Innovative Adventure Designs: The Clock, Part 2

It has taken me some time to make some progress on this little gem of an idea and I apologise for that as I had hoped it would occur in a shorter timeframe than it has.  Of course this has had a couple of effects.  The first is when I finally got around to it I did it right.  I actually took my time to put everything in it that needs to be there.  Of course the other is that it is beginning to lose its flavour for me.  I like ideas while they are fresh and new to me.

Underneath all the physical gears there is a mirrored surface
which made things so much fun working out what actually
was part of the mechanism and what was not.

I made the decision, almost fatal, not to pull it completely apart and just study the gears from an angle at the side which was a difficult task.  Now the maps that I have come up with are largely in various levels but accurate to the clock.  While I say accurate I don’t mean exactly positioned, I mean that the parts that exist in the map are all the parts that exist in the case.  I have not included fasteners and the like, nor the winder but all the cogs and springs are in place, almost in an accurate position.  That is OK though as I don’t need to create a 3D model for the game (although…).

I used tweezers to poke at gears to see if they existed or
were mirror images!

I have included the maps here in their entirety which make up a total of eight levels.  You can see that none of the particular levels are too busy and there are two open levels which act as supports for winders and columns in the map.  When I started doing the maps I had to make a decision.  Did I start at the hands of the clock and work through the mechanism?  Or reverse it and start at the reverse side and work all the way through until they reached the climatic battles on the hour and minute hands.  Now I know the second options sounds cool.  Imagine having a battle or showdown on a massive minute hand!  But I chose the opposite  and this choice may guide a lot more than just the starting position.

I have decided that the players will enter via the minute hand as a test of faith.  The players will have been brought to a vast pit at the top of a massive active volcano.  They will understand that the problem they have to fix involves the God of Time or at least requires access to his realm (being a holy temple that forms a gigantic time piece).  The only problem is that access to mortals and other non-deific type creatures is only once a year, for one second which requires a leap of faith.  In the volcanic pit their is a gem that catches the light for but a second every year.  The pilgrims can only see it from a specific lip of the volcano and when they see it flash they must jump at least five feet from the lip of the volcano without the aid of magic (or magical aids prepared like feather falls etc) so that they may jump on to the “minute” hand of the temple.  It may spook them out a little perhaps but does make a memorable way for them to enter the temple.

The first 6 levels

So I now have my level maps and I now need to consider putting them together and coming up with the plot.  I need a story that is memorable and suitable to challenge a high level group.  Obviously travelling to the temple of a god is not something that a low level group does often.  Also there is the unanticipated realisation that in Pathfinder’s world setting there is no specific god that handles Time in it’s portfolio.  Now I say this was unanticipated but it also presents me an opportunity to make the lead up to this so much more interesting.  Problems are occurring in time and the players need to investigate why.  They slowly pull out the information on the long forgotten God of time and destiny.  They find amongst these relics a way to cross over into his realm, but it is risky.  If the God no longer exists or is dead the players will be hurling themselves into an active volcano, yet if they do not do something reality may just cave in on itself.

So, my adventure has some precursor to it and a nice flowing plot.  Imagine if I worked for Paizo, I could see this turning into a full blown Adventure Path leading to this one climactic battle through the cogs of time itself!  Anyhow, enough about what this could be and more about what it is.

The final 2 levels

So I have developed a plot.  I like it, it is low key enough that in fact all the players do may go unnoticed in the long run.  It depends on the players.  Announcements of a lost god can make them the laughing stock of society, considered insane by all but those that know.  And what if the God is not lost but only worshipped by a secret cult that have kept quiet their existence for fear of what is happening now.  The players need to right the wrongs though and we need to consider them heading into the temple proper.

What considerations do I need to make?  Well, the adventure needs to be themed along the lines of time and therefore creatures of time need to be used.  Clockwork creatures will feature heavily.  The Bestiary 3 expanded on these creatures but there are still too few to populate an eight level temple with. It opens up the lands of abberations, or Lovecraftian goodness to us.  Hounds of Tindalos, the Yith all could be considered.

I am going to leave this blog at this point of development and do some research before the next instalment.  I want to really flavour this toward the manipulation of time.  The ideas of creatures above are simply the ones off the top of my head so I am going to go digging and I also need to consider the traps and mechanisms of the temple.  Highly complex mechanically, and or time affecting traps need to be considered, selected and/or created.  If you want to offer some suggestions in the comments, feel free and I hopefully will be able to post about my findings in around a week or so!  Until then, keep rolling!

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