A shrine? In a dungeon?

A shrine? In a dungeon?

Why would you build a shrine to a deity in an obscure section of dungeon where hardly anyone will pass by?  That is a question players should ask before rushing towards one!  There can be many reasons why a section of dungeon can contain a shrine and all of them make good adventure fodder for the scheming GM. 

The Worthiness Test.  Players naturally assume they have the skill and capability to undertake a given quest but The Gods are not always so obliging!  It may be necessary to undertake some particular challenge or task - closely linked to the nature of the deity in question - before proceeding.  Decide whether this is a group task, in which all benefit or fail, or whether each party member must undertake a tailored trial.  Failure needn't be the end of the adventure but you can apply some creative bonus or negative effects as befits the outcome.

The Doom-Laden Warning. It might be that there was a very good reason why the builders placed a shrine at this location; it acts as a ward and keeps something in (as well as adventurers out).  Not that your adventurers are going to let that get in the way of their questing, but at least they can't complain that no-one warned them! Ignoring a warning of this type should have consequences resulting from that deity's displeasure.  This can be a basis for your next adventure.

A Blessing.  One obvious use for a shrine might be to bestow some benefit to the party or an individual that they will later find useful.  This might allow you to increase the level of challenge at a later stage, knowing that the players have something to fall back on.  It can be a good idea to limit such a blessing to single use - ensuring it is used wisely and at the time of most need.

Divine Guidance. A shrine can provide essential information on the way forward.  The symbol may appear at later stages to guide the way or warn of impending danger.  Party members could make some offering at the shrine - decide on the level of guidance they each get based on how generous/appropriate the offering is.  (Obviously, a shrine surrounded by generous offerings has its own temptations so consider what result might follow if anyone was foolish enough to pocket anything they shouldn't!)

Creating deity profiles within Scabard will provide you with the ability to quickly integrate the most appropriate shrine to the quest. It also allows players to become familiar with your pantheon and their respective spheres of influence.
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