Story was great on why their are tunnel systems all over! The actually subway was more of an after thought for me. Magnets? Could have had more fun with that. You tend to weave these complicated political tales and I must say that they add a lot to what could have been a simple idea.
a Dwarven subway; how fun :p I enjoyed the background of the tunnels more than the subsystem itself - and though the Glenbeard Tunnels were used to the Dwarves advantage, it could now very easily be part of their demise, as an invading army can breach the walls at any point in the tunnels and set an invading army, and the dwarves would be equally surprised as the human cities were when they invaded! Perhaps a rival dwarf clan set on taking the spoils which Cagen Blackblade originally earned for himself.
Anywho - plenty of practical use; so much can happen within tunnels and cave systems, and it can be used in minor or major applications in a game; whether just a convenient way of travelling from town to town, or as the catalyst of an all-out subterrainean war between rival clans.
I was gonna give you a 3.5, but in writing this comment out, I talked myself up to 4.5 :p Go to Comment
I agree with Shadoweagle and Strolen, the tale is interesting and full of dwarven psychology and a "can-do" bearded spirit and is the meat of the sub. However, I do find the idea of a dwarven subway and magnetism, stimulating to ponder as well!
The fact that this is not "slanted" toward an automatic steampunk-ish vibe, instead sticking to "fantasy", is also quite interesting!
There was an ooold Dungeon Magazine(tm) adventure involving something similar (dwarven train system) with a load of dwarven politics thrown in. This reminds me of that in a good way!! Go to Comment
I like the story alot, but it feels like you ran out of steam towards the end. You give us the broadstrokes of the political military history of the region and how that lead to the formation of the tunnels. You gives us a few specific details about some battle and the personalities that shaped that world. We don't get a clear picture of the "modern tunnels" or the the tunnels that this sleepy little dwarf is asking about. What are the Irondeeps like today? What is it like to ride the subsystem? Could you have some Chinatown like plot where some evil dwarven developer wants to recklessly expand the dwarven tunnels? You have a great prologue. Go to Comment
I really like the ships in the bottles. The image of tiny sailors boarding the PCs is an especially nice touch. The thing I liked the least was the "find-the-three-doors" puzzle, which reminds me of all the stupid, time-wasting puzzles that DMs have thrown at me. It could be made fun, or it might serve as a way to explore the ship, but the idea of adding keys makes me sad. What's worse is that the third word ("all") can be figured out pretty easily.
And how can a ship turn into a werewolf? What if a werewolf bites a bridge, or a bank, or a peninsula, or a fjord? It's almost cool, but not quite. I also don't like that the two main combats are both against wolves. Go to Comment
It got loose at the end, but I loved it. Rise and fall of a Dwarven Empire. I think the end just needs to be more clear. I didn't get that nobody can go through it till one of the last lines. I just thought the place was haunted by ghosts and zombies. The place is too important to the world you created to just let lie. I see it being held still by humans. They have figured out ways to keep the undead at bay and/or lock themselves in certain safe areas after dark and can come out in the daytime. Besides the undead, I think there have to be some dwarves around (even coming in from another clan deeper in the mountains or something) that continue to have some kind of insurgency against the past with the hope of one day regaining it.
I like it a lot, the end just needs to be tightened a bit more to bring it all together in a solid understanding of the current state. I agree a solid 4 as is, but it could be upgraded with that fix and some better plot ideas.
Well, it has dwarven feel for sure. I agree with axle for the most part, it is a good legend and history for a world, if a bit disjointed and mish-mashed together. Undead dwarves are fun. I particularly enjoyed the beginning, where you discuss the clans, geography, and societal notes. Go to Comment
A mistake I have made often and still make is to be taken in by interesting narratives or attractive descriptions whenever judging a talk, proposal, paper or article. My first response to this was, aside from a banal enumeration of deaths, heavy recycling of the 300, and a ridiculously small area to have an epic battle, I loved it. There is so much here, religious dwarves, farming dwarves, dwarven politics, I wanted to write fan fiction about this half way through. Yet the content here in is about the pass, the dwarves that owned the pass and the battle that took the pass from the dwarves. This piece is only marginally about a dangerous ice filled valley run by mad dwarven demi-god and populated by vengeful spirits. It is even less about Hrothen, we learn more about his Axe then we do about him before the maddness.
I think you need to decide what this about, what you want to communicate to your audience. Does the fact that half the alliance humans died breaking down the east gate matter? Does the storm kill all the humans in the end? Does the hand ax to the head which took out the Bruetheron KIng matter? Perhaps a GM could use these details to make our undead a little more juicy, a crossbow slain undead would look different than a frozen undead. But that is the case why not write up that part yourself?
There is alot of good stuff here and great ideas, but it is not put together as cohesive or complete narrative or gaming resource.
I was torn as to how to vote on this, as dungeon write up it is weak sauce. As detailed write up of "historical event" it is fun, you get a bunch of stuff like this in your fictional world and you can start making in world literary allusions. And I actually muttered "Jerks!" when the Brutheron's charged though. So thanks I enjoyed it.
Yeah, I was thinking about how it fit together as a dungeon at the end. It was too sparse in the dungeon area to really be considered one. So what I think I'm going to do is just make it so the humans kill off the dwarven army, betray Brutheron (who can trust a turncoat like that?), and let the dwarves rebuild. Which would provide meaning to the description of the city. Maybe I can add a section about the war memorial where King Halfburth died... Go to Comment
That is true. The Short Valley Pass is an important pass for travel and trade. I will go add a bit for that purpose. Perhaps the Holdarks provide a place of safe refuge during the times Hrothen's minions come out...?
Other improvisational weapons/tools:
Icicles are useful as daggers,
Bag Of Holding filled with copper pieces used by chucking the contents at foes, (by strolen)
sleeves make useful garrotes. Ya can't cut anyone's neck, but you sure can choke 'em!
Flaming Logs make great clubs, (any Barbarians out there?)
and Bee hives are very effective when thrown at a mob of enemies. :-)