I like them, but I'm looking forward to the "Bonsai Treeherds", even smaller cousins of the Dwarf Treeherds.
I would expect the Dwarf Treeherder culture to split into two subgroups: Some would be nomadic, traveling north in the spring, then retreating south as the frosts advance in Autumn. These would be the "deciduous" treeherders. Others would remain in place year round. These "coniferous" treeherders would become dormant in winter, seeking out secluded groves in hidden valleys as safe havens to wait out the cold.
Of course, some treeherds might develop symbiotic relationships with other races. In Winter, they might be brought into the homes of their partner species, relaxing in pots of soil while they wait for Spring. For the winter holidays, the children of their host families might deck them in festive holiday adornments, enjoying the company of their strange visitors. Go to Comment
A worthwhile little cyst of evil! I appreciate how you made sure it was "generic", able to be easily "plugged into" any setting.
I suspect that the cult doesn't keep anything incriminating in the first portions of the hidden shrine, so intruders or guardsmen that violate their sanctuary may be fooled into thinking they're innocuous.
"They seemed kind of unsavory, Captain, but I don't think they're the ones abducting girls for sacrifice..."Go to Comment
(From the chat yesterday:) An interesting dilemma would be for the cult's victim to be someone that the PCs already despise, so that they're tempted to let the cult finish its sacrifice...
"I'm sorry, Captain Strongold, but after you framed us for treason, we kind of lost our motivation to save you from the cultists of Bloodthorn. Bye, bye!"
Alternatively, one of the cultists could be needed to complete a prophecy or otherwise save the land. The player characters might be forced to make a deal with the cult in order to prevent a worse evil from rising...
"Only the Death Rite of Bloodthorn will keep the arch-demon Ethalioc within his prison! Dare you allow the terror of ages to escape?"Go to Comment
Well written and usable, but he's not my favorite among the Sorrows.
I think that I was looking for the sense of "wrongness" that the sorrows usually carry. Ran is a near-immortal, insatiably curious child, but I don't understand what singled him out to become a sorrow. The other sorrows had a sense of doom or destiny driving them toward their ultimate fate, but I don't feel that from Ran. Go to Comment
I like the names, especially "Emperor Haius the Magnificently Obese". The plot is suitably "twisty" with several interesting surprises.
There were a few details that I found hard to credit, though: If "This is the tomb of an ancient knight, later made politician", who "fought in countless battles", I would expect the fact that he was a horse to be remembered, unless the tomb was truly ancient and forgotten.
Additionally, the ghost is sweeping the dusty shrine, moving the dust, so why is the shrine so dusty? A recent windstorm? The wrath of the dust gods? The ghost just came back from a trip to Florida?
Lastly, giant spiders are recommended foes for the shrine, but I would expect the ghost to interfere with any webs they build, so maybe something else would be more appropriate. Go to Comment
This model represents a good balance of activities for building adventures. If you want to build a larger scenario, just repeat the steps a few times over: The finale simply becomes the midpoint of the new structure. Go to Comment
This one came together very well. I'm not overfond of plots that "shanghai" the PCs by having something bad happen to them, but this one should work well as a way out of a scenario that ended in a TPK (Total Party Kill). Go to Comment
I like the way that the plot and its causes are clearly outlined. All the needed information is present, it was easy to read and follow, and it could be easily incorporated into a game.
In some parts of Europe during the Renaissance, those reporting suspected witches were given a fat reward, which caused the whole process to become corrupt. An escalating cycle of opportunism and vengeance sometimes began, as accused witches dragged down those who had accused others. This process could grow out of hand, such as happened in a German village where half of the population was executed for witchcraft and heresy.
Despite this, the cliche of the corrupt and treacherous witchhunter is one that I'm not terribly fond of. Witch hysterias arose for various reasons, tearing apart communities as they struggled to deal with phenomena that they didn't understand, such as baffling, mysterious diseases and hysterical, psychosomatic disorders.
The witchhunter overcome by lust, who accuses a woman of witchcraft to cover his own shame: I've seen that done over and over. I guess that what I'd prefer is a sincere and honest witchhunter, who sees the superstitious practices of those in rural villages and concludes that the place is a nest of heresy and "heathen" practices. Something as simple as cutting an apple into top and bottom halves and handing half to one's sweetheart or hanging a broom over the doorway could be seen as signs of folk magic, while marrying at the "wrong" time could be seen as courting the favor of "pagan" spirits. Go to Comment
One of my characters is phobic about big celebrations, because whenever the attends one, things seem to go horribly wrong....
These festivities could be the setting for a dozen different sort of adventures, or could just be used as background, allowing the GM to subtly include a great deal of cultural and political information without blatant (and boring) exposition. Go to Comment
In an essay on time travel, the science-ficton author Larry Niven postulated that in any universe where time travel was possible, it would never be developed. His reasoning was that in such a universe, people would travel in time until they intervened in the timestream in such a way as to catastrophically interfere with their culture's ability to travel in time. Once time travel became an impossibility, the timeline would no longer change. Go to Comment
A good overview showing the relationships beetween the different portions of Valadaar's world, this article is likely to remain a work-in-progress for many years: Hopefully, there will always be something else that can be added to such a text.
I look forward to seeing the eventual Encyclopedia Neyathian. Go to Comment
Deep within the subterranean domain of Van Torxus, the Li'vah scuttled and dug, endlessly driven to claim more for their master. Dread gripped their feeble minds, fear of the vengeful elven mage that had created them and could destroy them at a whim.
I really like these little subterranean constructs. They remind me of my blind undersea race, theTrench Dwellers. As Manfred suggested, I got the impression that the Li'vah feel emotion, but I might be reading more into the sub than was intended.
The Li'vah have personality, even though they could stand more detailing. I also appreciate the unusual behavior they exhibit, raiding local villages. Do they need something from the villages, or were they ordered to raid by their cruel master just to sow panic and chaos? They have powers of illusion, but these seem to be quite limited. Perhaps they lack the imagination needed to make more effective use of their powers? As creatures without a sense of sight, how do they perceive these illusions?
Their understanding of the world around them might be dramatically different from that of most creatures. As creatures with very limited perceptions, they might only feel safe in enviromaents where they can sense the solid barriers protecting them: In the open, foes outside the range of their perception would be a serious threat.
The Li'vah were crafted of greyish stone and Fire Clay: Could you explain what fire clay is? Go to Comment
The third son of a candle-maker, and secretly a spy, Tsiao Fong Wei betrayed his family, clan, and town to the merciless Qongg Dynasty, causing the deaths of his own family members. He survived to an old age hiding out in the country side and keeping a low profile. One day however, the “Paper Knife” finally found Tsiao Fong Wei , and exacted his revenge on behalf of the folk, dead and tortured.
After a furious struggle, the “Paper Knife” plunged twin burning candles into the eyes of the traitorous old man and laughed, as Tsiao Fong Wei howled in dismay and pain. Some say Tsiao Fong Wei died that day. Others say that the old man somehow escaped despite his sudden anguish and utter blindness.
The truth is lost to time.
But to this day the children of the Red-Ridge County towns and villages are told by their parents to always beware twin lights in the darkness and to never venture into the woods at night, and to keep an ear open for the Groaning Ghost, for somewhere out there Tsiao Fong Wei the Traitor, now a vengeful spirit, stumbles about the darkness moaning and wailing, candles still sticking forth from out of his otherwise empty eye sockets. And though the candles plunged into his eyes all those years ago were a’flame going in, now the wax protuberances are somehow lit from within and burn without, and two flickering lights in the darkness, always portend his coming.