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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-02-11, 04:09 AM Thread Starter
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The Piston Reserve

The Piston Reserve
A Steampunk Alt-History RP

Soon shall thy arm, UNCONQUER'D STEAM! afar
Drag the slow barge, or drive the rapid car;
Or on wide-waving wings expanded bear
The flying-chariot through the fields of air.
— Erasmus Darwin —

And the war came with a curse and a caterwaul,
And the war came with all the poise of a cannonball,
And they're picking out our eyes by coal and candlelight,
When the war came, the war came hard...
— When the War Came, by the Decemberists


-------------------------------------------------------------------------

The year is 1914....but not OUR 1914. No, this is something totally different. Imagine a world turned another way, walking down the path less traveled. Technologies that seem to be totally alien to the time are commonplace, but in stranger forms - computers, mechanical prosthetics, monorails. Others are technologies that failed in our time but flourished in this one - steam powered machines, zeppelins, difference engines. And there are yet stranger still technologies that do not exist at all in our time, but are as common on the street as the clothes on one's back - oraculums, autochairs, locomotoshredders. This is a time at once alien and familiar.

And it is in this summer that the Piston Reserve is formed, a group of learned scholars who's purpose is Britain's development of something that can help them win the arms race against a highly industrialized Germany. You are some of the brightest in your respected fields, and you are assembled for a number of reasons - glory, pride in your nation, or, if you are not British, money or a chance to escape persecution.

The world in this period has been industrialized beyond compare. Ever since the year 1800, when Richard Trevithick invented the high-pressure steam engine and 1877, when Felippe Lefevre invented the first clockwork limb, science has advanced further and further in these strange new worlds. And so we reach the state of this world. Each country is in it's own world of industrialization and power.

England is the typical power if there ever was one. The first steam engine was invented here and so it is one of the leading industrial powers. Its cities make extensive use of the monorail system in particular. It has a powerful army and navy, but it is in danger of losing it's technological lead to Germany. One note in particular is that mechanical prosthetics or additions are the hight of fashion in England; oraculums (mechanical glasses/goggles) are as common as hats, and a formerly crippled man given a clockwork leg becomes the talk of the town in an instant. The majority of the RP will take place in England.

France is seen somewhat as the younger sibling of England in terms of technological advance; they quickly adapted to the clank of the forge and rumble of the gear in the big cities, but many French in the countryside prefer the old ways. Clockwork is not viewed as highly in terms of fashion and ordinary use, but it is used to some effects quite highly; for example, the French have perfected a system of steam-powered trash sweepers that keep the streets quite clean.

Germany is a rising technological power that has accepted this technology at an alarming rate. Entire German cities have been converted into Schmeidestädte, or Forge-Cities, that churn out goods and materials like mad. The German military in particular is desperately seeking ways to incorporate this new technology into their military, and rumors of clanking machines with heavy guns put the other European powers at ease.

Austria-Hungary is teetering on the brink of collapse. The situation in the Balkans is taxing the royalty heavily, and the majority of the attention of the government is their attempts to keep the various Pan-Slavic peoples unified and content, lest their neighbor Serbia get any ideas.....

Russia is the most technologically backwards of the countries. Their tsar is loved by the people, but only the rich can even hope to afford such luxuries as autobicycles that the common man in other countries can easily afford. Their people are many but poor, and tech is a godsend to them.

Both the Ottoman Empire and America are highly secluded, shutting their borders to any outsiders. Little is known about their contents by the other nations.

All other nations are assumed to be at least semi-Industrialized.

And so as the great Swiss Göttliches-Uhr ticks ever slowly, you race against time to develop a weapon that could win the inevitable Great War.....

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ok, onto the rules.

1. Fairly standard stuff. No godmodding, as GM I have the right to direct the story, blah blah blah. Typical stuff.
2. AT LEAST 5 SENTENCES PER POST. This is a simple thing so I really hope it's continually followed.
2a. GOOD QUALITY POSTS. I'm not expecting Pulitzer work here, but try within the best of your ability to use good grammar, and explore ideas - this is a strange new world after all!
3. You are encouraged to converse with other characters between updates - it's fun and it helps bump the thread!
4. I will try to update this as often as I can (once or twice a week at bare minimum).
5. Make your characters memorable! Use descriptive steampunk details and weird tech - remember, being respected scientists you will be rich and have access to awesome technology!
6. Have fun!

And now, onto character creation.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here's the format for character creation. I will use an example NPC that I will be controlling to demonstrate.

Name and Title (pretty self-explanatory as to name, title is only applicable if you actually have one): Chief Constable Richard "Cruts" Cruddace

Occupation: Security Officer (Chief Constable of the ROC [Royal Office of Clockwork])

Occupations - READ THIS!


Age (self-explanatory): 31

Country of Origin (self-explanatory. If British, describe what part - England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, perhaps even a colony like India or South Africa): England

Appearance (self-explanatory; if you have any clockwork modifications or the like please describe them here): Richard is a tall, relatively thin man. His hair is short and neat, and he has a close-trimmed beard and mustache. He has a small scar across one eyebrow from his days in the Royal Army. He prides himself on his appearance and dresses in a fine uniform that he keeps immaculately clean. He lost an arm in the war, which he replaced with a fine clockwork replacement, wrought of brass, steel, and tiny gears. He keeps it polished to a shine. He wears a typical oraculum, and carries a sword that is ceremonial to his position.

Personality (self-explanatory): Richard is a very warm fellow who prides himself on manners and how others view him. He is a bid self-conscious of his own image and worries about how others view him. However, he does not let this get in the way of his duties. He follows orders to the letter and makes sure what he gets done is done correctly. He is no stick in the mud, however, and enjoys polite little jokes and idle small talk as much as any good Englishman.

Background (self-explanatory. If you are not British, you are for one reason or another not welcome in your home country; describe this here): Born to a small middle class family, Richard was raised in London as the city was beginning to be truly industrialized. He delighted in watching the city go from cloistered urban sprawl to modernized steam paridise, and he can firmly remember as a child wandering the streets in search of new devices and shops.

When he was 17, he enlisted into the Royal Army and served for a year in far-away Manchuria during the Boxer Rebellion. It was here that he lost his arm, and returned to England on account of his injuries. His family worried for him, but together they pitched in enough money to buy him a clockwork arm. The arm has served him diligently since then, and aside from the occasional small repair has functioned quite nicely.

Since his service, he applied into the ROC and worked his way up, slowly but surely, until he reached the position of Chief Constable two years ago. He desperately seeks to prove himself to his superiors, and he strives to make sure his track record reflects this.

So, to summarize your chart:

Name and Title:
Occupation:
Country of Origin:
Appearance:
Personality:
Background:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, that's about all I got. I will be accepting ten to start, but if more are interested they are welcome to join.

Cheers and let the fun begin!

And what shoulder, & what art. Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat, What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain? In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp, Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
When the stars threw down their spears, And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-02-11, 07:08 AM
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I quite like this, it reminds me of a game I used to play. I will put up a character tomorrow.



current win rates;
csm 3/1/1
daemons 1/0/0
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-02-11, 10:38 AM
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Name and title: Captain Logan Mountstuart

Occupation: Tactician

Age: 33

Country of origin: England

Appearance: A rather tall man of average build of his height. He has short to medium length brown hair, neatly slicked back and has an equally neatly trimmed gentleman's moustache. He has no clockwork replacements per se, but he does sport a golden mask that covers the left side of his face which was badly burned from one of the many coflicts he fought in. He has been described as having sharp and grim features which are accenuated by half his face concealed by his mask and having a scar running down from the top of his right cheek and all the way down his mouth. Even with all these unpleasant features, he is still considered attractive by most women. His allure to women is probably helped by his sharp, captivating yet rather unsettling, blue eyes.
He wears his Officer's uniform with chest swelling pride and keeps his appearance immaculate at all times. He is armed with an officer's sabre and a rather extravagant silver revolver.


Personality: A rather cold and reserved man, he cared not for the men under his command just so long as they did their duty to king and country. He had no qualms about sending men to their deaths, as long as he believes such sacrifices to be necessary.
Apart from his usual serious and stiff upper lip demeanour, he can be quite sarcastic and quick witted which can sometimes be quite a surprise to people who just meet him. He also has a rather bleak and dry sense of humour, where usually people are not sure whether to laugh or be shocked when he cracks a joke.


Background: He is from an affluent and aristocratic background. The Mountstuarts are famed for breeding fine officers for the monarchs army and Logan is no exception. From an early age he was instilled with patriotic pride and one quote that he lives by and has stuck all his life:

"There is no such thing as a sacrifice too large for Mother England."

He started his illustrious military career in the Boxer rebellion as a young officer but it would be in Africa where he would be famous for being a ruthless and efficient Officer. Two campaigns which made his name were the Second Boer war and the Anglo-Aro war. He was known to be unforgiving to the enemies of the Empire and relentless in the pursuit of his Mother land's cause.

From iron, cometh strength. From strength, cometh will. From will, cometh faith. From faith, cometh honour. From honour, cometh iron. This is the Unbreakable Litany, and may it forever be so.
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-02-11, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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Tyrranus, your character is A-OK.

Welcome to the Reserve

And what shoulder, & what art. Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat, What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain? In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp, Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
When the stars threw down their spears, And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-04-11, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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Come on people, let's see some other entries!

And what shoulder, & what art. Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat, What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain? In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp, Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
When the stars threw down their spears, And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-05-11, 08:24 AM
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Name and Title: Yuri Smelrtz

Occupation: Security Officer

Age: 24

Country of Origin: Russia

Appearance: Yuri has short brown hair which always seems to stand up. Hes average height but smaller slimmer build making him appearing as a child which matching his child-like face. Hes extremely pale from the constant cold winters and little sun light in Siberia where he was born. He has no clockwork or any other technological enhancements on his body. Yuri loves to wear his old tattered brown colored overcoat which has seen more winters then it should.

Personality:
Yuri's face is almost stuck in a constant small smile, even when he doesn't mean to or notice it. He doesn't like to see people sad or depressed and tries to cheer them up doing random and bizarre things hoping to see a smile on their face. Although though he tries very hard to make others happy he himself is quite depressed after the very harsh emotional and physical abuse of his father and the absence of his mothers love throughout much of his early life. He is quite shy but once open he does all he can to keep his friends happy as they're the only family hes ever really had. He can speak French, German, Russian and English although he still has a heavy Russian accent.

Background: Born in Siberia to a farmers family, his mother died when he was three years old which is also when his father left the farm life and became a merchant traveling the lands along with a small caravan. Despite moderate success as a merchant his father constantly spent most of the money on alcohol and women, abusing both, and in his fits of rage he often took out his anger on his own son. At the age of 9 they had arrived in Germany and purchased a small amount of land around the Rhine where they lived for 10 years living as farmers again. During that time Yuri had learned to speak French and German fluently and some English. Before his 20th birthday Yuri's father had become sick and suddenly died and learning about the many job opportunity's in England, he moved to London with the small amount of money he saved up from selling the farm and soon became a Security Officer for a small company where he remains to this day often being used as a translator, he has training in self-defense and boxing.

Last edited by Chocobuncle; 02-11-11 at 11:07 PM.
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-06-11, 04:23 AM
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Here he is, probably my most in-depth character I have ever created. Never played steampunk before, but it seems like it will be fun.


Name and Title: Jean-Antoine Paquette, aka: Jean-Antoine le Fainéant (Jean-Antoine the Lazy), or Paquette de Tapette (this is a play on words, and it basically means “Jean-Antoine is a faggot.”)

Occupation: Engineer

Age: 24

Country of Origin: France

Appearance: Jean-Antoine is a thin man of average height, with curly blonde hair and brown eyes. His only artificial appendages are the last three fingers on his right hand, which he lost in an accident involving a faulty piston in a tractor engine in South Wales. His face is charming and sensitive. His voice is rather deep and his front teeth are very crooked.

Personality: Jean-Antoine is a thinker. He enjoys pondering things, from the meaning of life to why certain people do certain things. He also has a passion for literature, but can’t write very well, so he has resigned himself to reading. Another interest of his is theatre, and he has always wanted to go to the Golden Globe Theatre to watch the best of Shakespeare and Monet, but he cannot afford it.

Jean-Antoine is a sensitive soul, and very lazy. His constitution is a bit fragile and he is weak. He is insecure and slightly awkward socially. He objects vehemently to physical labour and is never happy with his job, preferring it if he could just lie down in bed and think for the rest of his life.

Background: Jean-Antoine was the ninth of thirteen children in a large farming family. He was raised in a wine-farming community in the Loire Valley (A strip of fertile land in the West of France) and spent the majority of his adolescence there. Jean-Antoine received a small education at the local schoolhouse.
He was very unpopular. He was unsuited to the rigours of farming and was very unlike other boys in the village. His parents quickly nicknamed him Fainéant (Lazy), as he would never want to work, and wasn’t very good at it either.
The other children, though, were much crueler. Their nicknames often insinuated unknown facts about his sexuality (Paquette de Tapette) and mocked him for his feminine demeanour. This abuse lasted throughout Jean-Antoine’s childhood and well into his adolescence.
At 17, sick of his treatment and his life, Jean-Antoine left his hometown to go to Nantes. There he became apprenticed to an engineer, an employ he found more agreeable than grape harvesting. But he was still not satisfied with his lot in life, and resolved to move to England, based on rumours he had heard of its greatness.
Guided by dreams and wishful thinking, he set out by boat from Nantes, wandering north. Eventually, he wound up in the southern tip of England. From there, he followed misunderstood directions, and arrived in Barry (just underneath Cardiff) before his resources ran dry. So he resigned himself to staying there until he could make enough money to go to London.



"Employ your time in improving yourself by other men's writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for."
-Socrates
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-06-11, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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Chocobuncle and Initiate: your characters are both good.

Welcome to the Reserve

And what shoulder, & what art. Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat, What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain? In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp, Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
When the stars threw down their spears, And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-07-11, 02:28 PM
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Sounds interesting. I will get a character worked up sometime today mate.

Commissions, Project Logs, and Galleries
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 02-07-11, 05:14 PM
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Here's mine:

Name and Title:Sir Jeremiah McCully

Occupation:Armourer


Age:34

Country of Origin:
Ireland
Appearance: Jeremiah is a small, mousey man, with an unruly shock of bright red hair, vivid green eyes, and a rather hawkish nose. Standing right around 5’8” and weighing about 180 pounds he physical presence isn’t one that would warrant a second glance. That being said his presence doesn’t go unnoticed thanks to his air of confidence and his prodigious intellect. Having accumulated a considerable stockpile of money thanks to his services to the British Crown for his technological advancements in weaponry and weaponized robotic delivery systems during the African conflicts of late 1800’s, Jeremiah tends to dress in a manner consistent with his social status.

His odd appearance is on exacerbated by the odd technological mechanism that has been grafted to his back. This machine is a servo-harness with several small mechanical arms and a host of different tools and gizmos that assist Sir McCully in his work.

Personality: Despite his outward appearance Jeremiah is a man of exuberant personality. He is very chatty and tends to ramble on even if no one is listening. Even though he is highly intelligent he does not carry himself with an air of superiority, but quite the opposite. He is a teacher at heart and absolutely loves sharing his discoveries with all who would wish to learn.


Background: Born in
Ennis, Ireland in 1876 to a middle class merchant family, Jeremiah grew up around numbers, figures, and business. Throughout his childhood he demonstrated a sharp mind and uncanny grasp of science and math.

At the age of 16 he was shipped of to the University of Paris by his parents where he received a degree in mechanical science with top marks. From there he went to the University of London where he dabble in the science of the artificer, but soon found his true passion in the production of weapons. By the age of 22, Jeremiah found himself working for the British Army as one of the lead researchers and scientists in their weapons research department. Shortly there after he was commissioned by the military to create and teach the deployment of new clockwork and steam-powered weaponry for the conflicts that arose in the Crown’s African colonies. He work was so successful that he ended up earning a Knighthood and a healthy commission.

For the last decade, Jeremiah has been a professor at the Oxford University teaching theoretical applied physics and advanced steamwork technology, and for a lark intermediate French since he is fluent in the language. Being one who bores easily if not challenged, he jumped at the opportunity when approached by the Piston Reserve.

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