Sunday, October 16, 2016

Airship Pirates RPG - Lady Novella "Penny Dreadful" Reed-Brooks

Our group is taking a bit of a break from Dungeons and Dragons to play Airship Pirates, a steampunk RPG from the band Abney Park, based on one of their songs.

First I'd heard of either, but so far it's pretty fun.

I started fiddling with a few online doll makers on Doll Divine so I could have a visual representation of my character. Bear in mind, these aren't perfect. You're limited on what these doll makers are programmed with, but it works for what I need. In addition to my character's story (what I have so far), I've included these pictures along with links to the online doll makers I used to create them (click on each one to get a bigger version).

Presenting - Lady Novella Reed-Brooks, otherwise known as the vigilante "Penny Dreadful" -

Made with link
Made with link
Some background - 

My character is a high-class lady named Novella Reed-Brooks. I stink at coming up with names, so I fired up a Victorian name generation and, after a couple of tries, I got Novella as a first name. How can you pass that one up? The surname is a combination of a couple of last names the generator gave me and it's customary in this RPG that high class individuals have hyphenated last names.

Novella is the middle daughter of a Neovictorian family who, basically, was bored with her lot in life (as many high-class ladies are). One of her brothers was in the military and taught her a few things about weaponry, just as a side-hobby when he was home on leave. Novella was interested in it, so he kept teaching her, even against their mother's will. Novella also helped her mother with various charitable endeavors in helping the poor and the needy.

But Novella realized that these people's lives would not be permanently helped by rich people giving out food and clothing and money. Those things get stolen by the criminal elements in power in the slums. What they really needed was those corrupt politicians and crime bosses to be shown that they are not above the law.

Hence, the masked vigilante "Penny Dreadful" was born.

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Pictured here with a gun because I like this costume
better than any of the others. This doll maker doesn't have
a parasol, though.
Penny Dreadful started going out and patrolling the more dangerous parts of the city. She didn't have access to her own weapons and wasn't sure how to carry much more than a small pistol. But she learned the martial art of Bartisu - which involves the use of a cane or staff. Novella adapted it so she could use her parasol (yes, I'm cribbing that from The Parasol Protectorate). Over time, she targeted bigger and bigger fish in the crime world. Even to the point that she could spy on corrupt officials in government, thanks to her standing as a lady (it's amazing what these arrogant jackholes talk about when they think "only" a simpering young miss is listening at some society function).

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I can't decide if this is meant to be Novella or Penny.
Probably both.
Basically, she's Green Arrow (Batman's too depressing).

The people who'd been victimized by the crime bosses nicknamed their heroine as "Penny Dreadful" because she reminded them of those heroes of the downtrodded in fictional tales published in penny dreadful novels. In fact, some enterprising individual started writing down her exploits (with a few embellishments) and selling "The Adventures of Penny Dreadful" as penny dreadful novels. Novella didn't mind the liberties taken with her story - someone was making a living with their writing. Better that than starving. Plus, the government officials who were determined to find her were annoyed by it, so that amused her greatly.

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Eventually, the government sent the police force out specifically to stop her and it slowly became too dangerous for her to continue. Though she certainly tried her best.

That's when she met VIVA-3

VIVA-3 is an undercover automaton - she's a "Peeler" (a robot meant to aid police in apprehending criminals), but in the body of a Doll - which has very different talents than a Peeler (Dolls are meant for more "social" situations). VIVA was sent to investigate and find the identity of the vigilante and apprehend her. VIVA caught Penny Dreadful and discovered who she really was. And suddenly, VIVA wasn't all that interested in punishing Novella. But neither of them could very well return.

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So, the two of them ran off and joined the crew of the Airship Rum Runner. Now, they are pirates/mercenaries who take jobs to help protect the weak and victimized around the world, rather than in just one town. And Novella is the ship's gunner, so she gets to operate cooler equipment than she used to when she was on her own (think Zoe from Firefly). But she still sticks with her trusty parasol when the going gets tough. And she's a dab hand with it, no denying that.

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So far, Novella's met one fan of hers, who asked her to sign a copy of The Adventures of Penny Dreadful. The man reads the books to his daughter and he does all the voices for the characters. Meeting Mr. Pinter tickled Novella to no end. Currently, Novella and the Rum Runner crew is heading to rescue several princesses who were kidnapped for political ends to eventually start a war.

There you go. That's what I have so far. I may update this as we go along, but for now I just wanted a place to put the story that wasn't just the Notes app on my phone. And I like the pictures I have of Novella. They all look vastly different from each other. I can't decide which one I like the best. I might fiddle around with some other doll makers (goodness knows there are plenty) and make more versions of her. It's quite fun!

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