Christine Schneider

Round 1: Arcane Anvil
Round 2: Theocracy of Carnamach
Round 3: Arthelia "Lady of Legends Undone"
Round 4: Mind the Machine

Theocracy of Carnamach

Round 2: Design a country

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Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar aka Leandra Christine Schneider

Theocracy of Carnamach

"A perishing god’s grave"

Alignment: L/N, C/N

Capital: Temple City Of Carn (pop. 15,700 95% humans, 5% other)

Notable Settlements: Lost City Of Gul (pop. 3,400 90% humans, 5% elves, 5% other), The Wild Enclave (pop. 18,100 60% humanoids, 20% awakened animals and plants, 10% fey, 10% other)

Ruler: The severed head of a perishing deity

Government: The Divine Council (The current six most powerful divine spellcasters of the fallen deity)

After suffering an earth shattering cataclysm nearly a century ago, Carnamach is a land waging a civil war. By keeping alive the remains of their defeated deity, the citizens and priests of Carn try to uphold their former might, wealth and ideals. To this day, they withhold his severed head from the natural cycle of life.
This deed has caused nature herself to run rampant across the whole country, waging war against its former inhabitants. Although medium in size and located in a moderately tempered climate, all of Carnamach is overgrown with wood and plant life in all shapes and colors, including even jungle vegetation. The residents of these recently grown woods, animals, dire animals, fey, sentient plants, and humanoids have started to fight the remnants of the theocracy.
While these two parties struggle, adventurers, criminals and treasure seekers hunt the abandoned cities to obtain rare antiquities.

Once the heart of a young and prospering empire, Carnamach fell from grace when its patron deity was slain and cast from the heavens by the current pantheon. After being victorious, the gods decided to erase all thought of their former brother from the history of mortals.
It’s common knowledge that they failed in their attempt and the most devoted followers were able to recall a faint memory of their god. Although name, dogma, and domains had been lost, these zealous believers succeeded in retrieving the still bleeding head of the deity and securing it in Carn’s temple spire. They saved their god from perishing. Even though this once mighty being remained mostly unconscious, all followers were still granted spells and powers.
A theocratic council was founded and rebuilding plans were made, but even with all its wealth the empire crumbled fast under nature’s onslaught. Within a few years, whole Carnamach had to struggle to not be overgrown. The creatures of the woods ran wild. Vicious beasts prowled the trade roads, and whole cities were attacked by hordes of wood living spirits. The City Of Gul nearly vanished and even mighty Carn itself wasn’t left unscathed as gigantic vines began to encroach the temple spire and resist even the strongest weapons.
Soon the priests realized that nature wanted to reclaim the carcass of their deity. To keep that disgrace from happening, they raised the tower higher and higher in fear that removing the head from the sanctified place could kill their god.
Recently, many druids came to Carnamach to erect menhirs from the pillars and stones of the temples in reverence to nature’s power. Some of the more war inclined druids have started to gather bands composed of wild creatures to reclaim the head of the deity by force. The largest of these warcamps is known as the Wild Enclave.

Temple City Of Carn: In spite of being a nearly vacant metropolis, the Temple City Of Carn is still rich in gold and magic (GP Limit 100,000gp). The ruling council of priests spends those fortunes lavishly to achieve their goals. The most prominent feature of the city is a gigantic fifty storys high temple spire. The colossal head of the slain god rests on its top and its blood is still seeping from the wound and pouring down the tower.
Vines and roots have encroached upon the spire and buried themselves in its foundations, climbing the first twenty levels. About two storys are desperately added to the building in one year to ensure the head’s safety.
The citizens of Carn that haven’t fled are zealous and law-abiding, protecting their fortified home at all cost.

Lost City Of Gul: Once a large city, Gul has suffered from being magically shut off from the rest of the country. Surrounded by the densest vegetation, it can only be located by someone with the woodland stride class feature or a successful survival check DC 25. Gul has been abandoned by most of its former inhabitants, becoming a lawless city and safe haven for criminals and treasure seekers.

The Wild Enclave: More a makeshift settlement than a city, the Wild Enclave is lead by Avrok (N half-orc Drd16) who has united all kinds of nature’s creatures, regardless of their alignment, under his horned banner. The Wild Enclave hasn’t yet marched against Carn, but this is only a matter of time.

Geographical Features:
Earthmaw Gorge: Created during the cataclysm a century ago, this massive gorge might be more than 3000ft. deep. During the blossoming of nature, numerous large flying creatures have started inhabiting its walls. A considerable number of dragons seem to be drawn to this place.

The Flesh Eating Forest: Tales tell that this thorny black forest grew in only one night, burying the border town of Drepree under its roots and consuming all life within the process. If this is true, many untouched treasures might be found in its inky darkness, but not even the druids dare to venture there.

DM Secrets:
The darkest secret of Carnamach is that the perishing god is kept alive despite his wish to finally cease to exist and that the blossoming of nature is caused by his throes of death. The council’s priests are secretly drugging him with their magic to remain in power, controlling most of his limited thoughts and actions.

During the cataclysm the strike of a god split the ground and created Earthmaw Gorge. In its deepest depths, fragments of the divine weapon can still be found. Items created out of this heavenly metal might bear most unusual powers.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Submission checklist:

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

The Exchange Kobold Press

Normally I dislike backstory and lengthy history, because all too often it's just an excuse for a designer to get self-indulgent and ramble on about matters that will never affect the PCs. All too often, it's padding.

The Theocracy of Carnamach is a counterexample, because it sticks to recent history and makes it powerfully relevant to anyone visiting the country. There's a reason the country has its current inhabitants, and there's a reason for those conflicts, and the conflict isn't over yet.

However, there are some issues here. The fallen deity isn't named, presumably because his memory is lost. But that's an annoying design choice, because in play it makes it tough to refer to him without a name.

Also, the triumph of the druids also seems very close, and they seem like the good guys in this particular struggle. Once that storyline ends, though... What then? Carnamach seems on the verge of big changes. That's not always a good thing for a country.

What I mean is that the story elements here overwhelm the possibility of a more normal campaign. Who's got time for dungeon looting when gods and fey go to war? I think it's possible to have a story that does too much, and this is perilously close to that. There's no room for alternative stories to breathe here.

I like the well-crafted images, locations, and hints at more (the god weapons at the bottom of the gorge are a great hook). I'm a bit concerned that this country's theme is too much of a good thing.

Recommended for top 16.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

By the way, I just want to stop and say how awesome it is for me as a judge to read the comments of my fellow judges. This is as much a learning process for me as it is for you guys doing the submissions, I would guess. I have so much respect for Wolfgang and Erik. Their insight is brilliant. And the above post from Wolfgang is an excellent example.

I must admit, at times I feel like a 6th grade teacher with this basic rubric grading papers which are then graded by expert college professors. But yet I will trudge on with my trite rubric, doing the best I can and hopefully helping.

Though I have to say, I hate having to follow Wolfgang's comments. I feel like that story about the Who and some other band arguing about not wanting to go on stage just after Jimi since they didnt want to look like scrubs by comparison.

Oh well, here we go. I guess I always have my "windmill" move...

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Fluff (writing, grammar, style, evocative prose, etc.): B
Well-written but not truly excellent.

Crunch (basics, rules issues, depth of the setting, details, etc.): B-
The Good: Some interesting nuggets and suggestions, but only a few small bits of solid crunch.
The Bad: I wanted crunch on the deity and his/her/its’ priests. The lack of crunch on stuff that crunch seems so clearly called for is a drawback for me.

Design (choices made, format, naming, originality, theme, balance--ie, is the submission heavy in one part but lacking in another?): B
The Good: I found this to be a very interesting theme and idea. The ruler is the severed head? Consider me officially grabbed. Conflict, conflict, conflict. Very nice. Good quick description then the history. Like Wolfie, I am normally not a fan of extended masturbatory history sections. This one, on the other hand, is strong and serves its purpose well. I like the city breakdown. And I really like the geographical features section. Well done.
The Bad: Not all the names are the greatest. And, like Wolfgang, I guess I want the god’s name—at the very least in the DM section. DM section got the short stick, but you worked some of that stuff into other areas.

Play (setting for adventure? campaign? is there conflict? are there play limitations?): A-
The Good: Sure seems to be fit for very high level play, which is something you can’t always say. Good conflict throughout, which is great. Some serious adventure to be had here in the ruins and out in the wild. I love the idea of crazy wilderness adventures here.

Tilt (my personal take, is it evocative? do I want to play there? does it capture my imagination?): B
The Good: I want to explore this place and find its secrets. In particular, the higher level angle appeals to me.

Overall: B+
A very interesting setting, with a “big idea” in the form of the dead god with some really unique play opportunities, but marred by some lack of details that seem mandatory.

RECOMMENDED for top 16.

On a personal note: Christine brough us the arcane anvil, which caused some division but shared a similar trait with this country submission--it had a "big idea." I am a huge fan of the big idea. My suggestion is learn from the comments here and keep working. I'd be surprised if this isnt top 16. You are really on to something and you have twice now given us things that are really creative, fun and wonderful in my opinion. There is something in you that gets the essential spark of D&D and that sense of wonder which is so important to me. I don't know how to quantify it. Your ideas aren't constrained by some of the generic fantasy stereotypes. I am really impressed.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

Excellent start. When I got to the "Ruler: Severed head of a perishing deity" I laughed out loud. Given that it is 1:52 AM on a school night, I cherish any laughs I can get, so thanks for that!

The writing of this entry is not lighting me on fire, I'm afraid. That second to last sentence in the Description paragraph is a real clunker, and there are problems with possessive apostrophes. Also, you tell us that the god was "slain," but then that his priests found a way to "save him from perishing." You can't have both. Pick one.

Despite the imprecise language, I like the idea of an almost-erased god's followers tracking down his still-bleeding head and preventing his ultimate death, thus provoking the ire of the natural world. That's strong mojo, and probably enough to get me past some problems with the writing. That's acceptable at this stage in this contest, but it would be fatal in a professional submission. I'm going to assume you'll advance based on the strength of the ideas in this entry, but I strongly urge you to work on the writing. Each time the field of contenders shrinks, this is going to be a more and more difficult problem to gloss over.

Read up on the passive voice and figure out how to avoid it. Read your submission out loud before sending it in to notice what's wrong with the commas or where a word might be missing. BE CAREFUL.

Still, there's lots to like here. That bloody head is marvelous, and I love the vine-choked spire dripped with the deity's neckblood. It's weird that we don't know his name, and I like how that plays into the near-erasure of his existence, but the natives have _got_ to call him something now. You're dancing around the issue a bit, but you can really only call him "the slain god" so many times before it looks like a dodge, which it is. The players are going to need to call it something. If you don't give it some kind of name, even if it's something descriptive or a nickname the locals use, your players are going to come up with a name that will piss you off like you won't believe.

Like "Harvey" or something. Players are bastards, and they are not to be trusted.

The lost city that requires a Survival check (and even better, woodland stride) is a wonderful touch. In fact, all of the cities and geographical features are interesting and well presented.

The DM Secrets are likewise cool, though I would have preferred maybe two more.

All in all, I really like this and think you well deserve to advance to the next round. But WORK, WORK, WORK on that writing. Keeping that as tight as possible is going to make all the difference in future rounds.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Erik, I am with you. "Ruler: Severed head of a perishing deity" right there locked this thing up for me.

I love it.

Not to quote Tom Cruise movies too extensively, but:

"You had me at severed head."

I had a campaign based on a Dead God like this that was a lot of fun so I really like it. Great job and good luck. Still need to read the other entries.

My questions:

I was guestimatting about 1 million for the total "census" population and was curious how far I was off?

Is there more than one way for the PCs to resurrect Carnamach or will it be impossible in the campaign?

Does it include recovering some of his other key artifacts and relics and or some combination of relics and artifacts of the Gods who killed him?

Please err on being conservative. I don't want any top 32 entry disqualified for answering a question.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16

Erik Mona wrote:
Excellent start. When I got to the "Ruler: Severed head of a perishing deity" I laughed out loud. Given that it is 1:52 AM on a school night, I cherish any laughs I can get, so thanks for that!

The head had me at first and I think its a great idea, but I agree that the deity should be named.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka SmiloDan

I have a feeling the reason the unnamed deity is unnamed is because one of the major quests will be to find the name of the god. A worshipper speaking it aloud might heal the god; an enemy speaking the name of the god might destroy it utterly.

It reminds me a little of Jacqueline Carey's duology that re-wrote LOTR as a tragedy.

EDIT: They can call the god "The God." No need for a name if there's only one. That other pantheon is probably just a pack of punks anyways.

I love the idea of this country and the possibilities but like the judges I feel the god needs a name. I also think the encroachment of nature needs to be dialed back a little bit. Instead of having nature and the druids on the verge of winning balance the power out a little bit more so that when the PCs show up on the scene they can be the ones to tip the balance one way or another. An awesome idea that is definitely geared towards high level play.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2013 , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Steven T. Helt

I think what is so exciting about this competition, is that the players, second-rate designers that didn't make top 32, and judges have many of the same remarks. Without having read any comments, I knew the Dying God had to have a name.

And that sort of thing creates culture and feel all its own. Suppose visitors and foreign scholars call him the Dying God. Suppose the theocracy views that as a punishable offense, since it sends the wrong message to the locals. One of the PCs is arrested for the ill-advised monker and POOF! an adventure is born. From there, the PC is bropken out of jail by a treant working for the forces of nature. The PCs owe the treant's organization for the rescue, and so must retrieve such-and-such a document from one of the temples. POOF! Another adventure!

This is the kind of procreative (hehe) concept that I have been looking for in these entries: A marvelous idea spawns a dependant but quality idea. Then another.

I am also a big fan of adding linguistics to the game. I am not learned in linguistics at all, but I write words and phrases and names that strongly suggest another language or culture, and I try to use them to give players a feel for the foreign/native culture. Planetars that speak in mixed common/celestial. Documents translated from their original Infernal. Maybe your Dying God has several names in several languages. Maybe a small church from a far land has divined in the stars that their long-lost religion will see a rebirth in this land. They have a different name for the same god. See?The name for the god in some form or another is very important, and that alone isntantly inspires adventure.

I agree there are issues with the writing. As this idea is unique and ripe for high adventure, I hope you'll submit your ideas to friends, english teachers, speechwriters: any one you can to refine your skills and take your great ideas to a new compelling level.

My favorite entry so far, and the only one to approach the Silver Bullet of suggesting enough great adventures that I don't have to come up with my own.


I stopped at "Ruler: Severed head of a perishing deity" and added this one to my short list. Wow - as a DM, I would delight in playing out that scene. Moving on, I like the use of druids, who have always felt underused in a political sense. I like this 'un. I like it a lot.

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I echo the sentiment of the ancientsensei.

I was thinking of a name for the Head throughout, and I think in the DM secrets section, maybe a little blurb about the god's true nature would have helped tremendously.

However, I like the place and ramifications of the Dying God and his Death Throes on the land.

Finally I'd have a use for Requiem for a God from Malhavoc Press.


Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I liked it up it seems that this place would be a pretty quick stop, not a lot to hang around for. I think it should make it to the next round.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32 aka Aotrscommander

I must concur that "Severed head of a perishing deity" got me too.

I'm going to half to be awkward as say I actually like the fact the god doesn't have a name.

Call me crazy, but the thought of a land ruled by the severed head of an unnamed dying god is more evocative to me that a land ruled by the severed head of the dying god [name here].

It's more, I dunno, spooky and mysterious. Ominous.

Severed head ruler = awesome.

But what does the head do, other than bleed?

How does it "rule"? Given, we as readers understand that the Divine Council actually runs things, and the head is just a "figurehead" (har har) do the peasants and plebs believe that the head influences things? Does it whisper commands? Does it shout out disjointed bits and pieces of the tenets of its faith, and stumble over words and passages that are meant to be forgotten?

In any case, this entry has me begging for more, which is not a bad thing. If only the word limit was 2000 instead.

The Exchange Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6 , Dedicated Voter Season 6

Like most of the other posters, the severed head angle has me very interested. I'd like the head to have a more active role in the running of the nation. As it is I'm finding it a bit of a MacGuffin, since it seems more of a bystander than a mover. But I'd love to read more about this nation and its people.

The Exchange

I like the history and I like the geographical features very much. Opposite to many (all^_^) others who commentented in this thread, I don't miss the god's name. And (maybe that's cause I'm a non-native speaker) I have no problems with the language either.

But I feel that the designer maybe wanted too much. I like the idea of having a climax at the horizon but here the climax is at hands and if it's over and the dust has settled you'll have a country with a totally new face. And while I really like to see what happens (and I like the druid vs. cleric approach) I'm afraid that this entry's weakness may be on the side of long-time motivation.

The idea with the severed head is very cool though and I was totally surprised when I read through the DM notes. I can easily imagine a campaign where the PC defend the temple city just to recognize at the very end that they fought for the wrong side. Though, contrary to what I said before, I fear my players to be highly suspicious if they had to fight for a god without name which could destroy the big revelation at he end.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

2000 words in this round would have quite literally killed the judges. Sorry!

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

[staggers] Come on, fellas. I barely got through the 1000 alive. This was so much work I cant even think about how much work it has been. My brain hurts today.

Erik Mona wrote:

Read up on the passive voice and figure out how to avoid it. Read your submission out loud before sending it in to notice what's wrong with the commas or where a word might be missing. BE CAREFUL.

Agreed. Phrases like "After being victorious, the gods decided to erase all thought of their former brother from the history of mortals" hurt my head. I like the flavor of this entry but I like it despite the language used.

El Skootro

Aotrscommander wrote:

I must concur that "Severed head of a perishing deity" got me too.

I'm going to half to be awkward as say I actually like the fact the god doesn't have a name.

Call me crazy, but the thought of a land ruled by the severed head of an unnamed dying god is more evocative to me that a land ruled by the severed head of the dying god [name here].

It's more, I dunno, spooky and mysterious. Ominous.

The name of the god should indeed be lost.

But the head of the god needs a simple, evocative name.

Call it the Godhead, the Bleeding Relic, something. (Ideally something better than either of those!) But you need a way to refer to it in conversation, because its going to come up.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher


Liberty's Edge

Headed for divinity. Love the idea. There’s some flaws in the entry, but the premise is strong enough that they can be mostly overlooked. So far, this is likely to get my vote.
The fact that the god doesn’t have a name doesn’t bother me that much, but yes, it needs to be called something; Dr Pweent gets it exactly right above (with some good suggestions too).

Star Voter Season 7

Interesting stuff. This is going to be borderline for me.

This one is definitely getting one of my votes.

Love the idea.

Probably the only thing, and this has been said already, the situation as it stands would give the PC's a couple of adventures and then that's it, it's too close to the end.

I would probably dial the dominance of nature and the druids back just a little, if only to give more game time to develop one way or the other. That being said I still love the whole concept.

I like the bleeding head, it's so very Re-Animator, don't you think?

I don't like the "lost" aspects where the name, domains, etc. are lost. Was he an old nature god? Is that why nature is working so hard to claim him? And seriously, what did he do to get hacked in the first place? Sure, the priests are keeping him alive against his will, but who cares? Why is everyone so worked up? Basically, does the punishment fit the crime?

I suppose many of these questions could be answered during adventures.

Carnamach is a great name. Very evocative.

The idea of a severed head in command of a nation throwing nature into a titanic war against the nation for it's crime is also a great touch.

Unfortunately it felt like you came upon this awesome idea and weren't sure where to go with it and it kinda' stumbled.

I would have loved the god to have been fully aware and scared crapless that he's more or less been killed, barking orders at his faithful tinged with madness and paranoia--willing to do anything to keep the forces of nature from claiming him in death. I like the idea that people have forgotten his dogma--but I would have made that nix his ability to grant spells, leaving him only with the kind of pedagogue political power you get from being a severed god's head on a throne.

My only suspicion here, and I'm not sure if it helps the entry or hurts it, is that it really sounds like it came straight from Princess Mononoke. Nature warring against humanity, people being punished for having taken the head of a god. All you need are little white bobblehead spirits and a town full of women who make blunderbusses.

On the other hand, I really don't mind inspiration from fiction when it really makes its own thing from the idea. This clearly does. Where Mononoke is about trying to play the middleman and strive for peace amid a turbulent and emotionally charged world--this is a pure chunk of "the forest hates you". I love that. Nature so seldom gets to be a real badguy in D&D, and it's such an evocative idea.

Which is what makes how things came together kind of a shame. It was such a good idea. It just kinda' fell apart in implimentation.

The name Gul is overused in fantasy, and especially D&D. Once I get past that, I find coolness. Awakened plants? Druids? A severed godhead and followers looking to get it back? This screamed adventure.

Liberty's Edge

The head of the God....camps of druids going to war; this one wows me all the way. I like it when I (assume) I see an interestingly odd sidenote from history like the Knights' Templar's rumored adoration of the Head of John the Baptist really fire off something amazing and original.

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar aka Leandra Christine Schneider

*Ducks behind her -Rabenhorst- GM Screen*

Awww, the problem with writing evocative and non-mindflayer-like sentences is that I should have looked at my english grammar book and vocabulary more often. :P
No, seriously.
I'm not a native English speaker and have learned the language in school. I've only been to "English" countries for vacation and study (maybe 4 months in my life if all summed up), so I lack much of the sense what makes some formulation superior to another...what differences, "slain" from "defeated".

I know that this is a weakness, but I'll work to get better, while cloaking missing words and apostrophes with cool ideas until my language-fu is mighty.
This contest is my first try at doing something significant with my English skills and it seems investing just two Skillpoints isn't enough sometimes...but it feels like I'm learning many things here.

Thanks for the honest critique (and the personal note!), me and my faithful animal-companion the fearsome thesaurus consume ourselves in hope to make it to the next round. (READ: Vote for me :P )

Oh, and then there were CastleMike's questions, which I try to answer in a way that is according to the rules. I'm sorry if it is a little brief...I don't want to do anything wrong or unfair *looks frightened*

EDIT II: Deleted the answers because it might not be appropriate. Thank you varianor for pointing that out explicitly. I was under the impression that questions could be answererd as long as they weren't altering or adding to my submission, but since I'd really like to be on the save side, I removed them immediately.

EDIT III: I just realized that the rule 14 has been revised. My apologies to everyone...I feel a little unsure if my whole post here is permitted at all...*is going to ask the staff right now*

All-Film/Fiction references are purely accidental or out of my living subconsciousness....I don't know if this is good or bad.

Christine, please see the sticky at the top of the forum. They are asking that you not answer questions like you did. Sorry! (Double kudos to you though. I had not idea that you were not a native English speaker.)

Yeah, I really liked this one. I could see myself, in fact, running a mini campaign based around this country - and this is the first one I've read that's provoked that response.

Severed Head needs a name. I think everyone's in agreement there. Also, while I understand there's space restraints, I would like to see the Domains of the Priests of the Fallen Deity.

Finally, I don't like how big the head actually is. Seems a bit cheesy to me. Personally, I'd for a regular-sized head. Mind you, that's more personal taste than anything else.

You've got such a cool idea with the dying god's head. That's great imagery of the tower with the bleading head being encroached on by the conquering vegetation. I would really love to see this country fleshed out without the 1,000 word limit. When I read the entry I get a very real feeling of how dangerous the locales of this country can be.

I also really liked the idea a druid group seeing this as a nation they can take control of after the effects from the dying god. I think the druids and the priests are two really good factions that could be used for the PC's to interact with.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

I thought this entry rocked the house. It is my favorite I've read so far. Yes, there were some grammar/punctuation issues, but I'm not as worried about that as the editorially minded (like Mr. Mona). The concept, the conflict, it grabbed me right away. I loved the extra locations, with crunch and hooks added in. I loved the bleeding head-tower with vines crawling halfway up it. Great visuals.

And how can you top the ruler being a severed head? You can't. It's untoppable.

I would agree with others who said that, for making it a better place for adventure, maybe dialing back the near-victory position of the druid/nature forces might be good. I'm neither here nor there on the "god-head needs a name" question. I can see reasons for doing it each way, though my experience with players does say it's true that THEY will come up with a name for it if you don't.

Great work.

Like many others the Ruler portion of this entry automatically put it on my short list of votes as well as getting it snagged for fodder for my campaign world.

In response to the people complaining about this country being near the end, thats what makes it so appealing to want to run it or play in it! The players can actually directly influence the fate of the country by performing small acts for one faction or the other. This is not something you get to do or see a lot in my experience. Players love it when I run campaigns like that.

As for people wanting to know what the Head does obviously did not read the DM secrets section. It does pretty much what the priests tell it to do and say, they have gained control over it through magic.

That is the one real problem I am having here however. What magic would give them control over the fallen deity if they receive their magic from said deity??? Some other force would have to be in play for that to work IMO, maybe priest-wizards or an artifact of some sort... *shrug* more opportunity for adventures just from that question alone

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

LeandraChristine wrote:

Theocracy of Carnamach

The Head needs no name. It's a giant bleeding head on top of a vine-covered spire. If you say "The Head", people will likely know what you mean.

Having said that, the old traditional "Him" works fine too.

It's a nice trick that The Head *isn't* really the ruler, the theocracy is.

I was going to hate this based on what seemed like a gimmick. But it's not a gimmick, it's well-realized with logical consequences around it.

On the short list.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

The best entry I've read so far. The writing is quite hard to plow through, but the concept is really well-thought out. It struck me that the Head is not really the ruler, as well as the issue that, if what the Dying God actually wants is to die, how do the priests trying to keep it alive do so?

Regarding the fact that things seem so "close to the end" in Carnamach just makes things all the more exciting for me. I can totally see this setting as a place to bring PCs who have seen it all and done it all, and then throwing them a twist like having to restore the God to his former glory, while knowing that doing so will destroy the country utterly.

Congratulations Christine for tackling such an undertaking as a non-native Enlgish speaker. Being in the same boat as you there, that alone would probably get you one of my votes. The fact that your submission is creative, well-thought-out and evocative seals the deal. Keep up the good work!


Sorry about the question query post earlier. I really like the country and thought the designers were allowed to answer basic questions regarding their countries. Your english is great especially for a second languare I can only speak a few dozen word in Japanese and Spanish. One of My Top 5.

I started out not liking this entry, but the thought the priests might well be keeping the deity alive against its (unconscious) will brought me around. It’s a little clunkily written, but not distastefully so. I think this may creep into my 5.

Dark Archive

This is great stuff, Christine!
Being from germany myself I know how difficult it is to transform your really great ideas into proper english.
I shyed away from entering the contest because of this...
I know that the judges have to judge the entries by the same standards, no matter where the writer comes from; but it'd be nice if the readers would consider this when voting.
I think that this should be about great ideas and hooking concepts in the first place and editorial issues in the second.
I'm judging all the entries by the ideas provided and only when I can't decide which one to favor, I choose the one that is written better.

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Clouds Without Water

Absinth wrote:

Being from germany myself I know how difficult it is to transform your really great ideas into proper english.

After years of high school German, and a summer mostly spent in Germany and Austria, the one sentence I got the most use from was "Ich bin ein Auslander und spreche nicht gut Deutsch."

So far be it from me to criticize the writing in this entry. Besides, in the end cleaning it up will be Mr. Mona's problem. Heh.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

LeandraChristine wrote:

*Ducks behind her -Rabenhorst- GM Screen*

Awww, the problem with writing evocative and non-mindflayer-like sentences is that I should have looked at my english grammar book and vocabulary more often. :P
No, seriously.

In my experience writers working in a second language often (with a great deal of practice) exceed native speakers in vocabulary and construction, since they have a more fundamental understanding of how the language is put together through their efforts of trying to understand it.

Most native English speakers have not diagrammed a sentence since grade school.

So I urge you to keep it up! Your ideas show great promise.

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

How can you not like severed heads and crazy, rebellious druids (esp a half-orc one!)

this one got one of my votes.

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4


RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Darkjoy

Can I use it: No
Is it entertaining: No, started skipping towards the judges comment quite early
Is it original: Yes, it has a big bleeding head on a spire.

Final verdict: Rejected.

Great work, many cool ideas. Keeping a bleeding head alive the remain the ruling power of a country; awesome and very fantasy.
I also like the formatting. The important facts and names can easily be found. I could see myself using this in as an adventure.
Of course the main characters could have been described more thoroughly, but with the word-limit you have to leave out something.

Grand Lodge Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8

I take it back. The coolness round is not over just yet.

Extremely strong concept. Two bitterly opposed factions and a somewhat sketchy, but obviously bold and greedy, adventurer culture provide many opportunities for adventures.

It took me a while to work out how to read the alignment listing. CN is probably the best choice for the druids but is still an uneasy fit.

I'm making considerable allowances for writing in English.

Probably a keeper.

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