Death and the Underworld in the Sea of Stars

30 March, 2011

Part of this month’s Blog Carnival – Life and Death in RPGs hosted by Campaign Mastery:

Everyone knows that the Dragons defeated the gods in a great war.  Only two gods survived the draconic conquest, the Sun, without which the world would become cold and dark and who was condemned to an eternity in chains, and the Moon, who was too capricious to be caught and who hides among the stars.  But in fact, that is not the whole truth, Death, without whom there is no end, survived, chained by the Dragon Empress to his iron throne the palace of ice and twilight in the Underworld beyond the Realm of Shadows.

La Porte de l'Enferphoto © 2009 Cayetano Delgado | more info (via: Wylio)
Death continued in his duties, for he was bound by laws as inexorable as his own role, but as he was trapped his ability to guide and direct the souls of the dead to their proper places was limited.  Further, his four Heralds had been slain during the war with the Dragons.  Because of this the system of the Underworld increasingly broke down, spirits that should have been reincarnated went astray or were lost all together, souls had difficulty finding their way to their expected afterlives.  The entire necrosystem was in danger of complete collapse.

To solve this problem, a new group of four Heralds needed to be recruited to act as Death’s agents in the Underworld and the Realm of Shadows.  To do so, they would have to met Death, venture through the Realm and Shodows and the Underworld to retrieve the four symbols of the previous heralds and reshape them into their own talismans of authority . . . Who would be up to such a task?

The answer to that question turned out the be the player characters in the last long running campaign in the Sea of Stars that I ran.  In it, they learned many of the secrets of Death and Underworld.  Secrets they had not known that existed.   At the end they assumed the mantles of the new Heralds of Death which unfortunately bound them to the Underworld for all eternity . . .


  1. That sounds like an awesome game. I agree that that the answer to “who will fill this epic role?” should always be “the player-characters”.

  2. One of the cool things about old school D&D, where they had attributes for all the gods (I’m thinking original Dragonlance for example here), is the possibility that a god or gods might die, upsetting the natural order permanently.

    • “. . . [W]ith strange aeons even the death may die” – H. P. Lovecraft.

      One of the things I loved about the god of Death in the Lankhmar setting was that he knew that someday he would die and be replaced.

      But, yes, the death of most of the gods had considerable effect on the Sea of Stars and, in places, totally disrupted the natural order.

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