If you guys are going to spew out facts you should reference things.
But I think an article like this which describes DMing techinques and give direction which would be more influential and carry more weight if it was laced with some vignettes regarding how this stuff worked in game play. How the players responded to specific details and so on. More importantly describe what didn't work. As I see it you giving Martha Stewartesque advice here, how to be good GM. M.S. often give specific examples of parties and events which has either hosted or which her friends have hosted.
If you want to discuss torture and execution as a stand alone topic perhaps you could discuss what those excution said about the values of the people carrying them out.
But overall 10 historically gruesome forms of execution isn't a bad list. Go to Comment
well, thank you for pointing this out. As for the other stuff- I know that Vlad didn't like the Turks too much (though he wasn't so much a defender of Christianity as he was the Orthodox sect. His views on Catholics was that the only thing they were good for was military aid). But they did crucification x's too? You actually do learn something new every day. Go to Comment
HAS Endeavor Society/ Organizations (Criminal/Espionage)
As a general concept, it's ok. The name and air around it are catchy. One thing that is buggin the heck out of me are the guards funds. All that poker playing, but no one has any money? A bit of copper and a couple silvers is believable, but no cash at all? My orcs don't play "Friendly" games, maybe if they were wagering services, like duty shifts, latrine cleaning, I could understand.
Room2 Issues: Wizard high enough to block fireballs + competent and well supplied catapult crew = pain. There are just too many good spells to not make that encounter more dangerous. Invisible boulders alone are terrifying enough.
The traps on the way out slowing the orcs down is a real nagging point with me too. Their traps, their home, and they suffer? What kind of trap could that be? Pit traps would only slow the orcs down if they are less agile than the PCs and don't have a second way around. Also, where are the orcs at the docks? They apparently have expendable impoverish poker playing guards a plenty, no one thought to protect thier ride? Go to Comment
As a five room dungeon, this works reasonably well. I love the Walk, as it represents a nice combination of combat and environmental hazards. I would probably try to get my players to run this one as a heist, however -- this would make a great setting for a high-security prison.
That said, there are a few points that could use improving. One, the orcs have a wizard on staff, yet the escape boat is guarded by illusions? If the orcs have been there for any time at all, they should have found that by now. Two, you said that the tunnel deown to the little boat has traps that will slow the orcs down more than the PCs. That can only be the case if the orcs have not discovered the tunnel already. Otherwise, they would have mapped the whole thing out or replaced the traps with some of their own making. Three, orcs aren't usually the type to wait quietly in the shadows on guard duty, while within their own stronghold. If you want to leave the shadowy guards, why not make them wizardly constructs, goblin slaves or at least orcish youth?
If I were going to use this dungeon layout, I would personally replace the orcs with something a bit more organized -- perhaps Naga or a religious cult -- and change the escape route slightly. Barrels worked in the Hobbit, after all. Why not something similar here? Go to Comment
Ah, so the orcs know about the boat and the back way out. If they are intelligent and organized, why would they let the PCs escape down a known exit route?
To clarify the barrels comment: In the Hobbit, the party is captured and detained in an underground facility. The only apparent way out is the Front Gate, which is heavily guarded. However, the hero finds that the elves keep a wine cellar that opens to an underground river, and that the elves occasionally send empty barrels back down-river. In other words, the party finds a service entrance/exit and exploits it to make their escape in secret.
If the boat is a known factor, and is used for mundane stuff like resupplying, then BAM -- you have your "barrels" exit. Other possibilities would be a garbage barge, or perhaps leaving under the guise of workers from outside. This is assuming, of course, that the PCs opted for the covert option. Go to Comment
Your first point, that of the orc wizard and the illusions- the wizard made those illusions to hide the dock. The escape boat was the orcs (they need something to go raid people and get food, supplies, etc). The traps were set by the orcs, and were to stop people coming from the dock to the library. I was thinking things in the nature of pit traps. They would slow the orcs down more than the PCs because the PCs would be to busy running than checking on traps, and would (probably) evade any traps they set off. As to the third thing, in my world orcs are smart and organized. If they aren't in yours, feel free making the monsters something a bit more organized.
And- Barrels? I know of The Hobbit, but I have never read it. What do barrels have to do with anything? Go to Comment
They don't let the PCs escape down a known escape route. They pursued them, didn't they? The tunnel leading to the boats is presumed to be opposite the ladder down to the ladder. The PCs would either be in the middle of the library, or by the tunnel (or maybe in some place nobody but a player could possibly think worth investigating), so the orcs couldn't possibly get between the PCs and the exit.
And yes, if the PCs want to be covert, then let them use the boat. But nobody knows about the boat, because of the illusion hiding the dock (and they leave at night), so they would have to reconnoiter the area at night to even have a chance of finding it. Go to Comment
The orcs are wagering bad jobs, like the duty shifts, latrine cleaning, and such. Or they don't have to play poker at all.
If you want to have some wizard in room 2 making the boulders invisible, go right ahead. My orc wizard is a bit lazy, and doesn't want to go to extremes to stop the intruders, and feels the walk and the boulders is enough. He just wants to make sure he lives, and so blocks attacks.
And the dock protection- they think that the illusions hiding the dock and the traps in the tunnel are enough. If you want to throw a couple of orcs in the dock, go right ahead. I just think that it might be unfair to the PCs to have to ready the boat, defend the dock from the horde coming down the tunnel, and kill a couple of orcs on the dock. Go to Comment
An alright idea - except for the nondescript monster, and the splatter. It could use far more Lovecraft horror.
Also, what about fighting the monster? Players will come in, and get murdered by the anti-god monster? Go to Comment
By late afternoon, the sky starts to cloud over. The sun shines behind the fluffy clouds, gilding the edges and showing a Jacob's-ladder of rays streaming through the gaps...very pretty. Gradually the clouds shift into a new configuration: you realize with awe-struck, preternatural clarity that the clouds form a map of a coast-line that you know against the blue sky as ocean: surely it's a Sign! Suddenly, the golden beams coalesce into one long ray that strikes across the blue. A star-like gleam flashes under the ray: perhaps it is an island? But the charts show no island there...who would want to hide an island? Who could do it?