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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Twilight Zone Campaigns

In comments on the post about weird fantasy campaigns being "like a Twilight Zone story", Beedo decided to take that idea and run with it, building a campaign around a random selection of Twilight Zone synopses. Mike Monaco was a little skeptical that this would work for anything other than one-shots.

But I have an idea. Remember how I mentioned cities in the Dreamlands have one unique, surreal detail, to make them unlike bog-standard fantasy settings? And remember how I summarized a typical Twilight Zone plot as "You introduce a character or three, they experience some strange stuff, and then there's a final weird or horrific twist at the end"? Think of the surreal detail of a city as the "strange stuff", and imagine a weird twist that could result from that detail. It doesn't need to happen *to* the adventurers; it could be something they discover as the truth behind a mystery.

For example: Ulthar forbids anyone from harming a cat. In "The Cats of Ulthar", we learn the reason behind this quirk: a boy called on Bubastis to punish someone for killing a cat. This is expanded in "Dream-Quest", where we find that cats have their own language, are organized into armies, and can jump to the moon and back. The quirk is the strange custom, the twist is that cats are more intelligent and powerful than we believe. Depending on player choices, they may discover this fact, and if their choices are particularly bad, they may lose a character as a result.

This concept works for monsters and tricks/traps, too. Especially tricks and traps.

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