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Author Topic: War on the Frontier (steampunkish, victorian sci-fi) recruitment thread  (Read 539 times)

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Online IrishWolfTopic starter

In 1845, the Scottish inventor Alexander Brodie creates what he deemed an “ether propeller”, which when combined with a large steam engine can lift a vehicle into the air and out into space. By 1850, he had attempted two voyages to the moon (both ending in failure do to thinning atmosphere), gained investors from the British East India Company and outfitted a sealed “airship”. In January of 1851, his trip to the moon proved to be a success but the moon turned out to be an airless rock.

The trip however was used to convince his investors that travel to other planets was possible and by 1852, two small “spaceships” (renamed at the request of the investors) had been outfitted for a voyage to Mars. This expedition, launched in 1853, was forced to turn back, roughly half way to their destination. Shoddy boilers, unexpected steering errors and the general mind set of the crews left the ships stranded for several weeks, only to return home to Earth, half starved and nearly mad. They did however report an unknown planet, witnessed appearing around the sun and on the same planetary track as the Earth itself. This twin planet was named Ceto by the captain of the second spaceship and the first to see it, Roger Pullman.

After refitting the spaceships, a third voyage was launched but this time it was headed to Ceto, not Mars. They retuned late in the year 1855, baring great news. The planet was reachable, had a breathable atmosphere and was brimming with life. However, by this time, copies of the plans for the Ether Propeller had been stolen and sold to the great powers of the day: France, Russia and German Confederation (the Kingdom Prussia to be exacted). The race for colonial control of this new territory, and those to be found on other planets was on.

Within ten years, three continents on Ceto had been mapped and carved into several colonies. The largest landmass (roughly one and a half times the size of Africa), named Sulenia, has been divided between France in the north and Britain in south, with a large number of islands off the western coast belonging to Prussia. A small number of colonies are scattered along the edge of these territories, forcing the native populations of sentient beings towards the inner wilds

On August 9th of 1886, the main colonial defenses from the British holdings, the first and second battalions of the East Yorkshire Regiment, nearly 2,500 men strong, were ordered to march from the garrisons along the French border, to the main port of New Bedford, on the south tip of Sulenia. The second battalion made it overland unmolested and was able to depart for Mars, to aid in putting down a rebellion by native Martians. The second column, the first battalion, was not so lucky.

While marching through the Tulankni grasslands, the column was ambushed by the army of the Kajmar Grand King, Iskeso. Nearly 1,500 men lost, along with score of guns and wagons of supplies. Farms along the edge of the colonies and Kajamr territories came under attack, as fear of British reprisal disappears.

Alright, so the whole point of this roleplay is going to be the British Colonial Powers attempting to reestablish control over Southern Sulenia. Now the main protection and enforcement unit, the East Yorkshire Regiment, has left the planet or now lay out on the Tulankni grasslands, bloating in the sun, so the call for the Sulenia Native Contingent has been put out. The SNC is composed of Earther farmers formed into irregular cavalry and native levies under the command of an Earther officer.We will be using the Second Battalion of the SNC. Like in Colonial Africa, native troops will not be issued firearms or uniforms (other then red arm and head bands). However, human members with the SNC aren't guaranteed rifles upon muster and should bring their own firearms. As for uniforms for humans, nothing more then light blue jackets , with red strips await them at their assigned armories, if the shipments made it there.  I will also accept characters that are adventurers, explorers, fleeing colonists or big game hunters that have gotten trapped on Ceto.

(a small selection)

Ruuma Grass: this fast growing native plant to Ceto can grow to be nearly ten feet in diameter beneath the ground and sprouts hundreds of blade-like leaves that can grow over three feet tall, resembling grass. A patch of long stemmed flowers, with bright purple petals, can always identify the center of the plant and mark the location of tubers, numbering between one and five. The tubers, called Ruuma Potatoes, vary in size, ranging between the size of a small potato when young and the size of a large pumpkin. Unlike most planets, the tubers continue growing for more then one season and only stop after the parent plant has died, to begin a new plant.

The tuber is edible but it’s flavor changes over the years. When small, the tuber has a smooth texture when boiled and a sweet taste. As it ages, the texture changes to a starchier, floury one and the taste become bitter.

Sulenia Plum: this trees can grow up to twelve feet tall, with thin, gnarled trucks and limbs. The bark is almost paper-thin, black in color and nearly oozes pheromones that make the bumpy, purplish fruit seem irresistible to nearly every animal but the Kumma Ants. Once eaten, the fruit causes hallucinations and a slow, painful death. After the carrier had died, the five small seeds in the fruit use the nutrients from the rotting corpse to germinate. Because of its reproduction method, The Sulenia Plum has gained the name, Death Tree.

There are many different species of mushroom found on Ceto, some poisonous, others not. Poisonous ones tend to be patterned, and brighter in color, having spots cover their cap; whereas the edible mushroom tend to be brown, grey and white in color. Their volva’s sit in the soil (the fungus); where mycelial threads are attached that can cover long distances (thousands of meters) underground; to find water. Though common, it tends to be after rainfall that the fruity body, (the mushroom) seems to sprout up. The size of the actual mushroom can change from the size of a grape, to the size of a baseball in height and width.

Both stalk and cap are edible raw or cooked having a stringy; rubbery texture to them. If making the mistake and eat a poisonous one, things could become fatal. A list of the poisonous and edible ones below.

Ground Grapes: This is an edible mushroom that is dark brown in colour. They tend to be small, the size of grapes and not much bigger. These can be poisonous if not cooked right, for humans; but to animals, they can counter-act the toxic fluids of this mushroom when eaten raw. Both stalk and cap of this mushroom are edible. When cooked it has a rough, crispy texture. The fluids within the mushrooms can be distilled into a strong drink.

Old Grey Hat: This mushroom is edible whether cooked or raw. There are no toxic fluids within it, which makes it safe to eat. It has a grey cap and a black stalk, the dull colors telling animals that it is safe to be eaten. When eaten raw, it has a smooth stringy texture; when cooked it’s a juicy, rubbery taste.

Edible Toadstool: This is a deceiving mushroom that mimics the looks of a poisonous mushroom to avoid been picked and eaten. The stalk and cap is bright green, and the cap has various purple spots on it (much like the Ruuma Grass Edible Toadstool: This is a deceiving mushroom that mimics the looks of a poisonous mushroom to avoid been picked and eaten. The stalk and cap is bright green, and the cap has various purple spots on it (much like the Ruuma Grass flower color). This mushroom is edible both raw and cooked and has the same taste as (the above mushroom) when eaten cooked or raw.

Deathcap: This mushroom is extremely poisonous and most animals dare not eat it. A bright red stalk and cap indicates danger. In the middle of the cap, there is a black dot in the shape of a rugby ball, which is another danger indicator. If eaten, this plants toxic juices start to burn at the digestive system, and cause internal bleeding, if not seen by a medic, toxics can be fatal.

Gullible Grey: Another poisonous mushroom, this one is also deceiving. It looks more like an edible mushroom, pure white in color, with grey spots on the cap. This mushroom often gets mistaken for an edible mushroom. Its toxic effects aren’t very poisonous though, and those that are fooled, often survive. Effects from eating the mushroom tend to be sickness, diarrhea, and sometimes blistering of the skin. If blistered skin appears, treatment can be found from the Ruuma Grass flower.

Savannah Fur: This moss like flora tends to cover rocks. Eaten by small insects and both small and large animals, it grows in a net like way and feels fury to touch. In the winter/cold seasons the moss tends to be a dark green; the summer/hotter weather making it a lighter green. Moss can cover whole rocks and stones, giving a carpet effect

(small selection)

Avians Titanis: this large flightless bird, standing at around ten feet tall when full grown, is one of the rulers of the grasslands. One of the first things that one might notice about the predator is the massive beak, nearly eighteen inches long, heavy, curved like an eagle’s and big enough to swallow a good-sized dog with. However, that beak is not the bird’s main weapon but its heavily muscled legs and large feet, used to kick and trample prey.

A typical coloring for the La Cassowary (the bird’s name in the native tongue but most Earthers call them big birds) is a light tan color for the feathers, with deep blue scales covering the lower legs and feet. Male generally have a large bony crest on the top of the heads, covered in a purple colored skin

Atrox Caelum Balaena: this strange predator is a unique wonder of Ceto. In both is common name and scientific name mean Skywhale (although the scientific name comes to Terrible Sky Whale). The body shape of this creature roughly resembles that of the Pilot Whale of Earth with long extended jaws lined with wicked teeth. They can grow up to sixty feet long but most only make forty, with blue-grayish skin. Three pairs of wings extend off of the body, each one measuring nearly thirty feet long. Each wing is made of long, thin bones and covered in a membrane of skin, much like those of a bat. The tail of the Skywhale is also structured like the wings.

The whales keep themselves afloat with a mixture of hollow bones, like those of birds and large helium filled bladders. Bacteria in the stomach of the beasts produce the gas that fills those bladders.

These hunters of the sky feed on just about anything they can catch, ranging from grazers on the plain, to the roaming bands of Kajmar or Chojaja and later on in their lives, the largest of the vast beasts spend the remainder of their lives scooping great marine reptiles from the sea. Their lifespan is unknown but it lasts at least sixty years.

Something interesting about these massive mammals, their flesh turns rancid within half an hour of dying and they’re skin are nearly intannable. The corpses of the Skywhale however are one of the greatest gatherings of Kumma Ants.

Kumma Ant: not a true ant, this insect-like scavenger has four body segments. The first is the head, with scissor-like jaws. The second and third each have a pair of legs attached. The forth and final segment carries a large stinger. They reach sizes compairable with that of the hissing cockroach of Earth. Unlike the ants of earth, these ants rang in color from dark green of the workers, to a bright red of warriors and a light bluish of a queen.

Kumma Ants live in massive underground colonies, marking the entrances with large mounds of dirt. While they are scavengers by nature, if the colony hasn’t gotten enough food, they will swarm anything that comes near, biting and stinging until the animal is dead.

Greenback: often called the Elephant of Ceto, these massive lizards roam across the savannah in small groups, normally numbering around four individuals. Of these groups, the most common are of a female and her young. After leaving their mother, males will come together but will go their separate ways once the first rut comes over them (least they kill each other). The largest males can reach fourteen feet tall, five feet wide and can weigh over 18,00 pounds. A leathery hide covers the beasts, save on their backs, where four rows of dinner plate sized scales of deep, glistening green scales grow. One unusual and profitable trait these creatures have are their teeth, which are both large and the color of jade, making for a very valuable form of ivory.

Ralaia: a form of indigenous cattle, the Ralaia are herding grazers for the most part. Nearly all of their diet is composed of Ruuma Grass with a number of other plants and a small amount of meat. Opportunistic, these cattle have canines and will eat any carrion they find (or make, should the herd trample a would-be predator).

They stand at seven feet tall at the shoulder but their heads normally don’t push pasted the five-foot mark. Body length ranges from nine feet to twelve, with a four-foot tail. A massive dewlap hangs from chin to between the front legs of both sexes. Normal fur coloration ranges from black to dark brown to gray. Both sexes have a large set of horns that curve inwards. The bulls have a second set of horns, which shoot straight up between the first pair.

Yijesh: these insect eating mammals stand at roughly five feet tall, with a hunched over posture. Their bodies could be described as a mating gone wrong between an ape and a bear, with the head of a horse. Their fur is normally a dull brown color, with large black strips running down it’s back. The rear legs are short and powerful, carrying most of the creature’s weight. The front legs are very long and tipped with large, dull curved claws, making them walk upon their front knuckles.

Those claws are used for digging into the colonies of Kumma Ants and other round dwelling insects. Once into a colony, the Yijesh will use a thin, eight-foot long tongue to invade the tunnels, a sticky saliva catching and trapping any of the ants it touches. From time to time, they will also dig up Ruuma potatoes and use their claws to break the tuber into manageable pieces for it’s few teeth to handle.

When threatened, they will stand up straight on their hind legs and used those curved claws to slash at the attacker.

Sentient species
Kajmar: One of two races on Ceto that could be the inspiration for the centaur, the Kajmar (often called Lionos or Cats by Earther colonists) could best be described as a human torso attached to the shoulders of a lion. The ‘lion’ parts of they’re body are covered in normally tan (although black and white coloration does appear in roughly 10 percent of the population but these colors are not desirable and considered ugly), extending into a strip of the ‘human’ back and covering the head in place of hair.

The front legs of a Kajmar end in a pair of paws that are shaped like and can be used like pseudo-hands. These extra digits often come into play during ritualized combat and in warfare. On average, the members of this race stand over six and a half feet tall and nearly eight feet long (not counting the tail, which can be three feet). They’re ‘human’ skin normally takes on the hue of dark bronze coloration. Unlike Human and Chojaja females, Kajmar females have two pairs of breasts, one right under the other, with the lower pair being slightly smaller then the top.

The Kajmar live in semi-nomdic tribes, ranging in number from ten to twenty males, headed by a prince and up to six times the number of females. Up to five these small band pay homage to an overlord, called kings, whom live in permanent dwellings and have tribute of weapons and food delivered to them. A King’s band can consist of well over fifty males and at least eight times as many females. Until the arrival of the British and other Earthers, this system worked fine and only small-scale wars between the kingdoms were waged. Males served as warriors, while females hunted or served as craftwomen. It should be noted however, females do follow their males to war, even though they avoid combat, unless their are caring for young.

After the forces of the British Empire removed several kingdoms from the coast and the mountain range that divides Sulenia, one ambitious king, named Iskeso, forged the remaining kingdoms into the Grand Nation of the Kajmar, lead by the Grand King Iskeso, of course. There are however, kings and prices that do not wish to submit to the Grand King and have openly sided with the Earther colonies, either because they believe that they are the new power or because of old rivalries.

Clothing is considered an ornamental option by the Kajmar, much like necklaces and rings, which means its not worn all that often. Belts with pouches however are normally worn by both sexes, along with a saddlebag-like setup worn just behind the front legs, within reach of their hands.

Chojaja: the second sentient native species of the Sulenia continent, the Chojaja (called Chos by Earther colonists when polite or Horseboys (Horsegirls) when insulting) and the more centaur-like. Where the Kajmar are a man and a lion mashed together, the Chojaja are the strange combination of man and zebra. On average, the ‘zebra’ parts are covered in white fur with a random pattern of black strips and spots, each one unique to the Chojaja that has it. Form time to time, a child will be born with a pure black or pure white coat. Such individuals are considered to be the most beautiful and to use the modern term, sex symbols.

All four of their legs end in a hard hoof, perfect for breaking bone with a single kick, unlike the Kajmar’s pseudo-hands. Their ‘human’ torso has a slightly lighter tone then those of the Kajmar and has human hair upon the crown. They also do not have the strip of fur running up their backs. As a general rule, the Chojaja stand at around seven feet tall (from head to hoof, with three and a half to four between hoof and rump) and nine feet long, with a foot and a half tail.

Before the arrival of the British, this centaur race traveled the plains and mountains in nomadic family groups, ranging in number from ten to a few hundred. They were always harassed by local Kajmars bands, in an undeclared war of mutual hatred, with both males and females serving as warriors. After the arrival of the British, French and other Great Powers, many continued this nomadic life but find a degree of safety within patrolled Earther Colonies or settled somewhat to work on their farms. However, with this safety, comes the tight control of colonial rule.

Also, like the Kajmar, the Chojaja find clothing to be ornamental. The greatest humiliating and insulting thing that can be done to a Chojaja is for an Eaerther to put a saddle over their backs and riding them like a horse.

I am still looking for more plants and animals and if you think you’ve got a good one, post it here or send me a PM.

The native people of Ceto were in the just getting into the Bronze Age when Earthers arrived. As such, most of their weapons were bronze spears, knives and bronze arrowheads. Since the arrival of Earthers, they have gotten steel weapons but not much more then that. The typical warrior for both races is armed with a few long throwing spears, a short hafted but long bladed thrusting spear, a knife and an oval Ralaia hide shield.

Character Profiles

Code: [Select]



[b]Sexuality [/b]:


[b]Rank[/b]: (military rank or civilian profession)



[b]View towards Earthers/Natives[/b]:


Name: Edwin Rowley

Age: 29

Gender: male

Sexuality : Heterosexual

Race: human

Rank: Major

Appearance: not a giant among men, Edwin stands around a good five feet and eight inches tall or a little taller depending on what pair of brown Ralaia leather boots he's wearing at the time. Shortly cut, wavy blond hair covers the top of his head, with a matching, if thin, mustache across the top of his lip. A pair of light blue eyes peer around a thin, slightly hooked nose. He's not a vastly over muscled oaf, nor thin as a rail but a comfortable in between, leaning a little towards the thinner side of the scale, with the look of a man born in the saddle. His tan skin is only broken on his torso, which is covered with pale scars, from a grapple he engaged in as a young man with a Kajmar.

He normally dresses in a brown trousers, leather boots, a white shirt and brown jacket, with a slouched hat perched on his head.

Weapons: saber, double rifle, John Adams revolver

View towards Earthers/Natives: respectful neutral

Bio: Edwin's father, Thomas Rowley was an EIC Colonel, serving in the Punjab, in command of Sikh troops when the Sepoy Rebellion broke out in 1857. His unit served loyally during the siege of Delhi and the retaking of Lucknow. After the East India Company was dissolved in 1858, Thomas took his son Edwin, his wife and a large number of Sikh volunteers to travel to the British Colonies in Ceto, near the mountainous border with French holdings. Luckily for him, their new lands were in the futile foothills, rather then the mountains themselves, leading to a thriving homestead, of relatively happy settlers and natives.

From that time on, Ed became the son of a farmer, rather then a soldier (although the Sikh's still called Thomas the Colonel). Of course, he wasn't working the fields very much, if at all, most supervising the working Indians and a band of local Chos that lived nearby, in the growing of Ruuma Potatoes and herding of Ralaia cattle. When not doing farm work, he and his father would go out hunting, mostly for the large predatory birds but now and then for Greenbacks or once to drive away a marauding Skywhale. As he grew older, he more and more often went out alone to hunt.  On one such trip, he was surprised by a rogue Kajmar male and mauled badly, just barely recovering from his wounds. Once it was clear his son would survive, the elder Rowley tracked down the Kajmar, only to found that the Liono had died of his wounds.

On his eighteenth birthday, Thomas bought Edwin a commission in the SNC, as a major, hoping that one day he son would follow in his own footsteps, as an officer. However, with the presence of regular troops to keep the natives peaceful, there never was much of a reason to even drill the SNC's second battalion, never mind for it's officers to lead the troops in the field.  When the call for the SNC to muster came out, Edwin picked up the weapons he owned (leave enough for his father to defend the farm) and rode for the muster point.