Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Seeking Orbs

Here is what your character knows about Seeking Orbs:

  • Each one is a small glass sphere about the size of a golf ball that appears to contain a dwarf universe.
  • They are indestructible and unalterable so far as you know.
  • So long as it is in your possession, an Orb cannot be lost. It will stay on your person or in your gear no matter what.
  • It gives you a bonus of 1 to every roll (like: ability checks, to hit, damage, saves, etc) except initiative.
  • You can only keep it for one session. At the end of the session you will be compelled to give it to another PC that participated in that session (not any creature, specifically a PC). It's the rules.
  • You cannot possess a single Orb more than once, however if an Orb dissolves (see below) you may possess another when the new one comes around.
  • You cannot possess an orb and "not use it". You get it, it works for you in the next game you play, then you pass it along to someone else who played with you at the end of that session.
  • You cannot give it to someone else mid session unless you leave the session. If you do that, they only get to use it until the end of the session.
  • An Orb may be possessed by more than one PC belonging to the same player, but not consecutively.
  • An Orb cannot be countered by magic-suppressing effects.
  • If a Seeking Orb comes into your possession, please make a comment here after the session  saying who you passed it to at the end of the session and (if you like) any exploits made possible by the Orb.
  • Only one Seeking Orb can exist at any given time.
  • The first Orb appears in my (Vornheim) campaign.
  • Anyone who comes into possession of the Orb should be directed to this page.
  • The Orbs are designated The First Orb, The Second Orb, etc.
Here is what your character does not know about the Seeking Orb, but you do:

  • Although this can in no way be detected, the Seeking Orb is a creation of the Gods of Disorder, designed to deliver fresh seeds of conflict to nexuses of drama, heroism and violence.
  • If it should come to pass that, at the end of a session, there are no eligible candidates to possess an Orb (i.e. everyone in that session has already had it once) then the orb dissolves and a fantastically destructive demon lord is released into whatever gameworld that session took place in.
  • The GM who is running that session is free to determine the nature of the demon lord, the exact place it appears (it need not be near the site of the Orb's dissolution, but must be accessible to adventurers), and its goals. However: it must be a massively powerful creature worth at least enough experience points to take a fighter from 5th to 6th level or enough xp to take the highest level PC who plays in that setting from their current level to the next--whichever of those figures is higher.
  • The demon lord can be a traditional creature such as Orcus, Demogorgon, or Lolth, or a creature of the GM's own creation. If new demon lords are not germane to the campaign where the Orb meets its fate, the GM may instead elect to use or invent a devil, Tarrasque, kaiju, evil monarch  or some other new and massive threat to life and propriety, so long as the creature is both accessible to PCs and worth the proper amount of xp.
  • The precise nature of the creature and its schemes could be related in some ways to the adventures the Orb has had on its way to your game. For example, its minions could be clones of all the PCs who possessed the Orb before.
  • Once an Orb dissolves, a new one will instantly be generated somewhere else, and will soon be released into circulation in some campaign somewhere.
  • GMs who have had a demon lord released in their campaigns via Orb may opt to coordinate the actions of the various fiends in some sort of collaborative multiversal apocalyptic scenario of their own design and reward PCs who participate in resolving it appropriately.


  1. How about a list for keeping track of who has had the ball, and who has it currently, for the titillation of the public?

    1. there is a provision for that in the rules here

  2. How exactly does the Ball hop between gameworlds? Does it only go from gameworld to gameworld when characters are used in multiple games?

    Either way, cool idea! Love it.

    1. Never mind... missed the "some campaign somewhere" after Orb dissolution.

  3. The concept of "flailsnails d.m hot potato" takes actual form..

  4. I just might put one of those in one of my games... It's probably not going to be even a D&D campaign, or maybe not even fantasy. But if it's a multiverse anyway, what does that matter?

    1. So long as it doesn't have a chance of overlapping FLAILSNAILS games I think it's ok. If there's more than one at a time int he same bunch of campaigns it might dilute the idea.

      Maybe call it something else, too...

  5. Who creates the next orb when one dissolves?

  6. let a character keep the orb for longer periods. the longer you keep it, the bigger the bonus gets, but there are increasingly unpleasant side effects.

    the orb records all actions of the character using it and the creature created when the orb dissolves is shaped by the character (and his actions) that had it the longest. the longer you keep it, the more the creature is either similar to/interested in/attracted to/whatever the "creator-character".

    that way it's more than just a bad guys on a timer.

    1. That would completely defeat every single element of its purpose.

      It has to move from PC to PC quickly and not be something that distorts anyone's campaign very much or that people would fight over or that a PC would keep.

    2. And of course it is a villain on a timer, the interesting element is _whose campaign does the villain appear in_.

      It is not a highlight, it is a device to use to highlight other things.

    3. make the penalties harsh enough and the orb will still be passed around quickly. somep players will hold on to it a little longer to benefit from the bonuses. these will shape the creature.

      in what way would anything be "distorted"? isn't the idea of player actions creating a monster appealing?

      it is to me, so i say thank's for the idea.

    4. If someone holds on to it (or has to think about it at all, really) then it isn't doing its job.

      The idea you have is interesting, it's just a whole separate idea

  7. I have never been involved in Flailsnails games, I don't get around multiple games. That aside I love every thing about this idea, wish I could implement it.