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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Planescape - Preparing for the Blood War

We got back to Planescape after taking a few weeks off for the holidays. The heroes are now level 12.

We are about to start the Blood War using material from the Hellbound boxed set, Wrath of the Righteous and the Savage Tide adventure path. I've been planning for this for a long time but I still feel unprepared.

Preparing: I decided to do the guide to devils stuff in this blog to help get ready. I'm glad I did it, as now I feel like I have a very good grasp of the archdevils and all of their relationships. I find it to be very complicated.

Once I finish this Hell guide stuff, I'm going to do a guide to demons. There's so much demon stuff out there I'll have to just pick and choose material otherwise it will take me forever.

Big Plans for the Blood War: In this session, we set up the blood war. My plan is to run blood war stuff for one solid year of real life time. Jessie seemed very excited about that idea.

Next session, we're going to do one set-piece encounter, where the group fights alongside the devils in a massive battle against the demons. The heroes will be riding a death hurler, a siege engine made from damned corpses. I'm going to try to make it very positive and easy. I want to ease them into this whole thing, give them time to absorb all of the information before throwing tough decisions at them.

In this session, we played through three months of downtime. I wanted to reinforce all of the story lines, clean things up and set the foundation for the blood war.

The Party

(Jessie) Bidam - Platinum-Scaled Dragonborn Fighter
(George) Theran - Elf Wizard 

The heroes own a cluster of buildings called Deadbook Square.

We started off with Theran in his wizard lab. He was doing work, studying to prepare his cubic gate. It was damaged in an abyssal storm a long time back. Theran’s sphere of annihilation hung in the room. I wanted to start off by quietly reminding them that they have the sphere, as someone was going to try to steal it at the end of the session.

So here we go, three months of stuff:

Signing up for the Blood War

There was a secret meeting with Drokkarn the pit fiend that went like this:
  • They met with Drokkarn, the pit fiend who long ago had been skinned by Graz’zt and turned into a magic cloak. Bidam used a wish to bring him back to life.
  • Drokkarn was now in charge of a devil army.
  • He asked the group to fight alongside his army.
  • Drokkarn no longer feels lawful evil – his time as a cloak has changed him.
  • Drokkarn wants to do what Graz'zt did. He wants to overtake an abyssal layer for the devils and then steal it for himself. Drokkarn wants to become a demon lord.
  • He asked the heroes to use life pearls to infuse his layer with positive energy. He wanted to be a "good" demon lord like Bazuuma.
The heroes said yes! The heroes then had a lot of business to take care of in Sigil.

Bidam, Servant of Fierna? Bidam's maid is a handmaiden devil who carries a knife with her, always looking to murder those who knock on the front door. She tried to sell Bidam on the idea of using a Bind to Hell spell to send the souls of everyone Bidam kills to Fierna, ruler of the fourth layer of Hell. Bidam seemed very interested in this idea.

I love throwing stuff like that out there because I have no idea how they will respond.

Bidam’s Slaves: Bidam had been gifted 3 dwarf slaves. They browbeat Bidam into emancipating them and they set up a smithy in the city of Greyhawk.

Festhall Activities

The group now owns two brothels. One is very high class.

Drunk Wizard Duel: The bouncer of the new club has a drinking problem and was caught stealing from the magic wine fountain. He got wasted and challenged Theran to a wizard duel. Because he was drunk, each time he cast a spell I rolled on the 2nd edition Tome of Magic table (I love that thing).

Theran got webbed, then trapped in Evard's black tentacles as a wild surge caused him to sneeze uncontrollably. The sneezing meant he couldn't cast spells for two rounds!

Theran lost the duel. They fired the guy. This was a rough night for Theran and, looking back, I think I should have made some adjustments as the session went on.

Theran is completely unaware of counterspell. It totally shut him down and then the wild surge sealed the deal.

Back in Deadbook Square, some of the lower class gals decide to prank/hit on the unicorn man, and it didn't go well. He is a bastion of purity and lives by the unicorn code, which means he never does drugs and always lends a helping hand, among other things.

Mansions in Elemental Earth

The heroes own two mansions in the plane of elemental earth, in the city of earth genies. The last few times we played, an earth genie woman was talking about marrying Theran. He was very open to the idea.

So she had planned the wedding. I wrote up four paragraphs of Bollywood-style shenanigans and extravagant gift-giving. But when she told him of their imminent wedding, Theran told her no.

I was shocked. He said it was too soon. She pointed out that she already sent out invitations. The Great Khan of the Dao was going to be there!

Genie Wedding: They had a big fight and she fled the city in shame. Ultimately, Bidam decided to do a wedding thing here with Bazuuma the demon lord. Technically, they're already married, but it was conducted by the Donald Trump NPC and it was hardly an official thing in the eyes of any law or deity or demon lord.

So I used most of the wedding material for that. Bidam got 60,000 gp, 1 elephant bird, 1 blind heway, 3 winged snakes, a scimitar of shame (it impugns the honor of a nearby opponent) and a portable spring (A blue cloth that turns into a spring of water when placed on the ground).

The Great Khan of the Dao showed up to the wedding. As is the custom he expected a tribute of either 80,000 gp or a magic item. The group has a truckload of magic items they don't use, so they gave him a ring of arachnid control.

Sword Class

Bidam teaches a class on swordsmanship for his faction, the Sensates. The class had swelled from 4 students to 100, as word spread that Bidam was running it. Most were there to gawk at him. Mulky, Bidam's "internet fan" who had watched all of his sensory stones 10 times each, was the only one taking the class seriously.

We made some rolls and it turns out the Mulky was becoming quite proficient with a sword.

Fixing the Cubic Gate

I had to figure out the cost of fixing the cubic gate. It's a legendary item, meaning that it is valued at 50,000 gp or more. A cubic gate is a pretty epic item, so I valued it at 80,000 gp.

Since three of the six buttons were broken, I decided it would cost 40,000 gp to fix it. Bidam had just made 60,000 gp, so paying for it was no problem.

Theran got to decide which planes to "program" the gate to connect to. The group picked:
  • Avernus: The first layer of Hell.
  • Pazunia: The first layer of the Abyss, setting it so they appeared right by the portal to Deadbook Square.
  • Mechanus: Home of the modrons, who are eternal allies of the heroes thanks to the events of the great modron march.
This setup should work out well for them during the blood war. I love the idea of the group leading a modron army against a horde of demons on some kind of emergency rescue or something.

Holdings in Azzagrat

Each hero runs a settlement in the Triple Layer of Azzagrat.

Demons and Devils: What is really interesting about the next year of gaming is that the heroes are rubbing elbows with devils and demons. Bidam is married to a demon lord and he is fighting in a devil army.

Graz'zt has this big secret plan of trying to unite the demons and devils to attack the angels. All of this can mix together in weird, fun ways.

Tornbend: Theran's earthmote city is filling up, mostly with creatures unnerved by the policies of Gonard Flumph (the Donald Trump NPC), who is running Samora, a major settlement in Azzagrat. Flumph keeps making controversial picks for his cabinet that are putting the demons into a panic.

Theran found that Graz'zt had opened a nursery in Tornbend. This location is right out of Assault on Maerimydra. A succubus is watching over twelve of Graz'zt's newborn babies, teaching them the ways of evil.

Allagash: Bidam's demon breeding ground was pretty dead. He ended up recruiting many of the Abat-Dolor. This is a race that I wedged into this realm. They are the race that supposedly Graz'zt came from/created, or one that he physically resembles greatly. Bidam gave a big speech and they were in.

The Witch Queen

Iggwilv is imprisoned in Graz'zt's palace. She can make simulacrums – clones of herself, made from ice.

A simulacrum of Iggwilv traveled to Deadbook Square, invisible. She crept up into Theran's lab. He was there. His robe of eyes gave him the ability to see her. She was there to steal his sphere of annihilation! We rolled initiative.

She cast power word stun, a spell for which there is no save unless you have 150 hit points. Poor Theran dropped.

She grabbed his talisman of the sphere and headed out of the building. Theran shook off the stun and ran after her.

Iggwilv, just to be a jerk, launched a level 7 fireball at the shrine of the goddess of good in the square. The massive explosion alerted Bidam, who ran outside.

Theran busted out his big spell, disintegrate! A simulacrum has half the hit points of the original creature, so this dropped Iggwilv in one shot. She turned to snow and ice.

If she had been able to take the sphere of annihilation through the portal, there’s a chart to roll on. The sphere might be destroyed, or everyone within 180 feet might be teleported to a random plane!

Theran stopped it from happening, though.


I was able to keep Iggwilv in their minds as they head into the blood war, as I'm sure she'll play some kind of role at some point. She supposedly has 12 demon lords under her control, after all.

Good session, but I was a little off. I knew I was cramming too much in, but I wanted to wrap up a bunch of dangling participles. Now we can dig in to the set pieces and maneuvering of the blood war.

I can't wait to run them through a massive battle where they are wading through thousands of demons and devils while trying to achieve an objective.

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