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Adeptus-B

Nature Daemon...?

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I'm in the early stages of developing a DH scenario that I can 'drop in' to fill a gap in my campaign. I've hit a bit of a wall, and I'm hoping that someone out there can suggest a solution:

 

Basically, a daemonic entity has been bound to a planet at some point in the distant past, charged with 'terraforming' the world in anticipation of future settlement by the daemon's masters (not sure if I'll go with the Yu'Vath or something older...). At some point in the past, the Eldar (before they turned their back on 'Dread Calix' entirely) discovered this entity, plugging away at making the planet fertile. Considering this an abomination, the Eldar trapped the daemon in a psychically charged prison, capped with a stone obelisk.

 

Thousands of years later, the Imperium has discovered the planet and converted it into an Agriworld. With steadily increasing tithe-rates, the farmers working on the world have been forced to clear increasing amounts of land for agriculture. One of these farmers attached his tractor to a big stone with what looks like some kind of carved symbols (the eroded remains of the Eldar obelisk) and... Well, if you've ever seen a horror movie before, you know where I'm going with this (-and bonus points if you figured out that this scenario is inspired by the Clive Barker short story Rawhead Rex).

 

When unleashed, the daemon, which has forgotten its origins and come to believe that it is an actual nature deity (a daemon forgetting who/what it is is a plot device taken from the Black Library Daemonhunter novel Dark Adeptus), kills the local farmers who won't worship him, leaving only their children (yes, as in -Of The Corn!) working in the fields and naively revering the entity they call The Reaper Man ("He makes things grow up... and them he cuts them all down..."). And the daemon's influence is slowly spreading beyond the initial community where he was unleashed...

 

I'm kind of basing the daemon's abilities on the Alan Moore-era Swamp Thing; it can grow new bodies from live plants; 'teleport' between plants; form multiple bodies (we use minis in my campaign, and I just picked up a box of plastic Warhammer Dryads); even create a giant body if needed (I have an old Fenbeast figure from the Warhammer summer campaign 'Dark Shadows', from back when GW held special worldwide campaign events every summer...).

 

I want to make it clear that physical force won't win the day- otherwise, the Eldar would have simply killed the daemon and been done with it. The issue I'm having is, how can the PCs overcome something like this? The only thing I'm coming up with is the cliche'd 'It's vulnerable to this magic rock (or whatever)!" I guess I can go with that (it's how Rawhead Rex ends, after all), but I'm hoping to use something more clever than that- ideally something that operates within the existing DH rules, if possible.

 

Any suggestions...?

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The obvious solution to me would be to have to trap it back in its ready made prison.  An interesting part here could be what the players have to use to lure it back in...

 

Another option is if they can lure it to a more built up area where it becomes weaker due to the lack of 'nature'.  Then it becomes killable/banishable.

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I might change his ability to create additional bodies into one where the daemon can deposit seed pods in fertile soil in which his (obviously disgusting tentacle-branch wielding) offspring can grow to wreak havoc, invested with some of the daemon's warp-power.  He uses the offspring to terrorize the surrounding settlements into obedience and to spread his influence in the form of crazy plant growth or a disgusting mold or whatever you want as a recurring theme of his corruption.

This offspring is not as subtle as he is and this is what attracts the attention of the authorities/acolytes.  When they investigate, they are confronted by the 'seedling' and must fight it.  When they kill it, they can see a blast of green energy leaving its corpse to a point further away (psykers can see the energy beam, psyniscience helps pinpoint the location).  The Eldar stone still functions partly and absorbs the corrupted energy of the plant daemon that leaves the corpse of his offspring.

The Acolytes mission (should they accept it) is to hunt and kill all the seedlings, returning the energy to the stone and repowering it.  They will need to find out what the stone does: Forbidden Lore Xenos would be handy or they can find some old writings in an abandoned Mechanicum R&D facility.  This would also be the ideal place to find anti-plant grenades (I remember those from 40k where they could destroy plantbased scenery).

When enough/all seedlings are killed, the stone will reactivate and the daemon needs to be driven back to it.  Will the Acolytes kill its child-worshippers who come to his aid?  Will they use the grenades or rather push it back with concentrated fire power?  Maybe they can rig and drive a large agri vehicle at it to move it to the stone.

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BrotherKane and Exeviolthor's suggestions both sound great to me. :)

 

To expend on the first one, I can think of a long adventure in which the PC have to :

1) Discover what's going on.

2) Undestand that they can't kill it.

3) Find a way to beat it (i.e. how to trap it back), which leads them to :

a) Retrieve the old and (apparently) forgotten ritual used by the Eldars.

b) Retrieve the stone, probably cast aside by the farmer or hidden by the deamon's worshippers...

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Is it still possible to recover the original Eldar ritual. Is there any acolyte with the skill to decipher and enact it? I'm thinking Evil Dead 2 here, so

-Awakened entity inimical to Man.

-Possibly a Eldar World Spirit.

-It can posess people.

-It will ignore imature persons (children) as it can warp them to it's purpose.

-It is banishable by the same ritual used to awaken it.

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Driving the Agri-Daemon back to the site of its imprisonment might be accomplished with a ring of fire fueled with blessed prometheum. The Acolytes will need to recruit from the local populace to essentially set a massive wildfire. The Acolytes may have to split themselves between various weak points about the ring of fire, fending off the child converts of the Daemon. The Daemon is then given a choice: perish by cleansing flame, or seek shelter within its former prison. The Acolytes may then need to interact with the Daemon, convincing it that imprisonment is better than destruction, and this could result in an interaction that is later viewed as radical or corrupting.

 

The potential aftermath of this scenario intrigues me.

The planet is of obvious value to the Imperium due to its agrarian bounty, so it can't simply be written off through Exterminatus. The population on the other hand... They need to be quited. The Acolytes, once heralded by the local populace as their saviors, are now (partially) responsible for rounding the population for quarantine...or a fate far more final. Records of the event are highly suppressed, and in time few even remember the original cause of the event. Meanwhile, this act of "betrayal" at the hands of their saviors weakens the faithful resolve of the population, which in turn weakens the spiritual bindings of the Agri-Daemon's prison, resulting in its eventual escape in a few hundred years...

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The potential aftermath of this scenario intrigues me...

 

Yeah, my players aren't real big on 'moral dilemmas', typically going with the "Kill 'em all and let the Emperor sort 'em out" school of conflict resolution. It will be interesting to see if the misguided innocents tug at their black hearts...

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You could make it a real no-win scenario by having the daemon slowly corrupting soil and crops over centuries so that the daemon's rot would ever so slowly be spread to the entire population and beyond without people even knowing it. Enter the acolytes. They encounter the rot somewhere, anywhere, and will have to track down its origins while slowly realizing the sheer magnitude of the problem. If it's been going on for long enough that rot will have spread across ships, worlds, regiments, etc. without anyone noticing it.

Edited by Primateus

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Salt the Earth

 

its an ancient ritual made famous and used by Romans. Even the Bible threatens wayward worshipers with having their cities razed and salted. Apparently a very very old ritual as far as humanity is concerned. And what is 40k without old ritual?

 

What I imagine is not your PCs out there in the fields with table shakers, but rather razing the entire area around the demons' prison and plouging the earth and spreading salt and sulfer in the soil. Perhaps, they need not do this imediately, perhaps they can contain the demon in the prision and seal the deal with a IG regiment showing up with engineering vehicles to raze a huge area, like kilometers around the prison.

 

I like BrotherKane's sugestion that the Demon be lured back into it's prison by something. As a twisted GM, I would look into something sickening. Lots of old nature dieties demanded sacrifices, even up to and including human. Perhaps one way to lure the demon back to the prison is offer up something it cannot resist. They particularly like virgins :P Personally I like forcing my players into situations where there is an easy way out that comes with Insanity/Corruption, or a far more dificult way that may not cost them their souls.

 

I'd do some research into nature dieties and see what they liked as sacrifices.

If you want disturbing look towards the east, like Ukraine or Russia.

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So, it looks like I'm going to be starting this scenario this weekend, and I wanted to give this thread one last stir to see if there are any more suggestions, before I blunder forward with what I have...?

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 An idea:

 

The only way to banish the Reaper Man, who has taken on the portfolio of the cyclic of life, is to prevent him from being killed in  a warp ritual. As he beleives he is a nature deity of life and death, preventing him from completing his own cycle 'dying' each dusk and being reborn each dawn will effectively banish him.

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I'd say physical force (which usually makes up 95% of a team's immediate means to deal with a problem) should always be an option - but in this case not an eligible solution to truly end the threat, just to buy them more time. In this sense, I'd argue that plants might be vulnerable to fire and chemicals ... and anti-plant grenades of course. Perhaps you could play it like a zombie apocalypse scenario, just with flowers? Have things start innocent, yet end with the Acolytes being on the run from omnipresent flora violently reacting to the presence of human interlopers a la The Happening as a wicked form of nature's self-defense.

 


 

Have them burn down flowers out of fear they'd spray them with toxic/corrupting pollen. Have them organise (or piggyback on) local law enforcement and PDF units as impromptu purification squads waging a war on nature itself that feels like a lose-lose situation. Lastly, throw full-scale mutations at them.

 

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If your (Nurgle? it seems so "natural", pun not intended) demon can jump between plants, it'd have a means of surviving all these physical attacks, meaning all the players would do would delay its plans. The solution to end the demon threat might be a good old-fashioned exorcism where the entity gets lured into a banishing circle from which it cannot escape. If none of your players is a Cleric, a local NPC could serve as a pivotal plot device the players need to protect - or even find first. After that, all that's left is to spring the trap at just the right moment.

 

You can also include the possibility for mission failure. The fallback plan? Planetary bombardment. Glass everything. Needless to say, the players should hopefully be motivated by the prospect to save a couple million lives - or be indirectly responsible for their deaths. Not to mention the economical effects the loss of an Agri-colony would have on surrounding Imperial worlds.

 

Just some basic ideas on the theme, mind you!

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The only thing that I can think of is how this nature demon would have affected the food, and how rations suddenly have a rather important role. One thing are to fight against a demon to save a world, another thing is convincing most of the people on said world that no they can´t eat their food and should starve, unless they have something preserved laying around, something that properly would be half unlikely, or not the solution at least.

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