Theocracy is government by the representatives of a religion: In this case, the Society of Prophecy and their secret police, the Soldiers of Destiny. A real-world example of a theocracy would be Afghanistan under the Taliban. Go to Comment
A grimly cynical theocracy, secretly controlled by the descendants of the merchant-princes that originally overthrew the old order and their mercenary troops, now the secret police force of a manipulative priesthood.
I could see the priesthood developing a rift between the hypocritical prophets that originally controlled it and a new generation of priests that have grown under the new order. While some of these new priests would be as hypocritical as their ancestors, others might have decided that the revolution and its results were foreordained by the gods, just as everything else in their carefully-planned lives is.
Such a city would be ripe for conflict, between the champions of social order ("Truly you are lost in sin, to seek to evade your prescribed place in the Great Order of All Life!") and those advocating the city's rigid castes be eliminated ("Workers of Oraburg, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!")
More information about the methods of control used by the priesthood would be interesting. They would need a detailed system of record keeping and the ability to verify their citizens' personal identities for them to enforce their system. I'm curious what they do with strangers. Do they try to shoehorn them into the caste system or do foreigners have their own specific social niche? Go to Comment
Many people forget how much of our communication is non-verbal. This can lead to an author feeling hurt or confused, when the person posting the criticism had no intent to be mean-spirited.
Witty banter in a comment may be intended to be fun and casual, but the subject of the criticism may take it as belittling mockery. When you are critiquing someone's work, remember:
- They may never have written seriously before; in fact they may be a young teen just spreading their wings. Many of these fledgling authors don't realize that the ideas that they have just encountered (and been inspired by) are actually quite trite and clichéd. They haven't grown tired of world-conquering demons, mighty swords and malevolent necromancers.
- The author may not appreciate or understand their work's weaknesses. My first attempts at writing were very flawed, because I didn't know better. I was fortunate that the writing standards in gaming materials were much lower then; if I had been criticised as coldly as I have seen others torn apart, I doubt that I would have continued past that stage. Go to Comment
The Nasty, Sinister Noble had a trap door in his chamber, one that he seldom needed to access. Accordingly, he built the door under the pedestal of a massive and extremely solid “evil leader”-sized bed he’d picked up cheaply from his emperor (who was upgrading due to the addition of several rubinesque harem members).
A mechanism was designed to raise the bed high off the floor (fortunately, the chains matched his décor), so that the trap door could be accessed. An easily found trap was placed on the trapdoor, which would cause the bed to slam down violently if anyone tampered with it. A similarly simple button was hidden nearby (The “button” nose of a charming, carven cherub, chained and being flogged by another such celestial being) allowing the trap to be easily disarmed.
Of course there’s a catch. The Nasty, Sinister Nobleman had a simple “housekeeping” enchantment placed upon the chamber. It dusts, sweeps, mends, and tidies up the place. Also, when the nobleman isn’t present to shut it down, it resets that button two seconds after the trap door is touched.
Biran: A nervous, disheveled foreigner. Ominous, withdrawn and apparently unfriendly, he's the sort of man that the neighbors wonder about. His source of income is mysterious as well: That doubtlessly sets the local gossips to talking.
He's a red herring waiting to happen.
(CP, were you planning to do something with poor ol' Biran?) Go to Comment
An interesting bunch of barbarian riders: They remind me of the Warg-riding orcs of The Two Towers. I like the numerous details that were presented, their prayer beads, the warrior-monks, and the other quirks.
They occupy the same "cultural niche" that orcs would fill in many setings. Go to Comment
Looking at them, they strike me as an interesting alternative species for thoser who dislike the traditional presentation of Gnomes. They fill the same niche, technologically-inclined tricksters, but without the gnomes' annoying goofiness.
Were they intended to be seen that way? Is this a New Look at Gnomes? Go to Comment
An interesting undead variant. They cry out for some legendary origins to explain their caterpillar/arachnoid characteristics:
As he sealed the tomb, Tep'ankh invoked the sign of Halshotkush, the insect-headed god of transformation, whose blessing would watch over the dead until their purification was complete...
The vulnerability to wood piques the curiosity as well, but that one is easily understood: The Weavers of Death can only be harmed by the things of life. Wood, ivory, bone, the materials that once held life, only they have the virtue to slay these undead. Go to Comment
I'm surprised that I didn't notice this one before!
She's a fun NPC, perhaps a bit too benevolent for a villain, but certainly perfect for a "role reversal" scenario....
The Bishop paced back and forth in agitation, his heavy, jewel-encrusted cassock rustling with every motion. "The Rapacion Domains were once a prosperous domain, before the coming of that... woman! She claims lands that should belong to Mother Church, as their original possessors dictated in their wills, recently unearthed in our archives!"
Fury filled the porcine clergyman's eyes as he considered the land's taxes and tithes, now lost to him forever. "Should your band free these benighted lands, 'tis certain that you would be well rewarded. Perhaps we could encourage the Crown to recognize your great deeds with a grant of lands and titles."Go to Comment
This stockaded hamlet is built on small islands of dry land in the midst of a substantial floodplain. When the spring rains come, the surrounding land is flooded for weeks, with narrow raised footpaths the only ways into or out of the village. While it would seem that they should have plenty of water, they keep hundreds of barrels of drinking water stored away in large barns, for the floodwaters often carry a form of typhus. The local water is only potable before the floods come. Go to Comment
I'll find this helpful when I next look to expand my assortment of background music. I've found that once your players are used to which music you tend to cue for different scenes, they will react just to the music: "Oh, crap! It's Duel of the Fates! I start casting all my 'buff' spells!" Go to Comment
An overview of a basic city area, written clearly. The city has a few interesting quirks, particularly the inhabitants' efforts to prevent another destructive fire, but needs more detail to make it come alive.
I like the glowing stone that is used as illumination and the nautical ranks that denote authority in the city.
I am curious about the Anchors secret society and how they operate. Go to Comment
Not bad. They remind me of the Watchmaker caste from Niven and Pournelle's The Mote in God's Eye.
We're used to thinking of technology as something modern, but these "squishy" little fellows would find ways to use medieval technology as well. Remember, that in the middle ages they had water-powered mills, tidal mills, and windmills. Renaissance armorers hammered iron ingots with powered triphammers, then polished the planished surface of the finished steel with wooden polishing disks covered with abrasives.
Creatures such as these would gravitite to such places as mills, foundries, and other centers of industry, where they could quietly tap into the resources there to scavenge a comfortable living.
I imagine that they could be intimidated into making a variety of nasty little traps for a villain's lair, as well. Go to Comment
An interesting take on elves... There's really no reason why the sexual practices of fantastic species should reflect human customs. Some of the Kiannae could be quite female in appearance, to the point of having traditionally female bone structure and features, such as breasts. To another race, they would be almost completely indistinguishable from females.
It also helps address the question of how elves regulate their numbers with their tremendous lifespans: If many of the elvish couples are not actually a male with a female, that would reduce reproduction to a fraction of what it otherwise could be. Go to Comment
All of these things depend on personal taste. If you want a game that basically boils down to Medieval-technology superheros, where mighty wizards and warriors challenge the gods themselves, boatloads of powerful magic is almost required. In a game of this sort, a horde of orcs is merely a chance for the PCs to show off how "bad" they are. They aren't in danger, so they can show off.
On the other hand, if you want a game where the PCs function on a more human scale, magic has to be "amped down". I recommend that GMs never give out any item that doesn't have a detailed history and role in the game. Creative players will eventually find a way to make use of even the most trivial of items, so be careful to build limits into each item, so that it can be dealt with if it becomes a problem. Go to Comment
Once every decade on the eve of St. Poskov's Day during mid-winter, the coastal city of Tiyabon experiences a horrific event. Quool's Tide rolls in, depositing hundreds of bloated, fish-eaten corpses upon the pebbly shores of Tiyabon's wide bay. This singularity is to this day unexplained, though countless theories abound. It is said for example, that these corpses are not eaten by the myriad fish of the seas completely, due to the fear all creatures of the seas hold for Quool.
Named for Quool, a terrible, antediluvian god of seas and storms, who no longer exists for he has no worshipers, the Tide chokes the beaches and surf with the countless rotting bodies of those who had perished at sea in a violent way.
Almost immediately, the lifeless corpses are fed upon by crabs, gulls, and worse things that await the horrid feast. The townsfolk let nature take it course with disinterested disgust, though lately some enterprising adventurers have taken to searching along the beaches of flesh for former deceased companions, with intentions of raising them again!
Surprisingly no undead ever rise from among the many corpses. This is also a mystery.
Encounter ( Water ) | January 19, 2014 |