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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default An ever shifting frontier

    The Shimmering Reach, where princes are banished to on (Doomed) quests of redemption, ships go missing and adventurers strike out for all manner of reasons.

    The intent was to provide a non Euclidean region to service dungeon of the week and East Marches style play. And to do this without tossing verisimilitude out the window.

    From the outside the Reach is a massive undulating wall of shimmering light extending up out of the sea. Crossing this Shimmer draws the traveler into a Realm (pocket dimension) bounded on the sides by more Shimmer. Hopping the Shimmer at the same spot doesnít lead to the same Realm twice. Larger groups are liable to be split up if attempting a synchronized hop.

    Upon first entering the Reach a traveler is bound to a Realm of note known as a Landmark. Wandering tends to lead back to oneís bound landmark and one can always discern the shortest (most likely not safest) way back to the Landmark where thereís typically a settlement of other individuals bound to it. Guides are rare individuals more sensitive to the Reach, able to make use of items from or impressions of Realms to find their way to the given Realm. Such items are called Souvenirs.

    So why are all the separate realms separate and donít have the lava monster mingling on the beach with the seagulls and the walrusfolk shamans? The Reach is in fact a prison formed in the fallout from a war that history forgot, a continent sized cage to hold one of the ascendant powers from that conflict. Stay too long in one Realm and memories of everything beyond it fade, desire to cross the Shimmer evaporates.

    While it has been succeeding at its goal, I still canít shake the feeling of this setting feature being a tad more contrived and disconnected (Ironic, I know) than it could be. Few travel there, ships returning from the Reach are under harsh scrutiny, but otherwise the world moves on. The one detail I have not explored in depth is what sort of nonsense comes about from the Reach obstructing wind patterns and currents and how that might have impacted the worldís climate. Maybe throw in a mention of a plague stemming from the Reach, the prince who returned...

    The notion of surviving societies within the Reach has led me to bizarre concepts as youíve got this very real and terrifying edge of the world for those who are stuck in or born into a Realm.

    Poke it full of holes if you desire. Iím here looking for improvements just as much as sharing some rambling.
    Martialsí concepts donít evolve past the mundane
    High levels arenít just lower levels with bigger numbers
    Martials have the tools they need for relevance

    Pick 2

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: An ever shifting frontier

    Quote Originally Posted by Xervous View Post
    The Shimmering Reach, where princes are banished to on (Doomed) quests of redemption, ships go missing and adventurers strike out for all manner of reasons.

    The intent was to provide a non Euclidean region to service dungeon of the week and East Marches style play. And to do this without tossing verisimilitude out the window.

    From the outside the Reach is a massive undulating wall of shimmering light extending up out of the sea. Crossing this Shimmer draws the traveler into a Realm (pocket dimension) bounded on the sides by more Shimmer. Hopping the Shimmer at the same spot doesnít lead to the same Realm twice. Larger groups are liable to be split up if attempting a synchronized hop.

    Upon first entering the Reach a traveler is bound to a Realm of note known as a Landmark. Wandering tends to lead back to oneís bound landmark and one can always discern the shortest (most likely not safest) way back to the Landmark where thereís typically a settlement of other individuals bound to it. Guides are rare individuals more sensitive to the Reach, able to make use of items from or impressions of Realms to find their way to the given Realm. Such items are called Souvenirs.

    So why are all the separate realms separate and donít have the lava monster mingling on the beach with the seagulls and the walrusfolk shamans? The Reach is in fact a prison formed in the fallout from a war that history forgot, a continent sized cage to hold one of the ascendant powers from that conflict. Stay too long in one Realm and memories of everything beyond it fade, desire to cross the Shimmer evaporates.

    While it has been succeeding at its goal, I still canít shake the feeling of this setting feature being a tad more contrived and disconnected (Ironic, I know) than it could be. Few travel there, ships returning from the Reach are under harsh scrutiny, but otherwise the world moves on. The one detail I have not explored in depth is what sort of nonsense comes about from the Reach obstructing wind patterns and currents and how that might have impacted the worldís climate. Maybe throw in a mention of a plague stemming from the Reach, the prince who returned...

    The notion of surviving societies within the Reach has led me to bizarre concepts as youíve got this very real and terrifying edge of the world for those who are stuck in or born into a Realm.

    Poke it full of holes if you desire. Iím here looking for improvements just as much as sharing some rambling.
    Seems neat!

    One way you could make it so quests aren't doomed is the rift is in time as well as space. The war that breaks up the marches occurs in the future when the rift is sealed, which only occurs once it has been sealed inside of each march individually. So if the group fixes the Rift in one place it doesn't do so everywhen, the time hasn't been synced up yet until they are all fixed. That way adventurers (the party) can accomplish things and still not turn off the setting.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: An ever shifting frontier

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Seems neat!

    One way you could make it so quests aren't doomed is the rift is in time as well as space. The war that breaks up the marches occurs in the future when the rift is sealed, which only occurs once it has been sealed inside of each march individually. So if the group fixes the Rift in one place it doesn't do so everywhen, the time hasn't been synced up yet until they are all fixed. That way adventurers (the party) can accomplish things and still not turn off the setting.
    What about the current state of things makes quests doomed? The Reach admittedly doesnít ask anything of them beyond Survive, but the various details it has served up have been sufficient for the players to devise their own goals from. The (somewhat insane) sage wants to map the whole Reach, the squirrel prophet wants to collect more pets, the whole party wanted to McGuyver a flying ship out of levitation pylons salvaged from a crashed city... then thereís the massive island turtle they want to build a base on.

    Iíll admit it may not present much for players to do at face value like dropping them down as lesser lords on the border might. But itís also not a place youíd usually start a campaign at since surviving the arrival is an accomplishment all by itself. If they find a reason to go, theyíll go.
    Martialsí concepts donít evolve past the mundane
    High levels arenít just lower levels with bigger numbers
    Martials have the tools they need for relevance

    Pick 2

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: An ever shifting frontier

    Quote Originally Posted by Xervous View Post
    What about the current state of things makes quests doomed? The Reach admittedly doesnít ask anything of them beyond Survive, but the various details it has served up have been sufficient for the players to devise their own goals from. The (somewhat insane) sage wants to map the whole Reach, the squirrel prophet wants to collect more pets, the whole party wanted to McGuyver a flying ship out of levitation pylons salvaged from a crashed city... then thereís the massive island turtle they want to build a base on.

    Iíll admit it may not present much for players to do at face value like dropping them down as lesser lords on the border might. But itís also not a place youíd usually start a campaign at since surviving the arrival is an accomplishment all by itself. If they find a reason to go, theyíll go.
    "where princes are banished to on (Doomed) quests of redemption, ships go missing and adventurers strike out for all manner of reasons."

    Also your line about losing your memories and ability to leave if you stay too long. Basically the place can't be helped and no one will remember that you tried, so it is a lot like Ravenloft but less gothic.

    It feels like it would hard to be invested in it as a setting. "Well we defeated the dragon of Prismark. To bad we have to leave and never return and all of our friends will forget they ever existed."

    But if saving the place saved it somewhen else I think you could keep the player agency and still have an auto-resetting dungeon. "You cleared to Trolls out 100 years ago, now the Realm when you return is prosperous but has begun to truck with demons" or some such.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: An ever shifting frontier

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    "where princes are banished to on (Doomed) quests of redemption, ships go missing and adventurers strike out for all manner of reasons."

    Also your line about losing your memories and ability to leave if you stay too long. Basically the place can't be helped and no one will remember that you tried, so it is a lot like Ravenloft but less gothic.

    It feels like it would hard to be invested in it as a setting. "Well we defeated the dragon of Prismark. To bad we have to leave and never return and all of our friends will forget they ever existed."

    But if saving the place saved it somewhen else I think you could keep the player agency and still have an auto-resetting dungeon. "You cleared to Trolls out 100 years ago, now the Realm when you return is prosperous but has begun to truck with demons" or some such.
    Ah my eternal curse, insufficient context. The assumption with the princes is that they tend to lack the necessary skills to survive a foray so the banishment is a type of trial by the elements. If they come back it must be due to divine favor preserving them and so they deserve a second chance in local princely affairs.

    The amount of time required for memories to fade is something I havenít settled on. Too swift and itís painfully obvious, every traveler would speak of it, and the Landmark settlements would be absolute final destinations in a horror story. Thereís probably a rough number range where it would enforce the desired feel without crippling interactions. Though the current campaign has not yet spanned 2 in game years so I have my doubts on how much impact it would truly have for adventurers in your typical campaign. 5 years to onset of memory loss might be a good ballpark for keeping the setting serviceable without erasing the immediate actions of the players. Perhaps memory suppression is a better way of presenting it, with sufficient prompts are enough to stir the individual from the doldrums. This memory thing seems to be one of the weakest points.
    Martialsí concepts donít evolve past the mundane
    High levels arenít just lower levels with bigger numbers
    Martials have the tools they need for relevance

    Pick 2

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: An ever shifting frontier

    Quote Originally Posted by Xervous View Post
    Ah my eternal curse, insufficient context. The assumption with the princes is that they tend to lack the necessary skills to survive a foray so the banishment is a type of trial by the elements. If they come back it must be due to divine favor preserving them and so they deserve a second chance in local princely affairs.

    The amount of time required for memories to fade is something I havenít settled on. Too swift and itís painfully obvious, every traveler would speak of it, and the Landmark settlements would be absolute final destinations in a horror story. Thereís probably a rough number range where it would enforce the desired feel without crippling interactions. Though the current campaign has not yet spanned 2 in game years so I have my doubts on how much impact it would truly have for adventurers in your typical campaign. 5 years to onset of memory loss might be a good ballpark for keeping the setting serviceable without erasing the immediate actions of the players. Perhaps memory suppression is a better way of presenting it, with sufficient prompts are enough to stir the individual from the doldrums. This memory thing seems to be one of the weakest points.
    Ok so it's the princes specifically who are usually doomed. KInd of a Voyage of the Dawn Treader thing, I like it.

    The memory thing reminds me of the Diablo style train in Adventure Time. Adventurers forget why they became adventurers and devolve into just clearing monsters for the sake of clearing monsters forever. Maybe the lure is how much treasure you can find, but the deeper you go the faster the memories fade. Little does the world know the treasure and monsters that draw them are from the adventurers themselves, and instead of enriching the world it is actually impoverishing it.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Oct 2018

    Default Re: An ever shifting frontier

    Are there things found in the reach that can't be found anywhere else? If so that gives you a great trade in treasure hunters, smugglers, border guards and so on. Do people from one landmark all return at the same point in the real world? In which case these crossing points would likely become highly sought after trade points and if not how does a nation try to get control of a settlement inside the reach (because some of them surely will).
    Do people know about the entity trapped inside the reach or are there rumours of it? Are there stories of a great maguffin that lies at the centre which will grant your wildest dreams and encourage people to stay/venture further in.
    This gives me a vibes of a fantasy version of "Roadside Picnic" which could be worth you downloading and having a read of.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: An ever shifting frontier

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliess View Post
    Are there things found in the reach that can't be found anywhere else? If so that gives you a great trade in treasure hunters, smugglers, border guards and so on. Do people from one landmark all return at the same point in the real world? In which case these crossing points would likely become highly sought after trade points and if not how does a nation try to get control of a settlement inside the reach (because some of them surely will).
    Do people know about the entity trapped inside the reach or are there rumours of it? Are there stories of a great maguffin that lies at the centre which will grant your wildest dreams and encourage people to stay/venture further in.
    This gives me a vibes of a fantasy version of "Roadside Picnic" which could be worth you downloading and having a read of.
    Now that you mention it I do notice a good amount of Cheeki Breeki vibes about the whole arrangement. There are indeed countless (for mortals at least, rumors speak of an immortal cartographer trying to map the whole place) locales littered with dangerous relics and gold plated toilet seat type items that will guarantee any survivors come out well off.

    Returning to the rest of the world from the Reach does not place travelers down in the same spot twice. Itís more than a single hop from a Landmark to leave the Reach so even getting out can be hazardous.

    The nearest trade port of note has been contested throughout its history. The few islands that werenít swallowed up into the Reach on its creation are generally small and donít offer sufficient shelter from storms for large ships. One inspired monarch decided to make use of the largest as a naval base that quickly became a prison and is now an isolated group of pirates descended from the original inmates, who are of course rumored to be cannibals. The islandís size prevents sufficient ships from being stationed there for policing traffic to and from the Reach. The island is also rather remote, near fully removed from any relevant trade routes. Thereís also the matter of what it would take to demand a typical adventuring crewís respect. Forty canon may intimidate a merchant vessel. When youíre used to dealing with harpoon tongued lizards the size of elephants, yetis hefting trees who could chip your horse over yon snowdrift to get a birdie at the ice fishing hole, or living sandstorms that can be bribed with their favorite color gems (fashion is a big deal! Why be a dull whirlwind of sand when you can be VIBRANT?) a flimsy, flammable vessel full of the kingís men doesnít earn much more than a blink.

    The fractured components of the entityís prison are each the site of a pool purported to grant wishes to whoever can reach it. The tales are often conflated with or condensed down to the more typical fountain of youth narrative as the most noteworthy feature common among the sparse tales are the ageless guardians (monsters and marauders lingering at the water cooler) wary of those who would contest them for the trickle of power that mostly manages to keep each pool metaphorically moist. Having stayed ages in one place they have few recollections of what might lay beyond, they only see their sustenance and others that might contest them for it.

    I am overdue for a reading of Roadside Picnic, should see about that this weekend.
    Martialsí concepts donít evolve past the mundane
    High levels arenít just lower levels with bigger numbers
    Martials have the tools they need for relevance

    Pick 2

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: An ever shifting frontier

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    The memory thing reminds me of the Diablo style train in Adventure Time. Adventurers forget why they became adventurers and devolve into just clearing monsters for the sake of clearing monsters forever. Maybe the lure is how much treasure you can find, but the deeper you go the faster the memories fade.
    Or the more baubles you find, the harder it gets to remember stuff.

    Crazy idea, maybe the shimmering reach is slowly expanding and nobody is realising it.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: An ever shifting frontier

    Quote Originally Posted by the_david View Post
    Or the more baubles you find, the harder it gets to remember stuff.

    Crazy idea, maybe the shimmering reach is slowly expanding and nobody is realising it.
    I like that idea. Like the cursed coins in Pirates kind of, but instead of losing humanity by spending them they lose memory by hording them. Eventually they forget why they wanted them in the first place, just that they do and are stuck accumulating forever.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

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