This is a snapshot copy of Planewalker before our recent database crash. Please go to www.planewalker.com for the current site.

Adventure Ideas For an Introduction to Planescape

Announcement!

We have moved to new, and hopefully better hardware! Along with this move came a bunch of updates to our code base. Please let me know if you spot something wonky.

11 posts / 0 new
Last post
Anetra's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2009-04-03
Adventure Ideas For an Introduction to Planescape

Hey! Some friends of mine are running a gaming con in my city this year, and I've offered to run something for them. I want to run a Planescape game (using the Pathfinder RPG), but I need it to be accessible to people with little to no exposure to the Planescape setting.

As it's a one-shot convention game, it is going to use pre-made 4th-ish level characters, and should be around 3 hours long. The natural choice would be to make all the characters clueless, but provided the game all takes place on a single plane I could probably get away with the PCs belonging to a single faction or sect.

Do you guys have any suggestions of one-shot adventure hooks that would be great to introduce new players to the Planescape setting?

sciborg2's picture
Offline
Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Adventure Ideas For an Introduction to Planescape

If you're making your own scenario off the top of my head I'd go with Ysgard. With the lillendi, Gates of the Moon, floating earthbergs, giants, good drow, and Norse Powers it seems like a fun location for a one shot.

Perhaps you could involve the Ragers, Fated, and Ring Givers, as both factions I believe have a foothold there and would push the idea of beliefs (especially the Ring Givers I think.)

Do you have Well of Worlds - there's adventures in there that I think would work for a one shot as well.

I guess the question is what aspects of Planescape do you want to emphasize?

__________________

Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

Anetra's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2009-04-03
Re: Adventure Ideas For an Introduction to Planescape

What do I want to emphasize? That is a really good question. I'd love to focus on Sigil and the Kriegstanz and the otherworldliness of the planes, the cynical gritty texture of the philosophy, how "what's it all mean" is a more tangible question on the Outer Planes than it is on the Prime. How the Planes are different, what makes them different, and the ramifications of those differences.

Unfortunately, there's only so much you can do with 3ish hours and a group that, for all I know, may be new to D&D and/or Pathfinder, too.

I've decided not to bother trying to work something out that happens in Sigil, as much as I'd have liked to, though. Sigil is just too big and alien to introduce and then actually PLAY IN all in one mini-session. I can't imagine how I would run a con game for new players in Sigil without glossing over the bulk of what's really unique to the setting.

Ysgard is a good idea! Now that I think about it, Arborea may be good, too. The Greek and Elven pantheons are pretty accessible, and the Sensate philosophy isn't too difficult to explain.

I'll take a peek in Well of Worlds. It's my preference to make my own scenario. As much as I'm preparing for an introductory game for people who've never heard of the setting, I don't want to disappoint anyone local who is a fan of the setting either, as someone of that description could potentially show up. I feel that running a pre-written adventure is likely to do just that, as I think most of us have read the adventures.

Calmar's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2006-06-07
Re: Adventure Ideas For an Introduction to Planescape

Have you checked out the Adventure Hook Junction thread I and thread II? Smiling

They need some updating...

__________________

"La la la, I'm a girl, I'm a pretty little girl!"

--Bel the Pit Fiend, Lord of the First (in a quiet hour of privacy)

Anetra's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2009-04-03
Re: Adventure Ideas For an Introduction to Planescape

Thanks, Calmar! Looking now.

Anetra's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2009-04-03
Re: Adventure Ideas For an Introduction to Planescape

Update time!

I read through the Adventure Hook Junctions, and unfortunately, I feel that most of the hooks in there are unsuitable for an introduction game. They're all good hooks (I even recognize a few, they got some use on NWN servers!), but they seem like they would be difficult to run with a group that's playing their first game.

I'm thinking Ysgard or Arborea are my best bets, and at the moment I'm looking more favourably on Arborea, as I feel that the Society of Sensation has a philosophy that's easily grasped, and that the Greek pantheon has a bit more mass-cultural exposure than the Norse. Sure, everyone knows Odin, Thor and Loki, but as for the others... they might as well not exist.

I'm not going to make the player characters Clueless, as I don't know that my players will have past experience with D&D. I am going to make them natives of Arborea: mostly humans, with a planetouched, a bariaur, and a couple of elves. I'm probably going to stick to one faction, making a 2 or 3 of the PCs Sensates, with the rest unaffiliated, but I may include one indep or one athar.

As for adventure ideas, here is what I'm currently mulling over:

My first idea was to make the PCs a group of Olympians who are going to stop someone from freeing Cronus, but that seems a little high stakes for a party that's between levels 4 and 7, and I've yet to pick something less epic that's appealing for a group focusing on that pantheon.

My second idea was to do something with the Seelie Court, as fey getting up to hijinx is pretty accessible and easily understood. Again, though, I'm currently lacking ideas on WHAT to have them getting up to that'll make a fun one-session game.

Any ideas from all of that maybe jumping out at someone?

Wicke's picture
Offline
factotums
Joined: 2009-04-24
Re: Adventure Ideas For an Introduction to Planescape

You could start off in Arborea and have a raid conducted by a group that retreats to Ysgard. The group might be native Ysgardians, members of a rival pantheon or from the Seelie Court. The focus of the adventure would be a stock and standard "Retrieve the MacGuffin". This gives you a chance to highlight what it takes to move between planes and how each of the planes is different (both in look and in philosophy).

sciborg2's picture
Offline
Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Adventure Ideas For an Introduction to Planescape

Plus you can have lillendi, who I always thought were pretty awesome. Celestial storytellers for the win.

__________________

Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

Palomides's picture
Offline
factotums
Joined: 2010-06-26
Re: Adventure Ideas For an Introduction to Planescape

Personally, I think you might be on a better track sticking with Arborea or Ysgard. For someone new to the game, a place like Ysgard provides a modicum of familiarity (assuming that the group knows a little bit about the Norse pantheon) but still allows for some unworldly aspects (e.g. floating earthbergs, bariur) and a little bit of danger (e.g. non-evil people trying to pick fights)

Here are a few random plot ideas (several undoubtably stolen from others) that I have jotted down for Ysgard (I didn't have much that was good for Arborea):
-Bariur males get their spouse during a yearly race. All the single rams have to chase the single ewes. If the ram catches the ewe, they can be wed. If the ewe outraces the ram, the ram must pay geld. One less-than-swifty bariur ram is deeply in love with a feisty ewe (who is fleet of foot and probably won’t let him win her just out of pity); and he has a fleet-footed rival (whom neither he nor the ewe like). PCs asked to help (could also be used to cover a lot of scenic terrain)
-Region of the World Ash is corrupted. There is a dark spot in the wood and the surrounding wood visibly ripples. Ratatosk are acting nutty (aggressive) due to the corruption, travel to (and hence battle with) other islands hindered as a result. PCs must help resolve this problem since natives can’t combat the ratatosk
-Retrieve a magic item taken in a giants' raid
-Get quality magic from the reclusive dwarve smiths
-Competitions on Ysgard to see which band is the bravest, most cunning, etc. “Enter the Dragon” type competition brings in visitors across the planes to find the best fighter
-Criminal has escaped to Ysgard and been befriended by berserkers. Mercykillers (or the police agency back in the Prime) want him captured but how do you fight off a troop of hardened warriors that always come back to life? How do you convince them to “betray” their brother-in-arms?
-Ysgardians find a displaced unit of samurai in Ysgard. They relish these excellent opponents but the same rules don’t apply to the Oriental visitors so they are wasting away. Diplomacy is needed to stop the over-eager barbarians
-Demon in Ysgard is torturing, but not killing, several petitioners. PCs asked to help in the hunt. Remember, a petitioner has to die fighting to return so the prisoners must be freed before being killed
-Ysgard/Outlands: Slaad Lord seeks to look into the Well of the Norns to see his future. As he is the embodiment of pure chaos, he is hoping the Well will fail, be destroyed, empower him, etc. PCs asked to deter/distract him (May not be great for an introductory adventure but the Well of Norms might make a good McGuffin for something you design)
-Periodically, Odin must delve into the “Odinsleep” that reconnects him with the chthonic powers and rejuvenates him. During this time, rulership of Ysgard passes to another god. This is a favorite time for giants or other foes to strike. (Again maybe not ideal for an introductory adventure)

The one modestly interesting idea (IMO) I had for Arborea was taken from "Tales from the Outer Planes" (at least I think it was from there):
-The trickster Hermes (diguised as a goatherd) lies and tells the PCs that the only way to leave the plane is to get express permission from Zeus. He also says that if they can bring him a reluctant nymph, Zeus will be glad to grant their wish to leave. Hermes then makes a bet with Apollo as to whether the PCs will succeed. So Hermes, Apollo and eventually Hera will become involved in trying to indirectly (as they don't want to get caught "cheating") affect the results.
This can make the PCs visit a lot of locations (especially if you want to complicate things - e.g. the nymph first wants the PCs to get her a beautiful coral tiara from a triton who in turn wants something else perhaps from a non-Greek like a Sensate, an eldarin or a elfin power), can expose them to various dangers from Greek myth, and can provide an out (a literal deus ex machina) if the PCs are in danger of dying (Hermes might be capricious but he's not cruel)

Anetra's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2009-04-03
Re: Adventure Ideas For an Introduction to Planescape

!!

I just noticed that I never updated this thread on the adventure I ended up writing. I didn't actually get to run the thing, as they forgot to include my game on the sign-up sheets, which predictably led to my game having no players (I eventually got muscled off of my table for a Pathfinder Beginner's Box game). But regardless of all that, I feel like the adventure I wrote was pretty solid, and I'm keeping it in my back pocket incase I ever need another Planescape con game.

The adventure, called Celestian's Compass, ended up being exactly what I thought I wouldn't do -- the characters were primes, and the adventure ran them around Sigil.

The hook was that the character's home town, Danygas, was built on the site of a portal to some unspeakable evil danger. In ancient times, Fharlanghn's faithful built a temple there to guard the portal and keep it closed, but the artifact they used to contain it has been stolen.

In response, Celestian's clergy created a compass that will ever and always shine a light toward the artifact's location, and the PCs have been given the compass and tasked with the artifact's retrieval. They track the thief into a wolf den, but the thief disappears into a wall before their eyes and the compass' light goes out. The PCs begin needing to 1) sleuth out that the thief left to another Plane of Existence, 2) mimick what he did before he disappeared to recreate the Portal Key, then 3) hop through the portal that lands them smackdab in Sigil's hive -- where the real adventure awaits

Hyena of Ice's picture
Offline
factotums
Joined: 2009-09-25
Re: Adventure Ideas For an Introduction to Planescape

Personally, I think the best way to introduce them is to have the adventure run entirely in Sigil. That is the best way to introduce them to the setting. The PCs will get plenty of exposure to the factions, to the center of the setting, and will become a bit less of "green primes" in the process. Plus, Sigil is the best place in the setting for low-level characters. The environment is safe, and all of the high-level baddies (and goodies) are too busy with other things to bother tormenting the party (the low level baddies will be more interested in doing that)

Planescape, Dungeons & Dragons, their logos, Wizards of the Coast, and the Wizards of the Coast logo are ©2008, Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro Inc. and used with permission.