Zhilin Campaign Journal #5: Forces in Opposition

In the new campaign set in the world of the Lost Age, I’ve had an opportunity to take a look at the various gods (and beings posing as gods) dotting the landscape. Many of the older forces, banished from the land, are working their way back into the hearts and minds of a new generation of the faithful.

Sometimes that’s good. Sometimes that’s bad. But in all cases, these creatures have their own agendas. And they often conscript others to do the dirty work to move them along.

So far we have three characters of a “priestly” nature of some sort or another. We have a cleric, a shaman, and a holy knight. All three have faith in different forces of the universe.

The cleric is a member of the faith of Mitra, God of Light. Mitra first made an appearance in Serpents Below, but is a god focused on simplicity, brotherhood, and service. He is a strictly lawful good deity who sees the world falling into two clear camps – good and evil.

If you are good, he wants to help you become even moreso. If you are evil, he wants you dead. And this stark black and white view of the world has caused more than a few issues in the world over the last thousand years or so.

The shaman believes in the power of the spirits. The spirits tend towards a balance of the forces of creation and destruction rather than seeing things in terms of good and evil. As such, the shaman is almost a neutral force, though so far he has chosen to use those powers to do good.

And then we have the holy knight. This particular knight, as we’ve discussed in a previous post, used to belong to a different group of guards. He was banished and is now seeking the tools for his revenge.

Well, I’ve kind of decided that he used to be part of the city guard of the City-State of Fiohan as a member of the Wardens of the Undying. He was banished because he went out of his way to do something forbidden by the tenets of the order such as stopping a superior from striking an innocent.

But here’s the thing… he still believes in the Undying. And though he himself is a force for good at this point, the Undying may not be.

Let me explain…

The Undying is not evil, exactly, but a being consumed by prolonging mortal life. As such, believers in the Undying often resort to different shades of necromancy to heal, enhance, and prolong their own lives. The Wardens of the Undying are dedicated to protecting the priesthood in Fiohan, who are working to bring the Undying himself back into the world.

Rumor has it that the Undying, facing the same opposition that banished the Serpent Queen and other deities from the world, saw the writing on the wall and opened a portal to the realm of the dead. Eventually, the stories say, he’d like to come back and help all of his followers live forever.

But that’s not important right now. What’s important is that this holy knight believes in the idea of everlasting life as promised by his god. As he gains in experience and power, he will gain some limited power over the undead, just like a cleric does. But he will be able to not only turn the undead, but control them.

So the cleric of Mitra and the holy knight of the Undying are forces in opposition, with the shaman stuck in the middle.

The Conundrum

As a GM and storyteller, I think this is PERFECT. It’s an amazing opportunity for some serious roleplaying. But I’m concerned that the players may not embrace it.

Fellow GMs, I need help with this one. What do you think? Can you chime in below with some feedback?

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