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Brain Storming

Brain Storming – December 20, 2010 4:34 PM (edited 12/20/10 11:34 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
I'm looking to solicit some more good D&D ideas from everyone, but this time instead of for a fight, I'm looking for puzzle ideas. Here's the situation I'm dealing with:

Long ago, the gods became angry with the humanoids and took away most of the water on the planet. The water that remained was cursed so that anyone who drinks it becomes an undead abomination. The party has been running around trying to fix things. Right now they are in a ravine with a cursed river flowing through it. At the end of the last session, they just killed a bunch of undead that came from the river.

I'm going to open this session with a portal opening in the middle of the river (which would be a skill challenge for them to get to). If they go through the portal, they will find themselves in the same ravine they were in, but instead of desert land with poisoned water, they'll find the ravine with pure water and the landscape covered in lush foliage. If they climb out of the ravine, they'll find the land to be a small asteroid. Almost as if the body of water was scooped out and tossed into space.

The point of the session: I want to show the players that the gods took the water away by moving the good water to an alternate plane and replaced it with corrupt mirror versions. Ideally, there would be some puzzle/skill challenge that would let the players swap the good and bad water out to restore this piece of land. Unfortunately, that's where I run out of ideas. Does anyone have any thoughts?

Re: Brain Storming – December 20, 2010 4:57 PM (edited 12/20/10 11:57 AM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
I don't have an immediate idea, so I'm going to try to tease this out more and see if something develops.


As I understand it, the actual puzzle or skill challenge isn't necessarily water related. The gods have presumably performed some sort of spell that resulted in the swap. So if we're assuming it's somehting the players can reverse in a puzzle fashion, then there's some sort of standing glyph / keyhole / conduit / whatever that is linking these two locations and keeping them swapped. Like a magic wormhole, yes?

If there was someone in particular who pissed them off and made them do this then it would be kind of classic to go with some sort of transformative effect - all the jerks who pissed off the gods were turned into singing frogs, and until one can teach them to sing in the right order they're going to stay as frogs and the ponds are going to be swapped. You could also go with a Fisher King kind of thing - all they have to do is ask the right question to the right person. And riddles would be fun too. I'm personally a bit resistant to any of the traditional logic puzzles (Tower of Hanoi, Three Jugs, etc.) because mostly we're familiar with that by now. There are some cipher possibilities too - you could do a card matching thing where you hide the cards until they make skill checks to correctly interpret them.


Hmmm . . . still ruminating on this.

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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Brain Storming – December 20, 2010 5:30 PM (edited 12/20/10 12:30 PM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
I like the idea of the puzzle being some type of repentance based theme. If people have learned to do this, they deserve to have their water back. So that's a great start, I just have to think about what the this is. Smile I wasn't think that the gods were punishing specific people, just a general hubris. This event happened many generations ago. Maybe the gods would have captured the worst offenders of the time and punished them in a Dante's Inferno contrapaso type deal to suffer in eternity. Their suffering would act as the anchor that keeps the good land anchored. So breaking that suffering would remove the anchor and cause the swap.

Ok, I can see this fleshing out now. Ideally, the players would be able to search out other landscapes like this and correct different infractions to slowly restore the land, with each area being an increasingly bad sin. So this area, as the first would be a low level sin. Maybe greed? Someone long ago took over the ravine to pan for gold and others suffered because the couldn't get the water?

Re: Brain Storming – December 20, 2010 5:40 PM (edited 12/20/10 12:40 PM)
Talraen (2373 posts) Doesn't Play with Others
Rating: /images/autobot.gif + 1
Does the fact that the first thing this made me think was "that's ridiculous, people can't survive without water" mean I should just avoid fantasy altogether? Wink

--
There is no Mythril Sword in Elfheim
Re: Brain Storming – December 20, 2010 5:43 PM (edited 12/20/10 12:43 PM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
Well, I had honestly glazed over that and didn't realize that all of the water on the planet was tainted. That seems a bit extreme.

But the answer to your question is still "maybe" Smile

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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Brain Storming – December 20, 2010 5:48 PM (edited 12/20/10 12:48 PM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
I'm a little iffy on the greed thing, to tell you the truth, it doesn't feel thematically appropriate for water.

How about:

One of the gods turned into a swan or whatever (transmogrification is not required, just gives it a Greek feel) and slept with the wife of the nearby town's leader on the banks of this river. She gives birth and eventually he finds out that she was unfaithful, drowning her and the child in the river. The god got so pissed that he was like "nuh uh, no water for any of you".

Not sure how you go about fixing that though. Probably your party doesn't want to deliver all the young women of the town to that god for him to pick and choose from Smile

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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Brain Storming – December 20, 2010 6:42 PM (edited 12/20/10 1:42 PM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
Yes, all the water in the world is either missing, or corrupt. The mythology goes that one of the gods took pity and taught her devout clerics the miracle of creating water. So, clerics of this one one god have risen to power since it's only through their existence that towns can be formed since all water is created/controlled, by them. And there are relatively small pools of clean water that can be found that nomadic tribes live off of, but they wouldn't support a large population. I just didn't get into all this because it didn't seem relative to the task at hand.

Re: Brain Storming – December 20, 2010 6:55 PM (edited 12/20/10 1:55 PM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
This is probably just because I'm wrapping up my Exalted game, but my core assumption upon hearing about this scenario is that there was a major taint to the world's water supply at one point, that has long since been corrected, and that the clerics of this god are deliberately poisoning the water in order to keep the world in the grip of their power.

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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Brain Storming – December 20, 2010 6:55 PM (edited 12/20/10 1:55 PM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
Well, what I'm picturing is a number of these other planer bodies of water being held in place by a sinner, with the sinner being punished in some way on that plane. Each major body of water that needs to be freed would correspond to some different transgression that the gods had a beef over. So, murder would be one of them, but not necessarily this one. I was thinking greed because it's a relatively minor one. If you open with murder, you have a hard time going up from there.

I've been thinking about this in the frame of mind of the gods being pissed at all humans in general, so they're taking away the water, but while they're at it, punishing a few noticeable examples of jerks. But maybe it could have really have been one ruler who was so bad the punishment was delved out on this large of a scale. In which case, each body of water to be freed would relate to some crime that one king committed and over the course of freeing all the water, the party slowly pieces together what that one person did.

Or maybe it wasn't the gods at all. Maybe it was just one cleric/mage who was doing some experiments and got in way over their heads and they caused all this by accident. In which case, each puzzle would be undoing some part of the spell that went wrong.

Re: Brain Storming – December 20, 2010 7:00 PM (edited 12/20/10 2:00 PM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
Balerion wrote...
This is probably just because I'm wrapping up my Exalted game, but my core assumption upon hearing about this scenario is that there was a major taint to the world's water supply at one point, that has long since been corrected, and that the clerics of this god are deliberately poisoning the water in order to keep the world in the grip of their power.

I don't picture the clerics as actively poisoning the water supply, or even knowing how to correct the issue at large. But they're not exactly in a rush to fix it, and they do actively prevent people from researching either fixing the water or learning how to cast the create water spell. People who are caught doing this are either executed, or tossed into the Glory Games (see previous threads about crazy battle scenarios) on trumped up charges (usually stealing water).

Re: Brain Storming – December 20, 2010 7:03 PM (edited 12/20/10 2:03 PM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
Oh, ok, that works then. I thought you were going to have like every type of landscape blighted by this.

Still doesn't really leave us with what has to be done to correct it. Bring back some of the water from the healthy version and use it in an act contrary to the sin that created the problem?

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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Brain Storming – December 20, 2010 7:46 PM (edited 12/20/10 2:46 PM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
The only landscape left in the world is desert because all the water went bad Smile The idea was, the gods were sick of people and tried to kill them all off by denying them water, but one god intervened so some survived. It's kind of like a Noah's Ark, but in reverse.

Here's my current idea: Long ago a farmer got greedy and dammed the river in the ravine to keep all the water for himself and his crops. This resulted in the towns and forests downstream dieing out. As a punishment, the farmer is tied up in the middle of river, in front of his dam. Every 10 minutes, the dam breaks crushing and drowning the farmer, only to have the dam rebuilt, filled, and break again.

The party will step through the portal and find the river at just a trickle, and then hear the water rushing at them. They'll then have to do a skill challenge to avoid being swept away by the water. Then, to correct the problem and replace the corrupt water with the real river, the party will either have to:
- Free the farmer
- Break the dam so the water flows naturally instead of in a huge burst
- Kill the farmer before the water can

If any of those three things (or something similar to those) happen, the cycle of punishment ends and the water will snap back to the mortal plane.

Re: Brain Storming – December 20, 2010 7:51 PM (edited 12/20/10 2:51 PM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
Sounds like that would work.


It's guarded by a dragon, right?

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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Brain Storming – December 20, 2010 7:55 PM (edited 12/20/10 2:55 PM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
They already did the big fight to gain access to the portal. It wasn't a dragon, but a horde of undead. Dragons can be later. Unfortunately, this is the group that has reduced the time given to me to all of an hour and a half, maybe 2 hours if we get setup quick, so fights are... tricky. Never the less, other portals will be guarded by dragons.

Re: Brain Storming – December 20, 2010 7:56 PM (edited 12/20/10 2:56 PM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
Undead dragons

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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Brain Storming – December 20, 2010 7:58 PM (edited 12/20/10 2:58 PM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
Re: Brain Storming – December 20, 2010 8:02 PM (edited 12/20/10 3:02 PM)
chaoscat (452 posts) Ambassador of Good Will
Rating: Not Rated
Yeah, me too, and yes, I think it means we should avoid fantasy all together.

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Syllabic (4:14 PM): tozzi are you like dowd's jiminy cricket
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