Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Two Questions

So, I've got two questions for my readers. The first is a question of style, and the second one is an obscure question about Arduin and prismatic walls.

1. If my players continue along their present course of action, that is, exploring in the same direction on this level of the megadungeon they are exploring, they will find a few Carcosan ray-guns. The PCs will have never have seen anything like them before in their lives. How would you describe a rifle to someone who's never seen one before? I don't want what these are to be immediately obvious to the players; also, how would you adjudicate figuring out how to work the rifles? Roll at-or-under Intelligence?

2. So, in both the lists of prismatic walls in Arduin I and Arduin V there's the Green and Yellow (or Greenish Yellow) wall which works against everything related to dragons. Dragons can't physically pass it, their breath weapons are blocked and even their magic cannot pass the wall. The only way that a dragon can destroy this wall is to cast a "Trigger" spell at it, and that's the rub. Both the entries for this wall in Arduin I and Arduin V reference the Trigger spell, but don't explain it. Arduin I references it in a footnote as "the aforementioned trigger spell," but I can't find where it's previously mentioned; considering that this is the Arduin Grimoire, it's conceivable that this is just talking about the entry of "Trigger spells" (is the plural a typo? it's the only time I think I've seen it plural) in the chart that it references, or that Hargrave forgot to flesh this out, but I'm hoping not, and it's also Hargrave's style to totally explain himself, just in a place you wouldn't expect, like he does with "competence." I've tried looking around and reading anything that seems like it might be relevant, but I haven't seen anything about trigger spells. Does anyone know anything about this?

Thanks in advance!


  1. 1) "It looks like a misshapen spear, possibly hollow, with a hole at one end. A crossbow-like grip and trigger are fixed to one side, two-thirds of the way down from the hole."Or something like that.

    2) No idea. I'd just make something up, maybe a specific spell that is needed to cancel out the wall.

  2. Personally, I wouldn't be too obscure regarding the ray gun. I might say something like, it looks like a crossbow without the bow part, but also not incomplete, as if it were designed to be that way. I would expect that the stock and trigger part should not look overly strange to PCs.

  3. Don't know 2. 1 is interesting. I've never experienced new tech either as player or DM because the games have pretty much been straight pseudo-medieval.

    Everyone is going to know what the thing is once it starts zapping. So the question is can there be a bit of mystery before that. I think so. Are these rifles or pistols? The latter look nothing like crossbows to me. I'd probably say it looks like an odd dagger that has a bent, dull blade and only one quillon. Don't draw it, don't go into too much detail. Refer to things their players would be familiar with. Then zowieee, they put pressure on that single crossguard and on to the next fun thing.

  4. 1) I'd describe the rifles as something totally unlike a rifle, if you don't want to give it away. Alien rifles might look like scuba gear, or headphones, or a coffee pot.

  5. 1: Find an account by some European describing a gun. Might find interesting comparisons he makes.

    2: In AD&D, the Prismatic Wall and Sphere have onion layers. You peel them back by casting a specific spell at the layer closest to you. This might be what the book is trying to say when it says "trigger spell", as in the spell that triggers the destruction of that layer. Never read Arduin, so it might work completely differently.

  6. 1: Oh, we assume the ray-gun looks like we thnk a gun should look. Maybe it's like one of those Stargate blaster-staves. Or a System Shock Psi-Amp. That lets you describe it without giving anything away.