View Full Version : Spirit World Adventures

2016-11-08, 05:57 AM
After our last adventure I got the distinct adventure that in the group I'm running, the Shaman character is feeling a bit left out of the plot. My mistake, really, one other character played a character who has the inborn power of winter, and the adventure just happened to include a supernatural force of winter that will be important to the campaign.

So, anyway, I want to make up for this a bit. I'm looking for any adventures (For any system, really, but D&D third edition would be nice) that feature entering the spirit world or some other fantastical paralell dimension, as well fey creatures, nature spirits or ghosts. Ideas are welcome, but ideally, I'm looking for a short to medium length prewritten adventure I could adapt. Any ideas?

2016-11-09, 08:04 AM
I guess not, then. Someone help me brainstorm a bit, instead?

As the party will be on a ship, here's a basic idea I had that will need some fleshing out.

The Court under the Waves

A power in the spirit world has heard about the characters and how they may soon be important to the fate of the world, and wants to meet them.

As they are crossing the ocean under a full moon, there is a squall, and the waves are rising. Fog rises until all anyone can see is silver light. The watch is nervous, the rowers are asleep, but for a while, nothing happens, until the fog slowly begins to vanish.

And the ocean isn't moving. The waves are mountains of dark water, perfectly still. The foam hangs in the air. The surface is hard as glass and ice cold. In fact, what should be a spring night feels more like winter.

Then the fanfares. From behind a fog bank rides a procession. Tall fey on pale horses have come to invite the party to their queen's palace under the waves.

So. That's the start. I need a few things more.

The Atmosphere: Everything needs to be otherworldly and strange, with a hint of danger and morbidity. The party will be taken to a candle-light ball room that appears to be a cave with walls of water frozen in time. What can the party find that appears dangerous?
I'm thinking, for a start, that the serves and musicians will be drowned sailors who haven't yet realized that they are dead and will probably crumble to skeletons right then and there when reminded of this.

The cast: Winter fae, water elementals, merpeople. Who would attend such a court function? Again, ideas are welcome.

The Risk: The Fey are easily offended and easily bored. The entire party can turn very dangerous at a moment's notice and the guests could turn into a party game instead. What are the fey offended by? Certainly a lack of courtesy. What else? Food and drink should of course be avoided, as should, probably, dancing. What dangerous things could happen there? Curses, probably, but I dn't want anything too crippling. Ideas welcome. Certainly nothing that kills anyone. Small possible pratfalls.

The Reward: A powerful ally, certainly. A way to sail the sea while staying beyond the whims of the sea god, who is vengeful and unreliable. But what do the fey want of the party, beyond getting to know them? For a bit of background, the world is changing. Not ending, as such, but it's the end of an age. The Autumn of the World, followed by the Winter of the Gods. This is where the powerful withdraw from the world, or muster their forces for Twilight, as at the end of every age, the gods may fall and a new pantheon has a chance to rise, or old gods to return. The fey, I think, will not want to get too involved in this, as they see themselves as apart from the god's struggles in their own little corner of the multiverse.

So, what I'm actually pondering is what the fey want and how they would test the players. Certainly a meet-and-greet, but there has to be more.

Martin Greywolf
2016-11-09, 09:45 AM
You may want to look into Fallen London and Sunless Sea by Failbetter games - they certainly have the atmosphere of strange down, albeit with more Lovecraftian/Gothic spin on it.

One thing that sells those settings is the currency - basic money is Echoes (because that's the last sound a secret makes before it dies), but you have all sorts of things: Searing Enigmas, Strategic Information, Tale of Terror, Zee-stories (yes, spelled with a 'Z', zailors are rather insistent on this point) and so on. What exactly you pick will probably depend a lot on your internal fey logic.

A common enough mechanic in these cases is something like sanity, basically your PCs capacity to deal with the supernatural and handle it rationally. This quality increases the more relaxing, mundane things you do and decreases as the world stops to make sense around you (well, depends on the name - high sanity is good, but if it is called terror, then the opposite is true). To spice things up, you could also add a counterpoint quality (e.g. Banality) - the more you slip into the mundane, the more you resist fae spells, but go too far and your hosts may turn on you (they want to be entertained, after all), or even the basic magic of it stops functioning and the sea begins to move again (make sure to hint heavily this is what will happen, though).

Other than that, remember that all the strange happenings should be business as usual for the hosts - while players may well freak out at Aboleth joining a feast to nibble on an enslaved human, no one else will even blink. To make this slightly more survivable for the PCs, have the hosts delineate people not along the lines of "sentient being" and "animal", but rather along the lines of "guest", "host" and "food".

2016-11-09, 09:58 AM
I have in fact been playing a lot of Zubmariner lately. And I have a high level FL character, though he's retired because I can't really find anything to do in the game anymore. Good place to mine ideas though, thanks.

When playing Planescape before, I have used the kind of non-material currencies FL uses. Souls, of course, among the lower planes, but also the Favour as a standard currency on the chaotic side ("We regret to inform you that the Favour you owed to Bartleby, Xanxost and Applespork's has been traded to Graz'zt Banking Incorporated. Your monthly lately fee for repayment is six ounces of virgin blood, to be spilled on your next dark altar. Expect a letter detailing repayment offers in the next four to six work weeks) and the Secret.

I am however not going to change mechanics halfway in to introduce a sanity system.

And they had an encounter with a hostile Aboleth lately. He used his mind control to make their rowers jump overboard and become his slaves. I like the idea of having a more amicable one floating through the party making polite small talk.

2016-11-09, 10:28 PM
If you're looking for a good example of a spirit world adventure, the Avatarverse has a fairly good one examine. There's the season 2 episode, a new spiritual age, which is an amazing spiritual adventure, depicting the spirit world as a place that responds to your mindset.

2016-11-10, 09:50 AM
D&D in 3.0 or 3.5 had a book called Ghostwalk that detailed a city called Manifesr, that was the border between the land of the living and the dead.
Unfortunately I don't have permission to post links yet.

It might be a good resource for what you're looking for.

2016-11-10, 11:38 AM
It sound like you are running an Oriental Adventures style game. Do you have the Rokugan Campaign Setting book? It gives advice on how spirits interact with the world and how one moves between the different realms. I'm sure there are other books in the series that detail spirit adventures more thoroughly.

For inspiration, you could use classic folklore about the fey or any adventure hook that takes place on another plane. Fire Elementals are spirits of fire. Earth Elementals are spirits of rocks, boulders or mountains. Angels could be spirits of virtue, patience, justice or compassion. Demons could be spirits of greed, murder or bloodshed. Have them all live on the ethereal plane instead of having distinct planes for each type. That covers the basic flavor of the spirit world.

With all of these outsiders, elementals, and fey living on the ethereal plane, I'm sure plot hooks could be made. Especially if the nature of the spirits, or their environment, is affected by occurrences on the Material Plane. A dam is making life for a river spirit (a medium water elemental) very uncomfortable. Heavy logging is threatening the life of a forest spirit (a dryad). The shaman is in a unique position in that there are side quests and plot hooks that only he/she can access normally.

2016-11-10, 12:01 PM
Actually, so far, I'm mostly using Greek and Norse myth. I guess I'm throwing in some Celtic too, for the fey. THe main civilization the players are in is very pre-classical Greek, anyway.

But stealing some ideas from Rokugan is a good idea anyway, I'll look into that.

2016-11-10, 02:54 PM
Take a look at this index of Dungeon magazine (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/13HzYOeq4o0_laNwZ8wJ_WJcSqym0qkHQgQ4csNqoAtE/pub?output=html#). There's quite a few dealing with spirits. Dungeon #130 with Palace of Plenty might be a good one for you.

2016-11-10, 03:35 PM
Take a look at this index of Dungeon magazine (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/13HzYOeq4o0_laNwZ8wJ_WJcSqym0qkHQgQ4csNqoAtE/pub?output=html#). There's quite a few dealing with spirits. Dungeon #130 with Palace of Plenty might be a good one for you.

That's incredibly helpful, thank you. I even still have that page with all the older dungeons and dragons magazines in my links.

2016-11-10, 03:45 PM
Okay, the Palace of Plenty is perfect for idea-mining.

It features a palace, halfway into the spirit world, where a magical artefact was used to freeze time on the last evening before a great apocalypse.

That basic idea is pretty much directly transferable to what I'm running. A giant hourglass, used by the fey to preserve a tiny splinter of the last world in an eternal time loop.

So. The king of an island in the middle of the sea made a deal with the fey, that they would preserve his court through the last apocalypse into this age of the world. Now they are frozen in time, awakening each day, living through their last party in the waning autumn, then freezing to death as the winter of the world descends.
All while the fey wander among them and enjoy the sweet poetry of this romantic suffering.

2016-11-10, 03:46 PM
Actually, so far, I'm mostly using Greek and Norse myth. I guess I'm throwing in some Celtic too, for the fey. THe main civilization the players are in is very pre-classical Greek, anyway.

But stealing some ideas from Rokugan is a good idea anyway, I'll look into that.

The Shaman, and by extension the Spirit Shaman, is based on Oriental Adventures, which draws heavily from the Legend of the Five Rings game series. Reading up on the Rokugan setting, even if browsing the L5R lore, will at least give you some insight into how the classes were fluffed. It's worth a look for that, if nothing else.

Take a look at this index of Dungeon magazine (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/13HzYOeq4o0_laNwZ8wJ_WJcSqym0qkHQgQ4csNqoAtE/pub?output=html#). There's quite a few dealing with spirits. Dungeon #130 with Palace of Plenty might be a good one for you.

Wow, that is incredibly useful. Thanks for posting this link. :smallsmile: