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ID: 708


February 4, 2008, 5:57 pm

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Cheka Man

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The City of Asylum


Something occured and those in the grand city went mad. Was it a curse, a prophecy, a spell gone wrong, or a magik item opened? Nobody allegedly knows. The city guard on the city walls, saw the madness and were apparently not touched. They tried to keep the crazy ones inside, by blocking the gates and sealing the entrances to the large city wall. The region’s leader, eventually sent the Army there to reinforce the city guards, to hold the mad ones in. Since the mad men are incredibly strong and immune to pain, if they escape it would be a plague upon the land. There is still hope that someday they could be restored (perhaps a royal heir or a royal household was in the city). Perhaps they are nearly immortal. The city guards who occasionally decend into the city to drop supplies and stop fires believe that to be true.

Now it is a small town, with its own walls, that rings the old grand city. Over the years, the army and guards, have created a town that supports them. They think themselves immune to the madness, yet their proximity to them, means they are only slightly odd… perhaps becoming mad. The crazed watch over the mad. A running joke is that someday, someone will man their walls to hold them in.

The City’s name is Asylum.  Actually the name of the city has come to mean that. 

Asylum is an odd city when seen from a distance.  It is a large walled metropolis with a small town ringing the city, with its own watchtowers and wall.  The odd thing is the town wall’s defenses face outward, the city wall’s defenses face inward. 

Long ago, Asylum was a vibrant city, full of life. It was a wonderful city that held one of many palaces. Then one day, it happened.  Those inside the city went mad. No one knows the reason.  It could be magik. It could be a God. It could be an illness. No matter what the reason, the effects were contained by the large city walls. No one seem spared.

The Mad ones had great strength and near immunity to pain and injury. Those manning the walls that day, saw the change. They saw the madness and its effects.  Thinking quickly, the guard captain sealed the gates and blocked the city side entrances to the wall. The stated reason was to prevent the mad ones from escaping, more cynical observers said it was to save their own existance. 

The Ruler received the report from the surviving city guard. He eventually sent an army to relieve those guards.  He arranged for food stuffs and other supplies to be sent to the city and dropped from the walls or sent over by catapult.  The Ruler never explained his reasoning for this aid or for sending the army. Every ruler since that time has continued the tradition. Now anyone who is mad is sent to the city and released into it, like a fish returned to its native pond. 

In all this time, no one has ever managed to explain the madness or its cause.  The troopers who occasionally desend to the city to drop supplies or put out fires, seem to think the Mad Ones do not age either. 

To those who visit the city, see the guards and their families in village that has sprung up around Asylum to be a bit odd.  Perhaps it is the nature of the duty. Perhaps it is the madness creeping out. So far, nobody has closed their gates and sealed their wall.

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Comments ( 32 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

July 13, 2003, 23:48
I wonder, what happened to the city guards that were off duty? Were they fine, or did they fall into madness as well? If they are well, could there be something in their rations that's making them immune?
July 14, 2003, 5:38
Good thought. The historical record does not say I (though I always think those on the walls were the only ones that didn't go. I have always throught the material in the walls, some property of the stone. However, I do not know.
July 15, 2003, 0:32
I am going to add a few scenarios to link to this setting. I would be mad not to.

Ohhh. and another Orb...
Barbarian Horde
August 9, 2003, 11:44
That's one messed up city, My poor Pc's will be going there shortly! If they enter the city will the maddness affect them? and what about the crazies being tossed in, are they made crazier or are they attacked by the others? Are the infected hostile? or just mad? Will thetre be an overpopulation problem when they stick more in and the infected don't die? Some sort of evil must reside here. Great job so far moonhunter.
Barbarian Horde
August 9, 2003, 11:51
Are the people being treated at all? Way back when, people thought that insainity was caused by demonic spirits. And to cure the victims they were tortured to drive out the spirt or had holes bored into there heads, so that the maddness might leak out. Has any of this been tried and their efforts exausted or are they just locked in without an effort to "help"?
August 10, 2003, 2:14
Nope. They are not. Generations have gone by since Asylum went mad (the meaning of the name of the city has changed) and the apparently immortal, near invunerable, and incredibly strong mad people, are still insane waundering about in a mad parody of normal life.

It is said, everyone who enters the city and stays there over long goes mad. Those who go into the city to heal the mad, usually are never seen again. Popular thought is that they go mad themselves before they can do any good or just die there.

If you want there to be expeditions into the city in an attempt to help them in your campaign, feel free. I could see that happening every generation or so, as people forget what happened to the last one OR the organizer thinks they are cleverer than the previous organizer.
August 10, 2003, 2:17
Oh and eventually anyone who enters the city will go insane. It all depends on them and the amount of time they spend in the city.

The city guards are very good at spoting "the look" in people's eyes. If they even think you are insane, they will not let you out of the city.

Eventually there will be an overpopulation problem, but so far no.
August 19, 2003, 3:39
Just thinking, what happens if some heroes manage to get in, and then back again, and one of them (or all) starts to behave a bit... different. If their deeds were not entirely secret, people may well start to think they are carrying "IT", and will behave according to it.

Who will help you if you seem a madman?

And, what if you really are crazy? Heavy roleplaying here.
August 19, 2003, 4:49
When playing with any potentially insane person, I will occasionally pull them aside and give them other information about things occuring. You hear shuffling behind you... you feel them looking at you... you hear your friends laughing at you when they think you are not around... you see the monster pulling the strings of the people around you... see CP for more insane things.

Then if they refuse to act upon this information, I pull the rest of the people aside and we run a less than lucid moment. The other players act out the strange reality and the character must react to it appropriately because it is really happening... to them. I then take notes about what the crazy one does and says. We then play out the game, with me telling them what the crazy person does.
August 19, 2003, 12:45
More Crazy Hallucinations:

-You hear somebody quietly humming a tune behind you
-You hear somebody whispering nonsense in your ear
-You see a squirrel rolling a golden egg into an alley
-You see the ground crumbling where your shadow touches it (A la Akira)
-You see your own stomach split open and your innards flow out (A la Akira)
September 15, 2005, 14:45
plot lines

Occasionally they send the mad from other areas of the land to Asylum. You might encounter an army unit herding some crazies to the city, while taking them supplies.

An interesting idea is to be a young person inside the city, being a little nuts, rather than insane, As you advance in experience you, you advance into madness.

The leader of the country uses Asylum as a prison for political prisoners. "I am the Duke of Ellington! yah, right, another crazy. But, I AM!. Yah. Right. Move along."

An interesting idea is to be a new army officer assigned to watching over the city and realizing how insane the officers are. Are you just nuts? Is that why they sent you here? If they realize you will tell others they are insane, they will stop you... perhaps throwing you into the grand city.

Perhaps you have to risk Asylum to reach the great library, or find a political prisoner, or find the orb of McGuffin (an object of power that is requires to save the city/ world/ temple), or even on an expedition of healers to try and heal the mad.
October 27, 2005, 14:54
Want to give credit where credit is due.

There is a game call Asylum as well. When the world went mad. Interesting, but not really.

Additional ideas...
Perhaps it has been centuries, now the land is farmed by zombie automotons. The only living people in the region are the guards around the city.

Perhaps the entire country is comprised of great cities converted to asylums.

Perhaps there is a gate of somekind in the city where extradimensional things come through and possess the humanfolk.
.....They want to communicate with the sane to save their world, yet their presence causes madness.
.....They would escape the city, but the unique stone of the wall wards them. Talismans of that stone protect you from them.
..... Perhaps they already have escaped the city and have prepared for an invasion. The city is their staging area.
Ria Hawk
October 27, 2005, 14:54
Maybe a few people in the city are immune to the madness for whatever reason. They would have to
A: Convince the guards/caretakers that they really are sane.
B: Figure out why they, among everyone else, are immune.
C: Figure out what to do with that information.

P.S. - I think I'll use this idea in my in-progress game world. 'Tis neat.
October 27, 2005, 14:55
I seem to be on a jag with these orbs.... (See Corvus )

But imagine if a greater orb went mad and took the city with it (given its ability to manipulate people). It could be pushing the regions leader to supporting the poor people of Asylum in its more lucid moments (or asking one of orbs if it would take help the city out).

Even nastier... the orb is telepathic and conducting an experiment on the human minds inside the city (and nearby). It may not be cruel or evil per say, but simply sees the humans as transient lab rats.
October 27, 2005, 14:55
Interesting concept. It might be a psionic being of any type, or maybe even a mage experimenting with mind magics (ie, illusions, enchanments, etc.).
October 27, 2005, 14:55
It could even be a forgotten god the people once had. He is angry for being forgotten, and is cursing his former servants
October 27, 2005, 14:56
Yep. It could be anything. The only people who know for sure are totally mad. I actually like it that nobody knows, it just is. We can put out a number of theories, but we should never say this is right because it would kill the mystery and make it just another puzzle for the players to solve.
October 27, 2005, 14:57
MoonHunter wrote:
Yep. It could be anything. The only people who know for sure are totally mad. I actually like it that nobody knows, it just is. We can put out a number of theories, but we should never say this is right because it would kill the mystery and make it just another puzzle for the players to solve.

There is an easy and fast way to know...
...but then you are yourself a candidate for the Asylum.
October 27, 2005, 14:57
yes, only a mad-man seeks madness himself.
October 27, 2005, 14:57
Madness can be quite liberating. There is a fine line between madness and genius, and sometimes that line is very, very, blury.

Mad people see the world in different ways, not constrained by binding (or blinding even) paradigns. They can see solutions to problems or innocvations that so called sane people can not seen. It is only those who see the world different who can't relate to those who see the world normally that we lock up (well we should lock up, but now they waunder the streets in and out of halfway houses and medical facilities). Those who can vaugely relate, we pay large sums of money for their interesting ways of looking at the world and the problems that their way of looking at the world can solve.
October 27, 2005, 14:58
I think Asylum is an intersting fantasy idea. It is certainly different from most fantasy entries. If you have an idea for a plot or idea revolving around Asylum, feel free to add it. PM me, MoonHunter, and I will add it to the Asylum post so it will come up.

All I ask is that you "don't solve the mystery" of the place. Every GM who runs this should make up their own reason for why this occurs.

As for reasons, we have a angry God, something in the water, an insane magik user/ psionic creature, one of those glowing balls in Star Trek Original Series that eats madness rather than hate or death, or an ORB of Corvus. Pick one of ours, or make it up for yourself.
Voted Cheka Man
January 20, 2006, 17:39
This should be a Golden Submission, it's one of my favourite posts here.
January 21, 2006, 10:58
Thank you Cheka, it is one of mine as well. It is a great addition to any setting. It provides background and drama and a place of mystery. Really what more can you ask for?
May 8, 2006, 21:55
Plot Lines:
Another outbreak of madness has occured. Do we make a new city or try to herd a town's worth of mad people to this one? Of course, the PCs are involved in some way...

An army of barbarians is invading the land. They are approaching Asylum. What to do? Leave it to its fate or defend it to the last man, just in case the madness might expand. And the Barbarians do not know about Asylum's special history.. and the defenses of the city are to keep people in... not out.
May 9, 2006, 3:24
Well, if there is another outbreak, then it all returns to the question people have not answered before... how is it possible an entire city can go nuts?
Voted Murometz
May 12, 2006, 15:37
Only voted
February 4, 2008, 17:54
I saw this as a random today. It has been a while since it has seen the light of day. You would be crazy not to comment on it ;)

This was one of my first submissions on the Citadel. It does show. However, this one has a lot of potential. It is one of those defining elements for a game world, as it is so "odd" that society has to have a response to it.
Voted Michael Jotne Slayer
November 9, 2010, 21:40

This one is very sweet and yes, it shows that it is an oldie. But actually, compared to many other posts at that time this one is at the peak. I would love to see this one shaped up a bit, many nice ideas in the comment section that could easily be implemented into the sub itself. But then again, it is also useful as it is.

Voted Silveressa
July 26, 2011, 23:54

A unique city and problem for characters to encounter. It can be a great place for a party to be tasked with infiltrating for the purpose of either retrieving a lost artifact or rescuing someone accidentally sent here. (assuming they aren't already infected by the insanity.)

Another interest possibility is that it's not the people that are insane but more an artifact or curse upon the area that's making them act insane. Trying to smuggle someone out to verify this could prove quite challenging, especially if the persons insanities are disruptive or extremely dangerous.

July 27, 2011, 15:23

I forget about some of these old posts.  I like this one, as it is very useful.  So much fun can be had with it.  Add some Orbs and you have some additional history.

Voted MysticMoon
March 22, 2012, 10:35

So many ways to mess with players' heads... I like it.

Voted valadaar
February 25, 2014, 14:04
Spelunking though the oldies - this is a good one too. The idea that a city name becomes the word for an Asylum is great, and having such a location is cool.

A mad city is obviously a great place to put things to retrieve, including madmen that hold key knowledge or roles.

Link Backs

Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

A Mad AI

       By: Forganthus

"BB9, bring up the current scout results."
"I'm sorry, Coach. I can't do that."
"BB9! Bring up the scout results."
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The two men in black suits turned to each other. Their faces were white.

"Someone get the president on the line! Tell him that our ICBM handler thinks that its managing a high school basketball team!"

Ideas  ( Plots ) | June 7, 2013 | View | UpVote 5xp

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