I went way overboard preparing for this session. I almost always feel like I need more time when planning out an adventure, but I spent way too long on it.
The group was set to go after my Donald Trump NPC, who rules a settlement called Samora in the abyssal realm of Azzagrat. My plan was to parody the real life Trump stuff and fit it into the D&D lore of Samora, which is pretty well-detailed in a number of products.
It can feel overwhelming when you try to figure out how to approach an “investigation” type adventure. I sat down and listed all of the Trump notes I wanted to hit:
- Alex Jones and Infowars.
- Melania in a lonely tower.
- Carter Page as the most nervous suspect of all time.
- Trump getting peed on, and more stuff like that.
Putin: My big problem was.. who is Putin? I wanted to use a demon lord, but had no idea which one. I looked at my own guide to Grazzt. The main reason I write those guides is so that I have a resource for my campaigns. When I use NPCs like this in my games, I forget all the details if I don’t have a file of some kind on it.
Family of Graz'zt: This led me down a google rabbit hole. I saw that Grazzt has siblings. There’s actually a lot of them not in my guide. I found piles of stuff and I couldn’t tell if it was official or not, but I liked it, so I used it. I picked Vucarik of the Chains, a half-brother of Grazzt. He has these iron worms that burrow into people’s skins. I decided Grazzt had caught a spy of Vucarik’s in his court, so he levied sanctions on Vucarik’s layer of Nethuria that has crippled the people who live there. These people are called “paedions,” I have absolutely no idea what they are.
That’s my Putin. I gleefully realized that the penultimate encounter of this session could have the heroes magically disguised as ladies who have to pee on Trump. I had my plan set.
More Prep: Then I went back and made “downtime” stuff. I love this kind of thing and really dug in. I wanted the group to touch on everybody and everything they are linked to in Sigil, to emphasize that the NPCs are “real people” and to enforce the notion that what the heroes do matters. The decisions that the heroes made with these NPCs had an impact on their lives.
This turned into two pages of notes and I realized that we might not get through everything. I was excited about it though, and I timed my planning perfectly so that I had all of the information “loaded” into my brain right when it was time to go play. If I work on campaign stuff 3 or more days before a session, I find that I have trouble keeping it all straight and can’t remember my intent behind some of the things I had planned.
Also, I just want to note that I went through the 4e Demonomicon and wow, there is a lot of new stuff in there. I saw an abyssal realm that is a slaad breeding ground! How did I miss that? I will definitely be using it ASAP.
(Jessie) Bidam - Platinum-Scaled Dragonborn Fighter
(George) Theran - Elf Wizard
Two Goals: We started off with piles of Sigil stuff, much of which is perverted events that I’ll gloss over. That’s how we roll. In the comedy department, I “killed.” The players were laughing through the whole thing. As a DM, I have two primary goals. Make it really fun/funny, and get the “D&D feeling” (which is the reading-a-book-and-can’t-put-it-down feeling). It was a good one!
Theran’s Babies: Zaraga the Hag’s magic told her that Theran had three babies on the way. Hags like to eat babies, so Zaraga offered him money and/or magic items for them. Theran declined. A few sessions back, Theran had to do “employee reviews” of the group’s “jinkskirts” (they own three festhalls now). I rolled for all this randomly. The three mothers: Busty Razzle, Barl Excellence (who has a french accent so I can say her name in it) and uh.. Squirt Cobain. My campaign is stupid.
The Mansion: The group finally investigated a building in their square called the Hall of Keys. Every day, a key appears in it. Someone in the city has a dream about it and comes to get it. The group took the key that was in there on this day, and ultimately figured out that it was for a mansion for sale in the Lady’s Ward.
According to the DMG, mansions are around 25,000 gp. The group is pretty rich. The key actually activates a portal that connects the mansion to the group’s home in the Lower Ward. The heroes made a down payment on it.
The heroes are 13th level now, so I’m trying to establish that they are famous and rich. High level is supposed to be a big deal, right? They earned it and it could lead to all sorts of interesting things. They are Sigil celebrities.
I was also able to establish that Feurina the warder devil is like Bidam’s brother. A long time back, they had this weird magical merging and they shared all of their memories with each other.
Plane of Elemental Earth: The group checked in on their holdings there, everything’s fine.
Rival Festhall: There’s a new festhall owner, a corruption devil. It met the group and told their best employees that if the heroes ever treated them bad, they could come work for it for double the pay.
Pazuzu sent the group gifts: Fiendish griffon mounts. I figure at this point, the group should be able to fly around.
New Demon: Bidam’s demon breeders at Allagash made a new demon – a nephropic, which is lobster-demon from the Teratic Tome. It’s perfect for Bazuuma’s realm, which is mostly an ocean full of demonic crustaceans! I don’t know why, but I die laughing every time I see the phrase “demon crustaceans.” It’s so ridiculous. But the art here makes them look pretty cool:
The group got a bit excited. Skyshrine has a huge chain that connects to the ground ruined city below. The city is called Tornbend, and it is full of “bloodseep demons,” demons who weep poison blood. Theran cast disintegrate on a chain link.. and realized his mistake too late. The chain is massive, and once it was separated it fell on the city, killed piles of demons and crushed any buildings still partially standing.
Burningwater: In Bazuuma’s layer of the Abyss, another tower had risen out of the water. This layer was ruled by an obyrith named Cabiri long ago. These towers reveal more about him and contain fun little things.
Part of my Google journey took me to notes on Cabiri. Someone wrote up a ton of stuff, and again I can’t tell if it is from an official book or not, but I used it.
One thing I know is official: Cabiri is Pazuzu’s brother! The group just made friends with Pazuzu last session. Pazuzu betrayed Cabiri and stuck him in an abyssal prison-plane called the Wells of Darkness. This document claimed that Cabiri had been working on fusing elementals and demons together, and that his goal was to become an elemental prince of Evil.
The Senseless Court: In the tower, the group found the pit that Cabiri used to merge elementals and demons. They found notes containing all sorts of info, including the fact that Cabiri ruled another layer of the Abyss called The Senseless Court. It is likely that this layer is empty! They want to go check it out, so I’ll add that in next session.
They freed Cabiri’s three demon servants from stasis:
- Korb: An arachnid demon with three heads.
- Haklo: An amphibious, winged demon-dragon.
- MeemGlum: A demon lady. I need to figure out what to do with her, but I am not sure what that will be yet.
The goal of this scenario is to expose Flumph as a traitor to Grazzt and Samora. Flumph always stays in the Counting House, which is beneath the city and heavily guarded.
The group had sent 5 spies here a few sessions ago. They are Agonists, a new type of demon from the Teratic Tome. One of the Agonists is Christine Steele, and she compiled a dossier.
There’s all this fake news being spread by this guy Alexi Joams. The Lady’s Lancers have some Russian moles in it, and there’s this mysterious “fancy bear” forging documents and assassinating dissidents.
Flumph had just passed the Samoran Slave Care Act. The price of cure disease in the Abyssal Temple was jacked up to 100 gold. Those who are sick and can’t afford it can get cure disease for free if they agree to be enslaved for six months. This six month time period keeps getting extended.
Agents of Flumph are cracking down on drugs. In Samora, the drug of choice is called Lubix.
Basically, agents of Flumph raid houses of hot women (they have to be “10’s”, according to Flumph). The guards plant Lubix in the house if necessary. The punishment for possession: Six months of slavery.
Flumph’s real goal is to enslave all of the tieflings, who all have devil blood and, to him, are “evil foreigners.” His other goal is to round up all the hot chicks in Samora so they can hang out with him. Remember, Trump once told Howard Stern that he thinks Scarlet Johannsen is a “6”, so these ladies must be extraordinarily beautiful.
Fake News: Then the group went to talk to Alexi Joams, who was in a theater ranting to an audience of conspiracy buffs. I transcribed a real, actual Alex Jones rant that involved both actual weeping and frothing rage, and modified it with D&D stuff:
“Sometimes when I go out to eat, I don't like make a big deal out of it, but if I see old ladies buying food, I go up and pay for it. I don't like to make a big deal out of it and then I start crying because ten years ago, people weren't able to buy themselves food. (cries) People are so evil! Why can't Samora wake up and.. Gonard Flumph's not perfect, but he doesn't want to hurt you and your family. Marietta and Graz'zt want to make you poor and pathetic they hate you! They hate prosperity, they hate children, and damn them to the Nine Hells! I'm sorry, but Marietta.. I gotta look at her sharp face? That's a frickin devil!”
Players are inherently unpredictable, so they did something I didn’t expect. They set the building on fire. In the chaos, they abducted Joams, removed the iron worms from his body, and intimidated him into luring Flumph out into the open.
Joams wandered off. He never did get to Flumph. He stopped for a drink and fancy bear slipped polonium into it. Joams was done for!
Miss Tradegate: The group visited Miss Tradegate, the wife of the late Gonard Flumph, jr. Theran killed him a few sessions ago. Tradegate wasn’t broken up about it at all. She told the group to go visit Sharter Page (I know) and Mel Narnia, Flumph’s wife, who lurks in a lonely tower far from the counting house.
Fancy Bear: The group set up a meeting with Page in a bar in town. He was super nervous and awkwardly proclaimed his innocence, unprovoked. But that damn fancy bear dropped polonium in his drink and he died.
Fancy bear cackled, leaning against the bar. Fancy bear is a hairy dude with a russian accent. That's not all. He's a werebear! The group beat him to death and moved on.
Mel Narnia: This place was guarded but the heroes were able to magically charm their way in. Mel Narnia told the group that Flumph had declared that she was a “7” and thus he was not interested in her. The heroes agreed to help her escape with her son, Baron Gonard Flumph. His dad gave him the royal title of “Baron” when he was born.
The group learned about Vucarik and she suggested to them that they use alter self to look like “10’s” and get into the counting house. They did.
The beautiful women enslaved just kind of hang out in the counting house and do whatever they want. Flumph just wants to be surrounded by beautiful ladies. The heroes volunteered to pee on him. Again, my campaign is stupid.
They were ushered into Flumph’s bedroom. It wasn’t long before the peeing began. The group rolled to hit, because that’s what you do in D&D. They both rolled extremely high! Once that was done, Bidam grabbed a pillow and began smothering him to death.
Vucarik: Suddenly, a magic mirror in the ceiling flared to life. Three chains shot out, grabbing Flumph and the heroes. The mirror was a portal to Nethuria! Vucarik was trying to drag them all inside! Bidam quickly breathed fire on Gonard, killing him. The group escaped the chains as Vucarik made his case that the sanctions were hurting his people. He pulled Flumph’s corpse into Nethuria and the portal closed.
The group realized that Vucarik might raise Flumph, but for now, he wasn’t going to bother them.
Next time, the group will lead the devil army through the Abyssal Undersump! Should be fun! I might try to work in that Slaad breeding ground if I can. And then I think in the next session, I want to do a big naval battle on some planar sea between demons and devils. I want to use at least one demonic chaos ship. I love those things!