Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tripping on Angler Fish

Olhydra, princess of drowning waters, thinks little of the Ecshal islanders even as they whisper her name in awe and terror. As long as the appropriate sacrifices appear during the appropriate tides and captains ward their ships from her many eyes, she has few reasons to concern herself with anything above the waves.

It's all so clear now
Of course, this isn't what her priests tell their flocks. Islanders can expect seasonal or annual "sacred decrees" from their temples on top of the customary sacrifices. Most of the time, these decrees are not simple power or greed trips. Many are inspired by divinations. Priests of Olhydra commune with their goddess by ritualistically dining on her angler fish spawn. In the days following the rituals, priests stumble around a beach while experiencing psychedelic fugues and visions. The weirdness is possibly a result of being tapping into the goddess's alien desires. If the priests reach a consensus on what an experience means, they form and issue a sacred decree. Most are taken quite seriously.

A few half-baked angler fish trip interpretations with adventure hook potential:

1) Olhydra fears her rival, the invisible prince of thunder and lightning. She desires a listening post on Mount Zolom, the Ecshal Isles' highest peak. Adventurers needed to evict a tribe of bat men and maybe a roc or two.

2) Every man, woman and child in the village of Elgi must take a weekly hike to the top of nearby Spine Hill until the find the boulder that will be the capstone for a new sunken temple. Adventurers must make sure the local jackal men don't kill them all.

3) An idol to an usurper god is to blame for the city of Isbar's birth defect epidemic. According to a vision, it lies in a crystal-walled labyrinth beneath the Defiant Palace itself! Nobody has heard of a single crystal wall in Defiant Palace, let alone a labyrinth.

4) Once again, the rules for sacred trials by combat have changed. They now require the participation of terrestrial jellyfish, considered to be the world's least duplicitous creatures. They are believed to be extinct on all but one of the isles.

5) The mummies left by the isle's previous inhabitants, ignorant of the new goddess, are sending blasphemous dreams to the Olhydra-fearing islanders. A young priest wishes to proselytize to them and convince them to change their ways. The only remaining mummies are tucked away in remote, demon-infested crypts.

6) In the last troll war, a huge black pearl known as the Princess's Gift was lost during the sacking of the Most Sunken Temple. According to a new revelation, the pearl is actually the immortal form of Cerpin Taxt, a brilliant prophet who ate so much angler fish that he walked straight into the ocean and never returned. He must be rescued!

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