Really interesting submission, reminds me of a idea I saw somewhere for a tesseract based dungeon where there were only 6 rooms but many, many ways to get to each one and depending on how you got there the gravity would be different... (if I find the link I will post it.)
Interesting things could be done with 'reverse weight' equipment (armor anyone? Or combine materials from both (say, in forging metal or just mix components and get a zero weight item) and certainly I foresee lots of interesting cultural interactions (PC's start up a embassy?) Pick a culture that is interesting enough in its own right that does not have a analogue in your setting, and work your way up from there. The 'gravity issue' is a interesting cultural barrier where communication is possible but there are still issues...
...what happens if people from this world and the other one have children? Zero-gravity babies? Or does the baby pick up the 'gravity' of the mother (which makes sense in a matter-based system of tracking)...
...though if its a matter based system of tracking, visitors spending enough time on the other side and eating the food will eventually switch orientation. Which could be cool. Especially during said zero-gravity transition period. This works well on a world that has been canonically declared 'flat'.
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P.S. I think I found the original article, for those interested. I say 'think' because I remember a more clearly laid out map of what the rooms would look like connected together. It was Dragon Magazine, issues 17 and 38, or both in the Compendium. Gravity was subjectively consistent (no reversal of gravity doors) but objects (or creatures) in the room could have a different gravity then your own, based on how they got to that room.
This is simple, straightforward, and elegantly done. It makes me wonder what other sorts of wonders exist in such a world.
If I ever had cause to send the players out on a scavenger hunt, I would include a shard of the sun and/or the moon and then make them work to discover this place. And, perhaps, by having them go to both places they might learn something by what each says about the other. (Not that they'd want them to stop their rivalry! That would be apocalyptic :P )Go to Comment
Quick added scenerio thoughts:
- The characters do end up freeing some innocents causing the overall count to go down below 2024 number and nobody really noticed. Usually they have more than that so it isn't an issue but the years of peace have slowly limited the crimes that call for death.
- The King, after years of slowly gaining support for ending this barbaric custom, finally succeeds in canceling it for the year. Instead they pardon 2024 of the lesser criminals or simply don't kill them.
For either of those, what is the outcome of not meeting the requirement? Loss of all the battles that year? The return of Tyragorn to complete his attack? Does the king survive the year as proof that the tradition is foul or is the kingdom ruined?
- Those that believe in the curse to the depth of their bones go out and assassinate or kill 2024 people anyway regardless of the king's intention. So even if they king protects his subject from that fate, those that believe and fear the curse will simply go on a killing spree to fulfill the need.
Now he has to decide to I continue the custom and spare the innocent citizens or fight those that would defy his decision.
Awesome. I like it because there is so much you can do with it. You have a benevolent ruler that does it as a matter of course or you can get a bastard (in the attitude sense, not the offspring) that brings the torture and defilement into the main city.
Then there are so many little plots and twists you can throw around that could have as wide reaching reprecussions as you want. If they don't sacrifice then anything that happens in the world against the kingdom can be tagged part of the curse.
- Because the king stopped the killings, many small villages that are deeply superstitious start blaming any misfortune on the lack of sacrifice. This leads to an almost religous zeal backing the belief. Slowly, through self-induced hysteria they may start killing their own criminals or lynching those that are only accused of crimes in order to alleviate their own personal misfortune. All it takes is a drought "cured" by a killing to provide "proof" that it works and soon the entire countryside is deep in their own version of 2024.
-- King decides that following the decision is better than this outcome and follows through with the sacrifice. Now he needs to get word through the kingdaom. Will the believe it? Will it be enough to stop what has already begun?
--PCs could have witnessed the fixed sacrifice and be charged with bringing this word, or carry it as they adventure because they want to stop the killing. Each time they come to a village would bring possible conflict. They villages might believe their word or call them liars. A new tension and moral dilemna for the players to have decide whenever they see an injustice based on the sacrifices.
Most of what I had planned on saying was said, although I disagree with Muro should I run this I would inevidably end up throwing the players or some of them into those who got arrested the night before and end up on the shopping block in the morning none the wiser for being from somewhere else. Kudos.
It's easy to think of this as an awesome, believable superstition for a culture, but I like the idea of it potentially being very real. I'm hung up on the concept of a fixed number of deaths of each type, so cool! What if it didn't (or stopped) changing throughout the years? How would characters deal with the ensuing population explosion, and the potentially apalling outcomes Silveressa pointed out?
Very nice tale. This of course plays on the ancient concept of "Scape-goating" and is done very well. The fact that this is an annual holiday adds to verisimilitude. I also like how the festival forks, the condemned go to die, the rest go off to party hardy (some not caring, some feeling slightly weird about it, some trying hard to ignore it and enjoy themselves, some thanking their gods that *they* were not among the culled this year...etc)
If I gm'ed this scenario, i'd probably try to have the PCs on the side of those seeking to end this controversial practice, I think.
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This also gives me a bit of the "Wicker Man" vibe, for some reason. (the original one, not the nicholas cage thing)
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Also, i like the progressive ruler plot hook, but would make him not a progressive ruler, but a thieve's guild master, or some other less than moral character, who maybe (ironically) sees the "light" through this ritualistic "depravity". Just to add to the moral ambiguity a bit more. :)