Borderlands Session 33

The problem with a good cliffhanger that has an open ended solution is that it’s freakin’ difficult to plan for the resolution.

The last session ended with the party’s arrival at the audience hall of the Godking, Girgor, ruler of the Grigorian Imperium, a humanocentric land that enslaves planetouched beings. When the party arrived, they found the honour guard waiting along with several dozen civilians, who were having a celebratory lunch as Grigor’s guests.

Grigor arose and welcomed the PCs as heroes, reciting their accomplishments and heroic deeds and offering them the opportunity to work alongside him for the betterment of humanity and to earn the immortality of their names in history.  

The implication was clear “join me or die.” But phrased politely. How would they respond? I had no idea.

Unsolvable Mystery

One of the problems with the current quest is it runs smack into something I had planned to be an unsolvable mystery of the campaign. Is Grigor a god? Grigor can be worshipped and grants domains no other god grants. But they walk on the world while other gods are distant and don’t speak directly to their followers. Or is he a mortal pretending to be a god? Or another non-divine supernatural being? Heck, he could even be an archdevil…

I like the mystery.

mysteries are interesting. The answer to a mystery could be anything. And “anything” is always better than “something” because “something” is finite while “anything” is infinite. Answers only work when they create more mysteries or the answer is better and cooler than anything the players could have imagined. Grigor was interesting because each of my players assumed something different.

But if the players come out swinging I might have to come up with an answer of some kind.

Killing A God??

Given Grigor knows the party is coming (pretty much because it makes the best story) he might be expecting betrayal and assassination. A body double is needed. This would likely be a simulacrum. An expendable duplicate that can speak for him and that he agrees with (because it is him) .

This gives me some freedom: the PCs can kill the god without upending my world. Or they might think they killed him, and he returns. Or I might decide Grigor actually does die, or embraces his faked death and withdraws from the public eye. I have options and choices.

The tricky thing is I don’t want to deprive the characters of their victory. While I’m nervous with the idea of changing my setting, the players SHOULD be able to kill kings, destabilize dictatorships, and cause political change. Ideally, my campaign should result in changes to my world. While it’s okay to be nervous, I should embrace any changes that happen to my setting.

What Next?

The big unknown with the session is what happens after the first hour. I have no idea. The players might end up as heroes to the realm of humanity or enemies of a nation after killing god. We might spend two hours in a protracted running battle or twenty minutes of diplomacy followed by going on a mission from god.

There are so many possibilities for how the rest of the session unfolds. I might end up with a story of the adventures fleeing and being pursued across the land, unable to rest for a moment for fear of an army catching up to them.

The cliffhanger is cool… but I’m pretty much trapped in a corner and having to improvise. Which is terrifying.

Post-Game Report

Things went okay.

I could have played the godking Grigor as this cackling maniacal villain or a charming, affable evil. A demagogue like Hitler spouting hate to keep his power and solidify his worship.

Instead, I decided to go the route of a religious figure. He was a spiritual leader first, and built up a cult that became a religion. He had to be charismatic and personable. Half cult leader, and half Jesus.

The players made some good diplomatic arguments (and rolls) and I decided to run with it. They became the heroes that helped abolish slavery in that nation.

From there I relied on a few plot hooks and future ideas I’d been musing about. The party returned to Faerie to fulfil their obligation to the River King, and were sent on a “diplomatic mission” taking place on the neutral ground of Sigil. Because I’ve wanted to do *something* with Sigil for years and had nothing else in my back pocket. There was some travelling and chatting, purposely failed negotiations, and lots of set-up for the next session.

It was awkward but the players rolled with it and still had fun. And now I have some idea where the next leg of the campaign is going. And given one of my players has expressed an interest in taking over as DM for a new campaign, this next arc might be the conclusion of the campaign. It feels appropriate that it’s moved into the Feywild. At level 12+ the group is probably as big of heroes as my low-magic gritty world can accommodate. It makes sense that they’ve moved beyond the mortal world. I get to do bigger, larger-than-life events. And do something crazy like a battle between fomorians the fey courts on the surface of Faerie.

Shameless Plugs

If you liked this review, you can support me and encourage future reviews.

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