The Great Corpse

the great corpse

THE GREAT CORPSE

KNOWLEGE (THE PLANES) DC: 20

Make thou the journey to the lifeless god, for only there will you find your answers.

-Vision received by Leonid Minsky

Even the gods may die.

When a god dies, almost anything can happen to the corpse. In some instances, the spirit and energy (or manna) of the dead god is released even as its body fades to nothingness. This can happen in an instant, or over the mil

lennia. It can be a quiet transfer of power, or an explosion that reverberates throughout the planes.

Often a god’s manna finds a new home. It can be absorbed into the being responsible for the god’s death (if the god was killed), by the allies of the god, by a faithful worshipper (who then ascends to godhood), or even within a new being that is created from the god’s essence.

Of course, the god’s corpse can also disperse across the universe in a meteor shower, find a resting place in whichever plane has the closest connection to the dead god, or simply fade away into nothing.

In some cases the corpse remains after the manna is long gone, occasionally resting on some plane, at other times floating among the planar aether, pushed along by the cosmic winds.

Such is the case with the demiplane known as the Great Corpse. Traveling in the swirling light of the Positive Energy Plane to an unknown des

tination, the massive body of this mysterious god, whose name and identity are lost to time, is encased from head to toe in solid armor that has no apparent opening and has become a realm unto itself.

Today, the Great Corpse is a permanent home for a number of planar inhabitants that have founded a small community called God’s Rest (see Inhabitants below) as well as a destination for the faithful of all sorts, pilgrims that wish to use the god’s lingering energy to connect more directly with their own gods (see Features below).

TRAITS OF THE GREAT CORPSE

The traits of the Great Corpse are:

• Objective Light Directional Gravity: The strength of gravity on the Great Corpse is “down” toward the body of the god; a creature can walk all around the god, from front to back, head to toe, etc. and always find their feet upon the god’s corpse. In addition, the gravity on the demiplane is less intense than on the Material Plane. As a result, creatures find that they can lift more, but their movements tend to be ungainly. Characters

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on the Great Corpse take a –2 circumstance penalty on attack rolls and Balance, Ride, Swim, and Tumble checks. All items weigh half as much. Weapon ranges double, and characters gain a +2 circumstance bonus on Climb and Jump checks. Falling characters on a light gravity plane take 1d4 points of damage for each 10 feet of the fall (maximum 20d4).

• Flowing Time: On the Great Corpse, time moves slower than on the Material Plane. One may travel to this demiplane, spend one minute here, and then return to the Material Plane only to find that a week has passed. Everything on the Material Plane has progressed a week forward in time but, for the traveler returning from the Great Corpse, and the items, spells, and effects working on him, it is as if only one minute has passed. • Finite Size: The Great Corpse is roughly 800-feet long from the helmet’s crown to the tip of its armored ankles. Although humanoid in the sense of having two arms and two legs, the massive plate armor that covers the entirety of the corpse does not allow anyone to get even a hint of the actual appearance of the god. For 50 feet in all directions, a thin but breathable envelope of air surrounds the corpse and provides a measure of protection against the very real danger posed by the unbridled power circulating in the Positive Energy Plane. However, this envelope does not prevent the ready movement in either direction of creatures or objects between the demiplane and the Positive Energy Plane.

• Alterable Morphic and Static: On the surface of the Great Corpse, objects remain where they are (and what they are) unless affected by physical force or magic. The immediate environment of the Great Corpse can be changed as a result of tangible effort. The surface of the world itself cannot be affected in any way or by any power, even that of a deity. The armor of the Great Corpse is completely sealed, including the helmet, and constructed entirely of adamantine. While many

have tried to cut into the metal, none have succeeded.

• Minor Positive-Dominant: Beneath the armor, the Great Corpse is still alive in a fashion. The long-thought dead god is merely in some form of stasis. As it awaits its moment of reawakening, it is the god’s latent energies that make the demiplane livable and reduce the effect of the Positive Energy plane. Nevertheless, enough positive energy flows across the demiplane’s barrier to affect everything on the Great Corpse; colors are brighter, fires are hotter, noises are louder, and sensations are more intense as a result of the positive energy swirling through the demiplane. All individuals visiting the Great Corpse gain fast healing 2 as an extraordinary ability.

• Strongly Good-Aligned: When on this demiplane, creatures of any Evil alignment suffer a –2 circumstance penalty on all Charisma, Intelligence, and Wisdom-based checks. • Wild Magic: Spells and spell-like abilities function in radically different and sometimes dangerous ways on the Great Corpse demiplane. Any spell or spell-like ability has a chance to go awry; the caster must make a level check (DC 15 + the level of the spell or effect) for the magic to function normally. For spell-like abilities, use the level or HD of the creature employing the ability for the caster level check and the level of the spell-like ability to set the DC for the caster level check. Failure on this check means that something strange happens. Roll d% and consult the following table: d% Effect

01–19 Spell rebounds on caster with normal effect. If the spell cannot affect the caster, it simply fails.

20–23 The spell fails and the caster is tossed into the air, flying 10 feet high per level of the caster; after 50 feet, the caster passes into the Positive Energy plane (a very dangerous situation indeed).

24–27 The spell fails, but the target or targets of the spell are pelted with strands of posi

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tive energy, which disappear upon striking. The barrage continues for 1 round. During this time the targets are blinded and must make Concentration checks (DC 15 + spell level) to cast spells, although each target also is affected as if a cure light wounds spell had been cast on the target.

28–31 The spell affects a random target or area. Randomly choose a different target from among those in range of the spell or center the spell at a random place within range of the spell. To generate direction randomly, roll 1d8 and count clockwise around the compass, starting with south. To generate range randomly, roll 3d6. Multiply the result by 5 feet for close range spells, 20 feet for medium range spells, or 80 feet for long range spells.

32–35 The spell functions normally, but any material components are not consumed. The spell is not expended from the caster’s mind (a spell slot or prepared spell can be used again). An item does not lose charges, and the effect does not count against an item’s or spell-like ability’s use limit.

36–39 The spell does not function. Instead, everyone (friend or foe) within 30 feet of the caster receives the effect of a heal spell.

40–43 The spell does not function. Instead rays of positive energy from the Positive Energy plane automatically strike everyone and everything within a 30-foot radius of the caster, including the caster, for 3d6 points of damage (no save).

44–47 The spell does not function. Instead, a reverse gravity effect covers a 30-foot radius around the caster for 1 round, very likely throwing everyone and everything out into the Positive Energy plane.

48–51 The spell functions, but positive energy swirls about the caster for 1d4 rounds.

within 10 feet takes 2d6 points of positive energy damage while creatures past 10 feet but within 20 feet take 1d6 points of damage (no save). 52–59 Nothing happens. The spell does not function. Any material components are used up. The spell or spell slot is used up, and charges or uses from an item are used up. 60–71 Nothing happens. The spell does not function. Any material components are not consumed. The spell is not expended from the caster’s mind (a spell slot or prepared spell can be used again). An item does not lose charges, and the effect does not count against an item’s or spell-like ability’s use limit. 72–98 The spell functions and a burst of positive energy shoots in all directions from the caster, blinding all creatures within 30 feet for 2d4 rounds (no save). 99–100 The spell functions strongly. Saving throws against the spell incur a –2 penalty. The spell has the maximum possible effect, as if it were cast with the Maximize Spell feat. If the spell is already maximized with the feat, there is no further effect.

LINKS TO AND FROM THE GREAT CORPSE

The thin envelope surrounding this demiplane poses no obstacle for anyone to pass from it to the Positive Energy plane and vice-versa. Of course, survival in the Positive Energy plane is another matter entirely.

Any temples of this sleeping god that are still standing on Material Planes can function as portals to this bizarre demiplane. To activate a portal within one of these temples a traveler need only step through the temple’s door while tossing a 500 gp gemstone over his left shoulder; the gemstone instantly vanishes and the traveler is

transported to a random location on the Great

The caster is unharmed, but any creatures

Corpse.

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The only known exit from the Great Corpse, aside from exiting to the Positive Energy plane, is an arcane circle painted on the left arm of the giant being. This arcane circle pulses with radiant energy, sparks of power flicking along the lines of the circle (these sparks are harmless). Once standing in the center of this circle, a creature that makes a successful Knowledge (the planes) check (DC 25) opens a gateway to a starhollow – an empty space that was once a star – on the Vault of Stars (see Book of the Planes for more information). This is a one-way gate that remains open for 2d6 rounds during which time up to 8 Medium-sized creatures may pass through the portal to the Vault of Stars.

FEATURES OF THE GREAT CORPSE

The greatest feature of this demiplane is the unidentified god itself. Who, or what, the god is lies beyond the ken of mortal knowledge and perhaps even divine knowledge. No one has ever managed to penetrate the god’s armor to see what lies inside and it is universally assumed that the god is dead.

But the god is not dead, at least not in the way that mortals conceive of death; the god is in a state of suspended animation and will one day awaken. What, if anything, occurs at this time, both to the inhabitants of the demiplane and the universe in general, is up to the DM. This would be a great opportunity to introduce a new deity or even to create a more radical change in the campaign.

However, it is not the god itself that draws visitors to this demiplane, but rather the fact that being on the Great Corpse allows a cleric to achieve direct contact with his or her deity.

This contact occurs regardless of the alignment of either the cleric or the deity the cleric is contacting; the God Touch works for all.

God Touch

When on this demiplane, clerics may speak directly with their deity. This can occur only once in the lifetime of an individual and requires a weeklong preparation ritual using 10,000 gp

worth of incense, offerings, etc. At the end of this ritual, the cleric may attempt to contact his or her deity through a modified Wisdom check (d20 + cleric level + Wisdom modifier) against a DC of

30. Success allows the cleric to ask one question per cleric level of his or her god. The questions asked cannot have multiple parts, i.e. “What are the truenames of the great dragon Darkflight, the demon lord known as the “Stripper of Flesh”, and the entire royal family,” as such a question is really three questions in one, but otherwise anything is possible.

In general, the deity answers the questions directly, truthfully, and unambiguously (although any answer will still be structured to suit the deity’s own purpose) and in as brief a manner as possible. If the deity does not know the answer, then the deity tells the cleric this and that question has been answered.

Keep in mind that a carelessly phrased question such as “Give me the entire life history of Sir Albrecht, the Black Knight” could lead to the deity to reciting every moment of the Sir Albrecht’s life, which could take just as long as Sir Albrecht has lived (and longer if he still lives).

Also, the DM should feel perfectly free to have the deity punish disrespectful clerics, brush off silly questions, pervert the intent of dangerous questions, etc. While the God Touch establishes contact with the deity under the most favorable circumstances (as if the cleric was the deity’s best friend), it does not compel the deity to do anything and a cleric that abuses this situation should quickly be set straight.

In addition to this, if the cleric lags, discusses the answers, goes off to do anything else, or takes longer than one round to ask the next question after the deity has finished answering, the God Touch ends.

Failure means that the cleric was unable to successfully establish contact. The cleric may try again, but only after a year-and-a-day have passed.

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The residents of God’s Rest are self-policing.

INHABITANTS OF THE

The fact that the demiplane resides within theGREAT CORPSE Positive Energy plane does much to keep out

Those that call the Great Corpse home live in a ramshackle community called God’s Rest.

God’s Rest (Hamlet): Magical; AL CG; 100 gp limit; Assets 635 gp; Population 127 (65% planetouched, 20% human, 12% elves, 3% other).

Authority Figure: Leonid Minsky (CG male, Aasimar, cleric 12).

God’s Rest is located on the god’s chest. The community is made up of shacks and lean-to’s constructed of various items that the inhabitants brought with them to God’s Rest as well as the occasional piece of flotsam or jetsam that has drifted to the demiplane from the Positive Energy plane; sometimes a creature claims a space with nothing more than a line of chalk to denote their space.

Due to the impenetrable nature of the god’s armor, there is no way to drive a stake or otherwise secure the various items so these constructions are not particularly sturdy and provide no protection of any sort; the purpose of such shelter is not to provide protection but rather to provide a modicum of privacy on what is ultimately a small space.

Minsky, a formerly devoted cleric of a Chaotic Good god of weather and travel is the leader of the community. Minsky heard the call of the Great Corpse some thirty-odd years ago when he was camping near a lost temple of the god. Several years of research later he discovered the secret of the temple (see Links above) and made the journey; he has lived on the Great Corpse ever since.

The community itself is composed largely of clerics of various Good faiths, although the occasional adventurer of another class or alignment has decided to stake his claim upon the demiplane.

undesirable visitors (i.e. Evil clerics) and the lack of space and ready resources on the Great Corpse has forced everyone to work together. Thus, even though there are adherents of rival gods or religions among the population, they have long ago learned to get along; they see themselves as citizens of God’s Rest rather than as members of any specific religion or expatriates from any particular Material Plane.

In addition to this permanent population, there is a constantly shifting population of visitors to this realm. At any given point there are 2d20 visitors present upon the demiplane. These tend to be clerics of various sorts from the Material Plane along with their followers and/or assistants that have come to commune with their god, although the occasional creature will drop in from the Positive Energy plane.

In general, relations between the permanent residents and visitors are cool, with the visitors often viewing the existing population as riff-raff and interlopers on their communion space and the permanent residents seeing the visitors as greedy opportunists. Thus, each visiting group usually stakes out their own space, well away from God’s Rest and any other visiting groups.

Arguments of theology are frequent among visitors, especially between rival religious groups, but because the vast majority of visitors to this demiplane are of Good alignment, they rarely get beyond name-calling. Although not unheard of, violence of any sort is very rare and, when it does happen is usually, confined to the visitors; the unpredictable magical nature of the demiplane and the residents of God’s Rest see to that.

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