It's old-time Japan, in an alternate history, right at the beginning of the Meiji restoration.
In this history, all those traditional Japanese monsters and demons? They're there, and Japan accepted them into public life. What's more, they began using them in their armies. While they didn't exactly conquer the world, they grew famous for the carnage they left, and while Japan hasn't managed to conquer the world, they are a bit more feared.
A note on the monsters: If you decide to play as one, keep its traditional visual aspects. If you want to play as an oni, which looks like this: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1d/Oni_in_pilgrim%27s_clothing.jpg That means it's gonna have that red skin and crazy hair and fangs and claws. No cuting/sexifying the monsters. Also, none of that neko bullshit. Only real Japanese monsters, please.
There's a second plot, as well. Two clans - the Tomonagas and the Kutsuzawas - are planning to assassinate the emperor and install the heir of their family as the next leader of Japan. With the beginning of the Meiji restoration, these families began to see just how much power the Emperor could really have, and they're determined to get that power for themselves. They've each enlisted a few monsters to aid in their cause, and several members of each family are trained in espionage and/or assassination techniques. In some cases, they've been installed in the court for years, just waiting for a chance to strike. The two families are fighting each other at the same time they fight the Emperor's allies.
Why haven't the Emperor's allies told him about this? He's stretched to the breaking point over a war. What war? Well...
Most traditional Japanese monsters are very long-lived. Over their many decades (or even centuries) of live, they've gotten used to a certain way of living, but here's the Emperor to shake things up. Do they like that? Hell no! Most of them don't, anyway. Most of the traditional monsters of Japan decide to oppose this Emperor, along with more than a few traditionalist human rebels. Now, since Northern Japan is the most sparsely-populated region in the nation, there will be fewer people to resist a hostile takeover, and so Northern Japan has become the stronghold of the traditionalist rebels. The Emperor is fighting a massive war within his own borders, and he must adjust his military strategy to fight against his erstwhile supernatural allies - but at the same time with them, because a few monsters are still loyal to the Emperor (or are they?).
Because the Emperor is under so much stress, his allies have decided that it would be best for them to take matters into their own hands.
To recap: The big background event is the supernatural war, Northern Japan against the rest of the nation. The event that I hope will take the foreground is the Tomonaga and Kutsuzawa families working to install their respective successors as Emperor, though they're fighting both between themselves and against Imperial loyalists. A sort of espionage/intrigue plot.
Allegiance (Tomonaga, Kutsuzawa, Imperial, or Traditionalist):
Anything else we should know?:
Name: Shizue Tomonaga
Appearance: A stern and severe-looking woman who favors elaborate kimono and hairstyles to draw attention away from the fact that aging has not been kind to her.
Allegiance (Tomonaga, Kutsuzawa, Imperial, or Traditionalist): Tomonaga
Personality: Stern, humorless, and ruthless. She's willing to do anything to get what she wants, and as the matriarch of the Tomonaga clan, what she wants is to see her son on the throne. The only one she doesn't act completely frigid towards is her son.
Backstory: Shizue and her husband were the ones who hatched the Imperial replacement plan. They kept trying over and over for a son; they had five daughters and two stillborn children before the heir was finally born. She was widowed at the age of forty-two, when her son was around ten years old. She continues to pursue the Imperial replacement plan both in memory of her husband and because she wants the power that comes with being the Emperor's mother.
Anything else we should know?: She hates the Kutsuzawa clan with a passion, but that's not really surprising, is it?6/9/2012 #1 Report
Name: Tomonaga Akira
Appearance: Long black hair always in a studious, pristine Top knot, with particularly angular features (That some/most would call ugly) uncommon in his family (who tend to be more round in the face). Likewise, he is equally inverse in his body - while most Tomonagas tend to be fit and strong, he is Soft and undefined, though still thin. He wears elaborate robes befitting his status.
Allegiance (Tomonaga, Kutsuzawa, Imperial, or Traditionalist): Tomonaga
Personality: Behavior that on the outside may appear to be self-serving is often done by Akira as a means of furthering his Family. He is very serious and thoughtful, but there is nothing that he takes more seriously than his clan. He has clearly become a man, and does not act in childish, foolish or even lighthearted ways anymore. Still, sometimes, some flicker of that great kid that he used to be will shine through. However, it is almost entirely now buried under what a layman would call ambition, but an Observer would call duty.
Backstory: If ever there was a child who knew, as soon as they were born, that the pressure was on, it would be Akira. Being the answer to his parent's prayers was not much of a Godsend to the boy, who felt, even from the youngest of ages, that there was a great deal of weight upon his every action, and that failure was a price too great to pay. Raised in the Tomonaga manor not far outside of Edo, Akira lived with three of his five sisters and a large staff. It was only there that he felt distanced from the mass of his own future - It was only when his father or mother was present that he was forced to face the enormity of his responsibility. He did his best to avoid those situations, and as such did his best to avoid his parents. His search for Sanctuary was the only goal in his life that was of his own design, and it was the one that he ended up regretting the most. His father passed away when he was Ten, and Akira was immediately wracked with guilt for not having been beside his father as much as possible; during his life, or even as he died.
With his Clan technically in his Uncle's hands and effectively in his mothers, Akira did his best to grow up as quickly as possible so he could assume his place where his father had wanted him. To do this, he dove into schooling with his Tutors, and drew away from his sisters significantly. For the most recent half of his life, his entire dedication has been to becoming a worthy son for his deceased father and abandoned mother, and he has thrown everything else to the wayside - especially himself.
Anything else we should know?: Heir to the Tomonaga clan, First Cousin of the Emperor (Third in line for Ascendancy).
(Is this alright? I'm planning another character as well.)6/9/2012 #2 Report
(You know there's a theoretical shit-ton of other characters available, right?)6/9/2012 #5 Report
Name: Nana Kutsuzawa
Appearance: Shoulder length, black hair, usually kept neat and tied back simply, she does not stand out in any way. She is short and has a small stature, she usually wears dark colors.
Race: Human Allegiance (Tomonaga, Kutsuzawa, Imperial, or Traditionalist): Kutsuzawa
Personality: She is knows when to be courteous and polite and does so accordingly. She moves about silently without making a sound and prefers to watch things silently from afar then be apart of them.
Backstory: Nana was born into the kitsuzawa clan, as the only girl in her family, she had three older brothers and one younger. Her father was a kitsuzawa spy and so her and her brothers roles in the clan had been predetermined before they were born. She was taught everything about espionage, she knows how to look and act in a way that ensures her existence is forgotten the moment she leaves a room. How to move silently from place to place and how to read peoples' body language.
Anything else we should know?:
(is this okay?)7/1/2012 . Edited 7/1/2012 #6 Report
(Why would the Kutsuzawas take in a random kid when they have a whole entire clan of their own kids to train as secret agents? Why doesn't she understand the concept of offending others? How in the hell did she survive in the streets when she was, for all intents and purposes, little more than an infant? And messy hair really doesn't fit in with the social mores of Imperial Japan. Nor does bluntness - women back then were trained to be demure homekeepers, meal makers, and mothers. This doesn't mean they couldn't have power - a sneaky and smart enough woman could definitely do that - but a woman of that time would never be blunt. And what sorts of assassination and espionage techniques? You have to be more specific than that. This character needs a lot of work. I appreciate your interest, though. :D)7/1/2012 #7 Report
(I thought about what you said and agree with you, sorry, thanks for the help though, is it any better now?)7/1/2012 . Edited 7/1/2012 #8 Report
(It's definitely better now, but some more explanation about the interest in monsters or whatever you meant in the "other" section would be good.)7/1/2012 #9 Report
Name: Kyoumou (Ky-ooh-moo) Tomonaga
Age: 11 going on 12
Appearance: Kyoumou, standing at 4'9, has long dark brown layered hair (straight and silky) stopping to her waist and flowing down her back. The longest layer (which has been braided) hangs down her back while the other two are kept short; settling upon her shoulders and stopping at her neck. The silent soul within her peers out of dark brown eyes and she has one dimple on her right cheek; which is rarely seen. Her nose and lips are small and her skin fair; while her body is more toned than usual for an 11 year old. She is, as expected, beautiful and will become more beautiful with age. A hand made ying yang medallion (made by her father) hangs about her neck and stays hidden beneath her kimono.
Personality: Says little and speaks quietly but is quick tempered. When she is angry she doesn't lash out or throw things, but simply grows quieter if possible. Kyoumou allows her actions and attitude to speak for her; though she may offer her offenders a word or two of warning before striking. Kyoumou, of course, is the youngest of the Tomonaga clan but has trained as hard anyone else and posses the same fight in her as her clan does. She is angry young girl, but eventually her anger will vanish.
Back story: Kyoumou, born into the Tomonaga clan, was taught discipline and obedience from the exact moment she was able to comprehend the difference between right and wrong. Her parents, though strict, loved her very much and stressed the importance of honor and leaving behind a great legacy. Kyoumou obeyed them to the best of her abilities until she lost them to a Kutsuzawa raid on the Tomonaga people. For a full year she has blamed herself for the death of her parents and for many moons she had trained for the day she would go up against the Kutsuzawa in battle. Now that the day is fast approaching Kyoumou's blood boils with the bitterness and acidic anger she had held inside for so long. All of it shall be unleashed on the Kutsuzawa clan when the time comes.
Anything else we should know?: She looks up to Akira and follows him around constantly. Since she dislikes her uncle, Akira seemed to be the next best thing considering his fighting skill and brother like nature; though he is a cousin. She often confides in him in secret about how she feels; running to him with her nightmares. Only Akira has heard the girl say more than a few words or a sentence at a time.7/1/2012 . Edited 7/2/2012 #10 Report
(I'd really prefer it if you kept to traditional Japanese hair and eye colors (although I suppose the eyes are fine), but if you've simply got to have reddish hair for your character then I guess I can live with it. Accepted, if you can remember that she probably won't be looked on favorably for dressing as a boy. That, or they give her a masculine name and raise her as a son, with all the conflict and identity confusion it implies.)7/1/2012 #11 Report
(Make the shade darker? Like Auburn? And grr... I forgot about the clothing. I just really don't want her in a freakin kimono. Girls didn't wear some type of pants?)7/1/2012 #12 Report
(Girls at that time wore kimono. What do you have against kimono? And the problem I have with her hair is that it sounds really anime-ish.
(This is how women of the Meiji period looked: http://s4.hubimg.com/u/5066679_f520.jpg If you want to have your character raised as a boy or largely rejected by Japanese society for dressing the way she does, that's fine; but you have to include the repercussions of such behavior in your roleplaying. I'd like this to be as realistic as a bunch of modern-day Internetters can make it.)7/1/2012 #13 Report
(I have nothing against Kimonos, I'm tired of them. Also it's "anime-ish" because Kyoumou was originally meant for a Naruto RP. I'll cut out her clothing appearance and mention it when the rp starts. She'll be in a darn kimono. And no, it's okay. She's a girl. I'll have to put extra work in to make my boys more masculine since I write females all the time.)7/1/2012 #14 Report
(I'm very glad this Roleplay is in motion again, I was excited for it.
How is it that Kyoumou and Akira are of no relation if they are members of the same clan? Would they not be at least tangentially related?)7/1/2012 #15 Report
(I think that Rip just means they're not directly related, as in immediate family. Cousins?)7/1/2012 #16 Report
( I didn't want them to be related without asking you first, so I threw that in for what it was worth. So... what relation should they be? Cousins?
Edit: Cousins seem logical.)7/1/2012 . Edited 7/1/2012 #17 Report
(Fine by me. This is a clan, after all; more or less one big, screwed-up family.)7/1/2012 #18 Report
(Cool. Unless Spear wants something closer like step siblings. Also, Cake I changed the stuff)7/1/2012 #19 Report
Name: Hirasi Sako
Appearance: Frail and meek, Sako's kimonos hide just how sickly she looks, and she always ties them loosely so no one will question her health. She has very long hair, down to the small of her back, and she keeps it smooth and straight. Sometimes it encloses her like a curtain. Her face is naturally paler than the norm, and her eyes are brown pools. She is average height, and she is glad that she's at least not short too.
Allegiance (Tomonaga, Kutsuzawa, Imperial, or Traditionalist): Imperial
Personality: She is quiet and polite, never stepping on toes or getting in anyone's way. She has become completely caught up in life in the Emperor's palace, and since she knows she cannot act particularly refined she instead attempts to be quiet and mysterious. Most of her motivations stem on finding herself a husband as soon as possible, but so far nothing seems to be panning out for her. When someone says jump, she jumps as high as she can to please them.
Backstory: Born into a family that has always served *somebody*, Sako's name literally means assistant. She has spent her whole life working around the palace, and eventually one of the emperor's advisers took a liking to her punctuality and unobtrusive nature. Now she serves the inner circle, often standing near the Emperor himself! Her family are all very proud of her accomplishment. If you have to serve somebody, better to serve the best. She often hears things she shouldn't, however, and it bothers her. Like the looming danger of the two clans who want to overthrow her kind emperor. And the blood filled plan he has to keep his throne...
Anything else we should know?: Sako will sometimes mutter to herself if she thinks she's alone. She has a friend in the kitchens who gives her delicious food to try and make sure she's eating. She always takes it, but never seems to get any bigger.
Name: Jorogumo Shokko, but she goes by Ashida Anzu
Age: She's been around for a very long time, and can change her human age. Recently the early 20's look is sufficing for her plots.
Appearance: Anzu (her current persona) is a lovely looking woman, with brown hair that is a little lighter than the norm. She is delicate but not frail, and puts on an air of grace and poise. She wears kimonos woven by only the most skilled hands (her own) and they are often gold and black colored. Her eyes are very dark, the only real thing that could detract from her beauty because of how unnatural they appear. Her skin is smooth and her face is rounded perfectly. Her voice is lyrical and a little entrancing.
This is, of course, all a disguise. Shokko is in reality a large argiope spider (http://www.jdmpics.com/animals/black-and-yellow-argiope.jpg) blessed with the ability to turn human to lure bigger prey into her web. Like the traps of spiders Shokko works just as diligently on her guise, and over the many years she has managed to nearly perfect her costume. She can take many forms between that of a spider and a woman, and rarely goes back to her completely arachnid form. Anzu is the face she currently wears, although she has tried on many different ones. When she is alone she will grow extra arms to help with her weaving, and her home, which she hasn't returned to in months, is a huge hollow tree full of webs.
Allegiance (Tomonaga, Kutsuzawa, Imperial, or Traditionalist): While under the employ of Kutsuzawa, she doesn't care much for any sort of politics.
Personality: Anzu will become whatever is best for the situation. If her target is a man who likes submissive, quiet girls, then she will become the paramount. Stronger women? She can do that too. Cold and distant? Her favorite.
Shokko herself is a somewhat pragmatic woman. Her deadly guises are necessary to her survival, even if she does enjoy the thrill of deception. Sometimes she misses the days when her kind were completely unknown of, but she simply strives to make sure she isn't found out. New challenges will always be there, especially for an immortal monster. She adapts, or she dies. Shokko rarely enjoys interacting with humans. She finds their disgust for spiders unreasonable, and uses it to justify her deeds. However, as much as she tries to hide it, she has a soft spot for humans who catch spiders and release them outside, or let them live in their webs. She has decided not to pursue prey before because of this. Shokko also takes great pride in her weaving. Her kimonos, her disguises, etc. When she is insulted she will be very irritated, and hides it until it is too late for the offender.
Backstory: Born centuries ago with 99 other siblings, Shokko was a clever spider and was the first of her siblings to discover that they were Jorogumo. She consumed 73 of the others, taking their magic for herself and growing quickly in size. While normally it would take 400 years for her powers to fully bloom, Shokko made her first human kill after just one hundred years. She lived in the forest for a long time, eating travelers who wandered through, but soon began to wonder about these humans, and ventured from the safety of her web into their world. She found herself in a land inverse to the spider realm- a completely male dominated society. It didn't take very long at all for her to use this to her advantage. After all... how could a woman be of any danger to a powerful man?
From then on she continued to hunt away from her web, returning there to spend a few years resting after a meal. This continued for years upon years, each new face providing a better meal. Unfortunately, her aforementioned soft spot got the best of her. A young Kutsuzawa, an ancestor to the ones alive today, had the misfortune of seeing Shokko. He instantly fell madly in love with her and began to pursue her. Shokko happily played along, her trap enclosing around him. After a long courtship she led him into the woods towards her home. Kutsuzawa almost walked into a small spider web hanging between branches, and stopped, stepping back to observe the spider. He called Shokko over and told her all about the little lovely woman, working diligently in her home. He praised the grace of the spider, and its strength, for Kutsuzawa was a lover of nature.
As he did this, Shokko watched him silently. To her absolute horror she realized that she could not eat the man, because she saw him as more than food. Shokko had fallen in love with a human. She fled from him, and although Kutsuzawa tried to chase her, surprised, she disappeared. He returned to the human world, heartbroken, and as the months passed he soon found himself a modest and pleasant woman to care for instead of the spider woman. Then, when he was alone on the edge of the woods, Shokko returned to him.
She had agonized for a long time over what she should do. She had looked at her false face with spite, for she knew that that was what Kutsuzawa had loved. So, on a foolish impulse, she showed him what she was, and told him her true name. Kutsuzawa had listened and observed her silently, his earlier heartbreak coming back ten fold. He told her that he needed to consider what she had said, and that he would return the next day to meet her. He left, and Shokko slunk back to her home, miserable. She returned the next day, early in the morning, and waited until the sun had nearly sank before Kutsuzawa returned. When he did, he was clutching something in his hand.
He told her that, since she had tried to trap him, he could not trust her. Since he had broken his heart, she owed him. He opened his hand, revealing an amulet with a spider carved lightly into the stone. He had used her true name to gain power over her. And if she tried to harm him or his family? He would tell everyone that she was a monster, a murdering monster, and that she would be killed.
Since then, Shokko had been forced to serve the Kutsuzawa family. She weaves their clothes, their fabrics, and also murders their enemies. The father passes down the amulet and the story to the eldest son, so that her contract never ends. Shokko has never loved anyone again.
Anything else we should know?: Jorogumo are an exclusively female monster, so in order to have children Shokko must breed with a male human. When she used to catch her prey once every several years she would mate and then consume them so that she would have the energy to bear offspring. Her children have always come out as normal spiders, not Jorogumo. She can disguise her egg sac as a child, if she needs. She believes that an exceptional lover will provide her with Jorogumo children, but has yet to meet someone she wishes to try with.
Her other living siblings have become full fledged Jorogumo, all throughout the country and some other countries. At least ten of these siblings want to kill and consume Shokko for her power.
To the human eye, Shokko's victims appear healthy and normal. However, other monsters and Oni will be able to see thin strands of web dangling from the person, growing in number as they become more entranced with the jorogumo. These are the strands she will use to bind her victim for good in the end. When the victim has a hundred strands he will die within the week.
Shokko does not like fire, for if her kimono catches she will lose her persona and become a spider until she can weave a new one.
Shokko's persona changes with each feeding, because she needs to return to her spider form to rest and fully digest her meal of human flesh.
Shokko does not need to eat the food of humans to survive, but she very much likes sweets.7/2/2012 #20 Report