Strolen\s Citadel content. 
Idran Motaer
NPCs  (Major)   (Criminal/Espionage)
Morningstar's comment on 2015-08-27 12:41 PM
Not bad. How would a person normally hire him?

I'd also toss something in along the lines of if you do hire him, one of the stipulations is that he refuses to accept a time limit on the hit. (It might take time for the setup!) Go to Comment
Response Set
Articles  (Character)   (Gaming - In General)
Morningstar's comment on 2015-08-27 12:49 PM
It might not be quite done yet but it's a damn thought provoking piece, so I'm happy to slap a vote on it pending.

I'm working on 2 hours sleep so my brain isn't on, but one "response" type that comes to mind is what I figure'd be a "Solipsist" or "Self-Absorbed" response. You all know the type: the one who always makes the situation about himself. If you had to put your pet down today, he'll talk about how sad he is about losing his pet last year. If you just got a new job and you want to tell people about it, he's all about how excited he gets when HE starts a new job. On the nice end of the scale, he wants to share experiences; on the other end, he wants to be the corpse at every funeral and the bride at every wedding. Go to Comment
The Exoteric Order of the Purposeful Gear
Society/ Organizations  (Mystical)   (Regional)
Morningstar's comment on 2015-08-19 05:00 PM
FYI, "Exoteric" is not a typo; that's how the Order spells it. Masters are very happy to explain to you, in exhausting and bewildering length, how the word differs from "Esoteric." Go to Comment
Errantry
Systems  (Societal/ Cultural)   (General)
Morningstar's comment on 2015-08-20 09:10 PM
Well, typical *fantasy* world, anyway -- I don't do D&D myself, and my setting doesn't have much in the way of anti-goblin pogroms. I expect anyone who grabs the idea'll adapt it to their own settings as they like! Go to Comment
Errantry
Systems  (Societal/ Cultural)   (General)
Morningstar's comment on 2015-08-20 09:19 PM
In my setting, it's done exactly that. Go to Comment
The Celestial Dragon Suit
Items  (Clothes)   (Magical)
Morningstar's comment on 2015-08-22 11:51 AM
Oh, now this is cool: an artifact-level dancing costume. I think I'll pinch it for my own campaign, with a high-magic realm about to go to war. Go to Comment
30 More Generals
NPCs  (Mythic/ Historical)   (Combative)
Morningstar's comment on 2015-08-12 01:37 PM
I've been at this for some hours, and while there are thousands of generals of history I could adapt, I don't mind if someone fills out the roster if I don't get to it promptly. Go to Comment
30 More Generals
NPCs  (Mythic/ Historical)   (Combative)
Morningstar's comment on 2015-08-14 12:39 AM
Heh, well, when you look at it, that's the critical element involved with any general: does s/he suck at it or not? Leave that part out, and it's a critical flaw! Go to Comment
30 More Generals
NPCs  (Mythic/ Historical)   (Combative)
Morningstar's comment on 2015-08-15 04:47 PM

Probably could, even if the characters might get a tad repetitive! As to that, only four of those are based on fictional commanders.

Go to Comment
30 More Generals
NPCs  (Mythic/ Historical)   (Combative)
Morningstar's comment on 2015-08-21 04:40 AM
Heck, I could run it a few more, although I'd get diminishing returns on personality traits distinctive enough to be useful to players.

But heck, if NPC creation isn't easy for you, this approach is a good way out. Each and every one of those generals I listed are real world generals, except for the two from Anton Myrer's superb "Once An Eagle," the one from Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court," and the one from Brian Daley's "The Starfollowers of Coramonde." The traits listed are ones really recorded. But you could do the same riff with any other commander.

Take Denethor, from Lord of the Rings. If I were to have done up "The Denethor," anyone familiar with LotR could work it out: the hereditary commander-in-chief of the national military, a sound, skilled and wise leader for many years. But he's been slowly going mad, he's convinced his nation is doomed to be annihilated in the next war, and it's causing him to make reckless decisions, to treat subordinates callously, and to ignore his allies. A jealous streak and a fear of being superseded doesn't help matters.

File off the serial numbers, and you can make a vivid portrayal from that, yeah? Great. You can do that with pretty much any fictional character, and that's how you do key NPCs if coming up with personalities is tough for you.

Beyond that, a lot of gamers get bogged down in stats. They sweat over attributes, levels, skill lists, magic items, combat stats, all manner of fripperies. And for the most part you don't need any of that. What do you need to know about the generals on this list? Their tactics/strategy skills. A Will roll for how much they stick to things. Probably a Health/Con stat, because campaign life is rigorous, and many a general's been laid low in a key hour by illness or age. And that's about it. Most of these guys aren't going to fight: a half-dozen were in their sixties as I portray them, and three of them in their seventies, so who cares what their Broadsword or Riding skills are? You can save yourself the trouble with all of that. Go to Comment
USSS Ticonderoga
Locations  (Other)   (Space)
Morningstar's comment on 2015-08-21 11:19 AM
Out of votes, so I'll just comment.

While this is a good idea well executed, there are two critical flaws which crack my suspension of disbelief.

* So let me get this straight. This one superdreadnaught was the backbone of the Pax Americana, and they only built ONE? They had NO backups? NO contingency plans? There were SEVEN different AIs, with all the troubles one can conceive of with that, and no one thought that putting every single possible egg into that basket was maybe a bad idea? That's just demented.

* SLMGTS, II: The "militaristic" US had the will and stomach to roast a hundred million people with this ubership. But they then DIDN'T go on to say: "Folks, you're no longer permitted transcontinental range planes, missile technology, or any of that. All your nuclear sites will be destroyed a half hour from now, so evacuate anyone whose blood you don't want on our consciences. Disband your national militaries, and we're sending satraps to take over your seats of government. Sail any ship with missile launching capability into international waters at once, and scuttle them. You have one day to comply with all of these terms, and we will fry one of your cities for every day thereafter you don't, or if we see so much as a drone take off starting ten minutes from now." Sorry, no, I don't buy it. Go to Comment
USSS Ticonderoga
Locations  (Other)   (Space)
Morningstar's comment on 2015-08-22 12:03 PM
Well, I find *yours* flawed, so I suppose that's even. A man holding a gun on a bunch of people doesn't just ignore that they're obviously armed: he says, "Drop your weapons." We're all aware that technology isn't perfect. Sometimes it breaks down, sometimes it goes wrong, sometimes the other guy comes up with a work-around, and sometimes something completely new is invented that trumps it. If I'm taking my superweapon and freaking SUBJUGATING THE WORLD, I'm not going to leave any capability in anyone's hands for a comeback, and if I have to I'm going to use two of those bullets in my clip to drop a couple people just to show I mean business.

That's not only human nature, that's common sense. There hasn't been a slavemaster in the history of the world who's left the peoples he's subjugated FULLY ARMED, and the ones stupid enough to do so paid for it pretty soon thereafter. Go to Comment
USSS Ticonderoga
Locations  (Other)   (Space)
Morningstar's comment on 2015-08-22 12:04 PM
Only voted Go to Comment
USSS Ticonderoga
Locations  (Other)   (Space)
Morningstar's comment on 2015-08-24 04:54 PM
Err ... might want to look in a mirror there about "emotional posts."

I agree with you that the US didn't drop nukes on anyone else post-WWII. But these are your words, not mine: "Their surrender was absolute and an era of absolute subjugation of the world was initiated. The world's vassalage to the United States of America began."

The US, post-WWII, didn't seek to "subjugate" the world. Nowhere remotely close. "Absolute subjugation," "vassalage" and "shackles of mankind" are pretty strong turns of phrase. I know what kind of world *I'd* think phrases like that would reflect. What do they mean to you? Go to Comment
Something Weird cart
Items  (Other)   (Magical)
Morningstar's comment on 2015-08-02 04:17 AM
Comment: I have this in "Item" rather than "NPC" because I feel what this is really about is whatever you get off of the cart -- the "vendor" is just the means of delivery. Go to Comment
Something Weird cart
Items  (Other)   (Magical)
Morningstar's comment on 2015-08-04 12:27 PM

Hah, both you and Valadaar got it, obviously. Given that the run was taking place in a city which won, within the last decade, the trophy the Blackhawks won, you'd think the players would be quicker off the mark.

And sure, you might think, "What in the hell are the players going to do with a lava lamp?" They keep on surprising me with the answers.

Go to Comment
Something Weird cart
Items  (Other)   (Magical)
Morningstar's comment on 2015-08-24 04:44 PM

Well, gosh, doesn't sound like you find the style so offensive as all of that, seeing as you're pretty free and easy about using it. But no, I don't mind answering your questions, not being a hypocrite myself.

* I don't know about "everyone loving" the guy. My players certainly do. Every Strolenite posting above you seems to. Does every NPC he encounters? Probably not, no.

* So genre mixing's a pet peeve of yours? Don't use it then. A lot of gamers (and, come to that, authors) don't agree with you, and think that genre-mixing's "atmosphere" works just fine, but it takes all kinds. I'm not about to tell you what gaming styles you're allowed to like and what you're not.

* About "exotic elements," sorry, I ain't playing the "when did you stop beating your wife?" game. Me, I never said anything of the sort. I've got a notion what I consider exotic elements. (I hadn't counted this NPC among them.) You might or might not agree with me. Eh.

* The vendor won't sell more than one item per person per trip? That's what I said, yeah. You don't believe in Santa Claus? Whatever, dude. What you choose to believe or not around Christmas time is your business, and none of mine. What that has to do with this sub, o' course, I've no idea, especially since last I checked, no one claimed that Santa asks kiddies to pony up their allowances before dishing out prezzies. (I don't figure that the vendor wears red, either, or that he's an old-timer with a long white beard.)

* My setting isn't the first, or the first hundredth, or the first ten thousandth, to have beings the PCs aren't tough enough to take on. Ever. (Some settings have a word for that, actually: "gods.") Are you telling us that every NPC or being you've ever used can be taken down by one of your parties? Anyhow, I've been pretty lucky over the years with players not being cementheads and dealing with everything they don't understand by trying to kill it. I'm OK with that sort of encounter. Obviously not everyone is. Those folks shouldn't use this vendor or anything like him.

* Might want to brush up on your definitions, there. Start with "Mary Sue." That doesn't mean "invulnerable character." It means an idealized character with heavy elements of wish-fulfillment on the creator's part. I got to tell you, man, while there are wishes I'd like fulfilled, if I was gonna create a NPC I'd want to be like, I wouldn't pick a dude with not a lot of personality traits beyond that he shoves a pushcart through cities all day long, peddling oddball things for silver. Strikes me as pretty lame-ass boring for a lifestyle.

Anyway, man, if what you're looking for is for no one ever to write a critical comment on one of your subs, and it bends you out of shape enough to go looking for one of their subs to pounce on when someone does, you might want to say so up front, because someone else might come along and not know.

Go to Comment
Something Weird cart
Items  (Other)   (Magical)
Morningstar's comment on 2015-08-26 02:26 AM

To which I would've answered something along the lines of -- so stipulated. If you think something like this makes a setting less realistic and more goofy, well, some settings are like that. I can think of a lot of elements and genres I don't like or use: horror, grimdark, slapstick, that sort of thing. That doesn't mean that they suck (or that I low-vote subs containing them), it just means that they're not my cup of coffee.

As far as the other questions go, well, yeah, those are good questions, and I leave them up to individual GMs to answer for themselves. For my part, I'm real comfy with there being inexplicable things in a game setting, and that's key to any setting keeping a sense of wonder.

Go to Comment
Khasikarana Island
Locations  (Area)   (Water)
Morningstar's comment on 2015-07-31 02:37 PM
As far as bits 2 & 3 goes, thanks; I'll put those in.

As far as the first? How do you figure that cutting out someone's HEART is ever so much less naughty than sacrificing a sailor's genitals? Why NOT that? What makes THAT body part uniquely off-limits? And hell if I know whether there's a "mythological precedent" for a junk-loving god. Does there need to be? That's the creating your own idea bit, I figure. Go to Comment
Khasikarana Island
Locations  (Area)   (Water)
Morningstar's comment on 2015-08-04 12:05 PM
A couple answers in return:

- I *really* like the bit about blood marking the ship to recognize that it's "pardoned." Some ritual the bhakhanara does, with a jar of the blood captured at the altar, a rune painted in the blood on the prow. That could also be a consequence of pissing the villagers off too much -- butcher some of them, and the bhakhanara is disinclined to do the ritual.

- Great magic? It's an evil god; that should be powerful enough. The villagers aren't part of that magic, and you can easily say that they're as much victims as the sailors.

- Here's why the curse of silence as it stands: without that, there's no notion, no real way of breaking it from the outside, and the horror aspect is greatly lessened. It's also another out for clever players to figure a way around it, and we all know they'll come up with SOMEthing. Go to Comment
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