The World Born Dead
High Adventure in… Ysgard!
Ysgard is, as far as I can tell, a cautionary tale about gluttony. Or maybe it’s a parable about how even well meaning Chaos is a terrible thing. The point is that on initial appearances Ysgard is a wonderful place. The forests are lush and inviting, the mountains vistas are expansive without being particularly dangerous, and best of all – as soon as you appear in Ysgard, a bunch of jovial and attractive people invite you to join them in a luxurious feast… and maybe more. On first glance, therefore, this place is all good. It’s even all Good in that while you’re here your wounds heal at an accelerated rate.
Here’s the part that sucks: every single person in Ysgard is gruesomely and painfully killed every single day without fail, and then they are True Resurrected in time to do it all again the next day. For those of you who saw the excellent final season of Angel, Ysgard is the special Hell Dimension that Gunn was condemned to when he betrayed his friends. You get a happy life in idyllic surroundings and it is cut horribly short by the agony of death every single day.
So you might be wondering: How can D&D even happen in a world where death and life are equally meaningless and doled out in full to all participants on both sides? The answer lies in the fact that you can succeed or fail in a goal as an independent variable as to whether you are dead (just ask the practitioners of any major modern religion about the founding prophet of their religion). But it also lies in the fact that just because the plane true resurrects your character every day, it doesn’t mean you can’t be killed in a permanent fashion.
Campaign seed: Capture the Flag: Here on Ysgard, it is an inescapable fact of life that you are going to be painfully disemboweled every day. But exactly when that happens is different for each person each day. The plane makes sure you don’t get out alive, but it doesn’t keep a rigid schedule about these things. As such, it is entirely possible to accomplish things before you get killed each day and have your progress remain when you wake up again. Any task that you can accomplish in stages interspersed by being horribly killed on an irregular basis can be achieved if you put your mind to it. Things can be built or moved, places can be traveled to, secrets can be learned. Heck, if you put your mind to it, you might even be able to get out of Ysgard.
Campaign Seed: Assassins of Ysgard: Some people need killing, and a lot of them end up in Ysgard where they will get more killing than most people see in a lifetime in just two days. But some people are actually supposed to stay dead, and that’s… hard to arrange on Ysgard. Not impossible of course, planar oases, petrification, imprisonment, and barghests can all ensure that a man removed stays removed. There are interested parties that will pay substantial amounts for that kind of intervention.