"I- I'm from the Archipelago," Garth said tentatively, meeting Telrien's gaze. His eyes were large and worried, and with good reason. Whenever anybody refered to The Archipelago, these days, it could only mean one thing. The set of islands to the southwest of Japan, that hot spot for disasters and miracles. It was like the Wild West at its peak, a land where death and fortune could be found and missed daily. It was a frontier, a place where countless innovations and discoveries were made, day after day, but also where monsters would strike from the blue, and where sometimes, even the earth itself would sunder, and spew abominations and hellish beasts forth to maim and kill.
Archipelago Exodus (link here) is a message board primarily dedicated to roleplaying — cooperative storytelling in which members create their own characters and work their way through a story together. You're probably familiar with the concept.The majority of the stories are set in the Archipelago, a tiny island chain broken off from Japan where the incidence of people born with superpowers is exceptionally high. Other supernatural humans, simply called Powers, from all around the world gravitate toward the Archipelago as the society most accepting of them. Taken as a whole, the RPs encapsulate a wide range of genres including action, science fiction, fantasy, crime/noir, and shonen. Pretty much no matter what kind of storytelling you're interested in, there are probably other RPers who've created characters that can work in that setting. Oh, and not every character has to be a Power. Far, far from it. Badass Normal characters are more than acceptable.In general, RPs are considered to take place in chronological order by start date unless otherwise specified. There is a sense of continuity — the expectation is that characters will grow over the course of multiple stories and form lasting friendships (and enmities) — but fresh stories that don't continue any previous plot thread are a very frequent and welcome occurrence. (So no pressure.)This page has a character sheet. Which is actually way more developed than this main page right now. Maybe you should check it out first.Tropes throughout the RP scene in general:
Aerith and Bob: There's Natalie, Nick, Joseph, Rick, Emily, George, Mia, a few more... and then we go crazy.
Growing the Beard: The influx of new authors around 07-08 brought about a massive shift towards lighter RPs that emphasized moral complexity and lighthearted character interactions over the melodrama of the late TCGPlayer/early Exodus scene. For an especially jarring example, look at how Shattered, which started on the early Exodus, plays out over time. It starts with the “Battle Injury ANGST” that Zebedee had been running on for a while, and then spins about in the last few pages. Still dark and angsty, for the most part, but not as draggingly painful of a read.
Masquerade: Zigzagged in ORP. It's hard to find proof of any definite consensus between RPers on whether Powers are a recognized and accepted aspect of humanity or whether their culture is covered up within mainstream society. Altogether, though, it seems like this trope is usually averted in the Archipelago, where Powers are most common, and may be played straight in other nations.
Super Weight: Characters from all levels have been seen, though there's a strong trend towards 1's and 2's. The Case of the Burgled Boullogne is distinct in that its protagonist is around a -1, though.
Weapons Kitchen Sink: Unless the RP is a very specific genre piece like Gasoline, don't expect all the characters to use thematically consistent weapons. Heck, even when it is, be prepared for a surprise or two.
Tropes that occur within specific RPs are listed below (not all RPs are on the list yet). "ORP" stands for Online Role Play, the main RP section with the most rich and developed storyline. Each RP is listed along with its creator and start date. Links to individual RPs coming soon.
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The (t3h) Obligatory Superplay Fight (Choobs; Mar 19, 2006)
Aggressive Negotiations: Oddly enough, the only hero to die is the one pushing for a violent resolution to the negotiations. He got better, though.
Characterization Marches On: Watch Garth zig-zag as a character for the first two pages, until his author finally settles on a consistant personality. Oh, and the entire Fascere Order.
Defeat Means Friendship: Played with. For some of the heroes, Defeat Means Employment. By the thrashed party (the Fascere Order).
Loads and Loads of Characters: It pales now in comparison to Ish, obviously, but in its day Triannual was pretty much the standard-bearer. The heroes number a highly impressive ten (Natalie, Garth, Terrian, Valon, Ender, Dracon, Emily, Sly, Prime, and the duplicate Brogue should count as well), and adding the various Fascere Order operatives and associates more or less doubles the total cast size.
The Hell Gate (Elliot; Aug 13, 2009)Sky Towers and Blood (Kevin; Aug 21, 2009)Watch Where You Step (Lugiasian; Aug 27, 2009)Rainbow, Shortbow, Mindblown (Lee; Sep 6, 2009)Azure History (Prime; Sep 21, 2009)Luxury Train Ride (Choobs; Nov 1, 2009)
Black and Gray Morality: On the one hand, you have Lucas and Scar, who are in it for blood; the Giarrettiera family, the Archipelago’s preeminent criminal organization; and the King of Clubs, who’s prepared to shoot the hostages if the police try to enter the hotel. On the other hand, you have… well… the likes of Terrian, Rie, Nopcsa and Blaise. They’ll do for “the good guys”, but they’re not exactly shining paragons of virtue. Only a very few, like Jonas, can legitimately be described as unambiguous heroes.
How We Got Here: Applied variously to certain characters. Terrian follows a mostly linear progression from the story’s start to its finish, but in the case of others like Mandelbrot, Lucas, Scar, Joseph, Tsubota and Charles Tanner, the first time we hear from them is at the end of their respective arcs. And the first time we see Inspector Davidson, he dies.
Hype Aversion: No other RP on the Exodus has had as much hype. Naturally, there are a few that find it a bit overbearing.
Loads and Loads of Characters: How many previously established characters figure into Ishkabibble? Oh, about twenty. Add in newcomers like Yoon Mangjeol, Commissioner Williams, Inspector Davidson, lesser Giarrettiera members, and the Cardsharks, and you're past thirty.
Tuning... (Clicker; Jan 3, 2010)
Senseless Violins: Played around with. The villains are ominous men bearing violin cases... containing violins. Which are actually weapons in their own right, and key to a style of offensive magic. Which is then used to turn one violin into a BFS, and another into a shotgun.
The Case of the Burgled Boullogne (Pohatu; Mar 27, 2010)
Adventure Rebuff: Yoon is not interested in letting Renard help her out of her current predicament.
She interrupted him for the final time that evening although still without making eye contact. "Renard." Her grip tightened. Her fingernails made their sharpness understood. He lost hold of the sentence he'd been trying to finish. "I've assured you it is nothing for you to worry about." She could apparently tell how this affected him even without looking, for her tone softened from the hiss which which she had spoken this last. Her grip relaxed. "I'm sorry, dear, but I don't want you involved. You'll only be endangering yourself... They'll kill you if they decide they've found a reason to."
Call Back: Channery's line about moving in the direction of being friends with Renard, although not "hurtling", refers back to an earlier line spoken by Massimo in Ishkabibble Scene Seven when Terrian surmises that they might be becoming friends after all: "Oh we are hurtling in that direction."
Genius Bonus: When Channery says that it's illegal for the police to enlist the help of Powers where she's from, Renard promptly narrows the list to ten candidate countries and territories. French is an official language in each one.
"How short the list becomes! I believe your home must therefore lie in... alors... Madagascar, Vanuatu, Pondicherry, Haiti, Canada, Rwanda, Guernsey, Seychelles, Luxembourg, or Burkina Faso!"
"Go to a coffee shop" also counts as an Ascended Meme, since it was the most insistently frequent suggestion throughout the first act of Burgled Boullogne, until Renard finally kicked off the second act by complying.
But never let it be said that Renard was a man easily weighed down by the regrets of the past. Let it not even be considered that he was now chastising himself for filling the pipe with the wrong material.
But let it never go into the history books that Renard Rouletabille was a man easily ruffled by such a trifling setback. He didn't need the newspaper anymore.
Let the archaeologists of future civilizations, sifting through the scattered ruins of this crumbled city thousands of years from now, never conclude based upon their assemblage of the fragments of the relics of his life that Renard Rouletabille was a man who could be induced to abandon his goals and withdraw into oblivion after such an absurdly infinetismal setback as the dismantling of his automobile.