Thursday, April 30, 2020

Encounters and Hooks in the City of Truth

Part 4 - Encounters and Hooks

Encounters in the City

I'd cross off these encounters once they've happened, and use sparingly.

1. A scared and hungry poet attempts to rob you wielding a pen, believing it to be a weapon. He is more deadly with it than you’d think, but he'll give up after anyone takes even modest harm.

2. A hysterically joyous bell-chested woman dances and skips down the streets, gazing at each and every thing and remarking on its colors. She has just been reborn and has sight for the first time, and swings between elation and sensory overload. There is a crowd forming behind her, riding on the wake of her emotions.

3. A lavishly-dressed and starry-eyed child is carried atop a palanquin by four hole-headed men. They are being held up by a remarkably similar party moving in the opposite direction. The hole-headed men will soon come to blows over the issue of right-of-way.

4. You come across a bloodied Falseling corpse, brains scattered among the rocks. The murder weapon nearby - a grey-matter-soaked stone. Murderers are extremely rare here, and now there is one afoot. Not too far away along a gore-stained trail there is a bloody-handed long-necked man, a serial killer accidentally sacrificed in the False Realm. There is nothing more he relishes than to finally, Truly murder people. Has he had his fill?

5. Two Falselings are arguing over the stars' portent. They have no knowledge of the names of stars, the constellations, or the movements of celestial bodies. They're just making it up as they go along, as if they're the first ones to discover them. They insist on using their own terms - e.g. "The Bovine Trinity", "The Celestial Hammerer", "The Falling Fire Snake", "Leviathan Eye".

6. A man comes running to the party, begging for protection through gritted teeth. He hides a forked tongue. A lynch mob is in distant pursuit, armed with sticks and rocks. They demand the forceful exile of this False prophet.

7. A long-tailed woman hands you a rock. A perfectly ordinary rock. If asked why, she will smile and say: "Because it is True."

8. A tall-eyed fellow approaches, remarking on how (glassy, porphyritic, chafing, tweedy) you sound. He says he is cataloging the colors of people.

9. A small group of 3-4 naive Falselings are trying to get high. They are gathered around a woman, who is about to eat some dirt. They will be very grateful but quite useless to anyone who shows them how.

10. A Falseling with backwards-bending knees asks if you can give something that will burn. A Rocket-Man looking for fuel, any fuel. As explanation, he says he wants to go fast. Super fast. Faster than anything. Faster than God. He carries a stockpile on a back bundle that could level an office building with the touch of a spark.

Adventure Hooks

Find Something All the Philosophers Will Eat At the Symposium

Everyone agrees it would be far too unreasonable to get more than one dish. Catering is expensive in the City of Truth! Also, without food there will be no audience and hence no symposium. So food is a requirement.
  • Pimon wants something that will give them all the most pleasure for the duration of the symposium. Something sweet or filling.
  • Platerci wants something that will maximize the goodness and minimize badness for the group. He's identified several factors that encompass the goodness of the food (taste, fillingness, nothing people are allergic to, etc.). He doesn't know how to weigh these factors yet.
  • Ramona wants something that will satisfy all of her needs at once, or else she will be paradoxically indecisive and starve to death, since her needs are perfectly equal.
The problem is not simply deciding upon a food, but also finding it. The City of Truth is a food desert surrounded by actual desert. To find a compromising dish, you may need to go abroad and bring it back, or hunt the ingredients yourselves.

Reward: The Symposium goes forward. The three Philosophers will no doubt share some of their interesting theories on the metaphysics of the campaign world (other Planes, universal laws, what happens when you die, etc.)

Cave Rescue

There is a dark crawling cave in the hills. Periodically Falselings emerge from its depths, but now they don't. Worse, some Anti-Absurdists recently disappeared within, searching for these lost souls. The Cave has never known to have been a dangerous place. Investigate. Be wary.
  • The Cave is not terribly deep, but it is quite dark and requires crawling.
  • A heretic illusionist named Pilos has been kidnapping newcomers and investigators, submitting them to existential torture in the form of shadow puppets. He is crafting a virtual world within the depths, making a society that worships him as a god. He has a mastery of shadows and related magics, and may blend with them to remain perfectly hidden.
  • The Anti-Absurdists who went in to rescue people have relapsed in their Absurdism, thanks to Pilos's illusions, and now they're going along with this ridiculous game by becoming very bad actors.
  • To everyone who's bought into Pilos's scheme, shadows are reality. The shadow is you. You are the shadow. Without the shadow you don't exist. Somebody with no shadow does not exist.
Reward: Put Pilos at your mercy and he can teach some shadow magic. Returning Falselings to the surface will net you some Auguries to be performed by a concerned immortal child. One Augury per Falseling returned.

Clear a Landing Strip

The Rocket Men need to clear a half-mile long landing strip for their latest rocket to definitely not crash upon reentry. They want to avoid casualties. Unfortunately, there's only one trajectory that won't result in the rocket landing in the desert and the whole thing being eaten by a sand wurm: right through the middle of the city - bisecting it cleanly. There are three obstacles:
  • The Rocket Pillar details the origin of the Rocket Men in a bas-relief story pillar one hundred feet high. It's made of stone, weighs several tons, and if it falls over this irreplaceable public monument will be shattered. This will need to be moved.
  • Aesketitus the Hermit has not moved an inch since he spontaneously appeared on that spot twenty years ago. He has declared that he shall not move until he has received an unspecified "sign from the heavens". Moving him by force will piss off the Neverlies, who appreciate his devoted quietness and solitude.
  • "The Villa" is a neverending bacchanal by a load of long-fingered and fork-tongued sychophants begging The Child King for drugs. Everyone is drunk and/or high constantly. There are no guards. Some of the party-goers can get quite violent.

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