Strolen\s Citadel content. 
Kyra's Knife
Items  (Melee Weapons)   (Cursed)
Dossta's comment on 2012-09-24 01:15 PM
And I'm glad I did! I was originally thinking that the knife was created by a knowledgeable necromancer, who had enslaved the dying smith to his cause. This is a *much* more interesting story. I'm updating my vote 'cause I'm a sucker for backstory. Go to Comment
Four Forges: A simple board game played by Dwarves
Items  (Home/ Personal)   (Non-Magical)
Dossta's comment on 2013-01-23 10:57 AM
One of the coolest mini-games I have ever seen. Definitely eager to try this out one day, and I would love to spring this on my players as part of a dwarven adventure. Go to Comment
Bacon the Dog
NPCs  (Minor)   (Domestic/ Craft)
Dossta's comment on 2012-09-25 03:40 PM
Oh man, I needed that laugh. I want Bacon for my game, but I could never do him justice. Thanks for sharing! Go to Comment
30 Wacky Wedding Customs
Systems  (Societal/ Cultural)   (Specific)
Dossta's comment on 2012-09-25 03:30 PM
This is one of your best 30s to date, Cheka. Each one lends a very distinct cultural flavor to an area, that could be extended with some effort to the society as a whole. In fact, that would probably be my main use for this sub, as a grab bag of idea seeds when creating new locales. The only room I can see for improvement is in removing the sentences on possible PC actions (as in 8 and 9), since they are easy to come up with and distract from the entry in question. I would also extend 8 a little; it's pretty weak when compared to the rest. Overall though, this is an excellent job and an instant favorite for me. Go to Comment
Rune Lore
Systems  (Mystical)   (Specific)
Dossta's comment on 2013-06-21 12:50 PM
I think the most useful part of this is the clear separation of responsibility between the runelets -- the "noun" + "verb" + "trigger" idea is rather nifty, and gives me some ideas to use in the future. I don't think this is really a full system as it stands, but it's definitely a great start.

I would also like the graphics, but that's because I'm a sadistic GM, and would actually make my players memorize and draw them if they wanted to cast spells. Go to Comment
Tracker Bush
Lifeforms  (Flora)   (Any)
Dossta's comment on 2012-09-21 01:41 PM
I rather like this one -- it's a simple idea, with potentially profound consequences for a game world. A few points that could use clarification:

1. Is the Tracker bush inherently magical, or does it only retain magic energies once it has been used by a spellcaster? If so, how long does it take for those magics to fade entirely?
2. What are the mechanics for using the bush? I understand that you have to touch the bush to set the spell up, but after that how close do you have to be to gain information from it? Does the spellcaster have to touch the bush again, or can he just be standing on top of the root system? Can this be done at an even greater distance?
3. If the bushes spread via root systems, and it is possible to extract part of the living root, I don't understand why it would be so hard to cultivate these things. Even more puzzling -- if the plant spreads via its roots, how can it possibly maintain a distance from others of its kind? Seems to me they'd have to overlap at least some.

Let me say again, I really like this idea and I would love to see it expanded on a little more. A natural pressure plate is just a really cool image! Go to Comment
Avian Crossbow
Items  (Ranged Weapons)   (Magical)
Dossta's comment on 2010-11-23 01:14 PM


Alright, I'm just going to throw all of my ideas out at once, so sorry if my mind dump ends up rambling.



First off, I also like the crossbow concept because I believe that the magic should be in the weapon, not in the missiles.  This can lead to some interesting effects when a party first uses the weapon with normal bolts, with no consideration for the type of feathers (or mixture of feathers) used in their creation.  I can picture the crossbow as having one or two birds wrought in metal with overlapping wings and tail feathers, providing a sort of wrist guard.  Perhaps the appearance of the birds could shift slightly, depending on the type of feathered bolts used to load the bow.



Religion based on bird worship -- could work, but can be taken in very different directions.  On one hand, you may have a church that will use only images & carvings of birds, and would consider using their body parts blasphemous.  Might burn them ceremoniously (including arrows with bird feathers).  Most crossbow bolts from areas like this will be plain wooden ones, with possibly some stiff brissles to aid with their flight.  A different approach, of course, is the church that will ritualistically sacrifice birds to the gods, adorn their priests with elaborate feathered head-dresses, and consume chicken every week on their holy day.  Your choice, really. 



The only thing I see in common between the two approaches is that the bird imagery will be strong in all priestly vestments.  A bird priest would probably look quite garish, compared to those of other faiths, with his many-colored robes and jewelry designed to imitate feathers.  Or then again, priests may dress as different birds, depending on church hierarchy.  I can imagine that the head priest may want to closely resemble an owl, perhaps with large ornate spectacles or some sort.



Moving on: falcon feathers could be used to fashion a bolt that always flies true, or is faster than normal bolts and so harder to dodge.  Kookaburra feathered bolts might cause an uncontrollable fit of laughter, to the point of incapacitation.



One final note.  Perhaps you should give some thought to how the crossbow will react to feathers that have been taken from the bird by force, rather than given willingly.  Being created by a bird-worshipping religion, there may be some serious consequences for using bolts with feathers from murdered fowl, to the order of a light curse.  This will also keep the PCs a bit better in check, as they won't automatically go killing every winged beastie in sight in order to try their feathers in the crossbow.



OK one more -- love the ostrich feather arrows, but bolts made from them would have to be quite large (seeing as how the feathers themselves are).  I'm betting that this crossbow would end up being considered a heavy crossbow, with most of the significance/penalties inherent to your gaming system.  Alright, I'm done now.


Go to Comment
Ko Girls
Society/ Organizations  (Artistic/Performance)   (Area)
Dossta's comment on 2013-01-08 11:39 AM
Fantastic visuals in this one, Scras. The only piece I felt was missing was the whys and hows of gaining rank within the organization. Does a girl gain a new pair of stockings every X dollars spent on stuff? Or is the pecking/social order determined primarily by raw physical attractiveness + some "coolness" factor? Go to Comment
Catbooks
Items  (Books and Scrolls)   (Magical)
Dossta's comment on 2013-03-11 01:09 PM
Holy paper catnip, Batman! Any sub that includes the words "Tower of Forbidden Cats" deserves far more recognition. I like Echo's idea of the knowledge being instilled while petting the cat, since that would suit Rigalene's personality better (and make the chore of spell memorization an enjoyable afternoon task). But if pages of paper-thin flesh are more your style, then awesome I guess (backs away, very slowly . . .).

I'm sure it wouldn't be long before a necromancer was trying to reanimate old catbooks as cat-zombie-book fiends, and the pages of flesh suit them better, anyway.

Fantastic job. Looking forward to using this one day!
Go to Comment
Holoke Carter
NPCs  (Scenario Based)   (Domestic/ Craft)
Dossta's comment on 2013-06-27 04:43 PM
And another bump from me. Glad I finally got around to reading this piece. The character is very well-developed -- so much so that she could star in her own urban fantasy series (if you ever write it, please let us know!).

I was a little bothered, however, that none of her actions (the repeat murders and druggings) seemed to have any consequences for her. Is she just insanely good at covering her tracks? I wonder to what lengths she'd go to protect those sorts of secrets. Perhaps having the party catch her in the act would provide a nice introduction . . . Go to Comment
Tumble Melon Tree
Lifeforms  (Flora)   (Forest/ Jungle)
Dossta's comment on 2012-09-10 12:06 PM
This is a perfect flavor piece. Something I'd use in a highly fantastic setting (or possibly an alien planet). I might make them a little less watermelon-ey in description, but overall I love this sub. Definitely got a laugh from me, thanks! Go to Comment
The Shrouding Kin
Items  (Clothes)   (Sentient)
Dossta's comment on 2012-08-29 10:56 AM
I agree that the formatting could be tidied up a bit, but this is a really nifty submission, Echo. It is well thought out, has a good backstory and is creepy as hell. Kinda wish I hadn't started in on it over breakfast. One question -- how do guardians learn magic? Is is inbred like sorcerous power? Or is there a school that young guide/guardian pairs go to hone their natural talents? Go to Comment
The 101 Festival Attenders
Items  (Art and Music)   (Sentient)
Dossta's comment on 2012-08-28 12:43 PM
Ghost-possessed artwork can be done well, but the GM needs to have a clear idea of both its motivations and its plans for achieving its goals. Consider adding a few plothooks to show us how you would use this piece as written. If I were going to base an adventure around the painting, I would probably tweak it just a little:

1. Put more clues on the painting itself as to its origin. A signature or note on the back -- (e.g. "Happy Birthday, Frank, from your brother George," perhaps with the family crest somewhere), might be enough to give the PCs a clue about this thing's backstory. Otherwise you have a haunted painting that can possess its bearer, but no way to find out what happened and free the ghost.

2. Change the motivation of the ghost. Instead of "find out the truth", you could use an old standby like "get revenge on my family's murderers" or "find and protect my only living child". Something to give the painting a more active role in the adventure, and make it a real force. Go to Comment
The Walk
Dungeons  (Water)   (Rooms/ Halls)
Dossta's comment on 2012-08-28 12:26 PM
As a five room dungeon, this works reasonably well. I love the Walk, as it represents a nice combination of combat and environmental hazards. I would probably try to get my players to run this one as a heist, however -- this would make a great setting for a high-security prison.

That said, there are a few points that could use improving. One, the orcs have a wizard on staff, yet the escape boat is guarded by illusions? If the orcs have been there for any time at all, they should have found that by now. Two, you said that the tunnel deown to the little boat has traps that will slow the orcs down more than the PCs. That can only be the case if the orcs have not discovered the tunnel already. Otherwise, they would have mapped the whole thing out or replaced the traps with some of their own making. Three, orcs aren't usually the type to wait quietly in the shadows on guard duty, while within their own stronghold. If you want to leave the shadowy guards, why not make them wizardly constructs, goblin slaves or at least orcish youth?

If I were going to use this dungeon layout, I would personally replace the orcs with something a bit more organized -- perhaps Naga or a religious cult -- and change the escape route slightly. Barrels worked in the Hobbit, after all. Why not something similar here? Go to Comment
The Walk
Dungeons  (Water)   (Rooms/ Halls)
Dossta's comment on 2012-08-28 06:04 PM
Ah, so the orcs know about the boat and the back way out. If they are intelligent and organized, why would they let the PCs escape down a known exit route?

To clarify the barrels comment: In the Hobbit, the party is captured and detained in an underground facility. The only apparent way out is the Front Gate, which is heavily guarded. However, the hero finds that the elves keep a wine cellar that opens to an underground river, and that the elves occasionally send empty barrels back down-river. In other words, the party finds a service entrance/exit and exploits it to make their escape in secret.

If the boat is a known factor, and is used for mundane stuff like resupplying, then BAM -- you have your "barrels" exit. Other possibilities would be a garbage barge, or perhaps leaving under the guise of workers from outside. This is assuming, of course, that the PCs opted for the covert option. Go to Comment
New to Strolen's Citadel
Articles  (Rules and Advice)   (Citadel Help)
Dossta's comment on 2012-09-20 05:06 PM
I echo Muro's sentiments. An excellent place for anyone to start. Go to Comment
Your First Submission
Articles  (Rules and Advice)   (Citadel Help)
Dossta's comment on 2012-12-03 11:53 AM
I just listened to this and thought that it was a good resource for us all, but especially for authors new to this site:
How to Take Criticism Go to Comment
Your First Submission
Articles  (Rules and Advice)   (Citadel Help)
Dossta's comment on 2012-09-20 05:45 PM
A warning and a promise. I like it! I STILL remember how much I agonized over that first submission, but as a result I spent a lot of time on it and it showed. Wish I could have read this first, though. Go to Comment
First Encounters with an Unknown Tribe
Articles  (Campaign)   (Gaming - In General)
Dossta's comment on 2012-08-02 05:11 PM
I'm not convinced that a first encounter must always involve combat. Here are several reasons why:

In SciFi/Fantasy, you often have access to either a universal translator or to a "speak languages" spell. Communication is suddenly very possible. Expect your players to use this to their advantage.

Second, if you have a relatively small group of people making contact (say the PCs and few others), they can do lots of things to mitigate their "threat level". What about leaving obvious gifts -- food, jewelry, clothing -- on the ground as a peace offering? Or how about sending in a single, unarmed diplomat to appear as non-threatening as possible?

You can also play with the power balance. Have the tribe discover the party after a shipwreck, or have the PCs happen across a village that has been decimated with illness. Sure, the two groups may find each other still threatening, but there are lots of reasons NOT to throw the first punch in these cases.

So while I agree that combat certainly COULD happen in a first contact situation, I don't believe that it necessarily should. Instead, I would use the occasion to let the group flex their roleplaying muscles. If they come up with a plan -- peace offerings, magic, body language, etc -- to avoid combat, then the GM should at least try to roll with it, instead of automatically letting the whole thing go down in flames. Go to Comment
The Hellephant
Lifeforms  (Fauna)   (Any)
Dossta's comment on 2012-07-31 03:14 PM
The babies never get to be much bigger than a normal elephant. I said as much, but it's kinda buried in there. Controlling them is still an art, however -- you've got to find some way to control that tail once it sprouts. I imagine that some communities just cut the tail off entirely, while others find a way to bind it. Very few have mastered the art of riding the a hellephant into actual combat, but its still pretty early in the timeline. Go to Comment
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