|Edition||AD&D 2nd edition|
|Series||The Great Modron March, Dead Gods|
Dead Gods is an adventure module for the second edition of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. The book was published in 1997, and was written by Monte Cook, with cover art by rk post and interior art by rk post, Adam Rex, and Josh Timbrook.
The adventure was a loose sequel to The Great Modron March by Colin McComb and Monte Cook, and carries over characters and themes from The Throne of Bloodstone by Douglas Niles and Michael Dobson and Vault of the Drow by Gary Gygax.
Dead Gods involves an attempt by the demon lord Orcus, reduced to an undead, sub-divine status after being murdered by the demigoddess Kiaransalee some years before, to regain his former life, realm, and divinity and achieve vengeance for his loss.
The book also contains a second, smaller adventure, "Into the Light," which is unrelated to the main plot or the world of Oerth.
The adventure states that Orcus died "long ago," (page 6) "years long past" (page 8), and "centuries ago" (page 66). Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss, page 128, also states that Orcus was killed centuries in the past. However, Dead Gods also states that after killing Orcus, Kiaransalee gave his wand to two of her living drow followers, Kestod and Erehe, to dispose of in the fourth layer of Pandemonium. This must have only happened recently, since Erehe only became a follower of Kiaransalee in exchange for his mistress Verdaeth's alliance with Kiaransalee's church after the Greyhawk Wars.
Orcus's death presumably occurred shortly after he was weakened by the theft of his wand following the events of Throne of Bloodstone (which was referred to on page 58 of Dead Gods as a past event). Throne of Bloodstone was dated 1147 in that module and, presuming this was in the DaleReckoning calendar of the Forgotten Realms setting, this equates to 367 CY on Oerth, which is certainly centuries ago. This would give Orcus's wand time to regenerate (said to take a century in Throne of Bloodstone, page 82), so Kiaransalee could have it hidden away by Kestod and Erehe later on.
This dating is undermined by the Forgotten Realms setting later placing the events of Throne of Bloodstone in 1359 DR (for example, in Dragons of Faerûn, page 9, among many other sources), which is equivalent to 579 CY on Oerth. This would make the time Orcus spent dead and inert, with Kiaransalee ruling his layer of Thanatos in his place, much shorter.
Connections with Return to the Tomb of Horrors
Dead Gods has several connections to the contemporary adventure Return to the Tomb of Horrors by Bruce R. Cordell. On page 6 of Dead Gods, Acererak's meddling with the Negative Energy Plane is said to be one of the reasons for Orcus rising as an undead god. On page 52, the adventurers have the opportunity to visit the dead world of Ranais, the planet from which the lost city of Moil, Acererak's current stronghold, was torn by Orcus long ago.
Dead Gods was ranked the 14th greatest Dungeons & Dragons adventure of all time by Dungeon magazine in 2004, on the 30th anniversary of the Dungeons & Dragons game.
- Boyd, Eric L. and Eytan Bernstein. Dragons of Faerûn. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2006.
- Cook, Monte. Dead Gods. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1997.
- Dobson, Michael, and Douglas Niles. The Throne of Bloodstone. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1988.
- Mona, Erik, James Jacobs, et al. "The 30 Greatest D&D Adventures of All Time." Dungeon #116. Bellevue, WA: Paizo Publishing, 2004.
- Stark, Ed, James Jacobs, and Erik Mona. Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2006.
- Dead Gods on Wikipedia.