Oops. Meant to ask this here.

Oops. Meant to ask this here.

Oops. Meant to ask this here.

Originally shared by Asbjørn H Flø

How do I decide what happens if the cultist finish the bloodritual without the correct ingredients?

On tuesday, my players are making a bid to root out a horrible cult who have collected halfling souls to complete a ritual to open a portal to void between the stars to release the horrible Mother of All Dragons, Margul. Margul is the living embodiment of the Ur-Power of the Black Night.

The players are interested in restoring those souls to their rightful owners, who are now just listless pod-halflings.

Halflings sprang from the blood of the Black Jotun, Eir, when she battled Margul, and so their soul and blood carry lot of power.

Problem is, the cult is a couple of halflings short. Namely, the halfing thief Thalda and their halfling hireling. Having failed to kidnap the halflings, the cultleader, a horrible “vampire”, wants to substitute humans for halflings. He recons a rate of 6 humans to one halfling will at least call forth a messenger of the Black Night, that will herald it’s eventual release.

I have no idea if he’s right. He’s ancient and clever, but who knows when it comes to Ur-powers. It could fizzle, it could turn them all into vampires, it could just suck them into the void between the stars. Either way, it will probably collapse the entire dungeon underneath the rich part of town. What happens to the halflings without souls then? No idea.

I’m looking for input on how to decide this. Options I can think of:

– put up a couple of options, and roll a die of fate if it happens.

– Ask the players to describe one horrible thing each, either before or when it occurs

– Hope to god the players succed in stopping them.

6 thoughts on “Oops. Meant to ask this here.”

  1. Write a series steps for the ritual being performed.

    Make a list of bad things that can happen as a result of the ritual progressing: earthquake and crumbling buildings; NPC halflings souls are destroyed; harbinger appears; the sun dims just a little (but permanently) ushering in a new ice age, etc. number them 1-6.

    Each time one of the steps of the ritual is performed, roll d6. That bad thing happens. If it’s already happened, it gets worse/intensifies/spreads. More halfling souls are destroyed, the harbinger grows in in power, then sun dims a little more, the earth cracks and tunnels collapse, etc.

    Regardless: I don’t think the ritual should work unless the PC halfling and the follower halfling cagey caught and sacrificed. The worst would be a new ice age with the harbinger lose on the world, which is bad enough. But if the PC/follower get caught and put to the knife… well, play to find out, right?

  2. Jeremy Strandberg Those are some great ideas. I’ve already started on a Front for the ritual, but mostly focused on local events in the dungeon. But zooming it out is probably good to really underscore the gravity of the situation. I also like the mechanism for progressing the ritual.

    The ritual won’t work as intended without the last two halflings.

  3. Mathor Sionur Thank you. To be clear: I’m mostly asking for methods of choosing or develop interesting outcomes. But I also welcome ideas for horrible consequences.

    One of the things I’ve concidered, at least if the cult doesn’t get enough halflings, is to let the players paint the scene of the failed ritual. We go around the table and each give one detail of how horrible the side effects are.

  4. Jeremy Strandberg btw, I love the part about the sun dimming. But the mythology established also complicates this. Eir is the goddess of the polar night, and shares a body with her brother Ilmater, god of the midnight sun. (because my players write shit down, and reminded me that three sessions ago I called halflings the children of Ilmater, but now they suddenly where the children of Eir.) I love emergent mythology.

    Actually this might be golden. The cultists may be disturbing the balance to make this dual God become unbalanced, tipping the country into perpetual night whether they succeed or not.

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