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The Return of the White Deer- Chapter 1
Articles  (Fiction)   (Gaming - Genre)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-12-17 08:46 AM

One thing I thought worked very well in this chapter was how the tone communicated the memory loss prior to when we literally find out about it. As the ger is described, the word choice and the phrasing communicates clearly that things are not familiar to the main character.

Who is this guys she looked at with desire? Is it sexual desire?

Which one is her father?

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The Return of the White Deer- Chapter 1
Articles  (Fiction)   (Gaming - Genre)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-12-19 12:46 AM

At times the sky will lay down her clouds on the steppe and in that fog it is as if all the parts of Manzasiri have been rejoined. When alone on those blanketed fields you can not tell sun from sky or sky from ground. With out the sight of a familiar shape to check one's intuition getting lost becomes certainty. The oppressive ignorance that is forced upon men and women by those fogs has drowned intellects and driven the poor wanders mad. Botari was like that now in her yurt. All the faces before might her as well have been the same face, because she knew none of them. She felt no association with any item around her, not the emblems on the post nor the blankets around her body. But then her eyes fell upon a hawk nosed man in that group, and it was if the brume parted just enough to make out a land mark. Many caught on the steppe during those murky grey days have been lead home by even the smallest piece of familiarity; a hoof print, a wagon track, the shadow of a distant peak or even the cries of a unseen herd. Ask any one who has found their way out of those obfuscating directionless fogs, and they will tell you that they studied every grain or hair of their salvational land mark. A pile of familiar goat dung can be beautiful, and thus it was now with Botari. She felt compelled to soak in every detail about this man. Her eyes roamed hungrily over his bushy eyebrows, his odd-coloured eyes- the left one was brown while the other a lighter amber colour, his straight nose that was like the spine of a mountain, his smiling lips that naturally curl upwards.

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The Return of the White Deer- Chapter 1
Articles  (Fiction)   (Gaming - Genre)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-12-19 12:47 AM
"Her gaze locked onto the second individual in the group, a man in the middle thirties who was handsome in a hawkish way. Despite the harshness of his features, she could tell from his even-paced way of walking that he had a mild temper. An inexplicable torrent of longing flooded her and she felt compelled to soak in every detail about him. Her eyes roamed hungrily over his bushy eyebrows, his odd-coloured eyes- the left one was brown while the other a lighter amber colour, his straight nose that was like the spine of a mountain, his smiling lips that naturally curl upwards"

No, I say you dive right into this elektra complex thing. It might be off putting to most everyone, but it won't be boring.

If you don't want it to be sexual, than you need to get at what it is she desires. Lets brain storm this, she feels a connection to this man, even though she doesn't recognize him. Looking around her yurt she could not tell what belongs and what does not, she does not know who she is or where she is. But this man, he belongs, it as if everything else is out of place, except for this man. I believe that is why she must be drawn to him. Because represents a land mark of sorts.
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The Return of the White Deer- Chapter 1
Articles  (Fiction)   (Gaming - Genre)
axlerowes's comment on 2015-01-06 09:16 AM
I have a suggestion. Perhaps you should put a "Yoda" scene in here with Koka and Botari. Look at their relationship right now
Chapter 1: Koka and Botari meet and Koka introduce Botari (and thus the reader to the craft)
Chapter 2: Botari starts to break away from Koka's mentorship and assert her independence and self determination again.
Chapter 3: No Koka but Botari expands that growing self determination to her relationship with her friends
Chapter 4: Botari again pushes her independence and runs away, but she reflects on Koka "She had great respect for Aunt Koka’s sharp mind even though her tongue was likely to be even sharper. Nevertheless, it was under her tutelage that she had already accumulated (or re-accumulated) a wealth of knowledge within such a short span of time. Not just on her Craft but also various bits of herbal and other lore that she might not find as fascinating as Aunt Koka herself but certainly of great practical value."

So is Koka important? Why take away Botari's knowledge just to give back to her without risk or process?
Add a Yoda scene between chapters 1&2.

I know it is cliche, but that just means people understand it (or at least think they do). Go to Comment
The Return of the White Deer- Prologue
Articles  (Fiction)   (Gaming - Genre)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-12-15 08:18 PM
Perhaps you could do a little more to paint the scene clearly. I think not everything you want to communicate is getting on the page. I am sure in your head you have color schemes, a sky line, sounds and smells for this scene. This our first step into the Dragon Empire, and perhaps we should be transported. Put all that down, paint the whole scene, it can be taken. Alternatively, take out all the set dressing. I am sure you want to set up the arch of the boys in happy conflict (jovial wrestling) now only to be in vicious blood thirsty conflict later. But you could just describe the situation is a greater abstraction. Right now the geography of the scene you are painting it is unclear.


So I take it Yesegei opens the tent flap. Is he alone or does he have others with him?

The boys stand up, out of respect for the Kahn-father I assume. Are they standing at attention, are they facing Yesegei or are their backs turned to him? Are they facing each other? I assume they must be facing each other because of Borochu making faces and Temujin is standing in the middle because the others described as being on the left and right.

Who says "Kahn-father?" in this scene?

This is only 703 words, you could add a good bit more with out exceeding your 2000 word limit.

Some suggestions for the content, which is interesting and I want to read more.

I expect that most of your readers already know the Temujin is going to be great. You call a little to this scene by making Yesegei think that Nergei has all the potential. Perhaps thinking Nergei will be his son's chief rival. This is an old troupe; making the one we all know is going to be great one out to be the underdog, but I don't think you are shying away from a traditional narrative here. Just a thought...

Have Yesegei say "Crunulan men are not scared of risking their lives (or dying or the battle field)" instead of fighting. Borochu's response is flippant and unseasoned, having Yesegei rephrase it will only re-enforce Yesegei's greater understanding of the question of war. That will speak to Yesegei's wisdom. Go to Comment
The Return of the White Deer- Prologue
Articles  (Fiction)   (Gaming - Genre)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-12-17 08:11 AM
Sorry I was so unclear. I often go through an reread my posts and think to myself "woah, I make no sense"

In terms of geography I was referring to physical arrangement of the scene above not the setting. If you are going to use this third person perspective you should try writing the scene as if you are explaining it to the blind or the blindfolded. Imagine you are in a room with somebody fascinated with this scene, but you are the only that one that can look out the window on the events you are describing.

In terms of Nergei and Temujin, my point was lost as well. I am making a suggestion as how you might rewrite the scene to make it more interesting and to include some conflict or tension. I don't think you are going for avant garde story telling here and you are not going for RPG fact dropping. Fiction writing 101 says you need tension in relationships and a character's action should risk something in order to be interesting. (I don't always agree with that and often find it a little force in genre fiction, but you got keep people reading).

I am suggesting that instead of foreshadowing Temujin's rise by describing his father's certainty you foreshadow Nergei's rise and paint Temujin as the underdog. Your audience is likley going to already know of Temujin's rise but by painting Temjuin as the underdog you great a minor conflict in that we now have a disconnect between how the reader knows things will turn out and what is actually on the page at this point in Tenjuin's life. This type of conflict is the key to genre fiction. In the romance novel you know they are going to get together even if all the characters in the story do not.

Have Temujin's father see Nergei as the great one in waiting. Have Nergei remind Yesegei of himself or powerful leaders that ,. It make a certain sense that nobody can see Temujin coming, how could they? There had been nobody like him before and very few like him sense. This could also great some emotional risk in the scene. If Yesegei admires Nergei more than his son, even though he loves his son, than he may feel some guilt, shame or self doubt.

Borochu is fine here. His antic provide the only real events in the scene.

Yesegei's stroke or vision or poison kicking in... is a great at the end to the scene, you should keep it. It leave a cliff hanger of sorts.

What are the character's risking in this scene?
Where is conflict or tension in this scene? Go to Comment
The Return of the White Deer- Prologue
Articles  (Fiction)   (Gaming - Genre)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-12-17 09:25 AM
I like the opening passage. Go to Comment
The Return of the White Deer- Prologue
Articles  (Fiction)   (Gaming - Genre)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-12-29 06:59 PM
I like it better this way.

How about dropping all the historical references? You aren't really following history anyway and doing a thinly veiled Genghis Kahn is better than doing a mangled half fictional history.

If your story is really interesting it won't matter is your protagonist is called King Arthur or Spartacus, and it will free up from any of the constraints history or geography might place on your story. Authors do thinly veiled historical settings all the time with words like Joust or Gladiator. Doing a fictional Mongolia is just as viable as writing a fictional Europe or England. Go to Comment
The Return of the White Deer- Prologue
Articles  (Fiction)   (Gaming - Genre)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-12-29 07:01 PM
The way you wrote up the underdog is better than my idea, because it doesn't depend on the reader knowing anything about Genghis Kahn. Go to Comment
The Return of the White Deer- Prologue
Articles  (Fiction)   (Gaming - Genre)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-12-30 12:30 AM
Only voted Go to Comment
Why is Ireland such a Hotspot for Supernatural Activity?
Articles  (Campaign)   (Game Mastering)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-12-14 04:40 PM
I never really watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show, but I had friends that did, and I asked them the same question about Buffy's High School and they told me flat out that it is located on a Hell Mouth. I didn't ask what a Hell Mouth was or why that meant there were a lot of vampires and demons there, but it shut me up. Your explaintation for the same question regarding your 1640's Ireland is "A trans dimensional war machine is taking a nap there."

I haven't heard that one before: kudos.

I have two specific observations.

1) Writing style:
This a full-tilt stream of consciousness rant, that jumps around in perspective and tone. Your stated goal in this article is to present an explanation for your players as to why Ireland can produce so many monsters of the week. You state a series of "facts" about the realm but your writing in your own voice. The voice of a starcraft super fan. So these facts aren't really facts. They are choices you, as an author and GM, made. I would find this more interesting if you discussed why you made these choices, and how that will aide you story telling. Those would be the "Juicy details" at least in the way it is written now as a personal stream of consciousness essay about GMing or writing for your world.

2) Content:
I feel like everything you are trying to communicate is not making it on to the page. Example, you say travel to Earth is difficult for a demon. Difficult could mean a lot of things. It could mean small chance of success "Half Court Shots are difficult. It could mean time consuming and painful. "Divorce is difficult." I think you have a clear idea of what is going on here, but it is just not coming through. This goes on through out the post.

I also have a couple of esoteric dork questions, because unlike the Hell Mouth explanation from Buffy, your Ireland back story is a little less intuitive.

1) So is Metos a physical being in Ireland? Like if I am digging for pot gold in a shamrock field will I hit Meto's knee cap?

2) Why are they called Angels and Demons...was there some historic event on earth in which they filled this niche of vocabulary.?

3) What do the Demons like about Hell? Go to Comment
7 Things About Old School Gaming
Articles  (Humor/ Editorial)   (Gaming - In General)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-11-29 12:35 PM
That is seven things about gaming.

In the first edition Advanced D&D manual the most likely monster to encounter on the random dungeon table was a Black Pudding.

Some references and factoids like that might add to this, make it more of article. You could also turn this into a personal narrative. Go to Comment
7 Things About Old School Gaming
Articles  (Humor/ Editorial)   (Gaming - In General)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-11-29 11:33 PM
I didn't realize that these were seven observations made about "old school" gaming adventures/modules. Because lines like this "You could often tell the quality of a game simply by the amount of time an energy the GM put into his or her map." make me think this is your own personal recollection on gaming. Go to Comment
101 Player Character Quirks
Articles  (Character)   (Players)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-11-30 02:11 PM
As lists go this is great, thanks for taking the time to put all this down in one place. Go to Comment
Swamps 101
Articles  (Regional)   (Swamp)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-11-24 03:04 PM
My first two research positions ever were as field workers doing surveys and experiments in swamps (wet lands...cause swamp sounds dirty). Some of my co-workers were also in my RPG group and we found great inspiration in our swamp land work place. I haven't read your post yet put was so enthused by the title that I wanted to gush. It is a challenge for the GM to make the geography of wilderness expand to something more than a grid and applaud efforts to help that. Go to Comment
Swamps 101
Articles  (Regional)   (Swamp)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-12-04 09:44 PM
Well done, I admire the way you formatted and presented the ideas here in and the encounter ideas are fun.

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Rats in the Basement
Dungeons  (Underground)   (Style)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-12-09 10:28 AM
I think the citadel could use more of this, you detract from nothing by including stats and rules makes it less accessible. If anything the stats make this more useful because the details of this story are very specific to your satirical game world. The Redwall Abbey mice are motivated, perhaps irrationally by a fear of genocide and the rat swarm is I believe the result of the Redwall survivors keeping up a supply of rats to taverns so Balder's Gate will have a first level. The stats and maps means you could lift this with or without story if you wanted. Excellent stuff.

Your prose is dense. It overly passive in its descriptions. It is largely non communicative. Example
"As darkness seeped over her Theta was startled by an inky black figure at her side. It was one of the tengu who too had recently lost a child. He ushered the pups to his mate before gathering his comrades, and with the last of the light the escort crossed the threshold into Annawan. "
What happens here? Theta wants help from the humans to find the serial killer or dose she want shelter in the city? Why did she get dressed up and wait at the gate? What was she hoping for? The tengu (that is a dog right?) shows up and he and pack of other dogs take Theta into the help her petition the city rulers for help. This is parcipitates the slaughter of Redwall by the humans.

But did the rat swarm turn on rat folk caretakers in the first scene?

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axlerowes's comment on 2015-01-19 10:43 PM
I think your world is both unique and accessible. It has some very inexplicable relationships, like the god of humanity twisting himself to be elven. Those sorts of things just scream "you can't make this up," which adds to the verisimilitude of the world. Good stuff.

There are some suggestions in this write up that it is retrospective told by somebody who already knows how this will all play out, is that true?

Also you have a somewhat odd mix of mythological pacing in which the details of geography and human relationships are not as important as the broad stroke and then you through in some minutia. It is tough to get since of the size and the relationship that these people shared. Like why did they build an army in the North. Were they threatened directly? Were there wars? Who are they trading with if not themselves? Why did you list the number of Lords who split which way? Are those numbers significant?

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axlerowes's comment on 2015-01-19 10:09 PM

As a member in good standing of the Dwarven Guild I would like to lodge a formal complaint. I would like the word "enslaved" or any reference to slavery removed from any and all descriptions of the Dwarven Civic Improvement Projects which were wisely and judiciously implemented by the benevolent priests of Verdenkrav. Furthermore, we require, under threat of litigation, that these slanderous and ethniclly biased descriptions of the Holy Verdenkrav be stricken from the record. Verdenkrav's noble sacrifice shall not be characterized as foolish, impatient or accidental. It was rather a passing of a baton from a proud father to his worthy children. Finally, while we have nothing but respect for our human cousins, we find the characterization of Cronepheros as an angel of Verdenkrav miss leading. True, they may have once been associated via a few minor projects, but by the time Cronepheros sought to inflict humans upon the world Verdenkrav and Cronepheros had long since severed their relationship. We find troubling any suggestion that a dwarven god was responsible for the human situation.

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Divinity, Faith, and the Divine Significance of the Materium
Systems  (Divine/ Spirit)   (Defining)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-12-07 04:14 PM
I think this is a great treatment of the supernatural, and is a good attempt to apply a consistent narrative frame work to the existing systems of fantasy RPG religion.

Some questions?

Is the realm of God’s geographic? You write

“It can claim a Domain, a certain radius around the Godshard in which its powers are amplified, where souls aligned with that god will travel after death, where the very nature of the place is easily shapable to that god's will, and where other gods cannot exert their divine power.” But that sounds like extra dimensional area or another plane…whatever you want to call it.

What is the mechanic you are considering for the transference of power via Faith. Is the power of faith dependent on the faithful’s soul? Does amount of power transferred to the God via the faithful increase as the strength of a person’s south increases?

If this is true than certain faithful may be more valuable to the God. Might a God practice the 80:20 principle with regard to recruiting people to his religion; focusing on pulling in the super-faithful and treating them as more valuable then the others. (Kind of like what Tom Cruise is to Scientology)

What about the Fey and their relatioship to the gods?

The fact that this brings up so many questions is something I love about it. This is a great springboard for intellectual exploration in and out of game. It is like one big thought experiment, I would love to chat with you about it sometime.
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