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Against the Shadow  |  Adventure Hooks  |  Seeking The Old Gods
06 Jul 2007 - Seeking The Old Gods
Seeking the Old Gods

Midnight is a depressing place and what is often called an "Impossible" setting by many player characters. The war against the Shadow is one impossible to win by the nature of the heroes, even those rare ones who live to achieve epic level. The Night Kings being LV 25 characters with challenge ratings in the 30+, are too tough even alone for the most powerful of player characters to overcome. That of course is not saying that you’d even fight a Night King alone without an army at his back. And there is Izrador himself who cannot be defeated by any mortal means. Heck he was pounded down twice and he kept coming back and now that the black mirrors are well protected, no hero stands a chance to do a hat Rick. It has made it clear that the defeat of the elves and the dwarves is inevitable, heck one of the adventure mods clearly defines the defeat of the elves! In the end "Small Victories" do little against the Shadow of the North, thus PC's have to start thinking on a larger scale than just killing a few orcs, or freeing a few slaves. So what hope can you offer the PC's in order to break the impossible deadlock? The answer, is seeking the Old Gods.

Only a God can truly restore the world. Certainly there are heroic paths that can fit the mindset of people who believe they have been chosen by the Old Gods to save the world and still believe they exist in some shape or form. In the end, the Old Gods are still out there, likely trying in some way to restore their power to their mortal followers (If one can believe the old gods are indeed benevolent). As for finding the Old Gods, that in itself would be an epic quest on its own with tons of twists and turns. To know the Gods, one must first find the Lost Names of the Old Gods. The ages have long forgotten the names of the old gods, and without a name to call upon their power, the Gods cannot be contacted. Finding the names would defiantly require some interesting adventures, seeking ancient tombs and dungeons to find holy books of old that contain the words of the Gods. The Witch Queen MIGHT know the names of the Gods, but she's been around for so long that odds are she has forgotten, and even if she does know, she won't be giving the names to the characters without proving themselves. The third method would be infiltration of shadow citadels and gaining access to the libraries they keep there. Problem is they're well guarded and could prove a red herring if the Shadow has already destroyed all the books that bear any word of "Other Gods".

So after a number of levels, surviving grand adventures on your search and surviving life and limb, you have finally found a name of an old Goddess named "Alandriel", called the Mother Of The World (Not that this is supposed to be the name of an actual goddess, but just an example). Your next problem is that before you actually can use the name, the Shadow may catch onto it. If anything that Izrador fears, is the return of his brothers and sisters to the world he has rightfully claimed. The power of a "Name" is great and thus the heroes would defiantly be put on the Shadow hit list, if they were not already. This of course leaves arcs for more adventures. As for restoring the world, here are a few options.

1. Belief: As it says in "Planescape Torment", the thing that can change the nature of the world is "Belief", for it is belief that shapes the planes of existence. Izrador grows stronger, because many worship him (That and he also feeds on the magic of the world). To restore "Alandriel", people would have to believe enough so that their voices can be heard beyond the shroud. When enough power of faith is gained, this could allow the Goddess to find the world and return to it. Of course this in itself would be a grand adventure, trying to convince a population down ridden for centuries that there are other Gods than the Shadow. The Shadow will certainly try and stamp out such a religion as well, thus adding more challenge to the Player character's actions. It may be a lengthy process, but in the end the reward would be grand.

2. Magic: With a name of a true goddess, the PC's now have the opportunity to attempt to summon the Goddess from the realms beyond by magical means. The first challenge would be to develop a proper ritual that would require more quests and magical research to actually develop a ritual never accomplished in the world before. Mind you, this would also require vast degrees of magical power to do so, and with Izrador sucking the magic from the world, it will be nigh impossible for the player characters to invoke such a ritual without Izrador noticing. Certainly this will bring the characters into conflict with the Night Kings themselves, as Izrador would want to stop the ritual at any cost, fearing the results. Thus leaving a hint for a final conflict, as the Heroes must buy time for the ritual to succeed, paying the price with their own lives if necessary. The caster himself/herself also may have to sacrifice themselves for the last ounce of magical power to breach the void and bring the Goddess down to earth. An epic Midnight quest if ever I’d say one.

3. A New God?: It could be that the characters despite having the name might still have an impossible task at summoning the Goddess. Maybe she long abandoned the world, maybe the shroud is permanent and no amount of magic can breach it. However, this is not the end however. In other worlds in the past, Men and Women have stepped the boundary of mortality and become Gods. Can this be done in Midnight? Perhaps it can. To become a God however requires a lot of things. First a PC must in some way gain "Super-Epic" levels. To be a God, you must be a 40th level character (as all the God avatars I've seen are that high a level). Secondly one must shead their mortality and ascends to the path of the Gods. Mind you this would be an epic quest by any measure. Should it be possible? Its up to the GM to decide.

The Resolution

With the restoring of the Gods, what should the result be? Here is some examples?

1. Evil Vanquished: The return of the Gods marks the death toll of Izrador. In one fell swoop, the Gods crush the shadow of the north utterly and forever. They then seek to rebuild the world and restore the faith of their mortal followers. The world becomes one of good and righteousness again, now and for all time.

2. Balance of Forces: The Gods return, but are unable to totally break the shadow of the north. Izrador who has gained so much power from the world is the equal of his brothers and sisters and thus is forced into a stalemate as the Gods oppose his influence. In the end, the people free themselves from the yoke of the shadow, but the Shadow still remains strong and holds vast territories. The world becomes like another D&D setting, with its Good and Evil Gods and mortal beings caught in the middle.

3. Ravage of the Shadow: In this case, the Shadow unfornately is more powerful than any and all the old Gods. The shadow takes a blow, but still holds strong, while the ancient gods are beaten back by the Dark God. Mind you, with the Gods back, there still lies a glimmer of hope now, for if the Gods are like Izrador and can never die, then there is always a chance that they too can rise again and break the shadow.

In the end as a Dungeon Master, its your world. Will you give your characters a chance to save the world or will the Dark God always rule?

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