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At the end of a long campaign, my player group's PCs ascended to immortality. Since I had a copy of the Immortals boxed set lying around, I attempted to continue the campaign using those rules, and almost immediately threw in the towel.

In my opinion, there were many confusing elements of that rule set, but some of the biggest gaps related to the fundamental structure of the campaign, such as:

  • What are the goals and constraints of the characters?
  • What are scales of time and space involved?
  • How does a campaign narrative work, if the players might decide at any moment to take a century of downtime to touch-up their home demi-planes?

The published module I had at the time didn't clarify most of these issues; it assumed a lot of railroading of PCs through actions that they did not seem to have a motivation to engage in, and "challenges" that they might as well avoid (wandering monster in the Astral plane, a lich and his entourage: why would they engage in any way with wandering monsters at this point?).

How were Immortal-level campaigns run, in practice?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I had the same issue trying to figure out the Immortal set. Ultimately we just did our own rules, but I'd love to hear what others did to actually make it work. \$\endgroup\$ – Adam Goodwine Jan 22 '19 at 20:24
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I ran a couple of immortal level games back in the day. I relied heavily on the setting for narrative (I played in Mystara) and the players were generally

  • against the clock on some-unknown-thing-from-elsewhere threatening to destroy the multiverse
  • investigating which immortal was breaking the rules to destroy some mortal country or institution
  • tying up loose ends from their mortal life without being detected as the immortal they now are

Very often I would put them at risk by forcing them into avatars and running weird mini adventures, planes without magic so they had to get clever, or making the problem a diplomatic one, so they didn't have the ability to just roll to hit their way through the story. The narratives generally unfolded as mysteries or gather games, so they couldn't just power through it.

As for time and space, the characters could go explore all kinds of weird stuff. Mystara had some strange space stuff going on.. the immortals all lived on the moon, and an area called Spillworld where the planes were pouring into space and could be seen from Mystara. There was also high tech stuff in Mystara, nuclear powered magics, ray guns and space ships were all there. You even could travel to Earth as an Immortal in IM1 (if memory serves).

I also made the characters interact with their churches and clerics in order to maintain or gain power, and they had to sort of keep up with the mortal world. I had an immortal that became the patron for a family so they kind of checked in on the different generations and once went and found their souls in the mortal afterlife.

As for random encounters, I never really liked them even at low levels. There's just something in my brain that has trouble working out the ecology of, say, a group of fairies wandering through an area where there was a group of giant spiders in the week before and whatnot... so whenever the characters encountered something, there was some rhyme or reason to it, often just adding to the theme or flavor of the story.

As for the rules, well... back then I don't think anyone really ran a straight-from-the-book campaign at any level. In decades of playing every week I don't think there was a game that went by without at least one fight over the rules or debate about how to codify some new situation. You can see this in the way AD&D published and applied random books on all kinds of weird topics. So when we couldn't find a rule, we just crowbarred one in and kept playing. It really wasn't until third edition where I noticed the rules were treated as sacrosanct.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Your last paragraph is gold. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Dec 4 '19 at 20:19

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