I like the book a lot and the way it is presented is just fine, no issues on that. The question I have is about your percieved availability of the book. From the first part I get conflicts whether it is a single book that is handed around or something that can be created by those that know how. Refering to "the creator" implies that many can be made yet it seems a somewhat specialized item that is tied to a specific circumstance that wouldn't readily be duplicated.
The other thing I felt needed a little more was on how somebody would give this as a gift if it was a single item. It seems to me that the book should effect every person that holds it, not just an intended victim? In this case then it might be difficult for the current reader to give it away in the first place unless he already knows the nature of the book and doesn't get addicted to it. Maybe I am catching that one the wrong way though. Go to Comment
I think you may have overdone the customizeability of the item, if that is possible. I could understand what you wanted to say, but among all the options has the message got a little unclear (like Strolen has noted).
I would suggest to limit the options at least at the start, and present the story in its entirety, it is interesting enough to stand alone. Show its powers, according to your story/game world, and afterwards list some of the ways how it can be adapted. Especially the scaling of power is interesting, you can skip some options, or note them only briefly.
Also, the whole talk of a 'template' is quite detracting to me. Skip it or put it towards the end along with others notes right of the technical manual.
I think I know what you wanted, and such a lesson for beginning GMs on how to integrate stuff into their own game world could be interesting, somehow the lecture format collides with the story. Maybe it is just me. :)
I like it. The submission could stand a rewrite, but the ideas are grand. This book works both as a customised work--storytelling raised to the level of magic, without true magic being used. It also works well as a magic item that adjusts to its new owner, sort of a mystic version of A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer from Stephenson's The Diamond Age.
Whether truly sentient or not, this is nasty and fun--for the GM, at least. I would use this subtly. That is, the imagery would be all in the reader's imagination, rather than an overt visual phantasm. Go to Comment
Wow. I like the idea of Cardinal actually being a captive mind (although one has to wonder if he knows that's what he is). Of course, a bard of his reputation is going to have difficulty explaining why he never does public appearances (unless they're akin to raves, where everyone is stoned). And there's always the possibility that the Pills have some unknown and unpleasant side-effects, as opposed to just being addictive, although that's bad enough. Go to Comment
It's an interesting idea, an a cool mystery character!
But: there's some spelling and grammar that could be corrected; also, his name is an issue, being the title of a high-ranking priest, and Luther being the founder of the Protestant church. Go to Comment
The Jiangsi was the name of an undead being in Chinese folklore and mythology. Usually translated as zombie or vampire for Western palates, the Jiangsi was really neither. They appeared as simply risen, fresh corpses. They moved (peculiarly!) by hopping rather than walking, and sought out the living to suck the Qilife force from their victims.
Perhaps significantly more interesting than the Jiangsi itself, was the lore surrounding them. "Zombie wranglers", or "Corpse Herders", usually Daoist priests, were men tasked with delivering these undead beings back to their respective home towns. Tradition in China placed great importance and emphasis on the return of the dead to their homes and families, and thus the corpse herders came to be. By using magick words and talismans they would animate the dead, and by placing specially inscribed parchments of paper over the Jiangsi heads and faces, the corpse herders would be able to control the hopping corpses. Then like pied pipers, they would lead processions of subdued undead, across many miles, rhythmically chanting and ringing tiny bells.
Special inns were built across China to house these undead caravans, as the zombies could only travel by evening and night, the sun anathema to them. Rows of doors opening to barely a closet-space, lined the walls of these special establishments. Behind these doors, the corpses would be stored upright while the corpse herders rested in rooms.
The Jiangsi under the control of a corpse herder were quite harmless, merely hopping after him, silently and without complaint, for weeks and months. If however, the magicked parchment would somehow be removed from their faces, the creatures would immediately seek living humans to kill. Their thirst for Qi was unquenchable.
The job of a corpse herder was an interesting one to say the least.