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    Canonfire :: View topic - The Prophecy of the Six and the Twelve
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    The Prophecy of the Six and the Twelve
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    CF Admin

    Joined: Jun 29, 2001
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    Fri Nov 25, 2022 9:14 am  
    The Prophecy of the Six and the Twelve

    The PCs in my Greyhawk campaign retrieved a prophecy from an Astral repository for the priesthood of Celestian: https://grodog.blogspot.com/2022/11/the-prophecy-of-the-six-and-the-twelve.html

    I love divinatory magics, prophecies, and omens in my games. How do you incorporate them into your own campaigns?

    Allan.
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    Fri Nov 25, 2022 3:49 pm  
    Re: The Prophecy of the Six and the Twelve

    grodog wrote:
    The PCs in my Greyhawk campaign retrieved a prophecy from an Astral repository for the priesthood of Celestian: https://grodog.blogspot.com/2022/11/the-prophecy-of-the-six-and-the-twelve.html

    I love divinatory magics, prophecies, and omens in my games. How do you incorporate them into your own campaigns?

    Allan.


    In my Silver Wolf stories, I've had both Luna Roas Del Cranden and other clerics cast divinations multiple times. They come out as Nostradamus-like quatrains because the gods want their followers to still exercise free will and discretion instead of just blindly following their commands. Even the gods don't necessarily know the future either, so divinations are usually more about things that either are happening or previously occurred:

    The Crown's power will come to life...
    When borne on a worthy brow...
    Of the champion who faces the crisis...
    And may choose to found a king's line.


    Or...

    The bearers of the scarlet crystals...
    Bring the flames of war and devastation...
    Threatening the underground peace...
    To burn for centuries to come...


    The first diviination describes who might be worthy of wearing the Crown of Arumdina, and the second warns of Lady Babylon's invasion of Flinthold, both of which are described in "The Honor Of The Crown."
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    Fri Nov 25, 2022 6:44 pm  

    Cryptic as possible. I always liked reading the vague Greco-Roman prophecies that mean whatever one wanted them to mean. For instance:

    'Though all else shall be taken, Zeus, the all seeing, grants that the wooden wall only shall not fail.'

    This was provided to the Athenians, and some interpreted it to mean the wooden wall around the acropolis, while Themistocles interpreted it to mean the Athenian Navy, it turned out Themistocles was right in this instance. I also like those that seem absurd, but which can provide a hint as to a possible course of action:

    "Bring me no more reports; let them fly all:
    Till Birnam wood remove to Dunsinane,
    I cannot taint with fear. What's the boy Malcolm?
    Was he not born of woman? The spirits that know
    All mortal consequences have pronounced me thus:
    'Fear not, Macbeth; no man that's born of woman
    Shall e'er have power upon thee.'"
    -- MacBeth Act V Scene iii

    Another cryptic or absurd idea, until MacDuff's army takes branches from the forest to obscure themselves as they march on Dunsinane.

    A good prophecy can kick of a campaign well, but it cannot be too specific, and has to leave room for interpretation... the best prophecies, like riddles, are those that seem so clear in hindsight and almost unintelligible until then.
    GreySage

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    Sat Nov 26, 2022 10:14 am  

    That's quite a prophecy, Grodog! Happy

    tarelton wrote:

    A good prophecy can kick of a campaign well, but it cannot be too specific, and has to leave room for interpretation... the best prophecies, like riddles, are those that seem so clear in hindsight and almost unintelligible until then.


    I agree with this statement, Tarelton.

    I tend to wing divination magic in game-play because it seems to be used so infrequently. I've always wondered about that, since it seems a powerful Diviner would be the most valuable spellcaster a party could have in its ranks.

    I did include quite a bit of fodder for divination magic in Fen of the Five-fold Maw. One of the Adventure Hooks included a prophecy that I translated into Old Scottish. It is more difficult to understand than Old English, but sounds close enough that you can get the gist of what is being said. I then provided a Common (English) translation for any party using comprehend languages/tongues/etc. and a third translation providing a better understanding of the meaning of the lines for parties seeking the advice of a sage or using divination magic like commune/contact higher plane. I also provided background information on many of the opponents and the history of the item at the root of the adventure for players utilizing divination magic to gain more insight into their quest.

    I provided similar background in Agnosco Adventum, but the closest thing to a prophecy I included was a cryptically insulting song sung to the PCs by a bard working for the Scarlet Brotherhood.

    I don't like to force players to rely on any one style of role-playing, but I do like to provide them with the opportunity to succeed at whichever style they prefer.

    SirXaris
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    Sun Nov 27, 2022 12:58 pm  

    CruelSummerLord wrote:

    In my Silver Wolf stories, I've had both Luna Roas Del Cranden and other clerics cast divinations multiple times. They come out as Nostradamus-like quatrains because the gods want their followers to still exercise free will and discretion instead of just blindly following their commands. Even the gods don't necessarily know the future either, so divinations are usually more about things that either are happening or previously occurred:


    Agreed, and I definitely apply limits on dinvinatory guidance since the gods are neither omniscient nor willing to share all details that they may know.

    I also try to couch most divnation results in verse, where approporiate and possible. Augury doesn't generally work well for this, among other spells, however ;)

    tarelton wrote:
    Cryptic as possible. I always liked reading the vague Greco-Roman prophecies [snip]
    A good prophecy can kick of a campaign well, but it cannot be too specific, and has to leave room for interpretation... the best prophecies, like riddles, are those that seem so clear in hindsight and almost unintelligible until then.


    Agreed all-around---prophecies should make sense eventually, and that's most-often in retrospect IME.

    SirXaris wrote:
    That's quite a prophecy, Grodog! Happy


    Thanks Skip! It's poetic form is a sestina, with some additional meter requirements I self-imposed.

    SirXaris wrote:
    I tend to wing divination magic in game-play because it seems to be used so infrequently. I've always wondered about that, since it seems a powerful Diviner would be the most valuable spellcaster a party could have in its ranks.


    That's always been my take on the spells. Divinvations are the most-potent of the utility spells, in my mind, particular once PCs are high enough level to cast commune, legend lore, etc.

    SirXaris wrote:
    I did include quite a bit of fodder for divination magic in Fen of the Five-fold Maw. One of the Adventure Hooks included a prophecy that I translated into Old Scottish. It is more difficult to understand than Old English, but sounds close enough that you can get the gist of what is being said. I then provided a Common (English) translation for any party using comprehend languages/tongues/etc. and a third translation providing a better understanding of the meaning of the lines for parties seeking the advice of a sage or using divination magic like commune/contact higher plane.


    Great idea!

    SirXaris wrote:
    I also provided background information on many of the opponents and the history of the item at the root of the adventure for players utilizing divination magic to gain more insight into their quest.


    This is a nice touch that you don't done much in published adventures. S1 Tomb of Horrors and S4 Lost Caverns of Tsojconth both touch on PC-driven divinations, sage consultation, etc. (and S1 moreso than S4), but they're the only ones that immediately come to mind.

    Allan.
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    Mon Nov 28, 2022 6:25 am  

    When I decided my dwarf PC would establish a stronghold, I obtained divinations from clerics of Moradin, Berronar, Clangeddin, Dumathoin and Abathor (back in 1e days when any priest could cast divination). I wanted to find a location that was blessed by the gods.

    The DM gave me a cryptic rhyme from each that all seemed to be parts of the same poem. They hinted at the location and what I had to do make it a success. Figuring out the location wasnít too hard, but we spent the better part of a year trying to figure out the rest. It was a lot of fun and led to the right kind of adventures at just the right time. Thought the DM handled it wonderfully.

    I donít think we ever figured out all parts of the clues. Moradinís rhyme pointed to a mountain in the Yatils. Berronarís hinted at where I could find followers (all were dwarves enslaved by one nefarious group or another), Clangeddinís hinted at the great battles we would have to fight to secure the mountain, Abathorís warned us of the terrible fate we faced if we followed the clues - he didnít want another good dwarven stronghold but nevertheless gave us good additional clues. I thought Dumathoinís hinted that we would find something unique and special under the mountain if we succeeded at the rest, but I never did figure that out or find anything but good stone for building, good veins of iron and copper and some poor quality gems.

    Tied a bunch of seemingly random (and I suspect generated on the fly) adventures into a mini campaign and made my stronghold (Golden Axe) something I thought was very special.
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