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Delos Sword and Planet series

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Re: Delos Sword and Planet series
Post by The E   » Mon Nov 07, 2016 8:32 am

The E
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Location: Bielefeld, Germany

Lord Skimper wrote:Perhaps you should try writing a short story and posting it here. I write short stories around my DnD characters all the time. Some are fairly good, others not so. Just give us Three paragraphs describing an incident. For instance I invent Items and Spells and post them on Red Wizard Sites. I'm not a great Author but I get my ideas across. You should try it.


Well then, let's give this piece of your writing a good old critique. To avoid quote stacks, I shall interject my notes using red.

Example Stone Feathers

The Red Mage walked into the town on the outskirt of the great forest. A huge orc army was moving through that forest over a hundred thirtyfive thousand strong, threatening everyone they came across. Nonthreatening armies are rather rare, it has to be said. However, why is this relevant to this red mage character wandering into the outskirts of this forest? The entire town came to greet The Mage in Red, eleven thousand in total. Why is the appearance of this guy a reason for an entire town to drop what they're doing and meet him at the gates? Five hundred were veteran soldiers the rest just folk. Why does the reader need to know this? Black Lightning, half humanish demon half drow 6'5" White hair skin as black as the darkest night sky, wearing his hoodless Red robes. To use anime fandomspeak: OC, don't steal. Also, your sentence construction is atrocious; this is the sort of short text you'd writen on a character sheet as a reminder, not a fleshed out description. He cast a spell and suddenly seven other members of the Red Cohort were standing with him. Why? Skimper & his bodyguard Omijar, Racmore towering over everyone 7'11" half ogre Red mage, Elastra, Shambahla, Serrasta and Tinlin "the Fool" the wild magic Red mage. Are these all red mages? What the hell is a red mage anyway? The Magi took equal numbers of villagers to separate parts of the village. Why? The cattle pens, the horse stables, the wagons, Skimper lead his group into the forest, Shambahla to the cemetery with Black and Racmore. Tinlin to the small tower keep in the main square. Together they began casting a spell. Wagons changed into catapults and siege towers, villagers transformed into Red clothed warriors, undead sprang from graves, houses and the pub transformed into outer and inner walls. Several trees started to drop spears and bows and leaf woven sheaths full of arrows. All piled around a large pile of shields. A large group of wooden shield walls dotted the woods. Fourteen thousand undead skeleton warriors and zombies gathered in the main square, around them on the inner walls stood eleven thousand elite Thayan soldiers. Tinlins transformation spell went a little wrong, the five hundred veteran soldiers were still there dressed in shiny gold armour all transformed permanently into hill giants and not riding undead horses but rather astride living wyvern also permanent. Hang on. Is this supposed to be DnD? Because if it is, that has to be the most overpowered bullshit imaginable. Why does a spell like that exist? Why is anyone seriously considering warfare in a world in which it exists? Also, again, on a pure sentence-by-sentence level, your writing is, to put it mildly, atrocious. There is no connective tissue that leads from one statement to the next, no sense of flow, not even a hint of emotion; in a movie, this would be a giant special effects sequence (and sure to be at least somewhat traumatic for the people affected), and you're describing the scene with all the flair of a laundry list. Carrying small balista and armed with golden polearms thirty five feet long with wicked hooks and where their shield should have been each giant carried a long bucket full of multi coloured feathers. The feathers wedged in tightly, but can be pulled from the buckets and dropped upon orcs below. Each feather transforms into cockatrice for one full minute. Each bucket containing five feathers. If put back in the buckets the feathers will be able to be reused the next day. Is that supposed to be the part where you describe the item you created? Because, again, your inability to set the scene for this is staggering. Normally, you'd try to make this item be the centerpiece of the story, but I can't help but feel that in this case, it is ever so slightly overshadowed by this "Create Armed Fort" spell you've started the story with.

The orcs never knew what hit them the third wave What third wave? What happened to waves 1 and 2? wandered through the trees towards the sound of combat, they were surprised to see a further forest of stone orc statues. seven thousand three hundred in total, half lay on their sides a portion of them were smashed. Orcs are apparently amazing at counting statues, who knew The scouts were wrong the easy pickings village without a wall not only had three but was surrounded by hoards of undead and thousands of elite Thayan soldiers, they were then set upon by hundreds of giants flying overhead on the backs of strange looking dragons. Again, I have to wonder what this story is supposed to showcase. The feathers, the town, or the "Create Bullshit Army" spell. This was more than they bargained for and they fled pushing back the orcs behind them. Dragmock the orc general was amazed by the village defenses and more so by the huge piles of orc statues surrounded by brightly coloured feathers.

The village was renamed by the orcs as Stone Feathers from then on, eventually even the villagers started calling it that. The Orc statues eventually were collected and mounted on the outermost wall as strange gargoyles. The dead reburied, a gruesome event although half did it themselves, they stayed animated for almost two years. The giants in gold mounted on wyvern remain the elite troops of Stone Feathers. Twice more they repelled smaller human armies, The Human statues soon became part of the economy as the statues were sold to passing merchants. Even some of the Orc statues sold. Stone Feathers is a great village fortress now, The Red Cohort is treated to a great feast whenever they appear.


On to general notes: This piece is garbage. It reads like the feverish fantasies of a 12-year-old who has just discovered the polymorph spell suite. Character descriptions, where they exist, show a painful lack of self-awareness. Character interactions are nonexistant. Character work is nonexistant. The story, such as it is, is incoherently told and jumps from scene to scene without much thought given to how it all fits together. If the purpose of this piece is to give background detail for this town, it fails miserably; if it is intended to showcase a particular magic item, it fails as well; all it does well is highlight how gosh-darn-awesome this group of red mages is.
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Re: Delos Sword and Planet series
Post by Michael Everett   » Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:00 pm

Michael Everett
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The E wrote:On to general notes: This piece is garbage. It reads like the feverish fantasies of a 12-year-old who has just discovered the polymorph spell suite. Character descriptions, where they exist, show a painful lack of self-awareness. Character interactions are nonexistant. Character work is nonexistant. The story, such as it is, is incoherently told and jumps from scene to scene without much thought given to how it all fits together. If the purpose of this piece is to give background detail for this town, it fails miserably; if it is intended to showcase a particular magic item, it fails as well; all it does well is highlight how gosh-darn-awesome this group of red mages is.


May I offer Stone Feathers – The opening re-written!

Despite the brightness of the day, it seemed cold. Even though the invasion hadn’t actually reached the village to which the Red Mage was travelling, word had carried about the horde of Orcs heading for the town. Not because of any strategic importance, but simply because it was there and the Orcs were on the Hunt.
The Red Mage paused atop the crest of the hill and pulled back his hood, allowing his long, white hair to flow in the wind. His pointed ears, legacy of an Dark Elven father, twitched slightly as he listened for the noises that were not part of nature, which would indicate that the urgency of his mission was even greater than he had believed. After a moment, he resumed his journey, his pace rapid, yet somehow unhurried. Ahead of him, the walls of the village came into view amongst the trees and the Mage fought down a sneer at how ill-prepared the villagers were, lacking even a basic kill-zone around the tree-trunk wall that wended its way around the village. A few figures peered over the wall and the Mage gave a mental nod at the evidence that the villagers at least understood the importance of having a walkway that their archers could stand on and their swordsmen could defend from things like ladders and grapples.
If it hadn’t been for the mission that he had accepted, he wouldn’t have bothered with these woodsfolk, but the village was, whether by happenstance or fate, in almost exactly the right spot to attract the invaders.
The main gate opened and it was all the Mage could do to not face-palm at the extra proof of the non-martial nature of the people behind the wall. Even the greenest soldier knew that one did not simply open the gate to an unknown but instead hailed them from the Wall. These people, though…
Well, perhaps the ones that survived would learn.
Pulling out the scroll that the Monarch’s Scribe had given him, the Mage held it out as he approached the gate. Hopefully, at least one of the villagers could read and he would be able to put his preferred plan into operation.

Okay. The threat has been revealed (invading army), the main protagonist introduced with a few hints as to how he looks (white-haired half-elf) and his characterization is in place (militaristic with a superiority complex, but at least has enough of a moral code to do what he said he would do).
The place has been shown (formerly-peaceful village). In addition, the fact that the country has a feudal system is referred to (Monarch's Scribe) as well as the lack of formal education for most of the populace.
These small details are classed as World-building and don't need an infodump. Just drop a sentence in here or there and let it build up gradually.
Oh. And I remembered to use the Return button.
Seriously. Try not to Wall-Of-Text a story. It puts people right off.
And try to figure out where you're going and how you want to get there. That's where I slipped up with these attempted stories.
~~~~~~

I can't write anywhere near as well as Weber
But I try nonetheless, And even do my own artwork.

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Re: Delos Sword and Planet series
Post by The E   » Tue Nov 08, 2016 5:28 am

The E
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Posts: 1745
Joined: Tue May 07, 2013 1:28 pm
Location: Bielefeld, Germany

Michael Everett wrote:Okay. The threat has been revealed (invading army), the main protagonist introduced with a few hints as to how he looks (white-haired half-elf) and his characterization is in place (militaristic with a superiority complex, but at least has enough of a moral code to do what he said he would do).
The place has been shown (formerly-peaceful village). In addition, the fact that the country has a feudal system is referred to (Monarch's Scribe) as well as the lack of formal education for most of the populace.
These small details are classed as World-building and don't need an infodump. Just drop a sentence in here or there and let it build up gradually.
Oh. And I remembered to use the Return button.
Seriously. Try not to Wall-Of-Text a story. It puts people right off.
And try to figure out where you're going and how you want to get there. That's where I slipped up with these attempted stories.


That is how you set a scene. A protagonist and a threat he is facing are both established, there's a clear sense of him being on a mission, of a greater strategy at work. There are clear lines of progression that the story can take from here in order to describe the town, and what happened during this orc attack to transform it into the town the players will later see.
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Re: Delos Sword and Planet series
Post by Lord Skimper   » Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:54 pm

Lord Skimper
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Joined: Wed Aug 07, 2013 12:49 am
Location: Calgary, Nova, Gryphon.

Stone Feathers is from a description of a spell on a Red Wizard of Thay Forum. I removed the spell parts for this forum. On the other forum people know the answers to the various questions you asked. Plus I only took a few minutes to edit out the spell descriptors.

Funny thing is I have written more than Ian ever will.

The re write is good, I like that.
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