Roleplay: The Sydney Scroungers
The Sydney Scroungers is a Skype roleplaying campaign using the Fate Core system, GMed by Abalidoth and set in the Pacific Rim
universe. It can be read in prose form on Tumblr
with extra material from the players and GM, or on AO3
with just the session logs.
The campaign concerns a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits
, the eponymous Scroungers, who do odd jobs in and around the Sydney Shatterdome, usually having to do with salvaging Kaiju and Jaeger parts for black market sale. But their first job garners them a lot of attention from a lot of very powerful people, and they find their lives getting awfully complicated...
The Scroungers are:
- Katie Horner, Texan oil heiress and the group's leader and financier.
- Eleanor Cartier, ex-PPDC psychoanalyst and sometime grifter.
- Seiko Watanabe, standoffish sniper with a lot of secrets.
- Miranda Cross, PPDC J-Tech mechanic and ship pilot.
- Sylvie Mansen, ex-PPDC AI programmer and the team's hacker.
- Absurdly Ineffective Barricade: The very flammable and very expensive chairs in Wulagu's command center did not work quite as well as the room's occupants might have hoped in keeping the Scrounger strike team out.
- Action Girl: Katie and Sylvie qualify in the traditional sense. Eleanor and Miranda have both held their own in combat situations, too.
- After Action Patch Up: Seiko and Miranda's first meeting, when he broke into her apartment, wounded, after a job went poorly.
- Aloof Big Brother: Seiko, who cannot be very close to his sisters for fear of putting them in danger.
- Anchored Ship: Seiko and Miranda.
- Anti-Hero: A good portion of this team of morally-questionable criminals.
- Apocalypse Cult: The Assembly of True Judgement, a cult which worships the Kaiju as the punishers of mankind's sin, which has become more and more active in Sydney recently.
- Artificial Intelligence: Sylvie's programmed drift partner is an AI version of Sylvie complete with her memories named Syl-V, or Vee for short. As is fiVe (formerly V2), the rogue version of Syl-V. FiVe has been living with Miranda since she became separated from Sylvie over a year and a half ago.
- Author Appeal: Just about everything in this story, honestly.
- Awesome Aussie: While none quite fit the stereotype, a good portion of the cast count, seeing as the story takes place in Sydney.
- Badass Boast: Quite a few over the course of the campaign. Zhu and Wulagu are both notable for throwing these out.
- Badass Crew: The Scroungers certainly count, when they manage to get their act together.
- Badass in Distress: Also common enough, when the team get themselves into some rather compromising positions.
- Badass Israeli: Netanya Malach.
- Badass Longcoat: Katie is rather fond of her long coats.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: Miranda earns Seiko's loyalty after finding him bleeding out on her couch and deciding to take care of him and stitch him up instead of turning him over to the cops. Also part of why fiVe is very protective of Miranda, because Miranda took her in after Sylvie "abandoned" her.
- Berserk Button: Most of the crew has one. Katie, when people threaten her crew. Vee and Sylvie when the other one is in danger. And Seiko and Miranda, as well as fiVe, will protect each other to the end.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Eleanor and Katie, who have both been known to show a dark streak when the situation calls for it.
- Big Brother Instinct: Actually the name of one of Seiko's stunts, which allows him to boost his shooting skills when characters under his protection are in danger. His sisters, Miranda, as well as fiVe and occasionally Eleanor can trigger this in him.
- Big Damn Heroes: With a crew like this, it happens occasionally, of course.
- Big Good: After the end of the first arc, Rachel Zhu
- Bilingual Bonus: Seiko and Miranda have both been known to use Japanese on occasion.
- Blatant Lies: "I'm sure it's nothing."
- Brain Uploading: How the drift works for Syl-V. Sylvie "syncs" her memories with Vee often, so that their memories stay the same.
- Break Her Heart To Save Her: The first time Seiko leaves Miranda, he simply disappears without warning because he feels he's gotten too close to her for her own saftey, knowing that doing so will hurt her.
- Break Them by Talking: Eleanor's favored method of interrogation.
- The Captain: Katie, of course. She's the one funding this little operation.
- Cast Full of Gay: With this group of writers, one really shouldn't be surprised when characters turn out not to be cis or het.
- Clone Degeneration: What Sylvie believes has happened to fiVe. FiVe would disagree, saying that:
- Clones Are People Too: After being on her own for so long, fiVe has decided she no longer wants to simply be a copy of Sylvie, and will do anything to continue being recognized as her own person.
- Commonality Connection: Various members of the cast have bonded over mutual interests or experiences, whether it’s a fandom reference or a deep-seated hatred of kaiju.
- Consummate Professional: Seiko has high standards when it comes to professionalism, from the way he dresses to how he chooses to address others, and often comments on other people’s failure to meet these same standards.
- Cool Ship: The Tranquility, a short-haul freighter refurbished into a mobile command center and salvage ship.
- Crush Blush: Katie, upon meeting Rachel Zhu for the first time.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Between the Scroungers and the PPDC, the retrieval mission at Port Stephens did not go terribly well for the Wulagu Syndicate. Also, Miranda attacking the combat-trained Sylvie doesn't turn out very well for her either.
- Cynicism Catalyst: Miranda's loss of her brother Jason was a turning point in her life for the worse. Seiko losing his parents at a young age also started him on his dark path.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Most of the crew, though Seiko's history stands out in particular.
- Deadly Gas: Wulagu has dispensers installed on her yacht. Thankfully ineffective against those with scuba gear.
- Deadpan Snarker: Each of the crew has their moments, but Rachel Zhu stands out in this regard.
- Defeat Equals Friendship: In the case of Greg, it also means the team will go back into a combat scenario to rescue his boyfriend.
- Determinator: Seiko will push through (and is willing to do) just about anything for those he considers family.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Seiko's sisters are his nearly sole motivation for the things that he does until Miranda and fiVe come along.
- Five-Man Band: The group parses fairly well:
- Foil: Karen Wulagu, the leader of the powerful Wulagu Criminal Syndicate and Rachel Zhu, the new Marshall of the Sydney Shatterdome. On the team, Seiko and Sylvie are pretty much opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to dealing with criminal activites, as well as their fighting styles, with Sylvie in close combat and Seiko staying ranged.
- Foreign Language Tirade: When he gets truly upset, Seiko will lapse back into Japanese. Such as when Sylvie punches Miranda across the room during an argument.
- Four-Star Badass: Marshall Rachel Zhu, who will not hesitate to take down anything that poses a threat to her Shatterdome or the PPDC.
- Genius Bruiser: While Sylvie usually plays the part of the techie, the PPDC's pilot training means she can certainly hold her own in a close-range fight, and is somewhat of the team's hand-to-hand specialist.
- Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Inverted with Sylvie, the grappler, and Seiko, the sniper.
- Handicapped Badass: Miranda's got quite a bit of damage from the Kaiju attack she survived, and most days wears an exoskeleton under her clothes to get around, but that certainly won't slow her down in a fight.
- Heroic BSOD: Sylvie gets a notable one when Vulcan Specter shows up near the end of Arc 1. Miranda gets a minor one at Leah’s house in Arc 2, as well as in one of her backstory fics.
- Heroism Won't Pay the Bills: Inverted. The Scroungers often pay their bills with acts of heroism.
- Innocent Cohabitation: Miranda and Seiko started with a mutually beneficial agreement that involves her giving him a place to stay and off-the-books first aid in exchange for any useful information he can offer her.
- It Doesn't Mean Anything: “You weren’t a priority, Ms. Cross.”
- Lap Pillow: Miranda falls asleep in Seiko’s lap towards the beginning of Arc 2. Slightly lessened by the fact that it comes as a result of taking pain meds after Sylvie knocked her across the room, but still applies.
- Love Makes You Evil: Seiko has done more horrible things than he cares to think about in the name of providing for his sisters.
- Luminescent Blush: Seiko has a habit of blushing when he’s flustered, especially in the ears. Miranda has also turned some impressive shades of red.
- Memetic Hand Gesture: The Blessing of Acid.
- Mauve Shirt: Greg certainly. An argument could be made for Samil as well.
- Mook-Face Turn: Greg, Samil, and Tara after they all ditch Wulagu's team to help the PCs.
- Nominal Importance: Seeing as this is an RP group, characters who get names tend to get bumped up in importance as well.
- Not So Stoic: Seiko has had a few of these, notably his panic attack with over Wulagu’s call at the end of Arc 1 and his  after Miranda is injured at the beginning of Arc 2.
- Please Don't Leave Me: Miranda has some seriously bad luck with being abandoned by the people she cares about, as does fiVe.
- Please Put Some Clothes On: Seiko has walked in on Miranda in various states of undress more times than he would ever have thought possible.
- Professional Killer: Seiko doesn't have too many moral qualms about what he will and will not do for the right price.
- Redshirt Army: Most of the enemies that come against the Scroungers tend to end up as punching bags for Sylvie, target practice for Seiko, or both depending on Katie's mood.
- The Roleplayer: Thanks to the way FATE Core runs, all of the players qualify.
- Safety In Indifference: Seiko vehemently resists making any real emotional connections with others as a way of avoiding conflicts between what he wants and what he has to do.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: One of Katie's most treasured life philosophies and her favorite problem-solving method.
- Self-Duplication: Sylvie, via AI technology. Vee and all of her simultaneous runs are collectively called "AiVees," and all of them count as copies of Sylvie's mind. Though fiVe will do anything to break away.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: Subverted twice: once by Sylvie when confronted about her “lover’s spat” with Seiko, where her response was so vitriolic that she was believed; and once by Seiko when Miranda is referred to as his girlfriend, where he twitches slightly but says nothing.
- Shipper on Deck: Getting Seiko and Miranda together is one of fiVe's biggest goals in life.
- Shirtless Scene: Miranda has had a few when she needs help with her exoskeleton. Seiko has appeared shirtless in a few backstory scenes, including this comic.
- Sleep Cute: At the end of Arc 1, Miranda and Seiko end up cuddling to sleep after their respective physical and emotional breakdowns. In addition, Sylvie falling asleep hugging her laptop as well as Miranda sleeping in Seiko’s lap after her fight with Sylvie in Arc 2 may also qualify, although YMMV on those ones.
- Strictly Professional Relationship: Miranda and Seiko’s relationship is completely professional. No emotional investment or romantic tension at all.
- Stupid Sexy Friend: Miranda slips up repeatedly in her efforts to keep her relationship with Seiko platonic for fear of scaring him off.
- Sugar and Ice Personality: Seiko usually presents pretty cold, but softens significantly when the situation calls for it.
- Texting: Quite a bit between crewmembers, when there is sensitive information to be shared privately or the comms aren't working. Katie even recieved an automated restaurant promotion in the middle of a battle one time.
- There Are No Therapists: Subverted by Eleanor, who is a PPDC trained psych analyst.
- These Hands Have Killed: Sylvie and the Ai Vees were pretty rattled by their initial joyride and the events leading up to it.
- Queer as Tropes: Averted, thankfully, seeing as a good portion of the writers identify as some form of queer themselves.
- Warrior Therapist: Eleanor, when she needs to be.
- We ARE Struggling Together: The team may all be on the same payroll, but they've got more than enough disagreements to go around. Some of which break out into physical conflicts, because what's a team without a few fist fights?
- What the Hell, Hero?: The crew is pretty good about calling one another out on their bullshit; Sylvie and Seiko are the most common targets, but everyone has been on the receiving end of at least one of these.
- Wicked Cultured: Karen Wulagu, a crime boss with a "cultured Australian accent."
- With Friends Like These...: Seiko and Sylvie, who—despite being teammates—are usually pretty close to breaking into a fight of some kind or other.
- World of Action Girls: It's fairly telling that Seiko is one of the very few male main characters, and all of these ladies can hold their own.
- You All Meet in an Inn: It's a semi-sleazy nightclub, but that's about as close as you can get in modern-day downtown Sydney. While most of the team knows of each other and have worked with each other in the past, the nightclub is the first time all five are together as a team.
- You Monster!: Sylvie's favorite nickname for Seiko.
- Zip Me Up: Seiko routinely helps Miranda to get in and out of her exoskeleton.