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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Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6

I like the nameless deity bit.

It reminds me of two of my favourite deities from the Scarred Lands. That Which Abides and Nalthalos. That Which Abides and his forsaken elves are a perfect example of a deity everyone remembers, but no one remembers his name. Nalthalos is a different take on a fallen god.

And who could resist playing a cleric with this deity and seer's tea. "Mmmmmmm, Incoming message from the Big Giant Head!" :*)

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6 aka TerraNova

Just call the head something ominous like "the relic" or something along these lines, and the sillyness vanishes, while still retaining the "nameless god" feeling. I like this entry, it is very evocative.

Clark Peterson wrote:
"You had me at severed head."

Damn, stole my line.

I was really put off by the writing here. Evocative imagery and an interesting conflict, but unless English is a second language for you, there's no excuse for writing this awkward.

[UPDATE: Apparently, according to a reply of yours I didn't get to before I replied myself, English actually is a second language for you. Ah. Well, that's something of a comfort, I guess. Still, the writing needs work. Get a helper monkey if need be.]

While I love the whole severed-head-of-a-god thing, it's pretty clear to me that he isn't the ruler -- the council of divine spellcasters is. If anything, the god's head is (wait for it!) merely a figurehead, an authority figure whose name the council can invoke to do whatever they damn well please. I like that a lot, but it doesn't feel like that's what you were going for.

The imagery alone was enough to get my vote. Despite the imagination involved, I agree with others that this entry suffered from "Stephen King Syndrome" — awesome idea coupled with the inability to do it justice.

But to offer a dose of encouragement, I used only two votes this round and this was my second. :)

Good Luck!...

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6 aka adanedhel9

I'm trying to like this entry. I really am. There's a lot of little things about it that I really enjoy (awakened animals and plants as a significant portion of the population; how is that not instant win?), but I'm having trouble with the main idea. I guess I'm not used to thinking of a god as something that can be killed, even by other gods. Yes, I know there's plenty of precedent. But it still doesn't feel right.

Beyond that, though, you have a very well-crafted nation here. Keep working on your writing. I really hope you make it to the next round, so I can see what your next idea is.

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar aka Leandra Christine Schneider

*Is clicking the refresh button far too often*
Thank you for all the comments so far.

Because of you, I've spotted some of the rough parts my submission has and I'll try to improve in the next round if I get the chance.

Vote dead-head :P

This would be the first time in my life I consider myself a "dead-head". :D

Yeah, you got my vote. I really like the juxtaposition of crazy wildlife and dying godhead. And, in my experience, PCs fighting against an evil priesthood works wonders. In fact, everytime I introduce a clergy (in my current game, there's a fanatical LG clergy that PCs are fighting, even going so far as to side with NE villains to do it!) the players are more than willing to bust things up.

One neat idea I had would be if the head started sending out dreams (unbeknownst to the clergy) to people, trying to set up plans to kill it. Imagine the PCs' surprise when, after being set up to kill the "godhead", they find out at the very end that their patron is the godhead itself!

I think I would have a lot of fun running a campaign in this country. It has enough compelling secrets, interesting groups, and adventure-inspiring locations that when put together could easily springboard an entire adventure path, especially if one were inclined to explore the story behind the dying god. Reading the details of Carnamach get my gears turning imagining all the directions I could take this, and to me that says a lot.

I also love a pinch of creepy in my D&D. In particular, the flesh-eating forest sounds like it could be pretty scary... I love it!

It has my vote!

Scarab Sages Marathon Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7

Welcome to my top 5 Christine! You garner my 3rd vote.

I also greatly enjoyed the idea of The head as the ruler. Very creative idea. I do think that, by not naming the head, you have made it generic enough to fit into nearly any campaign.

Well done.

Dark Archive

My biggest criteria for voting was that the setting presented had lots of adventure opportunity, and this one delivered. The diety head on a stick wasn't terribly 'cool' to me, but the idea of a priesthood that feels itself threatened by the loss of it's diety / raison d'etre, and is taking extreme measures to try and remain relevant, is both kind of timely, and creates lots of dramatic potential.

The idea that 'nature is rebelling' against their unnatural acts is also six kinds of cool, and creates what few settings do, a compelling reason for nature-based characters like Druids and Rangers to become deeply involved in a more urban-centric game.

My only quibble would be the name Carnamach. I like the sound of it, but it sounds too close to that Prestige Class, the Suel Arcanamach, for my taste.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut

This is a very impressive entry...mostly for the cool idea of a dying god's head serving as the nominal "ruler" of the country. I agree with some of the earlier comments that certain sections of your entry could use shoring up. It's all in the details. And you have to make sure you champion each element as you design. Nevertheless, I think you deserve huge props for this entry. I sincerely hope you go on to wow us in future rounds. Get to work on that villain concept next!

My two-cents and my vote,

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

LeandraChristine wrote:

*Is clicking the refresh button far too often*

Thank you for all the comments so far.

Because of you, I've spotted some of the rough parts my submission has and I'll try to improve in the next round if I get the chance.

Vote dead-head :P

I did indeed vote dead-head. After all, I wanted your entry to get ahead in the contest. Yuk yuk yuk...

Besides, us druid-users gotta stick together!

My first impression is that this submission manages to be intensely creative without falling into the trap of becoming self-indulgent. There are plot-hooks aplenty available throughout the submission. It raised a lot of unanswered questions without losing a sense of internal consistency and, as such, it thoroughly captured my imagination as a DM.

The notion of the covert struggle between the god-head and a theocracy reluctant to give up their power is solid. Having that struggle reflected in the whole country's overt turmoil is nothing short of brilliant. This cuts a swath of potential intrigue & mystery across the whole fictional society and provides fertile ground for player involvement at all levels.

Well done.

This country gets my vote.


Dirk "Darkblade" Stabbity Stab-Stab McStabberson

"No I'm not an assassin, it's a family name... really." - Dirk

Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 8

I really like this one. Espacially the Head of a God as ruler. But it should have a name.

So... where do I vote?

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

Once you've picked five to vote for:

Click any of the blue text links reading "Vote".

Place your votes.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9

This entry has a sense of humor, and it feels different enough to be interesting. I think what I like most about this one is the war between nature and those trying to preserve their deity's severed head. It just makes sense that the forces of nature would be opposed to something so unnatural! It's like they're trying to restore balance. It makes me wonder if the deity in question is, at least partially, a nature deity. That's alluded to, but never directly spelled out. In any case, I like this one. It made my top five.


Big ideas whirling around, vivid imagery and so forth...perhaps too big for me to swallow. Had I been around on this round, I would have had a bit similar idea about theocracy with their god actually among I bow before familiar idea.
And the god doesn't need a name, it's God!

As non-native speaker myself I had no problem with your language. And while I agree with Erik that often non-native speakers have better grasp of spelling, issues like sentence construction or punctuation are problematic.

The proper names sort of killed me here, I kept thinking someone took Egypt and just changed a few letters here and there.

Would definitely be in my top 10 but we can only pick 5!

I just read this country. I find it overwhelming creative. It is something really new. All the complaining about the missing name... Is it really important to have a name here? I think the general idea is what really counts. And the idea is really great. The druids desperately raising the tower... It is really good and offers a lot of possibilities for adventurers to interfere with the region.

This one definitely got my vote!

Ooo very cool and original. I love the God-head, the lost city, etc. The writing needs a little help, and I question a couple of the rules decisions (so all the lawless characters in Gul have woodland stride or like +15 Survival?) But this is the coolest idea I've seen so far...

Well, this has my vote.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

I like the theme of the struggle between extreme law (clinging to dead traditions that should be forgotten) and extreme chaos (the unbridled and wrathful forces of nature).

I was kinda undecided on this one since the godhead vs. nature idea really stuck with me, but there didn't seem to be enough meat to it. Notable in its absence is any crunch. If the godhead still grants spells and powers, it is a dodge to say his domains are lost. I'm okay with name and dogma, but if I'm going to run one of the six most powerful divine spellcasters of this severed head, I need to know domains.

Then I got to DM Secrets, and finally I find some DM Secrets worthy of the heading. That first secret is a doozy, and I'm immediately hit with the situation where the PCs are shown the sleeping head by one of the Divine Council, only to have the head whisper "They won't let me die..." to one of the PCs. Talk about conflict!

With that in mind, and the second secret, I don't see the end of this battle as a foregone conclusion like others do. What happens if the Council gets their hands on some magic metal from Earthmaw Gorge? What happens when the other gods decide to finally finish off the head? Surely not all of the natural forces will get along, with too many predators and not enough prey, perhaps?

This entry has a solid vote from me right now, and it'll take a lot to unseat it. Thanks for sharing your creativity and best wishes!

To me, this entry reads more like the starting point for an epic campaign than a country. It's a load of good ideas that are reasonably well executed, but the main focus is on the tower and the nameless god's head. Even the cities included are more akin to encounter areas than cities in their own right. I like the ideas, but this doesn't seem to really be a country to me.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

the good :
Very nice idea for a theocracy, and yes, the "head of a slain god" did it for me as well. I like the druidic angle and "nature" going rampant aspect, the overgrown city and the once-empire slowly falling to vegetation and overgrowth.
And I severly disagree on the "need" to name the dying god, since basically for one that adds to the mystery of the entire affair and reflects how the ruling pantheon has already nearly succeeded at wiping out their exiled brethren's memory. Given the way society nowadays circumvents social habits of uncouth and nasty terms by simple allusion and/or choice of tone, I am stupefied why this should presnt a problem, unless one is obsessed with labelling. Although more information on this would not have hurt.
I also admire the aspect of awakened animals taking an active part in the struggle - which to my mind is a classic mythological aspect that is absolutely under-used (except for horrible "furby"-stories ). For once a new, little used antagonist or ally for characters to struggle against or besides.

the bad :
There is nothing much else going on in this country besides the struggle of nature versus divine church, but on the other hand, that is already quite a handful. I could care less about weaknesses in language and grammar - since in comparison to many of the other entries, this is a far superior specimen, and more easily corrected.

then again - I could never quite shake the nagging thought, that someone had been inspired by a weakly executed plot from the 'Scarred Lands' setting

the ugly :
to my mind nothing. Except - this is not 10000 words length, full treatise with artwork =)

Definitely gets my vote

PS _ Even if this country never makes it into print, consider the idea stolen/borrowed permanently.

Great job Christine this gets one of my 5 votes.

I really liked this entry. It was full of imagery and adventure. I could imagine myself an adventurer going into the kingdom of Carnamach to dig up godly treasures, and staying around to see what could be done about the poor dying deity.

You have me interested for sure. Great Entry! You get my vote!

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6


I agree in that I saw some of the Scarred Lands parallels immediately. But I disregarded them as just that, Parallels.

Nathalios isn't wanting to die, just the opposite. Christine's nameless god is being kept alive despite itself, and I think the followers all know, on some level, that it wants to die.

Also there are mysteries to take the campaign all they way to 36th level in the old BECMI set. Your heroes finally become fledgling immortals, then have to discover why no other deity has killed off the big giant head, is the first one.

All in all, I found it very intriguing and well rounded.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka JoelF847

I chose not to comment on any of the countries until voting was over, but Christine, I wanted to say that I loved your country. It was a no-brainer #1 vote for me. The uniqueness of the severed god's head and nature rebelling against it was just brilliant. I think the fact that it reminded me of the dead gods in the astral plane from the Planescape setting was one of the things I really liked. I look forward to reading your villain in a week.

Please post more about your country now and make me a happy adventurer! :)

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder aka Robert G. McCreary

Christine, great job! I loved Carnamach, and you were one of my definite votes. I, too, loved the head of the dying god and Nature's attempts to reclaim it. I particularly liked the fact that the priests have to constantly build the spire ever taller to stay above the encroaching vines. Brilliant!
Also, I really wanted a good European entry to advance - I'm American, but my home is currently in Europe (in the Czech Republic), so it's almost like we're neighbors! :)

Good luck, and I hope you advance to the next round!

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Christine, excellent work and good luck in the next round. I meant what I said in my comments about your country. This is quality stuff. Keep it up!

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

I loved the country and liked your arcane anvil (though I thought it really more artifact level than wondrous item...)

Looking forward to your villain in the next round!

Erik Mona wrote:
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 Harvey...

Thanks Erik. Now I have to create a "Harvey of the Severed Head" to torment my players with. He could be a mastermind behind an insidious plot to steal everyone's boots and mittens... :p

Dark Archive Contributor, RPG Superstar aka Leandra Christine Schneider

Thank you for all the votes and critique you offered. I'm already working on the "villain" for the next round and I hope you'll like (or rather fear) him/her.

I'm not sure if I am allowed to expand on this submission now, since the ruling doesn't seem to be only in effect during voting.
I walk on careful tippy-toes, but I'm sure I can add a few things as soon as the competion is over.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
LeandraChristine wrote:
I'm not sure if I am allowed to expand on this submission now, since the ruling doesn't seem to be only in effect during voting.

I'd say you are allowed (see Clark's Statement in this thread).

But by all means take your time to make your villain as compelling and interesting as you made your item and your country. If this means that we'll have to wait a bit longer for your comments, that's fine.

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

Yeah, we want to hear more about this!

Carnamach....isn't that Greek or Latin for "Meat Battle?"

As in, the forests are engaged in a meat battle with the theocracy.

Love it, love it, LOVE IT!

The scene when the PCs are taken to speak to the god head is going to be creepy and memorable. It's eyes will be glazed and half closed and whatever it says won't match the movement of its lips. It'll be like the great boar in Princess Mononoke, it's voice will be like it's coming from a far away dream.

The ruler was core to me once i read that i was in this thing to the end. I like all the story lines surrounding his submission. Many nations don't include some great druidic interactions. A god who wants to die and his own follwers who don't want to let it happen. Reminds me of a comic called fallen angel. God wants to quit retire leave his creations to be. He causes famine hurricanes tornados, and all sorts of natural disaters to try and get mortal man to stop calling on him. Instead the opposite happens each plague more people call upon him. Gods on the verge of ending human existance. This fallen angel is trying to help him retire. Its a nice take on how religions can be misconstrued by a gods actions.

Good submission keep'em coming.

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