So, you want to write a submission for The Association of Isthar. That is awesome. Now, the canon is loose, However, there are some elements that make the Association what it is and need to be reflected in the stories.
This is not an obstacle.
This is a challenge!
Some of you might be attracted to this project because you are fans of SCP. And that is great. However, The Association is not meant to be a Steampunkish version of SCP, although the similarities are obvious. But if you want to use the SCP tropes and terminology, please do so on the SCP wiki. The Association does not operate as, nor has the same goals as the Foundation.
The Association of Ishtar is a clandestine organisation, set in the 19th century, that operates without overview or funding from governmental organisations, in any official capacity at least. Instead, most Associates volunteer both their resources and services to the Association's goals to investigate, explore and contain Rift activity with any appropriate measures. The Chair, the central council, coordinates these operations and keeps a record of all discoveries and actions by the Associates within The Library. This archive is compiled by the Doctors; researchers and specialists who do their best to analyse all findings and attempt to explain the incomprehensible within the many case-files stored in the archives. Some of the more tasking investigations and interventions are performed by the so-called Special Committees. These are Associates that are on retainer by the Association and are organised into permanent units with specific duties in mind. The Special Committee Entomologists, for example, are specialized in Void-breach containment while testing experimental weapons. Special Committee Icarus is concerned with the exploration of, and communication with, Elysium and to some extent potential extraterrestrial activity. To remain in anonymity they rely on allies within the various nations around the industrial world to provide them with the necessary access and hide their involvement. For this reason, discretion and diplomacy are of the utmost importance. If the Association does not abide by the rules of their allies, they may never be able to operate within their jurisdiction ever again. Also, the Association does not possess the resources required to organise large scale deployment of forces or permanent containment. Therefore they have to barter with local authorities for assistance or long term solutions. For this reason, the Association maintains close ties with the nobility and royal houses. However, they too have their own goals that often go against those of The Association. However, when it comes to Rifts, Outsider threats and related anomalies the Association is indispensable. Even if they just provide an advisory role in dealing with whatever threat the authorities face.
Unfortunately, The Associates themselves are still human and are prone to making mistakes, or be corrupted, by whatever horrors they encounter. Some come across a way to enrich themselves. Other find the Association's methods don't benefit their own ambitions. Associates are free to leave whenever they want, with a statement they'll take their secrets to the grave. But any (former) Associate who betrays the Associations trust is designated as a 'Lost Number' and is dealt with appropriately. Still, some Lost Numbers are still at large and pose a consistent threat to the Association's operations.
- The Association concerns itself with individuals, creatures, machines and anomalies related to the Rifts and the exploration of the Multiverse. If the subject does not deal in that topic, benefits or hampers the Association's operations, it probably has no business being in their archives. - Associates are volunteers. - Resources are limited and the Association depends on allies for large scale operations and permanent solutions. - It is the nineteenth century. Although this alternate history has a science fiction element, much scientific knowledge and terminology we possess today are still unknown to them. If you can find any information regarding the state of the scientific topic of the period, try to reflect this in your story. Wikipedia is your friend. - Keep it real, enough. Again, this is not the SCP Foundation. Sure, Claketech is a thing. But keep it tech. Focus on science fiction and don't stray into full fantasy. Even if the creatures they encounter are fantastical, keep the approach to the story, sci-fi.
Practical information Edit
How to submit a file
Go to a Library Entry that reads 'Unfiled' than chose to create a page with the selected file-entry.
Themes and Layout
All entries, are to be written from the perspective of the Association. We focus on the Cyberpunk in the past (past being any historical period) definition of Steampunk to constrain the themes and subjects, as genres are supposed to do. The point is to promote Retrofuturism as a High Concept genre and a sub-genre of Science Fiction. Other genres that are welcome are Cosmic Horror, Science Fiction and Low (non-magical) Fantasy. We do urge writers to create their own creatures to make the universe of AoI a unique one and avoid typical monsters or interpretation of those. Check out our Format for a general impression of the layout of a case-file.
Characters and Associates
To maintain secrecy Associates only refer to each other by their numbers. Many Associates may never even learn each others first name. Afraid a number has already been used. Don't worry. Numbers are reassigned again in case an Associate quits, is killed, etc. In case you want an Associate to have a file of his, her or its own. Make sure it follows the guideline. Belgium might be a strange place, but coming from there is not sufficient to warrens it's own file. Nor is having a spiffy gadget.
Make sure your submissions:- Although the canon is meant to be loose, 'P-5 or 'Interplanar Atrophy' is a universal fact of Rift-travel. Characters and objects are not meant to remain longer than 40 days outside their Plane of Origins.- Focus on High Concept idea's and stories- Are (potentially) related to Rifts, interdimensional or Alien threats. This includes individuals that dabble in Alien technology.
Canon en open ends
We don't want to get in the way of peoples creativity or be restrained by what other writers wrote before. After all, The Association may be wrong, ignorant, biased towards, or record falsehoods about the subjects of their files. If writers want, they can submit their own canons in which they detail what information is correct, wrong or what is a genuine threat to Atlas. Therefore we repose to leave some questions open within their submissions for other writers to explore at a later time.
[Introduction starts with Instructions to Associates: A introductory text that instructs associates on how to act when they encounter, or seek out, the subject of these files. The purpose is to set the mood and build up suspense.]
[A description of the subjects appearance, location and unique traits. Also includes examples of how these traits manifest.]
Note: Though files might look descriptive at first glance, attempt to use the "show, don't tell" rule of writing.
[A log of events were the traits of the subject become obvious to the Association. These could include logs, articles, interviews with Associates, witnesses and the subjects.][Optional categories, examples] - Experiments - Additional Logs, diaries, interviews
- Personal opinions from Association members'Blacking Out' or redacting text.For adding some mystery, or leave revelations for future files you can black-out information. This could be because the information is sensitive, could incriminate innocent people or allies or because is a potential sanity hazard. Unfortunately this wiki does not allow colouring lines. Instead, to black-out text hold the ALT-key and type on the num-pad "219" (and let go of ALT). Then " █ " will appear.