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    Default The Dream of Metal

    I guess this is another Pimp My Lich thread, but this popped into my head and I've spent far too much time working on it. We're gonna blow up one universe, create another, achieve immortality, and then just go from there. Hooray for Psionics!

    The Build
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    Mister Anderson:
    Beguiler 1, Psion(Telepath) 4, Cerebromancer 6, Thrallherd 9.

    Feats:
    1 Versatile Spellcaster
    P Inquisitor
    3 Dreamtelling
    6 Onieromancy
    9 Improved Onieromancy
    12 Practiced Spellcaster
    15 Craft Wondrous Item
    18 Enlarge Power

    Required Skills: Spellcraft 4, Diplomacy 4, Knowledge(Psionics) 8, Knowledge(Arcana) 6.

    Useful Skills: Bluff, Diplomacy, Craft(Engineering) and Knowledge(Engineering)

    Required Powers: Mind Link, Forced Dream, Microcosm.

    Versatile Spellcaster plus Beguiler lets Anderson fake having 2nd level spells for Cerebromancy and 4th level spells for Onieromancy. The Onieromancy feat tree from Heroes of Horror gives him the spells he'll need, and Practiced Spellcaster pushes his CL high enough to make his own phylactery. Skill requirements are trivially easy to meet.


    The Doomsday Clock
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    1) Using his Thrallherd powers, Anderson assembles a cult of 109 Warforged. One of them, his Thrall, is a Psion(Shaper) of at least 7th level, with the Quintessence power.

    2) Anderson orders his minions to build him a vast and glorious lair with appropriate traps and statues and whatnot. The centerpiece is a thousand-year water clock.

    3) Every day of the construction, Anderson's Thrall spends all of his power points manifesting Quintessence to eventually fill the Clock.

    4) Warforged Composite Plating is expensive, can be worn on the body, and can be enchanted like a magic item. When the Thrall is done for the day, Anderson takes him to his workshop where he is converting his composite plating into a Phylactery.

    5) When the Clock is complete, Anderson cajoles or Dominates one of his believers into completing the project as the sacrificial Traveller.

    6) Anderson manifests Forced Dream on the Traveller, and orders him to ready an action to activate it the moment he comes back online.

    7) Anderson kicks the Traveller into the quintessence chamber of the Clock.


    The Payload
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    One thousand years pass, empires rise and fall, generations are born, live, and love, while the secret underground chamber slowly empties, holding its dreaming prisoner locked in time. He breaks free, his eyes open, the dream ends, and the last six seconds of time unravel, taking a millennium of progress with them.

    Anderson has just destroyed his own universe and lived to tell about it.

    They might try and stop him. But if any pesky adventurers want to disarm the Clock, they have to first pull the Traveller out of stasis, and that makes the whole thing go off. If they shut down the clock, then it just waits to go off until geological activity crushes the chamber, or the sun explodes, or Ragnorok when the gods duel and the universe ends.

    Even if they crush his cult, strike him down, and lock away the Clock forever, he still wins in the end. Time is on his side.


    'After' math
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    8) Time resets to the beginning of the Traveller's round, when he got kicked into a vat of Quintessence. Anderson leaves the Traveller there for now to avoid a paradox, but his job is done.

    9) Flush with the energy of killing an entire universe, Anderson lays hands on his Thrall and finishes his phylactery, having fulfilled the 'unspeakably evil act' requirement.

    10) Anderson informs his cult that they have done an excellent job. In recognition, they will have the gift of departure from this vale of tears and the shedding of their physical bodies, while they move on to have the honor of serving him in the next life.

    11) Anderson either cajoles or Dominate his believers into self-flagellating to -1 HP, or beats them all senseless. They fall unconscious and auto-stabilise.

    12) Anderson stacks the bodies into a pile, manifests an Enlarged Microcosm. No save, all 108 Warforged have their brains fried, shutting them off from the waking world and locking them all in a collective catatonic delusion.

    13) Anderson grabs his Thrall's unconscious metal body and casts Dream Walk, pulling both of them bodily into aforementioned delusion.


    The Dream of Metal
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    It's like Genesis, except better in basically every way.

    The Dream of Metal is a semi-solid, semi-real and semi-sentient pseudoplane formed out of the a dead universe that never was, powered and populated by the dreams and delusions of One-Hundred-And-Eight robots who worship Anderson as a god. Since it's made up of robots, it can be a reasonably accurate simulation of the real world, or the dead universe he created it with, or a hellish nightmarescape where time, space, distance and causality don't make sense. Great vacation spot, excellent place to hide a Phylactery.

    Any time Anderson dies, he reforms in 1d10 days out of the dreamstuff inside the illusory mirror of his earthly tomb palace. He's next to the inert body of his Thrall, who is somehow unaware of his surroundings in the dreamscape because he thinks he is surrounded by the dreamscape and I don't know how that works.


    Cleaning Up
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    Anderson Dream Walks back out of the Dream of Metal when he gets bored with his living pocket universe.

    One thousand years from now, the Traveller will wake up again, try to activate Forced Dream, and nothing will happen. No infinite causality loops here. He might smash free of his prison and come looking for Anderson, but the Traveler is a level 1 Warforged Commoner and Anderson is a millennium old Lich. Come on.

    The big task is disposing of the 107 remaining machines. At least one of them is inside the Dream itself, and the more there are on the inside, the harder it will be for those pesky heroes to collapse the Dream off by killing all the dreamers. It might be a good idea to move them all there, but where's the fun in that?

    Hide a few anywhere you might like to go using Dream Walk. Bury one in the Elemental Plane of Earth, toss one into the Elemental Plane of Air, sink one in the Elemental plane of Water. Polymorph Any Object one into statuary. Polymorph Any Object one into a needle in a haystack. Polymorph Any Object one into the keystone for a kitten orphanage. Find another immortal, Dream Walk into his mind, and leave one there. Give one the old Rope Trick Inside A Rope Trick Trick. Have one Nailed To The Sky. Find some Docents and use them to animate their mindless bodies.

    But most of all have fun with it!


    Tada! Thoughts?

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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    Awesome.

    You win a cookie.
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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    Starkly similar to an interesting trick that allows you to chronologically displace your point of origin. Shoot me an IM sometime and I'll be happy to run you through it, but it's long enough that I don't feel like posting it.

    Superb work, and it's a pleasure to see some TO still being done.
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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    Hm... just about the only counter to this I can think of would involve casting Antimagic Field just as the Traveller comes out of stasis, and killing him before he activates Forced Dream.

    Kudos. This is pretty well thought-out.
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    Man, this is just one of those things you see and realize, "I live in a weird and banal future."
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    Baiyan, God of Joy, by GryffonDurime, while the C.U.T.E Scardycat and Dreamer are by Tomb Raven.


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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    Who is the Traveller? I could follow the plan to that point. Everything after that doesn't make the least sense to me.
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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Who is the Traveller? I could follow the plan to that point. Everything after that doesn't make the least sense to me.
    "5) When the Clock is complete, Anderson cajoles or Dominates one of his believers into completing the project as the sacrificial Traveller."

    It's just the designation of one of the warforged.

    Okay, have read through it and don't know what's going on. Forced Dream destroys the universe? Is it that, when manifested, it says "oh everything since point X was just a dream"? Annoyingly, this thread appears to be the highest D&D-related result when I google for the spell/power.

    It's an interesting, but somewhat strained, interpretation of lichdom to say that creating your phylactery requires you to commit some act of unspeakable evil. I've always seen that line understood to mean that you have to commit some specific, though unspecified, act. Not a big deal, though.

    The largest weakness I can see is that you've effectively made yourself 108 scattered Horcruxes, which is just begging for a well-intentioned young lad with an inherited sword and shield to seek out and destroy them one by one.
    Last edited by kamikasei; 2009-08-12 at 07:05 AM.

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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    Why is this highly complex plan better than casting Magnificent Mansion?
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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    a) It gives you an entire pocket universe to play with, not just a nice crib with a limited duration.

    b) It gives you a hiding place for a phylactery, which magnificent mansion doesn't really manage.

    c) It involves you destroying a universe and creating your own in the shared dream of a hundred immortal minds you've enslaved. "What's the point of being evil if you're not going to be badass about it?"

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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    Quote Originally Posted by Fishy View Post
    One thousand years from now, the Traveller will wake up again, try to activate Forced Dream, and nothing will happen. No infinite causality loops here. He might smash free of his prison and come looking for Anderson, but the Traveler is a level 1 Warforged Commoner and Anderson is a millennium old Lich. Come on.
    Isn't that how clasic stories start... great lich does something stupid to a level 1 commoner... then the commoner risases to defeat the liche
    When the end comes i shall remember you.

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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    That's another point in its favour, isn't it? I keep reading it, and all I can think about is how utterly awesome it would be to centre a campaign around this one catastrophic act.

    In fact, the mere act of unravelling a thousand years of history should release immense amounts of magic energy, that the lich uses to, well, do something that makes the story. Maybe bring the world to its knees simultaneously.

    (Although I'm pretty sure that it's the 'becoming a lich' that is an act of unspeakable evil, not 'unspeakable evil needed to become a lich')
    Last edited by pingcode20; 2009-08-12 at 07:35 AM.

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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    What is Forced Dream and why does using it destroy the universe?
    If a tree falls in the forest and the PCs aren't around to hear it... what do I roll to see how loud it is?

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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    It's a spell that, when triggered, rewinds time to the beginning of your turn - none of it ever happened. Quintessence freezes you in time until it's removed.

    So what happens is you have this Warforged with Forced Dream on it kicked into the 1000-year water clock (or possibly stepping into it to become the Traveller), and is frozen, mid turn, in time by the quintessence.

    1000 years later, the quintessence runs out, and the dreamer awakes. It triggers Forced Dream, and the last millenium of time is undone. The universe is destroyed in a metaphorical sense - the last thousand years, and everyone in it, has been unmade, existing only as the memory of a lone warforged, which travelled forwards in the quintessence so long ago.

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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    Quote Originally Posted by hewhosaysfish View Post
    What is Forced Dream and why does using it destroy the universe?
    Did some searching. It's a psionic power from Magic of Eberron. Here's a description.

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    Forced dream you close your eyes and focus on the moment. After that you can activate this power by merely wishing it and you will be returned to the point in time when you used this power. Everything that has happened up to this moment becomes only a dream that your character has experienced.


    So, the Traveller has this power manifested on him, spends a thousand years or more in quintessential stasis, then activates it. Those thousand years unhappen. The universe in which they took place is unmade.

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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    So, its basically like a tree falling in the woods with no one around. Sure the tree fell down, but no one will ever know, or care because no one can testify to the fact that those 1000 years ever happened. If the Traveler has any memories at all, it will be of being in a vat in a cave somewhere.

    I'm really not getting why this part of the plan is necessary. If you need an unspeakably evil act, why not just eat the inhabitants of the aforementioned kitten orphanage in front of the orpahns who live across the street? At least that way someone besides yourself will know of the evil and depravity perpetrated.

    This seems to me like an amazingly gutless type of evil. You have your mastermind sitting alone (unless you count mindless thralls as company) in his fortress/dimension/whatever wringing his hands and self-fellating over how evil he is, but no one knows or cares. I don't really see how this plan would be fulfilling to an actual evil character.

    How would he even gloat? When confronted by the heroes, he tells them that he's already killed thier children and grandchildren and wiped thier accomplishments from the face of history? If I heard that, I'm not sure I'd be disappointed. I don't have any kids yet, and if I defeat this guy now, any potential kids I might have will be ok, so... What was it the bad guy actually accomplish again? Destroyed a potential timeline no one is capable of caring about and dominated a bunch of soulless constructs to make himself a dream world.

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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    But I like the idea of creating a collective mindscape and then transport the bodies of the people involved physically into the reality of their own minds.
    Though that might be a RAW abbuse, and it would be more likely that the whole thing winks out of existance. But even then, that would be a cool plan to completely remove something from existance.
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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    Quote Originally Posted by Keshay View Post
    How would he even gloat? When confronted by the heroes, he tells them that he's already killed thier children and grandchildren and wiped thier accomplishments from the face of history? If I heard that, I'm not sure I'd be disappointed. I don't have any kids yet, and if I defeat this guy now, any potential kids I might have will be ok, so... What was it the bad guy actually accomplish again? Destroyed a potential timeline no one is capable of caring about and dominated a bunch of soulless constructs to make himself a dream world.
    ...unless you rule that forced dream doesn't cross planar boundaries, in which case suddenly the Upper and Lower planes have lost agents on the Prime Material; any extraplanar PCs or NPCs have family or relations that WERE on the Prime Material that no longer exist (and won't for a thousand years, if at all); etc. etc. You're basically taking the Prime Material and throwing it back to the Stone Age, while leaving the other Planes of Existence at their current point. Everyone off-plane is going to panic when they find out.

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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    Yeah, that was my thought; sure, it means nothing to those who are involved, but it's horrific to outside observers.

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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    Time travel is always fun.

    If a universe is destroyed in a temporal paradox, did it ever really exist at all? Let's considder this supposed paradox.

    The method of backwards time-travel here is a power called "Forced dream" (the forward travel using Quintessence is of no real concern, since forward travel occurrs naturally anyway). The normal operation of this power rewinds time on the order of seconds. Seems like a harmless enough feat - until you look at the power closely. Hundreds of people could die in those seconds (perhaps from a fireball spell), hundreds more born. A sould could be trapped into a gem and used (via a quickened spell slot) as a material component - destroying it utterly. A person could step through a gate, or a demon could. All of these things and more can be reversed completely (some of which cannot be undone via a wish spell or miracle) using this power.

    Looking at the meaning behind these things, we find that: Forced dream can act as a true resurrection, it can restore things that have been utterly destroyed (including things like the souls of gods and artifacts), it can affect both the material plane and the other planes around it (unless that angel or demon vanishes from our plane and ceases to exist rather than the outer planes rewinding a similar amount of time). It can basically do anything, even what is strictly considdered impossible. And according to the OP, it destroys the universe that existed and makes a new one at a (slightly) earlier time.

    The use of Quintessence here only exaggerates the effect.

    Alternately, we can believe the flavor text of the power, and say that it was all in the user's head - a very vivid vision of the future. Oracular powers like that are actually relatively common in D&D. And in this case, the use of Quintessence would simply extend the range of that vision until the point in time when the Quintessence is moved - basically, it serves its purpose by 'stopping the flow of time' in that location, allowing a future-predicting ability to see the future immediately after the quintessence is no longer in the way.

    So, no, I don't think the Lich succeeds in destroying a universe here - unless it's a universe that exists solely in the Traveller's head.

    That is not to say that he doesn't succeed in his 'evil deed'. Heck, the entire 'Dreams of Metal' scenario counts as an 'Unspeakably evil' act - trapping 108 immortal sentients into an eternal living nightmare. Yeah, I think that counts.

    Also, I think this scenario is cool enough to build a campaign around. The only change I would make is that instead of a simple 'thousand year clock', the Lich would build a 'doomsday device' - one that the Lich has designed to go off and 'reset time' in the event that his Phylactery is destroyed.

    This way, the Lich will believe he has a foolproof failsafe - if he is ever in danger of dying, time will reset and he gets another chance. The problem being that the Lich never understood the power he was forcing his 'time traveller' to use. When his 'doomsday device' goes off, nothing will happen, as the supposed 'time travel' already happened in the instant BEFORE the Traveller was dumped into the Qunitessence.

    So, at the end, when the Heros have finally defeated the Lich and he gets his final monologue in, he will explain his wicked plan to them in detail, knowing that they can do nothing to stop him, and before they can act - destroys his own Phylactery. And then nothing happens. The universe fails to end, the Lich doesn't win, he was just simply WRONG. Bonus points if the Traveller then has enough insight into what happened to explain it to the PCs. This should be done only after a climactic and dramatic battle, so that it doesn't feel like a letdown.

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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    To clarify, there is a similar trick promulgated by T_G called the save point trick, which uses a mellow variant and your psi-crystal to loop back to the previous day if you got your dumb self killed. This is different in a lot of respects, particularly scale, but understanding the earlier trick may help you all grok this one.

    @Kestrel404:
    That's.... That's great, except the point of this is that he's not wrong. Also, as your player, I'd probably walk if you pulled a punch that big.
    Last edited by Doc Roc; 2009-08-12 at 09:27 AM.
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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    Is a universe actually destroyed? Heck if I know. By the logic of spells like Dream Walk, the Traveler's Forced Dream is a real place that you can go to, that has real people with real lives, sort of. Of course the Traveler never actually experiences any of his own thousand year dream, but it 'happens' regardless.

    As for the tree falling in a forest problem, well... "I just killed roughly five billion people. You don't know any of them. Do you care? Because I don't."

    Fax Celestis, as usual, has an awesome contribution that I am going to steal. If what we're doing is shoving one plane through time rather than an entire multiverse, it's a lot easier to see how people would be upset. It also opens up the possibility of Anderson the Elder sending one of his Warforged out to scry on the Prime from 'outside', to feed a millennium of intelligence to Anderson the Younger when the loop ends.

    Also, notice that if the Blood War ends, Hell empties, and fiends overrun the Prime, smashing the Clock would retroactively prevent every devil ever from existing.

    Also, I have no idea what happens if you Plane Shift the clock to, say, Mechanus, and smash it there.

    Also, Vestiges.

    Quote Originally Posted by kamikasei View Post
    The largest weakness I can see is that you've effectively made yourself 108 scattered Horcruxes, which is just begging for a well-intentioned young lad with an inherited sword and shield to seek out and destroy them one by one.
    Quote Originally Posted by RagnaroksChosen View Post
    Isn't that how clasic stories start... great lich does something stupid to a level 1 commoner... then the commoner risases to defeat the liche
    This is entirely intentional.

    On the other hand, for additional style points, I really wanted to link the Traveler's Dream and the Dream of Metal in some sort of concrete way. I can't quite find a way to do it: Microcosm can't target the Traveler while he's in stasis. I'll happily share my cookie with anyone who can help with that part.
    Last edited by Fishy; 2009-08-12 at 12:46 PM.

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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    Quote Originally Posted by Fishy View Post

    Also, I have no idea what happens if you Plane Shift the clock to, say, Mechanus, and smash it there.
    The Mediators would probably just use wishes until the problem was solved...

    As for entering the Travellers dream: can you perhaps set a contingency in some way to go off just before time reverts itself?
    "You raise your baton. The glass kettle drums pound out the the overture. Your vision clouds with blood. You wipe it away and continue. The xylophonist's hair bursts into a violet flame, but he continues playing. He's either a consummate professional or very drunk indeed..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    Quote Originally Posted by Fishy View Post
    Fax Celestis, as usual, has an awesome contribution that I am going to steal. If what we're doing is shoving one plane through time rather than an entire multiverse, it's a lot easier to see how people would be upset. It also opens up the possibility of Anderson the Elder sending one of his Warforged out to scry on the Prime from 'outside', to feed a millennium of intelligence to Anderson the Younger when the loop ends.
    The other bit is that, suddenly, there are gods that don't have worshipers anymore. Depending upon how you play your gods, this may spell their doom.

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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    In addition, Anderson can find the Traveller and have him explain everything that is going to happen in the next 1000 years, barring his intervention.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olo Demonsbane View Post
    In addition, Anderson can find the Traveller and have him explain everything that is going to happen in the next 1000 years, barring his intervention.
    Doesn't work, as the traveler spend all the 1000 years in stasis.
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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    Hm. It'd be best if the Traveller was a contingency for the plan. That is, if all the other 'forged die, he lives, or, if the heroes free him, he resets the universe.

    Hm. How about.... hit the traveller with forced dream, then Microcosm along with with the other forged, then Delay Powered Microcosm on him, along with hitting him with Lesser Vigor (from a wand or something)

    Thus, he's frozen in time, when he comes out of it, he breaks out of the dream, becomes conscious, and activates forced dream. Whenever he is taken out of the clock, time resets, but until he is taken out, the Microcosm world is still active.

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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    Quote Originally Posted by Arbitrarity View Post
    Hm. It'd be best if the Traveller was a contingency for the plan. That is, if all the other 'forged die, he lives, or, if the heroes free him, he resets the universe.
    The problem is, each casting of Forced Dream is only good for one journey, and there's no way of telling which iteration we're in from the inside. The Traveller will come back once, because something has to happen in the future to set it off, and then the backup is no good.

    So here's the Tippy option. At the top of a sealed vat of Quintessence, we install an automatic immediate reset trap of Forced Dream. If a psion casts Forced Dream, the power points stay gone during the second iteration of the loop, but if it comes out of a trap, we have ourselves a stable time loop. We've ended history on the Material Plane.

    Programmed Amnesia the Traveller to activate his Forced Dream as soon as he 'wakes up'. Drop all 108 Warforged to -1, Microcosm them all together, heal them up. Delay Power Microcosm the Traveller, toss him into the Universe Reset Machine, destroy time. Finish the Phylactery, and hide it in the Dream of Metal. Hide or use the rest wherever we'd like.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fax Celestis View Post
    The other bit is that, suddenly, there are gods that don't have worshipers anymore. Depending upon how you play your gods, this may spell their doom.
    Any god of any religion 'younger' than the Clock dies horribly each time the loop ends, but any extraplanar living spaces they create stick around, right? And if we have a stable time loop, we have an infinite amount of those.

    How about permanent portals from the Prime to other planes? When time resets, the Prime side of the portal isn't destroyed, it retroactively never existed. Do we have a portal to neverwhen?

    And here we go into something that has no basis in RAW whatsoever, but it would be wonderful if the Dream of Metal somehow slotted into the extraplanar spacetime the Prime just left. "We've replaced this man's reality with an elaborate simulation that's entirely under my control. Let's see if he notices."

    Of course, if we're messing things up that badly, we're going to need a lot more Dreamers. :/ Fortunately, we can stack an arbitrary number of Warforged into the Microcosm if they all fit in the area of effect, but only 200 or so will do it willingly.

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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    Quote Originally Posted by Fishy View Post
    And here we go into something that has no basis in RAW whatsoever, but it would be wonderful if the Dream of Metal somehow slotted into the extraplanar spacetime the Prime just left. "We've replaced this man's reality with an elaborate simulation that's entirely under my control. Let's see if he notices."
    First time I've seen an opportunity for a BBEG to legitimately use "I reject your reality, and substitute my own" in-game.
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    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    Darn you PoDL for making me care about a bunch of NPC Commoners!
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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    First time I've seen an opportunity for a BBEG to legitimately use "I reject your reality, and substitute my own" in-game.
    Fifth or sixth time, for me.
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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    Quote Originally Posted by Tidesinger View Post
    Fifth or sixth time, for me.
    Are you counting scenarios like "I mindrape you to believe my reality is the truth"? 'Cause I've seen that a few dozen times, but that's not really replacing reality, just convincing a creature that you are.
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    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    Darn you PoDL for making me care about a bunch of NPC Commoners!
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    Default Re: The Dream of Metal

    Quote Originally Posted by Fishy View Post
    The problem is, each casting of Forced Dream is only good for one journey, and there's no way of telling which iteration we're in from the inside. The Traveller will come back once, because something has to happen in the future to set it off, and then the backup is no good.
    Yeah. Hm.

    Wait. So, if the Traveller resets time, and we're back in the past, didn't the psion cast Forced Dream?
    And isn't the Traveller no longer affected by Forced Dream?
    Thus, the Psion can see he just cast forced dream, and it disappeared from the Traveller, thus, the Traveller was awoken. Then, I guess, ask about whether the Traveller encountered anything in the last part of his dream, or if he simply woke up after 1000 years, found nothing, and activated Forced Dream.

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