One note on scoring, you should not rate it based upon usefulness to your campaign, but on its quality of expression and its general applicability to any campaign. If former rather than the latter was the case, then I would be forced to score anything that did not fit Kerren or Arth lower than it was. Since Kerren is a radically different world than most fantasy games, everything would be scored 1s and 0s. Arth operates under some very different assumptions that your standard fantasy game, so most everything would be a 1 or 2.
Mostly this setting is one for setting the tone and position for the campaign. It would be a right of passage for every new character/ player. It can set the tone of the city's bone crushing buracracy, under-caring city government, and distant central government... much like Lankamar's. It is a just a small segment of the character's life, a common experience that can bind them together. It is so much more interesting than "you meet up in a bar" or "you answer the cryer's call".
And one last thing: Sure your players will never need to know much about these details. But you, as the GM, like an author, must know two to three levels deep worth of details that might never come into play, but you just might need them if your players stray. Go to Comment
Monument, though you probably have not ever considered the possibility, you can have more fun with a bureaucrat who's 1st level, with no combat relevant stats (pot-belklied, unfit, cowardly), but sits in the right place and has a stamp you need.
Now, if you COULD just thropw damage at him, he'd be no threat, but you CANNOT. He's got a stamp, and the power to deny you the access to it.
You cannot kill him.
You cannot charm him - your casting would be instantly noticed. You have to (gasp!) role-play to get to the stamp he clutches and calls it his Preciousss.
As I discern from your posts, you play only in one way: the GM sets an objective, the players accomplish it. Wow. To this end, perhaps 3/4 of all the posts at Strolen's will be useless to you, as they deal with things like logical world design, and ideas you'd consider outright heretical :D
Your way to game is not the only path, and not a path I'd choose. I can play Diablo or something similar if I look out for quests like 'kill baddie and bring in his left testicle for a rerward'.
You will probably be shocked to discover that my group is able to have fun on a session where the only objective, if one can call it thus, that a PC gets married, and tries to solve disputes between her husband and his father, as well as several other NPCs. Just for the sake of her having a peaceful wedding and better relations.
You'd be shocked to hear that one of the players once appointed a solo-session, and spent 20 minutes on quest-stuff, and four HOURS on playing out and elaborating the relationship of his knight PC and the NPC squire.
It's called ROLE-playing and not QUEST-completing after all.
I've never been one much for the details of day to day life in the game. In the same way that I, as a person, am quite uninterested in the inner workings of the DMV, as a DM and a player, I would not be interested in the details of an Ellis Island type of place, at least not inside a game, and I probably wouldn't place an adventure anywhere near this place.
However, this is just the sort of place to enact some sort of "information destruction" plot where perhaps a shapeshifter makes it into the bowels of the process and then starts to wreak havoc from the central weak point, destroying important records that would help find some important but unrecognized immigrant that has slipped between the proverbial cracks. If they can hide the immigrant's entry to the place, he can be a mole or double agent or some such after the fact.
Since I couldn't use this setting for an adventure, but rather only as an interlude, I had to lower my vote. 3/5. Go to Comment
Easy there, killers... I don't want to start a holy war or some such. Truth be told, I appreciate EchoMirage's attempts to guide me, and see his comments for what they are, a genuinely constructive criticism.
If I had to defend myself, he is somewhat right in his assumptions, I play a LOT of D&D, but it's RARELY smash and grab. Where most D&D is fairly typical bonk the noggin, grab the loot type of stuff, our game is usually far more intricate than that.
Yes, I like the plot to be straightforward and simple, but that doesn't preclude twists and turns along the way, of which we have PLENTY. In short, the fact that a plot's goal is front and center does NOT mean that the path to that goal is a straight line.
As far as this setting is concerned, I would never bother to make up the details of the interior of what amounts to the fantasy equivalent of the INS office, because unless I specifically make an adventure that requires a visit there, my players are so highly unlikely to want to visit there that it's not even worth my time to bother creating it. If they ever DID decide to go there, I would probably just "institutionalize it", and hope it met their expectations. Go to Comment
Nice, but has brought to me a question... how do they write below water? There are several options - a special ink and paper that react together fast enough; acid or similar stuff; or simply etching into the recording item... bringing also the question what is "paper" in this case. A dead plant, or one still kept alive? A Living Library underwater could be an interesting setting, too. Go to Comment
I would think it is a parchment of some kind, made by a combination of static magics and good process. The parchment would be treated to respond to the pen (a treated stylus). It would be a binary response creating magic underwater printing. Go to Comment
CP- It does not have to be magic. You could go the tech route. Magic would just be easier (and depending on your world... more appropriate).
Scras- True, as far as that goes.
But these SeaFolk build buildings, stone buildings, which implies a more stationary existance. One does not build of stone (which requires quarrying, cutting, specialized skills, and record keeping) unless one has a more structured civilization.
I could very easily see them ranching fish, maintaining kelp forests (planting, harvesting, and harvesting co-inhabitants fish/ otters), ranching/ maintaining (we don't have a word for this) those reef ecologies for their own benefits, and so on. If you automatically think in 3D and don't have issues with aquatic existance being hostile, it should not be too hard to do these things. I mean we can do it with divers, bubble walls, kelp barriers/ nets, certainly they could.
Also: Nobody complains when Elves, who don't seemingly farm, have cities. Why would you complain about these folks having them?
Cultures with written languages have thrived and expanded beyond the "band" level. No culture with an exclusively verbal culture has expanded beyond the band level (which is neither inherently good nor bad). The problem with verbal loremasters is that with increasing complexity of contracts, with increased numbers, such systems tend to fail - promigating some form of tangible record keeping (writing, knotting, pictographs). All it takes is the wrong person (or three) to die, and entire "records" go away. This happened time and time again with Amarind cultures. One bad flu or an important plague or one battle and their history is mostly wiped out.
It also depends on their origin. If they are sunken cultures/ Atlanteans, they could of brought it with them. The writing could be their own cultural innovation, or they could of adapted it from Surface dwellers. Either way, a stationary society would have it.
If you can, check out Guns, Germs, and Steel
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guns,_Germs_and_Steel#Responses_to_criticisms_of_methodology Go to Comment
Writing is an arrogance of our agrarian, and sedentary lifestyle. The keeping of records and other boring information requires the skill of writing. Keeping the history and lore of a people, often in the form of oral epics is the place of the bard and loremaster. The merfolk arent farmers, they dont plant crops, dont till the undersea soil. They survive by hunting fish and gathering food from the coral reefs and such. Their language could be very large and intricate, with no written counterpart, and permanent messages recorded in stone in the form of pictographs, or in the borrowed tongue of some other aquatic race, or borrowed from us surface dwellers. Go to Comment
Up the Road a little way from Now, you will find a number of offramps for The City. In fact, you can see The City from the Road, even if you don't stop.
The Road is a central point on the Multiversal Web of HappenTracks and WorldLines. Some would call it Cynosure, while others would call it The Only City. From the City, you can travel to just about anysphere or realm in the 'Verse. Go to Comment
Aside from being The Attack of the Parentheses, this is a fairly nice submission. I like the road analogy for time traveling, though I must admit I've not read Amber or Zelazny so I'll have to take your word on it ;) Go to Comment