Sunday, May 4, 2014

Can Your God Come Out To Play?

The Anglic pantheon has a storm god, but not a sea god. This is mainly because although their capital is now a sea port, they were originally a plains culture based on their horses. So what are they to do?

Well, one goddess sees this as an opportunity. Marina, the Dinsthain pantheon’s sea goddess, is looking to become the Anglic sea goddess as well. This isn’t that difficult to imagine, because Marina’s stronghold is right across the straits from the Anglic capital of Myork. The pantheons are rivals, but Marina is seen as a bit of an outsider in her own pantheon. She’s sort of the rebellious one. She’s not evil, but because oceans cover most of the planet, she believes that she should be at least the number two god in her pantheon. If they won’t give her the respect she “deserves”, she’ll go looking for it elsewhere. But how does she do that?

Well, she needs to send missionaries. Myork is a rare city that refuses to allow “foreign” temples outside of the foreigners’ district of the city. So she has a pretty big temple there, but that’s not getting the job done. She has to start converting enough of the locals that the government will accept that she is not a foreign god. But she also has to convince the other pantheon (the actual gods) to allow her in. Here she has to prove that her admission to their pantheon will not reduce any other god’s power and that she is not some manner of spy for their rival pantheon.

Doesn’t sound that difficult does it? Well, convincing a god of just about anything can take decades, maybe centuries. Marina has been at this for some time now. How/when will she convince the Anglic gods that she is not a threat or a spy? Well, not to let the cat out of the bag, but the Dinsthain and Anglic gods are going to go to war. Marina’s actions during that war will likely prove to be the deciding factor.

So why did I tell you all this? Because I’m running a campaign based out of Scaret - Marina’s stronghold. The party has been involved in all manner of missions on behalf of different temples, mainly Marina’s. So Marina needs someone to go to Myork, not as missionaries, but to do good works on her behalf - to help convince the government there that she is working on their behalf. Do the players fully understand all of this? Of course not. (Well, maybe they will when they read this, but I haven’t let anything out of the bag, yet.)

I like adventurers working on behalf of religious organizations. Not only does it give them a solid base of operations, but there are an unlimited number of missions they can go on. They can do missions that make the gods look better to their followers (or prospective followers). They can do things directly on behalf of the gods (gathering sacrifices, meting out vengeance, etc.). They can do things for the clergy - which may or may not really be in the interest of the god(s), but you know how that goes. Not only all of this, but with the god(s) taking an interest in them, the party has a serious level “contact”. This has manifested in the gods sending the party out to specifically “gift” the party with magic items they believe the mortals will need for upcoming missions. I’ve been running campaigns for over three decades. Divine “employers” are one of the best ways to go. If you’re stuck - I would strongly suggest this as a theme.

One last item, because I don’t actually have gods speak to mortals typically: All the conversations between powerful gods and the mortals have been between minions (“angels”) and clergy. So the party has to trust the clergy to properly communicate what the gods want. Takes a little faith, huh? That makes it more fun to me as game master.

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