Update: Changed his name from Omath to Othamm. I misspelled it at least three times in the original ariticle, so it became obvious that He wanted to be named Othamm. I have bowed before the inevitability of His will. Go to Comment
Hmmmm. The biggest piece of advice I can give at this point is to try reading your piece out loud to yourself. I find that reading my work aloud helps point out things like stilted dialogue, choppy sentence structure, and even some typos or spelling errors I missed the first time through. I wonder who killed off the goblins in the trees? Go to Comment
The Mines Articles (Fiction)
(Gaming - In General)
This is a really nice story, and a great break from the stereotypical necromatic role. The child is beautifully tragic, and I have a lot of sympathy for both characters. Would love to use this in a game. Go to Comment
"Convinced that trees speak to him, and that trees never lie" -- that is gold. A perfect hook for a player that both allows for some interesting role-play, and gives the GM room to nudge the party in the right direction when needed. Good luck with the game! Go to Comment
An interesting dichotomy. I can't really imagine a hospital with a "stripperific" dress-code (the body type for most professionals tends to be sedentary and, ah, "plump"), but the rest makes a lot of sense. You could extend the metaphor a little to other common practices of the extremely wealthy, like carrying around cases of their own blood so that they don't have to rely on donated blood, or maintaining their own small farms in order to avoid the chemicals and GMOs of the common food supply. Go to Comment
First let me lead off my saying that there is a LOT of really solid information in this piece. The society that you describe is well-ordered, consistent, flavorful and vibrant. I love the distinction between the different classes of dwarf -- clan- (noble, warrior or mountain), guild- and free-dwarves all have their own quirks and customs. The little things you used to draw those lines, like the beard dying or the ability to carry weapons, really tied the whole thing together. In whole, the culture is beautifully realized.
Some of my favorite parts: everything about eating; the inclusion of rocks in dwarven food to wear down their teeth, the fact that dwarves only need to eat once a day and that they prefer to take their meals alone. The beard dying (both natural and false colors). I was also fascinated with Droven's Compulsion -- that one detail was enough to fill an entire submission on its own!
You obviously spent a lot of time on this piece, and I really respect it. However, there are still some rough patches which keep its full potential from being realized. If you want this to stand as a story and not a purely informative work, they may need to be addressed.
The two biggest issues I had were the ordering of events and Kiijanavyre's character. You skip around in the timeline a LOT, and it got very confusing even with the headers. I would either rework it so that it stays chronological, and have some of the questions be asked on the wagon rather than on the beach to avoid the huge info-dump at the end -OR- I would find some way of better marking those passages. The beach scenes aren't really flashbacks (more like "future"backs? what the hell do you call them?), but there's a reason why flashbacks and scenes that break up the main timeline are used sparingly in literature. They are just too damn jarring most of the time.
Second, Kiijanavyre. A 15-year-old girl who can speak 3 languages and some dwarven on the side, can debate philosophy and has the confidence and poise to negotiate safe passage out of an ambush with a culture that she is only passingly familiar with. You keep trying to emphasize her girlish or naive nature, but then make her speak like a university graduate in her conversations with Gorn on the beach. Gorn has similar problems (in that he didn't speak much on the journey and was supposed to be pretty stingy with his words, but then waxes philosophical and disgorges whole paragraphs of dialogue at once), but he's not quite as bad. I don't care if she speaks formally or not, just make it consistent from the beginning of the story and try to explain it a little with her background. Perhaps she was so sheltered by her parents and her goddess that she never interacted with other children, and thus has a highly formal way of speaking?
Anyway, I'll shut up now before this gets too long. Thank you for writing this; I really enjoyed it. Go to Comment
This is such a cool world. I second what val said; I would love to read a novel in this setting. I don't have any real suggestions for improvement, but it does read a little like an essay. That's appropriate for the material, but perhaps including a few quotes or snippets from characters in the various factions would help break it up a bit. Overall, a superb and info-heavy piece. 5/5 Go to Comment
So what happens if the dwarf decides not to sleep while his stone avatar lies in the bed? Will he still wake up rested and refreshed? Overall a pretty nifty concept, though it could use a little clarification.
I would love to tamper with one of these beds by tweaking the duration of the bed's activity from 8 hours, say, to 8 days. Or 8 years. If you pulled a trick like that, it sounds like the poor dwarf would have to a) return to where his stone avatar lies asleep under the covers and b) guard it until the spell ends, less he wake up in pieces.
Oooh a character plotline! The dwarf goes to sleep as normal, but his avatar is shattered when his wizard friend nods off during the night. Knowing that the dwarf will die when the spell ends, the wizard works desperately through the night to reverse engineer the spell. He succeeds, mostly by increasing the duration of the bed's timer. Now the dwarf is still alive (though pissed-off and in a different place), but living on borrowed time. If the bed's spell ever ends, he'll die. Now he has a secret to keep, and a pretty cool weakness (protecting the original stone bed from being tampered with, and possibly renewing the enchantment every X years). Go to Comment
I love this kind of sub -- the grab-bag of adventure seeds that a GM can really take off and run with. There are a few which could use tweaking; 16 forces a PC to act in a particular manner and takes the control of that character out of the player's hands, while 48 could really mess with someone's lovingly crafted backstory. Why not make the person in 48 a PC's "godmother" or "aunt"? As for the shield . . . I'd make it so that an animal companion goes missing or an NPC companion is the one tranced out while looking at it. Maybe. You guys could probably think of something better to do with it.
All in all, these are just minor nitpicks on an otherwise fantastic sub. I would love to use these the next time I game. 5/5 Go to Comment
This is a good start; I like the idea of a plains-driven culture of elves. You put this under advice requested, so is there anything in particular that you wanted us to comment on? In general, I would suggest that you consider a few of the following questions (to make this piece really pop):
On the plains themselves:
* Are there any unique flora/fauna that have developed here? If so, have the elves formed a special bond or relationship with any of them?
* Are there any special locations or natural resources which the elves can use?
On the elves:
* Are they the long-lived type of elves? If so, consider how their long lives would affect them while living on the plains. Forest-dwelling elves can take decades to grow a tree into the exact shape of a harp or bridge, for example. Do these plains elves have similar long-term goals, plans or works that they are a part of?
* Do they still use iron and do they have access to a steady source of it? If so, to what extent does this frame their culture now?
* How is their relationship now with the forest elves? Has their language diverged yet, or are they still culturally similar?
* Are there other races that live on the plains? If so, how do they interact with the elves? Go to Comment
This is a very solid introductory quest, with a nice lead in to a bunch of other stuff. The letters were a nice touch. Call me jaded, but my players rarely make characters that go for the whole "good samaritan" hook, so you may want to consider including several other motivations for the party to become involved. Perhaps as witnesses to the crime, they are required to make a court date? If there is a law in the country that requires good samaritan behaviour if a crime is witnessed (which is why a lot of people at the scene were actually turning away or covering their eyes), then they could be charged with helping the investigation. Just a thought. Go to Comment
This is absolutely delightful. I cannot think of a single reason not to award the full 5 for this submission -- it's detailed, useful, colorful and begs to be used. The "voice" of this piece is superb, and I will second what Mourn said. Having an outsider write this leaves absolutely everything up to interpretation and the GMs whim. My favorites are probably the miniature bears, but the bearded cats made me laugh, too. Overall, this is excellent. Thank you for writing this. Go to Comment
I would probably call this a list of dwarven possessions, rather than a list of dwarven treasures, but it is a fine list nonetheless. I especially liked the Maiden's Rope and the Clan Journal; you could easily base an adventure off of either of them. Go to Comment
AutoMedon – A mechanical poet of renown not for his vast catalog of poetry, but for his complete lack of anything written or spoken, having had no output in his programmed profession. His creator is unknown or at least unaccredited, and there are those in great number in the artistic world who wonder and marvel at his inability to produce poetry, crediting that flaw to his creator who is unknown or at least un-credited. There is also a small faction of scholars who believe that when he finally, finally speaks, it will be the most beautiful or sorrowful verse ever spoke or will ever be spoken. Whether his creator is among either group or dead is unknown. AutoMedon sits alone under a tin roofed enclosure, upon a stone chair, with his gaze off in the distant as if thinking.
“It’s strange to look at this mechanical man and think what thoughts are working through its’ workings or even if the damn thing is” – Aralis of Qurim, poet and pottery salesman