A plot hook idea - Morana

edited March 2010 in General Discussion
Hello everybody!

First of all, i'm new on the forums so i appreciate any feedback or suggestions =)

A few weeks ago i had this idea and decided to share it. It's an adventure hook based vaguely on webcomic Looking for Group and Terry Pratchet's Discworld series. It's quite simple really. The questgiver in the campaign is Death itself.

Now let me explain how this would look in my campaign: Death, Mort, The Grim Reaper, Morana, Jonny Black or whatever you call him (her? it? whatever) is NOT the same as the god(s) of death. He does respect their wishes, and they do play poker together at saturday evenings, but that's it. He and his agents are still the ones that do the reaping. Mostly his agents, though, he only has to show up for the deaths of inportant people, high nobility and wizards. He also helps when there is a plague, or a war, since then there's a lot of work to do.

Death, since the beginning of time reaped the souls of every living thing, and it never made much difference to him. But during the last few billion years, with little else to do, he found some sort of amusment in exploring the peculiarities of life. He became intrigued by the desires, feelings and other things so foreign to him. So besides the duties that were given to Mort, and enable him to explore the last moments of certain individuals, he secretly became the mayor of a scenic little town up the coast (where he is also the lord of the dance ;) Although he can alter space-time in any way he wants, including shapeshifting, teleporting, time manipulation and all the cool stuff, he likes to act as a human being while he's at Endswille. He can appear any way he wants, although i imagine him as a sleek young man, reserved and polite, like someone taken from a work of Byron. If asked to prove his dark identity, use the flashiest thing your mind can produce (preferably icluding flaming horses, flames, skeletons, flaiming skeletons and a fallen angelic choir singing something in faux latin in the back).

Why secretly? Firstly he doesn't want the villagers to know who he really is, as if not to disrupt his experiment. Secondly, he wouldn't like his friends (War, Famine, Plague... and don't forget Scrofula!) to know what he's up to. This means that sometimes, he cannot do certain things, since his presence usually attracts a lot of attention. However, the town itself is scry-proof, and not so spetial as to attract unwanted attention. And yes, this is where the players come in. Even if they have clerics. Or paladins.

Let's just get one thing straight: Grim is NOT evil. Collecting and managing the souls is a part of his job and not really evil. He is after all the only way for mortals to ascent into whatever afterlife they might have, and do whatever needs to be done to elementals, animates, undead etc. So if you want an alignment it would be Lawful neutral, or even better Unaligned. Time is insignificant to him and since he is eternal he doesn't have a grudge against anyone, because every living thing dies sooner or later. he doesn't mind a slight delay (which is pretty much any duration, compared to the universe). Eventually even gods can be killed, and Death never takes a major role in any conflicts, let them be between mortal or gods. He might chip in a small, flashy detail, or take a soul of an incignificant creature a bit sooner or later, but never in a way that alters the course of fate. The only thing that he has a fancy for, is his town Endswille.

Endswille is in absolutely no way any different than any other generic town. Most importantly, people still die there, like everywhere else. Build the town in just about any way you want, and add any truble that mught befell it, to draw adventurers in.

Part 2 is in reply :P


  • Grozomah
    Posts: 3
    Now we know why and how players are drawn in, now let's see why they would do something like that? Not that dificult i hope, even barbarians must see that serving the most powerful force in the creation, not to mention that it pay a nice reward. No, i don't mean immortality, that would cause way too much attention. Although a resurection per campaign or something like that could be arranged, if needed. And if players still don't follow trough with the plan, weird and dangerous coincidences might start happening (eg. natural traps with considerable damage) - you can use pretty much anything that would fin in a Final Destination movie

    If by some dumb chance anyone actually attacks Grim, you can considder him a level 40+ immortal with up to +7 immunity, and every beneficial ability there is on the list. Or just say that although he was cleaved through and trough with a greatsword, poisoned, and then hit by a maximised meteor swarm, he calmly asks you if you'd like a cup of tea. He doesn't really mind being stabbed or anything, it brings some amusment and no harm at all.

    Due to his eternal nature in a small shell, the quests can vary from hunting goblins and collecting wolf pelts, where the party doesn't even have to know mayor's true identity, to epic - save the creation sort of quests.

    That's it for now, i'll probably thing of some more details in time.
    Please, do give me some feedback, and feel free to add some suggestions, if you have any :)
  • arsheesh
    Posts: 850
    It all sounds very intriguing, but I have a few questions for you Chakmalnoris:

    1. If Death is trying to keep his moonlighting activities on the DL, _how_, or better yet, _why_ is it that the adventurers are privy to this information?
    2. Assuming that the adventures are somehow in on Death's little secret, why should they care?
    3. Assuming that death knows that the adventurers are in on his secret, why would he allow them to live? I know that he's not supposed to be evil or anything, but his reputation is on the line after all. Dont'cha think he might just take a few mortals lives early if he thought there was some risk of them exposing him?
    4. Perhaps one reason might be that he thinks that the adventurers might be of some use to him, and that their usefulness outweighs any potential liability of exposure. The problem with this option is that what possible use could the adventurers serve that his own minions could not?

    Please don't read the above questions as negative criticism, I do think your idea is very creative, but I'm just having difficulty imagining how any plausible adventure hooks could actually arise out of the scenario you outline. But feel free to enlighten me.


  • Grozomah
    Posts: 3 edited March 2010
    I'm more than happy to explain the concept further.

    _1. If Death is trying to keep his moonlighting activities on the DL, how, or better yet, why is it that the adventurers are privy to this information?_
    I'd say that the only way for them to find out is blunt coincidence. Death is rather strict in keeping his little secret and wouldn't leave much of a trail by chance. However that can be easily integrated in any adventure. For example: the undead lich that the party just killed, mentiones in his diary a barely detectable and unexplained negative energy surrounding the town (the main part of it is ofc cloaked, as is its cause). Or maybe someone wants to replace the Mayor of Endswille (not knowing his real identity), and asks you to incriminate him, or get an item in his posession etc. Suffice it to say that the party fails miserably at the task, but amuses Grim in the attempt, who in turn decides to use their abilities.
    Another option entirely is that the party is unaware of his true identity, for a while. They are introduced either when something implies the true identity, or when they prove their loyalty and abilities serving whatever personality death has. You can simply add this "I am death" template to your current questgiver. Now that's a twist if i ever saw one :P

    lets jump to:
    _4. Perhaps one reason might be that he thinks that the adventurers might be of some use to him, and that their usefulness outweighs any potential liability of exposure. The problem with this option is that what possible use could the adventurers serve that his own minions could not?_ No. 3 is also answered here i suppose
    Well, yes and no. Their power is close to none compared to an angel of death, but it's just because of that they are often watched. Powerful entities do like to keep an eye on each other, and queer activites would be investigated quickly. If by any chance some information like... oh i don't know, an army of vengeful spirits wipes out the entire goblin population of an area, gets known, somone is bound to look into it. Some adventurers doing it is rather common and not really worth any attention (looking from a God's view). Death's friends might start wondering too. It's comparable to someone stealing office supplies, after a while people start to notice something is not right... In short: their stealthy benefits outway the risks. Especially since Death probably always keeps an eye on them and remembers them of that fact if they do stupid things.

    _2. Assuming that the adventures are somehow in on Death
    Post edited by Grozomah on
  • arsheesh
    Posts: 850
    Good point regarding my third question, It stands to reason that death might have agendas for his pet town that he doesn't want to draw attention to, and using his own high profile minions to accomplish these agendas would certainly risk drawing unwanted attention (don't know why I didn't consider this myself). Also, I think you've sufficiently satisfied some of my other doubts about this plot thread as well. Thanks for giving me some new insight here, I can see more clearly now how this plot thread could be fruitful in generating a whole slew of adventures.


  • JimTriche
    Posts: 483
    Death holds no grudge against anyone? Even Rincewind?

    If you play Death in the same manner as he is portrayed in Discworld, I see this having great potential for awesomeness. If the Luggage is availiable as an item, I want to play NOW.
Sign In or Register to comment.

August 2022
In Over Their Heads

Read the feature post on the blog
Return to Obsidian Portal

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!