Visiting divine realms

Dark_T_Zeratul

Explorer
So in most D&D settings, the gods have physical domains that exist in the Outer Planes. I'm in a situation where I've got a high-level player that's keen on knocking on his god's door and talking to her. Long story short this is something I ultimately want to facilitate for his story, but when I actually sat down to think about how this works, it feels obvious that even though you can visit a god's humble abode (or shining golden fortress) with a Plane Shift spell, actually gaining an audience with them would be immensely more difficult.

Does anyone else have experience with campaigns that have run into this sort of thing, or thoughts regarding it? As an added complication this particular divine realm is in Elysium, which has a curious property that I'll simply quote from the 3e Manual of Planes:
"A nonoutsider on Elysium experiences increasing joy and satisfaction while there. Colors become brighter and more vivid than on the Material Plane, sounds more melodious and soft, and the nature of others seems more pleasant and understanding. At the conclusion of every week spent on Elysium, any nonoutsider must make a will saving throw (DC 10 + the number of consecutive weeks on Elysium). Failure indicates that the individual has fallen under the control of the plane, becoming a petitioner of Elysium. Travelers entrapped by the inherent tranquility and good of Elysium cannot leave the plane of their own volition and have no desire to do so. Memories of any previous life fade into nothingness, and it takes a wish or miracle spell to return such characters to normal. "
 

dave2008

Legend
1st: What edition on your playing? I am going to assume 5th. If that is not the case, then some of my comments may not be relevant.

2nd: Gods can prevent creatures from entering their divine realm via the plane shift spell.

3rd: The effects of Elysium are completely optional. However, if you want to use them, I would suggest a DC = the number of consecutive weeks. The 3rd edition DC is for a much higher range, so by 15th level that save DC you listed would be an auto-success for a few weeks.

OK, with that out of the way. I would make the deity require a quest be fulfilled prior to it allowing a audience. Depending on the god the nature of the quest could:
  • Retrieve an artifact and deliver it to the god
  • Defeat a monster or follower of a rival god
  • Bring back a lost scroll or bit of ancient information
  • Bring a tribute (could be anything from the golden apples to a living phoenix)
  • Spread its faith in some way
  • etc., etc.
The quest could be revealed to the PC in dreams or by a divine emissary. This could also be an interesting way to give the PCs boons, blessings, or charms form the DMG to help them complete particularly dangerous quest or as a reward for doing so.
 

Dark_T_Zeratul

Explorer
So in this case it's a bit of an edition-agnostic side thing I'm doing with a former player whose character is persisting as a major NPC.

I'm intrigued by the idea of a task of some sort, though; he's already founded an entire nation in her name so he's got "spread the faith" on lockdown, but I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for something in exchange for a face-to-face (ish) meeting.
 

dave2008

Legend
I'm intrigued by the idea of a task of some sort, though; he's already founded an entire nation in her name so he's got "spread the faith" on lockdown, but I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for something in exchange for a face-to-face (ish) meeting.
In that case, since the NPC has already done quite a bit. I would suggest something along the lines of requiring petitioners to bring some type of tribute: a rare flower, magic item, creature, or similar. Or you it could be a bit of a riddle as well: the last breath of a phoenix, the tears of a gold dragon, the wail of a banshee, or something like that.

The tribute is brought to the god's divine realm and if the tribute is deemed worthy the petitioner can get an audience with the deity.
 

Larnievc

Explorer
I have the planes where gods live also existing as planetary bodies (not always oblate spheroids).

That way they can Spelljam to them as another option for getting there.

My group recently Spelljammed to Avernus (they had to lie to the Captain about their destination until the stole her ship from under her).

Dunno if that would work for you but it did fine for us.
 

aco175

Adventurer
I might make a twist when dealing with a deity. If the god is a more powerful god, it could have several 'avatars' going at once. One may have time to meet with the PC, while the others may not. Each avatar has several scribes and counselors that assist them and this may work fine in that plane, but the PC will have a poor time knowing which one he is dealing with and which is telling him different things.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
So in this case it's a bit of an edition-agnostic side thing I'm doing with a former player whose character is persisting as a major NPC.
In this case, where it's an off-cycle update of a retired character, it simply comes down to how much detail you and-or the player want to get into and-or how much time the two of you are willing to throw at it.

If time isn't a concern and you both want to play it all out in full, then the 'quest' idea is IMO the way to go: it makes sense in-game and it gives you an excuse to run the character through an adventure.

If time is a concern, or great detail isn't required, I'd skip playing out the quest and instead handwave it by just rolling a few dice to determine whether the character survived and-or succeeded; and if yes then jump straight to the meeting with the deity, as that's clearly the important thing here.
 

Tonguez

Adventurer
Does the god have servitors? Is their a divine bureaucracy that needs to be negotiated to get to the god?

Elysium is surrounded in ocean isnt it? Maybe a chance to do a Sailing adventure
 

Dark_T_Zeratul

Explorer
What I ended up going with is that for a living soul to speak with their deity, they must present something as tribute. It is not specified what form this tribute should take, leaving it to the petitioner to come up with something appropriate, but they are encouraged to consider the strength of their faith, what their have done their deity on the Material Plane, and the meaning of what they present in making that decision.

Petitioners are also cautioned that there is no guarantee how long they will need to wait for an audience once proper tribute is presented, and that the longer one stays in Elysium the harder it becomes to leave it.
 

R_J_K75

Explorer
I would suggest something along the lines of requiring petitioners to bring some type of tribute: a rare flower, magic item, creature, or similar. Or you it could be a bit of a riddle as well: the last breath of a phoenix, the tears of a gold dragon, the wail of a banshee, or something like that.
I actually had an NPC Archmage send the players to obtain a "material" component for a new spell which was the wail of a banshee. Needless to say they were aggrevated for the next hour trying to figure how they were going to accomplish that. I told them go find a banshee first then go from there. One of the PCs sacrificed themselves and the rest of the party used his corpse as the material component.
 

Modi

Visitor
Gods can control what effects take place within their realms, so even if you use the option rule for Elysium, if the PCs are inside a divine realm they needn't be affected by it. Or they could just leave a day before a full week is up and then come right back... also, it's likely that magical items have been created to thwart such planar effects, and the PCs could buy and equip some. Or perhaps spells exist that would do the same trick, nullifying the effect for the duration. As to actually being in a divine realm, I can't really help you there except to suggest that the 2nd edition book On Hallowed Ground has some advice/info. Also, the PCs would first encounter lesser servants (including deceased worshipers AKA petitioners), then a proxy (a spokesperson for the god), and then possibly an avatar or aspect of the god unless the god is feeling generous and decides to present his/her true essence to the PCs. (Which depending on edition it might have to, as in the current edition Lesser gods have only the one form, such as Tiamat, and - as far as I can tell from what it says in the DMG - can't make avatars. If the god being visited is a Greater god, then per 5th edition they can make avatars. But use whatever rules work for you.)
 
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Bohandas

Explorer
I actually had an NPC Archmage send the players to obtain a "material" component for a new spell which was the wail of a banshee. Needless to say they were aggrevated for the next hour trying to figure how they were going to accomplish that. I told them go find a banshee first then go from there. One of the PCs sacrificed themselves and the rest of the party used his corpse as the material component.
I'd have just used a copy of the spell
 

R_J_K75

Explorer
I'd have just used a copy of the spell
I dont understand your comment. The spell wasnt created yet so it couldnt be copied. Its been a long time but if I remember right, they used part of the corpse to research and create the spell, another part to actually cast it and then left enough to resurrect the players character.
 
So in most D&D settings, the gods have physical domains that exist in the Outer Planes. I'm in a situation where I've got a high-level player that's keen on knocking on his god's door and talking to her. Long story short this is something I ultimately want to facilitate for his story, but when I actually sat down to think about how this works, it feels obvious that even though you can visit a god's humble abode (or shining golden fortress) with a Plane Shift spell, actually gaining an audience with them would be immensely more difficult.

Does anyone else have experience with campaigns that have run into this sort of thing, or thoughts regarding it?
I did a bit of this back in AD&D Planescape. The PCs met different aspects of Osiris while working to piece the god back together (he'd been severed into different parts by Set). One also had a vision of Isis and Ishtar after assisting a city in the Outlands to cross over into the Upper Planes.

My recommendation is to dig into the lore of the specific deity involved. For instance, that bit about Osiris being cut up into parts by his brother Set is borrowed from Egyptian myth.
 

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