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4.11
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Comments: 17
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Rating: 4.1111
Condition: Normal
ID: 5632

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Updated:
February 9, 2009, 9:08 pm

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Cheka Man

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Holding Back the Night

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A well-meaning mage has banished darkness from the area, not realizing the downsides of this event.

Plot Description

A magus of the Light has discovered a ritual that can banish darkness from an area; as a firm believer in the dogma that darkness is where evil dwells, he feels it necessary to use this ritual to safeguard the town he is based in. While the Agents of Darkness that he so fears are nowhere near, the PCs are, and arrive not long after the ritual has taken place. Now, for roughly a league all around this town, darkness is no more; even in the depth of night, all is as bright as a summer’s midday, free from shadows.

Unfortunately, the world needs darkness, to have time to cool off and to let things of the day rest for a time. Now, the village is slowly growing warmer; the water of the nearby river is slowly dropping as it travels through the town, and the spike of hot air is disrupting the weather. Inhabitants are finding it difficult to sleep, tempers are fraying, and the crops are beginning to wilt.

Worse, the ritual had an unfortunate side effect, as it drew all the darkness into the mage who worked the ritual; now shadows clog his mind, and he is sliding into a paranoid state, convinced that the darkness beyond the edge of the light is waiting to devour him for his actions. Anyone seeking to restore the cycle of night and day will not only need to free the darkness from him, they’ll have to deal with a moderately powerful spellcaster who will see them as servants of the Darkness come to kill him.

Courses

1) Destroy the spell - The magic might be simple enough to remove, by a powerful enough caster, or it might require the party to learn the ritual from the mage and perform it in reverse. Or perhaps the party needs to find some equally strange ritual to bring the darkness back.

2) Showdown at High Noon - Perhaps the mage needs to be slain to release the shadows. Or perhaps he needs captured and the darkness drawn out magically; kill him, and his soul takes the darkness with it, condemning the area to eternal light.

3) Twins - The darkness within the mage may absorb some of his personality and awareness, such that when freed, instead of returning to the world as proper shadows and night, it becomes a Shadow-themed echo of the mage, complete with a ritual that can drain all the light from an area. Now the PCs need to deal with both mages in order to restore things.

4) Dupe - The ritual was actually a ploy by some evil agent hoping to corrupt and destroy the mage; the agent plans to reverse the ritual once the mage is irrevocably corrupted, and must be found and forced to work his ritual before the town is destroyed.

Beyond the moment

-Perhaps the PCs discover the town long after the mage has died and the inhabitants have all been forced to flee. What do they make of this strange, bright, hot place, a miniature desert in otherwise verdant lands?
-The forces of Darkness, it turns out, really do consider this an effront, and mount an assault on the settlement to find and destroy the source of this unnatural light. They may not be evil; nature spirits affronted by the disruption of normal cycles might be behind it, but that’s small comfort when an angry bear is breaking down doors at the command of a shadowy sprite.
-The effects of the heat bubble above the town begin to significantly alter the weather patterns of the entire region. The PCs might be dispatched to find out what is causing the trouble.



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Comments ( 17 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Kassil
February 9, 2009, 21:20
0xp
Meant as another quick one-off throwaway. Half-cliche, at the least.
Voted Siren no Orakio
February 9, 2009, 21:21
0xp
As an idea, light is not always bright, nor right. And the second Showdown at High Noon option is... interesting, indeed. How do you restore shadow to a place like that?
Kassil
February 9, 2009, 21:46
0xp
I've /always/ hated the 'Light is Good, Darkness is Evil' trope.

And if he dies and takes the darkness with him? I suppose you might treat whatever deity has his soul to filter the darkness and return it, or go on an Orpheus-like quest to find his shade and drain the shadows of it. Most likely, though, it would be a place cursed to daylight eternal.
Voted manfred
February 10, 2009, 7:23
0xp
Light is good for you - and there can be too much of a good thing as well. :)

I picture the sun setting on the sky, the light failing to dim a single bit in this area. The temperature will probably even out at some point, but the area may become a desert indeed... with some very wild weather around.

The magus can be easily a priest, which would complicate things further. Perhaps the god of Light wishes to impart a lesson, perhaps he just doesn't care.


A nice little one-off.
Kassil
February 10, 2009, 9:12
0xp
It will, undoubtedly, even out eventually; when it reaches an equilibrium between heat bleeding off into the surrounding region and heat generation within the area. It will most likely be a rather nasty magic desert, though. And yes, some very wild weather indeed; an immovable high pressure bubble that just fluxes around the edges would be quite the disruption for any weather patterns - and since weather is a chaotic system, there's no telling just how wildly the changes might propagate outward from the central point.

He could, indeed, be a priest; ever since I've been working on Kuramen, I tend to use mage to refer to any worker of magic, whether divine or arcane. I forget they're usually distinguished from each other... I suppose in that case, you might potentially need a powerful entity of the God of Darkness to look upon it and say 'Let There Be Night!'
Voted Cheka Man
February 10, 2009, 10:21
0xp
*imagines the mage being killed and night falling upon the area at once.* What if the night then refused to go away at dawn?
Kassil
February 10, 2009, 19:30
0xp
Might make for an interesting quest to find out what had gone wrong; maybe some other magic is needed to restore the natural progression of day and night, or perhaps someone else needs to reuse the mage's ritual, and be killed at the moment of natural nightfall.
Voted klauston
February 11, 2009, 22:15
0xp
An interesting idea. The perpetual light (or darkness) does drive people crazy eventually. Nice submission.
Kassil
February 12, 2009, 9:10
0xp
Darkness, in particular, will tend to overwhelm most people, but you are correct - even without the environmental impact, the perpetual light would eventually drive anyone living within the area completely mad, not to mention that for a while it'd likely also cause an increase in accidents, with a complete lack of shadows to help judge locations and distances.
Nocontrivedname
March 8, 2009, 12:41
0xp
Hi all new the site, but I really like this plot.

What if the PCs have to ally with a force of darkness to undue the spell. This could be the standard compromise with evil, and be forced to destroy a corrupted institution of good routine.

Nice,
NCN
manfred
March 10, 2009, 18:14
0xp
Traveling through a hellish landscape, the heroes would have to protect a shadowy creature, not knowing how dark it really is. When all is said and done, will it go its own way, stay around to cause havoc, or turn on them when they are vulnerable?

Could be a fun option!
Voted Nocontrivedname
March 14, 2009, 16:13
0xp
I didn't get to vote last time, but I thought I would give some credit today.

I don't see what is wrong with assembling a story arc via bullets. That is how medical school is taught.
Kassil
March 24, 2009, 22:02
0xp
An important thing I would like to note: Light is not necessarily good, nor is dark necessarily evil. That we often perceive them as such is merely a fallback to our racial memories.
Voted EchoMirage
March 15, 2009, 15:24
Only voted
Voted axlerowes
April 2, 2009, 17:59
0xp
This a simple classic setup, and I think it is great.
Voted RGTraynor
October 10, 2009, 7:27
0xp
I like it.
Voted valadaar
August 5, 2014, 12:09
0xp
Simple. Clear and awesome idea. So much potential here.



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