I read this one before registering for the Citadel, and am coming back to add my vote. Well done on this! A nice way to sew misery, pettiness and despair -- the kind that the PCs would love to fight, but has no clear source.
It is far from generic, or mundane... in fact, I think the lord of the house would be quite insulted if someone called it this way.
There comes the plot hook: someone had the audacity to claim lord so and so has a garden ten times as beautiful as this one! So get those adventurers, and let them find out what exactly is in that (heavily guarded) garden, before they are compared by the King himself. (May add quests for exotic items to make this garden even more special.)
Even competition in beauty can become deadly serious... Go to Comment
*breathing heavily, gets a huge axe, and after a moment of maniacal laughter recovers and forces himself to throw it away*
"Must be creative... must not kill people that post dozens of comments without adding value to it."
Therefore... more plot hooks and things-to do for the PCs.
- there's some minor critters threatening the gardens or visitors' comfort, and are hard to remove. Ideal for a less-known party to make a name. Hunting, (re)search.
- a kid has become lost. Of course it is a child of someone important, so find it before the parents find out! Sneaking, diplomacy, search.
- hinder cocky nobles from starting a duel. Diplomacy, manipulation.
- young nobles on holidays fall in love, but are from the wrong houses. The Romeo an Juliet thing must be prevented. Manipulation.
- a badly needed noble/general/archmage/... fell in love with the place and started a career as a gardener. The country needs your aid. Manipulation.
- somebody has died... unnaturally. Detective, search.
- apparently one of the servants has stolen something. Thief or some other motive? Detective.
- randomly found evidence of blackmail... what will they do? Detective and more.
- by chance or intent, overhear a private talk that shouldn't have been heard. Shall they tell somebody? And what will be the consequences? Diplomacy and more.
- without an apparent reason, the peasants start a rebellion against the manor. Repel the attack, then find out why. Combat/Strategy, detective and possibly more.
Now I know that I'm supposed to rate things based on their apparent quality, but I have to say that in this case, though by almost all categorical standards it is a 4 (not a 5, you maniacs! What is this the Golden Globes?), I have take away a point based on simple personal preference. I don't believe that, even though it is something of a unique place, it is all ithat/i interesting.
Monument, please, hostility gets us nowhere. I think with this one we could just let sleeping dogs lie. This is an opinionated thing- why is everybody jumping all over him just because he rated it low? Admittedly, I found a 1/5 to be a touch extreme, but it isn't my decision; it's Monument's vote, and he makes it how he likes. Go to Comment
All to often, it seems, that we can be caught up in mangling and severing a submission to see if we can dissect it enough to put into our own various games. This manor house may be mundane, with no magical monsters, hedges of carnivorous plants, and no dakr elf assassins accompanied by their lightning stripped tigers.. That does nothig to detract from it's value. The fact that there is such a wealth of detail makes all the more valuable.
Cliches such because they are overdone, they take the extrodinary and reduce it to something that becomes ridiculed. Giant demons with unholy weapons, orphaned bountry-hunter drow with pet giant spiders, it is so far from the norm that it is stupid. Now, we find this manorial house, with an elaborate write-up and some nice history that doesnt go into overkill. If Moon had decied to write the 72 names on the memorial stone, that would be overkill. With what he wrote, I can see this place, imagine walking through the carefully manicured lawn while a stripe of a child runs along lighting the candles along the walkways.
While you may not be able to distill out a random encounter table for the garden, or calculate the XP value of the hedges doesnt detract from the value of the post. This kind of detail leads to game memoris that last years after the game has passed. This is the kind of detail that one would find between teh pages of an Anne Rice novel set in New Orleans, or perhaps a sublty macabre deserted town in a Stephen King novel.
That being said, a 5/5 for Moon's work, and a cuff to the back of Monument and Kendra's heads. Go to Comment
Monument, I guess you are that one who describes every unimportant NPC as 'just a guy', the grass as 'that green stuff' and Excalibur as 'a sword +5 and Stop Bleeding'.
This place is almost ... beyond time - a perfect background for political adventures, as well as calmer parts of the campaign - or an excellent place for a horror scenario - remote, silent, serene.
When politics abound, or a tryst with the princess' sister, she'll say "meet me by the statue of Roland Victorious" - if you happen to stray near the statue of Roland Besieged, you might encounter unexpected company, or offend the noble lady, who expected a red rose from you...
I am not going to defend each and every post from you, Monument, but your narrow-mindedness means that i'm likely to disregard your opinion. Go to Comment
A nice premade location. Usable, okay and ready to be inserted into many a setting. Nothing unique or extraordinary about itm but it is a decent piece of work. It receives a score of 3.5/5 rounded up to a 4/5. Go to Comment
In order to use something that isn't my own, there has to be some idea that I like in the description, something to differentiate it from any other place that is just like this, from a generic perspective.
If I truly don't care about the place that we're going, I will use a description like what you've given "it's a typical noble house, you know, lots of land, cleared around the manor house, gardens, servants running around, you get the picture. Anyways, the butler leads you into the great room, and..."
Basically, why go into such detail on something so prototypical? You've gone into massive detail for something mundane. It's overkill, if you ask me. I prefer to spend my time on the unusual or the bizarre, rather than the mundane. The only reason to provide a full description of something so generic would be if there were something unusual that isn't immediately apparent. Otherwise, it's just a waste of time to write it up. Show a picture of any typical european country estate and move on with the game. Go to Comment
Yes, I admit, I am narrow-minded: I only find to be good in something that I would find useful. Bear in mind that "useful" is a fairly broad spectrum.
I'm sorry, but I find it difficult to find inherent value in the creation of something my players would find mundane. I would gain no more value from a post like this than I would from a post describing a particular pattern of flatware, or a description of a particular wine, or a description of the types of insects that flit around character's ears while walking through an equally non-descript forest.
I'm honestly apologetic that I seem to be missing the point, and it seems fairly obvious that I am fundamentally getting this whole thing wrong, because several people have made comments along the lines you all have.
Yes, this is a descriptive backdrop for political intrigues, etc, and those are the exact kind of plots that I often use, but to myself and my players, the important part of the game is in the unusual, rather than the mundane. I would no more spend twenty minutes describing an otherwise generic noble house than I would spend twenty minutes describing the generic forest they walked through to reach that house.
Maybe my criteria are somewhat different. For me, it's all about utility. Describing the unusual gives me something I can use. Describing the mundane is superfluous at almost all times, and as such, has very little utility.
It's odd that something that is so fundamentally knowable would rate so highly in everyone else's minds, if you ask me. I've seen things get low scores simply for being simplistically stated, and if I were to add a setting that was "noble house, on a bluff, overlooking fancy gardens and centered in a rocky forest"(the basics of this post), I wouldn't even expect a 1/5. But because this post expands that basic description with some fancy words and poetic language, it warrants top grades? Interesting. I'll have to keep that in mind next time I create another cliche'd NPC. Go to Comment
I dropped it, 3 days ago. I wasn't being hostile, I was being honest. And my vote was 2/5, rather than 1/5. Put something unique and interesting in there, and we can talk about changing that, because then it would be MORE than just a pretty description. It's a very nice description. It's just too bad there's nothing more to it. Go to Comment
Perhaps I should have clarified. The reason I rated this low was because I could have thought up any of those plots, none of which require this SPECIFIC setting to pull off. There's nothing to differentiate this setting from any other noble house I would use. The problem here isn't the lack of plot hooks, it's the lack of specific plot hooks. There's nothing to make me want to use THIS noble house over the pre-conceptualized noble house that I have swirling in my own noggin. It got a low rating because there's nothing exceptional about this noble house over any other noble house, as you so aptly pointed out with your plot hooks. It's a lovely description of an otherwise generic noble house.
If you want to help this SETTING, add specific flavor to the setting which forces the use of specific information about THIS setting. The promontory seems to be the focal point of the "uniqueness" of this setting, that would be a good place to start.
Perhaps the promontory is home to a breed of stone-eating fish, which have done enough damage to the promontory to make the house unstable. Maybe the immense training center has dug enough rock out of there to make it unstable, and it's a race against the clock to keep the manor house shored up as the PCs run around fixing things. Maybe statues made from the stone of the promontory gain consciousness in their magical gardens. I don't know. SOMETHING to make this place unique above all other places just like this. Note the added value of ideas, such as they are, manfred. ;) Go to Comment
I think it is beautiful. It shows an investment to detail and history that most people would forget. Most GM's would say, "Its a big house on a big lot". I am sure that is what Monument would say. He is not a details person. I am sure he ignores the flavor text of most modules and does not do it for himself. He just wants to get to the puzzle/ killing things/ going underground/ simple plot for his players. That is okay if you just want to move figures around a battlemat or be experience motivated. That is not me, nor anyone I play with. We want to interact with the setting. We want to know the details so we can know the setting/ situation and possibly utilize them later.
Details on a write up are important so you don't have to make things up on the fly. By doing all this description for you, you can have a magnificent setting and it frees the GM up to either add their own little touches or so they can concentrate on the NPCs or the story. The write up details all the various areas are places where scenes/ adventures could take place on the grounds. So we know where people would be fighting duels, we know where lovers would be doing things, and so we know a few foibles of the property.
He also included a secret for the property - said King's Spies and that this location is not only a royal/ noble house, but a secret training and resupply point for said spies. Kind of cool.
Oh, and if you actually read the description, you would of noted that it is not a protypical European country estate. Do you even know what a promotory is? Even one this large? This is the unusual. It is not the expected. Go to Comment