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Author Topic: Brainstorming ideas (needed) for "Weirdness Magnet"  (Read 976 times)
Nunk1/Curmudgeon19 : too lazy for epic levels
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« on: January 15, 2012, 03:17:43 AM »

Okay - one of my players took me up on the suggesred Disadvantage (character trait): Weirdness Magnet: Strange and bizarre things happen to you with alarming frequency. You are the one demons stop and chat with. Magic items with disturbing properties find their way to you. The only talking dog on 21st-century Earth comes to you with his problems. Dimensional gates sealed for centuries crack open just so that you can be bathed in the energies released . . . or perhaps the entities on the other side invite you to tea. Nothing lethal happens to you, at least not immediately, and occasionally some weirdness is beneficial. But most of the time it is terribly, terribly inconvenient. People who understand what a Weirdness Magnet is (and that you are one) react to you at -2. The exceptions are parapsychologists, fringe cultists, unhinged conspiracy theorists, and thrill-seekers, who follow you around!

I'm fishing for ideas to utilize this. Characters are all starting out in the same therapy group (Temple of Behldamh, Salis Freeport) and this particular one is ostensibly trying to deal with his kleptomania (which is real). However, he's really trying to find out if it's safe to discuss all the weird shit that keeps happening and no one ever believes - he's started wondering if he really is crazy. Fortunately, (or perhaps not) for him, he's not crazy - the stuff really does happen. . .
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« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2012, 03:57:37 AM »

Weirdness Magnet is great for games that aren't terribly serious but can mess things up if you don't want jokes all over the place.

You can use it for adventure hooks. Things like ghosts coming to him looking for help solving their problems, accidentally finding things that gangsters (or something) misplaced and want back...that sort of thing for the more mundane end of it.

Maybe just the right conditions are met for the character's drink with alcohol in it to burst into flames right when they're about to drink it. Maybe a spring opens up underground just beneath where they're standing on dirt and, seemingly randomly, the ground that they're standing on turns to mud or something like quicksand.

Then, of course, you can really get weird. Sudden portals to alternate dimensions, alien visitors coming to probe the character or just ask for directions, every person they meet thinks the character might taste good, gravity stops working in their bedroom, that sort of thing.
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Nunk1/Curmudgeon19 : too lazy for epic levels
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« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2012, 05:14:56 AM »

Right, what I'm essentially seeking is ideas for things that occur because of it - some silly, others not so much, a few which are . quite serious (real plot hooks) and generally unwanted by the character. They could even get downright sinister, esp. in light of all the various characters' mental health issues. I think this promises to be a very strange and yet quite enjoyable campaign. I'm also looking for ideas regarding what psychiatry would have been like had Freud lived during the Renaissance if the world been magicly active (high mana)) and the gods, spirits, monsters, etc. been quite real rather than products of the mind. There really could be a monser hiding in the closet or under the bed - come to think of it, there definitly will be one (or more) of them, although at this juncture I'm not sure *why* they are there or what their intentions are.
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« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2012, 05:43:10 AM »

This seems very Douglas Adams in the surreal ridiculous sort of way. I like it and think if you play it right you could have some serious fun. I can't really get too specific on ideas without knowing what your game is about (do tell!) but here's a few generic ideas:

- The character reaches into his backpack or pocket to retrieve an item. Upon pulling it out they find that the item is caked with a thin layer of cheddar cheese. Upon closer inspection they notice tiny mouseprints as well as letters scratched into the cheese over and over stating that "the cat friend is poison".

- Sir Humphrey Beauregard is in a bind. A fiendish rascal has absconded with his late grandfather's prized fencing sword. Feeling that the character is the ideal candidate for the job he approaches them requesting aid. Complications have arisen however from the fact that Sir Humphrey Beauregard is a only a single cm in length and is indeed a common ant. Said rascal is a member of a rival nest and Mr Beauregard has no hope of retrieving his sword from such a dangerous place. Fortunately he has invented a shrinking potion of marvelous potency with which the party of brave adventurers might become able to enter the nest and bring back his precious family heirloom. Caution however should be taken as Mr Beauregard is unsure how long the potion will last. Unfortunate sudden growth could leave the imbiber crushed.

- A dark and sinister gentleman approaches the character demanding that they repay their soul tax or be evicted from their body. Refusal results in the most unfortunate form of homelessness.

- While eating their morning meal a rift to hell opens up in front of the character and a motley assortment of damned souls jump through. They are being hunted by the dreaded bounty hounds of Mephistopheles and are seeking sanctuary in the mortal realm. If the character will help them discover a way to throw off the hounds they will richly reward them. Researching such a thing may prove difficult with all the deadly things spewing forth from hell in search of the runaways.

- The character strikes an opponent a fatal blow and they randomly erupt into a shower of chocolate truffles. The truffles look quite delicious but for reasons unexplained are filled with weevils in place of a creamy center.

- The character becomes soul linked to another person and finds themselves randomly swapping bodies with their new soul mate at unfortunate times.

- While running away from danger the floor randomly turns into a swarm of slippery, writhing squid tentacles. All they want to do is show the character how much they love them with a nice hug.

- A giant ground squirrel entrusts a sacred peanut to the character saying that it contains the universe itself within it and to let none destroy it lest the world end. Soon they are swarmed by legions of hungry chipmunks eager to taste of this most delicious food.

- The character loses the sight in their eyes but gains the ability to see with their hands.

- While walking down the road a geyser of whipped cream erupts from a nearby drain. It shows a most dangerous property in the form of a high level of acidity. Will the character be able to get to the bottom of this in time to save the town from being eaten by whipped cream?!

- A turtle imparts to the character a seemingly nonsensical fortune. Only after the fact will the turtles advice make sense.
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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2012, 11:18:17 AM »

Snargash Moonclaw

Right, what I'm essentially seeking is ideas for things that occur because of it - some silly, others not so much, a few which are . quite serious (real plot hooks) and generally unwanted by the character. They could even get downright sinister, esp. in light of all the various characters' mental health issues. I think this promises to be a very strange and yet quite enjoyable campaign. I'm also looking for ideas regarding what psychiatry would have been like had Freud lived during the Renaissance if the world been magicly active (high mana)) and the gods, spirits, monsters, etc. been quite real rather than products of the mind. There really could be a monser hiding in the closet or under the bed - come to think of it, there definitly will be one (or more) of them, although at this juncture I'm not sure *why* they are there or what their intentions are.

The idea that monsters would actually exist would sort of turn Freud's psychoanalysis on its head. If anything, Frued was really about suppressed memories and the unconscious mind, so if those things were to actually exist in a physical sense, I'd imagine Frued either to be some sort of badass monster slayer or probably to turn towards a different means, like using magic to ward off such encounters. I bet Freud would be wild about using lots of magical rituals to protect the rampant unconscious mind of his client (or, at the time, patient), and finding ways to balance the id, ego, and superego. Freud, while important to the entire field of psychiatry, really just got lucky at the time. His practices were proven largely ineffective, though he did have some striking successes amongst the rich (the only people who could really afford his practice at the time) clientele who sought him out. I'd imagine he'd be working with a lot of really speculative theories regarding how he could use magic in his practice.

Freud might also be an oneironaught, using powerful magic to delve into people's dreams, as he was big into the idea that dreams somehow represented a persons underlying desires and wishes.

I can see you taking someone like Freud in this alternate period in a number of different directions: he could basically boil down to being a costly exterminator who gets paid to go into houses and weed out the monsters under the bed or in the closet. If you want to keep a semblance of Frued with whatever concept you go with, it'd be best to keep something that ties into the unconscious mind or dreams or something. I'm sure magic would be a huge thing for Frued, especially figuring out where it originates from within the person. Maybe magic suffers from mental blockages that require his psychotherapy to unblock, or something. I'm just spitballing.

With the Renaissance, you've also got the scientific revolution going on and a strong involvement on the Catholic Church's behalf, so Frued's theories might not be as out there as they could be for a time when science was really in a rapid state of advancement and discovery, challenging the Church. I'm sure a lot of Freuds psychoanalytical perspectives would have more of a mythological feel to them, perhaps with demons and witches and curses acting upon people's mental processes. It'd be difficult to pin down exactly how scientific Freud could be during such a period; if a woman goes into a moment of hysteria they might very well think she's possessed or something. Depending on what sort of religious impact their is on your world and the certainty of gods existing, Freud's theories could be made to incorporate them. You'd have to look at the distinction between science and religion as well, and if they agree with each other or find a lot of inconsistencies. I imagine if gods were real and in control of things, the idea of religion and science would be synonymous.

I hope that helps to give you some ideas smile.
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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2012, 03:49:30 PM »

My suggestion isn't a specific one, but more something to guide you. As "wierdness magnet" is a disadvantage, I would make sure to make the vast majority of potential plot hooks be total dead ends. You want to foster the paranoia inherent in the character, but throw him a bone occasionally to make him right. If the players are in the middle of investigating a theft, half talking squirrels give him clues that end up diverting him to bring the squirrels more food. That sort of thing.
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« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2012, 06:15:56 PM »

Here are a few Weirdness Magnet ideas that seem reasonable enough:

- The silver spoon he just kleptoed turns out to be animated like a Disney character and annoyingly talkative.
- A djinn approaches the PC saying, "Word is you're good at stealing things.  I'd like you to help me recover my lamp..."
- He keeps running into the number 17:  he walks into a tavern with 17 tables; the next thing he buys costs $17, the town he is headed to is 17 miles away; there are 17 days left in this month; etc.  Have the 17s get more sinister as time passes.
- Just as he is sneaking around a corner, he steps on an imp's tail, and the imp lets out a horrificly loud and blood-curtling yowl.

Remember that Weirdness Magnet is the same price as Bad Luck, and Bad Luck states that the GM is within his rights to hose the player whenever he feels like it.  Also, remember that Weirdness Magnet is suppose to be amazingly inconvenient - not straight-up deadly, but really, really annoying to have.  It attracts unwanted attention.  It creates hastles.  It will probably make normal people want to stay away from you.  If you want some good inspiration, check out an old (and sadly canceled) Fox show from the 90s called "Strange Luck."  The protagonist definitely had Weirdness Magnet (along with enough lot of Luck and Serendipity to conpensate).
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