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The Flight of the Aetherfyre OOC [Permanently Open]

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OK, so here's a first stab at a "Permanently Open" RP, as proposed originally hereThis Roleplay is "New Player Friendly."  People new to this type of Role Playing Game are encouraged to join at any time, no matter how long this game has been in session.  The story will be divided into "Episodes" so that a new player joining will not have to read the entire RP to know what's going on.  A player should be able to get enough from reading the current Episode, or even just a few posts, to be able to step in with their new character.


Since this game is "New Player Friendly," standard RP rules that experienced players know by heart are listed here and explained in detail.  Please do not let the length of the rule list intimidate you.  It's actually easy, once you've got the hang of it.


The Game:


This game is a Steampunk adventure serial, set aboard the  H.M.S. Aetherfyre:




There will be some design elements for the ship that don't show up in this picture, but this has the general look of the vessel right. :)


The world is much like our own in the late 19th Century, but with some significant differences in technology that make it resemble the science fiction of the Victorian era more than the Victorian era itself.  There will be more unexplored areas (especially in the Pacific) than there were on our world at the time, and one cannot rule out the possible existence of Strange Phenomena, Weird Science, Lost Cities in the jungles, and perhaps there really are canals on Mars...


The Great Powers jockey for preeminence, each eager for the discovery of any new invention or ancient mystic artifact that can give them the edge. 


To the East, there is the Dreikaiserbund, also known as the Holy Alliance, between Prussia (imperial Germany under Kaiser Wilhelm II and Otto von Bismarck), the Russian Empire, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  The Dreikaiserbund seeks to preserve the traditional order of monarchy, aristocracy, and the authority of religion from the tide of democratic "radicalism" unleashed by the American and French revolutions.  The French Republic is allied with the Scandinavian nations to form the League of Democracies.  The League favors democratic government, though some of its members are constitutional monarchies.  Labor unions agitate for workers' rights in sometimes violent confrontation with the rising captains of industry.  Some League members are close to giving women the vote.  On the leading edge of progressive radicalism is Anarchist Spain, pursuing the revolutionary ideals of Emma Goldman and Pyotr Kropotkin.


Poised--some might say precariously--in the middle between the Holy Alliance and the League of Democracies is the world's preeminent power, the British Empire, where Queen Victoria sits enthroned over a fourth of the world's land surface, with her Royal Navy patrolling the seas while Her Majesty's Airship Corps watches from above.  Further to the West, the United States is an emerging continental empire and industrial power: neutral for the time being, but with obvious potential for upsetting the balance of power should it opt to do so.  


And in the far East, lands of mystery: the vast Central Kingdom of China, secretive, closed Japan, exotic Siam...populous, ancient nations who might one day make their own bids for world power.


Open Positions:


Ship's Officers:



First Officer

Chief Engineer


Marine Sergeant: This person is in charge of the ship's small compliment of Marines; a chief of security.

Kestrel Pilot(s): A Kestrel is a short-range ultralight aircraft used primarily for reconnaissance or to inspect the Aetherfyre in flight.

Ship's Doctor

Naturalist: Someone has to catalog the strange and exciting discoveries we make on our journeys...


Enlisted Crew:


Crew: There's lots of work that needs doing--everything from patching the gasbag to swabbing the decks and working the rigging... 

Marine: If it absolutely has to be destroyed before sun-up...

Cabin Boy/Girl: Attend to the needs of our passengers.  Customer Service is the Pride of the Blue Star Line!



Scullery Maid




From lords and ladies, to scientists and spies, to the lowliest stowaway, you'll find them aboard the Aetherfyre!





1. You may join at any time, no matter how long this game has been running.  To join, you can apply for an Open Position on the Aetherfyre's crew (see above) by posting your character bio (see below) or join the ship as a passenger.


2. Characters should be more or less normal humans.  While certain Mysterious Powers of the Mind, Revolutionary Discoveries of Science, or even Legendary Monsters such as Vampires or Werewolves may exist in this world, such things are more likely to be what the characters are up against, rather than characters.  In short, the GM reserves the right to veto anything that might make a character into a superhero.  This is not to say that a character cannot have a steam-powered mechanical arm or a talent for psychometry.  Just keep it within bounds, so that normal human characters are not seriously outclassed.  If you have an idea for a character that you really like, but you think it might violate this rule, feel free to PM me with the character's bio and I will try to help you get the character you want within the spirit of this rule.


3. No "God-moding."  "God-moding" is a general catch-all term that refers to usurping the prerogatives of the GM (Game Master--that's me; basically the game's referee) or of other players.  A player cannot do something like crash the Aetherfyre (without GM permission), kill or seriously injure another player's character, make another player's character have a crush on theirs, etc. without that player's permission, having your character know things they couldn't possibly know, and the like. 


To avoid "God-moding," write your post so that the result of your character's actions on another character are left open-ended.  For example: "Jake took a swing at Albert's face" or "Margaret leaned forward to kiss Ruprecht."  Either of these leaves an opening for the other player to allow the action ("Jack staggered back from the blow, slamming into the boiler"/"Ruprecht threw his arms around Margaret, holding her as the only thing in this world that kept him sane") or not ("Albert ducked, then threw a punch at Jake's gut"/"Ruprecht turned away before her lips could meet his.  'I...I can't...' he said.")


Another form of God-moding is to portray your character having knowledge and/or abilities that should be outside of their reach.  If your character is an uneducated cabin boy, he will not know how to fly the Aetherfyre, repair a sophisticated Clockwork Automaton, or be able to respond as if he knows what another character is thinking (if it's not apparent from facial expression), their past, something they said to another character when your character was not present, etc..


5. Don't be afraid to lose. One of the main temptations to God-moding is the perfectly natural desire to see our characters come out on top.  "My character is teh pwnzor!  RAWR!"  However, the best drama can often be found in facing defeat and failure.  A lesson from the School of Hard Knocks (whose colors are black and blue) can be a terrific opportunity for character development, and for you as a writer to improve your craft. 


6. No "One-Liner" posts.  Try your best to avoid "one-liner" posts containing only a single action or line of dialogue.  Include some description, your character's internal thoughts, etc. to fill out each post a little.  If your character is in a conversation with another and you're both having difficulty avoiding one-liners, you can do a Joint Post (JP):


7. Joint Posts:  A "Joint Post" happens when two or more players co-write a post via PM, Skype, an Instant Messenger, etc. (i.e., some place other than the RP's in-game thread).  A player writes their character's action or line of dialogue, then sends this to the other player(s) they are JP'ing with.  The other player(s) put in their responses, and send it back.  Then, once a few lines of dialogue or action are put together, one player agrees to edit and post the Joint Post to the in-game thread.  A JP should be identified as such with participating players' usernames listed prior to the in-character part of the post.  Something like "A Joint Post by Logos and Ambassidor."  This way, it is obvious that the person posting the JP is not God-moding with other players' characters.


Joint posts should not be too long.  If you and another player are having a conversation in a hallway, you should not JP more than two or three "back-and-forth" responses.  That way, other players have the option of having their character come down the hallway and encounter yours.  In other words, a JP that is too long can fence other players out.  On the other hand, a JP makes it possible for something like this:


"Hello Margaret," Jake said.


"Hello," Margaret replied, trying to hide the sadness in her voice.


"I hear you struck out with Ruprecht," Jake said.


"...He...does not fancy me."


"Well...he always seemed like a kindof a prat anyway.  Not worth your time if you ask me."


to be one post, rather than a series of one-liners. 


8. Leaves of Absence (LOA's) and Leaving the Game:


If you are going to be unable to post for some extended period of time (going on vacation, etc.), please post in this thread to let other players know when you will leave and when you will come back.  If you have time, try to "write your way out" of conversations, etc. before you leave so that the game can continue while you are away, and other players' characters are not stranded until you return.


If you will be leaving the game--especially if your character is one of the Ship's Officers or is in any other central or leadership role--you will need to write an exit for your character.  They can retire, get transferred to another ship, get eaten by a Sky Kraken, whatever.  Also, post that you will be leaving in this thread.  This will give the GM the opportunity to move another character into your character's position.  You may also turn your character over to the GM to use as an NPC ("Non-Player Character") or give them to another player (they then become the property of the other player).  The GM has the right to remove an NPC from the game in order to make their position available to a new player character.  Players may apply for an NPC's position at any time (it is treated as an open position). 


If you are tired of a character but would like to stay in the game, you may write that character out of the game or give him/her to the GM or another player as if you were leaving, then post a bio for your new character.


9. Multiple Characters:


You may play more than one character in this game.  However, if you are new to this sort of Roleplaying Game, it is best to start out with only one or two characters until you get the hang of it.  Try not to have more characters than  you can keep up with.  The GM reserves the right to disapprove further additional character bios from a player with more than one character.


10. Posting Frequency and Patience:


If possible, I would like to encourage players to try to post at least once a week for each character they control.  Ideally, a "critical mass" of active posters posting once a week for their characters will help sustain player interest.  Currently, the Roleplay Games section is operating very slowly, so this rule will not (yet) be strictly enforced.  However, if a player has not posted in a a month or so without an announced LOA (this period may shortened with prior notice if we get enough active players who don't want to be held up), the GM reserves the right to take over a character and write for them if other players are waiting on that character.  No guarantees are offered that an 'abandoned' character taken over in this manner will survive the experience.


The other side of the coin: Please be patient with your fellow players, and they will return the favor.  Real Lifetm has a habit of getting between us and our beloved RP's, so be willing to wait a week or more for other players to reply.  If you've got abundant time and want to have "something to do" in the Roleplay Section at all times, it's a good idea to join--or start!--more than one Roleplay and/or have more than one character, so that if one character is stuck waiting for someone's reply, you can post for another character and/or in another game.


11. Posting Format:


Please write your posts in standard English (i.e., no "text-speak," using "u r" for "you are" or "ur" for "your" and the like).  Please use the third person point of view (e.g.: Jake saw Margaret standing at the other end of the catwalk.  I should try to talk to her, he thought, feeling his heart skip a beat.  With an effort of will, he overcame his nervousness and headed her way.  "Hello, Margaret," he said) rather than something like first person POV (e.g.: I saw Margaret standing at the other end of the catwalk...).


Out of Character ("OOC") posts:


Most OOC posting should be done in this thread.  Posts where you are role-playing as your character will go in the In-Character ("IC") thread.  It is OK to put a small OOC bit into an IC post if necessary for clarification, but this should be kept to a minimum so that flow of the story in the IC thread is not disrupted.  Example:


Jake saw a mysterious woman standing in the shadows at the end of the catwalk.  Cautiously, he approached her.  "Top o' the mornin' to you, ma'am," he said, touching the brim of his hat.


OOC: He is talking to Margaret.


The OOC there is used to make sure that Margaret's player knows Jake is talking to Margaret, if the situation in the game is ambiguous, i.e., there is more than one character who might be seen as a "mysterious woman" standing near a catwalk.



12. Character Bio Format:


Name: (The character's name)



Appearance: (A picture or description of the character, preferably a picture)

Personality: (Describe your character's personality, quirks, likes, hates, etc.)

Bio: (Your character's personal history.  This should include a plausible basis for any special skills, knowledge, abilities, devices, artifacts, etc. that the character possesses.  Have fun with this, it's your character's story!  Also, feel free to ask the GM for help.)

Position: (The position your character will have aboard the Aetherfyre.  This can be one of the Open Positions for the ship's crew, or a Passenger.)


You may also include:


Other: Any important facts about your character that don't fit into the other categories.  A description of the abilities and limitations of your character's mechanical arm could go here; so could a list of allergies, or the fact that your character has a book written in code given to her by her uncle just before he was murdered, which she doesn't know how to decode...




To "apply" to join this game, just post a character bio in this thread.  Once the GM has replied with an approval, you may start posting in the In-Game thread.  The GM may respond to you via PM with some suggested changes to make prior to approval.  This will almost always be something like a request to dial down "overpowering" (such as if your character bio describes them as having an Iron Man suit), or fix details that don't fit with the setting (such as if you describe your character wearing a T-shirt and sneakers).  It may also include something like, "Hey, since your character studied at Berlin Polytechnik, would you like for him to have known my character Ingrid, since she also studied there at about the same time?"  A suggestion like that would not affect a bio's approval, but it might mean you'll need to edit your bio (and the GM would probably edit Ingrid's) if you agree. 



13. The Uber-Rule: HAVE FUN!




The Steampunk Name Generator


Some character pictures to inspire ideas


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Name: Andrew MacAllister

Age: 18

Gender: Male







Andrew is the "strong, silent type."  He works hard, stays out of trouble, and takes care of his little brother.  He enjoys tinkering and working with his hands.  He loves flying and travel, and has come to see the Aetherfyre as his true home.  He is resourceful and practical.  He hasn't given much thought to love, and doesn't really expect it to be a factor in his life for the foreseeable future.  He doesn't want to be a "girl-in-every-port" type like most of the other unmarried airmen, but he doesn't have nearly enough money to "buy a house with land, marry, and settle down" either.  What money he can save, he saves to buy books for his little brother, and hopefully put him through college one day.




Andrew grew up in poverty as the son of a coal miner.  His mother died of consumption (tuberculosis) when he was five.  It was pretty much assumed that he'd follow his father and older brother into the mines when he got old enough.  Reading tales of airships, explorers, and distant lands made him dream of getting as far away from the gritty little coal miners' shantytown as he could.  This urge grew even stronger as when it became apparent to him that his little brother Michael was a genius.  It was no longer just about his own dreams, but also about offering Michael a broader horizon.  Andrew's father had never known anything other than life in the mines, and he was too indebted to the company store to take his sons and leave.  For him, coal mining was the family tradition, and his middle son's escapist fantasies felt like a rejection of everything he was, of the life of hard work he'd given to try and provide for his family.  He and Andrew had many arguments about Andrew's dreams of another life. 


Andrew developed an interest in and talent for mechanics, and was able to make a little extra money for the family doing repair work and salvage.  Teaming up with Michael, with his book knowledge about science and brilliance at finding ways to use it, the pair were able to craft jury-rigged inventions and contraptions for the townsfolk.  Even so, the time was drawing near for Andrew to sign on with the mining company.     


A year and a half ago, Andrew's father and older brother were killed in a mine collapse.  The company's stingy payout was not even enough to pay off the family's debts.  Rather than sign a work contract, Andrew took Michael and fled in the dark of night.  They arrived in London as paupers, but there were libraries there.  Michael's quick mind soaked up enough knowledge about airships that he was able to coach Andrew through the process of becoming an apprentice mechanic aboard the H.M.S. Aetherfyre.


Though Andrew now has the adventurous life he'd always dreamed of, he feels guilty for the way it came at the expense of his father's and elder brother's lives.


Position: Apprentice Mechanic (serves under the Chief Engineer)



Name: Michael MacAllister

Age: 8

Gender: Male







Michael is extremely precocious.  He doesn't miss a thing.  Confident and curious to a fault, he won't hesitate to get into mischief--only in the interests of Science, of course.  He loves books, especially if they're about science, math, philosophy, the wonders of the world, or tales of adventure.  He is not the least bit shy, and will talk to adults--even scholars and scientists--as an equal.  Together with his older brother, he loves to try to put the scientific concepts he reads about to practical use, and concoct experiments to push the frontiers of his knowledge.  While his brother speaks with a workingman's Scottish brogue, Michael has picked up a scholar's British accent and mannerisms by imitation.




As a toddler, Michael was the kind who got into everything.  With their mother gone, and father and eldest brother in the mines, it fell to Andrew to be Michael's main caregiver.  Andrew wasn't much of a student himself, and having his little brother as a tag-along in school didn't help.  Michael was such a handful that when he was three, Andrew decided to try and teach him to read, in a desperate hope that books might keep the boy busy long enough for Andrew to catch a break.  The project worked far better than Andrew had anticipated.  With the mysteries of written language unlocked, Michael not only read voraciously, he started paying attention in Andrew's classes.  By the time he was five, he was helping Andrew with his high school homework. 


Then, he started helping Andrew with his fix-it projects, and coming up with new ideas.  He would come up with the design for some new contraption or a way to improve on something they were repairing, and Andrew would put his mechanical and craft skills to work trying to produce the reality.  Not all of these schemes worked, but enough did that Andrew dedicated himself to finding some way to provide Andrew with educational opportunities beyond what a coal miners' shantytown could offer.


Aboard the Aetherfyre, Michael learns from whatever textbooks Andrew can afford to purchase for him, and avails himself of every opportunity to glean knowledge from the ship's crew and passengers.  He shares Andrew's billet, and has become something of a mascot for the ship.


Position: Passenger, "ship's mascot."



Name: Senli Hsiang

Age: 17

Gender: Female



In her traditional hanfu:




Work clothes:




Cold weather gear:







Senli is very quiet and mysterious.  Not only does she almost never speak, she moves silently, with such subtle grace and balance that she often seems to appear and disappear like a spirit.  Her face offers almost no clue as to what is going on inside.  She obeys her orders without protest, yet never shows fear of her "betters," even when they yell at her or mistreat her.  When she has free time, she will either read, or seek solitude so she can practice her martial arts or play haunting melodies on her flute.




Senli was abandoned on the steps of a Buddhist convent as a baby.  She was raised by nuns, and taught Wushu, Tai Chi, and Wing Chun martial arts, including the use of the jian (Chinese longsword) and staff, along with other traditional arts such as calligraphy and the flute.  When she was 15, a corrupt Qing magistrate claimed that the convent was a hotbed of sedition, but what he really wanted was to pillage it and sell the women into slavery and prostitution.  He attacked with a military detachment, and in the chaos, Senli escaped.  


She began a career as a youxia, a wandering righter of wrongs.  In addition to fighting ordinary criminals like bandits and opium dealers, she began a patient, subtle campaign against the magistrate.  One by one, she exposed the corrupt dealings of his political allies, and got them removed from power or dealt with them herself.  Finally, the magistrate himself was brought down.  However, he had placed a high bounty on her, and a gang of martial artist assassins had offered to capture her for him.  They tracked her down and overpowered her, but when they brought her in, the magistrate was gone, and with him, the promised bounty.  Hoping to get at least something for her and get rid of her for good at the same time, they sold her to foreigners who would take her far away from China: the Blue Star Airship Line.


Senli was placed aboard the Aetherfyre as a scullery maid and general "doer of dirty work."  She was often mistreated and is generally viewed as inferior by most of the white people aboard the ship.  For awhile, there was an old engineer who had taken a liking to her, since she reminded him of a granddaughter who had died while he was away on the ship.  Seeing her shivering in the high-altitude cold while cleaning the cargo bay, he gave her one of his coats and a pair of goggles.  He has since retired, so Senli is alone again.


Recently, she was "promoted" to cabin girl.


Position: Cabin Girl.

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*Fan Girl squeal* Yay, STEAMPUNK! Classic Logos=)

If it is alright I would like to reserve the position of Naturalist. I can write my profile tonight or maybe tomorrow morning. Also I might make a passenger and, depending on how many players we have, a crew member or an additional officer. If someone else was dying to be a naturalist as well then we could share the position or you could be my characters apprentice or something along those lines=)

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Lovely game and excellent set of rules! (A good reference for new kids. I actually might recommend getting them or something similar stickied to the top of the forum). I'll try to get a bio up after I get caught up in Dead Beats (so perhaps Friday... darn that Real Lifetm). I'm thinking a female Krestel pilot / mechanic type character (although I don't want to overshadow Andrew so probably more pilot) but don't wait around for me if someone else wants it. ^_^


Gah. I really should just stick with one but I'm quite tempted to revive a couple old and very much missed characters as well...! We shall see..

Edited by Marley

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Pinned. I think I'm going to pass on this one though because life is rough and I'm way behind in the three other rps here.

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I made my character profile but then the website randomly glitched and lost it.  :sad:  :thumbdn:  :cursing:

I'm not sure when I'll have time to write it again, maybe Thursday night or Friday. 

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Name: Cecelia (Cece) Hawthorne

Age: 27

Gender: Female




With this outfit:




Personality: Cece has a great love of living and learning. She loves her work and is always boisterous but she is quite firey when she believes something should be done a certin way. She loves the company of people but prefers silence when she is cataloging. She is a free spirit and enjoys wandering around the world and the Aetherfyre at will. She loves making and keeping friends, but is emotionally sensitive and easily hurt. But that only encourages her to do things her own way.


Bio: Cecelia is the youngest of five daughters from the wealthy and well endowed Hawthorne family. Her mother's father is a wealthy banker who married her off to his equally wealthy associate.  Jane, the eldest, beautiful, competitve, the best at everything; Mary, quiet, bookish, meek; Amelia, tomboyish, radical, obsessed with gagets and engeneering; Victoria, good-natured, girlish, optimistic, loving; Cecelia, beloved, firey, stubborn, nature-loving.The five girls were raised in luxury and style, and given the best education money could buy. They were provided with a thorough education in dancing, drawing, history, the languages and the sciences. Cecelia especially loved the sciences, especially zoology and botany. As a young girl she spent many long days roaming the grounds of the family's estate studying creatures great and small and collecting plant cuttings before trapsing back, covered in dirt and grass stains with her blonde curls askew. She was so adement about her hobby that her father hired an apprentice of the country's leading botanist to personally instruct her day to day. Atherton became not only her teacher but her friend especially as the manor grew quieter and quieter as each of her sisters were married off. 


On her 18th birthday father announced that Atherton's instruction would no longer be required because it was time for Cecelia to outgrow her hobby and focus on more important things; like coming out into society, focusing on being a young lady and learning the duties of a wife. Cecelia was distraught at loosing her friend and her lifelong botanist passion. She fought her father on the matter and sought to continue doing things as she wished--she wanted to continue her studies and put them to use in the world somehow. Her father delared it nonsence saying that a young woman such as herself need only marry well to secure her future and could then find fullment in her social standing and then as a wife and mother. Unfamilliar with any other way of life, and to unexperienced branch off on her own, Cecelia followed her parents wishes and attended finishing school, mingled at parties and batted her eyes at sutiors; but all the while she was sneaking off to continue on in every sort of scientific study. She even attended university to take classes on animal physiology. 


Cecelia didn't mind putting on a happy face to mingle in society, as long as she was able to keep educating herself on the side. She even enjoyed the time socializing, exchanging banter with her father's collegues and laughing behind her teeth at some of her mother's stuffy friends. And then her father introduced her to Jules, a young man with many of her same intrests, who intended to lecture at university. Jules, an only child, and Cecelia, the last child in her household, soon became fast friends and Cecelia once again had somone to pass the time with outside of her classes. Her father also was pleased that he had found her a lighthearted man who shared her old hobbies of zoology and botany. Her father made arrangements with Jules' family for the two to be wed. When Cecelia found out she was outraged beyond words--for about two seconds. Then she began shouting at her father, much to the dismay of Jules, who was in the same room. Her father was confused and riled at her refusal to marry the young man she liked so much. Cecelia was annoyed at her father once again swooping in and trying to plan out her life differently than she would have it. They argued untill, exasperated, Cecelia said she couldn't drop everything to marry because she was about to graduate from university. Her father was outraged and hurt that she would do something like this behind his back. After several chilly days in the manor, her father decided that the wedding would be posponed untill after the graduation.


Silently fuming, Cecelia could do nothing but once again follow her parents wishes. She wished to get out from under a whole society of people who tried to shape her differently than she wanted, but did not know a way. She was at the top of her graduating class, and at the graduation her father introduced her to the captin of the HMS Aetherfyre, who had come seeking a naturalist to document the life the ship came across. Cecelia  convinced him that her father would love for her to aquire the experiance and the rest was history. She boarded the ship and has not looked back since. She feels terrible for leaving her family and abandoning Jules but she is overjoyed and fulfulled using her skills in the real world. She has been aboard for 4 years.


Position: Naturalist/Herbalist


Other: Cece has been sucessuful in engeneering a small greenhouse on board, which she does all her work from. The greenhouse supports a modest number of herbs, fruits and vegetables which she caters to the doctor and cook, respectively. 

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