Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Last Jury Trial of Wizard City

An idea for a mystery module for Wizard City (or any high magic setting, really): jury trials are a holdover from less magical times.

The Background

A famous wizard mob boss allegedly commits literal mass murder in front of a crowd of 2000 people then gives himself up to authorities and admits to the crime, then pleads not guilty while still admitting to the crime. His case goes to a jury trial.

It goes horribly wrong. He's found unanimously innocent, despite the mountain of evidence against him, including his own testimony, in which he bragged about the murders to the whole court.

The player-characters are tasked with finding out what went wrong, BEFORE the retrial is set to occur. They get paid for each flaw they find.

Details
What they start out with:

- Court Transcripts
- Identities of the Members of the Court
- Identity of the Defendant
- Identities of all Wizard-Lawyers involved
- Identities of the 9 Jurors (12 seems like too many for one adventure).
- Addresses for most of the people there.

Their job is to piece together what the heck happened that led to a unanimous non-guilty verdict.

The answer? Everything. Everything went wrong. Literally everything.

Court Transcript: magically modified post-trial.

Jurors: Suggested, Brain-washed, Commanded, Sleeper-Agented, Doppleganged, Threatened, Cursed, Bribed, or Thrown-Into-Future.

Lawyers: Wizardry used extensively. Enchantment spells layered with testimonial-illusions. Security threats conjured in the courtroom. Multiple people illusioned to look like the defendant. Zones of Truth dispelled and replaced with illusion versions. The works.

Defendant: Cloned several times prior to incident. The guy sitting in jail and at the trial was actually just some bum who was altered to look like one of the clones.

Judge: Utilized divination spells to augury and foresee the trial, thereby biasing his opinions before it even began.

Prosecutors: Memories of law practice modified, bamboozled and confused.

Evidence: Tampered, extra-dimensionally lost.

I sorta imagine it was like this, literally. Giant 8-ft tall wizard lawyer man,
12 identical egghead people in a box labelled "Jury".

The Catch

None of this really matters. New laws have been passed. Summary punishments are set to take effect within the month. The jury system is being phased out (for obvious reasons). This is all for the purpose of satiating some idealist's notions of justice and improving the system.

The double catch is that this entire endeavor was an elaborate ritual - the massacre, the trial, everything, down to the last detail. That's why getting everything was important. Every factor is a component in the ritual. What does the ritual do? Does it wipe all existing memory of a person, even to gods? Does it bequeath immortality? Does it assure that a person may not be named? (If the defendant was only referred to as "the defendant", this could be fun.)

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Shades

It's common knowledge that you destroy illusions by convincing them that they may not exist - unveiling the subjectivity of reality will erode them like a weeping acid. But what happens if you do the opposite? What happens when you take an illusion and reinforce its notions of itself, when you go to terrible lengths of creation to uphold the fiction of a fiction?

If it is a simple thing, then the thing becomes real. If that illusion was a person, then you get a Shade.

A Shade is an illusion of a person which believes itself to be real. It is a crafted soul.

From Westworld

It takes time and introspection to create a Shade. Unless you have intimate access to somebody else's soul, the only person who you can make is yourself. Usually, only you are privy to the depths of your personality: your secrets, your desires, your quirks, your thoughts, the important hidden subconscious bits that define personhood. The crafting is a work of inspiration and obsessiveness - everything must be believable, or the spell will fail.

Shades tend to look better than their original counterparts, or slightly worse. Rarely are they exactly the same. Any model can be used to create a Shade, though the most person-like fare the best - it is harder to convince a Shade that it isn't real the more real it looks. The oldest of Shades are completely indistinguishable from their originals - their joints crackle when they bend and every spiral in every fingerprint is just so.

How to tell them apart? Oftentimes you can't. They bleed and eviscerate the same goo as in all of us. There are two ways, however.

First, a Shade cannot survive a Dispel Magic, or enter an Anti-Magic Field. If subject to these spells the Shade will pop out of existence forever. They will simply cease to be. They don't know this.

Second, to question its premise for existing. There is an innate resistance in Shades to never want to think or talk about the subjectivity of reality. If the subject comes up they will avoid it - they'll leave the room, or come up with some excuse to go, or bring up another discussion topic. If someone suggests they might not be real, they will become uncomfortable and defensive, irrationally so.

If they entertain the thought that they may not be real, if they truly consider it even for a moment, they will start to dissolve into nothing. It is very painful to experience and to watch - a positive feedback loop of destruction. The soul may be illusory, but the screams are real. A Shade, though an illusion, is as much a person as you or I, and that is the worst part of all.



Shades in the World

Nobody thinks, from one moment to the next, that they are aging; therefore, Shades do not age. This can be their downfall. Old Shades will rationalize this somehow, even creating self-believing fictions of immortality or vampirism to shield their minds from the potential truth.

Reactions

People fear it, for it reveals the superficiality of their existence. The gods hate it and will seek to destroy both it and its creator, for soul-making is the domain of gods alone. Beasts ignore it, for they only concern themselves with the divine spark, in which the Shade has none.

Shade's Shade

Powerful Shades can learn illusion magic, just like their creators. In fact, they often tend to be better at illusions than those who made them. This brings up the strong possibility that a Shade may create a Shade - a simulacrum of a simulacrum - man making machine making... something. What will be the souls that Artificial Intelligences make? The answer to that is what a Shade's Shade is.

Lesser Shades

Souls born from lesser inspirations are often not long for this world. They often live just long enough to see themselves, then they melt. They are defective in obvious ways: perfect skin, unnatural flexibility, lack of smell, or a scent too consistent. They are popular with recluses, who create bubbles of fiction in their domains to sustain their creations. Lesser Shades rarely survive contact with outsiders, and so they're often kept isolated.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Evergreen Pyramid of the Glade Lord

I had an idea for a dungeon on my way to work this morning: it's a Giza-style pyramid, but it's made of trees. Evergreen trees, particularly. This is how it works.

It all started 2500 years ago, with the planting of The Golden Pine - a gift from a wood elf lord to his consorts, who he claimed would never have such beauty as when they were with him (he was an asshole). The Golden Pine had needles of gold, and all around it sprouted greater trees, fit for monuments. Every 250 years the Golden Pine and its offspring would grow 50ft and seed the area directly around them, producing offspring which grew at a similar pace.

Over 2500 years, this means ten generations of trees had grown. Ten levels of a pyramid made from this forest. Every 250 years another level is grown up, and the pyramid expands outwards in radius. Each layer is broader than the last. (Shit, this makes a cone, not a pyramid. WHATEVER.)

But over two millennia, the power of the wood elves faded. Their empire has crumbled, and their noble lineages of Reincarnates have become lost. Now savage creatures trespass on the pyramid.


This puts the pyramid at around 500ft high, just a bit taller than the Great Pyramid.
The Golden Pine, shining like a beacon in the Sun, can still be seen from afar.

IDEA DUMP:
  • Bark Mummies - the old bodies of now-reincarnated wood elves looking for souls to fill their empty vessels. They're the old wood elf lord's lovers. Rotted hollow on the inside, bark on the outside.
  • Giant squirrels.
  • A bounty of gold to be plucked from the Golden Pine. Maybe it also has medicinal properties.
  • A huge freakin' bird that nests near the top, complete with chicks it needs to feed. It likes the lumberjacks the most. NO, wait, better: TWO huge freakin' birds. A mated pair. They're cowards and won't pick a fight with anything that can fight back if they're looking for food, but if you get near their nest then they'll fuck you right up! One rests while the other hunts.
  • Wood elf patrols of the fallen empire, spread thin but zealous in devotion to kill and capture trespassers. Few in number but skilled.
  • Seasonal changes for the dungeon.
  • The ground under the pyramid is covered in highly acidic pine needles and traps. Moving along the bottom is certain death - one must navigate through the layers of the trees.
  • Mercenary grave-robber lumberjacks, who've cut away some of the pyramid to reveal a cross section for easy access. They clear the pine acid but are constantly harried by the giant birds. They've been hired to get at the Golden Pine, and harvest its needles so some emperor can make tea from them.
  • Pine dryads, perhaps?
  • Oozing sap oozes, of course.
  • Something with pine cones. Do they explode? Do they turn into little pine cone men? Will eating one make you momentarily immune to the trees' defenses? Are they simply valuable because they'll grow more of these evergrowing trees? Maybe different pine cones do different things. All of the above.
  • Sexy tree sex? (This is not as sexy as it sounds.) It is a tomb for multiple lovers, after all.
  • Evil wilt creature thing, eating the pyramid tree by tree?
  • Wood elf history, genealogies, reincarnation records, carved or grown into inner trees.
  • Lots of spiky pit traps. Pit traps which drop you down several floors like snakes and ladders.
  • Vertical dungeon shenanigans. Tons of pits and trees to climb up/down.
  • Fledgling god of the wood growing within the core. It is not a nice god. Maybe it's the reincarnating lord of the wood? Man, if he founds out what somebody's doing to his pyramid he will be PISSED.
  • Tree-sarcophagi, curses, false chambers, treasures of the wood elves, all that jazz.
  • Tom, the surly Lumberjack, is a reincarnated elven princess and consort of the wood elf lord. He still has memories of his previous reincarnations, and over time he's realized just how awful and horrible the lord guy was. He finds this entire pyramid a disgusting monument to their awful relationship, and he wants to find his Bark Mummy and destroy it. Then he wants to burn or cut the whole pyramid down.
  • There are still entities within the pyramid that recognize the above elven princesses, and will call them by such. Maybe an old treant or a nut golem or something.
  • Wait, y'know what's better? If all of the ex-consorts are there, trying to destroy their own Bark Mummies. They're in various reincarnated forms: a surly lumberjack, a butterfly, a young doe, a raven, a troll. They'll grant you boons if you can help them destroy their gross trophy-mummies.
  • Speaking of trophies: gross hunting trophies. Massive antlers decorated with impaled skeletons, mummified human faces kept in pine acid water, leather.
  • Hmmm.... Treants. They can't be just normal treants. Maybe... self-conflagrationing treants? They set themselves on fire and explode/hug, so they can spread their seeds all over. Fresh bodies make good fertilizer. Evergrowing treants? There's like one or two of 'em, and they're moving column-rooms in the pyramid. Rotting treants? They've not native to the pyramid, so the bugs eat them.
  • Spiders.
  • Immortal Acid Weavils. They eat the pine needles, and it makes them immortal. They just keep growing and growing until they're huge and smart.
  • What Happens When You Cut Open This Tree Table
I was thinking about this game in particular: Photosynthesis.
It's an excellent game. Very challenging!
Source
The Crooked Forest - Source
Source
Source

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Enchantments

Following up on my last post: Illusion. Someone in my home group said he wanted a cantrip that makes people cuss like they've got Turret's. So here we go: Enchantment spells cantrip to level 9!


Outburst
Enchantment, Cantrip
Range: 30ft
Saving Throw: Charisma
Duration: Instantaneous
Component: S (flip 'em the bird)

On failed Save, the target bursts out one word of a category of your choice. 

Such example categories include: Cuss ("F*ck!") , Name ("Roger!"), Verb ("Running!"). These generally work under word association rules (the first word the target thinks of).

Toast
Enchantment, Level 1
Range: 60ft, Within Sight and Hearing
Saving Throw: Wisdom
Duration: Instantaneous (one action)
Component: S (offer a toast), V, M (a drinking vessel held in hand)

On failed Save, the target uses its next action to drink from the nearest liquid source available to them, be that booze, a healing potion, poison, a pool of acid, or a dangerous ooze. They will move within one segment of their speed to do so. Anything worn on their body takes priority. Anything held in hand takes extra priority.

If there are multiple potential objects, then assign them numbers and roll randomly for them.
Effects one additional target for each spell slot level above 1.

Sock Puppet
Enchantment, Level 2
Range: Touch
Saving Throw: Charisma
Duration: Until dispelled
Component: S, V, M (a frog's throat, or the jaw of a ventriloquist dummy)

On failed Save, the target becomes primed for activation unless dispelled. The caster may then activate the spell from any distance, at any time thereafter. This allows them to talk through the mouth of the target for 1 minute. The target cannot resist this effect, though their body is still under their control. Forcibly shutting the mouth will prevent the sock puppetry.

No more than one Sock Puppet per target. Once the activation effect has been used, the effect is dispelled.

Blurt
Enchantment, Level 3
Range: 60ft
Saving Throw: Charisma
Duration: 1 minute
Component: S

On failed Save, the target begins blurting out everything they're thinking, quite loudly. There is absolutely no social filter. The only way to stop before the duration is up is to cease conscious thought entirely, such as knocking the target out, or non-dreaming sleep. Traditional silencing methods also work quite well.

Proxy
Enchantment, Level 4
Range: 120ft, within sight and hearing
Saving Throw: Charisma
Duration: Instantaneous
Component: S, V (sounds come out of proxy)

On failed Save, the caster may cast a spell that they know of level 3 or lower, through the target, using the target's next available action, bonus action, or reaction (depending on the spell requirements).

Upcasting this spell allows the use of higher spell slots. (e.g. casting it as a level 6 spell allows proxy spellcasting of level 5 or below)

Reverse Psychology
Enchantment, Level 5
Range: 60ft
Saving Throw: Charisma
Duration: Instantaneous
Component: S, V

As a reaction, you can cause someone to attempt to do the opposite of what they're just about to do. Just make up on the spot anything that seems about right. It's rarely going to make exact sense.

Sleeper Agent
Enchantment, Level 6
Range: Touch
Cast Time: 1 Hour
Saving Throw: Intellect
Duration: Until Dispelled
Component: S, V, M (hypnosis charms)

On failed save, the target becomes a sleeper agent. A Magical Aura is built into the spell, so it will not detect under normal circumstances. The target is given a specific trigger condition. When this trigger condition is met, the target will be charmed into fulfilling given orders.

The target will be charmed for 1 Hour this way, or until dispelled.
Upcasting as the spell increases the charmed duration to 8 Hours for Level 7, 1 Day for Level 8, and 1 Week for Level 9.

Find Secret
Enchantment, Level 7
Range: Touch
Saving Throw: Charisma
Duration: Instantaneous
Component: S, V, M (mice paws)

On failed Save, the caster learns a deeply-held secret of the target. This often aligns as close to the current topic of conversation as reasonably possible. Obviously, a lot of DM discretion here.

The target knows this spell has been cast on them, but they won't know what secret has been stolen.

Upcast as level 8: the target doesn't know the spell has been cast on a Save failure.
Upcast as level 9: the secret is erased from the target's mind and they don't know it's been cast.

Power Word: Ignominy
Enchantment, Level 8
Range: 60ft
Saving Throw: Charisma
Duration: Until Remove Curse
Component: S, V, M (a scepter of precious material, 500gp)

All who witness and recognize the target will treat them with utter disdain, no matter their personal relations.

Strangers will hurl curses and insults. Beggars will spit at their boots.
Those with aggressive violent tendencies will attack the target on sight.
Friends will shun and distance themselves from the target.
Those who love the target will hate them with a sense of betrayal.

Power Word: Command
Enchantment, Level 9
Range: Self
Saving Throw: Wisdom
Duration: 1 Hour
Component: S, V, M (a holy relic, or a piece of a god)

For the duration, every word you say is a Command spell. There is no word limit to your Commands. Commanding during combat is limited to six words per round, requiring an action.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Illusions

For 5e, 'cause that's what my home campaign is. 5e also needed some better illusion spells. One for each spell slot level, and easy enough to adapt to old school. These spells would normally be accessible to Bards, Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards (and maybe some of the half/third casters).


Sensation
Illusion, Cantrip
Range: Touch
Saving Throw: Intellect
Duration: 1 Minute + 1 additional minute per point of failure
Components: S

On failure, the target now experiences a sensation you describe, such as: itchiness, constipation, existential dread, the feeling like they're forgetting something, drowsiness, aching pain, etc. No symptoms, only feeling.

Sense Swap
Illusion, Level 1
Range: Touch
Saving Throw: Intellect
Duration: 1 Hour (Concentration)
Components: S, V

You alter the inputs of two of your five senses, choosing between touch, hearing, smell, sight, and taste. This allows you to potentially see smells, feel colors, or taste music. Any sense input can be substituted into any other. Your campaign may have additional senses - ask the GM.

If used on an unwilling target, they must make an Intellect Save. Upcasting this increases the number of targets by 1 per spell level above 1.


Placebo
Illusion, Level 2
Range: Touch
Saving Throw: Intellect
Duration: Lasts until dispelled/consumed
Components: V, M (object of interest)

You imbue a substance (a bottle of water, miscellaneous white powder, some dust you just picked up) with an illusion. This illusion causes the consumer to believe that they are consuming whatever drug they think it might be. This requires some sort of imprint in order to work (i.e. it's contained in a beer bottle, the target is told this is crystal meth, or somebody shouts that they just ate poison).

Unless the person consuming it makes their Saving Throw, for all intensive purposes they have just taken the drug you described, though, it is limited to behavioral effects (if a drug turns your skin orange, Placebo will not replicate this. It can get you virtually drunk, though.) The "drug" tastes, smells, feels, and looks like the supposed drug. Their own body tricks itself into thinking it's taken this drug. The illusory drug effects last for 1 hour per point failed-by.

If the person knows that it's an illusion (casting the spell or making the Save), Placebo has no effect.

If the person consuming the substance succeeds on their Saving Throw, they realize what the substance truly is just upon taking it.

(This is great for acid and poison, FYI.)


Unseeming
Illusion, Level 3
Range: 120ft
Area: 20ft radius
Saving Throw: Intellect
Duration: 1 Minute / May save every round to end effect.
Components: S,V, M (mini yellow and black hat)

On failure, the target now believes that one object or spell effect of your choosing within both of your sights is an illusion. Any pains or sensations caused by the object are believed to be illusions.

(Ex: A wizard casts Wall of Fire, then casts Unseeming on a bandit trying to shank them. At first, the bandit wishes to avoid the Wall of Fire because he can feel the heat and know it will burn him. The Unseeming then causes him to realize that this is an illusion, and so he jumps right through. The bandit takes damage from the Wall of Fire.)

Saving throw DC goes up by 2 for every spell slot above 3 used.

Dysphoria
Illusion, Level 4
Range: Touch
Spell Attack
Duration: 1 Minute / May save every round to end effect.
Components: V, S

Touch a body part on the target. That body part no longer believes it's part of the body. Arms will try to strangle their hosts, legs will try to jerk themselves free. A critical hit means you can snag the head, and the entire rest of the body will rebel, trying to yank the head off.

Deals 6d8 psychic damage, and incapacitates a chosen limb. On a critical hit the entire body is incapacitated for the duration.

Thorns
Illusion, Level 5
Range: 30ft
Saving Throw: Wisdom
Duration: 1 Hour / May Save every Hour to end effect
Component: S, V, M (25gp ring of silver thorns)

On failure, the target sees and feels thorns everywhere: under their feet, on their skin, on every person and thing. Every 5ft of movement (excluding flight/swimming), and every action taken, causes 1d6 psychic damage. Dispel Magic alleviates the effects of this spell for 1 hour, after which the symptoms return until a successful Save. This spell detects as a poison, and may be permanently dispelled by Resist Poison.

((I can't take credit for this one. Too much influence from Cavegirl's The Idea of Thorns and The Lovely Dark's The Anti Wizard.))

Autoimmunity
Illusion, Level 6
Range: 30ft
Saving Throw: Intellect
Duration: 1 Week
Components: V, S, M (collagen)

On failed save, the target's own immune system starts freaking out to an imaginary disease, causing bodily harm from the reaction to the imagined threat. After 1 Day, joints become inflamed and begin to painfully swell up, lowering the target's speed by 5 ft every day. Every time they take an Action they take 1d4 poison damage.

Cure Disease will not work on this spell.

(Note: this damage is not illusory, it is very real.)

Each time this spell is cast on the same target, the duration becomes renewed and the effects of the spell stack with previous instances (two level 4 casts will lower speed by 10ft every day, and 2d4 poison damage per action)

Inception
Illusion, Level 7
Range: Touch
Saving Throw: Charisma
Duration: Permanent
Components: S, V, M (a drop of moon milk, 500g)

You implant an idea in the target's psyche. If they fail the save, then they believe that this idea was their original creation, and they'll try to follow through with it or rationalize it as best they can.

Mind Flay
Illusion, Level 8
Range: Touch
Saving Throw: Intellect
Duration: 1 Round
Components: S

Make a spell touch attack. On a hit, target becomes incapacitated for 1 Round. They become trapped in a prison of their own mind, a featureless gray desert stretching from horizon to horizon, for 1000 minus (INT x 20) years.

Depending on how long-lived the race of the target, it also Drains a Intellect. For long-lived races like Elves, it drains the lesser of 2d20 INT. For medium-lived races like Dwarves, it loses 1d20 INT. For short-lived races like humans, it drains the greater of 2d20 INT.

Creatures used to being immortal will be incapacitated, but will not suffer INT drain. Only a Wish spell can bring back INT lost this way.

Shade
Illusion, Level 9
Range: Touch
Duration: Until dispelled
Components: S, V, M (a collection of little silver brushes worn on the fingertips that cost 50gp)

You create a Shade - a permanent illusion of a person which believes itself to be real, born entirely from your consciousness.

Monday, February 25, 2019

More Accessing Infinity

A follow up to Accessing Infinity, with more numbers and region ideas. This brings the number list up to d20, for practical use.


d8
Number Title
What It Is...
1
Tattoo Arrow Niner
When trying to represent the biggest rational number, one must develop shorthanded systems. You can see some of them here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_numbers
One continues to invent new notations to represent higher ordered calculations. (10↑↑↑10, 10→10→10…, etc.) The arrows-calculations representing other arrow-calculations get increasingly more complex, and take up increasingly more chalkboard room. Eventually you get to the point where you must use surface area on your skin to symbolize the arrows. This is the number written in the arrows encompassing the entirety of one’s skin, using 9’s (because 10’s are less time-efficient to write).
2
Mump’s Number
Nobody actually knows what this number is or what it represents, but it is apparently very very big.
3
Supertask Infinite Beta
An endotemporal being in a lower dimension begins counting upwards from 1 to infinity. We observe this as having been done in a finite amount of time. This is the number they achieve.
4
Flanck’s Number
The theoretical combinatorial analysis of all possible spatial configurations for everything in the universe.
5
Supertask Inverse Gamma
A god halts the person halfway to their destination. Because of this they cannot move. Inverse of the minimum distance they are uninhibited from taking.
6
Naughty Noght
The sum of all naughty numbers (2, 3, 18, 21, 47, 69, 3857, etc…)
7
Divergence Denominator
The number of possible universes, pending universes split at the most minute circumstances.
8
The Argentum Value
The value of a particular person, given in picograms of molten silver, by the Androsphinx of Argentum.


The Near Hotel


Count-Troll Country: It is well-known that Trolls are obsessed with counting. Bridge-trolls in particular, as the vast amounts of time between meals offer ample opportunity to count up hairs on their hands, or stones in a river, or flies in the air.


They hate it when they’re discovered counting, and frequently use their discovery as an excuse to eat a person. (Often, they’ll introduce a ‘riddle’ to offer the victim a chance. These will often be such things they’ve determined, such as “how many leaves are in this forest?”)


In the Infinity Hotel, a troll can start counting and never stop. It might start walking down the corridor and never return. Trolls encountered this way, moving from room to room, counting as they go, will often be extraordinarily famished and ready for a meal.


They’re found, sometimes, in the later sections of the Near Hotel, still trudging on, counting and eating as they go. Sometimes they’re found even further in. Sometimes they change. Those travelled furthest are the most dangerous: they have likely eaten dozens of people on their counting pilgrimage. Nothing compares to the ones that are coming back. But no troll could have possibly gotten to Infinity and back right? Right?!...


When encountered, they are likely to give you a riddle, usually related to some room number nearby. They’ll ask you to factor it, or ask in some convoluted way to divide it by 4. Fail, and they will eat you. Succeed, and they will probably still try to eat you.


Troll Speed without rest: 4mph
Average distance between rooms: 15ft
Troll Speed in terms of rooms: 1,408 rooms/hour
33,792 rooms/day
12,334,080 rooms/year


Count-Troll Country is around room 15 million. Here trolls start to reconsider their pilgrimages, and many stop to live out the rest of their days waylaying visitors and eating hotel mice. They don’t usually know how to use the Mystic Elevator. Heaven help us if they did.


The Last Restroom: This is the last bathroom before there are no more bathrooms… for the entire Hotel (theoretically, there should be an infinite number of restrooms, but nobody’s found any after this one). As it needs to alleviate some ni-infinite peoples, one can imagine it is quite busy.


To accommodate this, The Last Restroom was built on the Complex Plane, and as such it contains both components real and imaginary. This makes it incredibly efficient and useful at times, and impeccably infuriating at others. Hence the duality: 1) You can only imagine where the pee goes! 2) Nobody wants to deal with a mathematically “Complex” toilet.


The Far Hotel


Encrypted Algorithmic Rooms: One creates a variable-dependant algorithm which generates a constantly-shifting room number far into the hotel. Both the equation and the variable become factors in where the room will to be. These types of rooms are typically used for secret dealings.


Variables include:
How does the concierge greet you?
What number does the Goblin Prince wear on his crown today?
How many 9’s and how many arrows will the Human Calculator write between 5:17pm and 5:20pm?
What is the emotional state of the Atomic Bear?


Word Room Numbers: If you treat the alphabet as a base 26 number system, you can create room numbers by writing out words and sentences. A = 1; B = 2 ; … ; Y = 25 (equivalent for base 26 system) ;  Z = 0. These rooms tend to be quite far apart, as a difference in letters early in the sentence will equate to unconscionable distances. All of these numbers remain rational, however, and so they belong in the Far Hotel. Describing places by mnemonic sentences can be more useful than their numbers within certain ranges.


These rooms are frequented by Paromancers, who establish alcoves in effort to uncover the secrets of the Hotel and language.


Sentence Room Examples:


“Faraday”
6,1,18,1,4,1,25


“Derivatives Are Hardly Just That”
4,5,18,9,22,1,20,9,22,5,19,1,18,5,8,1,18,4,12,25,10,21,19,20,20,8,1,20


“The Wailing Bell of the Endless Hotel
Carries Far Indeed,
Though Strong as It May, As Loudly It Bay
None Will Hear It Plead”
20,8,5,23,1,9,12,9,14,7,2,5,12,12,15,6,20,8,5,5,14,4,12,5,19,19,8,15,20,5,12,3,1,18,18,9,5,19,6,1,18,9,14,4,5,5,4,20,8,15,21,7,8,19,20,18,15,14,7,1,19,9,20,13,1,25,1,19,12,15,21,4,12,25,9,20,2,1,25,14,15,14,5,23,9,12,12,8,5,1,18,9,20,16,12,5,1,4


Source: Charles Gilchrist

The Deep Hotel


The Mail Room: There may be an infinite space in the hotel, but somebody still needs to deliver the mail. Nobody is sure where the Mail Room came from, who runs it, or how it delivers the mail to every conceivable place within the hotel, but it does. Infinity finds a way.


It is a marvel of automation and magic - letters and packages sort themselves, flying through the air like swooping owls, or rolling along the ground like stomping automaton. A series of chutes, conveyor belts, fans, pulleys, levers, and tornados whisk the mail away to wherever it may.


It all makes use of the Mystic Elevator, with entire compartments stuffed to the seams with oblong packages and crisp letters to be whisked to who-knows-where. Many have surmised that the Mail Room is part of the organism of the Hotel, much like the Elevator itself.


More mystifying, however, are the addresses on the letters and packages. They are written in a number system completely alien to human understandings of mathematics. More so than that, they aren’t even written in a system used by other rooms of the Deep Hotel, giving rise to the belief that there are several incomprehensible alien systems of mathematics, some more convenient or alien than others.


The addresses are as strange and varied as can be: some hurt to look at, some smell strange, or must be licked to understand the address, or are very clearly modified demonic summoning circles. Does Yog-Sothoth run the Mail Room? The strange man in the Lobby says: “yes!”. Given the room’s size, it’s not impossible, like everything in the Hotel.


The Great Fold: Space gets strange in the Deep Hotel. Things stop being a neat linear algebra somewhere along the line and start being a very messy linear algebra. The Hotel still progresses in a line, mind you, but it is a line that folds and warps, that bends back upon itself and does several 360 spins before pirouetting to mad applause. In The Great Fold, this linearity is pushed to the limit.


To say this is confusing to newcomers is an understatement. They soon find that marching forward isn’t quite so, well… forward. They find that rooms don’t follow any logic they can understand, leaping plots of distance, speed, and time in ways that make them rather inaccessible.


Things found here are strange and inhospitable: they move about the hallway like video game glitches, darting in and out of higher dimensions without care to frivolous lower beings. They are facsimiles of being. Don’t touch them.


Home of the Gelatinous Tesseract. Or, at least, its main entry point into our reality. Its presence attracts multitudes of teleportation aficionados.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Counterspell

Looking back at this old post the other day, thinking about Counterspelling shenanigans. In the post I proposed a static d10 roll for counterspelling. Here's a second go at some counterspelling mechanics, to try and get something more integrated and less clunky.

Also, Betty Bacontime's comment for that post whetted my appetite for flavor, so let's make more of that.

Wizard City Counterspell

The idea is that you superimpose this template onto any system that uses a d20 saving throw (B/X, 5e, GLOG, etc.). Anytime you get a "critical hit" on the save, you may choose to Counterspell it, according to your class.

Numbers listed below are the minimum roll to "critically hit" the Save.



Level
Class
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
AMWAT
19
19
18
18
17
17
16
16
15
15
Mo-RON
-
-
-
-
-
20
20
20
20
20
Spellshark
20/19*
20/19*
20/19*
20/19*
19/17*
19/17*
19/17*
19/17*
18/15*
18/15*
T-Man
-
-
-
20
20
20
20
20
20
19
Wizard
20
20
20
20
19
19
19
19
19
18

* Roll required if the target owes you money.

If your spells use attack rolls, then low ‘critical fail’ rolls apply. So a spell attack roll of a 1 on a level 1 wizard will produce a counterspell. A spell attack roll of 1-2 against a level 1 AMWAT will produce a counterspell.

Class Templates
Basically, you play the system you want with the class you want, and superimpose the above Counterspelling mechanic onto that system. I make no promises of balance.


Class
Old School Base Template
(B/X, Labyrinth Lord, DCC)
New School Base Template (3.5/Pathfinder/5e)
AMWAT
Fighter
Barbarian/Fighter
Mo-RON**
Dwarf, Halfling, Fighter, any non-Elf demi-human.
Barbarian, Fighter, Monk, Ranger, Rogue, Warlock
Spellshark
Elf
Any Half/Third Caster, Sorcerer
T-Man
Thief
Rogue, Monk
Wizard
Magic-User/Wizard
Wizard

** Class used depends on what kind of chassis is currently equipped.

Counterspells

Big thanks to Betty Bacontime over at Paper Elemental for coming up with some of these, which were too good to iterate upon. For old school systems that don't have wizard schools, just pick the wizard counterspell that appeals most. Or hell, go with all of them. Have fun!

Class
Counterspell
AMWAT
Bat that spell right back at sender. If it was an area spell, the new spell area is centered on the caster.
Mo-RON
Absorb the spell, adding its spell level to your next chosen attack roll, skill check, or save. Only one spell may be stored this way.
Spellshark
Bank the spell, allowing you to recast it as your own within 24 hours, at which point the spell is lost.
T-Man
Sequester the spell for 1d4 Rounds. Spell effect happens on the exact space you’re in now upon expiration. Duration roll explodes. Every time they explode move the time up one time category:
Rounds -> Minutes -> Hours -> Days -> Years -> etc.
Wizard, Abjuration
Utilize a spell magnet, pulling the spell towards the device. Chuck the device like a grenade. The spell will hit it instead. 30ft range on that sucker.
Wizard, Conjuration
Conjure a minor and possibly adorable creature to take the spell hit for you at any space between you and the caster. Pigeons are popular.
Wizard, Divination
Foresee an improbable outcome that foils the spell. The caster slips on an oil slick, two orphans on a sled come carringing through the battle and accidentally intercept the spell, a wagon full of cabbages falls from the sky. DM discretion.
Wizard, Enchantment
Charm the spell, making it think you’re an ally. The spell, being very confused, will mull about for 1d4 Rounds before chasing after the closest target.
Wizard, Evocation
Evoke an exact counter to the spell being cast at you. A fireball is met by a waterball. A summoned bear is met with a bear trap. DM discretion.
Wizard, Illusion
Haha! That was an illusion, fool! Spell hits illusory you. You get to teleport anywhere within 30ft and say that’s where you were when the spell went off.
Wizard, Necromancy
Kill the spell, then raise it from the dead. It is now a zombie spelll. It takes the form of a shimmering floating skull, lingering in a space near the caster. After one round it will unleash the spell on anybody who goes within 5ft of it, forever. It’s more or less a visible land mine now.
Wizard, Transmutation
Transmute the spell into something less or possibly quite more scary, like a cloud of glitter or an portrait of your mother.