Saturday, July 7, 2012


Assuming the characters defeat the challenges of the great pass, what is next for the party inside the 32 pages of X5 Temple of Death?

It is the chaotic nation of Hule.  While David Cook does an awesome job of setting the stage for an entire country in about 1.5 pages, he definitely (intentionally) left room for expansion.  The next three parts of the adventure detail:

1.  An example town Magden, with several programmed encounters that can give the PC's clues toward the ToD or several that can end them up in chains.

2.  Dark Wood - good detail on the vast woods that surround the temple.

3.  The temple of death itself.

There were a couple of things that seemed lacking.  Cook doesn't flesh out the dark diety, dieties, or philosophy that the Master worships/embodies.  Maybe this was to allow the DM room for customization?  Also, the country of Hule seemed too benign for a land ruled by demon worshipers.  I'm not sure why this is.

So here are the first things I would try to spice up:

1.  Setting a slightly darker atmosphere for Hule:  Monstrous demihumans mix with the people, sometimes they raid the villages killing and capturing people to torture or use as slaves.  Other people just disappear in the night, maybe it is the work of the Diviners, some of whom can see into your mind and find out if you are "holy".  This holiness should be a religion of subservience and total sacrifice to the dark forces.  I like the idea of the hermits and prophets of chaos giving guidance and passing judgments.  Instead of an impartial judge, you have an impartial madman, who will make a completely random judgment which seems perfect for the concept of a chaotic society.  Processions are held once per week while the locals run through the village, in a chaotic state of celebration, drunken debauchery, looking for miracles, which pretty much never happen. 

2.  More about these demons and "The Master".  I'm guessing Cook was hesitant to delve too deeply into demon worship, so he remained very tight-lipped on exactly what the master was involved in.  Obviously, one goal is world domination.  Oppression of the common folk under the chaos religion.  Enslave monsters, using curses, and use them to further the goals of the church.  I think it would be fun to keep The Master's religion completely obscure.  Perhaps he is a half-outer-planar, half-human harbinger of a greater chaos deity.  Maybe it is something like the King in Yellow or Nylarthohotep - not something like a typical evil D&D deity - instead, something less personal and human.  I like the idea that The Master has maybe summoned many extra-planar creatures to Hule, they live in secret throughout the land furthering the goals of chaos, tricking humans into worshiping them, and trying to enact the rituals that will bring forth the greater chaos into the Known World.  Also, just because the PC's kill the master, doesn't mean everything immediately will collapse.  I think the remaining holymen will band together to further their common goals of keeping the true power in Hule.  The war will be ended, since the Master was coordinating much of it, but the dark forces will regroup and may spring forth again in the future.  The PC's could probably route it out of Hule, and claim the land as their kingdom, but it would be a terribly long and boring endeavor, so they are more likely to run off to their next adventure.

Next up - I'm going to work on more of the villages and cities in Hule and what they are like.  I'll see what is in first and see if I can leverage some of that.

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