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D&D 3E
i think what i'd like to do with this eventually is make a website… 
15th-Mar-2005 11:00 pm
i think what i'd like to do with this eventually is make a website that's like a sourcebook so that anyone can crack it open and run a campaign in my world. because of that ambitious goal i know there are things like a complete cosmology and a calendar i need to come up with. i'd like a series of zodiac signs that players can take as feats that give certain advantages and roleplay guidelines. but all that can come later. this is what i have now, and where i'm stuck.

maybe you all can help or make suggestions, and maybe just writing what i've got down again will help. here goes:

it's based on an old campaign i ran that was designed to be a series of dungeon crawls. the campaign died and i decided to rewrite it as a complete campaign world. the original idea revolved around a moon that was broken into 5 moons and an artifact from each moon that had to be retrieved and returned to each moon to restore a celestial balance. the original idea was that there are 5 moons one each for earth, air, fire, water, and aether which is the element of magic. no one knows about the aether moon because its invisible. i wanted to get into some more detail then i did when it was just a series of dungeon crawls. this is what i came up with:

a long time ago the main religion in the world (which i have yet to name) was controlled by four organizations (five actually but everyone's forgotten the aether faith) each of which was comprised primarily of one race. earth worshippers were dwarves, air worshippers were elves, fire worshippers were gnomes, and water worshippers were humans. aether worshippers were primarily orcs which in ancient times were the most civilized of all races and most powerful magically. the four (five) churches waged a huge war on each other, a war for supremacy now known as the gods' war. the war is now little more than legend, but it's curse still exists. the gods, the four (five) powers cursed the races for their arrogance and ended the war. dwarves who used the power of earth to create powerful automatons to destroy their enemies were cursed with the stoneskin curse. dwarves of ancient royal lineage slowly turn to stone over the course of their entire lives. the victims of the affliction die before the final transformation to stone so that in the end they are little more than statues of dead rotten bodies. before the curse the elves were a proud winged race. they used their power over the element of air to call vicious storms against their enemies, they were cursed to walk the earth as the lesser races and stripped of their wings. their ancestral homeland is wracked by constant bad weather and most of them migrated south abandonig their ancient homeland forever. gnomes used their power over fire to influence and enslave red dragons to fight for them. they were curse with exile. dragons (of all sorts, not just red) took over their lands and gnomes wander endlessly never to have a homeland of their own. if they ever gather in numbers greater than 100 the chaos of the curse of exile causes everything they've worked for to fall apart. because the dragons were unable to fight against their gnome oppressors they used kobolds to fight the gnomes, this is why gnomes hate kobolds so viciously. there were two great allied kingdoms of humans who both used the power of water. one used it to call great floods against their enemies, the other used it to cause relentless droughts. those who called floods were cursed witha great deluge that flooded their lands leaving nothing but a chain of islands where there were once proud mountains. those who called droughts suffered their lands to turn into a vast tractless desert. the only remnants of the once proud people are ever dwindling tribes of religious fanatics who beleive they must remain in the ruined desert land to await a savior who will end the curse and return their land to its former fertile glory. the orcs who used their unchallenged magical supremacy to create True Magic that altered reality itself were cursed with insanity. they have forgotten their former glory and their power over magic entirely, and now roam as mad tribes of barbarians who terrorize everyone everywhere they can.

the driving force of the campaign is that even after all these (possible thousands of) years the curse continues and is getting worse. more and more dwarves are becoming afflicted with stoneskin, the madness of the orcs is getting worse leading to more and more raids, the maximum number of gnomes who can congregate continues to shrink, the elves are degenerating lower and lower leading to whole communities of Low (wild) elves and fewer and fewer high elves, the islands of the humans continue to be swallowed by the waves and the desert to the south is inching ever northward threatening to eventually take the entire continent.

the only real limiting factor to that motivation is that it calls for heroic characters who give a damn about the future of the world and are willing to do something about it. that's not a huge problem, except that many of my players in the past have chosen less than sympathetic characters motivated by money or unheroic aims.

what i think i want to do is have a set of demigods, maybe the descendants of the original four elemental lords who don't want the world to be destroyed, and who want mortal heroes to step forward and right the wrongs of the long distant past and end the curse. where i'm stumped right now is the nature of these gods.

i suppose what i'll do is let the players make whatever characters they want and have those characters selected by their communities as their chosen heroes who must quest to end the curses.

so what i have to do now is:
-come up with names and the nature of the different gods
-lay out a world map
-name the different countries (i have some names)
-design dungeons

this is where i'm stuck. the hardest part, the only thing i'm really having trouble with now, is designing a new pantheon of rebelious young upstart demigods who want to end the curse and take power from their progenitors. for some reason i'm just stuck on this.

writing all that out DID help me get it together in my head, and i'd love some feedback and suggestions.
16th-Mar-2005 04:37 am (UTC)
I remember when you originally came up with this concept, and it was a good one then and still stands.

Perhaps for this new pantheon you should bring in 5 other elements, not to be used in game, but more as traits for the demigods to have; darkness, light, law, chaos and void. (as examples)

It might go something like this.

Erethor, dark god of earth. Erethor is almost a shade, hiding in the clefts in rock walls and the shadow of great mountains. He has remained hidden from the now mostly sedate Earth gods, but now he wants to bring change. He wants to bring a fresh change to the earth, a renewal. Think of that feeling you get when it grows dark, and you walk outside around 9 pm and the air is crisp and cold, and darkness has settled everything into a calm serene quality, but you have just walked outside, ready to go forth and bring change.

Ilspin, light god of fire. Ilspin is pale, dressing in armor and clothes that glow with a constant warm glow. He has seen the damage the fires of chaos have brought to the planet, as the flames of destruction has wrough havoc across it. He seeks a balance, igniting the spark of light that brings truly magestic inspiration. Think of sitting around a campfire chatting about hopes and dreams and ideas.

Liasu, Lawful god of the Air. Liasu has a perfectly measured robe, hung with all the proper bags and satchels. He is organized and ignored by other gods because of his kind but balanced fairness. Liasu has seen the gales and tornadoes tear apart a once balanced planet. He watched the furious gods of the air Rip through the trees and earth, wreaking havoc wherever they went. He wants to balance the air, flooding the forests and lanes with a calm breeze that brings hope and renewal. Think of standing atop a mountain, feeling the wind blowing past you to sweep down over the entire earth, bringing fresh balance and hope.

Arlex, Chaotic god of water. Arlex, When he remembers to change clothes at all tends to wear tattered robes maid from cast off sails and seaweed thrown to the beaches. The gods of water who measured and prescribed which civilization would be in drought and which in flood ignored Arlex as he was too imbalanced and impracticle to take part in their vengeance. Arlex seeks to return random elements to the world in the waters. He wants random things to wash up on beaches for children to find and enjoy, and rains to bring relief to farmers and good luck to brides (rain on a wedding day, while ironic is a symbol of good luck). Think of searching the beach for the perfect shell only to be knocked into the sand by a refreshing wave and you have an idea about Arlex

He whose name is not spoke, Distant God of Aether: This god rarely embodies in mortal form, so never dresses. He comes as a calm though, and a voice which is not heard but rather felt. He is not a god of magic so to speak, but magic's developing personality. He has been denied to many good people, and is unable to be used by the race he favored due to the plagues of the gods. A concept rather than a true person, this God wants to be understood and felt by everyone. Given name and purpose. Without proper wizards this will never happen. Think of sitting in a room alone, and realizing a concept you had never before dreamed possible out of the blue.

These gods have personalities based on abstract concepts, but do have personality and panash. The names I came up with in five seconds and can easily be altered to fit your game. With a pantheon like this PC's can see true life and purpose in these gods. The elements are not such a cold and clean cut reality, but a living breathing Purpose.

Is that about what you had in mind?
16th-Mar-2005 12:17 pm (UTC)
not at all what i had in mind, but i like it.
16th-Mar-2005 12:20 pm (UTC)
i think this is definitely how i'm going to make my second pantheon. thanks.
16th-Mar-2005 01:26 pm (UTC)
Don't ask me but I was inspired tonight. You should see what I posted about my character on our game forum!
16th-Mar-2005 02:33 pm (UTC)
well, let's see it!
16th-Mar-2005 03:21 pm (UTC)
You might also want to explain why the new gods can't just go in and fix things themselves. Perhaps some power of the old gods still lingers and creates a barrier around the artifacts, or perhaps the old gods themselves are sleeping but easily wake if something disturbs their balance? I like the concept, I really do. My question would be what happens after the party fixes things? I mean, do the orcs all become sane magic users again? Or what about winged elves? Perhaps there's no total redemption, but just a removal of the extra sufferings? I also kind of have to wonder what kind of magic items civilized orcs would make. Some interesting possibilities, man.

Here's an idea: as the players get closer to the artifacts, have the curse around each one slowly start effecting one or more of the players. It would add a sense of urgency and purpose, if they need motivation, and--I think--would add a cool element to the dungeons the artifacts are in. Imagine how creepy a dungeon full of dwarf statues becomes when one of the players is slowly turning to stone himself. Or a crazy fire dungeon where no more than 2 PCs can be together at a time. Just a thought.
16th-Mar-2005 08:29 pm (UTC) - GAWD(s)!!!!
this is a message from outernet... but i ain't joining livejournal, so eat this anonymity!

aright, i like foxsables input, but i think it's too loose. you mention 5 other elements that constitute the demigods, however, are there 5 branch elements for each of the original? or is it a 1 to 1, earth only has a light demigod and so on and so forth.

what i imagined, was perhaps demigods that each possess one attribute of the greater god... that when combined, make up the whole of the god's essence. for example, the earth god is made up of dirt, stone, and plants. there is a demigod for each... with sovereignty over each subdivision of the greater element Earth. Water is made up of oceans, rivers, lakes, and rain. Air is made up of clouds, wind, thunder, and lightning. Fire is made up of heat, flame, ash, and smoke. and Magic is made up of whatever the hell you can come up with. maybe magic doesn't have demigods, cause they all went nuts too... who knows.

just a thought. let me know what you think.

is it wednesday yet?

16th-Mar-2005 08:43 pm (UTC) - Re: GAWD(s)!!!!
tina... come get some HAM!!!
16th-Mar-2005 11:45 pm (UTC)
For a calendar use this to help:

As for your pantheon, why not start with a 5 pointed star name each point after one of your elemental gods (Point Gods, PG), take your demigods from the joining angles (Angle Gods, AG) of the star points. Each AG is a union of two elements with a little of the others thrown in, use quasi-elementals for demi-god development. The AG dual nature scream out to preserve the whole. In the end as the AG seek to overcome the PG their unity of purpose may lead to one or two Central God(s)(Ying/Yang). The star concept also lends itself very well to graphic representation and puzzle clues and solutions for your adventurers.

See also the following about the Chinese take on the elements to develop relationships in the pantheon: http://www.chinesefortunecalendar.com/5EBasic.htm

Downside - may look a little to new age for some folks.
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