EXPLAINING THE UNCHARTED COURSE (HH-RPG)

Greetings one and all. My name is Heather Olson. I apoligize in advance for the length of this 'Explaination' but it is sectioned so that you can determine for yourself how much you wish to read... (You can stop right now for example and just go straight to the story... Heh-heh... I've also tried to give it a hint of humor so it's not too much of a 'yawn' boring read.)

Anyhow... For the last two months or so... I have had the pleasure to be involved in an online Horatio Hornblower RPG (Role Playing Game) which I found out about through the hhfic list (Thank you very much hh-fic). I play the part of Mr. Hobbs (And a few others...) There are other Hornblower fans involved in this 'Game'. Each one plays a character (or two... or more) from the show as well. All great people, who I dare say have become my friends. If they don't object to me saying so that is...

This is just a note to inform all on the HH-fic list that we are about to post a bit of fiction that follows the adventures of the characters right from those RPG's posts. This fiction has been titled "Uncharted Course" (Because it can literally go anywhere.) It should also be noted that The Uncharted Course is AU (Alternate Universe). It's also a little unusual in that it's actually created by more than one mind... Rather like pass the pen, but back and forth between writers in no particular order. Due to this, it can be a little confusing at times if you don't understand why. It does require some explanation. (Alternatively you can just skip all this and start reading... It's up to you.)

I'm going to send the first 9 Collected posts... This is a lot... but it is the only time I will ever send more than 5 of the Collected posts in one go. This should give the HH-fic group lots to sink their teeth into for their first taste... And give me time to clean up the next few... The 9th Collected post also ends conveniently in a 'Cliffhanger'...

Just a note to all... I have made some drawings and such, of some of the events and characters in the RPG story... I will post those as soon as I can. Any finished art I have, and the least embarrassing of my pencil sketches... Of course I'll let you know when these are available for view.
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Thanks all. Here is the Basic information concerning the RPG's collected posts. I have titled it, amazingly enough....

Basic Information.

How this particular RPG works is each person takes a character from the show (Horatio Hornblower in this case) to be their PC (Player Character), and writes little portions of the story from his or her PC's point of view. What we call a post. Each character's post 'bouncing' off other PC'c and NPC'c (Non Player Characters) posts as needed. It started with the characters from the Renown... But as you find more Collected Posts appearing in your mailboxes you will discover we did not stop with just the crew of the Renown. You'll see... :)

Each time I post here on the hhfic site it will be a passel of what we call 'Collected Posts'. A passel of posts that is, till the hhfic list is caught up to where we are on the HH-RPG site. After which time, you'll get them as we finish them. Each 'Collected Post' consists of five single posts. A single post can be anywhere from one sentence to a few pages. (Are you confused yet?... I wouldn't blame you...) A post's size depends on how much the person wanted to write at the time they made the post.

A single post is usually written by one person for one character. Unless of course the writer controls all character's involved in the scene. In which case it may reflect the deeds and words of more than one character. (I think I said that right... Yes... by crikey I did.) This changed later when we discovered how much fun the chat room can be for producing multiplayer posts... (When Yahoo chat is working that is...) You will of course be warned when a post combines the actions and deeds of more than one character. Each post is plainly labeled with the character's name at the end of the post. (Or characters if it's a multiplayer post.)

At the start of each Collected post you will be told the general Location, rough Time of day, and the Date. If there are any changes between single posts within that Collected post you will be told of the change(s) in a note in brackets before the post wherein the change(s) occurs.

Sometimes the posts overlap each other... On purpose or by accident. Or they may mention things that happened in the past, before the actions of the post(s) that preceded it. If the events in the post in question go back far enough we use a device called 'The Way Back Clock'. (Just imagine little wavy lines appearing before your eyes just like in those flashback scenes in movies....LOL. I'm sure you get the idea.) We usually don't nit-pick about a few seconds or even a few minutes... In those cases just think of it as a repeat of the actions of the last post but from another character's point of view. As far as the 'Way Back Clock' is concerned, you will be told when this is being used and any details needed to understand why and when it's happening. You'll also understand it a lot easier when you actually see it done... (Honestly, I don't know why i even wrote this paragraph... All it is... Is dang confusing.)

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Well that's the Basics... If your intent is to just read Uncharted Course you should probably stop here... If your thinking about joining us, or just want to know more information, just for the heck of it.... Keep reading. Be forewarned, reading the rest of this might spoil some of the 'sense of danger' for the main characters that you would normaly feel when they get into tricky situations... Then again it might explain to you why our bad guys are all that insane, the 'Over the Top' sort of villian. You know... the kind that much prefer to capture the heroes, put them in 'deathtraps', and explain their wicked plans to them...
As opposed to killing those pesky heroes outright.
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Anyhow.... Here's the advanced information for those who want it. This section is cleverly titled...

Advanced Information.

Here's the RPG Rules as Melissa, our List Cap'n has posted them in the past. My notes that accompany them appear in brackets and italics.

1) Please do not write for other people's characters. This is probably the main one that I can think of as it can cause some major chaos. Please feel free to plan things with other writers, but don't go moving other chars about like chess pieces. Don't want any toes getting stepped on!!

(Since we've started doing some multiplayer posts in chat and trusting each other a bit more, this isn't much of a problem anymore.)

2) Always include whatever post you're replying to, preferably above your response. Just kind of a neat and tidy thing.

(Not necessary or practical in the collected posts.)

3) Please use only mild profanity and situations unless you put a warning/rating in the subject line. Let's not go corrupting too many young minds! ;o)

(Again... Not needed. Using a blanket PG-14 rating on all posts. Besides I don't think we've used cursing any stronger than that already found in your average HH episode. As for violence... we do have a battle... there will be more. The battles themselves in HH episodes are pretty nasty, with extras on both sides dropping left right and center... So that's sort of what happens in our fights too. Just to warn you...)

4) There is no game master to this game, just a bunch of writers and their characters. This means that no one person is in charge of planning plots and stuff like that. I'm here to make sure things run smoothly but I don't want anyone to feel like they're being pulled unwillingly into things.

(I'm very guilty of breaking this one almost every time I post but the gang seems to like where the story arc is going... so I guess we're okay for now. I prefer a different term anyway... I simply call myself the 'Meddling One'. )

5) Never kill off another persons character... pretty simple to see why. Unless you have their permission. Same goes for major injuries and life-changing situations. Just discuss it with the other writer first.

(I never did ! I swear, that Giant squid just came out of nowhere. Okay... there's been no giant squid... Sigh... Had you for a second though... Didn't I?)

6) When one is writing in a thread please include in the subject line the chars involved in that thread. ie "Captain's Cabin, Atten: Bush, Hornblower. (Matthews, Styles?)". This should cut down on confusion and people can see which posts pertain to them. Though everyone is of course free to read everything, I know sometimes that's not possible.

(All necessary notes will be provided in the collected posts themselves.)

7) The above ducktails into this next rule which is more of a helpful hint than a rule. Respond when you can, don't feel as though you have to get on everyday five or six times to keep up. Threads will progress at the speed that writers can respond to each other. That way people who are busy or away will not feel as though they shall be missing out. Just give some warning if you are going to be away for a long period of time so we can plan ahead.

(I particularly liked Dr. Clive's leave of absence letter when Linda went on holiday. It was originaly dated July 17- 27th... The reason I had to change the date on it was because the British and French had signed a short lived treaty in March of 1802 till they felt threatend again by Bonaparte in April of the following year 1803. So... Since our Renowns are still at war I figured we should likely push the date we started at back a tad. I chose January 24th... to give us a little breathing room.)

8) Have fun!!!! I want this list to be easy going and laid-back - no pressure here at all. And the rules are not many or too harsh so I think it shall be possible. Plus I don't own a cat o-nine tails...yet!!! *grin* Yesss, I think I've touched on everything... any questions, please ask! :o)

Oh, and one last thing. If for some reason I can't get
to the comp or what not and something comes up- Laura
and Andrea are my "second in commands" - my
co-submoderators. (Andrea made me say that... *grin*)
Anyway, now I shall get back to writing Bush! Yay!!

Melissa (Melissa now writes for Pellew as well. But you won't see him for a bit, yet...)
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Now here's an extra treat. Bringing in a few RPG oriented terms just for fun. This might be considered to be too much information, but I wrote this mainly for a laugh for those from the RPG List and anyone else who's toughed it out to the end of this interminable post. I am particularly pleased with my tile for this section...

Way Too Much Information

1 Player Characters are the game's Heroes, Scoundrels and Villains. Once brought into the story or 'created' they can't be arbitrarily killed, maimed, badly wounded, or splashed in the face with acid etc, unless this is first discussed with and approved by the PC's player. I have blatantly and without permission snagged the terms 'Hero', 'Scoundrel', 'Villain's, 'Henchman' and 'Brute' from the RPG called 7thSea. A darn fine RPG and they actually published some of my art so I don't mind givin' the guys a 'plug' here. Tee-hee. I don't think you can really copyright such terms anyway....
Anyway, lets explain the various types of PC character's...

Heroes are player characters who's nature is pure and heroic... Or as pure and heroic as can be expected. These are the guys or gals who always do the right thing or at least try to. Basically Goodguys...

Examples of Heroes; Horatio, Archie, Pellew, Bush, Miss Cobham, Wellard, Bracegirdle, Bowles, Mathews, Styles... Though Styles might count as a Scoundrel (see below). The way Julie has been playing him, the 'Lucid' or 'Sane' version of Sawyer, probably belongs here.

Villains are player characters who's nature is well... Nasty. They either know their bad... and, or they like being bad. Or they just plain do inexcusably evil stuff all the time (Whether they mean to or not.)They go out of their way to make life hell for the heroes and just about anybody else.

Examples of Villains: Liberty Jack, Dr. Bretagne (Oh... you don't know them yet...Tee-he. You will.), Jack Simpson (He's dead... but he's a good example) Randal, and of course the 'Mad' version of Sawyer.

Scoundrels are that in-between group. These men and women have the potential to be Villains or Heroes... They either haven't quite stepped over to either side yet, or they walk the 'fence' on purpose. The first of these are your shady or questionable characters with hearts of gold... Or slightly tarnished hearts of gold. The second type are your outwardly decent folk, with personal agendas, dishonorable natures and or hidden vices. The later of which are actually far more dangerous to the heroes than the former, as the Heros usualy think these outwardly decent chaps are allies...

Examples of Scoundrels (Good hearted or not); Hobbs, Clive, Buckland, Colonel de Vergesse, Hether & Clevland, Captain du Paix (Sorry... A new face again. You'll meet this person soon. If your an RPGer you already have.)

2 PC's can be knocked out and or tied up... Provided the situation (Story) suits it and as long as it does not lead to their murder or an unavoidable death... Which would of course break rule 1...

3 You can most certainly do almost anything to your own character or characters (Yes, some of us are insane enough to play more than one. Raises hand... Guilty!)

4 You cannot write for another PC without the permission of that character's player. (We have found lately that it's not too bad sometimes to let someone else write for one of your characters provided the two players trust each other enough to alow for it.
Andrea's written well for Captain du Paix, and I trust her with my little creation there.)

5 Non Player Characters can generaly be used by anybody who feels they need to use them. They come in two categories.

Brutes (Or Brute squads). Ah... Brutes... well... whether they're good or bad, they're the guys the heroes, villains and henchmen can take down with one blow. Unless you want your hero to battle some big or highly skilled brute.These are the poor guys who fall into pit traps... but don't catch hold of the convenient vine or sturdy root the hero just did. Their the poor saps the villain's pull in front of themselves to use as a human shield.... On the plus side for them, these are the lads who can bring down even the toughest bloke if you have enough of them gang up together to 'overbear' the chap. They can be used by 'anybody'... They are usually not given a name... that would turn them into 'henchmen' (see below) and they usually fall in droves in combat... (We don't feel too much guilt doing this.... They are just fictional characters... Not real people... And if you watch a Hornblower episode... You don't even have to do so carefully to notice this... It's pretty blatant...You can see lots of these guys falling left right and center in practically every battle scene and shot.)

Henchmen. Now... As for these blokes.... They are villain's right hand man... Or a highly skilled enemy lieutenant... The informative but careful Innkeeper who packs a blunderbuss under his counter, or that tempting 'Jenny' who wants to invite your male PC's up to her room for a night of pleasure, only to rob them blind while they're asleep... These are just a few possibilities. Henchmen take all forms and types. They usually get to say more than a few lines... And if needed they can take more than a few hits... In many aspects some of them are more powerful and capable than many of the Player Characters... However, they've been created by a player to serve their specific purpose in the game and then disappear by one means or another. These are the badguys and goodguys that can be killed or totally thrashed if you think your PC character needs a good scrap... Just ask the Henchman's creator if it's okay for you to do so... Or make one yourself. DUNTI is an example of a Henchman (You haven't met him yet unless your a member of the RPG) Henchmen, if not dispatched to Expendable Character Heaven, can be used again. Henchmen can easily be used by someone other than their creator if permission is asked for... and given. Bharat and Paul l' Ours are also henchmen by the way... (Again... if you haven't been playing sorry... you'll meet them later.)

5 Booty: Goods and equipment carried by unconscious, tied up, or dead characters are fair game for any other 'Player' or 'Non Player Character' provided that the character searches the individual or already knows where the item is. Booty and or treasure thats just lying around, can be picked up by whoever finds or 'creates' it first. This is an RPG... If someone wants their PC to find a coat with a map to a pirate treasure sewn into the lining that's up to the player who decides to do that...

6 Animal Sidekicks... Yes... You won't see these till a bit later. But we have them. They are to be considered 'Henchmen' for clarification purposes. That means no causing them serious harm or death without their creator's permission. Unlike Human henchmen though, anyone who wants to use one of these creatures in their post can write for them. As long as they remain true to the animal's character as best as they are able. Creators of the creatures can of course do as they please.

7 Set up posts. Sometimes we'll get a new player... Or myself or someone else will create a new character, or add one from the HH series they wish to see introduced. When this happens, usually a very lengthy post is created... A veritable short story. This longer than usual post will normally relate the tale as to how the 'Character (s)' appear on the scene. If this post is responded to by a player all the information in these posts become 'reality' for the RPG world of "Uncharted Course."

Right... I think that's about it.

Crikey! You've got an amazing attention span if you've read this far.... Now you can go read the story...

Enjoy... and Peace be with you all.

A note to my fellow RPG players. If you don't see your name in the credits to begin with, or not all of your characters are mentioned, keep in mind I'm using the credits from when we started... When kipperboi picks up the roll of Wellard from MM the change will be noted in the Credits... When Bob takes over Randal and Brennan assumes the roll of Dr. Bretagne those changes will be mentioned as well... And of course, as new characters are taken on by our veteran players and others, the new characters will be added to their player's credits.( I think that covers that... Yes... yes it does.)

A second note to my fellow RPG players. I have cleaned the posts up a bit... Mostly my own though, since I wouldn't presume to change your stuff without your permission. Unless it was something 'painfully obvious' such as Archie's line about Dr. Clive having dinner with Sawyer since it was later determined that Clive was not aboard the Renown at the time to share that meal with his Captain... He was elsewhere... I have added a few bits and pieces to add to the adventure's continuity and excitement... And to give under-used characters a bit more 'play time'.