ACK! I accidentally started a Demon Hunting Campaign


Advice

Shadow Lodge

So, I’ve been the GM for an amazing group for almost 2 years now. We finished up Dragon’s Demand late last year, and they really hooked onto the extra-planar themes in it (sorry not going to spoil things, so I’ll just leave it at that). Long story short: I originally wanted to tie that story into The Slumbering Tsar Saga, since I’ve had that book sitting on a shelf for a long time. While we were in down time between campaigns the Druid switched characters over to an Investigator because no one had the ability to find traps… and decided to focus on finding Demons and Evil Outsiders.

So, this resulted in the campaign turning into Demonbusters for Hire in Oppara. I’ve since done a bunch of research on Oppara, and surrounding towns, and they keep finding everything I’m not prepping (they told me they wanted political intrigue so I made a sub-plot about that with a whole confrontation related to the “rebel lords” on the outskirts and a Phallanx [I adopted it from a Season 0 PF Scenario], they told me they wanted to dungeon crawl so I prepared a subterranean dungeon crawl. I’ve poured hints and clues about these things all over the game… yet they intentionally go after the demon story line I haven’t prepared). So I’m about ready to embrace the demon story line.

I’m looking for help with tips on story line ideas, and demons that will fit my story needs. So far the party has picked up the Secrets of the Dreaming Dark. They have found out that all traces of the god Orcus have been erased from history. They have uncovered a hive of Viduus Psychopomps, which the PCs know have probably been sent to remove the memories from certain people. I feel like I have the start of a great story line wherein Orcus comes back to rise in power, and I can take elements of Rappan Athuk or Slumbering Tsar piece-meal out of those books to use to save on prep time… but I’m honestly drawing a little bit of a blank on how to connect these threads together, have a good reason that they’re happening (since the reasoning that I had has since become moot), and how to unravel these secrets in layers.

I also am not sure much about demons! I’m looking for spidery, memory altering, or other things that would work well for this setting. What are some reasons that Demons/Planar creatures would want to cross over for? Why would Orcus want to erase memories? Who would try to enforce this? What would a good mid-boss be who’s been put in charge of this memory wipe? I think that this will also involve politics, what sort of political advantages could someone get to be involved in this (possibly use it to tie into the removal of rogue lords)?

As a new-ish GM to running mid/high level adventures (haven't done it since the early 2000's with D&D 3.0), and I’m doing an OK job of balancing encounters for a group of 4 level seven PCs, but the encounters are all very straight-forward. I am hoping to snag some good dungeons/encounters/sub-plots that I can take and re-purpose easily (i.e. I’m already using the level 7 Thornkeep dungeon, and I’ve used that one PFS Scenario) that are either from other Modules, Adventure Paths, or PFS Scenarios that I would have to only make minor (superficial) modifications to drop wholly into my campaign. Also, anything that can easily be taken from Rappan Athuk or Slumbering Tsar.

Thank you so much for anything that you can come up with. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed with the amount of stuff that I need to prepare for this as I allowed the cam

TLDR: I need help with demon-y planar creature recommendations that are either spidery, or memory altering related. Also, tips on story lines that involve rewriting massive amounts of history by demons. And finally a list of pre-written demon based modules/adventures/dungeons for level 7+ that I can piece out and drop into my campaign.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The Daemons, such as the Erodaemon have memory modification. And they are all about souls. Perhaps a friendly competition between demons and daemons...spilling over into the Material Plane.

Oh FYI Wrath of the Righteous is an entire AP with demon elements. First book deals a lot with army mass combat but youncan skip those and just use the extra individual encounters as source material.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My first reaction is wow! All of your ideas sound really cool so keep up the good work, you're doing fine.

For demons in the Golorion setting the Worldwound area is infested with them. The corresponding Adventure Path is called Wrath of the Righteous. There is a high level module called The Moonscar that deals with demons/succubi living on the moon.

Why spidery and Orcus? A curiosity question as he is usually linked with the undead.

The classic manipulative demons are the succubus, glabrezu and shadow demons. Shadow might be best for you as their main power is possession and that could lead to memory manipulation pretty easily.

As for Orcus removing himself from history, I have no idea but it reminds me of The Usual Suspects and the line 'The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.'


If you want to run Rappan Athuk or Slumbering Tsar check out the old NG yuku forums for ideas and supplemental material.

Also check out Foreshadowing Tsar and Where to place Rappan Athuk? and where to place RA part 2.

There's a 11th level 3.5 Paizo module called The Demon Within which you can probably play at level 9-10 with PF PCs

Here's a thread about plots involving demon lords. Make sure to read TimD's post there...

Shadow Lodge

For everyone who stated Wrath of the Righteous, thanks! I have that whole AP. I'm worried about my PCs not being mythic... will that be a problem? Also, what are some good things to do around level 7/8 in there that aren't specifically Worldwound related?

Seannoss wrote:

My first reaction is wow! All of your ideas sound really cool so keep up the good work, you're doing fine.

[...]
Why spidery and Orcus? A curiosity question as he is usually linked with the undead.
[...]
As for Orcus removing himself from history, I have no idea but it reminds me of The Usual Suspects and the line 'The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.'

Thanks! I'm usually pretty good whipping stuff up on the fly, but I feel like I kinda got myself to the point that I'll either need to do a ton of research (sort of doing), make stuff up that isn't canon (don't want to do), or ask for help (doing here!).

So, the spidery is unrelated to Orcus. I kind of sent off the PC's to a barn where a bunch of people were cocooned to the walls/ceilings (think Aliens)... so I need to figure out where that came from and I'll probably make them a reoccurring enemy/theme.

And, that last bit about the Devil is PERFECT! That's the kind of crazy crap a fanatic would shout at them :D

Thanael wrote:

[Stuff about RA and STS]

There's a 11th level 3.5 Paizo module called The Demon Within which you can probably play at level 9-10 with PF PCs

Here's a thread about plots involving demon lords. Make sure to read TimD's post there...

Thanks! I've read most of these threads. I appreciate that Demon Within module! That will come in handy if this is still happening in a few levels. Also, I'm totally going to check out that thread about Demon Lords!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

well if you believe orcus is not working alone:

Mazmezz the creeping queen is another demon lord you can look into. She is into binding, spiders and all that good stuff. Her agents are mostly driders, ettercaps, and bebiliths of course. You can give the driders, ettercaps etc...fiendish template or half-fiend template to make more demon like if you would like.

edit: sidenote Deathweb could be used by Orcus since he is all about necromancy last I checked.

Scarab Sages

For just more general adventure ideas related to your plot: tracking down a grimoire or demonomicon that contains the true names of several powerful demons would be one place to hang an adventure hook. Maybe the PCs need to know the true names in order to stop plots by the various demonic entities, and each name in the book requires them to complete some task, quest, or ritual to summon or bind or destroy the entity in question. They need to work through the book because with each name they gain a piece of a puzzle that will allow them to stop an even greater threat.


You might consider adapting various denizens of the Dark Tapestry into demons for your game. Your take on demons sounds very Lovecraftian.

(real lovecraftian, not tentacle-monster lovecraftian)

personally, I find Phrenic Scourges terrifying in concept.

Grand Lodge

ShaperMC wrote:


So, the spidery is unrelated to Orcus. I kind of sent off the PC's to a barn where a bunch of people were cocooned to the walls/ceilings (think Aliens)... so I need to figure out where that came from and I'll probably make them a reoccurring enemy/theme.

While they are not spiders, there are the Akata which coccoon themselves to last centuries, and infect those they bite with "Void Worms." I could even see them cocooning Void Death victims for later "use."

As another side quest Idea, I would actually adapts some lovecraftian type things. Akatas (I think, or at least for me) do say lovecraft. Adding in some evil cults hiding under Oppara devoted to Demon Lords, Outer/Elder Gods and some other evil demi gods. Zyphus is a favorite, especially for random "events" in town, like a piano falling on the party.


Memories, and a demon lord commonly associated with the undead huh...

How about this: Orcus is having a war with a lich that was created with unusual methods, and he used some of orcus' essence in order to accomplish this.

Rather than a proper phylactery, this lich has bound his soul into the memories of all that know of him on the mortal plane. Because of the efforts to erase him, his power can only manifest at limited times and ranges, so he is struggling to seed his memory without attracting too much attention (which would cause another purge).

This can allow you to have multiple groups interested in eliminating this lich. Orcus sees it as a power struggle with a former servant that tried to steal a fraction of his power. The psychopomps are working for Pharasma, who generally wants every undead eliminated (and the fact that it is an undead creature stealing power from demon lords makes it a priority).

And since you are dealing with memories (and partially dreams), you are also dealing with creatures that come from Leng, which borders the Dimension of Dreams- that gives you all the excuse you need for all sorts of twisted and alien monsters such as spiders. Either the Leng creatures serve this Lich, or they are contracted by Orcus (or any other party) in order to weed out the seeds of memory of this Lich. So feel free to Lovecraft it up my good sir, using any number of spider legs and tentacles that you desire. .

This also has a TON of plot hooks. Does the party help to wipe out the lich? Do they risk helping a demon lord regain his power? Since they learned of all this, are they targets now? Is the Lich going to use them as tools for his plans? Who can they go to for help when telling people about the problem makes it bigger and draws attention from the wrong people?

And you can have the party walk into a fight between a variety of creatures with different aesthetics: Classic undead, horned and winged demons, Gothic psychopomps, alien denizens of leng, and much much more! And they are all having a battle royal for their respective sides...and the party is caught in the crossfire.


Speaking of demons and spiders, have you looked at a Retriever? It's a nice little demon spider.

If you feel like re-skinning things, Apostate Devils are super cool. They are a little high level for your party now but might make a good end villain... or with their abilities to infiltrate, the ultimate betrayal.

I think it goes without saying Succubi are a classic.


How about this for your lich?


Oh, and to add to the lich thing I suggested- have an object or body part that can act as arc words when the party starts seeing people who can just BARELY remember anything about the situation (you know, the kind of thing that would be the only word a mad man scrawls on the walls after his mind has been emptied)

Perhaps a hand, or an eye. Something visually striking

The general idea here is that the theft of Orcus' power involved the theft of one of Orcus' parts (this can be figurative, literal, or so figurative that it makes it literal). The lich uses the part as the locus for his memory phylactery- the fact that the flesh of a demon lord (particularly a part that has just been crudely grafted into rotten mortal flesh) is visually striking helps him cement his memory.

With the suggested plot line where Orcus is trying to rise to power, reclaiming his lost part seems like an obvious first step. Maybe he is not rising, but reclaiming the lands that were once under his rule.

EDIT- oh, and don't forget the fact that you can throw in the servants of thanatotic titans as well- there is a civil war in Orcus' realm between different groups of these creatures, where some support and some oppose him. They are well known for creating the demodand- a type of fiendish outsider that is a mockery of the creations of the gods. So you can always add the aborted creations of divine power to the list of nasties that you can throw at the players. It also provides another side in the battle royal- I can easily see a titan trying to cut a deal with such a power lich in order to use it against Orcus. (hell, they might love controlling undead in general since it robs the gods of souls)

Dark Archive

Isn't Dragon's Demand more

:
lovecraftian
than demonic? You could just use
:
lovecraftian
stuff and have demons as red herring and then have weird alien things happen all over the place. Or wait for occult adventures, it sounds like it might have fun stuff for mysterious creepy campaigns.

Shadow Lodge

Wolfsnap wrote:
For just more general adventure ideas related to your plot: tracking down a grimoire or demonomicon that contains the true names of several powerful demons would be one place to hang an adventure hook. Maybe the PCs need to know the true names in order to stop plots by the various demonic entities, and each name in the book requires them to complete some task, quest, or ritual to summon or bind or destroy the entity in question. They need to work through the book because with each name they gain a piece of a puzzle that will allow them to stop an even greater threat.

Awesome idea! This will totally be something that I'll probably work into things in some way.

Doomed Hero wrote:

You might consider adapting various denizens of the Dark Tapestry into demons for your game. Your take on demons sounds very Lovecraftian.

(real lovecraftian, not tentacle-monster lovecraftian)

personally, I find Phrenic Scourges terrifying in concept.

Wow, the Phrenic Scourges sounds great! I'm probably going to have a little bit of both things happening honestly. I think there may be two factions happening: demon and Lovecraft, and they will probably be at opposition with each other. This is the perfect kind of mid-boss!

CorvusMask wrote:
Isn't Dragon's Demand more ** spoiler omitted ** than demonic?

It is! However my group decided that that meant Demonic... so they're going after demons! (yeah, I know, but I like to run sandbox style as much as possible.)

lemeres wrote:
Memories, and a demon lord commonly associated with the undead huh...

Lemeres! A lot of amazing stuff. I think I'm going to have a couple things going on here and tie a lot of items together that have been pointed out, but I think that your Lich ideas are perfect.

What I'll probably do is have a high level politician who is in cahoots with a lich (one that has a phylactery that is strengthened in some way by taking power from Orcus, possibly built out of a part of Orcus). I will probably build out a custom one that starts out weak, is killed and drops a hint (maybe a Grimoire about stealing names) then comes back stronger after the phylactery rebuilds him.

In the meantime Pharasma is trying to remove Orcus from history/memory so that he loses strength. So these little encounters are basically foreshadowing. If the PCs interfere too much with her plans she'll (somehow? is it too much to have a god literally speak to them?) come let them know what she's doing. Or perhaps I let them release Orcus's name/memories and then Pharasma tells them how they've messed this all up.

The politician can be hiring people to clear out Pharasma's minions, and the party can be an unwitting assistant to this...

I feel like this could be a little more interesting. I have a few other sub-plot missions that I can tie little pieces of this story into it all. I don't want things to become too complicated too fast, and I don't want to reveal too much of this plot too early. I'm hoping that them going after the Lich (whether they know they are or not) will take them from levels 7 - 10/11-ish


So, the lich itself is going to be Orcus' phylactery for this 'being written out of existence' thing?

That can be interesting, having an actual creature as a phylactery...particularly since the original set up where he used part of Orcus' power in the first place might have been on...less than agreeable terms. A phylactery that has, in the past, stabbed you in the back adn stolen your wallet.

If that is the case...then while both the lich and Orcus can agree on the fact that the lich needs to stay around...the lich might enjoy what is happening to Orcus. As the demon lord's abyssal power is bleeding out of his very being, the lich could be slowly lapping up some of the remainders.

And whatever reality warping things Pharasma is doing to write a demon lord out of existence might give the lich all sorts of news tools and powers by association. Thematically, using some form of oracle might be interesting, since they are already used to having the fractured forces of reality STUFFED into their head.

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