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Phobias
Articles  (Resource)   (Game Mastering)
axlerowes's comment on 2012-12-15 09:53 AM
I had to goggle Wallons,

The English, The Dutch, The Wallons I detecting a pattern of disliking modern pidgin cultures. Go to Comment
The Sanctuary of Sumuho
Dungeons  (Desert)   (Rooms/ Halls)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-03-02 12:57 PM
This is well formatted and clearly written. I admire that a great deal. I also don’t think there is anything wrong with the use of GM voice. But I get the impression that you are more of a writer than a GM.


As a story/ piece of writing:

Someday a literary scholar will undertake a study of roleplaying writing (if they haven’t already), and in that contrived and irrelevant thesis the scholar will be forced to recognize the existence of a novel and modern literary voice or perspective: the GM VOICE

In the GM’s voice the speaker or narrator is addressing simultaneously the player and the character. If this voice occurs as it does here, in a GM supplement, the voice is both addressing a traditional audience which is following the story in a linear fashion, it all addressing the GM who plays the role of a writer or co-author and in this case it also addresses the “in game” or in story world as it if were real and independent. Let us consider the description of the first encounter.

Dozus starts with a limited third person present tense perspective
“After two days of steady traveling, the archaeologists cheerfully announce that the Sanctuary is but a few miles away. As they top the next dune, however, there is a distressing sight: an encampment of nomadic lizardmen. Notorious bandits native to the Inhap, the lizardmen are no pushover, especially given their ability to dive into and "swim" through the sand, making them difficult to track. As one of the archaeologists - a slender woman with a heavy accent - unhelpfully points out, the encampment is directly over the site of the temple.”

In these line we are told of events that happen to the characters from thei character's perspective: The lizard men are notorious from the character’s perspective, their presence is distressing from the character’s perspective, the archaelogists comment is unhelpful from the character’s perspective

This tells us what is happening almost as if it is story, but then we switch to a future tense: “Unless one of the party is lucky enough to speak Inhapi, the lizardmen will have to be removed by force. Expect strong resistance from the dozen of the tribe…”

Next we return to a more traditional narrative: “The three nod to each other and the old archaeologist begins to chant in a strange tongue. For several minutes, nothing seems to happen. Then, suddenly, the archaeologist slams the base of the staff into the ground.”

Later on Dozus will start to address the story tellers themselves: “so some knowledge of Sumuho’s history would be valuable”

You, the readers and member of the Citadel prefer this type of writing. Why?

Why didn’t Dozus just write this up as story? What do we gain from this write up that we would not gain from a direct story? This already a very linear narrative, there are few asides or maybes. If this had just been written up as a story would the Citadel be more or less inclined to give it as much love? Writing this as a linear traditional story would not make it any less useful as a roleplaying adventure template, in part because except in the climax section were are not forced to deal with any encounters that could have truly different outcomes.


As roleplaying encounter:

1) The lizard men: It is stated that the perhaps talking to the lizard could be a solution, but we know nothing about their style of communication. We can assume that they are violent gnome slaughtering bandits, so their motivation seems clear, but what if you are characters are not inclined to go slaughter a group of intelligent beings that have done nothing wrong to them. A simple solution would be have encounters with the lizard men that would generate specific animosity between the players and the lizardmen. Otherwise perhaps the lizard men could be developed a bit to make them more than just “monsters”. What if the players fail or reach a stalemate with the lizardmen? Why wasn't that considered implicitly by the author?

2) The puzzle: Here the players just need to repeat what the NPCs tell them is important. This is interesting in that makes sure your players understand where they are going, like a backstory pop quiz, but it doesn’t dig into the players either. The most efficient method for solving this puzzle is to make the character puppets for the NPCs. Not fun. Could the players talk the door into opening by teaching it phenomenology?

3) Setback: It is saving throw and set piece. Again the players are not strongly involved.

4) Climax: Did the archeologist really need the PCs? To make this more powerful their should have been some event that forced the PCs to bond with archeologist prior to this. A GM could insert one, but it should have been in the write up. Did the archeologist give off clues that they intended to betray the PCs? The PCs are no more than passengers in this plot.

5) Twist: I like the picture of the talking head. At least this has some open ended stuff going for it.

Solid idea.


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The Sanctuary of Sumuho
Dungeons  (Desert)   (Rooms/ Halls)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-03-02 03:13 PM
Strolen's Citadel: A Role Playing Community

What separates role-playing fiction from standard fiction in your view. Go to Comment
The Sanctuary of Sumuho
Dungeons  (Desert)   (Rooms/ Halls)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-03-02 03:23 PM
I imagine the door conversation going something like this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjGRySVyTDk

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The Sanctuary of Sumuho
Dungeons  (Desert)   (Rooms/ Halls)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-03-02 07:45 PM
"Interactivity. If I wanted to write "standard fiction," it would be straight prose. "

Most modern fans of speculative approach the medium as spring board for their own ideas not as place to genuinely pursue or absorb the art. They are less concerned with the actually material than they are with the personal fantasies and possibilities that the story offers. Thus sci-fi and fantasy fans don't are willing to except bad writing or poor acting if there is an interesting idea behind the story. That has always been true, but I think that has shifted away from philosophical or political dialogs and focused on personal escapism. So called golden age Sci-fi/fantasy such as "We", "Anthem" and the Lord of the Rings were allegorical for political or social issues. Post Star Wars speculative fiction deals more providing a context that would appeal to the readers own fantasies. "Ender's Game" is the dream of every weak scared awkward kid. So I see modern fantasy and sci-fi writing as something written for the audience to play in.

Are you making the argument that story telling is less engaging than the story suggesting of RPG writing because in story telling the audience is just receiving and in story suggesting they are participating? Go to Comment
Hatumah
NPCs  (Mythic/ Historical)   (Mystical)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-03-26 10:29 AM
I like the idea that the priest robes are tattered remains of the old emperors clothing. You the get the point across and it is clear that you are trying to give us a mytho-historical figure


These are some general thoughts, not a list of "I hate this" questions.
I think you unnecessarily hamstrung this write up. If you are writing about the historical view of a person is different than writing about the person.

Why not write up the person?

If you are writing this for other GMs why assume that game use is only going to be at the time of your choosing?

Would have you written this different if the character was "a contemporary" citizen Neyathis?

You are not constrained by the fog of history and thus this fog of history aspect to the write up is only an affectation. Go to Comment
Wizard's Challenge
Dungeons  (Any)   (Puzzles)
axlerowes's comment on 2009-07-24 12:57 PM
I used half of this, last week

I gave them the first three rooms. The first challenge was resolved with some difficulty because one character could not easily answer the question (a nice roleplaying moment though)-"what does she want?". This lead to a brief fractioning of the party.

The second room went just as you had layed out and went over well.

The third room, I changed the walls of the maze to be "undead" walls made from stone and corpses. The walls would attack anyone who got within their reach...it fit the undead theme of this tower better. But the shifting maze confused half the party for a good ten minutes. When you ran this did you show them the maps or just describe the surroundings? Some of the PCs had a hard to time visualizing the quickly shifting enviornment, how did you handle the mechanics of this? The shift walls also split the party again. The one half the party used a run, scout and shout method which worked well until they encountered the minotaurs. The other half the party moved as close to the ladder as possible each time and then waited for shifts. One character tried to climb the walls. Climbing the walls didn't work but both of the other methods allowed the PCs to work the maze out. I used a grid system to keeps track of the PCs between map. Go to Comment
Raid on Tantalus IV
Plots  (Hired)   (Single-Storyline)
axlerowes's comment on 2009-04-05 01:39 PM
Edit: In the briefing "employer" does not wish to be named, not employee.

A little better organization would really improve on what is already an exceptional post. Detailing the plan (aka waypoints) that you have in mind the for the PCs would make it an easier read.

Also are the PC undercover or are they burglars? They seem to be a little bit of both in different scenes. You suggest they may have to avoid cameras and such when the train breaks down, but the Keepers take them junior guardians.

Finally the last room. Does the Liberty command not know the Mimints took the station, and do they not know about the prototype room? Do they not care?

I like the mission and the background a lot, and this sub deserves a high score. But the plot could use some fleshing out, and you seem to detail a lot of the red-herrings more than the major action points. Go to Comment
30(+) Walking Dead
Lifeforms  (Third Kingdom)   (Any)
axlerowes's comment on 2012-10-03 08:07 PM
This is a great resource, it is almost 30 zombie back stories, I wish I had this years ago. Go to Comment
Evil Camels in Space
Lifeforms  (Unique)   (Space)
axlerowes's comment on 2012-02-15 08:40 PM


You had me with the teaser


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Diamonds and the Deluge
Dungeons  (Mountains)   (Rooms/ Halls)
axlerowes's comment on 2012-12-15 06:14 AM
very nicely put together, simple really, the only things I would add:
some hints about the spirits of the drowned before scene five
some mechanism to reveal that the noble's ancestors were responsible for the flood.

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The Gunman
Articles  (Fiction)   (Gaming - Genre)
axlerowes's comment on 2012-10-28 09:39 PM
This no more fiction than most of the stuff at the Citadel, and if I had to pick a place for it, I would say toss it in books and scrolls. We could have a media section.

This being said this is fantastic, it comments on the action series and add culture the world of the players. One of the advantage of pre-formed settings like battletech, is that players and GMs can come together with a lot of shared knowledge of their settings. I think you could write a whole story or plot using this as a backdrop.
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The Gunman
Articles  (Fiction)   (Gaming - Genre)
axlerowes's comment on 2012-10-28 10:45 PM

Angus Murphy Ph.D. was granted his doctoral degree by Savonburgh for  his dissertation on the Gunman. 


 His hypothesis was that the 

“Gunnman shifted the vocabulary of mech warrior conflict away from horrific violence and towards entertainment.  It also placed the mech warrior into the arena of the common man. Prior to the Gunman all mech warrior fiction was pure proganda. In those story lines mech warriors descended from wealthy noble houses defended the honor of their nation states. Because Michael Long was a peasant who became a mech warrior to defend his home, he changed the focus of Battlemech violence from political to personal.”   





As part of his thesis Angus Murphy assembled some of the more popular memes born from the series. Here are some excerpts from Murphy's dissertation regarding popular quotations associated with the show and his view of their meanings..


“Two particle cannons, no waiting” 

 

Long said this line in episode 9 of the 1st season right before engaging an entire company of medium mechs.  This line is commonly uttered by men with both fist raised and was also adopted as the motto of pit-fighter Na Phun Koo who won a record 14 titles on the world of Barras.


“I only need heat sinks when women are around.”  


The character of Long never actually spoke this during the series, but it is still commonly attributed to the show.  It is linked to that fact, that in the series Long’s Warhammer only had problems with over heating when he was battling the character of Kruppa.  Long had five battles with Kruppa during the first three seasons and each ended with Kruppa running out of ammo and Long overheating. 


“Here is a tactic for you, shoot them first and shoot them more often.” 

This was Long’s response to a career officer from Capellan-March who is lecturing Long’s militia on battlefield tactics. This line uttered in episode 2 of season 2 formalizes the visceral and intuitive nature of Long’s character as a contrast to the unpopular Nobility. It is of note though that Long does eventually bond with the officer character by the end of the episode.  


“A great mech deserves a great pilot, you are the only one I’d let in my cockpit.”

 In the 11th episode of season 6, Kruppa and Long find themselves isolated together during a major invasion and Long suffers a head injury. Kruppa comes to his aid but he is unable to use the neural uplink. He allows Kruppa to pilot his Warhammer. This line is often repeated as a whole or in parts.  One of the underlying themes of the Gunman series was that Battlemechs represented the character's id.  Thus by allowing Kruppa into his Battlemech, Long is surrendering his basic needs and desires to her. 


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D'athri
Lifeforms  (Intelligent Species)   (Tundra/ Arctic)
axlerowes's comment on 2011-04-08 01:12 AM

Meh.
Minor speaks more to the amount of effort put into this piece than the role of this race in any game. If something has the feel of minor race, it will also feel contrived, the soul of a good or great role playing setting is that every stone you over turn reveals an entire universe of possiblities. When we start writing dead ends we lose that. Go to Comment
Servitor Imps
Lifeforms  (Constructed)   (Any)
axlerowes's comment on 2009-04-10 03:58 PM
Having an easy to summon water downed demon in your binder could be a good think and the concept and description are simple enough to be easily intergrated, understood and played with. Go to Comment
World of Neyathis
Locations  (World)   (Other)
axlerowes's comment on 2014-03-12 05:19 AM
So I am going on a personal quest to discover Neyathis.

This sub is a meta discussion of the world, "africa sized" land masses and so on. If you are going to break down the forth wall, than I think you should tell more about the process. Why did you write up an ice age continent? How did that help you tell your story or did you just like mammoths. Go to Comment
At Star's End
Plots  (Event)   (Encounter)
axlerowes's comment on 2012-02-23 05:56 PM


This is great, I really wish I had thought of it and used it years ago. 


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The Wastes
Locations  (Area)   (Desert)
axlerowes's comment on 2013-03-04 08:48 PM
pretty neat, GM voiced and a little meta, but the concept not the writing is strong Go to Comment
Armor of the Last Stand
Items  (Armor)   (Heroic)
axlerowes's comment on 2009-04-01 01:13 AM
Some ideas for uses for these items...

The PCs put the armor on not knowing its properties and then learn during battle that if that get near death the armor will turn on them

The PCs have to capture somebody wearing this armor alive. Go to Comment
Trapped in a Schemer's Web
Plots  (Coincidence)   (Side-Quest)
axlerowes's comment on 2012-03-02 03:57 PM


I love the formatting and the writing is a very easy fast paced read that has an excellent deliberate and straight forward style to it.  I am always impressed and envious with how well you communicate your idea.  



But I agree with all the others, the characters aren't really trapped in schemer's web as they are side stepping it.  The PC have nothing to gain by getting involved and no motivation to do so other than clearing their name which as outsiders acused by a golden child of the city, would seem impossible, uncessary and at best a victory of principle only.  



If they aren't interested in clearing their name then the PCs motivation will be to get as far away from the plot as possible.  Perhaps a good courtly intrigue plot draws the characters into the plot rather than drives them away.  As Vlad said, it is a railroad plot and the PCs should just run away.  unless this is about clearing the PC's name. Yet the focus of this write up is not on clearing the PCs name, but shuffling them through a castle on a tour of The Five posts.  



The intergration of the five does really just come as a gallery rather than a real weaving of the ideas into a story.  The is best exemplified in the encounter with Blossom of Rage and the Kyth.  As you have it written the smartest play would be for the PCs to sit and watch.   Ara the blade just knocks them out leaves the story the and the write up does not give the PCs a path into Espeth's life or web.  So there is a web and plot here but the story you have outlined seems to be the Free Parking-Advace to GO path around the board. 



 


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