Ghost Hound Kinships of the Rolling Plains


Round 2: Design a country

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RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

Thank you for the positive feedback and well-considered criticism so far, and for the time you've all taken to comment.

I look forward to reading more.


Clark Peterson wrote:
Craig Clark wrote:
I have to agree with the judges on this one. If you strip away the blink dogs this country is pedestrian at best. A "one trick puppy" as it were.

That was one of the core reasons for my grade. The quality of the "design" of this entry essentailly ended on the choice of blink dogs.

Take the blink dogs out and substitute orcs or some other monster, and this is a totally generic entry with little real imagination. This entry had one idea--hey, lets use blink dogs! that would be so cuh-ray-zee!--and that was where the design ended. Even the title--blink dog nation--shows that the real thought and design that went into this was minimal--hey, lets wow them with this big off the wall idea! There wasnt any real significant theme or design based on that theme other than blink dogs.

Seriously, substitute blink dogs with dwarves or elves and what an unbelievably generic submission this is. And that is not OK. It is certainly NOT Superstar.

Weak.

Is the idea of blink dogs neat? Sure. Of course it is. But this wasnt a test of an idea, it was a test of design. Once you get the idea, you need a theme, and then you need good design to tightly fit that theme. Once the author hit that idea, the design switch went off, in my humble opinion.

Other entries lacked good themes and tight design to that theme. They were called out for it. This one lacked the same thing, to an even greater degree.

But I have a funny feeling that by grading it so harshly I guaranteed it will advance. Gamers are funny like that--rally around the underdog (literally).

If you make it into the next round, my suggestion is that you actually design something instead of just trying to grab a gonzo idea and then providing basically nothing more of interest. It may work once, but I doubt it works twice.

That said, if you make it, good luck. You got into the second round on the strength of your first round item. If you make it to the third round, it will be time for you to really bring it up a level.

Clark, I respect your position, but this is just arrogant. Dismissing the valid analysis of others as just contrary to your views with no other value is certain to stir passion, but you can't seriously think this is true?

I can safely say that my choice had nothing at all to do with your analysis, which is basically non-existent. My comments involved innovation and inspiration derived from the writing. Many people did the same by posting without reading any comments, including judges.

I respect the healthy view of self, I like to believe I have one of those as well, but I think your ego is really getting in the way of your judgement. People can disagree with your analysis without caring about who you are, it certainly isn't key to their analysis.

Talk about weak.

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

Clark Peterson wrote:


Is the idea of blink dogs neat? Sure. Of course it is. But this wasnt a test of an idea, it was a test of design. Once you get the idea, you need a theme, and then you need good design to tightly fit that theme. Once the author hit that idea, the design switch went off, in my humble opinion.

Generic design doesn't have to be weak design. Certainly some of the other entries will show that wild and crazy high-concept design isn't always strong design.

After choosing to write about blink dogs, which caused me serious doubts, the author has made competent, logical and interesting use of the creature. I don't believe for a moment that the blink dogs could be changed for elves or orcs without rewriting most of the entry.


Hmmm...I definitely think this would have worked better as a specific region of a larger nation, with some interaction included between the blink dog "state(s)" and the other races.

Obviously a novel concept, and I love that you did something with blink dogs. This is only the 3rd entry I've read, so I can't comment yet on whether or not you've got my vote. But you've severly limited the useability of your nation by forcing:

A) Use of the country as a destination instead of an origin for PCs
-or-
B) PCs to play non-standard races. Yes, someone pointed out that players could be goblins or gnolls, but still...

This is currently on my "maybe" list.


Clark Peterson wrote:

That was one of the core reasons for my grade. The quality of the "design" of this entry essentailly ended on the choice of blink dogs.

Take the blink dogs out and substitute orcs or some other monster, and this is a totally generic entry with little real imagination. This entry had one idea--hey, lets use blink dogs! that would be so cuh-ray-zee!--and that was where the design ended. Even the title--blink dog nation--shows that the real thought and design that went into this was minimal--hey, lets wow them with this big off the wall idea! There wasnt any real significant theme or design based on that theme other than blink dogs.

I agree and I disagree. I am a big fan of the blink dog nation, but I do agree that the submission didn't begin to do everything an ideal write-up would. However, I don't really think the author thought, "Yeah, blink dogs are cool enough. I don't need to put any more thought into it," and I don't think either of us can really guess at what his motivations were for deciding to submit this particular idea...there are plenty of other possible reasons than shock value.

Clark Peterson wrote:
Seriously, substitute blink dogs with dwarves or elves and what an unbelievably generic submission this is. And that is not OK. It is certainly NOT Superstar.

Yes, substitute elves or dwarves for the blink dogs, and it is a pretty generic submission. It would resemble most of the other submissions you got.

Clark Peterson wrote:
Is the idea of blink dogs neat? Sure. Of course it is. But this wasnt a test of an idea, it was a test of design. Once you get the idea, you need a theme, and then you need good design to tightly fit that theme. Once the author hit that idea, the design switch went off, in my humble opinion.

To some extent it is a test of ideas, because as you say good design starts with a good idea. I think the idea is ultimately the most important part...I buy RPG adventures and supplements that contain ideas I wouldn't have thought of myself. I'm going to end up changing the details anyway to fit my campaign, so I don't particularly care how well-thought out and detailed the design is. You can dress up your Tolkieny Forgotten Realms elves in whatever fancy English-major writing and adventure hooks you want, but in the end it's still boring as heck.

And the tone of some of your posts in this thread make your opinion seem anything but humble. I'm just sayin'.

Clark Peterson wrote:

If you make it into the next round, my suggestion is that you actually design something instead of just trying to grab a gonzo idea and then providing basically nothing more of interest. It may work once, but I doubt it works twice.

That said, if you make it, good luck. You got into the second round on the strength of your first round item. If you make it to the third round, it will be time for you to really bring it up a level.

Now that I do agree with. Though I disagree with Clark on the particulars, I do think this submission could have been a lot better with a little more work...previous posters have already pointed out some things that would have been good to add, so I won't go into that. You're getting my vote this round on the basis of the fabulous work you did last round, and a really great idea this round. I want to be clear that in order to keep my vote next round, you will have to deliver more on the design aspects. It's only going to get tougher from here, and I assure you that if I'd had only one vote, I wouldn't have voted for the blink dog nation.

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

That reminds me of something I was going to ask.


I'm not sure I would have placed my one vote here or not. There are three countries that I thought did something special enough to merit a top rung above all others. Deciding on which o those three to go with would have been tough.

I will say this one certainly still would have shot for all the reasons I've listed before. If you look at the history of contests such as this one, this is the exact sort of originality influx they excel at. (the book 'Wikinomics' is a great place to start on that front)

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

I'm not criticizing the input of others on this. I am acknowledging that he is likely going to make it to the next round--if the boards are any indication, which I dont know if they are--and telling him plainly that I want to see something stronger in the next round. Its plain that many disagree with my assessment that this was a weak attention grab.

Greatness starts with a great idea. And I am happy to embrace the gonzo idea. No doubt about that. But dont end your design there. Keep going!

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

To echo my comments from the first page of this thread:

Clark Peterson wrote:
Erik, I very sincerely hope that you do prove me wrong, so to speak, and that you get to the next round, personally.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

Clark Peterson wrote:
Erik, I very sincerely hope that you do prove me wrong, so to speak, and that you get to the next round, personally.

I think the message board just ate one of my posts, so if this is a double entry, please forgive me.

Basically I wanted to thank everyone for all the work and interest being put into this contest. I am grateful for it more than you can possibly know. And I am really hoping that I get the opportunity to bring Clark around in the next round.

I'm glad there is so much support and appreciation for the idea, and I am well aware that many of you really don't like it. I can't shake the feeling that this contest is going to be cut closer than it appears, so I want to remind everyone who has blink love to vote, every last one counts.

I have been watching the posts here and have been paying attention to what everyone has been saying; so keep the feedback coming, and don't forget to Think Blink!

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

There's at least 2 ideas here.

One is a country of Blink Dogs. Two is a nation based on spiritual notions. In fact, I'd say it was one of the top few in how it weaves the religion into the structure of the country. It's not all all "tacked on", it makes perfect sense.

And I'm not at all willing to discount the value of a blink dog nation. Such things are almost required to exist in any "realistic" fantasy world, but they are very rarely described in any detail, if at all.

This is certainly no worse than a hobgoblin nation.

I can see where the "it's a gimmick" feeling comes from, but I think it's a surface reaction. I had to think about it for a while myself to move past it.

This is a strong entry, taking a gonzo idea and grounding it well.

It's not my top entry, but it is certainly in my top 5.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

propeliea wrote:

Clark, I respect your position, but this is just arrogant. Dismissing the valid analysis of others as just contrary to your views with no other value is certain to stir passion, but you can't seriously think this is true?

I can safely say that my choice had nothing at all to do with your analysis, which is basically non-existent. My comments involved innovation and inspiration derived from the writing. Many people did the same by posting without reading any comments, including judges.

I respect the healthy view of self, I like to believe I have one of those as well, but I think your ego is really getting in the way of your judgement. People can disagree with your analysis without caring about who you are, it certainly isn't key to their analysis.

Talk about weak.

Someone's overly sensitive...


After having read all 31 other entries, I have to say that this one is sadly missing the cut by just the slightest of margins. I DO love it, though, and think Blink in the highest of regards... okay, SIXTH highest. I still intend to flesh out my thoughts on this and recover the analysis I once had written up about it, but I really wanted to make sure I gave everyone a fair shot before coming up against the voting deadline.

Best wishes, Erik, and good luck!


Sebastian wrote:
propeliea wrote:

Clark, I respect your position, but this is just arrogant. Dismissing the valid analysis of others as just contrary to your views with no other value is certain to stir passion, but you can't seriously think this is true?

I can safely say that my choice had nothing at all to do with your analysis, which is basically non-existent. My comments involved innovation and inspiration derived from the writing. Many people did the same by posting without reading any comments, including judges.

I respect the healthy view of self, I like to believe I have one of those as well, but I think your ego is really getting in the way of your judgement. People can disagree with your analysis without caring about who you are, it certainly isn't key to their analysis.

Talk about weak.

Someone's overly sensitive...

On the contrary, I feel comfortable and justified in my comments. I also feel that Clark's posts afterwards were fine clarifications, even if we disagree on some of the concepts communicated in his previous posts.

Disagreement and defense of an opinion is native to any discussion. When one side becomes agressive, it invites the same in the other side. But really, enough has been said and I think all parties understand one another and have reached that understanding without dismisiveness.


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 3rd one I read. I apologize if I repeat what has been mentioned.

Well...that was interesting. Honestly, this one is hard to give it a fair shake, probably because it is so animal centric. That being said, I applaud you taking a unique twist on a D&D animal and making it more.

There's something of an Australian outback/African savannah wilderness quality, mixed with what is almost American Indian mythos. Also, I can't help but envision some of those documentaries like Meerkat Manor. If you've ever watched those kinds of shows, and seen how societal group animals are, then this kind of structure isn't improbable in a game. That makes for an interesting place if you know what's going on.

The problem is getting players to get into that much detail.
The possibility exists for adventuring exists, with possibly the players starting out opposed, then allied with the blink dogs - possibly against the the very sinister sounding goblins and their phase spiders.

That being said, the way you have laid out the information can be confusing or at least puzzling. A little too much blink dog origins; a somewhat odd narrative I think for explaining dog "tribes", as it were. I think I am somewhat skeptical to define it as a nation based on this.

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, I think you are certainly heading towards(a) - maybe even with some lengthy quests.

Its certainly in my top 10; and probably in my top 5 votes - probably for the sheer distinctiveness of it.

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

Sebastian wrote:


Someone's overly sensitive...

Yeah, but we don't hold it against you ;-)


I love it!

I don't think it's a "one-trick pony." There's some great potential here. How could you have made this greater?


  • The writing could use some pizazz: It gets a bit generic at times, such as "villainous phase spiders," "gnoll raiders," and "powerful mummies." Some more evocative language would help. Getting rid of some dead words (or even a location or two) in order to flesh out some of your ideas would have been nice, too.
  • Everything's too perfect within the nation: Even societies "with an emphasis on honor, tradition, and the veneration" can have a dark side. Cultures, IMO, should be complicated things with two sides to everything. I would have liked to have seen more complication here.

In a nutshell... 1) more spice and 2) more hooks.

You'll probably be my fourth or fifth place vote, and I can assure you that mine is not for a "Sanjay" or to be contrary. Perhaps I'm imagining too much the ideas your entry has given me rather than the actual content, but aren't inspirational ideas important? Good job.

Liberty's Edge

This was the first one I read, on account of the name.
Then, I read the hype about "it's a one-trick pony; good idea, weak execution."
And I started sucking for the hype.
So I reread it, and the hype is malarky. It's pretty well executed.
I just wanted to let you know that, dude.

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 also thought this was a great entry. Nowhere in the rules, or in my common sense, did the country have to be a place the PCs could be from. Many of the judges comments hit on this theme a few times, and I just don't get it. If you design a whole campaign setting, only one country is going to be where the PCs are from. The rest are places for them to travel to, and the GHKOTRP is clearly a place to go, make some blink dog allies (which are far cooler than a halfling village in trouble), and then help out with some of their problems such as the goblin king, phase spiders, etc. Great job thinking outside of the box. I can't wait to see your future submissions for the rest of the contest!

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

Thanks everyone for the comments in this thread, I have read them all!

At first I thought about going back through and trying to answer all the concerns that people had, but I realize you didn't really post your criticisms with the intention of having me explain what I was thinking when I wrote this or why I did things the way I did. So I'm not going to do that.

However, if there are any issues you'd like to me to address, about the content or my design choices, I promise I'll answer all your questions. So feel free to ask away!

Also, I really want to thank those of you who defended the Ghost Hound Kinships of the Rolling Plains. I really do stand by the entry, 100%, and I'm glad that some of you felt the same way!

So anyway, if any of you have any questions or concerns you'd like me to answer or comment on, by all means, speak up.

Liberty's Edge

Erik - well done and good luck!

One question I hope you might address is the question / criticism on the population numbers - what was the rationale behind that?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

Mothman wrote:
One question I hope you might address is the question / criticism on the population numbers - what was the rationale behind that?

Good question!

The Rolling Plains are supposed to be big, like the african savannah, the australian outback, or the great plains. Big. Each of the major kinships roams a very large part of that territory. They don't always stick together in big groups, but rather spread wide apart across the territory for better hunting and gathering. The related packs and extended families all come together to perform important rituals on occasion, but most of the time they use their really-fast dimension dooring to spread out. That was my intention.

I did envision the Elkchasers to stick closer together than the other kinships however, as they followed massive herds of elk across the plains, and thus didn't have to spread out as much. That's why they developed such close family bonds.

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder aka Robert G. McCreary

First off, I love blink dogs, and the choice of replacing non-SRD displacer beasts with phase spiders was inspired, I think.

But I just couldn't around the fact that it was a nation of blink dogs. It was just a little too left-field (or gonzo, as others would say) for a country standing on its own. I think it would make a great inclusion as one country of many in a gazetteer, but alone it did seem more like an ecology article to me. But from reading your posts, I understand the strategy of doing what you did, and I commend you for that.

That being said, you really showed a lot of creativity in this. And I could definitely see myself playing a blink dog as a character if I had this as background (and maybe someone in the party with speak with animals!).

I sincerely hope you make it to the next round. I'm curious to see what else you'll come up with, to say the least! Good luck!

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

SargonX wrote:

First off, I love blink dogs, and the choice of replacing non-SRD displacer beasts with phase spiders was inspired, I think.

But I just couldn't around the fact that it was a nation of blink dogs. It was just a little too left-field (or gonzo, as others would say) for a country standing on its own. I think it would make a great inclusion as one country of many in a gazetteer, but alone it did seem more like an ecology article to me. But from reading your posts, I understand the strategy of doing what you did, and I commend you for that.

That being said, you really showed a lot of creativity in this. And I could definitely see myself playing a blink dog as a character if I had this as background (and maybe someone in the party with speak with animals!).

I sincerely hope you make it to the next round. I'm curious to see what else you'll come up with, to say the least! Good luck!

Thanks Rob. I've got my fingers crossed but I know its going to be a close one.

Anyway, since I warned people that I would respond to comments from this point on, I am going to do so now!

I really don't get the gonzo thing. I know I picked a non-standard non-humanoid species to populate my nation, but I don't see why its so strange to people, assuming a couple of things.

1) Blink Dogs are as intelligent as humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, and so on.

2) Blink Dog behavior tends toward organization, they are usually lawful.

The downsides are:

3) Blink Dogs have no hands, and thus are not tool users.

4) Blink Dogs cannot easily communicate with humanoid races because of their inability to form the same sort of sounds.

The nation I described was a pre-technological very "primitive" race with a focus on mysticism and social development. Their mystic development would be extremely advanced, as they are able to interact freely with the Ethereal Plane and thus have a larger understanding of the nature of spirits and such.

Their ability to cover vast distances very quickly (dimension door once per round as a free action is very very fast) and their natural lawful and social tendencies would overcome the need for agricultural advancement to form larger social groups. Their mystic orientation would compel them to come together even outside their normal social groups to engage in rituals to honor spirits and what not, as well.

One of the gonzo-criticisms was that this nation would not even be recognized as a nation by humanoids in the area, and that this nation could exist side-by-side with another, and that is exactly true. I do not think the human settlers would realize that the Ghost Hounds had their own culture, their own language, or their own faith, upon first meeting them. However, the Stormherald Kinship has begun a campaign of retaliation against humanoid expansion into their territory, and the settlers will surely recognize that the Ghost Hounds are organized and sophisticated.

Why haven't the Blink dogs interacted more with the settlers or other cultures? They don't really have a concept of ownership, like most pre-technological cultures. They don't believe they own the land, they just believe that they are its caretakers, and that their sacred ground especially must be venerated. They are cautious of the settlers, but their culture is good, and they believe in mercy, kindness, compassion, and all that fuzzy warm stuff that would prevent them from being xenophobes. It is only when their sacred sites are violated that the most aggressive Kinship is beginning to respond.

It seems like if you assume blink dogs exist in a campaign setting, and you give them a big enough space to develop on their own without being overwhelmed by more aggressive "good" races, the blink dog nation is the natural result.

To sum up. I am boggled that this idea was taken as "gonzo". I expected, "I'm not interested in non-humanoid culture," or "I don't like the idea of a blink dog nation", or "Blink dogs are stupid." I wasn't expecting, "This is crazy way out there hard to believe stuff!" I guess that was my fault for picking a concept that was hard to do justice with 1000 words.

I love the Ghost Hound Kinships and I really wish I did right by them.


My question doesn't concern the Kinship, but rather what do you plan later. I really enjoyed the fact that you pushed the envelop on fantasy sterotypes and didn't create another realm of frolicking elves and stern dwarves(Kudos to all the 32 for not falling into that trap). But instead gave us a look into something altogther different. My question is, Are you planning to continue in this vein? I mean are you going to continue to suprise and delight us with fresh and 'Gonzo'(not my word) ideas? I surely hope so. As your magic item was in my top five and your country was my number one pick.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

Threeblood wrote:
My question doesn't concern the Kinship, but rather what do you plan later. I really enjoyed the fact that you pushed the envelop on fantasy sterotypes and didn't create another realm of frolicking elves and stern dwarves(Kudos to all the 32 for not falling into that trap). But instead gave us a look into something altogther different. My question is, Are you planning to continue in this vein? I mean are you going to continue to suprise and delight us with fresh and 'Gonzo'(not my word) ideas? I surely hope so. As your magic item was in my top five and your country was my number one pick.

If you mean in terms of this contest, the answer is that I plan on showing the breadth of my versatility by exploring various fantasy themes. Sinister sea voyages, talking animals, ....

I won't submit anything that I don't absolutely love. I'm really hoping I get at least one more round of the contest to show you all a little more of what I've got inside me.

So to sum up my answer, I am not planning on submitting stuff specifically for the shock value, but rather focus on concepts that I really feel strongly about as having value in the D&D community, no matter how hard or unusual they are. I hope you'll all love them as much as I do.

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

amusingsn wrote:
Threeblood wrote:
My question doesn't concern the Kinship, but rather what do you plan later. I really enjoyed the fact that you pushed the envelop on fantasy sterotypes and didn't create another realm of frolicking elves and stern dwarves(Kudos to all the 32 for not falling into that trap). But instead gave us a look into something altogther different. My question is, Are you planning to continue in this vein? I mean are you going to continue to suprise and delight us with fresh and 'Gonzo'(not my word) ideas? I surely hope so. As your magic item was in my top five and your country was my number one pick.

If you mean in terms of this contest, the answer is that I plan on showing the breadth of my versatility by exploring various fantasy themes. Sinister sea voyages, talking animals, ....

I won't submit anything that I don't absolutely love. I'm really hoping I get at least one more round of the contest to show you all a little more of what I've got inside me.

So to sum up my answer, I am not planning on submitting stuff specifically for the shock value, but rather focus on concepts that I really feel strongly about as having value in the D&D community, no matter how hard or unusual they are. I hope you'll all love them as much as I do.

Good answer.

My round 3 entry might be a little more off the beaten path than my first two entries (though I think they were creative and interesting), but the more I think about it the more I think it is a really neat idea and I'm just gonna run with it.

It's okay to come up with something strange if you can do it up right, if you believe in it, and you make it work. 'Playing it safe' is no safer in a competition like this than 'taking a chance'--you never know for sure what the public will like, so you can only find something you love, do what you do the best you know how, and let the dice fall where they may.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

Jason Nelson 20 wrote:
It's okay to come up with something strange if you can do it up right, if you believe in it, and you make it work. 'Playing it safe' is no safer in a competition like this than 'taking a chance'--you never know for sure what the public will like, so you can only find something you love, do what you do the best you know how, and let the dice fall where they may.

Indeed!

I ended up with three villain concepts. One was wacky, the second was standard "safe" villain fare, the last one was going to be hard to sell, but I really really love it the most.

If I go to the next round, you're going to get the one I love.

Waiting for the final 16 to be announced is hard! When I saw that giant "F" from Clark I thought I didn't have a chance in going on into the next round but there really was a lot of support expressed for the Ghost Hounds, and it built up my hopes again!


Erik Anderson wrote:
If I go to the next round, you're going to get the one I love.

Awesome to hear. I can't wait to see what the newly picked 16 will come up with next. (Hopefully you will be one of them.) As a most of the time lurker, I have really enjoyed coming out of the cyber shadows to support this contest and it's participants. Thanks for making the trip onto the boards worth it. And GOOD LUCK!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Thanks for the insights on what you were hoping to accomplish. Personally, I didn't find it that "gonzo" either - mostly because I could easily see some of the social construct you were shooting for already.

As I mentioned, just watch some of those documentaries on animals, and you'll see that dogs can be highly social and heirachical creatures. Give them advanced intelligence in a fantasy setting, and I can see it being possible that they have a sort of structured culture/nation - albeit one we may not "get".

It also helps that I have had as many as 10 dogs at one time in my home - that gives you a helpful perspective on things. ;-)

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

Thanks for all the support, everyone! The Ghost Hound Kinships made the cut, and that wouldn't have been possible without your votes.

And for my critics, I also want to thank you, because you've really inspired me to put my heart into the next round, and to do my best to bring you on board!

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Erik, I am really glad you made the cut. As I posted early on, I loved your item and I certainly love your passion.

Good luck in the next round.

Think Blink!

Scarab Sages Marathon Voter Season 7

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber

Congragulations.

I look forward to your future entries.


I was so happy to see that your country made the top 16. I liked it from the start. I also liked that the judges generally posted poor feedback about it. This should serve as a reminder, they are no longer in control of who will win the contest. For everyone who submitted a "gonzo" wonderous item and lost to the judge's chopping block... you championed our cause! D&D does not always have to be about doom and gloom!

Good luck in future rounds!

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

Clark Peterson wrote:

Erik, I am really glad you made the cut. As I posted early on, I loved your item and I certainly love your passion.

Good luck in the next round.

Think Blink!

I love your passion too! I think its amazingly awesome that you are so excited about this contest -- even if you didn't like the Ghost Hound Kinships!

Wicht wrote:

Congragulations.

I look forward to your future entries.

Thank you very much. I hope I get to submit future entries (plural) as well!

Alex Martin wrote:

Thanks for the insights on what you were hoping to accomplish. Personally, I didn't find it that "gonzo" either - mostly because I could easily see some of the social construct you were shooting for already.

As I mentioned, just watch some of those documentaries on animals, and you'll see that dogs can be highly social and heirachical creatures. Give them advanced intelligence in a fantasy setting, and I can see it being possible that they have a sort of structured culture/nation - albeit one we may not "get".

It also helps that I have had as many as 10 dogs at one time in my home - that gives you a helpful perspective on things. ;-)

You're welcome for the insights, Alex. I'm glad you didn't find it quite so gonzo either. I just wish I had done a better job in selling it to EVERYONE. But I guess gonzo is different for different people. Severed heads of a dying god seems a little more out there, on a cosmic scale. Not that its bad or anything. I just don't see what's so crazy about a nation of organized magic dogs in comparison!

And 10 dogs? Wow! Did you live at the pound?!

The Benevolent DM wrote:

I was so happy to see that your country made the top 16. I liked it from the start. I also liked that the judges generally posted poor feedback about it. This should serve as a reminder, they are no longer in control of who will win the contest. For everyone who submitted a "gonzo" wonderous item and lost to the judge's chopping block... you championed our cause! D&D does not always have to be about doom and gloom!

Good luck in future rounds!

Thanks for the good wishes! I am glad you liked it. I don't think the judges reviews were all that bad, if you consider all three of them. I got a (lukewarm) recommendation from one, and the other had some nice things to say about it, but apparently thought the idea of a blink dog nation would be taken as stupid by a vast majority of people. There was just that one cranky judge who seemed to really hate it -- obviously an agent of the Goblin King -- perhaps a barghest in disguise, even!

It certainly wasn't my intention to get quite the shocked sort of reviews I did get (from Erik M. and Clark mainly, Wolfgang's response was more of the level of surprise I was expecting). I knew my idea was not going to be appreciated by most folks, but I also knew that it was good, and that I did a pretty darn good job with it (obviously not perfect, and there are a few things I'd change after all the feedback on it), and that it would jive with a good sized minority. I was banking that it would be enough to get me through the round, and it did, and for that I am very happy and so thankful to the supporters! I got to put in something really original, that I really loved, and that was, as Erik M. said, outside the comfort zone of most gamers.

Hopefully that comfort zone will get a big wider now. The blink dog nation meme is out there. It's only a matter of time before it spreads into a game near you.

Think Blink!

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

I see you've adopted my tag line :)

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

Clark Peterson wrote:
I see you've adopted my tag line :)

It is insidious that way.


Here's my take on your submission. Well written and I always like an out of the box idea. Do I think its a difficult sell hell yes. However if something like this nation where to be used in a roleplay setting. It fits more in line with a planar setting view. In D&D I can see this nation used in the Happy Hunting grounds. A nation not so happy however I think its use is limited and probably the biggest reason for the negative feedback.

As a one shot adventure for players interested in planar travels, I think this nation could work. However part of a long standing campaign with mutiple scenarios it falls short. If I was a judge you would get a pass on this round because of your ability to create something interesting and not part of conventional thinking. I would say go for a happy medium between a more conventional approach and your style and I believe you will go far.

Good luck in future rounds.


I was thrilled to see the blinks made the cut. Congrats!

(Actually, I was thrilled to see every country I voted for plus most of the ones I kinda wanted to vote for but couldn't made the cut).

Looking forward to seeing what you do next round. I recommend maybe an evil talking potion bottle. :P

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

Argon wrote:

Here's my take on your submission. Well written and I always like an out of the box idea. Do I think its a difficult sell hell yes. However if something like this nation where to be used in a roleplay setting. It fits more in line with a planar setting view. In D&D I can see this nation used in the Happy Hunting grounds. A nation not so happy however I think its use is limited and probably the biggest reason for the negative feedback.

As a one shot adventure for players interested in planar travels, I think this nation could work. However part of a long standing campaign with mutiple scenarios it falls short. If I was a judge you would get a pass on this round because of your ability to create something interesting and not part of conventional thinking. I would say go for a happy medium between a more conventional approach and your style and I believe you will go far.

Good luck in future rounds.

Thanks for the encouragement and the criticism. I personally don't see the Kinships being limited to a planar setting, but I did envision their possible use in a "second world" fantasy style setting. You know, sort of like a Narnia or Harry Potter or Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland type thing, where some young protagonists from "our world" end up in a fantasy world of magic, wonder, and danger. That wasn't the original intention but it certainly was an angle on it that I liked.

Its funny that you say that you don't think this would work for multiple scenarios. I have about a million ideas for a campaign path centered on this setting (not just for Blink Dog PCs but mainly for normal races and classes). And if Erik M. liked the idea better, I'd even pitch them to Paizo.

At any rate, your criticism is indeed noted and taken to heart. I am going to try harder to add a little mainstream appeal to my villain entry. Hopefully it'll still have that "hint of madness" in it that you've all come to expect from "that blink dog guy."

Think Blink!

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder aka Robert G. McCreary

Congrats on making it through, Erik!

Just to clarify my earlier post, I didn't think the dogs were gonzo, just a little bit left of center, perhaps.

amusingsn wrote:
But I guess gonzo is different for different people. Severed heads of a dying god seems a little more out there, on a cosmic scale. Not that its bad or anything. I just don't see what's so crazy about a nation of organized magic dogs in comparison!

However, I don't think the severed head of a dying god is gonzo, either...

...but a NATION of severed heads of dying gods would definitely be gonzo!! :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
amusingsn wrote:


And 10 dogs? Wow! Did you live at the pound?!

In case you were interested, we had 3 female dogs - all of them had litters within 2 weeks of each other. 18 puppies were in the house; my whole family was taking care of pups for two months! Eventually, we sold them or gave them to relatives, but that still left seven of them, plus the original three. Sorry if I'm answering a rhetorical comedy question ;-)

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

SargonX wrote:

Congrats on making it through, Erik!

(snip)

However, I don't think the severed head of a dying god is gonzo, either...

...but a NATION of severed heads of dying gods would definitely be gonzo!! :)

Gratz right back at you, Rob!

A nation of severed god heads ... hmm. I think we're onto something here.

Alex Martin wrote:
In case you were interested, we had 3 female dogs - all of them had litters within 2 weeks of each other. 18 puppies were in the house; my whole family was taking care of pups for two months! Eventually, we sold them or gave them to relatives, but that still left seven of them, plus the original three. Sorry if I'm answering a rhetorical comedy question ;-)

Awww. Puppies!

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

How about the heads of dyslexic blink gods?


I still tell people about the awesomeness of the Blink Dog Nation. I even link to this thread occasionally.

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