Come my friends. Take a seat. Though this lowly tavern be filled with lolling drunkards and the stink of fish, it be a fine place for a story. Not a free story o'course, nothing round here is free. Just fill me tankard one more time, we'll consider that fair payment. Little bit more. Little bit more. There we go! Now let the sounds o' the sea wash over you as the tides of time roll you back through their inky depths. Let me tell you about...
The Legend of the Thirteenth Island!
These fair isles in the south have always been a little…lacking in the trivialities of law. The Barraki scorned to lord over us, lest their feet get wet on their high thrones. Axonn the Axe-Lord merely battled and butchered, he did not rule. No-one has cared what happens in this archipelago since the Great Beings first raised them from the ocean. Archipelago, 's a fancy word for a group of islands. That little fact'll cost you another tankard if you please. Thats a good lad. Anyway, laws. Don't exist in this part of the world. And lots of water and no laws, well, that means pirates. It just does. One of those facts o' life. Like how dropped bread always lands on the buttered side. In the end it turned into one o' them, whatchya call 'em? Vicious circles! Pirates sprang up, stole from anyone trying to get a toehold in the islands, forcing 'em out. Less people to enforce any hope of order and more people without a living meant more pirates. Meaning more pirate attacks. Meaning less and less order. And so on. 'swhy it's so much fun around here these days. A pirate's paradise. Least it was before the Brotherhood showed up, with their iron soldiers…
But before the shadow-slime, before the Barraki, before even the Axe-Lord, there was a pirate who…well he was a god amongst insects. Black Jaqkli. Ah, I see by the glint in your eyes that you've heard of him. As well you should. One of them tentacley types from up north, he was a master of all he surveyed. And with three eyes, thats a lot of surveying. He had loyal armies as his crews, an armada of battleships as his fleet. And the treasure? Oh the treasure! Powerful enough to go plunderin' the southern continent he was, stripping it of every last trinket and bauble. The piles of wealth he gathered were said to rival the sun for how they gleamed so.
But there were darker rumours about the god-admiral of the southern islands. Rumours that clung to him like seaweed to a corpse, that earned him the epithet 'Black'. Rumours about terrible bargains struck with things of horror and madness. Rumours about fell deeds of blood and ritual. Rumours that he'd found the secret of true immortality, or been given a fantastical new island obedient to his every whim, or been bestowed with the gift to charm minds and bend thoughts...
The first at least was proved false when a raid went wrong. The southern continent had grown tired of death arriving by sea and prepared a hefty defence. On that day it was shown that, black god of the sea or not, Jaqkli still bled like a mortal. Fearful for their admiral, his fleet withdrew but alas, his life had been spilt on the decks from a thousand wounds. It is said that, knowing his time was drawing near, he withdrew with his greatest treasures to that mysterious thirteenth island he was said to possess and, using the lives of all who knew its location as a sacrifice, caused the sea to swallow it up. Black Jaqkli would keep what was his even in the embrace of death…
There lad. Wasn't that a tale for the ages? Full of blood and drama. A terrible captain, a priceless treasure and a mysterious island. Not like the stories we get this day. Bah, that scoundrel LaYarteb may think himself a king of pirates but he's nothing more than a man lucky enough to have both brain and sword in a land where most have only one. Or neither. And this Zavarian from the Brotherhood who thinks himself some new new Axe-Lord, if he were here now I'd tell him to jump off the lighthouse of Golgarish! He makes no move that is not ordered down from his shadow-slime master, dancing on the strings his beloved Makuta pulls!
Another round of grog, there's a good lad.
Aye, 'tis a poor hand of card us civilised folk have been dealt. Just trying to make a living. But we got LaYarteb bleeding us of coin and food, and Zavarian trying to turn us into more clockwork soldiers. And both of 'em turning the place upside down for any sign of that treasure. Artahka help us if either o' the buggers actually find it...
The World At Large
The RPG is set in the Southern Isles of the West around 79,000 years ago, a chain of islands known for being beyond the normal laws and regulations of the Matoran Universe. To say this makes it a home for renegade and villainous behaviour is a gross understatement. There's piracy, smuggling, conquering, slaving and even a little bit of littering. The horror. Really, as long as the right people turn a profit at the end of the day, anything goes. Thats why, even after all these years, the treasure of Black Jaqkli is such a sought after legend. Possessing that vast wealth would give you power over that most motivational of forces; raw greed. Soldiers would fight for you, warlords would bow down to you, smugglers would bring you any object you desired...Everyone would be in your pocket, and you would be the most powerful individual in the isles. A god of gold in a world of avarice surrounded by your beggarly followers. Provided, of course, you can find it. And not fall victim to a thief or assassin since power brings as many enemies as it does friends.
Xeros: The most northern of the islands, and one of the richest. Relatively speaking of course. It is close enough to the great continent of the south to trade with it, bringing in currency and gadgetry. This gives it great influence among the other islands thanks their great love of all things shiny.
It is ruled in a most civilised fashion by a parliament of Matoran, the industrious little fellows being the main power on an island with trade as its foundations. The Prime Minister of this little council is a chap by the name of Stepphry, a well-fed and portly from his habit of skimming off the top of taxes.
Skeres: This island used to suffer greatly from being little more than a stop-over point between Xeros and the Triplets. All the real wealth went to them, with Skeres forced to get by on scraps. Recently though it undergone a slight boom…as Hagah Zavarian has assumed control and made the place a base and staging point for Brotherhood activity, including establishing small garrisons in any settlement that swears loyalty. Now the place bustles and swarms with activity as the Brotherhood send in resources, supplies and troops...
Kron, Kair, Kaal [The Triplets]: The hub of all activity in the chain, as the three islands block the natural currents of the water, keeping things calm in the sea between them. It made for easy mooring and harbours quickly sprang up until all three coastlines were covered in the sprawl of industry. If the western chain can said to have any sort of capital, the Triplets is it.
Despite this high standing lawlessness runs more rampant here than any other locale. The Triplets draw so many different cultures, beliefs and breeds of criminal that establishing any kind of official governance has proved impossible.
Dalarii: A blasted and ruined wasteland, torn asunder by the strife of war as a plough furrows a field. What started as the original pillaging of Axonn was continued by his would-be successors, by Skakdi warlords looking to make a name for themselves, by pirate kings seeking plunder…There is never a moment where someone isn't fighting someone else on the island. The current leading group is a band of Skakdi named the Sons of Krim, who got ahead of their competition by declaring allegiance to Zavarian and using the troops he sent to aid them to snuff out their opposition. If they gain real dominance on the island there's a worry the Triplets could be caught between two Brotherhood strongholds...
Morcka: Renowned solely for being the current preferred hideaway of the pirate LaYarteb. He has a small fortified harbour in the narrow neck to dock and repair his ships…though as everyone knows this it can only mean he has several more harbours elsewhere ready to surprise anyone who tries challenging him on home turf.
The inland of the jungle is mostly dense jungle (which LaYarteb exploits for construction) filled with hostile wildlife (which LaYarteb exploits as a natural defence for his bases) and odd localised storms (which to the best of everyone's knowledge LaYarteb has not found a way to exploit. Yet.)
Aubis: There are some scattered settlements here, but for one of the largest islands in the chain it is surprisingly bereft of life. Something about the tides in the area creates a flooding effect that swamps the island every few months, poisoning the land with salt from the seawater. Farms die, harbours are flooded…there is simply too little on offer to make living here worthwhile. It is a refuge for those who desire solitude and isolation. There is nothing here but crofts built on high ground and the odd hermit in a cave somewhere.
Recently the tidal floods have started washing up strange coins on the salty shores of Aubis. Old coins. Coins with markings not seen since the days of Black Jaqkli. The locals have tried keeping news of this within the island, but rumours that the hoard of Jaqkli may be resurfacing are hard to quash…
Axe's Rest: No-one truly knows why the dread Axe-Lord chose to end his campaigns. No warrior brought him low, no general outwitted him. But end the campaigns did, and it was here they ended. It was here that the warrior Axonn simply…disappeared, leaving his conquests to their own devices once more. His more loyal soldiers erected a small monument in the centre of the island as memorial to their leader; a map of the southern isles with an axe cleaving through them, its haft angling towards the sky like an elaborate sundial. A few of those soldiers still leave on the island, clinging to those shreds of hope that their general might still one day reappear...
Axe's Reach: So called because it is the furthest point the Axe-Lord got in his rampage across the western chain. The remains of his army's last camp are still buried in the sands and earth of the island, left abandoned when the leaderless legions dispersed. The islet has not quite recovered from the armies of Axonn's occupation, they drank its rivers dry and devoured every last scrap of food while waiting for their overlord to make a return that would never happen. So Reach remains to this day a largely bleak and barren wasteland.
Golgarish: When the fearsome Axonn descended on his rampage through the southern isles, this was where the last dregs of resistance chose to make their stand here and the entire island was transformed into a mighty fortress. The great walls and mighty towers now lie in ruins, toppled not by Axonn but simple time. Only the tallest watchtower remains, standing proud on the island's northern bluff, converted into a lighthouse to guide the path of ships. The lighthouse was recently bought by a Vortixx clan, who have established one of their own, a surly so-and-so by the name of VanDerBraad, as its keeper, charging a tidy sum to anyone using the tower's light.
Zo Halas: The last island in the chain, and the most mysterious. Far from the rest of the known universe this land is cold and lonely, locked in a permanent state of wintery decay. No-one has explored its autumnal forests, nor dared to live around its mist-shrouded coasts. It is nature's last uncut jewel in the the chain of islands.
Notes on Travelling
Ships in the southern isles do have sails, but rather than use them to catch winds the sails are in fact the single colossal leaf of a unique species of Vuata Maca tree. The still-living tree is formed into the ship's mast allowing its leaf to catch light and convert it into both power to move the ship, and a potential food source (though most ships prefer to carry a more nourishing supply). As result voyaging between islands by boat is a much more reliable affair, with the travel time represented in game with the use of paragraphs. One paragraph gets you from one island to the next. For longer voyages you could either split these travel paragraphs up individually, or test your writing skills and put them all in a single post, or any other combination you want. Just so long as they're there.
The Free Folk of the Southern Isles
~"No staffs, no axe!
No slaves, no tax!"~
Less a faction as such, more the group term for anyone living in the area who doesn't really belong elsewhere. Anyone who does a spot of pirating under their own flag, anyone who smuggles for coin rather than loyalty, or anyone just trying to make a (relatively) honest living. Most of the free folk want to maintain that 'free' part of their title and oppose the iron fist of the Brotherhood, but there are always those who see security where others see tyranny, and do their bit to help out Zavarian whenever they can get away with it
LaYarteb's Band of the Bloodied Blades
~"For profit and plunder, tear all asunder!"~
Anyone who swears fealty to the pirate known as LaYarteb falls under this banner. From the finest fencer to the dampest deckhand, all owe a cut to their captain, but get a fair share of the remains. While LaYarteb does look upon any attempts to undermine his authority…somewhat poorly, he generally sees to it that anyone toeing the line is treated fairly as long as they're part of his extended crew. And though he does expect people to ask "how high?" when he says "jump", he's usually happy to let captains with their own ships do their own thing for the most part, as trying to micromanage his felonious flotilla would take up valuable looting time.
The Brotherhood of Makuta
~"Order Over All."~
A new faction to arrive on the scene, and not an entirely welcome one. Having vanquished the League of Six Kingdoms, the Brotherhood of Makuta is seeking to secure its hold over the Matoran Universe by bringing the Southern Isles, last refuge from the long arm of the law, under their dominion. Its the only way to keep the rest of the world safe from lunatics like Jaqkli or Axonn. Under orders from the great Miserix, the Makuta Bitil has been put in charge of reigning the isles in and has sent one of his Hagah, Zavarian, over to lead the conquest. He has taken a zero tolerance approach to subduing the various outlaw groups in the Isles, using overwhelming brute force tactics to crush any opposition. Areas of the Isles under his control have any criminal element ripped up root and branch and annihilated, with the legitimate population smothered by increasing taxation to pay for his slow expansion. But many see the chance to make a living in peace without worrying about being stabbed or having their livelihood burnt down every other week as a good thing, and find their sympathies swaying towards the Brotherhood
Character profile; there's no limit on how many of these you have.
Ship profiles; you're allowed three.
Description: [What does the ship look like]
Arsenal: [What weapons does it have]
Special Modifications: [Does it have special hiding places for smuggling, some sort of energy storage to give it a boost for speed?]
Notes on Technology
As the RPG is set way back in the annals of history, a lot of the more fancy technology in a Bionicle setting simply hasn't been invented yet. Try to bear that in mind when writing up what gear your character owns.
On a similar note, Spiriah has not yet carried out his experiments on the Skakdi, meaning they lack the usual elemental and vision powers. But, taking a little liberty with standard canon, with no experiments their mental focus hasn't been lowered, allowing them to use Kanohi
Here be monsters!
Appearance: A stocky-built figure, the usual silver of a Vortixx replaced with gold as a symbol of his ever-increasing wealth. He lets the tubes and ornaments of Vortixx headgear hang loose around his face like steely dreadlocks. The fingers on his left hand are long twisted claws. He favours the usual tricorn hat and longcoat fashionable around the area
Powers: Can manifest a rhotuka from his left hand, capable of making the target magnetically repulsive. The more charge, the more repellant
Equipment: Cutlass, Fireworks Revolver, Rhotuka launcher built into left hand
Biography: A former slave from Xia, he led a few of his fellows in a daring escape. Daring, but not entirely successful. Not many of his compatriots survived. He and the survivors fled to the southern isles, where they'd be free of any repercussions except the odd bounty hunter. With their aptitude for mechanics they made a roaring trade devising and selling weapons. Until LaYarteb decided he wanted a larger slice of the riches on offer. He subtly encouraged his fellow survivors to fight amongst themselves, getting them to stab each other in the back (literally in most cases) until only he and one other remained. One other who conveniently vanished a few days later. This was when LaYarteb went from making weapons to using them, equipping a few thugs with some of his best equipment and setting them loose anywhere rich enough to pay them to stop. It didn't take him long to earn enough for a ship, and from there it was a simple matter of plundering to his heart's content. He took the pseudonym LaYarteb and made his flag a pair of Xs to make sure everyone knew what sort of person they were dealing with, at least if they were smart enough to figure it out, and just kept building his powerbase from there.
He's a tricksy fellow, fond of making deals but never sticking to them. He has no problem treating anyone who agrees to serve him fairly, but anyone who thinks they're his equal had better watch their back. And their sides. And probably their front too, can't underestimate the stopping power of a knife to the gut.
Name: Nightmare in Daylight
Description: Craggy and rough looking, all odd-looking angles and strange twists. It takes a second glance to realise they're all cosmetic; that the Nightmare is just as streamlined in the water as any other ship, its just the deck thats spiked. That the two masts aren't crooked, the sails have been placed asymmetrically. The whole ship is a thing of deceit and trickery, just like its owner
Arsenal: Eight fixed position cordak launchers, four pointing out from each side of the ship down in the lower deck. A dozen large impact crystal launchers on the upper deck which can be rolled around to fire wherever is needed
Special Modifications: A system of altered Skyblasters that redirect heat from the lower decks and force it into the water around the ship, creating a shroud of mist and steam that hides the Nightmare from view
Appearance: A striking figure of red and burnished bronze, his mask in the shape of the classic Hau. Tends to wear a form of dress-armour that he thinks represents the splendour of the Makuta, and which everyone else thinks looks poncey.
Powers: Elemental fire powers
Equipment: Double-headed axe. Kite shield capable of summoning a power-negation rhotuka. Kanohi Kakama, Mask of Speed
Biography: Zavarian has been a Toa as long as he can remember, as far as his memories go he's had no life but the one he's spent serving Bitil. And since its the only life he can ever imagine wanting, he's fine with that.
While Zavarian lacks any real flair, preferring to just follow the orders Bitil gives him, he follows those orders with a certain methodical ruthlessness that is downright terrifying. If he's gets told to destroy a village, he'll reduce it rubble down to the foundations, if ordered to save a tribe he'll give his life to ensure not one of those Matoran gets so much as a single scratch. A man of extremes.
He has arrived in the southern islands with a force of Exo-Toa and Rahkshi donated by the Brotherhood of Makuta, along with whatever Toa, Skakdi, Vortixx and so on that he could recruit on the journey from Destral. From a fortified position on Skeres he sends his troops out on what he dubs "demonstrations" to annihilate pirate fleets, wipe out bands of brigands and so forth, to try and quash any potential threats and smooth the way for proper rule
Name: Velvet Glove
Description: An enormous three-masted affair, a great hulk of a warship complete with a cladding of armour. Its so large and heavy that its had pontoons affixed to the sides as stabilisers to stop it rolling over
Arsenal: Appropriately enough, fourteen Hagah Plasma Cannons emerging from the lower levels of the ship. The upper deck has a compliment of both firework rifles and Ghost Blasters as antipersonnel weaponry, since the Velvet Glove is tall enough to rain gunfire down on the decks of most other ships in the seas
Special Modifications: The stabilising pontoons have been made out of Kanoka protodermis and have properties similar to a Kakama, allowing the Velvet Glove to really move when it needs to
- BZP Rules apply, obviously.
- No god-modding (e.g. controlling someone else's character, having your character do something impossible). And if someone god-modes against you, don't do it back, tell a Staffie.
- This is a Text-Based RPG, so to join in you post what is basically a miniature story for what is currently happening to your character.
- Don't bunny (meaning control extensively) other peoples characters without their permission.
- No silliness such as suddenly firing cream pies from your ship's cannons. Believe me, it's not as funny as you think.
- Don't glory hog or continuously degrade someone else's character.
- Use IC for In-Character and OOC for Out-Of-Character.
IC: The Toa leapt from ledge to ledge, escaping the enraged Rahi
OOC: Hey Randommember1, care to join in?
- Legendary (eg. Time and Life) and unique (eg. Light and Shadow) masks are given a blanket ban, but other masks will be dealt with on a case to case basis