So its not a tank....tough sell
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But the write up is really nice, and the plot hook is an excellent finish. I think this would be more fun inverted with the focus being on a plot that involves learning about this tank thing rather than learning all about this tank think with a plot tacked on.
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.
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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.
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.
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“If they told us the moon had only 0.1 Gs, we may have sent a different compliment of mechs.”