View Full Version : Help me develop a story

2017-06-16, 10:23 AM
So, I'm a bit lost and out of my element. I usually sit together and discuss with my players what they want out of a campaign. This time, they wanted something "classic" and "epic". Alrighty, then, time to hide my folders of political intrigue.

The world is Mediterranean-inspired, with city states of three main cultures around an inland sea, surrounded by a lot of uncivilized (to the sea people) nothingness full of other tribes and smaller cultures. Generally, a pretty low-level world where the players happen to be mid level. Some inspiration of Greek and Norse myth.

Anyway. After some smaller adventures, the players find out that an old, deposed god (think titan) has managed to reach out of his prison and is weakening the foundations of the world to bring about the end of an age. Huge changes to the natural order, global catastrophe, players only ones to stop it, the usual.

So, the players decided to "go to the top". Not find any of the artifacts that they have ideas about that might help, not find more information from mystery cults or old lost libraries, or hunt down cultists, which were ideas I had planned for. Nope, they want to go tell the gods and let them handle it.

Now, these gods are not all-powerful, all-knowing or even all that benevolent. The ruler of the gods is distant and uncaring and doesn't answer prayers, the sea god is a vengeful jerk who hates people traveling his waters and only lets them do it in exchange for animal sacrifices and proper reverence and still occasionally will sink your fleets for fun or send some krakens after you, the war goddess has an absolute disregard for anyone who doesn't prove their valour by mighty deeds of conquest and the muse of dance and music quite likes driving people insane. The usual. They decided to go for the mother goddess who is responsible for the earth, animals, plants and healing, because she sounded nicest.

I allowed this to happen, trying to be a good DM. They didn't decide to climb the world tree, because it sounded like it would take too much time. Instead, they found a portal to the spirit world deep under ground and from there, bargained their way across it into ever more deeper and dangerous dimensions. They bargained with a fey lord for permission to climb his tower to the clouds to escape a magical forest (which is also under the sea). In the clouds (which are also a blinding white desert), they negotiated with a Djinn for a door and a map, so they could get into the shadow world. There they climbed a stormy mountain in perfect darkness and battled monsters to reach the top.

So, now... they should reach the home of the gods. And I have no idea how to go from there. Obviously, the gods can't just solve this, or the campaign is over. On the other hand, the gods just telling them to bugger off is seriously anti-climactic. I can't think of a satisfying solution.

2017-06-16, 11:15 AM
Maybe the deposed god has already done something to damage / weaken the existing gods to where they can't offer any tangible help, but offer some advice on a macguffin that would help them to kill / reimprison the deposed god. Or maybe they're all dead / imprisoned, and the party finds a spawn of the deposed god. Or maybe the existing gods have been warped and try to kill the party (but are also weakened enough to where they don't really).

Most of those ideas would feel best if there was foreshadowing, or if you can retcon things that have already been happening as if it was always supposed to be foreshadowing what's going on now.

2017-06-16, 11:49 AM
On the way to the realm of the gods they travel past one of the titan's prisons, not the one that is trying to escape though. Maybe he would try to convince them to not speak to the gods and instead to help him escape, his argument could be that the gods don't care about saving the world but he does, that not only will he save the world for them but reward them for letting him out.

If they decide to hear him out he'll tell them where the mcguffin is, the item that the other titan is using to escape. If they can get it to him he'll be able to stop the other titan.

Of course, if they merely get it then they'll be saved, if they get it to him he'll be free to attack the gods.

... I don't know where this was supposed to go.

2017-06-16, 12:08 PM
You know... that last one could work. They bargained for a way to the gods. They didn't tell the Djinn which gods. Would feel like a bit of an asspull, though.

Weakening the gods is probably the way to go.

Lvl 2 Expert
2017-06-16, 12:39 PM
the gods just telling them to bugger off is seriously anti-climactic. I can't think of a satisfying solution.

Yeah, you already made them do too much work to get there.

I like the "O no, it's worse than we thought, the gods have been..." idea, but alternatively, you could use their goddess of choice as a quest giver. They might need to bring her evidence, by collecting seeds and fruits in the area closest to the titans prison and bringing them before her oracle who lives in a cave in a forest somewhere. From there the oracle will give them directions to an artifact the goddess made that they can use to awaken the prisons ancient caregivers and guards, giants of stone who have drifted off to sleep as the long forgotten age of magic ended. Meanwhile, the godess talked to the other gods. They got together, but they are missing the most bloodthirsty of them, the god of earthquakes, volcanoes and metalworkers, who lives uhhh on a mountaintop somewhere, since the rest of them lived in a hole deep in the ground. The guards (great fellows, ones you get to know them), inform the party of this, and they go there. But when the PC's are on their way there they feel a disturbance in the force hear a loud roar, see the sky turn red and realize what happened. Now where will they go? Onwards toward help, or back the way they came, to those who need help?

Of course, your players sound like the kind of group who'd be off these rails before the first quest is complete, but it's a direction you could take them in.

2017-06-16, 12:46 PM
They find the mother goddess, and she agrees to help. She gathers together her weapons and a few allies, and goes to fight the titan. The battle is explosive but short, and at the end the mother goddess stands...defeated.

Well, not so much stands; she's been reduced to a seed. Her allies have been similarly cut down, leaving behind mere fragments of their power. Unfortunately, this means that their deific duties are no longer being done; plants no longer grow, wounds no longer heal, other things stop happening depending on the nature of her allies. These effects can be restored: if the seed is planted it will grow into a tree that will blossom into the mother goddess in a few hundred years.

If the players aren't willing to wait that long, there is another option. By consuming the seed, one player can take on the power of the mother goddess. (The other players can similarly take on the powers of her allies; "fortunately" there is one player for each of her and her allies). The default effects will begin again immediately, but it will take the players time to learn to use their new powers in immediate, impressive ways.

Best part: they wanted the gods to solve the problem; as they are now technically the gods, it is very clearly their problem. And it seems that just the power of the gods isn't enough, so maybe now is the time for them to look for some of those artifacts you prepared for.

2017-06-16, 12:59 PM
Huh. That works. There's even already a female shaman/healer in the group.

2017-06-16, 01:24 PM
My spin on it.

The Gods know....which is why the PC's know. The Gods rarely act on their own, they get mortals to fix things...like Perseus, Hercules, Ulyssus etc. Now the PC's have been spending precious time to warn the Gods.

So the answer from the Gods is: "Instead of trying to fix this by yourself you want us to fix this....oh the hubris, demanding this of the Gods. Why should we fix this? Catastrophe, the end of an age means more people will worship us, plead for our protection so why would we take any action as long as it doesn't threaten us personally.....it's just one titan after all"

Then they throw the PC's off the mountain.

2017-06-16, 02:30 PM
The gods don't believe them; they know their own safeguards and measures are more than up to the job, and would alert them the moment the Titan began its escape. But since the PCs insist they'll look in on things soon. Next century, say.

But they are willing to reward the heroes who came to see them in person; it's an impressive feat, and has won them the respect of the gods. So they're given gifts; mighty spells of protection, weapons and armour from the Forge of the Gods. Gifts and blessings the like of which mortal man has not seen in millennia. They may not have gotten what they wanted... but they have gotten things that are damned useful to them and their goal.

And on their way back, they get tangled up with the Titan's minions since of course it's been keeping watch on the dwelling place of the gods, and what's to bush-whack the PCs since it now knows (or suspects) they're on to it, and it can't let them live, now, can it?

Lvl 2 Expert
2017-06-16, 04:00 PM
I vote for the godseed idea. It's a lot of homebrewing, basically making an overpowered prestige class (even an underling of a god is far more powerful than a mortal) for each of them, but it's so awesome. The tank gets to be a big strong earth monster, the skillmonkey gets to call on the animals and plants of the wild...

Just make sure they can always still choose to take a level in any other class this time. No railroading character development.

2017-06-17, 05:35 AM
Our good friends over at Pathfinder have a system set up for such a situation - where low-level characters can earn god-like Mythic Hero (http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/mythicAdventures/mythicHeroes.html) levels and gain amazing powers.

2017-06-17, 05:55 AM
Our good friends over at Pathfinder have a system set up for such a situation - where low-level characters can earn god-like Mythic Hero (http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/mythicAdventures/mythicHeroes.html) levels and gain amazing powers.

I was also thinking about the mythic rules, but that kinda depends on what the group is playing. It also reminds me of epic destinies in 4e D&D.