Monday, October 13, 2008

Shadow's Apex Part 3: Mythology (continued)

Last time, I posted a list of the powers that would play the most noticeable roles in my campaign-in-planning, The Shadow's Apex. If you haven't been keeping up, you may want to check out the other Shadow's Apex posts. This time, we'll look at some of the decision making that went into that list. I intended to begin talking about the world itself, but this mythology process is getting longer than I anticipated, so that will have to wait until a bit later.

First off, as if it wasn't clear just by looking at the list, I tried to pick powers that had preexisting (or at least easy to justify) rivalries. Character building and background writing is easier if power struggles are clearly defined from the beginning, and where better to start than with the most far-reaching power struggles of them all... the divine.

Shar vs. Selune: I have enjoyed reading about this particular conflict for quite some time and have always wanted a chance to let it enjoy the limelight in one of my campaigns, but I have just never gotten around to it.

Takhisis vs. Paladine: I could have just left this as Bahamut vs. Tiamat, but I'm bringing a little Dragonlance flavor into the campaign for two reasons: one, as a nod to the first D&D novel I ever read, Dragons of Autumn Twilight; and two, because my players aren't very familiar with Dragonlance and now is as good a time as any for a little education (even if they don't realize what they are being exposed to).

Vhaeraun vs. Araleth Latheranil: This is not a particularly well-known rivalry, though it might be if Araleth was a better known figure. Vhaeraun, according to current Realmslore, is dead. In protest, I am making Vhaeraun the head of the drow pantheon in my campaign. Although I could have used one of Vhaeraun's more traditional enemies, Araleth an old favorite and I couldn't help but use him as a foil to Vhaeraun. I'll post more information on Araleth later on. He's from an old Dragon Magazine article that I'll have to dig up before I say more.

That leaves just three other powers: Azuth, Moradin, and the Raven Queen.

Why Azuth? My first instinct was to fall back on Dragonlance mythology for Solinari, Nuitari, and Lunitari for powers of magic. However, in an effort to avoid unnecessary complexity, I decided that a single power of magic would be better in the long run. I didn't want to use Mystra because I was afraid that her rivalry with Shar would overshadow the rivalry between Shar and Selune. Thus, Azuth comes into the picture.

Why Moradin? Really just a fill-in because I wasn't sure which way I wanted to go with the dwarves, putting Moradin on the list was admittedly a knee jerk reaction. "Oh, I need something for the dwarves... Moradin!" Of all the powers on the list, this one is the most likely to be changed.

Why the Raven Queen? Well, to be honest, I'm not a big fan of this one. However, a couple of my players seemed drawn to her when they first glanced through the shiny new 4E books, so I'm putting her in for no other reason than to please my players.

Now, there is still a big gap in the pantheon that needs to be filled... that of a nature-based power. I'll let my readers weigh in on this decision (not that you can't influence the others). Feel free to post comments, but more importantly, show your opinion on the poll in the left sidebar.
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