Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Dream Scenes/Sequences

Brilliant film, one of my favourites.

So when a PC in the middle of combat is rendered unconscious by something, be it drugs, enchantment, etc., they are unable to participate until the duration of the effect ends. How can we provide an alternate take on this that not only keeps the PC and player engaged but also allows their unconscious rounds to flow into the combat or threat the party is facing? Dream sequences/scenes!

When the round turns to that player they must struggle with a dream sequence to bring themselves to consciousness. If they fail, they remain unconscious until the combat or threat is over. Let's be fancy and call the level of the dream scene the INTENSITY. The intensity is generally decided by the DM (based on how strong the drug, gas, or other trap was, etc.) but for enemy spell casters affecting a PC you may use the caster's level to determine it.

What the heck kind of dream sequence is this? (1d4)

1. A significant scene from the character's distant past. A scene of childhood, their first magic training, and so on. Let the player describe it and why it is significant to them.

2. An earlier section of the dungeon/adventure. Something feels wrong, it is dark, but each step towards success will bring light and clarity to the dream scene.

3. A cave/weathered home containing a horrible revelation. The Vader sequence strikes back.

4. The future of the dungeon/adventure is glimpsed in some way in this dream scene. Success may give a useful hint, failure leaves you in the dark.

Okay, what do I have to deal with to wake up? (1d4)

1. 1+intensity challenges, pertaining to the character's skill set and background. Remember, these dream scenes do not require an extreme amount of detail and each challenge should be treated with the same speed as combat rounds.

2. An inner demon or some other manifested memory tries to "kill" you and drag you deeper into your slumber. It's level is equal to the intensity and you must slay it to wake up.

3. The DM will ask you 1+intensity questions about details your character has closely experienced in the campaign such as the names of people or towns, a description of particular heraldry they have seen, etc. One question per round. I'd personally limit it to a maybe a session or two ago in terms of how far back these questions are derived from.

4. An intensity number of THINGS (hints of future foes, perhaps?) pursue you. You are completely unarmed. Run. OR, if it's easier to run, you are pursued by a single invincible thing for intensity+1 rounds.

Darkwood is great.  It's like S.T.A.L.K.E.R and
Dark Souls meets David Lynch... in a forest.

Claytonian of Kill It With Fire! pointed out to me that this is basically a tabletop adaptation of an anime trope, and offered the following extra rule to reflect this: the PC gains a +1 to their roll this round for each of cry of pain that another party member makes upon getting hit.  Cue Goblin Slayer's eye glowing...

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