Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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In Progress Journey to the Centre of Arcanum - CYOA

Discussion in 'Codex Playground' started by ironyuri, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. ironyuri Unwanted

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    INTRODUCTION


    You are seated on a hard wooden chair, in the Caladon style (in vogue with the Tarantian middle classes ever since Caladon assumed their place on the industrial council), in the cramped but elegant entry hall of #42 Kensington Broadway. It is just after eleven in the morning on the 18th Vendémiaire, 1893.


    Donn Throgg was, only weeks ago, elected to the Industrial Council, and Tarantian politics are in an uproar as the old guard of conservatives, under the influence of the waning Gilbert Bates, face off against an increasingly powerful liberal opposition, helped in no small part by an ever more educated Tarantian middle class, whimsically given to pet causes célèbres. The Kingdom of Cumbria, ruled by their King Maximilian some time ago succeeded in asserting its control over Blackroot and halting the juggernaut of Tarantian economic expansion. This may not be a political golden age for Tarant, but in the sciences and cultural fields, it is flourishing. That’s the precise reason you’re sitting in this rather uncomfortable chair. You glance over the late edition of the Tarantian that you picked up yesterday evening, just to be certain you've got the details right:

    [​IMG]


    Experienced and intrepid explorer and/or adventurer? Fame and fortune? That was all you really needed to hear. You've got years of experience, but who knows if he'll need your kind of experience.

    You race is:


    A: Human - "Humans are the root stock of all the Median races, and one of the oldest peoples of Arcanum. We are the children of pure Natural Selection; fossil evidence clearly indicates that our forebears and the early dwarves diverged from one another some two million years ago, and since that time the two bloodlines have evolved along parallel courses. Just as the dwarves are the progenitors of all the Minute races, humans are the living root of all other thinking beings in Arcanum, including such ancient offshoots as the elves and giants, and the modern sub-species we know as orcs." Christopher Beddoes, Esq., Compleat Histories.


    B: Elvish - "My theory as to the origin of the elvish race will meet with great hostility from many quarters. Up to now it has been the commonly held wisdom that elves are an older race than any other, but fossil evidence does not support this conclusion; humans and dwarves are the oldest races of Arcanum, with elves and giants close behind. The first distinctive elves appear some 900,000 years ago, during the Epoch of High Enchantment. They are a product of Supernatural Selection, just as giants, dragons, and many other highly magickal species were." Christopher Beddoes, Esq., Compleat Histories.


    C: Half-Elvish - "Half-elves are a hybrid race, the product of human and elven parents. There is no general rule for their conception; they are as likely to be born from congress between an elven woman and a human male as by an elven male's interference with a human woman. The issue of any such union is a person who shows some traits from each race, but fully belongs to neither - a fate universal to all hybridized individuals." Christopher Beddoes, Esq., Compleat Histories.


    D: Half-Orcish - "The half-orc is a hybrid race, the result of interbreeding the orc and the pure-blooded human. Such a pairing is usually accomplished by rape, the mother human and the father a full orc; in rare cases, however, human males have been known to breed with orcish females willingly, and half-orcs can also marry one another and produce children. In any event, the commingling of orcish and human blood is a subject of extreme distaste among most ordinary humans, who view the resulting children of such a union with abhorrence and loathing." Christopher Beddoes, Esq., Compleat Histories.


    E: Half-Ogre - "The half-ogre is a curious hybrid, the result of somehow cross-breeding an ogre and a human. We cannot say for certain how these creatures come to be, although they must be conceived by rape. The circumstances of a half-ogre's birth are difficult to imagine; if we did not see them walking the streets of every city in Arcanum daily, most naturalists would call such a thing impossible. Although of course it is always conceivable that an ogre bull might violate a human female captive, everything we know about ogres tells us that it must be quite unusual for the victim to survive any such sexual encounter. Also, if some hardy human female could survive the assault, it is difficult to understand where an ogre father finds the patience to await the birth of his half-ogre offspring. Even after putting a human female to use in satisfying the one appetite, the standard course of the male ogre would normally be to satisfy his other hungers very quickly. To put it bluntly, one would expect the victim to be killed and eaten. After being molested by an ogre, most human women would probably welcome this fate as something of a relief!" Christopher Beddoes, Esq., Compleat Histories.


    F: Dwarven - "Of all the Minute Races, the Dwarven Clans are indisputably the paragon. Larger and more physically formidable than their lesser cousins, the Halflings and Gnomes, they also live longer; the natural life span of a male dwarf is nearly 600 years. Dwarves range in height from 30 inches to an extreme of 50 or so, and can weigh up to nine hundred stone, all of it muscle. They are prey to few diseases, having a constitution which can bear extremes of weather and deficiencies of diet far better than virtually any other known race. They are also highly intelligent and civilized, possess a refined artistic sensibility, and enjoy acute senses of taste, smell and hearing - faculties which all Minute persons share. In distinguishing dwarves from other Minute races, take special note of their facial hair; neither gnomes nor halflings can sport such full and luxuriant beards." Christopher Beddoes, Esq., Compleat Histories.


    G: Gnomish - "Gnomes, like dwarves and halflings, are a Minute Race. They are descended from Dwarven stock; according to our limited fossil finds, the first true gnomes appeared over seven hundred thousand years ago, in what is now Cumbria. It would seem that the divergence of gnomish and dwarven races occurred by the ordinary process of Natural Selection, rather than by magickal intervention. This theory is supported by alchemickal testing of gnomish tissue, which yields no distinctive mystic vibration for their species. Accordingly, like all products of pure natural selection, gnomes have no special advantage in the practice of Magick. They are not particularly known for its use." Christopher Beddoes, Esq., Compleat Histories.


    H: Halfling - "Halflings are the most diminutive people of Arcanum, and the smallest of all the Minute races. The average halfling never achieves a height greater than 34 inches or some 85 centimeters, and usually it is less. In weight they average some four or five hundred stone, but can sometimes weigh up to seven, as they are somewhat prone to the vice of gluttony. They exhibit the same keen senses that all Minute peoples do, but in halflings there is a greater emphasis on the sense of taste than any other, and in accordance with this gift many halflings devote the whole of their lives to gratifying the palate, both for their own benefit and for the pleasure of others. All but a few of the world's most famous chefs are halflings, and they also provide us with our most celebrated wines, beers and ciders." Christopher Beddoes, Esq., Compleat Histories.


    Choose your professional background:


    1 - The Career Officer (Gunslinger/Mild Diplomat/Technology neutral): You have spent most of the last ten years working your way through the ranks of the third battalion of the Expeditionary Regiment of the Tarantian Army. You were commissioned a full Captain during the recent Cumbrian-Tarantian War after showing exemplary bravery in battle. Faced with a flanking charge by a number of Cumbrian Dragon Knights and with your maxim gun overheating, you managed to rally your men and drive the knights back, suffering minimal losses. The battle itself ended in defeat for Tarant, but your actions briefly made you the subject of titillating private conversations among the young middle class women of Tarant and Caladon. If the Professor accepts your company on this expedition, you will receive leave from your Commanding Officer with full pay, and you will be provided access (within reason) to regimental supplies on the proviso you pay some small deference to the Tarantian Army upon return. [This choice would be reworked/rewritten for non-median races]


    2 - The Jack-of-All-Trades (A little bit of everything/Technology neutral): Your most recent exploit was only last month on the cover of the Tarantian, photographed beside H.T. Parnell, the two of you display his latest acquisition - the genuine last test testament of Arronax himself. The stone tablet, which, you swear you unearthed in the Dark Fens moments before you were captured by a mischievous Bedokaan chieftain who released you only because you promised to marry his daughter (at least you think it was a daughter, it's hard to tell with those lizardmen), has been the subject of wild scholarly debate between the scholars of Tarant University, the Gentleman's Archaelogical Club and the Panari Prelate of Tarant-Caladon. If the Professor accepts your company on this expedition, you bring with you years of adventuring experience, and even more years of experience negotiating your way out of bar tabs (not always successfully). You've turned your hand to most professions you can think of, you've dabbled in magic and you've learned the schematics for improbable machines... but at the end of the day, you get by on your wits and the small cash reserve you've put together from your cons adventures.


    3 - The Mage-Scholar (High magick user/Scholarly inclinations): You arrived from Tulla only last week seeking, among the dusty tomes of the Tarant University Library, a tract on Geomancy. The College of Mages in Tulla has prospered in recent years, and now has a small School of the Arcane at Dernholm, on the invitation of King Maximilian. You have been offered a posting there, to be taken at your leisure, however, for the moment, you feel it would be best to expand your knowledge of magick fields as yet unknown to you, or, better still, those that have been all but forgotten at Tulla. Geomancy has long intrigued you and the chance to further explore the obscure college of magick has piqued your interest. This has led you to #42 Kensington Place, and the Professor's proposed journey. If you are accepted as the Professor's companion, you will have access to the spell school's of your choosen (except Necromancy, unless a good case is made), and may be able to seek support for the expedition either from the College of Mages at Tulla, or from the King of Cumbria who may support your joining the expedition in order to better his relations with Tarant, or, conversely, to steal some of its thunder.


    4 - Nikola Tesla Eat Your Heart Out (High technology user/Inventor): Your workshop on Lion's Head Circle in Tarant has been the subject of a number of complaints, not least because of the fire you caused some months ago which nearly took several surrounding buildings with it. Your inventions are at times marvellous, and at others, miserable. You are lucky enough to maintain a small personal fortune, thanks in no small part to the innovations you made in the Tarantian mining industry (and your detractors said a steam-powered drilling rig was crackpot!). Your latest experiments with automatons and electricity have thus far proved relatively fruitless, you did, however, manage to put together a small arachnid-like automaton which is perfectly able to navigate small fissures in rock faces and gather mineral and chemical samples for safety testing. Having spotted Professor Brockenlid's invitation in the Tarantian while using the evening standard to clean up an oil spill in your work room, you knew that you positively had to be the one to join him on his voyage! If only you could field test your mechanical spelunking equipment! If the Professor accepts you as his companion, you will have access to a small reserve of personal wealth, and any of your current inventions. You might expect some small measure of support from the Tarantian Mining Institute in gathering resources required for the expedition.


    5: Write your own: You are welcome to submit your own professional background for scrutiny, as the ones I have provided are relatively sparing. Remember that you must indicate the degree of technological or magickal affinity and give a basic description of life experience so far in the Arcanum world. If you wish to write a background specific to a racial subset, you are welcome to do so and we'll take a vote on it.






    snoek, Kz3r0 and oscar Brofist this.
  2. ironyuri Unwanted

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    TABLE OF CONTENTS, ETC.

    Introduction: Extra, extra, read all about it! Professor Brockenlid proposes fantastical journey, calls for adventurers!
    Prologue: The right stuff!
    Prologue, Part II: A wager is made, intrigues are intrigued and a meeting is called to order.
    Prologue, Part III: A journey begins... eventfully.
    Prologue, Part IV: Murder on the Ashbury express.
    Prologue, Part V.i: Rime of the Gnomish Mariner.
    Prologue, Part V.ii: An Arrival.

    Chapter the First, in which Elias Kleinmann finds himself faced with the reality of his situation:

    Part i: Any port in a storm
    Part ii: The path home is cut off, the way forward is blocked.


    [​IMG]

    Character sheet:
    Name: ELIAS KLEINMANN
    Race: GNOME
    Background: CAREER OFFICER (MILITARY COLLEGE, WEALTHY FAMILY)
    Skills: FIREARMS (JOURNEYMAN); PERSUASION (JOURNEYMAN); GAMBLING (EXPERT); HAGGLE (APPRENTICE); GUNSMITHY (APPRENTICE)
    Stats: ST: 8 CN: 6 DX: 12 BE: 8 IN: 12 WP: 10 PE: 10 CH: 9
    Fate Points:1 (ONE).
    snoek Brofists this.
  3. Gondolin Erudite

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    This should be good. :)
    snoek and ironyuri Brofist this.
  4. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
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    Codex 2012
    Or a trainwreck. :troll:
    snoek and ironyuri Brofist this.
  5. Linden Arcane

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    Nice. Are we supposed to vote for a race and background? If so, let's go for a good old fashioned Victorian stiff upper lip gentleman-adventurer:

    Human Career Officer

    Fixed.
    ironyuri Brofists this.
  6. Baltika9 Arcane

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    Human Career Officer.
  7. Gondolin Erudite

    Gondolin
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    I was going to say that I'm kind of fed up with playing soldiers all the time, but given that we're about to head into the unknown military training should come in handy.

    Human, Career Officer
  8. ironyuri Unwanted

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    I will say that the Professor is not necessarily taking just a single companion on this trip, and the officer will be fleshed out later. Choosing the others will not mean we get screwed due to a lack of firepower, it just means the Professor might have to hire a bodyguard or find another military man. We'll go into name and character sheet stuff once the decision has been made.
  9. Lindblum Learned

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    Here is to a constant stream of update!
    :bro:

    And not you getting burnt out LPing this also you do have the latest fan-patch?
  10. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Seriously, Human Fighter? Are you kidding me?

    Halfling Techboy, or Human Jack.
  11. ironyuri Unwanted

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    This is a CYOA, not actually Arcanum. Journey to the Centre of Arcanum was the proposed but never realised sequel, hence my idea to turn it into a text adventure LP.
    snoek Brofists this.
  12. Erebus Cipher

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    Let's try something original, like a dwarven Jack-of-all-trade.
  13. Cassidy Arcane

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    Half-Ogre Technologist

    NAME: Drog Alter Tooth


    :M
    ironyuri Brofists this.
  14. grotsnik Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

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    Gnomish Career Officer; a diminutive, corrupt, cowardly fellow who received an officer's commission thanks only to his many relatives in government. Likes to go around beating his servants with a riding crop, drinking from his hip-flask, and shooting foes in the back of the head and then claiming he defeated them in a sabre duel. Only goes to offer his services to Dr Brockenlid because his chums at the club get him drunk on sherry one night and dare him to go on the expedition.
    Kz3r0, tuluse, Crooked Bee and 3 others Brofist this.
  15. Esquilax Arcane

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    Half-Ogre Bodyguard (Technology user/tinkerer): You never fit in with your kind, growing up in The Boil. A bunch of dullards, the lot of them! Although you were far more intelligent than your half-ogre kinsmen, the only real work available for you was either manual labour at the docks or with Pollock's gang. You tried your hand at the latter for a brief spell to make some money to get out of The Boil, but your natural clumsiness in a fight and a knife between the ribs during a shakedown quickly cured you of any notion of becoming a gangster.

    After that, the steady, backbreaking drudgery of dock work came almost as a relief. However, one day fate came calling; Gilbert Bates was on the lookout for new bodyguards after some clever infiltrator managed to fool his guards with some impossibly absurd tale. Impressed by your surprisingly good diction for a half-ogre and large stature, as well as a few embellished tales of your work for the Pollock gang, he agreed to take you on.

    For a time, things were going well. The pay was excellent, and the most dangerous part of working at the various galas and banquets Bates went to was getting a drink spilled on your tuxedo.

    But more importantly, the job brought about your personal awakening. Working for Bates, you saw the marvels of technology all around you first-hand. These weren't the heaps of scrap metal and tin cans you grew to hate hauling around in The Docks, these were modern day miracles.

    Of course, you never dared to voice any ambitions of learning science openly, for you knew Bates would find the notion of a half-ogre scholar a silly oxymoron at best, but occasionally you would pilfer a book or two from Bates' vast library and read the contents voraciously. You even paid someone to bring books to you from the library, as you were too embarrassed to go in yourself.

    The mechanical properties of Bates' steam engine and electrical phenomena fascinated you the most, though of course you would try to learn anything you could get your hands on. Although you were still a relative novice in the fields you were studying, your knowledge had grown to a point that you could fashion a ring to slightly compensate for your utter lack of coordination.

    Shortly after this, you happened upon a news article detailing Johannes Brockenlid's ambitious project. This was it; a chance to head out of the stale confines of your life and be at the frontier of a wondrous new scientific discovery. Perhaps to even gain recognition and become a great inventor yourself one day.

    The choice was clear, and right then, you headed towards Tarant University single-mindedly in hopes that Dr. Brockenlid would hire you.

    Edit: Actually grot's Gnomish Career Officer sounds like a lot of fun. Voting for that.
  16. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    I say, grot's got himself a capital idea. Let's bandwagon Gnomish Career Officer.
  17. oscar Tacticular Staff

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    A :obviously: Human Career Officer of good breeding and distaste for the lower races.
  18. Arpad Educated

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    Gnomish Career Officer sounds good.
  19. JagreenLern Learned Patron

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    A Human Necromancer, once a student at the College of Mages, expelled for controversial research into ancient Derian-Ka manuscripts.
  20. oscar Tacticular Staff

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    Hm, for the human necromancer, who better than the charming Geoffrey Tarellond-Ashe?
  21. Smashing Axe Cipher Patron

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    C3 Half-elf magic scholar

    Although playing as a dark elf sympathiser magic user would be pretty cool.
  22. ironyuri Unwanted

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    I'll leave the voting open for a day or so longer just to get everything clarified. This is my first CYOA at Codex, and it's been a few years since I've done anything like this, but my experience in general is from MUSH roleplaying (posed scenes with interaction between live players) and some other forum roleplay type stuff, so it might be in a different tack than root or grotsnik's work.

    My plan is that the companion we roll up won't be the only one chosen by the Professor to accompany him, and we won't necessarily get started on the journey right away (how you go about preparing before we leave Tarant will decide certain factors at a later date, for example your provisions). I'm going to try to avoid riffing straight from Verne, but I want to mix in some of the Victorian/late 18th Century French adventure/exotic tale type stuff, early science fiction (Verne, HG Wells) with the Arcanum setting, so as far as the adventure goes I'm going to try to keep everything in an Arcanum setting, but adding my own bits and pieces where required for plot.

    The whole point of the CYOA is navigating your personal motivations for the adventure and actually (hopefully at some point) reaching the "centre of Arcanum", assuming it's not just a volcanic crust :troll:
  23. Hoaxmetal Arcane

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    Dwarven career officer :obviously:
  24. Crooked Bee Nyadmin

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    Codex 2014 MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    This sounds just perfect.
  25. Kalin Arcane

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    This.

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