View Full Version : Fighting a Temple of Heironeous

2012-01-25, 04:23 PM
If you'll begin playing a RL game in Albuquerque in the coming months, don't read this.

So, in a campaign I'll begin DMing in the near future, one of the main antagonists is the local church of heironeous. The PCs will only be about third level (and there will be two of them) when they meet the church, but I'd like conflict to begin fairly quickly. At that level, they can't really be expected to take the whole church on without completely breaking suspension of disbelief, so I'm looking for ways that they can come into conflict with the church while still being reasonably likely to survive.

Additional Details-
The city in which the first part of the campaign takes place was taken over through war two generations ago. The new rulers are a marginal improvement over the old ones, but they're very, very insular (bordering on xenophobia), largely due to fear that they'll be unseated just as their predecessors were. They've implemented a number of outsider-unfriendly laws, such as a 10% foreigner's fee on all purchases and sales made by people without citizenship in the bounds of the city. However, for all their rudeness, they've managed to keep the city going.

However, one specific priest in the church has a strong (personal) vendetta against the current duke and (correctly) believes him to be of low moral caliber. She has since managed to rally the church around her in opposition of the family, as well as a number of citizens. Fearing ousting, the duke has charged the PCs (both of whom have a fairly strong obligation to obey) with assisting in opposing the church A) With minimal bloodshed and B) as quietly as possible.

So, how can two level 3 PCs take on a church?

EDIT: Sorry, I mean to post this in the Roleplaying forum. Could somebody move it?

Bastian Weaver
2012-01-25, 04:44 PM
Dig up some dirt? I'd suggest they try to join the church, Repairman Jack style, but that's hardly possible because of xenophobia. On the other hand, it's the ruler's policy, and if the church opposes the ruler, maybe they could be persuaded... after that - try to find some information or evidence that could turn some power in the city into an enemy of the church.
Better yet if one of the characters manages to join the church, providing the other one with information, keys, etc. and keeping perfect alibi later ("Where was I when the documents were being stolen, reverendissime? Why, I've spent that whole evening praying with the others. Of course they can prove I was there").

2012-01-25, 06:54 PM

Find out who else is active in the city, any cults or factions that could stand to see Heironeous' presence eliminated or reduced.

Thieves/Assassin's Guild? Easily possible.

Cult of Nerull? Score.

Church of Hextor? You won't find better.

Make friends with them, prepare to do them some favors, in exchange for favors.

Guerilla tactics.

Against an organization that big, you can't fight them head on. Instead, prepare a series of smaller attacks that are hard to defend against. An attack doesn't necessarily need to be offensive, though. It could be attacks to the church's reputation, denying supplies, etc. Mix it up. Any retaliation on the church's part is liable to be easier to deal with - if they send an investigator, that investigator can be dispatched. If they start setting up guards, those personnel have to be pulled from somewhere.
Information Gathering

Information is key. What classes are the PCs? Familiars can listen in, spells can spy/snoop, and rogues can infiltrate. If the church has contact with other temples or a leading body, mail carriers can be intercepted, carrier pigeons can be shot down. If the church dedicates resources to sending spells and the like, then that's resources they don't otherwise have.

If the church is very paranoid, but they're in a position of power over the city, then the main target to attack may well be the city, not the church. Riots can be set in motion, fires can be set, rumors and graffiti can make the church look bad. Even murder or violence in the streets will force a response.

Once the city is destabilized and the church is forced to use resources to keep the peace, it will be that much easier to act on any weaknesses.