So you've been captured by Mobius

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Kuildeous
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So you've been captured by Mobius

Postby Kuildeous » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:25 am

So my group decided to take on Battlegroup Mobius head-on. Now they're captured.

My thought is that they're taken to a lab to test out one of his death traps. Naturally they'll find a way to escape, but they're first going to be thrown naked into something. What are some suggested traps that I can throw at them?
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Gargoyle
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Re: So you've been captured by Mobius

Postby Gargoyle » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:55 am

An underground maze with a Walking God, swarms of flesh eating scarabs, or a mummy.

An Oubliette, an 'inescapable prison' containing all sorts of political prisoners and hardened criminals...think that hole from The Dark Knight. They have an entire mini-society down there, with the only common denominator being that they hate Mobius.

A cave that leads to a grotto with a pirate ship. (Yeah I'm a Goonies fan) I think sometimes the Egyptian themes can be twisted a bit.

In any case, perhaps after dealing with the threat, maybe even befriending it, they find a secret path to some old ruins and use it to find a way to the surface, and uncover something secret or valuable along the way.

Basically whatever he throws them into, he believes it is certain death and of course doesn't check to make sure, but while dangerous there is more to it, and could end up being the way they defeat him. Fun stuff.
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Re: So you've been captured by Mobius

Postby Count Thalim » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:56 am

I used a Giant Scorpion in the arena as my preferred method of (attempted) execution against those pesky Storm Knights when they were in Cairo.

Other favourites are the walls closing in or having to get through a corridor which fires blow darts at them.

Really your best bet is crack open a can and sit down to an Indiana Jones marathon...
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Re: So you've been captured by Mobius

Postby Gargoyle » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:02 am

Also it's a good time to use "obstacle stacking". Sure the walls start closing it, but then also poisonous scorpions are released into the room. And then spikes start to push through holes...

And you can make them feel clever by letting them do things like trick a scorpion into getting impaled on a spike, or breaking off a spike to use it to jam the walls. Death traps are an art form.
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Re: So you've been captured by Mobius

Postby utsukushi » Sat Sep 22, 2018 12:15 pm

I'd also consider that while Mobius is a totally traditional evil villain, he is also a mad genius with a better grasp of the meta than most. As a kind of background detail, I'd suggest that maybe by now he's actually figured out that the heroes are always going to escape, and is working on - or has found - a way to use that.

Maybe it would be a series of DSRs instead of combat, but Mobius has created a variant of the Gaunt Man's Machine in oTorg -- Possibilities spent overcoming the death trap actually go to feed something else Mobius is working on, but only in part. A hint might be that they're a little bit weaker; you could describe it with something like, "Perhaps because your choices are so narrowed, Possibilities don't work quite as well. They do still work, but their minimum number is a five, rather than a 10." And later they can find out that that was actually because a percentage of the Possibility Energy was being `shaved off' for something that will, indeed, be more or less powerful depending on how many they used here.

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Re: So you've been captured by Mobius

Postby Gargoyle » Sat Sep 22, 2018 12:33 pm

utsukushi wrote:I'd also consider that while Mobius is a totally traditional evil villain, he is also a mad genius with a better grasp of the meta than most. As a kind of background detail, I'd suggest that maybe by now he's actually figured out that the heroes are always going to escape, and is working on - or has found - a way to use that.

Totally disagree. In my mind it's sort of like how it doesn't even occur to Nile villains to remove the masks of heroes they encounter so they can go attack their families...the reality just causes them not to think that way. Mobius is certain they won't escape his deathtrap even though they probably will. It's part of the charm of the setting and quite fun. He's not dumb, but the reality itself discourages him from seeing the inevitable result of him monologuing in front of them, and heroes escaping when he leaves to go do something dastardly elsewhere.

Maybe it would be a series of DSRs instead of combat, but Mobius has created a variant of the Gaunt Man's Machine in oTorg -- Possibilities spent overcoming the death trap actually go to feed something else Mobius is working on, but only in part. A hint might be that they're a little bit weaker; you could describe it with something like, "Perhaps because your choices are so narrowed, Possibilities don't work quite as well. They do still work, but their minimum number is a five, rather than a 10." And later they can find out that that was actually because a percentage of the Possibility Energy was being `shaved off' for something that will, indeed, be more or less powerful depending on how many they used here.


I do sort of almost agree with you on this, it would make more sense to those of us in "Core Earth" if Nile villains benefited mechanically from heroes escaping deathtraps. I just don't think it should be a conscious, direct, or obvious thing. Maybe they get a possibility reward for putting them into one, but not for actually killing them. If they survive, obviously villains can do that over and over and gain more possibilities. It doesn't need to be an explicit rule because it's not something that directly affects players, more of sidebar material to "rationalize" the setting for the reader. But honestly, I think just saying that reality is just different in the Nile Empire and these tropes are real is enough.
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Re: So you've been captured by Mobius

Postby Kuildeous » Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:56 pm

utsukushi wrote:Mobius has created a variant of the Gaunt Man's Machine in oTorg -- Possibilities spent overcoming the death trap actually go to feed something else Mobius is working on, but only in part.


That's so inspired. I may indeed use this aspect.

Like Gargoyle, I'm not on board with the meta-knowledge, but it can still be a truth.

In fact, it's not that villains purposefully throw in heroes who only escape it; it's that the reality actively rewards villains with Possibility Energy siphoned off the heroes. The villains may not even be aware of it; they just know that they gain in power regardless of whether the heroes escape or not.

I think I may give the death trap a Possibility pool of 0. As PCs spend Possibilities on skills to avoid the traps or to soak damage, the Possibilities go to the death trap. I wouldn't even shave off the Possibilities. It would like the Possibility Hunger possessed by the Yokai. Later, the death trap can spend Possibilities to...I'm not sure what. I guess if the death trap makes an attack roll, that would be fitting, but the previews indicate that the PCs make all the die rolls. Maybe it's just enough to know that Possibility Energy is going to the villains. But I do like the concept that death traps are one way to gain Possibility Energy.
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Re: So you've been captured by Mobius

Postby utsukushi » Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:43 pm

Ooh... I had just thought, like, a death trap that was designed for this. The idea that deathtraps in general have that effect is even cooler! And it would totally explain why they're always escapable - you can't generate Possibilities by putting someone in an actual dead end. If they worked like that it would indeed be a really cool background thing for why, even without knowing it, villains keep building these flawed traps.

Though I agree with Gargoyle - while it's neat, I don't think it's necessary to explain why Nile villains behave the way they do.

In my mind it's sort of like how it doesn't even occur to Nile villains to remove the masks of heroes they encounter so they can go attack their families...the reality just causes them not to think that way.

"Nile Villains," absolutely. And I don't disagree with you at all.

But I do have a different view of the High Lords. To me, one of the cool things that sets them apart, and that lets them each be in charge of their Realm even if they're not, like, visibly on top of it (like Kanawa, say), is that one of the first things a Darkness Device can offer is a look from the outside. Knowing how your reality works is the first step to manipulating it to your benefit. Different High Lords are at different places with this, but it's an advantage that I think they all share, to some degree.

The Gaunt Man is clearly at the top of the pile. He's spent centuries crafting the Realities he conquers, such that Gaia is now a finely balanced machine for generating Possibilities without collapsing into nothing.

I think Baruuk Kaah is actually probably second, although with Eternity's take on Malreaux, they seem close. Kaah clearly thinks well beyond the Social Axiom of the Living Land. He even approaches Lanala as something of an outsider now, using her strength when it suits him and ignoring it when it doesn't. I think it's fascinating to have this ruthlessly cunning warlord riding atop such a savage realm, but I think dismissing Kaah as equally savage is a deadly mistake. Malreaux seems a little more bound by his world's rules, but unlike some of the High Lords, in his case it seems very much by choice. He's doesn't want to stand above it, he wants to force it to fit him perfectly...and he's pretty well on his way to achieving that.

It's probably worth noting that those are the three Cosms probably least friendly to Storm Knights.

Uthorion seems to really understand what's going on, but he hasn't gotten ahold of it. Kanawa is, as they should be, harder to gauge, but they seem to be more manipulating the rules of their reality than resisting or shaping them. Kranod does not, frankly, seem to have a good grasp of this, but that fits Torg's demons - he doesn't want to learn to delicately manipulate, he wants to grab reality by the throat and shake it until it does what he wants, which is a great plan if you want to destroy worlds, but less so for controlling them.

Mobius is noted to be pretty young for a High Lord, and I do think this shows a lot in the fact that the Nile Empire is still working under rules that strongly favor the good guys. But like dismissing Kaah as just another savage, I think - or rather, I prefer the view - that dismissing Mobius as just another pulp villain is dangerous. Unlike Kranod, he's too smart to be ignoring these things. If he has access to this information - which, as a High Lord, I submit that he does - he would be using it. It may even be that while others (like The Gaunt Man) are looking down on him for not having been able to fix this issue after nine realms... he may actually be using it to keep what he sees as his most dangerous potential competition - other villains - down. (And incidentally, simultaneously convincing his most dangerous actual competition, other High Lords, that he's not a threat.)

The only reason I could see for him to not be aware that his world has rules that keep tripping him up would be if Apophis kept this from him, and I don't know... just like it's important in Torg that the High Lords are almost as much against each other as they are against Earth, it's important that the High Lords and their Darkness Devices actually have their own, sometimes conflicting, motivations. But I don't see what Apophis would gain by hiding this.

So... yeah, not really trying to talk anyone into seeing how absolutely right I am in this. This is just how the primary characters of the game work, not something important like an obscure Perk. <grin> But that's a lot of where I'm coming from when I think about all the High Lords. And I'm... not really sure how much of it I just made up and how much it's really supported in the canon. <shrug>

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Re: So you've been captured by Mobius

Postby Gargoyle » Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:08 pm

utsukushi wrote:Ooh... I had just thought, like, a death trap that was designed for this. The idea that deathtraps in general have that effect is even cooler! And it would totally explain why they're always escapable - you can't generate Possibilities by putting someone in an actual dead end. If they worked like that it would indeed be a really cool background thing for why, even without knowing it, villains keep building these flawed traps.


Yeah, I thought you meant death traps in general, which we've been hinted are more than just regular traps. And I sort of agree it's a cool thing on some level, it's not really designed to kill but to generate possibilities. But of course IMO they don't know it's flawed, it's just the way things work. The "It's just how things work here" is the part that I think a lot of people (not talking about you specifically, as I know you do understand what I mean here) don't get. But maybe Mobius does know they will escape. <shrug> It wouldn't change much in how things play out.

But I do have a different view of the High Lords. To me, one of the cool things that sets them apart, and that lets them each be in charge of their Realm even if they're not, like, visibly on top of it (like Kanawa, say), is that one of the first things a Darkness Device can offer is a look from the outside. Knowing how your reality works is the first step to manipulating it to your benefit. Different High Lords are at different places with this, but it's an advantage that I think they all share, to some degree.


You are right of course, they do have a view outside of the structure of their reality. In oTorg that was canon, the Gaunt Man had a machine to manipulate possibilities, and he was noted as having tweaked the axioms and world laws with an understanding that could only come from outside of reality. The Darkness Devices crave destruction, but they learned from Apeiros to be creative about it, which is why they are so dangerous.

TorgE hasn't delved into the backstory as much, but the recent comments about Baruk Kaah increasing the Social axiom seem to indicate the same sort of awareness.

The Gaunt Man is clearly at the top of the pile. He's spent centuries crafting the Realities he conquers, such that Gaia is now a finely balanced machine for generating Possibilities without collapsing into nothing.

I think Baruuk Kaah is actually probably second, although with Eternity's take on Malreaux, they seem close. Kaah clearly thinks well beyond the Social Axiom of the Living Land. He even approaches Lanala as something of an outsider now, using her strength when it suits him and ignoring it when it doesn't. I think it's fascinating to have this ruthlessly cunning warlord riding atop such a savage realm, but I think dismissing Kaah as equally savage is a deadly mistake. Malreaux seems a little more bound by his world's rules, but unlike some of the High Lords, in his case it seems very much by choice. He's doesn't want to stand above it, he wants to force it to fit him perfectly...and he's pretty well on his way to achieving that.

It's probably worth noting that those are the three Cosms probably least friendly to Storm Knights.

Uthorion seems to really understand what's going on, but he hasn't gotten ahold of it. Kanawa is, as they should be, harder to gauge, but they seem to be more manipulating the rules of their reality than resisting or shaping them. Kranod does not, frankly, seem to have a good grasp of this, but that fits Torg's demons - he doesn't want to learn to delicately manipulate, he wants to grab reality by the throat and shake it until it does what he wants, which is a great plan if you want to destroy worlds, but less so for controlling them.

Mobius is noted to be pretty young for a High Lord, and I do think this shows a lot in the fact that the Nile Empire is still working under rules that strongly favor the good guys. But like dismissing Kaah as just another savage, I think - or rather, I prefer the view - that dismissing Mobius as just another pulp villain is dangerous. Unlike Kranod, he's too smart to be ignoring these things. If he has access to this information - which, as a High Lord, I submit that he does - he would be using it. It may even be that while others (like The Gaunt Man) are looking down on him for not having been able to fix this issue after nine realms... he may actually be using it to keep what he sees as his most dangerous potential competition - other villains - down. (And incidentally, simultaneously convincing his most dangerous actual competition, other High Lords, that he's not a threat.)

The only reason I could see for him to not be aware that his world has rules that keep tripping him up would be if Apophis kept this from him, and I don't know... just like it's important in Torg that the High Lords are almost as much against each other as they are against Earth, it's important that the High Lords and their Darkness Devices actually have their own, sometimes conflicting, motivations. But I don't see what Apophis would gain by hiding this.

So... yeah, not really trying to talk anyone into seeing how absolutely right I am in this. This is just how the primary characters of the game work, not something important like an obscure Perk. <grin> But that's a lot of where I'm coming from when I think about all the High Lords. And I'm... not really sure how much of it I just made up and how much it's really supported in the canon. <shrug>


I think you are basing your conclusions in bits and pieces of oTorg canon, and a bit of TorgE too. I think one thing though is that even the Gaunt Man's understanding of reality is flawed. He still has a certain point of view that limits his perspective. I think there is evidence that the Darkness Devices are keeping things from their High Lords. Tombstorm comes to mind from the DC missions book. IMC the Gaunt Man is intrigued about news about the Tombstorm and has a ravagon tracking the party. He thinks they created it somehow or knows who did. Of course it was Heketon. What else is Heketon keeping from him? Is it possible that Heketon is lying to him about some things? I think so.

For instance, one of the intriguing ideas on the forums (can't remember the source, but should be searchable) was that "The Torg is a lie"; there is no such thing and that the Darkness Devices use it as a carrot to keep the High Lords destroying worlds. What really makes me like this idea is that it provides a very clever ending to the campaign. Revealing this lie to the Gaunt Man, just as he is about to achieve victory would be a fun way to end the war, resulting in him turning on Heketon at the last second and the invasion grinding to a stalemate or even a win. oTorg always promised an end to the war, and it delivered (albeit in a not so satisfying fashion), and something like this could be used to end it in TorgE.

But yeah, I agree that Highlords do have some meta knowledge, but it could be that Apophis is lying to Mobius about the nature of his own World Laws, and/or is the one pulling the levers to maximize possibility energy harvesting. I'd accept that before buying that Mobius is putting SK's into deathtraps knowing they'd escape, because I'd want Mobius to be genuinely frustrated, not pleased. Having Apophis sneering (do DD's sneer? I think so) when it happens as it collects the possibilities also makes me feel warm inside as an evil GM.
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Re: So you've been captured by Mobius

Postby Big Lurker » Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:36 pm

A sinking underground complex, so they have to get through the smaller traps while under a time limit and having to deal with sand building up (water makes it easier to swim upwards)...


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