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Mercutio

Member Since 31 Mar 2008
Offline Last Active Jun 05 2011 10:06 AM

#303774 Dark Edge Improvement Suggestions

Posted by Mercutio on 26 April 2011 - 07:38 AM

Well, I'm better at working out the science and tech of a universe than anything else, but reading back through here one thing jumps out at me: Change the Argonauts' code names. As they are they don't have any real flow, rhyme, or reason to them, it's just *random word*-*Greek mythological figure* and even beyond that nearly all of them seem too long be actual code names for individuals. Personally, if you're going to do mythological code names, I'd drop the first word and just go with the second. If you want to further separate yourself from NR I'd pick a different mythology (Hindu and Abrahamic come to mind), though that's not a do or die thing. Yes, Greek has been done by NR, but a bunch of other stories have gone that route too, and I seriously doubt Scorp or Ryan had Robot Jox in mind when they made the Immortals.

So yeah, that's my two non-scientific cents. I've got a whole bank I could let loose on the "SCIENCE!" front, but as it stands I've got no starting point since you haven't really covered that.


Yeah, Drake Pertinacia-Perseus is about as rhythmic as Hurbook Fliggen-Flam. Your names need to be less dense syllabically, as well as making a little sense on the meaning front. Pertinacia, for example, is the sort of name I'd attribute to a lady of leisure in the 19th century. It sounds very Victorian. Things like these need to be brought into consideration when you are naming anyone within your universe.


#292832 That Old Buick

Posted by Mercutio on 08 March 2011 - 08:47 AM

You need to invest in some personal pronouns so your writing doesn't sound so repetitive.


#289158 A Cold Wind Blows

Posted by Mercutio on 16 February 2011 - 03:40 AM

It’s finally here! I’ve spent a lot of time deciding on characters, so I’m pretty confident in my final roster for the RP. I’m happy with the diversity between the party (and, for that matter, partners), so without further ado here we have it:

Gawain (Osolis Mantis) and Cuthbert (Vorgain)
Tracer (Horatius) and Timur (Ascalon)
Geron (Maverick-Werewolf) and Astrid (Fenris)
Eogan (El Taco) and Raphael (Hawk)

There are only eight of you, so it’s important you remain committed throughout – not that I doubt in your ability to, of course. Unfortunately I couldn't include two other characters that I wished to, but alas, for now there simply isn't space. Now, the business of the day; the RP will be broken up into various chapters. Each chapter will have a prologue to flesh out the current position of the party and the setting relevant to the chapter. This will make the first post a bit wordy, but make sure you take it all in – it’s important information. I also apologise that it may be slow as we establish the exposition that will lead us to Midshire. And, as always, this is about HAVING FUN! So you better, or I'll gut you like fish.


CHAPTER I - THE THREADS WEAVE THEMSELVES
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Hidden among the sheer granite cliff faces of the Shield Mountains, a small fortress was nestled, carved into a niche created by thousands of years of shifting stone and erosion. Flanked by thick walls of basalt and an oaken gate mounted to solid iron hinges, the compound was nigh impenetrable, and designed so that a handful of well-trained men could easily hold it for days or even weeks. Angular bulwarks stuck out from the ramparts; they formed a deadly crossfire for any approaching force, guaranteeing any attack to be a costly one. Failing that, the keep itself was carved into the mountains, and a network of caverns and tunnels allowed defenders knowledgeable with the geography of the area to easily slip away without notice.

It was small, but well equipped and prepared for weeks or months without resupply, with a simple layout on the interior. The imposing keep was the majority of this, with a small circular courtyard in front of it converted to a training ground. To the west of that was a small blockhouse within which was all the equipment required for the upkeep of a half dozen horses. The keep itself ran along the entirety of the cliff face and contained the essentials for life in the mountains; barracks, a smith and armourer, supply store, an infirmary with the required tools for alchemy or an apothecary, a well which drew water from the glacial lakes far under the mountain and, at the top levels of the keep, an expansive pigeon coop.

It was known by a strange name, Asrumel, the tongue in which it was spoken was long since forgotten, much like the original builders. The Venatori had occupied the fortress in ages long past, which their oral history describes as “a time when the gods and their children slept”, when the Shifters still walked the earth – an age all men are unaware of. It had been a traditional stronghold ever since, the remarkable construction meaning it rarely needed upkeep – favourable considering the small stipend the Venatori had to fund their mission. It was suspected, but never proven by any measure, to be innately magical, for the buffeting mountain winds rarely touched it, nor did snow rest for long on the dark basalt of the fortifications.

Due to the dwindling numbers of their order, few Venatori were ever together in Asrumel for long, never more than ten, keeping their sword arm strong and their aim sharp. Annually, a group would form to comb the peaks for any monsters that made their homes in the rocky slopes and caverns, ensuring the approaches to their compound were kept clear, but the fortress was mostly a peaceful place, where a Venator could be alone with his thoughts, train, rest, and perfect his alchemy. Its central position made it a perfect waystation for Venatori travelling anywhere in the Kingdoms, while also having the facilities to prepare and equip a greater hunt somewhere in the region.

Yet what transpired on this day proved to be much more; the first footfall of a long and twisting journey that would lead the Venatori all the way to the Blackrock Foothills, to solve the dark mysteries that plagued the region - and from there to the realm of legend.



They had arrived in the night. A lone horse struggled its way up the narrow, winding approach to Asrumel, the hooves echoing mournfully through the snowy passes of the Shield Mountains. Snowflakes danced and swirled in a choreography none of the finest dancers of the Empire could muster around the mount. The steady clop-clop-clop of each ironclad hoof falling grew louder as it made its way towards the only home it had known, the ancient fortress perched high among the rocky inclines of the mountain ranges. And through all of this, despite it being a mere speck among the white mirage and outcroppings of dark stone, Gawain the eagle-eyed saw their approach.

He had came to the ramparts alone, as he often did, to watch the minutiae of the mountain at night time, and to be alone with the enigma that was his memory. He had spotted the rider from far off, but had decided against warning the other Venatori, who either slept or, being friends of the night like Gawain, were buried in practice or contemplation. It would be foolish to rouse them for what may simply be a returning Venator. Pressing up against the cold stone of Asrumel, he tried to make out the rider of the mount. Then he saw the slumped forms, two of them, clearly unconscious atop the horse. Without thinking he ran for the bell to wake the others..

AT THE RISING OF THE SUN, THE NEXT DAY


The riders were indeed who he had feared, but never thought it would be, now laying silent in the infirmary. Gawain had gathered all who rested in Asrumel to help him with the fallen hunters; Raphael, the skilled alchemist, to make salves and solutions to halt their bleeding and seal their torn flesh, while Eogan scurried around their beds, eyeing their wounds and the damage to their equipment.

“Baruch has sustained grievous blows .. slashes like that of a saber to his arms and legs, but more ragged. Hands of a powerful creature did this work,” he paused for a moment, pondering what he spoke of. Baruch was among the eldest of the Venatori, and easily the eldest among the group now. His grey hair was pulled back into a tight ponytail, and his build was stocky, broad shouldered from years of holding a blade to the monsters of the Empire. His face was angular, skin so pale as to almost be grey from blood loss. As Eogan had said, something with mighty strength would have been required to rend his flesh in dozens of places as it had.

“Iskander .. Iskander got the less of it,” murmured the dwarf as he went to the side of the younger of the two, “they’re still deep, deadly wounds .. they’re lucky to have made it as far as they did.” Iskander was the younger, yet still wizened, partner of Baruch. He had been adopted by the elder as a youth and had spent nearly his whole life among the Venatori. His hair was short cropped, dark, matted with the blood and bone of whatever they had fought, like his usually well kept beard, which had become wild and tangled since they last saw him. He was taller, with a thin face, more aloof than the personable Baruch, but still well liked as both a leader and a friend among the Venatori. Few could claim the experience he had among the order.

Raphael wordlessly stepped around his partner to administer some healing balms to the wounds of the pair. Their composition was known to all the Venatori, yet Raphael had mastered their creation to the purest form. He looked to Gawain. Both knew the gravity of the situation at hand, and the danger whatever had felled these two stalwarts of the Venatori presented to the Empire at large. All they could do now was wait and hope that they could be roused to the world of the living.

AT THE SETTING OF THE SUN, LATER THAT EVENING


Only Raphael remained in the infirmary, listening to the ragged, pained breathing of his comrades as he carefully mixed ingredients for more live-saving healing applications. The others came and visited occasionally, knowing not to crowd the wounded in their precarious state, and so they spent the majority of their time training, or tending to the pigeons, or any manner of activities that would keep their mind from wandering back to their friends and brothers that lay so close to the cold grasp of death. It was a fruitless endeavour. Every few hours they would return, only for Raphael to give them a silent shake of the head.

As the sun set over Asrumel little was left to do except tend to the wounded, who despite Raphael’s best efforts, didn’t appear to be recovering any faster, if at all. So the Venatori found themselves in the infirmary, quiet, pensive, waiting for a revival that may never come. The last vestiges of sunlight slipped from the room, and as torches and lamps were lit there was a quiet moan, a mere whisper at first. Eyes darted to Iskander, who stirred with pained noises. Suddenly, his eyes shot open and he let out a cry, a mix of agony and realisation. Raphael rushed to his side as he struggled to get himself up in his confusion. He looked around the room to the gathered faces, slowly calming and righting his body to a sitting position on the infirmary bed.
“How did we .. Baruch ..” his words were confused, understandable given his condition, before turning to those assembled and asking matter-of-factly, “how long has it been?”


#285920 Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Posted by Mercutio on 28 January 2011 - 05:36 PM

This game remains as the scariest media I have ever encountered. Does anyone own a copy themselves?

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#284888 A Cold Wind Blows [Sign Up/OOC]

Posted by Mercutio on 24 January 2011 - 06:21 AM

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A cold wind blows over the Blackrock Foothills, word has it. The shepherds, hobbling along the goat trails, nearly bent double over their crooks, say it’s an omen. Then again, the shepherds are prone to claiming a grave portent every time the setting sun dyes the sky blood red, or if the herd is late to pasture. They are by their very nature a superstitious bunch, and many a shepherd’s story has been told to a chorus of laughs in the tavern. Yet when the sun sets and darkness reigns, the townsfolk scurry to lamplight and locked doors. People speak in hushed tones of men going missing in the night, only to be found stripped of their flesh in the hills the next morning. Growls and moans far off in the darkness keep the guards gripping their spears under the flickering flame of torches.

Midshire, the largest settlement within a day’s travel of Blackrock Foothills, is plagued daily by rumours and hearsay spread by travellers and traders on their way to the lush plains of the northwest, or more infrequently the caravan folk returned from lucrative bartering with the mountain dwarves. They speak of living dead, creatures of foul necromantic origin that shamble across the foothills in search of flesh. One caravan guard told the enraptured tavern-goers how they fought off five– nay, ten! – of the shambling dead that stumbled upon their camp in the night, losing one of the other guards in the vicious battle that followed. Refugees from the outlying towns begin to stream into Midshire, first a trickle – two or three families in a week – then a flood, with ten or fifteen folk a day coming to make camp in the safety of the town.

The terror of the dead in the hills has gripped the region. Midshire has neither the facilities nor supplies to maintain the refugees, who refuse to return to their farms and hamlets further up the Blackrock Foothills. The call is put out for aid, although in these times little can be spared for an insignificant town so far from the capital. Several Hunters’ Guild members trek into the foothills in an attempt to contain the threat. Three days pass with no word, thus it assumed they too were overwhelmed. Although the situation is stable in the town, the coming winter may buckle the back of the already strained reserves. In private the leading heads of the town resolve to contact what may be their last hope.

One of the eldest priests of Demeter recalls a compound that, in another time of distress in years long past, the Venatori had used as a base of operations and secret training ground. It is a matter of some debate, but eventually it is agreed that there is no other avenue they can pursue. An emissary is sent to the compound. He is told to memorise the location, carrying with him no evidence, and to consider his mission to be of the utmost secrecy. There are many within the Empire who would hunt down and destroy the Venatori, or at least attempt to, if they knew the sites of their otherwise hidden safe houses. The message is delivered safely with no word of approval in return from the mysterious hunters, and upon the messengers return all the people of Midshire can do is wait .. and hope.

Although they do not know it, the Venatori already travel to the compound for other, more sombre reasons. One of the eldest – and wisest - of their order is rapidly deteriorating in health, the wounds and scars of his long life mounting a painful and slow decline towards death. As is the tradition of the Venatori, those who are able rush to be at his side, to be at peace with him upon his death and to resolve the order’s next course of action in the wake of it. It is the same regardless of whether a Venator is struck by monster’s claw or illness. The available hunter-pairs make the journey to the compound, with the elder’s partner already in silent vigil over his bed. And thus marks the first steps towards the cold wind of the foothills..

__________


You will be playing as one of the Venatori, the mysterious and secretive order of monster hunters funded by the Empire since the age of the shifters. Many have not heard of them, or think of the hunters as a fanciful children's tale. Others fear them, thinking their magic and alchemy a force of evil. This RP will not only be about monster hunting, also including espionage and intrigue as the players search Midshire and the Blackrock Foothills for the dark forces that have brought the blight of the walking dead - and other, more terrifying creatures - upon the region. There are six spots available at present, which may expand if there's enough interest.

Name: [Appropriate to your species and ethnicity, naturally. It is not unusual for Venatori to operate under a mononym, or even an assumed title (think along the lines of ‘Strider’ from Lord of the Rings) to keep a veil of anonymity.]
Age: [It’s not exactly a part-time job, so many Venatori have been monster hunting for decades. Others are newer recruits. Point is, ages run the gamut from young to old.]
Gender: [Males naturally make up more of the Venatori, but females have been members in the past even if it is reasonably uncommon.]
Race: [The Venatori don’t discriminate, and allow Imperials, Northerners, Southerners, elves and dwarves and those of mixed heritage. The only stipulation is that no matter your race, you act in the interests of the Empire and its citizens.]

Physical Description: [Venatori are typically in peak physical condition, but come in all shapes and sizes. Describe everything sans clothing and armour about them. If you use a picture, you still have to fill in this section.]
Outfit Description: [The Venatori are gifted deepsilver chainmail upon acceptance into the order, but otherwise clothe themselves according to their own taste. Many prefer understated, concealing garments. Describe everything they wear.]
Equipment: [With power comes responsibility, and cool gadgets. The Venatori do not shy from utilising magical trinkets or potions to aid them in battle, as well as gear expected of any traveller. Don’t overpower them; I will okay all magical equipment you describe.]
Weapons: [Traditionally, the weapon of the Venatori is the silver sword – both a symbol of station and a deadly blade. They are often proficient in other weapons in tandem, as well as being skilled marksmen. Again, not too powerful or it’ll be nixed.]

Skills: [Although all Venatori are proficient warriors, it is natural that some excel in certain areas, such as alchemy, the bow or the blade, tracking or monster identification. It doesn't have to be extensive, just an idea of their skillset]
Personality: [Despite their reputation for seriousness, the Venatori aren’t all gruff silent types. They’re still people, with emotions and motivations, and this should be conveyed in the sign up.]
Partner: [It is tradition for Venatori to pair with another hunter, who will be their partner until death. Although a sense of brotherhood is shared throughout the order, the dynamic between partners is different. You should explain the relationship in this section. Organise this amongst yourselves.]
Biography: [Training generally starts young, but talented hunters may be recruited later in their lives. Venatori come from all walks of life and various regions, so you should explain how they came to be a member of the order.]

Here's a coded version:
[b]Name:[/b]
[b]Age:[/b]
[b]Gender:[/b]
[b]Race:[/b]

[b]Physical Description:[/b]
[b]Outfit Description:[/b]
[b]Equipment:[/b]
[b]Weapons:[/b]

[b]Skills:[/b]
[b]Personality:[/b]
[b]Partner:[/b]
[b]Biography:[/b]

Thanks for reading, now get to signing up!


#281571 Season of the Witch

Posted by Mercutio on 06 January 2011 - 03:24 PM

What! You didn't like Ghost Rider?

Ghost Rider?

Ghost Rider?

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#280489 True Grit

Posted by Mercutio on 29 December 2010 - 04:21 AM

I saw it yesterday. It was just more down than the John Wayne version. Not gonna go into particulars, but the ending was just depressing and made me sad. :( And that was the first Western I was looking to seeing for a while, so I'm hoping for Cowboys And Aliens.


Well, not to be that guy, but the ending is the same as the original book.


#274650 Any Tropers out there?

Posted by Mercutio on 20 November 2010 - 09:36 AM

Now I dont care, thats a difference.


Volen, you're being an obstinate jerk. Cut it out or there will be repercussions.

As for the topic at hand, I'm a casual reader of TV Tropes but I think actually updating a page is something that would be beyond me. Keep at it, though.


#272816 Call of Duty: Black Ops

Posted by Mercutio on 11 November 2010 - 06:49 AM

But from what I ahve seen, heard, and researched: This game is just another CoD


How long did that fact finding mission take?


#267125 Filmmaking

Posted by Mercutio on 14 October 2010 - 06:51 AM

Good luck arguing with each other in absolutes.


#262417 You can indent paragraphs now!

Posted by Mercutio on 21 September 2010 - 11:27 AM

Nice job fearless leader!


NORTH KOREA IS BEST KOREA


#261334 moving Wicktures that you are watching

Posted by Mercutio on 15 September 2010 - 03:23 AM

I watched The Proposition, which was written by Nick Cave (an amazingly talented man) and directed by John Hillcoat. I'm sure some of you are familiar with his work, even if you don't realise it; he directed The Road and also a short promotional machinima for Red Dead Redemption which name escapes me at this point. Anyway, The Proposition is an absolutely stellar film. I would reccommend anyone with an interest in Westerns (in the vein of Unforgiven - this is really gritty in every sense of the word) and the visual and mental intensity of films like Apocalypse Now to watch this.


#259057 ROLEPLAY: Over the Sea - Part 2

Posted by Mercutio on 05 September 2010 - 08:07 AM

Tracker almost laughed, and a loud, booming laugh it would have been - had he not been in such a sombre mood. The lightskin Captain seemed to think that Tracker wanted to be on this glorified raft. A likely story. No, he wished nothing more than to be far from here, back among his home, the jungle of his youth .. he still savoured the smells of the flora, the organic creaks and groans of the vines scraping against the trees as the trade winds coursed over the island .. but he shook the thought immediately. He had been trapped for so long in the stifling heat of the foriegner's land that he was letting himself get carried away with anticipation. So he calmed himself, breathed deeply, mulled over what he might have to do to make it back to his homeland. He refused to wear the shackles of the outlanders any longer. He looked over the other "crew", as the people called them. They were mostly lightskins or darkskins, none of his kind. All foriegners. All not to be trusted.


#258035 PMCs in Afghanistan

Posted by Mercutio on 31 August 2010 - 07:50 AM

For my journalism course I've had to recently do the first part of a political feature. I chose to do mine on contractors in Afghanistan, since it's a topic that interests me. Like I said, this is only half of what it will eventually be, as I am waiting on some replies from my uncle (I'm interviewing him as part of the feature, since he is ex-SAS/ex-PMC/current Air Force). Anyway, enjoy, and as always, critcism is welcome.

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Amid growing concerns of the ability of the Afghan National Police and Army to be strong enough to handle the pressure of a handover of power in the coming years, Hamid Karzai has given a 4 month deadline for private security firms in Afghanistan to halt their operations. What does this mean for security in the long and short term - and more importantly, what insight does it give about the Afghanistan conflict as a whole?

Private security firms operate with surprising impunity within both Afghanistan and Iraq, usually at the behest of the US military operations there. Often they fill “non-vital” roles, such as base and embassy security, VIP and convoy protection as well as defense for non-governmental organisations such as aid and relief agencies. These contractors employ up to 40,000 people in Afghanistan alone, many of those Afghans themselves. Many big name firms - titans of ever-expanding PMC industry - such as Xe, formerly known as Blackwater, DynCorp, Aegis Defense Services, and Sandline International (before it’s dissolution in 2004) all provide a large percentage of the contractors in Afghanistan. With the August 11th declaration by Karzai, however, these operations seem to be on shaky ground.

Or perhaps Karzai, whose tough talk and saber rattling towards the companies in Afghanistan quickly raised the ire of his American handlers, spoke too soon. His office has been forced to add a large caveat to his statement; that while local operations will be dissolved, foreign contractors working in bases, embassies and for NGOs will be allowed to stay on indefinitely, despite earlier claims that the policy would provide no exemptions to the 4-month deadline. Despite his quick backtrack, the statement highlights the growing rifts between Karzai, the hand picked American president, and the hands who picked him in both the White House and Pentagon. The spokesperson for Pentagon, Brian Whitman, toed the line between disdain and quiet support for the new law, stating that “with respect to a timeline of four months, obviously, that's a very aggressive timeline. We also recognise that Afghanistan still represents a daunting security challenge.”



It is not hard to look deeper into the relations between Karzai and the US government. Only yesterday the President’s office was rattled by allegations of high level corruption with the arrest of Mohammed Zia Salehi, chief of Afghanistan’s National Security Council. The arrest was made by the Major Crimes Task Force and Sensitive Investigative Unit, both mentored by US and British law enforcement officials. Shortly after his arrest, Karzai intervened and signed an order for his release, also starting a probe into the two units who arrested him. P.J Crowley, State Department spokesperson, issued a rather scathing statement regarding the President’s conduct during the investigation, saying "It is an area we are watching closely. We are concerned by recent pronouncements, recent actions by the Afghan government." So unless one looks at the situation with industrial strength rose-tinted glasses, it’s clear that Afghan-US relations are at an all time low.

So where do private military contractors fit into the Afghan conflict, or the Middle Eastern theatre at large? And what part do they play in the souring of contacts between the fledging nation and the superpower that supports it? Despite the recent proclamation by Karzai, private military contractors in Afghanistan are at an all time high. This is hardly surprising; when Obama signed off on 30,000 additional troops not long after coming into office, they all had to be housed, fed, and put on bases on Afghan soil. So, naturally, this troop surge was accompanied by an influx of 56,000 contractors. Xe may be in the running to win a billion dollar contract to train Afghan police, despite the recent legal and humanitarian issues that have been raised about their business practices within Afghanistan. Examples: on May 5, 2009, Justin Cannon and Christopher Drotleff, two men working for Paravant (an Xe subsidiary) in Afghanistan, fired their weapons, killing two Afghan civilians and injuring a third. Just two days before another shooting on December 9, 2008 in which a Paravant team leader recklessly discharged his AK-47, wounding another contractor, Xe had distributed rifles to Paravant personnel who weren’t authorized to have them. Prior to this, they were armed with pistols diverted from it’s contract with Lockheed Martin.

With such a string of controversy following Xe - and numerous other PMCs - how can they continue to operate? In Xe’s case, legal wrangling keeps them in business; Federal Acquisition Regulation 9.406-2 prevents an acquisition official for banning a company from being awarded a contract unless the company has been formally “debarred” from eligibility, something that has never happened in the case of Xe. Another, perhaps forgotten angle to contractors in Afghanistan is the amount of political clout they hold within the military hierarchy. Due to the sheer amount of contractors, ex-military connections of the employees and their presence among the decision making apparatus of the military machine, they have a surprising amount of room for error. Many are employed as advisors to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), while others formulate strategies for the Afghan National Army and also train officers at the Kabul Military Training Center. PMCs are in an unprecedented position of influencing the operational decisions of the very people who employ them.


#254659 The Big Bang Theory

Posted by Mercutio on 14 August 2010 - 10:17 AM

That's why you come into a thread about something you don't like to flame it, amirite?


Yes, we should encourage lively and one sided debate by only allowing people who like a given topic to talk about it.