OOC: Character Creation.   Posted by Mastermind.Group: 0
 GM, 5 posts
 Sometimes Bad Guys
 Make The Best Good Guys
Sun 17 Sep 2017
at 20:38
OOC: Character Creation
Here we have the various character classes you can choose. In this game, it is ideal to have one of each. It is feasible to have more than one - two co-artists could feasibly share a Svengali role, and more thieves could perhaps double as Pugilists, if they tend towards the violent sort of theft. We can discuss this when everyone has had a chance to think things over!

Boffin: The modern world is filled with wonders! The incredible new sciences are advancing every day! Steam power might now be a generally accepted thing, but gas is still an amazing invention, and the power in electricity is barely understood by all but the best brains in the world. Amongst their number, sit the Boffins. The name is new, and was originally a light-hearted insult, the name taken from the works of Dickens. But the Boffins embraced it, and made it their own. A Boffin wants to know everything, to use the very latest sciences, and the thrill of invention is their greatest delight. But this is an expensive way of life. Boffins are those who have turned their incredible skills to nefarious ends. They find ways to steal that are often incomprehensible to others. Some even think they work with magic, but a true Boffin knows that, with the right device, the world can truly bend to their will. (Leverage name: Hacker)

Cracksman: Attempting to list all the different types of thief in Victorian Britain would be a futile endeavour, for their numbers are so numerous, and their behaviour so diverse, that nobody can truly know all there is to know. A pickpocket is different to a burglar. A buttock and file is as far removed from safecracker as it is possible to be. But amongst their number, the thieves who garner the most respect are those who have honed their skills to the point where no lock is safe not even the incredibly complex locks used in banks, or government buildings. They may use many different methods. Some may even prefer to ride as robbers on the road, or to pick pockets in expensive social venues. But the underworld gives them all the same respect. To be called a Cracksman is to be acknowledge by one's peers as the very elite of thieves. No criminal enterprise can last for long without a thief being involved somewhere down the line, and those who can afford a Cracksman take their advice seriously. When a Cracksman is insulted, the offending party may well find themselves relieved of all their possessions. Nowhere is safe from a Cracksman's skillful fingers. (Leverage name: Thief)

Mountebank: The Mountebank is a gifted scholar of human nature, and one who uses this knowledge to gain a free ride through life. Swindling, conning, grifting, and bamboozling their victims, a Mountebank can tie anybody up in so many knots that they practically volunteer to hand over their wealth, and are willing to say thank you afterwards. Victorian London is filled with card-sharpers, small-time frauds, and those who occasionally give false change. A Mountebank is a whole order of magnitude above them. The world is their plaything, and they love what they do. To them, it is not a job. It's a calling. A vocation. Those who are too stupid to hang onto their money deserve to lose it. And the Mountebank is more than happy to be the means to their harsh education. (Leverage name: Grifter)

Pugilist: It's a violent world out there, and there are many people who have made that violence their career choice. Soldiers, bouncers, professional fighters. Criminal thugs, and the police's finest. They all fight, and they all do it in their own, distinctive, way. In the language of the criminal world, they are the Pugilist. It endows them with a sense of honour, perhaps, a name that commands respect. But at the end of the day, a Pugilist is someone who uses excessive violence to get what they want. Enforcers of all types, a huge number of different styles and motivations exist. But the Pugilists are what holds the criminal world together and only the best rise to the top. (Leverage name: Hitter)

Svengali: There are great numbers of criminal gangs loose in the city of London, and every gang has their own hierarchy. Whether they are the ragged bunch of pickpockets and street thugs, or the well organised gang of clerks, carefully stealing and embezzling from their employers, every gang has to have someone calling the shots. Enter the Svengali. With corkscrew like minds, and remarkable skill at logistical planning, a Svengali can create a scheme that others would simply look at with utter confusion. Usually gifted with skills of the Mountebank or Cracksman, a true Svengali heads an organisation dedicated to relieving others of their wealth, and their gang lives or dies by the skill of their leader. There are no bad Svengalis. You are either a good Svengali or you get to dance with Jack Ketch, courteous host of the Newgate Gallows. (Leverage name: Mastermind)
 GM, 8 posts
 Sometimes Bad Guys
 Make The Best Good Guys
Mon 18 Sep 2017
at 17:21
OOC: Character Creation
Are you guilty? Yes!
Each character has committed the crimes for which they are imprisoned, and those crimes need to be serious enough that transportation or execution are a very real possiblity.

Do you know one another?
Possibly not, if your backgrounds are diverse. Some of you might have heard of one another. A Svengali probably knows a lot of the major players in various fields. Newspapers reported court proceedings in intimate detail, so there may be a chance you have read about someone in a paper - presuming you can read at all. Universal education was not yet a thing, so those of poor, working-class stock might not be literate. Some of you might have been imprisoned together, but this seems unlikely, given the various extreme options available for different prisoners.

Where were you imprisoned?
That depends on what you have done. Theft, murder, and so forth, were common crimes. If you committed a crime in Liverpool, and the warrant was issued there, then you would be dragged back to Liverpool, regardless of where you were caught. However, very serious, high profile crimes would mean the villain would be sent to the courts in London. Dick Turpin, for example, was arrested in Yorkshire. But he was a big deal. So off to Newgate Prison he went, to await trial.

There were a lot of prisons in London. Millbank and Pentonville were relatively new, and designed for long-term incarceration, or holding prisoners prior to transportation. They were meant to replace the prison hulks on the Thames, but with the reduction in capital punishment, prison populations actually rose. If you were a very low class, violent, unrepentant criminal, you could be chained in a hulk, like Magwitch in Great Expectations. From there, you would work at hard labour in the dockyards until your ship was ready to sail to the colonies (Australia or South Africa, in this time period.) Death from disease in prison hulks was almost guaranteed if you were there more than a couple of months. They were vile, cruel places.

Newgate Prison was still the primary place to lock up those condemned to die, or violent criminals serving custodial sentences. For the poor, it was not much better than the hulks. For those with money, you could live well in prison. The turnkeys would charge fairly high fees, but if you could afford them, you could have a suite of rooms, good food, good wine, family to live with you or visit, and they would even go and procure you a prostitute and some good reading matter to while away the time. True, you were not allowed out, but for some who were worried about others seeking revenge on them, this form of incarceration was actually a good way to be safe. Jailers took very good care of their wealthy prisoners, as a lot of their income came from bribes - known as Garnish.

Places like the Fleet Prison and the Marshalsea Prison mostly held debtors, but non-violent criminals would still be there. Non-violent was a relative term. Dickens paints a very rosy picture of the Marshalsea in Little Dorrit, but in reality, it was nowhere near as pleasant. It was dirty, grim, and highly authoritarian - but still better than a workhouse. Prisoners would stab one another in the back over the smallest of sums of money, and bullying in prison was as rife there as anywhere else. However, for those who did have some money - either by being debtors with someone paying their way, or from not being imprisoned for debt - life could be rosy. The streets around the Marshalsea were mostly inhabited by prisoners. Those considered low-risk of escape could live there, work, and have perfectly normal lives, just so long as they turned up for roll call on time. In one case, a prisoner got work as a member of the team on the mail coaches going from London to York, and it was a long time before the prison authorities realised what he was up to. Like Newgate, garnish could also get you a very comfortable life.

Garnish was not available in Pentonville or Millbank. They were designed the way we see prisons today. Bribes might get you more food, or contraband. But you wouldn't get better rooms. They simply did not exist. They were brutal places, but the brutality was all from the jailers. The constant isolation of prisoners in separate cells was seen as ideal, as it prevented disease and violence, and dehumanised the prisoners. While many decried this as cruel, it soon became the norm.

There is one further option: transportation. Technically, most people were transported for fixed periods, usually five or seven years, or life. At the end of the few years most people received as a sentence, they were allowed to return home. If they could. Most could not afford to, and did not want to face the gruelling, miserable journey of months at sea. Some, however, did return, and they did so before their sentence was up. Returning illegally was a capital crime, but usually those caught were spared execution and sent right back out to the colonies again. The lady who was the real-life inspiration for Moll Flanders supposedly crossed the Atlantic anything up to eight times in as many years, on one occasion being sent out via transportation for having returned before her time, arriving at the docks in America, and then getting onto a ship home, without ever actually leaving the quayside. Her example is somewhat extreme, but illegal return from the colonies was a fairly common thing, if the court transcripts are to be believed.

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:22, Mon 18 Sept 2017.

 GM, 9 posts
 Sometimes Bad Guys
 Make The Best Good Guys
Mon 18 Sep 2017
at 17:55
OOC: Character Creation
Things You Need To Tell Me

As well as the obvious things like your character background and personality, I'd like you to do the following...

Primary and Secondary Abilities
The abilities are:

The Primary is obviously the character class you choose to play. Then select the thing that your character is good at as a fallback position. If you wish, you may also choose one that you are very bad at as well. This is not compulsory, but could make for some fun roleplay potential.

Strength and Weakness
Other than your Primary and Secondary abilities as a criminal, what defines you? What are you really good at, and passionate about? And what is the flaw in your personality that flips your switches and knocks you down whenever encounter it?

Those familiar with the Leverage TV show should probably be able to see how this applies to the main characters. Thus!

Nate Ford
Primary: Svengali
Secondary: Grifter
Strength: Puppetmaster. Nate can make people dance to his tune, and is always a step ahead of them.
Weakness: Functional Alcoholic. Functional!!! But still... an alcoholic. And that lands him in trouble. A lot.

Sophie Deveraux
Primary: Mountebank
Secondary: Thief
Strength: I Am Everybody. Sophie has so many identities, all of which stand up to scrutiny in a background check, that she can fit into almost every single situation. Some of her identities took years to establish. They are rock solid.
Weakness: The Play's The Thing! Sophie loves theatre, and wants nothing more than to be taken seriously as a theatrical performer and director. Unfortunately, she is very bad at these things. Her enthusiasm and creativity land her in trouble, as they can often make her over-extend herself, when she gets too far into the part.

Primary: Cracksman
Secondary: Mountebank
Strength: On Point. Parker's mind may be twisted, but it gives her incredible focus. Once she is on a job, it takes something of epic proportions to distract her from the objective. Misdirection, traps, distractions... Parker simply brushes them off to get what she came for.
Weakness: How Do I People? Parker has absolutely no frame of reference for normal behaviour. Outside of her criminal activities, she has almost no grasp of how to behave, and landing in social situations can make her panic and bolt. (By the end of the show, this is greatly reduced, allowing her to Mountebank with some success.)

Eliot Spencer
Primary: Pugilist
Secondary: Mountebank
Strength: What Is Food? Food Is LIFE! Eliot is a very gifted chef. It may seem odd in a man who used to kill people for a living, but in the kitchen, he is a virtuoso. He adores food, and can produce remarkable results when he sets his mind to it.
Weakness: Damnit, Hardison!!! Eliot has a short fuse. It is a little too easy to get his back up, and he bears grudges. He sulks. He looks for a way to get his own back. He's just a big grumpy teddy bear. Who could snap your neck with his pinkie. So, kind of not a good teddy bear.

Alec Hardison:
Primary: Boffin
Secondary: Svengali
Strength: Age Of The Geek, Baby! Hardison is not just a great technical genius, he can see his way to using technology to solve almost any problem. He knows how everything fits together, how the world really works. More than any other Boffin, he can make systems work to his advantage.
Weakness: No, No, HELL No!!! Alec Hardison has a lot of phobias. Heights. Claustrophobia. Dusty places. Spiders. If he is exposed to something that makes his skin crawl, it can throw him completely off his game.

Hopefully this gives you an idea of what I am looking for!