PA, thanks for this. This is the sort of feedback I look for. Of course I like it when people say "5/5 HoH Would Buy Again" but only if there's really no real room for improvement. Let's look at your issues and see if there's a way to clarify or better convey some of these elements...
The Vine doesn't have a sub, but the Five Orders of Ivory Tower do have a piece which links to this one. It discusses the ruling class of the Desert Realms, the tattoo-bearing Five Orders.
Hunter's relationship with the tattoo artist was not meant to be vague. The turn of phrase was meant to say or suggest he tattooed her everywhere, without bing too vulgar about it. He touched her in places where only a lover should... but it was all so he could complete his work. Their relationship began and ended at the tip of his needle. Er.... tattooing implement. :P
"My serious problem is that I never felt any of that strongly in her backstory, or even that certain events of her backstory would lead her to that who she is now."
How can we better convey that?
"Her story of unrepentantly killing the young boy does not lead me to believe that that she knows what it means to die."
At this point in the tale, 13 year old Hunter certainly does NOT know what it means to die. She's been trained since she could walk to fight, to confront opponents, and to kill them. This part of the tale is meant to demonstrate she took her lessons perhaps too much to heart. She's confronted with her first true enemy, and performs exactly as she's been taught, killing a larger, physically stronger foe. I imagine her somewhat confused by the reactions of the adults who seem to think she did something wrong instead of giving her honor for her accomplishment.
"Her spitting on her lords corpse does not lead me to believe that she is filled with guilt and simply too cowardly to do the honorable thing and kill herself."
Okay, I can see that. There's two things at work here I can maybe do a better job of conveying. She doesn't feel guilt initially, and never feels it for the crime. He attacked her, she defended herself, she won, he lost, end of story. She felt disgust because he did a disgusting thing. To be fair here, I might be letting my own feelings color the matter. But either way, she doesn't feel bad for the act in and of itself.
However, she DOES have a lifetime of societal indoctrination which says her worth lays in service to her lord, That tells her she's disgraced herself and the only right thing to do is kill herself. But the warrior part says "he attacked you and that's what happens to people to attack you. screw that guy." She doesn't WANT to die, but all this in her head tells her she SHOULD, that she DESERVES it. So she flees.
Any guilt she feels at this point is over her family and even town, who will now share in her disgrace. They will suffer because she didn't do the 'right' thing.
"The result feels disjointed; she has 5 major scenery shifts,"
From village to temple to service to her lord is no more significant a shift than, say, a modern character growing up, going to school, and getting a job. However
at the point she flees, she makes her way to the forbidden gate in a desperate bid to escape, which does lead to the largest scenery shift. This is originally an Everway NPC, and in that game major scenery shifts are commonplace as characters bounce from one world to the next.
This isn't super important to the character, though, save to explain how she ends up with the Orders. In a non-worldhopping game she could as easily be found riddled with arrows by a passing group of them who take her home and tend her wounds. But this accounts for what I see as the only truly major scenery shift, because the game itself is about major scenery shifts. :)
"a major occupation shift - assassin and warrior skillsets are very different -"
The intent here is to find a use for her skills which still lets her remain on her own and move around a lot. I don't see hired killer being that different from warrior in the broad strokes. She's not the black-clad, backstabbing, poison-in-your-sleep sort of assassin. She usually breaks their necks. Or just walks up to them and attacks. The important thing I want to convey is by this point she still doesn't really value life. She kills, just like she's always been taught, and she uses that to earn a living. She could be a mercenary, but I thought that would be less prone to leaving her as a lone wanderer.
"and the shift in personality between who we have seen and who you have told us she is."
On this one, I need help. Who have you seen? I've tried to be consistent here. She's largely the same person at the end, but still living with the weight of her past, telling her she should be dead, and her warrior training and instinct, telling her she should survive at all costs. How can I better demonstrate that? Go to Comment
I'd planned to put up some NPC subs, but I've been working on a sub for Sarah for WAY too long. I'm thinking I might bag the NPC write-ups and instead introduce the characters through more fiction. Go to Comment
In the Elder Scrolls games, giving a beggar a coin gives you a blessing and a feeling of well being. What if this feeling... were addictive? What if the reward for your first show of generosity wore off, leaving you feeling hollow and out of sorts? How much would you give to feel that well being again? Go to Comment
Nice. Some very neat twists. My current storyline has just hinted at what's to come, with the Heroes meeting a woman who has been tapped as a possible successor in passing, and later we'll get more in that area. Some nice thoughts here on gumming up the works for the hapless Heroes. Also, I've never really thought about the one she killed before. Could be something interesting there. Go to Comment
Thank you. Much appreciated. A note about the names, as you'll see in future submissions, many of my fantasy characters and places are from stories I've created for the game Everway, where this naming style is common. Common words, used in different ways. One of the reasons I like it is the fairy tale atmosphere you mention. Go to Comment
Thank you. I'm not familiar with Dark Sun, but just based on the name and the comparison I have developed an idea of what the Defilers must be like. The world... was a dark place during the period of the war and the rule of The Obsidian Queen. I might write up one of the other NPCs to show how dark it once was... and how that realm has fared since the war under the auspices of its new queen. Go to Comment
Brilliant. I love how you have explored the deeper ramifications of this - frankly horrifying - piece of magic, and the responses from various factions of the community. Those explorations make this a first rate sub. Go to Comment
There is some good advice here, and not just for new or inexperienced GMs. It's something to revisit periodically, to make sure you as GM are placing the right NPC into a scene for the right reason. There's nothing WRONG with a minion who's role in the story is just to be killed or to delay the heroes, if that's what you INTENDED. But not every NPC is there for the same reason and this helps a GM think about those reasons. Go to Comment
Very nice sub, with a lot of excellent ideas and hooks. I can even see this place living in other modern worlds, like supers and spies, and gritty crime dramas. A few formatting issues aside, this is well presented (which matters to me nearly as much as the idea), too.