OOC FYI: to those asking to play in my plot

Fred

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Oct 25, 2005
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#1
I've been poked by a few people - actually, it's starting to become a lot of people - about joining my plot. I'm going to put a post up regarding this, so people know where I stand, what I intend to do, and why I'll do it that way.

I was game master of the Miharu plot for the duration of campaign against the Daughters of Eve and the ultimate faceoff against the Mishhuvurthyar overlord Melisson. The plot is remembered as a good one, which is a nice payoff. But it's not only positive feedback that trickled down to me, but also the negative feedback.

Basically, a concerned party shared with me a chat transcript of members of my playerbase that were giving critique to aspects of my plot. One was how, while involved in ship-to-ship shenanigans, the infantry members of the crew were essentially twiddling their thumbs. It was also said that I didn't treat certain members of my playerbase fairly, especially considering how long-running their characters had been in relation to my plot.

I don't seek to defensively justify myself, but there were reasons for that, that I want to give insight on:

As an admitted fan of Star Trek, I like my ship-to-ship fights, the interactions between my own flagship character and her senior staff. I want to do it, but people also joined my plot for other reasons and I tried to be nice by allowing them in; I also made sure that once they were in action, what they would be involved in would be very pivotal - and most of the more crucial moments in my plot were power armor fights.

And as for giving long-running players justice... I spend unhealthy amounts of time imagining cool character moments for PCs and ways they can shine. And then, I try to get them in those potential positions because I want to create these memories. People remembering great moments years later is some of the best payoff for me as a GM. But the characters I "shirked" were characters that I provided opportunities on a platter several times, and they didn't take them, or went inactive at the moment they ought to have shone under the spotlight - and then I'm forced to adjust my plans, and get other characters with more reliable attendance to fill those pivotal junctures instead; because I end up not being able to count on the people I wanted to pamper thanks to thier own inactivity.

The end result? I found out there's no way I can please everyone. Which is why so many of you that reached me got a response in the negative. I decided to stop allowing people in because I wanted to be nice, only to not be able to sufficiently catter to them.

It doesn't mean I don't have a plan, though.

Like I said, I want my character Kotori to roleplay with her senior officers. I want ship-to-ship conflicts. That won't change. But on occasion, other stuff is going to happen.

My upcoming plotship will have a greater crew capacity than those that came before. I've got 100 to 200 unnamed NPC for crew on my hands. Some might be employees of Miharu light Industries, whom for the most part come from rehabilitated members of the Second Draconian Fleet. Others might be Ketsurui Samurai Kotori will have assisting her cause. And whatever exception might occur.

So, I encouraged my players to think of side characters. I'll give you an example: Nyton. Nyton (the roleplayer) plays his titular character Nyton Claymere; but that's not the only role he's grown to adopt. Another is Ayumu the neko nurse. He also has the two Shimabumi sisters, two caretakers. That allows him to have a character that he can play in a lot of circumstances, meaning, he's rarely left with nothing to do during a plot.

Side characters are what anyone else joining my plot other than Kotori's entourage is going to be. Side characters are essentially one-shot guest stars that happen to come into play when a situation that could showcase them comes up. If I've got 3 roleplayers that signed up with technicians and that the ship suffers an hull-breach, I'll know there's a roleplaying opportunity and message these 3 people saying "hey, if you care to play your technicians, there's this and this going on". Same thing for a medical emergency, or an away team that needs more redshirts.

Some of you will recognize the term 'redshirt' from StarTrek. Yes. It is exactly what I mean. It cost -half- of Miharu's crew to win against Eve and Melisson. Being a sidecharacter is hard.

Also, I typically won't catter directly to the sidecharacters. I'm going to implicate the plotship as a whole, rather than a sidecharacter. If the sidecharacter needs direct attention or direct instruction, it'll come from ranking officers; fortunately, everyone roleplaying the people amongst Kotori's entourage are all people well qualified to fulfill mini-GM duties like that.

If it becomes obvious that there's downtime, the sidecharacters can be free to roleplay with others. But again, most of the time, they can't expect me to look after them. As I justified above, I'm not going to pretend I can give that great experience. At best, I can give windows of opportunity.

It doesn't mean that a side character will never matter. Take Nyton's sidecharacter Ayumu. She's consistently shown up since Miharu's third mission, she's generally well liked and Blas has done a great job with his portrayal of her. Because of that, I've decided that in anticipation to serving on that upcoming cruiser vessel, she completed officer studies and she's going to be the ship's chief medical officer.

It's kind of like in Star Trek TNG, where the Transporter Chief, Miles O'Brien, was a familiar face during several episodes. Then, in a few, he played a bigger role. And later, what do you know, he became a starring character in Deep Space Nine.

* * *

This said, I don't plan to instate this 'side character' project of mine until the start of Threads 3.x; where we'll actually have a ship to crew. Until then, no, I'm not allowing anyone else for the time being.
 
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Nyton

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Jun 19, 2005
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#2
That's nice to hear, Fred. I didn't realize my little gaggle of side characters had made such an impact. I recall they originally were prisoners that had been rescued by the Miharu crew from Bowhordia. It seemed like a great place to bring in some fresh faces since at the time our medical center was busy with not enough PC enabled hands. I hadn't realized how much of an impact Ayumu had made. She really was fun to side play and imagining her, a still only moderately experienced nurse, waist deep in bodies and blood, being overwhelmed was an intense moment for her.

My only regret is not playing up the Shimabumi sisters as big as I'd wanted. I kind of bit off more than I could chew in that they were supposed to be musically inclined and I'm poor at writing anything remotely resembling lyrics. Otherwise, they're fun little whimsical care takers.
 

Fred

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Oct 25, 2005
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#5
Now that we are in a transition point during the holidays, I'm opening sidecharacter submissions for this plot.

As discussed before, there are a few avenues for having characters in my plot. I mentioned this before:

I've got 100 to 200 unnamed NPC for crew on my hands. Some might be employees of Miharu light Industries, whom for the most part come from rehabilitated members of the Second Draconian Fleet. Others might be Ketsurui Samurai Kotori will have assisting her cause.
It still applies.
 

Fred

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#6
Additional information:

Eishi, Former Ketsurui Samurai -
If you come with the intent of playing a former-Ketsurui Samurai in my plot, you are one of two things:
  • An existing Ketsurui Samurai character that returns from a mission and decides to join in Kotori's effort to hunt down the traitorous samurai sect, the Shadow Vipers (Kusariebi-no-Kage).
  • One of the trainees or journeywomen that volunteered to join the effort in hunting down the Shadow Vipers, based on the events in thread 2.9.
In either case, joining the effort required you to retire from the Ketsurui Samurai in order to have the freedom to join the hunt for those whom have betrayed the Ketsurui Clan and brought shame to your order. You had to relinquish your powerful Eihei body in favor of the more standard Tennyo-type, and you lost most of your samurai trappings save for the zesuaium blade you earned if you advanced to journeywoman. Hopefully, despite casting everything aside - even an honorable death - to go bring the traitors to justice, you will prove that you don't have to look the part to retain a Samurai's nobility of spirit.

Ranking -
We have a total of 65 trainees and 25 journeywomen. Most that came are too young to have experienced the Shadow Viper betrayal and have only heard of it and witnessed how it has darkened the reputation of the Samurai ever since, with the latest attempt on Empress Himiko being the last straw. Since the schism predated their births, these samurai that joined us were likely motivated in not paying for the shame of something they were not around to experience as well as to not give up their lives so they could bring to justice those that betrayed their house, eventually bringing down everything these young nekos knew.

As a trainee, you've had less than a year of training (and you're not much older than that either). You're essentially equivalent to a very combat-focused Star Army soldier. Being a trainee is an ideal role if you want to have some of the mystique and skillful flair of a Ketsurui Samurai, while having the freedom to deviate some. It's not a big deal if you don't behave like the perfect samurai - you haven't been weaned to be a proper one yet. Though, if you misbehave, your older sisters will still see that you are disciplined; you have the most learning ahead of you but also the most potential to be more than just Samurai.

As a journeywoman, you completed your year-long training, tested out for a combat style (a bûdo) and, remain in early formative years as a Samurai, though to outsiders you look just as good as your full-fledged older sisters; few barring veteran Star Army infantrymen can match your martial art prowess. Being a journeywoman is an ideal role if you want to more closely embody what a Ketsurui Samurai was with less deviation than a trainee.
The above are the playable roles, though the samurai volunteers also include several older sisters of greater rank. You have the full-fledged Samurai, and amongst those, you have sensei - teachers - whom have devoted the time to help hone the prowess of their younger sisters as well as hone the skills in their chosen bûdo. Lastly, there is the Shichou - Master - whom has earned so much instruction that she has mastered and can teach multiple bûdo.

Combat Styles -
All Ketsurui Samurai are well-versed in the art of war, proficient with a great many weapons and ways to bring an opponent low. Amongst those, certain preferences in combat styles came to the fore beyond that prowess. Several of the founding members amongst the Ketsurui Samurai developed schools of combat where this advanced knowledge could be communicated. It became a rite of passage for trainees to earn a bûdo before they could rise to journeywoman status (though some precocious trainees have been known to earn their budô half-a-year before advancing). Those that test out successfully earn themselves the right to wear a decorated obi matching the school they then belonged to.

Provided they previously tested out, 3 styles are available for the former-Samurai volunteers:

Nîto Ryu (Twin Dragons)
A two-weapon-wielding style descending from Chizuru Saya; adept at fighting against multiple opponents, stance-based combat having both weapons used independently (offense/offense, offense/defense, defense/offense, defense/defense), with sufficiently bared skin (bared shoulders is popular) can perform projectile deflection. The quintessential melee brawler.
Signature weapon: Katana/wakizashi
Symbolic Obi patterns: Peony, Spider Lily, Sunflower

Shizukana Arashi (Patient Storm)
A polearm-wielding style descending from Asagiri Ryoko, well-versed in strikes from both ends of a long-hafted weapon as well as performing devastating blows taking full advantage of the weapon's reach, most adept in nonlethal subdual. The most 'showy' style, previously used by high-visibility samurai such as palace guards.
Signature weapon: Naginata
Symbolic Obi patterns: Azalea, Hydrangea, Morning Glory

Kusariebi-no-Kage (Shadow Viper)
A subterfuge-based style descending from Ebi Nadeko, one-handed duelists highly skilled in drawcuts and feints (the latter a set of techniques called gensôbutô), extremely adept in nekovalkyrja stealth and at being alert to hard-to-notice dangers/intrusion. Iconic to the Stealth Sentinel occupation.
This bûdo was taught in recent years by Master Kôsuka. Those that currently practice it may be fighting fire with fire, or seeking to redeem the Stealth Sentinel occupation.
Signature weapon: translucent zesuaium blade
Symbolic Obi patterns: Carnation, Red Spider Lily, Zinnia
A samurai whom earned a bûdo will have earned herself a two-to-three word monicker alluding to her personal distinctions or aspirations. For example: "Tiger Mother" is a distinction describing how Kôsuka is fiercely protective of those under her wing, while "Steel Tempest" alludes to Kotori being at her strongest when she keeps her passions in check.

There are other schools, but they don't really come along with us. For instance, Tsuya - the samurai leader - has a school that's based on wielding concealed weapons and expertly employing hand-thrown projectiles. Empress Himiko's handmaidens figure amongst examples of such warriors. Since Tsuya is Wes' character, we have not yet gone forward to actually name her bûdo yet.

Occupations -
A byproduct of Ketsurui samurai influence extending beyond the concerns of the Ketsurui clan (before they were most recently reigned in), the occupation alludes to a set of competence and practices journeywomen may have been earned the training and experience to perform. They are no longer all that relevant to the volunteers now, but help flesh out what their skills, focus and interest lay.

This is journeywomen-tier only.

* * *

So, to summarize the numbers of playable trainees and journeywomen we have and the styles we know they practice...

We have 8 trainees just at the verge of testing out for the Shizukana Arashi bûdo.

We know that we have some Stealth Sentinels journeywomen personally trained by Kôsuka in the Kusariebi-no-kage.
Eihei-no-insen: Formerly a highly valued class, Stealth Sentinels invisibly and silently protected high-profile members of the Ketsurui clan. They were invisible warriors with transparent swords, never far from their protection detail. Stealth Sentinels were known to spend weeks at a time without leaving stealth. Since the Shadow Viper betrayal, the class has seen its prestige plummet.
We have six demon-hunters journeywomen trained personally by Chi.
Karibito-no-akuma: A medium-value class. Demon hunters are the professional killers of the clan; they are dispatched as a secret force to eliminate enemies of the Empire. Formerly, they pursued enemies of the Ketsurui clan with the intent of capturing them so they could be brought before the clan's rulers.
We also know that a few journeywomen are monks or marshalls as well.
Fukei: A medium-high-value class. Marshals historically were clan police, but they now act as the Imperial police force, possessing interplanetary jurisdiction with the ability to trump local and planetary law enforcement in the interest of the Empire. They often work with those agencies, however, in the pursuit of justice.
Arahoshi: A medium-value class, Monks travel within the Empire, acting as spiritual guides, arbiters of justice or some other form of community assistance. Some of their duties overlap with other classes, but while an arahoshi's official authority is minimal, their influence can be far greater. Monks tend to settle within a community for some time, once they believe they have found their place.
Dramatis Personnae -
We have a few established characters amongst the samurai volonteers:

- Kôsuka (Tiger Mother): Master, Twin Dragons/Shadow Viper bûdo. Functioned as a Stealth Sentinel before becoming an instructor. Was personally trained by Nîto Ryu Sensei-no-bûdo Chizuru Saya. Birth mother of Kotori and Koyama.
- Yasuko: Sensei, Twin Dragons bûdo, personal disciple of Kôsuka
- Karen: Sensei, Twin Dragons bûdo, personal disciple of Kôsuka
- Umari: Sensei, Twin Dragons bûdo. Had frontline experience as gunsotsu during the Mishhuvurthyar wars.
- Nera: Samurai, was a Shadow Viper-trained at the beginning that crosstrained under Tsuya's school, and then had been training Nîto Ryu under Kôsuka.
- Chi: Sensei, Patient Storm bûdo. Was a demon hunter in the past before she performed bodyguard/mentoring duties for Kôsuka's daughter Koyama. Is the ranking representative of the Shizukana Arashi amongst the volunteers.
- Shiri: Samurai, Patient Storm bûdo. Yojimbo Palace Guard.
- Ichiyanari: Samurai, Patient Storm bûdo. Yojimbo Palace Guard.
- Brin: journeywoman, Tsuya-bûdo trained archer that crosstrained in Nîto Ryu. Has one Tsuya-school trainee pupil (since there's no one better to be her senior).​
 
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Fred

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Oct 25, 2005
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#7
Sidecharacters are no longer open, and I am not accepting new candidacies to join my plot.

Thank you for your interest.