the sands a little south of the Settlement. You do not remember how you got there or even who you are; all you remember is your name. Travelling north, you have been allowed to make whatever living you can in the Settlement, which its inhabitants call Canus. Canus is populated by roughly two dozen Matoran who do what they can to survive. No Toa live here; the villagers say that all Toa serve the Queen, who lives in her Tower to the north. The Queen controls the only fresh spring in the Wasteland, trading water for artifacts and supplies scavenged from the desert. The villagers are all half-mad —it's the only way to cope with an eternity of barely surviving— but most are relatively harmless until you threaten them or their belongings. Each day, some of them venture into the Wastes to scavenge what materials they can find to trade for water. At night, when the desert turns bitterly cold, they will stay in their huts and swap stories, each more outlandish than the last. Perhaps there is some truth in their tales, but it's not an easy job distinguishing the two. A stranger in this land, your destiny is up to you. Whether you wish to brave the Wastes or merely survive another day in the Settlement, the choice is yours. Be wise in your decision: the desert holds many mysteries, but it is not forgiving to those who dare to seek them. 3.0 – Locations The Settlement, named Canus by its inhabitants, lies on a plateau of sorts, elevated above the Wastes. The ground is rocky and barren, but some few things manage to survive here, including the villagers. The Settlement itself is little more than a collection of shacks built of rusty metal and canvas, material scavenged from the Wastes. To the north of the Settlement stands the Tower. Once a proud iron spike that rose high into the sky, it now leans precariously to one side. It is here that the Queen makes her court, and it is also here where the only spring in the Wasteland can be found. To the north, beyond the Tower, lie the Black Mountains. Tall and jagged, their peaks pierce the clouds. No one in living memory has scaled them, or crossed through them to see what —if anything— lies beyond. To the west and the south lie the Wastes, a vast desert bordered by low cliffs. It is a deadly place, ever threatened by acid storms and terrifying sandstorms. It is here the villagers scavenge most of their metal and inorganic supplies, but few dare to venture farther than a mile or two, fearing the storms that may rise up at any moment. To the east lie empty sands. Beyond them, Raka, a legendary city made entirely of metal, is said to have been taken over long ago by nightmarish beasts. No one is sure if the city or the beasts really exist, but anyone desperate enough to make the journey is never seen again. 4.0 – NPCs NPCs (or Non-Player Characters) are characters played by the staff to advance the plot and give colour to the world. These characters usually stay in the background, speaking only when spoken to or when the plot demands. More NPCs may be revealed as the game progresses. 4.1 - Major NPCs These NPCs are played exclusively by the staff and may have a role in the game's plot. They are “major” only because they're named; you may attempt to attack them, kidnap them, bargain with them, etc. However, be wise in your decisions, as some of these NPCs are much more powerful than you. The Blue Queen is the self-proclaimed ruler of the Wasteland. No one would say it to her face, but this Toa of Water is often referred to as the Mad Queen, as she is unpredictable, pleasant and hostile by turns as her fancy pleases. At some point in time, she took control of the only spring of fresh water in the Wasteland and has kept it under close guard ever since. This is the key to her power: without that water, nothing in the Wasteland could survive. Takava is the right hand of the Queen, guarding the Tower and the spring it houses. Thin and menacing, his armour is bleached white as bone, lending him a skeletal appearance. Nua has led the Settlement since time immemorial. It was this Turaga who first struck the bargain with the Queen to allow his villagers to trade scavenged goods for water. That was many years ago; now he spends most of his time in his hut, lost in dreams of the past. As Nua slips deeper into his memories, Maru, his right hand, has taken on more and more of the Settlement's responsibilities. This Matoran is thoughtful and cautious, and seems more sane than most. 4.2 - Minor NPCs The Settlement is populated by roughly two dozen Matoran. These NPCs are entirely average. They can be played by the staff, but regular players may take control of them for brief interactions. 5.0 – Player Characters The two primary rules regarding character creation: players may only play as Matoran, and each profile must include a legitimate weakness. For best results, use the profile template below: Name: (what are you called?) Race: (what type of Matoran are you? See section 5.1 below for available types & passive abilities) Gender: (male, female, neither, or other?) Mask: (you may possess one powerless mask.) Abilities/Skills: (what are you good at?) Weapons/Equipment: (what weapons & equipment do you carry? See section 5.2 below) Appearance: (what do you look like?) Personality: (what are you like? List your likes, dislikes, pet peeves, etc.) Weaknesses: (list any flaws you have. This section is mandatory. See section 5.3 below) 5.1 - Matoran Types & Passive Abilities Ta-Matoran (Fire): enhanced heat tolerance. Ko-Matoran (Ice): enhanced cold tolerance. Ga-Matoran (Water): able to hold breath for longer periods of time. Le-Matoran (Air): enhanced agility. Po-Matoran (Stone): enhanced strength. Onu-Matoran (Earth): enhanced night vision. Vo-Matoran (Lightning): resistance to electric shocks. Fa-Matoran (Magnetism): internal compass & good sense of direction. Su-Matoran (Plasma): eye protection against bright light & limited heat tolerance. Ba-Matoran (Gravity): resistance to gravitational pressure. De-Matoran (Sonics): enhanced hearing. Bo-Matoran (Jungle): innate understanding of plants & resistant to poison. Fe-Matoran (Iron): enhanced endurance. Ce-Matoran (Psionics): resistance to mind control & telepathy. Av-Matoran (Light): able to instinctively alter armour colour. Shadow Matoran: not permitted to play. Shadow Matoran profiles will not be approved. 5.2 - Equipment & Weapons Your character wakes on the sands with nothing. Therefore, any equipment and weapons they possess must have been scavenged from the Wastes, or made with scavenged materials. Advanced technology is nonexistent, and basic tech is unreliable. 5.3 - Weaknesses All characters must possess a minimum of one legitimate weakness or character flaw. Perfect characters are no fun to interact with, and they quickly become boring to play (trust me). Your character doesn't have to be paralysed from the waist down, but should have some flaw more hindering than an allergy to chocolate. Below are some examples, but feel free to come up with your own! Some examples of appropriate weaknesses Easily influenced by others. Gets tired quickly. Easily influenced by emotions. Hot-headed. Poor vision. Missing left hand. Doesn't know how to fight. 6.0 – Rules & Guidelines This RPG is largely sandbox, with character allowed to go and do whatever they like. That said, there are a few things to keep in mind: i. All BZP rules apply. ii. Play fairly. Coming up with new equipment or skills out of nowhere, dodging or blocking all attacks, and dishing out absurd amounts of damage are all examples of godmodding, which is no fun for other players. Getting your hands on functional weapons and equipment should be difficult; simply pulling them out of your back pocket is frowned upon. (Remember: this is a Wasteland. It's not supposed to be easy!) iii. Keep in-character and out-of-character knowledge separate. This is an important distinction to make: your character's knowledge is separate from your own knowledge as a player. A Matoran living in the Settlement won't be aware of another Matoran discovering a haven beyond the mountains unless someone comes back and tells them. iv. Play your own character. You may control some NPCs to a degree, but leave player characters to their owners, unless you have their permission. This is especially important in combat: you do not decide whether your attacks land; that is up to the player of your opponent. v. Use the acronym 'IC' (In-Character) when speaking as your character, and use the acronym 'OOC' (Out-Of-Character) when speaking as a player in the game topic. This helps to distinguish between character knowledge and player knowledge. vi. All profiles must be approved by staff before playing. * * * Discussion Topic