Strolen\s Citadel content. 
Lifeforms  (Fauna)   (Swamp)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-04-16 05:21 PM
This is really well done and nicely put a list of facts about imaginary bugs...but I get it. Go to Comment
What's Come to the Fair?
Society/ Organizations  (Artistic/Performance)   (Regional)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-03-06 05:57 PM
Great ideas: a central concept and brain storm of hooks. While not the most subtle or inspiring prose, it is clear and direct which fits this sort idea buffet well. Nicely done, others should revisit. Go to Comment
7 Things about Lovecraftian Fiction
Articles  (Fiction)   (Gaming - Genre)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-02-11 07:40 PM

I think this is a smart concise dissection of the genre. Insightful is a good word for it. But I think two things are left out that are very common to the genre.

1) I have noticed in Lovecraftian fiction that there is often a strong emotional detachment in the tone pieces. The works are often use an academic or clinical dissection of the events. The most obvious case of this is the afore mentioned Mountains of Madness, but also The Lurking Fear, The Dunwhich Horror and even Rats in the Walls all sort of have strong emotional detachment. Consider in Rats in the Walls when the protagonist discusses his invalid son with an almost off hand matter of fact tone. In modern Lovecraftian fiction there is a clinical tone to it. Consider reading the "The Ugly Chickens" by Howard Waldrop and see if this does not strike you as having a Lovecraftian tone.

However, this tone may not be Lovecraftian and something more about the puritanical English approach to horror. Certainly true in Bram Stoker's Dracula (the book) was that Western Europeans could use reason, discipline and a scientific method to describe and thus defeat the vampire. In something like the Exorcist it is the failure of reasoning that is scary. I think that this scientific view or psuedo-scientific view that I believe runs through Lovecraftian fiction adds strongly to the next point.

2) I feel that the second essential part of Lovecraftian fiction is the corruption. Somebody may claim this is what was meant by total party kill or secrete societies but they would miss the point of this. Total Party Kill is a sad ending and secrete societies are part of that horror in our own backyard theme. Corruption is the idea that horror and destruction are contagious. Take the story "The Lurking Fear" for example here you have the corruption of the Dutch settlers as the primary conclusion of the piece and the realization of which disturbs the narrator. In Event Horizon or In the Mouth of Madness you have the "turning" of the reasonable hero. The Color Out of Space the farm is corrupted, Rats in the Walls the Virginian is corrupted, and in Shadow Over Innsmouth of course you have the *spoiler* the narrator finding out that he is part of that gold mining fish cult-so kind of corrupted.

Thanks for driving this discussion.

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7 Things about Lovecraftian Fiction
Articles  (Fiction)   (Gaming - Genre)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-03-12 02:24 PM
I never liked the corruption aspect of the Lovecraft's stories though, and that is why I wanted to separate it. Did it really matter if they were brother and sister in the Dunwhich Horror or that crab armed mole people were the Dutch colonists in The Nameless Fear? Indeed finding out that there was human corruption that lead to these horror takes away from the nameless horror part. Go to Comment
Refuge Beneath the Waves
Locations  (Regional)   (Water)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-03-12 09:57 AM

This is really great, I kept asking questions about the history, the war and technology as I went and kept getting answers. This really well done (I have never played Bioshock) and has a lot of great ideas in it. This could be used as an Alien world, an alternate reality or just adapted for society in which everyone is told the surface is poisoned by the oppressive oligarchy. Yet this deserves more.

1) Visuals I would wager most readers picture a somewhat Victorian or Edwardian aesthetic in the place. However, that is never discussed. We don't get a clear visual of the people in this place and I loathe to use preconceived notions in such a fantastical setting. I would also wager that at least 25% (by word count not by topic) of all steam punk fiction is dedicated to fashion, so that seems missing from this, and it could be a fun addition.

2) Culture We also get an incomplete picture of the culture and day to day life. There are a lot of strong hints at an oligarchy of rich hereditary industrialists and an oppressed and tormented but educated underclass subjected to strict social planning. I think a government and economics section could be interesting and expansive. But perhaps you don't want to state the social economic relationship specifically, and that is fine, and I get it. But some more hints would give us a better feel for this place. What kind of people do these dome dwellers chose to celebrate? What sort of media (as extrapolation of the stage play musicals) do they consume? Are there population control issues? Do they smoke? I feel like this piece and this world would be better benefited by a direct discussion of these items or few more hints and details. (I like the hints at culture myself)


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All Quiet on the West Third Street Front
Articles  (Fiction)   (Gaming - Genre)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-02-09 09:10 PM
Very nice descriptions, the first paragraph particularly so, and that is the most important part of short fiction. I like it. Thank you. Go to Comment
Randy's Janitorial Services
Society/ Organizations  (Criminal/Espionage)   (World Wide)
axlerowes's comment on 2015-01-21 02:27 PM
Great write up, it is just like SD-6 but with a sense of humor Go to Comment
30 Things that are Awesome
Articles  (Humor/ Editorial)   (Gaming - In General)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-04-17 07:36 PM
list of things you kind of already know, but never get tired of hearing about. Bless you internet!

this could be expanded into some sort writing challenge.

Could we make a generator that gave you five awesomes and you have to write a 30 minute story using all five? Go to Comment
30 Items You Need
Items  (Equipment Listing)   (Non-Magical)
axlerowes's comment on 2013-08-02 10:49 PM
It speaks volumes about this sub that this list itself is not included on the list of necessary items. Go to Comment
30 Items You Need
Items  (Equipment Listing)   (Non-Magical)
axlerowes's comment on 2013-08-09 12:31 PM
This has become a fun list that appeals to all of us that feel like old hands at this RPG stuff. Each individual blurb is fun cause it allows us to access memories or preconceived notions of gaming and then stick a squirrel in that scenario. Go to Comment
The Dragon Mines
Locations  (Area)   (Mountains)
axlerowes's comment on 2013-08-09 12:25 PM
When writing complex layered setting you often to lay out these "cliff note" type subs, that list the facts and few details. A nice tool with which to build future material. Go to Comment
Vartanadel Royalty and Nobles
Society/ Organizations  (Political)   (Country/ State)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-04-01 08:13 PM
I like the little story in it, and the ghosting is such a big part of the Saulkement culture, that I love every bit I can synergize with. Go to Comment
Lifeforms  (Constructed)   (Any)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-12-04 03:31 PM
this is a fun one, everything you need right here Go to Comment
A Traveler’s Guide to Vartanadel
Locations  (Country/ State)   (Any)
axlerowes's comment on 2013-08-09 12:19 PM
This fantastic, I am so glad you wrote you and I am very pleased that I read it. I have to critique to offer this excellent write up, so I will just offer pointed praise. First I really appreciate and respect that you chose to present this an in world perspective. I think this is bit of departure for you, things aren't written in "crayon" here, we trust this information as much as we trust our narrator, and our narrator obviously has some hard feeling. But I think this slanted view also provides us with more information that a list of facts. It give us This is also so much better than an arrogant write up that comes out in an omnipotent third person voice and says something along the lines of "the king is kind and dull witted". We get experience this culture as we might experience any foreign land: with a mix prejudice, confusion, emotion and wonder. No culture in the real world can be seen without perspective and shouldn't we respect our game worlds just as much if we are aiming for verisimilitude?

I love this location so much I wrote up an entire location dedicated Vartanadel exiles.
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Lifeforms  (Constructed)   (Any)
axlerowes's comment on 2013-05-22 09:17 PM
"Reads more like a short story than a game piece" Why make a distinction? Go to Comment
Lifeforms  (Constructed)   (Any)
axlerowes's comment on 2013-05-22 09:21 PM
This is brilliant, it combines many well tread tropes but it also very original to my jaded eyes. I agree with Moon that the mistake section seems a little jumbled and tedious. Why the description of the egg hatching?

At any rate fantastic, as a narrative its great in that I was really interested to find out what the raven would be doing, then when it blew up corpses...well I didn't see that coming.

I really like the journal asides. We learn so much more about your world and your vision from these types of posts as opposed to "gaming" posts that just list facts. Go to Comment
Zoe 3000
NPCs  (Extras)   (Artistic/Performance)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-03-27 12:21 PM
This girl ruined it for everyone else, one bio-mod goes bad and soon people are applying that sterotype to all biomods. Go to Comment
Mecha in the Cosmic Era
Items  (Tools)   (Non-Magical)
axlerowes's comment on 2013-06-11 08:29 AM
I appreciate the difficult in finding a voice for things such that it does not just become a list of facts. I feel that you were so close though, for example the note about the J.J. being on the 500 dollar bill (they still have paper money?) has potential to transport a reader to the moment.

How are they powered?

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Tortoise Shell Tavern
Locations  (Fortification)   (Any)
axlerowes's comment on 2013-06-19 08:15 PM
This post starts with an immediately accessible ploy; we have a young girl afraid, lonely and so desperate for companionship that she "risks everything" to find it. In the next few lines we learn that companionship arrives in the form of a small turtle. The young girl immediately loves the turtle despite the old witches (who made our hero feel isolated and alone) heaping scorn up our young witch and her turtle. The story sets up a classical victory for tenderness and loyalty when the gentle, slow moving and deliberate nature of Heathen (the witch) and Sar's (the turtle) union develop into each other saving grace. The magic of their relationship prolongs Heathen's life and protects her from dragon's fire. Heathen in turn directs Sar growth from a turtle of no consequence to a majestic titan that carries with it beautiful palace of warm inviting dinning rooms and "arbors of rare trees, herb gardens, pools and streams of conjured waters". This a much greater triumph of love than the ending of Krull for example and it only took three paragraphs. Would that this post have only been about this…

Instead we are taken away from this vision, which is never truly realized, and subjected to numerous tangents that are also never developed about Lich scrolls and Dragonlords. There is talk of a scene in which Sar and Heathen are corned by "seven dragons", but this is painted as no more than a number and a right angle. Do we care so little for Sar and Heathen that the emotion of their impending demise should be ignored? Did the Dragons simply shrug their shoulders and head off to the pub when the child-like immortal and her tiny tortoise absorbed their hellfire? Things digress quickly at this point …

Dusty then brings in the faithless character Faith, who seems to have a gift for both non-linear problem solving and hubris (a great and classic combination for a villain). We aren't told how Faith and Heathen, know each other, we may assume they are both members of the shell coven but they might also be members of Allegorical Names Anonymous.
But Faith matters little cause she and Heathen are killed at the end of her paragraph by the plague Faith unleashes.

Then Sar dies of grief…which brings us to the tavern (WE HAVE A TITLE), the tavern is made of Sar's corpse, which is haunted by Sar's ghost, which moves the tavern around every full moon, but in the mean time Sar roaming haunted body is being used as a brothel, at least it was brothel until the werewolf showed up, which the pimp decided to remove from the brothel by conning a guy named Humblestaff (yup) into running the tavern. Go that?

There is a lovely story here and lot of ideas, sure somebody else could write up or use it in their game, but I can't critique that. I can't rewrite your story either, as much I want to, because it is your story. I can enjoy the ideas in your story though, so thank you for that, but I can't quite love this write up because it is not really about any of those great ideas. Rather it is more list of idea, but together without much love.

Welcome aboard! Go to Comment
30 Illuminati Minions
NPCs  (Major)   (Criminal/Espionage)
axlerowes's comment on 2013-04-29 08:32 PM

I have thought about this more...the list is pretty good as a list of NPCs at a breaking point, and they break for different reasons.  You could take this same list and use it as a list of souls to buy.  Your PCs could get a job as out sourced headhunters, they get  a list of people that have been ID'd as high risk or high value targets. They then have to go to work getting them sign away their souls.  

I think the format of the 30 actually hurts this one considerably as it relates to the Illuminate angle. . Why did you do this as a 30? Look at your entry for the general, it is more about the history than the man. Seriously why a 30?  The fun of reading conspiracy theory stuff is unraveling the elaborate conspiracy.   
I agree with Dossta.  But you got it done,
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