It is very practical, and would be a common, mundane item that could lend power to the priests in certain magical situations without any inherent power of it's own. It would also add very nicely to the atmoshpere of a game setting. I imagined a parthenon-esque temple with a shadow shrine for various gods and saints set in the shadows between the pillars. Nice work. Go to Comment
The Ball Pit Trap
A pit lies concealed in the floor, artfully covered with a tasteful decorative rug. The players might even notice the delicate weave of thread through the rug, noting the almost sublime interplay of color and shape. As the rugs gives way, the PCs are dumped into a 20 foot deep pit filled with spongy balls.
These balls are a variety of bright and happy colors; Red, yellow, blue and green. The PCs have the usual task of getting out of the pit, but have to do so with the hinderance of being surrounded neck deep with these little balls. Go to Comment
The only thing that got me here was there is a mention of the Skulls not being known for taking prisoners, but in several other passages there is note of actively freeing prisoners, and recruitment. They seem a little long in the rough and tumble heart of gold, and a little short on shield-biting mercenary deviltry Go to Comment
The PCs discover a large white ball in the branches of a tree, or in a niche in a cave. Unless magically examined, or by a PC with a specialty in insects, it is a plain, smooth white ball. After a short time, it hatches and releases hundreds of spiders, cockroaches, or some other nasty bug. Go to Comment
Food for thought, are there any sort of Eshal monastaries that persue the greater mysteries of the Gods of Water? I think that the Cuada would certainly have them if for nothing else to serve as birthing cloisters for their unenlightened spawn. If they did, these could be favoring the Brotherhood of Larfu, the Wave-Rider. Good stuff Maggot. Go to Comment
Now this is the kind of post I like. There is enough to make a usable character, but there is also a sense of depth to her, in regards to the ill-fortune of her royal lineage. Almost any plot around her would involve the princelings, to which she would make an almost demanded tag-along on the rescue/search mission. Nicely done. Go to Comment
I think the thing that makes this special in relation to other characters afflicted with soul shifting / body stealing /cohabitating with another soul is that Thenadore is not at war with himself and both souls get along. I think this makes him valuable as a repository of Nilurian's wisdom with the innocense of a child. Nice work. Go to Comment
The first curse that comes to mind is the old Chinese curse of May you live an interesting life.
Some others that come to mind also:
The cursed becomes an interest to dogs of all stripes. They will follow him constantly, begging for food, or attention, sleeping next to him when possible, being a general nuisance. Stealing food, frightening the horses, giving the victim unlimited access to fleas, and ticks, and whatever burrs and debris is lodged in their fur. These are cowardly, whining, mincing mutts, not guard animals.
Victim becomes repellant to fish. Not such a big deal until it is time to cast a few lines in the water, and try to catch dinner, then no one catches anything. This is a fine curse, I myself suffer from it.
Victim leaves tarnished fingerprints on exposed metal. Silver comes away with black marks, copper comes away with green, etc. Leather straps and bands rot quickly, in a matter of weeks in constant contact with skin. TRy wearing a watch with this one!
Victim is cursed with a picky stomach. Cannot eat a certain staple food as it makes them queasy, violently ill, gives 'em diahrea and so on. The victim can no longer eat beef, or potatoes, or some other basic or daily food. A severe curse might make an uncommon food poisonous. One bit of celery could be potentially fatal...
Victim is cursed with a volatile temper, confronting them with it makes them angry, almost everything makes them angry. Fight, maim, punish!
Lets get Biblical
Feast of Ashes - regular food no longer sustains the character, eating it makes them violently ill to the point of vomiting. The only thing the character can eat is cold ash, taken from expired fires, torches, braziers. Messy to eat, meager at the very best, and it tastes like ash.
Curse of Night - sunlight causes the victim discomfort. Bright light hurts their eyes, and they sun burn with astonishing speed. Only cool, dark places offer respite from this maladiction. Double any damage from exposure to the sun.
Curse of Salt - No plant will grow for the victim, he has the proverbial brown thumb and must rely on the labor of others, or the flesh of beasts for his sustainence.
The Curse of the Raven
Arrows are seemingly drawn towards the victim. Archers will shoot at him first, and a signifigant portion of wild, and massed vollies will fly towards the character. Someone deliberately shooting at the PC will have a very hard time missing.
Curse of the Pea
There will always be a spot of pea-gravel that hounds the victim. It may hide, a phantom in his boot or shoe, or it may be a lump under his bedroll, keeping him from much needed sleep.
Curse of Orpheus
Victim is afflicted by hideous nightmares that prevent most sleep, hindering healing and the regeneration of HP, or magic points, dependant on system.
Curse of the Fool
The fool is blinded to what he truely possesses. Lust is transposed for love, savagery for honor, and whimsey for wisdom. The fool becomes impulsive, and forgetful of all bonds, be they of law or friendship Go to Comment
Not a powerful character, but one well removed from the general NPC. Ever notice that most NPCs are about the same age as the PC's unless they are babies, or doddering old mages? This adds a familial feel to the 'trip to the apothecary' or :shudder: The Potions Shop. Go to Comment
This deserves a bump, being a good solid NPC that veers away from the average psuedo-warrior with a beer rag working the bar. Really a good NPC who has the potential to grow in a game, considering how many PC's are invariably orphans or otherwise lacking solid parental upbringing. Go to Comment
Well, this is a rather mediocre item, with suitable powers balanced, or cursed by the drawbacks associated with it. However it shines in the area of backstory. Illegal magic, acts of kindness, and all repaid with duplicity. In addition to be being well written and engaging, there is a moral here to be careful of what you wish for... Kudos Cheka Go to Comment
Not necessarily, there is an 11th century Tale of Genji, purportedly the first novel, and there is a Genji family, and there are no shortage of Japanese action and RPGs that involve the Genji theme. Final Fantasy might just be the best known, and probably the most topical. Go to Comment
In April, 1937, Claire L. Chennault, then a captain in the United States Army Air Corps, retired from active duty and accepted an offer form Madame Chiang Kai-shek for a three month mission to China to make a confidential survey of the Chinese Air Force. At that time China and Japan were on the verge of war and the fledgling Chinese Air Force was beset by internal problems and torn between American and Italian influence. Madame Chiang Kai-shek took over leadership of the Aeronautical Commission in order to reorganize the Chinese Air Force. This was the beginning of Chennault's stay in China which did not terminate until 1945 at the close of World War II. Chennault's combat and other experiences between 1937 and 1941 in China are another story, but it was these experiences together with the knowledge he attained of combat tactics and the operations of Japanese Air Force over China that laid the ground work for the organization of the American Volunteer Group in 1941.
Early in 1939 the Japanese began their tremendous effort to break the back of Chinese resistance by sustained bombing of every major population center in Free China. It was the virtually unopposed and continuous bombing of the major centers of Free China by Japanese Air Force that directly led to the organization of the American Volunteer Group. In the fall of 1940 the Generalissimo instructed Chennault to go to the United States for the purpose of obtaining American planes and American pilots to end the Japanese bombing.
Planes were a tough problem. China had been a long-time, profitable customer for Curtiss-Wright, so my old friend, Burdette Wright, Curtiss Vice-President, came up with a proposition. They had six assembly lines turning out P-40's for the British, who had taken over a French order after the fall of France. If the British would waive their priority on 100 P-40B's then rolling off one line, Curtiss would add a seventh assembly line and make 100 later-model P-40's for the British. The British were glad to exchange the P-40B for a model more suitable for combat.
"The P-40B was not equipped with a gun sight, bomb rack or provisions for attaching auxiliary fuel tanks to the wing or belly. Much of our effort during training and combat was devoted to makeshift attempts to remedy these deficiencies. The combat record of the First American Volunteer Group in China is even more remarkable because its pilots were aiming their guns through a crude, homemade, ring-and-post gun sight instead of the more accurate optical sights used by the Air Corps and the Royal Air Force.
Personnel proved a tougher nut to crack. The military were violently opposed to the whole idea of American volunteers in China. Lauchlin Currie and I went to see General Arnold in April of 1941. He was 100% opposed to the project.
It took direct personal intervention from President Roosevelt to pry the pilots and ground crews from the Army and Navy. On April 15, 1941, an unpublished executive order went out under his signature, authorizing reserve officer and enlisted men to resign from the Army Air Corps, Naval and Marine air services for the purpose of joining the American Volunteer Group in China.
Although, the A.V.G. was blooded over China, it was the air battles over Rangoon that stamped the hallmark on its fame as the Flying Tigers. The cold statistics for the 10 weeks the A.V.G. served at Rangoon show its strength varied between twenty and five serviceable P-40's. This tiny force met a total of a thousand-odd Japanese aircraft over Southern Burma and Thailand. In 31 encounters they destroyed 217 enemy planes and probably destroyed 43. Our losses in combat were four pilots killed in the air, one killed while strafing and one taken prisoner. Sixteen P-40's were destroyed. During the same period, the R.A.F., fighting side by side with the A.V.G., destroyed 74 enemy planes, probably destroyed 33, with a loss of 22 Buffaloes and Hurricanes.
In describing the genesis of the name "Flying Tigers" and the group's insignia, Chennault says:
"Before I left the United States in the summer of 1941, I asked a few friends in Louisiana to watch the newspapers and send me any clippings about the A.V.G. Now I was being swamped with clippings from stateside newspapers, and my men were astonished to find themselves world famous as the Flying Tigers. The insignia we made famous was by no means original with the A.V.G. Our pilots copied the shark-tooth design on their P-40's noses from a colored illustration in the India Illustrated Weekly depicting an R.A.F. squadron in the Libyan Desert with shark-nose P-40's. Even before that the German Air Force painted shark's teeth on some of its Messerschmitt 210 fighters. With the pointed nose of a liquid cooled engine it was an apt and fearsome design. How the term Flying Tigers was derived from the shark-nosed P-40's I never will know. At any rate we were somewhat surprised to find ourselves billed under that name. It was not until just before the A.V.G. was disbanded that we had any kind of group insignia. At the request of the China Defense Supplies in Washington, the Walt Disney organization in Hollywood designed our insignia consisting of a winged tiger flying through a large V for victory."
The A.V.G. was finally disbanded on July 4, 1942. The group celebrated its final day in the air by knocking down five enemy fighters over Hengyang and escorting U.S. Army Air Forces B-25's to bomb the Japanese air base at Canton. At midnight on July 4, 1942, the American Volunteer Group passed into history. In summarizing that history over the preceding year, Chennault states:
"The group that the military experts predicted would not last three weeks in combat had fought for seven months over Burma, China, Thailand, and French Indo-China, destroying 299 Japanese planes with another 153 probably destroyed. All of this with a loss of 12 P-40's in combat and 61 on the ground, including the 22 burned at Loi-Wing. Four pilots were killed in air combat; six were killed by anti-aircraft fire; three by enemy bombs on the ground; and three were taken prisoner. Ten more died as a result of flying accidents. Although the Japanese promised on their radio broadcasts to shoot A.V.G. prisoners as bandits, they treated our three prisoners as well as regular British and American POW's. I took it as an indication of the enemy's genuine respect for our organization.
CHINA'S SOUNDEST INVESTMENT
"The group had whipped the Japanese Air Force in more than 50 air battles without a single defeat. With the R.A.F. it had kept the port of Rangoon and the Burma Road open for 2 1/2 precious months while supplies trickled into China. With less than one-third of its combat strength it saved China from final collapse on the Salween. Its reputation alone was sufficient to keep Japanese bombers away from Chunking. It freed the cities of East China from years of terror bombing and finally gave both Chinese and American morale an incalculable boost at a time when it was sagging dangerously low. All this cost the Chinese $8,000,000 - about $3,000,000 in salaries and personnel expenses and $5,000,000 for planes and equipment. After the final accounting was made, I wrote Dr. Soong my regrets that expenses had exceeded my original estimates.
"He replied, 'The A.V.G. was the soundest investment China ever made. I am ashamed that you should even consider the cost'."
PRESIDENT PRAISES GROUP
In April, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote of the American Volunteer Group:
"The outstanding gallantry and conspicuous daring that the American Volunteer Group combined with their unbelievable efficiency is a source of tremendous pride throughout the whole of America. The fact that they have labored under the shortages and difficulties is keenly appreciated . . . "
After the American Volunteer Group was disbanded on July 4, 1942, the China Air Task Force of the United States Army Air Forces, commanded by General Chennault, officially took over air operations in China. In early March, 1943, the 14th Air Force was activated under the command of Chennault and replaced the China Air Task Force. Chennault remained in command of the 14th Air Force until the end of July, 1945. General Chennault formally retired from the military for the second time in October, 1945.
#2 Lord Ilyich's Manse
Reply #2 on: July 31, 2004, 10:57:58 AM
Lord Ilyich raised for himself a great keep, situated on one of the tower islands located in the river Narmouth. Some of the tower islands were little more than spires, while others could be as large as several acres square. Ilyich chose a middling size island, both for ease of defence, and for reduced cost of walling in the island.
The keep was completed in under seven years, complete with massive walls grounded out into the bedrock of the island iself. The walls added another twenty feet of height to the island, the better to repell river bandits, and the bold shipbound barbarians who would at times sail up the great rivers to burn and pillage and steal. There were a number of towers, a great hall, as well as a spacious don jon, and space for nearly 500 men and women to live in comfort.
The interior of the tower island was honeycombed with passages, and chambers. Stables, middens, and the forges and smithies were buried in the island where they would be out of sight, and not pollute the many gardens, and small parks scattered about within the upper walls. Some of the passages were used daily, others were restricted, or secret.
Lord Ilyich preferred the gentlemanly comfort of the carriage to the loping gait of a horse, and had an expansive collection of carriages. These too, were kept in the space under the island. It soon became a problem that it was too difficult to ferry the carriages to and from the island. After some deliberation, the lord with the aid of the dwarven mastermason Ar-Trovvel, came upon a novel solution.
A causeway was built between the island, and the shore. The bridge would lead into a rampway where the carriage could be maneuvered easily into the carriage stalls, and the horses could also be moved with a minimum of fuss from the carriage area to the stables. Ilyich was pleased when a further use was found for the causeway. Supplies came easier than by ship, and it was a better way to turn the horses out of the stalls to a pasture, and certainly safer than having to embark on a ship twice a day to do so.
The matter of defence was also paramount in the minds of the two designers. Ar-Trovvel designed several sets of granite slab doors, reinforced from behind with oak and iron banding. An elaborate system of counterweights balanced the door and made it's operation swift and easy. One door seperated the causeway from the carriage barn, another seperated the carriage barn from the interior of the keep. The walls in the areas vulnerable to the causeway were heavily reinforced, and arrowholes were added both in the ceiling from the floor above, but in several walls as well.
As a finishing touch, Ilyich had the bridge roofed in the popular earthen tile glazed against the weather. The causeway became both functional, and artistic. Fellow lords would come to see the wealth of Ilyich's carriages, and the cunning nature of his keep, and would be pleased with the vibrant colors and many tiles, the first of which seen were those of the causeway. Dwarves would come to see the great works of Ar-Trovvel, and Lord Ilyich, and marvel at the wonders created when man and dwarf cooperate, Go to Comment