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On hiatus.

23 October 2013

Fantasy, Quest, Adventure

Lit. -- Adv.Lit :: 200-700 words/post;
1k+ accepted ~ no maximum

Under some construction. Open and Accepting. HIATUS.
(Selectively open based on in-setting circumstances).

Cassandra Voorhees

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                      FROM THE royal archive Crown Prince Notras Telcor of Tourmaline watched as the last snow melted off the roofs of his grand mountain city. Zenithis, as it was called in the common tongue, was home to over seven-hundred thousand individuals, descendents of the first settlers that marked out the boundaries of the Empire. It would be spring officially by sunrise tomorrow, and in two weeks there would be mass celebrations as caravans from nearby agricultural towns brought their goods up the cleared mountain passes. Summer only lasted a month here; before long the howling winds would blow over the Grey Horizon once again, bringing with them the raging storms of the Far Northlands and freezing over the few navigable paths connecting Zenithis to the rest of the Empire.

                      Notras shifted from his perch. Within an arm's reach stood a table upon which several leather-bound books lay open. Amongst the hefty tomes were scattered dozens of sheets of paper, the heavier parchment of official documents wrapped in a loose bundle off to the side. He regarded his work with a critical eye and, having zeroed in on one particular piece he had found late in the night jammed haphazardly between two ancient files, picked up the letter in question with a practiced pass of the hand. He waved for an attendant posted in one of the shadowed corners of the room and a young man bowed quickly before hurrying out a side door. Within moments a knock rang from behind Notras and his books.

                      "My Lord," the voice over his shoulder called. "You summoned me?" Notras nodded imperceptibly, turning around to face the man he sent for.

                      The knight was dressed in his distinctive armour, a symbol of the Empire's authority, though this one was notably weary from a long journey and favoured one leg over the other. He was terse in his greetings and obviously aching to return to bed, to which Notras would have found great offense if he had not known the lengths this man went to see his wishes fulfilled. It was in fact this very quality of loyalty that made the Prince think of no one else for this next task.

                      "Jhandel," Notras said, softly as if deferring to the knight's exhaustion. "There is something you must see." He handed the folded parchment over with deliberate and cautious movements, mindful of the document's age. Having dealt with the Prince's habits, Jhandel read the letter slowly, then read it again to ensure his sleep addled mind wasn't creating things that didn't exist. Finally, Notras decided to break the silence. "I want you to go there."

                      Jhandel held his tongue. After correctly identifying the seals that adorned the bottom portion of the document, this was what he had feared the most. It was no longer a task he wished to undertake, but this was his prince speaking and he had half the mind to stay silent about the matter. Of course Notras, the ever perceptive Notras of Tourmaline, noticed his reluctance and responded with a quick admonishment that would have cut deeper if Jhandel wasn't so tired.

                      "You've seen for yourself what the borderlands are like. Our neighbours are getting restless," Notras stood from his seat, pacing towards the window where he watched his people go about their daily business. "In a few years, or perhaps a few ten years, I am certain they will make a move. The ways are silent now, but the wind does not lie. There is an army growing at the edges of our world, sapping resources that would otherwise feed a starving populace." He faced Jhandel again, opening his palms towards the sky. "Speak plainly. Do you not think the journey is worth the knowledge we would gain?"

                      Jhandel knew his prince had caught him. If it was for the Empire, he would gladly pay in blood. And yet, a deep sense of foreboding trembled at his core, making a smile impossible to come by. This would be the biggest leap of faith he had made yet.

                      "Where should I start?"

                      Notras directed him to his side by the window, a mournful look upon his face. Nothing more needed to be said.

███what happens now...
          Our story begins in the city of Zenithis, capital of the Tourmaline Empire and home to the seat of King Rhakovan XIV. The first wave of peddler caravans have passed through Zenithis and thousands of civilians have already taken the trek down to nearby settlements. While the weather holds, people are catching up with news brought in from the outer edges of the Empire. The city is bustling with activity.

          Jhandel, the knight who answered Prince Notras's urgent request, has called for notable and ambitious adventures to join him in a quest promising untold riches. Recruitment notices have been placed in taverns and inns; across town his message was repeated on the wings of gossip-mongers. With the heavy traffic the area was receiving, word spread like wildfire. Soon there were travellers from every corner of the Empire applying. It didn't surprise him to hear from individuals coming in from as far as the Ihavo Desert in the east.

          You, the player, have more than satisfied Jhandel's requirements for, after all, some trait of yours has made you stand out amongst the hordes of similarly ambitious folk. What you choose to do from here is entirely up to you. The city is open for you to explore and gather supplies for the long and undoubtedly arduous journey. Take this time to meet with your fellow adventurers; enjoy the company granted by civilization. Jhandel only requests you be ready by the sight of the first autumn storm clouds. We will be departing before the paths through the Grey Horizon become inaccessible.

PROLOGUE ... 1 - 11
CHAPTER ONE ... 11 - 15
CHAPTER TWO ... 15 - 16
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Link above to Archives

          Located on the Aethes continent, the Tourmaline Empire is the second largest country in the Eastern Hemisphere. Stretching from the Grey Horizon, a massive chain of mountains separating the north into the Frozen Wastelands and the Far Uplands, to the Ihavo Desert in the east and around to the Higatan Swamp of the south and the Sea of Storms in the west, the Empire comprises primarily of lands uninhabitable by ordinary people. Needless to say, those who call the harsh environments of the Empire home are far from ordinary.

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███major regions
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          xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxTHE GREY HORIZON

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          xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxTHE IHAVO

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          xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxHIGATAN SWAMP

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          xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxSEA OF STORMS

███the locals
          The fierce, unforgiving nature of the Empire has left its people a tough bunch. Resilient and indomitable, individual clans have learned how to survive on their own, working with the land to produce favourable results. For those living outside the Empire, the continual prosperity of the Tourmaline race is no less than legendary. Rumour has it that the people there have forsaken their humanity in order to obtain the evil magic that sustains them. Fancy talk, mostly, though this sentiment is not too far from the truth.

          Clans scattered across the Empire have developed special skills to help them adapt. Though many resent others calling their abilities "magic," it is a colloquial term that encompasses all phenomenon unique to the people of the Empire.

          Tourmaline "magic" comes from the earth. When the first settlers embraced the land as their partner in life, as opposed to others who sought to conquer her, they were given abilities unlike anything the people of this continent had seen. As if the land could sense their willingness to accept and adapt to their circumstances, their magic gives them advantages in their environments. For example, the people living in the Grey Horizon are extremely resilient to cold weather and some, particularly those of the deep mines, have even developed tremorsense.

          These traits have become so common, however, that they are seen as more of inherited characteristics than actual magic.

          The three core disciplines of magic are described below, though it has been three thousand years since any schools have taught them.

          Cassandra Voorhees
          I usually leave it up to the player to decide whether or not the trait/power they pick is balanced relative to others in the party. I'm here to facilitate this process.

          As for what a real mage is capable of, it depends on their level of commitment to their discipline. There's three major energy wells, or "sources" from which a mage can draw their power from:

          Planar - also known as Elemental, this is the most common wellspring used and was favoured by the vast majority of citizens pre-Shroud. The mages of this discipline take the energy from the physical world around them and shape it to their whim.

          Divine - what was used by the Church; even simple prayers fall under this category. This path feeds on the symbiotic relationship between mortals (who call upon their gods to bless them) and immortals (who rely on humans to give them their power).

          Universal(is) - the most esoteric of the three, this discipline pulls from the immaterial, the knowledge of reality. I will spare you guys the theory behind this one (it's a long one), but essentially there exists an imaginary "map" of the universe, and on this map exists everything that could ever be. Traversing the map, a mage can come across tricks which he or she can turn into spells.

          None of these disciplines is superior to another; they are all equal. Magic is about how you use it and less about where it comes from. There are workarounds to all solutions hidden in the secrets of each path. For example, if my goal is to light a fire I may go about it as such:

          1. As a Planar mage, I can call upon my knowledge of the physical nature of fire and summon it from energy in the atmosphere.

          2. As a Divine mage, I can pray to the god of fire, Erenil, to grant me his blessing.

          3. As a Universalis mage, I can look at my collection of spells and employ one that creates a flame.

          As TM, I set my limit at the player's imagination. I only ask that people keep in mind this is a story, and stories are boring if you can do everything well. For those thinking about magic, I suggest considering how much time and effort must be put into learning and mastering said magic. The more extraordinary the power, the longer it will take to gain, and the more work you will have to do, as a player, to convince me that it is good for the story.

          What lies beyond the borders of the Tourmaline Empire... well, no one is really sure. Being a self-sufficient country with highly isolationist policies --the only things the people were willing to share with outsiders were the gems and metals found in their mines --knowledge of other lands is very limited. Apart from the most basic of information, capital cities and general geography for example, the Empire has neglected to keep track of neighbouring kingdoms. Luckily, in spite of said neighbouring countries attempting to map Empire lands, Tourmaline territory is notoriously difficult to navigate. Without a guide, some believe it is nigh impossible to cross, much less divine the secrets of the land, in one human lifespan.

          As adventurers, you will be exposed to not only the dangers of the Empire but also the dangers of lands more precarious (if only for the lack of available knowledge you possess about them) than those within these borders. The only thing you can be certain of is that you have the background, the heritage of Tourmaline, to give you an edge in surviving.
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███the gaia tos
          Nothing surprising here. Keep things PG-13 within the thread, but by all means take things as far as you like in PMs. Also, there shalt be no abusing of the fellow players or I will bring out the ban hammer and you shalt feel my wrath. There will be no mercy.

          on тнe grey нorιzon is a literate roleplay with an average of 200-700 words per post. In terms of content styling, I'm looking for coherent paragraphs with a nice flow when you read them. At the most basic level please watch for grammar, spelling, and punctuation. I'm not going to get really nit-picky here, but it's hard to sift through text when I'm constantly accosted by misplaced letters and sad, unwanted commas. Don't neglect your sentence structure either! No one wants to read "He said..." or "She [insert verb here]..." more than once or twice within the same paragraph.

███posting layouts
          I like stylized posts because they catch the attention of random lurkers. A well put together layout can also aid in the reading process; this would include things like appropriate font size and double spacing for paragraphs. I would like for each post to have at least one picture of the character as well as the name of the character (adding the character's occupation/class/role in party is optional though highly appreciated). Oh, and of course, don't post in difficult to read colours (yellows, neons, etc). You may have them for stylistic purposes (e.g. border decoration), but I ask you keep things toned down for the bulk of your text.

███on god-modding
          Don't do it. End of story.

          For those who are unsure of what "god-modding" is, or are wondering what my definition and expectations are, it's when a character breaks the acceptable margin of possibility. Let me elaborate; "god-modding" occurs when common sense tells you "that doesn't make sense" or "are you ******** serious?" This is especially important when interacting with other Player Characters. If you want to get into a fight with your fellow player, talk it out in a PM or the OOC thread. Discuss how you want the battle to progress and who will be the victor. Remember, your sharpshooter might have an accuracy rating of 99.9 per cent, but in combat with other PCs that no longer matters.

          There is also minor magic in this roleplay (more on this in another post). This will require a bit more than common sense to judge. I recommend also thinking about how the magic fits within the setting (this includes the consequences of being too flashy) and whether or not the magic you wish to bring in will help or hinder the plot. No one-shotting dragons.
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main party

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GUARD // Becky Carver // WITSZY

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*These characters are semi-active to inactive

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FIRESAYER // Wyn Aldshansul // WONDROUS

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WARDEN // Nero Sabinus // SUNASYLEAN

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THE PRINCE // Notras il'Telcor Rhakovan

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??? // Muraenidae the Gentle
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Copy and paste this into a PM to Cassandra Voorhees. Title it "HORIZON Profile."

For those wishing to play a "mage" type character --someone who uses magic as their primary occupation --you must speak to me beforehand and have a character concept cleared separately.

Where there is xxx, replace with colour 1 of your choice.
Where there is yyy, replace with colour 2 of your choice.
Where there is >...<, replace with details.

Ever tried using a word processor to replace those xxx and yyy's?

[imgright]malformed url[/imgright]
[color=#xxx][size=16]ωҺค੮ ੮Һ૯ע ८คՆՆ ɱ૯[/size][/color]
[color=white]███[/color][color=#yyy][size=11]>nickname or what you prefer to be called<[/size][/color]

[color=#xxx][size=16]Բคɱ૦υς ҩυ૦੮૯[/size][/color]
[color=white]███[/color][color=#yyy][size=11]>one line theme in a nutshell<[/size][/color]



[color=white]██████[/color]█████████ ████ ██████████████████████




[color=white]███[/color][color=#yyy][size=11]>family history, where you come from, what are your circumstances, who are you? THREE paragraph minimum<[/size][/color]

[color=white]███[/color][color=#yyy][size=11]>what job do you hold? what position do you have in your social ranks? what kind of job did you have prior to coming?<[/size][/color]

[color=white]███[/color][color=#yyy][size=11]>future adventurer? you may want something to defend yourself with; also include anything your character might have that's unique or special<[/size][/color]

[color=white]██████[/color]█████████ ████ ██████████████████████



[color=white]███[/color][color=#yyy][size=11]>something miscellaneous you want to share about your character<[/size][/color]




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              ωҺค੮ ੮Һ૯ע ८คՆՆ ɱ૯
              ███>nickname or what you prefer to be called<

              Բคɱ૦υς ҩυ૦੮૯
              ███>one line theme in a nutshell<



              ███████████████ ████ ██████████████████████




              ███>family history, where you come from, what are your circumstances, who are you? THREE paragraph minimum<

              ███>what job do you hold? what position do you have in your social ranks? what kind of job did you have prior to coming?<

              ███>future adventurer? you may want something to defend yourself with; also include anything your character might have that's unique or special<

              ███████████████ ████ ██████████████████████



              ███>something miscellaneous you want to share about your character<


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          Four thousand years ago the Greater Realm of Aeos encompassed three worlds: Golden Paphos, Singing Valour, and Radiant Aeothae. These three stood in harmony under the bright banner of Godking Erabas, Keeper of Order, father of the Prince of Fire Erenil. Together, they were called the One Dominion, an example in the vast astral sea that it was possible for mortals and gods to coexist peacefully. It was a strained relationship however as there were kings who did not deserve to be kings and men who challenged the wisdom of their gods and won. Nonetheless, even the pride of the immortals alongside the defiance of the humans was not enough to break what the Godking had created.

          Until one mortal woman, whose name is as lost as her son's, won from Erabas the chance to see the child of a human within the Royal Court of the Godking. She carried his babe as her prize for defeating the Keeper of Order, though he told her the stress would ruin her body. She did not relent, choosing to give her life for the dream she held. A beautiful son, with eyes lit with intelligence and a smile full of grace, the Godking honoured her memory and named him the Second Prince of Aeos. Later, the worlds would know him as Taltherion.

          The Aethesic Pantheon is the name the mortals have given to the Godking's court. Always, fifteen of the brightest, strongest, wisest gods sit on the Council Aoes. They are the ones most spoken of, most revered, and hold in their hands the power to command pillars of life. When one falls, there is always another to take his place. However the void that Taltherion left when the Godking Erenil banished him was so vast and so contested that there have since been fourteen. Kalistar, the empty spot in the sky, is reserved for the fifteenth and has yet to be filled in over three thousand years.

          For all his madness, the great God of Mercy continued to exert his influence within the realms under the Aethesic Pantheon. A collection of writings by the name of Taltherion, created by his Favoured before the fall of Rothaelim's Shroud, recounts the events leading up to the Severance. For the people of Tourmaline, Taltherion is the most respected piece of scripture and many fear retribution for mentioning it in ignorance.

"The Godking Erabas, Lord of Lords, Keeper of Order, Father Perseverance gazed upon his second son and he said, 'This child will temper the fires of Justice, and within him lies the wisdom to be king and the humility to stand next to his brother, Erenil of the White Flame.'"

          [entry incomplete]

"The collision of the great Princes rang through the Greater Realms and Aeos heard most clearly of all. When at last silence came one stood victorious, in his hands the sword named Kinslayer wearing the blood of his brother."

          [entry incomplete]

"A hundred years he walked the Plains of Solitude, befriending those of equal status, equal suffering. He learned much, his anger quieted, though with him forever were his vows to Erabas. And so he returned to the Godking's Court, old friends welcoming him and praising the God of Mercy's boundless grace."

          [entry incomplete]

"With patience he waited in the shadow of the White Flame, a gentle hand and a voice of reason. But Erenil would not listen forever, and soon the Second Prince grew weary of the fate's arrangement. 'For Aoes!' they cried, and one would lose his peace while the other lost his name."

          [entry incomplete]

"The fires raged and burned and took with them the despair and fury of the Godking, Erenil the Sleepless, and Taltherion the Nameless, Sower of Chaos. Aoes cracked beneath their anger and nothing, not the prayers of Man nor the powers of God, could slow the descent of Magic."

          [entry incomplete]

[For quick reference only]

█████BARDESH -- [definition incomplete]
█████ERENIL -- [definition incomplete]
█████KALISON -- [definition incomplete]
█████KALISTAR -- [definition incomplete]
█████KOL -- God of Protection, Guardianship, and Light
█████MANETHERIK -- [definition incomplete]
█████RHAKOVAN -- any individual of royal blood
█████ROTHAELIM -- God of Knowledge and Secrets
█████TALTHERION -- a collection of legends pertaining to the God of Mercy; also, his respectful title
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███Q: What's the afterlife like in this world, if there is one?
          There isn't really an "afterlife" if you're thinking of a place like heaven or hell. When an individual dies, their "life force" (sometimes called the soul or the spirit) flows into the universe from which it originated. Energy gets recycled this way.

███Q: I hear there is going to be organized combat. What will that be like?
          Party combat will run in rounds, much like those in tabletop RPGs or turn-based video games. At the beginning of each encounter I will call for an initiative roll (done in the OOC thread) and post it in the main thread along with details about the environment and the creatures we'll be facing. Posts will follow this order as people write their actions until the encounter is closed. From there, normal roleplaying will continue.

███Q: Why is there a cap on the number of players?
          As stated in the previous question, there will be combat sequences with a directed order of posting. The more people in the party at a given moment, the more difficult it is to run scenes like this. Also, within the context of the story it would not be very wise to bring a huge number of people into foreign lands (especially since Tourmaline presence outside the Empire is extremely disliked).

███Q: Will there be a chance later in the RP for new characters to join?
          Yes. If this RP interests you, I would encourage you to bookmark the page and perhaps chat with the people in the OOC. As the story progresses, I may want more players to be in the main party or cover other important roles.

███Q: I see you using the word "niche" a lot in terms of characters. What do you mean by that?
          By "niche" I mean I want people to try and create characters to fill spots in the party we do not already have covered. From my experience, there is always tension between two players when their characters are similar in personality and/or role. I don't want this. Besides, in the quest to create a balanced party I want many unique talents so that we have a better chance at conquering whatever obstacles are placed in our way.

███Q: This RP appears to be quite plot-driven. How do you plan on maintaining coherence and clarity through long, plot-intensive sequences (e.g. when important NPCs are involved)?
          Cassandra Voorhees
          Hmm. On a side note, I think I know how I want to run plot-intensive sequences like this meeting in the future. I'll stage it like a text adventure in the OOC; from here, core details can be elaborated upon in the main thread by each of the characters.

          For example, Xanthia mentioned how Notras seemed pleased with the conclusion of the conversation --a result of what I posted here [the OOC].

          This method will give me the power to define NPC reactions as they happen, without actually devoting entire posts to them. With it I can maintain cohesion and clarity throughout important scenes. Subsequently, it should also cut down on godmodding and the majority of guesswork on the players' part.

          ooc link

          Cassandra Voorhees
          For [events like these], I would like people to post their questions here in the OOC so that I can answer them for everyone. Unless you are planning on doing something super sneaky, in which case PMs are still accepted. xD

          As for what you write, it is entirely up to you. I'm using this opportunity to test out some stuff. Namely, I want to see what happens when I meld standard RPing with something akin to a text-adventure.

          For instance, if you want to go somewhere in the city, interact with some person/people, do something that you would like to have feedback on (i.e. if not a player, then myself to respond), post it here [the OOC]. Tell me in a brief statement or two what it is you are doing, and I'll give you an equally brief response that you can incorporate into your post.

          An Example
          JHAN: I walk into Lowtown near the Southern Gate. What do I see?

          CASS: The hefty gates of Zenithis seem to be intact, as if they were not forced open. There are no guards you can see. It is safe to assume they are either not here or dead.

          ooc link

███Q: How long do you expect On the Grey Horizon to last? How far do you see this going?
          This RP, like all RPs, will last as long as the players are here to breathe life into it. I intend on seeing it through the three story arcs I have planned --the journey to Talbrelon'alim, the return home alongside preparations for the coming reckoning, and finally the culmination of thousands of years of history into a single Age --and so long as I have a dedicated core group I honestly believe we will make this a reality.

███Q: That's quite the commitment you're asking of your players. What if I don't think I will be able to follow this project to the end? Can I still join?
          Absolutely. A lot can happen over the course of a few months and so I never expect my players to devote more time than what they give me. Characters always have a chance in the spotlight and they can fade into the background if a hiatus is needed. Or, should it happen --though I hope it doesn't! --that a player loses interest, I will give their character a proper send off. Players should never feel pressured to stay if they wish to pursue other endeavours. With my partner Magna Aquillae, I am prepared to keep OTGH running smoothly for whomever visits.
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        All artwork used in "On the Grey Horizon" belong to their respective owners.
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