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Episode 2027: Pete’s Dreams Are Made Of This

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Visions are a staple in fiction, so naturally one may consider them for use in a roleplaying game. The basic mechanics are simple: One or more PCs encounter something that initiates a vision, then the GM describes to the players what their characters see and experience during the vision.

The hard part comes when the GM has to figure out what should be in the vision, and how it relates to the current game plot. In traditional linear fiction, the author has complete control over the past and future, and can insert visions of unknown past events, as well as events that will come to pass, or helpful glimpses of potential futures which may be averted by the heroes.

In a game, things are much more difficult, because players are notoriously unpredictable. Providing visions of the past may conflict with a player's own concept of their character's past, and they may not appreciate having that messed with. And visions of the future... How can you predict the future in a game that's just as unpredictable as real life?

As it turns out, you can actually have some idea of what will happen in the future of a game story, because when planning the adventure you're setting up a significant item for them to find, or a major villain to be confronted, or something the heroes need to do to complete a quest goal. And if there's something the heroes need to do, you can lay good money that at some point in the future they will probably get around to doing it. You don't know the details of how they're going to do something, but there's a general current running through the criss-crossing streams of future possibility.

So you can make your visions align with those currents, while avoiding anything that ties it down too specifically. If your villain is in a castle, there's a pretty good chance your heroes will visit and explore said castle. So having a vision set in a castle corridor should work fine. If you know there are hobgoblin guards, the vision can be a quickly shifting scene of some hobgoblins charging to attack in a castle corridor. Don't provide any specifics of who gets hit or injured, or what the final outcome of the battle is, and you're gold.

Keep your visions generic and vague enough and you should have a pretty good strike rate. And if anything goes wrong, you always have the fallback that visions aren't 100% reliable.

Commentary by Keybounce (who has not seen the movie)

[Keybounce's comments will appear here when received.]

Commentary by memnarch (who has not seen the movie)

There's two more of the cameos I'm expecting! Now all we need is C-3P0 and Princess Leia and the circus will be complete! One could argue that Luke doesn't count because we haven't seen his face yet, but I bet that'll change in the next bit of the scene. Since this a vision, I bet Luke's face is going to look exactly like he did 30 years ago. That, or he's going to look way more wrinkly and scarred than Han Solo, with burns or some other disfigurations as well.

At least in this setting, you can get an artificial hand, Rey! Perfect opportunity for Pete to min-max too. On that subject, I'm predicting that Rey will end up with a prosthetic in the movie. There's just too much symbolism between Luke losing a hand and Anakin losing a hand arm not to have that get a repeat performance in some form. Perhaps with an extra twist of some kind to try and make it even more dramatic to fit with everything else being flashier and larger now as well.

I think this is a much better "trap" to spring on the players, or at least Pete. It keeps the spooky or uncertain atmosphere that a trap would have while providing a tease of information. So in a sense, this is a meta-trap to hook the players more into the plot. As if trying to destroy a ginormous cannon built into a planet isn't cool enough.

Transcript

GM: As you touch the sword a surge of Force energy enters your mind.
GM: The lighting shifts.
GM: You’re in a corridor. There’s a hum of machinery.
Rey: Teleport? No, you said “mind”... So, a vision. I look around.
GM: The hall stretches into infinity in front and behind you, like the abyss of time. Voice fragments echo around you:
Voice: ... life and death...
Voice: ... dark powers...
Voice: ... power of the mind...
Voice: What once fell... will rise again.
Rey: Hmm. I walk forwards.
[SFX]: crunch!
GM: The corridor tilts and collapses! Chunks of stone crash around you as you fall.
[SFX]: thud!
GM: You look up and see an R2 unit, lit by the falling embers of a huge fire.
GM: A cloaked figure raises an arm and places a metal hand on the droid. You recognise Luke’s voice:
Luke: Rey... the sword. You must send it back.
Rey: Oh geez. I’m really going to miss having two hands.


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Published: Tuesday, 27 July, 2021; 02:11:03 PDT.
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