Ghostwalk This Way #4: The Full Monte Haul

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willpell
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Ghostwalk This Way #4: The Full Monte Haul

Post by willpell » Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:05 pm

Reading the description of the True Afterlife in the Ghostwalk book, I am left with what appears to be a very clear idea of the main home campaign Monte Cook must have been running as he hammered out these rules. Not only did it likely end with his players going to the Soulwaters for the final stages of the campaign, but I'm guessing that their goal in being there was very much about hunting for the one big McGuffin he bothered to describe. Out of the twentyish floating islands near the Veil of Souls which were described, only three are fully detailed with a paragraph of text, mentions of major NPCs, and a map. These islands are the three destinations - one Good-aligned, one a stronghold of Evil, and one druidically Neutral and thus likely as hostile to both other sides as they are to each other - at which three artifacts are explicitly positioned. None of the NPCs know it, but Word of God tells us that these three artifacts together can send a dead person back to the living world, with their memories of the True Afterlife intact.

Obviously, if this ever actually happened, it would radically transform the reality of the campaign setting; certain knowledge of the exact mechanics of the afterlife can't possibly fail to change the very way that living people conceptualize their existence, to the point that it would be impossible for many players to take the setting seriously if anyone didn't have an extreme reaction. It seems fairly likely to me that Monte introduced those items into his campaign with an absolute certainty that, if his players brought the three artifacts together and teleported from Death back to Life, there to spread the word about how nobody can level up and undead can't be created and so forth, even so ambitious a GM as Mr. Cook likely wouldn't want to deal with the impact such news would have on his campaign setting; most likely he'd simply declare "A winner is you! FIN* and move on to some other campaign.

I had more to say on this subject, but the rest of my observations escape me at the moment; I'll reread the relevant section of the book and come back to this topic. I've been all the way through the book and this is the last topic I immediately had on the top of my mind, so Ghostwalk This Way #5 might be delayed slightly, but I'm sure I'll be back later with something else to say.

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Re: Ghostwalk This Way #4: The Full Monte Haul

Post by Big Mac » Tue May 07, 2019 7:59 pm

Monte Cook and Sean K Reynolds didn't want to include the True Afterlife in the Ghostwalk book.

They chopped it out, as they decided it would be better to not explain the afterlife.

Monte Cook has already left WotC by the time that the book was being prepared. Richard Baker asked Sean K Reynolds to write another MU (module unit), because the book had been advertised as being 7 MU long and the manuscript turned in was only 6 MU long. So Sean K Reynolds put the True Afterlife back into Ghostwalk - not Monte Cook.

See Why did you write the True Afterlife, the way you did? in the Q&A topic for more details.

The credits of the book should probably have been reversed, because Monte Cook was supposed to have written 5 of the 7 MU (with Sean K Reynolds writing the other 2) but Sean K Reynolds ended up writing 5 of the MU.

Sean K Reynolds wrote a bit about playtesting Ghostwalk on his website, but I don't think I've ever seen Monte Cook write about any Ghostwalk games he ever ran.

And Sean K Reynolds drew the sketch map that was used by the commercial artist who made the canon map.

I'd love to see Monte Cook say more about his work on Ghostwalk, but I think of it more as Sean K Reynolds's project.

Anyhoo, moving onto the possible escape from the True Afterlife scenario. I can't see it changing the normal setting too much. It's pretty similar to how the afterlife works in campaign settings that send dead characters to the Outer Planes.

The main difference (in previous D&D settings) is that instead of Petitioners all going to different Outer Planes (in the Great Wheel), they all go to the one True Afterlife after succumming to The Calling.
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Re: Ghostwalk This Way #4: The Full Monte Haul

Post by willpell » Wed May 08, 2019 6:40 pm

I possibly stand corrected. Although just because Monte didn't want the TA in his game doesn't mean he might not have been the one who first detailed it, and then SKR got details from him to write in over his objections. But then again, maybe it was SKR's home game, or just an idea that he thought would make a good campaign.

And the exact workings of other afterlives are fairly murky. You *might* trade your existing character stats for the Petitioner template; you *might* eventually fade into the fabric of the plane; you *might* be turned into a larva which demons can eat or use as currency - it's not very clear. On the other hand, the TA mechanics written in are very concrete and very all-encompassing. They would therefore be possible to describe very definitively, in a way that would unquestionably change how the living think about their future.

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