I like this one. As a concept: a race of tall humoniod beings that treats us human as live stock is old school satire. There are numerous examples of this through out literature, and many of them lacked specific details because they were more focused on ramming a lot messages down your throat. I think though the message, about what is life and intelligence will inevitably forces a bit a self-assessment even if presented in an absurd of humorous fashion. In the case of the Yohats, the fact that they are humanoid and their society resembles human society with the bankers and craftsmen makes the "inhumanity" of their actions all the more striking. Because this seems like satire I don't think it is important to iron out the economic details of these cultures. I think that the goal of this piece is to draw out a response in the readers/gamers by forcing them to a) witness human suffering b) view a society which parallels their own but is also offensive to the human's values. The crass disgusting nature of this one, where they keep women in pits and milk them just add to the striking and "provocative" nature of the piece. I don't think this idea needs to deal with all the details: how much milk do they drink and so on. In "The Time Machine" the Morlock's economy struck me as really unsustainable. Yet audiences were able to accept the concept enough that the Morlocks made it into two movies and a musical (three movies if you count Ransom). The twilight zone episode that dealt with this exact same subject one was really just dark comedy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ne5eP0OAsTs ). The message and purpose of this piece is clear and it is effective. It strikes me as banal to harp on whether Yohat society would be sustainable.
One thing that nags me about this is the lack of perspective in the write up. Who is writing this, if it is a GM writing for other GMs you should share with us some of you thought processes. You chose a society that was small and isolated why? If the write up is done from the game world perspective you should drop the comparison's to the olympics and other Earth bound facts. If you are going to take third person perspective, than you should make it a description of things and not series of statements. Example
"Yothats will never fight a battle inside a village. If they did, then all the tribes would gang together against the perpetrating tribe."
If they never done it, how do we know it will happen? We know it because you are the writer and you say it will happen. We may be able to intuit your meaning or extrapolate information about the society form these statements, but you have cut out of a lot of the process by just giving us statements. A statement is not something another writer or a GM could access as easily.
You could try something,
"Combat among Yohat's is dictated by strong mores and taboos. Combat never occurs within the villages or one worked land. Yohats that have suggested a course of action that could cause collateral damage or disrupt day to day life have been quickly corrected or shunned."
In this way your discussion become more about values that result in the behavior and not the behavior itself. By describing the values or the pieces that help build the conclusion you have reached, I believe, gives the reader more to work with
If you guys are going to spew out facts you should reference things.
But I think an article like this which describes DMing techinques and give direction which would be more influential and carry more weight if it was laced with some vignettes regarding how this stuff worked in game play. How the players responded to specific details and so on. More importantly describe what didn't work. As I see it you giving Martha Stewartesque advice here, how to be good GM. M.S. often give specific examples of parties and events which has either hosted or which her friends have hosted.
If you want to discuss torture and execution as a stand alone topic perhaps you could discuss what those excution said about the values of the people carrying them out.
But overall 10 historically gruesome forms of execution isn't a bad list. Go to Comment
Do you think in the cosmic era the Seibertronians hold sensitivity forum where they say stuff like "I am not a Transformer, I am not a Terminator, I am not a computer, or Soong Android but I AM A PERSON DAMN IT!!!" Go to Comment
This is perfect. You had an idea that is novel as far I know: cat book, you wrote a character of minor depth and sympathy (the cat book lady), you gave a slde long view of a society and a world....really really perfect. Go to Comment
Of all things of yours that I have a read and remember reading this may be the best them. I like how you left certain things unsaid, the fact that her adult life is centered around revenge fantasies focused on her mother. The arc of her snake formation also follows a story of the coping mechanisms associated with emotional abuse. There are also some dark and disturbing tagents in this, that speak very little to the story of the piece (and there is a nice story) but tell us much about the character.
I think you could tighten up a few points (but again minor stuff sir), for example during her first transformation you don't need to tell us she is rattlesnake in the last line. That banal conclusion takes away from an effective and visual paragraph.
This land solidly in my favorite genre, Kyle would be a could opponent for a noir anti-hero or love-hate counter part for superhero themed vigilante. I find it interesting that as cynical as he is he still follows politics. Which most likely confirms his cynicism, but following closely suggests he either develops and feeds of his disillusionment or he hasn't given up hope. Go to Comment
This is the best retelling of the source material for the cosmic era I have yet read. It is damn shame something like this gets less respect than list of 30 thing we already know. This genuinely subversive and clever. My only compliant was the reference to mostly white males. Is race as it was defined in the 1980s still really an issue in the cosmic era? If so what does "white" mean in that time. If you wanted to communicate something about the ethnic nature of a group, white males might something when discussing a present day group. but I don't know what it means in the cosmic era. Or does AC want to bring back old school racism and sexism as well? Go to Comment
Teenagers who run away from home to live in the wilderness may become feral. As they become more and more feral, they gain some supernatural powers (a la Peter Pan - ability to fly, things they imagine come true - possibly quite powerful), but at the expense of their humanity and ability to speak, comprehend complex subjects, etc. Maybe they have a leader: the most feral of them all.