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Manor Home D'Marsarac
Locations  (Fortification)   (Mountains)
Monument's comment on 2005-07-17 06:01 AM
It's... a noble's house... ok then.

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
Manor Home D'Marsarac
Locations  (Fortification)   (Mountains)
Monument's comment on 2005-07-17 07:54 PM
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
Manor Home D'Marsarac
Locations  (Fortification)   (Mountains)
Monument's comment on 2005-07-21 12:14 AM
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
Manor Home D'Marsarac
Locations  (Fortification)   (Mountains)
Monument's comment on 2005-07-21 08:14 AM
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
Manor Home D'Marsarac
Locations  (Fortification)   (Mountains)
KendraHeart's comment on 2005-07-17 12:00 PM
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
Manor Home D'Marsarac
Locations  (Fortification)   (Mountains)
valadaar's comment on 2011-07-04 09:59 PM

I agree with the majority here - this is a location, not a plot, and is a great canvas against which the GM can paint his own picture.

Need a patron's home? Great - here you go.



Go to Comment
Manor Home D'Marsarac
Locations  (Fortification)   (Mountains)
RGTraynor's comment on 2011-07-04 06:29 PM

I like this a lot.  Obviously, I'm with the vox populi (however much six years ago).  People have been coming up with material for RPGs for 35 years now, and I'm sick to death of the premise that everything has to be Unique! Snazzy! Unusual!  Well, no, not everything is, and not everything has to have Dark Cultists, Peasants With A Secret, Puttering Old Men Who Are Really Archmages and the like.  For my money, I'll take something calm and low-key that will fit into my world ... and if I feel like tossing in something offbeat, well, what in the merry hell prevents me from doing that?

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Basilica of Kestidel
Locations  (Establishment)   (Any)
MoonHunter's comment on 2006-02-03 01:05 PM
Flavor text is not always supportive of what a GM needs. Unless you have a solid image of the place in your mind (through concrete description or your own imagination) or a map, "adventuring" in such a place can be made complicated... especially if something "tactical" happens (a chase or combat).

Flavor text is easy to do "off the cuff", coming up with a structure with some versimilitude is hard. You actually have to expend effort upon that. The whole point of the site is to provide general ideas OR ready to use pieces. I prefer ready to use pieces, instead of something I am going to have to invest some good effort in before I can plop it into my campaign.

So sure, I could of given flavorful text... but you would not know the interesting physical pieces. Go to Comment
Basilica of Kestidel
Locations  (Establishment)   (Any)
MoonHunter's comment on 2006-02-03 01:21 PM
These are not your boring Gargoyles that are just creatures of stone with lots of patience... though if you want to use those you can.

Let us go to the original Gargoyle... the spirits that inspired all the rest....

Gharjoy, ectomorphs tied to the statues... also known as Sin Eaters. Go to Comment
Basilica of Kestidel
Locations  (Establishment)   (Any)
Ancient Gamer's comment on 2005-07-13 06:16 PM
A pure architectural description. Typical MoonHunter post, and 3/5 will probably do it an injustice, as it will no doubt be connected with myriad other posts. Still I judge it as a stand alone post and as such it is nice and well detailed, but the entrance gargoyles are hideously cliche and subtracted somewhat from the overall score.

I hope v2 will give us the opportunity of giving an overall score for a set of linked items when it is launched. Many of your posts need and deserve that. Go to Comment
Basilica of Kestidel
Locations  (Establishment)   (Any)
valadaar's comment on 2014-05-09 10:26 AM
A well detailed location, with hints at drama. A good building block. Go to Comment
Basilica of Kestidel
Locations  (Establishment)   (Any)
Kassy's comment on 2013-05-21 11:02 AM

Old Moonhunter subs! Gimme Gimme Gimme! Go to Comment
The Ellis of Kestidel
Locations  (Establishment)   (Any)
Strolen's comment on 2005-07-13 06:35 PM
I think Echo said it quite well.

Of course you are going to have to specifically make it so they must to go there. That goes for any setting listed. This place is easy as it can fit in any town you choose to put it in with little effort. If the DM can't make it worth going to or make it a requirement for something else, then of course they are not going to visit, that goes for every single place in your game.

I think that Ellis is an excellent improvement that is much better, and more unique, than going to "yet another town", into "yet another tavern" or shop to restock your inventory. The point of going into towns is lost when they are all the same.

You can come towards any town and you come upon what is described. You find out you can't just walk into this city to restock your monster killing gear, you have to go through Ellis and register before you can enter the city.

They go go into the wrong line about to register as a citizen when they just to get a visitor's pass. But as a visitor they have to pay a toll to enter while citizens get in free. They get their pass, have to go through another line and pay to get their entrance token, now they can finally enter and restock. On top of all that they can read the rules of the city, maybe get pickpocketed, get separated, etc...

They finally get into the city and restock or go to the tavern/inn and it is mentioned that whatever they needed could have been bought at Ellis if you went down the corridor to the right or whatever.

The entire thing doesn't have to last more than 15 minutes of game time, but now you have broadened the depth of your world and made a unique city that they will remember. They may not remember the name (unless you do call it Ellis) but they will remember "that place that we got jacked around."

That is the point of these things. You can't always take them at face value either. Most of them are just creative ideas to get you going and this one is a very easy one to make something very unique, hence my vote.

It is still a little rough. If it was just for citizenship the city would have to be absolutely huge to make it busy, which is why I say anybody that enters the city must check in to force some more traffic. 7meters x 63meters is pretty darn big for a hallway.

-Might even make it better if it was the entrance to the entire kingdom. Once in the kingdom if you haven't checked into Ellis you might get fines etc. for not following procedure.
-Perhaps some of the nicer places in the kingdom then require citizenship through Ellis to even stay there or maybe they get a normal price and non-citizens have a huge mark-up.
-Counterfeiting papers might turn into something worth it. The players may not enter near Ellis so, for them, Ellis is just this place to get paperwork even if they never visit it. They end up buying a bady copy of papers (or token or whatever) and it could get them into trouble.

It is not so much just Ellis, but the entire concept of it that you can really use. Go to Comment
The Ellis of Kestidel
Locations  (Establishment)   (Any)
CaptainPenguin's comment on 2005-07-10 04:51 PM
Oh, wow.

Well, let me be the first to say- I absolutely LOVE seeing modern pop-culture and historical elements slipped into a setting, as long as it doesn't compromise the setting itself (i.e., a hip-hop inspired race with "Adidas" track-stripe designs on their clothing, rather than a culture whose music is repackaged rap).
And this is a total match for that. Perfectly done, absolutely interspectacular (though it needs a touch of "spicing up"; as it is, it isn't particularly interesting in and of itself, but that can be solved in-setting).

Amazingly well done, Moon, amazingly well done.
Bogen vor der Ubermensche!

5/5! Go to Comment
The Ellis of Kestidel
Locations  (Establishment)   (Any)
CaptainPenguin's comment on 2005-07-13 01:40 AM
Okay, Echo, I have to say that if you continue to assume that Monument plays everything straightforward D&D bashing, whether that is true or not, you ARE going to piss him off.
And I think it's best if we are ambassadorial towards our new members, especially ones who have the experience of Monument, yes? Go to Comment
The Ellis of Kestidel
Locations  (Establishment)   (Any)
MoonHunter's comment on 2005-07-12 10:48 AM
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
The Ellis of Kestidel
Locations  (Establishment)   (Any)
MoonHunter's comment on 2006-06-29 03:49 PM
No comment Muro? Go to Comment
The Ellis of Kestidel
Locations  (Establishment)   (Any)
EchoMirage's comment on 2005-07-12 04:07 PM
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 think that I don't need to continue. Go to Comment
The Ellis of Kestidel
Locations  (Establishment)   (Any)
Monument's comment on 2005-07-11 03:49 PM
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
The Ellis of Kestidel
Locations  (Establishment)   (Any)
Monument's comment on 2005-07-13 01:59 AM
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
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