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Old 01-17-2018, 09:59 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2016
Default Mindbending deamscape/psychic danger room encounters

Hi all,

I am planning a campaign based around Magic: The Gathering (don't worry if you don't play that, it's only peripherally relevant). Characters would be Planeswalkers and the new Gatewatch (think X-Men) under the leadership of an older Jace (think Professor X). I wanted the first session to basically be Jace running the characters through a sort of psychic/hallucinated Danger Room, but I wanted to make it really cool and interesting. Kind of a combination of the Danger Room and Inception. I don't want to just have regular stuff happen... but in your mind. In fact, the PCs won't know it was all in their minds until after.

Does anyone have any experience running an encounter kind of like this? Do any of you have any ideas about what exactly could happen? Are there GURPS supplements that address this kind of stuff?

I was imagining things like terrain abruptly changing, enemies appearing and/or changing into other creatures (e.g., a skeleton transforming into a sphinx). I had an idea where the PCs appear in a space filled with apparent clones of themselves and must figure out who is an ally, and who is not, but wasn't sure what I would do with that, exactly (e.g., do the clones start attacking PCs? a clone will attack a PC if the PC tries to interact with it?).

So anyway, I am looking for ideas on what challenges this encounter could have (it would be a great opportunity for weird puzzles!). Can anyone help?

I wanted to link the encounters to lessons that Jace would be trying to teach the PCs. However... I haven't decided yet, but Jace might be mind controlled by the big bad (I was thinking Bolas), so the lessons might be a bit shallow or even aimed at subtly sowing discord and distrust among the party. Some lessons I had thought of are:
*Always be aware of and use your surroundings
*Don't assume... learn. Investigate and reason.
*Be prepared for sudden betrayal at any time (I was thinking of adding one or two additional Planeswalkers who might turn traitor in the end and turn out to be extremely convincing illusions)

Here are some encounters I've thought about including:
1) A room with two doors. PCs enter through one, the other seems to be the only exit. There is some sort of elaborate, but fake, puzzle in the center of the room. Maybe interacting with it even makes bad things happen. The exit door is actually just an open door, PCs can waltz right through it if they don't make assumptions.

2) PCs are in a room/cavern with narrow tunnels on opposite sides. Enormous boulders are near the mouth to one tunnel. Monsters start coming through the tunnel without the boulders. If the PCs are smart, they will take advantage of the bottlenecking tunnel that forces the monsters into single file. I plan to basically spawn more monsters until the PCs are almost tapped out on magic and HP. As the battle seems to end, more monsters start coming down the other tunnel (with the rubble next to it) toward them. If the PCs are smart, they will use the boulders to block the tunnel.

If you ARE familiar with MTG lore, I was thinking of using some of the trials from the Amonkhet storyline:
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Old 01-23-2018, 11:57 AM   #2
thastygliax's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Lexington, KY
Default Re: Mindbending deamscape/psychic danger room encounters

I'm not sure if there is a GURPS sourcebook that goes into this in any great detail. Warehouse 23 has the Dream Theater (where the sleeper's dreams become real), Cabal has some brief info on dreamworlds,CthulhuPunk has rules for psionic travel to Lovecraft's Dreamlands, and Psionics has some high-tech gear that can manipulate dreams. (These are all books for 3e, which I know much better than 4e.)

If you're willing to look at other systems for ideas, Occult Adventures (for Pathfinder) has rules for both creating mindscapes for mental duels and for traveling to the dimension of dreams.

And if you haven't seen them yet, Wizards has a series of Plane Shift articles for using M:tG planes in D&D 5E games. They've covered Innistrahd, Zendikar, Kaladesh, Amonkhet in the past, and Ixalan just dropped this month. A couple of these articles discuss planeswalking in very general way, but don't offer rules mechanics for it, as the designers seem to feel it's better left as a plot device to drive the story.
Tim Emrick / my blog: Studded Plate / my gaming site: Thastygliax's Vault
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Old 02-19-2018, 11:57 PM   #3
Join Date: Aug 2016
Default Re: Mindbending deamscape/psychic danger room encounters

Thanks for responding! I've seen and printed all of the Planeshift supplements, they're pretty cool.

I am not sure how I will handle the Planeshifting skill yet, I will probably require a number of turns to collect mana. I more or less decided to use the ritual casting rules, so spells can be cast at default with a penalty equal to the number of unmet prerequisites. I think I'm going to hybridize it though and let them also put spells in points if they want to be extra good at a particular spell AND so that they can access some of the higher end spells that have a ton of prerequisites.

I also decided not to use the Magery advantage, since they are all mages anyway by virtue of being planeswalkers. Ritual casting was actually kind of confusing to me. I'm not sure why they need the Magery ad, the Ritual Casting skill, AND I think a second skill was required. I simplified it down to a VH skill for the school of magic they chose.

I also added a gather mana skill, so they can roll every round (at a penalty if they do anything else) to collect mana and use that instead of FP or HP to power spells. I will, however, let them use FP to accelerate casting times if they so choose.

I will check out the supplements you mentioned, those sound cool. Thanks a lot!!
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