100 Fractures in Reality


Homebrew and House Rules


Hello all! I previously posted this request here, but I'm worried that the name of the thread has put people off.

I'm soon beginning a campaign based strongly on the World's End volume of Neil Gaimen's Sandman. The party have been pulled from their different worlds and times to the safety of an extradimensional inn as reality quakes and shifts outside. Unlike in the comic, where patrons are expected to simply pass the time telling stories, the idea I'm going with is that two types of people are drawn to the inn: those with some relation to "fractures" which are preventing reality from settling and reasserting itself, and those who can help. The party is transported to the time and place of the fault and must resolve the fault.

Fractures can literally be anything. An out of place person, a broken law of nature or a time that should not exist.

So, I'm looking for ideas for fractures. Where they happen and how they can be resolved. The settings can be any genre and setting. I've already written a few, but I want the tone of each adventure to be significantly different, and I worry that anything I come up with would eventually feel too similar.

Thanks in advance! Please let me know if there's anything else that needs clarification!


A desert town where the rules of heat and cold are reversed. The more you try to heat something up, the colder it gets and the reverse. As a result people in this town are freezing to death in the hottest place on the planet.
To reverse it the pc's will have to combine the hottest and the coldest object in the exact center of the town.


A city where the streets don't lead where they're supposed to. Walking down the street you are dimensionally shifted to another street. For example: you're staring down the street to the mayor's mansion. You start walking toward it. You find yourself instead shifted to walk to the front steps of the temple of Saranrae. It's a continual series of dimension door type effects. Natives know how to get where they want to go, however, and can give directions. "Mayor's place? Leave this here inn, turn left till you see the bank of Abadar, then turn around and walk till you get there. Easy as pie."

To resolve it: you have to walk every street and map them, thus marking where the seams in reality were torn and metaphysically sewing them up.


Go to Narwals.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SX9IRXIF5Ak

This dream world is being generated by a lost soul in hades who is hiding from tormets. This is why every so often the cartoon degenerates into a demon invasion. The characters have to grab the tormented dreamer and take them into the dream making a stable reality. Lots of demon fighting and investigation.


Here's one. Golarify as needed.


5. Young man is pacing on a street, he hoarsely explains he's lost his voice and is supposed to meet his beloved and express his feelings this very night or lose her forever. One of the PCs (who happens to resemble him in build and frame and also in voice, so he says) must take his cloak and stand in the shadows beneath her balcony reciting from a letter of his love and feelings.

Feel free to have the PC recite the scene from Romeo and Juliet.
Assuming the PC manages to pull off the deception, Juliet (or whatever name you give her) declares her love as well and drinks from a vial, tossing it down to the PC. If the PC doesn't drink the poison, which may or may not kill them depending on their saves (it should be potent Con damage requiring 2 or 3 saves), she seems betrayed as she dies, cursing Romeo's name. The fracture remains.

If the PC does drink (whether he dies or not) she passes on, but unfortunately, Romeo must also die this night, one way or another.


That's a matter of opinion. Maybe the fracture resulted from the love story ending in double suicide. Maybe each 100 years the 2 lovers reincarnate and try to get it right. Maybe the only way to fix the fracture is to help them survive and escape.


Goth Guru wrote:
That's a matter of opinion. Maybe the fracture resulted from the love story ending in double suicide. Maybe each 100 years the 2 lovers reincarnate and try to get it right. Maybe the only way to fix the fracture is to help them survive and escape.

Nope, I'm god of Fracture #5 and I declare the fracture occurred because Romeo got laryngitis and the two never killed themselves. She ends up married off to some other man to please her family and the Capulets and the Montagues continue to war, which spills out into the city and landscape and leads to the deaths of dozens if not hundreds of others. It was their deaths that made their families ponder mortality and the futility of their feud, thus... Romeo must die.

Although, the poison Juliet uses was only a fake, designed to feign her death. Romeo believed her dead and actually stabbed himself, then when she awoke and saw him, stabbed herself. So maybe just telling Romeo she is dead is enough to get him to slay himself... but then you must go and inform Juliet.

If you really want a 'happy' ending... you wait until after the families find their bodies, reconcile their differences, and then you can raise them (of course... that won't work either now that I think about it, since neither wants to live without the other and probably won't return willingly. Oh well... c'est la vie. It's a tragedy).

Make your own fracture with animated birds, sewing rodents, and fairy godmothers with happy endings, Goth Guru!


Thanks for all the input! These ideas are great!


bump!!!


All these things are side-effects. Extradimensional entities are causing these fractures to aid in mining reality for the psychic import of various events.


I played something like it in The Nine Princes of Amber the RPG. I DMed a couple of sessions for it,
PreWorldWar1 Germany is a fine mess to play in. Frankenstein's younger, crazier brother leads parachuting flesh golems to kill Winston Churchill via Zeppelins. Play which ever side you think best. "Da Kisar's supra soldiers, ya!"
The next session I sent them to North America some 25,000,000 years ago on a plane that did not take a killer asteroid strike. They (the PCs) expected furious, killer Velociraptors they got intelligent, well-mannered Velociraptors. One standout npc was Suzy (I channeled my inner teen bobbysoxer), a precocious, (wearing a necklace of pearls,) 14-year-old Velociraptor. She would call them “Mammals wearing skins!!!” The npcs had a society similar to elephants, (matriarchal.) Bulls live solitary lives. It's' like get the itis bitsy mammals passed the big bad bulls through the Appalachian Mountains.


Pizza Lord wrote:
Goth Guru wrote:
That's a matter of opinion. Maybe the fracture resulted from the love story ending in double suicide. Maybe each 100 years the 2 lovers reincarnate and try to get it right. Maybe the only way to fix the fracture is to help them survive and escape.

Nope, I'm god of Fracture #5 and I declare the fracture occurred because Romeo got laryngitis and the two never killed themselves. She ends up married off to some other man to please her family and the Capulets and the Montagues continue to war, which spills out into the city and landscape and leads to the deaths of dozens if not hundreds of others. It was their deaths that made their families ponder mortality and the futility of their feud, thus... Romeo must die.

Although, the poison Juliet uses was only a fake, designed to feign her death. Romeo believed her dead and actually stabbed himself, then when she awoke and saw him, stabbed herself. So maybe just telling Romeo she is dead is enough to get him to slay himself... but then you must go and inform Juliet.

If you really want a 'happy' ending... you wait until after the families find their bodies, reconcile their differences, and then you can raise them (of course... that won't work either now that I think about it, since neither wants to live without the other and probably won't return willingly. Oh well... c'est la vie. It's a tragedy).

Make your own fracture with animated birds, sewing rodents, and fairy godmothers with happy endings, Goth Guru!

I agree with Pizza Lord, in that they need to die. As I'm pretty much using the Sandman comics as my campaign setting, this fits into the concept that there are "Great Stories" that arise and are retold in every era. If these two do not consummate their suicides, then the story dies for this cycle and the dreams of all creatures will be incomplete and disturbed for the millennia it takes for the story to reemerge.


Have you considered that it might be time for a better story? Perhaps one where two decent kids did not have to die because their friends and family were a bunch of violent, self-involved, arrogant jerks?

When my hyperliterate, multiverse travelling character found herself dropped in Dickensian London, whose works she had read and enjoyed, she changed things, a lot. Beadle Bamford did poorly, but not nearly so bad as Bill Sykes did. Also, you would be surprised at how easily slow death consumptive diseases fall to a decent cleric. Turns out we stumbled into a skirmish between the Time Lords and the Howard Families. Our senses of propriety did not match either of theirs. Time Lords become quite reasonable after the use of Morganthi blades are demonstrated to them. The Howard Families were more reasonable, but we weren't going to be exchanging Christmas cards. The Number of the Beast crew were perhaps an over-reaction, but you had to be there.

If you are stuck in a mindset of there only being one right answer, why are you involving players at all?


Daw wrote:
If you are stuck in a mindset of there only being one right answer, why are you involving players at all?

That's a harsh accusation. There's a world of difference between giving the players a specific goal and railroading them.

I'm glad the adventure worked out well for you and your character, but imposing your specific situation and the rules of your campaign setting on others is not appreciated.

If your only intention is to tell me I'm wrong for wanting to use certain flavor rules for my setting, I'd prefer it if you step away from this conversation.


Daw wrote:
Have you considered that it might be time for a better story? Perhaps one where two decent kids did not have to die because their friends and family were a bunch of violent, self-involved, arrogant jerks?

That's an interesting view that turning everything into a happy ending makes it a 'better story'. I am sure as the GM you can just turn any actions your PCs take into an outcome that suits you because it's 'better' in your opinion, basically either letting them 'redo' mistakes until they 'get it right' in your opinion, but that's just the opposite side of the coin you're decrying.

Is it a tragedy that they died? Sure, I suppose that's probably one of the definitions of tragedy. Changing the outcome into what one person considers a 'better story' may seem to bring supposed happiness to two people in the short term, but it also effects how their story and trials (whether in world or from people like you or I) affects those who experienced, read, heard, and were moved by it, whether to become better people or to strive to prevent it in the future (not prevent it by altering history). When you take that away, you alter far more than just two people who would have otherwise been insignificant and forgotten. Your view presupposes that the fracture is solely focused on the outcome of the two people in the spotlight, not on how their story shaped history or the hearts and minds of those who survived to tell it.

In the example of your multiverse traveler, she instead ended up in a story she loved and then changed it. Why did she love it if only to destroy the fundamental aspects that made her love it, even if through tragedy, sorrow, or folly? Possibly, that's acceptable if your story and campaign was about 'righting supposed wrongs', but this campaign is about fixing fractures and correcting outcomes that are destroying reality. In truth, some of the fractures could be from your very character trying to meddle and make things 'better' with short-sighted selfish goals, whether saving a 'favorite' character or becoming a part of those stories herself (this part is only an example, I am not saying your character was or wasn't selfish, only that it's a possible for a similar 'antagonist with good intentions' could ultimately be behind it. They aren't viewing the long term, only the short.)

Example:
Luckily, this fracture uses a template from a fictional story (don't necessary have to use the names Romeo and Juliet, though I think having the words and recitations be from the play and having the PCs reciting them would be fun). I am not suggesting we take it as far as the Red Dwarf episode where the crew ended up back in time and interrupt Lee Harvey Oswald, causing him to miss and fail in his assassination of John F. Kennedy. The outcome seemed good, but later, ties with the mafia and other shady histories and deals (whether exaggerated for effect or not) come out and Kennedy is impeached and the country is left in turmoil and disgrace and unprepared for dealing with the troubles of the world. Ultimately, after many attempts to right the assassination themselves, they take Kennedy from prison, explain what happened, and he's the one who takes the shot himself, to protect his legacy and the future of America, before fading out of existence for killing his own timeline.
"It'll drive the conspiracy theorists nuts, but it had to be done."


You can't be wrong, pretty much by definition. I am just warning you that putting together a game where the "right" answers are forcing/reinforcing tragic outcomes might not sit well. Be prepared for rebellion. You should decide beforehand if you are going to punish it or go with it.

EDIT ADD

PL, yes she loved the stories. Problem is, the characters were now real people to her. So, it was no longer a story it was real. Real people were getting hurt, often for just being as good as they were able.


6. The PCs find a troubled prince. He's seeking his true love, a mystery woman who disappeared from the royal ball the night before. All he has is a magical glass slipper. He needs the PCs help to find the woman it fits.

Problem: It's a magical glass slipper, so it resizes to fit its wearer. The PCs must secretly find ways to keep dispelling while the prince tests candidates who all want to be his bride. A mysterious, godgrandmotherly woman offers them a wand if they need the spells. Alternately, depending on if the PCs aren't casters and only one would be doing anything, the PCs have to find a way to distract and stall all the would-be brides who are gathering while the others conduct a more traditional investigation to figure out who it was and getting her to try the slipper on before anyone else (at which point she 'transforms' into princess-mode, making it obvious to everyone that she's the right choice and thus cutting off any outcries of people wanting a 'fair chance' to try on the slipper after the first person.)


Daw wrote:
You can't be wrong, pretty much by definition. I am just warning you that putting together a game where the "right" answers are forcing/reinforcing tragic outcomes might not sit well. Be prepared for rebellion. You should decide beforehand if you are going to punish it or go with it.

That makes a lot of sense. The issue I'll have with allowing wildly different outcomes is that happier endings would ruin the impact of the story. Romeo & Juliet has resonated for so long because of the tragic love in the center of it. Even though people often misinterpret the story by viewing that romance in a positive light, we cannot deny its lasting impact. If that were to be taken away, I don't see the tale resonating through time like it has.

Either way, I should be able to handle it. Though this does send me back to the drawing board to write up contingencies for failed missions.


Romeo and Juliet is resonant more because of how well Shakespeare wrote it, than the actual base storyline. Remove Tybalt and Mercutio, with the great speeches, great performances and the depth they bring, R&J are rather pathetic. Viewpoint is huge too, how will you give the audience level overview if the characters are "on stage" with a more limited and intense focus. Also, there is a fairly good chance that at least one of your players has lost someone to "the permanent solution to a temporary problem". Roleplay is more personal and immediate than watching a play. The acting is a lot more uneven as well. ^-^

Half an hour later, I realize I should point out that I started gaming with the local Drama crowd, with a wide range of ages and, well, talent. We had a lot of epic fails trying to "adapt" the classics. We had some sessions that went great. Having the right players in the right roles helped, but, on the whole, things could slide fast.


How about the schism is that an interloper is convincing Shakespeare to be 100 percent truthful in his plays. Even if he got the story from the child of Romeo and Juliet, religious people wanted a story with a lesson, and a large part of the population liked tragedies in the way many people love a good horror movie. The plays the thing, in many ways.


Yes, R&J is tragic but they dodged a bullet. Just imagine if they had lived, twenty years disowned by their families and living in a slum apartment with 13 kids twins on the way. That would be the real tragedy.


Rawhead wrote:
Either way, I should be able to handle it. Though this does send me back to the drawing board to write up contingencies for failed missions.

Well, do need some way for the PCs to have an idea of what needs to be done, at least in a basic manner. In Quantum Leap, Sam Beckett had Al and Ziggy to at least give him some percentage chances, so you likely either need a guide or a divination object. It could even by a semi-intelligent book or something, maybe similar to a history book, but it can't be completely accurate, since reality is being disrupted.

Then, for instances of 'failed' fracture rebuilds, allowing them to redo them wouldn't be good (though if they come up with a great potential plan after what seems a failure that might work, but it should require sacrifice in wealth and resources.) The easiest method, is to just have the final 'boss' encounter with whatever is messing up reality or its agents. The more fractures they failed to fix, the more enemy lieutenants or challenges are on the field.

For example, if they failed to correct Fracture #6, there's a unit of Montagues or Capulet footmen or whatever. If they fail to help the prince find his Cinderella, there's some giant animated pumpkins driven by wererats (or wicked fairy godmothers 'bippity-boppity-booing' the bad guys minions into bigger meaner creatures. If they did fix some, maybe there's a mixed squad of Capulet and Montague footmen helping them or a bard (maybe resembling Romeo, maybe resembling Shakespeare) appears before the fight and inspires courage in the allies with a rousing speech, possibly from Richard the III or Henry VI. Otherwise, there are matronly fairies flying about buffing and healing them if they succeeded for the prince with the glass slipper.


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7. A druid and his apprentice were intended to visit a nearby castle and impress the lord with their ability to train his hounds. The lord loves his beasts and hunts with them in his game preserve (otherwise respectful of the woods and not over-hunting.) The intention was that the master would use his powers to guide and control some hounds and demonstrate their skill, while making it seem that the apprentice was a more skilled handler than he really was. This would secure him a place as the Master of Hounds and, over time and with some hints from the druid once in a while, the relationship would grow between the kingdom and druids and peaceful interaction would last for a generation.

Unfortunately, someone or something, has warned the old Master of Hounds and taunted, twisted, or corrupting him into taking action. The PCs find the druid and apprentice after an ambush in the woods. The master is dead and their beasts have been driven off. The apprentice needs help not only getting to the castle, but needs a group of hounds that can demonstrate that he's an exceptional trainer and thus secure a position. He doesn't know who was behind the ambush (though maybe near the end he might recognize something, like a brooch or cloak or limp.)

But wait! His master has some magic berries that can turn people into beasts. If the PCs could just play the roles of really intelligent hounds, at least enough to impress the king, he will secure his place long enough to prove he has potential and train the king's animals. He will have access to speak with animals at least once or twice for each day you want to make the challenge last.

Now, the PCs just have to play the part of hounds (as polymorph) but they can't show off any strange powers. Basically things start out easy enough; simple commands like "roll over', "point", "play dead". Then there's some simple obstacles, up a ramp, jump through a hoop, climb a ladder and ring a bell. Then the king's kennel master has the king's hounds compete against the PCs in bringing down a stag or catch the most foxes or rabbits. The PCs can't just go and maul the other dogs (that would lead to them being put down) and they actually have to track (they get scent), stalk, and harry their prey. Possibly at the end, as they're about to win, the Master of Hounds makes a move to kill the apprentice or, better, the king and the PCs, as hounds, must fight him off.

If they fix the fracture, the druid apprentice and a pack of hunting dogs join them in the battle. If they fail, the old Master of Hounds and a pack of hunting dogs appear against them.

Other tasks, a lady of the court claims to have lost her scarf or necklace and the PCs might find it. A rat or two might dart out during the nightly feast, at which the PCs are left to wait in the shadows and sidelines, since the king's own hounds get to wait at the tables for scraps (the apprentice will claim that they are so well-trained they won't beg unless ordered to so as to cover) a rat or two might dart out and they can try and take it down before it reaches cover. If they do, they can eat rat of course, but the king will also toss a sizable hunk of meat to the triumphant ratter.

The PCs may have to navigate a simplistic maze, but it actually has pressure plates and levers for opening gates for each other and balance beams that two or more dogs must stand on while another runs up to open a door for the others. This requires the PCs to work together (in a very simplistic manner for actual intelligent beings, but for dogs it would be impressive.)

Then there's the one part where a PC get's its puppy head placed in a guillotine while another PC holds a rope in his mouth while the king's kennel master waves enticing things or distractions. The apprentice claims his training makes the hounds ignore distractions. So the PC just has to not let go of the rope while the Master of Hounds beckons him, tosses a ball in front of him, waves a meaty-looking bone, drops it on the ground in front of the PC, whistles, has a female in heat brought in and trotted in front of the PC. "Feel the heat coming off those genitals!"
(Your call whether to make it the most beautiful dog the PC has ever seen before... you know your players better than I do. I mean... would suck if a PC lost their head, or was injured but... wow, the story that game would be. "Remember the time you got my character's head cut off over a b#@+% in heat? That's why my healing spell failed this time."


8. In a cyberpunk future, monsters are escaping from videogames. The party will need to fight some monsters, then either track down the writers of said games and so their muse and convince her to stop helping, or else get into one of the videogames and beat the end boss, which will have the same effect.

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