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Monday, December 12, 2016

Planescape - Who Framed Master Vulgarid?

This is one of those Planescape sessions that is very "adult." If that is not your thing, you should skip it!

Battle of the Brothels: This scenario was set entirely in the city of Sigil. I had planned this one months and months ago. The adventurers run a brothel (also known as a "festhall") and I thought it would be fun to maybe do some kind of "war" between brothels.

I sat down months ago and cooked up a bunch of brothels littered with joke name NPCs and gross gimmicks. I found some of these through google, so I can't take credit for all of them:
  • Dildo T. Baggins (The group loved this one so much)
  • Longrod Von Hugendong
  • Anne Van Vaginal
This adventure also featured the star employee of the heroes: Floozy St. Assland.

Less Stuff: Yesterday I sat down to put this session together. I wanted to make it Perkins-style. Just a few scenes that we can really dig into. I did it! It was great.

It's a Trap: I immediately had an idea of doing a scene like in a mob movie. All the head honchos come to a meeting and then somebody bursts in and shoots a machine gun, blowing them all away. I wanted to do that with the brothel owners. George caught on to it just as it happened - it was perfect.

The Party

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

Shemeska the Marauder

We started off with the group getting a telegram delivered to them by Kylie, a tout (messenger). Kylie is a pretty "famous" Planescape NPC. She didn't like the heroes.

The message on the telegram said: "Meeting of brothel owners at Red Lion today two hours after peak. Need to discuss Shem and Floozy."

"Shem" is Shemeska the Marauder, another famous Planescape NPC that the group has butted heads with.

They Took the Bait: Here's the deal. The other brothel owners got telegrams, too. They are all under the impression that Theran wants to have this meeting.

In truth, all of these telegrams were made by Shemeshka. Her master of disguise ally named Farrow (who is from Uncaged: Faces of Sigil) delivered the telegrams to Kylie.

The Meeting

The group went to the Red Lion Inn, which is the headquarters of Theran's faction, the Free League. If you look at the map of the Red Lion in the Factol's Manifesto, you can see there is a meeting room with no windows and a portcullis. A portcullis is perfect for shooting a machine gun through, right?

So all the brothel owners were milling about and I paraded around all of these joke-name NPCs. I am proud to say that the group died laughing.

The Rich Guy: The biggest brothel in Sigil is The Palace, run by this rich schmuck named Andy San Beemer. He employs the most popular worker in Sigil, Busty Razzle. Busty Razzle is like a D&D Jessica Rabbit, but she's not a cartoon.

Andy drunkenly told the group that Busty is cursed and she can't get rid of it. Andy knows that any hag could remove the curse, but he hasn't told her. He's using it to manipulate her.

It's Time: Everybody got seated. They all looked at Theran. Theran shrugged and said, "What?"

Big Rip, a solamith chomping on a cigar, said, "Well? You called this meeting."

Theran said: "No, I didn't."

Then Big Rip gave the classic: ""Well if you didn't, who d-"

Right at that moment in real life George yelled, "It's a trap!"

The Mysterious Assailants

Two hooded wizards showed up outside the portcullis:
  • One cast arcane lock on the portcullis, sealing the brothel owners in. 
  • The other had a crystal-snaring net with a spell crystal in it. The crystal was chucked through the bars of the portcullis into the room. It shattered and unleashes a storm sphere (4th level spell from Elemental Evil Player's Companion).
Andy Gets Whacked: The storm pummelled everyone for 2d6 damage. As a bonus action, the wizard can cause a lightning bolt to hit one target. The wizard chose Andy San Beemer. Because he's a 3 hit point scrub, he was reduced to a pile of ash.

Bidam ran forward to raise the portcullis. He rolled a 21 on his strength check. Arcane Lock raises the DC by 10. The DC was a 25!

The bad guys got away.

Questioning Kylie

The group tracked down Kylie. I showed them her picture again. We theorized that she was indeed walking around Sigil wearing a thong. Jessie the instigator decided to have Bidam smack her on the butt. Kylie had a short sword of speed and she drew it, furious.

Autochon: Kylie has this secret guardian, Autochon the Bellringer. He wears a full suit of plate mail and when he walk, bells jingle. He's got a huge backstory in Uncaged.  Once things cooled down and Kylie left, Autochon approached the group and warned them to leave her alone. The group was really curious about this guy.

The Neogi

Neogi and an umber hulk

Prior to the butt slap heard 'round the city, the group had learned that Kylie was given the telegram by a guy who said he worked for the neogi - Master Vulgarid.

I introduced him a few sessions back. I love neogi. They put them in Volo's Guide to Monsters, much to my delight.

Enslaved: The group tracked him down at The Styx Oarsmen. He was eating while being guarded by his two umber hulks. After schmoozing with the patrons, the group approached Vulgarid. Vulgarid has been legit framed for this thing, but he's such a jerk that the group had a hard time believing it.

Vulgarid used his enslave power on Bidam. Bidam failed his save! That is one crazy power. Bidam had to do whatever he said for one day.

Eventually the group believed Vulgarid. He told the group that he would reward them with slaves if they handled this thing for him. Bidam happily requested three dwarves with full beards. Why? I have no idea.


Autochon the Bell Ringer

Autochon approached the group. He told them that the guy who had actually given her the telegram was an agent of Shemeshka.

This lead to the big combat scene. The group got in their carriage drawn by two unicorns, driven by Prince Buttongleam the unicorn man.

They were riding through the city when the evil nightmare-man BloodQuake lands on the roof. Bloodquake is Buttongleam's mortal enemy. BloodQuake has been hired by Shemeshka to take the group down.

He was accompanied by three mooks riding ostriches and a tiefling conjurer using the conjurer stats from Volo's Guide.

I was able to make this cinematic and it was a billion times better for it.

The Carriage Battle

Vaimish Crasad

The caster on the pterodactlyl cast a cloudkill spell in the carriage. Theran opened the side door to get air. He saw Bloodquake on the roof beating up Prince Buttongleam.

He saw that BloodQuake had.. A KRULL. It's the glaive from the movie Krull. I like to call it a krull and use krull as a descriptive word. Bloodquake was krulling the crap out of Buttongleam.

The unicorns were panicked and running at a high speed through the city. The carriage passed by the group's old friend, the paladin lord Vaimish Crasad. Vaimish was on his white horse and raced after them.

I had put Vaimish in this encounter so that way if a hero fell off the speeding carriage, he could keep them in the battle.

Bidam opened the other carriage door and the cloudkill spewed out. Two mooks jumped off of their ostriches into the carriage. They tackled Bidam and pinned him to the floor of the vehicle.

Wizard Down: Theran shot a magic missile into Bloodquake. The caster on the pterodactyl hit Theran with a pile of magic missiles and dropped him to 0!

Theran fell out of the carriage and hit the pavement. Vaimish scooped him up and put him on his horse. The paladin lord used lay on hands to heal him.

Living Projectiles: Bidam pushed the mooks off. One mook fell out of the carriage. Bidam grabbed the other guy and chucked him at the caster riding the pterodactyl. The pterodactyl and rider crashed through a bunch of awnings. The pterodactyl hurt its wing, but the caster would recover shortly.

Bidam ignored the other mook and climbed onto the roof. Bloodquake, keeping his balance, flung his Krull at him and did some damage. Bidam stabbed him repeatedly with the Orcusword and BloodQuake knew he was in big trouble.

He only had one chance - push Bidam off the carriage! He tried and they both went sprawling, but neither fell off.

The caster on the pterodactyl had gotten his stuff together and the was flying next to the carriage.

Vaimish also caught up to the carriage. Theran, on Vaimish's horse, busted out a spell I forgot he had: DISINTEGRATE. The caster on the pterodactlyl had 40 hit points. This spell does 10d6+40 damage! The caster was vaporized.

Bidam got up, stood over Bloodquake and plunged the Orcusword into him. Bloodquake was dead.

The Villain Revealed

Vaimish healed Prince Buttongleam. Buttongleam's entire reason for coming to Sigil was to find and kill BloodQuake, and the group had done it for him. He promised them a reward.

The adventurers decided to go home and rest. They were thinking that they were going to have to fight Shemeska (!) which is something I didn't anticipate at all.

They rested for the night. Bidam's Lady of Pain curse kicked in - a blade grew out of his body, rusted and fell off.

The Scheme: The next day, the group went to Fortune's Wheel, Shemeshka's casino. Long story short, Busty Razzle was there. Andy had left The Palace to her in his will. Shemeshka had offered to remove her curse in exchange for The Palace.

That's what this whole thing was about. Shemeshka had Andy killed so she could get her hands on his business to add it to her empire. She even framed Master Vulgarid, a new rival, in the process.

Bamboozled: The group befriended Busty. They remembered that Andy told them that there was a cure for her curse. They brought her to Zaraga the Hag, who lives in Deadbook Square.

Zaraga: She removed the curse in exchange for a favor. She wanted an orphan or a cherub (to eat), but the group flatly refused. The favor is to be named later.

Busty's curse was removed. The group made a deal with her. The heroes would be co-owners of The Palace. Now they're going to rake in the big bucks!


A'kin the Friendly Fiend

They foiled Shemeshka and profited off of her scheme. A'kin the Friendly Fiend would soon tell the group about her temper tantrum.

This was an awesome session. The group really shines in these kind of open scenarios. I had planned to start the Blood War after next session but I might actually do a follow-up scenario on this.

The idea of Shemeshka vs. the group in an actual combat sounds cool if I can pull it off in way where it's non-lethal. I'm not sure if combat is her style. I guess I could use a simulacrum of Shemeshka.

Shemeshka Stats: Shemeshka is an Arcanaloth. I want to take a brief look at her 5e stats and her stuff from the 2e version in Uncaged:

AC 17 HP 104
  • Magic resistance
  • Can cast invisibility and magic missile at will
  • Teleport 60 feet as an action
  • High level spells include: Mind blank, finger of death and chain lightning.
  • Poison claws that reduce attack rolls by one (poisoned save ends?)
  • Always guarded by groomer-guards, d4+6 5th level tiefling thieves
  • Magic items include: Gem of seeing, mirror of mental prowess, necklace of missiles.
I should look those items up. Those are probably valuable tools she could use to spy on the group to plot her revenge.

I need to run her very smartly. If Theran uses disintegrate and Bidam gets three attacks in, Shemeshka could go down in one round. She's not stupid, so I'd need to think this through.


Benji said...

Remember, it's not outside of the realm of possibility she was spying on them during the Blackhoof fight and has prepared against those exact attacks.

Sean said...

Benji: True! I was reading some more. She has an attendant who carries the mirror around so Shemeshka can look into it at any time. That seems kind of risky, right? I'm pretty much positive we're going to do a Shemeshka thing next week. I don't want to miss the opportunity.

Jason R said...

Unlike video games, "the boss" doesn't have to be the most challenging, combat savvy individual opposing the heroes. It's kind of a refreshing idea when the boss is the intelligence behind the scenes, has political power or other influences, but may be no more than a scrub in individual combat compared to the PC's. The dirty work is left for able bodied minions!

Another awesome session!

Sean said...

Jason R: Thanks! I am very wary about using Shemeshka because feel like I'm going to get it wrong. I don't know if you've ever seen it, but Todd Stewart wrote this massive online novel (series of novels?) about Shemeshka that people love. I want to read them but they are just so long.