How would you telegraph to your players that the cult-leader they are going to fight has achieved godhood…

How would you telegraph to your players that the cult-leader they are going to fight has achieved godhood…

How would you telegraph to your players that the cult-leader they are going to fight has achieved godhood (demigod-hood).

I don’t want to send them in blind, but I am having trouble thinking of how to announce “Oh yeah, and BTW, sh’s a legit goddess now”, without just saying it (And even if I did, they might just chalk it up to crazy cultist talk).

also, how would you stat a goddess (im tempted to go the”No HP, Just moves and description” route, but I feellike some custom moves might be called for, like “When you strike a god(dess)…”).

9 thoughts on “How would you telegraph to your players that the cult-leader they are going to fight has achieved godhood…”

  1. Having prayers be answered is pretty classic. Maybe also having the new goddess interupting their sleep. There’s no saying she can’t appear in the dreams of those who oppose her.

  2. It’s a GM move: reveal an unwelcome truth. The question is, how do you reveal this unwelcome truth when the event happens off camera?

    An apotheosis like that is gonna send out some serious psychic ripples, yeah? So maybe at some point while they’re adventuring, when they miss a roll (particularly a Spout Lore or Discern Realities, or Cast a Spell, or some other move that involves opening your mind), hit them with an overwhelming vision, a flash of their enemy’s face as it ascends to deityhood. As part of the hard move, you might have the now-deity pry into their minds and try to wrest a secret from them or bend them to their will, Eye of Sauron style.

    You could just do the vision thing as a soft move, as a dream when they make camp or a vision when someone prepares spells or communes.

    Or, be more subtle about it and show omens and portents and signs of doom: statues crying blood, earthquakes, walls cracking in strange patterns, fields of dead birds/frogs/plants, a new constellation in the sky, whatever. Make the imagery strong enough and creepy enough and flavored to this cult-leader’s portfolio. Encourage the PCs to Spout Lore about this, and give them Ghostbusters-esque info like “There hasn’t a mass deadfall of birds on the scale since Allomar the Wicked ascended to godhood during the reign of Sahrah III.”

    Or, like, let them capture a cultist who’s ecstatic with glee at his mistress’s ascension and the oncoming purge. They might not believe him, but it’ll be fun to really ham up his lunacy. Then, maybe his prayers are actually answered and he drops dead of no apparent cause and that triggers one of those disturbing omens.

    Damn. Now I want a villain who ascends to godhood.

  3. I would also first establish some rules of Godhood (Demi-Godhood), not moves.  Like: 1. A mortal cannot physically harm a God, 2. A Mortal cannot physically reist a God’s request, Ect.  Then provide hints to exceptions.  Like you can’t be manipulated by the god if you are a 7th son of a 7th son; have X divine artifact; have favor of X God;  Have a speical item (like the phylactry of a Lich; or some other combination of things, some even quasi mystical.  Then you have an adventure to get those things and can do a counter for things.  Have different items or circumstances allow some of the normal moves to be made against the God and even limited ability to use it.  Going up against a Deity SHOULD be hard and fit outside of the normal,  Heck, even allow the PCs to come up with some creative solutionsl

  4. The nice and clever thing that Dungeon World has, is the Spout Lore / Discern Realities moves (and of course the derived PCs based moves). The players simply has to be curious, roll with that, and you can (you MUST) be honest and give them information about the newgod-girl. Simple. She is the Dangerous One, and probably a player will give to you the way they can fight her (Spout Lore). Also, if they have a Wizard, then surely a ritual can do the trick. You simply have to state the requirements… and those requirements are a on-the-fly generated quest, if you want to be that way.

    Men, I LOVE Dungeon World.

  5. He could imprint himself into their memories. They could see her image in natural objects around her lair, like tree bark or other things his disciples could not have created. Or, if you simply mean he is immortal, I like the witness-her-get-“assassinated”-and-be-fine idea.

  6. Jason Cordova​ brought up the topic in one of his podcasts where he describes a skelly dragon. Its a “cinematic” description to the players (not the characters). Jason goes on to say, make it feel like a movie trailer. Bring the scene to life.

  7. Maybe take a leaf out of Adam Koebels book and go cinematic. For example when your players are reasting or sleeping you cut to a shadowy scene where cultitsts talk about how the ritual has been a success and then the leader says call me god now or something.

    Basically used to good effect in Swan Song and I definitely feel showing grim portents/impending dooms that are off screen in this way would be cool.

  8. The rule is show, don’t tell.

    Show using Grim Portents.

    — People disappear, they are rumored to be sacrificed to a new god.

    — People stop using her name. Using her name causes bad things to happen. Somebody says “Susan” and his house burns down, like inmediately.

    — An increase in cult related violence. The perpetrators all have “Susan” tatooed on their faces.

    — Susan walks into town, and incinerates someone for refusing to worship her.

    The more you build up to the boss fight with your Grim Portents the more epic the bossfight will be.

    As far as statting a god is concerned, think in terms of tags and moves instead of numbers.

    — Invulnerable to mundane weapons.

    — Can only be killed if… Most of her followers are dead… A stronger god takes her out… A powerful artefact is found, made or destroyed… A ritual is conducted, involving 500 farmers, a thousand cabbages, three ounces of wolfsbane essence and a pinch of salt…

    — Kills with a glance, a bolt from the sky, an earthquake…

    Think Sauron, who can only be killed if the ring is thrown in the fires of mount doom. Sauron does not have hitpoints, nor does he have damage dice.

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