How long does it actually take Tenebrous to reach Tcian Sumere from Ankhwugaht?

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KnightOfDecay's picture
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How long does it actually take Tenebrous to reach Tcian Sumere from Ankhwugaht?

We are currently playing Dead Gods and I have encountered the following problem:

The PCs were forced to retreat from Tcian Sumere without meeting Kestod and thus without learning the plot-relevant clues for the Vault of the Drow and Ruins of Pelion.
Now they’ll probably regroup and gather new resources for a second try. This may (or may not) take some time.

The problem is, that I already told them that Sets’s realm Ankhwugaht has been closed off (about one day ago) as the consequence of the violent death of Set’s proxy Nekrotheptis Skorpios (the PCs sent Veridis Mov to Ankhwugaht on a diplomatic mission and he hardly escaped with his live).
This means, that Tenebrous has already recovered the Desert’s Night and is on his way back to the Bottom of the Multiverse. Which route does he travel? How long does his journey take?

It should definitely take some time to cross the distance between
Ankhwugaht (Stygia, Baator, Outer Planes) and the Negative Energy Plane (Inner Planes) but well, he’s Tenebrous after all.

I’d be happier if I had some reasonable timeframe.

If the PCs tarry and he reaches Tcian Sumere before them, the rest of the adventure is more or less obsolete as Tenebrous will reach his final goal way of time ahead. On the other hand I don’t want to shoehorn the adventure into the normal plotline by sending Tenebrous on a sightseeing trip instead of returning to Tcian Sumere as quick as possible.

Any suggestions?

Last seen: 2 months 1 week ago
Joined: 2005-07-26 19:14
Hmmmm I'd say crossing from

Hmmmm I'd say crossing from the Outer to Inner could justifiably call for an extended travel time?

I mean you are going from a kind of "subtle matter" that is a physical manifestation of alignment to the raw elemental building blocks of the there's kind of a reverse transubstantiation?

D_E's picture
Last seen: 6 days 10 hours ago
Joined: 2015-11-17 18:59
Also, don't forget that even

Also, don't forget that even if he reaches Tcian Sumere first, he then has to repeat the process in reverse to get back to the Outer Planes and the bottom layer of Pandemonium. Plus whatever time is necessary to locate the correct cavern, which I believe he has to do on his own.

And I agree with sciborg: as a spiritual entity, his essence tied to the stuff of the planes, Tenebrous is liable to have much harder time traveling from plane-to-plane than the PCs do.

Last seen: 2 years 9 months ago
Joined: 2004-05-10 22:54
He'll have to take the River

He'll have to take the River Styx first, and from there a marraenoloth can take him to the Ethereal Plane. The standard travel time by marraenoloth is 1d20 days (according to the 1e Manual of the Planes and Planes of Chaos). So 1d20 days by Styx to the Ethereal Plane, then 1d10x100 hours through the Deep Ethereal to the Negative Energy Plane's ethereal curtain (A Guide to the Ethereal Plane, 19).

"Skirting the curtain" (A Guide to the Ethereal Plane, 14) involves interpreting the flashing lights of the ethereal curtain to find a specific location on the plane. Tenebrous has to succeed at a wisdom and intelligence check, both at a -6 penalty; in 3rd edition that'd be a DC 16, with wisdom and intelligence bonuses applied. Orcus has an intelligence of 27 and a wisdom of 20 in Fiendish Codex I; if you prefer, Tome of Horrors Revised by Necromancer Games has both scores at 28. In 2nd edition his stats wouldn't have been so high since ability scores only went up to 25, even for demigods.

If Tenebrous succeeds in both checks, it takes him 1d10x10 hours before arriving at the point he believes to be his goal. At that point he can penetrate the curtain, pass through the Border, and arrive in the Negative Energy Plane within 1d10 miles of Tcian Sumere. If he didn't succeed, then he won't realize it until he enters the border. Since he started from the Deep Ethereal, he could be anywhere at that point and he'll have to try again until he gets it right.

On the Border Ethereal, Tenebrous's normal movement rate applies (Fiendish Codex I gives him 20' walking, 40' flying as Orcus). On the Negative Energy Plane itself, movement is an average of his normal speed and his wisdom score according to The Inner Planes. Since as an undead being the Negative Energy Plane isn't harmful to him, he should easily reach Tcian Sumere in less than a day once he's figured out where it is.

If he doesn't want to skirt the curtain, he can enter the Negative Energy Plane at a random point and it'll take 10d100 hours to get to Tcian Sumere with the aid of an elemental guide, or if he counts as one himself.

To get back, the quickest route is probably the Howling Gate in the Quasielemental Plane of Vacuum, which leads directly to Pandemonium (The Inner Planes, 122). If Tenebrous has an elemental guide, or if he counts as one himself, he can travel from Tcian Sumere to the border of the Plane of Vacuum in 10d10 hours. From there, a vacuum quasielemental could lead him to the Howling Gate in 10d100 hours (The Inner Planes, 12). The Howling Gate is always open; it's not clear exactly where in the plane it leads, but Pandesmos seems like a reasonable bet. There probably aren't any settlements nearby, because only a madman would build a settlement near a portal to the Quasielemental Plane of Vacuum... oh, never mind. There is probably a settlement nearby.

KnightOfDecay's picture
Last seen: 1 week 6 days ago
Joined: 2013-02-14 15:23
Hey folks, thanks a lot for

Hey folks, thanks a lot for your great responses!
That's very reassuring.

It might seem a little bit pedantic, but I really wouldn't like it, if I had to tweak this basic element of the story just to make the adventure work as it is supposed to be.

@Kaelyn: Wished I knew the sourcebooks only half as good as you! Chapeau! :)