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.

Contessa Moldred’s Mad Winery

An adventure prompt for Halloween! This is slightly darker than I usually like to write, but it is Halloween. Hope you enjoy it and please let me know what you think in the comments.


The cold floor seeped through her dress, through her skin, through her muscles and came to rest in her bones. She waited for It to start again. The clawing, the screaming, and the pain. The door squeaked open, a figure slipped in.

“Hold out your arm.” Continue reading “Contessa Moldred’s Mad Winery”

Adventure Front: The Hollow Manuscript

Another Adventure Front using the Dungeon World system! I do not plan on making this into a detailed adventure as I did for The Crystal Dust Road, but I did test-run this and it was a lot of fun! My party ended up dramatically disrupting the Book Thieves’ Auction and then fighting Prof. Werther in an undersea bunker.

Description:

Merlin University dwarfs all other magical libraries. Its vasts collection spans four ground structures, two floating ‘sky’ buildings, and one underground cavern. The library’s collection includes everything from the extremely popular “The Children’s Big Book of Common Beasts” to the mysterious Hollow Manuscript. Many books can be checked out by the public, but many more due to their rarity, danger or both are kept locked under layers of protective spells, enchantments and trustworthy stone and iron. These require special permission to view.

Recently, though, books have started to vanish and more than books; nothing with words upon it is safe. Journals disappear from satchels, newspapers from patrons’ hands, even call slips. Luckily, so far only reading material located within the public area of the library has vanished.

Continue reading “Adventure Front: The Hollow Manuscript”

Part 3 of the Crystal Dust Road – The Finale

The finale to the Crystal Dust Road!  Links to: Part 1 and Part 2.

The Surrounding Countryside

Below are a few suggested encounters to use if your PCs decide to explore the countryside. If playing a short game, you may want to skip directly to the graveyard.

The Caves

The cliffs near the trade road hold numerous caves. Before they were captured by Ergithia, the goblins used one of the caves as their home. If the PCs find this cave, read the following out loud:

The air is heady with the smell of pine and damp earth, but a cool breeze wafts up from a man-sized hole in the mountain’s rock. A rope tied around a nearby tree disappears into the opening.

If the PCs go inside, read the following out loud:

The rope leads to a large, natural cavern big enough to comfortably house 20 people. Against one wall stand racks of bunk beds, held together with twine. In another corner, glass instruments and colorful bottles lie strewn about on a table. Pots, blankets, firewood and food rot on the ground.

Continue reading “Part 3 of the Crystal Dust Road – The Finale”

Adventure Prompt: Part 2 of The Crystal Dust Road – The Disappearing Caravans

I’ve written this adventure prompt to continue the adventure I started in this post. I am using the Dungeon World system, but you could adapt this for any system.


Your party has traveled to a well-known trade stop on the Crystal Dust Road, Stone Fort,  where the merchant’s guild is offering a big reward for solving the mystery of disappearing caravans. Have your party introduce themselves. Then ask why each party member wants to solve the mystery (or just win the reward), how (or if) they know the other party members and why they are working together.

Suggested Bonds:

_________ and I have collected many a bounty together before, but I still don’t trust them.

I’ve heard rumor of _________’s investigative skills, I hope to learn from them.

_______ is just in it for the money, I will show them there is more to life.

_________ seems like a greenhorn, they better not get in my way.

Once you’ve settled all that, read the following outloud:

Wagons heavily laden with valuable crystal dust rumble along the cobbled streets. Now and then a small puff of dust escapes, contributing to the build-up of dust which gives the whole town a  faint glimmer. The wagon drivers shout at pedestrians to get out of the way, who in turn shout back to get out of their way. Merchants hawk their goods from wooden stands, their buckets brimming with all magical necessities such as siren feathers, newt eyes, and mermaid scales. In stone buildings painted in dizzying patterns, richly-robed merchant sell the more valuable items the discerning wizard requires. 

A Reward poster lies on the small café table in front of you.  Even though you’ve been sitting for only a few minutes, the crystal dust is already scratching your throat and eyes. The poster reads:

“REWARD: Ten Wagons of Crystal Dust or its Equivalent in Coin to Whomever Can Solve the Problem of the Disappearing Caravans. Inquire with the Merchant’s Guild for More Information.”

The next section includes some light descriptions of the town and the people the PCs might encounter. Let your PCs explore, and don’t be afraid to  let them go ‘off-script’

Around the Town of Stone Fort

Population: 15,000

Geographical size: Roughly 3 mile square

Economy: Trade Center

This a mid-sized to large town. Any common items can be bought, and a few rarer items.

People to Encounter:

The outdoor stands: The merchants at this level do not belong to the guild and hence do not know much beyond the fact caravans have been disappearing and there is an award.

Suggested Names: Gligee Potionbrewer, Pan Hawker, Selma Hexenhammer

The wagons: Most wagon drivers are too busy to talk to the PCs and will ignore them. However, there is one caravan in town which is getting ready to leave and will allow the PCs to travel with them.

Suggested Names: Gruf Oxmaster, Ruby Whip

NPC: Kari Undergem, the wagon master. While she is not a merchant, and therefore not in a guild, a guild member has  hired her caravan. She has heard rumors that the caravans are not lost, but taken, their occupants murdered or enslaved. She is nervous about the trip, and willing to let the PCs accompany her caravan.

The indoor shops: Almost all indoor merchants are part of the guild and can give the PCs a bit more detail on the caravans. They know disappearance started happening  6 months ago, and are almost always along a one mile stretch of road. The Guild sent scouts to the area, but so far whenever scouts watch, no caravans are attacked. The scouts also searched the surrounding area, but found no signs of activity.

Suggested Names: Hittie Gold, Clavyo Richmound, Xan Coinbags

Any other townsperson: For the most part, anyone else the PCs talk to knows very little information. Multiple rumors abound about what is happening to the caravans.

Suggested Names: Timur Drop, Gamzee Brave, Rosewater Smiles

The Merchant’s Guild: This location is easily found by asking any towns person or by walking into the biggest, shiniest building with the engraved sign “The Merchant’s Guild.” If the PCs enter this building read the following out load:

The words “Merchant’s Guild” are chiseled above an immense open doorway. A mosaic caravan scene surrounds the doors. As you walk in, the caravan imagery continues, bringing wares to a mosaic marketplace which covers the entire back wall. The masterpiece dwarfs a simple wood desk where a gnome sits cleaning out his ears with a stick.

NPC: Rydarcargemurlite (Rydar for short): A male gnome with the tendency to forget what he’s talking about. He knows the following about the missing caravans, but besides being forgetful, he’s tired of explaining it to every kid who thinks they can win the reward:

  • The caravans are often found intact, but the caravan members gone.
  • Bodies are rarely recovered, when found, they are brutally torn apart and partially eaten.
  • Large caravans are never attacked, but small trinkets are often missing.
  • Caves riddle the cliffs where the caravan has disappeared.
  • There is a massive and ancient graveyard near to where the caravans disappear.

Continue the story in Part 3