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Door Traps
Dungeons  (Any)   (Traps)
Wulfhere's comment on 2007-03-12 03:24 PM
The Dreaded Murphy Bed of Dooooom

The Nasty, Sinister Noble had a trap door in his chamber, one that he seldom needed to access. Accordingly, he built the door under the pedestal of a massive and extremely solid “evil leader”-sized bed he’d picked up cheaply from his emperor (who was upgrading due to the addition of several rubinesque harem members).

A mechanism was designed to raise the bed high off the floor (fortunately, the chains matched his décor), so that the trap door could be accessed. An easily found trap was placed on the trapdoor, which would cause the bed to slam down violently if anyone tampered with it. A similarly simple button was hidden nearby (The “button” nose of a charming, carven cherub, chained and being flogged by another such celestial being) allowing the trap to be easily disarmed.

Of course there’s a catch. The Nasty, Sinister Nobleman had a simple “housekeeping” enchantment placed upon the chamber. It dusts, sweeps, mends, and tidies up the place. Also, when the nobleman isn’t present to shut it down, it resets that button two seconds after the trap door is touched.

(Squish!) Go to Comment
Biran
NPCs  (Extras)   (Domestic/ Craft)
Wulfhere's comment on 2006-12-27 04:22 PM
Biran: A nervous, disheveled foreigner. Ominous, withdrawn and apparently unfriendly, he's the sort of man that the neighbors wonder about. His source of income is mysterious as well: That doubtlessly sets the local gossips to talking.

He's a red herring waiting to happen.

(CP, were you planning to do something with poor ol' Biran?) Go to Comment
The Mogrolyth
Lifeforms  (Constructed)   (City/ Ruin)
Wulfhere's comment on 2006-10-17 01:43 PM
An excellent undead! I like the tale of its origins and the pyre plotline. Like many powerful creatures, the party's goal has to be stopping it rather than killing it. Go to Comment
The Flinthill Clan
Lifeforms  (Intelligent Species)   (Plains)
Wulfhere's comment on 2007-03-16 08:13 PM
An interesting bunch of barbarian riders: They remind me of the Warg-riding orcs of The Two Towers. I like the numerous details that were presented, their prayer beads, the warrior-monks, and the other quirks.

They occupy the same "cultural niche" that orcs would fill in many setings. Go to Comment
Egoyo
Lifeforms  (Intelligent Species)   (Mountains)
Wulfhere's comment on 2007-03-31 04:01 PM
Looking at them, they strike me as an interesting alternative species for thoser who dislike the traditional presentation of Gnomes. They fill the same niche, technologically-inclined tricksters, but without the gnomes' annoying goofiness.

Were they intended to be seen that way? Is this a New Look at Gnomes? Go to Comment
The Torlakia
Lifeforms  (Constructed)   (Other)
Wulfhere's comment on 2007-01-21 12:34 PM
An interesting undead variant. They cry out for some legendary origins to explain their caterpillar/arachnoid characteristics:

As he sealed the tomb, Tep'ankh invoked the sign of Halshotkush, the insect-headed god of transformation, whose blessing would watch over the dead until their purification was complete...

The vulnerability to wood piques the curiosity as well, but that one is easily understood: The Weavers of Death can only be harmed by the things of life. Wood, ivory, bone, the materials that once held life, only they have the virtue to slay these undead. Go to Comment
Shelandra Batwind
NPCs  (Minor)   (Mystical)
Wulfhere's comment on 2010-10-04 09:15 AM
I'm surprised that I didn't notice this one before!

She's a fun NPC, perhaps a bit too benevolent for a villain, but certainly perfect for a "role reversal" scenario....

The Bishop paced back and forth in agitation, his heavy, jewel-encrusted cassock rustling with every motion. "The Rapacion Domains were once a prosperous domain, before the coming of that... woman! She claims lands that should belong to Mother Church, as their original possessors dictated in their wills, recently unearthed in our archives!"

Fury filled the porcine clergyman's eyes as he considered the land's taxes and tithes, now lost to him forever. "Should your band free these benighted lands, 'tis certain that you would be well rewarded. Perhaps we could encourage the Crown to recognize your great deeds with a grant of lands and titles."
Go to Comment
Random Villages
Locations  (City)   (Any)
Wulfhere's comment on 2007-08-26 11:09 PM
Prallinsford
This stockaded hamlet is built on small islands of dry land in the midst of a substantial floodplain. When the spring rains come, the surrounding land is flooded for weeks, with narrow raised footpaths the only ways into or out of the village. While it would seem that they should have plenty of water, they keep hundreds of barrels of drinking water stored away in large barns, for the floodwaters often carry a form of typhus. The local water is only potable before the floods come. Go to Comment
NPCs out of History
NPCs  (Campaign)   (Knowledge/Lore)
Wulfhere's comment on 2006-11-25 01:55 PM
Anyone making a legendary NPC should look at this first, to see if their NPC can compete with the wild men of history. Go to Comment
Music during a game
Articles  (At Table)   (Game Mastering)
Wulfhere's comment on 2006-09-24 05:45 PM
I'll find this helpful when I next look to expand my assortment of background music. I've found that once your players are used to which music you tend to cue for different scenes, they will react just to the music: "Oh, crap! It's Duel of the Fates! I start casting all my 'buff' spells!" Go to Comment
City Image - Pier Point
Locations  (City)   (Any)
Wulfhere's comment on 2006-09-26 09:44 PM
An overview of a basic city area, written clearly. The city has a few interesting quirks, particularly the inhabitants' efforts to prevent another destructive fire, but needs more detail to make it come alive.

I like the glowing stone that is used as illumination and the nautical ranks that denote authority in the city.

I am curious about the Anchors secret society and how they operate. Go to Comment
Qwards
Lifeforms  (Intelligent Species)   (Other)
Wulfhere's comment on 2007-03-01 10:43 AM
Not bad. They remind me of the Watchmaker caste from Niven and Pournelle's The Mote in God's Eye.

We're used to thinking of technology as something modern, but these "squishy" little fellows would find ways to use medieval technology as well. Remember, that in the middle ages they had water-powered mills, tidal mills, and windmills. Renaissance armorers hammered iron ingots with powered triphammers, then polished the planished surface of the finished steel with wooden polishing disks covered with abrasives.

Creatures such as these would gravitite to such places as mills, foundries, and other centers of industry, where they could quietly tap into the resources there to scavenge a comfortable living.

I imagine that they could be intimidated into making a variety of nasty little traps for a villain's lair, as well. Go to Comment
Elves of Tallarn
Lifeforms  (Intelligent Species)   (Any)
Wulfhere's comment on 2007-03-09 12:19 PM
An interesting take on elves... There's really no reason why the sexual practices of fantastic species should reflect human customs. Some of the Kiannae could be quite female in appearance, to the point of having traditionally female bone structure and features, such as breasts. To another race, they would be almost completely indistinguishable from females.

It also helps address the question of how elves regulate their numbers with their tremendous lifespans: If many of the elvish couples are not actually a male with a female, that would reduce reproduction to a fraction of what it otherwise could be. Go to Comment
The Duerga - A New Look At Dwarves
Lifeforms  (Intelligent Species)   (Underground)
Wulfhere's comment on 2006-12-09 09:05 PM
In the original myths, dwarves were often not the anthropomorphized creatures we remember from Snow White or The Hobbit. They were spirits of the earth, elementals.

The Duerga are as much dwarves as any other variations on the theme.

As a side note, "Duergr" (The last "r" is silent) was the Old Norse word for dwarf. Go to Comment
More Realistic Horses and their care and maintainence
Articles  (Resource)   (Gaming - In General)
Wulfhere's comment on 2007-01-04 05:36 PM
A wealth of information! Go to Comment
'The Speed Limit is ' - about Magic Items
Articles  (Rules and Advice)   (Game Mastering)
Wulfhere's comment on 2007-02-26 02:02 PM
All of these things depend on personal taste. If you want a game that basically boils down to Medieval-technology superheros, where mighty wizards and warriors challenge the gods themselves, boatloads of powerful magic is almost required. In a game of this sort, a horde of orcs is merely a chance for the PCs to show off how "bad" they are. They aren't in danger, so they can show off.

On the other hand, if you want a game where the PCs function on a more human scale, magic has to be "amped down". I recommend that GMs never give out any item that doesn't have a detailed history and role in the game. Creative players will eventually find a way to make use of even the most trivial of items, so be careful to build limits into each item, so that it can be dealt with if it becomes a problem. Go to Comment
Not Just Rolling Dice: A Fight Scene
Articles  (Rules and Advice)   (Gaming - In General)
Wulfhere's comment on 2011-01-18 03:34 PM


The GM's attitude makes a huge difference in the players' style.  Make efforts to draw them out, encouraging detailed descriptions of their activity.  Remember, they have as much stake in the game as you do:  Incorporate their descriptions of the environment into yours.  If someone says "I swarm atop the table, then leap forward, grabbing the chandelier and swinging forward to deliver a powerful flying kick to the enemy sergeant!" don't be the guy who responds "Actually, this area is lit by candles on wall sconces, so you can't.  Additionally, such an attack has a -4 improvised weapon penalty and your foe gets an attack of opporunity."



This doesn't mean that you encourage munchkins trying to unfairly seek advantage, instead rewarding cool play by eliminating penalties that might otherwise shut it down.  If they don't serve to make things work better, toss 'em!  If your PCs start abusing their newfound freedom, shut them down. "I may have said you could use frozen fish as boomerangs, but the supply of ideally curved fish has dwindled."



Additionally, concrete rewards make it easy to motivate your players toward more cinematic play.  Give each player some tokens they can use to reward the other players for cool descriptions and heroic roleplay.  Keep a few yourself, and let the players know they can only use the tokens given them by others, not the ones they started with.  These tokens might represent extra "action points", bonuses to die rolls, free rerolls, or other minor benefits. 


Go to Comment
Not Just Rolling Dice: A Fight Scene
Articles  (Rules and Advice)   (Gaming - In General)
Wulfhere's comment on 2011-01-18 03:36 PM
Look up the game "Feng Shui", published by Atlas games. It has many suggestions for running more cinematic fight scenes. Go to Comment
Famous Gaming Laws Axioms and Principles
Articles  (Rules and Advice)   (Gaming - In General)
Wulfhere's comment on 2010-03-04 10:18 PM
This handy collection of advice will go into one of my "Philosophy" files, pages I print out and keep handy. When I'm trying to compose an adventure, thoughts like these guide my path.

May this sapling grow into a mighty oak! Go to Comment
Finghaart's Sausages
Locations  (Establishment)   (Any)
Wulfhere's comment on 2007-03-13 01:38 PM
Shades of Sweeney Todd, but perhaps a bit more squeamish...

As long as there are still dogs and vagrants in the neighborhood, he can't be TOO bad.

Ah, Finghart's Special Sausages! Spicy! Go to Comment
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