Are you looking for some way to shake things up with your gaming group? Why not turn the tables and have them try on a different meat suit for a change!
Introduce an item, animal or NPC somehow tied to a pantheon of gods. Give your party the task of escorting that item or NPC to a holy city or temple to ensure its safety and set them on their way. Some potential examples include:
- Escorting someone from a distant monastery to the capital city of a kingdom for a grand event (birth, wedding, ritual sacrifice…). The individual might be a prince or princess safely and secretly stashed away from enemies of the state. Or maybe it’s a high-ranking religious figure needed to officiate a particular event. Or perhaps it’s someone selected to become the next ritual sacrifice to a particular monster, evil NPC, or god.
- Escorting a blessed weapon, animal (or animals) or item for similar reasons.
One night on the road, everyone falls into a deep, magically-induced slumber around the campsite and they wake up… In the bodies of the gods. This works best if one member of the group is pious or a cleric with some knowledge of the particular pantheon associated with the items, people, or places they are helping with. It works even better if the group has no clue what deities they’ve come to inhabit, as they have a bit of a mystery to unravel as to who they’ve become and what their abilities are. Any pantheon would work, so be sure to find something fun for the players to explore a bit.
If the players are squeamish about playing differently gendered characters, keep that in mind, but the GM can choose to roll randomly among the gods in the pantheon or among deities of a particular gender. Pick an equal number of gods to match the number of members of the party and roll to see who assumes which role.
For instance, if you have a group of four PCs escorting the item, animals, or objects, come up with a short list of four deities from the related pantheon. If you are playing in an area with Greek gods, perhaps pick Aphrodite, Apollo, Athena, and Hades. Or you could use an all-female set like Aphrodite, Artemis, Athena, and Hestia. Or an all-male cast with Apollo, Ares, Hades, and Poseidon. (If you want to keep them on their toes, let them assume the roles of the primordial Greek deities, which most folks know little about – though really any relatively unknown pantheon would have the same effect!)
Once they’ve assumed the roles, let them explore them. If they are unaware of the pantheon, let them figure out who they are based on interactions with the other gods or demigods. Let them discover what abilities and powers they may have at their disposal. About the time they figure out some significant abilities, it’s probably time to send them back to their regular bodies.
This body swap could last an hour, a day, a month, a year… And when the PCs are returned to their bodies, they will be in a different location from where they were when they started. Half the fun is figuring out what the gods may have done with them while they were away.