Friday 25 September 2009

Crossing the Styx

The River Styx separates the world of the living from the world of the dead. It is said to wind around Hades (hell or the underworld) nine times. Its name comes from the Greek word stugein which means hate. Styx, the river of hate.

The Styx served as a crossroads where the world of the living met the world of the dead, and the world of the mortal met the world of the immortal. In Greek Mythology the river was sometimes crossed by great hero's and this symbolism was not wasted on my in my decision to use the Styx in my game. In my recent D&D campaign my players were given the chance to enter Hell and ultimately cross the river Styx. I took a lot of inspiration from the works of Dante and Gustave Dore. The picture above, the Last Judgement by Michelangelo shows the darkly gaunt and tortured souls as they leave Charon's ferry and spill upon the shores of hell.
I already had a model (the Reaper model Charon sculpted by Bob Olley) but needed the most important character in the encounter...the river itself. I wanted a setup that would leave the players in no doubt what sort of river they were crossing. I eventually found an excellent artwork which (with some digital manipulation) could be adapted into a suitable river surface. I was rather pleased with the finished river and the picture below is the result.


  1. Hi Big Lee, that's a great idea. Hope your players were suitably impressed; what were the characters' reactions?


  2. I think they were impressed. Less so when I attacked them as they crossed. The group had to be ferried across two at a time, splitting the party. That was when I attacked the weaker group with a deamon... I know it was evil, but this was hell after all!


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