Readers, meet Vision. Vision, meet readers.
I’ve added a new feature for those of you that prefer to get your comics in your inbox: A mailing list! You can sign up using the form in the sidebar, or go here. I’ll include blogs as well as the comic, so you won’t miss out on a thing if that’s your preferred method of reading.
Thank you for the well-wishes last update. I won’t say the depression low has 100% passed (with chronic depression, it’s more like something going into recession) but I am feeling better.
So! The RP campaign I ran last Sunday. I said that I’d fill you in on some of the details, and I shall! As some of you may already know, 7th Sea is a swash-buckling setting based on 1600s Europe. A mix of historical events and mythological inspirations, there’s magic and musketeers and pirates (oh my!). In addition, there’s also ruins from technologically advanced races collectively known as the Syrneth. Having these ruins also allows a GM, if they so desire, to introduce a more sci-fi element into the story if they so wish. Which…I did.
After dispelling the protections over the island imposed by the Sidhe, our merry band of adventurers had free reign to explore the island. A perfect cone, at the center of which was a volcano. The island was oddly tropical, considering the cold waters they were in. In fact, it was as if the waters close to the island belonged to an entirely different ocean than the waters outside the limit of this perfectly circular island circumference. How mysterious!
Equally strange was discovering a perfectly straight road that followed the surface of the cone perfectly, pointing straight at its center. The road was twenty feet wide with two separate troughs in it. Each trough lined with strange…”crystals”? It’s the 1600s, who knows what magical thingys those are. What they did figure out was iron mysteriously floated when placed between those crystals, hovering friction-less in between. So our group of sailors got one of the life-boats, made some iron sled bands on the bottom of it, and hauled all their gear towards adventure.
The road followed the surface of the island for a time, until abruptly cutting inward, into the mountain. The road split into three, each color-coded. Meanwhile, one of the magic users in the party started hearing strange voices and enduring strange sensations when coming into contact with these color coded stones. White ones induce deja vu. Red ones induced out-of-body experiences. Purple ones an odd sense of having thoughts that were not one’s own.
As he started questioning his sanity, the party pushed on, into the mountain. The troughs in the road splintered into many off-shoots, all of which terminated abruptly in solid walls. Next to each wall was a podium, topped with a slot and a gem. Touching the gem caused two things to happen. First, a flat black slab of crystal with strange writing on it popped out of the slot. Second, a hole opened in the ceiling above the trough and a large disc descended. Anybody who didn’t respond fast enough found every metal object on their person — buckles, buttons, coins, swords, religious icons — ripped from them and onto the disk, which then retracted into the ceiling.
One player lost their pants this way. Or, at least, the ability to keep their pants from falling down.
A doorway opened and strange, dissonant music and unintelligible voices emanated from the room beyond the doorway. (I actually recorded this and shared it with my Patreon folks. You can listen to it here if you like.) Except to our increasingly concerned magic user. To his ears, it sounded like a lovely string quartet and a pleasant voice speaking in his native tongue that he couldn’t quite make out…if only the voice would speak up??
There were more gems set into the wall inside the room. Six of them, each a different shade of green. Whenever the magic user touched them, he got a different sensation and emotion. And the doors of the room would close…opening in moments in a brand new place. The sense of reaching the summit of a mountain, the feeling of optimism and adventure when stepping out of the door to an anticipated journey, the growling hunger in an eager belly, the anxiety of waiting for a relative to arrive who is not yet here, the desire to be reunited with something that one has recently been separated from, a weary fatigue and strong desire to get home. Each place had different features. Different sounds, sights, and odors.
It was the room with round, creaking, cloth platforms that ran in rings, associated with the desire to be reunited, that finally tipped them off.
“Wait a minute….are we…are we in an AIRPORT?”
Of course, the characters couldn’t know that. The players, however, got a huge kick out of realizing that all these strange and alien devices were actually far more familiar than they had at first appeared. Just for a slightly more advanced species, in a slightly more advanced time than our own.
Once they visited parking (they realized the black slab with writing they’d gotten from the slot was actually a stall number) and reclaimed the items they’d lost, they proceeded to explore the other floors. They found the bones of a small community of alien creatures, centuries old, who perished from an unknown malady. Plague? Starvation? They did not know, but they found the room grim and disturbing. They discovered an observation deck, a third of which was covered on the outside by a flow of “lava” laced with glowing red crystals. They were terrified by a disturbing machine haunted by skeletons (although it only showed these skeletons when people stuck their hands and faces inside a nearby “kiln”…How strange!) and eventually made it to the main terminal.
A massive room, divided in thirds, each color-coded. Red, white, and purple. There were many circular platforms arranged around the room. On top of each were what appeared to be globes depicting the night sky. Many of them recognized the constellations, although some had stars that were new, or missing. Through experimentation, they determined that the white platforms sent a projection of one’s consciousness to a different time. The purple ones swapped one’s consciousness with another person’s in the present at another location. And the red…
Well, as they were going to test the red, three massive spiders dropped from the ceiling.
One was purple. One was red. And one was white. They all glowed with the same crystalline colors as the gems powering all these strange devices.
The white spider traded initiative scores with the fastest player, much to the frustration of the player who’d invested considerable thought and points into being the person that always, always, ALWAYS gets to go first. The red spider swapped places with players, neatly circumventing the protective wards and barriers they erected, letting the red spider get up close and personal with our squishiest magic user. As for purple…purple switched consciousness with various players, who suddenly had to figure out how to Spider while watching their bodies attack their friends.
I should also mention that the dice tower I built to counter-act my dice curse…worked marvelously. I was the only one pleased by this development.
In the end they managed to drive off or squish the monstrosities and everyone was returned to the bodies with the proper number of legs. The room was cataclysmically destroyed and, in classic ancient ruin fashion, they had to make a frantic escape before the entire place collapsed on top of them. A fun time was had by all, and I was pleased that I managed to improvise as much as I did, because I went into the situation without a lot planned. In fact, the only things I knew for certain was that it was an airport, the properties of the three colors, and that there were definitely some spiders in there.
Sometimes, playing loose can work out pretty well.
It was especially fun to play with the different perspectives. Seeing players realize what it was that they were dealing with, while managing the information their characters would understand, was especially fun. I always like exploring how different levels of understanding can change how a person interprets what they experience. The idea that science at an advanced enough level is simply magic to a person who has no frame of reference for it is really fun to explore for me.
Have any fun RP stories to share? Have you ever played with different points of reference in a story of your own?