Monday, September 24, 2012

How to Curry the Favor of the Neutral Gods, Including Cthulhu (DCCRPG)

This is an epistolary extract from an email I sent to my players a while back.
I have been thinking about how neutrals can gain luck. Let me first clarify though that the gods of chaos, the only gods thus far to have had much reason to award luck points in our sessions, don't generally care whether you are good or evil. They don't reward acts of depravity, but rather acts of insanity and creativity. The gods of other alignments will similarly award crowning moments of awesome if they happen. Some gods are good or evil, of course, but that pales in comparison to their stance on cosmic order.

Healing your team-mate or loved-one is not awesome, its nice to a degree, but ultimately just something in the group-interest (or worse yet, self-interest to have another meat-bag around taking hits for you) and not really something the gods care too much about. Saving an important NPC may be a different story... Let me also state that partrons are usually not to have a hand in luck, though exceptions have occurred. If you don't have a god and your patron isn't helping you with alignment, you should really consider getting an interesting god.

Anyways, what can neutrals do to please their gods? First off, being neutral is to choose to straddle the line between stasis (law, order, codes) and entropy (chaos, anarchy, disorder). It is not easy to role-play, though it does provide the security of the middle-path. It could be expressed by not taking a stance (easy to play, but hard to be awesome while doing that) and trying to strike a balance (very tough, but with more possibilities for awesomeness than the former). Neutrals may quest to return an area from the brink of either extreme chaos or stasis, or they may try to take out champions of extreme ideals that seem poised to tip the balance to one side or the other. 

Next, neutrals can seek to overtly please the gods of neutrality. It is quite possible. Usually this done by keeping natural areas natural, but unfortunately dungeons have not brought much opportunity to be all-hippy-like. In the days before my philosophy about all this started to congeal, I fear I may have missed opportunities to give out luck (to the people that convinced the group to not take a giant gold plate from a druid shrine and other such things). Its a little late now to dole out rewards for that, but hindsight will hopefully make me a better DM. However, you could always try to convince the group to go back to the woods; plenty of things there were never discovered.

It may work best if we have goals and ethos defined for our gods (and remember, a patron is not a substitute for a god, though patrons often help you to please your gods), so we can more proactively seek to please said gods
For instance, if you worship Cthulhu, you may try to define his ethos as: 
  • Return civilization to nature, as it is not for the organization of lesser races.
  • Seek out forbidden tomes, to better know my will.
  • Seek out pieces of The Great Ritual that will bring about my re-awakening.
  • Destroy and combat aberrations of nature, for natural selection is the only means to preserve the balance.
  • Lead cults of the faithful, and make lottery-sacrifices of blood.
  • Destroy the works of devils and demons, for they would seek to impose their will on nature.
  • Avoid stagnation and stasis, for the march of time dictates my return
  • Avoid wanton destruction, for the world is mine to reclaim and not anyone's to destroy
  • Breed true with my chosen races (Innsmouth fish-men etc.)
  • etc. etc.