Spine Peaks

Round 2: Design a country

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka MythrilDragon

“…and on his back a mighty nation shall grow.” – Waonni prophecy.
Alignment: LE
Capital: Ciuka (pop. 16,900)
Notable Settlements: Qolpeen (pop, 12,100), Ikastur (pop. 7,800)
Ruler: The Most High Champion, Kull Cereaz, Fallen Lord of the Icalu
Government: A strict social caste system formerly ruled over by an empirical council that has collapsed, replaced by the tyrannical reign of the remaining Fallen Lords.

Adventurers flock across the Jarred Sea to explore the rugged lands of the Spine Peaks. Some seek the lost tomb of Icaluian the fallen angel, which lies deep beneath the ruins of a long dead civilization. Others desire to visit the Gnomish crystal mines of Delln, whose pure crystals are highly sought after by psionic users across the world. The lush jungles and high mountains offer many rewards to the brave who dare enter the lands of the Icalu Fallen Lords.
Centuries ago, the Icalu crossed the Eastern Waste expanding their holdings and conquered the Spine Peaks and the peaceful Waonni who dwelled there. The massive Icalu Empire stretched the length of the southern continent until the tyrannical council warlords turned on each other. The empire crumbled decades ago as the Fallen Lords put all their energy into ousting each other to stake claim of the sacred mountains. Now, after years of fighting the remaining Fallen Lords, Cereaz, Azsukel, and Turgen, clash for control of the mountain they believe holds the tomb of their celestial father, Icaluian.
While many of the Icalu nobility have sided with each of the warlords, Cereaz had marshaled the support of the largest and most powerful families. He controls the port city of Ciuka in the jungle basin on the eastern coast and uses his influence over the trade routes to assert himself as the sole ruler. To the east on the highest peaks, Azsukel schemes from his stronghold in Qolpeen, built on the ruins of an ancient Waonni settlement. Along the Elza River, Turgen pushes to complete the newfound city of Ikastur in the Arkavalle, upsetting the Gothnor Dwarves who stake claim to the rich grazing lands.
As the Icalu warlords squabble over alliances and territory the native Waonni, oppressed as the unworthy caste, are starting to shake free from the chains of domination. Their tight-knit kinship groups, which have provided a necessary network of aid for centuries, are forming secret alliances with missionaries from across the sea. The Brotherhood of Stars has established itself in Ciuka, precariously navigating the Icalu political regime to free the Waonni and reestablish their right to the land.

The ruins of ancient Waonni temples and settlements are scattered across the lands. Many explorers seek to discover the mysteries of these wise and ancient people by uncovering their knowledge of the world’s creation now lost beneath the mountains. Perhaps there is even a way to uncover Icaluian’s tomb that some legends say is actually a prison and that the Waonni have captured the fallen angel and will imprison him in until the Last War has begun.
The Fallen lords are powerful sorcerer-warriors who have dedicated their lives to mastering their arcane and marital skills to enforce their rule over the Icalu Nation. Fallen Lords use ancient dark rituals to dedicate their lives into service of the fallen angel gaining increased magical ability.
The current Fallen Lords of the Spine Peaks are:
Kull Cereaz (Fighter 9, Sorcerer 8, Fallen Lord 3)
Kull Azsukel (Fighter 8, Sorcerer 9, Fallen Lord 1)
Kull Turgen (Fighter 8, Sorcerer 8, Fallen Lord 2)
The Waonni people understand that reliance upon others is the only way to survive in the mountain regions. By forming kinship ties with extended family and in-laws in villages up and down the mountain, they are able to exchanges goods between altitudinal zones where some necessities are not available. Called Selenos, these familial groups are steadfastly loyal, and feuds between them are rare.
The Altitudinal zones are:
Altis Veream – Warm, Jungle (Ciuka)
Altis Taerlos – Warm, Hills
Altis Maedian – Temperate, Hills (Ikastur, Arkavalle)
Altis Taermed – Temperate, Mountains (Delln)
Altis Feream – Cold, Mountains (Qolpeen)
The Brotherhood of Stars has sent missionaries across the Jarred Sea to put a foot hold of faith in the southern continent. The members of the order secretly aid the Waonni in hopes of changing the current political structure.
The population of the Spine Peaks is 20% Icalu, 76% Waonni, 2% Gnome, 1% Dwarf, and 1% other. Elves, Half-Orcs and Halflings are not are not native to the southern continent but many have crossed the sea seeking adventure. Delln is the mining settlement of the Spine Peak Gnomes. The ten clans that share the subterranean stronghold, in the northern slopes, have a precarious alliance with the Fallen Lords that ensures the trade of crystals that are highly sought after. The hillside roaming Dwarves of the Arkavalle do not have a permanent home but move with the seasons herding cattle, sheep, and goats. Recently Kull Turgen founded the new city of Ikastur right in the middle of some of the richest grazing land in the region, upsetting the Dwarves. The intolerant Icalu have driven the monstrous races out, pushing them into the Eastern Waste.

New Regional Feats

Icalu Lineage [General]
You have the blood of Icalu ancestry running in your veins.
Prerequisites: Born in the Spine Peaks with at least one Icalu parent.
Benefit: You gain a +2 skill bonus on all Spellcraft checks. In addition, your arcane ancestry allows you to cast a 0-level spell from the sorcerers list as a 1st-level caster one per day.

Seleno Network. [General]
You have made familial ties with members of the Waonni society through out the Spine Peaks.
Prerequisites: Born in the Spine Peaks with as least one Waonni parent.
Benefit: You gain a +2 skill bonus on all Gather Information checks. In addition, once per week you can receive up to 100gp worth of goods or services valued at less the 20gp from one of your kinship ties.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Submission checklist:

Submitted on time? Check.
Submission is a "country"? Check.
Submission contains all of the mandatory content as required by the contest rules? Check.
Submission is within the word limit? Check. 998.
Submission is free of inappropriate content in violation of the "taboo" guidelines? Check.
Submission does not use content from a source other than those listed? Check.
Submission does not reference a published campaign setting? Check.
Submission does not include maps or art? Check.
Submission is a suitable setting for roleplaying with the d20 system? Check.
Submission is not a "joke" or otherwise completely fails to meet the minimum requirements of the competition or other contest rules? Check.

The Exchange Kobold Press

Props to you for including some very serious crunch, with the feats!

This is definitely a country for game play, with the emphasis on warrior-sorcerer-fallen angels, and the sense of kinship and paranoia as important setting elements. I really like the fallen angel premise, and I think you could spin out a whole campaign on it.

Unfortunately, your text contains lots of weak or missing transitions, passive voice, wasted words, and verb errors ("dwelled there"? "to stake claim of"?). This undercuts your ability to draw the reader in, and each additional error makes me question the country as a whole. There's no way around it (as Erik mentioned in the "Cumavea" country), superior English writing and language skills are a superstar requirement.

Don't misunderstand me; your use of language isn't incomprehensible, but it's also not fluid and engaging. To win, you must be masterful in use of language, and capable of inspiring readers to a sense of wonder. I know it sounds harsh, and no one likes to hear it, but consider honing your sentence, paragraph, and outlining skills. With your imagination, the effort will pay you huge rewards down the road.

Along those same language lines, the country's naming conventions are not working for me. How do you pronounce these names: Aszukel (which seems ripe for mockery), Waonni, Ciuka?

Also, Kull is the name of a semi-famous Robert E. Howard character. Oops.

Not recommended.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

Fluff (writing, grammar, style, evocative prose, etc.): C
The Good: Some evocative writing.
The Bad: Uneven with some significant issues. An important weakness of this entry. The writing really interfered with my enjoyment of this entry. Though noted in design, below, I think the randomness of the names has to be mentioned here as well. Not good use of your word count. You need to be more evocative and do more with less.

Crunch (basics, rules issues, depth of the setting, details, etc.): A+
The Good: Nice work on the regional feats. This was very, very well done. The NPC stats and the regional terrain notes are also excellent. That is what I want for crunch. You hit it hard. Good job!
The Bad: None. Give me more submissions with crunch like this!

Design (choices made, format, naming, originality, theme, balance--ie, is the submission heavy in one part but lacking in another?): C+
The Good: Right away you tell us why adventurers come here. That is a good move. I love the crunch you jammed into the DM section and I like that you gave it good weight.
The Bad: Like Wolfgang, the names aren’t grabbing me. They don’t flow nicely and don’t seem to have that interrelation that implies a common history. Seem more like random name generator names to me. Wolfie got you on the Kull reference and that is a good comment. Maybe some are too young to know Kull, but imagine designing a country and naming the ruler Conan or something. Kull that jarring to us old school guys. Despite the good crunch in the DM section, I don’t really think we got much in the way of secrets there.

Play (setting for adventure? campaign? is there conflict? are there play limitations?): A-
The Good: You can definitely have a long fantasy campaign here. Good, solid gaming potential here.
The Bad: Not much bad. Though the gameplay is solid, it is a tad generic.

Tilt (my personal take, is it evocative? do I want to play there? does it capture my imagination?): B-
The Good: A solid, if generic and poorly named, fantasy setting.
The Bad: Doest really grab me. Not incredibly creative. But the names and the writing may be hindering it for me.

Overall: B-
Great crunch obscured by poor writing and some questionable design issues. I think this one squeaks in, but just barely.

RECOMMENDED for top 16, but just barely. Others could well disagree.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

The goblin strand of ears was, in my view, pretty clearly one of the five best items of the previous round, so my expectations for this entry are very high.

First off, I don't love the names. They hover somewhere between solid and "fat fingers slide across the keyboard," and probably a little closer to the latter than I'd like.

The Description section is incredibly dense, and amounted to a barrage of proper nouns at an altogether too rapid place. I don't know what any of these places are, so each time you toss me another one I have to try to compartmentalize it in my brain with a micro-description. But before I can sort that out we're on to the next proper noun. It's a little maddening, honestly.

There seems to be a problem with the formatting here, since a lot of the paragraphs seem to be running together. I'd strongly suggest putting a hard return between each graph when posting to a message board, as it makes the piece much easier to read.

I'm not sure what to make of the altitudinal zones chart popping up in the middle of running text like that. I'm certain I don't like the way that information was presented.

More dwarves, I note. The phenomenon continues!

The feats are a little sloppy. There's a missing apostrophe in the first and a rogue period after the title of the first. Once we start getting into challenges with stat blocks, that's going to be a much bigger problem.

Overall I think you were trying to do too much tinkering with the format and ended up getting in the way of presenting your nation with a coherent theme and a competent execution thereof.

I don't really know what to do with this kingdom. I do not recommend it for advancement to the next round.

Paizo Employee Chief Creative Officer, Publisher

Hey, Kull fairly recently got a movie with Kevin Sorbo and Tia Carrere. It's not that obscure.

This just leaves me with a lot of questions. Why are the Spine Speaks so desirable? Why are the rulers called "Fallen Lords"? What happened to the fallen angel and why is he important? Why is there a long dead civilization supposedly on top of his tomb? How do the gnomes play into this? I could go on but this seemed so incomplete I couldn't make heads or tails of it.

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

A tribute to how good this entry could have been is that even with the mediocre writing, my heartbeat increased while I read about visiting these diverse locations. Though maps are not accepted in the format, I can almost see the area as I read it. The string of proper nouns didn't bother me quite so much, although I agree the names are not as strong.

I know word-space is tight, and as WB said, there's a lot of lost economy in your sentences, so maybe you could have found room. A guy like me has to have some small explanation for the devolution of the progeny of this angelic being into petty slavedrivers and warlords. I could see it. I can even roughly theorize an epic story arc where the fallen angel returns and judges his descendants unworthy, and now leads the lower caste race against his own people. But again, I have to come up with that. The entries I am going to vote for are going to give me a run for my money when it comes to designing the most exciting campaign possible for their submission.

I applaud that you included rules for your setting, but I think the feats are weak. In the current game, I have seen precious few people take a regional type of feat over the next one in the power attack or sudden metamagic tree. Why take Blood of What's-His-Name over Skill Focus: Spellcraft? Maybe a first-level spell usable twice per day, although that's just going to be magic missile in a lot of campaigns. Hmmm.

Lastly, I think using the words 'the Last War' are unfortunate. The war by that title is a huge part of Eberron lore, and you want to distinguish yourself from things so important to other settings.

Great effort. The comments about the writing are accurate to me, but there is a lot of potential, and you have the most diverse setting of the ones I have read.

Not a bad idea but there's just too much going on here in the short space for me to wrap my head around. The cool part is the Fallen Lords - why bother with the missing angel and the waonni? Why waste precious space on the waonni feats?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka MythrilDragon

Thanks for the notes and your honesty, this has been a great experiance having my work critiqued by the proffesionals. Good luck everyone.

I am definitely intrigued by the Fallen Lords. I give you kudos for trying to include stats and feats, but personally I would have like more information on the country itself.

The last three entries I've read have had issues with naming conventions. I would prefer names that are easier to pronounce and flow better. It makes the reader stumble when they are struggling to pronounce names of places/people.

The idea is intriguing, though as was stated, a little generic in some ways. I think that you're off to a good start and would like to see the format and writing cleaned up and with that might allow you to fill in more necessary details to flush out the world.

Also, what about the races people? I wasn't really clear unless I missed something. Waonni - same issue.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As I have stated in other threads I'm looking for internal conflicts to draw me in a country. Here I haven't to look far which is a good thing. I like the idea of the caste system . You can have political intrige (between the Fallen Lords, the Lords and the Brotherhood), you can have revolution or at least the fight for freedom, you can explore old ruins so basically you can run many different types of game in the Spine Peaks.

I have some gripes with the naming and I don't quite understand the brotherhood's position (why are they enemies of the Fallen Lords and why should they help the Waonni?). I don't like the near-to-exclusion of some of the player races cause I don't like my character's only reason to be at a certain loaction to be of the "I'm an adventurer so what" sort.

oh, and I forgot: Why mention psionics if you don't build on this theme? In my opinion, if you do include something exotic (and psionics is exotic to standard D&D), you should take the effort and explain this inclusion. Without this explanation it seems that you merely included it to set you apart from other entries without giving it further thought.

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

I like that you put feats in there. Whether people like the feats or even think regional feats are worth taking is another question, but I almost wish I had created at least one to put in my entry.

I guess I'm with some others when I started to wonder about 2/3 of the way through "who are these guys?" - by which I mean I had a ton of proper names but not that much sense of who they were or what they were all about. Even the Fallen Lords themselves, and the Icalu as a race. Is that a world-specific name for something like an aasimar or tiefling. Obviously it derives from the fallen archangel's name, but what's the connection? A sentence or two explaining that, which I think really sits at the core of your setting, could have done wonders for tethering the Fallen Lords. You allude to a prestige class of Fallen Lord which I think is a neat touch, but given the very similar stats of the 3 Fallen Lords I think you could have just said all were multiclassed Ftr/Sor/FL's and left it at that.

The other tricky part is how much to say about the rest of the world. Who are the Brotherhood of Stars, what's their interest in the whole thing? If this is the 'southern continent,' is it assumed PCs are from the northern continent and will make a big sea voyage to get there (a la Xendrik in Eberron)?

I think overall you tried to do too many things at once instead of focusing hard and strong on the essential parts of your theme. It shows a ton of very cool ideas, but I don't think the reader can see the connections easily enough to be able to run with it without a some extra work.

Liberty's Edge

Erik Mona wrote:
Hey, Kull fairly recently got a movie with Kevin Sorbo and Tia Carrere. It's not that obscure.

If it had Kevin Sorbo and Tia Carrere, it might well have been pretty obscure .... but point taken.

Liberty's Edge

Fallen Lords. This setting has some really interesting ideas and potential, but I’m finding it very difficult to get past the formatting and structure of the entry – I did not find it all easy to read, and I almost gave up on it (with 29 entries still to go). I like the inclusion of regional feats, although I wonder if the space might have been better spent on something else in this type of proposal.

Star Voter Season 7

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

The writing here turned me off a bit. Too dense, too filled with names for me to grasp easily (especially in comparison to some of the cleaner entries). Yes, there was crunch, but it did not turn me on to the country. With only 5 votes, I will likely pass on this one; however, as always, I wish you the best of luck.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

OK, disclaimer: I mean all my comments to be constructively critical. I respect and admire all my peers in the top 32 for their effort, and truly hope that this will be a fruitful learning experience for all of us, if nothing else. Further, I have decided to look at my entry last, so as to maintain a "neutral" view on everyone else's work, and analyze it on its own merit as opposed to in comparison to the criticism I get for mine.

Spine Peaks:

The first part of your entry made me thirst for more. However, the pile of names and references to places and people in your world got unwieldy, about halfway into reading it. That, I believe, is the biggest weakness here. Gnomes, psionics, disgruntled dwarves, and a bunch of people and places get only passing mention, and this detracts from the initial excitement.

Deciding which material to cut down on for an entry with a word limit is really, really hard (I think all of us had our own problems with it), however this looks like you tried to accomplish everything at once, include everyone and give everyone a lot to do. The result is quite daunting to think of as a place to set a campaign in, unless some heavy picking and choosing goes into it first.


Mauricio, are you aware that the judges have changed the rules and contestants are not supposed to comment on others entries now?

That said, I see some promise here. I thought there were a lot of ideas thrown down in rapid-fire succession, so I would like to see them spelled out in more depth.

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

MythrilDragon wrote:

...who have dedicated their lives to mastering their arcane and marital skills...

I'm not sure I want to adventure in a land where the men spend their time mastering their marital skills.

I'm teasing, it's an easy typo! :-)

Having said that, the dense block of Names Of People Places And Things I Do Not Know was a bit rough for me, and I admit I skimmed over it, not really sure what might have been in it.

Not necessarily fair, but I was getting an otherwise generic vibe and didn't think that block would reward the effort needed to decode it.

I might come back to this one later and give it another shot, almost solely because it did include the feats, so maybe there's some more value hidden in the obscure names.

I like the basic idea of your country and the fallen lords.

I don't like the name Spine Peaks. Similar names to that get used for mountain ranges a lot in fantasy worlds. You might want to avoid names that are too commonly used.

However, I liked that you used the name Kull. I thought you were paying homage to Kull the Conquerer, but I guess I can see how editors might want to avoid famous names.

I wish you had left off the feats and devoted those words to more adventure/campaign ideas.

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, this doesn't draw me in.
Is it entertaining: No, I started skipping quite early
Is it original: No, (it might be, but I skipped large parts)

Final verdict: Rejected.

Liberty's Edge

varianor wrote:

Mauricio, are you aware that the judges have changed the rules and contestants are not supposed to comment on others entries now?

That said, I see some promise here. I thought there were a lot of ideas thrown down in rapid-fire succession, so I would like to see them spelled out in more depth.

Where is this rule posted?

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

Like the inclusion of game crunch, in this case the regional feats.

The conflicts and holdings of the Fallen Lords are well described. I like the involvement of the missionaries.

First sentence: I had to get a long way in before the 'prophecy' started making any sense.

This is not a Lawful nation.

Empirical council? What? I finished the article with still very little idea of how the Icalu Empire was run.

Misuse of 'marital' tore it for me.

Good ideas but too many errors.

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

Null points for teasing me with psionics, grrrrr.

I have to agree with others here the Big Block Of Proper Names and Captials All Together Made My Eyes Glaze Over.

Sorry to pile on

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6 aka adanedhel9

I like that this place has a ton of diversity. Really, it's almost more like a mini-campaign world than a nation in a broader setting. I think too many people get stuck on the idea that nation = region = culture; while the three are typically connected, they aren't the same. I really enjoyed this component of the Spine Peaks.

I also find it interesting that you chose to include hard crunch. I'm not certain that there weren't better ways to use your words. Though I do like the feats themselves, and they tie nicely into the rest of the entry.

As others have said, your entry does have readability issues, both in content and structure. This, to me, is a huge detractor from what otherwise could've been a great entry.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Locke1520

I think that all of my concerns with this entry have already been covered effectivly. That said, aside from rough patches in the writing and the rush of proper names there are things I really do like this entry. For example: I like the sidebar of regional feats (the crunch shows that this writer has good grasp of how story and rules can come together). I also like the inclusion of psionics in a way that doesn't prevent DMs who don't like such non-standard content from using the country. There is also obviously a lot of potential story material hidden in here.

This is only round two and since I really liked the Goblin Ears I'm willing to let a few of the rougher parts of this entry pass and will most likely vote for this one to enter round 3.

Very interesting. A little more original than some of the other 'generic' fantasy entries, but I share the same concerns that others have voiced. So I'm waffling on this one.

Name alert! Name alert! As others, I was put off with heavy bombardment of names...nice ideas being thrown there but left unexplored...country is interesting, the entry as written however fails IMO (unfortunate, as I too really liked the wondrous item...)

Place your votes.

Sovereign Court

The writing and formatting really got in the way for me. I also am of the opinion that regional feats tend to drive players to a frame of mind where they think their choices are being reduced, this isn't my Greyhawk, blah blah blah.

I see ossibility, but not a vote.

I like the core idea of a mountainous region - mountains are usually improperly treated as "no man's lands" - I love Greyhawk but it suffered from that a lot. And the fallen angel thing is really nice.

There are a lot of grammar/writing problems here, and, as othes have noted, the proepr names are a little dizzying. I don't mind rules content but the feats I thought weren't too solid.

The core concept is very strong, but the implementation mars it a little.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16 aka amusingsn

I like that you included "sidebar" material. I'm a fan of sidebars.

I am going to try to avoid being harsh, but I'm going to be very straightforward here. This is a competition and every entrant should have brought their best work to the table. The writing ability here is poor and far below what should be expected of an RPG Superstar. Some of the sentences are clunky and confusing, word choice questionable (Is Ikastur actually "newfound", implying that it has been discovered as a ruin or a pre-existing city, or "newly-founded", implying that it is still under construction?), and some typos are unfortunately comical ("marital skills").

That being said, it can be corrected rather easily. This writing needs a pass through a spellchecker first, a scrutinizing read-through second, and a pass through someone else with a good grasp of written English third. I'd recommend that to any writer, actually, on any project, but this entry really shows the dangers of writing and posting in a hurry without solid proofreading.

Content-wise, I sadly don't feel like there's a diamond in the rough waiting to be discovered. I hate the names, such as Qolpeen, which make me chuckle and remind me of The Eye of Argon. I also question whether anyone would want to call themselves a "Fallen Lord". It reminds me of "The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants".

I like seeing crunch in the entries, but it felt too much like an afterthought here. I don't find the Feats compelling, attractive, or tied strongly into the Description (The Waonni can't be that oppressed with a 20% discount on the week's groceries). We get some levels for the Fallen Lords (with the eye-roll-inducing tease of a Fallen Lord prestige class), but nothing to set them apart from each other aside from some summary of where and how they draw power. I want physical and philosophical differences if these guys are going to be major NPCs in the region or at least a hook so evocative that I can see each one vividly in my mind's eye.

A pass on this one for me, but an improvement in writing skills could get more of the obvious creativity out on the page/screen. Thanks for sharing your entry and best wishes!

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

the good :
Some nicely unconventional ideas, like the cattle-grazer dwarves, the clan/kin-based Waonni and some of the adventure hooks. Refreshing setup combining different climates and terrain zones - I wouldn't have minded having some typical beasties listed though.

the bad :
Many (heavily) clichéed concepts such as the squabbling overlords, the naming conventions (either to anglizied or rather unpronouncable ), the tomb of a buried/imprisoned celestial (*yawn*). and, frankly, I don't care for gaming stats of rulers - the first thing I change anyway.
I wouldn't have minded "Kull", but understand the problem publishers face with this.

the ugly :
Style of writing made this hard to read, spelling and grammatical errors added to irritation and gave the entire post a rushed feeling.
Also, the lack of information of what the country does for a living and revenue bothered me, as much as the lack of any hints regarding religious believes and oddities. Same goes for the quabble between the Fallen Lords, who seem at odds simply for the principle of it.

Still, nice entry, though I wouldn't vote fo it given the competition

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 6th one I read. I apologize if I repeat what has been mentioned.

This place sound like a cold, frontier land - great for adventuring, or possibly getting involved with the Fallen Lords or Waonni.

The excellent details are great for game development. The whole place spoke to me as akin to the old Marvel Conan-esque adventures - mercenary plots; godless empires; and chances for combat and mayhem aplenty.

The place does come off as dry in terms of appeal. There's lots of stats, and some baseline groundwork, but I found that little else that really appealed to the place. You would need to have players who are definetly self-motivated - possibly as neutral types. It has potential, but more hooks would have been helpful.

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.

It needs work to be in the (a) or (c)category. Maybe with character who uses the Waonni trait, it's best used as (b).

Its unlikely to be in my top 5.

I would have to say alot of good ideas are hidden in your submission. However I never really got a sense we where talking about a country. This kind of ran more like an ecclesiastical barrage of info without, any sense of a solid foundation. I can take pieces of your submission and make them work in a campaign setting. Though I don't see enough in its context that would really make me want to elaborate on this any longer.

Overall less is more sometimes taking a step back will move you two places further. As far as the naming aspect I really was not bothered by it. I feel maybe a little bit of nickpicking was done on Kull (similar to Krull) by the judges. At least alot of different characteristics appeared in the naming process. I also thought the names gelled well together but your presentation of the material was lacking in this one.

Good luck in your future endeavors.

Legendary Games, Necromancer Games

I'm glad you made the cut. I'm not sure that your country showed a huge improvement over your item, though. So spend some time this weekend writing and re-writing. Really try to focus on a tight concept. I think you've got the goods to make the next round. Crank it up and good luck!

Community / Forums / Archive / Paizo / RPG Superstar™ / Previous Contests / RPG Superstar™ 2008 / Round 2: Design a country / Spine Peaks All Messageboards

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