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DMing advice

DMing advice
DMing advice | simony

Part 5 - Simple Epic

Part 4 - Low level gods

Part 3 - What matters?

Part 2 - Brevity

Part 1 - Humanity

GMing for Deities

Part 3- What do you give the PC who has everything?

So, S'mon...

A reader asks: What DO you give a PC who has everything, anyway?

Well, gentle reader, this turns out to be a much harder question than first anticipated....

I think my answer though boils down to though is that beyond the geegaws & XP, what matters is "Making a Difference" - the ability to create a lasting impact on the campaign world or (for deities) the Multiverse. For me that's why published 3e high level scenarios like Bastion of Broken Souls seem so pointless, they take place within a hermetically-sealed bubble with no impact on the pre-established multiverse. This contrasts with an OD&D Immortals scenario like Wrath of Olympus where the PCs' epoch-making actions can create a golden age of peace on Mystara, the _primary campaign world_ of the game! The 1e AD&D 'Throne of Bloodstone' series stands somewhere between the two - killing Orcus & scratching him off the Monster Manual is nice [Editors note: by the way when Simon says scratching him off he means that literally - his copies of the Monster Manuals and Legends & Lore have big 'X's drawn over the demon princes and deities permanently destroyed.], the campaign pretty much takes place in a vacuum - the lands detailed didn't exist before that campaign, which lessens its impact, though the published FR Bloodstone Lands pack letting you play on in liberated Damara is nice. For deity PCs, I think the pure acquisition of treasure & XP per se rapidly becomes pointless, like a superhero comic with nothing but fights. The PCs' actions need to have actual and long-term impact on the multiverse or they're not really worth playing through.

Here's an example from our campaign:

At the climax of the original 'mortal' campaign, the now-quasi-deity PCs Thrin & the elf wizardess Darra faced off against 2 of Graz'zt's Chaos Champions (I think it was Raistlin the Archmage of Dragonlance fame & some quasi-deity Cleric woman, Ralkinsa Darkflame was her name I think) on the Plane of Concordant Opposition in a duel hosted by the Norns, a battle for the Orb of Albinus [Editors note: Thrin was killed in this fight, victim of a harm/slay living combo in virtually the opening round, then however I realised Thrin had a scarab of protection which absorbed death effects. Luckily we had broke play at the end of that round, I realised hours later at home when I was in the process of rolling up a new character. So it was determined he wasn't killed. I remember Simon grumbling about using cones of cold instead next time he tried that trick]. The Orb was a powerful artifact that enabled the user to summon _anyone_ in the multiverse. Victorious, they forced Graz'zt (scared they'd use it on him - this was before Prince Graz'zt became King of Demons, he was quite beatable) to sue for peace and forged a non-aggression treaty ratified by the Norns (you don't want to break those). This saved northern Ea from Graz'zt's demon armies.

Then they (using the Caves of Ningauble) travelled to south Ea (incidentally also into their future), activated the summoning field and summoned Kolltirion, the evil Arch-Lich whose Red Wizards had conquered the Old Imarran Empire a century before. They planned to assassinate him - what they didn't realise was that _he_ could now summon anyone too, and promptly summoned his goddess, Hel! Darra summoned her own goddess Isis, who wasn't too pleased to find herself facing off against a very annoyed Hel! They then collapsed the summoning field so they could escape this mess, not realising that to maintain its power the Orb would absorb & destroy the soul of one of the summoners within it. I remember rolling a d6 - 1-2 Thrin (summoned Kolltirion), 3-4 Darra (summoned Isis) and 5-6 Kolltirion (summoned Hel). Rolled a 5 [Editors note: I was totally bricking it when Simon dropped the news that someone was permanently dead on the roll of one dice, and the minute or so before he rolled seemed like hours. Lesson learned - don't muck about with strange artifacts.].

The PCs escaped, Kolltirion was dead, throwing his evil empire into chaos and eventually leading to its defeat in the Albine-Thrinian invasion 17 years later. Furthermore the two new godlings had just won themselves the lifelong hatred of Hel - and Hel lives a _very_ long time...[Editors note: by the time of our last 2nd Edition immortal gaming Thrin was actually powerful enough to kill Hel in a one on one fight.]

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