DMing brainstorm, artifacts and stuff

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dragharrow

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« on: September 24, 2015, 05:26:27 pm »
Hey guys, I know some of you play pen and paper games. I'm running a campaign for the first time and am trying to come up with fresh ideas. Honestly the hardest part of it I've found is that I can't bounce ideas off my friends. The people I normally kick writing ideas around with are my players. I don't know if there's enough activity in this part of the forum to keep this kind of post alive but does anyone want to try and come up with some ideas?

I'm down to talk about whatever, encounters and plot stuff, but right now I'm trying to come up with some interesting artifacts for my players to find. I really like Bakker's artifacts. They're mechanically interesting, and they fit with the metaphysical rules of magic he's set out, but they maintain all the mystique and wonder you want from artifacts. They all feel unique and clearly leverage sorcery in cool ways. I have a forerunner race in my game that is roughly modeled on the nonmen and I want to put interesting remnants of their civilization in the world. Does anyone have any thoughts for artifacts like that? Like the Diurnal and that kind of thing?

Garet Jax

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« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2015, 05:57:00 pm »
Hey dragharrow,


I have a list somewhere of ideas for you.  When I get home I will try to find it and edit this post.


But,  my DM did something that I have never heard of.  (Which means next to nothing because I have only played with one DM)  While playing, if any person is drinking, or smoking (mary jane or cigarettes) he has a structure that directly impacts your character.  I hit our paladin (my brother) with a spell that went awry because I had consumed 6 beers at that point.  Didn't end up well for my character since the Paladin had about enough of overlooking my alignment issues by that point.


Just food for thought...


Cheers!
« Last Edit: September 24, 2015, 06:00:43 pm by Garet Jax »

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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2015, 06:39:37 pm »
Hmm, well, off the top of my head here are some half (and less than half) baked ideas:

A soul-trapping sword (or other weapon).  If souls could be held in a wrathi doll, why not in a sword or something?  I have no idea what it's function is though.

Some sort of "philosopher's stone" that invokes, or projects, "becoming."  I'm not sure how deeply you are following the Nonmen in their philosophical bent, or to which end, but this could even be a "nihil stone" of sorts, doing the reverse and invoking oblivion.  Or maybe it alternates between the two?  Or maybe it does both at the same time?  Perhaps it prevents either or both?

There is also that thing about Nonmen and trees, that I don't think we ever really figured out.  Perhaps there is an ensouled tree?  Or things made from an ensouled tree?  I don't know why I keep wanting to give inanimate objects souls...

Rather than chorae, how about something that enhances magic?  An object that can amplify magical power?  A lens of some sort.

Speaking of lenses, maybe some kind of lens that allows perception of the Outside?

A book that can somehow devour knowledge, rather than impart it?  This seems really OP and mean, haha, maybe it just devours memories?

I'm just vomiting up nonsense now.  Perhaps with a little more plot/background I could brainstorm some better stuff.  Then again, maybe not,  :-[
ďI am a warrior of ages, AnasŻrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.Ē -Cetíingira

dragharrow

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« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2015, 08:46:23 pm »
Hey dragharrow,
I have a list somewhere of ideas for you.  When I get home I will try to find it and edit this post.
Awesome, thanks man.

Lol, I like the substance use thing, that's hilarious. I don't know if I would ever use that though, I would want to de-incentivise consumption at my table lol. Wouldn't be fair since I tend to make it through 40 when we play. No complaints that it's effected my GMing though. I do find that the weed smokers go through short periods of quiet after they hit the vape though.

I like all those H. I don't know about the soul trapping stuff though. Bakker does the animata in such a distinct way, super different than they're normally used. I don't think I could elevate soul binding beyond the standard. I'm still down for brainstorming in that direction though.

Speaking of lenses, maybe some kind of lens that allows perception of the Outside?

A book that can somehow devour knowledge, rather than impart it?  This seems really OP and mean, haha, maybe it just devours memories?

I really like these two and I'm sort of exploring both of those concepts with my not-nonmen already. Great minds. There's a nonmen undercity nearby my players and two of the points of interest line up with what you're suggesting. They're these two deep pools of water in the depths of dungeon, the first was were they disposed of their dead and it can now be used to glimpse in chaos of the outside. The other pool of water is in the mage's library. They used it as a kind of sorcerous hardrive. Both can be accessed by the players but at severe psychological cost. So we're on the same page.

Anyway I'm totally down to post some general lore and plot if you guys are interested. I really want to bounce ideas around with people. Have you guys been playing recently?
« Last Edit: September 24, 2015, 08:48:10 pm by dragharrow »

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« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2015, 09:01:26 pm »
I haven't played a pen and paper RPG in probably 15+ years,  :(

I'm probably better coming up with half ideas if I already have something to start with.  If you post some ideas of the plot, I might be able to come up with some better stuff.  I'll definitely read it and see what I can do if you post.
ďI am a warrior of ages, AnasŻrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.Ē -Cetíingira

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« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2015, 09:25:10 pm »
Ok cool. I'll start with some general plot and setting and later I'll throw out some ideas for artifacts that we can kick around.

My game is pretty tropey so it's all stuff you've seen before. It takes place at the edge of a Rome like empire. The players are wardens, basically marshal style lawmen. A small town on the wild west style frontier was taken over by a group of bandits who killed the previous sheriff and moved in to occupy the town. They are sent to kill the bandits and set up camp in town as the new law. Because it's the frontier they become the major representatives of the crown in the area.

After they killed the witch they've stirred up some political intrigue. They put together a council of prominent citizens to help rule. Ostensibly they did this in order to restore the rule of law but really I think they just wanted to have a way to keep track of the major players. After that they played around with the government of the town and then later went on a short delve into the nearby undercity. I don't know exactly where the plot will go from here.

I'll talk about mythology and history in a bit

« Last Edit: September 24, 2015, 09:55:10 pm by dragharrow »

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« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2015, 09:54:00 pm »
For the mythology I steal from all over the place. The main good deity in my setting is Lucifer. I know that sounds like I'm trying to be super edgy but whatever. So, Lucifer won the battle with God and now he and a group of archangels make up the pantheon. God is locked in hell instead of Lucifer. Magic comes from him. Mages imitate the voice of God to control the Word which is the substrate of creation.

At some point in distant history a dark Christ was born on earth and tried to free the Father. He went to war with the nonmen and destroyed their cities one by one. Eventually, their greatest sorcerers met with each other and the most powerful consumed the others. He faced the Christ in a final climatic battle and won but the nonmen were forever broken.

That's basically what I have right now. I'll try and come up with some ideas for artifacts next but lemme know what you think and if you have any cool ideas.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2015, 09:57:54 pm by dragharrow »

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« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2015, 12:49:59 pm »
So, the Nonmen's agenda include keeping God locked up, presumably because that is the font of their remaining power?  While God is not in Heaven (or wherever else) he is not in charge of creation, therefor his voice is muted, so everyone else's can be heard (i.e. exact changes)?

Is the idea about the Christ that he is Lucifer's son, who rebelled in turn, or was he some effort on the part of God to escape?  I think there are some interesting things to be done with either.   To keep it in a real-world parallel still, there is the offer of a second coming, of course, which seems to only make sense if he was God's son, rather than Lucifer's.  Presumably, Lucifer would have learned his lesson about children, after the first.

My biggest question is probably, what are the ramifications of God's absence (and Lucifer's reign)?  Is it just a transference, like all things attributed to God simply now are applied to Lucifer?  How has the Church changed, what are the differences of it under Lucifer and God?  Where God was perhaps only, or mostly, intercessional, Lucifer is more "hands-on," but rewards those most like himself?  Therefor the Chruch is largely oppressive, rewarding those who seem dominance and lack humility and hubris?  Lucifer is not omniscient, but fancies himself so.  His plans have no been working out as he really wished.  The more he tinkers, the more goes wrong, perhaps?  Where Angels were once the dispensers of God's mercy and grace (mostly), now they are agents of Lucifer's will, attempting to force his orders, since plans are falling apart?

I guess this brings me into my next part, what is the story of Lucifer?  Are we on the idea that he was an Angel, cast out of Heaven for wishing to supplant God?  So, he established an Underword empire, so called Hell, and from there perhaps crafted Nonmen?  In other words, Nonmen are part Angel?  OK, that aside, Lucifer rebels and through means unknown, managed to switch places with God and partition Hell off from the world to keep God locked away?

Now, perhaps God finds a way to squeak out some of his will, or maybe some other Angel decides to help God, and so Christ is born.  He realizes what has happened, perhaps by the guidance of that Angel, and so works to free God.  Naturally, the Nonmen selfishly want God to stay locked up, since their voices are loud without His to drown them out, so they fight Christ.  They win, but at huge costs.  Now there is fear, because there is a prophecy of a Second Coming, and the Nonmen don't know if they have the strength to fight this again.

OK, I think I am rambling a bit now.  On the artifacts, there are some things that can be sort of real-world parallels to actual Christian artifacts.  Like the Shroud of Turin, pieces of the True Cross, or the Lance of Longinus.  Also, artifacts from the war between God and Lucifer.  Objects inflected with God's will and those with Lucifer's.
ďI am a warrior of ages, AnasŻrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.Ē -Cetíingira

dragharrow

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« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2015, 06:41:50 am »
Awesome stuff all around H. Thanks so much for helping me brainstorm this.

My biggest question is probably, what are the ramifications of God's absence (and Lucifer's reign)?  Is it just a transference, like all things attributed to God simply now are applied to Lucifer?  How has the Church changed, what are the differences of it under Lucifer and God?  Where God was perhaps only, or mostly, intercessional, Lucifer is more "hands-on," but rewards those most like himself?  Therefor the Chruch is largely oppressive, rewarding those who seek dominance and lack humility and hubris?

I tend to think of Lucifer as an innocent. Maybe a kind of mirror for Christ. For me, Lucifer has to be the highest of God’s creation, the grandest. The first angel, he is noble, strong, smart and kind. His love for God is unimaginable. Unfortunately, he is, like all angels, incapable of change, and is forced to rebel. That’s just my thoughts on the character and those fudge the cannon a lot but that's where I’m coming from.

In the world of my story he is a definitely a force of good. For the sake of a simple and fun mythology, the God figure is a clear bad guy. Lucifer’s motivations in real mythology are complicated, but here, he is simply overthrowing an evil overlord. So to answer your question, he is an unambiguously good deity, and many of the traits of the Christian God are simply transferred over to him. He does reward those more like himself, but the differences between him and the Christian God aren’t that dark. He values freedom and strength more highly than mercy. He values chivalry. He values truth. The angels were God’s soldiers and he was first among them. He is lightbringer, a knight in shining armor. The problems with his rule are probably mostly born of the fact that by his nature he is a hero and not a king.

So that’s what I have as a starting point. I’m open to changing stuff though. Your feedback is really good and none of this is set in stone yet. I need notes on this stuff so if you think something doesn’t work or could be more interesting by all means let me know.

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Lucifer is not omniscient, but fancies himself so.  His plans have no been working out as he really wished.  The more he tinkers, the more goes wrong, perhaps?

This I really like and am going to use. Lucifer is a good guy but he is proud, and this is a really interesting way for that to manifest. Totally the kind of flaw a jock like Lucifer would have.

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I guess this brings me into my next part, what is the story of Lucifer?  Are we on the idea that he was an Angel, cast out of Heaven for wishing to supplant God?  So, he established an Underword empire, so called Hell, and from there perhaps crafted Nonmen?  In other words, Nonmen are part Angel?

Lucifer succeeded in his rebellion and locked God in Hades. He now sits in the throne of heaven and rules as God did. I think the forerunners were God’s chosen people, and that humans are Lucifer’s. When God created them they were mud people. Animals without consciousness. Lucifer gave them the apple and elevated them.

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OK, that aside, Lucifer rebels and through means unknown, managed to switch places with God and partition Hell off from the world to keep God locked away?

Now, perhaps God finds a way to squeak out some of his will, or maybe some other Angel decides to help God, and so Christ is born.  He realizes what has happened, perhaps by the guidance of that Angel, and so works to free God.

Yeah, God is locked in hell now. I wasn’t sure whether Christ should be the son of God or Lucifer but I’ve been leaning towards God. The birth of the Son is part of God’s nature, and so it offered a chance for God to retake the heavens and the earth.

I don't know if that answers all your questions so let me know if I missed something important or there's an area of the lore you'd want to explore cuz I'd be down. Really good thoughts on artifacts, I'll think about those. I still want more Bakker style artifacts. Bits of philosophy in material form.

Thanks again H. Let me know if you have any other thoughts
« Last Edit: September 30, 2015, 06:43:31 am by dragharrow »

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« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2015, 01:29:52 pm »
Awesome stuff all around H. Thanks so much for helping me brainstorm this.

Not a problem, it's no sweat, easy to spin yarn from my armchair here.  That has always been my 'trouble' with storytelling, I can spin, but I can never weave yarn, if you follow what I mean.

My biggest question is probably, what are the ramifications of God's absence (and Lucifer's reign)?  Is it just a transference, like all things attributed to God simply now are applied to Lucifer?  How has the Church changed, what are the differences of it under Lucifer and God?  Where God was perhaps only, or mostly, intercessional, Lucifer is more "hands-on," but rewards those most like himself?  Therefor the Chruch is largely oppressive, rewarding those who seek dominance and lack humility and hubris?

I tend to think of Lucifer as an innocent. Maybe a kind of mirror for Christ. For me, Lucifer has to be the highest of Godís creation, the grandest. The first angel, he is noble, strong, smart and kind. His love for God is unimaginable. Unfortunately, he is, like all angels, incapable of change, and is forced to rebel. Thatís just my thoughts on the character and those fudge the cannon a lot but that's where Iím coming from.

In the world of my story he is a definitely a force of good. For the sake of a simple and fun mythology, the God figure is a clear bad guy. Luciferís motivations in real mythology are complicated, but here, he is simply overthrowing an evil overlord. So to answer your question, he is an unambiguously good deity, and many of the traits of the Christian God are simply transferred over to him. He does reward those more like himself, but the differences between him and the Christian God arenít that dark. He values freedom and strength more highly than mercy. He values chivalry. He values truth. The angels were Godís soldiers and he was first among them. He is lightbringer, a knight in shining armor. The problems with his rule are probably mostly born of the fact that by his nature he is a hero and not a king.

OK, that makes sense.  God is a despot.  Lucifer is not, so there is definitely room to play with the concept of 'rule-gone-awry.'  I need to think more on grander implications.  I think a central theme here is freedom and it's costs.  At what cost does Lucifer's allowance of freedom come?  At what cost does his love come?

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I guess this brings me into my next part, what is the story of Lucifer?  Are we on the idea that he was an Angel, cast out of Heaven for wishing to supplant God?  So, he established an Underword empire, so called Hell, and from there perhaps crafted Nonmen?  In other words, Nonmen are part Angel?

Lucifer succeeded in his rebellion and locked God in Hades. He now sits in the throne of heaven and rules as God did. I think the forerunners were Godís chosen people, and that humans are Luciferís. When God created them they were mud people. Animals without consciousness. Lucifer gave them the apple and elevated them.

Indeed, that is good.  One thing that begs though, is if the Nonmen were God's chosen people, why did they choose to not back Christ upon realizing he would bring back God?  Is it because they realized that God was a despot and so they wanted to keep the power they gained in his absence?  It's deep, because when we, in the real world, say "so-and-so is God's chosen" what we really mean, "so-and-so has chosen God" but in your world, it literally means that God has chosen them.  Loosed from the shackles of God's indomitable will though, they chose freedom rather than a return, even a return that brokered 'elevated status.'  That's kind of fascinating, how they gave up so much in the name of freedom.  Raises interesting questions about the worth of freedom at such a high cost.

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OK, that aside, Lucifer rebels and through means unknown, managed to switch places with God and partition Hell off from the world to keep God locked away?

Now, perhaps God finds a way to squeak out some of his will, or maybe some other Angel decides to help God, and so Christ is born.  He realizes what has happened, perhaps by the guidance of that Angel, and so works to free God.

Yeah, God is locked in hell now. I wasnít sure whether Christ should be the son of God or Lucifer but Iíve been leaning towards God. The birth of the Son is part of Godís nature, and so it offered a chance for God to retake the heavens and the earth.

I admit, I am partial to the idea of God having a confederate Angel 'on his side.'  My first thought goes to Michael, since it would have been him who had lead God's fight with Lucifer in those early days.  Now, he slowly attempts to covertly work to bring back God, by the resurrection of Christ, but his work is slow because he cannot be seen to be openly defying Lucifer.

The player characters can be pawns of Michael, perhaps he appears to them, presents something as a Holy quest, but really unwittingly aiding in the Resurrection, to perhaps find the tomb of Christ (or something similar) or sundering it, or perhaps something else.   No doubt, the Nonmen would not be pleased about this, so there is a potential conflict there.

I don't know if that answers all your questions so let me know if I missed something important or there's an area of the lore you'd want to explore cuz I'd be down. Really good thoughts on artifacts, I'll think about those. I still want more Bakker style artifacts. Bits of philosophy in material form.

I admit that my philosophical knowledge is rather poor.  I'll need to think more about bits that can translate to artifice.
ďI am a warrior of ages, AnasŻrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.Ē -Cetíingira

dragharrow

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« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2015, 02:52:32 pm »
Hey H, I was a little drunk when I typed this up so it kind of goes off the rails a little.

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Not a problem, it's no sweat, easy to spin yarn from my armchair here.  That has always been my 'trouble' with storytelling, I can spin, but I can never weave yarn, if you follow what I mean.

I follow. I tend to run into the same problem myself. Itís something Iím trying to work on.

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OK, that makes sense.  God is a despot.  Lucifer is not, so there is definitely room to play with the concept of 'rule-gone-awry.'  I need to think more on grander implications.  I think a central theme here is freedom and it's costs.  At what cost does Lucifer's allowance of freedom come?  At what cost does his love come?

Yeah, thatís exactly the kind of angle I want to take with this. But exploring grand themes is tough lol

Another thing Iím wrestling with is Luciferís love for God. When I was first fleshing this out I planned on having God be a fairly unambiguous tyrant, and on casting Lucifer as a kind of promethean freedom fighter. But Iíve always really liked the idea that Luciferís love for God is unrivaled and I keep arguing with myself about how I can work that in. It wasnít something I planned for and it doesnít easily fit in with the mythology as Iíve set it up. Why would Lucifer love this tyrant God so much? I guess God could have just programmed that into Lucifer nature but that isnít very interesting. Ideally, Luciferís love for God is something pure, not pathological. Iím not sure itís a concept Iíll end up trying to include but itís on my mind. Introducing some moral ambiguity to God is probably a good idea anyway. Thoughts on what that should look like?

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Indeed, that is good. One thing that begs though, is if the Nonmen were God's chosen people, why did they choose to not back Christ upon realizing he would bring back God? Is it because they realized that God was a despot and so they wanted to keep the power they gained in his absence?  It's deep, because when we, in the real world, say "so-and-so is God's chosen" what we really mean, "so-and-so has chosen God" but in your world, it literally means that God has chosen them.

Yeah, exactly. I like the idea of them rejecting Godís favor. I haven't decided exactly where Iím going with it yet though.

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Loosed from the shackles of God's indomitable will though, they chose freedom rather than a return, even a return that brokered 'elevated status.'  That's kind of fascinating, how they gave up so much in the name of freedom.  Raises interesting questions about the worth of freedom at such a high cost.

Thereís also the question of what benefits that ďelevated statusĒ actually conferred. I can think of a few main things that the chosen people usually receive in myth. Possibly some divine assistance in the form of miracles. This is D&D so we can assume that this exists, probably in the form of paladins and priests with Saint-like abilities from God. Divine guidance is pretty ubiquitous, prophets and oracles. The big one though is entrance into heaven. Why did they give that up? And how does it work in this world? Now that God is overthrown, do you need to worship Lucifer to get into Heaven?

I hadnít considered that Godís absence allows mages to manipulate the Word more freely. Iíll consider that. Regardless, I donít think the forerunners rejected Christ because they were power hungry. I want to make it weirder than that if I can.

Maybe heroism is just in their nature. Different varieties of this are pretty standard for elves and elf-equivalents like the Nonmen. Elves are naturally good or wise or whatever. Itís almost an essential trope for elder fantasy species.

I especially like the way Bakker did this with the Nonmen. They arenít fundamentally good obviously. As a society theyíve committed more than their fair share of atrocities, and the personalities of individual Nonmen seem to vary as much as human personalities do. But it seems like they are fundamentally ďepicĒ. Theyíre sort of Nietzsche-ian. They have this ancient greek vibe, like theyíre genetically predisposed to behave like characters from the Iliad and the Odyssey. Maybe they only come off that way because all we get as readers is historical accounts and folk stories but I doubt it.

So some variation of that is one possibility for why they rejected God. Something in their alien psychology put them at odds with him. The simplest form of this could be similar to the Nietzsche-ian heroism of Bakkerís Nonmen or the tragic sense of duty that the Tolkiens elves have. The Forerunners recognized that their God was a tyrant and so they stood against him.

The other possibility I see that relies on their culture alien psychology is something you mentioned. The Forerunnerís could value freedom more than Godís Grace, or despise servitude to such a degree that they couldnít bear Godís dominion. It could be weirder than that too, like they despise peace so much that the idea of eternal tranquility in the bosom of God. Anyway, whatever explanation I go with, I want it to say interesting stuff about them. Whatever gives me the most meat to work with going forward I should probs pick. What exactly does it say about them if they venerate freedom so much they choose it over God.

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I admit, I am partial to the idea of God having a confederate Angel 'on his side.'  My first thought goes to Michael, since it would have been him who had lead God's fight with Lucifer in those early days.  Now, he slowly attempts to covertly work to bring back God, by the resurrection of Christ, but his work is slow because he cannot be seen to be openly defying Lucifer.

Iím definitely into this. My plan right now for the overarching narrative is to have the players stumble into an angelís scheme to open a gate to hell. Itíll be up to them whether they get played by the angel or start trying to unravel the conspiracy.

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The player characters can be pawns of Michael, perhaps he appears to them, presents something as a Holy quest, but really unwittingly aiding in the Resurrection, to perhaps find the tomb of Christ (or something similar) or sundering it, or perhaps something else. No doubt, the Nonmen would not be pleased about this, so there is a potential conflict there.

Ideally Iíd like to draw them into it more subtly. The game is still in a kind of gritty noir western-y place, so direct contact with an angel would be out of place. Iím gonna try to bring in the epic powerhouses slowly. I want the players to feel me slowly turning the heat up as the angels plans proceed and the world approaches catastrophe.

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« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2015, 04:39:33 pm »
I'm not drunk, but perhaps I should be?  Haha, here goes...

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OK, that makes sense.  God is a despot.  Lucifer is not, so there is definitely room to play with the concept of 'rule-gone-awry.'  I need to think more on grander implications.  I think a central theme here is freedom and it's costs.  At what cost does Lucifer's allowance of freedom come?  At what cost does his love come?

Yeah, thatís exactly the kind of angle I want to take with this. But exploring grand themes is tough lol

Another thing Iím wrestling with is Luciferís love for God. When I was first fleshing this out I planned on having God be a fairly unambiguous tyrant, and on casting Lucifer as a kind of promethean freedom fighter. But Iíve always really liked the idea that Luciferís love for God is unrivaled and I keep arguing with myself about how I can work that in. It wasnít something I planned for and it doesnít easily fit in with the mythology as Iíve set it up. Why would Lucifer love this tyrant God so much? I guess God could have just programmed that into Lucifer nature but that isnít very interesting. Ideally, Luciferís love for God is something pure, not pathological. Iím not sure itís a concept Iíll end up trying to include but itís on my mind. Introducing some moral ambiguity to God is probably a good idea anyway. Thoughts on what that should look like?

Well, Lucifer's knowledge is finite.  So his understanding of God is finite.  Why would he love God, despite him being a despot?  Well, there is the love, so strong, that it can do nothing but overwhelm.  He loves God, not despite God being a contradiction, but because God is a contradiction.  It is all too much.  Love so strong it cannot exist.  Love so strong it makes you want to subsume yourself.  It's too pure, it's overwhelming, it threatens to devour.  Lucifer's love for God is so strong he believes that all things are violence to God.  Even Lucifer's own love is an affront, since he cannot even fathom God in his infinite manifest existence and yet the love blossoms of itself, on and on, a perfect positive feedback loop.  The world is imperfect and impure, a blight on God's (at least in Lucifer's eyes, since, remember, his knowledge is finite) perfect and pure divine corpus.

Lucifer's removal of God is not an act of imprisonment in his eyes, but a sheltering of God from the base and imperfect world that seeks only violence to God's very nature.  Lucifer would bear the failure of the world, the sins of the world, the base nature of the world, and the impure devotion of it's inhabitants to spare it from God.  God apart from the world, not as a punishment, but clemency.  A sacrifice on the part of Lucifer, to bear the sins of the world.

Thereís also the question of what benefits that ďelevated statusĒ actually conferred. I can think of a few main things that the chosen people usually receive in myth. Possibly some divine assistance in the form of miracles. This is D&D so we can assume that this exists, probably in the form of paladins and priests with Saint-like abilities from God. Divine guidance is pretty ubiquitous, prophets and oracles. The big one though is entrance into heaven. Why did they give that up? And how does it work in this world? Now that God is overthrown, do you need to worship Lucifer to get into Heaven?

I hadnít considered that Godís absence allows mages to manipulate the Word more freely. Iíll consider that. Regardless, I donít think the forerunners rejected Christ because they were power hungry. I want to make it weirder than that if I can.

Maybe heroism is just in their nature. Different varieties of this are pretty standard for elves and elf-equivalents like the Nonmen. Elves are naturally good or wise or whatever. Itís almost an essential trope for elder fantasy species.

I especially like the way Bakker did this with the Nonmen. They arenít fundamentally good obviously. As a society theyíve committed more than their fair share of atrocities, and the personalities of individual Nonmen seem to vary as much as human personalities do. But it seems like they are fundamentally ďepicĒ. Theyíre sort of Nietzsche-ian. They have this ancient greek vibe, like theyíre genetically predisposed to behave like characters from the Iliad and the Odyssey. Maybe they only come off that way because all we get as readers is historical accounts and folk stories but I doubt it.

So some variation of that is one possibility for why they rejected God. Something in their alien psychology put them at odds with him. The simplest form of this could be similar to the Nietzsche-ian heroism of Bakkerís Nonmen or the tragic sense of duty that the Tolkiens elves have. The Forerunners recognized that their God was a tyrant and so they stood against him.

The other possibility I see that relies on their culture alien psychology is something you mentioned. The Forerunnerís could value freedom more than Godís Grace, or despise servitude to such a degree that they couldnít bear Godís dominion. It could be weirder than that too, like they despise peace so much that the idea of eternal tranquility in the bosom of God. Anyway, whatever explanation I go with, I want it to say interesting stuff about them. Whatever gives me the most meat to work with going forward I should probs pick. What exactly does it say about them if they venerate freedom so much they choose it over God.

I think that's a good way to explore it.  Also there is the idea, ďNothing is harder to bear than a succession of fair days.Ē  God's grace offers no end to the fair days.  Also, maybe they are like Bakker's Nonmen, in that their long lives mean memories are hard to come by.  Such fair days leave nothing, a smooth slate.  It is only through the trauma of stress, pain, etc that they can really experience life.  Maybe that's it then, that freedom offers the chance of life, rather than just the exalted state of being.

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I admit, I am partial to the idea of God having a confederate Angel 'on his side.'  My first thought goes to Michael, since it would have been him who had lead God's fight with Lucifer in those early days.  Now, he slowly attempts to covertly work to bring back God, by the resurrection of Christ, but his work is slow because he cannot be seen to be openly defying Lucifer.

Iím definitely into this. My plan right now for the overarching narrative is to have the players stumble into an angelís scheme to open a gate to hell. Itíll be up to them whether they get played by the angel or start trying to unravel the conspiracy.

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The player characters can be pawns of Michael, perhaps he appears to them, presents something as a Holy quest, but really unwittingly aiding in the Resurrection, to perhaps find the tomb of Christ (or something similar) or sundering it, or perhaps something else. No doubt, the Nonmen would not be pleased about this, so there is a potential conflict there.

Ideally Iíd like to draw them into it more subtly. The game is still in a kind of gritty noir western-y place, so direct contact with an angel would be out of place. Iím gonna try to bring in the epic powerhouses slowly. I want the players to feel me slowly turning the heat up as the angels plans proceed and the world approaches catastrophe.

Yeah, I don't see it working thematically or even sensically for Michael to arrive, blazing sword in hand, clad in robes, unveiling his plan.  More like in the cackling of the local madman, or the drunken musing of the town lush.  I kind of like the idea of Michael shepherding the downtrodden and disenfranchised of the so-called Kingdom of Lucifer.  He fancies that these would not be God's lost children (even if that it probably false).  The players can either buy in to these mechanations, as their so-called, "good deads" or be skeptical, as to what the real aim is here and who is behind it.  The guise of a noble quest, they can take the offer of such a noble cause at face-value, or be suspect of what is really going on.
ďI am a warrior of ages, AnasŻrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.Ē -Cetíingira

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« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2015, 07:25:29 pm »
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Well, Lucifer's knowledge is finite.  So his understanding of God is finite.  Why would he love God, despite him being a despot?  Well, there is the love, so strong, that it can do nothing but overwhelm.  He loves God, not despite God being a contradiction, but because God is a contradiction.  It is all too much.  Love so strong it cannot exist.  Love so strong it makes you want to subsume yourself.  It's too pure, it's overwhelming, it threatens to devour.  Lucifer's love for God is so strong he believes that all things are violence to God.  Even Lucifer's own love is an affront, since he cannot even fathom God in his infinite manifest existence and yet the love blossoms of itself, on and on, a perfect positive feedback loop.  The world is imperfect and impure, a blight on God's (at least in Lucifer's eyes, since, remember, his knowledge is finite) perfect and pure divine corpus.

Lucifer's removal of God is not an act of imprisonment in his eyes, but a sheltering of God from the base and imperfect world that seeks only violence to God's very nature.  Lucifer would bear the failure of the world, the sins of the world, the base nature of the world, and the impure devotion of it's inhabitants to spare it from God.  God apart from the world, not as a punishment, but clemency.  A sacrifice on the part of Lucifer, to bear the sins of the world.

Ok I like this but it doesnít quite solve my problem. What you are saying lines up almost perfectly with my conception of Lucifer in actual Christianity. The overwhelming love, the failure of the world to live up to God, the inability to choose another path. While the scripture doesnít really say any of it, that all fits closely with how I see Lucifer from a mythological perspective.

That all makes perfect sense to me in world where God is the good. In the lore Iíve been laying out heís a tyrant. He isnít the absolute, if anything, heís the demiurge.

The love I want Lucifer to feel for God is exactly what you are describing, but what I was actually asking was how I can justify that level of blindness for Lucifer. Yes, his knowledge is finite (which is an awesome idea, thanks for that) but I donít think it feels right for him to be that blind. If he so believes that God is the absolute good, and that heís just protecting God, than I think heís too delusional to make a very good supreme deity. It isnít inconceivable. The soul is full of contradictions. Iím just not sure it feels right.

Maybe Iím wrong, and Iíll mull it over more but I think Iím leaning the other direction. Instead of Luciferís love being delusionally blind, it is savvy and enlightened. Sad and reflective. Like a child who has grown up and discovered that his father is slipping into dementia. Or maybe he just realizes that his father isnít a the hero he thought he was, heís actually a villain.

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Yeah, I don't see it working thematically or even sensically for Michael to arrive, blazing sword in hand, clad in robes, unveiling his plan.  More like in the cackling of the local madman, or the drunken musing of the town lush.  I kind of like the idea of Michael shepherding the downtrodden and disenfranchised of the so-called Kingdom of Lucifer.  He fancies that these would not be God's lost children (even if that it probably false).  The players can either buy in to these mechanations, as their so-called, "good deads" or be skeptical, as to what the real aim is here and who is behind it.  The guise of a noble quest, they can take the offer of such a noble cause at face-value, or be suspect of what is really going on.

Yeah totally. Well said, I like that.

I was skeptical about using Michael for that role at first. I tend to see him as even more of a jock than Lucifer so I generally envision him as sincere and straightforward - not the scheming type - but I think youíve won me over.

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« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2015, 08:30:02 pm »
Ok I like this but it doesnít quite solve my problem. What you are saying lines up almost perfectly with my conception of Lucifer in actual Christianity. The overwhelming love, the failure of the world to live up to God, the inability to choose another path. While the scripture doesnít really say any of it, that all fits closely with how I see Lucifer from a mythological perspective.

That all makes perfect sense to me in world where God is the good. In the lore Iíve been laying out heís a tyrant. He isnít the absolute, if anything, heís the demiurge.

The love I want Lucifer to feel for God is exactly what you are describing, but what I was actually asking was how I can justify that level of blindness for Lucifer. Yes, his knowledge is finite (which is an awesome idea, thanks for that) but I donít think it feels right for him to be that blind. If he so believes that God is the absolute good, and that heís just protecting God, than I think heís too delusional to make a very good supreme deity. It isnít inconceivable. The soul is full of contradictions. Iím just not sure it feels right.

Maybe Iím wrong, and Iíll mull it over more but I think Iím leaning the other direction. Instead of Luciferís love being delusionally blind, it is savvy and enlightened. Sad and reflective. Like a child who has grown up and discovered that his father is slipping into dementia. Or maybe he just realizes that his father isnít a the hero he thought he was, heís actually a villain.

Hmm, yeah, I kind of digressed into a word salad there, but I think I understand how I missed the point.

So, Lucifer realizes that God isn't the beneficent father he thought He was.  He realizes that this was only the logical progression of God, that there couldn't have been any other option for God, in light of the world as it came to be.  He then imagines a world apart.  A world that does no violence to God and God does no violence to the world.  God is a tyrant, but he doesn't have to be, it's the world that has driven Him to it (that probably isn't true, but Lucifer thinks it is).

Lucifer would take the mantle of the damning world on himself, so great is his love for God.  Lucifer want's God to be the good God he loves, so he sets out to make it so?  Cognitive dissonance on a divine level, Lucifer seeks to rectify the age old question, "If God is good, why does he allow bad things to happen?"  He wants God to actually be good so much that he takes away God's ability to be bad, mainly because he simply refuses to believe that God could simply just be bad.

Does that make sense?

Yeah totally. Well said, I like that.

I was skeptical about using Michael for that role at first. I tend to see him as even more of a jock than Lucifer so I generally envision him as sincere and straightforward - not the scheming type - but I think youíve won me over.

Even better to throw them off the trail.  Have them meat "Disciples of Michael" perhaps, some kind of militant order in his name, to throw the trail off even further.  Keep in mind, Michael isn't just deceiving the PCs, he needs to be deceiving Lucifer too.
ďI am a warrior of ages, AnasŻrimbor . . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury.Ē -Cetíingira

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« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2015, 04:13:30 pm »
http://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0LEVvogfB5WhgYAtxU3nIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTByMG04Z2o2BHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMQRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkAw--/RV=2/RE=1444867232/RO=10/RU=http%3a%2f%2fdungeonmastering.com%2finstantDM%2finstant_dm.pdf/RK=0/RS=kLcoSweIjHkJMNGSpk4KTZlMYCU-

^ highly recommend the PDF above for the best advice on DMing. The key is to improvise and be flexible. Let your players drive the sessions, let them set out on adventures that interest them and tie in some "hooks" that relate to their characters' back story if they have it. Keep some battle maps on hand you can slap down for any situation when you want to start an encounter, or even just blank grids you can quickly draw or color on. Be a "why not" DM - if your players ask if they can do something, let them. Make them roll for it and tell them you're rewarding  them with a bonus on their next roll to reward their creativity.

Preparation can be a huge time sink that isn't fun for the DMs or their players. Definitely live in your world and daydream in it so your players have a fleshed out sandbox to roam in. But try to be as flexible as possible, as the ability to do anything is what makes tabletop RPGs special.

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