View Full Version : Septus Mortis - A Sinfully Inspired Campaign

2012-04-19, 04:00 PM
Before I get fully into this, this is going to be a 1st edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign (and will also be converted into a 3rd edition one as well). I am not interested in strictly mechanics-based ideas, but rather in thematically-based ones. But do not be deterred from posting something from another system, I can crunch the conversions pretty well on my lonesome.

Now that that is cleared up - I am making this campaign, as you may have guessed, based off of the Seven Deadly Sins. There will be a one week period of time where the party will be subjected to a dream per night... one themed upon each sin. There will be a 'main boss' villain in each that epitomizes their particular sin, as well as lower monsters/NPCs, magic items, traps, etc. that are all focused around the same idea. As well... there will be a moment (or several) in each dream where the party will be 'tempted' with each sin, where they must test themselves against the part of their nature that might give in (Wrath should be particularly entertaining).

So, what I need from you guys (if you are willing) are ideas on these things. Lust I have down pretty well already - there is no shortage of that underlying thread in gaming materials. And while I have some ideas on each of them, by no means are there enough to fully capture what I want to with this campaign. How do you represent Pride in a magical item? What is the best trap/effect/test to run in the dream of Sloth? What monster/villain should sit atop the 'mountain' of Envy? These are the kinds of questions that I truly need your help with. Any and all ideas are welcomed and I sincerely appreciate anyone taking the time to lend me a hand!

Kol Korran
2012-04-20, 02:48 AM
Not to be discouraging, but i think you face three main problems with the campaign idea:

1) unless your players are quite collaborating, once they realize each Dream's theme they will do whatever they can to go against it, and you can't surprise them much. "oh, the monster of sloth, the magic item of sloth, the dungeon of sloth, the NPCs of sloth, does it ever end?" most players get bored easily, and need new themes, new ideas to challenge them.

once they realize it's about the 7 sins (at the 2nd or 3rd dream i guess) some might get seriously annoyed, having needing to trudge through a similar experience (or at least major concept) time and time again. if you want to keep it interesting ,you need the 7 sins to interact with them quite differently, to tease their curiousity in approaches the other sins haven't tried.

2) you're relying on the sins to be relevant to the characters. but many players build only fractial characters, some build them as ideal, some only build mechanics, and even the best players who delve strongly into personality and "dark aspects" of themselves, don't usually have place for all 7 sins. good ones have place for 3. and some might have other "sins" that are not on the list of 7 sins, and might be disappointed those aren't taken into effect in the campaign.

3) as players don't always differentiate well between themselves and their characters, you might need to try evoke a player's response in this (greed as a likely sin). but some players might be offended. if you're trying to tempt someone for Gluttony does that mean he's fat? or Pride means he's a snob? i know this sounds far fetched but i've seen the "Seven sins" angle tried before on 2 occasions, and one caused very bad feelings in the group because of this.

all that said, you may have a more concrete idea that you have in mind. i need to leave now, but i might be able to help later.

one question though: you wish all aspects of the dream to be influenced by the sin? terrain, time, NPCs and monsters, loot and so on? :smallconfused:

and please don't take it as an offensive criticism, i try to help. i come up with ideas all the time the forum helps me refine. :smalltongue:

Golden Ladybug
2012-04-20, 07:35 AM
Hmm, as Kol said, you need to make these dreams unique. They can't just be a themed dungeon crawl or boss fight, or else they aren't going to have much of a response to it.

Hmm, try this one on for size (note that this scenario makes many, many assumptions about the location, demographic and activities that might occur in your Campaign. I'm making these assumptions not to say that you have to use those situations, but to show the premise of the idea)

The Sin of Pride

The PCs wake up from their slumber, and go downstairs to the common room of the Inn they stayed at for the night. The Maid who'd been particularly rude to them gives them a sweet smile and apologises for the day before. She really shouldn't have been so rude to them, and to make it up to them, here is [useful information about quest]. The day continues in this fashion; everything seems to go right for them. Every puzzle they encounter, they solve on the first try. Every spell the Spellcasters have exactly the right choice of spells to solve the problem presented (He's sick? Well I've got this Cure Disease spell! That Door is Locked? Thankfully, I have Knock prepared!). Their attacks don't miss, their AC is untouchable, and they make all their saves. They defeat the monsters, bypass the traps and solve the puzzles on the first go.

And then, suddenly, it all starts to go wrong. Slowly, at first, when things start to become ever so slightly harder. The last Orc Bandit deflects their sword, and slices them across the chest. Their failed their Reflex save by just one. The Clever plan they enact to trick the Troll's out of the cave doesn't account for the sleeping one they hadn't seen. They keep barely missing the DCs for Skill Checks, but not all the time. Just often enough for it to be noticeable, and a real pain. Finally, they return to the Inn to turn in for the night.

On the way in, they encounter something small and innocuous that should normally be a cinch to defeat. I wouldn't use a Kobold, because that would put me on edge (Kobolds are deadly). Maybe a lone Goblin with a Short Spear, who attacks the PCs wholeheartedly.

Suddenly, they can't hit this Goblin at all. Every attack roll is insufficient, every spell is saved against, every attempt to disable this lone goblin fails. The Goblin, however, might as well be rolling 20s. Nothing seems to get in its way.

If your players are anything like mine, they'll be calling foul by now. How could one measly Goblin be this lucky? There is no way its beating us like this! You must be fudging those rolls!

Once we reach this point, a dark, insidious voice whispers in their ears "You have experienced the greatest heights, and the lowest lows. You know which you truly deserve, don't you?"

And that is when the Dream ends. Continue on as if nothing happened, and get back to the adventure at hand.

At least until the next dream...

2012-04-20, 10:43 AM
Kol: While I don't intend on making it all that obvious, I am certain that they will figure out what is going on around the time of the 3rd or 4th dream... yes. However, my players will most likely get a big kick out of: a) having figured it out, and b) the cleverness (I hope) of the idea. My players are good sports and I don't see any of them committing any true acts of 'sabotage'... we all seem to enjoy making the game run smoothly and be fun for everyone, not as a contest to try and beat the system.
The surprises will come from how each sin is 'integrated' into the story, it won't simply be a lather-rinse-repeat type deal. And I am not relying on the sins to be relevant to the characters (the Seven Deadlies are based on a real-world religious ideal, and the game setting has no widely-unified religious order). It is meant to be more of a 'flavor' or twist on the norm. There won't be much in the way of the singling out of individual characters for them to battle against their own vices. It'll be things that are fairly universal and still maintain the group feel (i.e. in Wrath - I plan to have every foe that is hit by a character to recieve a cumulative +1 to their future attacks versus that character.)
The setting is a town where we have been based out of since the beginning. The tavern where we live is owned by us as a party and is run by two of the NPCs that used to adventure with us who have since retired (due to a pregnancy and subsequent childbirth). They will go to sleep one night and then awaken in the morning, only to find that everything has changed; and this will be the first dream. Things will be recognizable, but vastly different... Sloth will have everything is severe disrepair, with cobwebs and dust upon everything. Greed will have piles of spoiling food and other things strew about the town. The monsters will have been extremely tainted and warped by their particular sin and I plan to have at least one magical item that is themed to its individual dream, yes.

The dreams will each be quite different, or so that is the idea. And thank you very much for your suggestion! I very well might end up using some or all of it! :smallbiggrin:

Kol Korran
2012-04-20, 11:11 AM
Edit: the previous post came as i wrote this one. os it may not be entirely relevant. oh well.

Ok, a few questions, and a few ideas:

questions first:
1) do you intend the players roleplay the sins? "become" the sins? from your post it doesn't seem so, it seems that the sin is expressed by the Dream Realm itself, not the players. though to ask.

2) when you say the characters might be tempted by sins... how do you intend to do that? a roleplay suggestion, or forcing saves and such?

ok, ideas:
Sloth: don't tell the party they had fallen asleep, instead, near the end of the days's journey the party finds an inn (possibly in the middle of nowhere, but try to find reasons to assure them of it). a woman might show them the way in, and inside things are quite pleasant. nice cushions, comfort, a feeling of laziness. let the characters enjoy themselves if they will (if you used former dreams, tell the party there might be some oracle here who might be able to answer their questions, in just a few more minutes).

if you wish, let characters experience that things are wrong- they see flashes that some of the other guests are in fact walking skeletons (but just glimpses), or that the light is in fact dark and so on. everyone is trying to reassure them it's the effects of the former dreams, and they should relax, get comfy, ease their worries, they are safe here.

at some point a character will probably try to act differently, at which point the servants or guest a might "fight" by grumbling forward and moaning why are the characters so tedious. if struck, they crumble and release some sort of atrophy gas (penalties to dex? str? possibly sleep)...

the characters at first can't find the door, the way back (have you guessed already? :smalltongue:)

hopefully the y explore, meet more and more of the "too lazy to resist" monsters, and see the place more and more as it is- decript, falling down, run down. till they reach the "mini boss":
- some sort of an undead possibly? like a lich or a mummy or a ghost of Sloth who just does nothing?
- or perhaps an ooze?

you might make the simple way is just to beat the creature, but i suggest to make it especially impervious to most actions (such unneeded things) taken against it.
or they just can't kill it/ instead, they have to make it active. how? either by phisically moving it around (perhaps up to the entrance that is now revealed) or by finding something to motivate it stronger than sloth (a sort of a riddle). what is stronger than utter desire for inaction?

inspiration? i'll get to run a themed encounter one day. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=kYf4kqnAWos)

i may have more later on. need to go again.

2012-04-20, 01:45 PM
Excellent, Kol... thank you for the idea!

As for your questions:
1) I do not expect them to become the sins, just have to struggle to resist some of them (especially Lust & Greed... easy ones for a D&D party). This particular group does not RP much (one character went unnamed for nearly two years), so I will not be pushing that too much with them. The sin will certainly be the dream realm and it will be them versus the unchecked, rampant "sin-world", basically. Think Alice in Wonderland, sort of.
2) When they will be tempted, it will be a mixture of several elements - psychology (playing on the players' triggers and hangups), difficult saving throws and game penalties, and the abilities of the traps & baddies that they are going up against.

Kol Korran
2012-04-21, 01:38 AM
okay, a few ideas:

Realm World: the party wake at the inn, but everyone seems testy, angry, ready to explode. if any argument is engaged, the person flies into a rage and attacks "you dare wrong me?!?!" (or something of the sort).

outside soon enough the tow is attacked, by many of the monsters and mini bosses that the party vanquished over their adventures, all angry, looking quite dead and berserk. they focus mostly on the characters, getting stronger each time they are hit.

the characters themselves might get angrier, and angrier (you can keep an anger meter if you wish) the mroe they are hit or slighted or the like, till they either get into a rage, or something similar.

Monsters: a few ideas:
- the people and monsters they fought. i suggest they be in a rage, and quite tougher to kill (more hit points, not more AC)

boss monster: one possibility would be a FUTURE boss they are to fight, only vague (perhaps under concealment) or someone they are opposing but do not know (such as a BBEG behind the scenes) might be a nice prelude) another idea (albeit a bit cliche) will be the party themselves, enraged ("you dare wrong me?")

another idea is to face a mighty and holy Paladin (if the party are wrong doers) they are known for their wrath, a different kind of wrath.

i suggest the boss to be under the effects of a frenzied berserker power (stronger rage, but also CANNOT die until it's rage ends, which tends to last 10-12 rounds.) the party should realize that it should have died allready, and that something is keeping it up. (the rage in this instance).

oh, and you attack anyone left standing, so if the party disengage their mirror image, they might hack each other to death.

Magic Item:
Barbarian helm: grants rage to non barbarians, or increases the strength of the rage for barbarians.
Judgmenet: some sort of weapon that deals significant extra damage to an enemy the wielder has reason to be pissed about (or perhaps increasing damage if been hit?

i may have more ideas later. once again, i have to go.

2012-04-21, 02:52 AM
'septus mortis'? 'Death's surrounded man'? 'The obstructed man of death'? 'It is characteristic of a dead man to be surrounded' (supplying sum)?

If you're trying to get across the idea of seven deadly sins, it might be better to say:
(a) septem vitia capitalia (the historic rendering, 'the seven mortal vices')
(b) septem peccata capitalia (the seven deadly things having been sinned = the seven deadly sins. A more modern phrasing, built off the late Latin Christian usage of 'pecco' to mean 'I sin', in the theological sense)

You may have mistaken 'septus' (really, saeptus) for septimus, which is an ordinal number rather than a cardinal. id est: 'septimum peccatum capitalis' = 'the seventh mortal sin'.

edit: translating things into Latin makes them sound cool, but translating them into proper Latin makes them sound really cool.

2012-04-21, 06:46 AM
Try looking at the original definitions of sins, or new ways at looking at them. Sloth, for example, could also represent wilful ignorance and being unwilling to improve oneself despite having the capability, and ic can also stand in for despair, as to despair is to do nothing.

As unwilling as I am to explain using tvtropes, there are a lot more details right here. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SevenDeadlySins)

Kol Korran
2012-04-21, 06:55 AM
Realm World option 1: the party awakes without armor, weapons or spells (for all kinds of casters). through out the realm are various "eat me/ drink me" foods and beverages that give the character temporary armor, spells and weapons.

also, there are no passages between one place and another, you have to eat your way through walls of bacon, doorways of sugar and so on.

there is an Obesity Meter for each character, depending on how much s/he eats. at certain points it starts affecting the character- penalties to constitution, slower movement, perhaps penalties to exerted actions. also, at major points the character's effective size (for grapple, bull rush and the like) might increase.

Realm World option 2: the characters awake in some impossibly huge creature's digestive system, who keeps on eating. as they climb through various compartments of the digestive system upwards (the convulsing intestines, the acid lake of the stomach, the long climb of the esophagus) the party must face the environment, the monsters of the tract, and the incoming surges of food. more and more food.

if the party gets out of the mouth they look back to see the giant eating monstrosity is... themselves?

Monsters: a few ideas:
- i suggest some lowly gelatinous but vaguely humanoid kind of grunt monster. i suggest a refluffed Lemure from the MM (in devils or demons). they die quickly, and eating them (sugary yumness!) is the only ability to heal in this place. no healing magic works.
- various simple golems of marmalade, meat and so on.
- gibbering mouther and various oozes (black pudding?) sound especially suitable for this place.

boss monster: if you're going with the first option i'd suggest ot go with an incredibly large gelatinous cube- both the eater and the eaten. have a slight charm on it that causes those near it to save or come munch on it, getting engulfed and start being digested while it feasts on the cube.

if you're going with the second monster i suggest the finale to not be a boss monster, but just exiting a complicated "trap" of the creatures mouth. or you could make the tongue a sort of a purple worm? :smallconfused: i suggest just a complex trap, as the mouth ever eats.

Magic Item:
- possibly some slimming elixir or potion formula, only regaining the weight happens faster?
- the MIC has the horn of plenty (12,000) that creates a hero's feast 1/ day
- an item with infinite prestidigitation that can alter the taste of any food? (sort of a salt shaker)
- a skin that can alter the kind of wine in it?

Kol Korran
2012-04-21, 12:42 PM
Realm World option: The party wakes up in a nicely decorated room, wearing little, with a sign over the door "everything you can carry out is yours to take". the place is loaded with precious stuff, from clothes, to cutlery, to statues and the like. most of it is made out of HEAVY metals.

soon enough the entire place starts to flood, in an ever increasing pace. as the party tries to get out of the place, they finally find the opening- a tube towards the surface. at this point the water should be rushing, and the players on the verge of swimming or swimming already. the heavy objects weigh on the characters and give them penalties to swim and stay afloat. will they carry their gains, or relinquish them and let them fall?

note: i do suggest letting the players know they WILL get the treasure if they can take it with them at the start of the dream. otherwise most will just throw it away. if you're worried about overloading the characters with too much wealth, you can have some sort of an exchange rate at the end...

all manner of animated objects, made out of the finest (and the most delicate/ breakable/ burnable) materials. when they hit the party, they may "fix" themselves from the party's riches, and when the party attacks them, they harm them too. the party can loot the bodies (as in take them) for more treasure.

also, you can have Ethereal Filchers (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/etherealFilcher.htm) jump in the battles, stealing stuff, hiding it.

boss monster: hhmmm... a tricky one. my suggestion is some sort of a bargaining demon/ devil. it offers them other goodies for the treasures they have, perhaps even covered goodies? perhaps with clues as to the content? but only one can take each prize, a sort of an auction if you may.

one of the prizes is exiting the dream, alive. but only one can take it. if the winner chooses to give it to another, they all get out well. if not- the winner gets out well, the others a bit scarred (whether permanent or not i leave to you)

not exactly a boos fight, but i think it might be a fun encounter. who doesn't like bidding?

Magic Items: these could come in the auction or before it.
themed options:
- an item that lets you correctly guess an item's worth (or +10 to appraise and such)
- something that makes pickpocketing easier (a pair of gloves?)
- an alchemist stone: capable of converting a limited mass of stone/ lead/ copper/ whatever into gold.
- an item/ wand/ rod that directs you to the nearest most valuable object of a certain size in a certain range.
- i suggest keeping all kind of minor magic items that might be cool and nifty for the players to have. there are a few such threads on the forums.

Possible prizes of the auction:
- a magical item of choice worth up to X gold.
- a minor demonic slave to carry your stuff, never tiring/ or a loyal fiendish animal companion? what a cute hellhound!
- a secure extra dimensional place only you can access.
- surprise information about the character's past/ future
- the ability to alter something in the characer's make up (slightly change abilities, perhaps a different class and so on)
- be granted the use of some ability 1-3 times a day.
and so on...

2012-04-23, 09:41 AM
Kol: Awesome ideas. Thank you a ton!

Doorhandle: Thank you as well! As annoying as that site can be, that article in particular is actually proving a monumental help.

Tyler: Thanks... I guess? My initial thought was to call it 'Septimus Mortis', but I changed it to 'Septus Mortis' because I felt the original idea was too blatantly obvious. I didn't want the players to immediately understand what the campaign was about before ever playing it. They still might, even behind the bad Latin... but we shall see. I might change it back. Maybe you could post something truly helpful here though (about the campaign) - y'know... like what the Latin word is for "troll".:smallbiggrin: