Imagine a city without the trappings and restraints of a larger national government. Indeed, the path of the city-state was once the status quo for civilization, from the Greek Poleis to the pre-Garibaldi city-states of Italy, but the path of unity has brought upon the existence of large, expansive nations encompassing many cities. This is the way of the world as we know it. However, the story we are about to tell is one of an exception to the rule.
Welcome to Ark City, a mega-city-state for the year 2068. At its most basic state, the Ark is a vast urban sprawl across a cluster of islands, both natural and artificial, in the Indian Ocean, situated some fifty miles from the territorial waters of India. No national flag flies in this city, and there is no municipal government to impose its dominion over the whole of the islands. Not a single uniformed police officer is to be found here, from the glistening red light districts and casinos of Whitaker Island, to the slums of Khonar. Indeed, there is no unifying national image or dominant ethnicity that holds the Ark in its grasp. No single party can claim dominion over the Ark.
This is by sheer design; on the outside, the Ark is a capitalist’s paradise, a land buried under obscure legal protections and forged by men and women of different creeds with a shared interest in an escape from the tentacles of any single nation or corporation. At its core, the Ark is a pit of vipers, contested constantly by the groups of the criminal underworld. Every business, every street, every drug, every bullet, and every whore - can be traced back to one of many criminal groups, be it transnational drug cartels or long-standing organized crime rings with centuries of history. There is no effective central control over the city; each district has been balkanized in such a way that prosperity is directly proportional with the dominant criminal group - and that is a constantly-changing variable.
Some “normal” people eke out a living in this city. The term “normal” means that they have a secret, but no obligation to be in an organized group. Prostitutes, shopkeepers, bartenders, cleaners, waitresses, doctors, engineers, teachers, cab drivers - they all equally have a reason for coming into the Ark. A desire for “untaxed” wealth, “involuntary arrival,” forced flight, and other reasons are often claimed, but no one talks about themselves. They bide their time, skirting the ever-raging gang wars and bloody rivalries by courting one side or another. The ones that pay for privilege and protection will get all of the basic utilities they need - but only at the whim of a crime boss. Stratified by wealth, it's how you’d expect the Great City of Oz stacked next to Johannesburg to look.
At the top of the food chain, storied and shadowy organized crime organizations net themselves the brunt of the Ark's cash flow. Men and women in bespoked formal attire collect their cash from the casinos and ensure that the privileged guests of the city receive their fill of gambling and drugs and pricey call girls; it's all just business at the end of the day. They keep the city running in the districts that they own; water and power is no problem for them. Impediments, be they situations or people, are but trivial bumps in the road. From their high-rise offices and premier venues, these groups call the shots that determine the fate of the city - all in a day's work.
From the bottom of the slums, it's all the same - but without the expensive veneer of groups like the Cosa Nostra or Yakuza. The street gangs run their protection rackets and deal their dime bags on the crumbling streets and shantytowns that lie in the shadow of glass towers. Life is cheap in the slums, and a nine-millimeter commands all the respect until a seven-six-two pokes out from a moving car. Some gangs choose to eke out their existence in the slums; others dream of inhabiting the same skyscraper penthouses as the criminals in suits, and all will scheme to no end to achieve their varied goals.
At the end of the day, it's all the same; the mobster collects their cash, the gangster gets their cut. The money - those sweet digital greenbacks - is the grease behind the levers in the Ark. It keeps the lights on, debts paid, and deals made - when the rod is not to be used. The “Antediluvians” of the criminal underworld - ancient crime lords and kingpins - keep the city free from the prying eyes of the world - from the shared fear of losing their sovereignty to a national government or corporation. It is one that inspires, and threatens.
As for this story, it could go anywhere; indeed, that is the way of the Ark. Come from anywhere - the slums or the glass towers - and make your mark.
AI technology is likewise incredibly limited to governments and a few MegaCorps.
The European Union, after a brief and bloody war of consolidation, was reformed as the European Federation in 2022. China went on the offensive and annexed several countries around them, changing in to the Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere (or ACPS) by 2223. Only Japan and South Korea remain steadfastly out of her influence with NAU and Russian support.
The US integrated Canada and Mexico into their sphere of influence successfully and has become the North American Union in 2024; their military forces are involved in shutting down uprisings in Central America and fighting in South America.
Africa and South America are hotbeds of genocide, authoritarian dictatorships rising and falling, and crime running virtually rampant. The only area of Africa not busy dying are the South African United Republics (SAUR) that rose in 2028.
The Middle East has collapsed with the dependence of fossil fuels declining rapidly with the rise of alternative fuel sources, Russia and the Euro-Fed attempting to maintain peace in the area, mostly failing in a Russian offensive into The Caucasus region in 2030 and a EuroFed push into the Levant in 2035.
The first AI was launched in 2037 and promptly destroyed when it attempted to seize control of the 'Net. Since then, AI technology has been slowly and carefully explored.
Corporations have slowly crept on to the world stage, the first MegaCorporation, the White Company, outright buying Delaware, USA from the bankrupt state and government in 2039. Since then, the MegaCorps have risen in both power and prestige.
In the Middle East, Israel is constantly besieged by Arabian terrorist factions seeking to annihilate the Jew in their eternal Jihad.
The first lunar colony was established in 2056 by a joint venture of the Euro-Fed and NAU. The first Martian colony started in 2067 by the ACPS; a stunning achievement that has sent shockwaves around the world and many now worry that the conflicts between nations will expand in to space.
Places not mentioned above have either collapsed or are struggling forward.
- ANIMAL TRAFFICKING - This can range about anything, from importing bush meat and illicit seafood hauls to the importation of expensive fighting animals and personal pets.
- ANIMAL FIGHTS - Shark-baiting, shark-fighting, dog-fights, cock-fights; people love their bloodsports regardless of any unilateral efforts at “civility.” These guys work with other criminal groups in order to make these fights happen, and when done right can merit oodles of cash.
- ARMS PRODUCTIONS - The production of weapons of any make or mark. You're not running a massive munitions factory, however, if the smugglers have anything to say about it.
- ARMS SALES - You're a death-dealer, and you choose the flavors of death that you are willing to sell. Your goods can come from practically anywhere, so it is important to secure alliances with reliable arms smugglers.
- ARMS SMUGGLING - Stolen pistols from family homes, hand-me-downs from forgotten wars, or expensive pieces bought from unscrupulous quartermasters in the world's premier militaries, the vast number of weapons in the city come from these guys.
- BID/BET-RIGGING - A specialist business, run by men and women who are brave enough to bite powerful people in the ass. Auctions and money fights are the hunting fields, and this business requires those involved to be adept at cajoling others into placing bids in a specific way, or convincing them to throw a fight in exchange for a payout.
- BAILOUT - In the normal world, bails are a common way of getting people out of jail. In the Ark, bails are often paid to third parties as a way to escape from a previous financial obligation, or to help someone escape a debt. Basically a loan shark within a loan shark.
- CHOP-SHOP/VEHICLE THEFT - The art of stealing automobiles and stripping/adding parts in order to sell the (usually stolen) vehicles. Chopping is an art form for some, perpetuated since the early days of mass-produced automobiles.
- CREDIT CARD FRAUD - Thanks to the arrival of illegal WiFi in the Ark, there is a healthy off-shore location for Dark Web credit card fraud. Thousands of miles from sovereign shores, hackers are getting personal information and selling them via electronic marketplaces that rival those of Clovis.
- CONTRACT-KILLING - Life is cheap in the Ark, and there will always be those who will pay every cost to extinguish another person, for every reason imaginable. Any stiff with a gun can get paid to take a life, but there are a treasured few who have made murder-for-hire into a much coveted form of business.
- COUNTERFEITING/FORGERY - Contrary to popular belief, paper money is but one of the few things that can be duplicated into a counterfeit item. An industry exists in the Ark that provides a forged document for any purpose, from visa papers and passports to conscription waivers and doctor’s notes. Quality is in the eye of the beholder, and in the price tag.
- DRUG PRODUCTION - Anything from shake-’n-bake methamphetamine to long-lost research chemicals, made by those who have found the capability to produce drugs. You get what you pay for, and accept the consequences on a case-by-case basis.
- DRUG-SMUGGLING - A very common, ages-old criminal enterprise. Virtually any drug that you can care to name is capable of being smuggled in, by any means possible.
- DRUG-DEALING - It's expected that most criminal groups in the Ark delve into drug sales, regardless of the amounts sold.
- FENCING/BROKERAGE - One of the more common illicit businesses, this involves selling stolen merchandise, and there is a lot of wiggle room considering what is sold. Can it get more self-explanatory?
- FIGHT MANAGEMENT - The process of setting up any kind of bloodsport or organized fight, concerning everything from sourcing fighters to managing bets and payouts.
- GAMBLING - Anything from expansive casinos to back-alley shell games. There's plenty of room for success here, and a lot of it depends upon how good of a host you might be. Are your dealers fair, does the atmosphere of your establishment convey the feeling of an imminent stabbing? These are but two questions, out of many, you must consider when you're running games.
- IMPORT/EXPORT - You're a force of progressive dynamics on the docks; if someone needs something, you get it in. Easy to do business with both spectrums of the Ark, for you know the importance of keeping your contacts happy.
- INFORMATION BROKERAGE - In the right hands, information is a weapon more destructive than an atomic bomb. This is a field in which you kidnap personal information and closet skeletons, closely guarding your illbegotten secrets as if you're some sort of troll waiting for a troll-toll.
- HUMAN TRAFFICKING - The transportation of human beings without due regard to modern boating laws. Some passengers have paid dearly - and willingy - to be in God's hands, and others no so much. They are all slaves, in one way or another. This is not a line of work for those who still have a moral compass.
- HUMAN ORGANS TRAFFICKING - Kidneys, hearts, testicles, livers - you're the guy to see if anyone needs a human organ without the run-around of expensive tests or "WHO basic standards." If you need a new kidney or heart and don't want to wait, then look no further.
- LUXURY ITEMS FENCING - Lost Nazi treasure, genuine Rolexes, expensive cars - this business provides people with a discount on the finer things in life.
- ORGANIZED PROSTITUTION - The trade of bare skin, by one avenue or another. Some use bars, some are prone to curbs, and there are many "houses of pleasure" that one can find.
- RACKETEERING - The business of controlling turf and extorting local businesses. Pretty much everyone does this, in some way.
- REPO - Those cybernetics/organs you got are leased to you until you can pay them off. If you can't, expect someone to come along and collect them from you.
- WHITAKER ISLAND - This mile-wide island is a maze of “entertainment” buildings and neon lights, home to some of the wildest casinos and venues in the entire world. Violence in the boroughs of Whitaker is often hushed up quickly, and the general atmosphere is one of intoxicated revelry. Most venues are owned exclusively by OCGs, who carry out their warfare by way of cloak and dagger.
- KHONAR ISLAND - A sprawl of existing tenements, floating shanty towns, and an atmosphere of general squalor, Khonar is the home of slums - the dark side of the Ark. Gangs control almost every street and the numerous small businesses pay heavy extortion fees in order to stay afloat. Basic amenities in this area are squalorous at best, and often disrupted in the name of perpetual urban warfare.
- SIBLEY HARBOR - Named for the East India Company officer Commodore James Sibley, the harbor itself covers half of Fairway Island. Ships carrying everything from TVs to bananas to people to cocaine dock in this harbor. The warehouses and piers are constantly under threat, due to the dynamic turf wars waged here.
- FAIRWAY ISLAND - An industry-based island, focused primarily on refurbishing boats and refining drugs. Sibley Harbor occupies much of Fairway, and many criminal groups maintain drug labs, chop shops, and other centers of industry on this island.
- HERO DUNES - On the western coast of Whitaker Island lies Hero Dunes, a conglomerate of various beaches that call the white sands and clear blue waters home. Wild parties and wilder concerts are the norm, along with the innumerable tiki bars that line the beaches. The primary venue at the Dunes is Spearpoint Pier; the home of the Ark's popular “shark-baiting” matches.
- CLOVIS MARCHES - One of the four main islands that comprise the Ark, the Marches are a combination of individual markets and apartments considered to be of a higher quality than those in Khonar. From fresh fruit to fragmentation grenades, the markets have it all. Life here for the common citizen is bearable, but as with the rest of the Ark, strife is ever-present and a wide variety of gangs and OCGs call this place home.
How might you fit into this RP? It's a sandbox RP, so pretty much everything is open. However, take some things into consideration. I expect everyone to find a way to carve out their own RP. I will be actively RP'ing and providing direction when needed, but none of us should be here for solo RP. Don't pick a role that isolates yourself from the action. Odds are, you're a criminal. Associate with other criminals. You're allowed to run your own gangs or syndicates, if you so choose.
Plotline is mostly up to you guys, or rather the criminal groups you might be running. Are you leading the Bratva and you wish to import cheap cars? Go right ahead. Are the Yakuza wanting to branch out? They can go to war. I do plan to introduce a plot as people get their feet wet, but at the beginning, you decide what goes down.
Now, onto various musings on rules, and our disclaimer. Sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll; there is a plethora of mayhem and unseemly topics, but we're within the realm of PG-13, thus everything on these forums will be kept above-board. That said, this is your warning. All conventional RP rules currently stand here. I ask for realism and involvement; you're gonna have a hard time selling me on a teenage Bratva boss, but the world is a wild place with plenty of wiggle room for other things. Keep the IC to the IC, and maintain the OOC to a suitable level. We will a discord set up later for this if enough people show interest.
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[float=right][img]IMAGE HERE[/img][/float]• [b][i]NAME:[/i][/b] • [b][i]PROFESSION:[/i][/b] • [b][i]FACTION:[/i][/b] • [b][i]NATIONALITY: [/i][/b] • [b][i]GENDER:[/i][/b] - M - F (Strike out the false point = [s]M[/s] - F) • [b][i]AGE & DOB:[/i][/b] • [b][i]EDUCATION & OCCUPATIONAL HISTORY[/i][/b] • [b][i]SKILLS AND TRADECRAFT: [/i][/b] • [b][i]PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION:[/i][/b] (include ethnicity, height and weight. Any identifiable marks & physical ailments) • [i][b]PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT:[/b][/i](personality, mental disorders, motivations.) • [b][i]PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS[/i][/b]: •[b][i] BIOGRAPHY AND BACKGROUND INFORMATION[/i][/b]:
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[list][*][b][i]GROUP NAME:[/i][/b] [*][b][i]GROUP INSIGNIA:[/i][/b] (optional) [*][b][i]GROUP TYPE:[/i][/b] (single-sentence description) [*][b][i]GROUP LEADER:[/i][/b] [*][b][i]GROUP MEMBERSHIP:[/i][/b] (keep it below seven-hundred, and use common sense when filing this out) [*][b][i]ACTIVITIES:[/i][/b] (pick three rackets as your primary sources of income, if you are a gang or syndicate. Describe your involvement in each racket in detail. Ensure that it is plausible to engage in such an activity with the group you desire) [*][b][i]FIGHTING METHODS:[/i][/b] (how does your group fight; what weapons, tactics, equipment, etc. are used when they're engaged in combat) [*][b][i]BASE OF OPERATIONS:[/i][/b] (feel free to elaborate; make up some neighborhood or location that serves as the power base for your group): [*][b][i]ASSOCIATED BUSINESSES:[/i][/b] (if you intend to draft apps for businesses, then list them here) [*][b][i]GROUP HISTORY:[/i][/b] (At least two paragraphs of material about your group and its origins) [/list]
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[list][*][b][i]NAME:[/i][/b] [*][b][i]TYPE OF BUSINESS:[/i][/b] [*][b][i]PRODUCTS/SERVICES RENDERED:[/i][/b] [*][b][i]NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES:[/i][/b] [*][b][I]CONNECTIONS TO CRIMINAL GROUPS:[/i][/b] [*][b][i]BUSINESS DESCRIPTION:[/i][/b] [/list]
- *Riordan O'Reilly
- *Máel Dúin
- *The Silk