Magenta: The Empty Canvas

Continued from here.

There was no getting around it – there was no way out. She was trapped alone in a sealed-off wing of the museum, and no one from her group would know where she had gone. “The sign on the door to this place said ‘NO ENTRY,’ it didn’t say ‘NO EXIT!'” said Magenta aloud, giggling to herself nervously.

She had a short freak-out. This involved spinning around in circles looking for lost doors and much pulling of her curly brown hair, and running through random doors only to always end up back in the room with the empty canvas. After encountering the room for the tenth time, the young woman stopped running. She doubled over and caught her breath.

“All right. All right. Why am I running?” the sorceress muttered to herself. “No one’s looking. I’ll just teleport out of here. I’ll reappear in a ladies’ room, then catch up with the rest of the class.” Magenta ran over the plan several times in her head. It felt almost too simple, but surely the worst that could happen is that someone else would notice her appearing out of thin air in the ladies’, and she could always modify memories if it came to that.

Magenta closed her eyes, as if the blank, framed canvas that dominated the room distracted her. She took a deep breath. Then she spoke the incantation for the Teleport spell. Continue reading

TimeWarp Campaign Idea: Time Zones

It’s looking like I may not get a chance to run that time travel campaign I wanted. But even if I eventually do, I figure I may as well share some more of my ideas for it.

There are six main eras for the PCs to visit. To make things interesting I’m going to list them in the order that the PCs will likely visit them, not in chronological order. I’m sure there will be repeat visits to the different eras, though — more on that later.

V: High Medieval Era: Gonland
This is the era that the PCs will come from, although any PC who joins partway through the campaign will likely come from whichever era the party happens to be in. It’s a pretty standard D&D world, with access to all the normal sorts of magic. (The major exceptions, as I mentioned in another post, are that dragons are long extinct, and planar travel is utterly impossible.) Gonland is one of two major powers in this part of the world, the other being Arcus. Historically speaking, this is an age of relative enlightenment. Magic is being rediscovered after a long absence, new forms of government (i.e. parliamentary monarchy) are being worked out, and society is surprisingly tolerant. State religion is a big deal, but not a driving force in most people’s lives. Peasants are enjoying limited civil rights, although of course they’re still peasants.

The major conflict in this era is the cold war between Gonland and Arcus. They have different national deities, and Arcus is much more lawful than Gonland is. The territory between Arcus and Gonland is generally full of much smaller nations that must take sides or be annexed, and are then obliged to fight as proxies against nations that back the opposing state. Rumors say that a secret society of mages and clerics is Continue reading

Awesome D&D Idea: Timey-Wimey

I got a great idea for a D&D campaign in class today, and I totally intend to do it if I get the opportunity. Don’t want to make all the details public, but the basic idea is: time travel. The idea would be something with the same feel as Chrono Trigger (a great Super Nintendo game), but not the same setting or rules or any of that. The players would start out in a medieval setting, but then find portals that lead to other time periods, including a prehistoric age where dragons reign, a era with a Romanesque empire ruling the world, and a Diablo-like post-apocalypse where the world is nearly overrun with demons and monsters. There would be only 5 or 6 eras that it’s possible to travel to, and time generally moves along in all eras at the same rate as the party experiences. In other words, if the party takes a portal back 1000 years, spends a week there, and then takes a portal forward 1000 years, they’ll find they’ve been missing for a week.

Time travel would replace planar travel in pretty much all ways, for both gameplay and plot reasons. So, for example, the spell Plane Shift would instead be Time Shift. It would work the same way as the portals, however, and would allow travel in time but not in space. That means you couldn’t use it to go to anything but the 5-6 time periods I’d have planned out, and time would still pass as I explained before. You couldn’t use it to, say, go back a few rounds and give yourself some advice.

There would be some threads that weave through the time periods. For example, dragons are presumed extinct in all except the prehistoric age, but action taken by the party to save two dragons might change that. A legendary lost sword supposedly owned by Emperor So-and-So might be obtainable by the party if they go back and ask him to lend it to them. And the party’s involvement in a historical battle might change the balance of power in the future. You know, those sorts of shenanigans.

I also have an idea for a character that I don’t know yet what he is, but he sounds awesome. Basically, it’s just a faceless man. He never says anything (for he has no mouth), but would be a recurring character who keeps running into the party even though they’re traveling through time. That should puzzle them. It’s got me puzzled too, but I think the plainest answer is that he’s immortal, although I still don’t know what he is yet.

There’s no Lavos (the sleeping monster at the world’s core in Chrono Trigger), but there is an evil older than time itself. That should be fun. Not that the party will even find out about it at first. That comes once they’ve gotten a feel for the world and its different eras. In order to get people used to the world, time travel shouldn’t be something that happens to the party every day. I’m thinking something like every level or two they should time travel, that should be the goal. At least at first, the party should get a chance to do a couple of quests per time period, and then shift again. I’d mostly enforce this by having portals at the end of dungeons, say, or else having portals show up where they party happens to already be. This would involve more railroading than I normally like to do, but I think I can make up for it by letting the party do as they like the rest of the time.

Anyway, this is an excellent idea and I’m totally doing it if I can. I need to get some people together.