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    Canonfire :: View topic - Destroying Iuz
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    Destroying Iuz
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    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Fri Jun 19, 2015 10:40 am  
    Destroying Iuz

    Just a question for the group regarding a campaign wrapping up with the destruction of Iuz. I know some people, including Carl Sargent himself (in Iuz the Evil) think this is a bad idea since Iuz is such a powerful figure and personally shapes much of the Flanaess. I think it's a great idea to finish a long-standing Greyhawk campaign with a group of powerful PCs. It's no easy task I realize and will take the destruction of most (if not all) the Greater Boneheart, as well as numerous fiends and powerful monsters not to mention Iuz himself. Then of course the destruction of Iuz on Oerth isn't the end due to his soul gem on the Abyss, which will require the PCs to venture there and finish the task. The destruction of some of Iuz' Soul Husks would also seem to be a crucial part leading up to the final deed. So, what do you think, is the destruction of Iuz unrealistic for even high level (18+) parties?
    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Jun 20, 2015 5:32 am  

    You should read this campaign journal on Dragonsfoot.
    GreySage

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    Sat Jun 20, 2015 9:11 am  

    Personally, if you, as DM, don't want Iuz destroyed b/c it screws up your campaign world, then don't let it happen.

    However, if a high-level party has it dead-set in their minds to destroy Iuz, once and for all, more power to 'em. This would entail more than just a direct strike against the Old One, as you noted. The possibilities for numerous adventures, both on Oerth as well as other Planes, abound!

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    GreySage

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    Sat Jun 20, 2015 3:29 pm  

    I don't see anything wrong with letting the PCs kill Iuz. Greyhawk is meant to be dynamic and ever-changing, I think. When Gygax started his campaign, Iuz was still imprisoned. I don't think Carl Sargent necessarily disapproved of it, either, or he wouldn't have provided things like the Soul Husks for the PCs to use to weaken him. He just meant for it to be difficult.

    If your high-level party is too weak to manage it, there are things they could do (for example, questing for powerful artifacts and allies) to make it easier. The Rod of Seven Parts, the Crook of Rao, or a horn that summons planetars might all help buff up the party. One possibility is for them to destroy Iuz's soul gem before targeting Iuz himself.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sat Jun 20, 2015 6:56 pm  

    Thanks for the link to the campaign journal DMPrata, great read. The battle against Iuz in the link was pretty awesome, although I would definitely do some things different if I was DMing the battle. I don't think Iuz is so powerful that he's beyond the reach of a party consisting of 18+ level PCs, but of course Iuz brings more to the table than just himself. When you consider the power of his greater Boneheart (which I would think he'd never enter into a battle without a least 2-3 of them), plus demon reinforcements, defeating Iuz gets pretty tough.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sat Jun 20, 2015 7:14 pm  

    I agree rasgon, I think killing Iuz is a great way to end a long term campaign for high level PCs. I would only do it at the end of the campaign though because of the vast changes it would bring to the world. The way I mapped out the structure of the final missions/adventures would be an attack against the soul husks to destroy at least a few of them to weaken Iuz. Naturally he would show up at the soul husks immediately (with many allies in tow) and the PCs battle against Iuz would occur then. If victorious the PCs then have an even harder adventure ahead of them as they travel to the Abyss in order to destroy his soul gem and in turn Iuz once and for all. Of course this adventure will be much harder as the PCs have to fight their way through the Abyssal layer to the fortress where the soul gem is kept. I don't have all the details completely finished, but I was thinking hordes of demons led by Zuggtmoy and even Iggwilv herself. Definitely a battle for the ages.
    Forum Moderator

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    Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:57 pm  

    Good topic guys.

    The only thing more daunting than taking out Iuz is filling that power vacuum. There are plenty of Boneheart NPCs would could rise to be BBEGs in their own right, so I'd save a few to live in any campaign that aims to take down the Old One.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Mon Jun 22, 2015 10:52 pm  

    mortellan wrote:
    Good topic guys.

    The only thing more daunting than taking out Iuz is filling that power vacuum. There are plenty of Boneheart NPCs would could rise to be BBEGs in their own right, so I'd save a few to live in any campaign that aims to take down the Old One.


    Beat me to it Mort. I was reading the posts here and my thought was about being ready for the aftermath, assuming the heroes succeeded.

    In most adventures, there's something the PCs miss. A room or area they didn't get to, a henchman or two of Iuz's they never got around to slaying, etc.

    Then, there could always be some other villian in the area, who had his own plans to usurp Iuz and take over, but those heroes came along and were thoughtful enough to do the real work for him. (Those adventurers ... so nice how they do these acts of kindness for the up and coming villian, aren't they?)
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Mon Jun 22, 2015 11:21 pm  

    I have been tempted to have the PCs take out Iuz. If successful, just his physical form is gone from Oerth, and so he is consigned to...elsewhere, like other gods are. As to the power vacuum, that's where the Greater Boneheart step in. That slightly fractious group will certainly feel the leash slacken more than just a bit, but I don't see them completely going rogue. There is too much justifiable paranoia about potential reprisals if they do so, which should serve to keep them somewhat in line. Things would be very interesting in the north. Members jockeying for position, enemies looking to attack the lands of Iuz, and the Bandit Kings would have a chance at full autonomy again (and could end up raiding the lands too). Will Iuz fall though? Hardly. Still too many capable individuals there, and a lot of resources. And Iggwilv is still around... Evil Grin
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    GreySage

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    Tue Jun 23, 2015 6:40 pm  

    If I ever ran a campaign wherein the PCs defeated Iuz, I imagine that they'd want to claim their own kingdom in its place. That would allow for all kinds of long-running battles with their neighbors (Bandit Kingdoms, re-instated Horned Society, Wolf Nomads, Ebonfrost of the Cold Fens, even expansionist Furyondy, Shield Lands, or Rovers, etc.).

    It would also provide ample opportunity for BBEGs that have been hovering in the margins to attempt a coup to establish a beachhead of their own on Oerth. Iggwilv, Tuerny the Merciless, an ancient, secret cabal of Ur Flannae, and any number of Demon Lords and Arch Devils come to mind.

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    Mon Jun 29, 2015 6:15 am  

    One more issue to consider is just how big of an impact the PC's will have, even before confronting Iuz?

    If they are indeed powerful enough to confront a demi-god (who is stronger than the various hero- and quasi-deities), are they not on the cusp of being Oerth's newest deities? Even before such a final conflict, shouldn't they have already changed the course of the campaign in various ways? Before they get to him, won't Iuz have thrown his entire nation and priesthood at the party?

    Or can Iuz's divinity be undone by destroying a few objects - like the soul husks and his soul gem? He did have a rapid rise from birth to divinity, so he may very well have a unique vulnerability tied to this rapid rise. Perhaps Iuz's role in a Greyhawk campaign is that he is the deity (possibly only one) that can be defeated by adventuring in a dungeon or series of dungeons and acquiring/destroying/neutralizing a series of MacGuffins. In such an instance the campaign consequences could be limited. One of Iuz's flunkies (perhaps that one Boneheart member the party doesn't face) takes control after coercing the remnants of the empire. It is an empire based only on pain and tyranny after all. While not as strong, it is still held together by the lash, its just that the lash is in another hand. This new leader may have stood apart, perhaps even betraying Iuz (we are dealing with Chaotic Evil here), because he had his own side deals with various demon lords, powers, etc. In fact, he might have surreptitiously directed the party against Iuz in the first place, leaked that crucial bit of knowledge that let the party gain a realistic chance against Iuz in the final battle, or provided the party with the widget of Iuz-slaying. (My vote is for one of the wizards - they don't have to put faith in anything). In this instance the changes to the campaign world are modest. Its really just a coup within the Empire of Iuz.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:41 am  

    Great comments from everyone, I knew this post would create good discussion. Sorry I didn't respond right away, I was out of the country for a week. I agree that the destruction of Iuz would create a power vacuum that many would try to fill, but I was considering the destruction of Iuz to be the final chapter(s) in a long running campaign.

    Leading up to the final battle with Iuz I think any party would have to have conducted years of adventures against Iuz and his minions that led to the death of at least some of the Greater Boneheart and the weakening of Iuz himself in the ways that have been mentioned. I also planned for the PCs to have to defeat others such as Iggwilv, some demon lords aligned with Iuz, etc, before they really destroy Iuz once and for all.

    The death of these other powerful big baddies eliminates the issue of one of them filling the vacuum left behind with the death of Iuz, but I agree with A-Baneful-Backfire and BlueWitch that it's improbable that all of Iuz allies will be captured or killed so there's always the possibility of someone else taking over. My bet would be with Kermin Mind Bender.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Tue Aug 04, 2015 7:55 pm  

    In my current "Greyhawk: The Dark Age" campaign, I did actually end a major storyline with the death of Iuz. It was the culmination of well, nearly an entire generation of gaming. We all have teen age children now and like so many here, we started in Greyhawk back in the 80s. It only seemed a fitting, epic "end."

    Highlights included Disrupting Iuz's efforts to acquire godhood in the dungeons of Castle Greyhawk by using Zagyg's God's Trap. The characters actually became the beneficaries of Iuz's plan, banishing his physical form Oerth and untentionally stealing the divine energies Iuz planned to use to become a lesser god.

    Aided by higher powers, they fought Githyanki in the astral plane, acquiring the ancient sword Fedinfensor and an astral skiff. An angel of Heironeous appeared to them and guided them to travel to the Seven Heavens and they were blessed by the gods and bathe in the waters of life. They then "sail" to the Abyss (they actually end up crash landing when the wizard amazingly rolled a "1" on a key skill check). In the abyss, they fought weird fauna and against the Greater Boneheart. Among the Greater Boneheart was the now undead Thrommel (a death knight in my story), who, in the final battle, sought forgiveness and willingly gives the once accursed crown of Furyondy to the characters, breaking the curse upon him, his people, and freeing his soul from undeath. They battled potent minions of several demon lords and faced two demon lords directly: Jubilex and Zuggtmoy's daughter, forcing both to flee. Zuggtmoy was not there, in my storyline, she was not freed from the Temple of Elemental Evil. Their quest ended in the destruction of Iuz's Soul Gem which required a sacrifice of one of the player characters who struck the gem with a retributive strike of a Staff of Power.

    There is a "but" or two...in the metaplot, we have the Theoparts. One is held by Eclavdra, a second remains hidden in the ancient temple within the Suss forest and is sought by Greta Mak, Queen of the Pomarj and descendant of Turrosh Mak and the third is held by Althea, vampire priestess of Iuz, the only member of the Greater Boneheart to escape. The soul husks were never destroyed, and their power allows the possibility of returning Iuz. Althea believes the Theoparts assembled may play a part in her lord's return.

    In the vacuum created by Iuz's death, I've turned his former Empire into a swath of barbarity and chaos, with various warlords, bandits kings, sorcerers and tyrants of all sorts. A perfect place for adventuring and opportunity. There's no end of story possibilities. I've also introduced servants of Orcus, including one former antipaladin of Iuz turned to Orcus. He was once of the Lesser Boneheart who proved capable, and more than willing to bend the knee to a new demonic master in exchange for the power to take Dorakaa. He marched the legions under his command out of Molag and returned to take Dorakaa. The followers of Orcus succeeded in seizing power with Iuz's clerics losing their divine power and their ability to command the undead. The undead quickly turned on their former masters at the whim of those who served Orcus.

    In my story, Iuz's earlier successes had led to the lost of most of the Shield Lands (except for a certain island) and Furyondy splintering into seven kingdoms after the last, rightful king died. Only the strength of Veluna kept Iuz from washing into the Sheldomar.

    A recently catastrophe in Molag led to a once dormant volcano erupting, releasing a "catastrophic dragon." The third such volcanic eruption in the past two years (another such eruption destroyed Suderham ( and a third erupted in the underdark-"Deep Horizons" module), and the skies have onsiderably darkened across the Flanaess.

    The destruction of Iuz isn't a pyrhrric victory but it has't heralded in a bright new dawn either.

    I've radically departed from Common Year 590, advancing the setting to make it my own in in every possible way, including my fair share of heresies. :)


    Last edited by DeanP on Wed Aug 05, 2015 1:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
    GreySage

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    Wed Aug 05, 2015 5:54 am  

    That sounds like a truly epic campaign, DeanP. Smile

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    Thu Aug 06, 2015 5:02 pm  

    Wow DeanP, definitely sounds like an epic campaign. I think it's cool that you and your PCs have been together for a generation. Great gaming.
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    Fri Aug 07, 2015 12:19 am  

    Like DeanP stated, Iuz has always been a major Villain, if not THE ultimate bad guy in most of the campaigns played in WOG, so it is a real question: "Can my WOG setting can afford to loose such an iconic character?"

    My first real campaign in WOG started in 1986 and 578 CY. Iuz was already at the very center of most of the plots.
    Now in 2015, and 620 CY, the former adventurers have retired, some in positions of power, others in last repose position. New characters have emerged as well as some descendants of the former ones.
    These news characters are now reaching levels from 13 to 18 and it seems wise to put an end to these guys and gals as well.

    So I've been planned to end this arc during 622 CY and 2016-17 with the demise of Iuz. But I will not separate from Iuz so easily, so I think i'll follow more or less the end of the Living Greyhawk's Core Campaign, i.e either Iuz is killed by the heroes, either he gains access to Lesser GodHood. In either cases he's removed from direct interaction and in the second case, not dead... Evil Grin
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Fri Aug 07, 2015 7:41 am  

    Sounds great Dungeonmeister. And the death of Iuz in one campaign arc just means you can start a new one for new PCs in 576 or anytime really.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:37 pm  

    I had concerns with the possibility of killing Iuz, but decided there's so much to the setting, so many villains that even as campaign altering as it was, it didn't end the campaign, if anything, it gave the campaign a whole new sense of possibility.

    Plus, in a setting where raise dead, resurrection, wish (and if you're using 5e, revivify) exist as spells that are eventually accessible to player characters. I think a DM could find a way of returning the evil of Iuz to the world. Dead gods may rise again, if you felt the need to do so. In fact, the very possibility of it, motivates the PCs to investigate every rumor, employ every agent and so forth, to prevent any such return. There's no resting on your laurels when magic can change everything.

    In my own campaign world, its not something I intend to turn to any time in the near or immediate future (if at all).
    GreySage

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    Sat Aug 15, 2015 8:43 am  

    My only thought is that, should the PCs succeed, then they should probably be "retired" afterwards. I think you'll find very little that's more disruptive than having "demi-gods' running loose in your campaign world.

    As for Iuz's replacement, as has been mentioned before, there are several likely and eligible candidates for that.
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    Sun Aug 16, 2015 7:48 am  

    I agree Mystic-Scholar, by the end of the arc where the PCs destroy Iuz I had planned to send them to retirement and to effectively end the campaign. By that point they should be at least 18th-20th level and ready for at least semi-retirement from active adventuring.
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