Adventure Setting: The Lonley Plane

Don’t worry, I haven’t abandoned this blog! This week’s inspiration is inspired by the Elevator Game (a piece of urban folklore) – a mysterious plane where living beings cannot sense each other and mental demons haunt you. Enjoy!


I had heard that if you went into a room with only one door and shuttered windows there was a ritual you could perform to reach another plane. So last week Ryleela and I decided to try it and went down to that old storage hut. Closed the doors, opened the doors. Closed the windows, opened the windows. Each the set number of times. I didn’t think it would actually work, Ryleela was the one who believed. But then, I felt…well the only way to describe it is I felt alone. I looked around for Ryleela, but she wasn’t there anymore. I opened the door and it was the same world, but I was the only one there. Nothing made a sound, not birds, not the wind, not any workers singing from the fields. The silence roared in my ears. I walked around for a bit in the complete stillness until I came across the shadows. They didn’t behave like normal shadows, but moved on their own. Whenever they came near, my head would  pound and the feelings of being alone and forgotten dominated my thoughts. In a lucid moment, I ran back to the hut and began to perform the ritual in reverse. At one point the dust on the ground began spelling out a sentence “Are you there?” but at the same time it was done and the world returned. Ryleela wasn’t there either, though. I’ve been to the hut every day, but I fear the only way to save her will be to go back there.

Background:

Hidden under our own reality is the Lonely Plane. Only a few have succeeded in traveling there on purpose, the usual way to get there is by accident. Visitors to the realm will find a world tantamount to our own, except they are seemingly the only living or even once living being. Continue reading “Adventure Setting: The Lonley Plane”

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The Order of the Stars

This week’s inspiration is based upon a session run by a friend using the Mutants & Masterminds system.


 

The Museum of Human History has recently acquired the complete collection of Pharaoh Cletokep, a newly discovered pharaoh of ancient Egypt. Famed archaeologist Eugene Bullstein found the tomb in the remote Sahara far beyond where people previously believed the ancients lived. Scholars believe the pharaoh may be the person referred to in later Egyptian writings as “the enemy” or “the blasphemer.” Unknown to anyone, the sarcophagus serves as a portal to a pocket dimension where the soul of the fallen Pharaoh and her army await the day they will rise again to bring about the Order of the Stars.

Box-Texts:

Inside the Museum

Hushed voices echo off the polished stone of the museum’s floors and walls. The museum boasts an impressive collection filled with dioramas, interactive displays and multi-media. The curators have even reconstructed rooms from long-gone periods down to pens on desks and tables set for tea. A gilded dog cage, its originally occupant dead for hundreds of years, still sits with pride alongside its dead king’s throne. But few patrons admire these impressive displays and instead flock to see the newly acquired Pharaoh Cletokep Collection.

The Egyptian section

Crowds of people peer through the display cases’ thick glass at the carefully labeled artifacts and sarcophagus. The cases and people fill room after room. School teachers attempt to quiet their charge of students while a curator lectures. In the last room, stone tiles cover the walls. Hieroglyphics and pictures coat each one so that the entire room appears as a giant storybook. Pharaoh Cletokep’s ebony sarcophagus dominates the center, its gold hieroglyphics shimmering as if just painted. Continue reading “The Order of the Stars”

The Splendid Spa of Two Angels

Today’s inspiration is a setting and plot idea for a one-shot adventure, an abandoned spa reachable only by a portal in an alley. Terrible monsters who feed on thoughts inhabit the spa and caused its ruin.


 Background:

Long ago, the City of Two Angels was the most fashionable place to be seen. The streets lined with shining cobblestone, the shops windows filled with expensive clothing and exquisite jewelry. Artists, politicians, entrepreneurs all called Two Angels home. Tourists came from far and wide to spend a few days being part of the hustle and bustle of the influential city. But mostly they came for The Splendid Spa, a luxury resort existing inside a pocket universe in Two Angels. The Spa claimed its hot springs cured all ailments. The salts, it said, made a person more beautiful, wiser, and even younger. But then one day, shadow creatures began to secretly visit the Spa. Strange creatures that at first appeared as only a haze, but grew more solid and stronger from feeding off a person’s thoughts, especially those of imagination. And few thoughts are more imaginative than that of fear. Guests began to die, found withered up like raisins. The resort was at a loss to explain this, but as the deaths grew more frequent, the creatures grew more plentiful. The Spa was forced to shut down, and the portal to it blocked and buried, least the creatures break through. After the news of the deaths spread through the population, Two Angels began to decline as people moved avoided it out of fear. Today, no one remembers exactly why Two Angels became the cesspool of poverty and crime it is today.

Box-Texts:

The Portal’s Opening

Elderly mansions line this street, their once proud awnings now torn and faded. Trash clutters the yards and banks of mailboxes crowd the space next to the doors. In the alley between two of the houses, cats fight in the piled-up rubbish. But from a crack in a bricked-up door, a blue light glows. A closer inspection reveals that it appears as some kind of window looking out onto a grassy meadow.

Inside the portal:

A deep blue sky peppered with wispy clouds hangs over a grassy meadow, blue mountains obstruct the horizon in the distance. The remnants of stone walls peek through the tall grass and overgrown flowers. Cottages with sagging roofs stand in a semi-circle.

Inside a cottage:

Dead ferns in cracked pots flank a reception desk. An iron sculpture of fish swimming hangs on the wall. Whenever one looks away, the fish appear to move, but when the viewer looks back, they hang still again. In the next room, rows of tubs sink into the floor. Mud fills them, and a few plants have taken root, fed by the sunlight streaming through the cracked roof. A rotten smell wafts in from another room, making one instinctively cover their nose. On the wall, someone has craved the words “Don’t Think” in jagged letters.

The Rough Part of Town

This week, two more ‘box-texts.’ These are not as random as they might seem at first, they are part of what I’m calling “The Rough Part of Town,” and go with Dragg’s Drug Den


Rundown Racetrack

Giant metal wheels rust in heaps around the racetrack grounds. Only a few spectators cheer from the stands. Most don’t seem to truly understand the sport, screaming loudly whenever the drivers crash and splashing beer on each other in their excitement. Except for an elderly gentlemen sitting in the first row leaning heavily forward on his cane to view the race. The giant wheels spin around the track, the drivers, seated where the spoke would normally go, wipe the mud from their goggles with each turn.

Gambling Hall

Noise, flashing lights, and smoke clog the gambling hall. People in fancy, but cheap, evening wear crowd the tables. Most people play games of chance, their eyes fixated on balls whirling around tables and spinning discs. But the most popular tables are the races where tiny creatures race around tiny tracks. Drunken gamblers shout at the creatures to move. Anytime hands get too close to the race track, bouncers step in to pull the offenders back. Behind the games of chance and a curtain, gamblers engage in more serious games. The players pick up and put down cards, only speaking when needed to instruct the dealer. The dealers’ voices call out the losses and wins in a pleasant monotone. The ruining or making of fortunes means nothing to them.

Campaign Front: Tearing Through Space

At the beginning of the year I brought you the Attack of the Riftsquid! Adventure Front, an outline for a single session of play. Today, I expand on that adventure front with the campaign front Tearing Through Space -an outline to use for a multi-session campaign. Since these are all ‘big dangers’ not every danger will come in play every session. Think of this outline as the Big Bads of a television show, the overarching dangers that may not always directly threaten the PCs, but tie together the Big Story.


The Triwip people hoped they could settle a new planet after their own had died in the explosion of its sun. But space is big and callous while habitable planets are small and fragile. Halfway through their voyage, a Riftsquid attacked the ship, the first of many pitfalls for the Triwips. Tears in space-time were forming dangerous zones of unpredictable chaos and were likely the source of the recent Riftsquid blight…along with other extra-dimensional threats. Even the Triwip people themselves stood divided on what the future should look like. An aggressive minority of Triwips  who called themselves The Apex saw the new settlement as a chance to perfect the race, to finally free it of undesirable things…and people.

Danger: Dimensional Tears

Type: Unpredictable zones

Impulse: To grow, to tear apart reality

  1. A new tear opens up
  2. Reality and time near the tear warps
  3. The tears spread
  4. The multi-verses collide to form one erratic universe

Impending Doom: Rampant Chaos. Time and space swirl and crash together, making distinctions between past, present, and future meaningless. Continue reading “Campaign Front: Tearing Through Space”

Dragg’s Drug Den

This week I’m trying something slightly different. Like I’ve done before, below is a box-text description of a drug den. But, below that are three ‘hooks’ to choose from, various activities that you can use to get an adventure started. I’ve kept the setting non-specific enough that it could be used in both fantasy and sci-fi.


 

Giant hookahs hang from the ceiling of The Den. Glittery pieces of tile arranged on their surface give each the appearance of an octopus swimming through the thick smoke that clouds the place. Patrons lounge on dirty couches, sucking on the hoses dangling from the hookahs, eyes half-closed. Others gyrate on the dance floor, their eyes blood-shot from the Dizzy they’ve consumed.

Hook One – The Mysterious Group

In one corner, a group of people dressed in clean white garments talks in low voices despite the loud music. Only water glasses sit on their table, the hookah pipes unused. Anytime someone tries to sit with them, people in crisp red uniforms firmly pushes them away.

Hook Two – Behind Closed Doors

A man walks up to the counter and whispers something to the den keep. He’s led into a back room where a boy pulls back a heavy curtain. Behind it, Dragg, the Den’s owner, soaks in enormous tub filled with some kind of thick, foul-smelling substance. An old woman kneels before the tub, a golden swan held out in her hands. Dragg gives a short nod. A guard takes the swan from the woman and in return gives her sacks of rice and guns.

Hook Three – The Unseen Children

One of the hookahs has a “Pardon Our Cleaning” sign. Small children scramble over the hookah with rags, trying to shine its chipped tiles. Other children with coarse brushes climb through the hoses and into the hookah itself, scrubbing off the thick build-up of creosote. A locked brace encircles each child’s leg and prevents them from running away.

One-Eye

This week, the town of One-Eye, a penal colony at the edges of civilization. Although I wrote this for a fantasy, it was inspired by Jupiter’s Moon Titan and could easily be adjusted for a sci-fi campaign.


 

High noon; the sun barely visible as a tiny smudge through the tangerine clouds. A purple ship glides through a stinking sea toward a black shore. People stand ready to greet the ship, their pale skin giving them the appearance of ghosts waiting to greet comers to the underworld. And perhaps they are.

This the far-flung land of One-Eye, the penal, mining colony for all undesirables. Behind the greeters loom the caves formed by the acid snow that frequently falls onto the soft rocky terrain. The caves honeycomb the land – no one knows how deep they go. Melted snow and sea water collects in the caves, forming deep, dark lakes. At the bottom of the lakes rest valuable black sand, and it is this the miners must dive for. Miners go missing with such frequency that a short memorial service is held everyday. One bell tolled for each miner. Continue reading “One-Eye”