PDA

View Full Version : Mirror Mirror



Deathtouched
2008-06-15, 11:57 PM
Hey. I recently reread China Mieville's short story "The Tain" while thinking of campaign ideas. Although "short story" isn't quite the right term. Mini-novel? Anyways, this particular story has been inspiring for me because of Mieville's take on the subject. I know I (and I'm sure many others) have tossed around the idea of mirror worlds and evil dopplegangers. The idea is everywhere and it really is a great trigger for post-apocalyptic settings. What's scarier than being killed by yourself, right? But I really like "The Tain"'s description of the transition between the worlds and the reasons for the mirror people hating humans. Basically, it's all our fault. Yay. I also like the idea of creatures composed of holographic light and floating swarms of body parts. It's a great idea for a campaign world, mostly because it's easy to explain (in theory).

Us | Imagos, reflection reaches a critical point, mirrors are gates, imagos come through, instant monsters

And I had an offshoot idea for magic. It would exist, but only in forms of reflection and refraction and blah. As in, a confuse spell would bend the light going into a creature's eyes so it sees mixed up images. Confusing.

EDIT: Okay, I'm awake now.

Has anyone else tried making a campaign world based on the idea of a mirror world? If there is anyone who has tried something similar, then I would appreciate your thoughts on the subject. It's just that I always wanted to create a world with more of a reason for it's existence than "it happened". And light and reflection is everywhere, allowing sight, so it seems like it would work very well for a universal thing.

Again, if there is such a post as this, could someone A) point me in the right direction or B) tell me information about said post. Sorry.:smallfrown:

Deathtouched
2008-06-18, 12:58 AM
Well, then. It may not have been very long since I created this post, but I am an impatient person. I see that it is necessary to to post all the nonsensical rubbish I've come up with for this campaign. Starting with a (in-) complete history of the world. And I forget how to Spoiler!

Okay, first off. My world will not follow the same story line as "The Tain" or any other stories on the subject. They are simply there for ideas. So, that means that there are multiple ways to interpret how a post-apocalyptic world could have been the result of an invasion of creatures from the world behind the mirror. So...

History 1.) The world was once very different from the way it is today. Mirrors were simply silvered glass, light did not walk in human form, and people rarely feared being murdered by themselves. It was a time of adventurers and heroes, of mystery and magic, and of great deeds. But that all changed with the mirrors. There had always been mirrors, whether they were natural occurrences like pools of water or man-made. Mirrors were the part of reflection humans could best understand, a part they could use for vanity and self-appreciation. But who would think that all those times a man would look in his mirror, that something looked back. Watched by eyes that were not eyes, but filled with hatred and malice that were very real. It was never another of yourself you saw in the mirror, it was someone else. The creatures of the mirror had waited countless centuries for their chance, and then it came. Powerful mages had begun to learn to twist light to their own purposes. By bending light they could be invisible, blind their enemies, or even burn flesh from bone. The Magi of the Mirror created a momentous artifact of great power to channel the reflected light of the sun. It was a mirror of awesome size that stretched not only through the world of men, but also through other planes of existence. It was made of the clearest, purest silvered glass, so perfect that it held the key to the world's destiny. Unfortunately, the mages who created the Great Mirror had no idea of its true power. They believed it would take in the power they sought and then pass it on to them. They were wrong. The Great Mirror did indeed take in intense amounts of magical power, but the power was used to fuel the turning of the key. All mirrors changed from something more than walls of glass. They opened to the light, and became gates. And the creatures of the mirror howled with triumph as they were freed, and the slaughter began. The first to come through were creatures wearing the twisted forms of those who stared into mirrors on those days. They broke through the glass, relishing in the fear of the men and women before killing them. Those who fell, fell to themselves. These false humans were from the other side of the mirror, and thus had no reflections. It was the one chance other humans had to recognize the monsters for what they were. The mirror-humans opened the gates completely from the outside, letting in more powerful beings, along with the parasites of the mirror world. The weak parasites were nothing more than part images given life. Hands that crawled and scratched, hair that coiled and flowed , eyes that watched and floated, teeth and lips that clacked and bit. These creatures fed on the weak and the slow, sending the animals of the human world into blind panic. The more powerful creatures were like light that had changed, barely visible as disturbances in the air and in color. They swooped through human defenses, leading armies of the clothed ones into battle. The most powerful of all these was known as the Fish to the humans. The Fish was general of the armies of the mirror and enemy to all human life. Creatures rose from water as well, glistening bodies of shifting reflecting. And there were others who pretended to wear flesh, but could fold and shift and twist their shapes as they chose. And more and more and more. Creatures from an incomprehensible world, full of hatred that could not be understood. The world had been in balance, peace beginning to gain over chaos. That all end with the crossing from the mirrors. And thus, the world was thrown into a chaotic battle between many people from different worlds. But that was long ago. The future is now, and heroes are need to protect and fight for human civilization. The people are scattered far and wide, many without hope, some without sanity. It is time for a new change in history. It is time for war.

Basically a semi-history of how the world began and a sort of explanation. I can do much better in time though. Once again, I am writing at 2 in the morning now.

This world will use its own list of spells based on the laws of light and reflection. I won't make an entire list, but I will come up with some examples.

A lot of the creatures I just described will be put into a usable form. I'll come up with actual names for the subtypes of mirror-folk and fix that up. I might also come up with other player races other than "human". At least some subraces instead. Also if someone could remind me how to spoiler... yeah.

:smallsmile: A new day begins.

Deathtouched
2008-06-20, 05:18 PM
Still not sure why I'm posting this stuff. I think I might be bored. That last one wasn't so much a "history" as a story about the start of the war between the creatures from the mirror and the humans. Actually sounded kinda silly, with the "Great mirror" and that stuff. A little too cliche. Magical artifact destroys world, boring, might find a different way of linking the cataclysm to mirrors.... Anyways I came up with some better ideas for the world and here they are. Dates... I'm not sure about the timeline, because I can't decide if it should start at 0, or if year 0 is the apocolypse. Hmmmm, lets try 0 as apocalypse.

Prehistory to -4000 - Barbaric tribes of early humans roam the world. Territorial wars are fought constantly. There are battles almost every day between dangerous creatures and different groups of people. Only the strongest survived. Many species are assumed to have disappeared during this time.

-4000 to -3500 - There are many established tribes whose names have been lost through time. Permanent settlements have been formed. There is still a lot of fighting between both humans and monsters. It is believed that this period of time was when the first gods began to be worshiped. There are stone paintings dating back to this time.

-3500 to -3200 - Weaponry has become somewhat more advanced. There are less wars over territory and food, but there are some supposedly fought for gods. This is the first recorded time of magic being used. The first mages are mystic shamans who were believed to acquire their power from the spirits and gods. They are somewhat respected by their people for their abilities. Food is still acquired by hunting or gathering.

-3200 to -2800 - Villages are formed, larger permanent living areas that the people inhabit. Some groups are no longer tribal in nature, though many have clung to their old ways. The first farms are created to acquire more food. There are still many hunters however. This is the time of the first recorded trade between two different groups of people, the Tarks and the Guffors.

-2800 to -2600 - The first trade routes are established between different groups. The Tarks trade mainly with the Guffors, and the Capets trade with the Bhast. People now identify themselves by their bloodlines and become clans. Some of the groups that trade together form alliances in times of war. A few of these alliances become permanent and lead to increased trade and larger clans. The alliance of the Guffors and Tarks is a prominent example of this. Early paper is created during this time, originally used by the Tarks.

-2600 to -2000 - Metals such as iron are prospected and used to make tools and weapons. This leads to a growth in farming and crafts, as well as an increase in the size and number of wars. There more mages than in earlier years and magic has become more developed and precise. History is now recorded in many places and documented on paper, especially in the Tark and Capet territories.

-2000 to -1600 - Farming is established and new methods are created for growing better crops. Many towns have begun to grow larger and some join together. Magic is an accepted part of life and some towns have places where prospective mages can learn more about their art. Some wars continue, but most are only because of old injuries between groups. The Tarks and Guffors fight the Capets, with some of the Bhast on both sides of the conflict. Meanwhile the Frush and Bedites remain largely isolated. Many largely inhabited territories are established as nations. Written laws are being created to help society.

-1600 to -1000 - The groups have mostly settled into peace and many are prospering through their trade and farming. The main exception to this is the continued fighting between the Tarks and Capets. New-age gods begin to appear in society. At the same time, cults and ritualistic societies are formed to honor gods both new and old. Magical orders have also been formed for the study and creation of new spells. It is during this time that the Frush are stricken with a terrible plague and disappear from the world.

-1000 to -400 - Magic can be used to power things greater than itself. Mages have become an established part of many army and are brought into battle for the use of their power. Their are some instances of machinery powered by harnessed energy during this time. Most designs fail, but a few newly created machines become well-known tools or weapons. The Capets begin to use these new weapons to gain an advantage in wars. The amount of people in the world is still growing as they grow more food and turn more land into territories. All of the nations are completely established and know of each other at this time.

-400 to -200 - Major cities have begun to spring up out of areas where trade is prominent. The Capets and Tarks are the most prominent powers at this time. The peace is rarely broken by war, though there are small time invasions and new dangers encountered as people spread. A mix of cults and magical orders has brought about the creation of a prominent society of mages, which has its beginnings in the Tark nation.

-200 to 0 - Law is established in cities and throughout much of the world. Trade between nations continues, as do small-time wars. The society of magic has become very powerful during this time and has worked on its own magical projects. The most important of these projects in the creation of a perfect mirror that will collect and store energy from the sun, which will be channeled by magic to provide enormous amounts of power. This would allow a greater supply of power for the Tarks and their allies. However, the Capets and Bedites have also become partially involved in the project.

0 - The mirror project is a complete disaster. Instead of harnessing energy for the people, it has used the energy to open a gateway to another world. Monsters that look like people come out of mirrors and kill their ordinary counterparts. Soon after, other creatures made out of light and reflections begin to enter the world. All of these monsters have a great hatred of the humans and other creatures, who are unprepared for such an attack. Many great cities and several nations fall quickly to the onslaught. Some manage to hold off the monsters and aid others who need their help. Unfortunately, rivalries between nations and groups continue, and many take this time to begin their wars anew. This is the year of the Apocalypse.

0 to 100 - The war between the invading creatures from the mirror world and the humans continues. The nations of the Guffors and Bedites dissolve into smaller groups that struggle to survive in the new world. The nations of the Tarks, Capets, and Bhast are able to maintain some of their cities and society. The few remaining large cities are bastions of hope for the refugees who live within their walls. Many people have been driven insane by the invasion of nightmarish reflections. Groups of people fight each other over food, territory, and old grudges. It is during this time that the Frush reappear and are brutally thrust into the war because of the madness and fear laready taking place. Because magic led to the destruction of the world, many people distrust or fear mages. In some places, mages are killed on sight or tortured to death. It is the fearful groups splitting from the remains of the nations that start this trend. Many people have lost their faith in the gods who seemingly did nothing to prevent the cataclysm. Many gods are thrown away, a few are still worshiped, and new gods are created to explain the madness.

Notice that no names of tribes, clans, nations, orders, gods, cults, or anything were used. That is because I have no idea what to call them yet. Not that it matters much. But I still have to classify monsters from the normal world and from the mirror world. :smallsmile:

EDIT: Now that I haves races established, I have added names to the history. Not a big difference, but there is one. :smallsmile:

Deathtouched
2008-06-20, 08:11 PM
Okay here's some racial ideas. Note that these are all basically humans with a few differences. I am not sure whether I should actually give them different racial stats. They aren't that different. :smallconfused: Although, aren't all D&D races really just slightly different humanoids? And how can humans be the same if their not the same? How can there be reflections of humans if the people aren't all humans? :smallconfused: And if clans and tribes joined together, then they would all be crossbreeding and and... Brain hurting... Wait, we divide humans by racial identity, even though we are all one species. So, maybe that's really all there is in D&D, except that races tend to differ a bit more. But then why are there even different races... Still so much stupid. :smallannoyed: This might all be for nothing then... Maybe this whole idea only work in the world today. Also, if society was destroyed, do customs and such really matter? Course, I could always change that history thing....

Guffors - Known commonly as "short barbarians", Guffors were one of the last groups of people to leave their tribal society behind and the first to begin their return to it after the cataclysm. They have always tended to be shorter than most other peoples, ranging in height from about 4 1/2 feet to 5 feet. Their features are somewhat sharp and pointed and they tend to have dark reddish-brown eyes. Many Guffors shave their dark hair as a custom remaining from their tribal days. Their skin is usually a light brown color. Their bottom incisors tend to stick out a bit like fangs.
In the early years, they spread throughout the plains and hunted the animals there. They were the first to attempt trade with the Tarks. Even after the Guffors established their own nation in the central area of the continent, they still had warlike tendencies. But their alliance with the nation of the Tarks kept them from giving up completely on society after their cities were destroyed. Many of the Guffors have become nomadic once again and roam their homeland in small groups, fighting the invading monsters. Others continue to fight for their remaining communities, though most have already died off. A few have become refugees in the Tark nation, where they are welcomed for their aid to the cities.

Tarks - The Tarks are physically a somewhat non-descript people. They are usually fair of skin and hair, with softer features than most other peoples. Their eyes can be of almost any color, with a slight tendency towards greenish shades. They usually range in height from 5 feet to 6 1/2 feet.
The Tarks were a very migratory people in their past and ranged across most of the continent. But eventually, they began to settle in the low hills near the southern mountains. This put them in close contact with several of the tribes of Guffors living nearby in the plains. This led to a fruitful trade relationship between the two peoples. The Tarks quickly established a thriving society and several large cities. Their nation became known for its crafting and artistic skills. They were one of the first peoples to develop a magical society. Most of their nation was destroyed by the early part of the invasion. They regard their Guffor allies with respect during this time of hardship. A few of their cities have managed to survive the monsters thus far, and so they remain a prominent force in the world, threatened mainly by the Capets.

Bedites - The Bedites are an isolated nation of people. They tend to be taller than most peoples, ranging in height from about 6 feet to 7 feet. They have ebony skin and dark rope-like hair. Their eyes are very dark as well, appearing almost black. They have longer fingers than other peoples.
The Bedites were a people who lived near coastal areas and on the nearby islands. They lived isolated from most of the world, preferring to develop their nation in peace. They participated in few wars even before they lost their tribal society. When trade became established, the Bedites did less of it than others, as they only traded with those who lived near their islands. They created very few alliances, and so their nation had no allies when the invasion began. Many have fled their island homes to escape into land deeper in the continent. Most of those who remained died defending their nation, but some groups have managed to stay on the coastal areas. The Bedites still disdain the help of other peoples and continue to survive alone.

Bhast - The Bhast are a burly people who tend to be somewhat hairier than other peoples. They usually range in height from 5 feet to 6 1/2 feet. They usually have lighter skin with irregular dark freckles. Their eyes are usually of a bluish color. Their features tend to be harder and rougher than most.
For as long as people can remember, the Bhast have lived in or around the mountains. Their migrated to the northern mountain ranges early in history, building a comfortable society in a harsh place. They are well adapted to cold and most enjoyed their mountain life before the war. They traded with the Guffors and Tarks, but like the Bedites retained some isolation. The only true enemy they ever had was the Frush before that people went int complete isolation. Because of the area in which they lived, the Bhast were the last of the nations to be invaded. Many were powerful warriors and they were able to save much of their home. Now most remain in the mountain homes, holding off the invading monsters as best they can. Some have traveled beyond the mountains to search for new homes and to seek an end to the war. They are friendly to the Tark and Guffor nations, but have little to do with other peoples.

Capets - The Capets are a stern, proud people. They have dark, reddish skin which they often cover in bluish tattoos. They have yellowish eyes and usually dusky brown hair. They range in height from 5 1/2 feet to 6 1/2 feet.
The Capet nation lies in an area of rocky hills in the western part of the continent. Like the Guffors, they were more warlike than most peoples. They built a nation based on martial law and conquering territory. They fought with the Gruffors over territory for a long time before eventually moving on from the plains. They were able to conquer some of the Tarks' territory and add it to their own, which started the fued of the two nations. They also pushed some of the Bedites away from an area of coastal land so they could gain a sea port. They traded sometimes with the Bhast for weaponry and other such things before they declared themselves enemies with the Gruffor and Tark nations. The Capets have always though of magic as another weapon they posses. After the monsters began invading, they saw it as a chance to gain a victory over the Tarks. When they struck, they were able to take a major Tark city. Unfortunately, it soon fell to the monsters, angering and embittering the Capets further. They continue their hatred of the Tarks and Guffors, while also continuing to fight the new threat posed by the mirror creatures.

Frush - The Frush are a strange and fearsome people. They are very different in form from the other peoples. They have pale greenish-blue skin, sometimes with a few scales. They are squat-bodied and range from 4 1/2 feet to 5 feet in height. Their eyes are large and pale with only a little grayish-blue color. They usually only have a little stringy dark hair on their heads. Their teeth are often sharper than is normal. There is a thin webbing between their toes and fingers.
The Frush history is a strange one. Long ago they migrated to the marshes farthest from the sea. They fished and hunted, staying mostly in isolation. The only few wars they fought were with the Bhast living near the mountains. These were mostly over food rather than territory. The Frush were the first people to create boats for water travel. They lived well until the waters they lived in became infected with disease. The Frush fled into the watery caves hidden in the deepest marshes, hoping to escape the worst of the plague. Many supposedly died during this time. They are thought to have remained in isolation for an entire millennium before emerging when the monsters began to appear. After the plague and their great isolation in the dark caves, they had become adapted to survival in that grim place.. The first other peoples to find them again in their marshes at first believed they were more of the monsters. This led to the Frush being thrown into a war between both the mirror monsters and the surviving people of the world. By the time it was discovered who they were, the Frush had already been frightened and angered. Many have begun leaving the marshes in hopes of finding safety. They have turned against most of the world and now try only to survive in a world they understand even less than the other peoples.

TADA :smallbiggrin: This grew hugely in the time I was writing it. I still haven't given the people gods or magical preferences or anything, but thats not quite as important. I would think that most of each history is mainly what the race themselves know. And of course, many are scattered or mad now so everything might be a bit different. The only problem is that it doesn't seem enough like the post-apocalyptic world I wanted. There seems to be too much of society left, although, I guess there has to be for anyone to survive. Oh well. Now on to the mirror monsters!

Deathtouched
2008-06-21, 02:39 PM
Still not sure if I shouldn't just make everyone ordinary humans and leave it like that. They could still have histories and such, but maybe a little closer together? What defines "human" anyways? Why are dwarves not regarded as short, hairy humans? There are people like that in the real world. Still confusing. Anyways, I'm going to try separating creatures into types.

The Clothed - These are the original mirror creatures. They have assumed the forms of ordinary people to walk in the world. As time progresses, their flesh changes, grower paler, and their nails and teeth grow longer and sharper. They are immediately identified by the fact hat they have no reflections, as they are made of reflections themselves. They do not a normal language, but instead communicate in barks and hisses. They are known to be stronger then they appear and very dangerous. However, they can be killed normally. Some use weapons, while others rely on their unnatural strength.

The Pieces - They are the weakest creatures to come through the mirrors. They are composed of bits and pieces of reflections, traveling in groups with those like them. It is common to see groups of hands, eyes, mouths, and even hair traveling together in swarms. They are basically mindless and will eat almost anything they find.

The False - These creatures are very similar to the ones who wear reflected flesh. They can assume different forms of people at their choosing. But their flesh is not real, and therefore they are very hard to kill. They can bend and twist and fold their shapes as they move. They are even more powerful then the true flesh-wearers. They also use some weapons.

The Mirrored - These are creatures that look like they are made of silvered glass. They are something like blobs of mercury. Their substance is soft and parts before reforming. They can engulf creatures and dissolve them quickly. Their shifting forms can change to fit into places that appear too small for them. They are not very fast, but move at a steady pace that is almost impossible to slow.

The Shining - They are powerful creatures that emerged from reflections in moving water. They are made up of parts of images that move across their surfaces. Their bodies reflect light crazily in all directions, sometimes appearing almost blindingly bright. They can be large or small, but are always dangerous. They can crush or break apart creatures with their long, shifting limbs.

The Colors - They are disturbances in the air, a shifting of colors that is almost invisible. They have no true forms, only a center which is their strongest point. They are powerful trackers and hunters. Those who touch or even come too close to them without special protection are badly wounded by immense forces. They can easily destroy a defenseless creature.

The Fish - It is the most powerful of all the mirror creatures at this time. It leads the other mirror creatures to fight the people of the world. It appears as a strange absence of light, a shadowy star that changes the contrasts of the world around it. It is awesomely powerful and can tear creatures apart with immense beams of blinding light.

Yeah, these names need work. Too vague. But I'll get it at some point. :smallsigh:

Deathtouched
2008-06-21, 03:40 PM
I was thinking of doing gods next, but since there are no clerics in this world, it's really only extra stuff. So on to magic! :smallbiggrin:

I already said how basically the magic system itself is the same, except spells all use light to achieve the required effect. So there are still damage spells, enchantment spells, illusions, just that they have to be connected to light in some way. Obviously some things like necromancy won't work very well, maybe not at all (*sob*:smallfrown:), but there are other things to do. So first, a list of usable spell ideas.

Light (wow that's a shocker :smallsmile:)
Confuse
Signal
Blinding
Mirage
Dominate
Burst Effect
Rays
Flame
Charm
Obscure
Fear
Strength
Speed
Teleport
Darkness
Invisibility
Anti-magics

That's all I'm saying because basically that's all I can think of to do with light. This list encompasses a lot of different spells though. Actually, there isn't much more I myself can do for this part right now. Most of the spells will be the same anyways, except...

Confusion (no mind-affecting enchantments here)
Level: Brd 3, Sor/Wiz 4, Trickery 4
Components: V, S, M/DF
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Targets: All creatures in a 15-ft. radius burst
Duration: 1 round/level
Saving Throw: Will negates
Spell Resistance: Yes

This spell bends the light rays entering the eyes or similar visual receptors of the creatures in the spell's effect. The impaired vision confuses the creatures, making it almost impossible for them to act normally.

Roll on the following table at the beginning of each subjectís turn each round to see what the subject does in that round.
d% Behavior
01-10 Attack caster with melee or ranged weapons (or close with caster if attack is not possible).
11-20 Act normally.
21-50 Do nothing but babble incoherently.
51-70 Flee away from caster at top possible speed.
71-100 Attack nearest creature (for this purpose, a familiar counts as part of the subjectís self).

A confused character who canít carry out the indicated action does nothing but wander around aimlessly and stumbling. Attackers are not at any special advantage when attacking a confused character. Any confused character who is attacked automatically attacks its attackers on its next turn, as long as it is still confused when its turn comes. Note that a confused character will not make attacks of opportunity against any creature that it is not already devoted to attacking (either because of its most recent action or because it has just been attacked).

Barely any difference, just affects vision rather than the mind directly. Which doesn't mean that seeing all those bent, doubled images couldn't drive someone crazy. Of course.
And if you ask me, personally, I don't understand what the real difference is between blinding someone and confusing them in D&D. Both spells make a person mostly useless in battle. And a blind person could still attack a friend by mistake.

EnderChant
2008-06-23, 02:18 PM
I have, incidentaly, started a campaign world with a similar premise, based on an old folktale: at sunset or sunrise, mirrors become doors to an alternate world, different from our own in colors, shapes, inhabitants, etc.

You asked if anyone else had thought of this, I'm one of those anyones :smallwink:

Dustfinger
2008-06-23, 02:24 PM
Wow, this is a pretty awesome concept. I wish I could contribute in some way, but I have no idea how. If you ever actualy start a game with this setting, PM me, i'll keep checking up here in the meen time...

Deathtouched
2008-06-23, 02:41 PM
Hooray! Someone finally said something! :smallbiggrin:
If I had to pick though, I'd say your concept is more interesting, EnderChant. All I'm doing is messing around with supposed mirror creatures, yours has another whole world. Of colors. But it's good to know other people have similar ideas.

EnderChant
2008-06-23, 07:00 PM
Hey, thanks! Maybe we should collaborate someday :smallsmile: