The ancient text says, “The third Sign will darken the skies and the Havoc Dimension shall spring forth.”
The text fails to give any additional details. You have no idea when the third sign will signal or when the apocalypse will begin.
You need more information – how do you go about getting it?
Your physical body collapses as a glowing projection of your visage rises from the floor and floats in the center of the room. You fly out of the room and across the sea toward the College of the Valkyries, a mage school. You go into the classroom of Quin the Undying, a noted historian nearly as old as you.
“Quin,” you say, startling the man in your current form, “I need your help.”
“Hello to you too, Scarathorn.” Quin adjusts his garments and regains his composure. “What do I owe the pleasure?”
“Have you heard of the Day of Reckoning? It’s an apocalypse level event that is coming to our realm – some sort of dimensional collision with a place called the Havoc Dimension.”
“The Day of Reckoning doesn’t ring a bell, but the Havoc Dimension, that’s a nasty place. I think I have a scroll or two about it here,” Quin says.
He rummages in his desk and produces two thick scrolls. He lays them on a nearby table for you to peruse. The scroll identifies the Havoc Dimension as a prison created in the Deity Wars from the dawn of time. Its sole occupant is the god of agony, Dysteriphan.
He was placed in the prison when his uprising against the elder gods failed. The scroll fails to mention anything regarding the Day of Reckoning, or how to stop the Havoc Dimension from combining with your own.
You thank Quin for his time and return to your physical body. There’s more work to be done.
You create the necessary protective circles and runes to hold Selandria at bay when she appears, and invoke her name using the proper invocations.
In a flash of light, the deity appears. Though capable of taking innumerable forms, today she is a tall, hawkish woman with a sword in her right hand and a book in her left. Without taking her eyes off the page, she raises her sword in your direction and says, “Speak peasant, and choose your words carefully. Wasted time is wasted knowledge, and I’d hate to kill you for wasting mine today.”
You say, “I beseech thee, all-knowing Selandria, to tell me what you know of the Day of Reckoning and the Havoc Dimension. The Signs of Reckoning are upon us, and I wish to do what I can to save this realm.”
“Well spoken,” Selandria replies with a smile. “Eons ago, my brethren and I imprisoned Dysteriphan, the god of agony, into a prison of our own creation, the Havoc Dimension. And he would have stayed trapped there forever. But your ancestors, in their arrogance, used their magics to open a gateway and explore the dimension, not knowing what lie beyond. Dysteriphan killed the explorers and little by little has worked on expanding and manipulating that gateway. After hundreds of years, he has finally altered it enough to allow him to break free and unleash his world upon you. The Signs of Reckoning are simply his final preparations impacting your reality. Now that I have given you the knowledge you seek, release your spell or suffer the wrath of infinite knowledge.”
Selandria’s eyes burn with a frightening intensity. You thank her for her insight, release her from your grasp, and try to figure out how to take down a god.
With your new knowledge of Dysteriphan, and the third Sign likely only days away, you have been scouring your store of spells and teachings looking for a way to protect the world from the agony god’s wrath. In the event that you cannot defeat him outright, you’ve identified several spells you can cast to help mitigate Dysteriphan’s impact on this world. But due to their intensive nature, you only have the spell components, time, and energy available to cast one of them. Which do you choose?
Knowing that the third Sign and apocalypse will occur in less than a week, you choose Preserve Life and use your energies to expand the spell to every person across the world. For the next 10 days, every man, woman, and child is invulnerable to death. Though they may be harmed, no injury they receive will be life threatening. You hope that this buff will give them a fighting chance should you fail in your fight against Dsyteriphan.
You augment and cast Second Chance across the world. This unique spell cannot be broken or dispelled, and is only activated upon death. When an individual blessed with this charm perishes, their body heals and they return to life. But it only works once. You hope that by giving everyone in the realm a second chance will give them the strength they need to fight Dysteriphan, should you fail to vanquish him on your own.
Channeling the energy needed to protect the entire world has drained you, and you retire for the evening. In the morning, instead of being greeted by the rising sun, you awaken to a swirling mass of darkness blotting out the sky. The third Sign has arrived, and Dysteriphan approaches.
You jump out of bed as fast as you can and gather your combat staff and satchel of spell ingredients. You make a silent prayer to any gods that may be listening before exiting your chambers and facing this apocalypse head-on.
You walk into an open field and shout at the sky, “Dysteriphan! I, Scarathorn the Recluse, wish to challenge you for the fate of this world. If I win, you must retreat to the Havoc Dimension and never return. If I lose, you may torment me for all eternity. This is my offer to you.”
A hideous laugh booms all around you. The force of the voice that responds knocks you back as you hear two words. “I accept.”
Rushing wind sweeps across the plains and coalesces into a humanoid shape. Dysteriphan’s smooth grey skin is covered by black armor. He carries a bloody mace and his empty hand is a nimbus of glowing green energy. He brandishes the mace and smiles, waiting for you initiate the battle.
How will you attempt to defeat Dysteriphan?
You call upon all of the deities you know and summon warriors in their image to aide you in battle. Beams of light streak down from the darkened sky and form angels, majestic beasts, and powerful warriors. This legion of light charges Dysteriphan. But it is all for naught. He points his free hand at each warrior and a bolt of green energy strikes them down, turning brilliant apparitions into sick, decaying husks that wither and die.
Undeterred, you create a force field around yourself and charge at Dysteriphan. He’s too powerful for you to defeat alone, but you hope that he’s not powerful enough to take on you and an actual god or two.
Still charging, you magically increase your speed and density, turning your protective barrier into a wrecking ball. Behind Dysteriphan, you use the last of your energy to conjure a portal to the godly realm of Tirithel.
You slam into Dysteriphan and despite his massive size, you manage to knock him off balance and both of you tumble into the new portal. You land on an exquisite marble floor – dozens of deities surround you and Dysteriphan, who climbs to his feet. Speaking quickly, you say, “My godly friends, I know you do not interfere with the mortal realm. That’s why I brought this threat to you. You imprisoned Dysteriphan once. I ask you to do so again. I will personally destroy the gateway to the Havoc Dimension on my realm, but I need your help to vanquish this fiend.”
You look tentatively at what appears to be the leader of this godly pantheon. He smiles coldly and says, “We will do as you ask mortal, but do not presume that you can order us around. If you cross into our home again, your long life will end exceedingly quickly.”
He snaps his fingers and you are transported back to the mortal world. Now that the crisis is averted, you spend the next month learning how to close the portal for good. As you cast the necessary spells, you finally breathe a sigh of relief knowing your world is safe from the terror of Dysteriphan.
Dysteriphan stares incredulously as you say, “Hello. Do you mind putting down your mace so we could have a quick chat?”
Bewildered by your nonchalant demeanor, Dysteriphan falters before replying. You take his hesitation as your opportunity. You quickly create dozens of protective wards around your consciousness as you separate mind from body and invade the mind of the god of agony.
You enter into a fractured hellscape – madness batters your very being as you slowly come to terms with what you see. All there is … is agony. No joy, no happiness, no sadness, not even anger. You realize Dysteriphan is so evil because he knows nothing but suffering. He simply wants others to feel the same as him.
Your wards are weakening from the exposure to such a poisoned mind.
“But if agony is the poison,” you wonder, “what would be the cure?”
You gather every happy memory you’ve experienced into a ball of pure good, followed by balls of pure sadness, pure contentment, and pure joy. Soon you have a spectrum of emotions held within your consciousness, ready to escape. So you let them.
The spheres of emotion burrow into Dysteriphan’s mind and explode, imbuing him with your memories and knowledge. Hundreds of years of emotion fight against the all-consuming agony of Dysteriphan’s mind.
Avoiding the mental chaos, you retreat back to your body and stand up as Dysteriphan whirls about grasping his temples. Minutes pass, and he collapses. When he awakes, the eyes that once glowed with hate return to a natural golden hue. He shakily stands and asks, “What have you done to me? I feel…strange.”
“Dysteriphan, the agony that has consumed you has finally been tempered. What you are experiencing are my memories. My thoughts. My feelings. My compassion. I hope that they have spurred your own compassion and are willing to leave my world in peace,” you say.
He looks at you and says, “Thank you. For too long I have been tormented by my own agony. You have freed me from my real prison – one of my own making.”
He waves his hand and the gateway to the Havoc Dimension collapses. He bows reverently to you, and disappears. You hope that Dysteriphan will remain peaceful going forward. But if he reverts back to his agonistic nature, you will be ready to fight him again.