Strolen\s Citadel content. 
30 Campaign Starters
Plots  (Coincidence)   (Encounter)
axlerowes's comment on 2010-10-01 07:34 AM
I think most groups that have been playing together for a while will make characters as group. But I am sure we have played a night or a couple of campaigns with "random" groups. And with random groups you often have people joining who to play a specific character or may have different vision of game play than the other people at the table. Some people would shy away from this or dismiss the unruly gamers as power gamers or failed actors, but what when I saw this post I saw it as a call to arms. Perhaps even the beginning of a manifesto, DOSSTA HAS SAID TO US THAT WE AS GMs NEED NOT TURN A PLAYER AWAY. WE SHOULD REJECT NO CHARACTER CONCEPT *that fits reasonably well into the mechanics and genre our specific game*

I don't see any trouble with these starts other than they may not be the right start for your campaign. But these are just starts, without the characters it may be hard to flesh out. Thus I again offer a challenge, a game if you will, we fill a hat with 60 character concepts and then we pick 5 and pick a "start" then we write an exposition that reasonably connects all the characters without significantly altering their backstory. Go to Comment
The Tower of Light
Locations  (Fortification)   (Any)
axlerowes's comment on 2010-09-29 12:19 PM
With the revolving door afterlife in many game worlds, this could used as a in game tool to "really" kill somebody. The threat of death by this device or the potential to use this device themselves could constantly be hanging over the PCs. It is nice brief description and purposely vague, i like that.

Also what if the people don't die, what if they end up at the base of another tower thousands or millions of miles away, only this tower is damaged and lies largely in ruins? Go to Comment
The Tower of Light
Locations  (Fortification)   (Any)
axlerowes's comment on 2010-09-29 02:56 PM
Escaping from the Tower of Light could be the brightest feather in the cap of an accomplished rogue or escape artist. And what self respecting brigand needs foot holds to scale a wall? Go to Comment
The Tower of Light
Locations  (Fortification)   (Any)
axlerowes's comment on 2011-05-30 11:18 AM
These types of comments really burn my toast. I am bothered when the critique focuses on how some aspect of the write up is unintuitive to the reader, and thus the reader labels it is unrealistic. I ask anyone who begins a comment with the line

“Any ruler would make laws against such magic”

or “mages, being naturally distrustful”

or “Couldn’t this be undone by a simple dispel magic incantation”

or any such line that adds new information as part the argument to consider three things.

First almost every write up on this site reflects a single moment in time. Even bad or unsustainable ideas have their day. Perhaps all the flaws you see in the item or system are valid. These are things that can be exploited by the PCs or suggests an instability which adds drama to the item.

Second, treat the write up as cannon. When you drop it into your own game, you can and will change things. If somebody says that Ogres are running into battle with giant scissors, then they are. Even if giant scissors are the least effective piece of military hardware since blue body paint, it is a “fact” in the universe of the post.

Three, I think suggesting new information to include in the use of the idea is fantastic. Expanding on the idea is also fantastic. But adding new information to justify criticism is banal and short sighted. So to state that “wizards and mages would”, is adding new information. It is making a conclusion about the nature of people in the world or the setting of the post. I enjoy posts more when, instead of trying to analyze the post in terms of my prejudices and experiences regarding speculative fiction, I try and glean information about the world in which this post exists.

Finally to authors about to respond to such comments; just remember that all cement is wet until it meets the PCs. So don’t get all up in arms about what the item or monster “actually does”. (though this main seem to contradict point two, I just speaking to the limitation of this medium) Focus on what you want it to do, and what it is you wanted to communicate. I feels odd to say this, but all that exists as far as the site is concerned, is the write up and linked write ups.

There is my four cents.
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The Tower of Light
Locations  (Fortification)   (Any)
axlerowes's comment on 2011-05-30 11:32 AM
I was thinking more a prison colony type adventure, set up sort of us as follows.

The PCs know about the tower for a couple adventures, they relate to it directly or indirectly but they know about it. Even better if one of the big bads they best gets put in the tower. Then through some contrived means or another the PCs get put in the tower and BAM the light hits him. (You could even give them an hour to try escape and let them almost make it....or get caught afterwards if they do).

At any rate, after the light goes off they aren't dead but they in a far away land (perhaps a different plane or planet depending on the setting). They soon realize that all condemn get sent here, including their old rivals. There will likely be factions and communities on the other side of the tower and perhaps one group is close finding a way back to the PCs home realm. But the faction that is completing the return mechanism, is planning to do very bad stuff to the PCs home. There you have plenty of conflict for the PCs to deal with and lots of choices to make. Go to Comment
The Shield of Hope
Items  (Armor)   (Campaign Defining)
axlerowes's comment on 2010-09-29 02:06 PM
I think Pieh is right the shield is just one part of a larger story and maybe shouldn't be its own post. Unless you decided to tell that whole story from the shields point of view. As a resource it brings little and really isn't a McGuffin. It works only as part of a description of the which ever the heir might be employing it. Go to Comment
Gladiator Sword
Items  (Melee Weapons)   (Combat)
axlerowes's comment on 2010-09-22 04:42 PM
The story that goes with this does not provide any real information into the origin of the sword, other than to say when the fit hit the shan, the people of Redhaven gave into the lesser parts of their nature and life got cheap (though you'd think it would me more valuable now that they traded in it). All the talk about Krackens needing human flesh and the rise of the slave industry itself does little to explain the origin or social evolution of blood sport in this culture.

The sword does more to explain what the people of Redhaven like about blood sport than the actual story, and we know little about the sword at the end of the post. Go to Comment
Courageous Shield
Items  (Armor)   (Sentient)
axlerowes's comment on 2010-09-17 12:12 PM
that is funny Go to Comment
Corran's Flame
Items  (Other)   (Campaign Defining)
axlerowes's comment on 2015-01-21 03:20 PM
Solid idea clearly described Go to Comment
Mirror of the Star Children
Items  (Wand/Staff/ Arcane)   (Magical)
axlerowes's comment on 2010-10-23 01:01 PM

Sounds exactly like the Upright Citizens Brigades "Bucket of Truth" skits only not funny.  In fact

"Drawing near the Mirror, you can almost hear the sound of children's laughter and it brings great joy to those who view it.  At night the colors calm and begin to shimmer like the aurora, as seen in only the coldest northern climes.  Gazing at the swirling aurora will instill the viewer with a sense of profound peace, as if wrapped in a mother's embrace.  "


that sounds down right unnerving. 


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Imnoctum Novalumis
NPCs  (Scenario Based)   (Mystical)
axlerowes's comment on 2010-10-23 01:13 PM

There are some good lines in this write up and it is useful NPC.  

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Temple of the Golden King and Silver Queen
Locations  (Establishment)   (Any)
axlerowes's comment on 2010-10-23 12:30 PM

Goddamn this is good.  I did not read the early drafts, but the one I read today (10/23/10) is exactly what I think a mock religion should  be.  Gamers often forget that most religions served a function in society.  People worshipped gods for a reason that effected their day to day life. This god (gods-and religion) does more than provide a supernatural support to the good people, but it also supports marriage and I assume by extension there are mid-wife types and others running around.  


Seriously great  write up, I can't say enough good things about it. 

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Staff of The Golden King
Items  (Wand/Staff/ Arcane)   (Heroic)
axlerowes's comment on 2010-10-23 12:42 PM

I really like the way you wrote this, with the back and forth between the scene and the description.  


A suggestion:  in the ancient world sexual imagery was not consider as taboo and tasteless as it is now.  Romans consdiered the phallus to be a good luck charm, half of the cave paintings are off sexual scenes.  Their are unavoidabe sexual over tones to this work. I am being serious, the God of Light is in many ways to defined by his sexuality.  He is male and the counter part to the silver queen.  A chaste sexuality, is an important part of the Gods' ethos.   It will be hard to present and empowering staff which is both attractive and plants in those near it a desire to hold, with drawing some into making freudian connections.  Again I am not saying that was your intent, but the theme is there.  I am just saying in future works you may want to try and own the imagery of a powerful but restrained male sexuality. 

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Spectacles of Hidden Truth
Items  (Other)   (Magical)
axlerowes's comment on 2010-10-23 12:51 PM

"For an item to reveal truths, but have it's own truth unobservable through it's own use, is the stuff of thinker's late nights spent restlessly thinking. "


That is  damn good line.


I good see these item falling to players hands for the period of an adventure or something, you send the players through a series of events and locations once, then you have them revisit the components of these events and the locations with the glasses.  These could certainly be a quest item, or item loaned to the PCs.


An item that bends light for the light quest...nice

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Spectacles of Hidden Truth
Items  (Other)   (Magical)
axlerowes's comment on 2010-10-23 12:52 PM
Only voted Go to Comment
30 Spirit Lanterns
Items  (Wand/Staff/ Arcane)   (Magical)
axlerowes's comment on 2010-10-23 01:15 PM

I guess if you really like the spirit lantern concept this post will be your dead sea scroll. 


Well put together, shows a great deal of work and love went into it 

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Webs of Intrigue
Articles  (Setting Building)   (Game Mastering)
axlerowes's comment on 2010-09-10 06:30 PM
Running a cocktail party of NPCs can be hard on several levels, first it is often hard to get he PCs to interested in NPC details and furthermore you have to play each NPC with enough distinction so that the PCs can keep them straight, because after all it is only you at the end of the table. I had one GM that would put up pictures every time a NPC was around, and that was helpful, or he would hand outs of pictures when we were in place with a lot of NPCs.

I would try to go over Pwr Pnt presentation of the NPCs every couple of games, aided by pictures. I would also try and give all the NPCs a sharp (if not exaggerated physical trait) that the PCs could recall. But I have tried the web technique before to keep track of characters and it is helpful in the planning stage (you could also try a family tree type setup), but in actual game play it is not much use for referencing. I would like to very much to read more about this plot and how the implementation of this went in the game.

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Unthar, the Sun of the Dead
Plots  (Crisis)   (Campaign)
axlerowes's comment on 2010-10-14 04:23 PM

I have given 5s to things I thought were cute or made me laugh, but this one seems deserving of much more than a 5.  It is a wonderful thing to have in game world, a mark of strangness and horror but not evil. Excellent. 

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Unthar, the Sun of the Dead
Plots  (Crisis)   (Campaign)
axlerowes's comment on 2010-11-01 10:07 AM
This is a very odd comment. Why does the story have to have any mundane counter part? When you deal with Gods and the supernatural there are going to be ineffable concepts.

Also you use the word science incorrectly. Science is a description of the natural world through experimentation and analysis of data. If the natural world described in this post has different laws and different forces then our natural world then the conclusions science would reach would not suggest the existence of planets or stars (as you suggest, and the star may not be light years it way, it may be something a bird could reach). A scientist in this world maybe able to measure Unthar's power or describe the scenarios necessary for his appearence, but what if stars as we know them don't exist in this universe? What if the world was flat, what if the physics of the world was defined by the content of earth, fire, water and air in each substance? Go to Comment
Unthar, the Sun of the Dead
Plots  (Crisis)   (Campaign)
axlerowes's comment on 2010-11-04 02:31 PM
What if the will of divine beings alters reality? Go to Comment
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Enchanted Alchemist's Tools

       By: Wulfhere

An alchemist enchanted his equipment to produce even more powerful alchemical compounds, potions and the like. Unfortunately, it is not well-known that he had different sets of equipment for different processes: If the wrong set of gear is used, the result will invariably fail to function. It's not a cursed item, just something that's hard to figure out.

Ideas  ( Items ) | March 10, 2007 | View | UpVote 0xp