Cyrehllan, The Isle of Cold Tears


Round 2: Design a country

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I'm inclined to agree that the florid speech gets a bit excessive and gets in the way more than it contributes. Also, some of the descriptions provide open threads that feel less like they support a fully realized and internally consistent nation and more like they're the notes you've hit in an effort to crank the controller to "starpower".

However, the overall concept of an oppressed state w/ a struggling populace of freedom fighters and adventurers fighting a hopeless holding action while monolithic evil armies duke it out for control over their once-precious homeland...

That's a compelling g*$&@!n premise.

I'm not sure where the "Anime" criticisms are coming from. Sure, "Tiger Princes" sounds Anime-esque but it could just as easily lend itself to a Middle Eastern theme or an Eastern European theme at the whim of a crafty DM. Hell, with five Princes available there could be cultural variances galore. This is not a bad thing and I'm reluctant to pigeon-hole your "Tiger-Princes" under an Anime banner. I see nothing to suggest that I'm supposed to be thinking that and that just seems like a lazy assumption to make.

That said, I'm a sucker for an evil-oppressive empire and good PCs being the little guys with an impossible struggle ahead of them.

You've got my vote this round.

Sincerely,

Dirk "Darkblade" Stabbity Stab-Stab McStabberson

"No, I'm not obsessed with knives. What on earth would give you that idea?" - Dirk


Place your votes.

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

*clears throat*

If I may?

I am, and I quote, "asking for feedback and requesting your vote".

That is all.


thatboomerkid wrote:
Haunting the moors, cursing his life, bound by oath, Lord Ayscald Flhynn, last of the King’s Champions...

That's awesome and evocative. Definitely gets my juices flowing for this entry.


Just to clarify, as someone said without saying previously, I did not vote for Boomer just because he is also Hennet.

I judged his country solely on its own merit, I didn't even take the magic items from last round into account. I merely asked myself, would I want to play/run a game here? My answer for Cyrehllan is yes.

There are lots of good submissions in this round, but this one gave me (as mentioned above) a monolithic evil to place in front of my PCs. That isn't
everyones cup o'tea, but I like it.

I also like that the setting has a great deal of potential for intrigue as well. Crazy you say? Listen up. The Five Tiger princes are always fighting and scheming amongst themselves - a perfect impetus for an evil campaign, servants of one Prince trying to undermine the others plans and plots and facing similar teams of operatives.
Another, The freedom fighter angle can easily give way to having spies in the various courts of the realm, trying to glean secrets and learn weaknesses they can exploit.

This realm also lends itself well to the Kill'em all style too.

My end point, Cyrehllan isn't just Anime, it isn't just Wuxia, it isn't just standard D&D, this setting is versatility. Not generic, there i


"Crouching Tigers, Hidden Dragon's Horde" vs. Arthurian-era
Ireland, Britain and Scotland . . . Sign me up and give me more! I
want to get a letter from Ulliam, I want to sneak into King's port and
fight dirty drow ninja, I want to rendezvous with poor Lord Fhlynn and
help him out, and I want to return the land to the golden age of the
Kingdom of the Emerald Star! With me on the Throne, obviously. 8D
It would be fun to play someone whose parents escaped when the King
was killed, going back to the Emerald Isle to defeat the Tigers.

BTW, I don't understand the criticism of all the Y's – if Clinton is
evoke a feeling of ancient Gaelic legend, with a magic king who 'drove
the serpents out' and stuff, then 'witches' probably 'should' be
spelled "wytches."

This has my vote, and I'm surprised, because I don't particularly care
for the PSAs, unlike all the guys I know. And Good Luck!


Manager: What is your name?
Tick: Nick.
Manger. Mr. ...?
Tick: Wait, no one told me we had to....uhhh...Mr.... Soap Dish. It's...uh...French.
Manager: Really? It sounds more made up to me.

Having said that, I'm not sure why people are complaining about the naming in this entry - it's just fine; sure, it's not from the Gygax "sounds made up to me" theory of naming, but if you want that there's Kingdoms of Kalamar isn't there? Heaven forbid that different countries actually seem different even in the way they do naming etc.

I like this entry and it has a clear call to adventure in a grander sense than "rummage through all the old ruins". A keeper.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

I like the idea of tutoring ogres in the craft of necromancy. It makes me smile.


I think the writing's very evocative, but it feels more like a novel setting than a place I could set adventures. Nonetheless, it's clearly a place for epic quests and dashing heroes, the very foundation of a D&D campaign.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

the good :
The flowery style of exposition is interesting, but only so for a couple of moments and that possibly only if one is slightly drunk.

the bad :
Very little factual information in the write up - which unfortunately reminds me of the worst of 'Planescape' modules, that were more of an outline of a story (if usually an original one ) than a fact-oriented source.

the ugly :
Clichée heaped upon clichée - could someone please put this country out of its ill-conceived misery ? There are so many unoriginal opponents, developments and antagonists here, the poor island feels crowded.

Definitely not giving this one my vote


I really enjoyed the writing style of this one. Funny how people seem to either love it or hate it. What might be wasted words to one person, helps set the mood and evoke the imagination of another. I must admit the names did give me a moment of pause, but just for a moment as the setting really pulled me in and left me wanting to learn more. My gaming roots began with Ravenloft, so the story of a great land fallen into despair and so in need of hope when there's none to be found feels right at home to me. Count me in.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Just wanted to spread this comment about - a great job on all these entries to all the competitors. Many have be inspiring and interesting to read.
I have been reading these out of order, and this entry was the 4th one I read. I apologize if I repeat what has been mentioned.

Wow! I'll give you kudos on a setting that certainly is evocative in its description. This isn't just a place - it positively screams EPIC story for players!

That being said, the purple prose can be wearisome, especially in an extensive campaign. No place or person seems minor in nature. In that, I'll admit it does seem to share the melodrama so visible in Anime or possibly Chinese/Eastern fantasy tales or movies - despite the insertion of some European cultural material. This isn't bad; but it can be off-putting or contrived - some of those names especially.

It's a fantasical place. It certainly shows innovation on traditional heroes vs. big evil adventures - which of course may be too much if all you needed to do was make a country.

There are some places that evoke a certain quality for a campaign or game world. Generally, it falls as:
a) Some place your players/PCs GO TO - for adventure, quests, missions, etc
b) Some place your players/PCs are FROM - this is their home and can be used as the basis for their background
c) Some place your players/PCs want TO STAY IN - they can adventure there; live in that society; and generally the game can be based there long term.

In this case, it's certainly (a). With the right group, it can absolutely become (c) in my book.

Its certainly in my top 10; and probably in my top 5 votes.


I'm a big fan of a nation being headed by regions, especially if those regions have an importance to the overall well being of the land. Every Prince has his own ways of ruling hoping to one day get his place at the thrown. It was well written in such a way that my dyslexia didn't get the best of me.

You made my top 5 for sure!

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

Deleted Scenes

So, what got dropped - and what might find its way to an edit?

I left out details on the five drow lieutenants of the Princes, the Shadows, as in "Koto Doji, Shadow of the Burning-Soul Tiger" or "Aka Shunji, Shadow of the Unhallowed Tiger", because even mentioning each of them by name rapidly added up to ONE BILLION WORDS.

I left out details on the Five Princes specific fields of sorcerous mastery: Necromancy (Pale-Soul Tiger), Illusion (Eyeless-Soul Tiger), ect., becuase it just seemed obvious.

I dropped a major sub-plot regarding a bastard son of the last King Ahulrik & one of the Dusk-Witches (funny enough, I also hate the "y's") ruling from the Western Mere as a sort of Autumn King - it seemed too "Mordred" for me, and the "Wild Hunt" angle never clicked for me, either, especially without using Nerull.

At one point, there were ghosts-a-palooza all over the Isle - the King, his "Merlin" figure, the Ashen-Fell Serpent, Lord Ayscald Flhynn - until I realized that dead people aren't particularly interesting.

Believe it or not, there used to be EVEN MORE information about the Fallen Kingdom of the Emeral Star - because I somehow figured that just about anyone who adventured there (or ran the game) would want to know all sorts of info about how the country used to work. I'm thinking maybe I was wrong on this.

The original name of Lord Flhynn was actually 'Frey', until the original player of Frey admitted to me that the name was taken from "Song of Ice and Fire" - I failed to make the adjustment in the text during the second use of his name.

There were a LOT of thing about King's Port that I cut. Originally, it was intended to act as a semi-dangerous 'home base' for foreigner PCs - sell your loot & buy your supplies on the black market, meet with contacts and get new plot hooks in the pubs, but watch out, because you dwell in the very maw of the Unhallowed Tiger, ever watching!

I cut a number of human contacts in King's Port (assassins, harbor masters, tavern owners, ex-Knights, weapons makers, spies of the other Princes, ect.), but probably should have cut out the expansive ancient history, instead.

Live and learn, obviously - and thanks to everyone for making this contest so wonderful!

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

Director's Commentary, Part One:

As I recently told my girlfriend, I was a bit suprised that there seemed to be some hesitancy to have characters be FROM the Isle - the first appearance of Cyrehllan was actually in a 3.5 Iron Kingdoms/"Andy Collins' Spell Jammer" game as "Cyrrollalee", a similarly war-torn ex-Athurian/Irish/Welsh/Narnia country, a sort of bottled Dark-Age fairy-tale realm.

The joke of that campaign was that all of the nations of Quelya, the watery human homeworld third out from the sun, were named after the Halfling gods from Forgotten Realms - and the halflings (or "Hin", as they called themselves) were a Napoleon-complexed, wealthy, aristocratic people with a powerful monotheistic faith mirroring Spanish Catholocism, keeping humans as indentured servants and soldiers.

Within the text of that game, the PCs never actually set foot on the Emerald Isle - but there were a number of Cyrrollalen ex-patriots; drunken sailors and poets and thieves and soldiers filled with stories from their parents, a chip on their shoulder and a slowly dawning mad-on for rescuing their country from political oppression.

One of my favorite single Player Characters from those two campigns, who very, VERY nearly got a nod in the DM's secrets: Doyle Wendt, the deadliest gunman in the System, a sort of Irish Sniper Ace-Combat Pilot Batman.

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder aka Robert G. McCreary

Boomer, I really liked your setting - very evocative, full of darkness and adventure, and rakshasas (and you were right, Iskandria does not have those! ;) ).
But the writing style did turn me off - great in small doses, but a whole gazetteer or adventure written like that would turn me off like a light switch. And I think you spent way too much time on the way it was before the Tiger-Princes came. I wanted to know more about what's happening NOW. I started doing the same thing with Iskandria, then dumped it as irrelevant.

I do hope you go on to the next round, although I'm terrified of competing against you if I advance too. :)
Good luck!

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Congrats Boomer. Good luck in the next round. I really liked this submission and I cant wait to see what you do with a villain and what, if anything, you take away from the comments here to make improvements for the next round.

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

SargonX wrote:
Boomer, I really liked your setting - very evocative, full of darkness and adventure, and rakshasas (and you were right, Iskandria does not have those! ;) ).

I'm all about darkness and adventure, so I'm glad that I hit the mark. Having played in a few games where I was never entirely sure WHY my PC had become an adventurer, precisely, my goal was to create a land that needed some damn heroes. NOW!

*grin*

And, for the record, Iskandria has lot of other rock-star goodness going for it - I can always add rakshasa, if need be.

SargonX wrote:


But the writing style did turn me off - great in small doses, but a whole gazetteer or adventure written like that would turn me off like a light switch.

Oi - me too. It was actually an attempt to get my Tolkien on - to prove that I can, in fact, write some classically dense, "Olde Skool Fantasy" text, full of pulp cliches and epic poetry, rather than just dick-jokes like the PSAs.

Just about turned around & bit me in the ass, funny enough. I hope to make the next entry a LOT more reader-friendly.

SargonX wrote:


And I think you spent way too much time on the way it was before the Tiger-Princes came. I wanted to know more about what's happening NOW.

Quite well said & point well taken - I should have probably eliminated a paragraph in there.

SargonX wrote:


I started doing the same thing with Iskandria, then dumped it as irrelevant.

That was a smart move on your part - I learn from your example, sir.

SargonX wrote:


I do hope you go on to the next round, although I'm terrified of competing against you if I advance too. :)
Good luck!

We enter Kumite, my brother.

Best of luck to EACH of us!

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

Clark Peterson wrote:
Congrats Boomer. Good luck in the next round. I really liked this submission and I cant wait to see what you do with a villain and what, if anything, you take away from the comments here to make improvements for the next round.

I thank you, sir. I intend to bring the goods, 111%.


If one of the Tiger Princes is from New York and invisible, I would be happy.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka Sheyd

Congratulations Boomer, I'm glad you made it into the to 16. Keep up the good work!

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

Sheyd wrote:
Congratulations Boomer, I'm glad you made it into the to 16. Keep up the good work!

I thank you, my man.


I thought you came up with some good creatures and socities that may exist in the kingdom. Though I don't know what to make of this entry once you got to toppling the former goverment it just seemed like you forgot the enviroment and continued with a story about five brothers. Loaded with good ideas but lacking any real foundation.

Good luck!

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4

Argon wrote:

I thought you came up with some good creatures and socities that may exist in the kingdom. Though I don't know what to make of this entry once you got to toppling the former goverment it just seemed like you forgot the enviroment and continued with a story about five brothers. Loaded with good ideas but lacking any real foundation.

Good luck!

I thank you, sir!

As to your point: my theory regarding the 'foundation' of the country was that most DMs would, if given a TON of "and this is how it is" backstory, would nod politely while thinking quietly to themselves: "Yeah, sure, but this is how I'LL do it".

I felt, perhaps incorrectly, that the best use of my space was to establish a strong backstory (the golden age of Ahulrik) and a strong modern threat (the Five Princes) along with a number of avenues of approach - remnants of the Old Guard still stand, the five brothers hate each other, the Dusk Witches hate THEM, ect. - and let the individual storytellers take it from there.

I hope that people who wanted to actually USE the Isle in play would find the setting evocative - and would let the work spark their imagination, rather than have to turn to me for more information.

I'm glad that you found the work 'loaded with good ideas' - I aim to please.

Hope you'll keep reading!


Rock out with thine socks out Boomer....I can only fear.....er....imagine.....the twisted villain that will spring from that mind of yours. Excellent work with the world. I'm a big fan of the darkness of the whole setting as I envision it. That and rakshasa make excellent antagonists.

~~~Nightstalkers, Tordek's Alter-Ego

Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

Again, I like your land the best. I'm not sure of all the why's and wherefore's as they say, but it just appeals to me. The rakshasas are a good underused villian (even in Ebberron where they have been given a little new life), and after reading about this country I wanted to roll up a character and join the rebellion!

It also reminds me of an old campaign that I once played in where the PCs were replaying the arthurian legend, with a baby Arthur in out rebel midst, and his enemies all about, trying to track us down as we raised the child and brought him to his rightful throne.

Awesome dude.

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