I've been reading through the Savage Tide adventure path in Dungeon Magazine and am having a problem figuring out the purpose of the destruction of the Head of Zotzhilotl in The Lightless Depths, Dungeon #144.
The party is apparently expected to destroy this artifact simply as a distraction to lure many of the Kupro defenders away from the Ziggaraut they need to assault.
So, they destroy an artifact holding back a(n arguably) greater, long-term evil in order to put an end to a lesser, immediate evil? In the real world, that would be unconscienable. In the make believe fantasy World of Greyhawk, it could, possibly, be justifiable by good characters, but why? It shouldn't be too terribly difficult for a party of 12th-13th level characters to come up with another distraction that doesn't free the Aboleths.
I've been reading through the Savage Tide adventure path in Dungeon Magazine Am I missing something?
I hate to admit it, but, I have been using the AP for source material for some time ... maybe I just haven't read the plotline thoroughly enough, but I can't figure out where this part is that you're talking about and how it relates to the stuff at the end ....
Well, check out the section of the AP titled "The Lightless Depths" in Dungeon #144 . The party travels below the Isle of Dread to the abandoned Aboleth city. There they discover the artifact that the Olman of Thanaclan used to destroy the Aboleth - the Head of Zotzhilotl which banished all water from the city (I may have the name misspelled ). The AP suggests that by destroying the Head which will allow water to re-enter the Aboleth city, the Kopru will be distracted and leave the Ziggaraut to see what is going on, thus allowing the party of adventurers the opportunity to infiltrate it with fewer defenders to worry about.
Unfortunately, the AP also explains that many of the 'petrified' Aboleth still sitting around will be reconstituted when the water returns and it even says that eventually, the Aboleth will rebuild their city now that the artifact holding them at bay is destroyed.
Such an action on the part of the adventurers seems absurd to me. I'm wondering if I'm misunderstanding something that I'm reading here. Sure the Kopru are more of an immediate threat, but the Aboleth can't be considered a less dangerous alternative.
Well I think the question would be does the party know what the results of their actions would be? DO they know that if the destroy the head it will reawaken the aboleth? if not then I don't see a real problem if they do it. In the real world there are things that are done that later on come back to bite us in the butt. So to should there be things like that in a game. It also opens up the possibility of later adventures against the aboleth or possibly a recurring villan.
IIRC, aside from the PC's possibly not knowing the full consequences (the aboleths returning), it is implied the main reason for the destruction and flooding of the city is to disrupt Demogorgon's shadow pearls harvesting operation. It could be argued the PC's are dealing with a more immediate, and arguably, grater threat (the Savage Tide spreading throught the Flanaess), and the aboleths represent a less immediate, lower-key threat (while warred with (and, in the end, caused the destruction of) Thanaclan, they didn't seem to be in the midst of some world-spanning plot to overthrow civilization. Quite likely, it will take the aboleths some time to return to their city and rebuild their strength, so they are a lower priority. Of course, it also represents an excelent plot seed, with the aboleths eventually menacing the olman villages and Farshore, eventually requiring the PC's (either the same or a new party) to deal with them.
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