Cascade Worldbuilding - the Dao, cataclysms, and the planes

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Wicke
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Cascade Worldbuilding - the Dao, cataclysms, and the planes

So I'm starting up a new 5e campaign, starting at level 1 and going until whenever, and because one of the players was wanting to play a paladin'y, anti-slavery type (path of vengeance), I thought that setting up the Dao as a major player/antagonist would make for an interesting choice.

I'm using the game world I had previously developed, with it's close connections to the Inner Planes. I may or may not have to address the different apocalypses. Probably will just leave it be for now.

http://mimir.planewalker.com/forum/world-building-cascade

I guess I'm kinda looking to develop a plan of attack when it comes to laying out how the campaign will progress. Broadly:

1-5th levels: Dealing with individual groups of goblinoid slaver types, introduction to the inner planar connection.

6-10th: Taking on the goblinoid "mob boss" who's coordinating all of the mounting slaving attacks.

11-15th: Entering the plane of Earth to deal with the Dao head on.

I don't really want to try to plan beyond that, because I don't know how much my plans will change when the player starts getting into everything.

The current party make-up is:
Human paladin, Path of Vengeance
Human rogue, assassin I think
Dwarf fighter, will be multi-classing into a cleric, pursuing a Tempest build (he wants to build a Thor-like superhero type of character)
Gnome warlock, Fiend-pact

The game started off as such: PCs at a harvest festival. Evening falls. Kids in costumes show up. The party notices that there are more kids than there really should be. Goblins unmask themselves and start trying to carry kids off. PCs intervene. Sounds of battle coming from one of the town gates. Hobgoblins attack. Battle. PCs victorious.

In the aftermath, guards are sent out to scour the outlying areas for any straggler attackers. One couple says that their kid wasn't feeling good and was left behind at their homestead. The PCs are sent to investigate. Naturally the kid is missing and the party follows a trail to a cave. They fought some monsters and that's pretty much where I left things.

Right now, I'm planning on some minor delving, some quick encounters with goblins, and starting to discover that these goblins are trying to meet quotas (or something along those lines). There will also be some hints that people are being sent through a portal (don't know if this will just be to the goblinoid homeland, or if it'll go directly to the plane of Earth; probably the former).

After that, I'm planning on turning the whole thing into a short reverse dungeon, wherein the PCs will have to defend themselves from a group of returning hobgoblins. If things get too hairy, I'll have some city guards arrive just in time to save their bacon, but I'll try to balance it so that won't be necessary.

I'll probably use this thread to brainstorm in, but if anybody has any suggestions, I'm all ears.

Palomides
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My 2 Cents

I hate to start on a negative but you may want to start working on some flavor.
Based on my experience with my players (and unfortunately a somewhat fickle group), I suspect that they would be somewhat bored with this campaign as is.

On the one hand, Earth is probably the basic elemental plane that least excites one's imagination. It doesn't have the freedom or Air or the immediate danger of Fire. By comparison, Earth seems like the most mundane of the basic elemental planes. That isn't to say that it can't be exotic and otherworldly; and in fact, for a partial Planescape campaign, I strongly recommend trying to make it so. You may have to put in some extra effort to make the plane seem like a strange alien environment; but I think you will be rewarded by enthusiasm from your players when they look at the Plane of Earth with wonder and/or dread instead of just a large cave.

Similarly, an entire campaign around slavers might get tiresome. That isn't to say that freeing the enslaved isn't a worthy and noble cause; but by itself it may seem to pale compare to thwarting a plan by Tiamat to extend her power, etc. And running 13 adventures in a row where the PCs go in a free yet another group of slaves might get repetitive.
All I would recommend is to mix up the type of adventures. For example, after a few adventures involving liberating slaves; maybe write one adventure that involves going to the City of Brass and using diplomacy skills to try to acquire an item or piece of information that will harm the Chief Dao (sorry, I forgot his title)

So in conclusion, this isn't meant to be discouragement but rather a challenge to step up and inject some colorful elements into what could be a dull campaign in the hands of a lazy or unimaginative DM. (And maybe you already knew all this and were posting here to bounce ideas around and generate the interesting details and otherworldliness I espouse)

Palomides
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Going over my notes on the

Going over my notes on the Plane of Earth, I came across a note I had forgotten about:
In the Al-Qadim campaign, they make references to an antagonistic but subservient relationship between the dao and the manipulative yakmen (apparently, the dao were tricked into a form of servitude to the yakmen). I don't know if you want to include an Arabic component to you campaign (although it would probably add some of the exotic elements I lauded before) but you might have the increased activity of the dao being some effort to break from this relationship (e.g. the dao have increased digging efforts in the Great Delve to find an item that would nullify the arrangement or would overpower the yakmen). But this might give it a broader scope and allow for more intrigue. It also raises questions of how a shift of power would effect interplanar politics (e.g. is the yakmen pact the only thing keeping the dao in check and keeping them from launching campaigns against the world?)

Another passing note I had (for a light-hearted episode) involved going on a xorn hunt along with an elemental prince in order to gain a favor or item

Wicke
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As always, I welcome

As always, I welcome criticisms! Mind me if this is all a bit scattered and disjointed. I'm dealing with a bit of a cold and my head is feeling a bit woogie.

You're right about focusing in on just slavers. The rogue's player, I think, will be satisfied with some mysteries to explore and some dungeons to raid. His character is a trader in the strange and exotic (well, he sells stories that are attached to the junk he collects). The fighter/cleric...I'm not entirely sure what he'll enjoy, but I suspect that I'll be able to pull in some jaunts to the outer planes at some point (probably at the higher levels). The warlock's player, I think, will be satisfied just to have some creatures to watch burn. The paladin's player is a run-away noble whose family has ties to slave trade, so I'm hoping there'll be a chance to political/diplomatic stories in the mix as well.

I'm planning on incorporating more than just Earth into the inner planar mix. I'd love to draw in some of the ideas fleshed out in some of the inner planar renovation projects. I'm not quite there yet, as full on planar adventuring is still a ways off.

And I'm keen on maintaining the exoticness of the planes. One Earth-based race that I'm planning on having the PCs make early contact and ally with is the pech, who I've always envisioned as consummate diggers/miners who are able to make incredible progress through their medium. There'll also be elemental pockets within the plane to provide more interest locales. Plus you can have stuff like "caves" filled with perpetually falling sand/dirt that should make for an interesting backdrop. I always favor the rule of cool in my gaming, (though I probably need to develop better skill with saying no).

I'm planning on developing a moderate planar hub/city on Earth that'll act as a bit of a homebase for the party's time on the plane. There's a lot to explore there still.

Thanks for the suggestions!

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There was a thread on

There was a thread on adventuring on the Inner Planes on the old forums:
http://mimir.planewalker.com/forum/how-make-inner-planes-interesting
Maybe it's of some help.

One planar location I really like is the Planar Prison from Baldurs Gate 2. I think a similar location could make a great starting point for the PCs adventures on the planes, without sending them to the Dao directly.

If you don't mind using adventures from Dungeon Magazine you might be interested in "Diplomacy" (Dungeon 144). The PCs are participants in a contest to win the concession on a diamond mine on the elemental plane of earth from the Janni (who got it from the Dao). The other contestants are an arcanaloth, a Xorn, a human mercenary, a arcane/mercane and tertian modron.

Unsung
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--

It'd have a more planar feel if the goblins were more than just...goblins, you know? Like if they were more than just low-rent bad guys, even before then. Like maybe they need to meet their quotas or they'll be pushed into slavery instead, or they're trading slaves for the Dao's help in their battles on Acheron. It seems like the Dao to charge through the neck just to roll in an artifact-class weapon (a la the Turkish Great Bombard, for example) for a single skirmish.

One thing I always took away from Baldur's Gate (and later Mask of the Betrayer) was how *jolly* the Dao were in those games, how happy they were to take your money or your freedom or, if you messed with them, your life. They were so mercantile, so stoic. They didn't have the sadism or spitefulness of fiends, they were just amoral. Slaves happened to be a useful commodity, there was no need to take it personally. They seemed like pleasant company, villainous in deed, not word. Even in taking slaves, it seems they prefer using guile to force, tricking others into bad bets or sneakily worded contracts.

The obvious draw of Elemental Earth for adventurers is of course treasure, mineral wealth like nowhere else in existence. The home of the Dao has that over and above the other Inner Planes, that it is *substance* more than essence. Of course the Dao don't look kindly on anyone who tries to steal from them, but I always thought that had more to do with the lack of reciprocity than anything else. Gold and gemstones being nearly limitless in supply, sufficient to wreck the gold standard (or silver, or diamond) on any world on which they happened to land, the Dao's concern is that they might not squeeze every possible dime out of a prospective buyer. In a lot of ways, the Dao are the most humanized of the genies. It's the sense of scale that makes them alien.

The sheer size of the planes is a good thing to try and impress on players. Gigantic purple worms diving up and out of tons of rock a la Dune (or Beetlejuice). Hidden fortresses, buried since time immemorial, walled off from the rest of the multiverse by ramparts of immeasurable thickness. The Great Dismal Delve alone is the size of a continent, and it's implied to be only one such place. Perhaps it's not even the largest, merely the largest to readily trade with the City of Brass or the Outer Planes-- who knows what lies in the furthest reaches of the plane, far from the usual conduits and portals? Crystal formations the size of castles, caverns that might as well be as big as the players' whole world, these drive home the otherness of the Inner Planes. A lot of ten thousand slaves being auctioned off by Dao merchants can sell the seeming futility of mortal striving on the infinite planes... But outsmarting the Dao, realizing that even a mere mortal could do this, ahhh, now *that's* Planescape.

Kaelyn
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You could tie in the

You could tie in the Starlight Wells of the Dao from The Book of Eldritch Might 3: The Nexus from Malhavoc Press. If you have it.

Palomides
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Connection

I came back to this thread because I did want to flesh out some ideas. One thing I came up with is a possible "trade" between the goblins and the dao. I didn't see the dao wanting to give up their wealth too readily but what if the dao rented out specialized slave services.
I often question the seemingly endless amount of caverns on your average D&D world. Well what if the goblins agreed to capture large amounts of human (etc.) slave labor for the dao in exchange for the dao loaning out a squad of pech or other beings that are magically able to move large amounts of earth.
The dao get more slaves. The aspiring goblin king gets an impressive warren to move into. Everyone's happy! (except the slaves)
This might also provide some early ties to the planar otherworldliness. The PCs hear of the goblin activity spiking and various tribes uniting under one banner. When they go to investigate, they find extensive new warrens that the local rangers insist weren't there a few months ago. Finally the PCs find a mysterious new race (the pech) digging under the whips of the temporary goblin overlords. Then the PCs find the planar gates linking the goblin and dao realms

If the PCs break up a group of slaves (humans and pech) while they are being transported, the humans can go home and the pech can go through the portal and introduce the PCs to an underground (no pun intended) resistance group of pech and other residents of Earth who are being forced into slave labor

Wicke
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Sorry I haven't had a chance

Sorry I haven't had a chance to respond back here.

I like the idea of the goblins trying to negotiate a trade for a group of Dao-owned pech. It would be a quick tie-in for the extra-planar stuff, and it would go a long way to establishing just exactly why the goblinoids were performing a raid.

As part of my world canon, scattered all over the place are buried/encased ruins from the time of one of the cataclysms that are filled with gods know what. It could be that the goblinoids have found the location of some ancient treasure and need the pech to uncover it all the quicker.

For the record, the goblins of my world are mix between the Pathfinder gobs and Goblin Market-styled gobs. They're quirky, they're traders and finders of exotica, they're vaguely fey and they're mischievous. They can be amiable, but they can also be downright awful and monsters.

I also like the idea of the Dao as being fairly genial, if evil and callous. I'm starting to favor the notion of the PCs taking on an individual Dao house, rather than them as a whole (which was more of a starting point for refinement than anything else). Thwarting the plans of a powerful Dao is more in line with the PC level range I was aiming at anyway. At level 16+, getting hot and heavy into the wars of the Inner Planes is more likely.

Anyway, I appreciate the feedback!

Unsung
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Playing up the folkoric, fey

Playing up the folkoric, fey aspects of the goblins does make them a lot more appealing as planar villains.

I do like the idea of the goblin horde being not the vanguard of an invasion force but merely one link in a chain of transactions following these poor slaves from world to world.

The stuff I always like to see that you don't often get to do with established prime worlds (Oerth, Toril, Eberron) is when the planes edge their way into them and completely upend everything. I understand the reasons why not, but it's one of the more interesting and underused plots. You see worlds where it's happened, like Moil, but not worlds where it's ongoing. What happens to a world without an Elminster or Iuz or a whole mess of dragons to protect it? In the face of a plane with infinite resources, what else *can* happen?

Wicke
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There are some solid ties

There are some solid ties between this world and both the Inner and Outer planes. Poseidon is currently the stronger of the Greek gods due to the fact that in some ancient cataclysm, a direct link between the world and the plane of Water was established. The world is slowly flooding and there are enough portals and links perpetuating the flood that it's all but impossible for them to be closed off. Of course, Poseidon is pleased with this and sees no reason to stop it from happening. Zeus doesn't much care as he has plenty of women to seduce and...do Zeus'y things with. And Hades only cares about the dead.

It would be fascinating to consider what would happen if some of the Inner Planar wars started breaking out in the game world. A force of djinn facing off against force of efretti in the skies somewhere would make for an interesting backdrop. There's no real established heavy-hitters in the world to turn back any invasions.

As I have it set up, the world is doomed. The gods are slowly abandoning it, and it's eventually going to be swallowed up by the Inner Planes (probably split between Air and Water).

Unsung
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How much of this do the

How much of this do the people of the world understand? Their world is ending, but how real are the planes to them at this point? Is it like Toril, where the gods have walked the earth and people *know* it, or is it more uncertain, more removed? Given that these are the Olympians I would assume their involvement is hardly subtle. Still, is there a circumstance in which evacuation could arise as a very real option, if not outright necessity?

Wicke
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On the whole, most folks are

On the whole, most folks are ignorant of the eventual doom facing them. Yes, there were cataclysms in the past that transformed the basic nature of their world, but people have always survived.

The goblins are likely aware, and they'll slip away to some "other place" if things ever get too hairy or dire. There's a civilization of Apollo worshiping, LN dwarves that will likely be a major participant in any end times war, so their entry into whatever afterlife Apollo has in mind for them is pretty much guaranteed. There are tribes of feral, demon-worshipping elves who are so corrupt that they wouldn't care. Other cultures are more focused on the every day and the mundane.

As far as direct influence from the gods goes, Eris and her children direct a fair amount of their attention towards the world and actively seek to cause as much strife as they can (and they're doing a pretty good job of it too). Ares, likewise, is more interested in the end game than in keeping the world from slipping away. Zeus doesn't particularly care one way or another about the world. The sky is staying put and even when it slips over, people will still worship him. Poseidon is pleased with how the world is turning out, as it's not very often in a world that his influence is as great as, if not greater than Zeus'.

I suspect that Hermes is the only one who has any vested interest in trying to keep things together, but I don't have a good explanation as to why that might be so. I also elevated the role of the Horae of social order (Nike, Eunomia and Eirene; Justice, Law, and Peace respectively), but they abandoned the world because the people didn't keep their faith (or didn't keep it properly; them Greek Gods, rite?). In their eyes, the people are not worth being saved, so there are no contingency plans for evacuation. Each goddess' departure also corresponded to one of the cataclysms.

I also have stuff like ancient agreements/treaties between the people of my game world and the Djinn, so that could be a potential source of evacuation, but, again, that's something that only a select few are even aware of. There's probably an angle there I should explore more.

Unsung
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Heh. I suppose the afterlife

Heh. I suppose the afterlife is the one escape plan that always works.

The fact that the entire world is slowly collapsing into the sea brings a whole new meaning to buying the land out from under them. In some sense that's what the Dao and goblins are doing.

It is interesting to see a world that worships the Greek pantheon but definitely does not fit the pastoral ideal. It seems like it might be easier to forgive them their faults when things are at their best, when most suffering is manmade-- warring with other nations over their equally desirable territory. The Olympians' fickleness and detachment might not sit as well with people as their world falls apart, and none of the gods seem to be doing anything to stop it... Except Hermes.

Hermes was a go-to god for syncretism and synthesis. Hermaphrodite, Hermanubis, Hermes Trismegistus. It makes sense for the messenger of the gods to be the most in touch with the people, and willing to go out and build alliances, perhaps even broker a merger between pantheons. This is actually a fairly large background element in one of my own campaigns.

The gods are abandoning this world, but what does that mean for other worlds? In your campaign, are the gods single entities who observe multiple planes, or are they more like multiple parts of a whole, semi-independent avatars present across different prime worlds all at once? Or is it something else?

Wicke
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I do have the cataclysms as

I do have the cataclysms as being caused by the people of this world. Sorta. I haven't defined exactly what happened, outside of the usual "Mankind meddling with powers they don't understand" trope. I do know that the first cataclysm opened a number of naked rifts between the world and the Plane of Air being opened up, as well as causing large chunks of land to break free from the ground and rise into the air.

The second cataclysm likely occurred when people tried to fix the rifts to Air, which resulted in numerous small rifts opening up to the Plane of Water, most providing nothing more than a small spring's worth of water to start trickling forth. Over time, the trickle has gotten stronger and more forceful.

The third cataclysm likely resulted in trying to deal with the consequences of the second cataclysm. Once more, the land thrust itself upwards, but this time remained tied to the earth. I suspect that there are a number of similar rifts between the world and the Plane of Earth as a result of the cataclysm, but they remain mostly undetected because they're all beneath the ground.

The world in it's past was likely far more pastoral than it currently is. Human Mortal hubris caused the problems, and the gods are just reacting to it. Think of it more like...there's this popular place that everybody likes hanging out at. One day, the owners do something to screw up the atmosphere of the place, so it's not quite as cool as it once was. Some people get annoyed/upset with the changes are decide to stop going there. So, again, the atmosphere changes. Rinse, repeat. Eventually, you have just a handful of diehards who: 1) actually quite enjoy the atmosphere of the place; 2) people who keep going there out of inertia and who are likely end up leaving before too long; or 3) people who want to see the place run into the ground out of a sense of schadenfreude. Poseidon is in the #1 category, Zeus keeps flipping between #1 and 2. Eris and crew are solidly in #3. Hermes bucks the trend and is trying to work with the owners of the place to fix things up, but nobody else seems to care. In the mix also are a number of fiends and extra-planar creatures (read: rakshashas) that actively seek the downfall of the gods of the world, so do what they can to agitate things in that direction.

As far as the presence of the gods go, it's more the latter. This is just one world amongst many that the Greek powers have a presence in. The Greek pantheon is a strong one, so the loss of one world doesn't matter as much to them. Being powers, they can manifest multiple forms in the different world they have a presence in. It's probably more of a one avatar in a given world at a time thing, though.

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some ideas...

A few ideas to throw in the mix. BTW very interesting campaign setting.

1. Goblins are forced to help Dao as their children are being held hostage with the Dao
2. Goblins are actually eating children (including their own) as the decay of their world is causing a creeping insanity
3. Heroes are encouraged to act as slavers in order to travel the Inner Planes (plenty of conflicts of interest opportunities)
4. When word reaches major population centres of routes to Inner Planes - movement starts to migrate there (better to live as a slave than drown on one's homeworld)
5. Pirates makes a fortune offering rich people a way off world, unfortunately they are marooning them in nearby asteroid fields
6. Splinter cell of Sinkers try to accelerate the entropy of the dying world

Unsung
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Sounds like a game I'd like

Sounds like a game I'd like to be a player in. And Simile has a point. Depending on how unique it is in your particular multiverse, it's going to be very interesting once the factions start to hear about the place. There's probably a lot of power-in-the-form-of-belief to be generated from a world disintegrating in such spectacular fashion. To say nothing of the going market on souls of the desperate. And if word gets around... Can't let the Dao take all the slaves. Maybe other slavers, the tso and/or neogi, the illithids, will make an appearance, or start a bidding war.

Wicke
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The actual drowning/world

The actual drowning/world destruction is still many generations away. The people of the world are mostly self-absorbed or focused on every day living, not looking at the consequences of these open but remote and often hidden portals.

I really like the idea of a splinter group of Sinkers actively trying to accelerate the destruction though, and think I might incorporate that into the game. It would make for a strange series of opponents, as well as an interesting contrast to fighting against the slavers.

Likewise, given how callous and inattentive the Greek gods have been towards this world, it would be interesting to bring in a group of Defiers to proselytize or otherwise run inference. Not sure how best to utilize them however.

Also, I'm thinking I might take a page from the Gehenna renovation and bring in barghest overlords. It would fit in with the goblinoid theme. Need to think on it some more though.

Wicke
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I've changed the thread title

I've changed the thread title to reflect the broader range of influences that I'd like to bring to bear on the world. Hope it's not too confusing for folks.

Unsung
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all things being relative

What if you had elements of the Doomguard and Athar actively claim credit for the dissolution of Cascade? Not that they're actually responsible, not that they could really wrangle the necessary power to pull that kind of thing off-- but maybe the players don't know that. For a planar, it's a political stunt, meant to generate belief and further the faction's goals even if it's not strictly true. But for the players and other natives of Cascade, it's literally their whole world these berks are mouthing off about.

It's a matter of scale.

Wicke
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One group that occured to me

One group that occured to me interesting to include is an enclave of Guvners. They're just passively making observations about Cascade as "a world uniquely balanced on the cusp of dissolution". I think that'll drive home the planar callousness/jadedness that you hinted at. Also, it would be interesting to see the Guvners oppose any efforts to save the world, as it would screw up their observations. Similarly, it would be a strange bedfellows moment as the Guvners might actually support the efforts of the Sinkers to speed up the world's destruction/dissolution.

Simile
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Strange bedfellows

If you are looking for a bit more faction involvement....

How about a group of Mercykillers show up and decide that the gods must face justice for abandoning the drowning world? They could team up with the Athar to spread disbelief in the power of the gods, thereby weaken them in the hopes of being able to capture them to stand trial... or failing that face execution (if that is even possible).

Another angle might be a Harmonium delegation arriving to lead a world-evacuation... to Harmonium training (indoctrination) camps on other worlds/planes.

Last but not least... don't forget the Chaosmen and Revolutionary League. Plenty of scope for them to either revel in the chaos, or over-turn the social order as the empires in the world go in to terminal decline. Even rats know when to abandon ship, revolutionaries on the other hand might stay until the bitter end to see those in power face retribution by forcing them to stay on the world as it drowns...

Kaelyn
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Ah, I just remembered this

Ah, I just remembered this outline I wrote ages ago involving a goblin city near the Great Dismal Delve, and the world the goblins originated from.

Wicke
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I'd be curious to hear about

I'd be curious to hear about it. The goblins of my world maintain a presence in a number of different locales, so it wouldn't be unreasonable to find them in or near the Great Dismal Delve.

Re: further involvement from the Factions - I don't think I really need to include much right now. I'm going to involve the Guvners as a more eccentric group that'll hand out odd adventuring jobs but otherwise won't be much of a presence until the Planes really start opening up for the PCs. The Sinkers'll be a more influential group later on, again when the Planes start becoming a thing.

Another thing I don't think I had mentioned: Given the huge influence from the Greek pantheon in the world, if a PC dies and wants to be raised from the dead, the party will have to retrieve them from the afterlife, a la Orpheus and Eurydice, though perhaps with a bit less of a tragic ending. I don't know what kind of role the dead PC's player will play in the afterworld jaunt though.

Anyway, after a months long hiatus from the game, we all finally had a chance to play again. I got a chance to lay down a whole lot of threads for them to follow. The last known location of the invading hobgoblin warlord. Some hints that the hobgoblins are working for a larger power. Hints of children being used in some nefarious fiend-related ritual. They didn't correctly identify the nature of the evil fiendish runes, though I had set as a pretty high roll. An unconscious pech they had rescued was left in the care of their home town's temple while they went to a port town to the south where they would be better placed to research the fiendish symbol and gather information about the invaders.

They were given the name of a bookseller/collector of obscure knowledge to contact in the port town, but I want there to have been some sort of mishap or trouble that has forced him to flee. Making it directly connected to the hobgoblins is too easy, so I'm trying to think of a reason for this guy to have been targeted specifically. Maybe have his house/store be collapsed into the ground, with evidence of sappers having sunk it? I don't know, need to think on the idea somewhat.

Beyond that, I might take a crack at porting the barghests over to 5E. I want to develop at least one as a somewhat formidable BBEG. They seem kinda anemic in PS canon though.

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Possibly the player's contact

Possibly the player's contact had a bound genie, who can act as an unreliable witness of sorts, and may or may not have been responsible for their missing contact's downfall? Introduced in an archetypal role, you might be able to play this up as a seemingly trivial random encounter sort of event, where in reality you can set more of the stage for later: Inner/elemental politics, the four races of genies, discussion on the nature and purpose of slavery.

EDIT: Oh, hey! Rip. Didn't realize that was you. Wicke, Kaelyn's last post has some linked text ("this outline") that should be of interest to you.

Wicke
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D'oh! Completely missed the

D'oh! Completely missed the link. I'll give it a perusal.

And wow...a bound genie is something that I hadn't even considered. I'd keep up the guy's reputation as a book seller/collector and a person who has knowledge, but reveal that a lot of what he's learned has come from a bound genie. And it would fit in the context of my world canon, since this world had, at one point, a trade treaty with the Djinn.

It could make an interesting moral dilemma for the party. The genie obviously knows a lot but wishes to be free. Freeing him now may provide them with a decently powerful ally further down the road (though they'll be unaware of this, as once freed he'll simply disappear, shifting over to Air), but retaining him as a captive for even a short time will bring nothing but resentment, and he would work against their interests in subtle yet destructive ways (I'm not sure how well I'd be able to pull that off though).

I was thinking that maybe I'd go with a group of pech and hobgoblins being led by a barghest whelp who targeted this guy for some reason or another. I still might, as I like the idea of the PCs fighting an enemy who has some sort of amazing ability to carve out the very ground under their feet seemingly at will.

Wicke
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After reading through the

After reading through the link, it would be fascinating if I could tie the first cataclysm (that caused parts of the land to start floating) back in with the their digging out part of one of the anchors. Actually...that would make for an interesting Inner Planar tie-in.

With some tweaking to the story as presented: Four cities (goblins, or any other that fits the bill), each based around an elemental anchor, scattered around the Inner Planes. The inhabitants of each city are attempting to unhinge one of the anchors of the world. Each anchor kept the world tied in place, and without those anchors, the world dissolves back into it's primordial essence. Three out of the four anchors have been released. The release of each anchor corresponds to one of the cataclysms of the world (Portals to Air opening, portals to water, the Earth tearing itself up and free as moutains burst out of the ground). Symmetry wouldn't be particularly important to me, so I don't think I would want the last to be in Fire. Probably would make a second Earth anchor.

I like this idea. I like it a lot. At higher levels, the PCs could travel to these cities that have loosed their anchors and get clues about what's likely to happen to their world. It would tie back in with the Sinkers getting involved, since the loss of a prime world would prove the rightness of their cause. And it helps to scale up the involvement of Planar politics.