The Orphans of Gateshead (Now Accepting Applicants)

Started by Crovonovin, March 31, 2009, 11:51:50 AM

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[[Bit of a long read, so bear with me!  If you don't wish to post in this thread about your possible interest, feel free to PM me and comments, questions, or suggestions!]]

The City of Gateshead.  A sprawling mass of ancient buildings preserved by the untiring progress of industry.  Homes dating back as far as the early 1500s have been reformatted time and time again, transforming into patchwork timelines of the city's evolution as a technological powerhouse.  Nothing is ever wasted here.  Even the tiniest bit of junk or trash is repurposed or reformatted into raw materials for the massive construction projects at the city's ever-expanding outer limits.  Work is plentiful and omnipresent, and those who choose to become slothful and decadent are branded as criminals.  The city toils ceaselessly, its citizens living and dying to the eternal heartbeat of grinding cogs, rumbling boilers, and soot-belching smokestacks. 

It is a rather cold place, despite the heat from its coal-fueled heart.  In winter the snow is thick and nearly constant, and even in the summer it is considered wise to bundle up.  Most outerwear consist of wools or furs, with thinner materials reserved for casual wear at home, or less innocent garments for private encounters.  [[Though many of city's sensibilities are consistent with an English settlement, clothing is inspired immensely by Russian fashions.]]

No one knows precisely when Gateshead was founded.  As far as its people are concerned, it has always been and always will be.  There is nothing beyond the city but wastelands of ash and horrors, and those who leave never last long.  Not that there is a reason to leave.  The city has the most innovative and efficient devices that anyone could ask for.  Transportation is handled by steamboats, zeppelins, and Gear-Rollers, lightweight quadrupedal machines operated by cranks.  They are largely luxuries, as most people remain within their districts out of convenience.  Some families can claim to have lived in the same house for over ten generations. 

It's not surprising: after only a few generations each house is generally customized to the family living in it.  As most citizens practice some form of engineering, every edifice becomes a machine in and of itself.  From automatic tea-makers and vacuum cleaners, to self-trimming plants and massage chairs, the possibilities are limitless.  With proper permits, some have even constructed mobile homes capable of moving between districts by their own power.  Creativity is encouraged at every level of society.

Gateshead is controlled by the Technocracy, a massive leadership composed of the greatest minds of each successive generation of engineers.  Each district of the city is headed by a representative that hails from that particular section of the city, ensuring familiarity with the area, its citizens, and whatever problems it may face.  These tend to be quite minor, such as personal disputes or neutralization of criminal elements.  Gateshead, like the clocks that power it, is largely autonomous.  Each individual district is built to be entirely self-sufficient, though trading and travel between them is rather common due to differences in food, styles, culture, and other less than legal commodities.

Most citizens are decidedly Christian, but the Church of Absence has also gathered a rather wide, if peculiar following.  Taking root in the catacombs that support the city, the Church preaches two basic tenants.  The first is that all things that will exist, do exist, albeit in an incomplete state.  A block of marble is simply a statue waiting for the proper hands, while a bundle of scrap is a technological breakthrough waiting to be constructed by a proper mind.  A simple and obvious concept once explained.  It teaches its followers to work hard and keep their eyes firmly open to the possibilities inherent in each of their crafts. 

The second is the total absence of a god.  A complete and total void.  The leaders of Absence insist that it is up to humanity to fill that void, and attain true fulfillment and enlightenment for itself, by itself.  Humans, they claim, are every bit as capable of the sort of creation that God has been attributed to in other religions; we just have yet to unlock this ability.  Whereas initial existence was born out of chaos without a craftsman to shape it, continued existence can now be altered and constructed by the hands of mortals.  The Church asserts that we as a species have an obligation to apply ourselves in this manner, to take control of the spontaneity of evolution.

Though not without its conflicts, Gateshead is a veritable paradise compared to the lands beyond.  While the sun is in sight.  For when night falls over the city, there is naught but silence.  The street lights flick on of their own accord, and the flicking of oil lamps can be seen from behind closed curtains.  But none dare leave their houses.  Many do not quite understand why this is, but children are told of monstrous beasts that lurk atop the rooftops, waiting to prey on the foolhardy that have not safeguarded themselves behind closed doors.  They are but stories of course, meant to scare the young into making their curfews.  Yet the fact remains quite clear:

No one traveling the streets at that dark hour has ever survived till morning.


Well, I figure I may as well start off by saying, thanks for reading through all that!  I've had this idea rolling about in my head for awhile now, so I figured I'd at least post it here and see if anyone would be interested in it.  I'm still not sure if it's going to be a group game or not, but I figured I'd post it here just in case.  This roleplay is, if you hadn't already guessed, part of a "clockpunk"ish world.  The focus, however, is not going to necessarily be on the technology.  For the time being I have a rough idea of where I'd like the story to go, but will likely be putting more thought into it rather soon. 

The story will follow a couple (group?) of orphans.  The ages are debatable, but I will allow anywhere from 12-17 years of age.  Obviously any older than that and they wouldn't be staying at an orphanage to begin with.  It will start in an alleyway towards the end of a typical day, where a group of orphans have gathered under the leadership of "Dee", the self-appointed top-dog of the gang.  His intent is to show them that the legends and stories are patently false, and that living in ignorance is no life at all.  They stay until the sun finally sets.

Suffice it to say that ignorance quickly seems like it would have been the smartest option. 

As for what this roleplay may entail...  The purpose of it is not the sex, but I am completely open to more intimate encounters occurring between the orphans.  Obviously only characters 16-17 will be able to commit to any sort of 'carnal relations', so be sure to keep that in mind if that's what you're looking for.  Violence edging towards graphic, but nothing sexual in nature.  Otherwise fairly vanilla, though some non-con may come into play.

I should note that the "entities" that will be playing the antagonists for majority of the story are not sexual creatures, so one need not worry about rape in that sense.  They are, however, terribly sadistic things.  Some kill outright, others like to play around.  Severe wounding is a possibility, from broken bones to severed limbs.  However, this will only occur to player characters if I am told what each individual person is comfortable with.  If someone drops from the roleplay for a long enough period of time without giving an explanation or at least a note, their characters may be killed or "go missing."  I understand that we all have real duties to perform outside of our leisure hours on these forums, but I'd consider it a courtesy if I were to at least get a one-sentence private message about any extended absences. 

Important NPCs would be written by me, though any other "flavor" characters that don't have drastic impact on the main plot can be created by the players.  Other orphans, passerby, stores; anything that gives the city a life of its own.  I will, of course, be doing my own part to help with this.  Players may even play a set of twins if they'd like, but I reserve the right to have less than...fortunate things occur to one of them.  This wouldn't happen anywhere near the beginning of the roleplay, if at all.  I just wish to give that warning.

This would be a freeform game, though participants could certainly write up a list of "skills" if they'd like, if only so everyone could see one another's specialties.  I'd prefer it if all players have a good grasp on the English language.  I don't expect ultra-flowery diction all the time, nor do I necessarily want it.  Description is good, but needless description is tiring.  If a few people are having a conversation, you don't necessarily need to spout out fourteen paragraphs about how they happen to be feeling at the moment.  A few paragraphs is fine.  A minimum of one decently sized paragraph would be necessary, though certain situations would call for more.

And I do believe that's all the information I can scrap off the top of my head!  If anyone has any questions, suggestions, or comments (or would like to pledge their interest), feel free to post here.


Awesome, in the literal sense.  Gateshead reminds me of baroque settings such as Gormenghast and Bas-Lag, which I love.  I don't know whether to be overcome by the beauty of your prose, or be envious of your talent.
"All jocks think about is sports.  All nerds think about is sex." Somewhere at the edge of the bell curve is the girl for me.
"Take off your clothes.  And roll for initiative." I burn for you: I Cor. 7:9
System RP: Shadows of Terramar (d20 fantasy) * Pulp Scripture (WoD contemporary supernatural) * Perfidious Albion (GURPS steampunk)
Do the rocks in my head fit the holes in yours? --> Oohs and Ahhs
Meae Culpae (A&A)


Thank you very much for the compliment, kind sir!  I suppose I'll just write up a few more details that I thought of.

Obviously anyone curious about this sort of game would want to know what limitations their characters would have.  Everyone is an average human, to an extent.  I'll allow some slight exaggeration here and there, but for the most part this is a realistic setting when it comes to physics.  Sufficiently advanced robotic walkers, however, I will allow some leeway with.  Spectacular aerial battles and over the top action, ala animated films. 

Most people will have been trained in the arts of engineering, though sculpture, architecture, the fine arts, and all sorts of other classical professions also enjoy some widespread appeal.  As orphans I don't expect there'd be any masters, but I'm not above allowing a particularly gifted child be created.  There's a lot of potential for engineers, however.

For instance, throughout the course of the game, players will be able to spend the days collecting junk and scrap with which to build whatever devices their imagination can cook up, within reason.  Your primary task will be to fight against the creatures that enter the city at night, which I have loosely dubbed, "The Sweeps".  Even in a group, facing the weakest of these beings is a surefire way to get everyone killed or injured. 

For this reason, I suppose you could fit this roleplay into the "Horror" genre as well.  The orphans will be completely helpless against these things at night, making hasty retreats or distractions absolutely vital.  There will be quite a few unlucky NPCs that will illustrate exactly why running away is a necessary strategy...  Any player caught out at night will have to be terribly innovative in order to escape unscathed, especially when alone.

This is, as I stated, a freeform game.  As such, you may do whatever you wish with all the junk you collect.  However, don't expect to be making robot walkers unless you somehow find a complete boiler and all the other complex materials needed to make one work, not to mention proper schematics.  The only way to eventually stand a chance against The Sweeps is to be creative with the technology and layout of the city itself.  It's your home, after all.  Use that to your advantage!


Just a little bump up to the top with a new realization of mine.  These orphans, once gathered together under one roof, will be trained by a singular, enigmatic individual that will help them combat the hideous Sweeps and bring peace to the nights of Gateshead once more.  However, this will inevitably lead to actions that would widely be construed as acts of terrorism against the technocracy.  It adds a bit of character conflict: in order to combat these demons, the unfortunate young adults may have to resort to some decidedly...illegal activities.  Despicable ones, even.  Whether they choose to make these moral sacrifices or not would certainly play into the progress of the overall narrative.


Just gonna bump this up to the top again.  I'm not really sure when I would be starting this roleplay, but as the Summer draws near and my schedule frees up a bit I may have the time needed to put this together.  Unfortunately I never really got much interest here, so I figured I'd allow more people to read and respond with their thoughts and ideas.


Busy with freelance writing work.  Replies slow.  Feel free to prod me. 

Formally Tripping Satyr, Tripping Snake and QueenTrippingserpent.  Often known as Trip.


Seeking Games!:


This looks very cool. Color me definitely interested!
"A million people can call the mountains a fiction, yet it need not trouble you as you stand atop them." ~XKCD

My Kinsey Scale rating: 4; and what that means in terms of my gender identity. My pronouns: he/him.

My Ons and Offs, current stories, story ideas, Apologies and Absences - Updated 28 Jan 2024.


I think it's a wonderful premise for a game, and I'd be glad to play in it :)


This looks amazing.  If you're still looking, definitely count me in.


Even if this particular story doesn't hit it off right away, Shihong, please don't just cast it aside. I love the idea and eventually, when it gets off the ground, would enjoy playing in it :)


I certainly will not!  Though I have several ideas in the works, I do not plan on letting this one fall by the wayside.  Things have been hectic on my end, to say the least of it, and hopefully I'll find the time and energy to give this story the proper attention that it deserves.  Thank you for the support!


Also, interested parties may post their own character ideas.  It does not need to be a sheet exactly, as even a concept will do.  The only limitations are age (16-17 seems the most proper, and are the only ones that could participate in more intimate encounters.  I would like to say again that the story itself is not a sexual one, and I only put forth the option in the event that such a situation arose.  Such things would probably have to be carried out in private messages between the two parties), and that they were an orphan.  Obviously I don't expect much in the way of history at this point, as I have yet to go into the finer details of Gateshead.   


Where there any particular statistics you'd like to be included on the character sheet? Other than name, possible alias [[kids always get nicknames somehow]], age, personality, light history. accompanied with a picture of sorts. What skills would be acceptable, I know they are orphans however they must've picked up some handy skills being on the streets. I'll make a page soon and post it here.


I'm interested!  ...As soon as I get settled.


Quote from: strudel on May 09, 2009, 12:58:07 PM
Where there any particular statistics you'd like to be included on the character sheet? Other than name, possible alias [[kids always get nicknames somehow]], age, personality, light history. accompanied with a picture of sorts. What skills would be acceptable, I know they are orphans however they must've picked up some handy skills being on the streets. I'll make a page soon and post it here.

That's all I'd need for now!  Just place whatever skills you might want, and I'll make changes or suggestions. 


Name : Nishika Tesla
Nickname : Nish, Nishi, Nika.
Age : 17

Personality : Being an orphan undeniably gives all of the children sort of a personality twist, if you will, albeit those of whom were already mentally unstable from the get go. Nishika has little room for emotional attachment to anything or anyone, however has developed a couple strong bonds between herself and a minute group of other orphaned children. Underlying her harsh exterior rests a caring young woman, underlying fear of the streets during the evening hidden as to not scare the younger children. Strategically inclined and witty, her disposition carries itself as she does, in a confident fashion. But without balance, there is insanity, therefor she also maintains a highly twisted sense of humor, a bit morbid but required in order to deal with her daily life.
History : Nishika has never known life outside of having to fend for herself, her history full of less than desirable actions simply to scrape by and make due in order to exist on until the next day. She's known around the streets, one of the older of the discarded children, and [[through rp]] will continue to survive if only to spite the world.
Skills : Over the years she has fine-tuned the ability to navigate the streets of Gateshead, posessing an intricate and quite accurate mental "floor plan" of the city itself. Her other basic skills include simple lock-picking, intermediate mechanics savvy, basic hand to hand combat, she is also well-versed with knives both thrown and palmed and general know-how of surviving as an orphan. None of these skills are by any means executed in an expert fashion, and are all pretty intermediate.


Name: Ash Vorjuka (Click on the thumb to enlarge)
Personality: Where most people would hide the pain and find ways to suppress it, Ash is the kind of orphan that does not have the ability to swallow what he feels.  Intense and emotionally driven, his often melancholy moods are fiercely punctuated by burst of pleasure and laughter.  He makes friends easily, falls in love with people in the blink of eye, and suffers is misery under the weight of his own emotions.  All of this he has put into music, a dying art in the light of the Technocracy in many ways.  He has learned a lot about sound engineering, but this "soft" engineering field has limited use in the technological machines of the steampunk world he lives in.  This gives him more pain and feelings of isolation to dream his songs with.
History:[/b] Ash came to the other orphans when his father died in a factory accident when he was six, his mother already long dead after infections from birth.  His entire world was crushed, and in many ways he has never put the pieces back together.  He steals when he has too, but mostly he prefers to play one of his two prized guitars for scraps and coin.  He dreams of a better life and a better world, but has never found the motivation to make it just yet.
Skills[/b]: Music and empathy.  Ash can sing, play guitar, and has perfect pitch.  If he hears something once, he can reproduce it.  His voice is an amazingly full baritone, easily moving into both the bass and tenor registers.  His deep connection with his own emotions also helps him recognize them in other people, and he can connect to people based on that.

(And Strudel, I am blatantly stealing your format!)


My apologies, but I must withdraw my application... I feel I am taking on too much (newbie wants to do EVERYTHING!), and would rather have only a few that I can focus on and do well in than too many and have them all suffer for it.
"A million people can call the mountains a fiction, yet it need not trouble you as you stand atop them." ~XKCD

My Kinsey Scale rating: 4; and what that means in terms of my gender identity. My pronouns: he/him.

My Ons and Offs, current stories, story ideas, Apologies and Absences - Updated 28 Jan 2024.


No problem at all, grdell!  This story probably won't be starting for awhile, as I'm also a bit bogged down with other roleplays at the moment.  Thank you for letting me know, however!

strudel, no problems with your sheet!  If I need any more information when I finally get this act together, I will be sure to let you (and everyone else) know.

Requiem, I just have a few adjustments for yours.  The character's love for sound is perfect for this, I think...though perhaps not in a way he will enjoy.  Oh I do love being vague and mysterious!

The guitars would be fine, but the design there looks like an electric guitar.  While Gateshead has some technology that seems advanced by our standards, that sort of thing doesn't really exist.  Wooden guitars would be just fine, or any other string instruments from violins to sitars. 

The wardrobe pictured is also a bit too modern for this setting.  Leather really isn't a very common choice in Gateshead due to the constant biting cold, let alone a single layer of it without any warm fabric beneath.  The story will begin in the fall, which it all the more important that the characters layer themselves up.  Other than that, Ash is fine!


No problem!  I am going to digging for better pics to work with.


Alright, I have been everywhere I can think of to find a better picture for Ash and I am really coming up short.  If anyone has any good suggestions or some sites they can point me at, you have no idea how appreciative I would be.  I'm very much so looking forward to this :)


For the most part, I go digging on Deviantart.  There is a whole lot of crap, but the gems you can find on there are truly magnificent.  If needed, I can go searching on my hard drive for possible characters, but I seem to have far more female pictures than males...mainly because that's the gender I tend to play as, for whatever reason.  If you can't find anything, I'll look around.  And of course, you don't need a picture.  You've got plenty of time anyway, as I'm kinda overwhelmed with things lately.


wow, im impressed by this one, very impressed, if you want me, i would be happy to try this out as well.


Bumping this up to the top to say that I am officially opening the story for applications!  I cannot promise that the story will start immediately, as I have plenty of details to iron out.  The last thing I want is to make everything up as I go along, as that has an awful tendency to lead towards stagnation of plot.  I will, however, offer more information so that potential players will be able to better flesh out their characters.

The story of Gateshead begins in District 07, one of the oldest and most decadent sectors of the city.  Its buildings crumble and tilt haphazardly under the weight of age and crude augmentations, with many dating back to ages that have been completely lost to history.  It is among the worst districts to live in, as the hoary old buildings are not known for their structural integrity.  Criminals are far more brash here, losing the characteristic subtlety of those in other parts of the city and being quite open with their business.  Peacekeepers native to District 07 are known for their amorality, and many are former (or acting) criminals themselves. 

It is widely said (behind closed doors) that the corruption is entirely the fault of Representative Elias Snodgrass, a gluttonous parasite that feeds upon the desiccated skeleton of District 07 like a swollen tick at a steadily drying vein.  Rumors abound that his gross negligence is a conscious effort on his part, and that he wishes it to reach such a hopeless state that the Technocracy approves his District Repurposing Bill.  This law would effectively evict each and every citizen of District 07, and allow its buildings to be taken apart and used for other more lucrative building projects.  Unfortunately, many support the Bill itself, if not the intentions behind it.  The sector is wasting away, and it would take a massive and concentrated effort to make it worth saving.

Of course, there is one group that is vocally outraged at the idea of their displacement: The Church of Absence.  As District 07 is among the oldest in Gateshead, so too are the ruins beneath it where the Church makes its home.  The Catacombs have been repurposed for their members and congregations, though skeptics infer that less savory activities occur in the deepest mausoleums.  District 07 is the site of intense animosity between Christians and members of the "Hollow Order", as the former were forcibly removed from their cathedrals as the latter took over.  Though this sordid affair occurred over four decades ago, hostilities are still common between the two groups. 

The titular Orphans hail from Ivanovka Orphanage in Shalebridge, the darkest community in District 07 by far.  The foundations of its buildings are made from the rooftops of ancient crypts and tombs, and its streets and alleys are thin and poorly constructed.  Cobblestones are rare, and more than one careless individual has been sucked into a muddy pothole after a bout of sleet.  It is difficult to imagine that Gateshead is such a technological paradise in such a hideous place, but even here the work of skilled mechanics is evident.  The products are crude and rusted, but all are practical and hardy enough to withstand even the harshest winters.

Ivanovka itself is run by a retired Christian priest by the name of Father Baich.  He retains his title mockingly, having long become disillusioned from his faith and its more fervent followers.  Still, he remains a kind man, and is rumored to be an orphan himself.  His wit remains sharp even in his later years, and he is known to have taught many of the children skills that most parents would balk at.  The conditions of the orphanage are fair, but beyond food and an airtight roof, the orphans are mostly left to fend for themselves.  There is a strict curfew that he maintains with uncharacteristic ferocity, and those who wait until the last moment to get back inside are certain to spend the night nursing a black eye or a bloodied lip.  As for those who wait past that last moment...  On more than one occasion, Father Baich has been seen sitting in his favorite chair by the candlelight, staring at closed blinds with a heavy look on his face.


That's as much background as I feel is pertinent for the time being, but I will likely be adding more in the coming days.  If anyone has further questions, feel free to ask!  Applicants can use the above sheets as a guideline, but may add as much as they wish to!


Name: Irina (ee-rehn-uh) Beloi
Age: 16
Personality/History: Irina is a discard.  Orphaned at birth for a minor defect, sectoral heterochromia in the form of a pair of near-red bands in otherwise perfect and beautiful green eyes, she has forever made the streets her home.  All the welcome she's ever known has come from the complication of puzzles. Nestled against the bosom breast of these complex issues, she loses her surroundings, is no longer reminded by the families that pass her by that -she- could have had that life.  And when not internally involved in something intense, Irina is constantly doing her best to seek something else out.  While not particularly talkative (usually) she is quite bright, but all that time spent in her mind and using her hands has left her social skills severely lacking.  She does not, however, have the same intensity of cynicism and anger as some of the other orphans, she does not truly know what it is to miss a family. 
Skills: Puzzle solving, riddles.  She has little real technical knowledge about how to make things work, but she is one of those children who can take something apart, learn about it through the destruction, and put it back together to work far more efficiently than it did in the first place. 


As an added note for potential applicants, feel free to make characters that are not necessarily skilled at any one thing.  Having a well-rounded team from the start is not particularly important, and one can be decidedly average (in skill, if not in personality) and still survive on the streets.  Not all orphans would have lived on the streets before being taken in by the orphanage, though Father Baich is the sort to teach rudimentary survival skills.  In so many words, don't feel as though you need to make an accomplished combatant or engineering whiz to get by in this setting.  Against the Sweeps, combat is out of the question anyway.  One need merely be attentive and backed up by the other orphans.