Thursday, November 22, 2018

Mathetes to Diognetus Chapter 2 Part 2

From an FRPG world-building perspective (especially D&D), this little tidbit from Chapter 2 of the Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus is pure gold:
Do ye not much more mock and insult them, when ye worship those that are made of stone and earthenware, without appointing any persons to guard them; but those made of silver and gold ye shut up by night, and appoint watchers to look after them by day, lest they be stolen?
…and there it is. Yep, it is an excuse to include dungeon-delving in the campaign setting and to use that lovely old trope of the temple, no less. Implicit in Mathetes’ accusation when placed in a world of magic and monsters is a culture that expects expeditions into temples to steal gold, treasure and even a golem or two.

I envision something akin to the shenanigans that rival colleges pull on each other during the week leading up to a football game. Fields get vandalized with the opponent's logo and mascots get stolen. In this campaign, however, it gets ramped up to a political/religious level. Imagine, for a moment, a political arena where aristocratic families vie for power and prestige through their patronage of a particular temple. The mob would be directed and influenced by a family’s ability to keep a temple flush with cash and equipped with expensive and impressive idols.

Enter the adventuring party. With the need of plausible deniability, families would farm out the job of sabotaging their rival’s temples to adventuring groups. Indeed, the family wouldn’t even really need to see a cut of the treasure, save for possibly a stolen idol or a golem.

Thus, the campaign has a built-in beginning adventure, built-in patron scheme, and a whole lot of political background noise to give players plenty of opportunity to get into all kinds of trouble.

1 comment:

Scott Permer said...

OK... now i totally want to be part of a group who is tasked with (somehow!) kidnapping the rival temple's golden golem..!