Both these ideas can be combined to create the health of the once mighty door. The movement of men and equipment through the door could help boost the power as well as the general upkeep of the city.
Perhaps the doors condition reflects the value of the city too. Since there is little of value in the city there is little use for the gate to be strong. Fixing up the place and/or bringing in actual valuables gives the door a reason for being stronger. Place tons of gold in there and perhaps it can be almost indestructable. Could be something all the great cities have, a gate like this. People can immediately access the value of the city by the condition of the gate. This gate idea is pretty cool! Go to Comment
Perhaps there is a standing order that there are no weapons allowed or no magical items allowed in the city.
Could be a perfect place for a 'safe' meeting since it is guaranteed nobody can enter armed. Maybe the gate idea can be scaled down to be a regular door as well using all the same type ideas. Go to Comment
Helping the gate is SO easy. Just kill all the goblins, convince enough people that the talk of decay etc. is not true, and move them inside, to re-create the city.
Or move the absurdly heavy gate to another city and install it there. It might be even theirs mission, why should they else approach the cursed city? There is also the moral thing about moving an intelligent creature somewhere it does not necessarily want to. Yeah, you took the gold, but you didn't know it talks...
What about its powers? Does it feel the truth, or just hostile intents of some visitors? Or can it be fooled in some way? Perhaps it does regenerate, for every battering ram eaten. :-) Go to Comment
Maybe there's more than one of these gates, only others haven't been woken up. Maybe the cities they protected never faced a dangerous enough threat, the citizens don't know how to wake them up, they don't believe in the legends, or they simply have no idea what they have. Maybe after encountering the Gate of Calast, the PCs recognize similar structures in other cities. Go to Comment
Wow! This is truly a creature of high fantasy! I love it.
Perhaps the gate is merely the way the city communicates with mortals. The whole city could be a living entity and it's health dependant on the condition of the lands inside it's walls. With out city gaurds to prevent the goblins from scaling the walls, the goblins would soon see that trying to breech the wall would lead to their doom, but a grappling hook or makeshift ladder could provide access easily.
To restore the gate to a healthy life, they would need to clean the city of the filth, unclog the aquaducts, and maybe shore up some buildings. Convincing the goblins to do it would be an interesting solution, but it's more likely that the pc's will throw the squatters out. Go to Comment
Legends of "Living Cities" could date back to ancient times, and the Gate of Calast is but one of them. As living creatures, they can make mistakes, be misled, and if they have enough intelligence and free will, even decide to be evil.
Imagine a Gate being told to destroy all red carriages because a neighboring country that betrayed the city only has access to redwood for it's construction. Centuries pass, the neighboring country fall to ruin and it's works lost to revolution and destruction. The border moves back from the city with the Gate and again has peace and prosperity. The new prince comes to visit and his favorite color is red. Chomp, Chomp, Chrunchy, Shreek.
A Gate with free will may want to become more powerful and threaten and blackmail merchants and nobility for passage. "Bring more commerce to this city or you will not enter." Or worse yet, not let them out. If the Gate is aware of their political connections, it may tell them to send messengers to accomplish it's needs, and untill they are done, the person(s) are it's hostages. Could be quite awkward if an assembly of nobles was in town for a celebration. Go to Comment
One of the first things I read on Strolen and still one of my favourites: this was posted up here a year or two before most of us (inc. me) currently posting arrived and deserves to be remembered! Go to Comment
I could imagine that there would be a bit of flavor by changing some elements as well.
Perhaps the city is once again inhabited by populous, but due to the years of neglect and the lack of prayers, the gate has lost its ability to talk, and lost its anthropomorphic features. Perhaps it has a feebler mind now. But it still functions, and thinks. The town does not know it is intelligent.
The gate kills someone or attempts to due to rules given to it from a earlier age, and the unaware city now is on a witch hunt for the 'culprit' who closed the gate on an important figure. After several of these events happening within a short time, it becomes more apparent there is no individual at the controls.
Kind of a mystery. Although I don't know how players would go about finding the correct conclusion, or even proving it to the town, since many prayers may be necessary to restore the gate to its previous appearance and intelligence. Go to Comment
Very simple gag but a great one, since it can be used multiple times over, even in the same adventure. Great for tribal natives gone restless and humanoids, but anyone can have set this up. Just what the header says, a simple bag over a stick stuck in the ground or floor.
As GM you can place the bag on a stick anywhere, in a floor crack the heroes have passed before, outdoors in a clearing or path, or at the edge of the PCs' encampment the following morning, what have you. Place anything on the stick - a coiled yellow viper angered by the bag removal, mini crossbow w/poison, transdermal hallucinatory drug dusted on the bag, yellow mold colony, an NPC ally's head, a weapon, scroll tube or satchel, what have you.
The idea is to build tension and/or stall for time/distract the party. Provided it's used properly, you'll be amazed at how paranoid players will get from this simple gag.