Thursday, July 17, 2014

Murderhobos, or The Modern Prometheus


Mentzer's BECMI codified the ultimate D&D endgame: apotheosis. The execution might leave something to be desired, but I think the basic idea is a good one. Instead of Immortals waiting to welcome newly ascended adventurers into their pantheon, it might be cooler if they treated godhood as something they didn't particularly want to share. It's got to be taken from them.

The gods are probably too absorbed in their own activities to spend a lot of time actively going after adventures. Probably. But they're certainly not going to make the paths to immortality easy to find, and likely going to put obstacles in the way of adventurers who go after them. The more powerful they get, the more they'll attract the Immortals' attention and be bedeviled by them. Think the sort of things that happened to Hercules and others hunted by the gods in Greek myth.


Immortals as adversaries or obstacles would certainly explain some of the things about dungeons and other adventuring locales. The only problematic detail would be clerical magic. I suppose clerics, empowered by the Immortals, might eventually become adversaries to other adventurers. They would be sort of the gods' check to make sure humans didn't get too powerful. That would be interesting, but maybe too game-changing. Alternatively, clerics might be powered by the fundamental forces of the universe (the same thing that powers the Immortals) and militant humanists bucking the gods by using that power for the good of mankind.

13 comments:

perdustin said...

Perhaps immortality is a finite resource or there can only be so many immortals at a given time. In order for there to be a new immortal, an old immortal must be “displaced.”

Of course, politics, hatred, and feuds exist among the immortals. So, while immortals might generally attempt to thwart the ascension of new immortals, PCs might be “cultivated” by certain factions for the express purpose of eliminating unwanted immortals.

Sounds like something Zelazny might write.

Francis Lee said...

Immortals needed PA's to keep the wannabes away?

perdustin said...

Not wannabes, current immortals.

For example: Immortal X and Immortal Y hate each other but are prevented from confronting one another due to a truce or an accord. Immortal Y assists a PC in achieving immortality so that the PC (not subject to the truce/accord) can displace Immortal X.

Trey said...

@Perdustin - Very good idea. That could create some interesting extraplanar politics to keep even powerful PCs off their guard.

rainswept said...

I think you have to plan your campaign around not just ascension, but your entire party ascending simultaneously and forming a new pantheon, as when the Olympians displaced the Titans.

A war in heaven is rockstar.

Then start a new campaign a thousand years later with the PCs inputting what their divines would have tried to accomplish in the interregnum.

Trey said...

@rainswept - Man! Great ideas, there!

seaofstarsrpg said...

Love the art of the gods playing games.

Immortal politics are awesome if you are going for high power games. And if one is trying for apotheosis, one had better find the secret rules behind the games of the gods.

Trey said...

@seaofstarsrpg - It's Buscema from Weirdworld.

I imagine gods zealously guard those rules.

garrisonjames said...

Amber meets Simon, King of the Witches, perhaps?

Trey said...

@garrisonjames - Good call!

Chris C. said...

Looking at the second picture my thought was similar to a fusion of perdustin's and rainswept's ideas.

It's all just one big game of chess, the gods playing against each other, and using the PCs (and the worlds other heros/villains) as the pieces. The PCs get tired of being pawns (literally) and try to rise to a point where they are players, not just pieces. Kind of a power struggle triangle.

Tim Shorts said...

The closest thing I've come to this was a PC (this is the final sessions of a 3 year long campaign) had to sacrifice himself to have a god reborn. The PC never became a god, but became the vessel of one.

Canageek said...

Suddenly taking away a clerics spells is also a common screw-over for clerics. Spelljammer was famous for this. You get to play the most thankless class in the game. Wizards get to cast cool spells, fighters and rogues get to roll the big damage....you get buffs and healing.

Then for some reason, EVERY damn writer goes "You know what is great storytelling? Lets toss the part into a pocket dimension where you can't talk to the gods, so you only get 2nd level spells, and become a 3rd rate fighter. Fighters never get messed up, and wizards are left alone, but for some reason clerics are bait for such things.

Not that I'm bitter.