5th edition Planescape Campaign

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Hermaphroditos
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Hi,

Hi,
I've just discovered your project and just wanted to express my gratitude towards you for posting this awesome piece of work that is the compilation of your campaign notes. I really love your ideas and all of this is a great help for me, as I'm an inexperienced DM, running my first Planescape campaign.
Thanks!

delazar
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Also just discovered this

Also just discovered this project, it's really GREAT!

I see you mentioned some sort of Player's Handbook with Races and Factions conversions... Did you ever get that done? Would love to have a look at it!

KnightOfDecay
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Check out the links in the

Check out the links in the spoiler section of Quickleaf's first post on the first page. Should be exactly what you're looking for.
Cheers.

delazar
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Yes, I'm going through the

Yes, I'm going through the sites he linked, and making my own little document with races and factions, but I was wondering if there was already a PDF document, like the one he did for Codex of Infinite Portals.

KnightOfDecay
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He was working on a Player's

He was working on a Player's Comanion PDF but it's currently on hold as is the whole Codex of the Infinite Planes Project. If I remember correctly, the conversions included there should be congruent to the material you can find via the links.

delazar
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I found it the Player's

I found it the Player's Companion! There was a link in one of the posts on page 2.

It's a pity that this is on hold, it looks really professional.

Quickleaf
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Glad to see some new folks

Glad to see some new folks migrating to Planewalker!

Here's the messy 160-page PDF that I was working from (DM's notes): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0Z7ZsrO9VLBU3FkblkyQTh4R0U/view?usp=sharing

@KnightofDecay was instrumental in providing excellent feedback, as were several others on this board.

Right now the snafu with Planescape is that it's a WOTC property. Sigil and the Lady of Pain are strictly WOTC product identity, in the same way beholders, displacer beasts, githzerai, mind flayers, and slaad are product identity. Arguably, the Great Wheel cosmology also fits as product identity.

This wouldn't be a snafu if WOTC would release a 3rd party license for 5th edition, but they're playing their cards very close to the chest right now and only contracting out specific game companies to do their big hardback adventures.

So that puts any effort to produce a distinctly Planescape adventure/sourcebook off the playing field as far as for-sale products go.

Now, that doesn't mean that this adventure doesn't have a future. It could still be a purely fan effort.

However so far my staff is 1: just me!

For the scope of what I envision for it, there'd need to be a flowering of interest from talented writers, artists, graphic designers, editors, layout designers, and cartographers. But for 1 person? It's a huuuge amount of work. Not that I don't enjoy it thoroughly, but I don't have time now.

So for now it's on the back burner. When I have time in December I may sit down to try to wrangle it into a workable framework. Maybe recruit a friend into co-writing with me. We shall see.

Quickleaf
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Also, having now had a chance

Also, having now had a chance to read thru Out of the Abyss, I've got a better sense of how much one can fit inside a 256-page book.

Btw, there's a strong reference to the Great Modron March in Out of the Abyss, including interaction with lost modron marchers, that was a pleasant surprise to see Steve Kenson throw in there!

Wicke
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If you want some concept art,

If you want some concept art, toss me a couple of ideas. My focus is on locations rather than characters, though I can attempt character art if you *really* need it. I can't/won't guarantee that they'll be done quickly, but doing focused art will probably be a better use of my free-time than playing computer games.

KnightOfDecay
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I'd be glad to help too, but

I'd be glad to help too, but the problem is that (as Wicke) I can't say how much time I'll be able to actually contribute to the project.

As you mentioned Quickleaf, it needs very dedicated people to complete a huge adventure like this. And considering that most Planewalker Projects (Ortho, Shattered Dreams, Rrakma) finally tailed off, I'm unfortunately not too confident in this regard.

delazar
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I'm also glad to help. I can

I'm also glad to help. I can write, give feedback, and I can draw some (HERE is a link to what I can do, I know it's not much).

delazar
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There was a detail I always

There was a detail I always liked in 2e, about the difference between Primes and Planars. I don't think I've seen this mentioned in your conversions, was this on purpose?

What would you think of something like this:

PRIMES AND PLANARS

Primes are not susceptible to planar-related magic. Seems that while planar folks are sensitive to spells that protect, summon, or banish, the primes are completely immune. A conjure celestial will never drag primes away at an unexpected moment, and a divine word won’t go casting them back to their prime-material world.

Even though they’re still considered humanoids, Planars don’t have a silver cord, that magical thread that ties a prime back to his or her prime-material world. Planars also have the power to see the gates between the planes. A prime won’t see anything, but a planar sees the glowing outline of a portal. They are affected by spells that affect Celestials, Elementals, Feys, and Fiends, according to the table below. They’re not affected by spells that affect specifically “humanoids”.

Plane of Origin / Type
Upper Planes / Celestial or Fey
Lower Planes / Fiend
Inner Planes / Elemental

Some details about what spells would affect this:

Planar Races and interaction with Spells

Abi-Dalzim’s Horrid Wilting (elemental) Water genasi have disadvantage.

Conjure Celestial (celestial) The PC could be summoned to a different Plane by this spell. This was also mentioned as a possibility in the AD&D 2e version. I’m thinking of having this happen if the PC rolls a 1 on a d20. Roll the d20 again, and if you roll 1 again, you’ve been conjured… >

Conjure Elemental (elemental) See conjure celestial.

Conjure Fey (fey) See conjure celestial.

Conjure Minor Elemental (elemental) See conjure celestial.

Conjure Woodland Beings (fey) See conjure celestial.

Detect Evil and Good (celestial, elemental, fey, fiend) Effective to detect planar PCs.

Dispel Evil and Good (celestial, elemental, fey, fiend) The PC could be “dismissed” to his home plane. Not exactly a save or die spell, but it could be a long way to get back to your party.

Divine Word (celestial, elemental, fey, fiend) The PC could be “dismissed” to his home plane. Not exactly a save or die spell, but it could be a long way to get back to your party.

Forbiddance (celestial, elemental, fey, fiend) Effective to keep at bay planar PCs.

Hallow (celestial, elemental, fey, fiend) Effective to keep at bay planar PCs.

Holy Aura (fiend) Effective to fight Fiends.

Magic Circle (celestial, elemental, fey, fiend) Just like a Wall of Force, but only against planars?

Planar Ally (celestial, elemental, fiend) Your god may send you on a quest to help one of his followers in a different plane of existence!

Planar Binding (celestial, elemental, fey, fiend) A bit like Dominate Person?

Protection from Evil and Good (celestial, elemental, fey, fiend) Effective to fight planar PCs.

Spells that affect Humanoids

The following spells have no effect on Planar races (celestial, elemental, fey, fiend).

Animate Dead
Calm Emotions
Charm Person
Create Undead
Crown of Madness
Dominate Person
Finger of Death (will suffer damage, but will not turn into a zombie).
Hold Person
Magic Jar
Reincarnate
Simulacrum

KnightOfDecay
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Cool art! (I see you're

Cool art! (I see you're another fan of the Black Moon Chronicles!)

I like the stuff you posted above, but as I do not have a clue about 5E-rules I can't comment on the implications that it would have on the balance of the game.
Definitely an interesting optional or "advanced" rule variation.

Simile
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Edit

I have a bit of experience editing. I'm happy to help with this.

Quickleaf
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KnightofDecay wrote:I'd be

KnightofDecay wrote:
I'd be glad to help too, but the problem is that (as Wicke) I can't say how much time I'll be able to actually contribute to the project.

As you mentioned Quickleaf, it needs very dedicated people to complete a huge adventure like this. And considering that most Planewalker Projects (Ortho, Shattered Dreams, Rrakma) finally tailed off, I'm unfortunately not too confident in this regard.


Thanks Knight! And you can call me Aaron btw. :) I've really appreciated your insights and critique over the last several months with the project.

I know the tendency for these sorts of fan efforts to flop, for any number of reasons. That's why I was working on this as a solo endeavor of love for the setting, so that I would ultimately be the one responsible for seeing it thru. I never was under the illusion that I could do all of it, but the idea was to have the core of the project done and then add others into it.

I was able to learn some important things in my design process - from the ~160 pages I have written so far:

  • Having a group of people for a project like this is not only necessary, but it adds a richness. You don't want too many, but I'd say 3-5 eyes on the project at various stages keeps things fresh and catches common pitfalls.
  • Iterating the design is really, really valuable, since new things come up each time you turn it over.
  • The section I wrote on Dwarven Mountain goes into far too much depth; if I went into similar depth with most locations I'd totally overshoot my page target...which is close to 256 pages, maybe 288 overshooting.
  • There are too many new monsters eating up page count. They need to be cut back to make more room for adventure. If a MM2 is pending from Wizards of the Coast, then that might resolve some of the conversions I've been doing. Similarly, my desire to customize NPCs is unnecessary; for example, for dwarven hurndor (specialty priests of Vergadain), I can just say "dwarven priests" and refer the DM to the priest stats in the MM and include a quick note about customizing.
Quickleaf
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Art orders

Wicke wrote:
If you want some concept art, toss me a couple of ideas. My focus is on locations rather than characters, though I can attempt character art if you *really* need it. I can't/won't guarantee that they'll be done quickly, but doing focused art will probably be a better use of my free-time than playing computer games.

Thanks, Wicke. :)

I actually am familiar with writing art orders, and I'd written a couple ideas, guesstimating the amount of art that would go into this sort of a book...I'll share that below and you can tackle anything you like, or use it as inspiration for your own idea of a landscape you'd like to draw...

Art Orders

Player Characters
When these art orders refer to “PCs” (player characters) they refer to the following characters, who are savvy planewalkers:

1. Rogue Modron Fighter: See my picture of "If-Then" upthread: http://planewalker.com/comment/433#comment-433
2. Male Githzerai Wizard: Exceptionally frail wizard dressed in subdued traveling leathers with a hood and a cloak that splits in the back to allow better movement (and style!). He wields a staff of power (drawn in the DMG) and has an array of portal keys on his belt. A bit of a “power-hungry arcanist” vibe.
3. Male Tiefling Rogue: He has goat legs, a thin tail, small curving horns, and a dark goatee and ponytail. He wields a bow and a scimitar, and wears black studded leather and a torn ashen gray cloak. A bit of a “good-hearted scoundrel” vibe.
4. Female Human Cleric: Dark-red haired white woman dressed with a slightly Athenian vibe to her lamellar armor, gladius, and spear.
5. Female Bariaur Barbarian: Wild, woad-dyed, doe-eyed and aware, except when worked into a battle frenzy, she has some kind of Nordic war braid to her black hair, deep ashen brown skin, with spotty grey goat lower half, wields a ranseur, and has some enemy trophies about her waist/neck.

Cover Art (half wraps back cover)
Torn starry cosmos leaking inky black tendrils from the slightly foggy tear - this is the Rift in the planes. Some of the inky tendrils coalesce into shadow demons fighting the PCs (to the far left, on back cover). At the center foreground is a goat-legged tiefling rogue at a stone dais which holds a massive black book (the Codex of the Infinite Planes); he has just touched the book and is flooded with unearthly light, his head tossed back in a primordial scream. Hanging from the stone plinth above the book is a large bloodstained iron mask in mixed Greek/Persian style of a woman’s brooding face as a silent witness to what transpires - it is a mask of the Mystery Cult of Mnemosyne, Titaness of Memory and Mother to the Muses.

Full page (12, consisting of 4 "tier" chapter openings, and 8 full-page maps)
?

Half page (32 - adventure opener 14, site maps 18)
Ironridge: Mountain town of Ironridge devastated by Rift above and crystals crashed into buildings below. People run for gate to Dwarven Mountain guarded by stoic dwarves. Their shadows are cast up into clouds lie by unearthly blue-violet light.
Sigil: Atanishan, a female tiefling rogue, runs thru a Sigil backalley toward an active portal trying to evade pursuing PCs. She wears a yellow and gray cloak with hood resembling the coloration of a mottled canary, and she holds a glowing golden thread.
Infinite Staircase: PCs ascending crumbling Infinite Staircase overgrown with vines to a landing where a two-face brown-winged Janusean angelic oracle in robes awaits - one face is a wise female and ivory, one face is male bearded and gold)
Court of Light: PC forces Saint of Keys (a bipedal fiendish half-naga male with a slightly elongated neck, fanned cobra-like fins around face, hunched back, robes adorned with various trinkets, and a cunning grin) to walk ahead at sword point into a briar outside Shekinester’s Court of Light. Meanwhile the other PCs wander in a daze amidst tangle of thorns and nagas in the background.
Mechanus: PCs in Mechanus negotiating with a zelekhut guarding a portal to Limbo. A PC gestures to a mimir trapped between two massive jammed gears guarded by modrons, while another gestures to the portal, and the third makes pleading gesture to zelekhut.

Quarter page (48 - rift marks 6, faction symbols/characters 15, races 3, NPCs/artifacts/power groups 21)
Title Page (funny): Overconfident halfling bard taunting a shadowy tentacle demon on other side of portal, which has quietly hooked his foot with a tentacle and is soon to pull the unwitting halfling thru the portal.
Arcane Eye:
Cult of Aoskar:
Daughters of the Light:
Incanterium: Enrizar Ahrevad, a human mage of Mediterranean/Near Eastern descent, hands a wand of light to a street urchin. He has a wispy black goatee with hints of white from age, a haunted/forlorn expression, and eyes that glow silver - a sign he has transcended his humanity and lives off of pure magic now. There needs to be something creepy about how he is handing the wand to the boy, suggesting that the outwardly kind gesture is actually part of a devious scheme that will likely get the boy killed (or perhaps have the boy betray the adventurers). Symbol of crossed rod, staff, and wand in background or clearly visible on his garment.
Lords of the Gloaming: Paladin of Pholtus guards a portal to Lower Planes. The paladin is a white/silver-haired human male of Arabian/North African descent in plate armor and flowing off-white robes trimmed in gold. One hand rests on the pommel of a sheathed longsword while the other holds a metal circular shield. His expression is severe and his countenance grim. His hood is up and his eyes blaze with righteous light. His holy symbol - displayed on his circular shield - is a silvery sun with a crescent moon in the lower right quadrant.
Mnemosynean Mystery Cult: Lillend (female species with serpentine lower torso and rainbow-hued wings) wearing silver and black mask in a “Greek muse” style.
Unseelie Court: The False Queen Shalizeh Windshadow, a fallen ghaele eladrin in “goth” style.

Comic (inspired by comic in Hellbound: the Blood War)
Ethergap Loss: Tells the tale of the Incantifer mage Enrizar Ahrevad who lost his beloved in an ether gap thru his hubris and blind pursuit of magic.
The Codex: After years of searching, Enrizar set out to recover the Codex of the Infinite Planes from the Plane of Fire, and the Codex reveals that the titaness Mnemosyne holds a secret that can save his beloved (and one of Mnemosyne's daughters), but Mnemosyne is trapped within Carceri.
Queen of Air & Darkness: Seeking to breach the Red Prison of Carceri, Enrizar contacts the Queen of Air & Darkness thru a mirror, for she has freed a creature from Carceri before. The Queen hungers for her True Name and agrees to help him on the condition that she gains the Codex afterward.
The Rift: Together Enrizar and the Queen of Air and Darkness use the Codex to create a Rift in the planes. Enrizar tricks the Queen into approaching too close and she gets sucked in, leaving Enrizar gazing into the terrible expanse of the Rift, contemplating what he has done.

Quickleaf
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delazar wrote:I'm also glad

delazar wrote:
I'm also glad to help. I can write, give feedback, and I can draw some (HERE is a link to what I can do, I know it's not much).

Definitely feedback on the link to the 160-page pdf I'd posted is needed, despite a good portion of it being messy. Thanks for your offer!

Your art style seems like a blend of sketches and anime comic book style. Very interesting. I really liked "Izerda full" since that one captures a bit more motility/emotion in the face, and there's some whimsy with the little imp critter at her leg. I'll try to expand on the art order I posted above, but feel free to sketch anything that strikes your fancy from there...or while reading the pdf...or perusing this thread.

I'll try to put together a brief design document that outlines the campaign, the various chapters, sites, and NPCs in snapshot format...something so that in 1 or 2 pages you can "grok" the campaign easily.

And I'll work on expanding the art orders.

Quickleaf
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Simile wrote:I have a bit of

Simile wrote:
I have a bit of experience editing. I'm happy to help with this.

Thanks Simile, much appreciated.

Normally editing happens once there's a finished rough draft, but not even close to that yet.

If you want, the 160 page pdf "working document" has some finished stuff you are welcome to edit, particularly chapter 1: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0Z7ZsrO9VLBU3FkblkyQTh4R0U/view?usp=sharing

delazar
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A thought about the art: for

A thought about the art: for me personally, Di Terlizzi IS Planescape, a bit in the same way as Brom is Dark Sun, Elmore is Dragonlance, and Szczudlo is Birthright.

I understand the need of having original art in case WotC releases an OGL, and you want to kickstart or publish this is some way that is not a fan-project, but I don't think WotC will ever allow the fans to use their IP. In the past, they've allowed third parties to use Dragonlance (MWP) or Ravenloft (S&S), but I'm pretty sure here on this site we're a bit "small scale" for that.

That said, I think it's probably better to focus on the writing, on the assumption that this would be a completely free product, and use the art that already exists.

Regarding the 160 pgs document: Would you like us to give general comments about it, or more specifically what we would do different? I think this could be easier on us, and more productive for you, if you had some specific points on which you want feedback.

It's a bit difficult to explain, but let's say I have an idea, and I suggest "ok let's have the PC go to Caina for this and that" but you had no plans to have Caina involved, then we're both wasting out mental energies... :)

While if you have something like "hey guys, what do you think the PCs should meet in Aoskar's Husk?" then this is more focused, and we can shoot our ideas at you.

Does it make sense?

Simile
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OK

No problem. I am tied up with a couple of things over the next 2 weeks. After that I will push this up my priority list and provide a first edit of chapter 1.

KnightOfDecay
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Quote:Thanks Knight! And you

Quote:
Thanks Knight! And you can call me Aaron btw. :) I've really appreciated your insights and critique over the last several months with the project.

It's my pleasure, Aaron. I really enjoy discussing the project with you - and call me Ben.

Well, let's see what we can achieve.

It has been a while since I've drawn my last comic, but I think I'll have a try at it.

Quickleaf
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delazar wrote:Regarding the

delazar wrote:
Regarding the 160 pgs document: Would you like us to give general comments about it, or more specifically what we would do different? I think this could be easier on us, and more productive for you, if you had some specific points on which you want feedback.

Absolutely. The #1 thing on my mind for "Codex" is clarity of vision, and making sure that gets conveyed thru the writing without getting overly cluttered.

So some questions I have regarding Chapter 1 are:

  1. Is "The Story Thus Far" too cluttered? Should the current action (with Enrizar Ahrevad & the Queen of Air and Darkness & the Rift) be placed front and center rather than at the end of the Codex's history?
  2. Under "Starting the Campaign", is there a good place The Vault of Enkaur Urmazd could be placed in the BIRTHRIGHT setting? If not, I may just drop the reference to BIRTHRIGHT because I'm unfamiliar with it, but it would be nice to be complete here, since I'm offering examples for the other major "prime world" campaign settings of TSR.
  3. The initial connection between Enrizar Ahrevad and the Queen of Air and Darkness feels weak. WHY does he choose to go to the Queen for help and not a more benign or more lawful entity/power? Is there something UNIQUE in her ability to fracture the planar boundaries of Carceri? Does he have some kind of pre-existing bond to the Queen, and if so what? I feel like this part of the concept needs some work.
  4. Under "Campaign Hooks" > Marked by the Codex, it was previously mentioned some of the marks could use re-writing to "balance them compared to other marks"...any suggestions?
  5. In the "Antagonists" section (which is still a work-in-progress), does the basic layout (blurb, sidebar organization profile, servants/branches of organization, escalation & endgame, connections) work?
  6. More broadly, do you see ways Chapter 1 could be streamlined or made less verbose? Or does it seem fine the way it is?
  7. And do you feel the organization of Chapter 1 is helpful to understanding the campaign? Does it give the GM the tools he or she will need to conceptualize the adventure?

Simile wrote:
No problem. I am tied up with a couple of things over the next 2 weeks. After that I will push this up my priority list and provide a first edit of chapter 1.

Much appreciated. Feel free to markup the pdf if that's convenient, or just to report back via forum in broad strokes. Be aware that the "Antagonists" section at the end of Chapter 1 is still a work-in-progress.

KnightofDecay wrote:
It's my pleasure, Aaron. I really enjoy discussing the project with you - and call me Ben.
Well, let's see what we can achieve.

It has been a while since I've drawn my last comic, but I think I'll have a try at it.


Likewise Ben! I know there's a really good story and compelling premise here, but I need to bring it to light in like a simple 1 or 2 page "prospectus" that gives an overview of the concept that can be easily digested in a quick 5 to 10 minute read. I'll try to put that together this weekend.

If you want a hand with the comic stuff, let me know. I'm adequate at GIMP/Photoshop, though mostly I've used it for maps (well, and architecture school projects).

It's awesome to see how many fellow Planescape GMs are writer-artists combined! :)

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Btw, I'm working on Pages in

Btw, I'm working on Pages in MacOSX. I know, I know, Mac. But if you guys want me to make the Pages document available via iCloud or GoogleDocs I can do that too.

delazar
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Is "The Story Thus Far" too

Is "The Story Thus Far" too cluttered? Should the current action (with Enrizar Ahrevad & the Queen of Air and Darkness & the Rift) be placed front and center rather than at the end of the Codex's history?

The plot is very smart, but indeed I have the feeling that there's a lot of parts involved, and some threads may be lost along the way. I would probably split it in two parts. One "What is going on currently" and one "what happened before".

Under "Starting the Campaign", is there a good place The Vault of Enkaur Urmazd could be placed in the BIRTHRIGHT setting? If not, I may just drop the reference to BIRTHRIGHT because I'm unfamiliar with it, but it would be nice to be complete here, since I'm offering examples for the other major "prime world" campaign settings of TSR.

My friend, Birthright is my favorite setting (Planescape second by an inch), and I'm just about to conclude a long going campaign in that setting (if you're interested: http://birthright02.blogspot.be/). That said, I would suggest to place the Vault in the realm of Baruk-Azik, in Anuire, probably in the province of the Promontory. Then those DMs that are interested in Birthright can also use their Player's Secret supplement.

The initial connection between Enrizar Ahrevad and the Queen of Air and Darkness feels weak. WHY does he choose to go to the Queen for help and not a more benign or more lawful entity/power? Is there something UNIQUE in her ability to fracture the planar boundaries of Carceri? Does he have some kind of pre-existing bond to the Queen, and if so what? I feel like this part of the concept needs some work.

Maybe he goes to the Queen because he has some sort of leverage. Lke, he foudn a piece of the Rod of Seven parts, and he knows that she would like to make sure no one ever gets it. Or maybe in his planar travels he found the tomb of a Vaati general, and he's willing to give her the location. For those DM that like Greyhawk, this could tie to the Whispering Cairn as described in the Age of Worms adventure path (hey look, I'm DMing that too! http://13thageofworms.blogspot.be/)

Under "Campaign Hooks" > Marked by the Codex, it was previously mentioned some of the marks could use re-writing to "balance them compared to other marks"...any suggestions?

I'll have to study those in more detail, I'll come back to it.

In the "Antagonists" section (which is still a work-in-progress), does the basic layout (blurb, sidebar organization profile, servants/branches of organization, escalation & endgame, connections) work?

It makes a lot of sense, and I definitely like the layout, but I do have the feeling that there are too many details. Probably leave out the Escalation and Endgame part, and you can give the same king of info in a "chapter synopsys" at the beginning of each chapter.

More broadly, do you see ways Chapter 1 could be streamlined or made less verbose? Or does it seem fine the way it is?

As above, and even though I really like the detail and the amount of factions, I think it would look more stramlined if you would take away one/two factions. For example, since the Incanterium is allied with the Queen, then just consider them "one faction".

And do you feel the organization of Chapter 1 is helpful to understanding the campaign? Does it give the GM the tools he or she will need to conceptualize the adventure?

Yes it's very informative. But I would try to "spread" the information. For example, only give a short descritpion of each organization in the beginning, and then go into details in the Chapter where they really come into play for the first time.

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delazar wrote:The plot is

delazar wrote:
The plot is very smart, but indeed I have the feeling that there's a lot of parts involved, and some threads may be lost along the way. I would probably split it in two parts. One "What is going on currently" and one "what happened before".

I can do that. The first four paragraphs of "The Story Thus Far" are about the past, and the last four are about the present.

delazar wrote:
My friend, Birthright is my favorite setting (Planescape second by an inch), and I'm just about to conclude a long going campaign in that setting (if you're interested: http://birthright02.blogspot.be/). That said, I would suggest to place the Vault in the realm of Baruk-Azik, in Anuire, probably in the province of the Promontory. Then those DMs that are interested in Birthright can also use their Player's Secret supplement.

Great! I lucked out, and I'll include those notes :) So Baruk-Azik is basically a dwarven stronghold city?

Quote:
Maybe he goes to the Queen because he has some sort of leverage. Lke, he foudn a piece of the Rod of Seven parts, and he knows that she would like to make sure no one ever gets it. Or maybe in his planar travels he found the tomb of a Vaati general, and he's willing to give her the location. For those DM that like Greyhawk, this could tie to the Whispering Cairn as described in the Age of Worms adventure path (hey look, I'm DMing that too! http://13thageofworms.blogspot.be/)

Ah. It seems you are conflating the Queen of Air and Darkness (the archfey/goddess tied to the Black Diamond and Auril in the FORGOTTEN REALMS) with the Queen of Chaos (the one tied to the Rod of Seven Parts). According to D&D lore two very different entities, though I could see the confusion.

Quote:
As above, and even though I really like the detail and the amount of factions, I think it would look more stramlined if you would take away one/two factions. For example, since the Incanterium is allied with the Queen, then just consider them "one faction".

We previously discussed whether 5 power groups is too much. You may be right. My argument has been that for a campaign which is meant to span levels 1 to about 20 (or at least high levels), 5 power groups isn't excessive.

More specific to your suggestion: Enrizar, factol of the Incanterium, made the "alliance" with the Queen of Air and Darkness on his own. And it was only an alliance of convenience, as he manipulated her into the rift where she has become trapped "between the planes." So they're definitely not allies anymore! And the Unseelie Court and the Incanterium's goals, personalities, and overall themes are not particularly aligned. Grouping them as one power group wouldn't make that much sense.

Quote:
Yes it's very informative. But I would try to "spread" the information. For example, only give a short descritpion of each organization in the beginning, and then go into details in the Chapter where they really come into play for the first time.

I'll think about whether I can do this. I like the idea of "spreading" the information around, which is something I've seen done to good effect in OUT OF THE ABYSS. However, I have two reservations.

The first is that OUT OF THE ABYSS is a rather hard for a GM to navigate, you end up flipping around the book like crazy, and nowhere is the overall story laid out. I would be concerned about spreading information TOO far apart so that a GM can't get what he or she needs with a quick read.

The second is that I'm trying to interweave the 5 power groups throughout the four "tier" chapters. So while some are definitely emphasized more than others in different chapters, they all have a role to play in most chapters. The only definite exception is that in the first chapter (levels 1-4), the Unseelie Court doesn't really come into play.

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Great! I lucked out, and I'll

Great! I lucked out, and I'll include those notes :) So Baruk-Azik is basically a dwarven stronghold city?

It's a dwarven realm, there's plently of strongholds in the mountains.

It seems you are conflating the Queen of Air and Darkness (the archfey/goddess tied to the Black Diamond and Auril in the FORGOTTEN REALMS) with the Queen of Chaos (the one tied to the Rod of Seven Parts).

Oeps, I got two Queens mixed up, I'm in trouble! I don't know much about the Queen of Air and Darkness, apart from the fact that she's based on Mab. Wikipedia tells me she's a goddess of Magic (especially illusions), Darkness nad Murder. She would like for all the elves to be corrupted. Maybe Enrizar, having studied lore about the Codex and then the Codex itself, has aquired knowledge on how a Power can steal a Portfolio from another power, and he's willing to trade the Queen the secret on how to steal the Drow from Lolth!

And the Unseelie Court and the Incanterium's goals, personalities, and overall themes are not particularly aligned. Grouping them as one power group wouldn't make that much sense.

See, I read it yesterday, and I already kind of forgot the exact motives of each faction... It is mostly my own short memory span, but I think that slimming down the power groups could still be a plus. If for nothing else than to bring down the page count (if needed).

I've seen done to good effect in OUT OF THE ABYSS.

Maybe an unpopular opinion, but as long campaigns go, I prefer Hoard of the Dragon Queen / Rise of Tiamat. Because they're more "rail-roady"! CURSES ON ME! I DMed HotDQ, and I remember I could prepare for one Chapter without really knowing what was going on in the next chapters. Same reason I really enjoyed the Adventure Paths of Dungeon/Paizo. Every month I had to read one adventure, play it, without really knowing what was happening next month. There was a "modularity" to it (d'uh?) that I really liked.

Out of the Abyss gives me the feeling that I need to read the whole thing before starting. I may be wrong, I bought it and put it on the shelf since I'm busy with two other campaigns at the moment.

On the topic of the adventure paths, is it too late to have Codex of the Infinite Planes be sort of the same? 10/12 different adventures, that can be played as a campaign, or even just by themselves? Then you could layout what you want to happen in each adventure, and share the load for writing the adventures themselves, or at least focus ideas on a single concept.

For example, if you know adventure 6 is in Limbo and the main task is "steal the mcguffin from the tower of the evil wizard BLABLA" we can give some suggestions on that specific thing.

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How do you think about some

How do you think about some kind of connection between Enrizar's beloved Calliope and the Queen of Air and Darkness. Maybe they were good friends before the Queen was corrupted and now he desperately turns to her in his hope that she might help him to find her.

"Here rise to life again, dead poetry!
Let it, O holy Muses, for I am yours,
And here Calliope, strike a higher key,
Accompanying my song with that sweet air
which made the wretched Magpies feel a blow
that turned all hope of pardon to despair."

(Dante, Divine Comedy, Purgatorio, Canto I,l.7 to 12)

Quote:
See, I read it yesterday, and I already kind of forgot the exact motives of each faction... It is mostly my own short memory span, but I think that slimming down the power groups could still be a plus. If for nothing else than to bring down the page count (if needed).

Just read through the Antagonists section again and have to say that I wouldn't cut out any of them - each of them has fantastic story-elements connected to them that I'd really miss in the campaign. Imho the Mnemosynian Mysteries is probably the least antagonistic group - do you think it would make it less confusing to relocate them to some "Mnemosynes Cult" section or sidebar?
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delazar wrote:Maybe Enrizar,

delazar wrote:
Maybe Enrizar, having studied lore about the Codex and then the Codex itself, has aquired knowledge on how a Power can steal a Portfolio from another power, and he's willing to trade the Queen the secret on how to steal the Drow from Lolth!

Interesting idea...I'm hesitant to include more content (drow, Lolth) in an already "full" story...but it's a cool idea...let me mull the situation with the Queen some more.

Quote:
Out of the Abyss gives me the feeling that I need to read the whole thing before starting. I may be wrong, I bought it and put it on the shelf since I'm busy with two other campaigns at the moment.

Precisely why I want to include an introduction and a 1-page index of planar sites! Things which OOtA sorely needed.

Quote:
On the topic of the adventure paths, is it too late to have Codex of the Infinite Planes be sort of the same? 10/12 different adventures, that can be played as a campaign, or even just by themselves? Then you could layout what you want to happen in each adventure, and share the load for writing the adventures themselves, or at least focus ideas on a single concept.

I'm not keen on the Adventure Path model for this adventure for a couple reasons...

First, I think the Adventure Path model doesn't work well for Planescape, where after a few levels PCs will have access to a bunch of portals. For example, they decide to go outside of the box and head to location XY from Sigil at 3rd level, but location XY is described in adventure #3, not the current adventure #2 - darn.

Second, many of the adventures released for Planescape during the product line's life were railroads of one form or another. It was very rare for adventures to present a situation, describe a setting with ample adventure hooks, and let the players approach it how they wanted. I see that railroad quality as flaw of adventures from part of the AD&D 2e era, not a defining feature of Planescape. Most Planescape GMs I've chatted with tended to use the adventures as toolboxes to run their own things, not run the adventures straight.

Third, I already have a format which revolves around the four "tiers" of play and takes advantage of 5e's bounded accuracy. These are the four "tier" divisions which are described thoroughly in Chapter 1 of the pdf, but I'll snapshot here:

  • A Conspiracy of Doors (1-4): Escape/research the Rift. The upshot of this tier is learning about an ancient portal chamber somewhere in Sigil that can lead to the heart of the Rift (necessary for sealing it)
  • The Lady's Key (5-10): Stabilize Sigil's portals that are in flux cause of the Rift, by reassembling the fractured Lady's Key. The upshot of this tier is locating the ancient portal chamber, but finding its activation remains a mystery.
  • Blood of Aoskar (11-16): Seek the blood of Aoskar, amidst intense competition, for its power to activate the portal chamber and seal the Rift. The upshot of this tier is discovering a page of the Codex of the Infinite Planes scribed in Aoskar's blood is needed to activate the portal chamber.
  • Pages Without End (17-20): Acquire a page from the Codex, final confrontations, activate the ancient portal chamber and enter the Rift to seal it.

At least, that's how I've been thinking of it. I am definitely open to reworking stuff, or totally re-organizing it, and just like my work above, it would need to be well thought out and meaningful.

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KnightofDecay wrote:How do

KnightofDecay wrote:
How do you think about some kind of connection between Enrizar's beloved Calliope and the Queen of Air and Darkness. Maybe they were good friends before the Queen was corrupted and now he desperately turns to her in his hope that she might help him to find her.

Hmm, well part of the reason (presumably) Enrizar went to all the effort to contact/free Mnemosyne is because she's the mother of the Muses, of which Calliope is one. So what you're suggesting with Calliope and the Queen of Air and Darkness parallels that closely. Which could work really well if I write it in the right light.

The good thing about using these particular characters - Mnemosyne, the Muses, the Queen of Air and Darkness - is that they're wide open for interpretation in D&D without much official written about them.

KnightofDecay wrote:
Just read through the Antagonists section again and have to say that I wouldn't cut out any of them - each of them has fantastic story-elements connected to them that I'd really miss in the campaign. Imho the Mnemosynian Mysteries is probably the least antagonistic group - do you think it would make it less confusing to relocate them to some "Mnemosynes Cult" section or sidebar?

I waver because I see both sides.

On one hand, 5 power groups IS a lot for a GM to keep track of, even over the course of a roughly 20-level campaign. And I do worry about GMs getting a bit overwhelmed by the complexity.

On the other hand, like you say, each has a unique motive and reason for being that is really valuable for story-crafting and helps to emphasize this is adventure IS NOT being designed to some imaginary lowest common denominator of GM/player (whereas in my experience GMs and players are intelligent, cunning, and imaginative).

With the Mnemosynean Cult, their goals and beliefs could very well conflict with the PCs...

Goal: Undo Mnemosyne's bond to Codex (this is the magic bond the Queen cast, limiting Mnemosyne's powers and freedom, and should she destroy the Codex she'd be sent back to Carceri), and destroy the Codex.
Maybe the PCs are opposed to an unbound titan running amok?
Maybe the PCs realize that to seal the growing tear in Carceri (thru which other monsters are escaping) they've got to find a way to send Mnemosyne back?
Maybe the PCs want the Codex for themselves?
Maybe the PCs are amenable to destroying the Codex, but insist it be done on their time table (e.g. after they've got the page from it) and with suitable precautions, whereas the Mnemosynean Cult is too vigorous for the PCs?

Belief 1: Memory passed down thru oral tradition is superior to the written word, because it adapts to the living context.
Maybe the PC wizard or Guvner or cleric of knowledge is opposed to the Mnemosynean Cult book burning? While the PC druid or Sensate or bard supports their efforts at reviving an old oral tradition? Definitely a mini-adventure in there somewhere...

Belief 2: Before a creature can learn Mnemosyne’s secrets, it must be tested and found worthy.[/b]
Maybe the PCs need information from the Mnemosynean Cult, and naturally they are subjected to a test? And maybe one or more cultists have rigged the test against them, seeing the PCs have been marked by the hated Codex?

Belief 3: Loss of memory is the worst fate; restore the memories of friend and foe alike.
Maybe the cultists are attempting to restore the memory of a being of ancient evil (either wittingly or unwittingly)? Maybe the PCs dunked a villain in the River Styx and the cultists threaten to undo their efforts?

Just some thoughts.

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prospectus

Here's a mockup of a "prospectus" - something that can hopefully be developed into a design document akin to a story/art bible. It's a small 378 kb PDF file.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0Z7ZsrO9VLBMW5VVkU2WW5DWjg/view?usp=sharing

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Love your thoughts about the

Love your thoughts about the Mnemosynean Mysteries (actually my favorite and supposedly the most complex power group in the campaign)! I'm not sure if the final product will have enough space to give the DM such a multilayered view on the beliefs and the facets of the Cult though.
Your thoughts remind me of the "Savage Tidings" from Dragon Magazine which accompanied the Savage Tide AP and expanded the DM's knowledge about regions, groups, species featured in the installments.
Would you consider to include kind of a "light" version of the power groups and their machinations (basically the main plot of the campaign) in the "Codex of the Infinite Planes"-PDF and to offer an additional PDF which describes them in detail (detailed information on motivation, beliefs, hierarchy, possibilities to interact or to come into conflict with the PCs, additional plotlines, ways to expand the role of the power group in the campaign).
I know that outsourcing material is probably not the best solution but considering the lack of space it's at least worth a thought.

Edit: The Prospectus looks great! :)
I'm currently working on the Mechanus half page for a start.

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I second the idea of a light

I second the idea of a light version!

Also, a little thing, more of a pet peeve of mine... I see in your conspectus you have a picture of Sigil, as it was in 4e. This was a change from 2e, and I personally believe the artist just misunderstood what he had to do.

The change is that in 4e the city is "inside" the torus, while in 2e it was on the "surface" of the torus, so when you looked up you would see a different ward.

Are you embracing the 4e view, or was it just the first pic of Sigil you found?

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KnightofDecay wrote:Would you

KnightofDecay wrote:
Would you consider to include kind of a "light" version of the power groups and their machinations (basically the main plot of the campaign) in the "Codex of the Infinite Planes"-PDF and to offer an additional PDF which describes them in detail (detailed information on motivation, beliefs, hierarchy, possibilities to interact or to come into conflict with the PCs, additional plotlines, ways to expand the role of the power group in the campaign).

I'd definitely consider it. After all, we've discussed putting faction agent stat blocks in a separate PDF already.

What I'm hoping to do, however, is slip this stuff into the ongoing background/setting of the campaign so that DMs can't help but pick it up.

For example, while seeking out Melete's Sanctum for information they need from a medusa oracle of the Mnemmosynean Mysteries cult, the PCs are confronted with a villainous spy who has gained critical intelligence. The spy is unarmed and helpless. There is also a well of River Styx water in Melete's Sanctum (used for rituals building up cultist's resistance). If they use the well to mind-wipe the spy, there'd be a quick bit in the text of that section about how this is antithetical to the Mnemosynean cultists' beliefs and they'll try to oppose or undo the PCs effort.

Stuff like that.

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delazar wrote:Are you

delazar wrote:
Are you embracing the 4e view, or was it just the first pic of Sigil you found?

Yeah, good catch. Definitely going with the original AD&D version, NOT the 4e version.

The reason I picked that graphic was because it was clear, simple, and had some dimensions listed on it.

But I'll look for a replacement since it is confusing.

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Spirit of the AirLarge

wrong post

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What? I really didn't get

What? I really didn't get what you are saying. In 2e the city is also "inside" the torus; taken from the core box (Sigil and Beyond, page 58):

"If a DM's got to describe the place with words, the closest prime-material analogy is an auto tire. Imagine a tire - no hubcap or wheel rim - lying on its side. Sigil would be built on the inside of the tire. All the streets and buildings would fill the curved interior. Meanwhile, on the outside there's nothing, see?"

What do you mean with it being on the "surface" rather than "inside"?

There were some changes in 4e for sure - the races changed (Tieflings and Archon and Deva are different things now, 'loths are called demons, etc), as did the cosmology (no more Great Wheel, Inner Planes mashed into Elemental Chaos, Abyss now in Elemental Chaos, etc)... but I didn't catch any major changes in the layout of Sigil.

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I think what delazar means is

I think what delazar means is that some of the more recent images of Sigil (like the two illustrations shown in the prospectus) look more like a donut/tube than a ring/tire. It's hard to imagine that one could see the Wards on the other side of Sigil as there is only a small gap left.

Sigil should look more like this:

And not like this:

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yes indeed!

yes indeed!

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Ok, so the issue would be

Ok, so the issue would be that this 4e picture is too round (which I didn't even notice).

I was wondering if somehow on 4e the city was in hollow of the ring, or it was floating in the center of the torus rather than its walls, or if I misinterpreted everything I read about Sigil and it was actually on the outside of the torus. :S

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I don't really want to

I don't really want to distract from the rest of the project...

But this zoomed in view should clear up any confusion. In 4e the artists rounded the edges of Sigil's torus over, but the sky was still open so you could look up and see the lights of the other side of the torus at night. It only changed how narrow the sky looks vs. how wide it appeared in the 2e artistic depictions.

That's it.

If anyone wants to discuss this further, might I suggest a separate thread?

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Ok, back on topic. Are we

Ok, back on topic. Are we still pondering on the organisations, or should we move further? Tackle it adventure by adventure? Beginning with Chapter 3?

I see you mention "Area" numbers... do you have a map for that?

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delazar wrote:Ok, back on

delazar wrote:
Ok, back on topic. Are we still pondering on the organisations, or should we move further? Tackle it adventure by adventure? Beginning with Chapter 3?

I am open to more feedback about the power groups, if you have some to give.

Right now, I think what would be most helpful is a solid review of Chapter 3 - Ironridge (pages 51-63).

I'm working on an update to the PDF to include more info on Strongale Hall there...then I imagine I will need some input about how to edit the Strongale Hall section down so it's not so long.

Quote:
I see you mention "Area" numbers... do you have a map for that?

Assuming you mean Strongale Hall? No map yet, just a sketch...

Though my thread here has a detailed description of each area of Strongale Hall along with art inspiration: [URL]http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?356873-Adventures-in-Dwarven-Mountain-(now-with-sketches!)[/URL]

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Right now, I think what would

Right now, I think what would be most helpful is a solid review of Chapter 3 - Ironridge (pages 51-63).

Had a couple of reads on this, it looks very good and detailed. Do you need suggestions about the "??" still in the document? It's just names, I think... :)

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Detailed in a good way, or

Detailed in a good way, or excessively detailed?

Nah, the ??'s are mostly easy enough to fill. Some are names, like you said.

Other ??'s are unknown CRs cause I'm expecting a MM2 to be released before attempting those conversion, or I'm uncertain if there's room for those monster stats in the adventure.

Other ??'s are related to some questions about the background material, like which of the Muses it is who Enrizar Ahrevad (Incantifer factol) is in love with and has gone missing in an Ether Gap. Originally I picked Calliope (epic poetry) because she's the most well known of the Muses. Then I was thinking Melpomene (tragedy) because there is a certain tragic element to Enrizar's story where his hubris costs his love, and then to get her back he indulges back in his hubris.

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Sorry that I can't add much

Sorry that I can't add much currently.
I haven't been able to get beyond first sketches for the illustrations neither. Ah, real life...

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Yep, that's how it goes. :)

Yep, that's how it goes. :)

Since a few folks have been asking me now and then, the original post now has links to...

The player's companion PDF
Adventure-in-progress PDF
Player's Guide to Planescape PDF (found on the 'Net, incorporates lots of homebrew stuff into a pretty doc)

These are links to documents in my Google Drive that anyone with the link can access.

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cover concepts

I finally had a bit of time to do a bit of work on the adventure and mock up some cover concepts...

concept 1.

concept 2.

concept 3.

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Enrizar & the Queen

After reading over what I'd written so far, I really like the "anthology" direction, since it suggests adventures that are "separate but connected" like Great Modron March or Tales from the Infinite Staircase.

One plot element bothers me however: Enrizar Ahrevad (the new Incantifer factol) approaching the Queen of Air and Darkness for help breaking the prison of Carceri.

Why would he go to her? What's their connection?

I like both characters and the role they play in the campaign, and they both have interesting reasons to be involved with the story. But I'm struggling with making a convincing and compelling way to connect them to each other.

I like Enrizar as a character - he brings pathos to an otherwise stereotypical "evil wizards out for power" scenario by giving the Incantifers a civic purpose. He also is compelling because ultimately he's driven by love (?) to rescue his muse Kalliope who fell thru an ether gap due to his pride...though there's the question of whether it's still really just his pride driving him to rescue her. He has a love-hate relationship with the Codex, which he reveres as unifying symbol for the new Incanterium but also reviles for "tricking" him into losing his beloved, driving him to increasingly extreme lengths. He sought to fracture the prison of Carceri in order to extricate Mnemosyne, mother of Kalliope who knows the secret of the ether gaps, so he can rescue Kalliope.

The Queen of Air and Darkness is also interesting - wholly evil yet tragic at the same time due to once being an eladrin princess who was corrupted by the Black Diamond. I've been wondering if the Black Diamond should tie into the Codex somehow (which is made of obsidian, aka "black glass"). The Queen wants to learn her True Name...it's sort of a self-destructive urge driving her. She seeks to tear Mnemosyne from Carceri because Mnemosyne is one of the few beings that knows the Queen's True Name. However, the Queen in her impatient dark fascination touches the forming Rift and is sucked into the gap between the planes where she is trapped. During much of the campaign she is trying to return to the planes via the Codex, and her throne is occupied by an eladrin ghaele knight who I've dubbed "The False Queen."

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Hey Aaron, just... wow!!! :)

Hey Aaron, just... wow!!! :)
Concept 1 is my favourite - the skull reminds me of 'A Player's Primer to the Outlands'.

I'll post a more comprehensive response to your second post over the weekend.

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Thanks! I used the "Death"

Thanks! I used the "Death" painting by Robh Ruppel (who did many of the Planescape boxed set / book covers) : http://fantasygallery.net/ruppel/death-by_Robh_Ruppel.jpg

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