A well done article, that raises a good way for gamemasters to differentiate their games from the run-of-the-mill.
Although Swords are the "Weapons of Kings", many other weapons have comparable ceremonial and symbolic value in different cultures. The ancient Celts and some Germanic tribes would give a spear and a shield to a young man when he was accepted as a man and a warrior of his people. The Mongols were attached to their composite bows, which would often be covered with fancifully tooled and dyed leather and have a matching bow case or scabbard to protect the weapon when it was not in use. The Persian Empire and the Holy Roman Empire both issued maces to officers as symbols of their authority, as did the Babylonians millenia before them.
Any of these weapons can make an attractive alternate to the more commonplace sword. Go to Comment
A handy critter to think of when Hallowe'en rolls around. If I get a horror-themed game going next month, my players may discover what omen birds are capable of.
As harbingers of death, there is a possible supernatural element that can be played up: What would cause a flock of these birds to obsessively hunt a particular individual or village? That sounds like a curse to me! While we might look for naturalistic explanations, our less scientific ancestors would see this as the darkest of witchcraft. Go to Comment
"I have a rather demanding commission for your firm. I have several styles of floor tiles that I would like to see produced, with quite specific patterns stamped upon them. As you can see from my specifications, I also require that a few unusual pigments be used to glaze the tiles."
"I know that it will entail some extra expense, but I am prepared to compensate your firm accordingly. Each tile must be made EXACTLY to our specifications, after all, these will be placed in the homes of some of the city's most prominent families"
Thus, the Mage Varenius began his scheme to place an arcane septahedron of summoning in several mansions belonging to the land's most powerful nobles.... Go to Comment
A city like Lazhkmazhon would be likely to have a large seasonal population, the "Summer People", who would maintain two residences. In the warm months, they would live and work in the mountain city, then when the autumn winds called to them, they would travel to the lowlands to pass the winter. Go to Comment
The treasure might not be as valuable as it appeared, but to a medieval tech base, the glass itself would be valuable. A room where a valuable, artistically crafted window was on display might form such a trap without any intent on the part of the room's creator. Of course, flammable gas is unlikely in such an instance, but bad air is likely. For example, lamps may have been left behind the glass, burning until they used up all the oxygen. Go to Comment
A subtle curse, but implacable in its effects. I can see this thing falling into the hands of a powerful leader, who could wield it to build undead into an army to overthrow his enemies, only discovering its curse too late. Someone who hoped to command the undead to leave his lands could instead find himself plagued with them as they return for their vengeance. Go to Comment
Love is one of the most powerful forces possible, so I would expect an organization like this to be supported by some governments or religions, who would seek to control the power they wield. They might be completely aboveboard in one region, but actively hunted in the next.
The political impact of their actions could be significant; they might be seen as agents of whatever powers are their patrons unless they adopted a policy of strict political neutrality. Go to Comment
A credible, reasonably detailed town that leaves me hungry for more information.
While some hooks for adventure are provided (the nearby ruins and the nests of the vile "blood dodger" parasites), no information was provided about the human conflicts to be found in such a place. Additional history about the ruins and details about blood dodgers would be helpful.
A variety of conflicts would doubtlessly be encountered in such a town:
- While the Gison (Dwarves) are friendly neighbors, perhaps some of them object to the townfolk's activities? After all the Gison have done for the town, I would imagine they might be annoyed if their well-intentioned advice and direction is disregarded.
- The military veterans that make up much of the population may encourage strict order and crush out attempts at crime, but they will have the same weaknesses and passions as anyone else. Surely there are issues that these people disagree over? Conflicts where personal liberties are trodden upon in the name of "the common good" come to mind. Some of the town's leadership might abuse their positions for personal advantage.
- Should some threat endanger the land, its rulers may need the city to send a military force in response. Because this city is so heavily militarized, the ruler may demand an unusually large number of troops respond from there. After all, they have committed substantial resources to keeping the town safe: Shouldn't the town return the favor? This may cause hardship and danger for the town, gutted of defenders. Go to Comment
I took a look at the related subs that you had linked already, but I was considering its "local flavor" and how it would be used in a campaign. I like the basic idea, but it left me wanting more information about the local people, what they do, and how they could be used to spark adventures. Go to Comment
More good, solid tips that GMs would be wise to remember.
In my time as a GM, the items and magic that are most often underestimated are those that give information or facilitate movement. It's easy to see how a potent combat item will impact the game, where an item that gives broad powers of detection or overcomes a common obstacle may actually have a broader impact. Go to Comment
A handy little plant. I would expect the lichen to only grow on the victims of certain types of petrifying creatures. The idea that the "stoner" carries it as part of their system sounds convincing and also summons up some unpleasant images:
"From your vantage point on the bluff, you can make out the gorgon approaching the statues that once were your cohorts. She begins licking them all over their bodies."
Vengeance is Best Served...
C.) With Fava Beans and a Nice Chianti
One excellent reward for a job well done is Revenge. If your villain is suitably odious, your players will get a great deal of enjoyment just from taking him down. This feeling is especially strong when they were impotent to strike at the villain in an earlier scene or adventure. A little bit of frustration early on can pay off greatly when the tables turn in the finale. I've seen players come to their feet cheering when a particularly nasty villain went down. Go to Comment
This has potential. While it skirts on the edge of some cliches, it doesn't jump in and wallow in them.
It appears that the author had a strong vision of the decadent city brought to ruin; he presented his vision, but didn't answer many of the questions that the introductory tale inspired.
Knightscream, describe the weapon as if the tale of Delgora Maldine's fall had not been included. Have a friend read it and get their input as well. It's much harder to see your own errors and omissions than to see others. Go to Comment
The Steel Cathexis most resembles a parody of all those massive, clumsy swords featured in modern fantasy, not just video games. I've always been scornful of characters in comic books, gaming art, or miniatures that wield absurdly large weapons; this item is the perfect punishment for that "bigger is better" image.
I like it; I can picture some powerfully-thewed barbarian waving around his treasured weapon at the slightest provocation, eager to show off his clumsy-looking blade.
It would benefit from more background information: It seems too powerfully enchanted to be a commonplace item, as a previous commentor had suggested. I picture a master weaponsmith, a grizzled curmudgeon brusquely ordered to produce a weapon so stoutly constructed that it would be virtually impervious to battle damage. Aggravated by his patron's tone, he decides to craft a weapon as lethal and desirable as it is homely... Go to Comment