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Another Act for Faction War

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KnightOfDecay's picture
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Another Act for Faction War

Hello everybody,

this is my first post here on planewalker, though I’ve been a long time reader/lurker. First of all, thanks to everybody contributing to this site! It has been a great inspiration for my Planescape-campaign, which is running in its 6th year currently. Besides the PS-material I really appreciate the friendly tone of the members among each other (which, as can be seen on other D&D boards, can’t be taken for granted).

I',m in need of some suggestions how to run a certain scenario in my campaign and I really hope you can help me out with some advice.

(Sorry if my English is kinda clumsy as I’m not a native speaker)

Basically I want to add another Act to the Faction-War adventure, in which the PCs, (more or less accidently) enter the Mazes of a group of Expansionist high-ups mazed several days before. I want this to draw heavy influence from the Pages of Pain novel (including the Monster of the Mazes, Ash, Hailstorms, maybe a small reference to the golden thread of the Amnesian Hero etc.). To get the PCs in and out of the Maze I thought about using Djhek’nlarr (as mazing the PCs themselves doesn't seem to be a good idea). The entrance to the Maze could be in the Twelve-Factols-Inn - This way the PCs could learn a little bit more about the Expansionists history and the meeting of the 12 factols 1000 years ago.
I want the PCs to meet the already decimated and barmy Grower high-ups (who are not supposed to make it out of the Maze) and then escape the Maze before succumbing to its hostile conditions and the Monster. The scenario is meant to give them some additional though confusing clues about the faction war as well as to continue the Expansionists-storyline (see later in the post).

The current working title is “Reprisal”. I plan to put it between Act III “The Eschaton” (before this, concrete clues of the Ladies involvement seem wrong to me) and Act IV “Darkstorm” and the closing of the portals. Probably day 32 of the timeline.

My problem is, that I don’t really know how to tie this scenario to the rest of the adventure without making it seem random.
How do I get the PCs to enter the Mazes? Djhek’nlarr offers good hook, but she has no connection to the PCs so far and probably wouldn’t ask them to join her in exploring the Maze (Maybe if she needed an item the PCs possess to find the trail of the Maze through the Astral?). On the other hand, the PCs have run into the Grixxit (who has a connection to Djhek’nlarr) before, though they aren’t on friendly terms.
I would be very glad if you had a few suggestions.

To clarify the background/status of the Expansionists in my campaign and Faction War, here the basic facts and events (taking place over the course of several months/years an).

I use a rather modified timeline for Faction War but I don’t want the Expansionists to be major players in the conflict as they are still a sect and not a full grown faction. Additionally it makes an ironic twist that they are thrown into the Mazes although THIS time they really didn’t do anything (well, at least not so far).

• The PCS screwed “The Mazes” by not showing up. Lightbringer was recovered by an unknown party and Vartus Timlin secretly escaped the Mazes.
• On several occasions the PCs encountered rather unorganized Hive(and Hellgate)-streetgangs calling themselves “Expansionists”. They finally scragged one of them to cash in the bounty for the gangleader, a former Gatehouse-escapee.
• Rumors about Expansionist activities in The Hive
• Rumors about Vartus Timlin having been sighted in the Hive
• In an interview to The Ladies Sharper Eye the Harmonium confirms that Timlin and his sword are gone from the Mazes and springs into action to capture the Expansionists factol.
• Some of the PCs run into the Grixxit as she is on her way to close a portal (her last mission) the PCs want to use. As the PCs corner her, Timlin and some of his acquaintances show up to bring her back to their Hive headquarters. After a verbal skirmish Timlins identity is revealed and the parties depart cautiously before coming to blows.

(This part has been played already. Following are future events as planned so far)

• Two other PCs (on a mission for the Sensates) infiltrate a the Manor of a Golden Lord to steal away the long sought Lightbringer from its new owner. It is revealed, that the weapon is by far not the magical artifact it was supposed to be.
• Via the newspaper the PCs are informed of wild debates going on in the Hall of Speakers: Are the Hardheads measures (with support of the Guvners and the Red Death) against the Growers sect are going too far or not?
• To their shock the Guvners find a loophole in the laws of Sigil which practically legalizes the Expansionists and brings an immediate halt to the hardhead persecution. Though everybody protests, nothing can be done against it. The Expansionists are officially back in the Cage.
• With the Growers legalized Vartus Timlin comes out of hiding and gives an interview in which he states that his faction plans an official return to the Cage very soon.
• The Expansionists establish the City Library as their new sect headquarters in the Clerks Ward. To everybody’s surprise, they act very modest and diplomatic and even start a campaign to promote social advancement through education in the Hive. This leads to noticeable improvement of their reputation and slowly increasing member rates. Even the former Hive-thug members seem to be under control.
• After setting his faction on course Vartus Timlin finally leaves Sigil. (I want to use him later in the campaign, but probably without faction/sect –involvement)
• Expansionist lawyers bring in an application in the Hall of Speakers, requesting the official transfer of the Free Leagues faction status (who claim to be no faction anyway) calling on their important contribution to Sigils education system. It’s no surprise that the reactions are rather negative, ranging from indifference to strict condemnation (factions of law). The topic is postponed to another meeting to give all sides the opportunity to collect files and arguments.
- Here I plan to borrow an element of the Orroloths revised Faction War timeline (posted here on the boards) and have Pentar kill herself in Mercykiller custody (in the Vault on Carzeri) to bring Sigil to the edge of war and entropy.
In the light of this escalation, the Expansionist application is soon forgotten. The Growers themselves are too smart to press harder and decide to wait for a better opportunity to claim their rightful place in Sigil
• (Day 20 Faction War) The new sectol of the Growers is mazed along with his high-ups’ the so called “secretaries”. (The PCs have met, or in one case even beat up, most of them in the previous encounters)

(Day 32 Faction War) “Reprisal” takes place
Aggressive members of the Growers will join the Xaositects to fight against the Hardheads and “expand their territory”.

I really hope you can help me out with a few suggestions how to tie the scenario to the rest of Faction War and especially how to get the PCs to the Maze in the first place, with or without the involvement of Djhek’nlarr.

Thanks a lot!!

Palomides's picture
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Joined: 2010-06-26
Re: Another Act for Faction War

It’s been a long time since I looked through the “Faction War” as I didn’t like the way it shattered everything; but I admire you for taking on this mega-adventure

I haven’t read the “Pages of Pain” novel so I don’t know what is involved within but I gather that the elements you want to use from that novel will only be used within the Maze that the PCs enter so I won’t let that bother me.

So at the point between Acts 3 and 4, things are falling apart in Sigil and a Doomsday cult called the Eschaton is appearing throughout the city.
The difficulty (to my mind) is to provide the PCs motivation to go exploring a Maze at a time when it seems as though Sigil seems to be falling apart or shifting in power. To do it just because the opportunity shows up seems silly or random.

I think a possible solution is to make the PCs think there is some connection between the Eschaton and the Expansionists (perhaps implying that the Eschaton are puppets/pawns of the Expansionists who are using them to enact some step in a master plan to take over Sigil – even though all this is screed).
Then Djhek’nlarr can drop a few hints that the secret to the Expansionists’ plan is now locked away in the Maze.
Why does Djhek’nlarr approach the PCs? Djhek’nlarr has found out that the portal key to the Maze is something somewhat rare but inherent to one of your PCs (e.g. a drop of blood from an elf who was born in a snowstorm – or whatever works for your PC).
It might be heavy-handed, but if the PCs don’t take the bait and you REALLY want them in the Maze; Djhek’nlarr might be desperate enough to kidnap the one PC to open the portal (and the rest of the party would probably follow in hot pursuit) only to abandon them in the Maze he has crossed through. At that point, Djhek’nlarr might be considered another threat within the Maze (and he might come groveling back once he realizes he needs the party’s assistance to survive the horrors within the Maze).

Don't know if any of this suits your needs (or tastes) but it's a start

KnightOfDecay's picture
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Re: Another Act for Faction War

Thank you very much for your respone!

Yes, faction war is a great and very atmospheric adventure but it shatters some cool parts of the setting indeed.
I’m not quite sure yet if I will keep all the changes it brings to Sigil (also depends on how my players like the Post-Faction War Sigil). Of course the most interesting solution would be a trilogy which finally reinstalls the factions reign in the Cage.

That’s some great input!
Linking the Eschaton and the Expansionists sounds like a very good idea. I’ll have to check the “Eschaton” Act for details again. One possibility could be to turn the Knights of the Dark House into Expansionists or to leak some false information through the Xaositect investigator. After this it would seem logical to follow the clues of Djhek’nlarr.
I have to think about the portal key, but the Ysgardian silver leg-prosthesis of one of the PCs would make a natural choice.

The more I think about it, the better I like it! Thanks again!

(What it makes even better, is that I happened to find a remaining stock of Planescape miniatures, including Djhek'Nlarr, in my local gaming store today. So I just HAVE to include Djhek'nlarr)

cromlich's picture
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Re: Another Act for Faction War

I've only DMed the first act of Faction War (but played in all other acts), so not sure if I remember all the details right.

What if Djhek'nlarr wants to get Hardheads off her back, from investigating her, and offers alliance to the Doomguard. She learned the dark about another Expansionist maze while researching Timlin's maze and his escape. Another maze full of Expansionist troops that were preparing in secret for Timlin's takeover of the city. Djhek'nlarr would lead them out of the maze in exchange for their support of Cromlich (or Spragg who feels they're too vulnerable after the Battle of the Armory). The Doomguard could even try to convince the Expansionists that their philosophies aren't that different, that the expansion of the universe is the result of increasing entropy. The Doomguard charge the PC's (who I guess have proven themselves at the battle) to accompany Djhek'nlarr to the maze, to protect her on the way, and to watch out for her double-crossings.

KnightOfDecay's picture
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Re: Another Act for Faction War

A maze full of Expansionists, who have waited for a thousand years to join the battle in Sigil sounds pretty cool.
Thats a trump both sides would love to play (though the Growers would most definitely tend towards the side of the Doomguard and the other "enemies of peace").

I don't think that the current party would support the Sinkers (3 Sensates, 1 Godsmen, 1 Ring-Giver, 2 Clueless) so Djhek'nlarr will have to manipulate them.

Combining it with Palomides' idea the sequence of events would be:

- While investigating the Eschaton the PCs hear rumors about the Expansionists being the "dark forces" behind the Eschaton (thats a lie)
- The PCs are manipulated by Djhek'nlarr, who needs xyz from the PCs to open the portal to the Maze
- The PCs encounter the recently mazed (and rather barmy) leaders of the new Expansionists, the Monster of the Mazes and other hazzards and barely make it to
the exit of the Maze
- There they watch Djhek'nlarr (probably accompanied by a Doomguard highup) leading an old army of Expansionists out of the Maze.
- The PCs escape and Faction War continues

The return of parts of the old Expansionists gives many interesting possibilities
for the factions future and with the ongoing battle and the Ladys Decree I still have all options to adjust things if I don't come to like them.

Great advice. Thanks again folks!

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