Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Reskinning B3

A thousand years ago, there lived a Wizard King and his Daughter. Wanting to protect the Princess from the cruel world, he crafted a gilded cage - an entire illusory world entrapped within a story book in which her every need and desire would be met, where she would be immortal and safe. But in time, the Wizard King died, and memory of the book faded. She was thought lost, and so the book and the world contained within aged in secret. There, the Princess lived her imaginary life among her imaginary subjects - in joy, in ecstasy, then eventually in disillusionment and cruelty. No world born of a single mind could be anything more than a prison. And so she remained, until the book was found...

(Apologies for the low-res pic.)

The TL;DR Reskin

This has been an idea to adapt B3 - Palace of the Silver Princess, by Jean Wells. For this reskin, the entire module is an illusory world trapped within a magical story book that the party has found and decided to open. It's a heaven - a place where a god-person got everything they ever wanted - turned to ruin from their own disillusionment.

Everything will be kept (with maybe one exception), but the reasons for it will change. We'll add some things, too, to fit this new story.

1. The entire module is contained within a story book that the player-characters open up to enter.

2. We justify all the things within the module to represent this idea that the book was a gilded prison for an ancient forgotten Princess - that everything is the product of a person who is god-queen within an illusory world.

3. Add two foes to the palace location: The Silver Queen and the Faceless Knight. The former is the Princess, the god of this world disillusioned, believing everything surrounding her is a product of her imagination, turning real people to Shades if they encounter her. The later is an illusory man, her former Prince, to whom this fate has occurred.

4. Change all the Ubues into Assassins (or not, if you really like Ubues I guess)

5. Add an event/encounter at the very beginning: a wedding being crashed by said Assassins.

The Long with Lots of Backstory Version

The Silver Princess / Queen

Where is she found?
1. The Garden
2. The Throne Room
3. Balcony by the Ball Room
4. Princess's Quarters
5. The Game Room
6. The Temple

(Bear with me, but I think a lot of information is needed to produce this social encounter.)

Background: When she first arrived in this world at the behest of her father, everything was wonderful. She was a little girl. She got everything she wanted. She spent her days riding unicorns and eating pastries with tea.

As her tastes matured, so did the world. She took up the throne of rule, she made the prince of her dreams. They got married. Whatever desire for the 'real' world was forgotten, and she ruled over the realm as a benevolent lord.

Then came to adulthood. She grew tired of the book, and abandoned it for the real world. However, circumstance brought her back to it. When her father, on the eve of his plotted death, commanded she hide in the book, she did as told. He died, and she realized she was trapped. Her father in the real world was assassinated, and the knowledge of the book had been forgotten. She would remain within this timeless prison for a thousand years, during which her disillusionment festered.

She realized, soon, that she was surrounded by sycophants of her own creation, that her prince was less a fully-realized person than an attractive doll, that even her own reflection bore falseness in attempts to appease her. Everything lacked complexity and realness, and in her isolation she became mad. She was a lone human in a world of polite and fearful mannequins.

The Silver Princess cracked. She grew at first hedonistic and desperate, then sadistic and cruel. She unleashed horrors upon her mannequins - tortures born of a disillusioned god, full of infinitely creative, meaningless suffering. She burned down the world in fire and despair, insulted by the audacity of her own imagination to create such paltry shades.

She was alone. Lacking the resolve or knowledge to end her predicament, she cloistered herself amongst the architecture of her ruined psyche, electing isolation over entertaining this world any longer. She now wanders her Palace in silent contemplation, attempting to construe any meaning from this illusory world. She is the most dangerous foe you will encounter, for this book was made for her, and she radiates a power which manifests her will, even upon the real.

By Hiram L. Johnson - 1883

If you meet the Silver Princess, you must prove your realness to her, or you will become as illusory as anything else in the book. You will become a Shade - an unreal simulacrum of your former self, subject to annihilation by Dispel Magic or Banishment. She is the ultimate arbiter in this regard - only she can determine and reverse this course, and only if she believes it so. She cannot be remotely defeated in combat or killed, though she can be harmed. Stats are irrelevant, she is a god here.

The Silver Queen
Stats Irrelevant. Cannot be Killed. May only be lightly harmed, at most, and likely only once.
- Everything the Queen believes to be so becomes so in this world.
- In her proximity, if you have not convinced her that you are real, Save vs. Magic or become a Shade. Perform this every Turn, or every point made in conversation.
- If you are a Shade, she may destroy you utterly, at will.

She refuses to look at mirrors. Her greatest, deepest, and final fear is that she is no more real than the objects of this book. Her unconscious prejudices will manifest this reality in her reflection. Depending on what conclusion the Princess has wrought upon herself, there are several possibilities of what her reflection holds.

What will it hold, though? The naive child she once was and lost? The cruel omnicidal tyrant she became? Will it be nothing?

So long separated from the world, her arguments and counterpoints do not contain references to particular philosophies - she has had no peers for a thousand years, only internal reflection.

The World of the Book

The Book was made to please the Silver Princess, but in time it grew a personality of its own. When the Silver Queen burned down the world, it elected to maintain its ember, preserving aspects of that which once brought joy to the Princess. Now, with the Queen isolating herself, the Book has had a few centuries to reform its world and society.

Hence, the villages, the common folk, and the high fantasy tropes exist throughout that world - all grown from this subconscious generated by the interactions of the Princess/Queen with the rules of this self-contained land.


Whatever illusions exist are fragments of this world's past. Valiant Knights, sadistic torture, horrible monsters - all pieces of the book's history. All remnants of good and bad times before.

On top of this, every creature within the book is an illusion, with exception to the Silver Queen and the player-characters. However, rolls to Disbelieve are not allowed unless the player explicitly asks for it. Illusions will feel real to the touch, produce all elements of the senses.

If the players acquire Truesight (such as vanquishing The Faceless Knight), they may automatically Disbelieve all illusions.

If the players utilize illusions, such as Minor Image, all creatures within the world automatically fail Saves to resist them, always. They are as real as these conjured illusions.

Items, such as gold, jewels, and magic items are not illusions. They may be removed from the book. The only exception to this is the mirror produced by The Faceless Knight, who counts as a person.

Persons originating from the book may not be removed from the book. They cannot leave. They are merely illusions. The only exception is The Silver Queen, who may leave as one enters the book.


From Disney's Snow White
For a long time they roamed the land, capturing and mutilating any and all fair maidens they could find at the behest of their Queen. The Silver Queen found these maidens insulting, interpreting them as reflections of her naive self created by her psyche and the book, as cruel simulacra of her own depreciation. They each have personality and disposition of a goon, and are grim and loyal to the death.

Their main hideout is within The Silver Palace, occupying rooms which the Ubues once held. Occasionally, bands of 6-20 of them will roam down from the Palace to find beautiful maidens and to disfigure them.

Queen's Assassin
Level 2 Thieves. Morale 9. Equipped with Swords or Crossbows.

The Faceless Knight

By Viscagod
The Queen's former prince / lover / husband / companion. He was formulated to be everything the Princess ever wanted, and this was his downfall. He was never complex enough to be believed to be a real person, and so the nature of his illusory existence slowly became exposed, and he has been revealed to be but a husk. Now, he is a faceless knight, his physical form matching the Queen's impression of him. He clanks and screeches about the palace in rusted blue armor, attacking and accosting all intruders out of some remnant of devotion.

Faceless Knight
Level 7 Fighter. Sword, Shield, and Plate.
Cannot speak. Unbreakable Morale. Attacks on sight. Slow.

- When killed, turns into a silver mirror in which everything is reflected in Truesight.
- He reverts back to his Knight form after 2 Turns, during which a reflection of the Knight in the mirror slowly approaches, then punches a hole through the other side of the handmirror and climbs through. Reroll his HD (7) at this point. He is fully recovered.

Introduction / Beginning Scenario

After reading that legend part at the beginning of the module,  the legend of the Silver Princess, aloud to the players, go ahead and paint them this scenario: the PCs find themselves on the edge of a fallowed garden-ruin. Browning untrimmed hedges all about. A fountain flowing with a silver, mirror-like liquid splashes quietly behind them. This is the way out of the Book.

Ahead, beyond the quiet ruin, a bourgeois wedding about to take place. There is lovely food, dancing, music, everyone seems happy. The bride and groom are young and in love. The bride's father is a portly, cheery man who loves to brag about his daughter and talk about food. There are waiters, guests, and guards. There are also hidden Assassins sent by the Queen to mutilate the bride.

Four Assassins. Each one backs up the one higher in the list.
1. Disguised as a waiter. Holding a goblet of acid, intends to throw it in the bride's face.
2. Disguised as a chef, preparing meat. Skilled with throwing knives and subtle stabbing.
3. Traitor Guard, armed with a halberd.
4. Sniper with crossbow, in a tree on the edge of the party.

Any one of them may be spotted with a successful roll under Wisdom/Perception check. For each success, start at the top of the list and move down. (i.e. if three successful checks are made, then assassins 1, 2, and 3 are discovered/suspected, but the Sniper goes undetected.)

If chaos breaks out, and the players haven't made themselves known around the party (especially to the Guard-Captain), then they may be accosted by the Assassins AND the Guards. There are 30 Guards at the party, all Level 1 Fighters.

After this fiasco, there will be a call from any survivors, particularly the bride's father, to rally against The Evil Queen in open rebellion, and send a party of brave lads to go deal with her. How fortunate!

Notable Characters:
(Note: They are all very sophisticated illusions. It is entirely desired that they be one-dimensional in character. I'd recommend hamming it up.)

Sir Tristen, Guard-Captain: A very stoic and dutiful man, rugged in appearance and demeanor.
Hammond the First: Bride's Father. Fat, jolly, and talkative. Big whiskers. A man of brave words but not action.
Hilda, the Bride: Quiet and perfect. Nobody has any reason to dislike her.
Edward, the Groom: Loyal and handsome. Gentile and a fine fencer. Likely to join in vengeance against the Queen.
Georgie, the Bard: Musician and teller of tales. Loves to spew exposition and lore. Dressed flamboyantly bordering on the ridiculous.

Random Rooms

There are a lot of rooms within the B3 module that ask the DM to fill with whatever they like. Here are some such rooms:

1. Covered Mirror - 8ft tall flawless ornamented elliptical mirror lies concealed beneath ragged sheet. Silver filigree along the perimeter worth 1000sp. Within mirror is trapped young, naive reflection of The Silver Queen - a Shade, a mirror image of the Queen when she was young and hopeful. Behaves as a stereotypical princess would - demure and kind, and quietly impressed with heroics. Nothing to her personality beyond this.

If the mirror is shattered, the Reflection will die as if her heart burst.
If shown to the Queen, she risks becoming as this Shade. She suspects this, and is loathe to look at it.

2. Dress Closet - Walk-in closet filled with piles of beautiful and expensive dresses gathering dust. Ranges from child-sized to adult. Approximately 40 sets of Fine Clothes. Two special cases, found by standard Search check.

Dress of Starlight - Traps and radiates the light of the moon and stars. If exposed to starlight for a night, it will radiate their soft light in the dark, providing 5ft of illumination. If exposed to moonlight, radiates 10ft of illumination per quarter of Moon witnessed.

Crystal Slippers - Made of an opaque, silvery quartz. Always fit the feet of the woman wearing it.

3. Illusioned Pit Trap - Classic 10x10x10 pit trap. Illusion of a floor covers it. Poking the 'floor' with anything reveals that it is an illusion.

4. Imaginary Pit Trap Rug - A single 10x10 rug made from pitch black thread lies in the middle of the room. Stepping on it (note: not merely touching) provokes Save vs. Magic, or subject believes that they have fallen into a classic 10x10x10 pit trap, taking psychic damage as appropriate and falling prone.

To witnesses, they appear to have fallen on the floor, cannot get up, and will crawl around on the rug but will not leave its perimeter until they believe they have been assisted out. Rug can be safely handled and taken, provided it's not stepped on.

5. Illusory Fire - A fire! Fueled by no visible source. Entirely illusory. Until disbelieved, it is treated as normal fire, though it won't spread beyond the boundaries of the room.

6. Illusory Living Room - A decorated living room, complete with couch, fireplace, landscape paintings of snow-capped mountains, and other small furniture. All of it is illusory, and cannot be touched.

7. Library - Several wooden shelves half-filled with children's books. Half the books are destroyed and unreadable. Those that aren't read like forgotten memories of your childhood, the vaguest notions of fairy tales. Do your half-best oral summary of a common Fairy Tale - this is what the books actually read like.

8. Abandoned Torture Chamber - Cold stone floors and walls. Manacles, torture implements, chairs. All of them rusted and spotted in dried blood. The blood and grime does not and cannot rub off on anything.

9. Torn Portrait and Chair - A comfortable chair covered in cobwebs, fit for royalty, facing a destroyed portrait on the wall. Tatters of the portrait on the ground could be used to recompose the painting, depicting an extraordinarily handsome, if overly-idealized man. He wears a blue armor, holding sword and shield.

10. Plastered Calendar Room - A cheap, peeling white plaster covers the ceiling, floors, and walls. Underneath are stone walls marked by chiseled dashes - hundreds. Peel off enough plaster on a wall, and you'll find the chiseled words: "MONTHS WITHIN BOOK".

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