Harley Q wrote:
Lewis Carrol, the Walrus and the Carpenter. "The time has come, the walrus said, to speak of many things. Of ships and shoes and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings. Of why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings."
I assume the other is Lovecraftian, but I'm not familiar enough to be more specific.
I really enjoyed this entry, and I don't agree with some of the concerns/criticisms here. I'm sure a lot of the useability factor has to do with the group of individual players and how they'll handle situations.
First off, I really liked Sharina and want to use her in the future. My biggest problem with her (as expressed by many other people) was what she does once the PCs have figured out what she's up to. I love that Neil gave us an answer, one that's very in character for her and lets her remain a viable part of the story.
As for whether the players will rush in as the show is starting, that totally depends on the people at the table. All I could usually predict about mine is that they would typically not do what I expected them to, but if there was an opportunity for insane chaos, they'd likely take it (or create one). YMMV, but that's the beauty of gaming: each group tells the type of stories they like.
I'll have to disagree about the audience panicking as soon as combat breaks out. This is a theatre putting on a show about these heroes, right? In a world with magical disguises, I don't see an audience being surprised that people looking just like the heroes burst in to "suppress Sharina's version of the story". It could easily be made part of the show. And while some people in the crowd probably will make the saves against bardic magic, people are herd creatures in a lot of ways: if everyone else around you thinks there's not a problem, you're likely to question your gut feeling that there is, at least for a few rounds. No one wants to look like a gullible fool by screaming that the actor is really bleeding when everyone else thinks it's a trick knife with a blood pouch.
Unless the audience is actually hurt by an offensive spell, I could see any spellcasting being written off as special effects and part of the performance. Honestly, as a DM, I would take perverse glee in having the audience sitting and applauding the fight if it takes place on or near stage. (I might even have tavern gossip over the next few days criticising it as oddly-staged and unrealistic.)
In short (too late!), I don't see a lot of the problems other people may with this entry, but I suspect that has a lot to do with the type of players and games a person is used to. For my style, it would work beautifully, and I'm very likely to steal it for a game somewhere down the line.
I'll echo everyone else in saying this was an incredibly tough choice. All of the entries were good stuff, so I decided to go with what just grabbed me the most, things I would want to use.
On that basis, I voted for The Legendary Playhouse and Sanctum of the Colossus.
I loved Sharina initially, and I plan to use her someday. My biggest problem with her was the nagging question of what happens after the players find out what she's up to. I love that we got a lair answering that and giving her a next step that was so beautifully in character for her.
Sorry for a somewhat long post. It was such a difficult decision that I guess I felt the need to justify my choices a bit. Best wishes to all of the contestants, and I'll look forward to enjoying what any of you put together for the next round.
Tarren Dei wrote:
Rippers is unfortunately not d20; it's Savage Worlds. I suspect my GM at the time found it because he loves Deadlands. I don't know if there were actual books printed or just PDF downloads.It's a steampunkish Victorian/Gothic setting where Dr Hyde, Jack the Ripper, VanHelsing, etc set up a group fighting the monsters of the world (vampires, werewolves, demons, etc) and learned how to graft body parts taken from the monsters onto people to get some of their strengths. For example, one of our characters had demon retinas implanted to gain improved night vision; another had a demon claw to get stronger unarmed attacks. Unfortunately, the grafting process (known as Ripping) has a strong tendency to drive the recipient insane, so most of the founding group of Rippers are now nuts. You play recruits hired by the organization VanHelsing has put together trying to stop the founders, as well as all the other monsters out there.
We had a lot of fun with it, but that was mostly the storyline and fluff aspects of it. The mechanics were somewhat annoying to me, probably because I'm so used to d20. It's a great concept and was really fun to play.
I hope my comments didn't offend you; I really didn't mean to suggest your idea wasn't your own, just that it underwhelmed me because I'd played in a system based on flesh-grafting type mechanics. I'm pleased you made it to the next round, and I'll be looking forward to seeing what you do with another contestant's ideas as well as (hopefully) what someone else does with yours.
I'm going to add to the chorus here. Last round, I felt like you had an interesting idea but that my players would either walk away or hack up the little animated head. Making her a lich who regrows (from disgusting acorns off a dark tree, how cool is that!) neatly fixes that problem by making sure they can't get rid of her that easily. After the changes, I just love Malgana. I don't know if I'd ever use her, but the idea just oozes potential and style. You've won me over.
Unfortunately, I'm kind of in the same place as several other people on this thread: I absolutely love the concept of a reincarnated elf being driven to paranoia as a result of experiencing dreams for the first time. But giving his stats primarily as an air elemental just really doesn't work for me. Flavor-wise, it just doesn't fit for me with how I wanted the character to look and feel, and it seems really inconvenient to me to primarily have wild-shaped stats and have to work more to construct what he might do in his natural form.
I don't want to be discouraging, because I really do think the idea is fantastic, one of those fun little implications that I never would have thought of but seems obvious in retrospect. I'm still on the fence about using my fourth vote this round because most of the ideas that inspired me last round don't seem to have held up in the mechanics. I keep thinking about how I could work up a campaign using this idea, and I'll have to decide if that's enough to look past stats I found unnecessarily complicated.
For some reason, this entry just doesn't capture my imagination the way it seems to for many other people. I suspect it's because I spent several months playing an RPG called Rippers. It's a Victorian setting with a kind of League of Extaordinary Gentlemen feel to it, and the main novel mechanic is "ripping", taking part of monsters and grafting them onto people to give them some of that monster's power and possibly drive them crazy. So Bracht's fleshgrafting felt very stale and unoriginal to me.
Rippers is a pretty obscure game, and I suspect very few other people here have heard of it (anyone?), so I doubt Trevor was influenced by it at all. It just makes it hard for me to appreciate the new mechanic when I've seen a better fleshed-out (pun unintended) version of it before.
In the interest of completeness, I'll add my votes here for the tallying. I voted for:
I'm probably not using my fourth vote because I tend to vote for ideas that inspire me, and most of the villains with concepts I found compelling enough to vote for last round (Sharina, Kardam, Aelfric) didn't seem to hold up when it came to the mechanics. No insult intended to the designers of those villains; I love the ideas (and will probably use the concept of Sharina at some point) but this round is supposed to be about stats.
Not to pile onto the criticism too much, but this villain also reminds me of a section of Neil Gaiman's "American Gods." Basically, a spirit there uses secret murders to prevent a small town from slipping into economic decay, with some of the townsfolk complicit in the situation to preserve the status quo.
Nice to know I'm not the only one who was getting "American Gods" vibes off this.