Love the setting implied here:
Everybody knows that you can only push the Hegemonic Empire so far, because they’ll send 676 hit points of gargantuan beat-down to your most awesome trade city or sacred temple or whatever, and that’ll be the end of that. Of course all the other kingdoms hate these bastards, because every fifty years or so the Empire crushes something just because they can. There’s a major city in the world that was destroyed in living memory and everyone still talks about it.Irreverent Reading: D&D 5E Monster Manual – Letters T,U,V – Its lair is the world, and existing is its action. Or, 3 Ways of Looking at a Tarrasque.
Let’s daydream about this premise, think about what the other standard D&D folk might do:
Tieflings would have a platoon of 13 Pit Fiends bound to the Hellcrown of the Witch-King of the Fiendlands Sure, they wouldn’t be able to take on the Tarrasque head-on but they rely on the threat of the 13 destroying the HE capital while the Tarrasque destroyed one of the 13 damned cities. For now, the threat of mutually assured destruction is holding the HE at bay and the Damned Cities live on.
Dragonborn would rely on their links to dragons. Cold War loremasters would keep careful tally of the sleep cycles and age category of the various dragons the Chromatic Council and Platinum Dukes could call on. Maybe it was one of the Dragonborn cities that was decimated most recently when one Great Wyrm fell asleep and another was killed by adventurers funded by the Hegemonic Empire.
Halflings would rely on the fact that the shires are either hidden or too small and spread out to be easily decimated. Are they overlooked by the HE? Do we have a Big Shire that could be a viable target?
Orcs, they were probably the first to have a city destroyed and the second and the third. Maybe they refuse to found a new city until a messiah warlord is born who can kill the Tarrasque.
Elves rely on having cities that can easily draw up the Feywild as a dimensional curtain. There are rumors the HE can move the Tarrasque through the planes and the Hegemon often rattles their saber about the pompous elves. Rumors also abound that moving the Tarrasque into another plane would sever the Hegemonic Crown’s ability to control it.
Drow are probably in alliance with the Tieflings after the HE showed them how well the Tarrasque dug tunnels into the Underdark during some “mining drills” a few decades back. The Matriarch cut a deal with the Tiefling Witch-King fast after that and started researching options that might be buried in the deeps.
Warforged are in the process of building their first city and there are rumors they are building a sentient weapon. The HE is eager to test out the Tarrasque against it.
Gnomes had their homes behind illusions but know damned well that won’t stop doom for long. Are there HE-loyalist Gnomes who hide the Tarrasque’s true location behind powerful illusions?
Dwarves have had holdfast’s destroyed, no doubt. I dig the image of dwarven mountain holds with claw marks gouged into them. Maybe there is still a trade embargo on the dwarves, so all of their magical weapons and crafts are black market only. There is a young prince who is on the verge of getting the embargo lifted for their holdfasts, eager to make a profit.
Humans, for the most part, pay their taxes on time and bend the knee to the HE. Any rebels make sure to never gather up forces all in one place for too long. Nomadic rebels probably get some funding from various nation-states outlined above just in case. Any people without a city or castle or some walls are depicted as terrorists by the HE’s propaganda bards.
A century ago, a human pantheon delivered omens and prophesies of a demi-god who would slay the Tarrasque. The Demi-God was born and raised in secret, always on the run. Openly declaring rebellion Holy City sent the demi-god of destiny after the doomsday weapon. The Tarrasque swatted the godling down, left the holy city as a crumbling ruin.
Shit, I’d play that.
Thanks, Too Much Content.