View Full Version : D&D 3.x Other Game mechanics for feeling imprisoned

2016-03-09, 11:35 AM
Last week, I got the idea for a low-magic campaign setting involving pact magic. To summarize, the assorted vestiges of the world are all bound to a specific location. It is said that they were once normal creatures that were bound by dark magic to one place and that they are in eternal pain because of this. This has resulted in entire portions of society dedicated to trying to cure and ease their pain and suffering (the druids, rangers, and binders). However, that's not the theme of the world. The theme is supposed to be along the lines of 'who's the REAL imprisoned ones? Them or us?'. Sure, the vestiges appear to be stuck in one place and in constant pain, but all living creatures have their own quirks that betray a shackle of some sort.

So I'm coming here to ask about ideas for game mechanics to drive this feeling home. Just to get people up to pace, here are some stuff that I have already.

These are the main effect of this feeling. Basically, all characters have instincts, a feeling that they need to be doing something in particular. These can be as weak as being just a passive hobby or as strong as a geas spell. Some instincts are acquired just by being a member of a particular race (i.e. elves gotta keep nature safe, halflings gotta wander, dwarves are territorial) while others are gained by doing certain activities (so most people have an instinct dedicated to their job).

I really like this idea, but I don't know ow to translate them into game mechanics. For the most part, I don't want the instincts to be crippling to game play, but also strong enough that they actually mean something. Looking for a lot of suggestions here.

This one isn't so much a game mechanic all of its own as it is an alteration to an effect. Instead of actually going to another plane of existence, you more look into it in a drug-trippy fashion. You can only do the ritual for planar travel when directly next to a vestiges earthly 'prison' and can only go to a particular plane that matches a particular vestige. You can wander around and interact in this world for a few days, but your body is left on the Material Plane and you go into a post-drug sickness once the ritual ends.

The first thing that you will always see is what people presume to be a vestige. It is always tortured in appearance and seeming to be transforming into... something. Half of its body is like that of a living creature, the other is more like it is an inhabitant of this plane of existence. Sometimes, this strange form will manifest on the Material plane and go on a rampage, demanding that it be left alone and that you are hurting it.

This uses the rules for Incantations.

Resurrection is much trickier in this world, the dead are guarded aggressively by a powerful spirit that isn't a vestige. All resurrection except for reincarnation is turned into an incantation and receive the following effects.

Raise Dead: This Incantation can only keep someone alive for a short period of time and the caster must spend an amount of time dead equal to how many days the Raised person was alive. This sometimes summons a soul anathema to the intended soul.

Resurrection: I'm not sure what to put here.

True resurrection: This requires all the inhabitants of a large village to mourn for 100 days. At the end of which, the intended target descends from the sky in a lightning bolt. The duration is permanent but the target person has no memory of his past life or posses any of his skill. Should this one fail, a storm approaches and rains hail and lightning down on everyone.

Though a spell, I also think that reincarnation should have a larger drawback.

So that's what I have so far. As you can see, the parts about instincts and resurrection both need a little bit of work being polished up, so I'd appreciate any feedback for them. How about it? Any ideas to make the world feel like a glorified prison?