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> Metaplanar Quest Ideas? [My Players Stay Out!], Looking for ideas for my group's next run...
Rad
post Oct 12 2014, 02:17 AM
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So, first a little background: My players just finished a run where they were hired to root out poachers who'd been hitting a wildlife preserve located in the Black Hills region of the Sioux Nation. Turned out the culprit was actually a toxic shaman who had set up shop in the hills and was slaughtering paracritters in order to gather reagents to fuel a series of rituals intended to turn the area into a toxic domain.

Along the way they made contact with a free spirit who lives in the preserve. He explained that there was a small group of free spirits living there, who had been trying to keep the corrupted area contained, but that one of their warriors had been tainted and bound by the shaman. (Via the corruption metamagic) The team was supposed to meet up with the leader of the free spirits to discuss what should be done about the corrupted spirit, but the drek hit the fan early and the group ended up rushing into the final boss encounter without accepting the side quest first.

So now, I've got a run planned where the team is going to be hired by the chief of this tribe of free warrior spirits (a great form spirit with the astral gateway power) to venture into the metaplanes and attempt to find and purify their corrupted brother. I want to try and make this more than just "woo, we're in a forest" and actually make the run feel like they're in a mystical realm where the normal rules and logic do not apply, so I'm looking for ideas on how to make the place feel properly alien and spiritual--bonus points if it captures the flavor of Native American myths.

I'm also open to ideas on what particular brand of macguffin should be used to "cleanse" the corrupted spirit. IIRC there's technically no counterpart to the corruption metamagic that would allow a normal caster to purify a toxic spirit, and although it would be easy to houserule one in I doubt anybody in my group is going to be thrilled at the notion of having to spend their karma initiating and taking a metamagic with such narrow utility just so they can do the job. I'm thinking maybe a ritual or some kind of focus?

Another potential issue is what to do about gear and non-awakened party members. The current team consists of a fox shifter adept, a materialization Voodoo mage, a Qabbalisitic possession mage, a bioware adept with 7 edge, and a cybered street sam/face with the latent awakening quality. (Hacking/Rigging is handled by an NPC, to help avoid minigame syndrome.) I was thinking this run would be a good opportunity to have the face character's latent awakening kick in, but in the mean time he'll be the odd mundane out, and looking at the rules for astral rifts they technically wouldn't be able to use any of their gear unless I handwave some kind of "you go there physically with all your stuff" shenanigans that completely ignores how the metaplanes are supposed to work.

Anyway, I'm still very early in the planning stages for this, so any input or ideas would be appreciated.

[edit]

Just to give a bit more info, the toxic shaman is still alive and currently in the custody of the Draco Foundation. (Yes, they pulled that off. Got paid the full 1,000,000 (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nuyen.gif) and made another 30k off the reagents they captured, so money isn't going to be much of a motivator for them for a little while. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif) ) The corrupted spirit got disrupted by way of full-auto stick-n-shock rounds to the face, but per the rules is technically still bound to the shaman and by now would have had enough time to return to the physical world should the shaman get a chance to call him back.
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Cain
post Oct 12 2014, 04:15 AM
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Well, as bad as Harlequin's Back was, it's full of great ideas for metaplanar runs.

The metaplanes are basically a great big metaphor anyway, so you can do whatever you like there. While you can (and should) alter the look of things to match whatever you want, in general you should try and keep people's abilities about the same.

For example, Harlequin's Back has a section that takes place in the wild west. There's a couple changes to magic, mostly along the lines of flavor. Cyber works differently: most of it is steampunk gizmos that need to be wound up. Guns are largely the same, except they have six-shooters instead of Predators, that sort of thing. The result is that you get the flavor of the wild west, and only a few mechanics need to change. I used this concept a while back for a metaplanar run; the mundanes still got involved. The rigger, for example, had his car turn into a horse, and his drones became trained animals.

Another one I remember was the post-apocalyptic world. Cyber and augmentations were magical animal grafts, as were adept powers. Magic itself had a few changes: every mage knew a little blood magic, and could damage themselves to cast spells. Also, all drain was visible: even if it was just stun, it manifested by wounds opening all over the caster. That was just flavor, but the first time it happened, it scared the hell out of the players.
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Rad
post Oct 12 2014, 10:28 PM
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Hmm, thanks for the tip--I'll see if I can track that one down. Any idea which edition it's for? Might make the search a little easier.

I did read the part in Street Magic where it talks about the metaplanes working on the principle of metaphor and basically re-fluffing things like cyberware or other high-tech items to look different but still function according to the normal game mechanics.

I guess mostly I'm looking for ideas on what type of scenes and metaphors to use--I'm essentially in world-building mode here and honestly my creativity is a little tapped out getting ready for NANOWRIMO. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)

What would a NAN spirit realm look like? (Other than the Emergence Lake example in Street Magic) what kind of entities or challenges might the group face while trying to track down the corrupted warrior spirit and what form should the process of capturing and purifying the spirit take? I'm coming up kind of blank except for a few vague notions, so if anyone has some ideas I can build off off that would really help.
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Cain
post Oct 12 2014, 11:22 PM
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Harlequin's Back was 2e. It's not good for what it is, but it's ripe with ideas.

As for a NAN realm, there's a couple of ways. Technically, you don't have to use their metaphor; you could pick one that matters more to the team.

However, if you want a native American theme, you can start by changing the players. Shamans might not change much, but adepts might take on the form of native warriors. Sams could be colonial soldiers, riggers are calvarymen, that sort of thing. Play up the colonials moving into native territory angle.
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Rad
post Oct 13 2014, 12:28 AM
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That's a thought. One of potential conflicts I was seeing with this was that the team might be seen as "invaders" by a population of spirits who are already on guard due to having a toxic spirit running around causing trouble. The fox shifter has some explicitly Native American ties, (despite being from New York, lol) but the rest of the team are going to seem pretty alien to the metaplane's inhabitants. I like the idea of having that "otherness" reflected by the forms they take.
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Sengir
post Oct 13 2014, 11:20 AM
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Five minutes of googling for "Lakota mythology" (since the Black Hills were Lakota land) yielded this. The Lakota version of the "emerged from a cave" takes place in a cave in the Black Mountains, so maybe your runners need to get back to the source and fix stuff. Also, their mythology seems to care a lot about cycles and four is a sacred number -- four tribulations, the last taking the players back to the beginning?
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Shaidar
post Oct 13 2014, 12:27 PM
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You could have the shifter and adept appear as natives acting as guides for the other players that appear anglo. Pull the whole Sacagawea bit, so you maintain the sideways glances and otherness effect but lose a fair bit of the antagonism.
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BishopMcQ
post Oct 13 2014, 05:04 PM
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Another approach to the gear is to have each character choose some aspect that best defines them:

Bear - Body + Willpower
Eagle - Charisma + Strength
Raven - Logic + Agility
Fox - Intuition + Reaction

Each hit on the test allows them to bring a reflection of their gear with them, as a spiritual embodiment. (My gun, my armor, my commlink, etc.) Though the exact manifestation that the embodiment takes in each realm may be different, it uses the skill that is associated with that piece of equipment. Ammunition used or gear destroyed within the metaplane doesn't have an effect on the tangible items back in the real world, though there may be a lingering psychic scar (as a -1 or -2 dice) if an especially important item was lost as their confidence is shaken.
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Rad
post Oct 15 2014, 06:41 AM
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QUOTE (Sengir @ Oct 13 2014, 03:20 AM) *
Five minutes of googling for "Lakota mythology" (since the Black Hills were Lakota land) yielded this. The Lakota version of the "emerged from a cave" takes place in a cave in the Black Mountains, so maybe your runners need to get back to the source and fix stuff. Also, their mythology seems to care a lot about cycles and four is a sacred number -- four tribulations, the last taking the players back to the beginning?


Hey, thanks for the link!

Definitely some useful info there, gives me a few idea seeds which is precisely what I was looking for.

Good news is the fox shifter is a Totem adept so it will be easy to have a "Guide" show up and help lead them through their metaplanar adventure--bad news is his Totem is "Fox", so their guide is basically going to be the trickster. Something tells me I'm going to have fun with this one, though one of my players is seriously arachnophobic so I think I'll avoid having the Lakota trickster, Inktomi, show up. Maybe I'll play up the difference by having the Fox trickster be their guide and Inktomi be the (largely unseen) antagonist, while leaving it ambiguous as to whether they are actually the same being or really just different tricksters unique to their own mythologies.

QUOTE (BishopMcQ @ Oct 13 2014, 09:04 AM) *
Another approach to the gear is to have each character choose some aspect that best defines them:

Bear - Body + Willpower
Eagle - Charisma + Strength
Raven - Logic + Agility
Fox - Intuition + Reaction

Each hit on the test allows them to bring a reflection of their gear with them, as a spiritual embodiment. (My gun, my armor, my commlink, etc.) Though the exact manifestation that the embodiment takes in each realm may be different, it uses the skill that is associated with that piece of equipment. Ammunition used or gear destroyed within the metaplane doesn't have an effect on the tangible items back in the real world, though there may be a lingering psychic scar (as a -1 or -2 dice) if an especially important item was lost as their confidence is shaken.


I like this idea. It feels less hand-wavy but still gives the players a chance to effectively take their stuff with them, and makes it feel more like what they can bring is in their hands rather than mine. I also like the penalty if anything is lost or damaged, definitely plays up the spiritual metaphor angle. I think rather than going with one hit per piece of equipment though I'll separate it into categories, something like: Weapons, Protective Items, Misc Equipment, Drones/Vehicles, with each hit allowing them to chose another category of gear to bring in.

I also like this because I was intending this run to be the chance for the face to get his latent awakening kicked off, so it would be nice to have some kind of metaphysical feedback that can affect the other players as well--either negatively or positively.
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