: What this is :
The Whispering World is a high fantasy RP, contained in a custom world setting. In tone, the setting is meant to harken back to many things: The Black Cauldron, Wizard of Oz, Narnia, Wonderland, etc, with a smidge of anime tossed in to season. Although the desire is to be lighthearted from the outset, there is a potential for somber moments; though fanciful, this world is just as unforgiving as ours and anyone suitably reckless may find themselves subject to grave misfortune.
Players will find themselves on the isolated continent of Pelageo, a vaguely fish-shaped land (if you squint at the map hard enough), embraced by choppy seas and a reef of brambles. There you will start in the human capital of Axle, free to choose from the available races and professions / skills of your choosing. Will you be a swordsman? A cutthroat? An explorer or carpenter? Lazy? Or a Whisperer, adept of the magical world? That choice is yours!
First though! Ground Rules:
: Who I want :
I want people who like to have fun, who can handle the spectrum of sweet and sour moments. I want people who can also post frequently without putting too much stress on themselves – I’m not saying you have to match my pace when I’m excited, but I would like a post every few days, minimum one per week unless your real life goes nuts on you.
I want this RP to have a minimum of 4-5 people, ideally. I think I can handle six or seven, and I’m absolutely SURE that anything higher than seven people will overtax me. IF that changes further down the line, or if someone leaves the RP for whatever reason, I will re-open the OOC to new characters.
: What is not allowed :
Any kind of rudeness regarding how other people have made their character is NOT allowed. I am going to have a zero tolerance policy on this. Also forbidden is any kind of overt racism, sexism, etc. To put it as the poets did: Be Excellent to Each Other.
: How you can reach me :
You can PM me through this site, or you can find me on Discord! I’m ThreadWeaver#2885 !
Okay, I’m glad we got that settled. Now, here’s a more detailed prompt about where you’ll start:
: Where you’ll begin :
You will begin at the Human capital of Axle, a city set into the side of a mountain in the ‘eye’ of Pelageo. At the start of game you are waiting to enter the city, queued up in groups as customs goes through your belongings to clear you for entry into the city. It’s, remarkably for Pelageo, a dull afternoon. The sun eases overhead, baking you just a bit too warm. Flies buzz idly about horses and wagons, and there’s the moderate hum of people attempting to do trade in the line and get their affairs in order before their turn with the guard. But this idle moment won’t last for long…
Now, here’s a question; You’re waiting in line. But who are you? Let’s figure that out!
When crafting your character – and before we get to unique details – please keep in mind that this is meant to be a low power setting; the gods of this land are real and do NOT take kindly to competition. So regardless of how you start, remember to leave yourself plenty of room to grow. Someday, you may be able to hurl lightning at your desire or carve a swath through a legion. Just, ideally, not on the first day.
Here is the basic character sheet you will be using, with explanations of each point:
: Character Sheet :
Age: You can be anywhere from 12 up. I advise being on the adult side of things, but children operate well in these sorts of settings under pressure. It wasn’t an old man who pulled the sword from the stone, that’s for sure.
Race: Please look to the Race spoiler below. Choose wisely!
Appearance: How do you look, and what do you wear? This is affected by race.
Personality: How can we expect you to act, and how are you feeling?
Affinities: The magical affinities you were born with. Refer to the Affinities and Race sections for more!
Styles or Profession: For Whisperers, these are the styles you use to negotiate with the world. For Martials, this is your fighting style. For Professionals, this is your profession. Refer to the relevant spoiler below for more.
Proficiencies: You can be proficient with a weapon, object, or steed of your choice. It doesn’t have to be a sword. You can be good at writing or painting or pottery and be just as valid as anyone else. Professionals get to start with two!
Biography: What have you been doing with your time?
: The Races :
- Cultural: Your families are close-knit and tribal, with sharp divisions among those Aquacians that grew up near ponds/lakes, rivers, and the ocean. The eldest family pairing, regardless of gender, heads the tribe, although new leaders can be decided either by vote or show of ability in times of crisis. Your history follows an oral tradition, and you’ve likely memorized many stories of your people - such as how they followed the great sea serpent Stirigris to Pelageo long ago, where she and her children became its rivers and lakes. You still worship this spirit to this day, as the embodiment of Water.
- Names: Aquacian names are broad and flowing, like the seas you dream of. You find nicknames to be an acceptable handicap for the other races to use, but on average you prefer people to know your full name. Some of the more pompous - they would say proud - Aquacians go so far as to list the names of their lineage as far back as they can recall. An introduction may go:
“I am Poroniti, third of her name, daughter of Poromundus, son of Porofini, daughter of Sarsutanil and Marulani, who once headed the tribe of the Northern Delta.”
- Affinity: Your parents will have an affinity to water, and you may choose this as one of your affinities if you so desire.
Passive Trait: Water Breathing
You are terribly difficult to drown. In fact, you don't. You're also a great swimmer!
Activated Trait: Mer-form
You take on the mer-form of your ancestors, conferring a dramatic improvement in your swimming abilities for a short time. Can be used one hour per day before exhausting you.
- Cultural: Charlanders are separated from the rest of the continent by a broad mountain range, and prefer to keep to themselves, rarely interacting with the other races except the Deserters with whom they share a border. Villages are spread out, often encompassing wide plots of land, and dot the Charlands. Your society is matriarchal, with the eldest woman in each family dictating over daily business and a council of women making decisions for the village. You have a mostly oral history, with families only writing down the most important myths and details on the paper that can survive the Charlands. Your people worship Thousand Eyes, the ancient dragon that settled and became the network of volcanoes along the northern edge of the Charlands. He is viewed as the embodiment of Fire in your worship.
- Names: Charlander names have long vowel sounds and use coarse consonants, and NO silent letters; resources are sparse in the Charlands, and not even letters go to waste there. Examples of names are Sache (SAH-chee), Morku, Dilfin, Doreke (Dor-eh-kee), and Psik (Pih-seek). Your family name follows the role of your family in the village. So Sache Broommaker, for example.
- Affinity: Your parents will have an affinity to fire, and you may choose this as one of your affinities if you so desire.
Passive Trait: Fire kinship
Fire and ash are old bedfellows. Flames, as you'd encounter in a bonfire or forge, are uncomfortably warm instead of burning. You can't swim through lava or anything like that, though. You are also naturally very warm to the touch, and you can't be choked by smoke.
Activated Trait: Red Eyes
The fire becomes you, and everything else. Looking into your eyes, fire is all people can think of. When something else tries to whisper, you can use this trait to interfere with their casting. For that cast, all of their affinities are treated as fire instead. This can be done once per day.
- Cultural: You are dead, and remember very little of what you were in life. The other races are uneasy around you, and so you are used to being shunned or living in a colony with other Deadmen, and possibly the odd leper. Some Deadmen choose to worship the entities they worshiped in life. Some choose to worship Myrwuul, the many-formed king of the Dead and embodiment of Rot.
- Names: When you come back from the dead, it’s common to remember nothing from your previous life. As a means of finding some sort of anchor point, a Deadman will often use the name of a nearby plant as their new name. Typically flowers on the grave are used for women, and men use the wood of the coffin they were buried in. There are those who go against this tradition, however, or may use more exotic plant names.
- Affinity: You are dead, and may choose rot as one of your affinities if you so desire.
Passive Trait: Immortal
As you are dead, it's incredibly hard to permanently kill you. You can still be dispatched in other ways. Have you tried being a severed head? You have a lot of time to think.
Activated Trait: Fall Silent
You remind the world just how dead you are. No Whispering can occur near you during this time (about ten minutes). You can do this once per day.
- Cultural: You are mostly nomadic folk, preferring to call no single place your home and explore every nook and cranny Pelageo has to offer. The Deserters have a single capital city, Al’Grasili, which is situated amid a desert oasis and is home to one of the greatest libraries on the continent, resplendent with gardens and storehouses where your people chronicle and deposit what they find on their adventures. Your society is a loose confederacy of caravans which reconvene every solstice in Al’Grasili for the Grand Bazaar. You will have grown up following the instructions of the caravan leader, who presided over your traveling family. You have a written history, through which your people tell of the great falcon Grasili, who sleeps beneath the desert and pours winds across the continent with each breath of its slumber and is the embodiment of Wind.
- Names: Deserter names are soft, and often monosyllabic; you’re going to be leaving the next day, so there’s no real point in a name people remember. Ezme, Rol, Fis, Pram, Oum, and Dirsa are all examples of Deserter names. Your family name will be longer, and is often the name of your caravan.
- Affinity: Your parents will have an affinity to wind, and you may choose this as one of your affinities if you so desire.
Passive Trait: Lightweight
You can leap further and higher – about a story or so – you're easily lifted, and you have trouble sinking. It always seems like the wind is curling your hair or billowing your cloak, too.
Activated Trait: Walk with the Wind
You go into a meditative state, and toss your awareness to the wind. You can cover about 1000 feet this way and can travel rapidly, although your body stays where it is. You can talk to people near your awareness, but they might hear it only as a whisper. You can see in this form, and travel through cracks. You can do this once per day.
- Cultural: It’s a common assumption by the other races that the Hedonians, being so bestial in nature, would follow a tribal pack system. While this may be true of small splinter groups, which establish a powerful alpha to lead the pack or herd, the broader society of Hedonians have established a monarchy under the eccentric Duke Fern. The small splinter tribes do not care much for history and do not keep it beyond knowing the location of hunting and grazing grounds. However, Duke Fern has established a written language for your kingdom, and a large city of Hedonia that serves as the capital of the country. You worship White Heart, the giant deer of the forest which shattered its own antlers to sew life into the continent of Pelageo and is the embodiment of Light.
- Names: Hedonian naming convention focuses on descriptors. Your name is meant to say something about who you are or how you look, describing a feature unique to you. A harpy may be named Feathertoes, and a Faun may be named Springleg. Names tend not to be longer than three or four words strung together. You have no family name, but may describe yourself as part of a pack or of Hedonia.
- Affinity: Your parents will have an affinity to light, and you may choose this as one of your affinities if you so desire.
Passive Trait: Beastkin
You can talk to beasts to some degree, using your negotiating styles to get them to do what you want within reason.
Activated Trait: Tend the Grove
You carry the light of the first life within you, close as you are to the first beasts. You can grow a fruit-bearing plant, cause fertile greens to sprout in an area around you, or even treat the wounded. Treating wounds or disease comes at a dire cost to you - you cannot whisper for the rest of the day, even if the effort fails. You can do this once per day.
- Culture: You view the human city of Axle as your capital. It is the seat of the religious theocracy that serves as your government, from which all decisions are deliberated and made by various monks, overseen by the magnanimous Abbot Delemere. You have a written and oral tradition, worshipping the Stars, Sun, and Moon themselves. Your communities are close knit, farming villages clustered around keeps and castles and cities. You call the entire central plain and valley areas of Pelageo your home. Humans have tense relationships with the Deserters, Hedonians, and Charlanders.
- Names: Brad, Connor, Terrence, Lydia, Susan, Deborah... They are as plain or as fanciful as you care to make them.
- Affinities: Humans have no native affinity. Instead, all of your affinities are drawn from the environment you grew up in.
Passive Trait: You're a Human.
You're pretty decent at everything, and because of that you pick up new skills easily. Learning a new affinity or proficiency takes 2/3's the regular time, rounded down.
Activated Trait: You're a Human!
You're a human, some kind of maniac bundle of happenstance and potential. For one casting, you can act as though you have an extra of one of your affinities, up to your choosing. This can be done once per day.
- Culture: Your society dwells deep in the earth and within mountains. You have long memories, and pass your time preserving the history of the continent. You reside in vast subterranean caverns, where the people of your race keep a pictographic, muralistic account of past events along the walls on massive tablets. Your society is a hive mind, protecting the Geodes that spawn more Mountainfolk from the remains of the deceased and answering to their cryptic call. You worship the mighty beetle Made-The-Mountains, which used its massive horn to shape the earth before laying the geode eggs that would foster your race. You view it as the embodiment of Earth.
- Names: Mountainfolk see little point in names, adopting them for the sake of the other races. These names tend to be descriptive of something you personally have accomplished in your history. Examples would be Broke-Ten-Swords, Painted-the-Sky, and Ate-A-Wheel. Think about your character's history, and what kind of noteworthy event in their past they would be named for.
- Affinity: Your parent had an affinity for earth, and so you may choose this as one of your affinities if you so desire.
Passive Trait: Sturdy Build
You are stronger than most, easily able to lift hundreds of pounds. You aren't nearly as flexible though, so you tend to move more slowly. Your stony skin and crystal organs also mean you can't be diseased or poisoned. You aren't invincible though.
Activated Trait: Awaken Statue
Most worked objects cannot be whispered normally, not in the way their base elements can be. Statues can barely remember a time before they were a bust of a dead person. You remind them. Once per day you can awaken a statue to act in a way you choose for an hour.
First, let’s talk about affinities:
: Affinities :
It is easier to negotiate with elements you have an affinity for. Which elements you have an affinity for can depend on what race you were born to, and what sort of environment feels like your home. For each of the environments that exist in the world of Pelageo, there is a list of affinities that readily bond to their occupants. The list follows:
- Desert: Sand, Glass, Wind, Thorn, Light
- Mountain: Cloud, Earth, Wind, Crystal, Ice
- Charlands: Fire, Ash, Smoke, Oil, Rot
- Sea: Water, Mist, Wind, Shell, Sand
- Plains: Wind, Bone, Light, Crystal, Rain
- Jungle: Mist, Plant, Beast, Rot, Shadow
- Swamp: Water, Plant, Rot, Earth, Bone
- City: Fire, Earth, Glass, Light, Copper
At the start of the game, you will have 3 affinities. You can have any combination, drawing from your racial affinity and the environment that feels like your home. You can also have multiple affinities – you don’t have to have a unique set of three! There are merits and drawbacks to having all your affinities be the same, or having them all be different. We will cover those later in the Whispering sub-section.
As you go on through the game, meeting certain conditions, you will acquire either new affinities or strengthen the bonds you already have. This will occur for all characters.
The affinities you have also say a lot about you. For a spellcaster, called a whisperer, these affinities will decide the spells you’re most comfortable and capable with. For martial fighters, these affinities describe your fighting style, how you move and how you strike. Think long and hard about which affinities you want, and the kind of character you want to become, and how you’ll have the most fun!
Let’s move on to the three types of classes you can have. We’ll start with the combat classes: Whisperers and Martials.
: Whisperers :
A lot of the time, the only opposition you will face is the pliability of your chosen element. However, there are occasions where there may be someone whispering in direct opposition to you. This is a contest, and is decided by what affinities you have and what negotiating styles you have at your disposal.
First, let’s discover your styles. Pick one style from the list below:
- Appeal - Appeal to the nature of something, convincing it that what you want it to do is in line with what it is.
- Charm - Use smooth words to get something to like you and do what you want.
- Intimidate - Use threats to make something malleable, and get it to do what you want.
- Barter - Offer an exchange of services, a promise or materials to get something to do what you want even if what you want is against its nature.
- Force - Simply take what you want and force it to happen. Has repercussions.
After you’ve picked a style, roll a d4 or other 25% percentile mechanism to find out what your second assigned style will be. You can feel free to use these styles as guides to what your character’s personality might be, or use them with a personality that’s totally unrelated.
Now that we’ve found your styles, let’s talk about how contests are settled.
The rule in a contest is “The person with the most affinities wins”. So a person with three fire affinities would always beat a person with only two fire affinities, because fire likes them more.
HOWEVER, there are ways to trick the world into thinking you have more affinities than you actually have! This is where your negotiating style comes in.
The different negotiating styles operate under these rules:
- Charm beats Intimidate which beats Appeal which beats Barter which beats Charm.
- Force beats all of them, but has dire repercussions on your character.
- A person using a style automatically acts as having the advantage against a person who is not.
Let’s go back to our fire example. Let’s say ‘A’ has 3 fire affinities, while ‘B’ has 2. Normally ‘A’ would win. But ‘A’ is using an Intimidate style, and ‘B’ is using a Charm style. Because ‘B’ is using an advantageous style, they get a bonus against ‘A’ and their affinities for the chosen spell are counted as doubled. So after the math, ‘A’ still has 3 affinities and ‘B’ is counted as having 4. Through artful use of the negotiation system, ‘B’ has won the contest and gains ownership over the element for that spell.
I should add: Even if you don't have affinities with an element, you can still attempt to interfere with someone else's casting using your style. An advantageous style in this case counts as having "2" of that affinity, rather than the usual doubling. It's pretty risky though, so be careful!
This is the only mechanical interaction for whispering. It is used to decide who would win in a contest between two whisperers using the same element. The rest of the time, victory comes down to element choice and creative implementation.
Now, there are some elements that are naturally more receptive to certain negotiation styles when there’s not a contest going on. But which elements those are, and what style to use, is something you might have to discover for yourself…
When you’re casting a spell, unless it’s something you’re incredibly familiar with, remember it will take time and there’s a chance for failure. So think twice about being wide out in the open if you think something could be a danger to you.
That’s all the basics for whisperers! Now get out there, and shout at some fire!
: Martials :
Swords, daggers, pole arms, bows and arrows, slings, spears, hammers, boomerangs, brooms, or your own two hands. These are tools of the trade for the Martials. Where the rest of the populace is focused on manipulating the world around them, you thrust your attention inward and seek mastery over yourself, an enlightenment through refinement and self-improvement to the point that you, yourself, become a force to be reckoned with.
First, pick a single type of weapon to be proficient with. Remember that different swords have different styles of use, so picking “swords” will not make you proficient with both scimitars and claymores. As a rule, be specific with melee weapons. Once you’ve picked, good job! You’re halfway to being a martial! Now you just need a school.
As a martial, you follow the path of a School of combat that is decided based on the affinities you start with. The affinities you have at your disposal will dictate the style of combat you pursue.
Fire: If Fire is among your affinities, you spread from foe to foe, exercising a style of combat that is all-consuming and aggressive, relentless until nothing’s left standing.
Earth: If Earth is among your affinities, you wade into combat like a siege weapon, taking blows and dealing back better than you get. You style is all about overwhelming, powerful attacks.
Wind: If Wind is among your affinities, you exercise a high-mobility, bob-and-weave style marked by dazzling footwork, slipping past an opponent’s guard for a sure hit.
Water: If Water is among your affinities, you follow the path of least resistance. Your style is subdued, waiting and flowing with your opponent until you can use their attacks against them and come crashing down on them.
Rot: If Rot is among your affinities, you exercise a style that seeks to dismantle your foes piece by piece, picking apart their defenses and leaving them breathless at your feet, constantly poking and prodding until the inevitable happens.
Light: If Light is among your affinities, you exercise a highly protective style that seeks to make a beacon of you, a grandiose and flashy way of fighting that raises the morale of those allied with you.
These represent the basic affinities, and the basic schools that draw from them. Your style might be more nuanced though based on your other affinities, perhaps belonging to one of the hybrid or sub-schools. As you grow you may even eventually develop a style of your own, for which you are its sole master. Work with me one-on-one to figure out what style you will start with!
Martial fighting may not have the scale of whispering, but it requires less time to execute. With the right plan and enough quick thinking, you can subdue a whisperer before they’ve even gotten their first spell off.
Combat between two or more martial fighters will be handled mostly through text, as is customary, and is mostly narratively driven with rewards for creativity, choreography, and fight planning. No mechanics are necessary for this category of character.
It should be pointed out that you CAN still whisper, as anyone in the world can. However, you will never beat a dedicated whisperer in a contest due to the difference in experience between you.
That should about wrap it up for martials! Remember: Sometimes the easiest solution to a problem involves a minor case of serious brain damage.
: Professionals :
For these problems, you need a Professional.
As a professional, you get to pick an occupation at the start of the game. This occupation should be something that would fit into a medieval-era fantasy land, but otherwise can be whatever you please. You could be an academic – a librarian, an astronomer, an alchemist – a craftsman – a blacksmith, a cobbler, a carpenter – or whatever else strikes your fancy – an illegal doctor, a horse surgeon, a cat burglar. As that last bit might have clued you in, your profession doesn’t need to be entirely legal, either. Do try not to be a murderer though, you’ll have an awful time keeping friends.
Your profession decides a lot about you. Namely, it decides how you whisper. Yes, you can still whisper as a professional! You can even swing a stick or a blackjack with sufficient force to defend yourself, if you have the mind to. You just won’t beat a whisperer or a martial in a straight-up fight.
Now, as for your whispering – the way you learned to whisper was in service to your craft, so try to view all of your tricks through that lens. A garment-maker might have learned how to whisper clothes out of ash, making garments that always keep you warm. A smith might have learned how to use fire to keep their forge always hot. A miner or a fisherman might have learned how to whisper information from an element, finding nodes of ore or schools of fish. Try to keep these examples in mind when you whisper as a professional.
The core of your class though is your occupation, and how it lets you seek unconventional solutions to problems. So try to pick one that really seems fun to you, which you think you can be creative with!
Good luck, and have fun!