D20 – The Narrative Voyager:

And for today it’s a spell that’s been requested a number of times…

Narrative Voyager

  • Transmutation
  • Level: Wizard 4, Druid 5, Destiny 4.
  • Components: V, S, Magical Focus (a permanent Extradimensional Space), MF (a complex mechanism of turning gears, crystals, controls, and things that slide back and forth costing 100 GP), Narrative Focus (see below). .
  • Casting Time: Three Turns.
  • Range: Touch.
  • Target: An Extradimensional Space that the caster is already in.
  • Duration: Instantaneous (Special, See Below).
  • Saving Throw: None (Environmental Target).
  • Spell Resistance: No.

Destiny is not an absolute. Few if any points or outcomes are fixed and unalterable. Rather, it is a current – in some places sweeping forward with force, in others a gentle drift, and in yet others a gentle holding gyre or devouring whirlpool, carrying those who do not steer boldly and well into the stygian depths. Still, it has power. It flows around, or over, or ever-so-slowly wears away at obstacles – and, if contained in one place, it bursts free at three others.

Adventurers ride those currents. They may tack and steer to turn them to their advantage, but the seas of fate have always the final say. Still, where those currents come together, where potential accumulates, and where reality itself is but thinly bound… the power of destiny can be tapped.

The Narrative Voyager spell is best cast during a pause, when the currents of destiny have reached a decision point and are gathering together to rush onwards once more. It can only be cast only where the boundaries between the worlds are thin, in a space that is anchored to reality by a mere thread of magic. But if those conditions are fulfilled… it can set a group loose upon the seas of fate.

Narrative Voyage must be cast while inside a permanent extradimensional space. When cast it breaks the link between the extradimensional space and it’s host reality – setting the space adrift upon the currents of destiny, to wash up upon realities shores somewhere else.

  • If it’s cast while the occupants of the space are entangled with the local currents of destiny (A.K.A. while actually on an adventure) it will take a mere 1d6+1 turns for it to relocate the entrance to the extradimensional space used to somewhere within medium range of its original location – but the spell will have no other effect. The waves of the great sea will toss you back upon your original shore.
  • If it’s cast during a pause between the segments of an adventure, the space will almost always “arrive” (or at least re-establish the location of it’s entryway) in position for the next segment to begin – although it shows little or no respect for time, space, and dimension when doing so. The subjective duration of the trip is usually 1d6 minutes, but occasionally extends to hours for no apparent reason (at the will of the game master).
  • If it’s cast after the unsuccessful conclusion of an adventure, the space tends to fetch up somewhere gloomy and claustrophobic, with little in the way of supplies or help available, where a grim adventure, foreshadoing for some later adventure, mysterious entity who will provide puzzle-clues, or similar interlude awaits. Such locations tend to be incredibly isolated villages or settlements if they aren’t space stations, ships at sea, lonely islands, outposts in incredibly hostile regions, or even small demiplanes or other pocket realities. In any case… they are usually virtually devoid of other means of escape. Leaving will usually require resolving the local narrative – one way or another – and thus opening the way to make effective use of this spell again.
  • Occasionally, if cast after the conclusion of an adventure (whether successful or not), the spell will just take the caster (or someone else in the extradimensional space) “home”, usually in about an hour or so. Sometimes there’s an adventure there, but just as often it’s purely for character development and social purposes – or for someone to leave or join the party.
  • If it’s cast after a successful adventure – or when nothing is going on at all – it will normally take you to the start of a new adventure in a subjective time ranging from hours to days. While this does have an annoying tendency to dump you right into the middle of things with little or no chance to find out what is going on before getting involved, get a handle on the local area, or access friends, allies, or supplies, they are invariably environments and situations that the caster and any companions can reasonably handle if they respond cleverly and don’t make any really irretrievable mistakes. After all… the forces of destiny have brought you there to deal with the situation. If they just wanted you to die, THAT could be done with considerable ease. The universe is bigger than any little group of adventurers.

Complications: While being swept along by the Currents of Destiny, an Extradimensional Space will occasionally (about one trip in four) intersect another pocket-realm and become temporarily stuck to it. This will give the occupants a little while to interact with whatever’s there and possibly let them go on a side-adventure.

D6:

  • 1) Incursion: Something else that was traveling the planes comes aboard. This may be good or bad.
  • 2) Passenger: You either pick up, or disembark, a passenger.
  • 3-6) Location: You get to visit a pocket-world for a while. Roll 1d100:
    • 01-04) Badlands. Whether desert, plains, tundra, ice, or just rocks, there’s not much here.
    • 05-09) Wilds. Woods, jungle, or plains, this wild and uninhabited landscape is a great place to camp and relax for a bit.
    • 10-14) Isolated Holding. A small family farm or similarly isolated settlement. They will probably be surprised to have visitors.
    • 15-17) Ghost Town. This abandoned settlement may have a few locals, but not many.
    • 18-21) Camp. It may contain hobos, or boy scouts, or loggers, or fishermen, or a goblin warband, but mostly it’s just a temporary encampment.
    • 22-23) Caravan. Whether merchants, gypsies, or star voyagers, it’s a place for traders to stop before moving on. Occasionally this may be aboard a giant ship or some such.
    • 24-28) Thorp. This tiny settlement is a good place to get lunch, but usually not much else.
    • 29-34) Hamlet. You can probably find a bed-and-breakfast and some basic supplies.
    • 34-39) Village. A tavern/inn, possible basic hirelings, and some sort of local healer or priest are all likely attractions of visiting a village.
    • 40-43) Small Town. There are enough people around that you may not be instantly apparent as strangers, as long as you don’t stand out too much. You may be able to find a general store and a few basic specialists.
    • 44-47) Large Town: You can find specialists, currency has pretty well replaced barter, and common supplies are readily available.
    • 48-50) Small City. You can probably find a garrison, traders, banking, and money. There may well be a market for potions, scrolls, and other minor gadgets.
    • 51-53) Large City. Universalizes, libraries, sages, and exotic goods can all be found in a large city.
    • 54-55) Metrapolis. Ethnic districts, enclaves of exotic species, and organized crime have arrived.
    • 56-58) Megapolis. Often the center of a realm, politics, intrigue, wealth, and poverty all exist side by side with trade from distant lands.
    • 59-64) Imperial City. The center of an empire or great realm, this vast city is a center of events.
    • 65-70) Planar Metropolis. Filled with technology or magic so esoteric that it’s pretty much incomprehensible, a Planar Metropolis offers enough activity to support a campaign all on it’s own.
    • 71-80) Warning Realm. This realm is basically a quick survival-run through a “possible bad future” – what might happen to your homeland (or your next stop) if you let the zombie plague get out of control, or the big war starts, or whatever.
    • 81-83) Erroneous Past. Somehow you’re in the past, and – unless you fix whatever’s going wrong there – your future will cease to exist!
    • 84-86) Party. You’ve arrived at some social event. It might be austere, decadent, or simply strange, but you might make some contacts that will be useful later.
    • 87-88) Faerie. Or some other magical realm.
    • 89-91) Ruins. The remains of a fallen civilization, an abandoned megastructure, or something similar. There will be resources to be found, but likely dangers too.
    • 92) Arena. A place where giant monsters, or gladiators, or mecha, or whatever, do battle for some sort of audience. You’ll probably have to participate.
    • 93) A Monster Realm. A lost world full of dinosaurs, or place overrun deadly spiders, or a mist full of horrors, or wherever.
    • 94-98) Dark Realm. It may be full of undead, or be a city of Drow, or otherwise be a deadly place of horror, but there are always people to rescue or a revolution to start.
    • 99-100) Oracle. The place is inhabited by a mysterious being who seems to know much more than they should – and who can offer advice, or warning, or even send you to a particular place.

The game master is always ultimately in control of where the Narrative Voyager spell takes the caster. After all, he or she has to come up with and run the adventure – but characters who take Profession: Narrative Piloting (or something similar) will often be able to influence things a bit – arriving a little earlier than they otherwise would (giving them more time to scout and prepare), occasionally escaping some horrific destination before they can get entangled in a local plotline and have to deal with it, managing to make an intentional stop at a pocket realm to get something they need, or just arriving at a better starting point. Such influence is always limited, but it may be worth putting a few skill points into such a skill if you intend to cast this spell a lot. And yes, this is basically a “TARDIS” spell – but that has been requested several times. After all… a “TARDIS” is a near-ideal way to gloss over the usual bar-crawling, looking for patrons, finding treasure maps, and getting-the-characters involved routine. Instead the characters simply arrive someplace and get tossed straight into the action, acquiring background information and their “briefing” while on the adventure. Even better, they are pretty much stuck with actually going on the adventure before they can leave. There’s none of that bothersome backing out or deciding to go elsewhere.

2 Responses

  1. Huh. I’d rate it as about equally useful for an adventurer as a more traditional teleport or plane shift spell, so that makes sense.
    It doesn’t *really* trap you – nothing stops you from exiting via some other process other than that spell, such as just walking away or plane shifting out.
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1EX6eMnatAmT14UVXFxYzI9_tLvZBEhmp4m8-A-GJ6ng/edit?usp=sharing
    Did a ‘greater’ version for fun.

    • Oh, like everything… it has benefits and drawbacks. The biggest drawback, of course, is requiring that you already be in a permanent extradimensional space, which makes it somewhat expensive and awkward to use as a quick escape (and usually won’t actually let you escape anyway since the local plot probably isn’t resolved). Second biggest… you really can’t use it offensively. The biggest benefit is that carrying capacity is only limited by your extradimensional space. Always winding up somewhere livable is the second biggest.

      My comparison was Plane Shift. Between those modifiers, and the inability to steer, level four seemed about right.

      And I agree that it doesn’t really entrap you – once you have access to Plane Shift and Greater Teleport not much does – but it can drop you in a really awkward location or even someplace like the classical Underdark (which, by module writers fiat, wouldn’t let you teleport or plane shift, so you couldn’t get supplies and reinforcements easily).

      And your greater version looks entirely reasonable to me! Should I append and credit it?

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