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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Great Modron March - Death to the Tacharim

As I prepared this session, I realized that we weren't going to get through the final chapter. There was just too much material, and there was downtime stuff that needed to be done. So it looks like we won't finish this adventure until the next session.

The Party

(Jessie) Bidam - Platinum Dragonborn Fighter
(George) Theran - Drow Wizard  


The adventurers had come to the plane of Gehenna to take down the Tacharim once and for all. They'd sent their slaad in there, but that didn't work out so well. Theran had been injured badly, so they retreated back to The River Styx and rested on their demon pirate ship for a full 24 hours. During that time, the slaad returned to them.

After a full rest, they headed back to the Flower and decided to do what the adventure suggests - kill some guards, put on their tabards, and snoop around the flower in disguise.

Out in the volcano hills, they were able to creep up on two Tacharim scouts taking a pee. The ground of Gehenna is so hot it does actual fire damage to unprotected feet, so the guards had a bit of a urine steam cloud going.

The slaad ate both of these poor guards. The heroes put on the tabards and we commenced with the creeping. The slaad went intangible and hid in walls and stuff.

Sneaking Back in

I think I mentioned last time that this is a large location full of almost-empty rooms. I made what turned out to be a good decision - I labeled the doors so the characters could see what was in each room. This kept the session from becoming a dull slog through empty rooms.

The heroes went down to the prison and found the paladin lord in a cell. He had become a modronoid and was really crazy. The adventure suggests that the heroes can calm him down, but the heroes just knocked him out, stole cell keys, and took the paladin lord with them.

They bluffed a number of guards and did a quick check of the lowest level. This is where the "control panel" of the whole flower is. The flavor:

"A glistening, nine-faceted pod hovers in the air, emitting a faint and sickly greenish-purple glow."

They realized they needed to set it on fire. They decided to make the slaad do it while they fled.

Chaos ensued, and the leader of the Tacharim, Doran, accosted the heroes as they were about to cross a petal-bridge. She started slicing into the adventurers as the fire spread and knights were running around, choking on the smoke. Theran smartly launched off fire spells, figuring he could burn the place some more, at the very least.

The slaad caught up with them and used a havoc bolt to slide Doran to the edge of the petal bridge. Then she sliced into the slaad, killing him and dumping him into the moat! Theran and Bidam took Doran down and fled the flower as it burned.

Return to Sigil

They returned to Sigil and brought the paladin lord's remains to a lawful good church, where his sister's body had been brought in the previous session.

The heroes spent 33 days of downtime in Sigil. Theran made and sold a javelin of lightning. You know, what's funny about that is Theran has formulas to make 2 magic items, but he hasn't made one of either of them for the heroes to actually use. He is completely focused on making money off of them.

The heroes had some of their friends over to have feybread biscuits, moonhoney and razorvine wine. Stewart Sevenfingers was trying to flirt with Alamandra, the githzerai. I just wanted to see what the characters would do. They tried to help him, and ultimately forced Stewart to do a dance. Poor Stewart made a DEX check... and rolled a 17! Alamandra was impressed with his moves and the pair have become an item.

Save vs. Death

During this get-together, the NPCs brought up the nymph they'd met in the beastlands (way back in session 5). Bidam had vowed to return one day to put the moves on the nymph. They warned Bidam that just looking at a nymph could blind or even kill you (I am using 2e stats and concepts for the water nymph).

Of course, this meant that the heroes were in the Beastlands the very next day. The last time the nymph had seen the heroes, Theran was an elf and Bidam had black scales. Now, thanks to Renbuu, Theran looked like a drow and Bidam had glorious platinum scales.

The nymph was amazed at Bidam's scales. Bidam proceeded to seduce the nymph and the scariest saving throw of all time was rolled - save vs. death! Bidam succeeded by one point and.. well, we'll leave it at that. It was hilarious.

Lamashtu's Revenge

Later in the month, back in Sigil, the heroes got word that a giant blue demon was asking around about the painting of Lamashtu. If you remember, the heroes had taken a painting of Lamashtu in the Fortress of Fallen Stairs. The adventure specifically says agents of the demon lord will come hunting for the item.

This was a great opportunity for me to use one of my favorite D&D monsters: The Solamith! The faces of the people they eat appear in their bellies and they chuck pieces of their flesh at their opponents. Mostly I like them because you can do all sorts of fun voices for them, like a new york cabbie or a slow-talking british person.

The heroes had sold the painting to their business partner, Vrischika. They raced to the Curiosity Shoppe where Vrishika's slave, Standish, was trying to loot items off the shelves, but he was wary of magic glyphs of warding. He asked the heroes to help him loot the place and avoid the magic defenses.

I was fairly sure that the heroes wouldn't help Standish, but you never know. The glyphs have a DC of 15 - it would have been very risky. It turned out that the heroes were genuinely concerned for Vrischika.

The solamith had attacked her. She fled through a portal in her office, but the solamith went in right after her. Standish said he didn't know where the portal led to, but he assumed it was her true home.

The Solamith

The heroes activated the portal (the key was a flower of a plant in her office), and they stepped through. They appeared on a castle balcony on a mortal world. The castle was almost completely engulfed by vegetation, but it appeared that Vrischika maintained this one little section.

The Solamith was at the far end of the balcony, about to eat Vrischika. He turned to face the heroes, and they saw in his belly the screaming face of Tarraere Ilsmiser, the wizard who'd forced them to go to the Fortress of Fallen Stairs in the first place.

The heroes surmised that once they ditched Tarraere, Lamashtu's demons tracked her down while hunting for the painting.

The solamith started throwing explosive, necrotic flesh. Theran smartly took a good look at the solamith, and saw heat radiating off of it. He tried a ray of frost, and found that the solamith was vulnerable to cold.

It was a short, intense battle. As Theran and the solamith traded ranged attacks, Bidam charged the length of the balcony. He reached his quarry and cut him down.

Vrishika thanked the heroes. She told them her secret origin (which I made up, elaborating on what there was in Planescape: Torment).

The castle was her father's. Vrischika fled it when she was young, as she wasn't accepted by the people of the kingdom due to her demonic lineage. She wandered the planes, and was hunted by a demon lord named Karaphon, who collects alu-fiend slaves.

Karaphon is involved in the Chris Perkins adventure "Umbra," which I'll be running once we finish this adventure. This was a nice way to kind of foreshadow and embed Karaphon into the framework of the campaign.

Vrischika found safety in Sigil, and she stayed there for decades. When at last she realized she missed the kingdom she was born in, she found that it was abandoned and overgrown.

That's where we stopped.

Click here to check out the next session, where the modron march comes to an end.

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