Monday, April 22, 2019

20 False Gods

[1] Stone statue in the center of a octagonal room, with hallways extending out every direction to the rest of the dungeon. The statue is an ancient wizard's trap, and zaps whoever passes by it dealing 2d6 lightning damage if you do not say the secret code phrase “Kalawoon”. The local kobolds worship it as a God, praising its name as Kalawoon and thanking it for its mercy in letting them pass in rhythmic chants, and occasionally sacrifice a gagged virgin or prisoner with their tongue cut out to it, so they cannot speak the code phrase. The kobolds pass by it at least once every hour, so you have a 1 in 6 chance to learn the code phrase each exploration turn.

[2] Troll, worshiped by tribe of sadistic goblins. The goblins think he is a god because they keep shoving metal pins into and under his skin, but his wounds keep closing. His flesh pushes the metal out, raining nails onto the floor each night. The goblins even praise him as he tries to kill them, claiming that this living God is destroying the weak and slow wicked goblins from their tribe with his holy wrath. The troll is chained up most of the time and babbles out in Common, Elvish, and Dwarven every exploration turn; “Get me the hell out of here!”

[3] Isolated tribe of orcs obey a sagging, obese demon, permanently nailed to a throne. It has a terrible smell of death around it, and the demon demands much of the orc's food. It can speak incantations in a booming voice; dark magic cast to empower the faithful and to punish the orcs who doesn't obey. However, it mostly speaks through its emissary who is a shrunken old human with a chain around his neck, tied to the base of the demon's throne. The Orcs worship it somewhat begrudgingly, but have no other option.

The demon is a fake; animated and cast with several illusion spells. The head and belly are huge sacs with carved, painted pieces of wood to appear as limbs. Food tossed into the stomach rots away, feeding a massive swarm of black maggots. The old man is not a slave, but a Sorcerer who has tricked the orcs to keep feeding the “demon”; he harvests some of the maggots for their magical essences. The chain around his neck is also fake and he can easily free himself with a simple spell, but must be careful so the orcs never see him freed.

[4] Tall white tree at the edge of a big and dusty valley. It is planted atop a small hill with no others nearby and has become a sacred thing for the marauding gnolls in the area. They once put bone charms and stained blood on the tree to mark their territory, but the tree kept shaking them off at night when they weren't watching. As such it has become a holy site and the tree a minor deity among the Gnolls bloodthirsty pantheon. They feed the trees parts of the corpses of beings they slay and slit the throats of their slaves above its roots for a sacrifice.

The tree is home to an agitated dryad. She is not a goddess, obviously, but the Gnolls treat her as one now and she is too afraid to confront them; they may kill her. The incantations whispered by her worshippers and the sacrifices have actually been having an effect and nourishing her roots and spirit with magic and power- she has become more powerful despite having a long way to go before reaching some kind of divine status; treat as a Dryad with +2 HD, +1 AC, and can cast an extra spell once per day. Her morality is also slipping and she is slightly more aggressive then other Dryads, and may be more pragmatic or threaten to call the Gnolls if threatened.

[5] The Arch above and below the city docks. Beyond seeing the foot-travel of people from around the whole world. There are many stained stones where people's hands have rubbed the stones for luck- the cult in the city's underbelly believes the stone itself has absorbed enough fallen magic and power from the above and gathered enough support from below that its stones could be used to build a door into another world where the unwashed will be rich and happy. The Godly and divine stone-thing representing the heavenly embodiment of the gateway between here and there.

[6] Deadly pufferfish just offshore of a tribal tropical island. The tribe believes it has powers over life and death, as its sting killed a hunter. After burying the tribesman who was killed, they find their tomb disturbed, scratches on the walls- the tribesman buried alive. They fear this thing for its power to revive the dead- in reality it is just its venom that causes the false death.

[7] Colorful and clearly supernatural looking regular animal- Bright green pig, rainbow furred sloth, glowing orbs around the pitch black parrot, etc. The villagers worship it, as anyone who tries to get close or kill the beast is annihilated by powerful magic. The beast is being protected by an invisible Wizard, trying to maneuver the animal's simple mind into understanding philosophy and reach stunning insights into the human condition. It is not working.

[8] Active, bubbling Volcanic pit. The cult nearby sacrifices virgin to the volcano god, offering their bodies to him in the next life as heavenly concubines. In return, sometimes chunks of magical obsidian float to the top of the lava pool; which can be fished out by skilled hands along with flame-retardant iron-sticks stuck in glacial tubs of water just before use.

In truth, each person thrown is just disturbing the lava pool and cooling it off by fractions of a degree, and as such the lava has a few chunks that condense beneath and float to the surface. The obsidian is actually magical though, as the volcano has innate magic, and the chunks can be made into all sorts of useful tools, weapons, and broken into small flint fire-starters that start flames with animal minds.

[9] The Ship called Brewing Storm. It has never lost a battle. Its hull is known as being almost impenetrable, and its cannons are unerring. All of its captains have been giants among men; the most infamous pirates and navies have used it to great effect, only being captured by subterfuge or great magic, never in battle. Currently moored in the docks of a famous city and well watched, a small cult of worshippers swim to the ship to touch it, braving the coral reefs and the dangerous fish just to do so. The ship is merely a famous and well designed vessel, with a double hull that keeps out water and attacks, and all of its crew and captains have simply been extraordinary, no special qualities of its own make it so powerful.

[10] Grossly exaggerated stories of both the abilities and philanthropy of a wealthy noble folk hero who lived about a hundred years ago in the area. Shrines to her are starting to pop up everywhere, despite no supernatural powers or anointed Clerics proving any divinity.

[11] The last Lord of the Arena. The gladiator reached the status of legend after defeating every single foe that came his way, including a chained dragon and several powerful free men who fought because they believed themselves to be best. The Lord of the Arena fought them all and one, and finally retired from his position.

All around the bloodchannels underneath the arena, the animal cages, the slave wards where thralls are forced to fight and in the streets around the arena he is praised as a mythical demigod. Some even say his symbol, a curved sword and short iron bar- (for parries and blocks, as per arena rules he wasn't allowed a shield with his magic sword); has even given protection to the fighters who fight for their lives in the arena today.

Truthfully, the Arena champion was just a man, and while extremely skilled and powerful, he's also become frail and slow in his old age. He lives in an old folks' home in the city, long since squandered all his winnings and fame, and is now content to just stare out the window at the street.

[12] The Dragon. It's being worshiped by kobolds, which is normal. It has a big ego, that's normal too. What's not normal is that Cleric spells have started to stop working in a 20 ft radius around the spiky calloused end of its tail, and the dragon believes this to be a sure sign of its divine aura becoming real in the world. He will soon anoint the oldest and best groveler among the kobolds to be his high priest, who will be a level 1 Cleric.

[13] Magic Mushroom. Within a deep chamber; fungus eating goblins have begun to worship this massive fungal colony. They glow blue in the dark and the mycelium is so thick it's like a carpet and tapestry on the floors and walls. They worship the mushroom as it has begun to respond to wishes; conjuring items from its flowering heads upon many chants and praises from its goblin followers; so far it has created swords without rust, which might as well be magic weapons to goblins, spiked collars for their war-spiders, the skull of a dwarf, and even a bag of holding. The mushroom is magic and is actually conjuring these items, but only because the goblins have been feeding the mushrooms their dead for decades; it takes a long time for enough energy to build up for the mushrooms to conjure an item, most of it is spent slowly growing new fungal colonies and spores. The mushrooms only understand 'gob and won't grant more then a minor wish a week. Anyone who severs and eats one of the fruiting sporecaps would get a first level spell slot recharged from the magic energies, or a daily power in equivalence.

[14] Lord Agreen. He is a necromancer of incredible power, and has long since become a lich and mastered his own mortality. His delusions of Godhood are not as far fetched as they may seem. He has three close servants that he revives in different bodies whenever they die; each one of them is a skilled killer. Lord Agreen seems to be assassinating several prominent local figures, disturbing the lands of the dead with their deaths in just the right way to garner more power to himself, and potentially lining himself up for an ascension into some sort of death God.

[15] Lady Morthin. She is a dark figure, consorting with the powers of the fairie. Beyond her ridiculous taxes, which include the fallen teeth of all children in her realm, she also forces her subjects to further the powers of the wild forest; letting the realms of the fae encroaches closer to their villages and disallowing them from posting horseshoes and other iron wards. She wishes to gain the favor of the fairy courts and join them as an immortal queen, before age comes to takes her waning beauty away from her.

[16] The Fallen Stars. Appeared after a meteor shower. Group of 1d6+1 Fallen Star people. They appear as humans with translucent skin and have 17 AC and 3 HD each from their innate power. The females glow, and can focus their light to stun their foes if they fail a save, and the males can touch things to imbue them with a light of madness or a light of calming. This light makes animals who gaze at the glow act crazed or calm and docile respectively. This also works on humans, and other races, for members who have a -2 Int modifier or less.

The Fallen Star people claim to be Gods from another world, and are asking for the greatest sages and tinkerers in the land to build a ship so they can return to their world. Truthfully, they are merely stars that have fallen out of the sky in human form, not true divines, and they know there is no way they can return to the sky. Instead, they wish to build a weapon to destroy the stars that exiled their group and then repopulate on Earth, ruling over the lesser beings as Gods among men.

[17] Black skinned ebony elf from a far away land. He smells of volcanic ash and of freshly spilled blood, and claims to be a God of war from a foreign culture. He is demanding noble warriors and those seeking a free pass to the afterlife join him on a religious crusade to reclaim the holy land.

He is actually a “God” culturally from his people, who believe their rulers to be living Gods, though he is not an actual God in power. He is quite a powerful warrior though, and knows several hidden blade arts granting control over terrain and of fire. Any character who joins on the crusade will not be returning home; the land is too far and the civil war too perilous for any one of you to return from it. There is a 1 in 6 chance the next character the player players gets a letter from the old one, along with an volcanic gemstone packaged within worth 10,000 coins.

[18] Great green snake of the forest. It has swallowed several great spirit-beasts like the massive boars and elk-spirits. Local hunters say prayers to the beast to keep it sated and away from them before they enter the forest, despite it not caring for or answering any human prayers. The snake has stats as a normal snake, but on a missed attack a spirit-beast charges out of its open mouth and harries any magic user or character with high Wisdom. The spirits serve the snake even as their remains digest inside the snake's body.

[19] Great standing stone, surrounded by a flock of followers and guards. It is said to heal the sick, and anyone who touches it finds their wounds miraculously healed. The guards keep away those looking to profit from the stone, and only allow those who are truly faithful or who donate generously to the growing faith are allowed to touch it, and only once. The stone's power are real but all of its magic is from an ancient healer who gave the last of his healing magic to the stone before his death. The standing stone can only heal 2d20 more people before it runs out of power permanently, at which point the faith will disband.

[20] The Last Hero of Mozz. This prophet is a green-feathered flightless avian person from an ancient, thought to be dead race. He claims to serve the highest God of the Mozz and is both a holy man as well as powerful warrior. He rides a speckled horse with a hundred hand prints naturally showing on its coarse fur; anyone can tell the horse is clearly supernatural. The prophet proves his abilities by making objects under sheets disappear or having his horse count numbers by tapping its foot. It isn't much smarter then a normal horse but has a magic hide, granting it +3 AC, and seems to know many things from its long memory and many experiences. The horse is also still youthful, despite carrying its rider with elegance for many ages. Anyone fighting on the horse fights as a Fighter of one level higher, as the horse jostles them into advantageous positions over their foes while mounted or fighting from its back.

The truth is that the Mozz died out because their Gods died, and none are left. The prophet's powers are all illusions with powdered smoke and mirrors. The last hero of Mozz is wandering the Earth to find both a nice place to die and a good person to grant his immortal magic horse to.

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