Here is my 3rd installment of my, going to run seemingly forever, 30 day game module, which i'm building. In this entry, we get to look at the Introduction and some of the backstory.
The following section should be read to the players as soon as the campaign starts, after character generation. The players should hear all this then immediately before they begin the first encounter and not before. Try to keep some measure of surprise regarding how the world has devolved before the players get wind of it.
The world is gone… the entirety of the material plane has vanished in an instant as the many planes come together and collapse in the cataclysmic destruction of not one world, but nearly all of them. Only a single bastion of light remains in the vast swirling chaotic mess that has become the universe: a tavern by the name of “The Black Cat.” Before the collapse, assorted travelers of race and background had converged within for a meal or to spend the night, none of whom were prior acquainted to each other or had any presupposition of what would soon occur. Moments before the end, a crazed and panicked gnome burst into the tavern; he hurriedly produced from within his robes a device which at first glowed dully before bursting into a circle of radiant energy. One of the guests to the tavern, panicked, ran for the door and opened it only to find himself sucked from the tavern and ripped into a million pieces, but through the open door, those within bore witness to the world’s collapse and the end of all things.
The gnome, who had not the chance to protest the initial patron from being torn asunder stood in front of the door barring anyone else from leaving and asked all those within the bar to make no attempts at escape as The Black Cat is now the only place left in existence and those within the tavern are the last hope for preservation of not only the planes, but the gods as well.
The gnome pulls himself together, brushes his matted hair back away from his sweating brown and holds the device out in his outstretched hand.
My name is Cornelius Fibble, I believe John Haverwell, this good establishment’s owner may well be acquainted with me as this isn’t my first time within these walls. I live just up the street from here, a home to which I retired following a life of travel and education in order to, how should we say, experiment in my now copious free time. You see, I am both a man, well, a gnome, of science and an inventor. In my travels and interactions with the many magics, both arcane and divine throughout the world, I’ve come to appreciate and expand my horizons to a degree that you here may believe to cross a boundary into the impossible. One of the devices that I have had in my possession for some time is a glass of sorts which continuously looks into the very near future; I use it, for the most part, to avoid confrontations with unwelcome bill collectors, but today, well, your today, it foresaw the end of the world. This is a device which I constructed that could, for a period, stop the flow of time in a small area, about the size of a one story building. It has allowed me to live far beyond the standard length of any normal individual’s life and continue my research for the span of many lifetimes. I’ve now used all but the one you see before you and I no longer have the materials needed to produce more. I have spent my time, I’m not sure how long analyzing and researching the present phenomenon and I believe I’ve been able to not only pinpoint the problem, but also a solution and a means to said end, but it will require your support as you are, perhaps the plane’s last and only hope. I have been able to construct various devices which might be able to help you in this task.
Cornelius moved to the bar and set his device upon the bar top. He then produced from his cloak a bag and from it he produced several silver pocket watches, one for each person within the bar.
I would ask that you come closer so that I can give these to each of you and explain their purpose and use.
The bartender first made a move for the watch and as he touched it, the chain that connected to it quickly attached itself to the bartenders flesh through his shirt at the waist, he seemed to take a start however made no exclamation of pain nor discomfort.
Each of these watches has been forged for the purpose of allowing you to venture into the nothingness and chaos that exists beyond these walls.
You will see that each of these watches is possessed by several dials, the largest of these marks the day. This is perhaps the most important thing I should mention, from now you will have only the length of a single cycle of the moon during which you can complete your task and save us all, after this time, the magic of my time stopping device will cease and we shall all be lost to this chaos.
The smaller dial within marks the hour, the magical energy of the watch only supports 12 hours of continuous use before it must return to the source of its power within these walls, you may therefore venture out for only 12 hours at a time before the watch must return here for an equal amount of time in order to recharge. The device you see before you here on the bar possess within it a powerful homing beacon which can reach beyond any plane or any world; each of the watches is connected to it. When the charge on the watch has run out, it will return to the beacon via its magical connection and bring the user of the watch with it. . I have constructed each of these watches to link to an individual’s soul. Soon each will link to one of yours. Because it is linked to your soul, should the watch feel that it is in jeopardy of destruction after you have fallen in battle, it will return you here so that I might care for your wounds in a timely manner and have you back out on the battlefield in the following day.
The third device within this time piece you will note is a series of dials. On each of these watches you will take head that the dials are currently reading 0, however on the watch which has now been bound to our good innkeeper John, now reads a total of 100, a measure of our fellow’s ‘soulestial’ worth. In my vast research and studies over these countless years, I discovered a value in one’s soul which increases with respect to his life experiences. You can therefore view this number and measure your strength, a process which might prove both humbling and scary depending on how you might value your own personally worth. It is here, not because I have a desire to press upon you the personal psycho-analysis that may even drive a perfectly collected wizard to the brink of madness, but because of another device I have developed; I call it the “Soulestian Apparatus.” This device constructs an item at the request of an individual providing he has enough “soul power” to bring that item into being.
This device has the power of our salvation. I developed with it another device that can identify sources of soul energy which are profound and powerful out there in the chaos. I believe that if we can gather all these sources of unbelievable soul energy out there, and should they all be brought here together, that when united and presented before the device, they will be able to call forth an artifact of pure soul energy as powerful as the cosmos itself that can undo the madness that has befallen the planes.
Your first task is to gather these and other items from my workshop up the street. I had not the power, nor the speed to gather these items myself before coming here. You will find the streets outside to be decidedly different in nature since last you saw them, but I would have you be courageous and brave this first challenge as many as those that are to come. Now each of you, take hold of your watch and go with strength.
Once the players get their watches, which they should first of all, they will notice each of the soul meters has been increased to 100 just as high as the bartenders figure. They are given the opportunity to talk to Cornelius as well as to the bartender and each-other. John has very little to say regarding much of anything other than the geography of the town outside the bar and he can draw the characters a map should they ask him to. If they ask, the gnome will put his house on the map and describe the layout of the house as well as the description of the two machines they need to retrieve. He also gives the players a pair of portable holes which they are instructed to use in order to retrieve the pair of machines.