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Noremdar, The Vast World of the Creator
Articles  (Fiction)   (Gaming - In General)
axlerowes's comment on 2015-07-29 11:16 AM
One of the intellectual exercises implicate in writing in high-fantasy genre fiction (such as D&D/Tolkien-esque fantasy settings) is the tweaking of the creation myth. When we step on to the page of these settings certain things are already laid out; we have mystical elves, violent orks, magic, good, evil, gods in both flavors, hard-working dwarves and everything else listed in the player’s handbook. Some writers/DMs have a fun time remaking the Orks or the dwarves, but I enjoy reading a well thought out retro-fitted myth. This a good McDLT mythos here in as much as you have an evil side and a good side and you keep em both separate.

The definitions of good and evil here though lack a little of the double edged ambiguity I like to see in good speculative fiction. It is nice to have philosophies that force the reader/characters to think about value judgements. And to be fair you do have a little bit of that here with regard to the curse that was laid on to the Orks (and other heavies). They took no action to precipitate the curse thus do they deserve it? Also since all the power seems to rest with the creator and his whims, things seem to be open to change.

An interesting plot could revolve around the dark god and the creator having a reconciliation that results in the light god getting placed on the outs. Match this event to the story of a group of PCs/characters that worship said light god and then force them to decide what is at the root of their holy fidelity. Do they agree with the god of light even when he is no longer the chosen son and his star is no longer ascendant? If you intended such a happening to be impossible then you should rewrite this piece to take out all discussions of choice in the hands of the gods.

Finally, I say this last point with the greatest humility and full acknowledgement that I am no better, but there are an obscene number of spelling errors, grammatical errors and just plain broken sentences in this piece. It genuinely disrupts the message and story.
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Compatible Time Travel
Articles  (Rules and Advice)   (Players)
axlerowes's comment on 2015-07-20 01:23 AM
This is very well presented and well thought out article on using time based abilities is n roleplaying games. I like how you thoughtfully take in consideration the pragmatic requirements of running a table top game. I like how you suggest using Presage mostly to make yourself look cool.

Time lapse seems dangerously close to a save point ability though.

Overall nice discussion that goes deep and straight into the tabletop rather than dressing itself in literature and winking at the table top from across the room. Slick presentation as well. Go to Comment
Tangrams (or Seven Piece Puzzles)
Dungeons  (Any)   (Puzzles)
axlerowes's comment on 2015-07-11 11:29 PM
I remember Tangrams, I didn't know they were Chinese! I should have put these into games years ago. Good idea. Go to Comment
The Maw Installation
Locations  (TransWorld)   (Space)
axlerowes's comment on 2015-07-16 11:27 AM

This is a fun idea. A little known place where they build real life versions of the space craft from popular science fiction (aka the conceit from Galaxy Quest raised to nth degree). That would be a great idea seed. You have taken that idea seed a step farther and tried to realize the Maw in the cosmic era setting. To this end you outline the numerical dimensions of the place, drop is some proper nouns, link it to other cosmic era content and the list some more numerical dimensions. You also add some choice details that really put steps forward towards immersion in the world. I like how each “pod” has its own insignia and that you explained (in your first blurb) how the Maw is subtle part of the collective consciousness. You passed on some easy laughs by not including Pod 6, and writing about “those jerks from Pod-6”.

But I don’t think the Maw is fully realized. You give us a lot of numbers and often give us dry impersonal facts. Numbers that might be more descriptive if you told us the ratio clones to people, the ratio droids to people, the ratio of sheep to people and so on. This kind of reminds of the RPG you ran and when scouted the archeology you told me the design history the archeology but nothing about the current state of the archeology. You are just throwing facts up there rather than “mechanically” using those facts to build a point.

There are 2000 workers on Aleph station, but so what? Is it cramped? Do they monitor their droids from one central control room like NASA or are the labs and departments modular? Is there a cafeteria? Which clones are these? (I hope the the crew is 75% Shipwrecks and Roadblocks) Yes we could answer these questions but the gaps don’t fit with pedantic tone of the piece. You scale down the size of the ships for what? Is it going to ruin your RPG if the star destroyer is over 2 kilometers long? Point is you tell us a lot about what this place needs to be to fit into the cosmic era setting, but you don’t tell us what the place is actually like. It is impossible that your imagination begins with a ship we have already seen in another and ends with a number. I assume there is stuff you planned that didn't make into the post. You mention a shipwright in the blurb, while that could be a description of the place, I assume denotes specific person. Did you intended to write up the chief designer of the station? So how about some personalities or people in here? A place where a bunch of dorks have a huge budget to realize their geeky daydreams? There has to be interesting culture on that station. When and how did the Maw transition from clandestine ship tending to think tank?

All these fact about numbers, discussions of budgets and resources bring up another question. Do you intend for economic game play to be part of the cosmic era? Such rule sets have been a part of many RPG systems. In second ed D&D you had the castle guide which allowed you to budget construction of a castle and tax the peasants. . Battletech has a whole arm of core rules for managing a unit, paying salaries and upkeep costs. Westend Star Wars had the Smuggler’s guide which detailed rules for speculative trading and the economics of playing a working space merchant. I think developing your system along those lines might be fun for you.

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Din-Bak and Barbo's Bestiary
Lifeforms  (Fauna)   (Any)
axlerowes's comment on 2015-07-29 11:17 AM
This is a fantastic frame work on which to hang any number of gaming factoids. Via the voice of your globe-trotting fantasy zoologists you could unpack an entire gaming world. This goes beyond just animals in that you can (and do) describe cultures, personalities and geographies in a much more lively manner than the all too common encyclopedia style listing of facts. If you wanted to frame this as a stand alone work of fiction I think it would be easy to pin a thread of conflict to each of these chapters with another chapter offering some sort of resolution. I enjoyed reading this and immediately day dreamed my only little story for your characters. Which is what we want from gaming fiction isn’t it? Go to Comment
Chinese Mythical Life forms
Articles  (Resource)   (Gaming - In General)
axlerowes's comment on 2015-07-11 12:15 AM
I think there is more to say in the introduction of this codex than what you put here. A little discourse on the nature of the mythology would be welcome. Go to Comment
Han Yu (Cold Jade)
Items  (Art and Music)   (Magical)
axlerowes's comment on 2015-07-11 12:12 AM
I really liked this idea, it is good footnote for other stories and it was so subtle, like hypothermia itself. I can best sum up the post by saying this is a COOL and WELL PLAYED. Go to Comment
Shuang Gu Jian (Double Branched Sword)
Items  (Melee Weapons)   (Combat)
axlerowes's comment on 2015-07-11 12:03 AM
Pretty solid stuff, I am not familiar with it so I am not sure what is historical and what is adapted. I liked the stories and found this a fun read. I suggest some restructuring. The first section is hard to follow because all the proper nouns (names) are not defined. The crafting and ownership history are also hard to follow. Perhaps you could focus on the appearance and properties in section one, and fold the crafting and ownership history into the other sections.

I always feel like if you are going nonfiction on us you should include references (wikipedia is a dubious reference). Go to Comment
Plasmid Lifeforms
Lifeforms  (Third Kingdom)   (Any)
axlerowes's comment on 2015-07-11 12:06 AM
Solid introduction to the concept. Go to Comment
Cosmic Era: Avengers
NPCs  (Major)   (Combative)
axlerowes's comment on 2015-07-10 11:19 PM
I reminded of something Pieh wrote back in to 2010, I will just repost his comment...

"I'm not sure there are any redeeming qualities in this one. I think the last line hits it on the head. It's almost like I was handed an overly generic, staple, cookie-cutter, bland, stereotypical wizard, then given some totally useless information. When given the information I looked up and said "Whut?" then I was told: Oh... Just act like Gandalf."

Just act like Robert Downey Jr. Go to Comment
Ulysses Crane
NPCs  (Major)   (Criminal/Espionage)
axlerowes's comment on 2015-07-10 11:16 PM
This is really good character, excellent combination of bits and pieces to give us both a feeling the visceral nature of the character and the psychological depth of the person. You tell us both how he feels and how he smells. Excellent stuff. I like the style of asides in his voice and the content text in the god's eye voice.

The only thing is you could have been more "mechanical" or disciplined in the write up. For example in paragraph 1 you call you him a realist and pragmatist when describing his appearance. You toss in the game use suggestions into his background and some the sentences are beneath you. But this all minor stuff, really a great character.I find it distracting and unnecessary to reference the Avengers other than it is impressive to see what you built from that brief scene. Go to Comment
The Fleshspikes
Items  (Melee Weapons)   (Magical)
axlerowes's comment on 2015-07-10 11:03 PM

Pretty darn good, I enjoyed the pulpy tale at the beginning. The phrases and pacing dug into the genre like a flesh spike into The Storm Kings thigh. But then you switched it up by giving us another pulpy little story. This second story really doesn't connect to the first story, and thus lacks bite (get it? teeth, bite...bah). I like the mini world you presented and enjoyed reading this.

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Cosmic Era: Predator Tech
Items  (Equipment Listing)   (Combat)
axlerowes's comment on 2015-07-19 09:51 PM

The term Yuatja is that something you made up or is that from some other source material?

I am of several minds about how to comment on this one.

First thought is whether to critique comment or vote at all. If one comments on something and the recipients gets upset then there is no point. This website is all about personal enjoyment and if you strip them of that than you shouldn’t be here. People often say critiquing is okay and necessary as long as done nicely. But isn’t it nicer not to critique at all and just offer blanket praise? Light hearted criticism is often worse cause people might take it personally. This particular case is rough because it is always rough to make negative comments about the big guys on the website. In the internet world those guys have the power to be bullys and push you around or keep you from participating. Indeed the first time I ever offered Scras and Muro serious criticism I was so worried about doing it I sent it to them as a PM. They were cool about though and I later posted and voted. Critiquing and voting is the game of the citadel. But if push comes to shove if somebody asked me to give them a higher vote, or change my comment I would and I have.

Additionally, in the case of Scras, he always makes a point to say that he writes most of this for himself out of some compulsion. I get that. If there are four winds of the citadel than self-indulgent post has to be one of them. If somebody is posting just for them then maybe should you get off their lawn? But if one posts it up here and not in the forums than it must be because one wanted that piece to be evaluated.

Finally, I am also worried that on this website that I am the guy playing too hard. I am that guy playing full court D in pick up basketball, stealing bases in softball or blocking on the run in flag football. It is always a debate whether to try and be brief and light-hearted, but that can be ambiguous. And perhaps Scras and the cosmic era are special and deserve more attention.

One of the risks I have seen when you write for the cosmic era is that you spit out banal regurgitations of the inspirational material. In this particular post you simply describe the items from Predator movie. You mention a few things about the cosmic era (it could drive you insane or what have you) but you don’t integrate it. You already have arcano tech as a concept that give you carte blanche for most sci-fi stuff. Above, just like in your recent Cosmic Era Avenger’s post, all you do is describe the characters from the movies with new techno babble rationales for their powers and abilities (though I did think /Hulk, equipment: pants/ was funny). Contrast this to what you have done with G.I. Joe. You have taken the material and visual minutia of the Cobra faction from tv show and turned into a subversive and sympathetic terrorist group in the cosmic era. None of the story points are the same, but just a few details are kept, the window dressing is kept. I make have the logo of Cobra but it is really Amerika Command. It is a truly re-imagining. You failed to do that with the Predator tech stuff and the Avengers and thus you waste our time and yours. People like to read articles about stuff they already know, it makes them feel connected and comfortable. It sometimes fun to see lists of your favorite movie villains or the coolest movie guns. Your stuff on the Avengers and the Predator tech is fun in that regard, but not as cosmic era a post. I feel this whole discussion, your brain storming of with regard to how to integrate the tech, would be better suited for the forums.

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7 Things Wrong with Transformers: Age of Extinction
Articles  (Humor/ Editorial)   (Gaming - In General)
axlerowes's comment on 2015-04-07 08:06 AM
It would be great if you had this much interest in and expended as much thought on the work of your fellow strolenites. Go to Comment
30 Barbarians
NPCs  (Extras-Horde)   (Combative)
axlerowes's comment on 2015-04-09 07:21 AM
This is really fun. Reminds of the bio blurbs on the back of action figure packaging. I like the connected nature of this ready made horde, I like the use of archetypes and cliche, and the write up is smooth and accessible. Go to Comment
Perimeter Pod
Items  (Ranged Weapons)   (Combat)
axlerowes's comment on 2015-02-18 09:33 PM
This seems about right, another niche filled. Go to Comment
TRANSFORMERS RPG: Part 1
Articles  (Rules and Advice)   (Gaming - Genre)
axlerowes's comment on 2015-02-19 12:18 PM
One of the constant concerns when writing anything, is whether or not ideas are presented clearly. Did you understand the Rank system for Decepticons? Go to Comment
TRANSFORMERS RPG: Part 1
Articles  (Rules and Advice)   (Gaming - Genre)
axlerowes's comment on 2015-02-19 03:21 PM


Well I was thinking the rank concept would cover the morale check thing, decepticons without a clear leader fall apart

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TRANSFORMERS RPG: Part 1
Articles  (Rules and Advice)   (Gaming - Genre)
axlerowes's comment on 2012-02-15 12:39 PM
"Each transformer needs a size.

Size does not mean more power or more gadgets. It usually means that the bot is stronger, tougher, and more intimidating though. "
Size is included in the power rating, i understand what you mean about power not being size and i think the difference here is just word choice. As I have it here (or will have it here, every time I edit this something else is lost, its F**KING wit me ed.) Power is related to size, base damage done and base damage absorbed. Here is the listing of the size/power choices. That I can't to go into the main post.
A: Mega: Pretty self explanatory, if you turn into something that holds multiple other transformers. Omega Supreme, Metroplex, Scorponok
B: Max: These are like front lines units but for some reason in the toys and the in the narrative of the show they were just a little more robust and powerful. This includes the leaders, Galvatron, Megatron, Optimus Prime, Grim Lock
C: Front Line: These would be units such as Hound, Wheeljack, Hoist, Soundwave,
D: Secondary Unit: Smaller but still effective transformers: Bumblebee, Cosmos, Powerglide, and the Insecticons
E: Extension Units: These are transformers that don’t exist without another transformer. All the transforming cassette tapes would fall into this category and maybe Reflector.


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TRANSFORMERS RPG: Part 1
Articles  (Rules and Advice)   (Gaming - Genre)
axlerowes's comment on 2012-02-15 12:43 PM
"Each transformer should have a motivation in addition to a purpose. This will help explain why they make each decision. Optimus leads the autobots, but he is willing to die to save one transformer. Starscream wants to please or overthrow Megatron, but he usually just obeys his orders."

I have a step D to character creation, I called it the character's Quirk or Bugs/disadvantages. Every transformer has one. Maybe the character has to speak in rhyme, maybe the character has constant ruthless ambition or maybe the character has a "simple brain". Go to Comment
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