Monthly Archives: April 2016

Planesfinder: Session 1

So last night I ran the first session in my epic Planesfinder game! It went very well and we got through 6 of the “Story Segments” that I had slated for us to use.

My group consisted of 8 players– two evil Drow (an anti-Paladin and a phalanx fighter) from Faerun, a LG Aasimar Priest from Mount Celestia, a CG Bugbear Kineticist prime, a LE Kender Bard from Krynn, a LE Dustman Tiefling Necromancer from the cage, a Gnoll Barbarian from an Astral bound demi-plane, and a LN Transcendent Order Monk from Arcadia.

The pace was pretty good– we were started by 2:30 and paused for about 45 minutes at 5:30 for dinner, then wrapped at 9 PM. The experience they ended up earning based on which of the presented encounters they gave, using the book suggested experience bonuses for story elements (but applied one time and to the group pool) put them to just over 2200, so I tacked on 1000 experience each for story completion to bring them to second level– 6 stories per level is in line with the pace of advancement I need, and the 7th story line being second level will help a lot.

So here is the text from my prep document– it references to published material, so you will need access to the Planescape books to run this– I’m not trying to dodge copyright laws here, though I know there is some argument that I’m near the edge, talking about copyrights of both WoTC and Paizo and mixing the elements for a campaign, but that is why this is available free for the community and not published under any license.

Character Construction Notes:

 

15 point standard Pathfinder point buy

1st level

Must be a mortal Planar or Prime (or a Rogue Modron) 0 ECL race

No Knowledge (the Planes) Skill—replaced by Knowledge (specific plane) Knowledge (Outlands) and Knowledge (Sigil) are two separate skills.

Skill Synergies are back for Planar Knowledge skills!

5 ranks in any Plane gives you +2 to each of its related Planes

10 ranks give you a +4 in related Planes

Astral and Ehtereal Planes: Astral and Ethereal planes are related to one another, the Astral plane is related to all demi-planes

Demi-Planes: Demi-planes are related to the Astral Plane

Elemental Planes: Air, Earth, Fire and Water, Positive and Negative planes are related to their attendant Quasi and Para elemental planes (and vice versa)

Outer Planes: Outer planes are related to the planes adjacent to them to the left and right

Outlands: Outlands is related to Sigil and to all Outer Planes (Know the gate towns, know the planes)

Prime: Primes must be taken separately, however any Prime is related to the Astral and Ethereal planes

Sigil: Sigil is related to the Outlands

 

 

 

Perks:

Each character gets to choose one perk. Perks are here to help to compensate for the difficulty of the planes.

+2 Caster Level: Functions on CL checks to overcome SR of Planar creatures, and counts for the initial level of Divine Caster level for the purposes of caster level reductions due to distance from

3 Contacts: 3 separate contacts on planes of the player’s choice. They will provide aid within reason and assist with information, guide services, and purchasing.

+1 Divine Bonus to Hit: *Must cast divine spells to take* Functions on all planes.


Gate Key:
You have specific knowledge of and an appropriate key to a gate linking two planes of your choice. The exact location of the gate and nature of the key is up to the DM.

+5 Damage versus Creatures with DR: Functions on any creature with DR other than DR/-.

Spell Key: A key to a specific plane for one school of magic to circumvent planar rules.

Session 1:

Introduction: The Lost Tooth Pick

(This segment and the NPCs herein are my original creation.)
The players are in Sigil, in whichever various places that they reside or such. They will be alternately approached by one of two different characters. Either way the pitch is approximately the same—Simone, Sword Taker has lost what her and Phineas describe as a “tooth pick”. This is actually an Abyss forged +5 anarchic great sword. The sword was stolen by a giant some time back, who has since gone to fight with Loki in battle in Pandemonium.

Phineas bel Thineas:

Phineas is a Dust Mephit mage of high level. He is very conceited, but charismatic. He is trailed as he walks by four other mephitis. He has business interests in Sigil, on the Plane of Dust, and on at least one prime plane. Exactly what it is that Phineas does, or where he makes his money; however he seems to always have access to nearly anything legal or otherwise that could be asked of him. If not directly, surely Phineas knows a guy.

Simone, Sword Taker

Simone, Sword Taker is an Alu-Fiend. She is Chaotic Neutral and fiercely loyal to Phineas, with whom she has a romantic/sexual relationship. She is a powerful warrior and an expert in the use of swords.

Once the characters have been summoned to Phineas’ shop in the Market Ward, he explains that Simone’s prized tooth pick has been stolen by a wicked and mean spirited man named Gilbert Trom Bone (Gilbert is actually an Ettin).

“It doesn’t matter what he looks like, he took the tooth pick and isn’t even using it!”

He explains that he has sent one of his mephit familiars as a spy and has confirmed its location—in a hall on Pandemonium, in the kitchen, on the counter.

Phineas has arranged to send the party through the gate to Pandemonium located in the Gate House (the Bleakers headquarters.) He will send one of his Mephit familiars along to lead the way and make the payment to the Bleakers.)

“Once you get to Pandemonium, Zippy will point you in the general direction you need to head—you won’t be able to miss the lodge that Gilbert has the tooth pick in.”

“You’ll be on your own getting back to me—though I expect you should be able to find your way in a relatively efficient manner, no?”

“And don’t think for a second of crossing me! My lovely Simone wants her tooth pick back, and believe me—if you try to keep it for yourself you shall face the wrath of Phineas bel Thineas, greatest of all dust mephits!”

Interlude: Doors to Unknown: Prologue

As the players are travelling from Phineas’ office on the edges of the Lady’s ward to the Hive Ward, they travel past the shattered temple

Stat conversions for the NPCs in this segment have been done here (again, by Guile):

http://guilesworld.com/role-playing-games-stuff/planescape/adventures/doors-unknown/

A Mouse Eyed View (Chaos Pandemonium)

 

This adventure is a two page spread from the Chaos Adventures book section on Pandemonium; book from the Planes of Chaos boxed set. The obvious changes here are that the players were sent by Phineas (in the “Lost Tooth Pick” story segment) to Pandemonium specifically to steal a sword which rests in the silverware drawer of Loki’s kitchen.

The player characters exit the Bleakers’ stronghold they are pointed in a direction by the Mephit who is with them—“Go there!” He says, and then flits away.

The player characters will travel for one day’s time through the tunnels of Pandesmos. They will periodically make Will saves to avoid the Pandemonium madness from the wind. If they have ear plugs, they gain a +2 bonus against these saves.

Save After Time Period DC
1st 6 hours 12
2nd 3 hours 14
3rd 1 hour 16
4th Upon waking 14
5th 1 hour later (after spells!) 16
6th Thirty minutes 18

 

Details on the effects of the madness are in the Book of Chaos from the Planes of Chaos boxed set.

After the 6th roll, proceed to send the characters into Loki’s realm as described in the “A Mouse-Eye View” adventure.

Use 1 Dire Wolf, plus 1 Wolf per PC past 2 (3 PCs= 1 Wolf, 4 PCs= 2 wolves, ect)

Wolf can be found from the PRD here:

http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/bestiary/wolf.html#wolf

The head chef will point them towards the kitchen. For the dogs use the following chart to determine which kind of dog wakes up:

01-49: dog

50-79 wolf

80-89 worg

90-94 dire wolf

95-99 yeth hound

00 winter wolf

(All can be found in the Bestiary)

The Petitioners

The following 8 possible petitioners can be found and convinced to help if the players can avoid waking up more than a few dogs. Jysson must be found here in order to instill the characters with the quest for Great Modron March.

Jysson—run the “It Begins” section from the Great Modron March “Chapter 1: the March Begins, however have Jysson present here in Loki’s realm.
“It was then that this nasty two-headed giant snatch me up along with the book and brought us here.”

Bjorn Jorlsen— CG; Ysgard; brewer: Bjorn runs an inn and brewery on Ysgard, the Crowing Cock. Here he has been forced to brew viscous ale and beer for the giants and Loki. If the players free him, they can stay at his Inn free of charge on Ysgard going forward.

Jorge Pickerson— NG; Elysium; winemaker: like Bjorn, Jorge now mostly makes foul wine brews from honey and mixed berries brought back from faraway raids. On Elysium, he makes excellent wines from the grapes growing in abundance there.

Joe Figus— LG; Bytopia; cobbler: Figus will fix or outfit the party with new winter boots. He is a beaten down, though industrious petitioner. If the players come to find him on Bytopia later, he will assist them joyously.

Harley Mechaschnauzz—LN; Mechanus; clockmaker. Harley is a skilled clockmaker and mechanist. Here she has been reduced to tuning and repairing crossbow springs. If the players later find Harley on Mechanus, he will help them with any mechanics they need and even offer them a small device of some variety. Here she can quickly tune any crossbows they have along. This gives the effects of the Point Blank shot (+1 attack and damage) when they are fired until knocked out of alignment. Additionally, the first time the crossbow scores a critical threat it automatically confirms. The crossbow will be out of alignment when they players either critically hit or critically miss.

Wick—CN; Limbo; chef. Wick will lead the players through the rest of hall and introduce them to the other petitioners. He will also point out where the “tooth pick” is in the kitchen, and

Nerus Nixus—LE; Ba’ator; blacksmith: the smith is a weasel-y and untrustworthy fellow from the Iron City on the second layer of Hell on Dis. He will owe the player characters a single favor, if they release him, and he is a man of his word on this—though they can expect little else from him.  Additionally, the players can take a single weapon from the armory while there.

Boris Trill—NE; Gray Wastes; furrier: Boris will grudgingly give the players warm, if not stylish fur coats. On the Gray Wastes Boris traps larvae, and he can repay the players with a few of the creatures, or a mean larvae soup if they ever find themselves near his home on the first gloom.

Whether the players collect everything, or get only the tooth pick, if they make it out of the hall without waking too many giants, they will be able to find their way out of the cold and snow and wolves of Loki’s realm. If they allow them, the petitioners will scatter—willing to take longer in Pandemonium to find portals to their own planes (or closer to it).

The portal the players end up with, which is both the closest and easiest to open leads across the way to Acheron, where the next adventure picks up.

Little Lost Gear Spirit (Acheron)

This adventure is found in the “Acheron” book from the Planes of Law boxed set. Like several of the previous, its a two page spread so it does rely on DM skill to unpack and improvise.

The players find themselves on Acheron, atop one of the cubes on the first layer. There is a war camp nearby, a fairly long standing one as it has some imported wooden buildings alongside the many tents. When they get into the town they find the Modrons are there organizing their search. Alternately, if the players need a night’s rest you can have them stay in the inn and then

Bladelings:

Bladeling information used from this site:

http://guilesworld.com/role-playing-games-stuff/planescape/bladeling/

I have adjusted the bladelings by making their stat adjustments +2 Dex, +2 Con, -2 Cha to match most Pathfinder racial adjustments.

The party will be made up of Forgrazor (Pl/male bladeling/Wizard [Metal Elemental] 5/LE) and one 1st level Bladeling rogue per player character past the first.

The rogues will endeavor to set up flanks to use their sneak attack ability on the players.

Fogrozar will start with his highest level damaging spells first, working down, ending with gravity bow then using his bow until the fight ends one way or another.

 

 

 

Bladeling Rogue                                                                        CR 1/2

XP 200

LE Medium Outsider (Native)

Init +1; Senses dark vision (60 feet); Perception +4

DEFENSE

AC 18, touch 11, flat-footed 17 (+1 Dex, +4 natural, +3 studded leather)

hp 8 (1d6+2)

Fort +1, Ref +3, Will +0

Special Qualities DR 5/bludgeoning, Immune (Acid, rust), Resist (cold & fire) 5

OFFENSE

Speed 30 ft.

Melee long sword +1 (1d8+0)

Special Attacks: Sneak Attack +1d6, razor storm (15-foot cone, 2d6, 1/day)

Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

STATISTICS

Str 11, Dex 13, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 8

Base Atk +0; CMB +0; CMD 11

Feats weapon focus (long sword)

Skills bluff +3, disable device +5, escape artist +5, intimidate +3, perception +4, sleight of hand +5, stealth +5, use magic device +3

 

 

Forgrazor (Planar/male bladeling/ Wizard [Metal Elementalist] 5/ LE)

Bladeling Wizard                                                                          CR 4

XP 1200

LE Medium Outsider (Native)

Init +4; Senses dark vision (60 feet); Perception +5

DEFENSE

AC 18, touch 11, flat-footed 17 (+1 Dex, +4 natural, +3 Iron Skin)

hp 25 (5d6+5)

Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +4

Special Qualities DR 5/bludgeoning, Immune (Acid, rust), resist (cold & fire) 5

Iron Skin (Su): +3 Armor class 5/ day

OFFENSE

Speed 30 ft.

Melee long sword +2 (1d8+0)

Ranged medium crossbow +3 (1d8+1 [2d6 with gravity bow, +3 with arcane strike])

Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

Wizard spells prepared—

3rdlightning bolt, haste; 2ndshatter, shatter, acid arrow, cat’s grace; 1stgravity bow, shocking grasp, magic missile, magic missile, sleep

Special Attacksrazor storm (15-foot cone, 2d6, 1/day), arcane bond (object),

Metal Rending (Su): Whenever you cast a spell that deals hit point damage, you deal extra damage to creatures made of metal or wearing medium or heavy metal armor. Affected creatures take additional damage equal to 1/2 your wizard level. This bonus only applies once to a spell, not once per missile or ray, and cannot be split between multiple missiles or rays. The damage is of the same type as the spell.

STATISTICS

Str 9, Dex 11, Con 11, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 10

Base Atk +2; CMB +2; CMD 13

Feats arcane strike, point blank shot, improved initiative, craft magic arms & armor, scribe scroll

Skills knowledge (acheron) +10, perception +5, spellcraft +10, use magic device +5

 

Whether the PCs are trying to keep the gear spirit or return it to the Modrons, it can get them off Acheron. If they abscond with the spirit, it leads them to a portal. If they give it to the Modrons, they can follow them through the portal.

Ghost in the Machine

This section is found in the “Mechanus” book in the Planes of Law boxed set. Its the third

Either way this sets up the crime they are arrested for—sneaking onto Mechanus, or detaining a gear spirit. (My party gave back the spirit and sneaked through).

I used the stats for Chaos Imps from Guile’s excellent Great Modron March conversion, found here:
http://guilesworld.com/role-playing-games-stuff/planescape/adventures/great-modron-march/

Since the Imps are incorporeal the players will have a hard time with them, I used one imp per player, but each round had an Imp take over an object. With 8 players it took almost half of the fight before they put it together and started throwing random items (a boot, a coin, a bedroll) to entice the imps.

The Great Modron March Chapter 1: The March Begins

After resolving their issues with Modron justice, the players head towards the gate to the Outlands and Automata—conveniently just in time to witness the start of the March. From this adventure collection.

The “It Begins” section earlier during the section in Loki’s realm– the player’s should have both the book, and the cat Jysson with them now. Skip ahead with the “Arrival” section from that chapter.

Climax:

Stats for the NPCs, guardsmen, and thugs can be found here (courtesy of Guile’s work yet again):

 

http://guilesworld.com/role-playing-games-stuff/planescape/adventures/great-modron-march/

Interlude: Back to Sigil

At this point, Jysson leads the player characters through a portal he has the key to and back to Sigil (where he leaves them to return to the Beastlands having given them the deed and address of his own small building.)

They can return to collect their payment from Phineas bel Thineas now and hand over the Tooth Pick. If they don’t, needless to say Phineas will find them and total party kill will result unless the players can talk their way out of it.

This is also a good time for them to check out and collect their gold from Jysson’s shop. They can also now stay there, at least a few of them—it’s about 10×10 on each of two stories and the bottom story is a shop.

That’s the spot we called it for the night! So far, a rousing success– I’ll report more of the story as it progresses, though due to schedules this game is going to run about once per month.

Comments and ideas are always appreciated!

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Planesfinder: An Experiment in Progressive Nostalgia

For gamers of my age, thirty-three for another month or two, there is a definite nostalgia for some of the settings, if not the rules, of second edition Dungeons and Dragons.

The settings, while in a historical context part of the downfall of TSR, were where it was at. Forgotten Realms was immensely popular, overshadowing Grayhawk and being one of the few settings to transition to later editions proper. There was Dragonlance, with its gully dwarves and kender halflings, and oh yeah- dragons.

One of my personal favorites was Darksun, where you could encounter such creatures as psionic grass that melts your brain, psionic moles that melt your brain, and squid-sharks that got nine attacks while melting your brain.

Ravenloft featured lots of vampires, werewolves, horror, gypsies, and strangely mists. People got real scared of mists in second edition– you just never knew when a Ravenloft game was going to suddenly suck everyone into the Mists and their inevitable doom.

And there was Red Steel.

But among all of the settings, the one that holds a special place for me, personally is Planescape. Looking at the books now, they definitively ooze 90s. The post-modern belief paradigms set up by the Factions seemed so edgy and interesting.

The art of Planescape deserves special mention. DiTerlizzi created a unique and distinct style which remains striking and memorable today. The art was definitely a huge part of the magic of Planescape that fascinated our play group. The art and of course, Modrons.

So, fast forward to 2015. My group plays Pathfinder now, having played 3.5 for years and having skipped fourth edition. Since the end of second edition, virtually everything for the planes released by both Hasbro/Wizards and Paizo has been typically a single book, and not nearly as good as Planescape. Or at least it has lacked the kind of magic that captivated us as edgy teens in the 90s.

In my group, I’ve been running a very successful, long running Kingdom Builder game. Its been run more than a dozen sessions, spanning two years, and taking the characters from 1st level nobles sent to colonize the new world in my own Kesperex setting, to 12th level nobles running a booming Empire with a few dozen squares of land (and water) after merging with (and one of the PCs marrying) a sahuagin Empress and her territoru. They have several settlements, large populations of sahuagins, orcs, ratkin, and humans; armies including human griffin riders, orc witches, and sahuagin warpriests.

I love this game, and its continuing on still. However, I’ve been itching at the same time for a new challenge to run, a new game to excite people who’ve drifted into the game and missed out on the early run of the kingdom builder game. I had three distinct ideas for games I was interested in running– a dark, early, post-Apocalypse military game set in the not too distant future using my own Core8 dice rolling system, a pre-run for my as to yet undeveloped/unwritten Adventure Path “Reign in Hell” wherein the players take on the role of devils trying to climb the hierarchy of hell, or Planesfinder– which at the time I pitched it was nothing more than the desire to run Planescape updated for the Pathfinder and compatible rules set.

So, thus begins the epic journey to run a Pathfinder/Planescape game. Where will this journey lead?

Its hard to know, but certainly all over the planes.