StoriesTitle: The Broken HallGenre:
Variable, NC elements but not focusCharacters:
Mul against a Fae or CunningPlot:
In England, vague memories of Unseelie and Seelie courts of faeries masks a history of civil war. When the Jutes, Angels, and Saxons invaded, they came to wholly replace the old culture in a way even the Romans never intended to. The culture was friendly to the Fey, but the new culture was hostile. Unseelie were those who wished to fight in the name of the friendly culture, the Seelie were those who wished to stop them on the grounds of non-interference. This rebellion, equipped with Human allies, was the most devastating war the faeries ever fought.
Names of legend participated, the Fleshweaver, the Goldwhisperer, the Manyarmed, the Dragonheart, the Inkface, the Bloodmouth, the Darkroot, the Blackstream, the Whiteair, to name a few. The most powerful was Seldream, a half-human half-faery of incredible power who was enclosed in a suit of living armor at the end of the war to restrict him forever. But in the end, the Seelie along with their allies (friendly humans called the Cunning) managed to defeat the Unseelie. In the end, the Unseelie were banished to Iceland, uninhabited at the time. When it was inhabited, they were again banished to the furthest northern reaches. They were sent to the Pale, an area where this world meets another.
Unfortunately, a hundred to two hundred years ago, the Cunning were rejected and lumped together with withes and other magically evil groups as a general rejection of magic by an increasingly rational and religious world took hold. There were still safe areas, but England, a Seelie stronghold, was not among them. With this decrease in their power, the Seelie again split. The New Unseelie formed, a group dedicated to carving out safe areas for Faeries, by force if necessary, and defeating the old Seelie who refuse to act.
With a new civil war raging, the Old Unseelie did little, still impotent and broken since the last war. But a young member of the Cunning (or a faery, if you prefer) is visited by troubling dreams, a calling voice, images of dark beasts assaulting her, taking her, consuming her. Unable to sleep and deeply disturbed, she finds herself drawn to the Pale, where she finds herself in front of a ghostly disjointed great house… and finds herself compelled to enter…Notes:
Loads of characters, sex can be as slow or fast as desired but is unlikely to result in a single partner for some time. We can change or not actually act out the dreams depending on my partner’s preference.Title: Shattered PeaceGenre:
Rey Wensum and Petra CarlsonPlot:
The planet of Arnsel is at peace, even if the universe is not. Its citizens may be dimly aware of the rebels. They’re certainly aware of the fantastic corruption in the system and may have heard of rogue governors. They know of the Abet, aliens who often invade the border worlds, and have probably heard of the Haq, strange men-who-are-not-men. But none of these problems reach Arnsel in a real way, except maybe a new tax or an increased cost for some good or another. But even if you care, the government censors are unlikely to let much get through.
What it came as, at first, were not the troops or the warships or the refugees or the smugglers or any of the other things that would eventually come. What it came as was a man, a somewhat distant but not quite disagreeable man, named Rey Wensum. He was a new offworlder, a rarity in the first place with immigration restrictions taken into account. Which interested Petra Carlson, who lived on the same floor of the apartment building he moved into. She approached him as he was bringing in a couch and so began a rather odd relationship.
But soon after he settled in the first ships began to arrive, and nothing on planet would be the same…Notes:
The way I see this is there would be three stages. The first would be in a more mundane setting where a few new people would be showing up. I’m guessing nobody would pay it much mind, and the two would have some kind of relationship (which doesn’t necessarily mean a close one). You might observe some strange behavior and investigate. Regardless, eventually we get to… well, that’s a secret, which I’ll spoil if you want. But there’ll be a major setting and tone change. And no, that picture does not necessarily happen.Title: Imperial RoseGenre:
Rose and a Prince (or possibly MUL/someone else)Plot:
The Qeyrui (Kay-roo-e), more commonly known as the Zanho (Zan-hoe), Empire has a nobility that is obsessed with the past. They have constructed a half mythical past of the ‘glory days’ of the Empire. In reality, the Empire is declining but few nobles will face this truth. With an Emperor who is certifiably insane, a nobility that is too self-absorbed to get anything done and too isolated from the rest of the Empire to really understand what is happening (the nobles speak a different language in the literal sense), commoners too poor and often flat out ignorant to do anything, and relentless pressure from all sides, the Empire is desperate at best. However, a series of miracles and heroes and raw size have managed to keep it from utter destruction.
A very prominent part of the half imagined passed is balls and dances. The annual Imperial Ball draws millions upon millions every year. It has often been noted that these dances are possibly the most important social phenomena observed. Famously, a General set up a dance while under siege, and the next Emperor has been decided more than once during a dance. They are the main social scene for nobles in general, and it is considered the ‘normal’ way to meet a future spouse.
There is currently a fierce competition for who will succeed the Emperor. This is made more intense by the fact that the Imperial Guard murders everyone with a claim to the throne besides the one who was chosen as the new Emperor. Generally favored candidates are mostly the few sane ones, but there is no telling who the insane Emperor will choose as his heir. The most favored option is Prince Anthony who has apparently escaped the worst traits of his family and has grand visions for revitalizing the Empire. Though the latter is considered an oddity, if he dedicated his time as the Emperor to that the nobles can’t see any reason to complain and the commoners love him for it.
Rose was born as a commoner, but she had a gift for dancing and grew up to be quite beautiful. As with most girls with these traits, her parents invested in her beauty, her wit, and her dance in the hopes she may become the mistress of a noble, or at least a courtesan. Being a mistress of a great noble brings more money than most anything else a commoner has access to. Her relative poverty and images of the noble world, full of wealth and class, she was about to enter would have been quickly shattered by a reality full of catty women and men just in it for a grope. Despite this, in order to afford her training they went heavily into debt and expect her to make it back somehow.
She attended the Imperial Ball, managing to get invited to Prince Anthony’s party (the Imperial Palace is a massive complex divided into sections, each of these sections throws a ball and this merges into one giant ball). Anthony has a habit of issuing invitations to anyone who can prove they are fitting to be there (they can dance, are polite, and so on), so it tends to be the least prestigious and most populated. All the same, plenty of nobles show up. After seeing the catty jockeying among the woman and needing a break from it, and after having danced or met one too many men who stole a grope or a kiss and then ran off as soon as they got what they wanted, she went to the Imperial Library hoping to find some refuge among the books. She always loved books, although, like most things, she could afford precious few of them, almost all her money went towards beauty products and fancy clothes and the like.
Inside she meets a man, and we start from there.Notes:
I see this as set in the future. I would say its sci-fi, but that immediately conjures up images of aliens and space opera. I don’t really see aliens here (unless you want them) and, though there is advanced technology the nobles try to make it unobtrusive in line with their idealized past (I don’t see it being a major point, though the idea of a dance while looking out a window into space might be romantic). Earth is still around but the Empire doesn’t contain it. A lot of this would be social events and dances, but there would also be intrigue and murdering, though all very politely (at least on the surface).Title: The Wounds That BindGenre:
Post-Bellum Southern Romance/Carpet-Bagger StoryBoard:
Major Quincy H. Booker IV and an Unnamed WomanPlot:
The Bookers are a great American family descended from Captain Quincy Herman Booker, an officer in the American Revolution who was not particularly noted. However, he was a friend of Washington’s and with the victory rose to prominence. He proved a much more successful man in peace and became wealthy and powerful. Four of his five sons struck out on their own and since then the family has been divided in fifths. The descendants of the eldest lived in Boston, the second eldest in Richmond, third in New York, fourth in Washington, and the youngest settled in New Orleans. Each became wealthy, influential, and powerful in their area and remained close to each other.
But in 1861 the country and the family split, New York-Boston-Washington were on the side of the North, with New Orleans-Richmond were on the side of the South. While the Richmond Branch always maintained this was an unfortunate separation that ought to be corrected, the New Orleans Branch maintained that they had assumed the mantle of leadership, usurping Boston. With the South’s defeat, the Richmond Branch was welcomed back with open arms, family is family after all, but New Orleans refused.
A split in the family was intolerable, so Major Quincy H. Booker IV, the first son of the first son of the original Booker and who will one day be the Patriarch of the family, is sent to New Orleans. He is to convince the patriarch of the New Orleans Branch, Abraham J. Booker, to come back into the fold, by any means necessary.
Though he finds a cold reception, one woman, the widow of a member of the Booker family killed in the war who is fed up with the jingoistic philosophy of her branch, welcomes him. She allows him to stay with her, as most of his relatives refuse to let him in, and agrees to help him. However, there is a long road ahead of them, one which they will find themselves growing closer on…Notes:
It might be considered incest, I guess, but that’s not the point of this scenario. Regardless, the two aren’t directly related by blood and Booker’s closest relative in the New Orleans Branch would only be his fourth cousin or so.Title: Chronicle of the Dragon and the PhoenixGenre:
Historical/Possibly Fantasy (Chinese)Board:
An Imperial Princess and the heir of the ShangPlot:
The Shang are a recently risen family, their patriarch being the Minister in charge of taxation, one of the most lucrative and higher ranking positions at Court. Additionally, his brother is a trusted Eunuch for the Emperor. They have extensive ties to the merchant class and business community, and are one of the wealthiest family’s at Court. But the old families resent them for their quick rise and their merchant backgrounds, merchants being the most shameful of the four ‘acceptable’ occupations. And, of course, they are still commoners no matter how far money has brought them.
However, a time of turmoil is coming. With a child sitting on the Imperial Throne, factions and factional squabbling had taken over at Court. Central power began to falter as local warlords took control of garrisons or raised armies of their own. Meanwhile, famine and plagues had begun to strike. Amidst all this, Yin Zhong stepped forward and seized control of the Court. He restored order, but he was rapacious and cruel, slaughter most eunuchs and many wealthy merchants so as to steal their wealth. The Court began to fall apart, the few remaining Eunuchs clung closer to the Emperor and noble families began to desert for their traditional bases of power. Commoners, sensing likewise, largely followed suit, leaving the capital mostly deserted.
The remaining Imperial family members, meanwhile, scattered to refuge with various families who intend to use them as pawns to further their own legitimacy or aims. And a coalition of warlords closes in to overthrow Yin Zhong, each member of the coalition hoping to gain control of the Emperor and rule as Yin Zhong is currently. All of them, of course, claim they will be better than him.
The Shang family took a long time to leave, as their considerable assets had to be gathered up and liquidated before they made their escape. This would facilitate a most interesting meeting between the heir to the Shang family and an Imperial princess who is determined not to become a helpless pawn. It would intertwine their fates in the great war that was to come. Can an Imperial family member, and a woman, manage to truly come into her own? Can a merchant family fare well in a world where steel counts for more than gold?Notes:
I see this more as intrigue and political maneuvering. The love would also have a forbidden element, since no doubt most people would judge the Shang beneath her.Title: SisterGenre:
A haunted woman and a mysterious manPlot:
There’s a ghost, they say, who sits on the street and waits. Dressed strangely, she waits until she is passed by. She looks at the passerby and asks, ‘May I be my sister?’. If you answer yes, she will follow you home and stay with you till the day you die. If you say no, she will disappear. But within the week, you will turn up mysteriously dead. The correct answer is to not answer, and not look back, for she will kill you if you glance back.
This is the story of one unfortunate woman who answered yes. The Sister followed her home and now lives with her, quiet and ever present she kills or spooks away anyone who might otherwise get close to her. She is extremely jealous and fanatically devoted to her ‘sister’, ‘protecting’ her from everything that might separate them or harm either of them. Often violently. For three years it’s torn apart her life.
When she meets a man and starts to fall for him, she pushes him away for her own protection. She is not good at hiding her feelings though, and he senses her feelings and pursues her regardless. She is horrified, the last time this happened he was killed, but this is not an ordinary man. He came here specifically to deal with the Sister, though his motives are murky. And when she finds that out the question is will she still think he was in love with her?Notes:
I suspect she’d be a bit desperate and possibly emotionally unstable after three years of isolation, and perhaps even that she would have trouble readjusting to ‘normal’ life.Title: The KavasiadGenre:
Liza Kavas and an Unnamed MalePlot:
The end of the world came, and the end of the world went. But Humans are clingy bastards, and they managed to survive. As the chaos of the first year subsided, something like society even came to exist, albeit a mostly preindustrial one focused around purifying and cultivating soil so as to grow enough food to survive in non-ideal situations and otherwise acquiring supplies to ward off the effects of radiation and raiders. However, the relative lack of centralized authority and the fact that arable patches could be far away from each other gave rise to an almost feudal like situation. Within a generation, any pretense of centralization was lost, and Humanity became a series of densely populated and often walled but widely spaced settlements.
A hundred years later, the culture had not changed much except that the situation had basically come to be accepted as permanent. The population continued to slowly decrease, yet humanity persisted in its isolation with small trading caravans being the main contact. Great Confederacies had formed with many individual units and subdivisions within them. Ultimately, though, political differences only affect the leaders of each small settlement which have their own varying governments who run day to day affairs.
The settlement of Furen is an autocracy, lead by the autocratic ‘Governor’. Liza Kavas is one of the Governor’s personal slaves, living in his harem, and longs to escape. Unfortunately, not only does she have guards to contend with, but in a world of limited resources she would have trouble being accepted into any community. After all, she carries no truly valuable skills, nothing that couldn’t be gotten from someone else.
However, one day the Governor’s forces over run a rival settlement and capture a very valuable person from a rival Governor’s court. He is valuable, and has skills that would make any community welcome him with open arms. So, as the victorious soldiers come home and celebrated, she snuck into where he was being kept, intent on either convincing him to come with her or kidnapping him. She was getting out of Furen, and he was her ticket to a new place to live.Notes:
There are variations available on this, including gender switched versions. I would see her as uneducated, after all there are no schools, but not at all stupid. He, in turn, would have been taught by his father who was taught by his father and so on, and would be, I imagine, some kind of engineer or scientist or purifier or artificer or something like that. He would be a member of a caste of similar type people.Title: Green SpringsGenre:
Michael Smith and ‘Myca’Plot:
The world ended as the skies burned with nuclear fires, but Humanity did not end. Under the surface, deep inside the PNS (Permanent Nuclear Shelters), small pockets came to wait out the apocalypse. It has been a long time since then, how long no one can say for artificial living conditions make the solar cycle largely irrelevant, and if the Administration knows they do not tell. The Green Springs PNS (or PNS 129) was one such shelter.
However, they had not dug deep enough. While the initial explosions did not reach them, and the radiation was not going to be deadly quickly, it was too much to be safe. So they began to dig, creating another level below the initial one. This was somewhat safer, and most important equipment was moved down there. They then began to dig again, and continued to repeat this pattern, moving deeper and deeper into the ground, abandoning higher floors as they could.
All this was at the orders of the Administration, a euphemism for the Council that ruled Green Springs, consisting of the heads of each department and the Administrator, who led them all. As they controlled both Regular Security, the police force, and Special Security, a kind of secret police, they maintained an absolute grip on power within the Shelter.
Michael Smith, at the age of thirteen, took the Predictive Occupational Test, and came out as Water Purification Engineer. To his great relief, he found out that this was not a glorified title for ‘plumber’ but instead someone who ran, helped improve, and generally tended to the water recycling and processing plant for Green Springs. At twenty he was assigned a Secondary Occupation as a Marine Biologist and, at twenty two due to an unfortunate death, was also assigned the Secondary Occupation of Myrmecologist. This more or less ordinary and boring life was his, until he found the Performer’s Syndicate.
The Performers Syndicate is an organization of performers from Green Springs which puts on illegal performances in the more recently abandoned upper levels where it is relatively safe. What they do is illegal, but the Administration tends to turn a blind eye. However, like most performers he has an alias and a mask he wears just in case. His own little Troupe, The Thespians, are fairly popular but just one of many. Every play, every performance, everything they do is without the knowledge of who the others are. Generally talk of their lives outside the Thespians is forbidden.
So he is more than surprised when one of the performers, Myca, begins to ask personal questions. When she is scolded for asking a question about their ‘cover’ lives, she protests she just wanted to know, and leaves. Michael shows up to work the next day and fixes some faulty piping. The next day he doesn’t visit the plant, and attends to other duties, during which the pipes are destroyed and vandalized, temporarily shutting down the plant. Due to questions about who did it, the majority of the workers are held under house arrest and the few remaining, such as Michael, end up working triple shifts.
Tired, he stumbles into his room, only to find Myca waiting for him, in full mask but otherwise normal clothes. This is unheard of, even being caught wearing the mask is an offense, and he is stunned. But why is she there?Notes:
Alternatively, he could seek out Myca next time instead of her randomly showing up. I have a few ideas for her motivations and what’s actually going on, but that is to be worked out with my partner.Title: 1890Genre:
Prince Felix von Hohenstaufen and a Lady of some sortPlot:
The year 1870 dawned on a world even more stunned than it had been in 1848. Nobody would have expected the Machine King of the West to unite Germany in a few short months, nor for Italy to be united under the Alchemist of Nice. Austrian power was broken, and the country degenerated into a more decentralized state. The Immortal Queen of France ascended the throne. The Modern Turks took control of the Ottoman Empire and began their program. And so on.
This was a great boon to both capitalists and workers in those new states, industry boomed and working conditions improved greatly. New and fantastic technologies bean to pour out, many of them beyond belief. However, aristocrats had their power greatly reduced and many people who had been as great as royalty were reduced to near poverty, subsisting on state pensions, and have lost a great deal of their power. It became a joke that German and Italian royalty could be bought on the market. In truth, many sought to marry into noble families in countries where they retained some power and therefore continue their noble status.
As the second decade after the change, in 1890, closed, most families had managed to find accommodation combining their state stipends with contributions from now related foreign families to maintain their lifestyle, if only barely. Still, this foreign connection opened them to accusations of lacking patriotism, and effectively destroyed their chance of regaining power.
Prince Felix von Hohenstaufen, nicknamed Prince Gadget due to his status an inveterate tinkerer, was brought plans for a flying machine. Loving the idea, he built it, tested it, and after it was determined to be safe took it on its first long flight. That was a success, but its second long flight had much worse results. The Prince crashed. Luckily, he crashed on the estate of an old noble family and in his father’s territory, and he was only minorly injured. But now he must stay, for all the wonders of technology he is still in a very backwards part of the country so transport can be difficult. Additionally, his father wants him to stay put until guards and proper transport, rather than just taking a public train, which means more waiting.
The mistress of the house, meanwhile, is alone, being a heiress without male relatives to rule over her.Notes:
I leave it up to my partner to see how she reacts to the whole affair. The only thing would be that she would allow him to stay, but that can be for any number of reasons from the feeling she has to because he’s the Prince to the fact she’s plotting something.Title: A Thicket of BayonetsGenre:
Major Charles Cooper and Lady Isabella Luisa de LusitaniaPlot:
Industrialization has its casualties. The sky was one of them. In sooty London, capital of the world, the sky can only be seen through a small hole in the sky. The rich, of course, can afford to move to unpolluted areas, and a few people have farm jobs in the unpolluted areas to make food, but for most of the population of the ‘civilized’ world, staying clean is a pipe dream crushed under ashen foot and the sun is just something rich people get to see and old people go on about.
For Charles Cooper, this was where he was born, and this was where he expected to die. But Charles had always been lucky, and one day he bought a pound lottery and won, receiving a thousand pounds. He used the money to buy a commission in the British Army. He was sent abroad and fought in the Second Russo-British War on the Persian front. When a bloody stalemate ensued, the British government invaded Afghanistan, hoping connecting India with Persia would allow for enough troops to be gathered to beat back the Russians. Though the invasion was successful, it was incredibly bloody and did not produce the expected results, with the end result of the war being status quo ante bellum.
Due to high mortality rates, including among officers, increasing numbers of non-genteel officers were promoted from the ranks or transferred into the conflict, as gentlemen with the resources to do so often avoided such a deadly front. This created a new class of officers who, in no small part, resented those same gentlemen. The General in charge even called them, before, Parliament, “A rabble of Communists, Anarchists, and Republicans who would hold as their highest aspiration an imitation of France’s revolution, or to model a government on the American system.” These comments provoked the troops to mutiny, rioting through the streets supported by civilians impoverished by war taxes and overworked in factories. The King ordered the Royal Guard to quell the revolt, but unused to the dark and smoggy environment they are butchered. The riots were quelled when the King agreed to move back into one of his London Palace, Blackstone Palace, and the Prime Minister and his government were dismissed and the General in question fired.
Meanwhile, the question of replacing the Royal Guard comes up. There are simply not enough new recruits that match the requirements in regards to being of the right blood to reform the regiment immediately, so a ‘normal’ unit that had not rioted is brought in for the purpose. It happens to be the unit of now-Major Charles Cooper. Times are tense, and many fear revolution or counter-revolution might be just around the corner. A lot of the plotting and intrigue at Court immediately fixates itself on this aspect.
Lady Isabella Luisa de Lusitania is one of the Ladies in Waiting to the Spanish Queen Consort of England, who is heavily involved in this intrigue herself. She wishes to take stock of the military herself and sets various Ladies in Waiting to the task. Isabella’s specific job is to get close to Charles and report on him, basically becoming a spy. Notes:
What happens and where this goes is variable, and to be discussed. The virginity obsession that is historically accurate can be included but there also various ways around it.Title: Iron WoodGenre:
The groundsman and an undercover policewomanPlot:
As the future came, and progress marched, Humanity came to embrace the beauty of machinery, the aesthetics of the symmetry of form. Art flourished, industrialism flourished, infrastructure was built up with fervor. However, where one thing flourishes another can die. Though the preservation of the environment so that the world remained safe and livable was as much a concern as ever, beauty was no longer to be found in nature.
As of such, city parks, valuable real estate, were often picked off one by one. The large exception was Eastville, a city which retained its park as the maintenance of a ‘park and commons’ was mandated in the city’s constitution. Further, after Eastville’s Great Park became the last real park in a major city in North America, it became a source of pride for the city as a national symbol. However, that was all it was, a symbol, and it was soon closed to visitors in order to make security easier, particularly considering it got few visitors anyway.
The groundsman, the single civil servant who cares for the Park (assisted by robots and the like, of course) lives a largely isolated life in the Park. Mainly his job is to keep the park beautiful and prevent illegal loggers and stupid kids from destroying too much, as well as giving the occasional tour to a visiting dignitary and that sort of thing. He also deals with containment problems, as few people have experience with animals and so might not how to deal with, say, a squirrel that leaves the park. He is a minor celebrity, both because of his job and because he is considered an oddity personally.
As with any city, Eastville has its problems. One of these is smuggling, mainly to avoid taxes or restrictions on import/export rather than in strictly illegal substances, though the later are starting to come in as well. The police are following multiple possibilities, one of which is that it’s being done through Great Park (which contains a large tract of beach). There is a system to prevent such things, but it is automated and under the control of the groundsman. So an officer is sent in undercover to investigate him, posing as the daughter of the Mayor of Stockton, who has agreed to assist the case, and requesting tours.
She is to get close to him and gather evidence in order to prove his guilt or innocence.Notes:
If you can think of something better, or would prefer something else, for her cover, then that’s fine.Title: The Dark LordGenre:
The Dark Lord and the RunawayPlot:
A prophecy dictated a Dark Lord would rise and that a Hero would rise in turn, that they would engage in epic combat, that evil would lose, that only one would survive. And so it came to pass that the Dark Lord and the Hero rose. The Dark Lord with an army of evil minions, a deep fortress, and unmatched magic, the Hero with an aegis to guard him, a sword to slay the Dark Lord, and the courage to face him. But the Dark Lord heard the prophecy and was determined to defy destiny, and so he found the hero as he set out on his journey. Determined to defy fate, he spoke reason to him, offering to bribe him and promising him whatever he wished. But the hero would not be bribed. In anger, the Dark Lord railed against a destiny which doomed him to die. And the heroes heart wavered. But he pressed on, his courage sustaining him, until the final battle where he defeated the Dark Lord, scattering his armies and breaking his sword.
But the Hero was the noblest of men, and he declared that the Dark Lord was an innocent. He declared that no person could be blamed for what destiny laid before him, that it was the fault of the Gods weaving fate that all this had come to pass. He screamed his defiance up to the Gods, who descended and declared that one of them would die. The Hero, knowing he could not defy destiny but refusing to slay an innocent, ran his sword through himself. He would die, then, so that a single innocent could live. At first there was fear that the Dark Lord would run rampant, and for a time his minions did, but soon they retreated to the mountains where the Dark Lord dwelt. Soon the world returned to its normal state, less one unimportant mountain range, as the Dark Lord kept to himself.
But there will always be explorers in the world. One curious young woman grew up looking at the mountains of the Dark Lord and wondering why they were forbidden, especially when nobody there did them any harm. She snuck through them as a child and saw the Dark Things dwelling there doing mundane things. She even found a few friendly, though others were hostile. Eventually she even made a friend, Kidak, who would help guide her in exchange for news of the world beyond the mountains. Reaching maturity, she was betrothed to another young man from the village to pay off a debt. Neither of them were happy with it, she because she did not love the young man, the young man because he loved another. He was unwilling to defy his father, however she was willing to defy her family. She headed off into the mountains where the Dark Things dwelt, for the mountains were rich in every way imaginable and kept from habitation only by fear and the presence of the Dark Things.
She hoped that Kidak, who always had many valuable things, would be willing to help her with her debt. But Kidak was adamant that he could not give her anything for the same reason he could not leave the mountain range: the Dark Lord forbade it. So she asked how she could get that repealed, how she could get help from them, and Kidak said she would have to ask the Dark Lord directly. So Kidak led her to the very center of the mountain range, to see a man from an age since past who had drawn a cloak of isolation and Dark Things around him, to ask for help in a trivial debt from a small village.Notes:
I have a few alternate ideas about who the woman is but this one in particular interested me. I see what keeps her coming as personal interest rather than him holding his wealth over her and forcing her, though this is all to be worked out with my partner.Title: PrecursorGenre:
Fyhtan and the SurvivorPlot:
There will always be mysteries, but in any time period it’s rare when they’re dropped into your lap. So it was with UO-199, a massive ship that appeared in system and headed straight for the surface. Eventually it settled over the city of Draun, and simply sat there. It was larger than any ship capable of atmospheric flight, yet moved easily and gracefully. Quickly, it was surrounded by several military ships but, for all they could tell, it was simply scanning things. It ignored all hails and appeared to have no entrances or windows.
Eventually, the world grew worried. After repeated attempts to penetrate the ship failed due to the thickness of its armor, the military brought in heavy ordinance. It attempted to blow a hole in the ship big enough to get inside. What happened next is sketchy. Some sort of energy escaped the ship, killing everyone for miles. Next, the ship cut a small precise hole in the city and disintegrated everything in that hole down to a precise depth. After that, it departed as it had arrived.
Time passed and the ship became just another strange incident in history, well known and commonly talked about conspiracy theorists, but not all that relevant in day to day affairs. The tragedy of Draun, as it soon became known, was mourned but the city had not been large or vital. Life went on. A transport, the Farreach
, was transporting various goods and fuel from one world to another when it was hit by pirates. It managed to escape barely, but left without adequate engines and lacking medical supplies many of the crew died from otherwise minor injuries. Other died from accidents, or perhaps even oxygen deprivation or lack of food. They would die in the void of space, left adrift with no one coming to rescue them.
But as the last one was about to give out, UO-199 appeared as suddenly as it had on that day over that city. As anyone left alive passed out suddenly, they all awoke in a strange dream of a hotel room.Notes:
I wavered between one and many survivor(s), as this is a one on one game, but I’m not sure how likely exactly one would be. Just a detail to work out with my partner.Title: The EnlightenedGenre:
Diver and UpliftedPlot:
When aliens first came to Earth, it wasn’t to conquer us, or to help us. Indeed, we were, at worst, mildly annoying, and at best an interesting footnote. They wanted our land, and they found it mostly open to them, for they were aquatic. That is not to say they ignored us, but their interactions were mostly minor. Aside from a massive cultural impact that the existence of aliens created, there was little practical change. One of the few cases of direct interference was what they called ‘uplifting’. They would occasionally adopt children from orphanages or take them from homes that didn’t want them and these children would disappear beneath the waves.
Then strange ships appeared in the skies and burned the seas. Earth was devastated, and while extinction or absolute destruction was not imminent, the cities of the deep sea were confirmed destroyed. The Uplifted, meanwhile, were largely presumed dead. It was known, however, that at least a few of them had survived. They had been ambassadors, in various embassies, but they had packed up shop and disappeared in the aftermath of the destruction. They left no note, took nothing with them, it was as if they had simply ceased to exist.
Eventually, the temptation of alien technology and desire to fix the damage they had done put together an international team to explore one of the underwater cities. As they dove deeper, they prayed the alien defenses wouldn’t shred them to pieces, but they didn’t. They went to the city and deployed divers, where they found the cities had indeed been hit and destroyed just as initial data showed. They sent robots to explore but one by one the robots simply shut down without explanation or apparent errors. So it was decided to send divers in, but they would discover that while the aliens had been destroyed the Uplifted remained and had appointed themselves stewards and guardians of their old master’s technology…Notes:
Which person plays which is negotiable, but I see this as male uplifted female diver.Title: The Red DuchessGenre:
The Duchess and the PhilosopherPlot:
The Duchess of Dalier, known as the Red Duchess, defeated her rivals and consolidated her power. She murdered her own husband, twice, and poisoned her sister, making her a treasoner and a kinslayer. She defied the King when he said a woman was forbidden to rule a Duchy, and waged brutal wars to extend the borders of her domain. She rules over her Duchy with an iron fist, forcing the submission of the nobles and heavily taxing the peasantry.
Now, firmly in power, she seeks to build her court into a place of wonder and splendor. She desires to attract great men from across the world to it that they may glorify her reign with their achievements. Unfortunately, few will associate with her because of her reputation. Despite her promise of high pay and generous funding none come. However, a certain philosopher is put out by the King for his radical ideas. Instead of being discouraged he boldly states he plans to build an academy to teach the world and to dwarf even the Royal Academy in the capital. Unfortunately few lords will openly defy the King, but the Duchess is one such lord. She invites the philosopher to her Duchy promising him generous funding for his academy and a place at her court. He, having few other options except to give up his fight, accepts.
As the philosopher arrives he finds the Court consists mostly of functionaries and sycophants, reduced to servility by the Red Duchess’s power and campaigns. He immediately departs to oversee the beginning of the construction of the academy, which will create a new academic center in the Duchy and go a long way towards the Red Duchess’s goals of economic growth, the value of her patrimony, and personal prestige. Shortly thereafter he is invited to a dinner where the Duchess finds that, while intelligent, the Philosopher is in no way cowed by her and willing to upbraid her on several issues. Despite this she finds herself attracted to him, for he is very handsome, but unwilling to violate him since he has more to offer her than simply his sex. And so a very strange dance happens between a cold in temper woman and a hot in temper man.Notes:
As I see it, the Duchess is not a good person. She is ambitious, power hungry, and has killed or hurt plenty of good people to satiate her ambitions. She is also human, though, and not evil, nor has she truly experienced love. I don’t expect the last to reform her but it will at least be a change. This is, as always, negotiable.Title: The Fog of HistoryGenre:
Elf and the NecropolitanPlot:
The Elfswood is the oldest place in the world, they say. The very Gods were born there in the primordial chaos and that is why they are woods, for life springs from them as surely as it did long ago. And as with Gods many old and strange things lay there, just as many new and strange things come there. The Elves are stewards of all these things, blessed and cursed by the Gods for their prior hubris to be the stewards of the most important place in the world, but nothing but the stewards of the most important place in the world. For if the Elfswood was destroyed no new species would be created. Yet the constant battle to contain what is within, the duties the Gods have placed on them to every thing the wood spawns, good or evil, takes its toll on the Elves. They live their life in unappreciated service, a punishment for their past sins.
The Elves, however, sing of their old Empire. Of how their rule extended over the entire world, and how every race bowed to them. They speak of how they created civilization, cities, palaces, castles, things of magic and beauty. They speak of how they slew the great beasts to make the world safe for all other life. They speak of the many demonic races they killed. And, if exaggerated and ethnocentric, there is a truth to all these statements. But they only moan and weep about how foolish they were to mistreat the races under them and to defy the Gods themselves, to claim that the Gods weren’t real and say that their gifts were inborn rather than what they were, gifts from the Gods. And so the Gods for a second time walked among mortals, this time to destroy the Elves. And so the Elves were cursed, ordered to guard the Elfswood. They were forbidden to use the magic the Gods granted them or the fruits of civilization which had corrupted them. And so there were no more Elf nations or Elf cities, nor any Elf magicians.
An elf was sent to check on the Crypt of the Necropolitan, who had risen in rebellion against the old empire by turning the very dead against them and employing forbidden magics. And though they could not kill him, they buried him in an enchanted crypt kept in place by powerful wards the likes of which no elf can make any more. The elf soon discovers that, though the seals have not broken, they have weakened. The Necropolitan is now conscious and capable of communicating with those close to the crypt. She tries to search for a way to renew the seals, but his voice is very convincing and she is running out of time…Notes:
This could go several ways. The elf could reseal him successfully but seal herself inside as well. She fail and escape and be taken by him. Or she could give herself willingly, considering he is rather… convincing. She could also be killed and we start instead with him meeting another character, if you’ve got the idea.Title: The Last RoundGenre:
Walter and female AgentPlot:
Caine was a living legend among the intelligence community. He (it was presumed it was a ‘he’) had a knack for finding the right information, the right place, the right action. The stories about him were legion, and no one could say which were true and which were false. In 1940, however, something changed. He became more erratic, abandoning his old patterns. He would disappear for large amounts of time or strike targets far afield from where he had formerly operated. By the end of that year he disappeared completely, with no one quite knowing where he was or how to contact him. Many of his old contacts disappeared, others simply didn’t know where he was, or if they did they weren’t talking.
A short time later, though, as the World War entered its full swing, a German named Walter Braun surfaced. A former member of German intelligence who had since turned into a mercenary, he was one of the people that had disappeared with Caine. He was also the only of those who disappeared to show up again. To make things stranger, he was doing work for the Yugoslav partisans, which went against his previous modus operandi. It was also unlikely they had enough money to cover his fees. This strange behavior didn’t change the fact he might well have, or being willing to give up, information on Caine, which was his real value.
Suddenly this formerly minor agent became a person of interest to every resistance and intelligence agency involved in the European theater, and they all sent people to find him. This was problematic, however. The Yugoslav Partisans were infamously insular and hostile, having aligned themselves with no outside faction. German rule in Yugoslav was at its most oppressive and militaristic, more brutal and ruthless than anywhere in Europe. Still agents poured into to try and find the elusive man.
It would not be any of them who would find him. Unlike Caine himself, there was a picture of Walter, specifically of him toasting towards the camera on a yacht in the Baltic. This was distributed to agents in the hopes of finding him. One agent in Zurich for entirely different reasons, however, saw the man sitting at a café sipping tea and reading a newspaper. Well aware of the hunt for this man, she approached him with every intention of capturing him for her side. Not having time to call for reinforcements and well aware that he could slip away in such a large city, she decides to act then and there and approaches.Notes:
A good old fashioned spy story. The agent can work for nearly any side or any faction. A French resistance member looking for Swiss arms, a Russian looking to gather information on German money, an Englishman there to assess how anti-Nazi the Swiss are… etc.Title: CivilizationGenre:
Son of the Duke and the daughter of a noble familyPlot:
When the Senstrun Empire fell to invading barbarian peoples, it was divided into numerous barbarians kingdoms. Of these, the Kingdom of Nupal has the dubious honor of having taken over the former center and heartland of the old empire. As they intermingled with their subjects, most of the barbarians quickly adopted and adapted to civilization, though much knowledge was lost and the social shifts that occurred were not reversed. This meant that Nupal was dotted with ruins which they could not keep in a pristine state, and which no one lived around or tended to anyway. But despite this the Nupalians considered themselves the height of civilization, and the heirs to an ancient tradition. They, like many of the barbarian kingdoms, pledge fealty to the New Senstrun Empire but due to a feudal system have their own governments and armies.
The Duchy of Sadin lay off the coast of Nupal, an island fief. While it had been invaded, it had always been insular and the invaders had been of a different stock than the Nupalians. The island was thus much more barbaric, but by virtue of its natural position, its propensity for trade, and abundant resources it remained wealthy and the other nations were forced to tolerate it. Due to a long and storied history, the Kingdoms of Nupal, Aleria, and Boija all claimed to hold the fealty of the Duke. He tended to exploit this opportunistically, siding with who he chose and then protesting he was honoring his feudal bonds.
However, in the War of the Two Heads, a general conflict throughout the Empire, Nupal fought against Aleria and Boija along with several other factions. Sadin thus sided against it, but though they managed to cover it up by adequate performances it was soon found by their commanders and soldiers that they had fallen behind in technology and societal advancement. They found themselves unable to make inroads on land, though they still proved unmatched at sea. The Duke gathered up scholars and the tradesmen and sent them back to the Duchy, and in this way sought to modernize it as well as educate the next Duke. Eventually the Duchy withdrew from the war on the grounds they could not fight against their lieges in the names of their lieges. It was just opportunism wrapped in a feudal plea, as per usual.
Regardless, the war ended with the Imperial Peace. At that time, Nupal had managed to expand and come out the clear winner of the war. This was met with much celebration by the people of Nupal, who thought it confirmed their thoughts they were the most advanced, best kingdom in the world. However, in doing so they had nearly impoverished themselves and taken out large loans to do so. The Duke of Sadin, meanwhile, sought out a bride for his son. Traditionally it had to be from within the tribe, which meant from within the Duchy or from Vanor, a land not as close at hand. Looking at the newly empowered, and newly impoverished, Kingdom of Nupal, he travelled there.
This caused a bit of a stir, and more than a bit of sniggering when he said why he was there. It was not that wife hunting was unknown among them, but because he was so blunt, frank, and barbaric in the way he went about it. Rather than gliding aptly through society he announced it publicly, he went about some barbarian custom and spoke words as if in a ceremony none recognized. Then he spoke of the Bride-Price he would pay, and brought forth enough wealth in gold bars that it could catapult the bride’s family from poverty to prosperity. In a country facing steep taxation increases and the possibility of peasant revolts as a result, this was so appealing it silenced the jeers.
He finds his wife, and unfortunately for the family they will have to bend to the Duke’s will in some things. One is that he is to spend his before-marriage with the wife’s family so he can learn the ways of more civilized lords. So a young aristocratic woman, perhaps indignant at being practically sold to a barbarian, meets her husband to be. Notes:
It could be the royal family or a lesser one, though they should at least prominent nobles. As far as barbarism goes, he’s not stupid or even uneducated by his own culture’s standards, but the standards are so different from ‘civilized’ nations he can appear barbaric. He is here to learn how to hide that or adapt to foreign cultures, basically.Title: Scholars of the Marble TowerGenre:
Jeong Eun Yu and Gi Hye YiPlot:
The King of Goryon, in times past, commissioned the Marble Tower. Its original function was to train his son to be ready to assume the crown, but since then has transformed into a place of scholarly learning. Old law and tradition dictates that none except the scholars themselves and royalty may enter the tower premises freely. Even the guards must stay on the outside. However, the scholars still have families, and although the tower itself is on an island on the nearby mainland there is a town called Yokshi, where most of the families of the scholars reside in households supported off their earnings. As the scholars are paid a good wage they are well cared for, but the scholars themselves tend to come infrequently. It is a joke that such a thing is a God descending from heaven.
And they are all Gods, for women have little hold in this place of learning. Which is troublesome for Jeong Eun Yu, for the position he holds is one of studying women. It is an old and venerable chair but one he has found has gotten by on the centuries mostly on textbooks on virtue and thoughts on what a woman ought to be. The last holder of the chair’s main output was treatises on what a woman should be like which were considered so out of date, stodgy, and conservative that the chair’s prestige was much reduced. Jeong was put in it because he is young and has no interest in repeating such a thing. Unfortunately, the only women to be found are in Yokshi. To make matters worse he cannot bring his equipment to Yokshi due to old rules, and due to traditions of modesty he has gotten precious little cooperation.
Gi Hye Yi, meanwhile, was the daughter of one of those descending Gods. She, like many, was not well acquainted with her father since he came down only rarely. She grew up with whatever she wanted but always wanted to know her father better, hoping in girlish innocence that if she learned enough she could join him she studied hard as a child. When social realities and her restrictions came crashing down upon her, however, she proved of tougher stuff. She continued studying in secret while in all outward appearances acting and being a normal girl, and eventually a normal woman. However, when the time came, she dressed as a boy, did her best to imitate their manners, and took the entrance exam for the Marble Tower. She passed and got into a high grade of students.
Each student was paired with a master, and Gi was paired with Jeong. While h is supposed to give her a more general view of things, of course his specialty seeps in somewhat, especially because she, in turn, is supposed to help him with his research. She proves surprisingly knowledgeable, for obvious reasons, though not all knowing by any means. Still, she is a great help, but this soon leads to suspicions and his curious nature leads to confirmation. He agrees to keep the secret, but wants to have her volunteer as a subject for his studies.Notes:
Whether this is more blackmail or more scholarly, and whether this is openly sexual at the beginning or evolves into it over time is all up for discussion. The cultural background for this is fantasy-Korean due to the Scholars of the Jade Hall, but that can be changed with little effort.