Death in Wretched Swamp:
The Rest of the Story
(No spoilers! Will not affect actual play.)
(c) 2015 J. Franklin Mentzer, All Rights Reserved
The Original adventure of Wretched Swamp was a creation for my own home game and campaign, as are many. Much has been added since then, of course, once the objective (an intensely lethal sandbox) took form.
Of the original players, only one (Mark Greenberg) became an investor in Eldritch, and it was his Ranger/Cleric who went face-to-face with the flying male dragon. After he was turned into a blob of goo (below negative-50 Health), many powerful spells were needed to effect his return. The reconstruction was so successful that he actually gained Charisma in the process.
Brief Cast of Characters
Cronus: Greater Titan, Son of Gaia (Earth) and Uranus (Sky), father of Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Demeter, and Chiron. Overthrew Uranus to rule, was later overthrown by Zeus.
Iapetus: Brother of Cronus, father of (Lesser) Titans Atlas, Prometheus, Epimetheus, and Menoetius.
Zeus: The current Supreme Being
Hades: Brother of Zeus, Lord of the Underworld
Menoetius (Menoitios): Lesser Titan, son of Iapetus
Nae-Zhi: God of all Dragons, Snakes, et al.; from Sanskrit Nāji / Nāgi (female), Nāja / Nāga (male)
The scope is multiversal, and the mythos is Greek.
A long time ago
Cronus became the first supreme deity. Later he was overthrown by his son Zeus, who (with other children of Cronus) assumed control of the multiverse. Cronus’ brother Iapetus had a family too, and all were rather surly at being left out of the control game. Atlas and Prometheus were two of his sons (Lesser Titans), their names well-known to this day.
Iapetus’ other son Menoetius is the being trapped under the hill in the center of the swamp, herein called the Eye of God. In this caper, he allied with Hades, and was eventually caught and punished by Zeus for crimes* and insolence.
Menoetius was bound face-up on a large rock, spread-eagled (nude), and cast down by Zeus. The actions rendered the rock magical, a tool of the Supreme Being Himself. The rock struck the planet at this forsaken site, and the impact created the circle of desolation that is now Wretched Swamp. It might have remained a barren, dead zone, but other matters intervened.
Hades did not ignore the slight. He despises inconvenience, and the loss of a Titan (however Lesser) was irritating. He tried removing the stone, but that backfired (it being unexpectedly imbued with Zeus-magic), producing a malignant side effect—the oft-referenced Curse of the swamp. Then, unwilling to devote much time to the matter, Hades recruited Nae-Zhi for assistance. She contributed the swamp dragons, the obsidian wall, and promises of future aid.
Meanwhile, Hades’ wife Persephone was displeased at his error that despoiled the place. She permitted certain of her high priestesses (druids) to intervene gently, producing the Triqueta Arches and the Path, hoping to negate Hades’ evil influence. Among other responses, Nae-Zhi (on a whim, actually) gave the dragons her ‘trademark’ artifact (the Tripartite Bands), though she failed to adequately emphasize their importance.
Thus have matters remained for dozens of years. In conclusion, consider poor Menoetius, a titanic minion now ignored in typical deific family politics. Much of Zeus’ magic rock obviously remains, being the ‘Godseye’. The Titan is still down there, spread-eagled several hundred feet below at the base of the rock, perfectly fine (thanks to immortal regeneration) but unable to move until released. (That act is beyond mere mortal power, and is hence not detailed in this published adventure.)
* amongst the alleged crimes: using banned Magic cards and retired GW figures. (After Menoetius escapes this plight, Zeus will later reconsider, destroying him utterly with lightning.)
In the Big Picture, considering immortal beings and planes of existence and multiversal events, Wretched Swamp engenders a plot line that can be resolved by another adventure but on an immortal scale.
I would like to write the short sequel some day, if time permits, but we shall see. For those interested in completing the story for themselves, it goes like this:
Zeus and Hades are busy guys. A team of lesser immortals can simplify this mess (working without Zeus’ knowledge but on His behalf) by breaking through the protections and speaking with the repentant Titan, all without attracting Hades’ re-intervention. Ideally they also must separate his evil draconic ally from the equation, a complicated business. This is to be an ‘impossible mission’, disavowed by their Patron if discovered.
The characters can acquire enough information to convince Zeus to pardon (but not forgive) Menoetius.
At the conclusion, the great rock splits and the Titan is released. He will then owe a favor to the characters... if they draw on it before Zeus destroys him (as the Fates will ultimately decree).
At the end of it all, the Curse is withdrawn. The Devils and undead reunite and begin their respective eschatological adventures. The muskegerai die off, and the leech-eels are reduced to small colonies. So the environment improves, and becomes a preserve for the eternally lonely DeadEye beasts, awaiting the beck and call of Zeus (their creator) or his brother Hades.
What could go wrong?