Monday, September 16, 2013

Demogorgon implies....

I recommended a bottom-up method for making a sandbox, if only because letting the world-building get ahead of the game-running risks you do a lotta work for nothing if the campaign ends early or goes where you don't expect.

Like you decide there are 8 Gnome Lords in the Land Of Smacks and then pretty much the players catch the first boat to Pseudo Asia in session 2 and never look back then you're stuck with all these crappy gnomes you wrote up for no reason.

However, once you've got a lot of things established and you know your game's gonna keep chugging, some top down design has appeal.

So, theory:

Your game world's full of fantastical and powerful interested parties--civilizations, gods, political entities, etc, like The City State of The Invincible Overlord, Elves, Odin, Sheelba of the Eyeless Face, The Wizard Kings of Ilthron, Princess Peach, etc

Adventures are most likely to occur when two or more of these interests collide.

So first you can figure out the major forces and what their obvious epiphenomena are, like...

Tiamat Implies...

1. A Pseudo-Sumeria: shadow monsters. Sand. Ziggurats. Necronimica.

2. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. Apocalypse.

3. Eggs.

4. A mate...

5. At least 5 children.

6. A cult devoted to her.

7. The green head--a toxified landscape.

8. The blue head--magnetic anomalies.

9. A creation myth.

10. A nemesis.

11. Lizard men. A lizard clergy. Enmity between reptiles and mammals.

12. Unparalleled disasters.

13. Chaos paladins.

14. Tiamat-centric art. Opera?

15. Voltron analogies....are the antipaladins riding lions?

16. 5 Rings: Frost, Flame, Lighting, Acid, Poison
17. Hydra analogies?

18. Ancient texts, encoded in reptilian bodies.

19. Color symbolism.

20. Cathedrals of Tiamat. Red Temple Prayers. Black Churches.

Dwarves Imply...

1. Mountains with old mines.

2. Dwarven craft: Ancient quasi-magical secrets.

3. Greed and the frustration of greed. Social parasitism. Rent-seeking.

4. Wild heroism. The city of Lanthanum Chromate. Goats.

5. Metals. Metallurgy. Manuals of metallurgy. Folk knowledge. Metals with unusual properties. Knowledge of magnetism, possibly radiation. Magic sealed into objects by clever joinery. Perhaps dwarves are necessary in the creation of magic items.

6. (2 above + 3 above + 5 above)= Jealous guardianship of metallurgical secrets.

7. Dwarfland: Fairy tale-isms.

8. Vikinginess: Thorisms.

9. A cultural rift: fae-blooded and eager dwarves of the south (British dwarves) and distantly hammering dwarves of the north (Nordic dwarves).

10. Dwarven animals: stubwolves and riding goats and stoats.

11. Fortresses built by dwarves, barely decayed after centuries--older than those of any other race.

12. Stonecunning and geomancy. Knowledge of the gorgolith produced by the basilisk and the medusa. Knowledge of crystals.

13. Trade. Trade routes.

14. Dwarven pirates (In my game, for example: Albrecht of the High Seas, for one, the seven dwarves of Bluebeard--some of whom are dead)

15. Snow White. Therefore: a witch (which witch? Thorn? Frost? Dread?) a hunter (a ranger?), sleep apples. Rose Red.

16. It's mostly just fighters, craftsmen and fighter/craftsmen. Dwarf wizards: shifty untrustworthy fucks. Dwarf druids: hermits. Dwarf rangers: wild men. Dwarf thieves are those funny guys in the corner of the bar. Dwarf paladins and Dwarf clerics have scary berserker gods.

17. Dueregar/Dvargir/Dire Dwarves. The most secretive and antisocial of races. Cursed and sullen, they lack the pride of drow and the ravenous drive of cannibal halflings. Maybe they worship the toad gods. Maybe they are needed to make evil magic items.

18. Dwarf cities in mountainsides that last forever because dwarves built them. Urban planning as geology, tectonics. Consultation with things beneath.

19. Classic dwarven ecology requires constant contact with the surface. You can't mine all day and never come up--the familiar dwarven disposition is not that of someone who lives under the earth. That's Dvargir. Dwarves drink and drinking requires agriculture or at least trade. Probably more often trade--leave the grain-growing to halflings.

20. Hatred of constructs for John Henry-like reasons. Hatred of trolls because Warhammer says so and because they infest bridges. Lore about destroying trolls.


Demogorgon Implies...

1. Two heads: Schisms. Is Demogorgon a god of schisms and division?

2. A demonic hierarchy. Crow demons. Stag demons. Succubi. Beastmen.

3. Witches.

Witches imply:
(Thorn) Evil fairy folk, eslaved dryads, gnolls, wolves
(Frost) Snow leopard men, white wolves, owls
(Dread) Crows, Scarecrows, undead

4. Dicit deum Demogorgona summum

5. A cult of Demogorgon. A temple of Demogorgon. Clerics of Demogorgon.

6. Primal rites. Wildness.

7. A demonic court: intrigues, deceptions.

8. Madness. Causers of madness.

9. Cathedrals of Demogorgon.

10. Maggot rites.

11. Ettin: blessed of Demogorgon.

12. Zoological confusion, hybridization, miscegenation.

13. Disturbing weddings.

14. Artifacts or Relics of Demogorgon.

15. Sacrifices. Obscure rules for sacrifices.

16. Demonic possession. Demons in human shape.

17. Temptations and consequences for temptations.

18. Active attempts to undermine other faiths, their clerics and paladins.

19. A gullet (gorge) of demons. A hellmouth. Vomiters.

20. Souls. Soul collection. Bargaining for souls. An afterlife.


So you pick the intersection of two things-- roll 13 under Dwarves and get dwarven trade routes, and 14 under Demogorgon and you get artifacts or relics of Demogorgon.

So there's something found down in a mountain somewhere that has been passing from here to there in dwarven hands rumored to be a relic of Demogorgon. I want more, so...d20 on 14 Dwarven pirates have it now and....d20 on Demogorgon and...11--it's something that'll turn you into an ettin.


Tiamat 4, Dwarves 20... So there is a child of Tiamat somewhere and the dwarves investigate on account of trolls and...7 Tiamat, 11 there's a chlorinated miasma over an old dwarven fortress, a half-submerged trollish spa and the green dragon's lurking like a sea serpent in the deep end.


  1. Is "necronimica" the proper plural of Necronomicon? Bc that's sweet. The connection to Tiamat is not obvious, but I like the idea of associating her with scary occult texts.

    1. One of the mass-market Necronomicon texts draws heavily on Sumerian and Assyrian mythology, so it's got Tiamat in there and whatnot, I imagine.

  2. Rather elegant and tasty way of coming up with things. I take.

  3. I wasn't sure what you were getting at until the very end and then bam, my world opened up.
    This would be a nice way to play out rivalries between powerful NPCs within cities too.

  4. You've got a lot of good ideas. Thanks for sharing them!