Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

PaizoCon 2014!

Moros Akalein: The Wandering Nation


Round 2 - Top 32: Design a Country

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6 aka adanedhel9

Every destination a new adventure.

Capital: Tara Akalein (population 36,000).

Notable Settlements: Rimgate (population 7,000).

Ruler: Salar Adove, Master of the Map (CN half-elf bard 12).

Government: Oligarchy. A band of adventurers, exiled from their homeland, founded Moros Akalein and the first Vagrant Council. Over the years, as the original members died or retired, the Council elected new members, chosen from the citizens for their bravery, loyalty, and ingenuity. Although the Vagrant Council enjoys exclusive governance over Moros Akalein, it rarely exercises its power, allowing the citizens to govern themselves.

The Vagrant Council chooses one of their own to become the Master of the Map. This individual becomes the official head of state for the nation and gains control of the map of Phoroneus. Considering the requirements of the map, the Vagrant Council chooses this individual not only for leadership potential, but also for the willingness to sacrifice for the sake of the nation.

Alignment: Chaotic Neutral.

Description: Moros Akalein is notable for the simple fact that it does not occupy one single location. At any time, the city and the surrounding lands will disappear, only to reappear in some other location, hundreds or even thousands of miles away. This power is controlled by the map of Phoroneus, a major artifact kept under heavy guard in the capitol.

Activating the map of Phoroneus causes the map, as well as all the land within a 100-mile radius, to a depth of one mile, to instantaneously move to a new location specified by the user. When the land arrives at its destination, any existing land, including plants, animals, and constructions, is harmlessly shunted to the side. When the map is next activated and leaves, the surrounding land peacefully fills the gap left behind. Activating the map of Phoroneus requires a significant sacrifice by the user: the maximum age of the user is immediately, inevitably, and irreversibly reduced by 15% every time the map is activated.

Stumbled upon by the adventurers who would eventually form the first Vagrant Council, the map of Phoroneus is the literal center of Moros Akalein. In years past, it has been used to relocate the nation for many reasons: to keep it safe in times of war, famine, drought, or plague; to exploit position for military or economic purposes; or simply for a change of scenery. For the safety of the nation and its people, only the Master of the Map is allowed to use it. In times of crisis, past Masters of the Map have sacrificed their lives to activate the map and save their home.

Moros Akalein currently resides in the foothills of a dwarf kingdom; it arrived there three years ago. For the most part, the dwarves mistrust the Wandering Nation, and few will set foot on its soil. Yet the local economy is booming, due in no small part to the presence of new markets.

The city of Tara Akalein grew around the map of Phoroneus. Ruled by adventurers, the city became a haven for wanderers and artists of all races and nations. This diversity has led to tensions: race-based conflicts are common within the city. However, when things go smoothly, the city features a lively blending of cultures found in few other places. The city's industry tends to adapt to whatever resources are locally available: in these dwarven lands, the city is clouded in the smoke of smithies, many of which produce unique pieces featuring blending of racial artistries. Beyond industry, the city is home to libraries and universities that have been kept out of harm's way for centuries, making Tara Akalein a destination for truthseekers.

Surrounding Tara Akalein are miles of farmland and wilderness. Much like the urban population, the rural population is quite diverse. Crops and livestock from all over the world feed the citizens of Moros Akalein. While the wild regions primarily feature flora and fauna from temperate forests (where the map of Phoroneus was originally found), diverse wildlife has found its way into various locations within the nation. Unfortunately, these wilderness areas hold a diverse population of monsters as well.

At the edge of the 100-mile radius defined by the map of Phoroneus lies a large stone wall. Built by the citizens of Moros Akalein during a time of war, the wall originally had only one gate. As the memories of war faded, a settlement sprouted at this gate. Rimgate, as it is called, became a center for trade and travel. Whenever the land moves, the merchants of Rimgate quickly extend their streets and buildings past the gate to cater to those who would not enter Moros Akalein itself. Sometimes the masters of these shops and inns are left behind when the land moves. Over the centuries, other, similar towns have popped up wherever the wall has crumbled, but Rimgate remains the largest such town.

The Vagrant Council keeps the people of Moros Akalein happy by staying out of their way. Only the gravest of situations and most important of decisions warrant direct action from the Council. Despite the official hands-off policy, an unofficially sactioned police and military force keeps the peace both at home and abroad and enforces the Council's will when necessary. Made of up of adventurers loyal to the Wandering Nation, it is from this service that future members of the Vagrant Council are typically chosen.

DM Secrets: Unbeknownst to the citizens and goverment of Moros Akalein, the depths of the land hold an infestation of duergar, which is now spreading into the dwarven lands.

The ancient red dragon Heneraxic has become obsessed with making the map of Phoroneus the centerpiece of his collection. To that end, he has trailed the Wandering Nation for over one hundred years, gathering allies and waiting for his opportunity to strike.

Contrary to the official histories, the first Vagrant Council stole the map of Phoroneus from a cult of Phoroneus - a cult which still exists today.

Qadira Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Ok, I can see that your premise is a crossroads city-state, like Sigil or any other nexus. Good choice. The 100 mile diameter seems a little huge for this (since it requires days of travel to reach the central capitol), but ok.

That said, it has some issues. I get it, it's ruled by adventurers, but I think the text kind of hit me over the head twice too often with that information. And once you scratch the surface, the premise doesn't go very far. Are the PCs going to visit? Great, then what do they do? The text sort of assumes that PCs will defend the wandering nation against outside threats, but it's not clear to me why they would.

I want to like this one, but I kind of feel like you could have done more with it if the wandering were more frequent (and less costly). Moving infrequently makes it interesting in an abstract way. Wandering frequently makes it immediately exciting, and that's sort of the promise you set up in the "Wandering Nation" tagline.

I can recommend this, and I see talent here. But you need to step up with more juice if you squeak through this round.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

Submission checklist:

Submitted on time? Check.
Submission is a "country"? Check.
Submission contains all of the mandatory content as required by the contest rules? Check.
Submission is within the word limit? Check. 992.
Submission is free of inappropriate content in violation of the "taboo" guidelines? Check.
Submission does not use content from a source other than those listed? Check.
Submission does not reference a published campaign setting? Check.
Submission does not include maps or art? Check.
Submission is a suitable setting for roleplaying with the d20 system? Check.
Submission is not a "joke" or otherwise completely fails to meet the minimum requirements of the competition or other contest rules? Check.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

The first couple paragraphs on the government of Moros Akalein are competently written, but I think the submission would be improved by the inclusion of a general summary before we get to detailed governmental notes. The mention of the map of Phoroneus struck me as odd, since we are told to consider the requirments of the map before we've been told what they are. I think that's a design flaw and I'd encourage you to more strongly consider the order in which you present information in future submissions.

The idea of a moving nation is pretty interesting, and I like the way it is tied to the map of Phoroneus (which has a cool name). I have to say that this is an original concept, too, as I've never seen it before. So far all of the entries (I've read about half of them) have original twists to them, but this is the most brazenly original idea I've seen so far. Thanks for that.

I'm not sure the entry as a whole lives up to the original premise, though. The paragraph that begins "The city of Tara Alakein" reads like filler, containing basic concepts without providing anything meaty to latch on to. Everything is presented in generalities. All sorts of people go there. Unspecified "race-based" conflicts exist, but we get no detail to make it seem real (or all that interesting). So it's a "lively blending of cultures," but which cultures? In what way is that different from almost any city? There are libraries and universities that make it a haven for truthseekers, but a few proper names or characterizations of these scholars would have made the place seem livlier and more interesting.

The DM Secrets section includes some interesting ideas. I like the dragon one best because it sets up a natural uber-enemy for the region.

I dunno. I really like the concept of this and that alone has me thinking of ways to use it in a campaign, but the ultimate execution leaves a lot to be desired. Great idea. Merely average execution, in my view.

Founder, Legendary Games & Publisher, Necromancer Games, RPG Superstar Judge

Fluff (writing, grammar, style, evocative prose, etc.): B-
The Good: The writing is itself fine, but some of the style choices need work. Structurally, the government content needed to come later. Hook me with the coolness of the transporting city first.
The Bad: Not knocking my socks off. Could have done more with less. I think you over-wrote and got little benefit from it. You had a tight word limit and I don’t think you used the words you had effectively.

Crunch (basics, rules issues, depth of the setting, details, etc.): C
The Good: I like the artifact. Interesting. And the country idea is very “outside the box.” I like it a lot.
The Bad: OK, that is just way too organized and “good of all” oriented for a CN country. That struck me as strange crunch, and in fact a mistake. The leadership choice criteria is clearly both lawful and good. Not sure I needed all the details on the map, though. I just don’t think you did enough with the space you had. This competition was about design choices—what do you detail and why. You didn’t include enough content.

Design (choices made, format, naming, originality, theme, balance--ie, is the submission heavy in one part but lacking in another?): B-
The Good: Its very Tanelorn, without being a rip off (if you are even old enough to know the Elric series and this reference). Great villain—the red dragon. This is the first submission where I have really seen this and it is a good idea.
The Bad: As noted above, the stuff about the city should have come before the government info. Plus, as mentioned above, you didn’t use your content limit well. You had some good seeds here. Some real good seeds, in fact. But you gave me too much on a few topics instead of adding depth to the submission. The DM section, while it had a few key items, was under-done. It lacks a tight theme—but the concept is there.

Play (setting for adventure? campaign? is there conflict? are there play limitations?): A-
The Good: This really saves the submission in my mind. This setting is RIPE for play, and in any campaign world.
The Bad: I would like more details. Give me clearer conflicts.

Tilt (my personal take, is it evocative? do I want to play there? does it capture my imagination?): B+
The Good: Great idea.
The Bad: Poor execution.

Overall: B
Good ideas and great play potential, plus a good antagonist, save a poorly executed submission—but just barely.

RECOMMENDED for top 16.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16

I though I would wander more being the Wandering Nation. Reminds me of the movie Krull. I was thinking in the beginning the idea that since this nation moves it could be the main trade for the world. You wouldn't need trade route. Once a year, a whole city appears full of trades goods and items from everywhere. Not that its bad, but I guess that was want I felt a wandering nation was going to be. But I like it.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

Clark Peterson wrote:


Crunch (basics, rules issues, depth of the setting, details, etc.): C
The Good: I like the artifact. Interesting. And the country idea is very “outside the box.” I like it a lot.
The Bad: OK, that is just way too organized and “good of all” oriented for a CN country. That struck me as strange crunch, and in fact a mistake. The leadership choice criteria is clearly both lawful and good. Not sure I needed all the details on the map, though. I just don’t think you did enough with the space you had. This competition was about design choices—what do you detail and why. You didn’t include enough content.

Design (choices made, format, naming, originality, theme, balance--ie, is the submission heavy in one part but lacking in another?): B-
The Good: Its very Tanelorn, without being a rip off (if you are even old enough to know the Elric series and this reference). Great villain—the red dragon. This is the first submission where I have really seen this and it is a good idea.

I agree with Clark in that CN seemed an odd alignment choice for the city. I guess you could see it based on the idea that the city is literally rootless and not tied down to one particular place, culture, religion, or set of alliances and traditions. Still, the city-state itself is always there, and within itself it does seem way more lawfully oriented. Nomadic? Yes. Crossroads of cultures? Yes. CN? Not really.

I do like the idea of the moving city-state, though I was pretty sketchy on exactly what happened to that 100 mile diameter piece of land while this place was there. Harmlessly shunted to the side? Meaning extradimensionally shunted, or physically shunted, because the former works fine (maybe even put in stasis), but the latter creates a whole bunch of strangeness.

If the land were more evil, I could see it just dropping on top of whatever was already there--too bad for them! WE'RE HERE NOW! Even switching places would probably be a pretty scummy thing to do, since most of the time it seems the city-state moves because wherever it is has been tapped out.

I wonder also if there is a requirement that the place MUST move. What if they find a great location? Can they just stay there indefinitely?

By the way, do the people of the Moros Akalein know where they are going when they transport, or is it always based on "anything will be better than here"?

In sum, I like some of the ideas, but I don't think I buy it as a whole.

P.S. Woohoo for Tanelorn! I had an early thought of doing something like that but went a different direction instead.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

Ummm... just wanted to say oops and sorry for accidentally making the entire previous post in quote mode. Need to double-check those darn command tags.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

There's something about this one I really like, although the above criticisms are all valid. It could use some work, but like the Migrus from last round, it's really sticking with me. It does seem too large -- maybe something more like a 10-mile radius. Really like the DM secrets, although I'd probably use something other than duergar, but that's just me. Red dragon is great.

If I were to use this in a campaign, I'd probably say the city dimensionally displaces whatever it lands on, rather than physically shifting it. Having whatever used to be there is somehow "out of phase" and inaccessible leads to lots of fun plot hooks -- pissed off relatives trying to convince the city to move so they can get their kin back, important artifacts moved out of reach just as they are needed ... etc.


Oh yeah, Tanelorn. I was thinking there was something very Moorcockian about this one, but I couldn't quite figure out why I thought that.


I will second Eric's comment that this is the first truly original concept of the entire group. I like it. Going on the reread list.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The Wandering Nation. I think this one has a fantastic central idea, but a lot of the follow up stuff doesn’t quite live up to the original premise. I agree with a few of the comments so far, particularly with the country being too big (I think a city state or a river-valley or something may have worked better). I also tend to agree that the stated alignment does not seem to match the description.

I would almost liked to have seen this as something that could not be controlled – the nation just randomly moves itself at random intervals, rather than something that is controlled by adventurers with a magic map. Despite any faults, the central idea is so far keeping this on my shortlist.

As an aside, I’m not sure that I’m familiar with Tanelorn, but I’m sure I’ve read stories about magically wandering cities before. This also reminded me a little of the China Meiville short story with the wandering streets – which is a good example of the existing landscape shunting aside to accommodate the new arrival (albeit on a much smaller scale).

Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

adanedhel9 wrote:

Every destination a new adventure.

I was going to hate this tagline, but you saved it well.

This feels very much classic D&D to me. I think of the sort of promise of adventure the back cover of the old DMG held for me when I was 12. That's a big plus.

I think the 100 mile radius is purely an artifact of this competition, to qualify as a nation rather than a city, because otherwise this really is a city. Points off for that, could have been handled more effectively I think.

Best use of DM notes I've seen.

Strong maybe.


All I can think about while reading this one is an old man holding a handful of red sand belting out, At SUNRISE!!!


Works a lot better as a city. Could be used as a traveling-device for the PCs. If it would be only a city, the PCs would also be more cooperative when defending it. Should be the main city of a county, with a little shortening.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter 2013, Marathon Voter 2014 aka Darkjoy

Can I use it: No
Is it entertaining: No
Is it original: Yes

Final verdict: Rejected.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16, Contributor

This is a really cool premise. It also raised a Morcockian vibe for me, which is good because you can never have too much eternal champion stuff :) I also got the faintest whiff of the "Cities in Flight" series (James Blish IIRC).

It might have come off stronger if it had started with something that more evocatively established the core idea. I remember an english teacher once told me that an audience starts at its peak with the first word and then slowly trickles away so you have to keep giving them reasons to lend your their attention.

Just imagine an opening that dealt with the sudden appearance of the country. Ripples of the original land drifting away, displaced, riding waves of solid land. Outriders from the new country exploring their neighborhood, establishing alliances, making maps, the SOP of a country that does this sort of thing on a fairly regular basis.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I really liked the wandering nation idea, I think it would be better it maybe two days before the nation jumps the next location shows up on the map. This give the council some time to find out where they are going and make the jump times random and maybe every couple of months.

I just imagine the Wandering Nation jumping into the middle of a large city splitting it in half for several months.

Get one of my votes.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

I like the way that it mystically shapes and reshapes the land as it moves, and I really like the cost for using the map. The shifting city does seem like something from Moorcock or faerie.

Qadira

interesting concept, but difficult to make use of as the starting point of a campaign. I see its basic use in hopping from one adventuring location to another but that can be done by more conventional means. And the country itself does not seem ripe with adventure.

Osirion RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014 aka Steven T. Helt

This doesn't resonate with me. Seems like one of the most powerful artifacts ever. Puts the Rod of Seven Parts to shame, and yet the cosmos goes to cold war when the Rod takes up residence in your game world. How did a mere cult make this item? Were they so powerful they could cast the requisite epic spells or whatever, but we somehow don't know that they still exist?

Best Dm secret could have been that the cult (meaning major, ancient religion) was supposedly utterly destroyed, but the land has been inflitrated by those who carry on the old religion in secret.

100 miles is way too big. I like the idea that your city-state could be sundered by this sovereign nation, but 100 miles? It should move a lot more often and be smaller, I think.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
mwbeeler wrote:
All I can think about while reading this one is an old man holding a handful of red sand belting out, At SUNRISE!!!

OMG!! Krull!


My first thought wasn't Elric or Krull, but Brigadoon.

Joe Outzen wrote:
When the land arrives at its destination, any existing land, including plants, animals, and constructions, is harmlessly shunted to the side.

I'm having a really hard time picturing how this works.

Joe Outzen wrote:
Whenever the land moves, the merchants of Rimgate quickly extend their streets and buildings past the gate to cater to those who would not enter Moros Akalein itself. Sometimes the masters of these shops and inns are left behind when the land moves.

I love this. In fact, I'd limit the artifact to affecting only Tara Akalein, and it can only move around within a fairly limited area -- a few hundred square miles, tops -- of varied terrain. Whenever it moves, it tends to leave some people and structures behind (accidentally or otherwise -- either they're across the line, or the artifact simply doesn't transport any buildings less than X days/weeks/months old), which give rise to new settlements, towns, and cities. The collection of these cities in this geographical area, then, would be the Moros Akalein. Makes for a neat, present background and a lot of flexibility.

Joe Outzen wrote:

Unbeknownst to the citizens and goverment of Moros Akalein, the depths of the land hold an infestation of duergar, which is now spreading into the dwarven lands.

The ancient red dragon Heneraxic has become obsessed with making the map of Phoroneus the centerpiece of his collection. To that end, he has trailed the Wandering Nation for over one hundred years, gathering allies and waiting for his opportunity to strike.

Also love these two hooks, especially the first.


Well, I really like the idea of the Wandering Nation, although I think it would better lend itself to being a city. The idea is cool, as is the cost for using the map, although the mechanics for it seem a little clumsy and sparse on the details and I have a hard time seeing how the shunting of whatever occupies the land works.
The writing isn't great, bringing up the point of it being ruled and founded by adventurers a few too many times.
All in all it's a fairly good entry and it might get my vote.


This one squeaked into my top 5, beating out better written submissions only because of this one's originality (surprising, given the bland functionality of the torch of solidity), and I'd like to see Mr. Outzen stick around in this competition a little longer. I want to see your villain, Joe!


You piqued my interest with the wandering nation idea, but I don't really see a lot of adventuring for the PC's to do in this country.

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Another nation based on the power of an artifact, though this one's effects are quite interesting. That should have been explained much earlier, though. I was struggling for about 4 paragraphs.

Does Akalein mean something? The names of the nation and city are a bit awkward.

I'm not sure that the self-sacrifice of the Master of the Map or a 100-mile-radius wall fit well with the listed alignment.

I have to agree with the previous poster that there's little obvious work for adventurers here. Not voting for this.


It has a great central idea but little else and it flies against some basic principles of human nature. While the idea that the people could govern themselves I find that highly unlikely especially since it is supposedly CN. People are inherently selfish and being adventurers doesn't change that so I don't buy that this country would run itself. It is a neat idea but meh overall.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6 aka adanedhel9

Thanks all for your input. This has been quite the experience so far. I can't wait till voting ends so I can respond to some of these (valid) issues.


I like that you've legitimized the social role of the adventurer by turning it into a politically sanctioned service role. A lot of settings fail to support why anyone would ever become an adventurer when they could live a safe and happy life of relative wealth based on their starting stats and skill ranks.

I like the concept of the moving country, but it suffers from some mechanical problems and vague descriptions. A chunk of crust 200 miles wide and a mile deep cannot appear in the middle of a location and harmlessly shunt the existing region aside. Is it shunted in a particular direction? Is it displaced outwardly from the center? However you do it, the existing surface would be distorted, and that means that roads, buildings, rivers, and everything else would be compressed and elongated. It would work if the country resided somewhere permanently, like on the Plane of Shadow, and the city gates could change location in the Prime Material. You could have even made it so the whole region floated in the sky like in Gulliver's Travels. At worst, it would have to swap locations with what was at the target, but even that wouldn't be harmless as rivers and roads would complicate things.

I love the unknown underdark half of the country.

I love the dragon.

The writing was a little awkward in places.

As a GM, I could definitely see myself using my Shadow Plane reimagining of this setting, but not as it appears in its original description. The adventurer-centric society is a little hokey for my tastes, but I've played in hokier.


I really thought this was going to be a country of nomads. The shunting a 100 miles of country to the side doesn't really work for me. I can't picture it.

I'm not really into the idea of 100's of adventurers anywhere. It's what turns me off of mmorpgs. Heroes should be rare otherwise they become mundane.

So this one's not for me, but it definitely got some people's attention so good luck.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Place your votes.


100 miles is really too large. A city and some surrounding farmland would be enough.

And as others, I disagree with CN alignment.

Also I wonder how this country deals with its new neighbors. In my mind quite often when this place would show up, war would ensue. And I didn't really get any idea of possible military might except that wall from some ancient war.

Original entry suffering from poor exeecution and the fact that I can't suspend my disbelief enough.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Hrm. Kinda interesting. But maybe moving 30,000 square miles of country around is a little too problematic for me? And there's not enough information about the place itself, besides how it moves and Rimgate... What's Tara Akalein like? How is Moros Akalein's populace, attitudes, etc. different due to its wandering nature? When do they usually move and why, just to avoid attacks or is boredom a reason?


I really like the idea of adventurers having a place in the social structure of a world. If these guys are running around, how do they fit in? So I like the idea of a nation that is ruled by retired adventurers, and one that peopled mainly by them as well.

On one hand, I like this, and I think its distinct from this, but it does remind me a bit of the captain's council from Pirates of the Carribean 3. It think its sufficiently different to be original (I think there is nothing wrong with getting inspiration from a thing, so long as the fingerprints aren't still too visible), but I think that CN overall alignment is a bit forced, and perhaps a nod to its possible inspiration (if this wasn't the inspiration, its still a bit forced, and I apologize for the assumption).

In general, I have a hard time with most of the society being CN, and their leader being CN, and yet, the head of the nation is chosen from those that are willing to sacrifice for the entire population. I don't want to get into an alignment debate, and I'm not saying that no CN person would act this way, but its not the first alignment you think if when this comes up.

I'd like a wee bit more on the farmers and artisans that came to work here. I can picture former adventurers as guard, watch, army, and skilled labor, but are all the common laborers from this stock as well? Are they people on the run from other nations?

Overall though, I actually really like this, but I think a little more detail may be needed for the leader and the council to get why they would be so wild and free yet ready to die for their country.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

The dragon whose careful schemes stretch back over 100 years is definitely a nice idea.

Taldor

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

I was thinking, reading through the entry, the concept of a reappearing city is way cool, but its rulership is too "nice", even though they have an evil rebellion in their midst. But if this was an evil nation scrounging the land for slaves and resources before hopping on, and the adventurers ensnared there as slaves and needing to organize a rebellion, I'd jump on in an instant... sorry no vote from me.


Good concept and original idea - it reminds me somewhat of China Mieville and his bird people of Perdido Street Station.

Execution - I wanted more. A solid idea, but quickly lost interest due to the uninteresting writing. I am not sure I will use all of my five votes - your're not number one for me, but maybe in the top five.


It caught my eye first up with the Wandering part for sure. As I read into it, the artifact hit me as a wonderful idea for such a concept. It has adventure written all over it, along with the idea of protecting it from those pesky dragons!

Although the writing was a bit awkward in places, it was easier for me to read then most entries. I felt you went with your guns on this one, and I feel that important overall.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6 aka adanedhel9

Thanks all for your input. I'm going to try to answer some common complaints now...

On alignment: Yeah, I screwed that up. When I first started, I definately had a CN to CG vibe going on in my head. But as words started to appear on the page, that vibe dissappeared, and I didn't think to go back to the alignment. My mistake. Given an edit, I'd probably try to work that vibe back in, rather than just change the alignment.

On size: This was purely an artifact of the competition. My original thoughts were just the city and immediate surroundings, but I wasn't sure that would be enough to be a nation. In fact, I wasn't sure where the line would be, so I chose a large enough area that I felt safe from that sort of scrutiny. It probably could have been a lot smaller, but I really wanted to make sure I didn't get an auto-reject.

On displacement: This was simply a failure of imagination on my part. I didn't want the city itself to become a weapon of war, crushing existing nations with relatively little cost. But I couldn't think of a better way to make it move, so I just hand-waved it. I like Eldrich Gaiman's idea of having the city exist in the Shadow Plane, with gates on the Material, but I would ammend it so that there are enough gates or large enough gates that significant congress between Moros Akalein and the surrounding lands could occur.

On rarely moving: This was something that got dropped to make the word count. In initial drafts, I had much more info on the map of Phoroneus; included in that info was the stipulation that the map could activate itself if it wasn't used enough. The idea was that the leaders would have to use it on a fairly regular basis or risk the map taking itself to an undesireable location. As the edits went forward, and words were dropped, this went away. I see know that I probably should have left it in.

On writing and organization: Can't really say much here, except thanks for all your input. I know I've written better, and I hope the voters have given me the opportunity to show that.

Again, thanks for all your input; I hope I have the chance to wow you next round!

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

adanedhel9 wrote:

Thanks all for your input. I'm going to try to answer some common complaints now...

On rarely moving: This was something that got dropped to make the word count. In initial drafts, I had much more info on the map of Phoroneus; included in that info was the stipulation that the map could activate itself if it wasn't used enough. The idea was that the leaders would have to use it on a fairly regular basis or risk the map taking itself to an undesireable location. As the edits went forward, and words were dropped, this went away. I see know that I probably should have left it in.

First of all, I'm going to steal the little country and use it in my game. I'm in your debt.

I like the idea of the map being sentient. If it's not used frequently enough, I think it'll start looking around the inhabitants' dreams, searching for a place to go. If the PC's aren't careful, one of them may wake in the morning in the land she dreamt about the night before. And having paid the price, too.

Which makes me wonder: what is themap trying so desperately to stay away from...?


Hmm, the map activating itself is a bit of information I would have wanted to see in the original entry.

And regarding the size of the countries, one can always take a look at medieval Europe and numerous city-states in eg. Germany and Italy.


adanedhel9 wrote:
On size: This was purely an artifact of the competition. My original thoughts were just the city and immediate surroundings, but I wasn't sure that would be enough to be a nation. In fact, I wasn't sure where the line would be, so I chose a large enough area that I felt safe from that sort of scrutiny. It probably could have been a lot smaller, but I really wanted to make sure I didn't get an auto-reject.

That is a frustrating and largely unavoidable problem with entering writing and design competitions, particularly ones that have never been held before and therefore offer no examples of where the lines are drawn.

adanedhel9 wrote:
On displacement: ... I like Eldrich Gaiman's idea of having the city exist in the Shadow Plane, with gates on the Material, but I would ammend it so that there are enough gates or large enough gates that significant congress between Moros Akalein and the surrounding lands could occur.

I'm glad you liked that--I had fun thinking of it. That was my intended meaning, but I was rushing my comments to get to as many as I could manage before voting ended. You definitely want there to be just as many roads in and out of the city as there would be a normal city. I really do like the idea of suddenly imposing an additional political border on a country for an undisclosed amount of time. Besides being entertaining in its own right, it also has lots of plot potential.

I love the image of umral tendrils growing from nothingness and coalescing into a shadowy set of city gates in several locations in a region. At each one, city guards immediately step out to secure the area quickly followed by a stampede of eager merchants and their adventurer escorts.

I'm torn between that and the far more subtle and possibly cooler idea that there is no sudden hallmark of the city's arrival nearby in the Shadow plane. One morning, when the sun rises, old forgotten doors, ruined gates, and shallow archways in a region simply refuse to relent the shadows of the night and now lead to places in the wandering city (a la dimension door or gate spells).

It would depend on what your intended impact was, but I think I'm leaning toward the latter.

adanedhel9 wrote:
On rarely moving: This was something that got dropped to make the word count. In initial drafts, I had much more info on the map of Phoroneus; included in that info was the stipulation that the map could activate itself if it wasn't used enough. The idea was that the leaders would have to use it on a fairly regular basis or risk the map taking itself to an undesirable location. As the edits went forward, and words were dropped, this went away. I see know that I probably should have left it in.

I love the keep the map happy element. You could even make the artifact require a diplomacy check to control instead of a UMD or what-have-you. That would also keep the place from becoming a magocracy by necessity.

A city-state is definitely the size you want for this. It's a shame that that was your original vision, but I obviously still found your submission inspiring. I'm glad to have had a chance to read it.


I hope yours made it through, I must have changed my 5th vote at least three times finally deciding on Moros Akalein. I decided the overall originality of the thing far out weighed any problems and in the end I think that people can always hone their writing skills, coming up with truly original and great ideas is the hardest part.
Good luck!


I really enjoyed this entry. The best part for me was the idea of "shunting aside" the land in which this nation appears. You'd have to impose some rules; no appearing indoor, underground, or underneath a physical roof of any kind for example.

But, imagine the fun! The nation appears in a castle court yard and suddenly it's a 200 mile trip from the castle gates to the door of the keep; 314 miles if you want to circumnavigate this interloper (pi * 100 miles). How does it work? What does it look like? I don't know but let's assume that it is "real"; suddenly the walls of the courtyard are 628 miles in circumference.

It inspired a kind of "Great Train Robbery" scenario for me. A group of thieves wants to loot the impregnable treasury of the empire. A small group makes their way into the Tara Akalei. Their plan: infiltrate the castle where the map is located and hijack the nation.

At the same time, a group of their compatriots has broken a tunnel through the rim wall. Once the nation is hijacked, the first group places the nation in the courtyard of the Imperial Treasury. The second group rushes through the tunnel to overcome the defenders of the treasury while the main garrison is suddenly 200 miles away. With the defenders defeated they set up a bucket brigade and empty the treasury.

Adventures: foil the plan, defend the map, defend the treasury, recover the loot (after the fact and after the city has been moved somewhere else), or, perhaps, the PCs have been recruited to be the thieves and implement this cunning plan.

Anyway, I don't know how this fits in the vision of the original author but it really inspired me. Cheers!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

After reading your comments after voting closed, I'm glad I gave you one of my votes. I loved the idea of your country. And although I also thought it was too big, I now understand your reasoning for doing so.


Chris Mortika wrote:
Which makes me wonder: what is themap trying so desperately to stay away from...?

Heneraxic? This would add to the back story- have the map be semi-sentient and also aware of the dragon. It starts 'jumping' on its own to try and get its citizens to either a new place of relative safety or somewhere that could possibly provide them resources to use against the dragon. Or maybe just the hell away. :P

Speaking of which, 'The Wandering Nation' would be a nice opportunity to bust out the Colossal Red Dragon figure.

-Steve G.


I liked the names but really have a hard time biting on this one. The basis for the wandering nation is a map. I thought a nation that moves by normal means much like indian tribes who followed the path of bisons. Your nations could of travelled to places where your help was needed or to influence other civilizations.

It seems like you started well but dropped the ball and can't find the place to pick it back up. I didn't enjoy this one.

Good luck!

Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / RPG Superstar™ / Previous Contests / RPG Superstar™ 2008 / Round 2 - Top 32: Design a Country / Moros Akalein: The Wandering Nation All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Round 2 - Top 32: Design a Country

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.