Immortals Database in Notion
Welcome back to our build out of a D&D campaign management system in Notion. In the last case study, we looked at factions. Today, we are going to turn our focus to higher powers.
Gods are a staple of fantasy and Dungeons and Dragons worlds. The idea of gods that meddle, and act on a cosmic scale harken back to tales told thousands of years ago. Creation tales from across the world fill Earth’s mythos (Egyptian, Norse, Celtic, Hindu and so on). Gods are perfect fodder for campaign stories. Even if your gods take a hands-off approach, there will be characters trying to act out their divine will.
But D&D has other beings that, well, aren’t quite gods. But they aren’t mortal either. The demon lords of the Abyss, the archdevils of the Nine Hells, the archfey of the Feywild and the darklords of Ravenloft are all examples of immortals. I suppose its up for debate if your players can truly kill these “immortals” or not. That’s left up to the dungeon master to decide.
For me, these larger than life presences warrant special treatment. It didn’t feel right including them in my standard characters database for all the other NPCs. They have so many different defining characteristics. Most NPCs aren’t powerful enough to grant clerical domain powers. Or extend pact magic to warlocks.
Here are the descriptive properties I include in my immortals database.
|Name||Title||The main name of the immortal.|
|Type||Select||The type of immortal. Examples include: god, demon lord, archfey, archdevil, and elemental lord|
|Themes||Multi-Select||A tag system to tie themes to your immortals. Each immortal has one or two central themes and possibly some supporting themes.|
|Masks/Aliases||Text||Alternative titles for the immortal. In some cases, your god may be revered as something entirely different in one region than the next, despite being the same entity. These are masks.|
|Symbol||Text||The main symbol associated with your immortal.|
|Alignment||Multi-Select||The immortals alignment.|
|Cleric Domains||Multi-Select||Cleric player characters that worship this immortal would select one of the listed domain options as their subclass.|
|Warlock Pacts||Multi-Select||Warlock player characters that pact with this immortal would select one of the listed pacts as their subclass.|
Immortals tie to a lot of different databases in my Notion system. They include:
- Locations. Are there specific locations that are the immortal’s domain?
- Enemies – Characters. Do any NPCs act against the immortal?
- Allies – Characters. Do any NPCs serve or work with the immortal?
- Enemies – Factions. Do any factions act against the immortal?
- Allies – Factions. Do any factions serve or work with the immortal?
- Enemies – Immortals. What immortals oppose this immortal?
- Allies – Immortals. What immortals [generally] cooperate with this immortal?
- Fronts. Has the immortal directly enacted a front within your campaign?
Here is a sample of the immortals database:
Notion Templates for Immortals
Currently, I have found two templates useful for filling out immortals:
You can include a lot more information about gods than you would for any other character. Most characters don’t need information about:
- The tenets of their faith
- Duties of the Priesthood
- Places of Worship
- Ceremonies, Signs and Portents
- Role playing hints for followers of the god
Gods have a lot more pomp and circumstance to them. They are important. Characters in your world revere them. Or revile them. Why do they act the way they do? Why do their followers act the way they do? Religion can help add life to your campaign. You can make it feel real by the way characters interact with their gods. After all, the gods are real in your world. There are people that have drawn divine magical powers from their belief and faith in these beings. When designing your deity template, capture the information that you need for every single god. What helps you make them feel real within the world?
Remember to capture what you’ll use at the game table, or what will help you run the game better. Worldbuilding for worldbuilding sake is fine. But, it is not necessary. Keep it actionable.
Archfey, Archdevils, Demon Lords, Oh My!
Non-Gods are going to borrow elements from the Universal NPC Template. But again, are much more than a normal NPC. Here are some suggestions to add to your template:
- The living embodiment of certain theme(s). For example, the archfey known as the Prince of Frost is an embodiment of winter. His heart turned to ice when a lover spurned him. He lives isolated, alone, and wrathful. Vengeance is a dish best served cold.
- They will often control domains with a magical influence. How do they do so? You’ll want to capture their actual domain within your Locations database. But you can and should reference it here.
- The players probably can kill an immortal. But, only through some esoteric means. What is its weakness? True names, or a cold iron dagger forged in a kingdom long lost ago?
- Origin Story. Backstories are often overrated. But when you run a figure that is larger than life, you will benefit from knowing its history.
Immortals are some of the most interesting characters in our story. They are figures that can actually put a powerful band of adventurers in their place. They can be a persistent threat (or ally) that emerges time and again in your campaign. And when they players have had enough and want to destroy them once and for all? Well, that’s a whole adventure in itself.
Next time, we’ll talk about the traps and puzzles database.
Feature Art Credit: Ede László