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Cheka Man's comment on 2015-01-22 10:08 AM
Disappointing. I thought it would be about the advantages and dis advantages of armour in rping. Go to Comment
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axlerowes's comment on 2015-01-20 08:11 AM


Serious font for two seconds: I did really struggle with the first paragraph. How much information was too much, and I agree the second sentence needs to go. Maybe the first paragraph all together. I also wasn't sure the gag about this guy thinking his gun and truck would be any use to him worked. I agree they sort of stall the pace of this.



But your comment made me also realize that this post is more or less what and where it is meant to be.



You see crucifiction, as you are new to site, what you need to understand is that I am the type of writer that quite simply....



hang on there is something going on outside, I will jus......

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axlerowes's comment on 2015-01-20 11:48 PM


Moon I can't tell if this post is funny or not, but I was going for funny. I also can't tell you the difference between a joke and satire, and that may mean I was going for both. But I didn't want to be mean, I just wanted to be funny. But I would like to make this post better at communicating the ideas and gags that are already in there. If you don't mind lets go over the first paragraph.



I wanted to convey three things. First the Eugene character’s lack of success in other fields of his life, thus mentioning the divorce and that he only held this job because of nepotism. I was hoping that these apparent failures would contrast with his arrogance and paint a self diluted and humorous caricature. Second, I wanted to communicate his relative age. By mentioning a divorce in particular it signaled that he was an adult, and his literal adulthood would contrast with his true child-like state that required he ask for his mother’s permission and explain his actions to her. Finally, I wanted to set up some geography of the location. There only two things in the picture, the demon and the church. So I was trying to place the church in a bit on context with regard to location in space and time. When writing something on the Citadel you cannot take for granted that your audience will place the events in a modern setting. A church in the Citadel could be anywhere from Domrémy-la-Pucelle, France in 1412 to the dreamscape of a Martian Cyborg as he travels back in time from the year 3000 to 13th century France. So by mentioning things like driveways, Okalahoma, Lutherans and divorce I placed the scene more or less in modern times.



Those are the things I wanted to communicate. I went back and added the first paragraph after I finished the rest of the anecdote. But I made one of the classic blunders. I assumed that my readers (all three of em) are paying attention. The better assumption is that you have to catch your reader’s attention. I think perhaps I failed to do that with the first paragraph.



I considered some other intros, that is why I couldn't finish this in 30 minutes. I will post my other intros in the comments section. Tell me what you think of those Moon, and also tell me how you would manage the above points.

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axlerowes's comment on 2015-01-20 11:50 PM


Alternate intro one.



Eugene Simons was a 32-year-old man who believed he understood the world far more than his education and professional achievements justified. Despite having no higher education and not having a full time job, Eugene was very pleased with his own intellectual capabilities and often disgusted with the lesser thought processes of most people. Eugene had always had an enthusiasm for ideas but he lacked the self-discipline and stomach for disappointment that was required for true intellectual or artistic careers. This love for ideas but distaste for the reality in which those ideas existed gave Eugene one true life path. Eugene became a Dungeon Master.



He worked part time as the ground’s keeper at a church to which his family were generous contributors. But of the 20 hours a week they paid him to be there he spent most of it scribbling notes about dungeon maps and wilderness encounters in a spiral notebook. He felt he worked better at the small basement desk they had given him next to the furnace. The rest of his week he spent watching the television or reading comic books. Both tasks he approached with an affectatious seriousness. He considered these endeavors to be important research.

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axlerowes's comment on 2015-01-20 11:50 PM


Or



Imagine one could shop for minds the way one shopped for houses. If such a thing was possible a person could not help but be struck dumb when the realtor stopped her car in front of the mind of a 32-year-old custodian named Eugene Simons. Eugene’s mind is enormous. Just in shear scope and square footage it would rival the fabled pad of Mr. Darcy or shame the stage for lazy storytelling that is Dowtown Abbey. The inside is no less spectacular in terms of scope. The rooms of Eugene’s mind are enormous. The size of ideas and concepts that these spaces could hold is absolutely stunning. And layout of this cranial castle is such that all the enormous ideas can run together. Each room opens upon another (Eugene is to old fashion a thinker for anything as efficient as a hallway) and if you were to throw open all the doors you could effectively merge scores of different ideas into one contiguous form.



But those are just the first impressions. Upon second appraisal one would be forced to notice how little furniture and material there is in these room. Yes they can hold huge ideas, but the rooms themselves are almost useless. The space is excellent for party but Eugene has poorly equipped his mental house for the day-to-day tasks of living. Additionally, there is very little light in these spaces. The windows are small and hard to access. The lack of light means that when all these ideas parade through this gigantic house they appear as little more than shadows. Details and depth cannot not be seen when something passes through these dim rooms.



Finally if one were to look a little deeper you might find something discarded in the corner. That item in the corner is our entire universe, or at least Eugene’s conception of it. Eugene took one look at the universe, and was confident he understood it all from quarks to macroeconomics to marriage to why milk is better with hot wings than beer. Eugene glanced at the universe, felt he mastered it, rolled it up into a small ball and tossed it aside so that he could parade his own poorly illuminated ideas through his great empty mind. Eugene became a dungeon master.

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axlerowes's comment on 2015-01-21 09:53 AM
Thanks for the reply, I didn't mean to imply his arrogant and self diluted nature in the original intro. I was getting at that in the joke itself. Namely when he stopped his discussion with a woman that was earth crazy, taking a piss or the devil to have a pedantic discussion regarding a 25 year old move quotation or when seeing the gigantic demon he immediately thought about it game terms and then believed that perhaps with 38 and his truck he might stand a chance. Go to Comment
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axlerowes's comment on 2015-01-21 09:18 PM
let me know if it falls more on the funny or more on the mean spot. Go to Comment
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Moonlake's comment on 2015-01-20 04:15 PM
I read this more or less after it first came out but I have trouble dealing with this as a silly sub and hence did not vote. Not sure whether this is b/c I'm a non-gamer but the joke seems lost on me (then again, I'm more of a serious minded person, I read everything as serious first until I spot the Silly freetext). I thought the funny part is the devil wants his own paladin bit but then it would appear to me that that's more of a satire as opposed to joke. Can Axle clarify this for me?

What Crux (or do you prefer CF?) pointed out with the disjointed narration I detect as well though it bothered me less. In fact, I read this as 3 separate sections: first section that has nothing to do with pic, 2nd section that is all from pic and ending that jumped ahead in time. I don't mind the loose connection b/w 1st and 2nd section that much as it's often endemic to these art inspired writings but I do find the ending a little abrupt. Then again, I think small changes to formatting (either extra line b/w second last and last paragraph or inserting a line break (the syntax is {hr} where { is replaced by <) would fix this issue.
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Moonlake's comment on 2015-01-21 01:39 AM
After reading the alternate intros, I do prefer either of them to the existing one. Of the three things you had wanted to convey, I would say that the first purpose was only partly fulfilled (in fact, I did not form the impression that Eugene was arrogant/self-diluted in this sub but failure in other realms of life was fairly explicit). Point 2 also... well, ranged from being half-way done to somewhat more than half depending on how you look at it. The fact that Eugene is an adult and the fact that he consults his mother for permission came across of course. However, I did not really put the two together as throwing light on Eugene's character in the way you aimed for. So the only point that came out very well for me was point 3 with very concrete nailing down of time and place (modern day Oklahama, a church). The real problem with the first paragraph as I see it is possibly that too much stuff packed into too brief a paragraph b/c besides these 3 things you singled out, you also introduce a hook to the demon appearance through mentioning the association of D&D to the devil.

Now take alternate intro 1: first point abt Eugene being self-diluted fully conveyed, I don't think the contrast of failure in other aspects of his life would add value if added here. Same with point 2, I don't think losing the immature mindset relative to physical age is really a loss in characterisation. Pt 3, this moves away from the concrete naming of actual location but the element of a modern day setting and a church are still intact.

Intro 2, like Intro 1, ticks all 3 boxes in terms of what you want to convey (the only loss here is the church setting but you can always introduce it in next paragraph). I also prefer it to intro 1 because I feel that the analogy of Eugene's mind as a house waiting to be bought is more intriguing and better able to draw readers in. But that's me. Others may prefer intro 1 for its simple efficiency. Go to Comment
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Moonlake's comment on 2015-01-21 05:16 PM
Saw the change and liked it. Will come back to vote a bit later. Go to Comment
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Moonlake's comment on 2015-01-22 01:00 AM
Now I can view this sub as falling more on the funny side, with the inaneness of Eugene coming across to me. Like you said, the section starting with his thoughts and action at being confronted with the demon just makes you think "what is this weirdo thinking and doing at this critical point?" and that at least is worthy of a laugh. Go to Comment
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MysticMoon's comment on 2015-01-28 10:12 AM

This is hilarious!

I got into gaming at the height of the "D&D is Satanic" furor, so maybe I can appreciate it more. Also, what could be more out of place than arguing with the Devil over Star Trek trivia or multiclassing a friggin Paladin?

"at least a challenge ranking level 20" - lol

Also, at least someone got something out of The Final Frontier :P

The intro was fun, btw. I'm not really sure how I'd use this in a game, but I don't care. It made my day.


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Darkstand's comment on 2015-01-20 01:53 AM
Not exactly usable at the table.
But hilarious. Go to Comment
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crucifiction's comment on 2015-01-20 01:21 AM
So I can see how you got to the idea from the prompt. It's a church, and it's a hellish looking figure. I can definitely see the connection to the devil playing D&D.

But in the execution of your idea, you've lampshaded the real-life situation of D&D being linked to satanic worship, and then you've averted your lampshading of it by linking D&D to the devil. In fact, the way you bring in that lampshading is sort of odd to read as well.

That first paragraph goes like this:

"Eugene Simons’s mother was the secretary, and all around business manger for the St. Zita’s Lutheran church in Bucknell, Oklahoma. Eugen had other connections to the church as well. Eugene’s grandfather, Eugene Collins-Smith, had donated the land on which the church stood. The long driveway to the church weaved between farmland still owned by Eugene’s family, and worked by his cousins. Eugene himself worked as a janitor, and handyman at the church three nights a week. Thus after his divorce, he asked for and was given permission to move his weekly Dungeons and Dragons game into the youth room in the church basement on any night save Sunday or Wednesday. Though his mother thought it strange, he assured her that those silly associations of role-playing with satanism had long since been debunked as alarmist attention-getting fear-mongering."

I would remove that second sentence where it says "he had other connections to the church as well". That sentence goes nowhere. Just tell us what connections he has. His grandfather donating the land? That feels like a plot hook. Eugene works as a custodian, not a janitor. Apparently they don't like being called janitors.

His divorce? DEFINITELY A PLOT HOOK. The devil is the prince of lies. He's the guy who tempts you when you're weak. And divorce is the breaking of a sacred covenant entered into before the eyes of God (I don't personally believe that, but it's true for some). Any conversation with the devil would have him (or her in this case) pointing out the weakness of the person's character, etc. You don't even need to go that far, but I would expect it to be brought up. Otherwise, why even mention it? Backstory is only useful if it comes back to haunt the characters.

And then you threw in the bit about D&D not being satanic. Which feels like forced foreshadowing. Forelighting, if you will. Like I said, you've sort of lampshaded D&D's past, pointing out how silly it is that people would think that, and then you're averting that to say that the fears about D&D were always correct. Honestly, I'd just remove the sentence about him convincing his mother.

There's enough tension in the idea of the devil entering a church to play D&D without forcing it.

All in all, I found it sort of strange. While reading it, I felt like you'd latched onto a few ideas at the start, and then tried to rush through them in an effort to connect it to the prompt. The Star Trek references came out of nowhere, and the multiclassing/armour restrictions bit could have been changed to anything and it would have been exactly the same. In fact, even after the mc asks the devil why they need a halfling paladin/mage, the answer is avoided and then not brought up. Which just begs the question: why the hell does the devil need a paladin/mage? Are you trying to make it seem like the devil needs this character for

With this premise, you could have kept the silliness factor the same, but made the devil into a much more enigmatic figure. There's a lot of potential dramatic tension with the devil playing D&D in a little church basement in Oklahoma.

That tension sort of goes out the window when it's all just so that the devil is trying to get a specific class combo for... no reason. And then DM fiat is what makes the devil summon a gargantuan beast. The bit about "aunt Julie's .38" and his "cobalt blue 2002 F150" feel a bit out of place.

I feel like a lot of the potential of this premise could have been executed better. It also needs to be proofread.

What I feel like it really lacks is a sense of build-up and follow-through. All of the build-up (Eugene's backstory at the beginning) goes nowhere, and the things which ARE built-up (his divorce, grandfather having owned the land) go absolutely nowhere. And then the things that do happen (Molly being the devil, wanting a paladin/mage) have no build-up to lead into them.

And then there's no follow-through. We don't find out why Molly needed the multiclass so badly, and we don't know why Eugene wouldn't have let her.

It ends with more questions asked than answered, in my opinion. I'd have voted with at least a 4 if it was proofread, had a good build-up with less tangents about D&D and satanism, and Star Trek, and there was some good tension between Molly as the devil and Eugene. Because this premise really has some great potential.

And I'd really love to see a much better reasoning behind the devil's tantrum, to be honest. Go to Comment
The Last Mind Flayer
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Scrasamax's comment on 2015-01-18 01:06 PM
This submission has a great retro feel to it, and I like the atypical motivations of the mind flayer, and how it's psyche is very different from human, needing torment and nightmares to fuel it rather than love and social acceptance. The point of being blind in natural sunlight is very interesting, and is perhaps my favorite part of the submission. We tend to forget to attribute supernatural aspects to sunlight, despite the old tradition of it being anathema to vampires and weakening other forms of undead. Go to Comment
The Last Mind Flayer
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Dragonlordmax's comment on 2015-01-23 10:04 PM
This is a great sub. It seems at first to be a whole bunch of fairly disparate elements, but they all come together to make a very strong plot. And while it's written for fantasy, I think you could pretty easily carry this forwards into modern times. I'm particularly fond of the take on mind flayers, which I think is a great alternative to the hives we normally get.

If I were running it, I think I might be inclined to not reveal Illah until a bit later in the adventure. Ideally, I think I would want to try to push it from appearing that Rodchenko is exploiting random attacks, to his working with some wicked partner, to his working with something that he's a fool to believe he could possibly control. Go to Comment
The Last Mind Flayer
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Murometz's comment on 2015-01-23 10:19 PM
Yeah, I love this sub so much! I have to echo Scras in that my immediate first thought was, this reads so retro! I love Rodchenko! This is just a fantastic pair brought to life! Everything really, the story, their personalities, the image of Rodchenko (I won't lie), even the format, is perfect. Is Illah supposed to be Ilya? If so, I'm hurt. I usually don't antagonize. :P

Rodchenko is the greatest natural swordsman in the world (somebody has to be). Go to Comment
The Last Mind Flayer
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axlerowes's comment on 2015-01-18 09:29 AM
Thanks to Poison Alchemist for the feedback and proof reading! Go to Comment
The Last Mind Flayer
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axlerowes's comment on 2015-01-19 12:40 AM


Speaking to that retro feel, that may be in part because this centers on a Mind Flayer which is still a pretty esoteric monster. The Mind Flayer's squidy visage is still a flag for the true geek community.



Fantasy and Sci-fi is enjoying a golden age now with vampires, lycans, superheros, zombies, wizards and dragon mamas enjoying mainstream success. In 1974 I would wager that the majority of americans did not have a mental image of an Orc. Today you would have to be living on a Roc to not have a least a conception of an orc (yeah they might get it confused with a goblin or troll) but the Mind Flayer is still ours. But as the Dawn Breaks open the markets for speculative fiction a Twilight descends on what was once a Secret Circle of knowledge and learning. Under that Dome we knew what Tenser's floating disk was and we knew it had nothing to do with Disk World. Now though the main stream media is Staking a claim to the undead and the mystical, and twisting them away from the ideals held by the unwashed masses that could correctly pronounce acronyms like T.H.A.C.O. or G.U.R.P.S.. Some things are still pure though; the beholder, the rust monster, the displacer beast and of course the Mind Flayer.



And until somebody writes a best selling book or movie about a sexy noble Mind Flayer who flatters a small town girl to ruin than we can keep some pure memories of rolling 20 sided dice in our garages. Perhaps that is why Mind Flayers are retro. Mind Flayers are still clean.

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The Last Mind Flayer
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PoisonAlchemist's comment on 2015-01-18 01:06 PM
curse . - curse.
These attack - These attacks
paranoid or violent - paranoid, or violent

Realized I had to get dressed at some point. and started just scrolling down.
Got suckered in again.

swordsman in the world. (somebody has to be) - swordsman in the world (somebody has to be).
Blademaster title - Blademaster titles
lives, he is defensive - lives: defensively
able to mastered it - able to master it
had never used it and he cannot use it - has not and cannot use it

Sorry, I can't turn it off. I'll finish reading and give you proper comments later. Go to Comment
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