Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Angel of Geometry

A perfect alabaster pyramid floats motionlessly.  If disturbed, anyone within 30' must save or go blind.  Those who save will see the pyramid has been replaced by a perfect alabaster sphere, floating motionlessly.  If disturbed all within 30' must save or go deaf.  The sphere is replaced by a cube - disturb it, save or go mute.  Next is a torus - disturb it, and a pyramid will re-appear, anyone still within 30' will have all senses returned to normal.

This is something I cooked up for playing my parents.  I figured it would be alien and curious in a non-creepy way.  I think it may be a 4 dimensional creature cycling through aspects of itself, or maybe through stages in its life cycle.  But who knows.

At first I was going to have the platonic solids, but I didn't want to have to explain what an icosahedron was to my parents.

It seemed to work well in the session last night, causing great consternation and chaos (I'll blog about that later).  I recommend having lots of little cards with B, D, & M on them.  You can place them in front of players, otherwise it's difficult to track the many different combinations of disability characters will end up with.  You might be thinking: "assuming they mess with it."  Trust me, they will mess with it.

There are other angels.


  1. I'm sitting here reading the post and I already want to mess with it. I also want it to give me treasure.

  2. The trouble is, I'd turn and run after poking it once. No way I'm sticking around to have more stuff happen to me.

  3. @DarkTouch: heh, I probably should have had it drop a gem or something, but I'm naturally stingy as a DM :)

    @C'nor: Well, some of them wanted too do that. Mostly those still able to see. But the blind/deaf characters sort of huddled around the shape unless lead away.

  4. This is a wonderful little puzzle for players to mess with…

    I also like the idea of it dropping a gem or something as encouragement to keep poking it.

  5. This is wonderful and terrible. It's a game of Russian roulette that you get into without knowing you're doing it. Which is tremendous and exciting for the right group, but it's also a really short path to TPK: the cautious PC will never touch the Angel again. The fact that new people can be affected by each touch increases the stakes dramatically.

    Blindness, too, is a very interesting level to pitch that first interaction, right on the cleavage point between character and player: a permanently blind adventurer's career is over - so the player might as well keep going, but in good conscience he shouldn't push the character potentially into suicide. The player's impulse to stop shows you that they're invested in the character. Nice.

    ...there's no way a gem would tip the balance for me, BTW. And I might think the gem contained my sight.

  6. Thanks for the comments.

    @richardthinks: I think you've hit on something important: I wasn't consciously thinking this but the severity of the very first effect almost guarantees more interaction, which, phew, eventually leads to a solution.

    It is sort of messing with the player's understanding of what is prudent and what is safe.

    The idea that the gem contained someone's sense is intriguing, but then I'd want to make the sense loss permanent until they destroyed the gem or something.