A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #31
    Orc in the Playground
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    Jan 2016

    Default Re: Help Stopping a Demonic Cult

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja Bear View Post
    You could even have a cult member directly hire the party to bump off his superior in the cult and "make it look like an accident, er, make it look like a heroism," that sort of thing.
    Or have a renegade "cult" member become a potential ally of the PCs (Because he thinks they're going too far, because he wants to weaken his competition, because the others wnat him dead for some reason). Having someone with insider knowledge

    Overall, if the opposition you put on your players' path seems too strong, you can give them weaknesses
    - Internal conflict : They're a bunch of jackals often turning against each other. or maybe all of them don't have the same objective. Maybe there is a real Doomsday-demon-loving-cult among them, or people convinced they can do good?
    - Unreliable tools : The ritual they use to summon demons have one critical weakness, and dealing with it can deal with the threat. For example, their magic is powered by some artefact or some demon lord, and destroying/taking/exiling it will cut most of their magical ability. They'll still be a dangerous cabal of hostile, malevolent, powerful people, but not an existential threat. Or maybe the way they communicate, or their mundane agents, can be exploited against them?
    - Hubris and overconfidence : They have trouble controling the demons they summon, of their portal magic. When they summoned small stuff, they could manage, but as they gain confidence and try bigger schemes, things become dangerous, and maybe the PCs can push that "unreliability"
    - External enemies : If those guys blew up their cover (and, given their blatant demon-summoning trick, it's likely), then some other group of people (a concil of lords, a paladin order, a church, a secret society of mages, a demon lord, another evil organisation) will take notice and take action. Even if said faction don't ally with the PCs, that will create openings that the players can encourage or exploit.

    But mostly? Let the players have knowledge about this organisations and general stuff about the fact that they've got weaknesses, and run with anything they decide to work with. For example, if a knowledgeable PC investigates the demon portals, have thiose portals have some sort of explotable signature or weakness. If they look for allies, allow them to contact a rival organisation. If they try to speak with the demons, make those demons disloyal to the cabal. Listen to their ideas, they should do the heavy "brainstorm" lifting for you ^^
    Last edited by Kardwill; 2021-08-18 at 04:02 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #32
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Ohio

    Default Re: Help Stopping a Demonic Cult

    All of the above, plus:

    Redirect the portals to a realm of good.
    Summon bigger rock-demon
    Evil people working together to get more power? Who gets to be #1 after the summoning is complete? Encourage the wannabee evilest.
    Thief 1; replace a critical component with a fake.
    Antimagic shell, sphere of annihilation, other “ultimate power to prevent planar travel” mcguffin.
    Talk to the demons’ boss about these mortals putting boss out of a job

    Exploit internal divisions, find bigger hammer, do something on the other end of the portal. Most solutions will be one of those three.

  3. - Top - End - #33
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Help Stopping a Demonic Cult

    Yes, there is a way to close these infernal hell gates, though I'm not sure u would call it a weakness. To close a demonic portal, you must go from the mortal realm through the gate to the other side, fighting through demons along the way. Somewhere nearby (and it has to be close by, like, less than a mile otherwise the magic won't work) there is what's called an "Anchor" basically someone who volunteered their life (typically a cult member) or someone they captured and forced against their will (this cult kidnaps a lot of people). This person's life is bound to the hell gate and it is their lifeforce that is keeping it open.
    Killing this person, this "Anchor" will close the gate, but not immediately. PCs have about 7 minutes before the gate totally closes. If they fail to make it in time (sometimes this requires a skill challenge depending on terrain) then they are trapped in the infernal realm until they have found another gate that has opened up.

  4. - Top - End - #34
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Help Stopping a Demonic Cult

    Quote Originally Posted by HumanFighter View Post
    Yes, there is a way to close these infernal hell gates, though I'm not sure u would call it a weakness. To close a demonic portal, you must go from the mortal realm through the gate to the other side, fighting through demons along the way. Somewhere nearby (and it has to be close by, like, less than a mile otherwise the magic won't work) there is what's called an "Anchor" basically someone who volunteered their life (typically a cult member) or someone they captured and forced against their will (this cult kidnaps a lot of people). This person's life is bound to the hell gate and it is their lifeforce that is keeping it open.
    Killing this person, this "Anchor" will close the gate, but not immediately. PCs have about 7 minutes before the gate totally closes. If they fail to make it in time (sometimes this requires a skill challenge depending on terrain) then they are trapped in the infernal realm until they have found another gate that has opened up.
    Sooooo, your plot is ES IV: Oblivion?
    Knowledge brings the sting of disillusionment, but the pain teaches perspective.
    "You know it's all fake right?"
    "...yeah, but it makes me feel better."

  5. - Top - End - #35
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Thumbs up Re: Help Stopping a Demonic Cult

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    Sooooo, your plot is ES IV: Oblivion?
    Haha, yes. But I'm putting my own twist on it. Making the anchor an actual person you have to kill makes it more dramatic, I thought, than simply taking a sigil stone. And i don't have to worry about unbalancing the game by handing out a magic item every time a gate is closed. Smart observation there, though

  6. - Top - End - #36
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Anonymouswizard's Avatar

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    Default Re: Help Stopping a Demonic Cult

    Quote Originally Posted by HumanFighter View Post
    Yes, there is a way to close these infernal hell gates, though I'm not sure u would call it a weakness. To close a demonic portal, you must go from the mortal realm through the gate to the other side, fighting through demons along the way. Somewhere nearby (and it has to be close by, like, less than a mile otherwise the magic won't work) there is what's called an "Anchor" basically someone who volunteered their life (typically a cult member) or someone they captured and forced against their will (this cult kidnaps a lot of people). This person's life is bound to the hell gate and it is their lifeforce that is keeping it open.
    Killing this person, this "Anchor" will close the gate, but not immediately. PCs have about 7 minutes before the gate totally closes. If they fail to make it in time (sometimes this requires a skill challenge depending on terrain) then they are trapped in the infernal realm until they have found another gate that has opened up.
    Why aren't these anchors heavily guarded, ideally in a ten by ten foot cavern 0.9 miles under the hellgate which scrubs it's air and produces food? Connecting tunnels filled in with stone of course. I'm presuming this hellgate is something the demons/devils care about as well as the cult members, so they'll want to protect the anchor as best they can.

    Actually, what benefit do the cult members get out of this hellgate? Seems like it'll tend to make the surrounding area pretty unexploitable, are they planning to destroy farmland to drive up the market value of the courgettes their farms produce or something?
    Snazzy avatar (now back! ) by Honest Tiefling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

  7. - Top - End - #37
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Help Stopping a Demonic Cult

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Why aren't these anchors heavily guarded, ideally in a ten by ten foot cavern 0.9 miles under the hellgate which scrubs it's air and produces food? Connecting tunnels filled in with stone of course. I'm presuming this hellgate is something the demons/devils care about as well as the cult members, so they'll want to protect the anchor as best they can.

    Actually, what benefit do the cult members get out of this hellgate? Seems like it'll tend to make the surrounding area pretty unexploitable, are they planning to destroy farmland to drive up the market value of the courgettes their farms produce or something?
    Some anchors are more well-guarded than others, depending on the location of the gate and its strategic importance in the world.
    And yeah, basically the cult wants to control the world through fear, beating it into submission with repeatable demonic invasions. Some want to completely destroy the world in this manner, and then rebuild it in their horrific image, but only the extremists really want that. If a few farmlands have to suffer for this dream, so be it. Sometimes you have to break a few eggs before you can make a demonic omelette

  8. - Top - End - #38
    Ogre in the Playground
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    London, UK

    Default Re: Help Stopping a Demonic Cult

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Why aren't these anchors heavily guarded, ideally in a ten by ten foot cavern 0.9 miles under the hellgate which scrubs it's air and produces food? Connecting tunnels filled in with stone of course. I'm presuming this hellgate is something the demons/devils care about as well as the cult members, so they'll want to protect the anchor as best they can.
    If I was designing the fortifications, I wouldn't place it directly down, but as one of many potential subterranean locations at various angles down, with the others containing heavily booby-trapped decoys...

    Still, the DM can avoid placing such frustrations in the path of the PCs with a few plot features:
    - First gate the party encounters? Maybe the cult didn't seriously expect their opponents to venture into hell to shut it down, so the protections were relatively light.
    - Newly formed gate? Maybe the anchor had to be much closer than the 1 mile limit for the gate forming ceremony, and is still being moved if the party move in right away.
    - Hell a fractious place? Maybe if the assault is carefully timed, the defences may already be weakened by infighting.

    Successive gate dives should, of course, meet stiffer and stiffer resistance and nastier traps / fortifications.

  9. - Top - End - #39
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2021

    Default Re: Help Stopping a Demonic Cult

    Putting aside that those books are from different editions of the game though, that passage seems to be referring to a very long period of corruption and depravity weakening the space between those worlds in a highly localized area. It's not really the kind of thing a bunch of cultists can effect spontaneously/simultaneously all over the map, unless they've had this plan in motion for a very long time uninterrupted and unnoticed. I'd expect this method to be used for a single portal in their backyard, somewhere they've been conducting routine sacrifices for instance.

  10. - Top - End - #40
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Thumbs up Re: Help Stopping a Demonic Cult

    Quote Originally Posted by karenmane View Post
    Putting aside that those books are from different editions of the game though, that passage seems to be referring to a very long period of corruption and depravity weakening the space between those worlds in a highly localized area. It's not really the kind of thing a bunch of cultists can effect spontaneously/simultaneously all over the map, unless they've had this plan in motion for a very long time uninterrupted and unnoticed. I'd expect this method to be used for a single portal in their backyard, somewhere they've been conducting routine sacrifices for instance.
    That is a very interesting idea, thanks for that. I can imagine a place in the world that's always been haunted, and that would make it easier for the cultists to open their little portals.

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