Writer's Block - Creating a Dilemma for a PC

Hey guys, I’ve hit a bit of a writer’s block and would very much appreciate it if some of you could help me brainstorm some ideas for my next session. Here’s some backstory:

  • Next session is going to be a sidequest (if the PCs decide to do it that is)
  • One of my players is playing an aged necromancer, possessed by a demon (Alternate Form II Feat)
  • He came to me between sessions and asked if I could put in some magical item or potion that would make his character young again
  • He said this is because he finds it hard to imagine his character doing certain feats of agility or strength but I think he just regrets picking an old man as his character (too many incontinence jokes from the other players maybe)

I usually wouldn’t necessarily do something like this but I get the feeling this is directly affecting his enjoyment of the game and I thought it sounded like a fun sidequest idea. Here’s where the writer’s block comes in:

Can you guys think of something I could do that would create an interesting dilemma for his character? His backstory involves him being quite power hungry in his past, eventually leading to him getting possessed by a demon, blacking out and killing his own acolytes, something he deeply regrets. So despite being a necromancer/summoner he’s not strictly an ‘evil’ character.

I don’t want to punish him mechanically for becoming young again but I want to create something that adds to his character’s story - before him lies the key to youth, possibly even immortality, but if he takes it… something happens?

An idea I had was having the party track down someone who is researching immortality and holding demonic rituals, sacrificing virgins etc. Party goes in, stops ritual and somehow this player gets separated from the rest of the group, left alone in the ritual room he’s given a solitary moment where he can choose to finish the process and claim eternal youth for himself. Possibly having to kill an npc to complete the ritual.

I think this could be an interesting character moment but it doesn’t necessarily create a lasting effect or downside for him. If those of you who are more familiar with the mechanics of the game can think or anything then feel free to throw ideas my way.

Extra note: He frequently (usually when he kills someone) has to make a contested will roll against his alternate demon form to remain in control of it. Perhaps something that makes this harder for him to succeed? So far he’s come out on top every time.

I’ve toyed with this concept myself, see the Mantle of Immortality I’ve created. I know this is not exactly what they’re looking for though, as getting young would take as long as getting old with how i created it.
Feel free to change and use it if you like it!

I really like your idea on how to achieve this! Personally I wouldn’t make it harder for them to resist the demon immediatly. Consequences for completing the ritual would be appropriate though. Maybe consider noone finding out because they start aging backwards slowly at first, until after a week or two the party notices them looking younger and start asking questions. You know, put it as a story element rather than a mechanical one.

That’s just my two copper pieces.


I’ll add the link to the item in a few minutes when I’m not on mobile anymore.


There we go: Vrenshrrg's Extraordinary Items

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The idea of them ageing backwards is really interesting - that was my other issue with the idea I’ve been rolling around. Ideally I want it set up like this:

  • PC is separated from Party
  • PC is given moment of solitude where he can do something horrible to achieve his goals, without the party necessarily knowing he’s responsible for it
  • ???
  • profit

If they discovered him immediately afterwards looking very youthful then that would spoil the idea.

This is assuming I use that idea - I’m not completely sold on it yet which is why I was wondering if anyone else could throw their hat into the ring. Do you have a link or something to your Mantle of Immortality?


Slowly ageing backwards could be good character development, but just be aware that you should probably do something similar for other players (some character development) so they do not feel left out.

Vrenshrrg’s Mantle of Immortality could be a good item for it, you just need to choose if that is the only thing you want it to do (Pathfinder/DnD version) or could it possibly do more (original version).

I do not think you should punish your player, but there needs to be a consequence of his choice. You talked about making his after-kill roll more difficult, but what if the mantle suppresses the demon completely. He gets it on accidentally. When it is on he can’t hear the demon, and after some time, it makes him younger. But it only works while it is on, when he takes it off he gets hit with Charmed Bane Power Level 3 immediately. That way he will get the “perk” of being younger and it will suppress the power-hungry demon of his past, but he can never take the mantle off, not even when he sleeps, or he will be a demon for 24h (if he fails his Resolve resist rolls 3 times).
Of course, after the 24h the demon has his fun and he returns to his human form. At this point, your player has a choice of putting the mantle again and stay young with the fear of the demon that is locked inside him or to not put it on and start to return back to his old self before the mantle.
Maybe, what I propose is too strong, but it will give everyone a lot of material for RP.

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His acolytes presumably had loved ones. Perhaps one of them has the key to making the PC young, and the PC has to come to terms with the aftermath of his thirst for power. For extra fun, the NPC knows what the PC did, and that causes a lot of messy complications.


Another idea i had thinking about your proposed scenario is this:

What if they indeed get to finish a ritual for immortality, but it turns out one of their Acolytes survived. The Acolyte decided to flee and live a simple and quiet life in order to avoid being pursued. He settled down, started a family, trying to forget what happened.

Now the character is standing in the ritual chamber, fate brought this very Acolyte bound and gagged back to their previous master. After a moment of silence they recognize eachother and they realize what completing the ritual would mean.

At this moment they would have the choice of growing as a character, resisting the demon, possibly gaining control of the transformation and sparing their former Acolyte or eternal life at the cost of forever having to fear the demon and live with having finished of their own will what the demon started.

If they decide to spare the Acolyte, you could either give them control of the transformation or make it easier to resist, or you could even allow them to switch Alternate Form for Companion as the demon is dismissed by their mercy and the Acolyte remembers why they became one in the first place and starts to travel with the party.

Make sure to let them do this choice freely, the demon could whisper in their ear but wouldn’t have any real control. Otherwise an important character decision and story development is only dependent on a dice roll, and that’s to be avoided I think.

After a completed ritual it’s completely fair to let the demon take control without them getting to save against it though, as the dark deed temporarily empowers it. I would shy away from inflicting a permanent penalty of some sort.


The original version is extremely powerful and really something a character should need to work for for a loooong time and have a great many obstacles to overcome to get it.
The weaker one could work, but the way you desribe it makes it so the Feat Points for Alternate Form would be essentially wasted as long as they have the Mantle on. I like the idea of being dependant on the item though.

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You are completely right. I thought about giving some suggestions but I totally forgot when I typed this.
Maybe while the mantle is on the player has Diehard (2) (the demon still will not let him die), Lightning Reflexes II (2) and Indomitable Endurance I (2) (he is younger, so he is quicker and more resilient).
As we do not know the attributes of the player, I do not know what he can have for other feats.
@Obsidiax maybe you just tell him to pick something new.

EDIT: Or he just keeps the feet but can choose new form as he is physically younger but his mind is of an old man.

These are just suggestions I hope that we are helping and not making your decision harder. :smiley:

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First off thanks to everyone for chipping in! Definitely got my creative juices flowing and I really liked that ageing backwards idea.

Solid ideas but I’m already doing something with his Acolytes, a few of them survived and turned their lives around, almost being slaughtered by a demon you helped summon has a way of making you revaluate your life choices. A few of them went the extra mile and joined a religious order that aims to eradicate all forms of necromancy and dark magic. I suspect they’ll have some unfinished business with this PC a little further down the line.

Definitely, this PC has had the spotlight for a while so at the end of this session I’ll be throwing in a plot hook for the following session that will focus more on the other players.

Not at all! I think I’m going to avoid certain boons, banes and feats just because I don’t want the character to receive something simply for being young that the other, younger PCs don’t also have by virtue of their age. Since you guys have put in the time and effort to help out I’m gonna explain my current session outline below so you can see what I’ve come up with:


  • The PCs discover a mining prison where prisoners have been going missing
  • The guards even hired a pair of Wardens (mercenary group another PC belongs to) to investigate but he never returned
  • As they investigate they discover an abandoned mineshaft that has been magically concealed
  • Cue an onslaught of magical traps and puzzles
  • They discover an old mage at the end of the shaft, conducting some kind of ritual, they don’t know what or why
  • Cue boss fight
  • PC will be separated from party as the battle ends and given the information he needs to understand and potentially complete the ritual, in isolation he can choose to complete the ritual and then lie to his party or save the prisoner
  • I wanted the sacrifice to be a prisoner because it creates a more grey situation, is a prisoner’s life worth less? He could be a murderer or a simple thief
  • Whatever he chooses, it turns out the prisoner about to be sacrificed is actually one of the missing Wardens, the other PC can identify him
  • Amongst the now dead mage’s gear and research materials are the Wardens’ equipment, one item in particular stands out to the Warden PC - a silver greatsword, used by the man who recruited him and trained him (no idea what I’m going to do with this plot hook at the moment, I’ll figure it out before the next session)

Completing the Ritual:

PC will be given a Perfect Amulet of Youth, this instantly reverts him to his prime. He will immediately have to do a will roll with disadvantage (as a one-off) against the demon for taking a life for selfish reasons and triggering the demon’s bloodlust - the party will have to subdue him here. The amulet in question contains the souls of numerous prisoners who were sacrificed to create it, as the game progresses these souls will find ways to torment him. I haven’t decided on the specifics yet but the effects will take a while to materialise anyway - this is where I might play with some boons/banes/cursed item ideas but my session is in 6 hours and I have a dungeon to plan.

I may also transfer the Demon’s bloodlust flaw to the PC in his human form. Whenever he takes a life using this flaw, he will get a disadvantage to the resulting will roll.

Saving the Prisoner

I still want to reward the PC for making the right choice though I don’t want him to know this until after the fact. If he saves the prisoner then he will be able to take the Imperfect Amulet - which will work much like the mantle of immortality. He will begin to age backwards, fairly rapidly, though the power of the amulet is limited and only reverts him by a few decades, over quite a few sessions, before shattering. While the amulet remains in-tact, the demon’s influence will also be subdued to a manageable level. Giving him a much needed break form it’s power over him - until the amulet shatters of course.

This will also have the added and non-mechanical benefit of endearing him somewhat to the other players, they currently don’t trust him and are only travelling with him out of necessity. I’m hoping this action will make them more of a cohesive group that potentially wants to help him with his demon problem rather than judging him for it.

I think this hits all the points I wanted it to, both outcomes create lasting effects and potential new plot threads, both have an upside and a downside and the situation itself isn’t as clear cut right/wrong as it would be to sacrifice someone who is completely innocent. This isn’t a huge character moment, like it would be with @kenada’s and @Vrenshrrg’s Acolyte ideas, but I’m saving them for something else…