Strolen\s Citadel content. 
Igneus Saxum
Lifeforms  (Intelligent Species)   (Underground)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-03-06 03:46 PM
I agree with Cheka in that is a wonderful idea, with a brilliant number of possibilities. But I think the write up is terrible. The voice is redundant, and rambaling. The facts are presented in a very scatter shot manner with short crude sentences and poor physical descriptions. I have read your stuff before and I very much like your writing so much so that I will read posts just because ceasars name on it. So I assume that you were trying something out here. I don't think it worked.

If you are happy with it as is please dismiss this, maybe I wil read this again in a month and think ...now I get it. But if you would like to work on this I would love to get into this and really geek it up with ya! Because this is a great idea. Go to Comment
7 Things About Criticism
Articles  (Humor/ Editorial)   (Citadel Help)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-02-23 09:16 AM
Nuverl - Dwarven god of the sea
NPCs  (Mythic/ Historical)   (Religious)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-02-22 07:17 AM


I very much enjoyed the quality of prose and the tone of this piece. I really found his dissent well characterized, how he started to enjoy suffering and his use of pain to try and track time. I enjoyed reading it, found it engaging and thank you for that. If I had written this I would be proud.



I think as an RPG supplement this is wonderful, players could take this information and discuss "shell hell" as a down side to water travel, wear little turtle offerings totems or maybe even seek to enter shell hell in order to get information from a dwarf damned there.



The questions regarding what the demon wants or his ethos or origin or his deity social circle should he have one are irrelevant from an emotional roleplaying perspective-this is the boogyman of the ocean. But some discussion of those might enrich this as plot device if a gaming group ever needs to deal with Nuverl. For example do you in vision Nuverl as being present ii all water as seen by the dwarves or just sea water? Perhaps when dwarves take baths they wear little turtle totems. Perhaps this dwarven fear of Nuverl extends to all pooled water, and they may touch their totems before picking up a bucket or dipping their hands into a finger bowl (assuming your dwarves have finger bowls).



Some thoughts about the world building and the story telling. These are not criticism but things I might offer where this discussed in a story workshop.



World Building: I like the tone. It is impersonal and it catalogs the dwarves suffering in manner almost devoid of self piety. It has a Lovecraftian feel to it. But if you were to change the journal entries to more personal and self reflective you could transmit more information about the dwarf's world as well as his plight.



For example, perhaps his desirous thirst manifests as some pontification about standing in line at his favorite distillers back home. Perhaps instead of unaddressed journal entries he direct his writing to his son, wife or father and in this way the character discusses his relationship with them. Right now there is very little "dwarf" (no pun) in the story. You have a bit of this in the 45/46 entry. Perhaps you could add more. Of course adding this info. may change the tone, which I think is very good right now, so take that worth a drop of water.



Storytelling: I would add a climax to the story. Perhaps he finds an exit and almost gets out or feels trapped by on of the other damned creatures and tries to communicate with it. Perhaps he tries to eat one of the other damned dwarves. The climax could only be in the mind of the character in which he thinks something is going to change and he is going to escape or figure it out.

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Nuverl - Dwarven god of the sea
NPCs  (Mythic/ Historical)   (Religious)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-03-04 07:38 PM
BUMP!

Dwarves get on this one Go to Comment
The Brotherhood of the Land of Nod
Society/ Organizations  (Criminal/Espionage)   (Area)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-02-20 02:32 PM
Good point the cosmic era does have a very slipstream quality to it. Go to Comment
30 Mecha Design Flaws
Systems  (Combat/ Warfare)   (General)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-02-20 06:16 AM
I am a mech gamer. That line is usually uttered before I speak at my support group meetings. And after reading this ~4,000 word write up I was unsure what to say, but perhaps we need an intervention.

Oh and I am delighted? Go to Comment
30 Mecha Design Flaws
Systems  (Combat/ Warfare)   (General)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-02-20 10:07 AM

Five reasons why we need mecha design flaw list.

1) Is it fun?
It is fun to disrespect authority and the mecha has carried lot of authority and momentum in the popular sci-fi of the last 40 years. By taking some air out the mech in your game you can appear thoughtful because you are not kowtowing to the conventions of mech supremacy. Also if you are getting tired of fiction and/or games that try to refresh themselves and keep their fans interested by tossing out more powerful or rule bending mechs a list of rules that undercut this by adding problems to mechs may look like your definition of fun.

2) Is it another stick (the opposite of fun)?
Can a gamemaster have enough ways to hamstring their players? Of course not? Well there is nothing that tangles up your players more than stopping their actions at the gate with hyperdrive misfires, counter spells or weapon jamming (#1 on this list). This will teach your gamers to read their handouts and could stop them from winning a battle they were supposed to loose.

3) It is kind of like solving a puzzle?
In the 1980s, when the cosmic era was born, there was a video game called Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. In MTPO you played a skinny white kid who trained under the statue of liberty and you systemically beat up a chorus line of ethnically varied boxers that were five times your size. The key to beating these guys was not learning the controls or even really reaction time. Each boxer had a tell (the jewel in their turban would sparkel, they would wink at you or something). When you saw the tell you knew to throw a punch or go on the defensive. Mike Tyson’s punchout was about learning the ‘flaws’ in the opponent’s technique. I suppose you could use this list like this, and every time your players come up against a mech they could check their hand outs and decide how to min-max their tactics.

4) Conceptual Possession or Verisimilitude?
Battlemechs are fictional technology (as of this writing) and in that way nobody really knows anything about them cause there is nothing to know. Except what the author of the game or our arrogant fanboy intuition about physics and technology tells us. Thus by learning the esoteric points of mech design we may find a deeper intellectual possession of the fiction and our roll in it.

5) It doesn’t need a specific game reason, a well written, creative and amusing post is worthy in its own right?

Am I missing anything?
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30 Mecha Design Flaws
Systems  (Combat/ Warfare)   (General)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-02-20 10:09 AM
That retort reads like you are uncutting your submission or making an excuse. Are you not pleased with this submission? Go to Comment
30 Mecha Design Flaws
Systems  (Combat/ Warfare)   (General)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-02-20 09:03 PM


1) Shadow Sigil of Insanity:



You may call it a flaw or unfortunate coincidence, others may call it a brilliant statement on the fruitlessness of war, but the designer thought it evidence of his own cleverness. And clever he was until in his hubris and pride he looked at his own piece of walking shadow art.



When light hits this mech at just the right angle and the mech is standing in the correct position the shadow cast is the sigil of the being known as Penemue. Penemue is described by those familiar with him as a fallen angel and is known as the scribe of the damned. Gazing upon this sigil instills in mortal man knowledge of life’s own futility and his own mental and physical weakness. Those who have seen it grow depressed, despondent and lethargic.



“Hey Covergirl check out this sunset its…woah. You know what? I am pushing 40 and I am still playing with these f**king mechs. What is the point? I’m going to get a calzone or ten.”



2) Small pointy feet:



The feet of this mech do not distribute the machines weight well and instead of distributing weight over the entire foot, weight is forced into three tiny prongs on each leg. This means that road ways and surfaces that would normally tolerate the number newtons per square centimeter produced by a mech of this weight walking or running along it will become broken or damaged. There are other problems as well.



“Staff Sarg-ant! How many times have I told yee to wheel dose mechs out of my hanger? Them feets on da metal floor panels…worse than biting into tin foil.”



3) It looks kind of like giant bird



The birds think so too. Specifically, Megateron Dalvus, this awakened terrestrial bird weighs in at between 20 and 30 tons and is descended from the African green pigeon. The mech design in question resembles, strongly, the female of the species. If you happen to be marching this mech through the Serengeti during mating season you will be set upon by male Megaterons and subjected to their courtship dances.



“You know when said quickly over the comms, Megatron and Megateron sound a lot the same. My bad. Can you scrub the missiles?”



4) Chiral steering



The designer of this mech’s guidance system had a little known and rarely diagnosed mental abnormality. When a normal human brain signals to move the left side of the body, it fires a set of neurons on the right side of the brain and vice versa. This designer fires the left side of his brain for the left side of his body and the right for the right. Normally people with this condition are undistinguishable from people with typical brain geography and the differences are only detected in the case of stroke or brain injury. Unfortunately the mech designer used his brain as a template for the neuro-interface. Thus, when you get into this mech for the first time, you must make every action backwards. A mech operator can learn this skill no problem, but it can really throw a pilot that wasn’t expecting it. There are can also be other side effects”



“Sweetheart, you are sleep walking backwards again.”



5) Bouncy walk



The artificial muscles fibers in this mech’s calves and feet are a little tight. The pilot will not notice any physical jostling because of the excellent gyros and the smooth neural interface of this model. But anyone watching this mech walk through a treeline will notice the profile rise and fall two meters with each step. This will also make precision foot and ankle movement with this mech difficult.



“If they told us the moon had only 0.1 Gs, we may have sent a different compliment of mechs.”

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30 Mecha Design Flaws
Systems  (Combat/ Warfare)   (General)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-02-21 01:09 PM
Disclaimer: Before reading this know that this is not an attack on Scras. Scras, like all of us, should be able to post these self-indulgent lists and rants on this website. Yet this list has been exalted, via the votes, as a near perfect submission. If we want to reward and praise Scras for his writing and creativity he has been kind enough to give us numerous opportunities to do so on this website. This is list is a not a genuine opportunity for such praise and indeed praising this list calls into question the other high scores and positive remarks that Scras has received from the current panel on his other posts. Hell. Even part way through the author admits to giving up.

Why this list missed the mark.

1) It fails to illuminate the subject matter (mechs and the cosmic era). We all understand that there is nothing new under the sun and "great writers steal". But the above post is a not creation but a catalog of other items. Not all posts need have to a magnus opus quality to them or even need have a lot information in them. Yet this one has ton of information and why? That information has not be fused to the concept of the mech in an enriching manner. Instead we get a laundry list of things that you may apply to cosmic era mechs.

Example: The M-16 could jam mech guns could jam,

Example: There was an aircraft with a bad ejection seat a mech could have a bad ejection seat,

Example: In Battletech the scorpion fluff describes a rough combat-well it could true for the cosmic era quad mech as well.

Thus this list could just be a list of vehicle problems. Dozus says this expands the usefulness of the list. He is right. But this post is not more than a list of vehicle problems.

It would be a greater creative exercise to take the above list and then reshape into a mech specific list. Also, by failing to bridge the gap between the real world and the imagined world it also does not deserve to be a cosmic era post. Never do we get pulled into the cosmic era with this post, and we cosmic era 'facts' are mentioned they are jarring. You could take the word mecha out of this post and replace it with vehicle and not lose a thing. Also, only when discussing the LAI do we get any real science fiction. If my imaginary mech and my real life car are having the same problem where has your game taken me? The list brought the mechs down to the level of cars, which is fine if it then raise the mechs or the world back up.

2) The original content lacks any human element. The short blurb about the M16 could be used to extrapolate a lot about the nature of the war in Vietnam and has human elements as well. We have a list 30 items that purports to be about mech design flaws but I don't think there was one mention of mech designers. What the designers intent was and what the reality turned out to be would have given each point a small narrative. With the life and death drama of mech combat, could not each these flaws included a vignette on how those flaws played out on the field? You could mix and match these as well.

But it doesn't have to be an in-game human approach. One could discuss these flaws as they relate to the players and the role-playing experience. The closest we get to this is some discussion of what the modifiers should be and how they should be applied.

3) It does not have a consistent voice and tone.
I get that these are the ramblings of drunk amateur military historian. In fact I would prefer a post with that title to this one, hell just drop the mech aspect and write a post called 'Broke Guns: the ramblings of drunk amateur military historian (episode 1)'. Scars even admits that around number 21 he was just running rough shod over his content. In that last group he discusses a bunch of in game modifiers and how these things should be applied to the game. At times even in earlier points he discusses how Logistics cost are 10% more or parts cost 10% more. I assume he is talking about the cosmic era but he talking about on meta-level. Because unless there is one universal mech supply company in the cosmic era than realism demands a little uncertainty in that department. The list lacks a voice.

This is a sad point cause the post starts out kind of amusing and flippant, but it doesn't keep that up. If this had been 30 mechanical problems and the whole write up had been intended to just be an amusing than we would have something awesome. But instead we get a scatter shot of tones and a poorly defined voice. Is this a technical gaming document or piece of literature? Are we supposed to read this in order to learn how to play a game or are supposed to read in order to be entertained and inspired?

4) Numbers 8,9, 10 and 28 are pretty much the same thing.

5) It does not have the slipstream, genre bending or fantastical elements of the cosmic era. As a subtler point it does not the touch on any of the modern fantasy elements of the cosmic era.
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Military Clones
NPCs  (Extras-Horde)   (Combative)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-02-21 01:12 PM
This is a fun list. Go to Comment
The Town of Inexplicable Babies
Locations  (City)   (Any)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-02-11 04:35 PM
A nice idea. But the content here seems to be little more than the idea alone. Go to Comment
The Town of Inexplicable Babies
Locations  (City)   (Any)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-02-11 10:14 PM
I believe you're trying to bait me into further critique of this thing, well I ain't. Go to Comment
The Town of Inexplicable Babies
Locations  (City)   (Any)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-02-20 06:00 AM


It is fine, I was wrong to suggest that it is little more than the idea. It is a fun useful idea with some plot ideas and 'possible' things tossed into to make this a tool as well as idea.



So well done.



However, The post-starts with a description of a village that one might find in a travel log in the world of Hairy trees. But you don't realize a village in the write up, and with no resolution, narrative or strong imagery (aside from the teaser) this write up doesn't paint a picture or tell a story. Thus you have a bit of false advertising with the title cause we don't get a village, we get the baby idea. It could be the apartment building of baby cabinets or the space station of baby bulkheads.



But it is a FANTASTIC idea, this plot device could be used to explore issues of affection versus paternity, racism, maternal instincts, the right to have a child versus the ability to raise a child, the fear of being saddled with a family or the inexplicable nature of life itself. I would love to colab on a bigger write up.

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Litwell
Locations  (Ruins)   (Plains)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-02-24 12:37 PM


There is lot of information presented in here. I love that we get a lot of the information through the backchannels of the piece and not in the direct delivery. We have natural born wizards, a constant battle between the will of men (or ten year old boys) and the will of nature that wants to burn up the citizens, and shadow beasts the make are agents of human sacrifice. We also have consistent voice in the piece.



You see the person telling us about the road and the city is same person who knows all the secrets. But that is unknown to us at the beginning of the pieces, because the speaker uses a very passive voice and asserts almost a second person perspective. He also tends to repeat himself and by repeat himself I mean say the same thing two different ways, like saying it twice or three times. You see this repetitive voice, it gives you the sense that there is a bit a folktale quality to story. You are a little more tolerant of uncertainty when your narrator is a little folksy.



But what is the narrator’s point? Why is he telling us this story? I am 100% behind writing game stuff like a writer first not a like a gamer. That demands consistent voice, considerations of perspective and bias. You have done that here, and I love it. But I don’t know what the narrator is getting at besides few cheap surprise moments (clean skeletons, the guy coming back after the event, or the boy blowing up his town). Using this narrator’s voice, you use twice as many words or more than you probably need to describe the town.



The use of voice would be even stronger if there was more back channel delivery of information and you might achieve this if we knew a little more about the narrator and his intentions.



How does the narrator know all this?



How can this narrator, who drops so may little “surprises” on by taking the round about way to get to his/her point and not end this story with climax or a hook? You have weak ending that does not fit the tone of the rest of the piece. The piece by its nature promises a reveal and it does not give us one.



Here is a plot idea:



The people get sent back 500 years and rise to power: spreadout, conquer the world and all that. They then begin to actively support the human sacrifice in Litwell to maintain their defiance of the personified force of history you mention. Thus a plot may be to overthrow the tyrants, you have to stop the human sacrifice in the Litwell, this will pull the tryants ancestors out of time, burn them and eliminate the ruling class. Screw that Litwell return makes everything right idea. HOW CAN YOU HAVE A TIME TRAVEL STORY WITHOUT A PARADOX?

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Jampiri
Systems  (Divine/ Spirit)   (Specific)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-03-31 11:17 PM
I love it.

One of the greatest achievements in world building is a genuine and believable pidgin. Go to Comment
Organic NPCs (and PCs)
Articles  (Character)   (Gaming - In General)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-03-19 07:16 PM
Nice idea and a neat writing challenge. Might a character written from this perspective in this style tell you as much about the observer as it does the observed? Give that question to your adviser. Go to Comment
Organic NPCs (and PCs)
Articles  (Character)   (Gaming - In General)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-03-19 07:21 PM
Bullet points and score leveraging *snicker*....oh Scars...you should be ashamed of yourself. lol Go to Comment
The Eye of Seenu
Items  (Jewelry)   (Sentient)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-03-09 09:00 PM
This really well done, reads like an encyclopedia entry, if an all knowing god wrote the encyclopedia....ah the citadel.

The idea that Gem has a personality and a goal is really interesting. I obviously didn't want to stay in the earth though, other wise why not just tell the miners to put it back? Did you imagine that it knows where it is going? What if it finds others of its kind? Could this type of mind control be how the ancient wars were once fought? How can it be destroyed? But I admire your choice to be purposefully vague and unclear about the nature of thing.

Also you jus sold a copy of Flynn's book. He should send you a commission. Go to Comment
The Belts of Parkour
Items  (Clothes)   (Magical)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-03-08 04:53 PM
Nice item. Go to Comment
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