The scene in which she throws herself at Sarah Voltaire only to conclude that she didn’t want to seem obvious…that was funny. I particularly thought this line rang true.
I smiled, unable to resist the urge to show off my knowledge just a little. "For example, they now think raptors used their wings for stability and flapping to stay on top of their prey while hanging on with their hooked claws and eating it alive." I paused and blushed slightly, suddenly embarrassed at sounding like some kind of Dino geek in front of the girl.
This sounds like every undergraduate science major I’ve met (ahem…or maybe use to be). Those kids are ready to drop knowledge at absurdly inappropriate moments, and without any real understanding of what they are talking about. Eve may have the ability to understand Velociraptor mongoliensis in a way that guys scratching at fossils cannot, but I am sure she does not understand the research she is talking about. This is a brave (internet brave) choice having your narrator be flawed and a little unreliable. Brave because I know that uncertainty turns off some readers. But I really like and enjoy what you are doing with her voice. It adds a layer of realism.
However, the story within the story was a little rough. I think a little more imagery and making the language a little more explicit would help communicate Sarah Voltaire’s story as the narrarator and thus the world understands it, and would keep the flow of the story going. For example
As soon as the professor begins speaking she sat up, yanked out her ear buds, and whipped off her shades. That’s when, while the professor made introductions, I recognized Sarah Voltaire. Here you have three events: Girl in green shirt removes shade Professor starts talking Eve recognizes Sarah Voltaire.
The events are explicitly connected. For all we know that moment Sarah Voltaire could have materialized behind the professor, or the professor is Sarah Voltaire in man form, or the girl in the green shirt is Sarah Voltaire.
You could tighten up the sentence a bit by adding
I recognized the girl in the green shirt was Sarah Voltaire aka Quantum.
Then as you go through the flashes of images things get vague and unclear. I know it is easy to expect the readers of genre fiction to fill in the gaps. (Of course my genre bias tells me warhammer was a supervillian, but it wouldn't hurt to tell us that. Or tell us Eve's opinion of Warhammer versus the media's opinion. Eve is telling us this in retrospect so she could reflect more on these flashesthan she did at the time)
But you leave a lot of gaps in that story of Voltaire, it kills the flow of this piece and there is no reason to do it.
You should add another clause or sentence to each to specific memory Eve has regarding Voltaire. These should help to connect things temporally and draw out the details.
I know they are supposed to be just short flashes, but the flashes are very vivid and important images in Eve’s mind and you should paint vivid pictures with your words.
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Lastly, undergraduate paleontology is really pushing my suspension of disbelief. I know the details don’t really matter, she just need to learn about dinosaurs so she can shape shift and may be there can be so allegory for evolution and extinction with Delta humans and normal humans. But you could show the field a little more respect. Paleontology is a sub-discipline of what they call “Earth Science” these days (actually they have called in Earth Science since the 80s, and not deep enough into the field to tease out the symantics of the different Earth Science disciplines. She would either be in either a geology, biology or anthropology program depending on what department the university dumped its paleontologists. Would be Paleontologists focusing on dinosaurs would likely be studying biology or geology. I am sure there are Paleo 101 classes out there, but they would be survey classes for non-majors. Eve should talk to her academic advisor and dump that useless class. I know I am being silly here, but hey science deserves respect.
The points come through, I was just suggesting the language get tightened up a bit and be a bit more illustrative. It is a minor thing. However, I don't think it was a problem with not knowing Sarah Voltaire, we have to know Eve's understanding of Sarah, even if its wrong. But it reads much clearer now. These are just prose details and I still think it is an interesting and well conceived story thus far.
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I am still not quite sure what Eve thinks happened with the sniper. Statue was another super, she and Quantum got shot but Statue died?
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*Reduction: The event described here as reduction is approximate translation from the Kaanarite language. If translated directly the elven term means either to shrink or to reduce, but contextually it refers to censure or punishment of certain families buy other families. The exact details of these punishments was not clear to the author at the time of this writing.
I have heard versions of this the story before and I have always wondered why does fate hate the free market? Is fate some bleeding heart liberal? :)
If a bad man happens to give the starving guy his lunch, because maybe he didn't like his lunch, maybe helping the poor made him feel good about himself, maybe he wanted to shame the other guys around him, does he still get coin? Could he use the power of the coins to amass huge fortune and what does that tell us about fate? Or will the coins only work in the "vague" method of helping nice people?
If all this is up to GM is this really a developed item or plot?
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But do you intend this be a tool to push your PC towards a certain morality or level of compassion?
"what count are facts, not the apparent reason behind it. Maybe he helped the man to shame the other? Ok that's fine but what count is that he still helped while other people were doing nothing, and who knows "
This is interesting and perhaps these coins could be or are being used to realize a certain perspective of fate (monkey's paw)
How far ahead does this lucky hand look? Might you loose a card game but as a result leave the tavern before it burnt down? Would it have burnt down if you were still in there? What if the Orcs whose tracks you missed go slaughter a village that includes a baby that would have grown up to be the Necro-tyrant that covers the world in a second darkness. Does having a the hand of fate guide you to the best outcome take choice out of the equation?
"Well Rex should we take the tunnel on the left or right? What does the Hag's map say?'
Rex finger the three coins in his pocket and says, "It doesn't matter, what ever choice I make is the right one."
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Overall I am always weary of things that let you see the hand of the GM in the game. I know a lot of players look for it, but isn't more fun when we are immersed in the game? According to the intent laid out in your teaser, these things were conceived with the idea that the players will feel the presence of the GM.
Because you took the description to a meta-level, suggested that my questions were devoid of common sense and that my questions failed to comprehend the basic nature GMing.
But my questions were attempting to take the item away from the confines of GMing to an item. Because if you can only discuss the item in the terms of GMing then it becomes like your plus one sword. (nothing wrong with plus one swords) It becomes like your plus one sword because you can not move the plus sword to different medium without changing the way the sword is described. If you were to put that plus one sword in a novel or poem you could not describe it as giving the character "plus one to hit". This item description-specifically the way you expanded on it in the dismissive post- lacks verisimilitude and world building, because it is only describing a meta-level GM-player dynamic. Example:
"player on the other side will wonder if the GM, since he's a player so he know that everything in the campaign is regulated by him, gave him a real magical item or is just leading him to think that it is while they are just 3 normal coins"
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Your stated goal in this piece was to write up an item that forced the characters to think about fate and morality. I had questions about your view and thus the item's perspective on fate and morality. You answer was that fate and morality are ultimately in the hands of the GM (true perhaps) and thus such questions are moot. Thus descriptions of the nature of your item are moot.
I liked the lecture, perhaps the Golgafrinchan's didn't make up that whole space goat idea. You give us the concept of the space whale. It is an interesting idea for explaining mass extinctions because it forces a view human existence that includes the humanity as citizens of the galaxy. But because the space whale is so difficult for humanity or any person to interact with the idea it is difficult to engage with. Thus like the lecturer we are left with nothing to do but throw up the hands of imaginations.
What can you say about giant untouchable (almost unknowable) space whales ( that treat our planet like a cookie jar) that sucks.
Perhaps Moby Dick and the space whale are the last elements of nature that man can not conquer and thus must turn to religion in order to understand his role in the universe? But Moby Dick and Ahab had history, a relationship. There can be no personal relationships with a star whale.
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You could go out and look for Moby Dick. You could look for and physically wrestle with the embodiment of natural death living among man's violent oppression and exploitation of the natural world.