Strolen\s Citadel content. 
The Hedge Maze
Lifeforms  (Constructed)   (Plains)
PoisonAlchemist's comment on 2014-10-18 07:42 PM
This sub just doesn't do it for me I guess, it feels like just any proper magical hedge maze. It should also be updated with the additional information provided in the comment section. Go to Comment
Seven Forms Ascendant Hunter 1.0
NPCs  (Major)   (Combative)
PoisonAlchemist's comment on 2014-10-17 05:07 PM
The midwife named the thin and sickly babe as she handed her to her father. “She will become a Hunter.” While midwives in Floating Diamonds are all blessed with The Sight - or rather all those blessed with The Sight are taught to be midwives - they are not infallible. Hunter’s father would always carry that doubt in his heart. The doubt that this small, squishy, pink being - his only daughter - would not die at the end of a blade. He would spend her childhood beating that doubt out of her at the end of a training sword.

By the time she was given to the clan’s soldiers and scholars for training Hunter had learned to cry, and to stop crying. She had grown strong and confident quickly, and demanded as much of her tutors as they did of her. Authority resents challenge. They would spend her adolescence beating fealty into her at the end of a choke-hold.

At the age of thirteen, Hunter was the youngest in ten generations to master two forms of fighting. Thin, her sinuous, agile frame had easily mastered the Style of the Striking Viper. Deceptively strong, her toned arms and legs were more than enough to master the Style of the Silent Constrictor. And so as her father watched proudly as the clan’s headman proclaimed her Two Forms Hunter.

The clan’s young men took exception at the scrawny girl’s honor, and confronted her after the ceremony to put her in her place. As the first attacked Two Forms Hunter responded exactly as a lifetime of training taught her. In the all-too-brief fight she struck the boy a series of seemingly delicate blows to his pressure points, then she wrapped a sinewy leg around his neck and wrenched. The other boys fled to the safety of authority as Two Forms Hunter shoved her first victim’s corpse aside.

When brought before the clan’s headman Two Forms Hunter did not shrink from the charge. There were no apologies to be made. She had done exactly as she had always been taught; she had met her foe in battle and emerged victorious for the honor of herself and her clan. The clan’s headman looked upon the unrepentant child, the killer they had all been complicit in creating, and made the only decree he felt could. Two Forms Hunter was to be taken from her family and delivered to the warrior monks at Shining Temple. Very little is known of the secrets and techniques used at Shining Temple, but those who enter either never return, or return as battle-hardened warriors of the highest caliber. Perhaps they would beat into her an understanding of the value of life.

Five years later, Two Forms Hunter emerged from the chrysalis of Shining Temple as Seven Forms Hunter. To her two unarmed styles she had added proficiency with the Ring Sword, the Bow, Paired Smallswords, and mastery of the Three Part Rod, The Staff, and the Whip - a favorite of hers when combined with her sinuous snake-like fighting moves. Seven Forms Hunter entered the service of her lord as warrior, soldier, and soon as his loyal champion.

In five more years, Seven Forms Hunter earned many honors and gained a great reputation. Her prowess on the field of battle and in the circle of honor were proven time and again. It was she who fought and killed Nine Forms Mastery of Water in the circle, avoiding his swift blows with even swifter moves and striking with deadly precision as he began to flag. It was Seven Forms Hunter who battled a company of the Tenth Lord of Grand Stone's warriors to a standstill in Lone Eagle Pass, holding the pass for three tireless days until reinforcements arrived. It was she who killed the Tyrant Lord of Whistling Sky, her bare hands at his throat, slowly choking the life from him as he flailed and pummeled her uselessly.

With her defeat of Tyrant Lord of Whistling Sky her lord bestowed on her what would be her last honor and final name: Seven Forms Ascendant Hunter. After bestowing her name, she was instructed to appear in his chambers. It is the duty of those who serve to submit to the desires of their lord. When forced to choose between her honor as a vassal and her honor as a woman Seven Forms Ascendant Hunter refused. Her lord reacted with brutality, attempting to take by force that which fealty dictated she should have given freely. Ten years folded in upon themselves as Hunter became thirteen again, delicately striking pressure points and wrapping a her legs around his neck, but for the briefest moment there was hesitation. Honor would demand her life for his. She snapped his neck.
---
The only way I could try and figure out what I was going for was to write it out myself, to go through your thought process and her life to get a real grasp on who she is. I have gotten this far and here is where I think the sticking point is. This is not a choice between honor and survival. By refusing her lord’s advances she already implicitly chose some value we’ve never seen expressed in her (her personal sovereignty) over fealty to her lord. This in and of itself means that loyalty as your world understands it does not mean nearly as much to her as you want. Certainly not enough to feel guilt.

Guilt is when you do something YOU (not society) believe you should not have done, and the issue is that at no point does Hunter ever believe that she should not have taken this action. We explicitly see that nothing has changed from when we saw this event ten years ago. I just can’t buy that she believes that she deserves to die. If she was the innocent servant girl used to authority, yes. If she was a fresh-faced warrior full of honorable ideals, yes. But as hard as I tried I could not flavor these events enough to make her someone who believes in the hierarchy.

Perhaps part of the problem is agency. Who a person is is best conveyed through actions and what they imply. There are only three actions in her life which are not directed by others, killing the boy, refusing the lord, and killing the lord. These events tell us the same things about her: she values her survival, skill, and personal sovereignty. We never see her responding to her father’s training with humility, which would make her authoritarian. We never see her advancing the lord’s agenda on her own accord, which would make her loyal. etc.

The closest to guilt I feel she could come to is “I should not have refused my lord, I should have let him take me.” It’s very interesting but would severely undercut your strong female character. It will also drastically change other things like how she interacts with other men, sex, and authority from that point on. How does that change her relationship with the tattoo artist when he realizes his superiors have just as intimately seen his work? How does that make her more moral superiors feel when she suddenly goes under the table because she misread a signal? What about her female superiors?

Finally, I wonder how she can value her continued life so much while still exhibiting such a disregard for life in general - she never really reconciles that in the story. If she only kills when attacked or in combat assassin is a bad job choice. Calling her a contract killer or mercenary is probably better. They’re basically assassins but don’t have that fragile or sneaky connotation. They do get around a lot, they go where the money is. Go to Comment
Seven Forms Ascendant Hunter 1.0
NPCs  (Major)   (Combative)
PoisonAlchemist's comment on 2014-10-16 07:52 PM
There is a lot I like, and a lot I don't.

The Viridian Vine is worth an entire sub itself IMHO. Would love to read about that and other tattoos for each of the orders. A lot of the subtle implications are also very good but often to vague so that I am left wondering things like what her relationship with the tattoo artist was. You seem to have a very clear idea of who she is and I can see that in the last few paragraphs. She is certainly a distinctive character with a personality, motivations, and way of being worked into a game all of which is great.

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. So why did I have to spend 10 minutes reading it? Her story of unrepentantly killing the young boy does not lead me to believe that that she knows what it means to die. 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. The result feels disjointed; she has 5 major scenery shifts, a major occupation shift - assassin and warrior skillsets are very different - and the shift in personality between who we have seen and who you have told us she is.

Sorry for being a jerk, but I think you can do better. Go to Comment
A Spell Called Catherine
Plots  (Crisis)   (Single-Storyline)
PoisonAlchemist's comment on 2014-10-23 08:21 PM
This sub is fantastic from top to bottom, and not at all where I thought this was going when I first read the title. Every major player is well detailed an the conflict and implications are all fascinating and well thought out. Go to Comment
The Threat of Sugar
NPCs  (Mythic/ Historical)   (Artistic/Performance)
PoisonAlchemist's comment on 2014-10-16 06:17 PM
Hey guys I just found this forum thread and reposted it here, it’s got the latest track.

Uugh, I’ll be honest I’ve wasted way too much time reading through threads on Sugar trying to come up with something but I think L1v3tehB347 is right. The best I’ve got is that this all started with the twins Pali mentioned. There was a lot of death in the Futura project so I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them lost their body and the two tried to live in the same morph and ended up merging egos. It would explain why they refer to themselves in the plural and the gender fluidity. They did what the Lost generation was meant to do: they thrived. They started making their music which attracted their async brothers and sisters to them. Spread asyncs throughout a crowd like at a rave and they can amplify the psychic waves Sugar is laying down and turn it into sort of an anarchist hive mind. They’re not dumb though, like lovelylemonlimes pointed out being so high profile is super dangerous for an async which is why they are so interested in giving this persona its own life as a symbol of anarchist freedom. That way if they get caught they can either deny it or have someone else take up the mantle.

Who do you think Sugar is, if you even think Sugar is real and not a collective delusion? Go to Comment
The Helmet Of BEES!
Items  (Armor)   (Magical)
PoisonAlchemist's comment on 2013-05-28 01:53 AM
I love it. It's serious and yet hilarious, which is the best kind of serious. Also functional from both a DM and player standpoint. It's hard to find things in what I consider 'classic' D&D style nowadays; Flumph-slashing McGuffin-oriented greed-motivated games driven by circumstances somewhere between absurd and dire. I think this fits perfectly.

XP for Elbin because I like the additional ideas. Go to Comment
Skittering Steel
Lifeforms  (Fauna)   (Underground)
PoisonAlchemist's comment on 2013-05-28 05:13 PM
It's a 100 word challenge, which I assume means 100 words or less to fully develop an idea. Go to Comment
Skittering Steel
Lifeforms  (Fauna)   (Underground)
PoisonAlchemist's comment on 2013-05-28 05:15 PM
I like that they inject mercury, a very flavorful idea. I think this makes a good 100 word sub because I don't really need more explanation - they're spiders made of metal. Pretty sweet. Go to Comment
Npc History Generator
NPCs  (Mythic/ Historical)   (Political)
PoisonAlchemist's comment on 2013-04-23 03:05 AM
I've gone the more mundane route, things the 'average' person might aspire to.

61. Encountered someone else who became famous or influential
62. Received an award for excellence in a unique hobby (flyfishing, rugmaking, skydiving)
63. Received an award for excellence in a field unrelated to their talents (It turns out draining the rice bog to combat malaria increases rice production)
64. Pioneered a new sport or game.
65. Founded a small town (with a few other pioneers).
66. Refined a chemical or academical process (invented a better catalyst, discovered alternative conditions)
67. Forged or enchanted a famous weapon or armor.
68. Used to serve at the royal court. as a (clerk, treasurer, stenographer, maid, assistant, researcher)
69. Formerly a well known hunter of (bugbears, ettercaps, wolves, carp)
70. Formerly a well known performer of (song, dance, instrument) Go to Comment
Npc History Generator
NPCs  (Mythic/ Historical)   (Political)
PoisonAlchemist's comment on 2013-05-28 02:41 AM
I kid you not, it's a thing. It's called Noodling and it's done by Noodlers. Alternatively called "Catfisting" because it's catfish instead of carp but it's the same principle. Go to Comment
Npc History Generator
NPCs  (Mythic/ Historical)   (Political)
PoisonAlchemist's comment on 2013-05-30 01:07 PM
Nope, again I kid you not, it's "Catfisting" because it involves shoving your entire fist down the fish's mouth. *makes rainbow gesture* The more you know. Go to Comment
Snapdragon
NPCs  (Minor)   (Combative)
PoisonAlchemist's comment on 2013-03-22 12:18 AM

Snapdragon makes an equally good ally as adversary. She is intensely competitive in all matters and can become violent if vying for affection or approval. Her actions and words demonstrate a fundamental disconnect despite their good intent. ("Oh kitsune, if I were to rip your heart from your chest I'm sure it would beat just as red as mine!" "Dear sister, I could simply squeeze the flesh from your bones and crush them to powder.") While as a companion she is not liable to randomly lash out she is far more susceptible to mental or demonic influences. 

Snap wishes to have the holes in her soul mended, though it is not something she actively pursues. What this entails could be anything from requited love to eating the heart of a celestial, even she does not know.

Go to Comment
Snapdragon
NPCs  (Minor)   (Combative)
PoisonAlchemist's comment on 2013-03-22 12:23 PM
Blerg. Need some spitshine on the end but it's mostly done. Go to Comment
Snapdragon
NPCs  (Minor)   (Combative)
PoisonAlchemist's comment on 2013-03-24 10:44 PM
I'm glad you like her! Honestly that plot line about finding the "witch" is the most obvious one of all and it completely blew past me. Good catch. Go to Comment
Snapdragon
NPCs  (Minor)   (Combative)
PoisonAlchemist's comment on 2013-03-25 07:12 PM
I was going to write you a reply, and then I wrote a reply so long I figured I should just add it to the sub as an idea. I think the answer to the first part of your question is that she was not always this way. She was perfectly fine until her parents broke the covenant, and loved her sister more than her.  Go to Comment
Snapdragon
NPCs  (Minor)   (Combative)
PoisonAlchemist's comment on 2013-03-25 07:14 PM

I imagined that the "witch" (I use that term loosely, she is never referred to as a witch until she goes against the family's wishes) pulled together what parts of a soul were in the womb, and bound them together with Talia and Amond's affections. Over time this binding fused together the soul into a mostly viable person, but when the spell was broken there were large gaps left. Holes cause a combination of emotional and physical pain where an aspect of her (such as her capacity for empathy) once was while the parts there are (such as anger) attempt to fill what is missing. It's similar to those who feel pain in phantom limbs, which is caused by the brain overtaking the parts used to control the missing limb and applying them to different tasks. 

These holes are not a terribly uncommon occurrence in people but the holes most have are small and get repaired with time or stoppered with something such as drugs or a new puppy. Unrepaired souls make a fabulous foothold for evil influences which is why there is usually some trauma associated with those who walk that path. What makes that route doubly tempting is that when someone is killed their soul momentarily passes through that of the killer and fills in those gaps for a few seconds. Beating a person within inches of their life brings them within touching distance and has a similar though less dramatic effect, as does intimate sex (though the conditions for that are difficult to meet as it requires nothing short of true love). 

In effect, Snap's soul is filled with many large gaps and cracks making it a breeding ground for the essence of the nether realms. She's caught between the person she knew she was, and the person she feels she is. The monks taught her to manage the constant pain, the consuming rage, and the breeding evil, but none of it ever goes away. If she ever lets her guard down at least one of these will overtake her, and no one is sure what happens after that. 


Go to Comment
The Citadels Name Exchange
Articles  (Resource)   (Gaming - In General)
PoisonAlchemist's comment on 2013-03-22 10:34 PM
I would appreciate if it was separated into boy names, girl names, and specified in the title that these are NPC names and not tavern names or town names. Go to Comment
But they're only minions...
Articles  (Character)   (Game Mastering)
PoisonAlchemist's comment on 2013-03-20 10:44 PM
Now, I have avoided 4E but my understanding of 'minions' is that they are supposed to be exactly what you described: utterly disposable and forgettable. I wouldn't consider guards in front of a castle minions.

While I love love love the idea of having the NPCs not up and die at the end of their HP that begs the question what do you *do* with them? Do you form a chain gang with you through the dungeon? And if you just let them go that leaves the problem of "you killed everyone I ever loved, REVENGE IS MINE!"

A friend of mine likes to graphically narrate combat based on our rolls, and this includes the NPCs. "The mook swings his sword ineffectually and you can see in his face that he is currently regretting the life decisions that led him to this point." "Your blade barely grazes his tattered armor and he is as surprised as you that was not a killing blow." Go to Comment
Leg Suit
Items  (Transports)   (Non-Magical)
PoisonAlchemist's comment on 2013-03-20 11:47 PM
This is practical I suppose. The sports model makes me think of Portal. I wish it came with some sort of plot hook or way to make it usable in-game. Why does the villain have this instead of a jetpack? Does it malfunction and end a person's walking days in a horrific way? Go to Comment
51 Minor Mysteries
Plots  (Coincidence)   (Side-Quest)
PoisonAlchemist's comment on 2012-11-03 02:47 AM
My favorite is the one with the squirrel :3 Go to Comment
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