Strolen\s Citadel content. 
30 Vampires
Lifeforms  (Intelligent Species)   (Any)
axlerowes's comment on 2011-02-17 06:29 AM

My first thought when I saw this list was "Why on earth do we need an accounting of vampires?" Ever since Ann Rand re-wrote the vampire myth (though I think perhaps Blacula 2 deserves some credit for the heroic vampire slant) we (the citizens of earth) have been on a steady diet of vamp revisionist. Our (roleplayers) own little sub-media outlet has also been so heavily immersed in this love affair that it would be hard to shake out endemic from imported concepts regarding vampires in the RPG genres. A work of taxonomy and heredity regarding vampires in the media would be a more thought provoking look at this subject.

That said I would suggest referencing specific examples of these vampire "types" from popular media. They are already there, and it just seems to be an obvious misstep not to mention them in your discussion of these archetypes. Except for vampire coral....that was new, well done there.

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30 Starship Air & Maintenance Duct Problems
Articles  (Resource)   (Gaming - In General)
axlerowes's comment on 2011-01-22 10:00 AM

I like this because it adds to the vocabulary of the game world, and the players.  During the course of 5 or 6 secession players, from a "setting" as mundane Urbana IL, and biased by years of watching Blake's 7 reruns can learn how the game world works.  Every time a player has to readjust the filter of in duct above the galley bay or stare down a gun-dart they are learning something about the mundane of the world that they can work into future problem solving strategies or nuanced role-playing. I am a fan. 

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Things Are Not Always As They Seem
Articles  (Humor/ Editorial)   (Gaming - In General)
axlerowes's comment on 2011-01-30 09:33 PM

reminds me of (in no small way) Chris Anvil's "The Trouble with Human Go to Comment
30 Bardic Tales
Items  (Art and Music)   (Non-Magical)
axlerowes's comment on 2012-02-18 07:38 AM

Not that one needs to make such a banal distinction among flowers as to have favorites but if I did it would be #11 is my favorite, then followed by 24-26, you were really on a roll there. And I think #6 was the most interesting of the mini stories. I think this is a very useful, well organized, well written and hard laborerd sub. I have read it more than once, more than twice and really wrestled with varying opinions about what to say about this, but for some reason I have been reluctant to comment and vote on it. I am going to offer a critque, but i first want to say clearly that I have a veryy positive view of this piece.

This write up is first and last a genre piece. It seems written for that iron age, culturally European (for the most part-scorpion sword and clumsy emperor may be from different setting), literate, semi-magical, gold coin economy that represents the expected standard of all DnD worlds. I am not knocking works of genre, genre is what makes role-playing games possible AND wildly accessible, but the cultural baggage of this particular genre has been something that I have always tried to resist. And this piece seems to rely on what was packed in that baggage, for example take #20, this offers up a lot about the world. We learn that there is a money economy, that peasants are taxed directly, that there is a king who agents are resented and you might be right to say that is true about the worlds of most games. (though I would wish that your average player would not make such assumptions). In some of the songs you even discuss what types of instruments are used and the proper names of people or place. There is a lot of cultural baggage in most of these songs and you do not discuss the archetypal themes of the song. Thus all the entries seem discrete and specific to a defined world, which is fine and good but not utilized to the full potential in this post.

If I were to take 30 Bardic songs from England in 1065 AD, and 30 Bardic songs from Greece in 1065 BCE, I would get a very different but informative take on the material cultures, their mytho-historical experiences and their values. I may pick up on some universal themes, but I might also learn a little about what it meant to be Greek or English at those times. (Or I might learn what it is they wanted it to mean.) The songs listed in this post are not songs that will be recited by a rapping bard with a lyre in the halls of Thebes or played before the Minion court. Yes GM could adapt them, #30 could shift settings quickly by taking out the anachronistic references to chain mail and tossing the word Bronze in there. But if the GM does this then he loses what is really great about “30 Bardic tails”, and that is the detail of each song. My point is not that you should change these songs to make them more general or adaptable. My point is that you have already paid the price of cultural specificity with each of these song and if feels remiss that you are not drawing any conclusions or even giving us suggestions about how these songs tell the story of people. (You have bought the cow, why not let us have some butter)

Even if you don’t want “30 Bardic Tales” to draw the conclusions implicitly, you may as well give the songs some level of connection with regard to the people that championed, sometimes reviled and more importantly wrote these songs. I know I am taking up the cause of imaginary people, who perhaps you have yet to imagine, but I think Strolen’s Citadel is the place were the rights of fictitious are championed. And if you don’t want the whole post to be window into same culture then perhaps you can discuss the people that wrote each one. You get at that a bit in some them, but not in all and never get very much. Writing 30 Bardic Tales was very ambitious and I think you succeed in writing 30 interesting song summaries (kind of like an iron age TRL). In writing 30 specific songs the way you have, you have created a lot of cultural and intellectual weight, and for the most part you aren’t reaching the full potential of what you’ve wrought. If you brought that cultural and intellectual weight to the surface more effectively this could be a transcendent piece. Right now it is just a very good piece.

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Humanchild, the Waif from Fae
NPCs  (Minor)   (Artistic/Performance)
axlerowes's comment on 2010-12-30 05:14 PM

This has a very old fae tone about it, combined with some of the more banal tastes from japan animie and modern fantasy work.  The idea that a woman (person) could be given  denied touch to something common and mortal is one of the older themes in the farie myths I have read and remember. But a naked sixteen year old (looking) girl who flys across the water and suffers from a near supernatural shyness...that has japanimie written all over it.


I could see this certainly holding  a parties attention and being ground for much discussion.  A fun quest NPC or red herring.

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Megan Sharwan
NPCs  (Extras)   (Knowledge/Lore)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-03-10 09:22 PM
+.5 for telling me a story in a true to narrative voice

this would make a great backstory for PC as well, the emotional complexity that comes with hating you parents and then seeing them killed....awful stuff...but in a good way Go to Comment
30+ Dwarven Gifts
Items  (Other)   (Heroic)
axlerowes's comment on 2012-09-23 12:13 PM
Update: Added Dwarf to the freetext Go to Comment
Items  (Other)   (Magical)
axlerowes's comment on 2012-02-05 06:58 PM

God help me, the backstory was rambaling and completely useless, but it was so werid that I enjoyed it and would fully expect this to be actual myth or folk tale. Why would somebody tell that story unless they believed it to be true? It is like a story that game to us through a long line of telling and retelling.

 The thunderstones may  not be an original idea, at least the backstory gave us something different.  

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The Deserts of the Heart
Articles  (Fiction)   (Gaming - In General)
axlerowes's comment on 2012-10-08 11:38 AM
That certainly was bloody, but I loved it, I would love to spend some time taking the story apart talking about what was cliche, what was original, but if I want to make any single point (and I am no artist so take this worth a grain of salt) I would say the descriptive writing is excellent and the visuals clear and engaging. Thank you for writing this, and letting us read it for free.

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Romantic Love
Articles  (Character)   (Players)
axlerowes's comment on 2006-10-13 10:41 AM
Thus being in love can help the PC kill opponents and take their stuff.

sarcasism is lost on you manfred, but other than your humorless attitude your post really got the point I was trying to make. Go to Comment
Romantic Love
Articles  (Character)   (Players)
axlerowes's comment on 2006-10-13 11:30 AM
I thought about stretching out the post and discussing various stages of love, possible scenario's. . .for example the young squire has fallen quietly in love with the knight he supports. And when the knight encourages his work at the sword or his skill with the lance the squire is the best of the boys in the castle. But when the Knight goes to court a young Lady, the squire becomes sullen, jealous (those have to be roleplayed) but he also responds slower to threats and forgets his tasks (dice failings). And when the knight, squire and the Lady are ambushed on the road the squire does not take notice fast enough and the party is caught off guard. Worse even is that when the squire helped his lord into armor, he left glasps undone and knots lose. The knight falls in battle leaving the squire alone to defend the lady, and there in lies the conflict. What kinda of bonuses or penalties would he suffer?

But I really thought it was a simple idea, and didn't need all that explaination or pontification. Besides talking about love is like dancing about microbiology after all. Manfred did add some useful notes however that I think flesh it out more. Go to Comment
Romantic Love
Articles  (Character)   (Players)
axlerowes's comment on 2006-10-13 03:35 PM
Fair enough MH, this is the first thing I have written entirely for this site, and I will take a stab at adding some content to it this decade. Check back with this post Monday November 1st 2010. Go to Comment
Romantic Love
Articles  (Character)   (Players)
axlerowes's comment on 2010-11-01 11:13 AM

I have never forgotten about this one.  But today it was brought to my specific attention. I have made some changes.

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Romantic Love
Articles  (Character)   (Players)
axlerowes's comment on 2010-11-02 08:53 AM
I am sorry this didn't come across clearly, this is not about players that want to roleplay romantic love. I want this to be about putting romantic love to the game as a challenge, and making love a force in the game world.

But this also not argument as to something you should do, but a discussion of something you could do. Go to Comment
P'Cheela - People of the Supreme Truth
Society/ Organizations  (Religious)   (Regional)
axlerowes's comment on 2015-01-27 09:39 PM
I loved the voice and the tone, because it gave us a window not only into the world of the P'Chela but also the writer. You may or may not think of yourself and an imaginative intellectual, but I think presenting your ideas in such an immersive fashion takes a more developed creative process. Cheers

Also the story of the guy/god mating with Mantis, excellent mythology tab, it is like you struck the "you can't make this stuff up" bell, and it set the tone for the rest of an expressive but economically written piece. Go to Comment
The Resource Wars
Articles  (Setting Building)   (Gaming - Genre)
axlerowes's comment on 2010-10-23 03:31 PM

A nice command of detail and a concise summary of (imaginary) events. It reads like the intro to a video game or board game manual. But without either a human element or a fun speculative fiction hook it is a little dry. It sound like some think tank's economic-military scenario, and I am not sure those are supposed to be fiction. Even though they likely are.

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The Resource Wars
Articles  (Setting Building)   (Gaming - Genre)
axlerowes's comment on 2010-10-25 10:32 AM
Yeah, I read the outline and commented on it. Go to Comment
The Resource Wars
Articles  (Setting Building)   (Gaming - Genre)
axlerowes's comment on 2010-10-26 04:59 PM
I can't find it now, but I swear SWEAR there was an outline in your "in work section" that started with Resource Wars and ended with Space Warfare of some sort. Go to Comment
The Resource Wars
Articles  (Setting Building)   (Gaming - Genre)
Four 5s (A Puzzle Dungeon)
Dungeons  (Underground)   (Puzzles)
axlerowes's comment on 2010-10-21 11:25 AM
Update: There was a mistake in the symbols for the 5 digit problem. I am sorry if anyone else tried to solve the problem. It is now corrected and should be use able.


this is correct. Go to Comment
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       By: caesar193

A kingdom where, if there are multiple princes (princesses can't rule unless they have no siblings), the princes fight to the death in the arena to decide who gets to rule. A simple way to make sure your brother cannot make a bid for the thrown, and keeps the royal blood in one line.

Ideas  ( System ) | July 31, 2012 | View | UpVote 6xp