Godtrap

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Greyhawk magic item
Godtrap
Godtrap02.jpg
Zagyg's Godtrap, side view, as depicted in Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk (2007).
Type Artifact
Price
Body slot N/A
Caster level
Weight
First appearance Greyhawk Ruins (1990)

The Godtrap is an artifact beneath Castle Greyhawk created by Zagig Yragerne to imprison deities.

Description

Located in the level of Greyhawk Castle known as Zagig's Prison, the Godtrap is a nine-sided chamber of smoothly polished stone throbbing with magical energy, at least when in use. In the center of each wall is a nine-faceted gemstone, each 5 feet in diameter.

In the center of the floor is a nine-sided pyramid 50 feet in height. On its apex is balanced a stone disk encircled by a ring of crystal that bulges at nine points. Atop the disk, surrounded by a circle of runes, is a 10-foot-tall statue of Boccob, his hands before him with his palms facing up.

As an artifact, the Godtrap cannot be destroyed by ordinary means.

History

Zagyg's Godtrap, overhead view, as depicted in Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk (2007).

The Godtrap was the cumulation of Zagig's experiments in creating imprisoning artifacts that began with Prisons of Zagig.

In 505 CY, nine demigods of opposed alignments (including Iuz, Merikka, Rudd, Wastri, and Zuoken) were captured by Zagig and his allies and imprisoned in the Godtrap. Zagig used the opposing powers of the demigods to catalyze his own ascension to divinity.

In 570 CY, Robilar, with Riggby and his orc henchman Quij, released Iuz from his captivity beneath Castle Greyhawk at the secret behest of Mordenkainen, using magic Mordenkainen had provided. Bigby, Tenser, and Neb Retnar arrived in an attempt to stop the plan, but came too late, and all six adventurers battled the weakened demigod as he emerged from his slumber of decades. Although Bigby nearly succeeded in destroying Iuz's physical body with his Crushing Hand spell, Iuz managed to teleport away at the last minute. Riggby was left catatonic for days and Neb Retnar was corrupted by Iuz's fell energies, turning to evil and ultimately joining the cult of Tharizdun and the Scarlet Brotherhood.

The prison was weakened by the uncontrolled magic of Iuz's escape, and most of the other demigods escaped shortly thereafter. Zuoken remained incarcerated there until released by adventurers in 597 CY.

Lesser godtraps

Lesser godtraps are less ambitious attempts at copying Zagig's masterwork. They are large chambers containing three concentric cages; the cages may take various forms, from giant skulls, to crystals, to enchanted mirrors or paintings. In the center of the room is an apparatus (which may also take various forms) used as a focal point for the energy of the prisoners.

A lesser godtrap has three functions. Firstly, it can corrupt a gate spell to imprison summoned outsiders or elementals indefinitely after they agree to a period of service, fueling the apparatus in the center with their energy. Secondly, it can release any creature imprisoned in the lesser godtrap by touching the focal point and concentrating one one of the filled cages. The released beings may then do as they please. Thirdly, a fully charged lesser godtrap can be used to permanently imbue the user with the powers of the trapped creatures, transforming the user into an anarchic, axiomatic, celestial, fiendish, or half-elemental being.

Lesser godtraps are exceedingly fragile. If misused or damaged, it explodes in a magical conflagration, with a 20% chance of each creature in the room being sent to a random plane of existence due to the unleashed conjuration magic.

Creative origins

Zagig's prison of nine demigods was an encounter in the original Lake Geneva Greyhawk campaign run by Gary Gygax in 1974. Robilar (who was at the time 10th level) encountered the nine demigods on pedestals in a special "containment room," inspecting them very carefully before choosing to battle the one that looked to be the most formidable in combat, a fearsome-looking warrior with six arms. This turned out to be none other than Hextor, imprisoned because he had "crossed" Zagyg at some time in the past, or else asked for some favor in exchange for agreeing to be imprisoned voluntarily, each of the nine having done one or the other in order to earn their place in the dungeon.

In the ensuing battle with Hextor, the other demigods — Iuz, Ralishaz, Trithereon, Erythnul, Olidammara, Heironeous, Celestian, and Obad-Hai — were "accidentally" released, as loosing one seemed to produce a domino effect. The nine former prisoners began battling among themselves, and Robilar ran for his life while they were distracted.

Robilar later returned to the room, following the continuing sounds of battle, but when he arrived he found it entirely empty.

Another iteration of the trap, perhaps used as a homage or decoy, was placed in the Bottle City on the second level of the complex.

Publishing history

The Godtrap went entirely undescribed in published sources until the release of Greyhawk Ruins in 1990. There, the prison was presented as a useless ruin, it having been destroyed beyond all functionality by the escape of Iuz. In this version, the chamber was eight-sided, with Iuz's prison in the center of the room and the other eight prisons on the sides.

In Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk (2007), authors Jason Bulmahn, James Jacobs, and Erik Mona elected to present the Godtrap (first given that name in this source) as still completely functional. It became a cornerstone of the adventure's plot, with the primary villain using it in an attempt to increase in power in a manner similar to how Zagig had done centuries before.

Bibliography

  • Mobley, Blake, and Timothy B. Brown. Greyhawk Ruins. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1990.

External link