Thursday, January 8, 2015

Let's Break It!

If your players are anything like mine, which I imagine they are, this may come in handy...

Here, we have an excerpt from the recent re-release of Death, Frost, Doom. It's a great element--evocative and curiosity-driving. The book, as written, talks a lot about using magic to attempt to communicate with the globes. The book even provides a handy ritual to facilitate such attempts:

I included a similar enigmatic snow-globe-like object in a previous adventure with the same PCs, prior to even reading DFD.

"This bauble is a sphere of clear glass, about three inches in diameter, containing a miniature diorama of Kryptgarten Keep and its environs, all up-to-date—the keep, the church, the bathhouses, the tavern, et al. The diorama appears to be static, it shows no creatures or movement, but it does change, slowly to reflect modifications to the structures depicted. The sphere radiates powerful magic of an unidentifiable nature, as well as a strong aura of Evil."

Does anyone else notice something missing here?



Your PCs find thousands of small snow-globes. Do you really think talking to them is the first thing they are going to do? Really? Talk to it?! How often do players do that?



My PCs loved the imagery of these, they loved the mystery, but, of course, the first thing they did upon finding these globes was attempt to crush one. So, obviously, a small alternate universe trapped in a tiny glass sphere had better do something when you break it....

And it had better be weird...

Once my players discovered the "Resonance of the Bound Spheres" they immediately jumped to the conclusion that breaking one of the spheres must bring that reality into parallel with their reality (i.e. the reality in the specific sphere becomes THE reality that they are in).

Awesome. Let's use that!

So, what has changed in this new reality? How do you determine that? 

First, it should be minor (unless you really want to just throw out your whole campaign world, in which case go gonzo). Also, observation of quantum realities tends to lock in specific attributes, right? Yeah...let's go with that...

So, when a PC breaks a sphere, the world should be changed in three ways:

  1. Observable effects. If the PCs look at the sphere in detail, the GM should describe it, obviously. Any observable physical changes in that world should be reflected in the world when they break it (extra moons, changed landscape, rain of fire, different time of day, complete absence of life-forms, small figures being chased down the mountain by the hordes of the undead, etc.). Whatever they see....
  2. Three Questions! If the PCs use the "Resonance of the Bound Spheres", they get to ask any three questions they want. Be creative with your answers and take your queues from the questions ("Are we all alive? Is so and so still a dwarf?"). These questions should be the primary way for the PCs to influence the new reality and determine whether they want to be there before they break it.
  3. Roll Randomly below. As many times as you want (I usually do only 1 or 2 to keep things moving quick). 

d30 roll effect
1 Random PC rerolls 1 random ability score (4d6, drop lowest).
2 Random PC rerolls 1 random ability score (4d6, drop highest).
3 Random PC is a different race (roll randomly as for Yarash's Spoon).
4 Random PC is the opposite gender.
5 Random PC has a small, innocuous animal companion (duck, hamster, etc.).
6 Random PC is older (+1d20 years, Will not die of old age).
7 Random PC is younger (-1d20 years, minimum 5 years).
8 Random PC lost 1 random limb.
9 Random PC is more experienced (+1d10 x 1000xp).
10 Random PC is less experienced (minimum for current level).
11 Nearest un-encountered enemy is already dead.
12 Party is in a different location (random room in same dungeon, or 1 mile away if outdoors).
13 Random PC must change 1 proficient skill, choose randomly, to another random skill.
14 Random PC gains 1 random Non-weapon proficiency.
15 Random PC has a different background (roll randomly).
16 Nearest un-encountered enemy has twice as many hit points.
17 Nearest allied population vanishes (dead, emigrated, whatever).
18 Nearest enemy population vanishes (dead, emigrated, whatever).
19 Party has a random NPC with them (any other character from your campaign that you want to be there).
20 Random previously-encountered NPC has opposite reaction to party.
21 Nearest un-explored area contains a monster of CR 1d10.
22 PCs most-trusted NPC ally is dead (killed by worst enemy 1d4 months ago).
23 PCs worst NPC enemy is dead (Random PC killed him 1d4 months ago).
24 Random PC is undead.
25 Random PC lost 1 random magic item.
26 Random PC has one long-term malady removed (curse, aging, lost limb, etc.).
27 One character-unique item or trait of the breaking PC is moved to a random PC (i.e. special limb, Grimnir’s staff, etc.)
28 Nearest un-explored area contains an additional chest with 1d10 x1000gp worth of treasure.
29 Random PC owns a fine home in the nearest settlement. Has ‘City Familiarity’ proficiency for that settlement.
30 Nearest named NPC is a friend of the party.