I think it's a wonderful item and exactly what I was looking for! I just joined the forum/site/etc. and I was looking for a mystic scroll type item to throw at my "scrounging" character. Exactly what his sticky little fingers need!
Though I find it extremely interesting as a tool for making my adventures flow smoother from start to hook, this map violates several praxes:
First it totally destroys much of the exposition of the adventure; upon using the map, the PC's would know where to go, which is half the battle. They need not go searching for the hook or even exploring potential dangers or problems that might confront them -- they always know where they are needed.
Second, it eviscerates proper dungeoneering (or at least has the potential to do so) as much of the stresses of searching are lost to the PC's.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, the proper use of this map would require one to "know the characters" in a way that no good GM ever can or should -- PC's are dynamic and protean, and should be treated with the respect that is due to any sentient being.
On the other hand (and tread a careful balance, it does), these built in vagueries that seem expressly designed to avoid the above problems can render the map useless. In either case, it is a tool for a weak and purile GM, bent on dominating his adventure from start to finish so that the PC's have little chance to deviate from his chosen path.
MoonHunter, though I agree with the first two points you made, I think the third one doesn't really address FM's (or FM's brother's) issue.
His final thought was that only the players can know their characters. The more those characters diverge from being simply blocks of statistics, the more they become difficult to predict. Who is to say the evil wizard wont suddenly find himself totally disgusted by an action he undertook within the past week, and repent -- sacrificing himself to save others. Maybe this was the PC's intention all along, maybe the PC didn't want to lessen his character by laying out his future at the same time he laid out his past and present.
A classic example of this is Weiss and Hickman's Raistlin -- he is complex, unpredictable, shows unexpected acts of kindness, and unfathomed acts of cruelty, all within the space of a week's time. Sometimes he totally abandons the road he set out upon, sometimes he sees it through until the very end.
I think it's fair to say that no matter how much someone knows a PC, there is a certain aspect of unpredictability necessary in roleplaying games, symbollically represented in the dice rolling. Were these characters automotons, so perfectly lain out and described that their future actions were known, there would be little joy in playing them. The joy of roleplaying comes with character development -- the development is most always triggered by something in the game world, but something oftentimes so small and insignificant that the GM might not take notice.
Character's grow -- and grow at unexpected times and in unexpected ways. Any item that somehow negates that, even if it's in the tiniest of ways, removes something beautiful and essential about the game.
I'm really sorry to sort of use this item as a springboard to launch this "philosophical" complaint. It is a well-crafted and clearly well-loved item. I commend you for creating it, and creating it well, but I think that no matter how well an item like this is made, no matter how original or inventive the creator is, there is a lurking pitfall that is nigh-impossible to see in them.
That being said, it is easily reparable. The main objection (in my mind, I don't know about FM) is the small bit about it maybe knowing the future, knowing what the characters want, and where they want to go, without them needing to ask. That could potentially lead to disaster (they open the map, it tells them the adventure. they wanted to go storm this castle to set up a stronghold and attract followers instead). If it's simply an item where you ask about location and it tells you the answer, or DEDUCES the answers to your future problems, then that's a whole other can of worms.
Finally, I'm sorry I gave all this advise, etc. You don't really have to care, but I just thought I'd share my thoughts with you. Hope everything with Ithar works out. Go to Comment
An interesting item indeed, especially the debate which accompanied it. I think personally that the item has enough complexity to prevent it from being overwhelming in its use. Being vague covers a world of sins.
In a very, very old campaign of mine, the pc's had an 'oracle' stone which provided similar info, but in a far less subtle manner. Go to Comment
Wow! I love this idea!
It reminds me of the Greek legend of the sculptor who fell in love with his sculpture, and then it was brought to life.
Definitely going to use this. The backstory is wonderful, too. Go to Comment
I do not have many plots posted up, as most of the plotlines I create are linked to a given character, its history, or its development. But the few I do post are the better generic ones I had ever developed. Go to Comment
So I was thinking, perhaps there are coyns useful for animating elementals. Place one in a fire and the fire animates. A coyn of the right kind would animate x volume of air/ earth/ water/ fire.
Now I know that The Dreamweavers are the origin point of the Coyns. But, lets us take a detour. This is not part of the 220 coyns, but related. Imagine, if you would, an entire magical system could be based off the enchanting and using of coyns.
It would be a magic system in which your power would be based on how much wealth and effort you have sunk into your magical power.
There should be some limit as to the number of animates you can have running at a time. Well you could have an unlimited number I would think. However, you could only actively control a certain number based on your intelligence/ will power/ and animate control skill.
So Coyns would come in various flavors
1) animating X-Jacks like figures. Thus there would have to be much prep work
2) Animate a specific solid substance. Like the Grant of Living (following this one) except for only one substance.
3) Grant of living- This is the animation that creates the magical joints and senses of a creature for the animate.
4) a hover coyn, allows its subject to float, fly if it has wings.
5) Elemental Animation. A more powerful version of animate a specific substance, but for a type.
There would be coyns to grant greater intelligence, speech, dexterity, skills, and so on. So enough coyns and your animate would be buff.
Technically only one coyn could be used per animate. So, perhaps a Greater Coyn that allows you to put 5 coyns into it. Thus your buffer animates would have 5 coyns worth of power.
If you like this, reply to this comment, and maybe I will work this out as a submission. Go to Comment