Wednesday, July 15, 2020

146 Worlds Within Worlds

I imagine the spell Fog Hammer and talk about The Ghost City, a setting-within-a-setting for my Old School Essentials game. I mention Ramanan's character generator for Ben Milton's Maze Rats, Jonathan Harper's Ghost/Echo, China Mieville's The City & The City, Fred Hicks' Don't Rest Your Head, Itras By, and H. G. Wells' The Door in the Wall

The Ghost City

There is little or no noise, no air movement, no temperature hot or cold (but it feels stuffy because of the lack of air circulation). A haze shrouds the sun and scatters light in all directions so that everything is well lit, there are no clear shadows or bright spots. Some of the runes scribed into building stones around you glow softly in a manner they would not in the real world. The air in in the street shimmers a little with shifting density and muffled sounds can be heard, echoes of reality past and present.
  • Memories fade here. Anything significant the PCs need to recall will require a check.
  • Damage here is in the form of CHA damage. 1, d3, or d6 depending on scale of real-world damage.
  • Possibility storms present characters with strong alternative memories (ask them for a memory, good or bad, and then twist it to the opposite - Wisdom save to re-establish real version).

2d6 Encounters

2. Shoggoth. The hairs on the back of your neck stand up and you get an all-over shiver. A soft, thin sighing sound behind you, like an old man trying to draw breath, betrays the presence of a black ... thing. Like a slick of oil, but with more thickness. It slides toward you slowly with a purpose.

3. Warp Beast. A black panther like creature watches you from a high ledge. Poised over its shoulders are two strange tentacles ending in thorny pads. As soon as you see it, it seems to shimmer and blur. (See Blink Dogs)

4. Another Interloper. A paladin is here trying to find the spirit of a woman who might have know the location of St. Garron's pinkie finger. ("It is said he had more faith in his pinkie than most had in their entire frame.") He is nervous -- rolls his eyes warily and sweats profusely. He won't stop and talk long. He has forgotten his name. He has forgotten her name. He remembers nothing except why he is there. He is very close to becoming trapped in the Ghost City.

5. Cloud of Living Ash. A swirling ball of black motes descends on you in a flurry of activity. It seems drawn to your sweat. Small pieces cling to you and tingle and burn. Looking closely you see that each angular "flake" has a tiny set of mandibles and a random number (d4) of beady eyes.

6. Mischievous Spirit. A child's voice calls out (first laughing, then taunting, then crying for help). Following the sound leads them into buildings, not but the source is never there. Eventually (if they keep following it) the voice leads them into a den of Shadows. (See 10.)

7. Glass Spider (harmless). As you walk you feel something unseen brush against your face. There is a cracking, then tinkling sound, as if shards of glass are hitting the cobblestones around you. Then you hear a scuttering. Then silence.

8. Footprints. In the thick dust ahead you see footprints forming. An invisible someone is walking on a course that will intersect yours. They seem to be in no hurry. (At worst they feel a cold presence or the brushing of fingertips along their cheek.)

9. Reality Bubble. The characters pass through a 'thin' spot in the Ghost World. Sounds and smells creep in, but are different for each character. Stepping a foot in any direction changes the sensations. Staying here too long attracts attention.

10. Shades. A block away a wisp of black smoke leaps from building to building. In shape, it's something like a stringy, four-legged beast with no tail and a thin, pointed snout. It turns its head toward you and you hear a thin wailing sound.

11. Blink Dogs. You see a pack of dogs in the distance: thick and low-slung with large ears. They seem to twinkle and you realize that the pack members blink in and out, appearing at a slight different place - front, rear, to one side or another...

12. Spectral Dragon. As Black Dragon except breath weapon is a cone of pestilence.

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