Planescape Next

To Baator and Back, part 3

In which our intrepid adventures run through Hell to get to the Cage

Armed with the knowledge of how to escape Avernus, the party crossed the River of Blood once again (luckily managing to escape the attention of any of the blood worms within) but then they found the Great Avernus Road jam-packed with a huge fiendish army waiting for orders.

After waiting for a few hours (and itching to enact one of several foolhardy and pretty-much-certain-to-kill-everyone “plans”), they watched the army snap to attention when a huge figure flew from the great keep to the north east and fly off. It took another hour for the army to march off and then Belker Bitterleath IV bravely snuck forward to steal a brick. When he was spotted by a straggling flock of abishai devils, the rest of the party ran forward to help him. Realizing that the flock was 50 devils strong, the party decided to just race for the portal and try to get the hell out of Hell.

After a tense chase in which Belker Bitterleath IV was paralyzed and nearly killed and Adrin Xiloscent used a fog cloud to provide some cover from the abishai flock, the party arrived at what seemed to be the portal location – and found it blocked by a vaguely foreboding humanoid.

The creature introduced itself as Ar’kle-mens, the guardian of the gate. He would be happy to let the party use the portal – all they had to do was carry one little orb through. He promised it wouldn’t harm them… directly. While he spoke with the party, the abishai flock circled above, waiting to attack of things got violent.

Elric agreed to carry the orb through, though the entire party was naturally very suspicious of it. Despite some furtive plans to throw it back to Ar’kle-mens at the last minute, they did carry it through the portal. The fiend smiled the whole time.

On the other side of the portal was Sigil, in all its multiverse, urban, city-inside-of-a-donut glory. They have finally escaped Avernus & Baator and were safe… for now.

The orb the fiend have given them was apparently destroyed, and Elric was covered in dust. The rest of the party was covered in soot & dried blood, and no one seemed to pay them much mind.

Notes & Commentary

The original idea for the campaign was to play this adventure and get everyone comfortable with the system and give an introduction to the setting before burying the players in the real meat of Planescape: factions. It seemed to go really well: the players really enjoyed the weird and grotesque feeling for the adventure and seem excited about where it will go next. I was very happy to hear how much some of them enjoyed a lot of the special elements of the setting. At the end of this session I just talked through a lot of Planescape from the cosmology to the factions to the slang. I was shocked people didn’t get bored right away.

I was also surprised that no one decided to make new characters, so they’re all sticking with the existing crew. I wanted to have a bit of “time passes” and start the next adventure with them not being quite as Clueless about the planes, so I said that a year had passed and then asked everyone what interesting things they had done in the intervening time:

Elric had an encounter in a bar with someone who swore had met him before. It turns out that Elric might be a shard or piece of some larger entity, some fragment of consciousness. This revelation led to the warrior joining the Sign of One faction, as he hopes to find the root spark.

Adrin Xiloscent sought sensation, especially the natural tastes and urges of his animalistic side and joined the Society of Sensation. His greatest rush so far was hunting the White Stag on the Beastlands, where the magic of the creature allowed him to experience the sensations of both the hunter and the hunted.

Turga Killdrak was the only one to really try to get home, unsuccessfully. Discouraged, he was eventually taken in by missionaries of the Believers of the Source, and he warmed to their message of life being a forge in which the spirit is battered and shaped and improved. It is unclear what this means for the paladin’s faith quite yet. He turned down an opportunity to go on a pilgrimage to the very feet of the dwarven gods, claiming he was not worthy. He is currently looking for a new mount.

Belker Bitterleath IV jumped into Sigil with both feet, pursuing criminals with zeal. He followed one bounty all the way to Acheron and ended up killing the target. The bounty was technically “dead or alive,” but when the Mercykillers explained that the sentence of “immediate execution” hand’t actually been decided, Belker realized the need to temper his zeal for punishment with the due process of justice, and he joined the faction.

Finally, I asked them what they had done as a group, what their biggest adventure was over the last year:

Belker Bitterleath IV last bounty was actually for an angel named Kobal. A watcher angel, it had actually violated its duty by getting emotionally invested in a tieflng sorceress, and it killed her as a punishment for her crimes. The party tracked the angel to the frozen slopes of Gehenna where it’s flaming sword claimed Belker’s right eye – though when his wound healed, his socked was filled with a tiny flame and he could see out of it without a problem. Kobal gave the party the laugh and is still at large.

Next session we will update characters to level 3 and probably start The Eternal Boundary.

Our young new player joined us for this session, but I hadn’t prepared a character for him, so he rolled for the abishai as they pursued the PCs. He rolled really well (even getting a double crit when the paladin gave a fiend disadvantage when attacking), which was part of why it was so grueling for them at the end.

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