Actually, this could be most useful as an example of a legendary ideal fortress...
"Yes in the time of the Great Kings, when all men were ruled by wisdom and justice, the greatest of all strongholds was the Fortress of Haven. There, under the beneficient guidance of the Holy Patriarch of Light, did 15,000 paladins gather from all the lands of men. They committed themselves to good works and the study of the ancient lore, swearing nevermore to bring the sword against the peaceful kingdoms," intoned the storyteller, as he related the ancient and well-embroidered tale. "Someday, my son, the Great Kings will return to lead us anew, and wisdom and justice shall return to the benighted lands."
As a "real-world" fortress, it needs substantial rethinking. A stronghold similar to what you describe would be a city unto itself, with many thousands of additional people to provide the basic functions of society. A force of 17,000 would exceed the number of troops fielded by entire kingdoms in the Middle Ages, so a city that supported such a force of trained fighters would need a population numbering in the 100,000s, rivaling population centers such as Florence or London.
Consider that the medieval Crusaders numbered no more than 1,800 knights (with numerous other personnel present). Assuming that these 15,000 paladins were drawn from a large region, they would represent the total fighting force of a MASSIVE population: Approximately 15 million people, rivaling medieval France in numbers.
Details about the function of the city are called for: How do they conduct trade? Is it self-sufficient in the event of a seige? What sort of water supply and food stockpiles does it have? How does it deal with its wastes? Go to Comment
This would benefit from having more attention given to the situation that presents the player characters and its aftermath. The plot stops giving information the instant the characters meet the guy.
I'm not sure that I understand it properly, either: The Sentinel, a mighty warrior and woodsman, travels to discover the secrets of his birth. His quest takes him across the sea, to a strange foreign land. Then... "the Sentinel having his skills of sight and noticing things of others, he finds that the Druid had put him at the doorstep and in rage kills, the Druid..."
I'm confused! Was he betrayed by the Druid? Was he possessed by a half-remembered vision from the past? Is he just a Psycho?
After that, the player characters arrive. Sentinel begs them for their aid. (Hopefully, he washed the bloodstains off before they arrived.) He is hunted by deadly assassins and ancient demons.
Again, I am confused! Why is this happening? Is he actually the long-lost heir of a powerful noble, hunted by those who currently hold the throne? Could he be the chosen sacrifice of an evil cult? I know that the point of the submission is to present a mysterious stranger, but it helps to have a starting point to launch from. Go to Comment
It just needs a few "twisty bits" added; the details of life among the merfolk that wouldn't occur to us, dwelling on the surface.
What was this fortress built for originally? What was unusual and interesting about it?
Just how do the merfolk acquire their weapons and other items? (I hope to make an island sub where merfolk forge metal items on the surface, but there are doubtlessly other, more imaginative, ways that they could fulfill their needs.)
Do they trade with the local humans? I can picture a complementary human fishing village nearby, a people that has regressed culturally, with numerous taboos and restrictive customs resulting from the need to avoid angering the sea god and the merfolk.
They are determined to keep this site a secret. That must be difficult: How do they protect their secret? Is this a "Bermuda Triangle" type area where many unexplained disappearances have occurred?
What odd cultural quirks do the merfolk have? (The tails are a good start!) Are they “true” merfolk, similar to those found in other areas, or are they the once-human worshippers of the sea god, transformed by his magic when their village was swallowed up? Go to Comment
Actually, by the standards for punishing rebels in the Middle Ages, death by exposure is fairly moderate. Consider Vlad the Impaler, the death of William Wallace, the Catherine Wheel, or Roman Christians who refused to revere the Emperor as a god. One English nobleman was convicted to death by hanging in every city of the land. Normally, hanging snaps the neck, but they were careful to avoid that; they cut him down repeatedly and brought him to the next town to hang again. Depending on your players' comfort level with scenes of extreme violence, you could make the executions quite unpleasant.
If I were running this scenario, I would make sure that the PCs meet the nobleman, his pleasant family, and his soldiers in a friendly context before the execution scene, to make them seem decent people that have been forced into a grim situation by the rebel's intransigence.
Then, I would give evidence in the village that the failure to pay taxes was not entirely the villager's fault. Perhaps there are signs of starvation among the remaining villagers and rebels; their crops failed due to an early frost. The pitiful remaining livestock, seized by the lord's soldiers, is obviously riddled with disease and malnourished. Go to Comment
This is exactly the sort of plot that my combat-maximized half-orc barbarian (whose strongest social skill is brute intimidation) is routinely forced to deal with. Because of that, I'm eager to inflict comparable heartburn upon my players! I love this sort of insanity!
It really could use a thorough going over and refurbishing, though. Go to Comment
I liked Echo's idea, and he was kind enough to let me do a little editing, so I went to town revising poor, unsuspecting Fionna.
She's an interesting, well-detailed character, without the cliches that plague most RPG vampires. She could be a villain, or just as readily, she could be presented more sympathetically, as a character to be saved from her internal demons. Go to Comment
It's not like me to have any criticism of a CP sub, but there were a few details that struck me as discordant: First, if this uber-villainess wants to take over the land, she's sure taking her own sweet time about it. Secondly, if she wants a better body, why hasn't she had one sculpted yet? (I'm picturing the female robot from Metropolis as a starting point.) Is her clockwork technology just not up to the task? She's had 400 years! I would find it more believable if she had acquired a gleaming clockwork body of consummate grace and beauty, which she still sees as hideous, always comparing it to her memories of being an incomparable beauty.
It is an very good sub: I have clearly become spoiled by the Captain's numerous flawless, envy-inspiring subs. Go to Comment
Perhaps the rage effect preceded the druids' falling out: Let's say the lake of rage was where millennia earlier (gleefully ripping off Valadaar's idea!), a legion of demonic Furies were bound into the living stone. The druidic ceremonies on the site were meant to keep the Furies' baleful influence from contaminating the land, but the druids eventually fell under the sway of the very power that they struggled to confine. Overcome by a mood of demonic wrath, they fought until only a handful were left.
As time passes, the spells binding the demons gradually grow weaker and their influence grows stronger... Go to Comment
I really like this! The sort of NPC that could have the players scratching their heads and wondering whether she's on their side or not. On one hand, she seems a sympathetic sort; on the other, her hidden side could make people quite suspicious of her.
She seems as if she lacks a sense of purpose, wandering the planes. I suspect that she would be unconsciously drawn to the areas where her help is needed to restore the balance of the universe. She might not even realize why she has come, as far as she knows, she just felt restless.
If the unique aspects of her weapon were played up, characters might be drawn into a quest to discover its origins, and thus hers. Clerics suspecting what she is might be moved to help her find her own personal balance and restore her health and memory.
The sinister alchemist that held her prisoner is the obvious 'next step in the chain', so information about him would be a welcome sequel to this one. Go to Comment
I've known groups of players that are just what this sort of scenario is supposed to address ("Kill 'em all, let the gods sort them out!"). I've also known groups that were the complete opposite ("We shouldn't attack until we're sure the pirates are going to betray us."). Either extreme is maddening for the GM.
On one hand, if your goal is to broker a cease-fire between two hostile groups, only a fool would start by slaughtering some of the other side to open negotiations. On the other hand, if it's not clear how dangerous the attacking group is, you can't blame the PCs for defending themselves. I've seen scenarios that expected the party to subdue attackers, despite the fact that the party was woefully ill-equipped for such a task.
I am not overfond of the "you meet too many of them to fight" situation. I've been subjected to scenarios that repeatedly surrounded me with overwhelming force to force me to parley. That can become a "rail job", especially when there are compelling roleplaying reasons why the characters wouldn't cooperate with the desired plot. They should at least have the chance to flee ignominiously (and fail the mission). Go to Comment