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For Duty & Deity (2e)

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For over a decade, mystery has surrounded the fate of the lost goddess of trade and wealth, Waukeen. The Golden Lady disappeared during the Time of Troubles and has not been heard from since. Now, in Marpenoth in the Year of the Tankard (1370 DR), a young prophet suffers from disturbing, divine visions that reveal a beautiful, golden-tressed woman imprisoned on a far plane of existence by some great evil.

The leader of Waukeen's church believes that these visions mean Waukeen is alive but trapped in the deadly and dangerous Abyss. A party of adventurers is dedicated to peeling back the mystery of the Golden Lady's fate. Their route takes them to the plane-spanning Infinite Staircase and beyond, to the Abyss, the home of the demonic tanar'ri. The heroes must brave the dangers of the Abyss and rescue the lost goddess from the clutches of one of the most brilliant and dangerous of all Abyssal lords.

This stand-alone adventure was developed in concert with the Planescape adventure anthology Tales from the Infinite Staircase. They can be played separately. However, guidelines within both allow a Dungeon Master to use either product as a subplot for the other, creating new opportunities for player characters and extending the opportunity for adventure.

Product History

"For Duty & Deity" (1998), by Dale Donovan, is a Forgotten Realms adventure. It was published in May 1998.

About the Cover. Graz'zt offers Waukeen a heady drink.

Origins (I): For Crossovers & Crossmarketing. "For Duty & Deity" is a rather remarkable in how multipurpose its design is. To start off with, it's a crossover with "Tales from the Infinite Staircase" (1998), released the same month for the Planescape line. Or, at least it's sort of a crossover. Though the two adventures share the locale of the Infinite Staircase, there's no meaningful crossover of the plotlines — and in fact the levels of play are markedly different.

One of the interesting things about this crossover is that it claims that the Celestial Stairway seen in the Avatar books (1989) was actually the Infinite Staircase. The two descriptions don't necessarily match, but this appears to still be canon.

This was the second latter-day Forgotten Realms adventure to crossover, following "Castle Spulzeer" (1997), which was a tighter match for Ravenloft's "The Forgotten Terror" (1997).

Origins (II): For Demons & Devils. "For Duty & Deity" also offers a surprisingly strong look at demons, long forbidden by TSR. In fact, following on "Hellgate Keep" (1998) just a few months earlier, 1998 was becoming the year of the demon for D&D. Though "For Duty & Deity" wasn't on TSR's 1997 schedule, it's most likely that it originated with TSR, which makes the trend even more surprising given their bowdlerization in the early '90s.

The word demon is even used, not just tanr'ri!

Origins (III): For Deities & Demigods. "For Duty & Deity" also feels quite connected to the deity books that was coming out at the time: Faiths & Avatars (1996) and Powers & Pantheons (1998). Not only is "For Duty & Deity" based on a plot seed from Faiths & Avatars, but it's probably not an accident that they share an ampersand.

Origins (IV): Behind the Times. Finally, "For Duty & Deity" connects back to a much older Realms event: the Time of Troubles that was the heart of the Avatar event. That's where the goddess Waukeen went missing, a topic that had been occasionally touched upon in a decade's worth of books.

Adventure Tropes. The adventure is largely a series of episodic encounters, but there's the possibility to explore the cities and each section contains lists of "opportunities" that suggest additional things that could happen in each locale — due to either GM or player interest.

Ages of the Realms: 1370 DR. It is the Year of the Tankard.

Exploring the Realms: Amn. Before "For Duty & Deity" leaves the Realms, it offers some strong details on Athkatla, a port city in Amn.

Exploring the Great Wheel: The Abyss. Some of "For Duty & Deity" takes place on the Infinite Staircase, but it quickly plunges into the Abyss. Graz'zt's triple realm of the 45th through 47th layer is nicely mapped, and good detail is given to the city of Samora (on the 47th layer) and to Zrintor, the Viper Forest and the capital city of Zelatar (both on the 45th layer), with all of these locales being well mapped too.

NPCs of Note: A Brief History of Graz'zt. The big bad of the adventure is the demon lord Graz'zt, a demon lord created by Gary Gygax for S4: "The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth" (1982) and Monster Manual II (1983). He is the former prisoner (and lover) of Iggwilv and an important piece of Greyhawk Lore. Graz'zt's next major appearance was as part of the magic mystery tour of demon lords in H4: "Throne of Bloodstone" (1988), but he otherwise mostly lurked in the background of D&D mythology in the '80s.

At least that was the case at TSR. Gary Gygax got to use Graz'zt in his Gord the Rogue novels (1985-1988) following his departure from TSR and did so quite extensively. He even gave Graz'zt his own race of demons!

Back in the "real" D&D world, the only adventure to ever feature Graz'zt in a starring role was WGR5: "Iuz the Evil" (1993) — which is no surprise, since it's about his evil cambion son. His abyssal realm was then detailed in Planes of Chaos (1994), setting him up for his appearance here.

Thraxxia, the daughter of Graz'zt, also makes her debut in this adventure. She and Iuz should totally hang out some day.

An extensive history of all three would appear in Dragon #360 (2007), the first online-only issue of the magazine, after its print cancellation by Wizards.

NPCs of Note: A Brief History of Waukeen. The Forgotten Realms deity Waukeen first appeared in Jeff Grubb's home D&D campaign. Though Grubb had a detailed set of twenty-one deities (who later became the gods of Dragonlance), he let his players make up deities if they wished. Waukeen was one such, made by a player who wanted to worship the Walking Liberty Silver Dollar, which was shortened to Waukeen.

When Grubb was working with Ed Greenwood to create the Forgotten Realms Campaign Set (1987), he decided that the world needed a merchant god, and so Waukeen made the leap. You can still see her origins in the Campaign Set where she's called "Liberty's Maiden" and said to be a "relatively recent goddess". Grubb says that one other player-created god made its way into the Realms: Boof the Moonpenguin, a minor magic item masquerading as an artifact, whose story can be found in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons comic, issues #9-12 (August 1989-November 1989).

Grubb decided to offer Waukeen up for sacrifice in the Times to Trouble "to show that [they] were serious about reducing the number of gods in the pantheon". As a result, Waukeen became "the poster child for what happens when your god books and no one else picks up the slack." Sure enough, in Forgotten Realms Adventures (1990), we learn that "Waukeen was apparently destroyed during the Time of Troubles." By the time that the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (1993) appeared, all of her temples but one had been abandoned.

It was only with the advent of Faiths & Avatars (1996) that a new story appeared, revealing that she'd actually bargained to get off the plane and been captured by Graz'zt and so lost for over a decade … which is the seed of this adventure.

About the Creators. Donovan was an author and editor at TSR and Wizards in the late '90s and early '00s who authored numerous authorative Realms books. He'd previously contributed to Heroes' Lorebook (1996); in 1998 he would also author Empires of the Shining Sea (1998) and Villain's Lorebook (1998) for the Realms.

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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File Last Updated:
October 26, 2016
This title was added to our catalog on June 06, 2017.