Friday, April 7, 2017

The Great Rave of Synthexia, Part 1

So Synthexia is an 80's neonwarpworld style hexcrawl filled with glowing sinuous animate lazers that snake miles underground through forgotten miles wide decaying fiberoptics and occasionally push a loop of themselves up into a humble hamlet that used to be a nexus of fiberops and fry/drive insane/convert the inhabitants into lazermen who are as fast as light and have no sense of how to control their new bodies and great apocalypse tigers with 3 eyes on each of their pawpads and infinite fuzzy green tentacle tails that can turn your soul into a black screaming tortured crystal that burrows its way out of you in 1 round with one look (save vs. death). Shit like that. Crystals and lazers and incredibly powerful technologic cities long since degraded into cults of broken AI's and dimly pulsing wires with frothing cyborg-zombie as the world tumbles towards its sun. Postapoc futuristic disco world slowly dying. Corrupted versions of this song glitch over degrading organoplastic speakers as crysgolems slowly shuffle over a holofloor, ignoring fallen golems that spastically twich, painting erratic patterns in the fresh blood from adventurers who weren't good enough dancers.

Et cetera.

Here is my humble contribution.

HEX #????

I don't really care which hex this goes in as long as it goes in.

In this hex, it is always nighttime. No matter which direction you approach it from, the sky will darken to dusk as you near the borders that are covered in old steel walls and failing holo-fences and mileslong interwoven tapestries of dark purple rusted barbed wire. Every 100 feet, a sign is posted, and this sign always says DANGER DANGER DANGER DO NOT ENTER CANYON LOST TO HALLUCO-CRYSTAL CLASSIFIED INSTALLATION DO NOT ENTER OGRES HERE DO NOT ENTER and a thousand and one other reasons to NOT ENTER, flickering over a dying solar touchpad. There are many worn passages through the fragmented borders, pioneered by one daring soul with a working plas-torch or a nasty computer virus or simply some good old bolt cutters and then followed by thousands of teenagers and young adults and occasionally the old and dying.

If the party enters ignoring one of the many many signs, there's a 50% chance they attract the attention of a malfunctioning defense system which produces a malformed android to keep them away. The android will of course, due to horrific defects, try to murder the PC's after making glitchy conversation. A remove curse spell or simply knocking the android over the head(s) can, at the DM's discretion, fix the android's programming, in which case the android will tell them the basics about the canyon ahead (as the canyon was 1d100 x 42 years ago) and warn them not to go. If they still go, it might follow them. It's immune to all effects that the Rave has on organics. However, it might still go mad again after several hours.

Android Defect (roll 1d6)
1. Its head is half separated into two differing heads. It can communicate out of two mouths that are loosely connected into a big mouth and always out of sync and always VERY LOUD and has two different brainchips, so it gets two saves against mind-affecting spells and illusions and charm spells.
2. Oh my god so many arms. Arms sticking out of EVERYTHING. Noses cloacas bellybuttons fingernails. This android always has max dexterity. The locations of the arms may give some normal PC's nightmares after seeing this android for the first time.
3. Neverending river of a goo that looks like snot pouring out of all of its orifices, including its pores. -10 or disadvantage on checks made to grapple and this android can cast grease at will. Goo may or may not have effects similar to a random potion if enough (like a meal's worth) is eaten. Up to the DM.
4. One part looks normal but is in fact a holo-lazer. This android essentially has a sun-blade sticking out of its body that deals whatever damage a sun-blade deals. However, it thinks this limb is normal until shown otherwise. Once per day, the android can extend the reach of this lazer by 20 feet, but passes out for a whole combat round afterwards. This lazer of course melts/fries anything that lazers can (like weapons that pass through it). It can still stand on and use this limb normally. (get the players to shake hands with it)
5. This android's appearance is constantly shifting (+ 5 to stealth and disguise) and it never stands still if it is forced or convinced to stand still then it will be revealed that it is a HIDEOUS CYBORG WITH ONLY HALF ITS SKIN and all PC's must make a save against fear or run away screaming and barfing/shitting their pants and dropping whatever they were holding.
6. This android is split in half, but that's okay because the upper part has an antigrav generator and is loosely connected to the lower part, which it drags around with its arms. If the connection is severed, the lower part and legs will behave like a headless chicken (BAWK BAWK BCCAWK) and run around viciously kicking everyone in the crotch and stomping on tender footsies like your younger sibling with cleats on while making truly disturbing noises. The upper part can loosely control the lower part.

Android Attack Mode (1d6)
1. Choke the everliving shit out of every organic PC. Will eventually (after 1 combat round) pick a PC to focus on and (surprise!) keeps hanging on after death. If killed and still choking, treat as Strength 20 for the purposes of Athletics/bend bars/lockpicking or whatever check you use to pry its arms off while the PC turns blue.
2. Mangle PC's to look like it. Will pick the weakest looking or most attractive PC to mangle (flip a coin).
3. Scream at everyone to LEAVE IT ALONE!!! Will try to rip the throat (or equivalent) out of the first PC who moves, twitches, talks, blinks.
4. Gurgles unintelligible words while it attempts to scoop out the brains of people with its unusually large and sharp and shovel-shaped hands.
5. Toe fetish. Will focus on yanking off toes. For every 3 toes lost for one person, -1 to Dex until they are restored (and yes I know you don't need toes to balance whatever). Can yank 1 toe with each hand, hehehe.
6. Will barf vaguely sentient mass of wires onto a random PC that will try to burrow into the PC's nervous system and take control. Constitution saving throws! If the wires succeed (3 failed Cn saving throws or something), the DM controls the PC's body and has a 75% chance of controlling the PC for that round.

After the android thing happens, or after they pass the fence, the music is audible. Get your portable speaker or phone out and play your favorite shower song at very low volume on repeat constantly. The sky will darken to a full blackblue and the light show will become visible. Random encounter table if you so choose.

Random Encounter Table for Outside the Rave (1d20)

1. Quivering slavering dancer who is quickly dying of extreme old age and beat deprivation. Has no idea how to get back and will die soon after the encounter. If it sees dancing, it will dance like a god for 1 minute and then die, jerking itself to pieces.
2. Several hopeful goblins practicing their dancing. Their leader (massive gilded shades of badassery) will challenge a PC to a dancing contest (best out of 3 30-second dancing matches to the PC's song of choice). Make the PC literally dance if you can. DM's dance too unless it's painfully obvious you would lose. If the PC wins, yay them, they get some swag shades (+1 to Cha checks in the Rave, +1 to saves against light-based effects). The goblins may pop up at the worst moment possible later and try to murder the PC if they lose the contest.
3Meatsmith looking for humans to practice on. Will stride towards nearest PC while readying dizzying amounts of knives and drills and other dental/farming tools. Can be outwalked, but will convert a PC into a bloodspeaker if allowed to (or if the party hesitates too long). 
4. A glittery tumbleweed rolling against the wind.
5. 1d4-1 beat zombies wandering looking for fresh meat, Will strike up poses as they see fresh living meat and will then try to eat them while dancing (-2 to their attack rolls, + 2 to AC).
6. A really strong stench of decaying meat carried by the wind. Save or barf up recent meal.
7. A robotic arm with bioconnexors still intact sticking up out of the ground. If a PC's arm is cut off, this arm will automatically attach if pressed to the wound. It has 18 Dex and 14 Str and weakness to bludgeoning damage. It can cast color spray once per day, but has a 25% chance of backfiring on the party if the PC does this. 
8. A random corpse. Has been dead for hundreds of years. Maybe (10% chance) has a backpack with a few pages of a diary containing basic info about the Rave.
9. A lazer goes off track and flashes across the party. Despite the distance, is still incredibly strong. Save or be blinded for 1d4 rounds. If a 1 is rolled on the save, the PC has disadvantages on saves against that particular lazer color for 24 hours. The color is anything but red.
10. Orgy of cyborgs. Can be heard long before it is seen. 2d10 cyborgs are participating. If a PC gets withing 5 feet, they must roll a Dex save or get pulled in and fucked for 1d4 hours. Has the same benefit as a long rest, but gives the PC -5 to their next saving throw to resist tempation/addiction.
11. A shining gold speck. If investigated, will prove to be an ancient golden medallion. This is actually the Medallion of the First Raver, and will give the PC authority over all crysgolems. Is the only thing capable of shutting down the ancient computer/brainchip that runs the Rave. Use your imagination to decide how the Rave dies if this ever happens.
12. A +2 cursed sword sticking out of a beat zombie that forces the holder to always fail Stealth checks. If it crits, it deals 1d8 Con damage, and the wielder must save or poof into glitter.
13. Some rocks constantly crumbling and reforming into a cairn with a doorway 2 feet tall. If the doorway is crawled through, (must be done quickly or the rocks will crush the PC) is an entrance to the unspeakably old CAIRN OF THE BEATMASTERS.
14. A talking head that only speaks in lyrics and will offer directions to some treasure (actually a Sarlacc thing) while insulting mothers.
15. A headless body slowly crawling backwards, followed by a giggling bunch (1d8 + 1) bunch of teenagers headed towards the rave. They will act like total teens towards the PC's. One is a succubus.
16. Dancing pebbles that will throw themselves at the PC's (treat as slingstones) if disturbed. Are actually intelligent, and if calmed down, will give the PC's happy glitter, essentially a scroll of charm person at 3rd level in the form of a pouch of glitter. 
17. A yawning chasm opens up. If all the PC's fall in, transports them back 2d10 years in the past. They emerge in reverse from the chasm, which closes. 
18. Neo-fractal dolphin looking for a mate. Will offer a deed to a fortune as a dowry for any PC with Cha above 18, and will abduct the PC to a separate dimension after the deal is made. The PC will still be able to visit the party members in their dreams in the other dimension, and can return after negotiating with their new, anxious spouse, who will be devoted to them and who will appear to save them from death at least once. If turned down, will mope off.
19. The KNIGHT OF OMINOUS LOOKS. Challenges one PC to an Intimidate-off, and will offer his services for a round (to be called in anytime and place where safe dimensional travel is allowed). to a PC who wins. Is actually a bored demon. Will do whatever a demon does to the PC if the PC loses.
20. Roll twice. If two 20's are rolled in a row, make a big deal out of it and secretly grant a magicuser the power to curse one person with the Curse of the Quantum Ogre. Do not tell them about this. They must somehow self-reflect in character to discover this.

Muzak is louder now, about the volume you would get from listening to someone play a tune from their phone at full volume 10 feet away.

History of the Rave

This has been going on for around 8000 years, give or take half a milennium. Originally it was a really really big party, but now it has completely transformed into its own world. Is slowly spreading. For every new person that knows its name, the Rave gains five cubic feet. Since 8000 years is a really fucklong time, the rave has evolved its own self-sustaining ecosystem, even if the ecosystem is non-Euclidean in nature.
*For DM's: The Rave is actually loosely sentient and exerts a form of psychic control over dancers, moving them like swarms of bacteria. That is why the Rave when viewed from above will always have a weird pattern to it. The Rave is of course dedicated to growing and will try to subtly assimilate any new meatbags that enter through beatmist and will create ripples in the forms of dancing to keep away the PASTE for as long as it can.

Dancers, ravers, are the main focal point of the Rave. The Rave (in some places literally) revolves around dancers. As such, everything is designed to keep them up and dancing. They are a motley bunch, composed of slowly rotting flesh infused with rainbow beat sinuously and amoebically moving under their skin and fake/real hair coated with hundreds of years of beat, blood, oil, and synth-sweat. The dancing parts of their bodies are frequently robot limbs blurring faster than the eye can see. Their eyes are robo-compound (like flies) and their brains frequently have chips in them to coordinate their incredible dancing. The Rave has produced dancers rivaling gods (no shit) in their intensity and skill, honed by thousands of years of practice, archao-tech fiberop brainchips that help their coordination approach the speed of light, tens of metal limbs, each dancing separately to a song, plasorganics that biodegrade over centuries and require no food or water slugsentient fiberop nervereplacers that slowly take over worn out highly meatsmithed immune systems mechanical connexors that synch movement speeds throughout the entire body if the body doesn't run on fiberops. Beat-clogged lungs that flash pulse seductive screensaveresque rainbow colors that shift across stretched rashed makeup smeared sore covered skin to enhance and hypnotize and oily iridescent sweat from the massive amounts of beat ingested from the atmosphere and lungs trickling down skeletally thin and superfit limbs that merge awkwardly and piecemeally with streamlined gleaming rose gold metal covered in coppery green sweat stains. The beauty and flash is enough to drive humans mad, frothing champing screaming from the beauty and chaos. Everybody dances like this video on 1.5x speed. Those are the noobs who unconsciously restrict themselves to moves that normal human joints can make. Take advantage of your 360 degree elbow!
Dancers get around by crowdsurfing (like miles of crowdsurfing) and by dancerunning, or simply by dancing around the edges of the crowd. Dancers will ignore PC's unless PC's start dancing, and then they will make room for them and welcome them, giving them basic info and pointing them towards meatsmiths, advising them of the PASTE, and talking about how groovy beat is. Imagine OCD dancer robo-hippies. Beatmasters are dancers that have been around for millennia or are very very good. That Old DJ is acknowledged to be the first dancer to see a meatsmith. However, shim never goes near a meatsmith anymore, and will attack anyone who asks why.

HD 2 Defense as leather + shield (not actually wearing either) 
Dex at least 18, Wis never higher than 6
Dancer's Strike 1d8 plus Dex Move wood elf Morale 9
If a PC interacts a single dancer for a round, they must make a Wis save (-1 to the save for every HD above 2) or attempt to mimic the dancer's actions. This also applies in combat. It is possible to dance and fight.

Beatmasters have survived and been augmented so many times that they are closer to the pulse of the Rave than actual humanity. Think of them as the connexors of the rave, the nexes (nexuses? nexi?) through which the Rave distributes its influence. There are roughly 1 per 1000 ravers, and they are the epicenters of new dance moves and the originators of dance "memes" (fun fact: memes are regarded as forms of cultural expression, not just pictures with captions, so in the Rave, dance moves can become memes like the sprinkler or the Chuck Berry, not up to any actual dancing standards of the Ravers, but still funny and cute to them) 
Small Language Digression
Seeing a human dance, is, to Ravers, like watching a toddler take its first steps, and those first steps all look the same, but they're still cute. The Ravers have been honing their dance skills for thousands of years, and are continually on the lookout for new dances and new exciting things. That's why you can still speak with them, because they fanatically keep up with the new things. There are Ravers whose memories hold thousands of years worth of language in their degrading/upgrading brains, enough to rival Goblin Punch's elves in their depth of vocabulary. Every so often, an old fragment of language breaks free from the high-light neocortexes of the really old dancers, and it traverses the Rave almost by speed of thought. One raver says it and their compatriots know it and are giggling it out to their pals in the next syllable. Verbal and dance memes ripple back and forth across the Rave like across a pool, diminishing in power as they go. Across the time and space of the Rave, there are dancers who collectively know the history of the past thousand years through what was common knowledge to them at the time. Some secrets of the universe are hidden here in the brains of fanatical dancers. The Rave can, if it wishes, to exert control over these trillions (remember, millennia of dancing) of memes and focus them in a certain spot through a beatmaster or simply through the collective psyche of the dancers. If it wants to bring up all the aggression memes, it can, and to the dancers it will be "oh hey, remember those old memes?" while the PC's will be like "OH GOD WHY IS EVERYONE TRYING TO MURDER US". The dancers are all having fun and are quite unaware of their gestalt psyche that has collected over the years like oily marbled candle wax, fueled by beat and the crystal at the center of the rave. (When they sense it, they call it the Haze.) Their language is a pseudo-gestalt that is roughly a third current, one half from the last thousand years, and the last bit is archaic expressions that have been mashed together and that have partially lingustically mutated into a kind of "in the know" code that is used by older dancers > 5000 years to talk amongst themselves over the ears of the others. Go read Beowulf and mash half the words together (in the original language) while taking at least half of one word out to get it out faster. Like that. Now make it into an entire language. Ravers communicate complex ideas through simple two-syllable words. A sentence is an entire story, and sages have been known to pick the brains of ravers for summaries of ancient epics. Ravers speak like hummingbird wings.

Back to beatmasters.

Beatmasters have no exposed flesh. To become one, you have to get rid of all your flesh eventually to get that extra edge. The meatsmiths have honed their robotics and prosthetics to an incredibly fine art of quick and excellent replacement. Meat needs care and stretches and rips. Nanobots for repair are much quicker, and only leave fine silvery metallic tracings that look like silvery sharpie. The more of those a dancer has, the longer they've been using that limb.  Beatmasters are rippling shivering metallic masses that look more like abstract sculptures vaguely modeled on a torso and blurring and wavering out of visible viewlengths with their speed. Their "heads" remain mostly still throughout all this, but they're still as fast as hummingbirds on speed. Sometimes they miscalculate the speed of humans, though, because they're used to the bird-like movements of dancers. They will overpredict your attacks by the tensing of your muscles and will block a full 5 seconds before you make the attack. They always always always go first in initiative order. This prediction makes them really good at dodging spells since their brains function faster. Once they see a spell go into effect, they will remember the motions and know how to dodge what's coming. They will eventually be able to predict what spells are coming because they have spent thousands of years analyzing patterns to dances to copy and make them flawlessly. If arcane casting is simply words and finger motions that pluck on the chords of reality, then they can duplicate any arcane spell after they see it several times. Their reflexes are that good. 

HD Defense splint 
Dex 20, Wis 8 Slap 2d4 + chaining Move 100 ft Morale 11
*Chaining If the beatmaster chooses, it can attack until it misses. However, it takes a -1 to damage every time it hits (stacks to only dealing 1 damage per attacks) and can't attack on its next turn.
Same as above, but PC's get -4 to the save and can't do anything else but dance while hypmotized. If they dance well enough for a minute, the beatmaster will forgive them for whatever they did and crowdsurf them to wherever they want to go inside the rave.
Make them Reactive for 5e players and give them Spell Resistance. HD is 1d10, Dex is 24, AC is at least 18 due to natural armor and ridiculous Dex. Give them Spell Mirroring after a while and then watch as they essentially become Blue Mages from your party's arcane casters. Divine spells rely on different sources for power, however, and they will need help from the Rave itself to duplicate the effects of divine spells. Or they could just infuse specialty nanobots. Either one.

A beatmaster will always have 2d10 dancers vying for its favor who may become aggressively friendly with the PC's (clenched teeth smiles, etc) (actually they want the PC's to fuck off)

That Old DJ appears only when the Rave is in actual serious danger or 2 crysgolems have been destroyed. or when a 1 is rolled on a 1d100 (for any reason) while in the rave. They have 3 heads and 18 arms and 20 legs and 4 torsos, and only 20 Dex but can take 4 actions per turn. Stat them yourself. It's the equivalent of the Rave's angel, and as such can subtly control a small area of the Rave in minor ways through the memes (e.g., all the dancers subconsciously try to trip you). That Old DJ will have access to everything that the Rave has access to through the psyche (which the dancers call the Haze). So a scattering of spells, the ability to mimic and cast any spell it sees, godly blocking abilities. Defeat it by being unpredictable and doing like 4 feints a second.

Roleplaying Dancers
Dancers are all OCD, and talk breathlessly and in a kind of shorthand, mashing all sorts of words and sentences together. They are impatient and mercurial to the point of killing you if you ask them to slow down, but can be very nice to new fleshies (who they treat indulgently, like intelligent children).
Beatmasters pantomime everything, but do a very good job of it (they can speak, but only do so in the voice of the Rave). Exaggerated facial expressions and body language while playing them. That Old DJ has telepathy in all languages ranged 120 ft.

Crysgolems, the PASTE, and meatsmiths in the next post.