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Author Topic: Praying for a Paradox  (Read 341 times)

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Offline Zahner

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Praying for a Paradox
« on: April 21, 2018, 02:27:48 AM »
Hello all! First post here at the citadel!

I've got an idea that I'd like to get help resolving, because I think this is beyond my abilities. My goal here is to get the player's character to kill his wife that died "a little over a year ago."

Here is his backstory that he provided me... abridged for brevity:
Parents are (mother) high elf and (father) drow. He inherited drow features. This was a huge nono and so Yuli (my player's character) grew up, disguised by magic, in the surface world, with those that knew of the affair being told Yuli died at birth.
He survived and grew up. Fell in love with a drow female. They were careless in the Underdark and were discovered. All of the secrets were discovered.
Before their execution (mother, Yuli, and lover) they were able to escape. The mother died during the escape, sacrificing herself. They ran until they felt they were safe. When they finally stopped, Yuli discovered his lover had been shot at some point, and so she died in his arms.

He's a chaotic-neutral highelf (looks like drow) gloomstalker ranger. Through some method I will give him (and or the party) the power to go back in time.

My thoughts so far are to have him kill himself because somehow he finds out he's the one that shot her, or perhaps to kill Rinna (his lover) because he finds out she was resurrected and turned into some abomination for her transgressions, living a prolonged tortured existence.

While I think I could have a version of him do it while the player version watches, I think the "holy poo" factor would be more significant if I could somehow guarantee that HE is the one to do it. And so I turn to the hive mind that is interwebs.

EDIT: From other forums that I've tried, I've received a little negativity for taking away player agency. THAT is NOT my goal. If I can't figure this out, then the story will go where it does. However, the reason I am searching here is to try to find a list of ideas for actions and scenarios that can lead us to the outcome above.

2nd EDIT: I'd also like to note that I'm working with the player. We're trying to get a good narrative for the rest of the group.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2018, 02:53:28 PM by Zahner »

Offline Theadeaus3905

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Re: Praying for a Paradox
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2018, 07:08:34 PM »
Creating a Paradox huh? Or Playing with Destiny? Can you really escape Fate? how to look at this from a certain point of view...it's an undertaking of a task. Is free will an option here? are you looking for a quip of a story, or a complete narrative of events?

There are a lot of good writers here...there's bound to be someone to help get your creative juices flowing.

Good Luck


Offline Zahner

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Re: Praying for a Paradox
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2018, 08:26:49 PM »
Free will is definitely an option. I'm trying to get from point A (nowhere in particular) to point B (scenario described above). The player in mind wants a time paradox in the campaign, and so I would like it to involve him. I definitely don't need a full narrative; I'm playing a tabletop RPG, which I consider to be a collaborative story-telling effort (though this group puts 90% of it in my hands).

I don't want to take away the player's agency, really just hoping for some good bullet points to get us to where we want to be.

Offline axlerowes

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Re: Praying for a Paradox
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2018, 08:27:32 PM »
First let me dismiss this player agency thing. Don't worry about taking away player agency by creating a scenario. A GM's goal should be to get the players to do what their story demands without seeing the hand of the GM in it.  As the old con man saying goes "Get them to give you what you want".  As long as you aren't telling the player how to act or making them act a certain way you, as long as you are constructing a scene in which to get them to act-you're fine. You sound like a great GM and you don’t need to explain yourself.  This sounds like a great campaign.

Warning before you enter this plot I want you to be aware of one thing:

Quote
“One of the major problems encountered in time travel is not that of becoming your own father or mother. There is no problem in becoming your own father or mother that a broad-minded and well-adjusted family can't cope with. There is no problem with changing the course of history—the course of history does not change because it all fits together like a jigsaw. All the important changes have happened before the things they were supposed to change and it all sorts itself out in the end.

The major problem is simply one of grammar, and the main work to consult in this matter is Dr. Dan Streetmentioner's Time Traveler's Handbook of 1001 Tense Formations. It will tell you, for instance, how to describe something that was about to happen to you in the past before you avoided it by time-jumping forward two days in order to avoid it. The event will be described differently according to whether you are talking about it from the standpoint of your own natural time, from a time in the further future, or a time in the further past and is further complicated by the possibility of conducting conversations while you are actually traveling from one time to another with the intention of becoming your own mother or father.

Most readers get as far as the Future Semiconditionally Modified Subinverted Plagal Past Subjunctive Intentional before giving up; and in fact, in later editions of the book all pages beyond this point have been left blank to save on printing costs.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy skips lightly over this tangle of academic abstraction, pausing only to note that the term "Future Perfect" has been abandon because it hasn’t happened yet”.

― Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe


At any rate, though I'd never call myself a writer, here are my suggestions.  Whether you use them or not I enjoyed writing them.


Temporal Love Triangle :  In the short description of your campaign I can already see that secret identities and physical deception is a theme. So suppose the woman that died wasn't really the character’s wife/lover but a villain or other such disguised as his wife. The Future character learns this and kills the wife-thing.  Then the future-character can go back and also save his wife (she is alive but in great danger in the past) .  But here is the question does the wife choose future him or present day him?  If she chooses present tense him then what will future him do? Can future him even go back to the future to be with the woman he freed?  Will future him even travel back in time if his girl doesn't die?  Thus, future him may not be able to let his wife rejoin past him, because then past him won’t become future him. Got it?

Saving a Bus of Orphaned Nuns:  So imagine that future character travels back in time to before his wife dies and does something he finds really important.  Imagine your character: saves a bus full of Orphaned nuns, dethrones the spider goddess that turns most drow hearts to evil or destroys the magical stone that some Paladin needs to keep the world from being cover in a ‘second darkness’. I  assume that your emo half-drow character would prefer a world covered in a cool and moody darkness but I could be wrong. The exact nature of the important act will depend more on what your character values, but you get the idea. 

Anyway after doing this the character realizes that the only reason he traveled back in time was because his wife died. So he has to kill her so that present him will still become future him and he will do great things in the past.

She had it coming:  This third idea is a little more open-ended.  What if future character finds out that his wife/lover was having an affair the whole time. Even more he finds out that she was the one that betrayed their escape to the forces of the evil overlord and thus she was responsible for his mother’s death.  So your character finds out that his lover A) cuckholded him B) betrayed him C) more or less killed his mom.  Then you give your character one split second to take a shot.  Does your PC take the shot? I’d be really interested to see what happens there.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2018, 04:21:43 AM by axlerowes »

Offline Zahner

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Re: Praying for a Paradox
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2018, 11:43:08 PM »
Thanks, axelrowes, for not only the three great ideas (can't decide which one I like best), but also the vote of confidence as a DM. It's much appreciated because this is my first campaign.

I posted this verbatim in another forum and got my genitals smacked for "railroading my player" and no further positive remarks. I hope to see other contributions, but these help greatly because it inspires me and gives me more options.

Going now to reread HGTTG.