Somewhere along the way, a player picks up a book. It is a slim book, created with carefully calligraphy, in a difficult to read language (yet anyone who can speak 'human' can read it). The first letters of every word is slightly larger and more significant than normal letters. It seemed like a matter of style.
Players know the books is magical because of a) anyone who can speak 'Human' (Basic Language of Choice) can read it, even though it is not written in 'Human' (BLC). Second, the book is nearly indestructable. It can not be burned, torn, or punctured (if you try to use it as armor, it will flex and give, with the book shaped as the sharp object entering into you).
There will probably be some study of the object, or it will find its way to the bottom of someone's backpack.
One day, when things are not complicated, out pops two or three odd appearing people. It is your standard adventuring group: a young inexperienced stalwart hero, the old guy who knows everything, and the spunky girl. They dress funny and speak oddly. There might be some time to talk with them before....
Out pops a dozen or so dark grey clad soldier types. These grey guard are now searching for the three who popped out of the book (they are actually looking for another book that they had). Their commanding officer tries to secure the original book at all costs. Then he will search for the three and the book they are carrying.
Of course the players are caught in the middle of all this. The Grey Guards are rough and lawful by their standards. (Imagine- they act like they are a group of super spies doing a commando mission). The players have no clue who is the 'good guy' in all this.
To get more background information, read this thread:
In fact, the Grey Guards are following the law of their land. The Trio are breaking the law, for a really good cause (as someone higher up (Thorzax) will misuse his position and exploit it). Classic adventure fiction plotline.
To keep the players on their toes, make sure to have the NPCs discuss things that a) the players do not understand or b) do not have the background in True Language and the Scribe culture and their politics. The NPCs will just assume the characters have a clue... which they don't.
This is just an encounter: The players are left behind in the dust; dazed, confused, and probably wounded. The Grey Guards are long gone searching for the Trio. Eventually they will all disappear and the original book will be left behind.
The Authorities Investigates: Given the chaos these people will cause, the local authorities (or experienced adventurer types hired to investigate) will investigate. The players, being the only link of chain remaining behind, will eventually be investigated and possibly blamed for all the problems.
Dragged Along: The players will be dragged along as prisioners. The Officer, Krantza, assumes they are confederates of The Trio. He does not have time to sort things out while the trail is hot, so they are dragged along. He may decide they know nothing. He may decide that they now know too much
...into the book: So eventually, they will be transported via the book to another world... and taken to the nicest prisioner quarters they have ever seen. (This will take the campaign in a very new direction)
Dragged Along II: The players will be dragged along as 'detained'. Eventually the Officer, Krantza, talks with them and realizes the characters are 'innocent of wrong doing'. He can them deuptize them as Agents of the Guard. He can then set them off to find the Trio to prove their innocents(and will give them a reward). They will receive a playing card to summon them Guard when needed.
Left Behind: The Guards could leave them behind or leave an easily overcome contingent. The players might get involved in the Chase for the Trio (Arturus, Malschet, and Thisha). They may get a chance to talk to the Trio. The Trio might give the players another book 'for safe keeping'. The players may be instructed to take it somewhere safe (of their own choosing or per the trio's instructions). The Grey Guards will eventually come looking for them weeks later.
Any way you slice it, the characters get swept up in this conflict from another page.
NOTE -IMPORTANT-: The original book is a true book. The book the three are carrying is a special book, it leads to a true world. It is extremely important to the scholars of Skotos. All of these people will talk to the players like they already know what is going on and know the basics of books of true langauge. The players will have no idea about the significance of any of this.
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? Responses (9)-11
*brain shorts out*
The books, or rather the picture variation on cards - it reminds me of Amber. An infinity of worlds, and once you master the Pattern, you can travel...
Yup, Amber it is - had just to read on. Quite difficult to GM, though.
This post is difficult to rate, because it cannot be rated without rating the forum topic. On its own, it is not so special, but combined with the background, it acquires a wholly new dimension.
Yep. But still, I'd say it's a solid...
I did not say it was not silid - I just don't know whether to give a four or a five...
This reminds me just a little of Fushigi Yuugi.
Travel into a book or image is a common theme in mythology, folklore, and modern fantasy (Narnia anyone?). Zelazny made it most fashionable. Then Myst made it cool.
Remember it is not the plot that is cliche, it is the execution that determines if it is cliche. The story of Romeo and Juliet had been around for a few centuries in a variety of forms before some guy...Shakespear did it just right. Then someone did Guys and Dolls. There are a couple of others, but you get the idea.
First impression - Wow, I wish I'd thought of this
On reflection, I agree with MoonHunter - the idea is quite old but the execution is unique and original
5/5 - no question about it
An interesting idea - the book as portal has wonderful symbolism to it. Recursive adventures :)