Faction War, a big adventure that was meant to be the start of an epic trilogy, but the trilogy never happened because TSR went out of business.
I have been reading through it and it has 30+ pages full of new Sigil details! There's also a massive adventure and tons of info. It gave me a million ideas. I think our group is just going to keep playing Planescape. I'm already writing a guide to Curse of Strahd and writing summaries for Dice, Camera, Action, I don't feel like it is necessary to also run Curse of Strahd and write about it.
Maze Alterations: In the written adventure, the heroes break into the Maze to steal a sword. I changed this so that the heroes had to break my Donald Trump NPC out of the Maze. A bunch of factions have realized that Trump hid an item that could be used to possibly overthrow the Lady of Pain, and now it is a race to get to him (and it) first.
There's a ton of extraneous stuff in this summary. Really it's all extraneous, but this was one of the best sessions of the whole campaign. If you just want to see what the Mazes adventure is like, skip down to "Meeting with the Factol."
(Jessie) Bidam - Platinum-Scaled Dragonborn Fighter
(George) Theran - Drow Wizard
* NPCs - Fall From Grace (Succubus Paladin), Selinza ("Litorian" Wizard, level 1)
The heroes had killed the marilith named Kaliva and took her four magic swords.
They did a ton of stuff:
Golden Doors: They stole Raja Khan's golden doors and had them installed at their festhall. It was quite a process getting them over the River Styx and through the Abyss.
Rescue the Alives: Fall From Grace made a bunch of trips back to Kaliva's Island, and rescued the entire tribe of Alives. She set them up in Sigil. 40 of them became Sensates, which made The Factol of the Sensates, Erin Darkflame Montgomery, very pleased with Bidam and Fall From Grace.
Cacklestorm: On the way home through the Abyss, a cacklestorm hit. Theran failed his save and began laughing, paralyzed. This is a permanent effect until you give him the cure - which the group didn't have (cure: drink 10 vials of holy water). They had summoned the nightmare with the wand of darkness, so they put Theran on its back and kept moving. He was cured in Sigil.
Fell: The heroes gave the swords to their rightful owners and fulfilled all of their obligations.When they gave Ffazablur (sword of quickness) back to the dabus, I did a thing where Fell the fallen dabus happened to be nearby. The dabuses glared at him. Fell hung his head and walked away. This is a bit of foreshadowing to set up next session.
Cubic Gate: A scummy wizard wanted his sword, Midnight, back. He has this huge backstory connected to Kaliva. Basically, Kaliva was a mortal who rejected Nalen's romantic advances, so he turned her into a low level demon and abandoned her in the Abyss. Kaliva worked her way up the demonic ranks in the Blood War and became a Marilith, and she wanted those 4 swords to get revenge on Nalen.
I figured the heroes would be appalled, but they shrugged it off. They gave him the sword, and he gave them a cubic gate in exchange. He showed them how to use it. I mapped out the places it can take them. I'm sure this will get use in future sessions.
Tiger Ladies: The adventurers had rescued Raja's two tiger lady concubines. One of them got a job working at a gambling hall owned by Shemeshka the Marauder. The other decided to become Theran's apprentice! We did a wizardly training montage, and now she's first level. Each session she survives, she will gain a level.
Undermountain: I have this NPC adventuring group using the portal to Undermountain. Each time we play, this group goes into an actual area of an Undermountain module and reports back later. These NPCs will also slowly gain levels.
Cranium Rats: A cranium rat warned Bidam that Ash Vodiran (the thief who stole 18,000 gold from them and blew it all in one night) was under their protection.
I did a bunch of reading on cranium rats. Cranium rats have exposed brains, and they all share a single hive mind. They hate mind flayers.
In Faction War, it says that there are actually four separate groups of cranium rats in Sigil, each with their own hive minds. They are known as "The Four Great Minds." They do not get along with each other. It says that they sometimes utilize mind-shackled slaves to attack or thwart the others. I immediately had ideas. I am working on names for the four great minds. Here is what I have so far. It's a work in progress:
- Many-as-One: These are the rats the heroes have been dealing with. This is the name they were given in Planescape: Torment.
- Vermin Supreme: Stupid, I know, but it makes me laugh.
- The Manifold Singularity: ?
- I'm torn between these crap ones: Merged Multitude (ugh), Unification Consensus or Integrated Lenothix. Maybe none of the above! I'm still working on it.
Shemeshka Applies Pressure: The heroes own the buildings in Deadbook Square. Shemeshka basically wants to put as many businesses as possible here, but the heroes aren't letting her. So she tried to use the organizations she either controls or has sway in to pressure them. The heroes haven't realized that this is her doing yet:
- Mutual Trade Association: They said the heroes would need to register with them (for a hefty fee), or they would have to start doing inspections of their festhall. The heroes said no.
- Knights of the Crosstrade: This group wanted a 1,000 gp membership fee, or else other festhalls might start to try to steal their employees. Heroes said no again.
- Runner & Escorts Guild: Demanded that the heroes compensate their employees up to the "Sigil standard" or else they'd take them to court. The heroes paid 2,000 gp in back pay.
- The Adventurers Guild: They wanted a 1,000 gold membership fee or else the other Adventurers in Sigil might become a problem. There's a lot of jealousy going around in the adventuring community and the feeling is that Bidam and Theran aren't sharing the wealth, so to speak.
|Erin Darkflame Montgomery, Factol of the Sensates|
Other factions are aware of this, and they are all gearing up to get to Flumph first.
So Bidam rounds up Theran, Selinza and Fall From Grace and they go through a portal into the Maze.
This adventure gives you a few ways to handle navigation of the Maze. You can narrate every intersection and turn, or you could go abstract. Time was at a premium, so I boiled it down to a single roll. Fail meant that someone else got to Flumph first and the heroes would have to snatch him from their clutches. The heroes failed.
What Does a Maze Look Like? So the group wandered the Maze for hours. In the adventure, it suggests that wandering the Maze could take a day or more. I had a really hard time finding any description or detail on the Mazes. In Planescape: Torment, there is a Maze, but it has a lot of weird black roots so I think it was themed specifically for the prisoner, Ravel Puzzlewell.
I decided that Flumph's maze was made of good old Planescape metal encrusted with verdigris. I didn't know what verdigris was until I came across the word when I ran the Temple of Elemental Evil:
Exploring the Maze: The group wandered for hours and came upon a door. They listened and heard people talking. The Harmonium (who are sort of the town guards of Sigil) was in there, looking for Flumph.
I thought the group was going to jump in and attack. This Harmonium patrol was led by Durkayle, the demoted member of the Harmonium from the Umbra adventure. But.. the group just waited for them to leave.
In the room was a huge statue of the Lady of Pain. When damaged, it repaired itself.
The Fated: A few more hours of wandering led to their goal: Flumph's chamber. Unfortunately, The Fated got to him first. The Fated is a faction that believes in survival of the fittest. Their Factol is Rowan Darkwood, an NPC who does major stuff in Faction War.
The Fated want to take Flumph out of there, but the heroes are ready to fight. The adventurers drop the Fated easily. Selinza cast her first spells and hit both times.
Trump Time: Flumph was appalled to see the heroes again. He blamed them for the death of his daughter. I had written down a bunch of recent Trump quotes from the past month or two and worked them into the conversation, slightly modified to fit the situation:
- "Dark Elves come to Sigil... they bring drugs, they're rapists..."
- "I happen to think you're a lightweight."
- "I was ready for you, but it's much easier if the Fated do it, don't you agree? And to think, I had such an easy life - what do I need this for, right?"
Flumph also couldn't believe that Bidam and Theran were accompanied by such beautiful women.
The group huddled up and talked over what they wanted to do. They decided to bring him along with them and get this mysterious item. Then they were going to dunk his head in the River Styx and wipe his memory clean! And after that, they were going to dump him back in the Maze. Pretty clever, I thought.
Charming Trump: Fall From Grace used her innate succubus ability, and charmed him. He kept telling her she was almost as beautiful as his wife, Melania, and that he was "...very rich, I'm very successful. I make a lot of money!"
They got Flumph out of there and smuggled him through Sigil. They were worried that the Lady of Pain would do horrible things to them all if she found them.
The Mysterious Item
|Fall From Grace as she appeared in Planescape:Torment|
The heroes got to the spot only to find someone already there, digging! Ash Vodiran, the thief who had stolen piles of stuff on two separate occasions, was here as an agent of Shemeshka the Marauder.
He sat at the base of the tree drinking Razorvine Wine, being all casual and cool. He wasn't digging the hole. He had brought 100 cranium rats here in a bag of holding to do it for him!
Swarm of Cranium Rats: Speaking in monster stat terms, the cranium rats were one massive swarm. I statted them out to be similar to a dragon. They have a mind blast that does 22 damage and stuns you for one minute (save at the end of each round).
Ash used his power to hold his breath and become a shadow/insubstantial. He began to do a goofy dance as the massive horde of cranium rats unleashed a single mind blast.
This blast actually took Theran into negative hit points! Bidam and Fall From Grace were stunned. The only people who made their saves were Selinza and Flumph!
Flumph was still magically charmed. He searched Fall from Grace for a healing potion. We all agreed that Flumph would do the following: He slipped his hand under her chastity bodice and copped a feel! What a scumbag! Fall From Grace was stunned and thus couldn't act, but she still knew what was happening. She was overcome with rage and loathing, dark feelings she had tried for years to suppress.
Level 1 Wizard vs. a Horde: Ash told Selinza she was a total babe and should hang out with him sometime. He told the rats not to attack her. He told her she should just leave.
Selinza looked back at Tradegate, then down at Theran. She knew she was outmatched... but she decided to stay and fight!
I asked George (he plays Theran) what she did. Theran had his wand of lightning bolts in his hand. She couldn't use that wand, but she could use his wand of magic missiles! She grabbed it and unleashed a torrent of missiles on the swarm.
Bidam came to and dumped his jar of milk of healing (trust me, you don't want to know where this stuff came from) into Theran. The rats literally swarmed all over his body, eating him alive! He took a pile of damage and things were looking grim.
I deliberately set this tree here because Vaimish's fortress is close by. I knew the group would have trouble with the rat swarm so I had prepared for these guys to show up to make the save.
So the paladins crushed the rat swarm and they even had special manacles that could hold Ash (rare variants of the Harmonium shackles that prevent plane shifting). Vaimish had received holy visions from his god hinting at this battle for weeks, and thus he was very prepared.
Fall From Grace Revenge: When Fall From Grace came to, she lunged at Flumph. She was going to kiss him - her kiss means death, but it also means that she forfeits her status as a paladin. She was angry and blind with rage. The heroes held her back.
Then, once she was calm, Theran turned around and blasted Flumph with a chromatic orb spell. These lawful good paladins were shocked. They quickly healed Flumph and chastised the heroes, and especially Fall From Grace. "You are above the cold-blooded murder of a defenseless man!"
Ash ended up being taken to the jail in the paladin lord's fortress.
The Mysterious Item: The heroes finally checked out the buried item. It was in a trapped box, which they were able to get open.
In it was the Staff of Aoskar, the god of portals who nearly took Sigil over long ago. This staff had the power to alter and create portals in Sigil, and it also contained a portion of Aoskar's godly essence.
That's where we stopped. We'll do more next week.
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