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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    ClericGuy

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    Default Is it just me or...

    whenever some mysterous cult tries to ressurect some powerful being from the dead or summon a powerful evil god or demon/devil that the heroes who do not want this to gappen Must show up right before the entity in question is summoned. as far as i can tell, it happens that way in most books and movies.


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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Is it just me or...

    The last second nature of it is for drama. No one wants to read a story where the heroes stop the ceremony a week before it starts by simply burning the cults magic book. Also, heroes win, it is what they do unless the book or movie is the first in a series where the bad guys win and the remaining are setting up how the heroes live in a world ruled by evil.
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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Is it just me or...

    I just think it has to be some part of the final summoning ritual, the last piece of the puzzle. It would be really funny if the best way to prevent it from happening is to get smashed at the tavern.


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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Is it just me or...

    Stories need some type of tension to be entertaining. Or maybe it shows us that heroes are all huge procrastinators.
    "How many artifacts do they need to complete the ritual? seven? How many do they have now? Only two?. Pshaaw, we've got at least a few weeks before we even need to worry about it. Let's waste some time and go break up a completely unrelated small-time criminal organization."

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Is it just me or...

    Of course, that's the trope. There's nothing wrong with cliches, when they make for a good game.

    If the party embarks on a program of cunning investigation followed up with a series of ruthless assassinations, I'd go with that too. But there's still gonna to be some kind of finale, maybe the High Priest ends up with a bunch of bottom-feeding incompetents to help with the ritual...I might do it that way and play their pathetic attempts to summon the Demon King for laughs. But the High Priest is still going to be tough.
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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Is it just me or...

    I was just thinking of something like this for a game. after the party discovers the plot to resurrect accerak as a demigod, they discover that part of the ritual is that they have to actually be there for it to happen, but it comes from an unreliable source. this way i get to use him either way but they are faced with an amusing dilemma.


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    BlueWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Is it just me or...

    If I ever actually utilized such an involved plot as that in my games, I would probably give an actual time limit. It happens that way in novels for dramatic tension, of course (though if you've played Rondo of Swords, you'd know that being ruthless and solving your problems ahead of time can make a danged good story too) but in an actual game, the way I'd do it is that if they follow my plot and do things the Good way, they'll get there in the nick of time, but if they cleverly sidestep parts and are willing to be Evil or extremely pragmatically Neutral they can get the job done before beating the clock becomes a concern, though it's still not easy. I like providing short-term benefits for Evil and long-term, more subtle benefits for Good in my campaigns, so I think that's fitting.
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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Is it just me or...

    I think it's even more fun when the heroes are too late and the monster is summoned successfully

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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Is it just me or...

    No, thats the beauty of the situation, the ritual only completes WHEN the party shows up to "save the day" even though they possibly have cause the event to where the world needs saving.


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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Is it just me or...

    You might want to read The Dunwich Horror. It has an interesting variation on the idea.

    I recall hearing about some other stories where the monster is already summoned (and had some time to do nasty things to people), and the heroes need to take it down before it does too much more harm. It's not like the monster needs to be invincible, and even if it is, the heroes can throw it back into jail if they have the proper magic mojo.

    Lord of the Rings had proactive heroes. Gandalf didn't wait around for Sauron and Saruman to achieve their full strength: he sent to have the One Ring destroyed the moment he realized what it was.
    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Tippy View Post
    By level 20 though, you aren't capturing a wizard. A character lives to level 20 by being the most ruthless, lucky, capable, and paranoid bastard around. A wizard is throwing around a 30+ Int score and has, entirely in character, planned contingencies for his contingencies. He may well be running around with flat out total immunity to harm, he does not walk outside without an entire bevy of defensive magics around him and enough magic items to buy himself a nation.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Pixie in the Playground
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    I remember one Warhammer adventure where the party was exploring a castle of the local warped nobles - the lady of the house was a necromancer, experimenting on making her own version of the frankenstein monster. As the storm above the castle reached its climax and the party approached the door to the lab, one of the players said:

    "You know, I think we could sit down at this spot and have a rest for a couple of hours... but the moment we open this door all hell will break loose."

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    Default Re: Is it just me or...

    I've seen plenty of variations of this, in different types of media.

    • In a lot of modern children's stories, the heroes get there with plenty of time to spare and just take the Big Thing of Doom away, so that the monster isn't summoned.
    • In most thieves stories, the hero sneaks in and switches the artifact with a fake between hours to minutes before the ritual. The summoning fails, generally fatally for the cultists involved.
    • In your general action film, where the heroes can't fight the summoned creature - or if it's some other effect they can't reverse - they stop the ritual just in the nick of time.
    • In your general action film, where the heroes can fight the creature, it gets summoned and wipes out the cultists right before the heroes finish it off.
    • In your general anime action story, the heroes can't fight the summoned creature but pull through and beat in anyways through the power of determination.
    • In a tragedy, the heroes defeat the cultists but are too late. The ritual has completed, with many dead.
    • In a horror movie, the summoning was completed last week and the creature has been slowly picking off the heroes. It's only when they get to the final chamber that they realize the cultists were all killed once the summoning was completed, and they are the next victims.
    • In Lovecraftian horror, it turns out the summoning was completed years ago and the main character is the creature summoned. The obstacles overcome were the heroes trying to stop them, but now that they have returned, their memory is restored and the end of the world has begun.
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  13. - Top - End - #13
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Is it just me or...

    The common thing is that the monster is summoned/unsealed, but hasn't yet reached full power - so the heroes have one shot at killing it before it becomes invincible.

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    I remember one module where you collect the ritual items the villain needs to unseal a portal which...really shouldn't be unsealed (including for the villain's own benefit and continued survival, but you can't convince him of that). The trick is that you can't destroy them, and the only way to permanently prevent the villain's ritual is to throw them through the portal, at which point the ritual will become impossible to ever perform, rather like unlocking a vault which has its only key locked inside it. So you have two options: You can dodge his assassins for the rest of your lives, or you can bring the items he needs to exactly where you know he knows you know he knows you know he knows you're going to bring them, which (he knows you know etc.) also happens to be exactly where he needs them to be.
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    "You are what you do. Choose again, and change." --Miles Vorkosigan

    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Is it just me or...

    When I ran this type of scenario in a game a few years ago, I played the villains smart. Their lair was well hidden, and they staged an assassination attempt at the same time as their summoning ritual. The PCs managed to stop the assassination, but they then had to fight the demon in the streets of the city. If they had followed different clues during the adventure, they could have wound up doing the opposite: stopping the cultists but not being there to protect the city's ruler.
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    Remember, Evil isn't "selfish". It's Evil. "Look out for number one" is a Neutral attitude. Evil looks out for number one while crushing number two.

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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Is it just me or...

    In Galaxy Quest, the timer always had to stop at one second. This is just another version of the same thing.

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    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Is it just me or...

    hey OP, go read Watchmen

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    Mmm. Playing a villain who's read the Overlord List can be fun for the DM, but not so much fun for the players. Ozymandias definitely read the list, but think how disappointing it would be for the players to give it their all and arrive at the villain's lair, only to find out that he's already cast his Epic Spell of Ultimate Doom and there is exactly jack diddly the party can do about it; the damage has been done.

    Watchmen was a beautiful bit of storytelling and deconstruction of the superhero genre; it would not make for a very fun campaign.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loxagn View Post
    Ozymandias definitely read the list, but think how disappointing it would be for the players to give it their all and arrive at the villain's lair, only to find out that he's already cast his Epic Spell of Ultimate Doom and there is exactly jack diddly the party can do about it; the damage has been done.
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    I think it's worth mentioning that Rorschach's in-character reaction was essentially rage-quitting the campaign because of excessive railroading.
    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Tippy View Post
    By level 20 though, you aren't capturing a wizard. A character lives to level 20 by being the most ruthless, lucky, capable, and paranoid bastard around. A wizard is throwing around a 30+ Int score and has, entirely in character, planned contingencies for his contingencies. He may well be running around with flat out total immunity to harm, he does not walk outside without an entire bevy of defensive magics around him and enough magic items to buy himself a nation.

  20. - Top - End - #20
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    Loxagn's Avatar

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    Heh. You know, that's a very good point. I hadn't thought of it that way, and it's a perfectly acceptable reaction to something like that.
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    DigoDragon's Avatar

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    Default Re: Is it just me or...

    I played out one variation where the PCs arrive just as the cult summons the Great Evil Thing From Another Dimension (tm?). Turns out the evil wasn't as immortal as the legends stated, so what the cult got was a mummified dead body. But since the cult was very good at creating undead on the fly...

    Another variation I used was when the cult summons the evil, but turns out they've been punk'd and instead of evil, what shows up is a powerful avatar of a very lawful deity. The cult gets slaughtered quite efficiently. The Heroes are pretty happy about that... until the avatar declares the PCs all heretics against his faith and comes after them!
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    ClericGuy

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    reading the wheel of time series by robert jordan atm


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    BarbarianGuy

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    Nothing prevents you from playing the trope differently. Of the top of my head - you could make one of the party members to be crucial to the ritual completion as would be foretold by some odd prophecy. It could be a man of noble descent who, in his folly, slays someone in order to stop the ritual while unwittingly providing the last component needed. "The blood of <insert_bbeg's_name> spilled by one of noble heart." ...or somesuch.
    Last edited by Tarqiup Inua; 2014-04-18 at 10:06 AM.

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    SiuiS's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by iceman10058 View Post
    whenever some mysterous cult tries to ressurect some powerful being from the dead or summon a powerful evil god or demon/devil that the heroes who do not want this to gappen Must show up right before the entity in question is summoned. as far as i can tell, it happens that way in most books and movies.
    Unspeakable evils get summoned all the time, actually. They're just not as bad as the hype all says. Heroes show up, smash a cult at the last minute? You hear about it. Heroes show up, murder a Bunch of guys in robes and don't know about the plot? No one cares. Heroes don't show up, demon arrives and kills all the expectant cultists and then goes about it's business.

    Haven't you noticed that as D&D goes, it gets more and more complicated with greyer and greyer moralityB the more demonic forces get summoned, the more "no, it's not okay to always kill orcs. Oh, but sometimes killing a baby is okay if it saves a hundred hypothetical babies".

    It's a slow work, poisoning the worldsoul. The end result is to bring the energetic resonance of the mortal plane down enough that the demons can sit and play poker in peace.
    "Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it's cowardice."

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    Kish's Avatar

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    Default Re: Is it just me or...

    Multiquote still works, you know.
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    "You are what you do. Choose again, and change." --Miles Vorkosigan

    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    This, in a nutshell.
    Yes, exactly.

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by SiuiS View Post
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    Unspeakable evils get summoned all the time, actually. They're just not as bad as the hype all says. Heroes show up, smash a cult at the last minute? You hear about it. Heroes show up, murder a Bunch of guys in robes and don't know about the plot? No one cares. Heroes don't show up, demon arrives and kills all the expectant cultists and then goes about it's business.

    Haven't you noticed that as D&D goes, it gets more and more complicated with greyer and greyer moralityB the more demonic forces get summoned, the more "no, it's not okay to always kill orcs. Oh, but sometimes killing a baby is okay if it saves a hundred hypothetical babies".

    It's a slow work, poisoning the worldsoul. The end result is to bring the energetic resonance of the mortal plane down enough that the demons can sit and play poker in peace.
    Would you be at all confused or disturbed if I told you that this little blurb actually gave me a whole setting/campaign idea?

    @OP: I personally give my players actual timers for stopping these things (though they usually aren't aware of the amount of time they have left) and tend to subvert as many tropes as I can in my games, this one included. That said, there's a certain cinematic appeal to this particular stereotype. What other time to show up creates more excitement than five minutes before the unstoppable insta-gibber of cosmic pawarz is unleashed?
    All that matters is victory. Effort, morality, skill? These things are important as a means to an end, but whoever wins, wins. It's that simple.

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    Jade Dragon's Avatar

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    Alright, why is Gamer Humor a prefix on this?

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    ClericGuy

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    because literary cliche's are funny to people.


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    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Is it just me or...

    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    I've seen plenty of variations of this, in different types of media.

    • In your general action film, where the heroes can fight the creature, it gets summoned and wipes out the cultists right before the heroes finish it off.
    This is exactly how the last Pathfinder game I played in ended. The only twist is that my cohort was the one to land the killing blow.

    When done right (in either books, movies, or games) it is a lot of fun. When done badly it ruins the whole experience.
    A lot of doing it right is to make it feel natural, but all to many times it is done so ham-handedly, something else that Galaxy Quest spoofs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    Multiquote still works, you know.
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    Would you be at all confused or disturbed if I told you that this little blurb actually gave me a whole setting/campaign idea?
    Not at all! Be sure to get back to us on how well it works!
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