The Roman parallel is quite fitting I find. I will admit my eyes glazed over with the lack of formatting and, with permission, I would be willing to add a bunch of much needed organization to it. That alone would push it even higher in usability and readability.
Echo hit a few of my thoughts right on the head, so now instead of being orgininal, I will expand.
Quote from: "Cap'n
I don't envision the Duerga as the surly, grunting, beer-guzzlers, I envision them more as very quiet, contemplative, slow to act, almost Zen-like in their calm, meditative, spiritual, etc.
Will have to find a balance between the industrious stint of them and their zen nature. Although zen for them may not be what we think it should be. For them (although I really like the lava rivers and metal tree idea) to reach a meditative calm perhaps the repetitive sound of the anvil or a huge steam machine is the environment they need to find their center.
Their nature might thrive in bustling confusion like war and machinery the way others thrive in a calm green surrounding. So the louder and busy, the more at peace they feel. Now, there has to be order to what is happening, a discernable pattern if only to them, but when they find that pattern to their surroundings then they are at ease.
To us it would like like complete confusion and turmoil but to them the harmonic rythms of the sites and sounds are as pleasant to them as a bird chirping is to us.
Statues or melting...hmmmm.
Maybe that is how offspring come about. Melting down the deads armor and using it to create new. Since the armor is the cradle of life it would be right to assume that some knowledge or skill could be passed on through the armor to the next to wear it.
There needs to be set tradition on how the armor's metal is passed on then. The person alive could give it to somebody or there is a bidding war on it or a guild thing or even passed through a maze of relatives.
So if a great craftsman died, who would get the armor to start a new life that will be preinstalled with skill. It would still have to be nurtured and there are those that reject the given trade that was expected with the armor.
It cannot be reworn ever, although there is always the great legend of one who shedded his original armor and took that on of a king and brough them out of darkness. So I think that only the kings armor is saved in a statue state in case of future need of a hero. To further justify that, kings cannot be forced, they are always chosen out of the ranks of the masses. When a new king is needed, ritual helps choose. So once a king dies, his armor cannot be worn since nobody is ever created to be king. Yet another chance for legend/myth. Stolen armor melted down....who has it? Go to Comment
I find the thing most striking to me, and that is only touched on, is their human intelligence which is somehow locked. I think this and how it works is somehow core to what the orcs are.
The fact that they are honorable is interesting. Knowing when their birthday is is a feat of incredible knowledge in itself, being able to keep track in such a primitive society. There must be some tradition that is passed on to allow this.
So when they are won over by a worthy master, which means the good guys have an even chance of getting them as the baddies, their intellect somehow solidifies and concentrates on the goal given them. They see with utmost clarity the how and result of what they want to do to comply with the wants of their leader as long as it doesn't disrupt their honor.
I almost see them as a flock of birds during a battle, they have a unified vision of what needs to be done and their intelligence enables them all to see certain openings and percieve them as one. So in the middle of a pitched battle, perhaps the left flank has fallen and as soon as it does the orcs just know that if they use that opening then the battle could be turned. Looking from above, the orcs turn, almost as one, and their efforts are redirected towards the weakness. Gives me a good visual, but not sure if it is appropriate.
Anyway, I am hung up on your idea on their intelligence and what it is capable of once it is unlocked. Go to Comment
Silence is a killer. The right music IS very important, but when lacking what you want, use anything you have. Not radio though, too much talking.
Without something in the background the sound of the dice, the rattling chips, the tapping of a finger. These are the things that draw the attention and start to annoy and might cause some uncomfortable moments. Nobody is forced to fill the silence or be annoyed by otherwise insignificant noices...instead there is the subtle mind occupying background melodies. Go to Comment
Some of my more memorable games are ones where each of us had to come up with a feasible back story and combine it with the others. We were mostly beginners at that time so we didn't do anything elaborate, we all grew up together of course and have known each other for a long time. A couple went off on little adventures but by the time our game started all the historys had us back at town. (Dragonlance type idea, we weren't horrible original but it was fun)
Through these stories people had pet mice, stories of horribly embarassing encounters and such. The funniest part was that we actually had our PCs parents involved in it and one player's mom even bailed us out of jail when we just started out and were low on funds. So then we owed her for the bail and from then on we always put aside some of our treasure for a 'parent fund' that would go back to them.
Point is, the backstory is fun especially if intertwined. Because we all had something invested in our history it became a central point of the entire game and led to many comical and character building points.
"What would your mom say if she knew you were stealing?"
"I'm telling your pa and he is going to whip you." etc. Go to Comment
Excellent, looking forward to this. One of the most memorable players I gamed with had a horse with a major attitude. It was the most stubborn thing imagineable, but he and his horse had an understanding. Probably not the greatest thing in real life, but made excellent fun in the game, whenever the horse was being really stubborn a stern fist on the nose would knock some sense into the horse for a bit. But then the horse would always get back by dragging him against a tree, low hanging branch to stopping suddenly from a gallop and flinging him. It was great fun to see what he and his horse would come up with next. Basically always doing pranks on each other. Go to Comment
(I will probably chime in occassionally. We owned a horse for a few years while we lived in Spain and it was a riot. Brings back some fond memories.)
Some horses will also lay on the ground and flop around itching their back after a nice long ride. It is a sight to behold when a horse gallops and jumps around in excited freedom after a good ride and then lays itself on the ground, rolls onto its back flopping his feet over to one side and back, just like a dog would to do to itch a hard to reach place.
That could be embarassing for a stoic professional that has a reputation to uphold. He unsaddles his horse in town after a long ride, a couple of people are eyeing him as he drops his horse at the stables. As the groom takes off the bridle and saddle the horse busts away to the small corral and proceeds to flop around like a fish. Go to Comment
Will go all the way to 5 on this one because it is so multifaceted. Think you solved one problem only to gain another, possibly worse. The psychic spin on it all could be very useful to a nefarious DM.
Great Plot and/or Character! Matter of fact, would be a great thing if this turned into a character linking to this idea. I think the character itself is well worth fleshing out a bit more. Go to Comment
Great article. Thank you very much for sharing. Yet another thing I find I neglect in my games. I am a horrible DM.
The easiest way that I do it is just call the distance by time. Judge it on a brisk walk or a horse's trot (now, again, we have differences in breeds and or races) and we have 1/2 days journey or would take till midmorning or 2 days and till breakfast type distances.
Could also make the distances based on landmarks. Say the distance from the Glory rock and the Chair of the King is about 2 miles so that can be translated to 1 Glory.
"It be 5 glorys to the next town" type thing. Could use any great landmarks for that or use many different types.
"It be 2 glorys and a chapel to get there." Could have some fun with that. Might be some universals but maybe each region has adopted their own measurements.
Anyway, I now have a dream of putting together all these great articles into something I can use as reference for world building so I don't miss a trick. Go to Comment
All depends on your campaign and especially on your players. Everything you described doing with a different race could just as easily be done with elves and dwarves.
I personally use a human heavy world with all the other races being fairly rare. If elves and dwarves are as common as humans then they turn into humans with different bonuses and you don't play them as they are. You lose a lot making them common in my opinion.
Yes, the players may play the dwarf well or the elf, but when you go to town then they turn into a human, as in everybody in town treats them equally so they might as well be human. That, to me, takes away from the purpose of playing a unique race.
Taking away the 'standard' setting (which is not standard in my opinion) could change around the whole roleplaying experience and add a new level. Then they would have to actually think about how to play their character depending on their race instead of just using the race as an extra + in dexterity or whatever. Go to Comment
Interesting concept that I like because it isn't magic. Curious about the interaction of sweat on a furred animal as well as armored men. Perhaps it is water activated then and somehow the victim needs to be "splashed" before hand?
General thoughts and observations and I often go off on tangents so forgive me.
I like the translucent skin thing and would use it more. My take is the same as the albino creatures that live completely in the dark, there is no need for durable skin for protection from the sun so they don't have it. Perhaps that being in the sun can actually injure their insides. Their skin burns within minutes being exposed to the sun and if they stay too long in direct sunlight then their innards start getting the effects. Any type of covering will fix this though. I see them dressing like people in the middle east when coming above ground. Full draping clothes and wrapped head to cover everything.
Being entirely underground I also seem them perhaps being slouched. Honestly, I pictured a translucent gollum but larger. Scurrying more then anything. Even their gothic purpley cities would probably still conform to the caves natural creations. In that case their buildings would not all be on a single level either, wherever a natural opening or opportunity exists to create a dwelling then that is where it is made. So buildings would be at numerous different levels and at all types of angles depending on the cave. I just don't see everything on a single plane, it should be multileveled and ordered in an organic way, not a methodically.
Continuing on this train of thought then the creatures would be a more scurring race that an upward standing one. They would be constantly crawling and climbing up walls or improvised staircases to get to whichever oddly built building or dwelling. Their law and ordered lifestyle strike a complete oppositve with the way their cities are developed.
The setup of the cities might have a great seperation as well (following my above logic of course) and different cave systems might house different 'castes' or 'guilds' or 'families' or whatever. Their structure might predestine a birth to fill a certain need. Not necessarily on who their mother or father is but on what openings are predicted when the birthed comes to age. So they expect a slot to open in the harvesters, so the next birth is marked as a harvester.
With a structure and limited availability of food it may be that at a certain age when a drow becomes innefficient they are ritually killed. Not an evil thing, an expected thing. The elderly don't want to depend on anybody and to feed a unproductive member of society is against the laws so they turn their body over to the 'whatever.' They kill themselves or are sacrificed, fed to the mold to create food for a decade or just dissappear into a river or something.
Starting to ramble now. Not sure how far offbase I went but maybe I struck an idea nerve. Go to Comment
A culture must hide its hands in the arm of their clothing as a sign of respect and peace. When approaching somebody you show them respect by crossing your arms and hiding the hands in the shirt sleeves. Nobody worries about hidden knives and such, it is the threat of magic that this custom was created to prevent.