5th edition Planescape Campaign

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KnightOfDecay
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Looks great! Your style fits

Looks great! Your style fits Planescape very well.
Imho the 2e Cambion beats these winged fops at any time.

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Cambions & aesthetics

KnightofDecay wrote:
Looks great! Your style fits Planescape very well.
Imho the 2e Cambion beats these winged fops at any time.

Thanks :) Haha, yeah not sure whether the red-skinned winged horned goth-emo cambion started in 3e or 4e but I tend to think of it as just one artistic interpretation of many. I know there was a substantial number of people who liked taking Planescape in a more dark/goth direction, but I always liked the balance to lean more to the Weird & Wondrous than the Dark. Certainly not mutually exclusive, either.
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The 7 power groups

I have focused in on what I think are the 7 major power groups for the mega-adventure:

  1. Arcane Eye - A vast interplanar thieves' guild specializing in magic smuggling and arcane information brokering. Their ultimate goal is seeking the Codex of the Infinite Planes for the Rakshasa Maharajah, though the Guildmaster Old Graycloak has a conflict of interest seeking to end the curse placed on him by the Codex.
  2. Cult of Aoskar - A cult of "keyless/marooned", cultists, and Signer extremists whose goal is to revive the dead god Aoskar, whose power once echoed across the planes far and wide.
  3. Daughters of the Light - A loose network of witch covens who deal with questionable entities to keep their communities safe against overwhelming planar dangers. Their goal is to protect their Outlands/Sigil communities from threats (like the Rift). The Queen of Air & Darkness, in particular, is corrupting at least one coven.
  4. Incanterium - A cabal of immortal magic-devouring wizards with a new leader and vision beyond themselves. Their goal is to unlock secrets of the Codex & for Enrizar Ahrevad to find his beloved.
  5. Lords of the Gloaming - Order of elite paladins and saints devoted to Pholtus and defending Oerth from Lower Planar portals. Their goal is to protect their prime home world Oerth from planar threats (like the Rift).
  6. Mnemosynean Mystery Cult - A cult comprised of the Nine Muses, the "Tabula Rasa" who seek lost memories, a secret society of priestesses, and monsters escaped from Carceri. Their goal is to restore the Titaness Mnemosyne's missing memories & usher in her ascendancy.
  7. Unseelie Court - Fey who've sworn themselves to the madness and wickedness of the Queen of Air and Darkness. Their goal is to call the Queen of Air and Darkness back from the Rift & for the Queen to learn her Truename. However, the interregnum False Queen has other goals for the Court that involve her lifelong enemy/lover the Rakshasa Maharajah.

I've tentatively cut out the Ancient Empire / Spellweavers to tighten up the story and give it a more personal intimate feel. Instead I plan on using efreeti, githyanki, and rilmani in specific adventures in the places where I would have used Spellweavers. Also, I am writing factions into soecific adventures, but almost never with an explicitly antagonistic role -- I want to portray the factions in a more neutral/positive light, and to tie them to thematically appropriate adventures. It's the 7 power groups that I plan to focus on developing recurring themes and NPCs for.

Question: Does seven seem like too many power groups for a full campaign? Would you cut any of them out? If so, which one(s)?
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Secrets of the Fading Palace

"We are the elect. We admit into our ranks only those who can sculpt reality." (The Writings of Gaelan)

The third piece of the Lady's Key is guarded by a sphinx in the Fading Palace, a wondrous palace fashioned on the Elemental Plane of Air by the mental powers of Gaelan, a Signer factol from the time of the Great Upheavel. Since the death of its creator, the Fading Palace has been in flux between existence and vanishing into the mists of the Ethereal. The Rift has exerted its pull even here, accelerating the palace's vanishing act and causing the Fading Palace to exist in multiple planes at once, including the Plane of Air, the Ethereal, the Fewild, and the Prime. Gaelan made the Signer faction a gathering of elite minds open only to those with the skill to foresee and rewrite reality, and imagined a wondrous palace on the Plane of Air to teach from. Many powerful magics and prophecies were woven into being here by the sheer willpower of Gaelan's students. Among his students, Yemeth fashioned the Shadow Sorcelled Key which could open hundreds of Sigil's Lower Ward portals at once, Tivvum learned the art of True Name magic, and Tsojcanth channeled the divine forces of good to drive back Tharizdun's avatar. 

I need to flesh this one out, but I'm having a bit of trouble...

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Quote:Question: Does seven

Quote:
Question: Does seven seem like too many power groups for a full campaign? Would you cut any of them out? If so, which one(s)?

No, I don’t think so. For a campaign of the intended length seven power groups aren’t too many, especially if they are distributed among the different tiers of the campaign.
I think you have a great and varied mix there!

Do you still plan to make the tiers playable as stand-alones?

Quote:

I need to flesh this one out, but I'm having a bit of trouble...

The Fading Palace sound like a great adventuring site.
With Tivvum AND Tsojcanth among his students Gaelan must have been a pretty impressive blood.
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Q&A: Fading Palace

Knight ofDecay wrote:
I think you have a great and varied mix there!
Do you still plan to make the tiers playable as stand-alones?

Thanks for the feedback. And yes, I still plan to make each tier playable as stand-alone, and to provide hooks so each adventure could be run stand-alone as well.

For example, at the adventure-scale the PCs might visit the Fading Palace to retrieve magical items/lore from one of Gaelan's students, to consult with the sphinx, to seek the spirit of Gaelan to learn art of imagining, to find a way to stabilize the palace for their own uses.

As part of its tier series of adventures, the Fading Palace holds a piece of the Lady's Key...which is actually three things, one held by the echo/palace wing of each student (Rule of Threes).

As part of the overarching campaign, the Fading Palace connects to Tivvum, the oldest known living Incantifier. It also foreshadows the impact of the Rift on the planes, hints at Enrizar Ahrevad's beloved being lost in an ether gap, and sets up future adventures to the Feywild & Prime.

Quote:
With Tivvum AND Tsojcanth among his students Gaelan must have been a pretty impressive blood.

Yes, Gaelan was a powerful wizard-psionicist, or something along those lines. At first I was thinking of the third student being Yemeth (one of the names of the Nameless One from PS: Torment), and then I thought it might be more interesting to drop hints that Gaelan was actually one of the Nameless One's incarnations (since its implied in PS: Torment that the Nameless One takes to Signer imagining like a fish to water).

Which would leave me with the dilemma of who the third student was...The only other GREYHAWK wizards I know of around the time of the Great Upheavel were Tuerney & Keraptis, who were decidedly evil. And no PLANESCAPE wizards that I can think of... May need to make up someone new...
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Quick sketch

Quick sketch of githzerai and party fighting slaad on Infinite Staircase, with the Fading Palace and the Rift in background.

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Quote:May need to make up

Nice picture!

Quote:
May need to make up someone new...

How about Adahn, the fake identity the Nameless One imagined into existence? Maybe he wasn't "fake" after all.
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3rd student of Gaelan

KnightofDecay wrote:
Nice picture!

Thanks! I hope to get my tablet setup next week, that should make transitioning from pencil/pen to digital easier.

KnightofDecay wrote:
How about Adahn, the fake identity the Nameless One imagined into existence? Maybe he wasn't "fake" after all.

IIRC in Torment if you claimed to be Adahn enough there came a point in the game when you actually would meet a NPC named Adahn. Some kind of callback to the Nameless One is called for, for sure.

Tentatively I've been thinking of making the 3rd student a former apprentice of Tzunk...which ties in nicely to the Codex of the Infinite Planes and the Tomb of Tzunk's Hands playing a role in the campaign. I'll need to make up a new NPC whole cloth for this ex-apprentice. I always saw Tzunk as a bit of a power-mad Mage, so perhaps his ex-apprentice is trying to atone for the crimes of his/her master or perhaps fighting the predilection for evil within him/herself?
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Signers & Secrets of the Fading Palace

I just re-read the Sign of One section in the Factol's Manifesto, and was struck by how cool the imagining ability granted to 4th level and higher Signers is. The downside is particularly cool: Roll a 1 on their imagining check and a Signer is lost in their imaginings, becoming a shadow version of themself (with reduced HP and damage, and inability to cast spells) or even imagines themself out of existence until a wish spell is cast or another Signer imagines them back into existence!

That could make a great hook for the Secrets of the Fading Palace adventure, with one of Gaelan's students (or perhaps Gaelan himself) having accidntally imagined themself into shadow form or out of existence, and the PCs needing to make that student whole to gain information or aid from them.

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Sounds great!

Sounds great!

Do you plan to include 5E faction abilities in an appendix?

Quickleaf
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Quote:Do you plan to include

Quote:
Do you plan to include 5E faction abilities in an appendix?

Ideally yes, but I'm not sure about format or legal issues yet.

Right now I'm just focused on the creative side of things...writing adventures, sketching, putting together lists of artists I think capture Planescape, composing art orders, etc.
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Update

I just posted my faction conversions on my ENWorld conversion thread (link is in the first post).

This weekend I'm hoping to get back to an adventure synopsis write-up for "Secrets of the Fading Palace" and may have a new picture or two to share. Cheers!

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--

I've been meaning to post on this thread for ages, but I'm never quite caught up, until now. Excellent work, and nice job on the 5e conversion, too. Your work on Al-Qadim deserves linking to here as well, for anyone who wants to run anything with an Inner Planar bent.

Going back a few posts (and weeks), I'm inclined to say seven power groups *is* too much for a campaign, but not necessarily too many for an adventure, if you follow me. That is, unless the focus of the story is the power groups fighting each other a la Faction War, then there probably isn't quite enough room for them all to share equal billing.

The Daughters of Light and the Cult of Aoskar, for instance, do seem more tangential, more caught up in what's going on, rather than taking an active hand in matters. They still deserve a mention, but possibly not in the same breath as the Queen of Air and Darkness, the rakshasa Maharajah, Enrizar Ahrevad, and Mnemosyme-- your arc villains. Is there a Big Good for the PCs to (potentially) ally with (or butt heads against)? From the Lords of the Gloaming, maybe? Or is that sort of meant to be Aoskar, in a way?

If you're cutting out the Spellweavers, what about ruined temples to Aoskar? His worship dried up overnight, and most of his high priests died with him. I've always thought there could be abandoned shrines to the Portal God, perhaps practically untouched since his death, dotting the Outlands, accessible only through portals nobody remembers anymore (a Scattered Temple, so to speak).

By that same token, could there be ruins left over from a time before Mnemosyme was imprisoned? Perhaps through portals only the few surviving members of the Cult of Aoskar know? Maybe you could exploit a bit of parallelism between the two cults.

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Good to have another poster

Good to have another poster on board! It's incredible how much work Quickleaf puts into this amazing project.

Quote:
Going back a few posts (and weeks), I'm inclined to say seven power groups *is* too much for a campaign, but not necessarily too many for an adventure, if you follow me. That is, unless the focus of the story is the power groups fighting each other a la Faction War, then there probably isn't quite enough room for them all to share equal billing.

I agree with you. Not all of them have an equal level as "power groups". But as the Arcane Eye and the Daughters of the Light are rather extensions/puppets of the Maharajah/The Queen of Air and Darkness than completely independent players, I don't think there are too many (power) groups involved, if you consider the length of the whole campaign.

Quote:
If you're cutting out the Spellweavers, what about ruined temples to Aoskar? His worship dried up overnight, and most of his high priests died with him. I've always thought there could be abandoned shrines to the Portal God, perhaps practically untouched since his death, dotting the Outlands, accessible only through portals nobody remembers anymore (a Scattered Temple, so to speak).

By that same token, could there be ruins left over from a time before Mnemosyme was imprisoned? Perhaps through portals only the few surviving members of the Cult of Aoskar know? Maybe you could exploit a bit of parallelism between the two cults.


Great idea!
Just a random thought: Maybe the Temple of Mnemosyne is constantly flooded by Styx-water to suppress the strong memories tied to it.
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Hmmm, not much activity on

Hmmm, not much activity on the forums, currently.

What's the status of your campaign Quickleaf?

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This campaign seems like a

This campaign seems like a wonderful idea! I'm a big fan of the Planescape universe (and planar traveling and civilization in general) and would like to be part of this game if I can.

Any updates on who's playing, when, where, and how?

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Hey Endarire, yeah Quickleafs

Hey Endarire, yeah Quickleafs work is really impressive.
He planned to write the campaign in pdf adventure-format, so it could later be published here on Planewalker, EN-World or similar sites.

This is more of a brainstorming thread and not a game which is actively played. I don't know if Quickleaf has started a game somewhere or is already testing the early chapters as he hasn't posted for some time (probably real life duties have caught up with him).

Hopefully Quickleaf will be able to come back to this great project.
If you have any ideas or feedback, just post them - the more contributors, the better!

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Not having played 4E

Not having played 4E extensively, how did the Spellplague affect the Planes and Her Serenity, The Lady of Pain? How did the 5E changes to the spell rules (especially Concentration) affect the planes?

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The Spellplague was the

The Spellplague was the Realms' in-universe explanation for the rule changes, but most other settings didn't make the attempt, and just glossed over it. The two other major campaign settings detailed for 4e, Eberron and Dark Sun, made some changes but were nowhere near as drastic about it. Dark Sun is specifically set a few months after the death of Kalak and no later, and while tieflings and eladrin are slotted in, you can tell efforts were taken to ensure they were relatively inobtrusive (ie. rare). It's odd, because Toril had the most pre-existing elements of 4e already built into it (the Underdark, the Plane of Shadow/Shadowfell, many of the gods in the default 4e pantheon), but they're the setting that was the most changed by 4e.

A lot of major changes on the planes are suggested by 4e's axis cosmology. Athas and Eberron ignore a lot of that, isolated as they are. Even Toril makes a lot of its own rules when it comes to the shape of the planes. So from that perspective, it's possible that most of the major upheavals from 4e really only took hold around the single sphere of the unnamed Points of Light world.

This includes things like Asmodeus ascending to godhood and violently ending the Blood War, casting the Abyss to the bottom of the Elemental Chaos, a Limbo-like realm which seemingly consists of the remnants of the no-longer disparate Inner Planes. Many other planes are islands in the Astral Sea, which makes more sense for some than others-- Mount Celestia, sure, the Nine Hells, not quite as much. Mechanus has been abandoned, seemingly for ages...which doesn't quite jive with how much time has passed elsewhere.

Even during 4e, this was pretty clearly intended to be a sort of clean slate, alternative universe version of the multiverse. Taken in that light, I think there's plenty of fodder for interesting adventure sites and campaign background. You'd have to turn it to one side and squint a bit, then do some quick rewrites to fit it into the Great Wheel of your home game, though.

But Asmodeus ascending to godhood, a truce in the Blood War, and the collapse of Mechanus-- that always sounded like a campaign unto itself to me, personally, rather than something that already happened.

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KnightOfDecay wrote:Hey

KnightOfDecay wrote:
Hey Endarire, yeah Quickleafs work is really impressive.
He planned to write the campaign in pdf adventure-format, so it could later be published here on Planewalker, EN-World or similar sites.

This is more of a brainstorming thread and not a game which is actively played. I don't know if Quickleaf has started a game somewhere or is already testing the early chapters as he hasn't posted for some time (probably real life duties have caught up with him).

Hopefully Quickleaf will be able to come back to this great project.
If you have any ideas or feedback, just post them - the more contributors, the better!

Thanks for the kind words, mate :) Yes, I have been slammed by grad school and some health issues.

You're right that this is not a game I'm actually running. It is meant to be something that would be published. However, we still don't have any word from Wizards of the Coast about an OGL equivalent for 5e, nor how using settings owned by WotC would work... Because of that I've had to put the project on hiatus. As for doing it "unofficially", it just feels impossible to divorce the this campaign from the copyrighted Planescape setting.

I will be following the 5e licensing closely, however, and if anything changes I will let you guys know.

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Good to see you back!

Good to see you back!

Yeah the Planescape setting is probably too complex for doing it "unofficialy" without resulting in a very weird and constructed feel.
Hopefully there will be any news regarding OGL soon.

By the way, I just finished reading Dan Simmons Hyperion Cantos series which also includes a character named Mnemosyne/Moneta, portals (farcaster technology) and a Lady of Pain-like entity (the Shrike).
I think it might be great inspiration for your campaign (a good read anyway).

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I encountered those Hyperion

I encountered those Hyperion novels years ago but never gave them a read. Thanks for the lead! Sounds like some great sci-fi writing!

I had a chance to check out Princes of the Apocalypse, which is a 256 page mega-adventure / adventure setting based on the Temple of Elemental Evil. It's been getting really good reviews. It strikes me as a good example for the sort of finished product I envision for a Planescape mega-adventure. However, in looking at Princes of the Apocalypse, it has a very strong theme / enemy: elemental evil. Likewise, Hoard of the Dragon Queen & Rise of Tiamat have strong themes / enemies: dragons.

That makes me wonder if a Planescape mega-adventure needs a single strong theme / enemy? And if so, what should it be?

For example, I've got Incantifers, the Cult of Aoskar, the Arcane Eye thieves' guild, the Unseelie Court, and the Mnemosynean Mystery Cult as big players, with smaller groups at the periphery. I worry, does this make the theme too diluted?

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Quote:That makes me wonder if

Quote:
I had a chance to check out Princes of the Apocalypse, which is a 256 page mega-adventure / adventure setting based on the Temple of Elemental Evil.

Ah, didn't know it was out yet.

Quote:
That makes me wonder if a Planescape mega-adventure needs a single strong theme / enemy? And if so, what should it be?
For example, I've got Incantifers, the Cult of Aoskar, the Arcane Eye thieves' guild, the Unseelie Court, and the Mnemosynean Mystery Cult as big players, with smaller groups at the periphery. I worry, does this make the theme too diluted?

Well I think that’s simply a question of personal preference. Personally I tend more towards the idea of a campaign with several groups/plots which are connected by a common theme. Tales from the Infinite Staircase is a perfect example for this kind of adventure, which fits the Planescape setting very well.
The Big Bad Evil Guy thing is too one dimensional and straightforward for my taste.
Another problem of the single theme / enemy is, that it makes it harder
to use the adventures/tiers independently from each other (which, if I remember correctly, was one of your intentions in the beginning of the project).
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Having all those groups isn't

Having all those groups isn't an problem. Not the way you've set things up so far. It doesn't necessarily dilute things, especially since all the groups don't necessarily serve the same purpose. On a meta level, the Arcane Eye and Unseelie Court seem more like competition for the party, trying to beat them to the same goals, while the Cult of Mnemosyme seems more like they'd be playing defense against all three. The Incantifer(s) might act as a wild card, since it's not the whole Incanterium come again but just one man who's driving things as he searches for his lost love. The Cult of Aoskar could act as something of a neutral party, a source of knowledge, and a cautionary tale, a parallel for Mnemosyme.

I don't know if this is what you intended. It's just how it struck me while reading over this thread.

If this was more of a straightforward hack-and-slash campaign, too many groups would probably make things feel disjointed. But since this storyline is more dependent on mystery and intrigue, history and investigation, I don't think that an overabundance of NPCs is a problem. It helps keep the players guessing, with lots of ways to point the finger whenever something goes wrong. It gives you a plot that probably leads up to one main thrust, in terms of its climax and final villain, but then also potentially leaves loose ends for the players to follow, assuming the villains can also survive each other.

Princes of the Apocalypse isn't out yet officially, but Wizards does or did give out advance copies to some stores and individuals.

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Great points KnightofDecay

Great points KnightofDecay about the Infinite Staircase having multiple power players & how that helps use adventures/tiers independently from each other.

Good to see you on here Unsung! I stumbled on your Cranium Rat Hive Mind PC race on this forum and it's genius :) Somebody should be playing one in your PS game at ENWorld!

I think your read of the five power groups is pretty close to what I'm intending...

Arcane Eye: An interplanar thieves guild specializing in smuggling dark magic & stealing abstract things, their operations in Sigil are led by a blind tiefling named Old Graycloak. They seek the Codex of the Infinite Planes for the secret master behind the guild, the rakhsasa maharajah Vindravajar based in Gehenna, who desires the Codex to break the cycle of reincarnation he is fated to endure. However, Old Graycloak secretly wants the Codex too, I'm thinking to remove a curse on himself placed by someone using the Codex (perhaps the Mage Fallendor, from Chris Perkins old story in DUNGEON). The guild proper is direct opposition to the PCs for levels 1-10, then the rakhsasa at higher levels.

Cult of Aoskar: Secret keepers scattered throughout the planes, they seek to revive the dead portal god Aoskar (a vestige who *became* the Maze the Lady banished him to). They include Fell, the Aoskian Sibyl, Imendor's skull, the remnants of the Will of One sect, some kind of sentient portal (maybe an elder mimic? a cortelestial?), and the "Seekers of the Door" which include gate orphans, planar maroons, and anyone desperately looking for that one portal which holds what they desire most. They are mainly a source of information, but could be antagonists against Sigil's laws and possibly as a rival faction once the PCs find Aoskar's Maze. I'm thinking that the Codex is considered an Ultimate Evil in the eyes of the cult since it diminishes the importance of portals...though perhaps it is seen as a holy relic...not sure...

Incanterium: An olfactory faction reborn, albeit with much reduced numbers. They begin with the Codex. While their new factol Enrizar Ahrevad sought it to help retrieve his beloved (who fell thru an ether gap), the Codex has become the rallying symbol of the new Incanterium. It represents cosmic magical power to them. To unlock the secrets of the Codex, they believe, is to perfect the rites that make new Incantifiers. Their headquarters is the Tower Sorcerous, which Enrizar Ahrevad somehow freed from the Lady's Mazes using an extradimensional loophole. They include Incantifiers & Elder Incantifiers, servants like invisible stalked and clay/stone golems, ex-factol Tivvum (who I see as a living spell bound to the Tower Sorcerous), and Alluvius Ruskin (from Uncaged: Faces of Sigil and who was the main antagonist in Faction War...not sure if she'll be a full appearance, deceased, or perhaps they just find a message left behind...don't know). Also the servants of the Codex - The Beast (a goristro?), dyoph slaves (a pair of cyclops? monadic devas?), Ambran the Seeker, and the Mage Fallendor. I see them as being direct antagonists during levels 11-17 or thereabouts, with appearances earlier.

Mnemosynean Mysteries: A mystery cult devoted to Mnemosyne's teachings, they seek to restore lost memories to all beings in the multiverse, including petitioners (those dead souls who don't clearly recall their past lives). Of course, from the PCs' perspective there may be some beings that *shouldnt* get their memories back for good reason. I'm thinking once Mnemosyne is free they make their headquarters in the Outlands; they include Mnemosyne (an empyrean in 5e), the Muses (celestial bard proxies), lillend, lamia, medusa, and harpies, priestesses of Mnemosyne (vestige warlocks?), and the "Tabula Rasa" (those who lost their memories, usually to the Styx, and seek to regain them). I think KnightofDecay suggested that there should be a tragic element, that Mnemosyne's continued freedom exacerbates the Rift. I see them as primarily a source of information, though possibly rivals for the Codex which is an ultimate symbol of planar lore and knowledge that the cultists need to restore Mnemosyne to full power...or something like that...

Unseelie Court: The Queen of Air and Darkness seeks the Codex & Mnemosyne to learn her True Name - knowing her True Name is the key to mastering her vast magical powers, but also reflects the self-destructive tendencies of the Queen in that it could revert her back to the faerie princess she was before the Black Diamond. In my backstory, she temporarily allies with Enrizar Ahrevad to use the Codex to open the Rift, but in her eagerness (or perhaps Ahrevad's trickery) she is pulled into the Rift. Her efforts at return to the planes come up at various points, and eventually she does return to cause great devastation. The dark fey loyal to her are led by the False Queen (a former eladrin proxy), and include quicklings, Unseelie nymphs, will-o-wisps, displacer beasts, sprig gains, banshees, black sprites, corrupted elves/drow as "dark riders" on nightmares with yeah hounds, shadow demons, and possibly a Pandemonium repsentative species "Daesmonians." They are based in Pandemonium according to Planescape lore, though I wonder with the Feywild in 5e if that still makes sense. I see them seeking the Codex to herald the return of their true Queen. Definitely antagonists, though not always direct, running the full 1-20 level span.

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Adventure Locations

I have my rough list of the adventure locations I see being relevant... Any and all feedback, criticism, or ideas are welcome :)

Arborea
Mount Olympus - because Zeus banished Mnemosyne, and traces of her may remain

Bytopia
Baku's Graveyard, Broken Mountains / Oceanus Skyfalls, Floating Forest of Nerember, Twinning Stone - we did such a great job renovating Bytopia, and I imagine the Bytopian spy network as the ultimate slave liberators, specifically liberating people who have been imprisoned via the powers of the Codex.

Carceri
Mount Chrystos - where Mnemosyne was imprisoned before being freed
Trickster's Delight - Parrafaire knows several secrets: (1) how Mnemosyne was imprisoned originally, (2) the location of Argathorn's prison on Pandemonium, (3) the Incantifer transformation ritual.

Demiplanes
Aoskar's Maze - actually is the vestige of Aoskar himself
The Tower Sorcerous - returned lair of the reborn Incanterium

Elemental Fire
City of Brass - be ause the efreeti Sultan once possessed the Codex

Ethereal
The Ether Gap - where Enrizar's beloved was lost, could be a hi-level adventuring site
Fading Palace - clues about the Codex from wizards who studied it in past, tie in to Will of One & Ether Gap

Feywild
Murkroot Trade Moot, Souk of the Shadow Fey, Cwym Glas - sites related to the Queen of Air and Darkness' past and the plans of the False Queen, perhaps Codex passed thru fey markets?

Gehenna
Skarach's Gorge - demises of yagnoloth Inimigle who seeks the Codex to get revenge on wizard who imprisoned him years ago
"Rakshasa Casino" - needs a good name! the lair of Vindravajar, true master of the Arcane Eye thieves guild, soul gems traded here and one may have held a victim of the Codex

Hades
Pool of Remembrance - tied to Mnemosynean Mysteries, used for their rituals, but probably not headquarters

Infinite Staircase
Aoskian Sibyl - has clues about Aoskar, strongly opposed to the Codex, if PCs are Codex-marked could be hostile

Limbo
Shrak'kt'lor - githzerai holy city using a magical guidon to lead githyanki traveling via astral conduits into sacrifical killing room, but the guidon has destabilizing effect on conduits and must be shut down to seal the Rift
Paradise of One Sky - adventure site shaped by githzerai petitioner who has command word to mimir with secrets of the Codex recorded within it

Mechanus
Coglock - where said mimir is trapped with a piece of the Lady's Key
Fortress of Disciplined Enlightenment - Guvner headquarters, with extensive records even on the Codex, but also a deadly conspiracy in the clockwork halls of the library

Mount Celestia
Ouroburos, the Gates of Wisdom - Jazindiran the couatl god holds secrets of reincarnation, perhaps the Wheel of Life that Vindravajar seeks to destroy, and maybe secrets of how petitioners lose their memories upon becoming petitioners

Baator
Dis the Iron City - I'm thinking that Dispater might have information on the Codex but asks a high price, or perhaps one piece of the Lady's Key might be here
Pillar of Skulls - where souls of traitors and betrayers go after usingn false words to deceive allies, makes sense that someone connected to the Codex ended up here

Outlands
Automata - adventure site to gain access to Mechanus (during the portal crisis surrounding the Lady's Key which is required to destabilize portals, thereby meaning gate town travel is more common)
Court of Light - where PCs need to take Saint of Keys to get a piece of Lady's Key, may also offer illumination on the nature of their Rift/Codex marks.
Curst - where PCs can find Saint of Keys
Dwarven Mountain - puts PCs on the trail of thief/gambler working for Arcane Eye
Ironridge - starting town, way to ease players into planar adventures without breaking out all the weirdness at level 1, could have options for Ironridge being a prime town on the prime world of the DM's choosing which has been affected by the Rift, or a town built on both sides of a gate - half on Prime, half in Outlands

Padnemonium
Argathorn's Prison - has a secret about, the Lady, Sigil, and Aoskar...not sure what the secret is...maybe HOW the Lady makes her Mazes?
Howler's Crag - secrets of reincarnation, dead Phoenix god of portals/planars (any relation to Aoskar?)
The Madhouse - PC base when exploring Pandemonium, also where Ambran the Seeker dwells doomed to record his experiences on paper which transmits it to the Codex, a source of info about Fallendor, could also find a guide here
Unseelie Court - most likely a showdown site between PCs and the False Queen or...I probably...the Queen of Air and Darkness herself

Prime
(These sites are supposed to be on Oerth in or near the Barrens, but I might present them as usable in whatever Prime world the DM wants to use)
Matinsmore - fanatic paladin stronghold with books on fiends which PCs may need to consult, could ally with paladins against fiendish incursion or be targeted by paladins and need to infiltrate or raid
Tomb of Tzunk's Hands - clues about the Codex, and PCs can use hands to open the Codex without risking disintegration

Sigil
(Probably will include many more sites, these are just the ones I know of so far...)
Arcane Eye Guildhall - PCs track thief/gambler tiefling here from Dwarven Mountain, need to infiltrate or deal with Old Graycloak
Dabus Warrens - part of restoring Lady's Key and finding ancient portal chamber they will eventually use to enter the Rift
The Leafless Tree (Gallows) - where the last priest of Aoskar is sentenced to hang, could involve arguing for his release or an all out street battle with old portals being used to bring in reinforcements
Shattered Temple - used to be temple to Aoskar, clues hidden within (ignoring part at the end of Faction War where a priest of Hades builds a temple on top of it)
Under-Sigil - where the ancient portal chamber is located, some good old dungeon crawling to reach it

And that's what I've got so far!

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Rakshasa Casino

Regarding name for the "Rakshasa Casino"; how about something like "The Sinners' Den". Not great, but the connection between a gambling den and a tiger's den makes me want to push "den" as part of the name

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Palomides wrote:Regarding

Palomides wrote:
Regarding name for the "Rakshasa Casino"; how about something like "The Sinners' Den". Not great, but the connection between a gambling den and a tiger's den makes me want to push "den" as part of the name.

Brilliant! I'll use it, thanks Palomides :)
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A quick question

A quick question...

What are some Prime equivalents to Ironridge (an Outlands trade town buttressing Dwarven Mountain) that I might provide as options for starting locations for DMs wanting to start with prime PCs? These could be locations connected to Ironridge by portal, places that merge into Ironridge due to the Rift, or places a DM could use to replace Ironridge entirely. For example, in OERTH, the Free City of Irongate is a good possibility, both due to name, accessibility, and the numerous tunnels beneath that could hide a portal the hill dwarves use to visit Dwarven Mountain.

What about TORIL? KRYNN? MYSTARA? EBERRON? ATHAS?

A little background...

I want to start the adventure somewhere besides Sigil, but then get them to Sigil once they have a purpose in being there. I've noticed Planescape DMs starting games at level 1 in Sigil comment on the drifting phenomenon where players wander around not sure what to do (which generally leads to tavern antics, street throw downs with fiends, and illusionist antics). Instead, I want to set things up so that when the PCs come to Sigil they have a reason in being there, a quest to fulfill, a mystery to solve.

I also wanted to provide a start that wouldn't alienate prime PCs/players nor disenfranchise planar PCs/players. I choose Ironridge (and Dwarven Mountain) for these reasons.

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Quote:Arborea

Quote:
Arborea
Mount Olympus - because Zeus banished Mnemosyne, and traces of her may remain...

Sounds good. In my eyes thats a perfect mix of locations for a Planescape campaign.
"The Sinners' Den" is awesome.

How about Mirabar in the Forgotten Realms (built upon the foundations of Gharraghaur's Iron Tower).
Korunda Gate (Kundarak enclave located in the Ironroot Mountains) for Eberron
(I would have posted wiki-links, but this doesn't work with the spam filter)

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KnightofDecay, those are

KnightofDecay, those are perfect! I checked out the respective setting wikis. Thank you :)

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Maybe Picayune will be

Maybe Picayune will be interested in a cranium rat swarm as a step toward visibility? I'll ask.

Might I suggest 'Den of Sin' as an alternative to Sinner's Den? Practically the same, I just like the internal rhyme. And then maybe the Old Sinner could be an epithet for some character the PCs have to meet up with inside the casino. A pit fiend pit boss, or even Vindravajar himself.

If you're going to visit both Baator and Gehenna, personally I'd love to see an adventure make use of ripvanwormer's cities of Void's Edge http://mimir.planewalker.com/041223/voids-edge in Gehenna and Abattoir http://mimir.planewalker.com/110629/abattoir-city-corruption-and-hunger in Baator.

I think meandering through Sigil not knowing what to do is a Planescape rite of passage :) ...but I can agree that not every adventure should *have* to start there.

I don't think I know enough of Toril or Eberron (and certainly not Mystara) to give a good answer on alternative starting points-- they're both very big, and generally I'm only interested in their cities and wildernesses, not so much the mid-sized settlements that seem like they'd be appropriate here. Meanwhile I've always had the impression with Krynn that it had more than its share of such locations, so take your pick.

I do feel confident enough in my knowledge of Dark Sun to say that anywhere other than Tyr is probably going to be too hostile, too small, too rife with possible adventures, or too remote and weird to serve the purpose you want. I mean, the situation on Athas is such that if anybody knew about any active portals offworld, they'd have all already left-- and while an oddly high proportions of Athasians do seem to end up on the planes, nobody knows how to get back. Although maybe that has something to do with not really wanting to.

And why yes, Tyr does have its Iron Mines, which makes it prosperous and influential all out of proportion to the other city-states.

A little off-track, but... http://www.spelljammer.org/worlds/CrimsonSphere/ A lot of the same problems with Athas being accessible to spelljammers also apply to planewalkers, so I thought this was an interesting, noncanonical read.

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Unsung wrote:If you're going

Unsung wrote:
If you're going to visit both Baator and Gehenna, personally I'd love to see an adventure make use of ripvanwormer's cities of Void's Edge http://mimir.planewalker.com/041223/voids-edge in Gehenna and Abattoir http://mimir.planewalker.com/110629/abattoir-city-corruption-and-hunger in Baator.

Great suggestions, thanks mate! I really dig the feel of Void's Edge - it aligns with my own conceptions of Gehenna, and the Rakshasa connection with Abattoir is quite interesting. I'd thought to use Dis but you've definitely given me sites to think about instead.

Quote:
I think meandering through Sigil not knowing what to do is a Planescape rite of passage :) ...but I can agree that not every adventure should *have* to start there.

Haha, true. And I like how you're doing it in your game. :)

My approach with this mega-adventure is to let level 1 be up to the DM. The DM can skip it and plunge the PCs into the adventure proper in Ironridge at level 2, the DM can use the section on Sigil with its adventure hooks/sites and let the PCs meander until they get work in Ironridge (or meander some more), the DM can run an optional mini-dungeon I'm including for a party of prime PCs that links from the Prime to Ironridge, or the DM can flesh out some of the Ironridge side quests letting the PCs become acquainted with that Outlands town before dropping the Rift & Astral Searchers. Or some combination of these starts.

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I wanted to probe your guys'

I wanted to probe your guys' thoughts on what you think are iconic villains in Planescape? Particularly villains you would like to see in an adventure or have not gotten much coverage before? Some of the ones I'm look at are...

Artifact (Codex of the Infinite Planes)

Fallen Angel

Far Realms Horror

Fiends (demons, devils, rakshasa, yugoloth)

Githyanki

Cultists of Forgotten Power (Aoskar/Mnemosyne)

Inter-planar Thieves’ Guild

Modrons

Old Faction Reborn (Incanterium)

Paladins (misguided primes)

Something abstract?

Unseelie Court (Queen of Air & Darkness)

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Villains

If you are suggesting putting all of these in your mega-adventure; then you MIGHT be making things a tad too unfocused (but maybe you and your players can juggle more threads than mine)

But if the question was more generic, the only one unmentioned that leaps to mind is:
Metaphysical threat

For instance, in "The Infinite Staircase" while there was a underlying agent (IIRC), the threat was mostly depicted as "a force draining creativity from the multiverse". To my mind, these metaphysical threats are great to put into Planescape as they feel more at home here than in a standard campaign

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@Palomides

@Palomides

It is meant more generally, just doing some brainstorming. I agree that the abstracted metaphysical threat made manifest is a wonderful source of conflict for Planescape games!

I am basically going back over my now rather large collection of notes, adventure locations, NPCs, sketches, and maps, and realizing that I wasn't convinced my villains have traction.

For example, my Big 5 are:

Incanterium (virtually unknown outside of a few hardcore Planescape fans, and not necessarily distinctly planar)

Mnemosynean Mysteries (not exactly a big name in D&D, only used once in Vortex of Madness)

Arcane Eye thieves guild (I totally made it up, and while it is cool, it has no history in D&D)

Cult of Aoskar (a big name in Planescape, but unheard of outside the setting)

Unseelie Court (well known by D&Ders but not necessarily distinctly planar, might fit better in an adventure focusing on fey themes)

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Well, looking at Planescape's

Well, looking at Planescape's past iconic villains, and thinking about the ones who really stood out for me personally as the driving forces of villainy in their respective adventures, here's a brief, non-exhaustive list:

Lord Tenebrous (Dead Gods)
Duke Rowan Darkwood (Faction War)
The Great Modron March (The Great Modron March)
Daru Ib Shamiq ultimately, Spiral Halo'ight arguably, the Maeldur (Hellbound)
Pharod, Ravel, Trias, The Transcendent One (Torment)

...and what these ones in particular all share in common is their indirectness, the obliqueness and opacity of their schemes. These are all people or groups running very long cons, or else caught up in them. They're not necessarily the big climactic fight, the players might barely even know they're there for most (or even all) of the adventure, but it's that sense of larger happenings that we don't get to see that defines that feeling of Planescape for me. Epic scope rendered with a personal touch. Major upheavals on the plane that none but a few will ever even know about.

One of the things I really like about Hellbound, for instance, is that you only ever meet the villains of the piece after events have spun out of their control. Shamiq set all this into motion, but he's long since lost interest. Spiral discovers too late that he's a little fish. The Maeldur is just a victim in all this. You meet a few mostly disposable named fiends on both sides, and even though the yugoloths are pulling the strings, throughout the adventure they're basically faceless, figuratively and in the ultroloth's case literally.

So I think maybe the key to a good Planescape villain is just doing the unexpected, even just slightly, and then playing it to the hilt. Ravel's a sympathetic night hag, Daru Ib Shamiq is a repentant fiend. Angels and aasimar can't be trusted. Dead gods won't stay that way. Darkwood was a hero on the prime, but that same ambition and drive are what lead to both his rise and meteoric downfall in Sigil. Really, anything can work so long as it has the right amount of quirk, it seems to me.

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There is not much to add to

There is not much to add to what Unsung wrote :)

Well I think that one the strengths of Planescape is, that there is not necessarily black or white. Not every “antagonist” is a “villain” (if you understand what I mean) but may just represent another side of the coin, another point of view, a planar principle or just something completely incomprehensible.

From the antagonists point of view (excluding fiends etc.) the PCs could easily qualify as “villains” too. “These bloodthirsty mercenaries try to prevent the resurrection of Aoskar who will bring salvation to the Multiverse and end this age of suffering and darkness – we have to stop them!”

I like the antagonists/groups/villains you have included so far, especially as not all of them have to come to blows with the party (theoretically the PCs might even join the Arcane or the Cult of Mnemosyne).

I agree with Palomides. The Iron Shadow is probably one of the most interesting threats presented in Planescape so far. This role might suit the Codex of the Infinite Planes quite well too. Rowan Darkwood and Tenebrous are definitely among my other favourites.

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Codex as main villain?

This may not be the direction you want to go (or maybe this is what you planned all along and I missed it); but with this talk about villains that control everything but which still come as a surprise, it made me think of the interesting (to me) possibility that (one of) the major manipulators behind the scene was the Codex of Infinite Planes itself. I bet that would surprise your players!

From a Wiki page on the Codex:
"The Codex uses those who think they own it as slaves, entering their dreams and guiding them on visions of the infinite planes, forcing them to write its pages. This is how the Codex continues to exist and to grow."

It would be easy to extrapolate from this that the Codex is now sentient and is trying to absorb all knowledge about travel between the planes. Maybe in some vague way it wants to be the new Aoskar.
Maybe it has been manipulating the Aosakar cultists to further its own goals? Maybe its been manipulating the Mnemosynean sect to unlock some long forgotten memories/knowledge it needs to transcend? Maybe the Codex has been manipulating the Arcane Eye as a means to an end (plans require money and the Arcane Eye has plenty of that)?
Maybe in a weird way, the Incantifiers are "good guys" (in that their actions to gain control of the Codex are actually undermining the Codex's plans - but still bad as they would be dangerous with that much power in their hands)?
The players would think that they are battling all these "human" agents when all the while they have been contending with the very artifact they thought they were trying to snatch. I bet that would surprise them

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Unsung wrote:One of the

Unsung wrote:
One of the things I really like about Hellbound, for instance, is that you only ever meet the villains of the piece after events have spun out of their control. 

This are great examples! I do worry about this point though. Without recurrence of a villain (even if it's only speaking thru a magic mirror or whatever), how do you get the players have an investment in caring about that villain (either sympathy or hate)? I sure there's a way to do that, andI like Hellbound overall, but that's an issue I struggle with when creating behind-the-scenes villains.

KnightofDecay wrote:
Well I think that one the strengths of Planescape is, that there is not necessarily black or white. Not every “antagonist” is a “villain” (if you understand what I mean) but may just represent another side of the coin, another point of view, a planar principle or just something completely incomprehensible.

For sure. That's one of the reasons why I chose multiple antagonists, because I wanted to appeal to the different motives of players. You know, wanting something to love, something to hate but need to undermine slowly, something to talk with, something to love/hate, something to smash with a big stick...

Palomides wrote:
This may not be the direction you want to go (or maybe this is what you planned all along and I missed it); but with this talk about villains that control everything but which still come as a surprise, it made me think of the interesting (to me) possibility that (one of) the major manipulators behind the scene was the Codex of Infinite Planes itself. I bet that would surprise your players!

Yes, I've definitely thought about this. I see the Codex as being like the Ring of Doom, only not beginning in the PC's hands. It has terrible power that comes with dire consequences, has a long sordid history, and possesses inklings of a malign intelligence. Plus it lines up with the themes of memory/forgetting and the eternal return nicely.

Instead of making it full on sentient, I was thinking of having some creature or NPC trapped inside it trying to get out. If you remember an old PC PRG called Myst, something's a lot like the people trapped in the pages.

Actually, at one point I considered giving the PCs "Rift Marks" which I now see fit better as "Codex Marks" which would be like tattoos that appear on the PCs magically after some event, intertwining their destinies with the Codex. The might provide a little magical ability, but would mainly be a story device to get the PCs involved in seeking the Codex. The idea being that as their marks spread, they are being "undone" by the Codex and slowly replaced by whoever is trapped within it, ultimately the PCs becoming trapped on the page of the Codex that describes them.

However, that seemed like the sort of heavy handed DMing approach some groups might balk at, so I hesitated including that.

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Memories & Petitioners

Petitioners and whether/how they remember life is a big theme I'm playing on. So I did a bit of reading...

According to PLANESCAPE petitioners don't remember their past life unless the presiding god wishes. The only place I know where this was elaborated on was in ON HALLOWED GROUND where the concept of "memory cores" was introduced, the idea being that as a spirit moves to its afterlife, its memories of life are drawn into the Astral Plane where they float as "memory cores" (which are what, according to ON HALLOWED GROUND, a cleric contacts when casting speak with dead rather than the *actual* dead person). ON HALLOWED GROUND even went on to say that "memory cores" tend to cluster to certain regions of the Astral and that certain mercenaries (often githyanki) lurking in Sigil's alleys claimed to be able to retrieve memory cores of fallen heroes/villains from the Astral. Even weirder, that astral dreadnoughts devour memory cores, mistaking them for astral travelers.

This concept doesn't appear anywhere else in the history of D&D (though my knowledge of 3e lore is minimal). I read the 5e PHB entry for Speak with Dead and that seems to imply that there a difference between a soul and an "animating spirit." Speak with Dead in 5e brings back just a bit of the corpse's animating spirit so it can answer your questions, with the explicit example that it can refuse to answer the questions of creatures it recognizes as enemies.

I'm trying to find a way to balance these two views (which are not really incompatible, more like two parallel ideas). Having these memories floating on the Astral (and being something planewalkers can seek out) is an interesting idea that suits the Astral plane well and also lends itself to adventure. However, it's a bit bizarre...even for Planescape fans! It may also seem to fly in the face of how DMs use petitioners. I recall at least one Planescape game I played in briefly where they most definitely did recall their lives and the DM used that to great dramatic effect to make interacting with petitioners unique.

Sigh. Once again, I have a design dilemma. :)

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Possibility

I had done something similar to what 5E with the "two spirit" solution. I had the soul that went to whatever alignment appropriate plane and the "animating spirit" being a shadow with the past memories but with no drive or spark of life. I arranged this because I wanted the Grey Wastes to be heavily populated by the dead not just the 1/17th of the petitioners it would have gotten otherwise.

Regardless (and actually to your point), if the Grey Waste spirits were shadows perhaps the memories they possess start to fade away and drain into the Astral leaving just husks that are at the command of Hades, Hel and the other gods of the dead.
The memories found on the Astral would be somewhat context-less (e.g. a memory of a battle where neither army can be identified) so that there still might be an emotional effect of encountering or harvesting it on the Astral but it probably wouldn't a good place to get specific answers (for that one would need to make the difficult journey into the Wastes)

Not perfect, but maybe a starting point for something that will work for you

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Double post

.

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Triple post

.

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Seriously!? Quadruple post

Sorry, my computer had an intense hiccup

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Queen of Air and Darkness - a "good" Planescape villain or not?

Haha, no worries. I figure you're just saving room for great ideas ;)

Yes, some kind of a "memory bleed" could work to bridge the gap between the two paradigms on petitioner memories. While I let that percolate in my brain box, I've got another question for you illustrious sages of Planescape...

Is the Queen of Air & Darkness a good villain for me to put in a central role in this Planescape adventure? My concern is she probably fits better in a Faerie-themed adventure and doesn't seem Planescape-y enough. So here are the options I'm considering...

  • Keep the Queen/Unseelie Court but do *something* to make her feel more Planescape-y and less Faerie-y.
  • Ditch the Queen/Unseelie Court and replace her with a compelling celestial villain like a fallen deva.
  • Ditch the Queen/Unseelie Court and replace her with a compelling gehreleth "dark muse" villain or Apomps himself.
  • Ditch the Queen/Unseelie Court and replace her with a power group - either the Lords of the Gloaming (prime paladins shutting down gates/portals connecting prime & planes) OR Daughters of the Light (planar witches/warlocks making deals with triple-aspected goddesses to keep their communities safe from war, fiends, and factions).
  • Ditch the Queen and replace her with the Demon Lord Nql(?) alluded to in "Eldritch Wizardry" where the Codex of Infinite Planes was first mentioned.
  • Ditch the Queen/Unseelie Court and don't replace her. This will leave me with just 4 main power groups (Arcane Eye, Cult of Aoskar, Incanterium, Mnemosynean Mysteries).
.
Thoughts? Opinions? Lemon slaad?
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Definitely Lemon Slaad!

Definitely Lemon Slaad!

Actually, I always handled it that way, that petitioners lose all the memories of their former lives (if I remember correctly, there’s some exception for petitioners of Elysium). I think this is necessary to define them from other planar inhabitants of the outer Planes (otherwise I don’t see much difference between say an elven petitioner of Arborea and a planar elf living on Arborea). Of course there are countless reasons why individual petitioners could have retained their memories or somehow gained have knowledge of their past lives.

I didn’t know about the memory cores in the Astral. Imho that’s a very interesting and reasonable explanation how “Speak with Dead” works.

I really like Palomides idea. It fits very well if you consider prosaic sayings like “searching for someone’s shadow in the realms of the dead.”

Another option might be to make a difference between the petitioners of specific gods/powers, who reside in godly realms and the petitioners sent to a specific Outer Plane for alignment reasons alone and who don’t life inside a gods realm. Gods might (or might not have) a specific interest in their petitioners loss of memories of mortal hardships, sufferings etc.

I understand your problem with the Queen. It’s very hard to find a fitting place for her in the Planescape setting. Nevertheless, as she officially appears in On Hallowed Ground and as she is only one of several villains/antagonists appearing in the campaign, I would not see this as an definite exclusion criterion. You might think of this as chance to find a fitting place for the relatively neglected Unseelie Court and its Queen and to define its role and perception in Planescape.

If you’re not comfortable with the Queen, I’d probably go for the “Dark Muse” gereleth, maybe with the Queen and the Unseelie Court as background elements.

The fallen deva is a little bit cliche – though it could be interesting to include Zalatian from Hellbound as fallen archon and thus create a connection between the adventures.

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Great reply! Definitely got

Great reply! Definitely got me thinking some more...

KnightofDecay wrote:
Definitely Lemon Slaad!

Haha, as much as I want to include a "serious" depiction of a slaad in the adventure (as more than a gag monster), the temptation to include a lemon slaad is mighty. :)

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Actually, I always handled it that way, that petitioners lose all the memories of their former lives (if I remember correctly, there’s some exception for petitioners of Elysium). I think this is necessary to define them from other planar inhabitants of the outer Planes (otherwise I don’t see much difference between say an elven petitioner of Arborea and a planar elf living on Arborea). Of course there are countless reasons why individual petitioners could have retained their memories or somehow gained have knowledge of their past lives.

That's how I see Mnemosyne. One of the effects of her release from Carceri is the breakdown of that system, thus petitioners beginning to remember their past lives rather than forgetting. As to *who* would want that to happen, and *who* would want to prevent it, I've got to give some more thought...

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I really like Palomides idea. It fits very well if you consider prosaic sayings like “searching for someone’s shadow in the realms of the dead.”

Same here!

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I understand your problem with the Queen. It’s very hard to find a fitting place for her in the Planescape setting. Nevertheless, as she officially appears in On Hallowed Ground and as she is only one of several villains/antagonists appearing in the campaign, I would not see this as an definite exclusion criterion. You might think of this as chance to find a fitting place for the relatively neglected Unseelie Court and its Queen and to define its role and perception in Planescape.

Everytime I read the A.E. Housman poem, or read about the Queen in ON HALLOWED GROUND / MONSTER MYTHOLOGY, or read up on the Unseelie Court in PLANES OF CHAOS, they all just scream "Fey! Faerie! Feywild!" As much as I like the character of the Queen and the idea of gothic-punk-New Weird shadow fey, I just can't reconcile her as a distinctly *planar* foe...not so far at any rate.

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If you’re not comfortable with the Queen, I’d probably go for the “Dark Muse” gereleth, maybe with the Queen and the Unseelie Court as background elements.

I do like the idea of a gehreleth as an artistic "dark muse" since that contrasts with the Muses, Mnemosyne's daughters, who will feature in one or two points in the adventure.

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The fallen deva is a little bit cliche – though it could be interesting to include Zalatian from Hellbound as fallen archon and thus create a connection between the adventures.

Hmm, yes the fallen angel is cliche, but it is a recognizable trope. Tell me more about Zalatian? I don't have Hellbound.
KnightOfDecay
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Zalatian XXIII is trumpet

Zalatian XXIII is a trumpet archon who plays a key role in the adventures "The Field of Nettles" and "Strange Bedfellows" in Hellbound - The Blood War (though he isn't encountered until the end of Strange Bedfellows).
He is selling weapons to the baatezu (the 'loths are involved as well) via his aasimar son Spiral Hal'oight, as he is afraid that the Blood War might come to an end.
At the end of the adventures the 'loths orchestrate his exposure and depending on the actions of the PCs there might be quite a scandal and the demotion of Zalatian.

Lord of the Iron Fortress includes a fallen trumpet archon named Zalatian, though I don't consider this to be Planescape canon.

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