Requiem for a God / Plot & Poison Combo!

Psion

Adventurer
Hey all!

I was looking at dropping bits of Requiem for a God in my game, and was kicking a few ideas around. I was also looking for ways to involve my players meaningfully in stuff in Plot & Poison, and some of the ideas I was kicking around in my head sort of led me in the direction of involving the Drow.

First when I considered how to involve the death of a deity in my campaign, I considered which deities had been or might be killed. This is a short list:
  • Paralite - Paralite is already part of the history of my campaign. Basically, he was a charismatic drow/cambion who ascended to godhood and made a mad bid for power. He was slain by an adventuring party on his "home" plane.

    Paralite is significant in the campaign because he basically reshaped drow worship systems and started a civil war. He drew many drow to his worship, and after he was slain, his former followers could not exactly return to the worship of the spider queen. This led to many drow following a great variety of deities. Essentially, I marginalized the spider queen in my game.

    Since I had already killed a deity in my game, he was one of the more obvious choices, though he was of low enough power (divine power 5) and his death was long enough ago that his death site will probably no longer harbor many remnants.

    Still, his existence may be an essential linking point in my game. I want the drow to get involved in the game, and perhaps requiring the players to travel though drow controlled territory would be a chance to do that.
  • Balaam An ancient deity I spent little time detailing, he was supposed to be a very old deity of secrets and trickery whose more humanoid children have taken over his portfoios. If I do anything with him, it will be mostly for background flavor. I never said that he died, but is an immediate candidate for the "faded and forgotten" method of destruction.
  • Elmarion Elmarion was one of the first of my campaign deities I considered slaying due to a) dispensibility, b) story potential, and c) convenience of being the victim of the event. She is a deity of light and magic and has aspects worshipped by both the elves and a human culture.

    In 2e, I attributed the heightening of magic in the world and the existence of channelers (from S&P) to Elmarion as a "gift" to the world. In 3e, I sort of translated channelers to sorcerers.

    There were other events in the world that led to greater prevalence of magic (the surging of the ley lines, the falling of a meteor that brought wild magic, etc.) that I didn't attribute to her, but I might retroactively assign to her.

    As to why, in my game world, the actions of the divine are limited by a divine compact that most divinities are signatories to. The compact limits the interference of deities in the world and limits their ability to act against one another. One of the essential aspects of the compact is that if you break the compact, you lose its protection. Some deities have flaunted this aspect of the compact and live to tell, though. (For example, Selna, the goddess of the moon and fate, destroyed all lycanthropes on the world and nothing happened to her.)

    Now, what I am thinking is that if I attribute these swings in the power of magic to Elmarion, it would explain why she would be a viable target: the fact that she meddles so overtly in the world made her a target of evil deities either a) eager to steal her power or b) eager to avenge past grudges.
  • Undertermined Evil God (???) - I just LOVE the idea Monte puts forth in the book of a cabal of evil deities descending on one of their own to gain power. I just have to throw this in.

    But how? I pretty much only define evil deities that I use, and I am not too eager to dispense with most of those (Idan, god of tyranny; Shintar, god of famine and cold; Loviatar, goddess of pain and disease; Nocticula, patroness of witches; Arimesan, god of bloodlust and beasts.) That being the case, I may want to create a little know evil deity who gets pulled into this mess or borrow one from a supplement (like AEG's Evil or Undead).

    Okay, here I am up against my own divine compact again. I'm thinking that these evil deities wouldn't trust each other as far as they could throw them, so one is not likely to voluntarily lose compact protection.

    So there are some possibilities here. Perhaps the evil deities act in concert against Elmarion, but one is only tricked into thinking that she is without the compact's protection, and the evil deities set him up to do this act and then turn upon him. It'd have to be a pretty good ruse to trick a deity, though.

    Other possibilities include that Idan's recent actions (like bringing in artifacts from another world) stripped him of his protection, and a deity seeks to take him down and take his power, but Idan proves to be too much to handle. This doesn't really explain why the rest of the deities don't try to take out Idan, other than perhaps they fear him, so this is plan B.

    Plan C is that Idan is the deity taken out. This seems obvious, but due to his role in the campaign, I am not fond of the idea. If I entertain this idea at all, I would probably work it from the angle of ressurecting the deity later.

Whew! Well, there is it. I am looking for any other angles/devious ideas on this, such as commentary on any of the above.

I am also looking for ways to tie the drow in stronger so as to use plot & poison more. The drow already have some involvement in the local campaign region. It's an isolated island that the drow can only access by an ancient underground gate. Most of the local drow are minority/outcast clans, and some do have ambitions in the surface world in their various bids for power.

What I was sort of thinking is that the players might accidentally draw their interest to the other deities. The players might join the Memento Mori in seeking out the remnants of Paralite. However, they capture and/or kill the memento mori NPC and through him or his stuff discover things about other divine remnants. One of the desperate drow houses launches some mad plan in a bid to gain power.

Ideas?
 

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Nightfall

Sage of the Scarred Lands
Evil deities always want more power. My advice, have some random major artifact's location be found by the party. Somehow word filters down to the appropriate deity and he/she sends out assassins to deal with it. Unfortunately the artifact in question has other ideas...and ends up killing said deity.
 

Psion

Adventurer
Well, that's certainly a different angle, but I would want some way that would work it in that makes sense. If I make this big linked event and gods die as a result, then there is a big linked event that the players will buy. If I just throw in a godwar here and an artifact there, then the players will just think I am going on a god killing spree.

Perhaps this shadow god uses the artifact to slay Elmarion, and then it turns on him. Or something...
 

Nightfall

Sage of the Scarred Lands
I just thing rengade artifacts aren't used that much. Take Chalice of Marvels from R&R. It's certain has both helpful and baneful side-effects. More artifacts should be that way.

One idea is a very capricious forging god decides that he wants more room in the panethon to grow. So he creates an god slaying version of Wicked's Edge. (Course it might have to work a tad differently but you get the idea.)
 

Piratecat

Sesquipedalian
I'd probably avoid Paralite, myself. Already dead gods don't provide the high drama that you can get by axing one of the cornerstones of your world's foundation. Just think: if one of the major gods dies, you get to shake up your campaign world tremendously. In my opinions, Gods go out with style. I once made notes about such a thing; I'll share them if you're interested.

Besides which, let's posit that one of the evil (or one of the good!) gods has found a way to make the restrictions fo the divine compact not apply to themselves. He keeps this knowledge, secret, holding it close to his heart, until finally he breaks. When he does, an unkillable God dies - and the secret of which God was a killer, and how it was done, is somehow tied to priesthoods back on earth.

Enter the PCs.

So not only do you get a cataclysm of terrifying might, you get a cool murder mystery where everyone knew the victim.

Note that I generally dislike using an artifact as the maguffin; it's too predictable. I'd rather base things off of emotions and campaign events.
 
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Psion

Adventurer
Piratecat said:
I'd probably avoid Paralite, myself. Already dead gods don't provide the high drama that you can get by axing one of the cornerstones of your world's foundation.

This is not an "or" situation. By using the organizations that Monte has created, I can provide a linking point that I hope will allow me to logically and consistently thread the characters into the storyline is a way that will draw the drow into it and involve them in newer events.

I get what you are saying and agree: Paralite is an old plot, part of the background. But I like the background to be part of the game. By linking him to the newer shake-ups aluded to, I can build more of a sense of consistency.

I once made notes about such a thing; I'll share them if you're interested.

Of course I am interested! :)

Besides which, let's posit that one of the evil (or one of the good!) gods has found a way to make the restrictions fo the divine compact not apply to themselves.

There is such a way by my campaign's canon. Young gods weren't signatories to the compact, but are protected by it to a lesser extend. The deities don't typically consider this a problem, as the relatively low power of young deities combined with the system of divine fealty that young deities fall under make typically make such deities not a bona fide problem, and such young deities tend to be meddlers. However, one young deity (a good one, but one at odds with the current power structure of good deities) lies outside this power structure and is very powerful for a young deity.

He keeps this knowledge, secret, holding it close to his heart, until finally he breaks. When he does, an unkillable God dies - and the secret of which God was a killer, and how it was done, is somehow tied to priesthoods back on earth.

Enter the PCs.

So not only do you get a cataclysm of terrifying might, you get a cool murder mystery where everyone knew the victim.

I like that -- plot fodder! Very functional.

Of course that should have occured to me. That's similar what one of my favorite published adventures (Dead Gods) does.

Thanks again and let me know any further plot ideas.
 
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Piratecat

Sesquipedalian
I think that a god dying is such a big deal that it seems almost a shame to waste it on a reason that will never directly affect the PCs. It doesn't necessarily have to an immediate link, of course, but good lord - just think of the PCs' bragging rights when they figure out stuff that has to deal with the God!

I also think that a God's death could have profound ramifications world-wide. Disappearing magic, violent storms, an abundance (or paucity) of things that have to do with the God's portfolio. For instance, if Elmarion was killed, I'd consider that magic and sunlight would initially disappear; magic might re-enter the world as her essence disperses (triggering wild magic zones and temporarily empowering or weakening certain spells?), but imagine the chaos and panic resulting from a week where there is no sunlight, just the night.

It's possible that things would get back to normal when someone steps in to fill the power vacumn, but I'd expect a lot of in-fighting as demigods and lesser gods try to handle the mantle of proper godhood. This is another good plot hook to draw in PCs.
 

Psion

Adventurer
Well, I have been chewing my lip on this for a bit. After reading a spoiler for the ring, I began getting some ideas for an evil deity. (SPOILERS FOR THE RING - BEWARE). The basic concept behind the ring is a ghost that cannot be stopped from killing unless you agree to spread the killing (twisted, eh.) By my way of thinking, that sort of power only springs from a deity. So I imagine some sort of crazed deity that has utter contempt of life who is basically killing randomly.

Here is what I am thinking. Elmarion discovers this deity and is repulsed by it, and sacrifices herself trying to destroy it. However, in doing so, the creature loses its own protection and a cabal of evil deities swoop into destroy it (Elmarion knew this woudl happen, and manipulated events to that it would happen.)

I can still play the "mystery" angle you were speaking of. Elmarion could not tip off the evil deities about what she was about to do, so she could not let her followers in on the events about to occur. But perhaps she left clues that the players can pick up after the fact.

This has a lot of implications, and I am dwelling on how to flesh them out.

Right now, the PCs are about 4th level. At 6th level, I want to start the Banewarrens. Between now and then, I want to introduce them to the followers or Elmarion so they get to know the characters that they face later in the campaign. I also want the players to run afoul the killing spree in a way that really shakes them up. Some kind of horror adventure.

I am even thinking the PCs may kick events off that bring this chain of events about. Say they stumble upon the curse of this shadow-god. They gather clues that tell them that they are doomed, but that the followers of Elmarion are foes of the shadow god. So then, Elmarion's priest ask her for succor, and Elmarion decides that she must do the unthinkable, and sacrifice herself to extract this scourge from the universe.

If the players were under a curse, and it suddenly vanishes, that moment might correspond to the death of the shadow god. They might not realize until much later that the two things were linked. Hmmm... I think I like the direction this is going.

I am also thinking this may be a chance to work elemental wierds into the game, as sort of norn-like figures that can tell the fates of even the gods.

Edit: The flood of ideas are coming faster than I can type. I am imagining the PCs getting involved in some tomb or temple dedicated to this shadow god. They read a placard that says something to the effect of "the lord of shadow shall be a scourge upon the land, and the shadow warriors shall go forth from this tomb and be his hand that brings darkness." The characters whack a few undead thingies, take their stuff, and call it a day.

So they march forth, and notice that strange things happen in the night, and people are dying from these raids, whereever they go. The players might eventually learn that in the tomb, they acquired spiritual hitchikers and are doomed to bring death wherever they do.

They'll hate me. :)
 
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Psion

Adventurer
Piratecat said:
Note that I generally dislike using an artifact as the maguffin; it's too predictable. I'd rather base things off of emotions and campaign events.

It sounds like you share the sentiments of this writer. :)

We'll come back to Susan Cooper later on. A collect-the-coupons plotter who runs her close, though, is the inimitable Stephen Donaldson. He tends to pad more than Ms Cooper, so it takes rather more pages to collect each token; but I should think by volume nine of the trilogy he may well outstrip her for sheer multitude of the wretched things. Here's the crucial passage of insight and revelation from The Wounded Land, in which Thomas Covenant in a flash of wisdom perceives the whole point of volumes four to six. I've changed just one word throughout; see if you can spot what it is.

Covenant saw. The Staff of Plot. Destroyed. For the Staff of Plot had been formed by Berek Halfhand as a tool to serve and uphold the Plot. He had fashioned the Staff from a limb of the One Tree as a way to wield Earthpower in defence of the health of the Land, in support of the natural order of life. And because Earthpower was the strength of mystery and spirit, the Staff became the thing it served. It was the Plot; the Plot was incarnate in the Staff. The tool and its purpose were one. And the Staff had been destroyed. That loss had weakened the very fibre of the Plot. A crucial support was withdrawn, and the Plot faltered.
 

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