Outstanding, its always beneficial when a writer can take an old cliche thing and turn it into something more pliable. I can see the possibility here for a Dragon version of 'Mycroft Holmes', running a great empire from behind the throne.
I can envision an excellent plot outline in the period leading up to the collosal struggle whereby the machinations of Vychan are creating strange alliances and tensions among the human factions. The PCs would have to navigate these relations under stress.
However as Manfred suggested, where does his money come from? Perhaps rather than reward adventurers with gold, maybe his reward is the funding of commisioned work. Hiring artists to write epics about them (or make busts, or paint, etc). That way he can keep most of his gold horde. Go to Comment
He has an alright history, but I'm having trouble picturing the character. I do question why he didn't turn to story telling once he found he had a knack for it. Interesting attributes, he might come in reasonably useful to a party... can he be trusted? Go to Comment
I'm a little bit confused as to what humans see in the wielder. You said they see him as a troll in the social sense... do they run, or accuse him of smelling bad? Why do humans see him as any different at all? How would someone dwelling in the desert, who has no contact with trolls, percieve him?
The history is a little bit straight forward. A ranger wants to talk to trolls, contacts a wizard to enchant an item to that end, wizard succeeds. Its workable, its just not very interesting.
I did like your description of the environment, and found it quite effective. Its not often that you read about Orcs being civilized, and motleys of trolls. Go to Comment
Its a cool idea, but I would have taken a more evil take on them. In your presentation its assumed that all ash children tend towards fighting the vampires. It would seem to me that with those abilities, in that environment, they would be the lesser evil, and would come to rule the human populations.
What happens to the person who drinks the vampire blood to sire an ash child? What happens if both parents imbibe the blood? Why would the ash children population dwindle if there were a large number of ash children, couldn't they breed and create a sustainable population?
What happens if Ash children imbibe vampire blood when mating, do you get yet stronger ash children, and how powerful could such a being theoretically become? Go to Comment
Rikosan just wanted to be a hero. Tales of adventure was the music of his life; but he wasn't impulsive enough to travel and opportunity never beckoned. This all changed when he found that strange lantern. It was a forest of death that day: Orcs, dozens of them lay, drenching the ground with their blood, the bodies all bore marks of terrific violence. Timidly approaching, Rikosan's focus kept returning to the lantern. He recognized it immediately, he had heard the stories sung of it. Rikosan searched the ruined grounds for any being, but finding none Rikosan took the lamp.
And this was how the Magnificent Rikosan came to protect the city of Ruundel. His secret but successful problem solving methods would have been entirely mysterious if not for the loose tongue of his single bodyguard Thoral. An inebriated Thoral once spoke of powerful allies hidden in a lantern, a truth that was not widely believed.
However the time of "Rikosan the magnificent" came to a sudden end. Rikosan boasted that he would take the fight to the Lich Fritzarrn, an ancient but preoccupied evil that dwelled in the northern plains. He was given by the king a letter of passage, and promised a duchy upon his successful return. He rode off on a clear morning and was never heard from again.
In time a ghastly figure wandered south from the mountains. This skeletal beast is rumoured to attack wanderers at night, and carries Rikosan's magic lantern.
"Being the tenth fortnight since the departure of Rikosan,
and his absence being sorely felt.
The king, in his glory and wisdom, declares this day
The Celebration of Rikosan.
Be wary citizen!
In Rikosan's folly a horrible animation has arison
with the stolen property of our late hero.
This beast is to be given no quarter and
permitted no ear. Let us honour our
hero with the death of this antagonist."
Rikosan is in his late thirtys. He is tall but lean, and his crown is bald from age, but he still has wisps of long white hair. He has an excellent speaking voice and can instill courage and hope with his speeches.
His clothes are usually unadorned with trumpery, Rikosan being a pragmatic and comfortable man. He was last seen clothed in his woodsman suit, with a small hatchet and pack of supplies. Go to Comment
Some names are bad, but I've always found making up a name on the spot, no matter how terrible, is preferable to having a template name (INSERT NAME HERE). Simply because template names are hard to follow, and they are worse still.
Maybe I should start providing alternate names for my items? It wouldn't be unreasonable for a powerful artifact to have many names. Go to Comment
I wouldn't say I've broken any rules, but I'll admit to having bent them.
To quote from "The Shards of the Storm" (http://www.strolen.com/content.php?node=411):
"Other combinations are possible, even likely. The shards may be fashioned as a part of any thing that contain their physical size, and each will grant the holder of that item a tiny fraction of divine power over the weather, as much dependant upon the holder as upon the fragment."
In my submissions I've tried to avoid the obvious items that directly embody storm elements. I've tried to pick out other more metaphysical aspects of storms. This ring represents renewal after a chaotic weather... The rainbow after the storm if you will.
In my defense, if I did not at least try to think of strange or unusual storm elements, then the competition would be without colour. The description of the shards screams: "sharp slab of metal, about sword size, that does lightning damage", so by banning weapon items outright (which I admittedly broke in my first submission) necessitates searching for more subtle effects.
Anyway, so you can judge for yourself whether this is a valid quest item, I've bent/broken these assumptions:
1) Assumption of descent: In my history I've said the shards didn't all fall at one time
2) Assumption of Purpose: In my history, I've said that earlier shards represented destructive aspects of the storm, constructive aspects fell in later shards
3) Assumption of singularity: This ring is composed of many tiny shards.
4) Assumption of aspect: This ring embodies the calm natural renewal after storms
However I think 1,2 and 3 are alright, you might have trouble accepting bend #4. Go to Comment
I'm glad to hear it, looking back on it though it hasn't seemed to have been as popular as some of my other items. Perhaps its too specific?
Some other things to do with it:
1. Protect your home/keep/dungeon with an aura of despair.
2. Lure do-gooders to your traps, bait them with this.
3. Con a city, use this to create the uneasy feeling, "solve" the problem, turn off the device and collect the reward.
4. Improve your reputation, have your bard sing songs of your achievements. During the battles parts of the story use the device to increase the peoples dread. They'll think the story is that much more scary.
5. Make a decoy - Remove the shard, put the mechanical device somewhere and run it, the splashing water will prevent anyone from seeing inside - a great decoy.
6. Drink the water (what would that do?). Go to Comment
I don't recall the Shards quest specifically mentioning what the shards looked like. In this case the shard happens to look like a gem. You might feel thats a copout, but thats what I had intended to convey. Go to Comment
Indeed, I had visions of a dwarf arm upheld hurling through the storm. Its a cute trick.
Originally I had intended for it to be an Orcish item, since Orcs use dwarven runes for writing anyway, but I decided that an orc wouldn't have that kind of magic, and I would need to use shamanism rather than alchemy. It might have been made to work, but I think this is cooler still.
However, under the old shaman system I had imagined that not all bolts would hit the gem. Some would hit the ground below the shaman, which would be a devestating attack. Personally though, I wouldn't go this route, as it makes the item too powerful; instead the opposite is better, the rod attracts nearly all lightning, so the storm is harmless to those below the flyer.... those above the flyer are a different matter. Go to Comment
If you want many many responses quickly, mention the drow. If you want a nemesis: glorify them.
Actually though, the only reason I took drow over duegar or dwarves is because in my last adventure the DM had us traverse a mountain range via a secret underdark tunnel. Drow were on my mind. Go to Comment
Were I running a campaign I would try to keep the sword away from the desert. Its too useful there. However it might make a good plot focus for a desert campaign. A tale of three cities fighting for control of the sword they just stole from your party. Go to Comment
Personally this is probably my favorite item in this quest. Its the sort of quirky thing that I wish I had thought off.
However the effect is very subtle, this is a sort of item that might be difficult to work into campaigns because the PC's wouldn't have any real idea what is going on. The only plausible way to determine that an strange affect is happening is to bolster the quality of sailmakers sails. Then it'll be the talk of the town and the PC's can get informed via the rumour mill / tavern.
Personlly I think its a case of the right item on the wrong quest. The quest imposes some limitations on the item s power which make it difficult to rectify those problems. Go to Comment
Wonderful item. I love magic items that are strange and dangerous. It has a beautiful property of recursion, a story within a story.
To be truly devious, You could stack them up.
The first book, once a few monsters are defeated says: "And now the party, battle won, claims there treasure, a golden tome."
And then the golden tome is just another Book of Eventful Evenings.
Make it into a puzzle, perhaps every book in a massive library is one of these books, and only one book is a real book. The clues to finding real book lie on the covers of the fake books, and on the clues they give at their conclusion. Go to Comment
The nations of the Kolm surpasses all other barbarians in their wilderness of life. Thoug they do just bear the likeness of men, of a very ugly pattern, they are so little advanced in civilization that they make no use of fire, nor any kind of relish, in the preparation of their food, but feed upon the roots which they find in the fields, and the half-raw flesh of any sort of animal. I say half-raw, because they give it a kind of cooking by placing it between their own thighs and the back of their horses. They fight in no regular order of battle but by being extremely swift and sudden in their movements, they disperse, and hen rapidly come toghether in loose array. They spread havoc over the vast plains and flying over the ramparts, they pillage the camp of their enemy almost before he has become aware of their approach. They are the most terrible warriors for when in close combat with swords and flails they fight without regard to their own safety, and while their enemy is intent upon parrying the thrust of the swords, they will entangle him with their chains so that he loses all power of walking or riding.
Excerpt from "The peoples of the world" By Taklamarian court-scholar Guliman Amon.