View Full Version : Ladies and Gentlemen,come one come all...Vote up a Circus!

2013-11-17, 09:35 PM

So,inspired heavily by this thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=311833) and the Night Circus by Erin morgenstern,I wanted to gauge the interest level for a game/creation project/vote up a setting.

The concept.
A circus in a magical setting,but magic is kept secret.

The procedure.
1.To start off,the players would vote on a theme for the circus,and come up with a name for it.
2. Each player would submit a overall description of the circus. Players would then vote on the ones they liked the best.

3. I'm not sure about this stage,but I think the players might each work on a member of the troupe from a list of archetypes,ie:magician,acrobat,etc,each one having a specific strength and weakness. (and maybe stats? Yes,no?)

4.The players would each craft several sideshows,or tents,involving the troupe members. They could involve magic,but it would have to be subtle. Each player is trying to outshine the others. The sideshows would then be ranked.
This round can be completed repeatedly.

5. The players each then create a act for the main show,involving one or more of the troupe members(players could collaborate). These would be voted upon as well.

6. All the descriptions would be compiled with filler text,and a fantastical circus would come into being.

So,who likes/dislikes this idea? Is anyone interested in seeing this happen?

Votes so far.
{table=head] The royal acadamy for performance arts. |Cirque noir|Lambertys heralds.|Scare circus|The eyes and hands|The mech circus|Harvey halifax's circus of the strange|The animal bridge circus

We are at stage 2, and have agreed on Cirque Noir+Eyes and Hands, with a steampunk twist.
For newcomers, this means a night circus type place full of subtle magic, owned by a group of romani(gypsies), where convicts are sent to reform. Steampunk is self evident.

2013-11-18, 07:43 AM
I personally would be very interested in such a project :-)

2013-11-18, 03:32 PM
All right! Let's see if there's anyone else who wants to join as well.

2013-11-19, 03:34 PM
C'mon people! 74 views and one reply? You make my d20 sad...
Also,needless bump. Off to drum up more business.

2013-11-19, 04:48 PM
This would be cool I would do it except for one thing...

I suck d*** at homebrew (fluff and crunch) so... Yea

2013-11-19, 04:57 PM
I'm in. Give me more details about the setting. Medieval? Modern? Anything specified about the magic system?

2013-11-19, 05:26 PM
That's up to the voting to decide. The magic isn't so much of a system as a way to make cool acts,using subtle magic to make,for example,a carousel with no bars to support the animals.

2013-11-19, 06:05 PM
Loved the book and enjoy brewing, so depending on how you choose to go about the creation, I'm certainly interested...:smallbiggrin:

2013-11-19, 06:19 PM
Creation would simply be each person brewing a act or tent,than given a ranking by others. I am not sure if there would be stats for tents and acts.
Also,how would you all prefer we went about creation? I was thinking votes,and the above method,but I am open to suggestions.

2013-11-19, 06:26 PM
I want more than anything to make a clown. i feel enlightened though im not

2013-11-19, 06:28 PM
Well,first off you make a tent,then acts or an act for the tent. The troupe members don't take priority,though they are important.

2013-11-19, 06:31 PM
yes i know i was just feeling inspired
can it be a purple tent,
hopefully it can,
i like purple,
and i like tents,
a purple tent would be,

2013-11-19, 06:34 PM
If you want to submit your writing for the tent,thatd be fine.

2013-11-19, 06:44 PM
this purple and green tent striped tent is giant and full of clowns an acrobats and clown/acrobats good clowns evil clowns neutral clowns good acrobats evil acrobats neutral acrobats and good clown/acrobats evil clow... ok you get it but all kinds of clowns and acrobats and clown/acrobats live in this tent yea they live in it they dont see the light of day
this is not finished

2013-11-19, 06:54 PM
You may want to hold on,because step one is deciding a theme for the circus,it's overall vibe,name,etc. Step 0 is finding more people.

2013-11-19, 07:27 PM
Cirque Noir

I submit for your approval a circus of travelling Romani (gypsies). In a steampunk version of the 1840's they have been outcasts due to suspicions of them using witchcraft. Magic requires making a pact with extradimensional beings that the church has always purported were heinously evil, but many magic practitioners feel are inhumanly weird, but not necessarily malicious. Currently, science is disproving all that superstitious nonsense and showing that magic cannot exist in this materialistic universe. The Cirque Noir then pretends that they're pretending to do magic. So people think it's all fake when it is actually real. Okay, there's some stage magic, but there's a good deal of actual magic mixed in.

Types of magic and abilities are as varied as the pacts that are made. Some enhance your body, some your mind. Some allow you to summon spirits into this world briefly, spirits visible only to the attuned. Some allow you to manipulate energies. Some let you create glamours and illusions. Some change your form.

The Cirque Noir has grown to about 100 members, the largest in existence, and is preparing for an upcoming performance for Empress Victoria's 50th birthday party.

Circus people have a reputation for being prostitutes, thieves, and con men. This stereotype persists because it is true (in this world). Cirque Noir tries to keep a reputable public face, but old traditions die hard and sometimes money's tight.

2013-11-19, 07:36 PM
I like this. Everyone,take heed,and follow suit.

2013-11-19, 07:38 PM
Also,anyone know how to set up tables? I am at a loss.

2013-11-19, 07:43 PM
Toward the back of the circus is a smaller tent that has two colors: black and blacker. Outside is a sign that says "Fortunes" and inside is Madame LeFrange, An old woman with the power to peer beyond the mists and see that which will be, and that which might be, and that which is never to be. People come to her for advice about what to do. And her advice almost always leads to the outcome she forsees. This would be less of a problem if she didn't hate people in general. World-weary, cranky, and downright pissy whenever her back aches (which is most of the time) LeFrange often gives people advice that leads to their pain. The other circus folk try not to incur her wrath, because she can make your life miserable in small untraceable ways.

LaFrange's attractive granddaughter also works the tent when the matron needs a rest, which is becoming more frequent these days. The two do not get along, but since they both have a pact for future sight, they can get in each others' way. Mimi (the granddaughter) considers her grandmother a spiteful old witch and counters many of her schemes. But she's taken to pulling pranks of her own, setting people up for hilarious (in her opinion) downfalls.

2013-11-20, 03:24 AM
Something like this:

{table=head]Column A|Column B|Column C

gives you:

{table=head]Column A|Column B|Column C

As for ideas - would it be unsporting to shamelessly steal the idea from a book, assuming said book is, to the best of my knowledge, not available outside of Russia? :-)

upd: regardless, I thought I'd share the books' premise anyway: a 13-year-old orphan girl learns that the travelling circus she was raised in is actually a cover for the local cell of an ancient organization tasked with both preserving magical knowledge and preventing muggles from finding out about it. Adventures ensue.

2013-11-20, 03:54 PM
can we all come up with a theme and vote or are we moving on with cirque noir?

2013-11-20, 04:06 PM
Unless its unanimous,each person should come up with an idea or two.

2013-11-20, 04:16 PM
ok ill try to think of one

2013-11-20, 09:12 PM
It seemed like we skipped to step 4, and without a theme I'm kind of shooting in the dark. So I proposed one. If someone comes up with a better one, fantastic!

Also, can we make our opening banner in the first post a little bigger? It's hard to read with all the words so small.

2013-11-21, 12:51 AM
I rather like Rephath's idea, but I'll toss a few in for variety. Starting with:

Lamberty's Heralds dance a dangerous line wherever they take their tents filled with of ill-gotten wonders. In contempt of the powerful many who would monopolize the Fantastic, they disguise it as stagecraft for the paying public. They bargain even with the Joyous Forgotten in the Hills to grow their collection. Deals with the Heralds for their holdings are both sought and despised by the powerful, bored, and jealous, for they rarely part with any curio for long. Only one transaction is ever without its trap: a mere two pennies at the gates for an evening and a day of marvel.

Basically, shady magical traveling performing market with a scoop of guarded WikiLeaking on top.

Separate note, could you spoiler or shrink that big image? It really stretches the page for me.

EDIT: Reworded a bunch. Other trains of thought: circus as traveling prison, King's men for the irony; a less-elitist magic school; or wonder of wonders, a mundane, happy circus for the kids.

2013-11-21, 01:38 PM
Love Centric's idea - both the "main" one and the "magic school", though in latter case we'd need to justify why exactly wizards to be have to learn things like juggling and tightrope walking and whatever. Unless, of course, we limit it to teaching stage magic officially (and real magic undercover).
Needless to say, the "normal" option is always an option, too :-)

One weird thing I came up with: in Terry Pratchett's books, there were two buildings standing next to each other - the Assassins' Guild Academy and the Fools' College. One is considered the best education children of wealthy and powerful can possibly get, and the other is more like a sadistic boot camp where the unfortunate students are being put through all kinds of misery to teach them how to be funny.

Well, I thought, why not invert it?

The Royal Academy of Performance Arts is considered among the most prestigious places of education in the [insertcountryname], and many of the high-ranked nobles are suspected to be its graduates - though, admittedly, many of them only complete the basic curriculum, including things like basic acrobatics for general physical conditioning, acting, dancing, and such things that can be useful for a courtier - but third-born sons and bastards with little hopes of inheriting often prefer the constant carnival of the Academy life to whatever is waiting for them outside.
Also, the Academy's head being a king's spymaster is pretty much an open secret - but rumors about him being of royal blood himself are only that, rumors, right?

2013-11-21, 03:04 PM
SCARE circus

scare circus is a horror themed circus set in a modern setting where magic is sort of like the magic used by the magicians you see at fairs and stuff.

this group of acrobats, horror clowns and black cloaked men freak out onlookers with their horrific acts and creepy costumes.The circus was started by a man called "The Dread Comedian" who was a criminal but decided to become a performer though the pay was not quite as good he did not want to be associated with crime. This circus has gotten pretty big over the years and what used to be a one man show became a large circus over 60 troupe members. The Dread Comedian still acts and his troupe are anything from crime partners of his to people who liked the circus and needed a job to people naturaly creepy.

2013-11-21, 03:26 PM
Jamie, I love your idea. It is spawning ideas inside my head as we speak. I'm having your idea babies! That's not creepy is it?

I can see myself transplanting some stuff from Hogwarts here with fun results.

2013-11-21, 03:30 PM
Jamie's idea is a good one. However,how would tents work?

2013-11-21, 03:36 PM
Thus far,we have: The royal acadamy of performance arts. Lamberty's Heralds. Cirque Noir. Scare circus. Eyes and Hands. Mech circus.

Any more ideas? Or shall we proceed to the voting?

2013-11-21, 05:24 PM
The Academy could have traveling circuses as field trips or practical exams, with a little recruiting on the side.

One more idea from me, and I'm done.

The Eyes and Hands run a traveling vigilante prison. Sentences range from manning the food stands for an evening to a year of reversible disfigurement in the freakhouse. They aren't cruel to their prisoners, however, and their numbers include some who decided to stay on and turn their lives around. A carnival sense of fun surrounds their poetic justice, and as you might expect of such unorthodox jailers, the laws they serve may not be entirely of this world. Their symbol is a stylized hand with an eye on its palm and fingers splayed in a way suggestive of a crown.

I imagine it as a happy place where an ex-convict driven to crime again could find a home and reform. Some otherworldly purpose may float around the inner circle.

2013-11-21, 08:56 PM
For the academy, probably instead of tents we'd have clubs and classrooms.

2013-11-21, 09:00 PM
Okay. If that's all the ideas, Let the voting begin!

2013-11-23, 11:12 PM
Hrm, well, if there's still any interest in this, I suggest using the Academy as our starting point with some of the attitude towards magic and its users found in Cirque Noir. Strange stuff often associated with fringe members of the nobility, and such.

2013-11-23, 11:43 PM
I second Academy.

2013-11-24, 07:15 AM
My vote is for the Heralds :-)

2013-11-24, 08:28 AM
The Mecha-circus

A new circus rolls into town. The only person who shows his face looks like a shady magician. He pulls some magic tricks at the centre of town and tells everyone to go watch the performance to night.

As the people, lured by the magician supposed magical powers, fill the tribunes of the circus, still no artist or performers are seen. But then, the lights dim and the music start. The magician poofs into the centre of the ring and thanks everyone for coming. He grins, takes of his top hat and bows. "Let's start with a dance act, shall we?"

A dancer swirls onto the stage, tinkling with bells and lightly jumping from one foot to the next. Captivated by her beautiful movements and fluid poses, it takes a while for the crowd to notice she is not human! She's a brass Mech, hung with copper bells and silver trinkets.

The lone dancer gets followed by a pair of scarecrow clowns, a mechanical man taming wild animals and a hulking brute, who performs an entire play by himself, having four different masks for the different rolls.

At last, the magician comes in to the ring again. He is amazingly accurate in guessing what people have in their pockets, throws some fireballs around and hypnotizes the vicar into thinking he's a goose.
Do you want to hear something like this?

2013-11-24, 08:30 AM
Oh, I vote for Centrics idea, if I get a vote :smallbiggrin:

2013-11-24, 08:45 AM
Of course! Everyone's welcome to a vote.
Which one of centrics ideas are you voting for?

2013-11-24, 09:56 AM
oh sorry, I vote for the Eyes and Hands... It's something that has never been done before, raises a lot of interesting posibilities and is so wierd it would probably freak a lot of people out.

2013-11-24, 11:46 AM
Hrm, well, I'm definitely interested in this. I'll actually come up with the circus in just a bit!

2013-11-24, 12:51 PM
Votes so far.
{table=head] The royal acadamy for performance arts. |Cirque noir|Lambertys heralds.|Scare circus|The eyes and hands|The mech circus|Harvey halifax's circus of the strange|The animal bridge circus

2013-11-24, 03:17 PM
I vote cirque noir

2013-11-24, 08:30 PM
Eyes and hands. Just a lot of interesting possibilities there.

2013-11-26, 06:12 PM
am i to late to do this :smallconfused:

2013-11-26, 06:56 PM
Nope! This is open to anyone.

2013-11-26, 08:54 PM
I have an idea. Let me write it up.
Imagine a circus in your mind. Not a high profile circus, but a normal one. The food is overpriced and tastes like crap. Clowns use base slapstick to try to entertain you, to no avail. When the show starts, It's nothing special at best. All the acts aren't particularly impressive, If they even succeed. You have a nagging suspicion the animals aren't treated very well.
Harvey Halifax's Circus of the Strange is nothing like this. It is a combination Carnival Circus. Bright oung men and women wearing pinstripe suits greet you at every turn. The food is amazing, and often complementary. You can get huge stuffed animals at the midway with very little effort. The rides are very enjoyable, despite their small size. The clown's faces are a work of art, and they are genuinely funny. The sideshow is of particular interest, as political correctness has all but eliminated this attraction.
When the show starts, you see never before seen acts combined with old mainstays, performed so breathtakingly that P.T. Barnum would cry.
Many things you see there cannot be explained, and yet strangely you feel no urge to discuss what you've seen with others who haven't been, in person or on the internet.
However, it is an experience you'll never forget. They guarantee it.
EDIT: Ah crud. Didn't see there was a second page.

2013-11-27, 06:56 PM
Probably should have said this earlier. I sometimes forget that people can mostly not read my mind.

All participants have 3 votes! You may spend these all on one circus, or spread them out. Those who have already voted have 2!

Intermission is now over. Thank you.

2013-11-27, 10:53 PM
vote scare circus

vote mecha circus

2013-11-28, 06:21 AM
OK then, I'm casting a vote for Halifax and one for Noir. That in addition to the one for Heralds I made earlier.

2013-11-28, 06:22 AM
Ah, if we get three, then one more for hands and eyes and one for royal academy.

2013-11-28, 07:57 AM
well, if we get three I also vote for Myself :smalltongue:
so 1 for the Mech circus and one of Cirrque Noir

2013-11-28, 01:33 PM
k so hears an idea i had for a circus

this circus is called THE ANIMAL BRIDGE CIRCUS

THE ANIMAL BRIDGE CIRCUS is just that a massive herd of massive animals with wooden bridges that are attached to the stage or tent that is on that animals back. This massive herd of massive animals slowly moves over the land so when the people watching the circus get board they can look down to the ground far below

the only down side to THE ANIMAL BRIDGE CIRCUS is that it cant really get that close to any civilization but they have already thought of that flying mounts are used to carry people to this circus

note: the players could choose what animal they wanted their tent to be on as long as the animal is of a larger size

2013-11-28, 02:48 PM
Oh This is Cool i alterado voted though

2013-11-28, 03:42 PM
:smallfrown: can he revote jk :smalltongue:

2013-11-29, 07:13 PM
One extra vote for Academy. One for Cirque Noir.

2013-11-29, 07:14 PM
3 votes eh....?

Well, I have an idea or two for the tents/attractions, but an overall circus theme hasn't been forthcoming, so I'll cast votes for my favourite circus and wait until tents are designed....I vote as follows:

1. Eyes and Hands
2. Eyes and Hands
3. Yup, you guessed it, Eyes and Hands

The idea is just too good to not do! :smallbiggrin:

2013-11-30, 08:30 AM
hfff it appears my circus started the race a bit late so i vote


2013-11-30, 11:53 AM
Eyes and Hands seems to be popular, as is Cirque Noir. The two aren't by any means exclusive though. I could combine them into one group. Also, given that it's steampunk, we could add in a bit of mech circus.

2013-11-30, 06:25 PM
Eyes and Hands seems to be popular, as is Cirque Noir. The two aren't by any means exclusive though. I could combine them into one group. Also, given that it's steampunk, we could add in a bit of mech circus.

Actually, I concur with the Eyes and Hands/Cirque Noir blending...maybe the mech thing would suit a singular tent better than an entire circus theme though....dunno, just putting it out there. :smallwink:

2013-12-01, 05:27 AM
Happened across The Night Circus and bought it. Pretty okay purchase so far. By my count, votes are at 4 academy, 2 heralds, 6 hands, 5 cirque, 2 mecha, 1 scare, 1 halifax, 2 bridge.

Unless we're trying to hammer out a system in the not-too-distant future, we should start a new thread in the settings forum. Or maybe not. Maybe crunching will easily follow having some solid fluff. The plan seems to be to make a number of acts in competition with each other, so I imagine a game that captures the whimsy of planning great performances.

Edit: And I break the bottle on yet another page! Speaking of which, Veklim, I've only ever found "steer" in Sea Fever, not "sail". Artistic license?

2013-12-01, 08:52 AM
All right! All in favor of a cirque noir/eyes and hands crossover, say aye in the following posts.

2013-12-01, 09:24 AM
I say "Aye!" especially if we put a splash of of Mech circus :smalltongue:

2013-12-01, 10:23 AM
Aye. There're a lot of interesting ways to blend those two together:

2013-12-01, 12:17 PM
Aye that would be cool

2013-12-01, 05:02 PM
Like the beholder said, "eye."

2013-12-01, 07:28 PM
Aye indeed!
Oh, and Centric thank you VERY much, that's a pure balls-up on my part. Teach me to go quoting things I've not read in over a decade...at least you know the quote, one of my very favourites from any literature! (Rather embarrassed about getting it wrong though!) :smallredface:

2013-12-02, 01:10 AM
No objections on my part.

2013-12-02, 05:31 PM
:durkon: aye lad

2013-12-04, 03:40 AM
This isn't waiting on me, is it? Aye.

2013-12-09, 09:36 PM
Ladiiiieeees and Gentlemen! For my next trick, I shall return this very thread to life!

All right then! We are agreed. Cirque Noir, with a Eyes and Hands touch, and some steampunk.

Sorry to all who hadn't time to submit circuses, but, as they say, the show must go on.

Act Two!

Each player write a small piece, detailing the overall feeling, theme and appearance of the circus, either from a performer or audiance members point of view. Individual tents can, but do not have to be described.
Once all discriptions are in, each player will get three votes. You may not vote for your own.

2013-12-10, 05:47 PM
Best to update the OP with the stage we're at and our current project. Title too, for the benefit of newcomers. I'll put up a little something in a day or so.

2013-12-26, 01:01 PM
Not sure this is short, but it's what came to me.

The seats are only about three quarters full. To be expected, if not what one prefer for filling the coffers. The show arrived in darkness the night before and word hasn't spread. That's the point of an opening; you bring in the bored and the affluent with the simple draw of being something that isn't always an option and you get one chance.
One chance to amaze them and get them to spread the word so a town is worth more than just a few days of something other than endless clanking down the road to the next possibility.

The last of them have been prodded into the tent, though many are still milling around looking for the best view, or perhaps looking to see if anyone they know has been similarly drawn in by the promise of spectacle. The little steaming drones that float in the upper reaches of the tent shine down lights that disorient those looking to the stands and draw all eyes to the center ring.
The lights affixed to the tent dim and suddenly, the spot lights are the only lights in the space, circling in tighter and tighter arcs, moving towards the largest raised dais, set right at the very center of the tent.

Suddenly, the pattern is lopsided. One of the spotlight devices drops out of formation flickering and sputtering. It gains speed as it loses altitude and the remaining drones clearly illuminate its crash landing on that same dais. With an audible crunch, it lies in a ruined wreck, drawing gasps and a few chuckles from the back rows, where the smell of spirits is obvious while the bottles themselves remain disguised. As the houselights rise and the remaining spotlights slow, a few grumbles rise from the better seats and a few more seats empty, their occupants relocating in the direction of the nearest nondescript bag of particular dimensions.

Largely ignored, a stooped-over male figure makes his way towards the center dais carrying a wide push broom over one shoulder, his faded blue coveralls and hat smudged and rendering him unnoticed as anything other than "staff." Stepping onto the dais, he stretches out his back, then brings his broom to bear, pushing the gears and other smoldering wreckage towards the end of the platform. As he nears the edge, he pulls back for a more forceful thrust, knocking the wreckage to the ground below...
except it all goes up in flames once it leaves the dais.

Only a few spectators notice and the janitor himself freezes, then dismisses it as a mechanical glitch. He shakes out the broom and lets it drop back onto the dais... with a thundering drumbeat heard throughout the tent. This time nonplussed, he begins sweeping again, sending another pile of broken machinery off the dais and another, larger, burst of flame into the air. With more people watching, he wastes no time in flipping the broom over and begins rhythmically beating the back of the broom against the dais, one side then the other, as he turns in a slow circle, with the same drum-beat echoing through the tent. When he has the full crowd's attention, he flips the broom over again, dragging it around the edge, leaving a circle of fire.

Lifting the broom higher and higher, the flames climb until the man himself is hidden behind the wall of fire. As the crowd holds its collective breath, the broom is let go, landing in the sand with ... a barely audible sound and a slight puff of smoke.
Attention is brought back to the dais when the man standing there claps his hands, the sound amplified as the broom had been. Presumably it's the same man, but it could just as easily not. Gone are the baggy and faded coveralls, and in their place he's wearing black pants and a matching vest over a dark blue shirt. The hat has also been replaced with a black and blue checkered mask over his eyes and nose rising to something between a jester cap and a crown.

"Ladies and gentlemen!" he begins, his voice amplified in the same way the broom had been, "Thrill-seekers and curious of all ages! Welcome to a night you will never forget." His hands disappear behind his back and return with three balls, which he begins juggling, almost absent-mindedly as he continues. "You will see human beings fly through the air, a woman dancing through fire unharmed, and man shatter stone with his bare hands." The balls expand in mid-air and become identifiable as the earth, the moon, and the sun. "wild beasts, flying steal, and feats of the mind that you have never before seen. You may doubt my words, you may doubt your own senses before the night is over, but I have no doubt that you will leave entertained and convinced," he tosses the Earth ball high into the air, where it quickly expands to several feet in diameter and floats in the center of the the tent. "that the world is a larger, more wondrous place that you had previously imagined." The launches the sun and mooon balls, which he'd been juggling in one hand since tossing the earth ball, towards the enlarged globe. Shortly after they disappear inside it, the floating earth explodes, the lights all go dark and a series of sparks mimic the night sky around the now two-foot moon. From the darkness, the man's voice concludes with an audible smirk, "Let the show begin."

The house lights come up and the first act enters.