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November 8, 2005, 2:36 pm

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Sodin's Stone


Treachery, murder, magic and an army of the dead, all in one rather confusing escapade.

There are various gods of (insert fantasy world here), and Sodin is the chief of these. Heaven, Earth and the Underworld are being drawn together, so all the gods make a spell to keep them in the same place. It turns out too powerful, but after all that magic-making the gods are kind of tired out and so Sodin decides to keep this spell, rather than trying and probably failing to make a new one. He doesn’t tell anyone else that it is too powerful, however, and simply resolves to stop the three places flying apart with his own considerable power until they can gather the strength to make a new spell.

So that, for whatever reason, no-one can find the spell and dispel it, Sodin puts it in the most inane object he can find—a small, plain pebble from a river-bank—and hides this stone away, telling only his wife Freda where it is.

Now, Sodin is hardly the most likeable of people, and he really gets on everyone’s nerves: his power, rather than his popularity, is the reason he’s chief of them. So, before long, Freda poisons him. Since he is a god, he cannot die in the way of ordinary mortals, and so she imprisons his ghost in the first inanimate thing that comes to hand—a medium-sized, innofensive wooden trident with a metal head—so that it cannot talk. Murder, for whatever reason, is as terrible a crime among the gods as among mortals.

As second-most-powerful god, mere inches above the ambitious Mjort, Freda becomes by default the chief of the gods. But she fears for her safety and her station, and so she pins the blame on Mjort, who has been eyeing the top spot. Mjort is banished to the Underworld, to the singularly boring job of shepherding the mortal souls through on their way to reincarnation; Freda gains her security. But with Sodin dead, and therefore no longer holding onto Heaven, Earth and the Underworld, the three start drifting apart. This is, understandably, a problem: it becomes harder to travel between them, and mortals start to have trouble with death and reincarnation. The gods, too, begin to find their checkups on the very annoyed Mjort rather hindered.

Freda, guessing that the spell must be too powerful, but not knowing how to combat it, goes in desperation to find the stone. After several failed attempts to control it, she smashes the stone as a last resort, scattering the spell beyond repair. It is as if an elastic band has reached its full stretch: Heaven, Earth and the Underworld begin to snap back together.

Meanwhile, Mjort, feeling understandably wronged, decides to get back into heaven by force: she imprisons the Gatekeeper (a sort of anti-Grim Reaper, who opens the gates of the Underworld for souls to go and be reincarnated), effectively trapping souls in the Underworld, in which state—lacking the anchoring effect of corpreality—she has some manner of control over them, which was granted to her to stop them rioting and trying to push in front of the queue. She is building up an army of the dead. Because of reincarnation being halted, nothing on earth can be newly living. Babies are stillborn; crops fail.

The gods, who without the power of Sodin and Mjort cannot remake the spell, and who have no idea of what she is planning, ask Mjort for her help—she is, after all, second only to Freda. Assuming that this truce will last only till the spell has been made before she is cast again into the Underworld, and wanting her revenge on Freda (who did, after all, set her up), but not wanting the other gods to guess what she is planning, Mjort plays for time by promising to help if only they can give her Sodin’s body (which is hidden in an old mine in what is now the city of Tryst). Mjort has taken control of the ruler of this city, Derstand, forcing him into a tyrannical rule so as to get more souls into the Underworld to build her army. She is sure that with Derstand making the job difficult, though the gods might succeed, this will buy her enough time to build her army to an unstoppable size.

The gods, whose power is all tied up in slowing Heaven, Earth and the Underworld in their collision course, entrust this task to a group of mortals, renowned throughout the lands for various deeds, who they have gathered together specially for this purpose. The PCs are these characters. Their job is to retrieve Sodin’s body and present it to Mjort, which is made difficult by anything from Derstand’s resistance to a hive of horse-sized bees known as the Lords and Ladies who have built their home in the mine. If the PCs find Sodin’s body, they should present it to Mjort—at which point she will reveal her deciet and the PCs must free the Gatekeeper so that the souls can once again be reincarnated on Earth. They will then have a very annoyed, very powerful god on their hands, whom they must somehow persuade to help in the making of a new spell (the right strength this time) so as to end this whole fiasco. If she helps, then she will be pardoned—it is up to the GM whether Freda is found out or not, though this would probably just add unnecessary complications.

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Comments ( 11 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

March 9, 2005, 17:18
For some odd reason this felt like a Super-powered soap opera. It does have merit, but it did not hold my interest. Power level is almost tailor made for munchkins, IMHO.

Dragoon God
March 9, 2005, 20:32
Dont know what IMHO is, but I agree with Scras on this one. Interesting idea, better then any plot i've tried to make, but it could use some more detail on the retrieving of Sodin's body. Good job for your first plot though. 3/5
March 9, 2005, 22:41
"In my honest opinion".

Way, way too high-powered. I tray to stay away from "save the universe!" quests. They seem less personal and tend to give players huge head trips- "I've saved the universe, I do what I want."

March 10, 2005, 4:40
High power level saving the universe can be fun as a one-off adventure, though I agree it's less good for a whole campaign. 3/5
Dragon Lord
March 10, 2005, 9:35
Largely I agree with Scras and Capt.

I generally avoid this type of super-powered universe-saving scenario, partially because they're far too egocentric for my liking, but mainly because they're such a cop-out.

As an example of the genre this one isn't bad but, when all said and done, it I still just another universe-saving scenario.

Leave this sort of unimaginative tosh to Hollywood is what I say - we're better than this.

March 10, 2005, 10:46
Save the world tends to be a fantasy campaign season arc, rather than a single adventure for me. But I come from the superheroic genre where saving the world is the second most common plot. So I can throw no stones.

Well done otherwise.
Barbarian Horde
March 22, 2005, 7:34
I like "save the universe quests", but I prefer that the heroes doing so are humble and low level. I like it when they save it with roleplaying, conversation, normal-ish battles and cunning.

At the end of the day, the PCs ARE heroes, and to be honest: That is what they want to be. It doesn't have to mean that something huge took place, it could be Cthulhu style; interrupting a fell ceremony or regaining a lost museum artefact.

There are no cliches, no bad plots; only bad execution.
March 22, 2005, 9:24
Yes there are cliches and bad plots. The only thing that might redeem them is how well they are executed.
Barbarian Horde
March 22, 2005, 22:24
It is all in the eye of the beholder. At some level all plots are cliches and potentially bad, at least having been done before. But I think we agree on this one. We have different perspectives on the same truth, that's all. Execution will always be a key factor while time renders all plots cliche.
Barbarian Horde
December 28, 2005, 14:24
What does Sodin mean? Ma mothers maiden name in Hungary is Sodin!
awaiting an explanation!
December 28, 2005, 14:40
You would need to ask the author of this post, if it was supposed to have any special meaning. Personally, I just think he made the name up. If you take the time to read the post, Sodin is the name of an important and powerful god, for a time the head of a pantheon.

*shrugs* You can't avoid this kind of accident with so many people on Earth.

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