Savage Tide and the Demon King!

dave2008

Hero
I was reading over Demogorgon's Demonomicon of Iggwilv entry in Dragon issue #357 and it mentioned that the point of the Savage Tide was to combine Demogorgon's two personalities and ascend the Sibilant Beast to the King of Demons!

That got me thinking: did they discuss the possibility of Demogorgon's success in Savage Tide and provide stats or a template for the Demon King? I quick check in issue #150 of Dungeon, confirms, sadly, they did not. So I have two questions:
  1. Why don't big world shaking adventures ever really cover what happens if the PCs fail? I realize some adventures briefly cover the subject in a paragraph or two, but do any go into a deep dive into what happens if: the Savage Tide is released, Tiamat manifest in Faerun, or the Demon Lords escape the Abyss, etc. & etc.?
  2. As anyone made stats for Demogorgon the Demon King?! I think I might just have to give it a try.
 

neogod22

Explorer
Because these would be world ending events. If the enemies win, then the game is over. BTW, the demonlords are not trapped in the Abyss, they just cant freely come to the Prime Material Plane. They can go anywhere else. Read MToF section about demons and what happens when they come to the Prime. Basically by the time a Demonlord steps foot on the Prime, that world is about to become sucked into they Abyss and create a new Plane.

If (or maybe when) the demons win the Blood War, they will spread across all realms and destroy everything. Then the most powerful of them will insert themselves into the next universe. This is what the Oberyth did. Destroyed their universe, then created the Shard of Ultimate Evil to come into the D&D Universe. Which is what created the Abyss as it burrowed its way through the Elemental Chaos.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
I mean... it depends on the adventure module. I've seen most of the more modern adventures from Paizo and WotC have sections that discuss what happens if the PC's fail.

I think it's just because it was in Dungeon magazine and they had such limited space to work with in there.

Also what @neogod22 said!
 

the Jester

Legend
Because these would be world ending events. If the enemies win, then the game is over.
Bah, I say, bah!

You can always play the next campaign as a desperate attempt to fix what went wrong before. "This group is trying to correct the mistakes of the last group you played" is a classic campaign idea, and it really ratchets up the players' emotional ties to the game.

For a great fictional example of "the bad guys won a world-changing victory, now what??", read the Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever.
 

neogod22

Explorer
Bah, I say, bah!

You can always play the next campaign as a desperate attempt to fix what went wrong before. "This group is trying to correct the mistakes of the last group you played" is a classic campaign idea, and it really ratchets up the players' emotional ties to the game.

For a great fictional example of "the bad guys won a world-changing victory, now what??", read the Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever.
That works for conventional villains, like Villain A took over a town. Not Tiamat manifesting into the world, or Demogorgan pulling the world into the Abyss and making it his 3rd layer. Sure it may take years to wipe all life off the planet, but these events will be a desperate fight into futility. This is the problem with high level campaigns. If the heroes die, there is no one strong enough to correct their failure, and the consequences are irreversible. Low tier, failure changes the shape of the local area, mid tier may change the shape of a kingdom or region. High tier are a world crisis.

Take the new Baldur's Gate campaign for example. What hangs in the balance for the players, is the fate of 1 city. They can continue on and determine the fate of Avernus also, but for that to happen, they will have to adventure past where the game actually wants you to end.
 

Hussar

Legend
Well, if Demogorgon succeeded, presuming you used the base Greyhawk setting, then the ritual would pretty much turn most of the Flanaess into a crater. More or less.

Which kinda answers the question of why they don't write out what happens if the bad guys win. Imagine the screams of anger if Greyhawk (or the Sword Coast) being turned into a crater became part of game canon. Good grief, all you have to do is look at the massive beard pulling and hand wringing over the Spell Plague, and that wasn't even half as devastating as what would happen if Demogorgon won, or (from Hoard of the Dragon Queen) Tiamat manifested in the Sword Coast.

Personally, I'd love it, just to see the setting SME's lose their collective minds when Waterdeep gets turned into a smoking ruin.

But, my personal giggles aside, WotC would never be so suicidally stupid to do something like that.
 

dave2008

Hero
Because these would be world ending events. If the enemies win, then the game is over. BTW, the demonlords are not trapped in the Abyss, they just cant freely come to the Prime Material Plane. They can go anywhere else. Read MToF section about demons and what happens when they come to the Prime. Basically by the time a Demonlord steps foot on the Prime, that world is about to become sucked into they Abyss and create a new Plane.

If (or maybe when) the demons win the Blood War, they will spread across all realms and destroy everything. Then the most powerful of them will insert themselves into the next universe. This is what the Oberyth did. Destroyed their universe, then created the Shard of Ultimate Evil to come into the D&D Universe. Which is what created the Abyss as it burrowed its way through the Elemental Chaos.
That is interesting, but it is not canon for 5e (demons in the prime or the origin of the Abyss). Just look at OotA and default cosmology
 

neogod22

Explorer
That is interesting, but it is not canon for 5e (demons in the prime or the origin of the Abyss). Just look at OotA and default cosmology
I don't have OotA, so I have no idea what point you're refuting, but in every edition fiends could not come and go from the Prime at their whim except maybe a few special creatures. Also, the information in Tome of Foes is more up to date, so if anything in that contradicts OotA, then Tome of Foes trump it since it's updated info. This is what they say at Wizards all the time.
 

dave2008

Hero
I don't have OotA, so I have no idea what point you're refuting, but in every edition fiends could not come and go from the Prime at their whim except maybe a few special creatures. Also, the information in Tome of Foes is more up to date, so if anything in that contradicts OotA, then Tome of Foes trump it since it's updated info. This is what they say at Wizards all the time.
In OotA several Demon Lords are brought into the Prime (and in theory sent back if things go well). The point being that Faerun is not dragged into the Abyss in the adventure (though the Demon Lords start to change the world around them). I don't believe anything in MToF refutes anything from OotA.

The other point is that, correct me if I am wrong, I don't think the Abyss is connected to or originates from the Elemental Chaos in 5e. 5e basically uses the great wheel with a few modifications, and I don't recall the location of the Abyss being one of them. I don't recall 5e discussing the shard of evil as the creation of the abyss either. All of that information was new with 4e, but I don't think it carried over to 5e.

Not that any of that matters for my questions / observations in the OP.
 

dave2008

Hero
That works for conventional villains, like Villain A took over a town. Not Tiamat manifesting into the world, or Demogorgan pulling the world into the Abyss and making it his 3rd layer. Sure it may take years to wipe all life off the planet, but these events will be a desperate fight into futility. This is the problem with high level campaigns. If the heroes die, there is no one strong enough to correct their failure, and the consequences are irreversible. Low tier, failure changes the shape of the local area, mid tier may change the shape of a kingdom or region. High tier are a world crisis.
You could have an adventure about how to correct the failures. Take RoT. That adventure is supposed to take PCs to lvl 15. If the fail, they could have a lvl 16-20 adventure about how to fix the failure (or at least some serious guidance on how to do that).

In the fantasy realm of D&D you fix as massively as you destroy. Or, just lets know the utter devastation of the failure.
 

neogod22

Explorer
In OotA several Demon Lords are brought into the Prime (and in theory sent back if things go well). The point being that Faerun is not dragged into the Abyss in the adventure (though the Demon Lords start to change the world around them). I don't believe anything in MToF refutes anything from OotA.

The other point is that, correct me if I am wrong, I don't think the Abyss is connected to or originates from the Elemental Chaos in 5e. 5e basically uses the great wheel with a few modifications, and I don't recall the location of the Abyss being one of them. I don't recall 5e discussing the shard of evil as the creation of the abyss either. All of that information was new with 4e, but I don't think it carried over to 5e.

Not that any of that matters for my questions / observations in the OP.
Well a few things about that. I don't have the book, so I can't judt look up what happens when a Demonlord wins. Another thing is, they didn't come through I guess for lack of a better phrase, "the natural process" of the corruption of the world, but the world was being corrupted. If you played the AL adventures, it was all about trying to find a way to stop the spreading corruption coming out of the Cormanthyr Forest. It ended with fighting Grazzt. The other thing that about that was the shenanigans of someone actually powerful enough to force every Demonlord into the Prime at the same time. While this is every dangerous to the world and it actually did mean its imminent destruction of the world, but the world couldn't go into the Abyss until one of the Demonlords win (probably). Again, Tome of Foes is newer information, so IDK how OotA ends if the players lose.
 

UnknownDyson

Explorer
What does MToF have to add to this issue, I read it pretty quickly, but I don't remember what it said about Demon Lords in the Prime.
Scourge of Worlds
You must understand that my ambitions do not stop here in Doraaka, or even at the doorstep of Greyhawk or the Amedio jungles beyond. Oerth is but the first of many worlds that will fall.
— Iuz the Old
The Abyss and its demonic inhabitants are akin to a virus. While most other factions across the planes spread their influence into other realms through conquest, conversion, or diplomacy, demons infect a world by traveling there and beginning to transform their environment to resemble the malleable, chaotic substance of their home plane. If demons dwell in a place for a significant amount of time, the area starts to warp in response to the abyssal energy that churns within it. If a demonic infestation is left unchecked, a portal to the Abyss is the result, and more and more of the essence of the Abyss pushes its way through. In time, a plane or a world could become a colony of the Abyss, overrun with demons and devoid of all other forms of life.
Initial Infection
A full-fledged demonic incursion takes time to develop. A demon prince might rampage across a world for a few days or weeks before returning home, but that event doesn’t qualify as an incursion. After the demon is banished, the world suffers no long-term effects, aside from the destruction wrought by the demon.
But if demons can dwell undisturbed on a plane for a period of time, their continued presence begins to erode the barriers between their location and the Abyss. It can take a few years for weaker demons to warp their environment, while changes begin to occur around the location of a demon prince in about a month.
To bring about these changes, the invaders must remain in the same location for some time, usually an area no more than six miles on a side, to combine their influence. Fortunately for their would-be victims, the chaotic evil nature of demons means that they rarely organize in a way to cause such a disturbance. Demons that enter the world are bent on destruction, not concerned with greater matters, and inclined to go their separate ways unless a powerful leader can keep them under control long enough for the virus to take hold.
During the first stages of an abyssal incursion, the natural world recoils from the demonic presence. Plants become twisted versions of themselves. Leering faces appear in leaf patterns, vines writhe of their own accord, and trees grow foul-smelling tumors instead of leaves as their branches wither and die. Bodies of water in the area become tainted and sometimes poisonous, and the weather might feature extremes of heat, cold, wind, rain, or snow that aren’t typical of the normal climate. Living things in the area flee or are killed by the demons.
At this stage, natives can stop the incursion by killing or driving away the demons that infest the area. The effects of the event might persist for a few months or even centuries, but the barriers between the Abyss and the world remain intact.
A Growing Menace
If the first stage of the infection continues long enough, a portal opens in the corrupted environment that connects to a random location in the Abyss. Demons that happen to be near the portal can travel through it and into the world, while the raw stuff of the Abyss also begins to seep through the passage.
Even at this stage, the infection has almost no chance of developing into a true incursion. The immensity of the Abyss means that a portal’s random location is more likely to be an empty, uninhabited place than anything else, and demons can’t make use of the portal unless they can locate it. The incursion might be long delayed as a result, but the portal’s opening on the other plane remains a lurking threat until it is closed.
As more demons find and use the portal, the Abyss becomes strongly linked to the world, and the region’s transformation grows more extreme. The odd but still mundane weather gives way to storms that drop burning embers, or winds that shriek in all directions, seizing living creatures and hurling them against the ground. The environment becomes inimical to all living things.
At this point, the incursion is still in a state of flux. The demons aren’t yet directed by a single will. Unless a powerful demon dominates all the others, the area is wracked by fighting as one demon after another claims primacy, only to be overcome. The tie to the Abyss is still fragile enough that, as demons are slain, the portal grows smaller and weaker. If the invaders are reduced to about half the number that were present when the portal was created, the opening winks out of existence.
A Stain on Reality
In its third phase, the demonic virus invades fully and becomes a part of the world. Simply killing the demons in an afflicted area is no longer enough to remove the Abyss’s stain.
The size of the region begins to grow, the effects of the lethal environment expanding from the original area. The demons likewise begin to roam, and a small force capable of establishing its own incursion might travel far. If enough of these groups splinter off, the incursion could spread into a network of similar sites, each opening its own portal and drawing in more demons.
Slaying all the demons in an infested area ends their direct threat, but the terrain remains twisted and accursed, the portal dormant but still in place. To repel the incursion at this stage, the defenders must not only slay the demons but also establish a permanent watch over the portal, to ensure that it remains unused. Ambitious cultists, or even a random confluence of planar energy, could awaken the portal and start the infection anew.
Apocalypse Now
If the incursion remains unchecked or grows strong enough, it enters its fourth and final phase with the entrance of a demon lord. As a portal continues to shunt demons and abyssal energy into the world, it begins to attract the attention of the lords. Two or more of them might fight for control of it, or in the worst case, several might travel through the portal in rapid succession.
The visitation of a demon lord to the Material Plane is a cataclysmic event. The lord’s presence overwhelms the minds of other beings to keep them from resisting, and the lord’s power enables it to command the other demons already present in the world. They form a horrid army that sets about stripping the world of life and clearing the path for the lord’s dominance.
At this point, a besieged world’s only hope for survival is the expulsion of the demon lord. The lord’s defeat leaves the other demons again leaderless, and they react by warring against each other, which makes them susceptible to attacks from the world’s defenders. The longer a demon lord remains in control of all the other fiends, the more the world around it becomes irrevocably changed. When a demonic incursion runs its course, no vestige remains of the world that existed before — in effect, the realm has become another layer of the Abyss.
 

neogod22

Explorer
What does MToF have to add to this issue, I read it pretty quickly, but I don't remember what it said about Demon Lords in the Prime.
Read the entire Blood War section. I know it's a lot, but it's really good lore-wise. Everything I've said is in that book I'm pretty sure, there may be some information bleed since I do consume a lot.

Anyway, I wish summon greater demon spell in XGE had a table of random demons that are summoned. If a demon is too powerful for you to control, good luck.
 

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