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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Planescape - The Blood War XX. The Chastity Bodice

Some crazy stuff happened tonight!

Tonight I wanted to finish Bzallin's Blacksphere (a classic Perkins adventure), do a little fun stuff in Sigil, and then check out the planar locations that their new cubic gate is attuned to.

The group had gotten an altered talisman of the sphere (a device that let you control a sphere of annihilation, moving it around and putting holes in people). Bzallin's talisman:
  • Its' made of platinum and it has a black gem in the center.
  • It can cast the identify spell.
  • With this talisman, you don't need to make arcana checks to control a sphere!
  • If you have an aura of negative energy (basically, if you're undead), the sphere you are attuned to will slowly grow in size.
The "no arcana checks" trait is a huge deal. A while back, Theran was trying to move a sphere around while Iggwilv was beating up his friends and he failed every single check. The whole encounter! He has a real hard time moving this thing.

Also, a few sessions ago, Iggwilv stole Theran's talisman of the sphere. Now he has a new, souped-up talisman to replace it. It sets up a really epic potential sphere vs sphere battle.

The NPCs changed everything in this session. They are:
  • Narkel: One of Bzallin's assistants who joined the group.
  • Fall From Grace: The succubus paladin who wears a chastity bodice. As long as she remains pure, she is a paladin. Legend has it that her kiss will kill you in one shot.
  • Iliara: A short asian woman with prismatic hair and shiny black eyes who had been trapped in an iron flask. She knows a lot about Limbo. The group has no idea what her deal is, but they like her. The truth is that she's a black slaad, a very powerful entity.
Black Slaad: AC 18 HP 170 +9/+9/+9 12 dmg + 7 necrotic dmg!
She can go invisible at will. She can cast fly, plane shift and cloudkill.

The Party

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

The heroes had just looted the treasury. Bidam had found a replica of the wand of Orcus! Bidam had made a pact with the vestige of Orcus and the vestiges that only he could see gestured wildly for him to take it. This wand can cast a "death" spell.

Theran GIF-in-progress

Bidam has long been aware that Orcus wants to transform him into an undead abomination known as a devourer. In my head, I decided that if Bidam used that death spell, he would transform into a devourer right on the spot.

The group began to explore the rest of the cube. One of the apprentices had fled from the group last session. She alerted the rest of the denizens that Bzallin was slain and the invaders were tearing through the place.

Some apprentices fled the cube. The rest banded together for a final assault.

The group came upon a demon named Vzarro eating a meal. He just kept eating. The apprentices made their move.

Four housecats tried to creep into the room unnoticed, but the group made some high perception checks. These cats each had a collar that allowed them to polymorph. They weren't cats.. they were solamiths! My favorite D&D monster.

Solamith

The group tore into them and in round two, one of the apprentices entered the room. He has a really great magic item: the cloak of the umber hulk. It lets him turn into an umber hulk!

He made a dramatic flourish with his cloak and transformed.

The confusion gaze kicked in on the heroes' turns. Theran made his save. Bidam failed. He had to run in a random direction.

As fate would have it, he ran into the kitchen, where two annis hags were cooking. They looked at him, he looked at them. Bidam thought quick, and asked them if they were going to be going to the Gloom Meet (a "hag convention" coming up in this campaign).

They were surprised and said that the were. Bidam was able to be cool with them and convinced them to leave the premises without incident.

In the next round, another bad guy entered the fray - a gnome driving a clockwork spider. It has a wand appendage that shot viscid globs. Theran blew this thing up with a fireball. The gnome got out and ran away.

A few more bad guys entered and all were killed.

Through the whole fight, Vzarro kept eating, amused.

The heroes searched the rest of the place and looted a ton of magic items, which I had written on index cards for them. It was a lot of stuff!

Then they turned their attention to finding Bzallin's phylactery. The cubic gate has a button that goes to Bzallin's home in the realm of Taldorei (the Critical Role campaign setting). They hit the button and appeared in a teleportation chamber of a ruined, partially-wrecked fortress.

5 flameskulls guard this place. Narkel told the group that to get to Bzallin's actual room in this place required the use of a red crystal wand. With it, you can say "Bzallin" out loud and touch people with it, they would appear in  Bzallin's private sanctum.

Theran cast locate object and sensed it was in the outer hall, a vast room lined with statues of angry people in loose-fitting garb.

The statues were 30 ashari firetamers, cool NPC people from the Taldoreii book. They can actually turn into fire elementals! The group didn't try to free them, even though they looted a ring that can do so.

The heroes evaded the flameskull guards and found the wand. They used it to go to Bzallin's sanctum.

The sanctum is awesome. Rows of spellbooks! They contain every spell, levels 1-8. That's right out of the adventure. It works out so well because Theran's goal has been to learn every single spell.

There are two "chairs of comfort", magic chairs that let you learn and memorize spells twice as fast as normal.

Also in here was a paladin of good. He was a warforged (a living suit of armor, more or less). He actually worshiped the same deity that Fall From Grace did.

Immediately... IMMEDIATELY... both players said "He's the phylactery."

When planning this, I thought it would be fun to take one of the idea off of the lich phylactery list in Dragon Plus 15. That list is really great. Obviously I went with "warforged paladin.

I'm always up for a dumb name, so this guy's name is: Sir Digip Fingle.
Sir Digip Fingle

The idea was to just plop this in here and see what the group would do. They always come up with something I would never have thought of.

It takes a slain lich d10 days to reform by their phylactery.I rolled prior o the game: 1 day. Of course! Theran was able to figure this out.

Crazy Iliara wanted to kill him and Fall From Grace got mad. Theran started flipping through hi spell books to look for a solution to the dilemma. Narkel was picking spell books off of the shelves and calling dibs.

Bidam took out the replica wand of Orcus and cast the "death" spell. Sir Digip Fingle was dead.

Jessie started laughing. Theran was flabbergasted. I think at this point, he used a spell to destroy the replica wand of Orcus.

Devourer
Suddenly, Bidam began to change. He shriveled. His scales turned red and black. He grew ram horns. Hi ribcage opened up. He turned into an undead devourer!

Fall from Grace began to weep. She prayed, and turned Bidam, forcing him to get as far as he could from her (which was not far in this tiny room).

Then she walked over to him and whispered, "Forgive me," and kisses him. Bidam rolled a Con save to see if the kiss killed him... it did.

Bidam died!

Everyone was shocked. It was a shock-a-palooza chain of events, where it piled on one after another.

Fall from Grace's chastity bodice turned to dust! She used her kiss, and thus the holy power left her. She was jut a regular succubus. All her work toward atonement was lost.

Crazy Iliara attacked Fall from Grace and dropped her to two hit points.

Fall From Grace cursed at Iliara, and stabbed herself.

Fall from Grace has a demon amulet, which means that when she is slain, she doesn't die. he reforms next to tat amulet, wherever it is stashed.

Fall from Grace actually re-formed next to the amulet once before. Her amulet had been stashed in Shendilavri, the abyssal realm of Malcanthet, queen of the succubi (FFG's grandmother). Fall from Grace was thrown in prison, and a slew of paladins and the group's most hated rival, "the greatest thief in Sigil" Ash Vodiran went and rescued her.

They got the amulet, too. The group probably doesn't remember, but she once mentioned that after that harrowing experience, she'd placed her demon amulet with the paladin lord who lives in the outlands.

After a few minutes of recovery, Theran picked up Bidam's corpse and headed back to Sigil using a complicated process involving the other cubic gate and the infinite staircase.

He brought Bidam's body to a temple of the raven queen, and I got to use alternate universe Evelyn from the waffle crew again.

Orcus and the Raven Queen
Raise dead takes a while. While that was happening.. Bidam was a soul rocketing through the Shadowfell. He and many other souls orbited the spire of Zvomarana, citadel of the Raven Queen.

These souls are filtered into he appropriate plane to begin their afterlife, sent to hell, to mount celestia, wherever.

Once in awhile, the Raven Queen judges a unique or powerful soul.

Bidam was drawn into her throne room and given a humanoid form. She wanted to judge his soul.

For a short while, Bidam has been becoming the living embodiment of the multiverse, known as "rule of three". To have an embodiment die was... not good.

She decided to send him to the place where the freak souls, the unsortables, go to: Vorkhesis, the Master of Fate.

I love Vorkhesis. He is from the shadowfell boxed set.

Bidam, in soul form, began orbiting this 20 foot tall dude with no eyes and a halo of lightning. My Vorkhesis is a bitter, jealous entity who is angry that his mother, the Raven Queen, pays him no attention.

In my campaign, the Raven Queen is "dating" a character from my 4e HPE campaign. He's a shadar kai who wields the Shadowfell Blade from Nightwyrm fortress.

Vorkhesis hates that guy! He wants him dead.
Nerull
It's been hinted at least that the father of Vorkhesis is Nerull, the old god of the dead. The Raven Queen was paired up with him for a time, and then she killed him and took his place.

In my game, I had established that Nerull was not dead in my Shackled City campaign. In my campaign, Nerull is trapped in an asylum in the prison plane of Carceri. He has a big hole in him, a sphere of annihilation wound.

In that campaign, the group gawked at him. He held his hand through the bars, trying to touch them. The group got freaking out and moved on to the final battle against Adimarchus.

Anyway.. Vorkhesis questioned Bidam about the boyfriend. Then.. he sensed the pact with Orcus. Orcus and the raven Queen are bitter enemies. The whole HPE path is about Orcus trying to kill her! He almost succeeded in my campaign, but the adventurers saved her.

Vorkhesis raised his scythe, ready to obliterate Bidam's soul completely.

Then... the raise dead kicked in. Bidam was back among the living!

Bidam did a status check - it appeared that his pact with Orcus was fading away. He was no longer bound to him!

I had a bunch of goofy Sigil stuff planned. Everyone was kind of.. spent from what happened. I did them anyway:

I introduced Annie, a woman who had been robbed. She proceeded to say the opening verse of "Smooth Criminal" to the group in a regular voice. Then, Eo Kaplan appeared on the scene, to check on his friend Annie. He went "Annie are you OK? Are you OK Annie?"

Stupid campaign!

I should note that Theran tried to ditch Iliara, but she showed up at their home in Sigil.

They don't know that Iliara has plane shift. She knew they lived in Sigil. The heroes are famous, so all she had to do was ask people if they knew where a red elf and a platinum-scaled dragonborn lived and she was on her way.

We did some other goofy stuff with their festhalls and a guru who is trying to teach Bidam to control his junk. Bidam has 4 balls, two of which are from a balor. This has transformed his, uh... Basically, he has a demon/dragon wang. It roars and stuff.

Jessie has been rolling so awful on every one of these "Train the Groin Dragon" sessions that I've pretty much decided that Bidam's dragon junk is simply untameable. It is his id run amok, a force of nature.

The group took a long rest and then decided to check out the places that their new cubic gate could take them to.

6 locations:
  • Taldorei, the critical role setting.
  • The Nine Hells
  • The Abyss
  • Elysium (the chaotic good plane)
  • Limbo
  • The Elemental Plane of Chaos
The group picked Limbo. Iliara was excited.

They appeared in a building inside the pandemonium tone. The pandemonium stone is this huge rock that floats in Limbo. Sometimes, a bunch of slaads fly up to it and sing/croak at it, causing it to vanish from reality, only to reappear somewhere else.

The guy who runs the place warned the group this was going to happen soon. He told them they'd appear outside of time. They decided to go along for the ride.

The slaads sang and poof, the pandemonium stone appeared in a white, timeless void. In my campaign, there are a few time-traveling entities:

Zagyg
Zagyg, the Mad God: He's from Greyhawk. I've used him as a crazy meddler for a long time. This stems from when I was a kid. About 5 sessions into my campaign, a player asked me who the gods were in my campaign. I said: There's only one. His name is Gygax."

They groaned. They hated it! So I eventually made their characters the gods of the world. They lasted about 1,600 years of campaign time, and then they moved on to the Dungeon crawl Classics setting to make room for a new crop of hero-gods, which have reigned in my campaign since 2010 of real-life time.

Norsar the Many: A unique slaad that the heroes freed about 50 sessions ago. Norsar is a time traveler. The group is unaware that slaads believe that there a many alternate universes, and that they exist in all of them. That' why they're so crazy. They want to merge all of the realities into one.

The Chronomancers: A class from a 2e supplement. I had a player make one, based on Dr. Who.

Time Dragons: I've never used them, but I want to.. someday.

Basically, all of this boiled down to the group watching Zagyg give Norsar some kind of artifact. Norsar used it, and merged three realities into one!

This created lots of little changes in the campaign. I wanted to make Umbra the overall goddess of good. So that's one change. Here they are:
  • Umbra is the goddess of good of all the spheres.
  • The goddess of love and healing is gone. Her agents are "love spirits" now.
  • Iggwilv is not imprisoned in Graz'zt's mansion! She's free!
  • Everyone knows that these changes occurred. History wasn't changed.
Bidam was/is rule of three - he died, so three realities "died", too. Worked out pretty well!

On a whim, I decided to see if this merged affected the Fall from Graze situation. I decided to roll a d20. 15-20 meant something good. 1-5 meant something bad. I rolled... a 1.

That's where we stopped!

This session exposed a tricky dynamic. Jessie like doing crazy crap, like the time in Shadowrun that she used a rocket launcher to blow up the house of a crabby old lady, the mom of someone they owed money to.

Jessie likes to do crazy things, and gets a little bummed when the logical, negative reaction kick in. I think she wants a campaign that is a little wackier, where stuff like that isn't taken too hard.

George is a very grounded guy, and is always shocked when Jessie does stuff like that. I think it's part of the fun of the game.

I am going to see if I can find a way to lighten the tone/style in a way that allows for more insanity but doesn't make the game feel like a consequences-free slapstick cartoon.

2 comments:

Zingbob Co said...

NOOOO! FALL FROM GRACE!!! WHY?!

Sean said...

Zingbob Co: Both of the players gasped when it happened. She's their favorite NPC, so it' a big thing.