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Jeb Boyt

Round 1: Figurine of Shielding
Round 2: Vendithian Union

Vendithian Union


Round 2 - Top 32: Design a Country

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Vendithian Union
“Prosperity flows from the King’s respect”
Alignment: NG

Description: An aristocratic republic that thrives on trade along the Great Road. The Union has rebuilt itself from the devastation of the Chaos Wars into the largest power in the West and the largest outside of the Elven realms.

Geography: The Vendithian Union lies between the Western Sea and the Central Sea, also known as Gaia’s Cup. The Union is named for the Vendithian Mountains which form the spine of the country, running roughly from northwest to southeast. The mountains are richly forested in pine. East of the mountains, there is rich farmland, and the largest river is the Warnive, which is navigable up to the foothills of the Vendithians. West of the mountains, the lands are dry and rugged between the mountains and the broad coastal plain. The rivers in this area have seasonal flows and shifting channels that limit navigation to the lower reaches.

Ruler: King Alexy Zadis, 35 years old.
Government: In the Union, a Parliament of nobles elects the king. The power of the king is limited in favor of the nobles and the wealthy burghers. The parliament meets when called by the king, usually once every two years. The senior leaders of Parliament form the King’s Council and administer much of the Union’s regular business. The Parliament’s meetings take place at various locations around the Union, typically in large and ornate encampments.

Capital: The capital of Oris is on the Warnive River near the Central Sea. The city’s keep is the seat of the King when he is in residence and is home to the King’s Council. Oris is a thriving trade city attracting merchants from all over, particularly those traveling along the Great Road. The Governing Council of Oris is made up of nobles and burghers. Oris has a number of humanoids from foreign lands, including an Elvish embassy. Oris escaped the worst of the Chaos Wars, but signs of damage can still be seen, and the city today is only about half as large as it was prior to the wars. (45,000 humans, 3500 dwarves, 1500 orcs, 800 indentured gnolls, 500 tieflings, 250 halflings, and 100 elves).

Regions:

Panithia. Panithia is the rich land east of the mountains, bordered on the north by the Agmith mountains and the orc lands beyond and on the south by the Vendithians. To the southeast, the Lachan Marches separate Panithia from the City State of Datia on the shore of the Central Sea. Panithia is home to many of the noble houses, including King Alexy’s. The people and lands of Panithia were spared the worst of the Chaos Wars, but the surrounding mountains are home to ogre tribes and gnolls roam the Lachan Marches to the south.
Notable Settlement: Oris.

Wyndrake’s Pass. The main pass through the Vendithian Mountains is the traditional land of the Stonehammer Dwarves. The approaches to the pass are lined with orchards and small farms. Prior to the formation of the Union, the pass was the sight of numerous battles as the humans from both sides of the mountains protested the punitive taxes that the Dwarves imposed on trade. The success of the Final Siege of Stonehammer was one of the key events that lead to the formation of the Union.
Notable Settlement: Stonehammer Hold (6,500 dwarves, 2,250 humans, 300 other).

Tellur. In the temperate lands along the northeast shore of the Western Sea, the holdings are widely spaced. The passes north through the Vendithians lead to the range of the nomadic orcs. To the northwest is the spreading dark forest and Frostforge Hold in the Northern Vendithians. Tellur was badly damaged during the Chaos Wars but is beginning to rebuild. Further to the west are other lands still struggling to recover from the Chaos Wars.
Notable Settlement: Maruchan (8,000 humans, 3,000 dwarves, 1,500 orcs, 800 tieflings, and 500 indentured gnolls).

Mirtula. The lands south of Tellur are more arid, and their southern border is under constant threat from gnolls, the beast-men of Narris. During the Chaos Wars, the port city of Beldan was destroyed, and the shifting sea left the ruins stranded miles inland. Now Beldan is home only to undead and other chaos creatures. The new city of Zadar is benefiting from increasing trade with the tieflings and other lands to the west. A southern route along the Great Road leads through Narris to Datia and other points east, but it is a dangerous road.
Notable Settlement: Zadar (10,000 humans, 3,000 dwarves, 1,500 tieflings, and 800 dwarves).

Notable Groups:

Knights of Lacha. The Knights guide and care for travelers along the Great Road. The Knights are based in Oris and maintain waystations for travelers in all of the Union’s major cities and in other cities along the road.

The Guardians. A group of druids, rangers, and others that are the protectors of the island of Amphala near the middle of the Central Sea, where the uninitiated are not allowed.

Stoutanvil Dwarves. Exiles from their ruined hold, they are scattered across the Union and in Frostforge Hold. Some hope to one day return to their former home in the mountains northwest of Panithia.

DM Secrets:
- Some of the western nobles resent the growing influence of the Oris merchants and are beginning to secretly discuss whether to exercise their lawful right to rebel against King Alexy.
- The dwarves have long memories. Many among the Stonehammers resent the presence of humans in Wyndrake Pass and see that most of the benefits of the Union have flowed to the humans.
- The Guardians have been sending expeditions throughout the lands surrounding the Central Sea, even into the dark forests north of the Western Sea. They may be mapping the changed world and documenting the chaos still present, or they may have other objectives that no one outside their order knows.
- The gnoll slaves in Oris and Zadar have brought their worship of the Dark Lord with them, and others have begun to join their cult.

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? I dont know. I have it at 1003. In my view, that is close enough to prevent auto-rejection but it is something that the voters may consider.
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.

Qadira Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

That is a remarkably descriptive description for the Vendithian Union.

What bothers me isn't so much the by-the-numbers rundown of the cities, government, regions, and so on, but the hints at something better. The "Chaos Wars" are invoked half a dozen times, but never explained. Why should I care? It's clearly important to the setting, so it's strange that it is not important enough to rate a sentence or two explaining it.

This entry fails to engage my interest because it is a country description, in the most dry and literal sense. It fails to engage reader emotions by describing the country's current fears and hopes, or its ambitions. What is the story or the changes that the Vendithian Union wants to impose on the world? You mention several groups and races without a compelling conflict.

It's frustrating. As a DM, I can imagine the Union as a place. But what I want is some idea of what to do with it. A map and a settlement catalog are not as useful as a guide to the powers, dangers and action. This entry needs a lot less travel guide and a lot more adventure possibilities.

Not recommended.

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

Fluff (writing, grammar, style, evocative prose, etc.): C
The Good: Average.
The Bad: Average.
Not much inspiring from a writing standpoint, but no killers either.

Crunch (basics, rules issues, depth of the setting, details, etc.): B-
The Good: This submission’s strength is also one of its great weaknesses. This entry reads like a travel log, which means there is better than normal depth to the geography and locations. I do like the notable groups.
The Bad: It reads more like a travel log than an evocative campaign setting. There is little to no crunch here. The DM Secrets section was OK, but not inspiring.
The extra detail helps balance out the lack of crunch, but not by much.

Design (choices made, format, naming, originality, balance--ie, is the submission heavy in one part but lacking in another?): C-
The Good: Broke free from the provided format and found a format that helped convey the setting. “Chaos Wars” teases me with something neat, if a bit cliché. I do like that the cities and settlements aren’t just in a generic list but are instead in their respective region. Good choice to include notable groups. That was not part of the provided format, and the inclusion was a good design decision.
The Bad: Just changing the format, though, is not enough. Primary name (Vendithian Union) isn’t bad, but some of the other names—the Union, Western Sea, Central Sea, Great Road, Elven Realms, the Guardians—are way too generic. Never delivers on the “Chaos Wars,” leaving an interesting concept as a trite tease. I don’t really get the descriptive line about prosperity and the king’s respect. I’m not sure if that is the right tag to capture the setting. Way too European. Heck, other than elven realms and a parenthetical about racial populations, with all the kings and unions and parliaments and burghers, I’m not even sure we are in a fantasy world until I get to the “regions” section.
Very little here that is original, though nothing is expressly horrible. The lack of originality is aided a bit by a good decision to break the format mold.

Play (setting for adventure? campaign? is there conflict? are there play limitations?): C-
The Good: All races and classes seem to have a home here. There seems to be some conflict, but it is hardly spelled out.
The Bad: There is no theme, no compelling reason for adventure, no open conflict, no good guys and bad guys other than the orcs and typical evil creatures and even those take a while to get to. The promise of the Chaos Wars was never delivered.
No true restrictions from a play standpoint, but no conflict or theme to spur it either.

Tilt (my personal take, is it evocative? do I want to play there? does it capture my imagination?): D
The Good: The detail is above average, but it got a bump for that above.
The Bad: It doesn’t capture my imagination. It needed more of this: “A group of druids, rangers, and others that are the protectors of the island of Amphala near the middle of the Central Sea, where the uninitiated are not allowed.” Good, tight writing that hints at more than what is described; evocative and tempting. It is flat and overly-European.

Overall: C
An average, overly-generic world that is saved a bit by more above average regional and group detail. But wholly lacking in theme and conflict and reason for me to adventure in this country.

Its failure to have a theme or idea in my view is its main downfall--and the inability to have a good tag line for the country seems to reinforce that the author didn't have a solid theme in mind either.

NOT RECOMMENDED for top 16.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

I appreciate the brief summary of the nation at the outset, but I feel like this submission dwells too deeply on governmental and geographic minutia in the first half of the entry to sufficiently hook me as a reader. The writing isn't bad, but the geographic features all have fairly pedestrian names and the government works exactly how you would expect a generic fantasy kingdom's government to work. That's competent, but it's not exactly awe-inspiring.

Given the importance of the Chaos Wars to the nation's creation, I wanted a little bit more information about their nature. In a real gazetteer they might warrant their own sub-section or something and you could glean context from other related entries, but this is after all a one-off contest and throwing in "big idea" names without providing any contextual handholds is a bit dangerous.

The Chaos Wars sounds very important. Probably because I really like the Warhammer RPG universe, to me the term conjures images of haywire magic and portals to the Abyss and ecological destruction and stuff, but it could also just be a trumped up name for a more traditional conflict. If it's the former, the entry should revel in some of the resulting weirdness. If it's the latter... I think it's better if it's not the latter.

You've created a decent fantasy soup with everything from dwarves to elves to orcs to gnolls. Trouble is, that's pretty much all that it is, and there's nothing to really differentiate this entry from the others in the pack.

I don't think that's a good vote-getting strategy.

The entry is competent. I'd prefer that the contestants not only aim higher than competent, but achieve it. This entry does not.


This is my sixth review

I'm thinking about giving this high marks because the author did a lot of the grunt work in nation creation. All the stuff that isn't fun to do, he did. That speaks well for him.

I know this entry is going to get panned by some for being a little boring and I've beaten down on some entries that were dry. The thing is that this submission covers the stuff that is typically the dryer material and gives a little adventure seed for each place. We know a lot about this country and its well organized so the DM can reference what is needed fairly quickly.

What we have here is clearly no show-pony, but it is a workhorse. I want to see this author advance. I want to see this author put a little more life into his writing, but I think this entry demonstrates a rock hard core that other, perhaps more original, submissions have not produced. There are plenty of original ideas out in the RPG world, the point of buying a product is that the DM doesn't have to do all the work of fleshing it out. This author has shown he is willing to do the grunt work.

All of that being said ... a nitpick ... if the ruler is elected for a period of time without hereditary rule and given limited powers, that's not a king. The author comes out and says its a republic, but stops short of calling the leader "president" which is closer to the ruler's true role. I guess that sounded too modern.

Rating: Thumbs Up


This entry has good writing, and in fact could be a classic entry in a gazetteer from an older edition. There was nothing to draw me in though.

Andoran

BiggusGeekus wrote:

This is my sixth review

This is just a side question and is not intended to be offensive but ...

Why the heck are you announcing each of your reviews? Again, I don't mean to be harsh, but do I really need to know this is your sixth review? I think just posting your comments is more than enough.

Sorry for the thread jack / slight rant.


Marc Radle 81 wrote:
Why the heck are you announcing each of your reviews? Again, I don't mean to be harsh, but do I really need to know this is your sixth review?

1) It serves as a tracking tool for me. I'm doing this on both work and home computers and I'm not taking paper notes because I have enough clutter as it is. I can search my posts by date, but if I'm reading a thread I lose context of when I reviewed the entry relative to the others.

2) More importantly, it acts as a declaration of bias for you. If there are five countries that are, say, anarcho-syndicalist communes populated entirely by Storm Giants and you see me waxing rhapsodic about how original one of them is, the marker helps you know that I simply haven't gotten to the others yet. Also, if you see that something is my 29th or 30th review, that's an indication that I might be a little burnt out. So the marker helps you weight my comments.

But I can be more unobtrusive about them. Maybe just a number like x/32 ?


I liked the name a lot because when I was working on my submission I was thinking of using an uncommon word like "union" in the title instead of just a country name. I also like "Vendithian" but I think the rest of the names are really boring (if realistic). Every time I read the words "Chaos War" I cringed. It seems like if you opened up 10 random fantasy books you'd find a "Chaos War" in 3.

I think too much time was spent drawing the map with words. My eyes were glazing over.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

What were the Chaos Wars? I’d like to know, as clichéd as the name may be …

This seems reasonably well written and detailed … but somewhat bland. I don’t mind the ‘travelogue’ structure or the European type setting, but there is just nothing that jumps out as being really interesting. If I were describing this entry to someone it would probably be “the one with the Chaos Wars” – but then we really don’t know what they have to do with the setting (as opposed to, say “the one with the blink dogs” or “the one with the rusticles” or “the one with the tigers”).

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

Hmm. This is definitely encyclopedic, which is exactly what I don't want. A DnD country can be painted by giving me a few customs, images and vital recent history. Paint me a picture of their architecture, tell me about one historic celebration, then get to the adventure seeds.

Unlike other reviewers, I didn't wish I knew more about the Chaos Wars. I'm a long time Warhammer fan myself, but when I see Chaos Wars, I think cliche,and I actually want to know less. If you want to throw around a capital C for chaos, you need to be talking about either Tzeentch or the Wind Dukes. Anything less doesn't live up to an over-used moniker.

I turned my nose up at the idea of an elected king. Let's call it something else, and if the king is elected, but his/her powers are limited in favor of his electors, let's admit in the text that the king is a puppet and this council really runs things.

Kind of compelling, but not in my top at this time, with 17 more to read. Sorry.

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

BiggusGeekus wrote:

I'm thinking about giving this high marks because the author did a lot of the grunt work in nation creation. All the stuff that isn't fun to do, he did. That speaks well for him.

What we have here is clearly no show-pony, but it is a workhorse. I want to see this author advance. I want to see this author put a little more life into his writing, but I think this entry demonstrates a rock hard core that other, perhaps more original, submissions have not produced. There are plenty of original ideas out in the RPG world, the point of buying a product is that the DM doesn't have to do all the work of fleshing it out. This author has shown he is willing to do the grunt work.

My first reaction to this entry was that it was ultra-boring, and in fact I had a ahrd time focusing on just reading all of it. The work was competently handled but just not engaging to me on any level.

That said, you bring up a good point that this work is technically very sound, and some of the entries, maybe a lot of them, are not, at least not as good as this one in that way. There is room on any time for somebody to carry the mail and do all the nuts and bolts.

But does being a dedicated and technically proficient professional = Superstar? Not quite.

It was like what the judges on American Idol told one girl during her audition, and it was true: "You have a very nice voice. You can sing well. You can probably earn a living doing it. But, there are a thousand girls in Hollywood who sound exactly like you."

Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Clearly competence here, and this would be a fine entry in a large book. But as a superstar contest entry, it's not giving the spark. A bit too standard issue. It feels like those fantasy novels you read for fun and enjoy, but don't pass on to anyone.


Jeb Boyt wrote:
“Prosperity flows from the King’s respect”

Slick tagline. For some reason though, reading through the rest was a hella grind. It isn't bad, it just lacks pizzazz.

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

Can I use it: No
Is it entertaining: No, become bored quite early.
Is it original: No

Final verdict: Rejected.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

Too much geography, lost interest after hearing about the forests in each region. The 'nobles elect the king' bothered my also, kings inherit and are not elected.

Qadira

I have not much to add. The country is very well described and so serves as a sound basis to invent my own adventures. But it fails to give me a hint on what adventures I'd like to run within it's frontiers. It doesn't spark my imagination as other entries have done before.

Qadira

Dreamweaver wrote:
The 'nobles elect the king' bothered my also, kings inherit and are not elected.

This is not quite true. The european middle ages have seen a lot of elected kings ( Konrad I. was the first one to be elected in 911 when the last karolingian king died)

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

BiggusGeekus wrote:

I'm thinking about giving this high marks because the author did a lot of the grunt work in nation creation. All the stuff that isn't fun to do, he did. That speaks well for him.

I know this entry is going to get panned by some for being a little boring and I've beaten down on some entries that were dry. The thing is that this submission covers the stuff that is typically the dryer material and gives a little adventure seed for each place. We know a lot about this country and its well organized so the DM can reference what is needed fairly quickly.

What we have here is clearly no show-pony, but it is a workhorse. I want to see this author advance. I want to see this author put a little more life into his writing, but I think this entry demonstrates a rock hard core that other, perhaps more original, submissions have not produced.

Thanks Biggus.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Mothman wrote:
This seems reasonably well written and detailed … but somewhat bland. . . . If I were describing this entry to someone it would probably be “the one with the Chaos Wars” – but then we really don’t know what they have to do with the setting

Thanks Mothman. I'll respond in more detail once the voting has closed.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

mwbeeler wrote:
Jeb Boyt wrote:
Slick tagline. For some reason though, reading through the rest was a hella grind. It isn't bad, it just lacks pizzazz.

Thanks, and a very fair criticism.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6 aka adanedhel9

All around, Jeb, your entry is extremely competent. But it doesn't pop. This nation needs a strong central idea to hold it together. Unfortunately, "european monarchy" isn't a very strong central idea.

I think your entry could certainly have a place in a full campaign setting. But on its own, with no context, there's not really much there.

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

An aristocratic republic? With a King? Which is it? It appears the nobles have a lawful right to rebel too. I'm very confused by the governmental system. It's good to see a trade-based nation though.

This entry places huge dependency on the setting around it. The assignment was Design a Country, not Design a Sub-Continent. This would make it much harder to use in different campaigns.

Some sub-optimal use of the word count, such as the King's age (3 words gone) but not his class or level, population breakdowns for the smaller towns and the repeated 'indentured gnolls'.

'Stonehammer Dwarves' is a poor name. Later in the paragraph 'Dwarves' should not be capitalised unless the author was going to do the Tolkien thing consistently.

Misuse of 'sight'.

The island of Amphala is way too mysterious for me. It doesn't integrate with the country or do anything particularly useful.

It lacks a strong concept and has some crippling problems. Not voting for this.


This seems like a solid setting that could easily provide for a plethora of different campaigns.

I am left, however, completely uninspired to actually run any campaigns there. I warmed a little to a concept of running a party who was sympathetic to the cause of a dwarven rebellion, but that's the closest I got to actually wanting to play here.

The writing is clear and clean. The information provided is all useful for running the setting. It fails to convey any flavor, though, and I'm left with a distinct non-impression of what it's like to actually be there.

The sad irony might be that if this was in a book surrounded by colorful and intriguing (maybe even a little gimmicky) neighboring kingdoms, I might choose this one because it's so normal and lacks detail. I could use it as a starting point for the players to help insure that their characters aren't too wacky, and I could run a nice basic first adventure there while I got a feeling for how the party worked together and where they might next like to travel. I could fill in the details as I went along without worrying much whether I've accidentally contradicted the book.

These kinds of places are exactly what's necessary for most campaign worlds, but I've got no desire to use it. If I figure out why, I'll try to come back and explain.


Dreamweaver wrote:
Too much geography, lost interest after hearing about the forests in each region. The 'nobles elect the king' bothered my also, kings inherit and are not elected.

The power of a king and how he gets it has varied greatly throughout history, and is allowed to vary even more greatly in any fantasy setting. This may seem contradictory, but it is possible to have a council of nobles who select a leader to make laws and decisions to govern a land. That king would have nearly absolute power except, one would assume, the ability to by decree or otherwise overtly dissolve the council that elected him. England actually had a period very similar to this when the king's word was law unless a small council of nobles declared his actions to be beyond his bounds. The king was allowed to name his own heir, but the council could override his decision. The United States government was actually based quite heavily on this model, and ironically now in some ways more closely resembles that "monarchy" than does the modern English government.

Strictly speaking, the only way anyone rules is by having his subjects obey his laws, which is ultimately always voluntary. Having a council of nobles watching over his shoulder might actually make the king more powerful, since it is now clear exactly whose pockets he needs to gild in order to sway opinion, and the responsibility of action against anything that might be considered unjust has been lifted from the shoulders of every citizen and placed on a council of a select few. This might cause a people who would otherwise revolt to wait and see what their designated noble has to say about the situation and what action he might take.


What makes this a Union? What is being united or pulled together? I think the Dwarves and Humans have united but it isn't explicitly stated.

What is the Chaos War? Mentioning it and never explaining it was really annoying and doesn't leave me wanting to find out.

What are the primary religions and how do they interact with the people and the government?

A very tight presentation but completely bland from start to finish.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Place your votes.


Great entry on encyclopedia. Now the big question is "why should I care?"
Solid work but there was nothing really to reel me in.

As for aristocratic republic, that sounds reasonable for me as indeed role of king and how one is selected varies a lot already in our world.


I like it. I think it's a good solid entry. It's not at the front of the pack but it's good.


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

Bo-ring. Now, I'm torn though, because a world needs a couple more "normal" countries to go to when you're tired of the were-elephants and blink dogs and just want a fricking beer. But they should still have something interesting about them... The word count limit hurts here because there's some "classic" info in greyhawk style about the ruler and government and whatnot that you'd want to really use the country, but it's 'boring' from a "hook me in 1000 words in a contest" perspective. Hmmm.


I'll admit I'm still kind of reeling from Star Wars using elected monarchs, so that aspect is a bit of a non-starter, but eventually I moved on from this.

This isn't bad, but I can't find a lot that I really like about it either. Nothing glaringly bad, nothing brilliantly right. I was hoping that that gnoll indentured servants would have some hook to them, but when the only hook is that they worship THE DARK LORD, it just kind of falls flat to me.

I liked the idea that the nation doesn't just have its rulers and churches, but it has a few other organizations that have their own interests, but I'd have to have more "meat" to the setting itself to really care about groups outside of the main default ones.

I just wish there was more to this, and things like the references to the Chaos Wars are cool, and I understand its a mistake to dwell too much on things that aren't cogent to the things at hand, but a little more detail would be nice.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

I like that the cult of the Dark Lord is corrupting from within through the presence of the gnoll slaves. It resounds with me on some poetic level.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Swamp Druid wrote:
I like it. I think it's a good solid entry. It's not at the front of the pack but it's good.

Thanks. I'll hope that you'll remember me during the voting.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

amusingsn wrote:
I like that the cult of the Dark Lord is corrupting from within through the presence of the gnoll slaves. It resounds with me on some poetic level.

Thanks. Glad that you like that hook.


Having thought it over, I think that my lack of desire to play here is from a lack of descriptive text. Your description is little more than a list of features from the locale. Gaming is about being transported to another place, and it takes more than saying what things are at a location to convey what it's like to be there.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Eldrich Gaiman wrote:
Gaming is about being transported to another place, and it takes more than saying what things are at a location to convey what it's like to be there.

Good point. As has been recently observed:

"Darth and Droids' wrote:
[T]here comes a time in every GM's life when they have created something marvellous and just want the players to listen for a minute while they read out the vivid imagery that conjures up a magical world of fantasy and adventure in the imaginations of all the participants in this shared experience. The players, inevitably, will want to skip this boring bit and get on with the game.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Voting has closed. So, I'll now respond to the comments. Starting with the biggest issue first. A friend observed that this lacked an introductory paragraph. So, let's take another shot at the description:

Description: An aristocratic republic that thrives on trade along the Great Road. Formerly northly provinces of the Lachan Empire, the Union has rebuilt itself From the devastation of the Chaos Wars, two of the northern provinces of the Lachan Empire formed the Vendithian Union and have built it into the largest power west of the Elven realms. In a land still plagued by chaos storms and chaos-spawned creatures, the Union offers stability in a ravaged world.

Overall, this entry definitely needed more spice. Probably, I should have consolidated the discussion of the two western provinces into one paragraph and used the word count for additional flavor.

Prior to submission, I counted this at 998 words. Could the addition of html codes have increased the count?

As for the plausibility of an aristocratic republic, I'll refer you to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Good luck to everyone in the next round.

Taldor

It sounded like the writer was intimately familiar with a world history that I didn't know, so was left grasping at what to work with.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Aaron Whitley wrote:
What are the primary religions and how do they interact with the people and the government?

The rule on avoiding proprietary information made religions a difficult one to address, particularly given the word limit. Believe me, if I could have explicitly said that the gnolls were worshipers of Nyarlathotep, I would have.

Paizo Employee Publisher, Chief Creative Officer

Given that Nyarlathotep is almost certainly in the public domain, you probably could have gotten away with that one. :)

Cheliax RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Contributor

Erik Mona wrote:
Given that Nyarlathotep is almost certainly in the public domain, you probably could have gotten away with that one. :)

I was going to say that, but I was worried that I was wrong on that count. Glad that I'm not alone.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka Aotrscommander

Erik Mona wrote:
Given that Nyarlathotep is almost certainly in the public domain, you probably could have gotten away with that one. :)

Considering the amount of other sources that pinched Nyarlathotep from a quick wiki search, I think it must be.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Erik Mona wrote:
Given that Nyarlathotep is almost certainly in the public domain, you probably could have gotten away with that one. :)

Almost, but there is enough confusion around the issue that I didn't want to risk it. Most of the other sources have used descriptors or variants on the name. I could have perhaps looked at using some of the other descriptors for N, such as the crawling chaos, dark man, etc.

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