Jump to content

Need a MacGuffin - help please


Echo3Niner
 Share

Recommended Posts

OK, so I'm (re)starting a Champions campaign, based on my Earth, 2030 setting <link>; my plan, is after getting the players to settle into their cosmic-powered characters with a few "normal" games, I'll start to seed the campaign with minions of the Empress coming to Earth (and perhaps the other two alien's systems) to find "something" (the MacGuffin(s).

 

These are to serve the same purpose as the Infinity Stones in the MCU or the Mother Boxes in the DCEU; very powerful items, the heroes do not want the Empress to have.

 

I plan to try to keep the MacGuffins secret for as long as possible, having the players uncover that there is an actual conspiracy to gather them prior to the Empress' arrival (I don't even want the characters to know about her either, but to discover that she's coming as they go along in the campaign also) - it'll be a big reveal at some point, as many beings will be fleeing her (causing their own chaos in their wake), so to get the players/characters to be worried/scared before they even face her in any real way.

 

In my campaign, the Empress' main motivation is to enslave the galaxy; much like the Roman Empire, she feels she's bringing order, peace and civilization to the barbarians - so she's the hero in her 'story' (or head; of course, aren't they all)...

 

So, what is she sending her minions to gather?  I've decided they can be either (keys to the?) super-powerful MacGuffin(s) (or are they the MacGuffins themselves?) she needs to help her enslave the populous (e.g., the afore mentioned Infinity Stones or Mother Boxes, or One Ring for that matter) - OR - they could be (keys to the?) the one thing that could defeat her, and she wants them gathered so they cannot be used against her (she may collect them, or try to destroy them, or whatever).

 

Whatever they are, they just "awoke" when the Earth crossed the threshold (per my setting's mythology), which is what got her attention and answers the "why now?" question.  So, anyone have any good ideas for what she's looking for?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A unique, as yet undiscovered mineral hidden deep in the earth's core to power her ultimate weapon? 

 

That'll give the heroes an opportunity to play it as either "Stop her from collecting enough of the mineral" or "Let's get it first, make our own ultimate weapon and kill her". 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Normthebarman said:

A unique, as yet undiscovered mineral hidden deep in the earth's core to power her ultimate weapon? 

 

That'll give the heroes an opportunity to play it as either "Stop her from collecting enough of the mineral" or "Let's get it first, make our own ultimate weapon and kill her". 

I like the mineral option however instead of ultimate weapon, how about it can be used to make items that enhance people’s power? Perhaps there is a book that describes this? A “magic” book that is. If too much of it is found by the Heroes, they can thwart her plans. Also she could use it to enhance her plans. Also once found out, you wouldn’t want it lying about for villains to use either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

    During the Tom Baker era of Dr. Who there was an entire season devoted to finding “The Keys of Time” for a being known as the White Guardian. Five or six pieces scattered through time and space that when brought together would form a super-McGuffin called the Key of Time.  What was interesting was that each key took a different form until brought together with another piece. So in one episode it could be an ancient book and in another it was a giant statue. The final adventure had the piece had become a young woman.  Which also gave the moral dilemma of “Do we turn this girl into an piece of rock for all eternity?”

  This idea also came into play in Buffy the Vampire Slayer when it was discovered that her sister Dawn was actually a form of primal energy known as “The Key” turned human in order to hide it from a HellGod named Glory.

   The nature of a Mcguffin is that you really don’t have to go into great detail over what it is or what it does. All you have to do is say that the bad guys want it and will do bad things with it if they get it. Look at the movies Pulp Fiction or Ronin. In each there was something that had to be gotten or gotten back and the main characters never spoke about what it was. In Pulp Fiction all you saw was the bright golden light coming from inside the briefcase when it was opened.

  If you give it a cool enough name like “The Shards of Eternity” or “The Eyes of the Multiverse” you can forestall them from ever really knowing what the thing actually is by saying Mankind isn’t ready to understand it’s true nature.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Solid gold coffee pot. A certain brew made in it will allow the drinker to see into other dimensions.

56 minutes ago, Tjack said:

   The nature of a Mcguffin is that you really don’t have to go into great detail over what it is or what it does. All you have to do is say that the bad guys want it and will do bad things with it if they get it. Look at the movies Pulp Fiction or Ronin. In each there was something that had to be gotten or gotten back and the main characters never spoke about what it was. In Pulp Fiction all you saw was the bright golden light coming from inside the briefcase when it was opened.

 

Or a great history like the Maltese Falcon - which may or may not even be the real thing. People just WANT it

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Do you actually want a cool sounding name for it? A name which doesn't even describe what it does? Here are a few.

 

The Master Element. 

Zorbonite.

Ultrageni.

Bridgeadoom.

The Transportal.

The Hellsahevan.

The Gork.

The Itemidontknow.

The Unknowablething.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe a little silly, but...

 

A precursor race - Atlanteans, ancients, proticultures, slavers, olympians, whatever - created planetary defenses for the earth thousands of years ago.  

 

To modern human eyes, though they just look like piles of rocks - pyramids, zigurats, Neolithic megaliths, etc - attacking the components directly with advanced alien weapons would activate them, so, instead, the invaders have been trying to get humans to demolish them piecemeal.

 

I just liked the idea if the mcguffins not being little portable things hidden away.

 

For the control system to use the weapon proactively, it's not a bunch of hidden items,  either, it's coded into human genes.  Some from each human population.  Unfortunately humans are kinda into genocide, so some of those ancient populations have been dispersed or all but whiped out.  Others have mixed.

 

So it's necessary for a diverse set of human representatives to unite and defend the planet by consensus control of the ancient weapon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, archer said:

Real MacGuffins need to be unique items and portable so you can have chase scenes & people hiding them at the last possible moment in unlikely places.

 

2 cents

Well...kinda. The MacGuffin can simply be a device which can control a much larger doomsday machine. One which is programmed to turn on unless it gets a single from the MacGuffin. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Everything has pretty much been covered.

I am just adding my opinion that the MacGuffin should be scattered in parts that need to be assembled.  Having a single device makes it too easy and quick.

 

Another idea is (if you are using the events in the Book of the Empress) that the ritual cast buy the mystics instrumental in the defeat of the last invasion had created a number of rune-stones (or some other items that sound right) that are what disrupt the Imperial magics.  Instead of trying to knock down the front door, the plan is to locate and destroy the stones.

 

Or something...... 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Spence said:

Another idea is (if you are using the events in the Book of the Empress) that the ritual cast buy the mystics instrumental in the defeat of the last invasion had created a number of rune-stones (or some other items that sound right) that are what disrupt the Imperial magics.  Instead of trying to knock down the front door, the plan is to locate and destroy the stones.

 

 

I like this - using the mythology created for my game'verse, and since the Empress is Immortal, she could have attempted to invade during the last time earth was on the other side of the void (pre ~3100BCE), when the Z-rad empowered heroes were considered Gods.  They could have hidden away these rune-stones (or whatever I decide to call them) to protect later generations from a future invasion.

 

I like the idea of the Infinity Stones, because unlike the mysterious MacGuffins noted above, they have an known incremental effect - so you're not just dealing with a one-time event, such as keys or other things that in-and-of-themselves have no effect but to gain access to the ultimate MacGuffin - instead, each battle for each of the components has a real affect of either strengthening the advisory or the heroes.

 

The twist with this mythology is that the MacGuffins can help STOP the invasion or at least hinder it; and so in an opposite twist to the Infinity Stones, the heroes are trying to find them, to gain the power to stop the Empress, and she is sending her minions to try to keep them away from the heroes.

 

So, I've now got the history (origin) aspect - now I just need to think about something like the Infinity Stones, that isn't just an obvious rip-off of the actual Infinity Stones...  Individual MacGuffins, that have power of their own, but when united become an ultimate power...

 

Thank you all for you help so far, and please keep the ideas coming...

Edited by Echo3Niner
Adding additional thoughts
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Orbs of Omnicronous.

 

Six round orbs made of various materials and colors. There is the Orb Of Muscle, Orb Of Mind, Orb Of Fist (or Flesh), Orb Of Energy, Orb Of Spirit, and Orb Of Command. 

 

Unbenounced to others, there is a counter MacGuffin called The Orb Of Chaos, actually increasing the number to seven. But you only need six of them (all but the Orb Of Chaos). The Orb Of Chaos can substitute for any missing orb if needed.

 

Note: it is quite likely that at least one was destroyed in 'recent' years. There are ways to recreate it...to have it reform from out of nothingness. One has only to find out where it is written and do the instructions.

 

(Of course it doesn't have to be six and a spare. It can be as many as you wish, as the GM.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You could go with Mirrors. They are emblematic of reflections and gateways, so for a cosmically invading force, something like that might work.

 

Each Mirror it's own gate to some time and place, to grant access to a wealth of information or material or space or so on to be used and manipulated as seen fit. Associate each with some sort of force or concept, wrap that Mirror in bringing it forth and to bear, or residing within it. And you can have them all be different sizes and shapes too.

When all are gathered, overlayed on one another, they let you reach forth through time and space, all the cosmos in your grasp in a very literal sense. 

Dunno for name though. Call it... The Celestial Lens or Crucible of the Cosmos. Foundation of the World or so on. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At this point, I'm thinking of 4 (possibly 5) MacGuffins that relate to either:

  • The 4 states of matter: solid, liquid, gas, plasma
  • The 4 fundamental forces: gravity, electromagnetic, strong and weak nuclear (and a possible 5th: Quintessence, or Dark Energy, which sounds very comic'booky)

I think either of these would make good basis for linked MacGuffins that would have power each, but "ultimate power" when combined...

 

The states of matter are a little easier to think of in terms of comic book effects (almost as simple as the 4 elements of earth, water, air and fire).  The fundamental forces sound cool, but coming up with effects for strong and weak nuclear seems a little more difficult...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, now I’m thinking 4 “bands”, like Quasars Quantum Bands - but each related to a state of matter.

 

And, instead of being offensive, they provide defense against their namesakes.

 

This way, with only two characters, they have to choose which two bands each wears (and thus gets protection from).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looks like you are on your way :)

 

Just to stir the pot though :sneaky: I went down the rabbit hole of Nordic mythological artifacts.  I love the idea of the ancient "magical" artifacts being ancient technology, or magic.

Here are a couple links.  The first is the better IMO.  But be warned, it raises more ideas than it answers, beware the twisty windy rabbit hole :shock:

 

https://skjalden.com/artifacts-of-the-gods-and-goddesses-in-norse-mythology/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Artifacts_in_Norse_mythology

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Magrathea!

 

Yes, the planet Earth is the Maguffin and the Empress has NO idea.  She knows it's a living organism (the whole Earth is a very complex organism for Maguffin purposes) but thinks it's something in the Earth, or made by people, or maybe animals, or aliens brought it or whatever.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, Echo3Niner said:

At this point, I'm thinking of 4 (possibly 5) MacGuffins that relate to either:

  • The 4 states of matter: solid, liquid, gas, plasma
  • The 4 fundamental forces: gravity, electromagnetic, strong and weak nuclear (and a possible 5th: Quintessence, or Dark Energy, which sounds very comic'booky)

I think either of these would make good basis for linked MacGuffins that would have power each, but "ultimate power" when combined...

 

The states of matter are a little easier to think of in terms of comic book effects (almost as simple as the 4 elements of earth, water, air and fire).  The fundamental forces sound cool, but coming up with effects for strong and weak nuclear seems a little more difficult...


    You would want to be really careful when introducing them, because it won’t take much for some wise-@$$ player to intone “The Powers of Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Heart and when combined become Captain Planet!!!”

     I’ve lost control of a game a couple of times when an unfortunate turn of phrase let one of my players crack up the group and once that happens it’s very tough to get things back onto a serious track.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Tjack said:


    You would want to be really careful when introducing them, because it won’t take much for some wise-@$$ player to intone “The Powers of Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Heart and when combined become Captain Planet!!!”

 

I was thinking the Elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Surprise!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regarding an elemental motif, Champions Universe p. 92 suggests an interesting variation of that motif:

 

One of the mystic items Robert Caliburn owns is the Flame Gem, which is one of the four Elemental Gems. Despite their name, they’re not associated with the four Aristotlean elements, but instead with the Four Elements of Mankind: the Earth from which he was made; the Soul that God gave him; the Flame of his intellect and creativity; and the Chaos that so often resides within his heart. Caliburn doesn’t know who owns the Soul Gem or Chaos Gem (if anyone — both were last mentioned in chronicles from the Renaissance and may still be lost). The owner of the Earth Gem is an old enemy of his: Cairngorm, the archdruid of a malefic human-sacrificing cult from the British Isles.

 

Like Caliburn, anyone who owns a Gem is vulnerable to attacks from the other Gems. Each of them is “attuned” to the others (especially its opposite [FireEarth, Soul-Chaos]), and this allows more of the force of an attack to affect the target.

 

Individually, each of the Gems holds great power — Caliburn has only barely begun to unlock the might within the Flame Gem, and only in the most basic way of literally enhancing fire-based magics. Were one man to obtain all four Elemental Gems, he would wield ultimate power over the Four Elements of Mankind, and thus over Men. Caliburn (and other right-thinking folk) want to prevent this, since placing such power in the hands of a fallible Man would lead to havoc, destruction, and evil. But he would like to know where they are so he can keep tabs on them.

 

The text seems to imply the gems' full effect would be limited to human beings, but it wouldn't be a stretch to say that all sapients would be under their sway.

 

That's an example of something the Empress would want to obtain to use. But in the category of things she'd like to keep from being used against her, during her invasion of Champions Earth's Milky Way in the year 3000 (see Galactic Champions) heroes were able to drive her off with the ancient Lemurian super-weapon, the Mandragalore. During its initial test-firing the Mandagalore malfunctioned and exploded, sinking the Lemurian archipelago, and scattering fragments of its fuel core over the Earth. Those fragments possessed the power to transform any matter into anything else, and became known as the Philosopher's Stone. In the modern era several supervillains acquired pieces of that fuel core, and the Lemurians sought to recover enough of them to reassemble the Mandragalore. (You'll find more details about the Mandragalore in Hidden Lands.)

 

I realize your setting is not the official CU, but since you're using V'han it can be considered one of the alternate universes containing Earth, and so parallel concepts are possible. You could even tie the creation of these artifacts to your primordial era when super-powered "gods" walked the Earth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/23/2021 at 12:32 AM, Echo3Niner said:

 

 

So, I've now got the history (origin) aspect - now I just need to think about something like the Infinity Stones, that isn't just an obvious rip-off of the actual Infinity Stones...  Individual MacGuffins, that have power of their own, but when united become an ultimate power...

 

Thank you all for you help so far, and please keep the ideas coming...

 

You could try a Rod with seven parts.

 

I don't think anyone would mistake that for ripping off the Infinity Stones.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, archer said:

 

You could try a Rod with seven parts.

 

I don't think anyone would mistake that for ripping off the Infinity Stones.

I wondered about that, because I thought the infinty stones were 80s... so I looked it up, it was a close one:  the Rod of Seven Parts appeared in Eldritch Wizardry (1976), while the precursors to the Infinity Stones, called Soul Gems at the time, were only 'revealed' to be a set of 6 that could be combined into a more powerful whole in 1977.   The familiar Thanos story line retold in the movies, in which they're finally called Infinity Stones, is of even later provenance, I believe.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, a "rod" or staff (in our case) that had been shattered and needed to be put back together in order to defeat an evil God was the primary MacGuffin in one of our earliest, longest, and still talked about campaigns...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...