[Wonderland No More]Spoilers - Altering the campaign

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[Wonderland No More]Spoilers - Altering the campaign

#1 Postby Erpegis » Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:14 am

I've been reading Wonderland No More, and it's been pretty great and whimsical - great for humorous or creepy humorous horror stories, until Plot Point Campaign happened.

Put simply, I don't like WWII games. Nazis and Wonderland don't mix well, in my opinion. Some of the concepts in the Plot Point sound cool, though, so maybe there's a way to move the campaign to the modern times?

Also - if the PCs are descendants of the real Alice, what to do with a near-Total Party Kill, if only one person survives?

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#2 Postby Jordan Peacock » Sun Jan 08, 2012 12:29 pm

Addressing the issue of a "Near Total Party Kill," that's generally a bad thing no matter how you slice it, but I don't really see why the players shouldn't be allowed to generate new characters. There's nothing in the player guide that says something along the lines of "There are only 4 surviving descendants of Alice, and YOU ARE THEM."

If you have a player join the campaign partway through, or someone needs a replacement character, you just make it happen. There was someone else who "Victoria" missed, and whose path didn't happen to cross that of the other PCs until just now. Call it fate, amazing coincidence, or whatever; it's really no more remarkable than the tendency in certain other campaigns that when one hero gets killed, the party just happens to discover a new adventurer willing to join their number.

In regards to the whole WWII angle, I would suggest that there's a lot more that can be done with Wonderland No More as a setting than to stick to the included Plot Point Campaign. However, it seems to be a given that any Savage Setting has to have a Plot Point Campaign, and in order for there to be one, the writers had to settle upon ONE campaign.

There are a number of other angles one could take with Wonderland No More. Just for the sake of brainstorming, here are a few possibilities:

1) Leave out the Real World. Focus on the adventures as entirely taking place in a Wonderland that persisted after Alice left. "Victoria" is a shadowy individual that emerged to "fill the gap" left by Alice, who has, through the magic of Wonderland, managed to visit the Real World, and has taken some very bad influences from it. In this version, Victoria intends to conquer all of Wonderland; weapons brought from the Real World are just part of her scheme to take over Wonderland using modern technology (you could bump up the Real World timeline to the present for all it matters), and there are no Nazis to deal with. The climax of the campaign would just consist of a showdown with Victoria's forces, "Alice" would be left out, and if you want some sort of element of "redemption" of Victoria rather than destroying her outright, that would depend upon the ingenuity and initiative of the PCs to come up with some dramatically appropriate and plausible plan.

2) VR Wonderland. Wonderland is a massive virtual reality simulation run amok. In the near future, supercomputers have been created that use neural networks akin to how the human brain works, in order to run simulations of such complexity that the "programmers" have precious little control over how the simulation works, aside from planting the initial seed and making a few "tweaks" along the way.

The PCs are all test subjects who "dream" their way into Wonderland; there's no need for any connection to a "real" Alice in this version. Little do they realize, however, that the sheer complexity of this experiment has resulted in a phenomenon of quantum entanglement on a massive scale (that's technobabble, by the way) that has caused Wonderland to become a persistent reality on its own. Victoria is the in-game "avatar" of the primary AI process running the simulation, and has achieved self-awareness of itself and the relationship of Wonderland with the Real World.

Victoria is engaging in an experiment to weaken the boundaries between Real World and Wonderland, eventually overrunning Earth with Wonderland's madness ... and she's found a few human co-conspirators in the Real World willing to assist her, because they think that by introducing "magic" to the world, and by being in control of it, they will become like gods. Little does she realize, however, that her "partners" see her as a bit of a wild card, and once the boundaries between Real World and Wonderland are weakened sufficiently, plan to move in and eliminate her, setting themselves up as the shapers of reality.

(E.g., same basic setup, though you might leave out a few Interludes, or replace them with some "cyberpunk" adventures with alternate Real World characters for the PCs. The Real World tech is much higher, and the final showdown could be against modern tanks, robot drones, or whatever you want the Big Bads to be.)

3) Megacorporate Dystopia. Move it to the Near Future, and replace Nazis with Megacorporation X. Instead of WWII, the Real World consists of a cyberpunk dystopia, where governmental powers are weakened, and megacorporations rule the world. World War III or IV might have already happened, resulting in civilization persisting in a few sealed-off fortress-cities surrounded by vast ruined "no man's land" areas. Wonderland is still Wonderland (and not just some VR simulation), but Alice spent a lot more time in Wonderland "limbo" than indicated in the original timeline, and the PCs are several more generations removed from the original Alice. As with #2, any Real-world technology is going to be at a much higher level. For the final battle, instead of Nazis, you have corporate mercenaries and robot tanks.

That's just for the sake of brainstorming. For my own Wonderland No More campaign (currently on hiatus due to scheduling issues, though I might revive it as an online campaign later this year), I set the "Real World" time period in 1888, based in Victorian-era London, around the times of the Whitechapel murders, and about 24 years after the release of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." I largely ignored the Plot Point Campaign, instead having the heroes play as people from the Real World who suddenly found themselves caught up in Wonderland -- and who gained new powers (either a racial package or a new Background Edge) while on the other side. My intent was to also have a bit of action going on in London, with a bit of investigation behind some of the events to figure out where new "portals" to Wonderland might appear, but we didn't get far enough into the campaign to fully explore that.

I regret that I haven't anything in terms of specifics in the course of a single post, but the WNM Appendix does hint at a few different ways to use the setting without committing yourself to the Plot Point Campaign as written, and even, more specifically, moving the Real World to another time period.

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#3 Postby Kodyax » Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:20 pm

I have a few things I'm thinking of doing with it. One thing is to add Realms of Cthulhu critters and see how long they keep their sanity when dealing with the perpetual mad house that is Wonderland and its natives. I'm also keeping it hand to use with Interface Zero, as a domain in the Deep. There are website out there now dedicated to Lewis Carrol and his books why not have an entire domain in the near future?

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