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Author Topic: Dungeons & Dragons / PNP games thread: The Barren Snowflake Wastes  (Read 596258 times)

Loud Whispers

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons / PNP games thread: The Barren Snowflake Wastes
« Reply #8790 on: December 31, 2021, 02:09:10 pm »

Hahaha, I'm having some great fun with my m8s and I never expected to. One of my friends is honestly a terrible fucking DM. The problem is, he sets up great scenarios, great characters, great roleplay - then swings unavoidable fights against creatures with 10,000 HP that takes 3 bloody hours to resolve. We call this the Mugabe problem, because he induces hyperinflation with all of our numbers. He gives a player a weapon that does 1d40 damage, he then gives the enemies 1d40 hit dice to compensate, in an incestuous arms race. We talked about this and he made it clear he would never change his ways, so I decided to just leave; still continuing to play with him as a player, but never as a DM. After a year and a half he comes back to me over a lunch like a scorned ex lover and very sincerely states that it's just not the same without me. I decided I could come back to his campaign, but not as a player, but as NPCs for the party. I've played scoundrels and rogues, rich merchants who caused hyperinflation in the economy to complete the Mugabe motif, enemy bosses and so on.

One of my favourites was someone who seemed so obviously, incredibly evil and witchlike - and indeed, they were a witch, but they never cast a spell and they never did anything evil. They were just sinister, but altruistic. Red eyes in the darkness watching over the city, making sure everyone is safe. Misunderstood they were! Carbuncle the witch. In this setting magic is supposed to be rare (despite its abundance in game), so I had very much fun RP'ing Carbuncle's magic such as... Conjuring a rabbit from a hat. Making a coin appear from behind an ear. Turning a stick into a boquet of flowers. Despite her ability to cast great spells, Carbuncle managed to go through the entire campaign never casting a spell, but is now being hunted by witches convinced she is a powerful mage because the actual spellcasters in the party destroyed hell and the blame is unfairly falling upon her. Life is unfair like that.

A new favourite of the party is someone called Robin. Whereas Carbuncle oozed sinister and fell intent, but was actually a moral saint guiding the party towards a brighter path, Robin is disarming and charming - a one armed child who speaks like a Blue's Clues or Balamory character. "Hello! Will you be my friend?" ..."I don't think we should do that, that would be very naughty." ..."Life is a cage and death is an adventure. Let's go on an adventure friends! :D"
Despite that, he is very clearly a powerful necromancer taking orders from his soul jar'd ancestor to resurrect hell and cause chaos/pandemonium/war/strife amongst the mortal world. I worked with the DM together to make this monstrosity a lvl30 wizard, and it was only after I started reviewing epic spells and 10th lvl+ spells that I realised just how this character was much less an NPC and more a plot point with a personality.

When I designed them I made sure they'd have 30 HP so even with all of their epic boons and other bullshit, it would be a trivial matter for the party to kill this evil necromancer child. Unexpectedly, the party's paladin has taken an incredible liking to them. Whilst the bard is an "end justifies the means" sort of person - they destroyed the entire afterlife to take hell's demons down with it, unfortunately also eliminating all souls - good, evil and in between, the paladin has been struggling to stay on a moral path. For every good action they take they've made three panicked immoral decisions to try and cover up their mounting list of crimes. The bard has been trying to correct this for a while, and had some help when we had a new player playing some werewolf rogue who had a nice little storyline about standing up to authority for what's right and for yourself despite not living up to familial expectations - really swell stuff.

But the moment this evil child shows up, with very little persuasion the paladin has gone full deathknight. There was a hilarious encounter where !not!Robin Hood and his merry men attacked us because a party of a necromancer, werewolf, diabolically augmented paladin with a normal bard looked like an evil cult holding the bard hostage. Whilst the party tried to explain the miscommunication, the paladin launched an assault. In character I took cover in a grave to resume collecting bodies for a meat colossus project, out of character I legit had to ask my friend "are you seriously going to attack the merry men?"

I did not expect him to align his morals immediately with this child of armageddon!!! xD

We managed to end the fight peaceably enough with only one death, but dear Lord. Right now the DM and I are mulling over whether to use a 10th lvl bullshit soulblight spell that causes a zombie cascade. We figured it would fit in right at home with all the other plotlines going on in the background - there is a hyperdimensional witch cold war. A plot to assassinate the god emperor of the humans. A druidic plot to annihilate the new technologies (which are actually ancient technologies). The entire world is a time traveling giant seamine. The blacksun deathcrawl entity.

It's like he took every horrible idea we could come up with and kept smashing them together until they had a negative integer overflow and became fun again
« Last Edit: December 31, 2021, 02:11:32 pm by Loud Whispers »
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Egan_BW

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons / PNP games thread: The Barren Snowflake Wastes
« Reply #8791 on: December 31, 2021, 02:29:15 pm »

very good
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Iduno

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons / PNP games thread: The Barren Snowflake Wastes
« Reply #8792 on: December 31, 2021, 06:27:06 pm »

Hell yes. Sometimes you need to see where the game is going and just lean into it.
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Grim Portent

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons / PNP games thread: The Barren Snowflake Wastes
« Reply #8793 on: January 05, 2022, 12:42:33 pm »

Rolling an idea for a horror monster around my head.

Basic concept is a monster that hunts children, which I'm currently thinking of as being some sort of primordial horror, it kills because it enjoys to rather than because it gets any kind of meaningful benefit. Image I have in mind is a long animal like torso covered in tumours and cysts that ooze black fluid that wriggles with worms, head is halfway between a human and animal skull, with stretched torn skin exposing wet muscle, more black fluid oozes from it's mouth and nose, coughs frequently, walks on eight pairs of legs that are jointed like an insect's but end in human hands. The appearance is largely irrelevant though.

Premise for a scenario involving it is that a century or two prior to the events of the game it was confronted during it's rampages across the land by a saint, who I'm currently thinking would be named Carolyn or something along those lines, and was immediately soothed by her presence, becoming docile and calm. The families of it's victims and the knights who had been trying to slay it found that it wouldn't fight back anymore, but that none of their weapons could cause it lasting damage. If separated from Saint Carolyn it became violent in it's efforts to return to her, so they eventually just had to let it follow her around like a pet. For the next few decades Carolyn devoted herself to the guardianship of the beast, keeping it from harming others, and gathered a following of lay clergy devoted to helping those it had victimised in the past, and to caring for Carolyn herself during her time as the keeper of the monster. When Carolyn passed away, the monster vanished from the church that had grown up around the two of them.

But the horror isn't really gone, it was interred in a mausoleum alongside Saint Carolyn, waiting for her to come back. Over the time since it's imprisonment it has become desperate in it's need to be near the saint again, and decided that if killing children brought Carolyn to it in the first place to stop it, killing children again will bring Carolyn back to stop it once again. It's slow at the moment, killing only a handful of children at a time before returning to the mausoleum to show them to the decaying remains of the saint, where before it was like a cloud of death that swept over the land, snatching infants from cradles and children from the fields by the dozens.

The priests above are mostly unaware of it's return, but a few of the very oldest priests still have vague memories of the monster buried below their church, but due to being isolated in their extreme age they aren't aware of the new killings taking place. Most of the locals and younger priests are assuming it's something more... normal, like wolves or a serial killer or something.


I'm not sure what, if anything, should be able to kill it. Maybe being stabbed with one of the saint's ribs or something.
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heydude6

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons / PNP games thread: The Barren Snowflake Wastes
« Reply #8794 on: January 05, 2022, 04:24:14 pm »

Assuming we ignore the obvious teleportation solutions like the banishment spell, maybe you have to venture out into the world and find a new saint that can trigger the effect again. Perhaps they are the reincarnation of Carolyn or something.

Alternatively, it might be necessary to dupe the monster into thinking that somebody else is Carolyn (with the spell disguise person perhaps) and have them be their new guardian. Maybe nobody remembers what Carolyn looks like anymore and our heros have to go questing in order to find something like a painting to use as a reference for the disguise.

If you really want to murder it for good, I believe the solution should be somehow tied to how the monster was created in the first place. It would be something you would have to make up, and it won't likely connect to the Carolyn backstory very much unless you make it that way, but I think you need to better understand your monster before you can figure out how to kill it.
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Grim Portent

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons / PNP games thread: The Barren Snowflake Wastes
« Reply #8795 on: January 05, 2022, 06:07:38 pm »

My thought on where the monster comes from is that it's basically one of those things that's always existed, a physical manifestation of the darkness before creation and the silence that will fall when everything crumbles to dust. It is death and fear. It is cot death, it is stillbirth, it is the accidents that befall children lost in the woods.

My immediate thoughts are that it just can't be stopped now that it's starting up again, but that's a bit of a downer for a game idea even when going for a Lovecraftian vibe, so ideally it needs to be slain or contained in some fashion so that it isn't going to keep murdering a handful of children every week.

Oh! I have an idea, a bit macabre and morbid perhaps, a cage fashioned from Saint Carolyn's bones. It won't break them, because it can't bring itself to harm her even in death, but it also won't last forever because even well preserved bones eventually crumble to dust, and the string and wire holding the cage together will break sooner still.

Another course would be that someone has to do the same thing that Carolyn did to calm it the first time, something which basically no one else ever managed during her lifetime. Show this monster genuine compassion. My thought is that Carolyn was exceptional in her caring and accepting nature, willing to face down the beast that hunted children and killed anyone who tried to stop it, and was willing to be kind to it even after all it had done. The kind of woman who would make the Grim Reaper or Satan a cup of tea and ask how they were feeling and genuinely mean it. If someone, anyone really, can do the same for it again then they basically are Carolyn, a new Carolyn. Like the old stories about a virgin maiden being able to tame a unicorn, which would otherwise kill or flee from any humans it met.


Banishment also wouldn't work, as it's not from another plane so it would just return. Gate or plane shift would work, but only for a while because it would eventually find a portal back, even if it took a few centuries.
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There once was a dwarf in a cave,
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With a head like a block
he went out for a sock,
his ass I won't bother to save.

Loud Whispers

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons / PNP games thread: The Barren Snowflake Wastes
« Reply #8796 on: January 06, 2022, 04:50:41 pm »

Banishment also wouldn't work, as it's not from another plane so it would just return. Gate or plane shift would work, but only for a while because it would eventually find a portal back, even if it took a few centuries.
Gate would be a nice one. Could really lean into it being a grim dark heroic martyrdom without the consequences being so unstoppably grim

MrRoboto75

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons / PNP games thread: The Barren Snowflake Wastes
« Reply #8797 on: January 06, 2022, 05:03:30 pm »

You could go a step further, finding the dead saint as a petitioner (or even angel) in the outer planes.
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wierd

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons / PNP games thread: The Barren Snowflake Wastes
« Reply #8798 on: January 07, 2022, 12:36:07 pm »

What about the hyper-planar annihilation that happens when a portable hole is placed into a bag of holding? (And vise-versa)

Lure the creature into the portable hole, then puck it up.

Devise a rube-goldberg contraption (or use a golem?) To put the hole into a bag of holding, AFTER the party has reached minimum safe distance?

RAW says the contents, no matter what they are, are destroyed.

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Persus13

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons / PNP games thread: The Barren Snowflake Wastes
« Reply #8799 on: January 07, 2022, 01:09:28 pm »

That wouldn't destroy it, just send it to the astral plane, at least in 5e, which I assume is what folks are talking about.
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heydude6

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons / PNP games thread: The Barren Snowflake Wastes
« Reply #8800 on: January 08, 2022, 02:30:09 pm »

So, I had been planning a two-player DnD game for this past week. Doing DnD two-players presents many interesting challenges due to the loss of versatility. Since I wanted to run our first session before the break ended, I've needed to really rush/crunch the prep.

Anyway, I found out yesterday that my players chose to make their characters a Warlock and a Druid. I'm really mad at this because our adventure starts at level 1 and as a result, a party of two squishy wizards can get one-shot by basically anything. Also my first planned encounter involves reskinned blink dogs.

I would have told them to make new characters, but due to the rushed nature of the setup, there isn't any time for that.

Wish me luck I guess.
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Persus13

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons / PNP games thread: The Barren Snowflake Wastes
« Reply #8801 on: January 08, 2022, 02:43:56 pm »

Do you have time to give them a sidekick (assuming this is 5e)? I found the sidekick rules in Tasha's and Dragon of Icespire Peak were pretty helpful for shoring up the party in cases like this. You even can have it the side kick be a pet wolf or something. If you don't have either of those, you could also just give them a companion NPC they need to rescue but can then help them out for the rest of the adventure or something.
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heydude6

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons / PNP games thread: The Barren Snowflake Wastes
« Reply #8802 on: January 08, 2022, 04:04:16 pm »

I'll probably have their patron give them two Thugs (CR 1/2) to work with as tanky meatshields. They're only going to meet the patron after the first encounter though, so they're still gonna have to find a way to survive the blink dogs.
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Lets use the ancient naval art of training war parrots. No one will realize they have been boarded by space war parrots until it is to late!
You can fake being able to run on water. You can't fake looking cool when you break your foot on a door and hit your head on the floor.

Criptfeind

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons / PNP games thread: The Barren Snowflake Wastes
« Reply #8803 on: January 09, 2022, 07:15:03 pm »

It sounds like you might want to reconsider balancing your encounters. Although neither druids or warlocks have to be squishy wizard types, Blink dogs, as in, multiple blink dogs would be at least a hard encounter for even for two characters that are particularly powerful at level 1 and if you have more then 2 that'd be beyond deadly. Throwing hard encounters at players at level 1 is a good way to kill the party, no matter what the composition is.

And overall, warlock+druid seems to me to be a pretty decent party composition, the warlock can deal damage and has some nice utility, the druid got lots of utility and healing and at level 2 moon druids are the tankiest class in the game. You might have to be slightly handholding until they get to level 2, but overall for just a two person game, seems like a good mix.

Also 2 thugs would massively overshadow them in any combat situation, a single thug is an appropriate encounter for a level 1 party of 4. This might be fine, but, something to think about.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2022, 07:28:02 pm by Criptfeind »
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Loud Whispers

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Re: Dungeons & Dragons / PNP games thread: The Barren Snowflake Wastes
« Reply #8804 on: January 10, 2022, 08:49:56 am »

So I have been overthinking yet again and one thing I have been thinking about is the consequence of a flat world which stretches on to infinity. Already this means that gravity doesn't exist as it does where we are, to avoid everything getting pulled towards the new centre of the world. Which means there is an objective down, and an objective up. No problem in a world where everything is managed by divine shenanigens. I ended up in this bowl of nightmares by trying to create a setting where every star is uniformly spaced in a grid across the sky, and there were endless expanses going each four corner - truly endless. Some of the questions I've posited:

  • Multiple suns, moons and stars would be needed to patrol every quarter of the world? I rather like this idea. Also allows for quarters of the world with unusual stellar arrangements, or quarters where their local sun is missing or locked in place.
  • What is ultimate up and ultimate down, or is it also endless? I like the idea of digging deep into the HFS on land whilst the ocean just keeps going past the abyss into ever deeper stretches of infinite water. Maybe if you keep going you end up on someone else's layer of perpetual horizontalness, e.g. your ocean is their sky.
  • A local area's sun would have to roam in a circle to give people day/night cycle. There may even need to be a whole train of moons and suns in order to give a proper day/night cycle?
  • What's happening with shadows, light levels and seasons? If the sun & moon parade is rotating around in a circle, then instead of having a temperate seasonal north & a tropical/arid equator, there'll probably be a seasonal tropical/arid perimeter and an eternally springtime temperate core. Will the absolute core be snowy all the time?
  • If you were to take a rocket ship up, how far out could you see before the absolute flatness could not be discerned any further?
  • What happens to wind cycles if the atmosphere is infinite?
  • An astronomer makes a telescope and gazes at the stars. What do they see?


*EDIT
One possible alternative which I think would be a worthy system, would be instead of having a caravan of stellar objects, have a chain of suns and moons, but they turn off and on depending on the time it's supposed to be on the ground. So the suns are fixed objects in the sky but appear to be just one sun moving
« Last Edit: January 10, 2022, 09:46:38 am by Loud Whispers »
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