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
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!
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
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
You receive a vision of a rooftop "somewhere close by", where a rare moss grows; in the vision, you know the moss is suitable for greatly enhancing the effects of certain types of potions. Now go and find that rooftop. Don't fall off. (Of course, rooftop runners *will* be taken for miscreants by the local City Watch....)