A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
You can get A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2 now at Gumroad
Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Troll in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Italy
    Gender
    Male

    Default what could be in the private demiplane of a dead god?

    One of my players wanted his wizard to either ascend to godhood, or gain closely related power.
    divine energy is not easily found in my campaign world, but luckily, i had a source i could use.
    a previous campaign set in the same world ended with the defeat of the army of vecna, and the death of vecna for lack of followers. However, some of his divine energy - his corpse, you could say - would be left in vecna's private demiplane.
    A god's private demiplane should be completely inaccessible to anyone. but there's a special trick here. vecna's army was destroied, except for the high priest, a lich named cemandrion who was spared. he's one of the most skilled magical researchers to have ever lived, and it was decided to keep him prisoner and tightly controlled to use his capacity for good. Cemandrion himself is the epitome of pragmatic evil. He's very polite, nice, helpful - and he tried to suck the souls of all the inhabitants of a large city to ascend himself; and then he tried to conquer the world. Cemandrion has the hand and eye of vecna, and he's got some divine power himself, and he's fairly certain that with this connection, he could planeshift to vecna's demiplane.
    In the century since his capture, cemandrion played the part of the perfect prisoner. by now he's developed the means to escape his prison, but he realizes, even if he were to escape, he'd just be an escapee chased by half the world. he wouldn't last. even if he were to grab the leftover divine energy of vecna and ascend, he'd have no followers, and no power base to get some, and everybody would try to destroy him for what he did last time. He's that kind of long-term planner. So he's playing nice while looking for allies and opportunities.

    enters the pc wizard. someone who, by backstory, had extensive knowledge of the whole business with vecna. he found ways to get assigned to work with cemandrion, and the two had an understanding. eventually, the lich told him (paraphrased) "when your party is higher level, we can all go to vecna's demiplane, get the divine energy, and split it"
    regarding the possibility of betrayals, again, paraphrased "I have no reason to betray you; I only want to get a smidgen of that divinity, enough to move from level 1 demigod to level 2 demigod. if i got it all and ascended, nobody would follow me and i'd die of starvation. And you'll have no reason to betray me; I'm only taking a smidgen of that energy, and i'll be more useful as an ally"

    I want the party to at least get 9th level spells before this adventure, and they are quickly approaching. I want to build an adventure where the party + cemandrion (whom the party will control, he won't be a dmpc) go into vecna's demiplane to recover vecna's "corpse".

    the only problem is, I don't have much of an idea what they could find inside. Crazy angels attacking everyone on sight? there will probably be those. But what else? Any suggestion is appreciated, I'll sort out what works afterwards.

    System is 3.5, but it doesn't really matter. I need ideas, once I have those I can make up the numbers myself.
    In memory of Evisceratus: he dreamed of a better world, but he lacked the class levels to make the dream come true.

    Ridiculous monsters you won't take seriously even as they disembowel you

    my take on the highly skilled professional: the specialized expert

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    San Antonio, Texas
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: what could be in the private demiplane of a dead god?

    I would go with "bound fiends" instead of "crazy angels", myself. Scores of fiends, bound to the demiplane by Vecna, tearing each other to shreds in their own private Blood War, only to have the destroyed return in a few days. They lead legions of lesser undead... wights, ghouls, zombies, with some greater undead there, fighting for their own unlives, not sure if they will reform if they die (some do, some do not, and some do a few times but then do not).

    The whole place REEKS of negative energy. Living creatures cannot heal naturally, and magical healing is only half as effective.

    New people arrive? They are viewed as possible allies to one's enemies, and so they are ruthlessly attacked. It's no matter that Vecna's (figurative) right hand is here; he is a threat to the fiend's own power.
    The Cranky Gamer
    *It isn't realism, it's verisimilitude; the appearance of truth within the framework of the game.
    *Picard management tip: Debate honestly. The goal is to arrive at the truth, not at your preconception.
    *Two Tales of Tellene, available from DriveThruFiction
    *The One Deck Engine: Gaming on a budget
    Written by Me on DriveThru RPG
    If you need me to address a thread as a moderator, include a link.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Coventry's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Default Re: what could be in the private demiplane of a dead god?

    Depending on the source material you use, Vecna was a lot of things. In one edition, he had absorbed the power of Iuz in an attempt to ascend to full godhood. In another, he was the god of secrets, hidden knowledge, and intrigue.

    There could be ancient, forgotten beings of power trapped in the realm. Perhaps Iuz, and/or a good-aligned god. Or just a crazy one (Tharizdun). Maybe a bunch of them.

    Maybe a lost civilization is inside - something kept very secret.

    Vecna might actually not be dead - what was slain was actually a clone of the original sent to perform some task. Or maybe the original did die, but a clone has awakened.

    As a god of secrets, expect things to be compartmentalized ... walls blocking access to each zone, with intricate protocols to gain access. There will be traps for the foolishly curious and unwary sorts.

    As a god of intrigue, perhaps the demi-plane has a gigantic spy agency that watches everyone, or disappears people to "Room 101" (Orwell's 1984). The player shows up, and one part of the spy agency ("The Home Office") immediately accepts the player as the new boss, while others sections seem friendly but aren't, while others are openly hostile. And, of course, the Home Office is not really what it seems to be.

    The thought that appeals to me would be the revelation that Vecna was not evil, and that he had a very good reason why his armies were doing what they were doing before they got defeated ... and that now the players are on the hook for fixing whatever it was that Vecna failed to fix. Maybe keeping the prison for Tharizdun sealed carries a really high price, and that price needs to be paid ... soon.

    The player's new "assistant" at the Home Office being that very not-dead Vecna seems a bit cliched, but might work. Especially since Vecna's plans failed, so maybe the new guy can come up with something that might work.
    Last edited by Coventry; 2021-12-05 at 02:53 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Hellas
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: what could be in the private demiplane of a dead god?

    Hi all!

    To me, everything also depends on her alignment. E.g., make her find a village of primitive people; if she's N or G, then what would she do? Kill them to gain access to the body (demi-plane)? Wait until their civilization ends? Accelerate time just to see their future? If she's E, then make her pay for her choices by having her found an opposite aligned dead god. The whole thing is to make her suffer for the power to gain and creating a hook for further playing. Remember Lloths' 'recent' transformation? She had to use a mortal, a Drow, and even let her children, although briefly, gain hold in her new domain.

    Roger Druid

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Coventry's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Default Re: what could be in the private demiplane of a dead god?

    Here is one approach that takes my earlier jumble of thoughts and turns them into story hooks.

    Entering a god's private domain is not as simple as casting plane shift even for an open and welcoming god. Vecna was a god of secrets, so getting into his private domain is not easy. Gathering the things needed to unlock the portal can be as many or as few side adventures as you want - giving you a perfect excuse to ensure that the party reaches the level that you want them to be at. I am assuming that they will ask Cemandrion what is needed, and that he will give them an accurate list.

    Some of the material needed is easy to get, but by far the hardest thing to get is a powerful secret that no one else knows. Of course Cemandrion has one such secret, but if he shares his, then it will no longer be a "secret that no one else knows", and it will be useless even to him. If the party struggles to come up with ways to acquire such a powerful secret, Cemandrion can suggest a few options. First are the deceased commanders of Vecna's armies - each of them probably had a secret like that. Second are the hidden temples of Vecna - secrets are their very core, so those might even have more than one.

    If they ask him what those secrets are, or precisely where they would be in the temple, he will give them a look and say, "If I knew that, they would not be secrets, would they?" You can add whatever "eye-rolling" expression you think is appropriate for this lich.

    When the party asks Cemandrion about the plane, he will say, "The area I was allowed into was heavily infused with necromantic power. I am very sure that there were areas beyond the space I was in, but I knew better than to try to explore. My survival instinct was telling me to stay put, and I did. Now that Vecna is gone? There is no way to even guess what has spilled over the walls without going to see in person." He should add that the party should be prepared to immediately defend themselves upon arriving. Keeping secrets tends to be violent.

    When it is time for the party to actually travel to Vecna's domain, read this block to them:


    As your character completes casting the spell, there is a fleeting moment where he gets a feel for the plane he is traveling to. Earlier, Cemandrion had suggested that areas were walled off from each other; during this moment, your character can see that is very true. Imagine all of the cells of a honeycomb in an infinite beehive (where each cell keeps a secret) and you might approach the reality of Vecna's domain.

    Then that fleeting moment is over, and your character materializes in a space he was not expecting. Your character would think of the room as a parlor or a shop, but modern you would immediately recognize the space as a very nice waiting room in an expensive office building. There is a desk for the person who greets new arrivals, several comfortable chairs and at least three (closed) doors leading out of the room. The door behind your character is the one created by the plane shift spell.

    There is one other person in the room, seated at the desk. Hanging on the wall behind that person is a sign that says "The boss is: gone". The sign is the first thing that moves after your arrival - it changes to say, "The boss is: in?" Yes the question mark is there at the end. Your character is fairly sure that sign is now referring to you.

    The next thing that happens is that the person at the desk stands and greets you, "Hello! And welcome to the Home Office! My name is Elam. Assuming that you choose to keep me in this position, I will be your assistant while you are here. Things around here are a little unusual at the moment, so please be on your guard at all times. I'm sure you will sort that out soon enough."

    Elam will call the player by his formal name. If asked, Elam will say, "I have been waiting for someone powerful enough to be our new boss to arrive ever since our previous one left us. Not everyone who reports to you will be happy about having you as a boss, but defeat the ones that take a crack at you, and the others will toe the line. You can choose to decline the position, but if you do that, the directors will toss you in the arena, and I'll go back to waiting for the next candidate".

    The directors will be a mixture of powerful outsiders and undead.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    Default Re: what could be in the private demiplane of a dead god?

    Vecna has to have some sort of Repository of Secrets, even a god can't keep track of everything that's ever happened before. And since Vecna is almost always characterized as a god of trickery as well as secrets in general, I'm sure they'd be obsessive as hell about said secrets getting out. Even though theoretically no one should ever even be able to enter said library, Vecna is both paranoid and genre savvy enough to know that theory doesn't mean **** once a level twenty wizard sets his mind to something, so Vecna would incorporate all sorts of traps, wards, locks, and other defenses to compartmentalize stuff.

    I'd imagine the most dangerous trap of all, though, would be false secrets. Vecna knew what things are decoys and what things are truths, but at no point was there ever a map of said intellectual minefield, because again Vecna is too paranoid for such a thing to ever exist. For every piece of knowledge that could change the world with its power, Vecna has crafted an equally plausible looking piece of knowledge designed to kill you, drive you mad, deceive you into making a huge mistake, or otherwise screw you over, and filed them away side by side, with only the most careful analysis being able to determine which one is which. So you get to sit down and puzzle out which of these two epic-level spell scrolls for the binding of a god's soul is the real one, and which one is a cleverly hidden ritual of opening a Gate to the Plane of Negative Energy and throwing you in there after slapping you with ten castings of Heightened Extended Hold Person at once because you'll probably fail at least one of those saves.

    And if you want a bit of comic relief, you should keep in mind that Vecna is the god of all secrets. His goons who slack off or otherwise screw up get assigned to the Pit of Lesser Secrets, and those who consistently prove themselves to be useless get assigned to the Mountain of Tiny Secrets. After all, for every one secret that could destroy a kingdom there's a thousand secrets that could destroy a marriage, or a friendship, or a business. And for every one of those secrets, there's a thousand that could make somebody say "wow I didn't know that" and then move on with their day. And while he probably doesn't find them exciting or interesting, it's still Vecna's duty to transcribe and retain the fact that it was actually Terry's dog that was pooping in Brandon's lawn, not Steve's dog like Terry said.
    Last edited by Milodiah; 2021-12-05 at 10:20 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    Do not try a linear campaign, without some discussion with them. Players very often look at your hooks and then try to accomplish it in a different way, not touch it, try to do the complete opposite, or somehow set it on fire.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Coventry's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Default Re: what could be in the private demiplane of a dead god?

    Quote Originally Posted by Milodiah View Post
    And if you want a bit of comic relief
    ...

    Oooo, nice! I like this.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Troll in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Italy
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: what could be in the private demiplane of a dead god?

    @coventry, @milodiah
    those are nice ideas, turning what i had conceived as a one-off high level dungeon crawl into a full fledged subplot.

    i can't go with the "every character is offered a place as director" ploy, because separating them all and giving each one different adventures would be a nightmare to organize. but the idea that they need an additional "powerful secret nobody else knows" as a component is great. It ties with the already-established idea that you need something with a strong connection to the god, and could be used for other gods too, if the characters want to expand in that direction.

    the infinite repository of secrets would definitely be there, but i have to find a way to tie it to the general idea of going in, taking the divine energy, going out
    In memory of Evisceratus: he dreamed of a better world, but he lacked the class levels to make the dream come true.

    Ridiculous monsters you won't take seriously even as they disembowel you

    my take on the highly skilled professional: the specialized expert

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Coventry's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Default Re: what could be in the private demiplane of a dead god?

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowhere View Post
    @coventry, @milodiah
    i can't go with the "every character is offered a place as director" ploy, because separating them all and giving each one different adventures would be a nightmare to organize.
    I was thinking "just the wizard" as the boss instead of all of them - the one casting the spell and possessing the secret.

    If the other players want to be directors, they will each need their own personal secret, which they cannot share. Otherwise, they are just aides to "the boss", and generally looked down upon by the directors playing the game of intrigue.

    I'm glad you got an idea out of that. It was certainly fun to write that up ...
    Last edited by Coventry; 2021-12-05 at 01:15 PM.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    Default Re: what could be in the private demiplane of a dead god?

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowhere View Post
    the idea that they need an additional "powerful secret nobody else knows" as a component is great. It ties with the already-established idea that you need something with a strong connection to the god, and could be used for other gods too, if the characters want to expand in that direction.

    the infinite repository of secrets would definitely be there, but i have to find a way to tie it to the general idea of going in, taking the divine energy, going out
    Two combine those two ideas, I'd say there's no better place to store the instructions on how to bypass the wards and traps around Vecna's "corpse" than in the most secure portion of the Repository.
    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    Do not try a linear campaign, without some discussion with them. Players very often look at your hooks and then try to accomplish it in a different way, not touch it, try to do the complete opposite, or somehow set it on fire.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •