View Full Version : DM Help Reasons to Corrupt a Spirit?

2016-01-04, 09:10 PM
As the title says, what might be the purpose of a BBEG (or even a Good aligned force) to corrupt something like a nature spirit? I'm building an encounter where the players will fight against a forest spirit that has been corrupted. While I like the idea of a couple of monk/priests causing the issue due to a schism within their group, I can't think of a reason that would justify it.

As might be imagined, this corruption is causing severe ecological issues in-setting. Black, cursed water in the river, dead things coming back, rice harvests failing, etc etc (yes it's an "Eastern" setting). And while the actual encounter is pretty cool in my head, I still need an in-universe reason for it all going horribly wrong in the first place.

Fable Wright
2016-01-04, 09:19 PM
Nature spirits are just about the ultimate goal to corrupt or enslave. If you're seeking the destruction of a providence, then there's no better way to truly and completely make it uninhabited. If you're seeking control of the providence, using it to deny the death of your soldiers in the area, harvesting the corrupted water and berries as a biological or mystical weapons, or to force enemy crops to fail while ensuring the successful growth of your own rice paddies and making berry harvests plentiful.

The schism corrupting the spirit could easily be explained by the monks having created in the far past a fisher king style setup, binding them to a harsh and uncaring nature spirit, such that their serenity would make it eternally calm and benevolent, but I personally enjoy the machinations of a big bad corrupting the spirit so as to make it more connected to any myth arcs involved.

2016-01-04, 09:51 PM
I too like the idea of the Big Bad getting in on that. The BBEG I have is basically an evil Shogun looking to reunite the Empire, and the region this adventure takes place in is the old capitol. I guess he could be looking to ruin his rivals before moving in, but I almost think such an act would be considered dishonorable to him.

I will probably end up using this idea, but I'd like to hear others first. Also, general spirit-corruption thread for anyone with ideas not directly related to my problem.

2016-01-05, 07:09 AM
Your post seems pretty indicative of a very powerful nature-spirit, something akin to a regional god.

Gaining power over the land would be one, obvious reason. I ask, however, what about love? Perhaps spirit-law forbids the material and the divine from forming these kinds of relationships - the shogun, entranced by the spirit's beauty and caring nothing for the rules of gods, decides he will have his heart's desire at any cost. He thinks he can accomplish his goal by way of filling the spirit's heart with darkness, and regardless of whether he gets what he wants, you now have a reason for the spirit to become corrupted.

Just an idea, anyway. :smallsmile:

2016-01-05, 07:31 AM
Somebody wants to bring back the Dead.
if you want the BBEG to be smpathetic enough maybe his lost Love?
Otherwise it could have been done by a good Person, misled about the consequences by the BBEG.

And while that "Revival" works as intended, the side effects are what you describe.

I always like multilayered explanations for such things, especially when originally "Nonevil" Actions lead to corruption. :smallwink:

Mark Hall
2016-01-05, 11:52 AM
How about on accident? There's something else they're doing, and the corruption of the spirit is a by-product. The Planeteers answer is, of course, that they're excavating something... something old and evil, whose essence is now polluting the land.

2016-01-05, 03:03 PM
I could see a person doing that to get the spirit to do something it's not normally supposed to. Like promoting growth in some things (a crop, a desired metal ore, a certain kind of fish, etc) over other aspects of nature. It might also be made to ignore certain kinds of pollution or environmental abuse like over-hunting, overuse of undead, or slash-and-burn agriculture. Or they could get the spirit to accept something unnatural like a coal mine, a dungeon, or a military base in the spirit's territory, protecting and tending it as a normal nature spirit would treat a sacred grove. They could also try to make the spirit ruin a rival's agriculture or grazing, making it impossible for the rival to live off the land.

2016-01-05, 05:05 PM
Since yesterday morning, you could see thick, black smoke rising from neighboring villages, one after the other, approaching like the fall of night. Unstoppable. Our able sons' blood already dry on the pikes of the barbarians, we have nothing to distinguish us from those already in the underworld, except perhaps Shijjouni. Our patron spirit has watched over this valley for generations, bringing the crabs to the beach, swelling the hazelnuts. What good is that now, with destruction and death hanging over us all? What good is fruitfulness in the fire? Our tales tell of the awesome destructive power of the cursed spirits, the ones twisted and corrupted by foul magics and dark desires, tearing apart mountains and drinking dry the rivers. I hate to imagine harming, using our helper like that, but I cannot watch while the invaders kill my sons, steal my granddaughters, and put my beloved home to the flame. It must be done. Forgive me.

2016-01-05, 05:44 PM
There's always "experiment gone wrong" - the spirit was corrupted by accident as a side effect of something else the BBEG was trying to do. These monks of yours could have been trying to investigate a matter that was considered forbidden and dangerous by the mainstream, and accidentally done this when it turned out the thing was as dangerous as they were told.