(From the chat yesterday:) An interesting dilemma would be for the cult's victim to be someone that the PCs already despise, so that they're tempted to let the cult finish its sacrifice...
"I'm sorry, Captain Strongold, but after you framed us for treason, we kind of lost our motivation to save you from the cultists of Bloodthorn. Bye, bye!"
Alternatively, one of the cultists could be needed to complete a prophecy or otherwise save the land. The player characters might be forced to make a deal with the cult in order to prevent a worse evil from rising...
"Only the Death Rite of Bloodthorn will keep the arch-demon Ethalioc within his prison! Dare you allow the terror of ages to escape?"Go to Comment
Well written and usable, but he's not my favorite among the Sorrows.
I think that I was looking for the sense of "wrongness" that the sorrows usually carry. Ran is a near-immortal, insatiably curious child, but I don't understand what singled him out to become a sorrow. The other sorrows had a sense of doom or destiny driving them toward their ultimate fate, but I don't feel that from Ran. Go to Comment
I like the names, especially "Emperor Haius the Magnificently Obese". The plot is suitably "twisty" with several interesting surprises.
There were a few details that I found hard to credit, though: If "This is the tomb of an ancient knight, later made politician", who "fought in countless battles", I would expect the fact that he was a horse to be remembered, unless the tomb was truly ancient and forgotten.
Additionally, the ghost is sweeping the dusty shrine, moving the dust, so why is the shrine so dusty? A recent windstorm? The wrath of the dust gods? The ghost just came back from a trip to Florida?
Lastly, giant spiders are recommended foes for the shrine, but I would expect the ghost to interfere with any webs they build, so maybe something else would be more appropriate. Go to Comment
This model represents a good balance of activities for building adventures. If you want to build a larger scenario, just repeat the steps a few times over: The finale simply becomes the midpoint of the new structure. Go to Comment
This one came together very well. I'm not overfond of plots that "shanghai" the PCs by having something bad happen to them, but this one should work well as a way out of a scenario that ended in a TPK (Total Party Kill). Go to Comment
I like the way that the plot and its causes are clearly outlined. All the needed information is present, it was easy to read and follow, and it could be easily incorporated into a game.
In some parts of Europe during the Renaissance, those reporting suspected witches were given a fat reward, which caused the whole process to become corrupt. An escalating cycle of opportunism and vengeance sometimes began, as accused witches dragged down those who had accused others. This process could grow out of hand, such as happened in a German village where half of the population was executed for witchcraft and heresy.
Despite this, the cliche of the corrupt and treacherous witchhunter is one that I'm not terribly fond of. Witch hysterias arose for various reasons, tearing apart communities as they struggled to deal with phenomena that they didn't understand, such as baffling, mysterious diseases and hysterical, psychosomatic disorders.
The witchhunter overcome by lust, who accuses a woman of witchcraft to cover his own shame: I've seen that done over and over. I guess that what I'd prefer is a sincere and honest witchhunter, who sees the superstitious practices of those in rural villages and concludes that the place is a nest of heresy and "heathen" practices. Something as simple as cutting an apple into top and bottom halves and handing half to one's sweetheart or hanging a broom over the doorway could be seen as signs of folk magic, while marrying at the "wrong" time could be seen as courting the favor of "pagan" spirits. Go to Comment
One of my characters is phobic about big celebrations, because whenever the attends one, things seem to go horribly wrong....
These festivities could be the setting for a dozen different sort of adventures, or could just be used as background, allowing the GM to subtly include a great deal of cultural and political information without blatant (and boring) exposition. Go to Comment
In an essay on time travel, the science-ficton author Larry Niven postulated that in any universe where time travel was possible, it would never be developed. His reasoning was that in such a universe, people would travel in time until they intervened in the timestream in such a way as to catastrophically interfere with their culture's ability to travel in time. Once time travel became an impossibility, the timeline would no longer change. Go to Comment
A good overview showing the relationships beetween the different portions of Valadaar's world, this article is likely to remain a work-in-progress for many years: Hopefully, there will always be something else that can be added to such a text.
I look forward to seeing the eventual Encyclopedia Neyathian. Go to Comment
Deep within the subterranean domain of Van Torxus, the Li'vah scuttled and dug, endlessly driven to claim more for their master. Dread gripped their feeble minds, fear of the vengeful elven mage that had created them and could destroy them at a whim.
I really like these little subterranean constructs. They remind me of my blind undersea race, theTrench Dwellers. As Manfred suggested, I got the impression that the Li'vah feel emotion, but I might be reading more into the sub than was intended.
The Li'vah have personality, even though they could stand more detailing. I also appreciate the unusual behavior they exhibit, raiding local villages. Do they need something from the villages, or were they ordered to raid by their cruel master just to sow panic and chaos? They have powers of illusion, but these seem to be quite limited. Perhaps they lack the imagination needed to make more effective use of their powers? As creatures without a sense of sight, how do they perceive these illusions?
Their understanding of the world around them might be dramatically different from that of most creatures. As creatures with very limited perceptions, they might only feel safe in enviromaents where they can sense the solid barriers protecting them: In the open, foes outside the range of their perception would be a serious threat.
The Li'vah were crafted of greyish stone and Fire Clay: Could you explain what fire clay is? Go to Comment
Pilot, Piper, Explorer of Unusual Mental States, few space dwarves can compare with mighty Redhatch! Even fewer would want to!
In the radiation hell that was the surface of Gemma II, homeworld of the long-extinct species known as the Predathien, even the resilient Salvorathans could barely survive for long. It was there, in the midst of one of the lost culture’s incomprehensible places of worship, that they found the Pipes. Most of the party died right there, shredded by the alien artifact’s unearthly power, but the drug-addled assistant pilot named Scarlat Redhatch survived. Strangely drawn to the bizarre musical weapon, he wrenched it from its primordial tomb and seized it for his own…
...and the rest, as they say, is history!
Master of the Pipes
Standing a towering 4’6” in his gunmetal blue trousers, gleaming golden codpiece and platform boots, the black-skinned Salvorathan named Scarlat Hedhatch is covered with intricate tattoos in phosphorescent shades of red and gold that perfectly match his striped hair and beard. The intricate designs are almost impossible for the eye to follow, as they cross his bare chest, weaving drunkenly in and out of each other. Even Scarlat can’t make sense of the bizarre images inscribed upon his skin, images he sketched from dreams he received soon after acquiring his unique instrument, the Predathien Pipes.
The Pandimensional Pipes of the Predathien
A bizarre agglomeration of dozens of gleaming, golden tubes protrudes from a gleaming red synthleather bag of Redhatch's devising, transforming the alien instruments into a sort of bagpipe. Winding in uncanny undulations, the instrument's tubes seem to fade in and out of visibility, stretching into alien dimensions and realities. The unearthly pipes follow no comprehensible system, instead following the patterns of madness-inducing, non-Euclidean symmetries.
A less powerful set of lungs would be inadequate to provide the air needed for this inefficiently converted device, but Redhatch’s lungs are far more potent than a normal Salvorathan’s: For years, Scarlat has been recklessly ingesting hundreds of strange alien drugs in his quest for "celestial oneness" and "deeper reality, man!"
The bizarre chemical barrage that he has exposed himself to has somehow caused his lungs to mutate, causing him to have twice the lung capacity of others of his species.
An alien artifact of awe-inspiring might, Scarlat's bagpipes are more than a mere musical instrument. In Scarlat’s hands, it can not only deliver blasts of nearly deafening cacaphony, but he can shape the device's alien energies into lethal blasts of gravitic force, serving as a gravity lance with the power to crush objects and foes with hundreds of gravities of shattering power. Powerful enough to level city blocks, the pipes are also precise and accurate enough to burst the lids off of storage canisters without harming the contents in any way (...an ability that Scarlat enjoys displaying with distressing frequency, especially when meeting new people in foreign spaceports).
Please Fasten Your Accel Harnesses, Dudes!
Scarlat Redhatch, the most skillful pilot in the quad... the syst... on the shi... in the band, regularly pilots the intrepid members of the Tungsten-Trousered Troubadours in their travels, despite the fact that interstellar authorities revoked his pilot’s license years before. This occasionally causes them some problems, as he has a tendency to flee from any ship that appears to be on official business. Fortunately, fans of the band have become accustomed to occasional delays while the band’s members are bailed out of the local hoosegow.
At any given time (Particularly when piloting: Flying makes him nervous), Scarlat is certain to be intoxicated in some way. He is particularly fond of opening himself up to "new experiences", and will eagerly sample bizarre alien substances. Occasionally, these intoxicants will broaden his perceptions, but usually they just leave him befuddled and courting a hellacious hangover. When he can't get access to strange alien highs, he'll be addled by more ordinary (if not more legal) substances. Go to Comment