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Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Firstly didn't there used to be a GM thread?

Hey guys need some creative help. I want to start a game with the a group of 1st level PCs waking up on a remote island with no memory of how they got there but with all their gear intact. All they remember is going to sleep and waking up on the beach.

Ideas I'm NOT looking for are

- The PCs are dead and this is the afterlife

- The PCs were shipwrecked

So basically I need ideas for

- How the PCs got there?

- Why the PCs are there?

- How do they get home?

Any help would be appreciated

Reebo


My first thought is that they have been on an adventure already, but at the end of it they had their memories erased. (They were tricked by an enemy with mind-erasing powers, or they agreed to have their memories wiped to protect the secrets of an ally, or there was a poorly worded Wish.) In this case the adventure would revolve around trying to work out where they are, what they've been doing, and why so many of the locals are angry at them.

Or: they were magically transported to this place by someone who hates them to make them suffer, since this island is the worst place in the world. Or they were transported there by a patron who believes they are the chosen ones who can solve a problem, or who is putting them through a series of test to see if they're worthy. (This enemy or patron could be a deity.)

Or: they're not really on an island. It's all a vast elaborate shadow conjuration.


Reebo Kesh wrote:
I want to start a game with the a group of 1st level PCs waking up on a remote island with no memory of how they got there but with all their gear intact. All they remember is going to sleep and waking up on the beach.

Starting from a logic, rather than creative perspective.

The party either a) got there under their own power, or b) were teleported their or other similar magic.

If a) then their memories have been tampered with, and quite possibly their free will subverted. The may have willingly gone with whichever individual or agency led them to the island, which altered their memories after their journey and anything else they did was finished, or they may have been compelled, in which case the journey and the things they did may not have been something in their nature or their best interests.

A) means that time has passed - wear on gear or clothes, changes in their own appearance from what they remember, weathering e.g. sunburn, hair and nail growth - there would be evidence of time's passage.

If b) then their will would probably not have been subverted, and only minimal alterations to their memories (or none) are likely. For instance, a powerful good-aligned being may have evacuated an area before a devastating battle with an enemy, and simply teleported them as they slept. If they were summoned to, rather than sent from, they may have been selected as candidates to aid in the plans of a powerful local - some special quality that would make them useful in a ritual or a political power play that the party is itself unaware of.

The first step towards 'how to get home' is 'where am I' - finding out just how far they've gone and just where they've gotten to. The practical side of 'how to get home' can be left on the backburner, or become a challenge for the players.


They haven't lost their memory, they never had any. The PCs and a whole island full of creatures are copies of creatures who exist on Golarion. The island is effectively a zoo created by a powerful outsider on one of the outer demiplanes.

Grand Lodge

-Trapped within a mirror of soul trapping.

-They are clones of a wizards adventure party and being stored in a demi plane. Alternately,clones of influential people to be replaced later after the mage "raise them appropriately through challenges".

-Experiment by a group of wizards, making bets like it's a game. They can't directly interact but can assist with minor boons like hunger games. Works well if planning other parties/tribes on the island as well.

-A wizard is using them as infiltrators to explore the island, knowing something bad is there, but mind wiping them in case they fail so nothing can come back on him.

-Its a sanctuary of sorts after world destruction. All the plants and creatures are refugees here can make it sort of a noahs ark. Why did you kill thing? Now it's extinct.

-It's an advanced permanent version of a maze spell.

Or some combination of the above.


Plot twist: they are in the afterlife but not dead, they were Plane Shift-ed to the Aligned Plane directly.


Reebo Kesh wrote:
How the PCs got there?

They were escaping from a complex when they teleported themselves to the island.

Reebo Kesh wrote:
- Why the PCs are there?

The players are secretly doppelgangers who were escaping from a psychic mastermind because they wanted to live their own lives. Unable to stop them from teleporting, the psychic mastermind instead was able to wipe the memory's as they escaped. They are still alive on the island because the psychic mastermind's death squad has yet to reach the players. With their mind's wiped they have, of course, lost the ability to cast high level spells (or any spells if none of them are spellcasters). The gear they're wearing is related to the disguises they had donned. They potentially had only just enough skill to masquerade as the people they were impersonating.

Reebo Kesh wrote:
- How do they get home?

One of the PCs has been impersonating a very important figure. With the doppelganger gone there has been a search for that missing figure. Scrying magic was used that found the PCs and so a rescue mission was dispatched. All the PCs need to do is avoid the death squad long enough for the rescue party to arrive.

Of course the question remains as to what the psychic mastermind was planning with the players and how long until the players realise they're actually doppelgangers.

Sovereign Court

1)Drinking contest at a tavern, got drugged, ended up on the island.
2)Time travel: It's where the tavern is...welcome to the past.


-the PCs were put there by the gods as game pieces for a bet. (my group of champions can beat your group of champions!) They are there to beat the other group to the heart of a maze/dungeon on the island to get the macguffin, whereupon their patron appears and is all 'grats' I win, you go home now.

-The local barkeep is actually an alchemist and some of his potions ended up in the PCs drinks and this is a shared dream caused by it. Alternatively, (depending on the build of the group) they decided to steal a keg from the barkeep/alchemist and unfortunately it was his discarded potion barrel, wacky side affects include, memory loss, translocation, and possible mutations!

-The fey did it as a prank, great fun at the expense of the large people. Eventually they'll let them leave.

-They are still in the tavern, just shrunk down a lot... the tavern owner has a whole island of shrunk down and kidnapped people/creatures/things in his basement. A tribe of previously shrunk people tell of a rumored way to get back to being big again, somewhere in the heart of the island. But everyone who has tried didn't make it.

Liberty's Edge

Your PCs were adventuring in the Darklands (Golarion's "Underdark") and they came into contact with a malevolent being; perhaps an eldritch horror from beyond the stars or some kind of ancient artifact that drove them mad and stripped them of their memories. Whatever floats your boat, it just needs to be powerful and weird enough to do something like this.

The island would be alien, because it would be an island in one of the Darklands underground oceans, in one of the giant caverns that has it's own magic mini sun. The surprise for the PC's will be when they eventually try to escape the island and find out that they are in an underground sea only the gods' know how far down and realize that they will have to fight their way up to surface through miles of Darkland caverns and tunnels if they ever want to see the sun again.

Liberty's Edge

You could also say it was all a dream.

Sovereign Court

You could pull a KOTR variant.

Not long ago they were the top strike force for the BBEG - but only because they were being controlled by them. (mind control of some sort - probably a geas)

Once the good guys beat them, they didn't want to kill the group, as it wasn't really their fault, but they couldn't actually break the mind control as it was too potent. Instead, they erased the party's memories entirely, which was the only way to get rid of the mind control/geas.

The good guys then put them on the island for now as they'll need new memories to replace their old ones, or the BBEG could easily re-instate his mind-control. (Kind of like over-writing a hard-drive.)


They were actually in an airship and crashed on a mountain. Overnight, the entire world flooded. (Planar breach to elemental plane of water for example.) The island is the top of the mountain - any other mountains as high would have created their own islands. Most of the world is underwater, and probably dead or aboleth slaves.

Scarab Sages

Boomerang Nebula wrote:

They haven't lost their memory, they never had any. The PCs and a whole island full of creatures are copies of creatures who exist on Golarion. The island is effectively a zoo created by a powerful outsider on one of the outer demiplanes.

I really like this idea.


The island is actually in an underground chamber. After a while the PCs will notice that the sky is artificial and the 'sun' is within reach of anyone who can fly. The only way to escape is to sabotage the sun's controls and send it crashing through the fake sky, making a hole back into the real world.

Shadow Lodge

Don't forget to add a hatch. And a button to push.


The island is a living creature. And it's hungry.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

They've already saved the world. It ended in a very dramatic magical/planar/flying/whatever explosion or some such, from which they fell (or were magically shunted) onto this island, surviving but getting knocked pretty hard and suffering some amnesia.

So now they're waking up, and they know who they are, and see that they're heavily armed for a major event, but don't know what's going on. As they explore the island looking for clues, perhaps they find fragments or other traces of the thing they dealt with, and begin to learn of this great threat all over again, not knowing it's already been dealt with.

There's multiple directions you could go with this: maybe they piece together this threat, find a way to the mainland to warn people/seek help/etc, get told that everything's fine, and start to suspect a coverup/conspiracy. Maybe they're greeted with "Thank the gods, you're alive!... but where's Heinrich?" and they have to go looking for a fellow survivor whom they don't even remember existing. Or maybe someone figures out their amnesia and tries to label the thing they foiled as being good and tell them that "someone" wrecked it and if only some brave heroes would restore peace by undoing the very thing they've already risked their lives to do. The possibilities are endless.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

OK, OK this is not good. There are way too many awesome ideas there, actually all of them, that choosing one is going to be tricky!
Well done guys, well done.


Reebo Kesh wrote:

Firstly didn't there used to be a GM thread?

Hey guys need some creative help. I want to start a game with the a group of 1st level PCs waking up on a remote island with no memory of how they got there but with all their gear intact. All they remember is going to sleep and waking up on the beach.

Ideas I'm NOT looking for are

- The PCs are dead and this is the afterlife

- The PCs were shipwrecked

So basically I need ideas for

- How the PCs got there?

- Why the PCs are there?

- How do they get home?

Any help would be appreciated

Reebo

A campaign I'd started writing up but never got around to using (somewhat home-brewed Ravenloft-style 3.5 setting):

A group of PCs wake up dressed only in medical patients' gowns, with splitting headaches and strange marks on their heads and no memory, in a ruined office located at 221B Baker Street... a search of the office would reveal a stained photograph of the party together at the opening of what is actually their detective agency. They can find clothes that fit and gear mouldering in their rooms upstairs. Begin character creation.

In the dark, foggy streets outside, they find the (fantasy) city under quarantine due to a strange plague, their detective agency has been abandoned for years since their mysterious disappearance, and many strange things have been happening in the city lately.

The party can resume their old job, and the first few adventures would be monster-of-the-week type horror adventures (such as tracking down a Jack the Ripper slasher, investigating a haunted house, reports of horrible monsters and bizarre cults, interviews with patients at a local sanitarium, etc.) that at first seem to have little in common with each other.

As time goes by, the party would begin finding more and more clues that reveal that their last case before their disappearance involved an investigation into the city's sewers, and their disappearance and loss of memory was the result of a sinister conspiracy by Deros and Illithids living under the city, leading up to a descent into the Darklands....

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