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Monday, November 14, 2016

Planescape - The Fortress of Life


We played some more Planescape and we are rolling really nicely.

The story right now is about how the group is friends with a "good" demon lord, Bazuuma. She has agreed to marry Graz'zt and merge her one realm with his 3 realms.

She secretly married one of the characters and is planning on trying to betray Graz'zt and take all of his realms for herself.

To prepare, I made a Guide to Graz'zt which is done but not yet posted. I might put it up later today. Doing the guide allowed me to dig up tons of useful info which has helped me create an outline for this little storyline we have going. Here's what I got for the next 3 sessions:
  1. The heroes go to the plane of positive energy and get lifepearls ("creation seeds" that can form new races and planes).
  2. The adventurers use the lifepearls to corrupt Graz'zt's three realms and things go wrong.
  3. Graz'zt's sidekick tries to wrest control of Bazuuma's realm from her.
Here's some of the NPCs to keep straight:
  • Verin: White-skinned advisor to Graz'zt.
  • Ztefano: A mysterious ally of Graz'zt who the group briefly met last session.
  • Bazuuma: Demon lord of positive energy, one of my "good" demon lords.
  • Bechard: A demon whale and an obyrith who is friends with the group and Bazuuma.
The Party

(Jessie) Bidam - Platinum-Scaled Dragonborn Fighter
(George) Theran - Elf Wizard
* NPCs: Fall-from-Grace (level 11 Succubus Paladin)

The Chaos Ship

Graz'zt's realm and Bazuuma's were now connected thanks to the planar breach spell.

Graz'zt's demons flew in on the chaos ship (which I plan on using in some way in the upcoming blood war). On the ship was:
  • Verin: Graz'zt's demon lord sidekick who I am situating as the villain of this little trilogy of sessions.
  • Rule-of-Three: A prominent planescape NPC/son of Graz'zt. I'd read about an item he has that I really want the group to get a look at.
  • A bunch of mariliths and vrocks.
Verin inspected the planar connection and dumped a bunch of info on the group:
  • The connection isn't complete until the city of Zelatar is connected. 
  • Zelatar is made of souls, and the mysterious Ztefano will be handling that.
  • Verin warned the group to avoid Ztefano as he is quite dangerous.
  • Graz'zt will be having some of his lieutenants coming in and running the city. This has created vacancies....
Surprise Election Victory

Verin says that there's a place in Graz'zt's realms called Vulderpayne that needs a Baron. Verin looked around at Bazuuma's followers and elected Gonard Flumph to be the new ruler.

Gonard is my Donald Trump NPC. I have used him as a satirical goofy character - an excuse for me to translate whatever Trump is doing into a D&D context.

Seeing how Trump was shockingly elected this week, I decided that Flumph should be suddenly given rulership of a realm, too.

I almost considered phasing Flumph out completely because the whole country is in an uproar. I decided to try it and the group died laughing, so it worked out fine.

The Abyss is Sentient

After that was done, I had the ancient demon whale Bechard talk to the characters. They got in his mouth, and inside him is a demonic version of the inside of the whale in Pinnochio. Bechard innards contains wrecked ships, howling winds, huge rib bones and animated gnoll skeletons.

Bechard loves the heroes because they freed him from eternal torment in Yeenoghu's Realm. He gave them some info I learned from Faces of Evil: The Fiends, an utterly fantastic supplement on demons:
  • Abyssal layer are dimly sentient.
  • When you try to take over an abyssal layer, you must have a strong force of will or the layer will literally swallow you up.
  • Certain layers are feared because they swallow up everyone who tries to take them over.
  • Layers must feed on demon princes/princesses or else they shrink and eventually merge with another layer.
These ideas are going to play a big part in the session after the next one.

Return to Sigil

Coaxmetal is from Planescape: Torment

Then the group met with Bazuuma. She asked them to go explore the positive energy plane. They agreed to do so.

The heroes went back to Sigil. Bidam finally went to get the Orcusword and gave it to a giant golem named Coaxmetal to repair.

Seoni begged Theran for help - the Codex of Infinite Planes was slowly devouring her soul. He didn't know how to help her.

I decided to squeak in stuff I made a month or two ago. The heroes own mansions in the Elemental Plane of Earth and I had found a fun side adventure in Tales of the Outer Planes that I thought would be amusing. It was!

The Slayer Genie

Bidam's Slayer Genie

The heroes learned that their dwarf miners had uncovered something. They went through the portal to the plane of earth. They checked out their mansions being built by the builder genie. One mansion had a magic jacuzzi, which was pretty sweet.

Theran has an earth genie "wife" who is very intense. Bidam has a goliath "wife" who is very laid back.

The builder genie is a servant of Theran. Bidam has a slayer genie. Those things are badass.

The slayer genie knelt down before Bidam and asked whom it should slay. Slayer genies have an innate need to kill.

So, the group thought for a minute, looked at me smiling and I said, "...Oh no." They laughed. They hate Gonard Flumph. They want him dead.

But that's not all. They hate Ash Vodiran, the greatest thief in all of Sigil who stole from them twice. He robbed them of the wand of orcus! And 18,000 gold!

The slayer genie has his targets. I have no idea the best way to handle this. I guess I'll go with the most interesting outcome. I don't want to use this to somehow screw the group over, but it also feels kind of lame to have two prominent enemies killed "off screen" by an NPC assassin.

I'm going to have to think about it and read around to see what other people have done in this kind of situation.

Profit: The heroes have 100 dwarves mining for gems. I had made of gems found and the group was quite thrilled as they each pocketed about 1,000 gp worth.

The Garden of Floating Crystals

Earth Genie

The dwarves had unearthed an ancient chamber while mining. The group went in to explore what turned out to be a mini-dungeon.

The Faces: The first room had two giant faces on a wall. In one of their mouths was the passage to the next room. In the other was a death trap. The stone faces told them this, laughed, and made fun of the heroes.

One stone face had only one eye. Bidam poked it in the eye and opened its mouth for a moment. Theran has epic eyesight thanks to his robe of eyes but saw darkness and just a spot of light.

They did something similar to the other face and saw a death trap in there.

They went through the one-eyed face's mouth and made their way to the next room.

Cousin of Grumbar: This one is weird. It's a circular room half a mile long. There's a lot of sand and a huge fist sticking out of it. On the fist is a giant ring. You need the ring to exit the room and continue on.

The hand came to life and tried to flick Bidam but he dodged. Bidam eventually pulled off the ring and the group ran as the creature that was buried in the sand began rising up out of it.

The Garden: The group came to the final room, where there was all of these floating crystals. Trapped in four of them were different creatures. This room also had a magic trap where arrows charged with kinetic energy were up by the ceiling, ready to launch at whoever freed someone from a gem.

The story here is that this place was the lair of a villainous earth genie who is long dead. I had his face appear magically to interact with the group, mostly so I could do a mustache-twirling villain schtick. His name: Axalachite, the gleaming sultan of stones best left unturned.

The heroes were amused by the bad guy and intent on freeing the people in the gems without triggering the trap. After a lot of thinking, they ad their buddy Fall From Grace fly up and mess with the arrows so that their kinetic energy was discharged.

They freed a few creatures who'd been trapped for centuries:

Lymph Dilutius: A water genie who had been tricked by the evil Axalachite. The genie promised the group a wish - a twisted genie wish, of course. The group will be using the wish very soon. Lymph plane-shifted home and will respond to the group should they use a sending spell.

Kristal: Her rescue is the point of the original scenario. She is the daughter of a duke, has an 18 charisma, long blonde hair and she is "small and frail."

The Lifepearls

The group went back to Sigil. Bidam lives by the code of "hit it and quit it." He didn't try to put the moves on Kristal.

Fall From Grace pointed out something to him that I noticed last session - Bidam is changing. Since he married Bazuuma, he might actually want to be monogamous.

Bidam denied this. It was funny, this is not something Jessie is roleplaying, it is just sort of happening. So her reaction was very real - she was shocked and put up resistance to the idea but I could see that there was some truth to it.

The next day, the group sought out Lissandra the Gate-Seeker and learned that there was a portal to the plane of positive energy in The Great Gymnasium, home of the Transcendent Order faction. The Order believes in the mind-body connection. They exercise a lot. It's cooler than it sounds.

The group did no research at all. This plane is dangerous. They just jumped right in. A bunch of stuff happened right away:
  • They were floating in a realm of light.
  • They couldn't see far at all, just distant black blurs.
  • Their eyes hurt from the light. If you look at the robe of eyes stats, you know that light is really bad for Theran.
  • They immediately started getting pumped full of positive energy, gaining 2d10 hit points per round.
They were "overhealing," piling on temporary hit points. The group got nervous and decided to start flying toward a black blot. This is really bad, because they left the portal behind and had no way to find it again.

Explode: I got alarmed because there was a very good chance both of the characters were about to die. The deal here is that once you "overheal" to the point you double your max hit points, you explode in a burst of radiant motes. You die, and you die as if you were disintegrated. There is nothing left of you!

I decided that if they died, we'd stop the session there and I'd see what options there were during the week.

Then they got really wacky. On their own, they realized they were going to blow up. They proceeded to fly towards the blot and attack each other each round to keep their temporary hit points off. Bidam has a sword of sharpness! If he rolls a 20, he has a chance of cutting off one of Theran's limbs!

I was beyond amused. Spell damage is maximized here. Theran dropped a freaking fireball on Bidam and did piles and piles of damage. Bidam tore into Theran, carving away with the sword of sharpness.

Thankfully, they decided to use their cubic gate to get out of there and regroup.

They got back to Sigil and did some research. Fall From Grace got a spell called Positive Energy Protection, which would make traveling in the plane safe.

The group went back and found their way to the Fortress of Life - the stronghold of the Transcendant Order in the plane of positive energy.

After a bunch of talking, the group learned that the Order was in the plane searching for lifepearls. They had 10 already! Lifepearls are balls of energy that you can use to make races or planes, according to one sourcebook. They have charges. You can spend a charge to heal diseases or raise dead.

The lifepearls are "concentrated creation." The Order was willing to hand over some pearls in exchange for control of one of the Abyssal layers.

Corrupting Azzagrat

Ultimately, the group cooked up a plan. They are going to use three lifepearls and place them in the core of each of Graz'zt's three realms. The hope is that the pearl's positive energy will "corrupt" the planes toward good and send the demons running.

I asked them how they planned to do that next session - at the same time, or one at a time.

They decided to use the water genie Lymph Dilutius. They're going to use their wish to have all three pearls implanted at the same time.

They know that the genie is going to try to twist their wish, so this one will be very tricky.

I have a good idea of how next session will go and it's going to be utter chaos. These planes are sentient and they are not going to like these mortals trying to "poison them" with positivity.

No idea what's going to happen! I guess we'll see soon enough.

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