Strolen\s Citadel content. 
The Vocran Palimpsest
Items  (Books and Scrolls)   (Non-Magical)
Alec_Shadowkin's comment on 2006-05-18 03:10 PM
VERY well detailed. I love the historical significance and the parallellism with real-world medical practices and knowledge-garnering. This tome is a good way of pushing your players into a bit of conflict that may not otherwise be of any interest to them (magic/faith vs technology/medicine), or which might come across as corny or forced(suddenly inventing a steam engine or other technological marvel with no real background to it). I will be on the lookout for a good time to spring this on my players. Go to Comment
The Lash Serpent
Lifeforms  (Fauna)   (Water)
Alec_Shadowkin's comment on 2006-05-16 07:48 PM

I like their ambiguous nature. The real and more-or-less harmless (so long as you leave it alone) creature with a reputation for much much more. A nice addition to any good fishing village. Go to Comment
Condori Dragonlings
Lifeforms  (Fauna)   (Water)
Alec_Shadowkin's comment on 2006-05-16 07:54 PM

I like them. Makes me think of the concept behind "The Lost World", as written by Michael Crichton (before Hollywood got at it). Somewhat hidden island of deadly creatures, posing a potential catastrophe if they were to ever find a way off the island. Go to Comment
The Hunter's Neckband
Items  (Jewelry)   (Magical)
Alec_Shadowkin's comment on 2006-02-26 05:52 PM
Very solid item, with a good history. Nice effort :) Go to Comment
Battles out of History
Systems  (Combat/ Warfare)   (General)
Alec_Shadowkin's comment on 2005-12-27 04:36 PM
The Battle of Midway

The Battle of Midway, fought in World War II, took place on June 5, 1942 (June 4-June 7 in US time zones). The United States Navy defeated a Japanese attack against Midway Atoll, marking a turning point in the war in the Pacific theatre.

Fought just a month after the Battle of the Coral Sea, Midway was the turning point of the Pacific Campaign. Skill, daring, and luck all played a part. The attack on the island of Midway, which also included a feint to Alaska by a smaller fleet, was a ploy by the Japanese to draw the American carrier fleet into a trap. With the remaining American ships destroyed, the Japanese hoped to avenge the bombing of the Japanese home islands two months earlier during the Tokyo Air Raid, plug the hole in their Eastern defensive perimeter formed by U.S. control of Midway, finish off the US Pacific Fleet, and perhaps even invade and take Hawaii.

Considerable academic debate has centered on whether Japan could or would have threatened attack against the US West Coast. Had the Japanese achieved their objective at Midway of a quick knock-out of the US Pacific Fleet, the US West Coast would have been essentially defenseless against the Japanese Navy. The remaining US naval ships were fully deployed halfway around the world in the North Atlantic. One academic camp stresses that regional conquest, and not conquest of North America, was the Japanese objective; another argues that is irrelevant, and that threatened or actual attacks on the US West Coast would have caused the US to divert military assets away from Europe, thereby at best lengthening the war in the European theater, and at worst allowing Germany to prevail.

Not exactly a battle, but I find it intriguing: Go to Comment
Battles out of History
Systems  (Combat/ Warfare)   (General)
Alec_Shadowkin's comment on 2005-12-27 04:36 PM
The Great Escape
The Great Escape (1963; director: John Sturges) is a famous World War II film, based on a true story about Allied POWs with a record for escaping from POW camps. The Nazis and Gestapo place them in a new more secure German camp, from which they promptly form a plan to break out as many as 250 men.

The story was inspired by an actual escape from prison camp Stalag Luft III in 1944. While the film condenses various aspects of time and place, a disclaimer claims it to be true to the original as much as possible. This includes all the real-life details of the plans, tunnels, successes and tragic outcome of the "great escape." Paul Brickhill, an inmate of the original camp, wrote an account of the escape under the same name, upon which the film was based.

Featuring an all-star cast - including Steve McQueen (whose motorcycle chase is the film's most remembered action scene), Richard Attenborough, James Coburn, James Garner, Charles Bronson, and Donald Pleasence - The Great Escape is regarded as a classic, and is traditionally shown in Britain during the Christmas season. The march tune that serves as the film's main theme, written by Elmer Bernstein, has also become an easily recognisable classic.

The few Americans involved in the true story of the Great Escape were members of either the British or Canadian military (mostly the RAF or RCAF, but John Dodge was in the British army). The POWs were mainly British and Canadian. Go to Comment
Our First Quest
Locations  (Establishment)   (Water)
Alec_Shadowkin's comment on 2005-12-27 03:23 PM
#10 - Gate of The Diviner
Reply #12 on: August 28, 2005, 05:18:09 AM

Hidden in the center of the Krylag forest, and bridging the Grey-Death Marsh, this piece of amazing architecture is much more than it appears. In the center of the Grey-Death Marsh is a small patch of dry land inhabited by a creature known only as The Diviner. It is said that The Diviner is an ageless creature who spends its days living in the past, present and future all at once, which gives it an uncompeted ability to see into other times and events. The legend says that if one is able to find the Unaging Bridge and cross it, they can ask The Diviner any question they wish and recieve a true, if cryptic answer.

The legend goes on to explain just what this bridge does. It is also known as the Gate of The Diviner and for good reason. In attempting to cross the Gate, one is subjected to three tests, to see if they are worthy of communing with The Diviner.

The First Test: The crosser is tested about their past. They are forced to relive an event from their past. The event is one that was life-altering and they must go through it again, but this time with whatever second-guesses and doubts they may have gotten after living through it to begin with. The test is to see how they act, knowing how this event turned out the first time.

The Second Test: The crosser is tested about their present life. They are forced to see an event happening at the time about a person they love and care about. They are forced to see how that person chooses to act, even though it may be a painful and unpleasant.

The Third Test: The crosser is tested about their potential future. They are shown a glimpse of their life as it will be. They are forced to decide if it is a life they want or if they want to change their life so it doesn't end up like what they are shown.

Most people attempting to cross the Gate are so terrified by what they see in the tests that they turn and run screaming back into the forest. For those select few however who manage to make it through all three tests, The Diviner awaits and will tell answer their questions for them. Go to Comment
True Immersion
Articles  (Humor/ Editorial)   (Gaming - In General)
Alec_Shadowkin's comment on 2005-12-10 03:19 PM
16. Try cooking over a campfire with nothing more than a frying pan and a sharp knife.

17. Gather your own water from a creek or river. Don't drink tap or bottled water. Don't use the normal shower either, use a bucket of water from aforementioned creek or river.

18. Quit using the telephone, instant messenger or email for a while. Communicate with hand-written letters only if you can't talk face-to-face.

19. Get together with a friend and take turns on "watch" for a night. Try not to fall asleep.

20. Go for a day long hike. Start at dawn and keep going until sunset. Imagine doing it for weeks at a time.

21. Eat a simple food such as oatmeal or grits for every meal for a week. Wash it down with water only.

22. "Tithe" 10%(or more if affordable) of everything you earn to a church or other charity.

23. Get a friend to take a hike in the woods. Follow after a few hours later and attempt to track him. Now try it during a rainstorm.

24. Go find a corn or hedge maze and find your way through it without the available map.

25. Carve your own staff from a tree with a knife. Go to Comment
Novel Musical Instruments
Items  (Art and Music)   (Non-Magical)
Alec_Shadowkin's comment on 2005-12-04 03:28 PM
In the Backbone Mountains, there is a convent of monks. They have a few unique instruments which they use in meditations and rituals.

1. Wind Stones: These large standing stones(picture Stonehedge without the top cross-pieces) are modified by drilling small holes into their sides and etching grooves into the surfaces in intricate patterns. They are then stood up on end near the peak of a mountain or large hill. The wind passing these stones is channeled through the holes and etchings creating a haunting melody as the air whistles past.

2. Saja Rattles: The Saja bean is a plant which grows pods, much like peas. When these pods are dried in the sun, the bean within the pod shrivels into a small, hard ball, which is then left inside the pod and the pod is shaken like a rattle. These are primarily used in group meditation rituals. Go to Comment
WWMWBI - Grain Went Away
Articles  (Resource)   (Game Mastering)
Alec_Shadowkin's comment on 2005-11-18 02:07 PM
Depending on the way it panned out, a mass elimination of grasses and other similar plants would likely drop any given cultures who managed to survive back into primitive existances. Living in a single place would be virtually impossible because of the disappearence of food. People would need to move to find food, and a sea-based culture would likely evolve.

The destruction of grasses would likely have little to no effect on sea-life, so fish and other seafood would become a main dietary staple. Any permenant settlements would need to be near a river or other decent sized fresh-water source, such as the delta of a river. They would need the fresh water supply, but the fish population of a lake or other non-oceanic geography would be decimated by the sudden increase in fishing. This also calls into question the problem of diseases caused by an improperly balanced diet. If plant life is killed off, diseases such as scurvy would run rampant though populations.

Unless the grasses grew back relatively quickly, fish would be the main food source, which would greatly limit the population size. Too many people means too many fish being eaten and they'd rapidly be right back in the same boat they started out in with no food. This brings in the issues of population control, which, in a medieval society would be limited basically to abstinance, abortion or killing of the child immediately after birth.

Since most real-world medieval societies abhorred the concept of abortion, as many still do today, it brings in massive moral implications. Some religions believed that the soul entered the body immediately after being conceived, and in a medieval society, damage to a fetus was tantamount to murder. Damage to a fetus was not even allowed in some societies as an effort to save the mother.

The implications of a mass death of food supply such as grains and grasses stretch far beyond anything. The ramifications would be immense and would be a world altering, nay, a world shattering event. Go to Comment
The Dungeon Masters
Dungeons  (Underground)   (Style)
Alec_Shadowkin's comment on 2005-11-06 12:15 PM
The original idea(meaning the beginning of the thread) of the Dungeon Master being somewhat malevolent, taking adventurers from other dimensions and depositing them into his dungeons and entertainment or profit sounds like a Q from Star Trek. All but omnipotent, very arrogant, short on morals. I can imagine a being like this using powerful adventurers almost as pro wrestlers, taking them and making a show out of watching them get through this dungeon and potentially die.

Hmm.... This sounds like an adventure waiting to happen..... Go to Comment
Kira Savarin
NPCs  (Major)   (Mystical)
Alec_Shadowkin's comment on 2005-05-26 08:26 AM
Absolutely magnificent. You have done a wonderful job, Echo. I wonder if I can fit her into my world anywhere :) Go to Comment
Damian Levine
NPCs  (Minor)   (Combative)
Alec_Shadowkin's comment on 2005-03-10 12:00 PM
The more experienced members of the Citadel have already said everything I came up with about this 'character' and more, so I'll just say that I agree about the 2/5. Try modifying it, keeping the others' suggestions in mind.

Somewhat on topic, I believe this may answer some questions:
As per


n : a member of a European military unit formerly composed of heavily armed cavalrymen v 1: compel by coercion, threats, or crude means; "They sandbagged him to make dinner for everyone" syn: sandbag, railroad 2: subjugate by imposing troops

I tend to view a dragoon as a heavily armed cavalryman, and when used in a fantasy setting, they tend to be trained in combat versus dragons and creatures similar to dragons. Go to Comment
Sour Grapes
Plots  (Mystical)   (Single-Storyline)
Alec_Shadowkin's comment on 2005-03-10 12:14 PM
Very well thought out, though I do have a couple suggestions.
1) Try to make things a bit more game-independent. "The mayor will fight as a level 15 mage", and the bit about the fortitude save against the plant releasing them. While these are somewhat general, they have an obvious leaning toward DnD, which I can tell you from experience is a game shunned and cursed by a number of people at the Citadel. I myself play the WotC game and know what you are talking about, but many others may not, or will prefer not to.

2) I think my only other real advice would be to leave the "7 orcs and 3 goblins" as a suggestion. For a higher level game to successfully run this plot, they would need a larger threat to drive them into the caves and keep them occupied once within the dream-reality. Also, once(if) the players destroy the plant, you may want to leave the orcs and goblins instantly attacking them more open to roleplay. I can easily imagine such creatures being grudgingly grateful that the players have released them from this dream and hence, they wouldn't neccessarily attack on sight.

Those are my two cents, and like I already said, I think its a good idea and I will see if I can use it myself. 4/5 Go to Comment
Rurik the Necromancer
NPCs  (Minor)   (Mystical)
Alec_Shadowkin's comment on 2005-01-10 06:56 PM
I like it, a very interesting creature. Brings to head the concept of predetermined morals and ethics. Just because the orc was raised by other orcs, it isn't neccessarily bloodthirsty and warlike. Nice job.

4/5 Go to Comment
Mind Bite
Items  (Melee Weapons)   (Magical)
Alec_Shadowkin's comment on 2004-11-16 09:14 PM
I think this is a very well-thought out item. It has uses beyond the typical cursed, or "magical" item as well. I can imagine a plethora of uses in my own games which could use this as a very interesting roleplay hook. Good job, Shadow!

5/5 Go to Comment
Reverend Fury
NPCs  (Scenario Based)   (Knowledge/Lore)
Alec_Shadowkin's comment on 2004-08-25 07:09 PM
This is a very well thought out character. His madness and obsessive sense of purpose make him a great cypher for players to run into. He isn't purposefully evil, but will likely commit evil acts due to his incredible single-mindedness. Makes me distantly think of Van Helsing, but with fairly problematic psychological problems. Two thumbs up, Ria. Go to Comment
When a Lord Goes Mad
Plots  (Discovery)   (Single-Storyline)
Alec_Shadowkin's comment on 2004-01-28 08:44 AM
I like this plot very much. It has a number of ways it can play out, depending on DM whim. I personally would use the "third party trying to cause problems" with the added idea that the third party is another kingdom's ruler, intending to swoop in once both Torridon and Siluria have been battle-fatigued and weakened. Though adding in the "two advisors both blaming each other" idea could help as a distraction, keeping the PC's away from the real plot. A very good job Go to Comment
The Living Undead
Plots  (Duty)   (Encounter)
Alec_Shadowkin's comment on 2005-10-11 09:22 AM
You may wish to read a little closer, as a number of your comments were answered above.
"A great necromancer(perhaps a Cancer Mage, if you like the Book of Vile Darkness) created an unholy disease. It infects the body of a corpse, ripping the soul back to the body and reanimating it in some undead form, anything from a zombie or skeleton to a wight or shadow. The disease causes no ill effect(directly), it simply places the person's soul back into their dead body, giving them back their total mental faculties, morals, ethics, beliefs, etc... without bringing their body back from the dead."

That is why the undead are alive, it has nothing to do with the evil in the church. Your other main point, "the PC's going in, guns blazing" it exactly the point of the plot. Its supposed to teach them to look and listen instead of shoot first and ask questions later. Go to Comment
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       By: CaptainPenguin

"...The people of the Dalaben Fens have a custom heretical to our superior Zodashan faith, in which they place their dead upon the grass roofs of their stilt-houses. It is said that they do this because they used to bury their dead before the great Judgement, in which their home became the swamp which it is today."-Sir Edrosh Metorva, "The Barbarian Lands of the East, Volume X."

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