I like this for a campaign goal, but if you only use this sort of thing for a single adventure, it doesn't play well, because you can't get a real crescendo effect going on. Without the buildup, it's harder to create the necessary atmosphere.
Personally, I've been trying to come up with a decently long campaign goal that will work for all power levels of characters(ie something that can be started on at low levels, and still be good at higher levels). This gives me some ideas in that regard. Go to Comment
Well, in and of itself, a generically useful item, with some neato properties.
However, the history REALLY needs some work. A gift from the gods(essentially) that is this weak and limited? Wow, those gods must just HATE the people who serve them. ;)
What I would like to see is a real story about the item's creation. Why the specific powers, why the elements coming together, why aren't the elements in opposition to each other, why isn't this device having an internal struggle with itself? There's a lot of conflicting voices having a say in this thing, at least according to the standard view of the elements.
If I were to make an item like this, I would follow the elemental dominance and opposition standards, and include something bad that happens along with the good. For example, the fire property of a flare(basically) is snuffed out by a large gust of howling wind at the end of it, possibly attracting curious things to see what all the fuss is about. The air power of creating wind, well, wind is typically created by heat, and if you keep the wind blowing for too long, you will see a firestorm approaching from the direction the wind is blowing. If you don't turn it away(with the changing wind direction), it will consume you. Just for a few examples of what you could do with it. Go to Comment
Yeah, I agree, the demon evil for evil's sake is kind of played out. As you can probably tell, that part of the story was an addon after the fact, you could honestly go any way as far as motivations of the rich guy/herald. I just like including demons and such because they are so easy to blame things for in a fantasy world, and BOY are they fun to fight.
Hey, maybe it's just some crazy guy who likes messing with people, in the truest sense of insanity. Maybe Sir Elliot exists and is completely batty, and the herald is nothing more than a hired messenger, hired to deliver a fairly strange message, but whatever, he's just the messenger, ya know? Go to Comment
Updated: The ending of the story was noted as "hokey" (and I agree, it was a demon with just did it "because", blergh). I updated the story so that it had a more plausible, and hopefully more plot-carrying ending. Go to Comment
In order to use something that isn't my own, there has to be some idea that I like in the description, something to differentiate it from any other place that is just like this, from a generic perspective.
If I truly don't care about the place that we're going, I will use a description like what you've given "it's a typical noble house, you know, lots of land, cleared around the manor house, gardens, servants running around, you get the picture. Anyways, the butler leads you into the great room, and..."
Basically, why go into such detail on something so prototypical? You've gone into massive detail for something mundane. It's overkill, if you ask me. I prefer to spend my time on the unusual or the bizarre, rather than the mundane. The only reason to provide a full description of something so generic would be if there were something unusual that isn't immediately apparent. Otherwise, it's just a waste of time to write it up. Show a picture of any typical european country estate and move on with the game. Go to Comment
Yes, I admit, I am narrow-minded: I only find to be good in something that I would find useful. Bear in mind that "useful" is a fairly broad spectrum.
I'm sorry, but I find it difficult to find inherent value in the creation of something my players would find mundane. I would gain no more value from a post like this than I would from a post describing a particular pattern of flatware, or a description of a particular wine, or a description of the types of insects that flit around character's ears while walking through an equally non-descript forest.
I'm honestly apologetic that I seem to be missing the point, and it seems fairly obvious that I am fundamentally getting this whole thing wrong, because several people have made comments along the lines you all have.
Yes, this is a descriptive backdrop for political intrigues, etc, and those are the exact kind of plots that I often use, but to myself and my players, the important part of the game is in the unusual, rather than the mundane. I would no more spend twenty minutes describing an otherwise generic noble house than I would spend twenty minutes describing the generic forest they walked through to reach that house.
Maybe my criteria are somewhat different. For me, it's all about utility. Describing the unusual gives me something I can use. Describing the mundane is superfluous at almost all times, and as such, has very little utility.
It's odd that something that is so fundamentally knowable would rate so highly in everyone else's minds, if you ask me. I've seen things get low scores simply for being simplistically stated, and if I were to add a setting that was "noble house, on a bluff, overlooking fancy gardens and centered in a rocky forest"(the basics of this post), I wouldn't even expect a 1/5. But because this post expands that basic description with some fancy words and poetic language, it warrants top grades? Interesting. I'll have to keep that in mind next time I create another cliche'd NPC. Go to Comment
I dropped it, 3 days ago. I wasn't being hostile, I was being honest. And my vote was 2/5, rather than 1/5. Put something unique and interesting in there, and we can talk about changing that, because then it would be MORE than just a pretty description. It's a very nice description. It's just too bad there's nothing more to it. Go to Comment
Perhaps I should have clarified. The reason I rated this low was because I could have thought up any of those plots, none of which require this SPECIFIC setting to pull off. There's nothing to differentiate this setting from any other noble house I would use. The problem here isn't the lack of plot hooks, it's the lack of specific plot hooks. There's nothing to make me want to use THIS noble house over the pre-conceptualized noble house that I have swirling in my own noggin. It got a low rating because there's nothing exceptional about this noble house over any other noble house, as you so aptly pointed out with your plot hooks. It's a lovely description of an otherwise generic noble house.
If you want to help this SETTING, add specific flavor to the setting which forces the use of specific information about THIS setting. The promontory seems to be the focal point of the "uniqueness" of this setting, that would be a good place to start.
Perhaps the promontory is home to a breed of stone-eating fish, which have done enough damage to the promontory to make the house unstable. Maybe the immense training center has dug enough rock out of there to make it unstable, and it's a race against the clock to keep the manor house shored up as the PCs run around fixing things. Maybe statues made from the stone of the promontory gain consciousness in their magical gardens. I don't know. SOMETHING to make this place unique above all other places just like this. Note the added value of ideas, such as they are, manfred. ;) Go to Comment
The idea of the "wave of hand army destruction" was to indicate "extreme power" without going into the system specific details. It was exaggeration, of course, it would take longer than the simple wave of a hand, but it wouldn't take long for this guy to reduce a massed formation of grunts into a smouldering pile of ex-soldiers.
For what it's worth, in the D&D system, a single extremely high level wizard is MORE than capable of killing literally thousands of mooks. Trust me, I've seen it happen(in game, no less, our 7th level wizard killed 126 mooks in a matter of rounds, now, knowing that a 1st level wizard has a hard time killing anything, scale that up to 20th level or so along an exponential scale).
If you are doubtful that it's possible, just thumb through the high level wizard spells in the D&D rulebooks, which tend to be used on more powerful opponents, and consider what they would do to a massed formation(ala army) of less powerful opponents. Cloudkill in particular is extremely deadly to mooks, just as an example.
However, since I wished to avoid the details that were system specific, I simply left it to the imagination. Go to Comment
I find it curious that you're terribly interested in his background, so much so that it clouds your vision of the character itself. As far as his background goes, he was "an adventurer", and all the things that adventuring entails, he's done it, the stories are, quite frankly, less than important, and would be well outside the scope of a single NPC description.
The thing that *IS* lacking, of course, is a description of the Ethe Council of Elders, but unfortunately, I don't really know where to put that. Items? It is a "thing", I suppose. NPCs? It's a group, not an individual. Plots? There's a lot of play you could get out of a council of elders, of course, but it's not a plot unto itself. Settings? I would have to say, this is the most logical one to me. Any suggestions for including this particular background element would be appreciated(ie where to place it).
Of final note, this particular NPC's background was not important to the storyline of our game. He just didn't deserve spending a gob of time on. The only thing of any importance pertained to the Ethe Council, details of which was specifically left out of this description as being superfluous to the character as he is NOW. Right now, he is no longer even affiliated with the Ethe Council, having retired(no bad blood, no blackmailed retirement, nothing nefarious, he just simply retired). So, there's not much more to say about THAT either.
I will happily write up a description of the Ethe Council, but honestly, it's pretty boring stuff: a group of older, wiser, democratic style advisors who run a particular city-state in our campaign(the PC home town). Think "U.S. Cabinet" and you've got it. Go to Comment
Per your request, Vendawan the NPC, added the link to this page. I gave clues as to the supposed absent-mindedness, and some examples, but I only gave the vaguest indication of his power, given the preference to avoid system specific details.
I removed *MY* implementation of the adventure as superfluous to the plot itself. Your suggestions are good ones, especially about the forgetting the components entirely. The problem *I* ran into was that the "fun" of their situation was over after their second combat, they were just getting irritated that they hadn't taken care of the situation yet. I had to pay it off quick(get them back in their bodies), so there were only two combat encounters(and a bunch of role playing ones, maybe 6 of those). For what it's worth, I found the role playing encounters to be MUCH more enjoyable for both the players and myself. The combats were arduous, to say the least.
Perhaps I could write up another plot simply about the hags eye(which got removed with my implementation). For those who hadn't read that part, the wizard sent them to look for a "hag's eye", which the players assumed was to be plucked from the skull of a hag, but in actuality is a scrying device that hags create. The wizard was not very clear about the precise nature of the hag's eye, and nobody thought to ask. The misdirection served to extend the adventure quite significantly. Go to Comment
Boiling WATER that turns things to ASH? Oook, then. Maybe if the boiling water simply cooked things from the inside out. How fast, btw? are we talking seconds or minutes or what? It wouldn't be very useful if the process happened in a matter of minutes, it would mean you have to stab someone and then leave your sword in there, and presume that your opponent doesn't remove it himself. However, if it were simply like a second or something, that would make for an interesting "blown up" effect, and it would make this particular weapon quite deadly.
I'd definitely change the name to something more "British", because the british will boil about damn near anything. ;) Maybe you could call the sword "Nigel" or something, that's a prototypically "British" name... ;) Go to Comment
I figured I'd give the guy the benefit of the doubt when it came to a sword turning someone into either a heap of ASS or a heap of ASH. Now, a heaping helping of ass, that's ALWAYS a plus, but somehow I kind of figured that boiling some regular body parts wouldn't turn them into asses spontaneously, but then again, this is a magical world, so...
If that wasn't a typo, one would have to wonder who the creator of this item is? Is it Hefner the Eternal Boy of Play? Perhaps Sir Mixalot of the Scratched Platters, who knows... Go to Comment
I've never been one much for the details of day to day life in the game. In the same way that I, as a person, am quite uninterested in the inner workings of the DMV, as a DM and a player, I would not be interested in the details of an Ellis Island type of place, at least not inside a game, and I probably wouldn't place an adventure anywhere near this place.
However, this is just the sort of place to enact some sort of "information destruction" plot where perhaps a shapeshifter makes it into the bowels of the process and then starts to wreak havoc from the central weak point, destroying important records that would help find some important but unrecognized immigrant that has slipped between the proverbial cracks. If they can hide the immigrant's entry to the place, he can be a mole or double agent or some such after the fact.
Since I couldn't use this setting for an adventure, but rather only as an interlude, I had to lower my vote. 3/5. Go to Comment
Easy there, killers... I don't want to start a holy war or some such. Truth be told, I appreciate EchoMirage's attempts to guide me, and see his comments for what they are, a genuinely constructive criticism.
If I had to defend myself, he is somewhat right in his assumptions, I play a LOT of D&D, but it's RARELY smash and grab. Where most D&D is fairly typical bonk the noggin, grab the loot type of stuff, our game is usually far more intricate than that.
Yes, I like the plot to be straightforward and simple, but that doesn't preclude twists and turns along the way, of which we have PLENTY. In short, the fact that a plot's goal is front and center does NOT mean that the path to that goal is a straight line.
As far as this setting is concerned, I would never bother to make up the details of the interior of what amounts to the fantasy equivalent of the INS office, because unless I specifically make an adventure that requires a visit there, my players are so highly unlikely to want to visit there that it's not even worth my time to bother creating it. If they ever DID decide to go there, I would probably just "institutionalize it", and hope it met their expectations. Go to Comment
Good story, nice history, good detail. Only one problem... a mace... underwater? How in the WORLD would you get up enough speed to do ANY damage? There's a bit of "suspension of disbelief" that I'm having an issue with. Make it a spear underwater, trident, something long and pointy like that, keeping all the same abilities, and it gets 5/5. As it stands, 3/5. Go to Comment
The Orcish Mustang - a semi-wild horse tamed and domesticated by orcs to serve as their mounts. Large, strong bodied, and fearless as they live among orcs. On the other hand, bad tempered, with teeth problems, sometimes have hoof problems, and agressive. In lean times, or when an animal dies, the orcs suddenly have a dearth of meat, and hide to work with.