Added a section on the Subway from the messageboard,
Added a new description of the NIM unit
- An ?? shower (maybe at rest point) which can: freeze, coat, gild, plasticize, etc. This could get overused, but a cautionary tale.
- The 'Still Camera' players find what looks like a photo studio and camera sitting around. Someone plays around with in and finds it freezes the motion of whoever is standing in front of it.
- River of Gold (silver). Don't step in it too long, or it will transform you into a monument
- Clay people - transformation to clay/stone. Maybe use a mudbath for this
- Rubber Tree - sticky sap or a cool protective coating
- Hard Water - a drink turns one to stone/mineral (possibly this wears off)
- Magic Mirror - look deep into it and lose track of time. Anyone watching will see the victim stop still. The user sees themselves as most ideal form they could imagine
- Delay Squares - (or hexes) part of a puzzle, where stepping on the wrong one freezes the victim for some period (5-30 sec?) If no-one reaches the goal by time elapsed then they stay trapped permanently
- Artist who poses nudes (erotic), then makes them statues. Like Box, but follows thru. Could combine with some kind of aphrodisiac effect to remove inhibition
- Haripes and Basilisks (of course)
- Darts that shoot out from the walls of a cave/corridor, coated with paralyzing venom. Could be short-term effect.
- Frieze Play - an NPC trick into rescuing another victim who is becoming embedded in a growing stone wall. Hang on for too long and one becomes part of the wall too. Envisioned as an early-on trap for the unwary [thanks to cmq's 'The Works' for this one]
- Windup automatons, as trap or diversion. Can anyone be turned into one?
- Players used to ST holodeck may want to say "Freeze Program" - wrong move; this brings out a supervisor program who freezes them!!
- Sometimes frozen players revive after a time, spend a bit of time describing how to transport a stiffened/icy/stony/golden comrade (discuss whether to abandon or not)
- Wax coatings would be nifty, either in the classic museum (don't touch the artworks) or a room full of candles that suddenly becomes very windy. Whoever is inside gets coated/frozen.
- Aphrodisiac vapors/drink/potion/venom/ray can be combined w/traps to induce players into things they would not normally do in the middle of a game
- doppelgangers - false simulacra/androids, possibly one of the Princess?
- Spiders (mechanical?) that weave kevlar cocoons around sleeping players
- Automatic packing/baling machines that use saran (too high tech?) or twine to immobilize victims
- Suit-with-a-mind(control)-of-its-own. Disguise as armor, wearer becomes a 'robot' controlled by villain. Good trap for a single newbie to find early.
- Nanites may be too high-tech for the premise, but they can do a lot . . .
- Spiked drinks, see Hard Water
- 'Iron Maiden' freezing alcoves, or pedestals. Anything that looks like it could have someone standing on/in it is a potential or actual trap. Beware the gift shop in 'Ming's palace too and the mannequins standing there.
- Neural Whips, action at a distance.
- Timestop rays, or 'remote control' zappers may be popular w/ the guards
- Cryolab (like Demo'l Man) with LN lines that can spray/freeze folks when they destroy the place.
- Queen of Frigia (note gender change) is a red-hot babe with cool lips that can chill anyone out - they turn blue and stiffen up on contact with her - effects could be temporary or she could have a little gallery of ex-lovers (both male and female) in her castle. Combat this one with the 'vanity mirror' maybe.
- Neural Impulse Modulator (NIM) is a headpiece that players wear. Not only can it induce immobility (re WW) but also can create visions/effects so the players do not have to wear goggles etc. to see the 3D. Adapt into different items, hat, tiara, etc.
- Tessellated floor with luminous 'tiles' that are actually the tops of hexagonal shaped prisms of frozen liquid with victims embedded in them (ala Kiss the Girls). This is a 'storage room' (one of many) with the stiffs plugged into their flush sockets.
- A swimming pool obstacle somewhere on the course which may only be passed by actually swimming through it, filled not with ordinary water but with special chemicals that instigate mannequinesque or statuesque alterations later on. The chemicals may be tied to specific individuals through earlier encounters with other similar traps, so that while all may have to swim through, only a select handful will actually change.
- The Mirror of Sodom - a kind of 1930s/40s, pulp-era artifact (read: "The Horrible and Sinister Mirror of Sodom!") which when looked upon shows a view of that fabled Biblical city. As Lot's Wife was turned to salt, though, so may someone else. Salt in its mineral form is quite hard, after all.
- The Crystal King - a 1950s stock villain whose M.O. involves encasing nubile young women into (you guessed it) crystals. He could have his own lair somewhere on the course with a variety of crystal-encasing traps.
- The petrified forest (where everything is or will be petrified) or variation thereof
- The land of gold where everything is gilded (may be too similar to the river of gold theme)
- Some sort of, for lack of a better word, starching corridor (could be wax too I guess) or a simple paralysis trap...
From Cobalt Jade
- "Death beetles". The characters come into a place (a deserted palace, a swamp, a ruined city, etc.) where they notice a number of statues. They are then paralyzed somehow and the death beetles come out of the ground and start to swarm over them, beginning at the feet and slowly working their way up. They devour the character's clothes and cover them with a hard chitin-like substance that resembles stone as they work themselves up the victim's body. When they reach the nostrils, the idea is they crawl inside, to devour the victim from the inside out and lay their eggs inside the hard protective shell they have made, which eventually cracks open to release the young. The catch? The beetles dislike direct sunlight, and when the characters encounter them clouds are blowing across the sky--the idea being if they can get free while the bugs are momentarily inactive.
[CJ later thought this fate too extreme, so I've been thinking of ways to tone it down]
- The subway to oblivion. At some point in the adventure, the group comes to what looks like, and is, a loading station for a transport of some kind. After a few minutes, a vehicle arrives but it is too small to hold everyone (use this for a larger group), perhaps only 2 or 3 per car. Thus the groups are split apart; each vehicle takes a different path with different perils (and could be a really wild ride to boot). Maybe the second group arrives first, wonders where the first one went, then a car arrives. Inside are mannequins that look exactly like (are) the previous occupants. The third car arrives and it is missing an occupant; the remaining figure has been frozen solid or changed into glass etc.
- Speed Zone. Adventurers come into an area where they are judged (robot cop?) to be moving too quickly, therefore they get sentenced to an hour of ‘slow time’ which seems like 8 to them as they move as if in slow motion thru the remainder of the section. Perhaps this can be used to stretch out a seemingly simple peril or maybe the others could encounter the slowed adventurers before their sentence has elapsed and so look like ‘keystone cops’ (speeded-up characters) to the slowtimers. Of course the cop says “freeze” at the beginning – and they DO.
- Midpoint gift shop. The adventurers enter what looks like a gift shop (could be part of a rest break), and marvels at the souvenirs etc. and costumes on several life-like figures. Catch is, anyone who tries on a garment becomes a mannequin and the previously frozen figure is freed to continue their(?) game. Good way to ‘swap out’ an unusual or uninteresting player.
- Transmutafier. Took this directly from the pulps. Arcane metallic console with lots of vacuum tubes and blinkenlichts has cables leading to bands that fit around the victim's wrists and ankles. As the power in increased, anything touching the manacles is transmuted into a precious element, such as silver (from the blurb about their becoming "fantastic silver statues"). One of Xort's experimental gizmos.
Orgasmic Stimulator Ray. A new mind control device. . . Rest assured, the device will look and behave appropriately crudely (dangling wires, large knobs, quivering antennae, the works). The ray will generate an ecstatic experience which is intended by Xort to render a subject completely pliable to suggestion. But the Stimulator, as will be shown, is just too powerful . . . the subject's mind gets blown, and she slips into a catatonic state.
Medusatron. Instant petrifying ray. [Note, there is only a passing reference here, need more detail of what it looks & sounds like]
(or, more properly, *to* Hell)
The Subway from Hell
One of the more visually striking and useful bits of technology on Xog’s world is the Subway. The lands and mountains are filled with tunnels and it is possible to get nearly anywhere on the planet rather quickly. However, only the natives know how to voice-activate it. Attempts by the players can and do produce unpredictable (and occasionally dire) results. The system was originally put in place under King Ramon’s reign and has been not maintained since; this is another source of uncertainty in the system.
Trains are made up of a number of 2-person “compartments” which attach to other compartments with intercoms (when the system is working). Thus it is possible to accommodate almost any number or travelers and route them individually to different destinations (true to 50’s future style it is a bit overdone and not really practical). The individual compartments resemble 7’ diameter bubbles with the bottom 1/3 blacked out. the top and a section of the side pivot up to admit passengers. When in motion it is not possible to open the compatment (shy of breaking the unbreakable Lexan). While three people can squeeze into a compartment, it is cozy. Four cannot unless they are all Xort’s size. Compartments or trains are guides on a system of three rails, two just about even with floor level when boarding and the third which rests on the top of the compartment when the train is moving. Viewed from the direction of travel the rails are spaced about 120 degrees apart. Whatever holds the cars together and switches their paths is not part of the adventure. Luckily there is no obvious fare system, so they don’t have to contend with money, either.
The subway compartments are summoned by talking into a circular grille at each station. There is a plaque of intricate instructions in an incomprehensible language. Guide, Ramon, Glacia, etc. know how to work it but few other NPCs do. What is supposed to happen is they tell the controller how many people are going to what destination and a train (set of compartments) is assembled and sent to the station. Everyone gets on and then are whisked to the destination. It’s possible to tell the train to change routing once started, but this takes more verbal instructions. There are no visible buttons, displays, keyboards, etc. to override control.
When adventurers talk to the controller it cannot understand them but in true machine fashion tries to. Trains with too few (or too many) compartments arrive and end up going to random destinations. Once started on a trip, compartments will split off without (seeming) reason or join other groups. Trains will arrive in a station and just stop, refusing to go further (until someone gets off, but the players don’t know that first off). Consider using a hyper-annoying musical tone to announce arrival and departure (if you’ve ever been to the new Denver airport in RL you know what I mean). Occasionally they will stop in a storage yard and go dormant (hint, it can get cold in there at night) or head directly to the emperor’s palace, putting some groups in early danger.
While Guide can control the subway properly, sometimes she does not appear to; this is part of her shady nature. The players do not know what she is telling the controller. Eventually the smarter players may figure out how to control it (by sounding words phonetically) but they never ever get it exactly right.
Between stops, the subway hauls ass, creating dizziness as the lights in the tunnels zip past. Occcasionally the train will go into a ‘deep dark place’ for a few minutes or appear aboveground so the occupants can behold strikingly beautiful vistas. Due to the speed, turns are banked and sometimes this creates a roller-coaster feel to the ride as the occupants are pressed into their seats (no belts; OSHA does not exist here).
Thus the subway is a good-news, bad-news proposition; take it and you (sometimes) get where you’re going and sometimes not; avoid it and you can run into more perils along the way or even dead-ends.
Xog, and his Xenchmen have figured out that they can set up traps in some of the stations to ‘collect’ the unwary. Some NPCs and players may fall into this snare and turn up later frozen or enslaved.
Neural Impule Modulator (NIM) Unit
Borrowed blatantly from a favorite Wonder Woman episode ('The Fine Art of Crime'), this gimmick has been extended to serve a couple of different purposes in the dreampark. Both deal with control and appearance while in the scenarios.
Each player in the adventure (and some NPCs) must wear the Neural Impulse Modulator while inside the dreampark. The device appears as two metallic buttons, each about the size of a coughdrop, that contact the player's head or hair. Usually the NIM is hidden inside some prop appropriate to the adventure; in this case a helmet, Flexia's tiara, or cosmetic earrings. The device is self-powered and maintains constant communication with the gamemasters at The Bridge. By intercepting and modifying brain wave patterns (thoughts) the NIM is able to create a variety of useful physical effects that would be difficult to achieve otherwise. Besides, it's a cool McGuffin!
The primary function of the NIM is to monitor and augment the player's visual information stream, allowing the controllers to mask out certain portions of the field of view (think of it as a variably-shaped 'blind spot') to hide wires/stagehands from being seen by the player. It can also allow nonexistant objects to be inserted into what they are seeing. This provides a seamless 'Virtual Reality' without the rather clumsy present-day headsets/goggles. Tactile data can also be synthesized, but that technology is not fully developed yet and such objects feel a little 'odd' to the player. This aspect of the NIM is thus used very rarely within the game but can be used to create 'force-fields' and other evanescent matter.
It is the NIM's secondary function that really gets a workout in this game: By mainipulating the impulses sent to the brain, the unit can induce a state of partial or complete suspended animation in the wearer. At maximum setting the player can literally be turned stiff as a board while remaining fully conscious; the NIM can also induce sleep as well as complete unconsciousness (an artificial coma). Careful safeguards are required to prevent immobilization in situations where the player could be injured.
Combining the functions allows the players to effectively be transformed into any object (such as a gold statue) or creature (bird, maybe?) that the story requires. To the players being affected the illusion also is perfect; the can see themselves transforming at the same time they become unable to move.
One would hope that the full potential of this device will be exploited during the adventure!!