Deus ex machina

Hey all,

one of my players’ characters is likely to meet a god. It’s quite likely that (due to his Belief that it is humans that determine their fate, not gods) he will be opposed to what that god wants and will want to argue. Unfortunately, said god is a chief deity (hello, Jove) - white stats and “I am god” trait (which causes the character to owe the deity a major compromise in addition to any DoW results). I don’t want this to end in “you’re doing X and that’s that, because I AM YOUR GOD” because it smells of deprotagonising and GM fiat.

What do you think I could do to make this encounter interesting?

The situation comes down to this: the character is investigating a killer and wants to stop him. Judging by the evidence, the killer seems to be convinced he is sent by the gods to punish the mortals for their misdeeds which have not been brought to justice. This is actually true. If the character intervenes, he will be asked to take the killer’s place.

My current idea is to copy Paris and Trojan War: there is dissent among deities and some are going to support the character’s position against Jove. Or perhaps there will be three different deities asking for three different solutions to the problem.

Two things:

  1. Stay away from the clouds and heaven-ish imagery. Not that this sounds like that kind of god who would present himself in that way, but maybe keep it a more down to earth feel, like the god comes in the form of one of the jailers, or something.

  2. Talk to you player(s) about the scene. Ask them what they want out of it/what would be cool to them. In my experience, player authorship is not just reliant on wises and other rolls. Just put the cards on the table and have a chat about it, and that, combined with the weight of the scene, should make it really sing.

Thanks for the reply Soloswolf!

Yeah, no. I’m sick and tired of the standard heaven-and-hell imagery. I’m planning on him showing up in the temple, dressed like his high priest (Flamen Dialis) and the telltale signs being more like piercing eyes of strange colour, changing air pressure, the coming storm and sounds of thunder. Statues that come alive and step down from their pedestals are also a possibility.

Other gods might include Minerva, Saturn, or maybe Cybele or Vesta (their priestesses have shown up in the game as opponents and allies). I want to avoid Sky God vs. Underground/Hell God, but also War of the Sexes, so I’m wary about introducing Juno. Although she would make sense, seeing as Juno and Minerva both shared Jupiter’s temple on the Capitoline Hill. And we’re playing in more or less the same time periond when this temple burned down, along with the Sibylline Books. Hm…

I can’t really do that as it would spoil the fun of the investigation - who the killer is and whether he’s delusional about his role is not out at the moment.

God don’t argue with mortals. God says some very heavy, very cryptic shit, then turns to a raven/gull/owl and flies away. And you better listen because if god has to come back, next time you’re getting transformed into the birdie.

This option side steps the soul-crushing duel of wits but it keeps god powerful and mysterious. I’ve used it a number of times and it drives players nuts! They always want to pick a fight with god! Denying them that makes god more godly.

Maybe you should think about “how” does he contacts the deity. Is he looking for a way to meet his god? Maybe he Circles an Oracle possessed by the god himself, in which case there can be some chance of conversation (since there is kind of a intermediary). Maybe he encounters one of his otherworldy servants (another way to DoW indirectly with a god).

Truth is that it’s hard to start a duel of wits with the divine, I mean, how do you start an argument when the skies start to fall, and a giant with a voice of thunder and eyes of lighting start shouting his sacred wishes, so you might want to handle the god touching experience in a more cryptic way, with portents, signs and messages.

Stay cool :cool:

Also as dreams/visions that can be interpreted badly.

And just who is this person who can demand face time with a god? That’s some pretty heavy shit y’know.

Anybody in the presence of a god should have to make some kind of Steel test. I mean, it’s a god! Thunder! Lightning! Golden showers! All that stuff that’s supposed to make you quake with fear.

Generally, I think it’s better to work through agents of the god, or something that is not obviously god-like. Maybe along the way to the meeting, they bump into a stranger on the road who wants to talk. That can be the god entreating the character.

What I’m doing in Grunweld is making gods’ will enacted by avatars, slices of their being that aren’t nearly as powerful as you might think, more like ghosts. The gods are invested so widely throughout existence, though, that to defy one is like trying to resist climate change.

If he keeps him up, consider voting him the Hubris trait, as seen here.

In short:

Hubris (+2 Ob to any test involving humility, +1D to any test to fuck with the gods)

Wow, thanks for all the great ideas :slight_smile: I think I’ll go with Luke’s, since it gives the player the greatest freedom of reaction and keeps the mystery: was this a god? was this THE god? is this a trial or an actual request? do I submit? if not, will I suffer for my hubris? (Awesome trait, and actually we’re just coming up to a trait vote. If he ends being continually god-bothered, I’m going to suggest Dreamer).

The character is not looking to contact the god, in fact I don’t think he’s considering that he might be interfering with the gods’ business. This then looks like a confrontation with the god’s representative/s (the Flamen Dialis, his ex-gladiator slave and a Vestal Virgin that is both a collaborator and the character’s secret lover… oops!) and then, depending on the results, some sort of a vision/revelation on the crumbling of the Republic and the role the character can play in it.

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    And just who is this person who can demand face time with a god? That's some pretty heavy shit y'know.

    Anybody in the presence of a god should have to make some kind of Steel test. I mean, it's a god! Thunder! Lightning! Golden showers! All that stuff that's supposed to make you quake with fear.

Golden Showers! ewww … No need to roll steel here, I run screaming. :eek: