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- Mar 2014
D&D space campaign! Firefly/Farscape/terry Gilliam/Star Wars cantina style!!
ďAll I know is... Once every 445 days, 7 hours and 22 seconds It eats another star. The process takes a variable amount of time depending the size and colour of the star, but that doesnít seam of vary the time till the next star is murdered, It also doesnít seam to vary the size, mass or luminescence of the ring. I have a theory extra mass is converted into high-mana thalmatons but I lack a means to remotely measure the rings output.
You can see the stars out there, in a line, equally spaced 445 days, 7 hours and 22 seconds apart, about 100 million miles distant from one another, like a line of lanterns strung down a street. Gravity should have them moving towards one another but something prohibits it. Law of averages says they should have planets and steroids and Stellar debris orbiting them, but they are nude and alone.
A streamer of solar mass erupts from the dying star, drawn into the ring until the cooling core of trace elements begins to break apart. From this distance and so close to the burning brightness of the ring itís hard to be sure, but I often see shapes working on the core scraps. Traders? Scavengers? Or come part of the machine itself? After a few aeons of studying the mechanisms of the machine I have given up all hope of knowing a tenth of a tenth of what this place is, what its for or does.
So... You want Gristlemok fries with that?Ē
-Vartax the consorter, Fry cook.
ďDay 46. We came across a tribe of demi-humans a few days ago. They were sick. This close to the Monofilaments the radiation is intense. A mix of Gamma rays and Transmutation magic comes off those things in constant waves.
Under normal circumstances their colony is protected by a shield of some sort, but the mechanism is in a state of disrepair. A wheel or capstan drives the mechanism but it grows harder to turn each day.
They used to farm a hive of Gristlemok for food, feathers and fat. Their big dumb birds, similar to the giant osprey of my homelands. About twelve hands tall, they are clumsy and require extensive training to perform the most basic of tasks, but can be used to pull a cart or carry a man upon their back. Their fat, once rendered into grease can produce an organic lubricant. It is my intention to help these people, If I can.
Day 49. I have scoured the lands around the colony and believe I have found a hive of wild Gristlemok. If I can take a juvenile queen I believe I will have the means to save the tribe.
Day 53. I am shut into a small chamber inside the Gristlemok hive; Iíve bared the doors in hope to get a little rest before going on.
I fear I might be trespassing on someoneís property, these Gristlemok appear to have been branded and bare leather collars. Iíve had to kill quite a few of the warrior breed Gristlemok. Larger and with feathers almost as hard as chitin they have proven formidable. This should be the last entry before I get to the queens chamber.
Day 54. I found the queens birthing chamber and in it I find a horror I had not imagined. The queen is the largest Gristlemok I have yet seen. Her crown is a circlet of gold and iron, the walls of her chamber are decorated with a frieze in the same material as the hive itself but in such exquisite detail that tears roll down my cheeks. The revelation of the Gristlemok culture, and they slave state is a pain I cannot bare. To think of the hundreds that have died in the mouths of the local tribes, which have died to grease an axel, it is too much. I have been genocide to these people, an intruder come to slaughter them. The queen stares into my eyes and offers me a leather collar. Though we cannot communicate in words she offers me a wretched choice in that collar. Do I return empty handed to the demi-human colony, condemn them to lingering transmutation and death? Knowing that I condemn endless generations of Gristlemok to servitude and death as a farmed slave, do I return with the queen? Do the demi-humans know of the sentience of these birds? Would they care if they did? What do I do?
-Last entry of Jovankus the dead, found in Gristlmok burial mound.
A Note on Spelljammer
I love spelljamer, but thatís not what I want for this campaign setting. Because faerun is not the only fantasy option, spelljammer is not the only sci-fi option. Also I'm not sure what edition, PROBABLY D&D next.
The star wars cantina scene, farscape, firefly, the guardians of the galaxy, you know this place, its science fantasy. I want to create a setting where in some places you could have open topped space ships (A la spelljammer) and in other places closed top (a la star wars / reality) where you can travel from place to place without an FTL drive ( like firefly) but be big enough that you can have vast barren stretches of space. Room for as much as possible in short.
(I doubt the players will see, experience 1/10th of this, but I want to have it set up in my head so that its consistent(ish) and if they do want to know. )
Ringworlds, Alderson disks, Star lifting , Penrose Generators, Dyson Spheres, Quasar batteries, Globus Cassus, Kempler Rossette, Matrioshka brain, OíNeil cylinders. Macro scale engineering of vast and imprehensible scale.
Planets are clichť.
Now. Stay with me. If you think of a dyson sphere as essentially a battery or generator on a galactic scale, Think of a computer or complex machine. Think of the functions the components have. Capacitors, transistors, microprocessors, memory, pumps, diodes, all those things, now scale them up both scale and functionality.
I want you to imagine the biggest most complex thing you can imagine? A god maybe. Immortal, omniscient, omnipotent, okay? Can reshape all of reality at will. Can know anything it wants to know. This machine is as far beyond gods as gods are beyond you. If you spent all of eternity trying to work out what it did you wouldnít understand a tenth of its most basic functions.
Who made it? What is it function? How does it work? These might be hinted at but never explained.
(from centre to edge)
1. The Quasar generator. At the heart of the livable space is a quasar, it produces a wave of super energetic material straight up (polar north)
2. The Portals. Thousands of portals constantly sucking in material from other times and places and peoples. Most people who end up in the place come in through these portals infinite tons of debris and artifacts and gassess and liquids.
3. The junklands. Floating island conglomerations of debris. Cities and civilizations and trade fleets ply the deep, super thick gas giant like atmosphere levels.
4. The worlds. Moons and asteroids and OíNeil cylinders and planets in the mid atmospheric levels
5. The lighter atmospheric levels, floating tree islands, gas bag jellyfish, people wearing oxygen masks.
6. The solar ring. A ring of stellar matter spinning and stretched out, a mono-molecular thread of neutronium holding it in place.
7. The outer worlds. Empires on broken planets with exposed cores, vast stretches of post-apocalyptic emptiness. Slavers. No oxygen from this point on, pure vacuum. This is the largest single zone, worlds are further apart, places more desolate.
8. The great machine. Above and below the world vast components churn and turn and twist in and out of existance and transmute and emit bursts of hard radiation. You would have to be insane to operate out of these places.
∑ Loss / Lost / Losing. Everyone who comes to the machine is in some way lost or has lost something.
∑ Outsiders. They come to it from elsewhere. There are of course empires and civilizations and colonies and peoples within the machine, but I want to avoid the player characters coming from within the machine. I intend to play with communication, language difficulties, assumptions over what is sentient, what is food.
∑ One more. I feel it, but I donít know what it is. Friendship maybe? Something to sweeten out the other too. The power of friendship? (like in the pacific rim way)
1. I plan on two preludes one for 2 of the players and one for the other 3. The first one is a little weird. The other weirder.
A drinking game / pub crawl with a wizards apprentice that takes a turn for the strange when the players return to the apprentices lab in the wizards tower, and continue to drink and increasing mix of booze, alchemical ingrediants and magical potions in random combination.
Perception begins to change the wizards cat familiar grows a tentacle and a deamonic anglerfish behind it as the players perception is changed, revealing things true forms, combined with pink elephant hallucinations and actual transmutive potions that begin to warp reality through their warped minds.
One player become the concept of the colour yellow, another becomes a three headed dragon, another becomes a thousand untold mice sized people moving in a mat of flesh. They will attract the attention of wierd pan-dimentional creatures as the tower floats away, engaging in some very abstract fighting, when a player reaches for their sword the draw they end up drawing the concept of a sword.
Eventually a small sinkhole like space sucking things through it, like a twister that was before both large and far away grows small and nearby, its focal size remaining constant. This will turn out to be a hyperdrive of sorts. A component of the engine, like a propeller in water, like a jet engine, and like a gull or manatee the players jet sucked through it and tumble out into a spaceship of somekind. Maybe one NPC comes out like supernova all twisted and mutated because when they went through he was the idea of jelousy, but another was a three headed dragon and so comes out as a dragonborn when he started as human, another who drew his sword in the psychedelic nightmare but actually drew the concept of a sword is now equipped with a magical sword that has the unique power that each time you draw it from the scabbard you choose what kind of sword it is, a long sword, a short sword, barstard or great. Its hilt seems to writhe and change when not being looked at.
And they are about to crash into the other 2 players....
The other two players are in a pastiche of dungeon.
Player 1, Player 2, Drog the Dwarf, Artanis Telemnar the Elf Ranger, Quicky the Halfing belive themselves to be in a dungeon.
DM: It has been such a long time since you saw the light of day, but you know in your heart that you must go on, for if you donít dread dragon Faramor the crimson will complete his fiendish scheme to marry Princess Sarah the buxom and rule over the Peaceful kingdom of Edrzington.
Having gained what rest you can, you pack up your sleeproll and prepare to face whatever monsters Faramor the crimson has prepared for you.
The players are in a standard 10x10 stretch of corridor with doors at both ends
The players hear a dull roar slowly building as they move around they can hear the dull sound of chains clanking.
In actually they are in an treadmill like affair, kind of like portal / portal 2 where each room or corridor section is a closed brick like segment and as they advance randomly selected sections are placed in front of they, like a mouse endlessly running over your hands. The blocks are suspended and moved by a series of clanking chains and pullies.
At this point the players on the spaceship / space train thing crash into the dungeon (because their getting pulled through its hyperdrive has screwed everything up. The players have to escape the collapsing faux dungeon, seeing that all the enemies they had been fighting are either anamatronic (like golem goblins?) or perhaps birthed in little cloning tanks.
For what purpose did this place exist, how long did they run through that dungeon? Hours? Days? Months? Aeons? Was any of it ever real?
Anyway. Thats a kinda outline of what im thinking for the first session or two. By the end of the preludes they are in the machine, they are in a ruined desolate place with a dozen survivors and will need to survive in it. Food. Radiation. Water. What to do when an NPC survivor kills another because the other stole some food?
Gibberish thinking (unreconstructed idea zone, nothing from here probably makes any sense)
∑ Defeat the slaver menace aboard the slaver truck. Makes the players mobile. The slavers cant talk to the people because they are shardminds. Wierd loot! Open up some exploration options. Further development of basecamp into village?
∑ The players investigate and help a community repair their machine / factory and it turns out that the things being turned into grease are in fact sentient! dozens of people turning wheels they see gristlemoks pulling carriages and walking wheels.. The Axel needs constant greasing, It is greased by Gristlemok grease but the gristlemok hive has collapsed and they need a new gristlemok queen to bare a new brook of gristlemoks. If they donít supply a new gristlemok hive they doom the town to losing its oxygen, if they do they doom the gristlemoks children to being ground to paste.
∑ Give the players their own millennium falcon. Slowly expand the scope and range of what they can do. When this happens, have the village no longer need / want them. Maybe the village stwps over the moral event horizon and end up having to be killed.
Last edited by Nurseninja; 2014-03-12 at 04:37 PM.