Video Game Inspiration for D&D 5e
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  1. #1
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    Video Game Inspiration for D&D 5e

    As the protagonists make their way through the Ever-Changing Chaos of Limbo to find a remedy for the Curse of the Iron Shadow, a plane-spanning malady that robs the afflicted of creativity and drive, they find themselves swimming through the chaotic soup to the Temple of Change, home to the mysterious githzerai anarch known only as The Enlightened One.

    An outer maze of shifting walls and maddening hallucinations eventually gives way to the inner maze, a strange series of corridors filled with spheres of chaotic essence haunted by angry yet colorful ghosts. Only by finding a way out of the inner maze can the protagonists enter the temple proper and meet The Enlightened One to seek his wisdom. If they cannot, they risk becoming angry ghosts themselves, forced to spend eternity in the maze.

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    (Map created by me on Roll20 using some assets designed by Gabriel Pickard. Each square is 2.5 ft., so a group of four squares is the typical 5-foot square for tactical measuring. This map is 36 x 42 squares in total.)

    Look familiar? This will be a challenge my players (and their characters) will be soon facing in my Planescape campaign. Obviously I'm riffing on Pac-Man here as Limbo is weird and so am I. Because the dynamic lighting will be turned out, players will only be able to see to the limits their character can see given darkvision and/or light sources. So it's probably not obvious right away that this is a Pac-Man scenario. But I assume they'll figure it out pretty quickly.

    The way I have it currently set up, the PCs appear as a group in the area between the two "T's" to the south where there are no spheres. The ghosts come out of the central tomb one at a time in initiative (so one comes out on Round 1, another on Round 2, etc.) and make their way toward the nearest PC. The PCs cannot harm the ghosts in any way unless they have a colored sphere in the their possession, so they better run if they don't have a colored sphere! These four spheres are more or less in the four corners of the map. Ghosts that are destroyed go into a time-out back in the tomb and reappear later.

    The way out is to collect the four colored spheres, go to the tomb, and place them in the appropriate receptacles as shown south of the sarcophagi. PCs who do this are teleported into the Temple of Change.

    Now, in addition to just giving you this silly idea for your own campaign, I'd like to brainstorm a particular portion of it with the community. The white spheres will disappear when a PC interacts with it - basically just moving through the square. I intend to have the players keep track of how many spheres they touch as a way of keeping score. The PC with the highest score when they escape the maze gets a prize of some kind. I think this will be fun for my players and will actually incentivize splitting up to get the highest score... which can only make ghost encounters that much more fun! So what do you think the prize should be? The PCs range from 6th to 8th level at this point in the game. Also, I'm toying with adding the floating fruit that moves around the map. Normally, those are just worth bonus points, but that seems kind of boring. What might the fruit do?

    Which video games have provided inspiration for your own campaigns? How have the players interacted with them? How did it work out in play?
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  2. #2
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    First off, great idea that should be lots of fun. For the fruit, perhaps acts as a healing potion, perhaps it repels (or gives disadvantage to) ghost attacks?

    what attacks/damage to the ghosts do? Id imagine 1/3 hit points and the player is teleported back to the start position?

    as for the prize? the player gets the Pac-Man-dala which bestows advantage on attacks against ghosts?
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  3. #3
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    as for video game inspiration, not much so far, but I would love to set some Myst style puzzles for my players (I know youre not a fan, but my players claim to love them

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by robus View Post
    For the fruit, perhaps acts as a healing potion, perhaps it repels (or gives disadvantage to) ghost attacks?
    Protection from evil perhaps? That's a good idea. That would protect from possession as well I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by robus View Post
    what attacks/damage to the ghosts do? Id imagine 1/3 hit points and the player is teleported back to the start position?
    The ghosts are ghosts straight out of the Monster Manual, so necrotic damage touch, horrifying visage, and possession.

    Quote Originally Posted by robus View Post
    as for the prize? the player gets the Pac-Man-dala which bestows advantage on attacks against ghosts?
    I like the mandala idea as that is both a pun and it plays into the theme of the monastery. They'll be done with the ghosts by the time they get it though so I'll have to figure out what else it might do (in a way that makes it useful in some future part of the campaign).

  5. #5
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    Prize: The four colored spheres become elemental gems that can only be activated by the winner

    Fruit: I like what @robus suggests... make them healing/defensive potions of various strengths such as:
    Cherry = Potion of Healing
    Strawberry = Potion of Necrotic Resistance
    Orange = Potion of Greater Healing
    Apple = Potion of Heroism
    Melon = Potion of Superior Healing
    Galaxian = Potion of Longevity
    Bell = Potion of Supreme Healing
    Key = Potion of Speed
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DM Dave1 View Post
    Prize: The four colored spheres become elemental gems that can only be activated by the winner

    Fruit: I like what @robus suggests... make them healing/defensive potions of various strengths such as:
    Cherry = Potion of Healing
    Strawberry = Potion of Necrotic Resistance
    Orange = Potion of Greater Healing
    Apple = Potion of Heroism
    Melon = Potion of Superior Healing
    Galaxian = Potion of Longevity
    Bell = Potion of Supreme Healing
    Key = Potion of Speed
    The potion of longevity in particular piques my interest since it's something of a counter to the ghost's horrifying visage which ages people who fall prey to it. A potion of speed would also be very useful in hauling butt around the maze to accomplish the goal or avoid the ghosts. Potion of resistance (necrotic) also good for obvious reasons. Healing potions I'm not as keen on, but it's definitely worth considering. I might just use three fruits total (I try to do the rule of threes as much possible in my Planescape game). So longevity, resistance, and speed are my top three picks so far. Thanks!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by iserith View Post
    Which video games have provided inspiration for your own campaigns? How have the players interacted with them? How did it work out in play?
    I have 2 answers:

    1) I'm shocked that no one has chosen to play a beastmaster yet so they can have a pet rakk.

    2) I'm delighted every time they deal fire damage to a hobgoblin so that I can shout out "I smell delicious!"

    Okay, 3 answers.

    3) Badass Corrosive Skags are a terrifying nightmare for players. It was a stroke of genius on my part giving them the role of the rust monster.
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  8. #8
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    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)



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    Q*Bert lends itself to a DnD challenge.

    The party finds itself without weapons or equipment. Either nude or just in mundane clothing.

    28 30'x30'x30' cubes are carved into the side a sheer cliff. The top surface of the cubes glows with a blue magic light, except for the top-most cube that the party members start on, which glows with a golden light. The sides of the cubes are smooth, gray stone. Deadly gas or negative energy or zone of annihilation, or something else makes it deadly to leave the cubes. Movement, including flight, speed is limited to one cube per round. High-level magics have the effect of forbiddance, preventing teleportation, misty step, planar traval, etc.

    When the entire party, regarless of the number of members stand on a cube, the surface changes from blue to gold and a small pouch with 25 GP appears. Any cube previously stood upon by the entire group remains gold.

    As soon as the party moves from the first cube, a puple egg appears. Every round, it moves one square down. If the party is on the same cube at the same time with the egg, they lose 1/3 of their hit points and start at the top cube again. There is nothing the party can do which harms the egg. When the egg reaches the bottom row of cubs a purble, coiled serpent sprints forth and begings jumping up and along the cubes, chasing the party. One cube per round. If it lands on the same cube, it has the same effect as if the egg and party end up on the same cube.

    After the 4th round, two purple jellies begin at the top cube and begin jumping down. Roll a percental for each, each around to see if they hop down to the left or right. If they would fall off the side, they automatically jump the other direction. Once they reach the buttom layer, they jump off and disappear. Four rounds after they disappear they reappear at the top cube.

    Once all cubes are gold, the party is teleported to the top cube of another 28 cube structure. Same rules as the first apply, with the following additions:

    1. The first time the entire party stands on a cube, it turns purple. The second time the entire party stands on a cube it turns gold and they get a pouch of 25 gp. The entire party must leave the cube before and return to it to make the second color change. T

    2. Two goblins, Slick and Sam, appear after the 8th round. They have normal goblin stats. When ever they jump on a cube, it changes back from gold to purple, or purple to blue. They are subject to the same movement restrictions as the characters. They will avoid the characters if they can. They are immune to all ranged attacks. If they are killed with a melee attack, a medium pouch with 500 GP appears on the cube where they were killed. After both of them are killed, they reappear on the top cube after 8 rounds.

    Once all the cubes on the 2nd level are gold the party is teleported to the top cube of the 3rd and final stack.

    Same rules as #2 apply with the following additions.

    Off two the sides of the cubes, are 1d4 floating, multicolored disks. Roll a D6 two times to determine which cube a disk appears next to. The first roll determine what side with odd=left and even=right. Use the second roll to count from the bottom cube and rerolling if a disk is already there. The top cube will not have a disk because it is cube 7. The disk would fit into a 30x30 square and should fit the entire party. If one or more characters are standing on a disk at the end of the round it floats up to right above the top cube and disappears, dropping the party onto the top cube.

    At the start of every round, before anyone can take an action, the disks disappear. Roll a d4 and that many new disks appear, their position determined with d6 rolls as described above.

    On the 6th turn two jumping purple squid-like creatures from the far realm will jump along the sides of cube. Each round, Roll a d6 for each squid on its turn. 1-2 they jump left. 3-4 it jumps right. 5-6 it jump up. When it jump up, it will have to jump over the top surface of the cube to reach the side of the cube above it. Any characters on the surface of the cube when it jumps over will lose 1/3 of their hit points and the purple squid disappears. If it jumps off the side of of a cube and off the stack, it disappears. After both purple squid things disappear, two new ones appear after 6 rounds.

    After beating the 3rd pyramid, a portal appears at the top of the pyramid. A lich stands before it and demands 4,100 GP to pass. If the party pays, their belongings are returned to them and they are teleported to wherever makes sense based on the campaign. Any coin above 4,100 that the party earned, they get to keep.

    I have not tested this yet. It likely needs a lot of tweaking to make it fun, challenging but beatable, in play.
    XP iserith, DM Dave1, robus gave XP for this post

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satyrn View Post
    I have 2 answers:

    1) I'm shocked that no one has chosen to play a beastmaster yet so they can have a pet rakk.

    2) I'm delighted every time they deal fire damage to a hobgoblin so that I can shout out "I smell delicious!"

    Okay, 3 answers.

    3) Badass Corrosive Skags are a terrifying nightmare for players. It was a stroke of genius on my part giving them the role of the rust monster.
    Oh slag!

    I just noticed I missed an opportunity to give an answer for each element. Well then, ahem:

    EXPLOSIONS! !!
    Laugh DM Dave1 laughed with this post

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