Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Stonescream Clan

Legend tells of a clan of dwarves that were exiled from the Great Halls in the Ironspire mountains. While their original clan name has been stricken from dwarven history (a typical punishment when a family or entire clan are exiled), adventurers and dwarven historians know them by the name they were branded with: the Stonescream Clan.

Rumor has it that the Stonescream clan were plagued by a hereditary madness, and their ruins seem to support this: twisted passageways that double back on themselves, carvings depicting screaming dwarves with blank eyes, tunnels meant to catch the wind that blows through the caverns and turn it into what sounds like a chorus of screams, and traps that inflict as much psychological damage on their victims as they do physical. Many sections of ruins of the Stonescream complexes contain chambers that have no apparent purpose. Although the Stonescream appeared to have the same love of gold and gems as their dwarven kin, statuary and finery in their abandoned holds often bear disturbing or puzzling imagery. The Stonescream clan also appear to have heavily embraced the use of magic, which may have been part of the reason for their exile, although nobody really knows. (As mentioned above, the dwarves of Ironspire have the infuriating habit of erasing the history of those they exile)

...the Stonescream clan is an idea I came up with for my recent Pathfinder game. The party has actually been exploring the ruins of a Stonescream complex for two sessions, and we left this week's game on a cliffhanger with them about to take on a minotaur who has taken residence is part of the abandoned complex. I've really tried to ramp up the puzzles and wicked traps. I do find, however, that my dungeon design style doesn't actually sit well with the "ten encounters per level" formula that latter day D&D seems to embrace. My dungeons feel big and empty, with lots of hallways and "useless" rooms. I try to keep adding interesting details that let the players guess at the nature and history of the missing clan, but I worry about having too much "filler." I also had to recruit one of the players to keep a running tally of party wealth, since I seem to have trouble documenting how much treasure I've doled out.

I am enjoying the game, but I still feel like I'm not "studied" enough in PF. I also like running PF more than I had expected, but I do still have a healthy appreciation for the more rules-lite games out there. (SWN, holler!)

I'm going to a new local Con next weekend. I'll be sure to post about it. So far there seems to be disturbing lack of gaming. Honestly, if the missus didn't want to go to this con (she's into all the other Con stuff aside from gaming), I'd probably skp this one in favor of July's local con that I've been to the last couple of years.

Deadlands tomorrow. Rock on.

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