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Sigillian Detective Agency

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NichG's picture
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Sigillian Detective Agency

I just recently finished running a mystery campaign based around a detective agency in Sigil. The format was a number of oneshots, with a few longer arcs. I post my campaign notes here, in case anyone else might get some use out of them. The mechanical aspects are designed for my 7thscape system conversion, so adapting to D&D will require some restatting. Hopefully the intentions will be clear though.

Episode 1: The Treasure Within

Help a woman find her lost map and save her Bleaker brother. 

http://netfiles.uiuc.edu/ngutten2/www/the_treasure_within.pdf

Episode 2: Mirrormage

Help a Xaositect find his lost reflection, in exchange for a true lie and a lost found.

http://netfiles.uiuc.edu/ngutten2/www/mirrormage.pdf 

Episode 3: When the World Wants you Dead

Why would a promising young Cipher kill a visitor to the Gymnasium all of a sudden? Can be used as the start of a campaign arc that leads to Bytopia, a secret black market beneath Sigil, and eventually to Shra'kt'lor.

http://netfiles.uiuc.edu/ngutten2/www/when_the_world_wants_you_dead_v2.pdf 

The encoded ledger: http://netfiles.uiuc.edu/ngutten2/www/guvner_form.pdf 

Episode 4: Bytopia

When my group followed this line, they basically just had a number of personal reasons for their characters to go to Bytopia rather than a specific mystery (some notes on this). However, it links back to the Githyanki in Episode 3. I've used a bit of the Planes-Militant adventure in Planes of Order for this, but it takes on a bit of a different character. Replace 'Gary' with an old estranged friend of one of the PCs for best effect.

The 108 Ideograms thing was a fun sidequest for one of the PCs who had a book store.  It has little to do with anything else here though, but you could replace the author with any classic 'hermit on a mountain' the party needs to seek. 

http://netfiles.uiuc.edu/ngutten2/www/bytopia.pdf 

Episode 5: The Fall of Derinkuyu

I took the idea of Derinkuyu-under-Sigil from http://www.geocities.com/SouthBeach/1482/ps/ligis.html

At this point, there were a lot of party-specific things going on, so you will have to mix and match the adventure fragments for your own groups. One of the PCs (Azora) defected to the Planes-Militant and had his own side-path to finally get to Derinkuyu, dealing with some cranium rats and gnomish burrows along the way. Saer ended up being the point of introduction of the 'bad stuff is happening beneath Sigil' plotline, but it could easily come through any underworld contacts the party has made up to this point.

If all goes well, by the end of this episode, the PCs will have prevented the fall of Shra'kt'lor. So, you've left canon at this point :) 

http://netfiles.uiuc.edu/ngutten2/www/fall_of_derinkuyu.pdf

Episode 6: The Essence of Flavor 

A parody of Iron Chef. Chefs from around the planes compete for the position of Head Chef of the Celestial Bureaucracy, and someone's secret ingredient has been stolen. Also features an Athar plot against the life of Yen-Wang-Yeh, Judge of the Dead (which succeeded in my campaign and led to all the newly dead of that pantheon showing up as ghosts in Sigil).

http://netfiles.uiuc.edu/ngutten2/www/the_essence_of_flavor_v2.pdf 

Episodes 7-11: Seekers of the Word

This is an Inner Planes adventure, looking for a syllable of one of the Words (like the Last Word...). Of course, the PCs don't know this until about halfway through - they think they're just retrieving a ring for a member of the Godsmen.

http://netfiles.uiuc.edu/ngutten2/www/seekers_of_the_word_v2.pdf 

Episodes 12-13: City of Ghosts

This follows from the 'Yeng Wah Yeh has been poisoned' plotline. If that didn't happen, this adventure won't make sense. The culmination of this mini-arc is that one of the PCs may gain the power to judge souls and send them to their rightful (in their eyes) resting place. 

http://netfiles.uiuc.edu/ngutten2/www/city_of_ghosts_v2.pdf

Episode 14: The Plane of Mineral

This adventure lets the PCs attempt to free slaves from the grip of the Dao, and to explore and potentially release an ancient nightmare too dangerous for even the 'loths to let roam free.

http://netfiles.uiuc.edu/ngutten2/www/plane_of_mineral.pdf

Thats about as far as the campaign got. There was another game involving a detailed theft of a demiplane seed from the Jester's Palace, but it never ran.

Clueless's picture
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*COOL* I'm going to have to

*COOL* I'm going to have to get started reading these, and see if anyone would want to help make the conversions to make the adventure open to D&D.

Of course - if you've developed your adaption of Planescape to 7th Seas enough to really run it, you know we do host versions of the Planes in other settings, right? Eye-wink

NichG's picture
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Yep, I posted the rules for

Yep, I posted the rules for the adaptation awhile back. I think they're currently buried somewhere on the 'RPG Discussion' board. 

NichG's picture
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Re: Yep, I posted the rules for

The webspace where I was hosting these is about to disappear (Nov 10). If people are still interested in these adventures being available, I'll need to figure out where to host them from now on. The same goes for the 7thscape rules which I've posted on elsewhere.

ripvanwormer's picture
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Re: Sigillian Detective Agency

A lot of the links seem to be broken! Only Derinkuyu, Ghosts, Mineral, and Treasure are working for me. Some really interesting stuff, though.

Clueless's picture
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Re: Sigillian Detective Agency

I'm definitely still interested - and the offer for hosting here is still up if you need a place to squirrel things away Smiling

Please let me know which way you decide so I know if I should take a backup before the 10th.

NichG's picture
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Re: Sigillian Detective Agency

Please do! I'm not sure about the broken links though - I just nabbed the set without problems right now. I've got the PDFs on my computer of course so if you can't get at them I can email them to you or something.

ripvanwormer's picture
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Re: Sigillian Detective Agency

I managed to make them work! For some reason I was getting "file unreadable" messages when I right-clicked to save them, and Error 404 messages when I opened them in tabs, but if I opened them in tabs and then refreshed the tabs, I could get them. Might be some weird issue with one of my Firefox plugins, I guess. Anyway, they're saved now.

These are pretty terrific. Mirror magic, Borges stories, Chinese mythology, githyanki, efreet, subterranean cities, ancient nightmares,True Words, ideograms, cities of frozen light... all kinds of sexy stuff. And we find out why vampires don't cast reflections in mirrors... but not what happened to their shadows.

I like how unapologetically Planescape they are, and how they incorporate ideas from the Great Wheel cosmology into their structure without fear. With recent changes in the D&D game, I've missed that. And few have used Bytopia well, as you have.

Rikutatis's picture
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Re: Sigillian Detective Agency

Wow, this is great stuff! I couldn't stop reading it. I love how it's all grounded on the 'detective mysteries' theme, while still maintaining a very traditional Planescape feel. In fact, it felt just like I was reading an official PS module. Best adventures I've read in a while, professional or amateur.

Mirrormage and City of Ghosts are my favorites, but I also love the concept of the nightmare creature from The Plane of Mineral.

Now I'm really curious to know more about this demiplane seed from the Jester's Palace Eye-wink

NichG's picture
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Re: Sigillian Detective Agency

Well, here are my notes for as far as it got:

Jeremo the Natterer, one of the three richest individuals in Sigil, has decided to throw a party for the entire Upper Planes, or at least their exemplars. He has asked the Sensates to handle the arrangements, supplying sensations that should be of interest to the strange cadre of guests that are expected.

Jeremo would normally have trouble getting the various exemplars to deign to come, except that he has put up as a door prize of sorts a Demiplane Seed, a crystal the size of a hen's egg which can be used on the Ethereal to create a new plane of existance.

The Sensates are duly worried that, even if fighting will likely be suppressed by the threat of the Lady, various plots and schemes may threaten the security of the party, which is to be held in the Palace of the Jester. Guests will be taken via palanquin from their various entry portals to the palace.

The sensates have provided numerous delicacies from each of the exemplars' home planes. For sake of experience and edification of the exemplars, they have also provided memory stones that allow people to observe the world from the view of opposing exemplars. The demiplane seed will be on display throughout the night, and at the end, shall be given away by random drawing from the guest list by (professional gambler) himself.

The invitations have been sent to specific beings that have had some traffic with Sigil in the past; in every case, the invited party may bring a guest and may choose to send someone else in their place. The direct invitations have gone out to (among others):

A'kin plus guest [A'kin and Kylie the Tout]

Shemeska plus guest [Shemeska and Malaric ab Unmotheed (Ultroloth)]

Night hag [Sylene Darkseller and the head of Sir Moriston]

Xideous the Gehreleth [Servant disguised as Xideous, and Jerain the Hapless Wizard]

Baatezu [Baazul, Duke of the Court of Bel, Lord of the First]

Tanar'ri [Revnaj, Balor Lord of the 311th Layer and the succubus Ariae]

Archons (Salomiel the Sword Archon and Indigo of the Order of the Planes Militant)

Devas (Unity-of-Rings)

Tripicus the Guardinal [Tripicus and Portiale]

Eladrin (Cirily and Koe (guest))

Xanxost the Slaad and (guest) Rennbuu, Slaadi Lord of Colors

Ylem [Ylem and random person off the street]

Omott (uninvited, but shows up anyhow)

Environs:

The Palace of the Jester is huge, but the actual party will be taking place in a subset of the Palace which will be more or less cordoned off for the event. The Entrance Hall, Ballrooms A and B, Dining Room A, and Kitchen will be reserved for the party. The Gardens are open, but only guests with a proper invitation may pass into Ballroom B. The actual event will mostly take place in the Dining Room and Ballroom B, where the sensory stones have been set up. Ballroom A is unused, but has been blocked off due to the difficulty of controlling traffic through it. Guards are posted at several spots.

Ballroom A

This large room has a polished wooden floor. The walls are marble, with recessed areas for potted plants, statues, and the like, giving this place a natural feel. The room is two stories high, with a domed skylight and high windows on the walls. Chandeliers hang from the ceiling at intervals to either side of the dome, providing light during antipeak. The candles must actually be lit, and there is a storage cabinet for the large ladder used by the servants to do so, along with other such supplies. Along the north wall is a raised platform where a grand piano is stationed. Space for other musicians is available.

Ballroom B

This ballroom has a marble floor inlaid with gold, and covered with plush red carpets. Marble columns rise to the ceiling which, like Ballroom A, is two stories high and has many chandeliers. The north wall here however has windows carved into it leading to an exterior garden. The wall adjoining the Conservatory is designed to be particularly permeable to sound, allowing instruments played in the adjoining room to provide the full musical experience. Consequently, it is possible to eavesdrop on conversations through that wall, or even to burst through it.

The sensate stones have been set up along the walls, thirteen in total: Archon (Song of the Spheres), Deva (Communion with the divine), Asura (Helping the needy), Guardinal (Self-sacrifice to protect), Eladrin (The ecstasy of the divine), Modron (Complete confidence), Formian (The companionship of the hive), Slaad (The Soup), Baatezu (Sweet Success), Yugoloth (Becoming an Arcanoloth), Gehreleth (Being Created), Night Hag (Curiosity), Tanar'ri (Joy in Slaughter)

The demiplane seed has been placed within a series of concentric magic circles. Six wizards have been employed to sit and maintain the spells protecting it. These wizards are Sensates, brought in by the faction, and so are unlikely to be easily bribed. The protections around the seed are: Circle of Protection vs Good, Evil, Chaotic, Lawful ; Force Barrier ; Dimension Lock

The force barrier only extends six feet off the ground due to a limitation of the spell, and so a silver disc has been suspended from the ceiling by a chain so that it sits atop the force barrier. The six wizards need not watch their protections to maintain them, though they have been instructed to not speak to the guests or sample the drink lest their concentration break. However, as Sensates, they can be tempted in such a manner...

The demiplane seed itself is a jagged piece of crystal, which has been placed in a silver holder atop a pedestal. The pedestal itself is equipped with a pressure plate such that if the crystal were removed, a loud bell would ring letting everyone at the party know that their crystal was being stolen.

Dining Room

This room has a lower ceiling than either of the two adjoining rooms, and as such its light is perforce entirely artificial. However, a series of glowing yellow-white orbs have been placed in sockets around the room. The orbs are non-magical in nature - rather, they exploit a particular alchemical reaction and must be refilled once every week. The alchemical components in a given orb are moderately toxic if they were to get into food, prompting a TN 20 Resolve check to avoid vomitting. Also, if combined with a strong acid they will flash extremely brightly and generate a fair amount of heat (1k1 flesh wounds in contact, may blind temporarily).

The cutlery that has been set out for this event is all made from gold. However, if the normal silverware is placed on the table due to a mistake (incompetent servant, scheme, etc), this will cause an incident from the fiends and might produce a significant distraction.

Kitchen

The kitchen is a busy place, with multiple stoves working in tandem. A vat of oil has been suspended over a fire pit to fry things, and the Sensates have also brought in some special equipment for handling the cuisine they intend to prepare.

Plots:

Shemeska and A'kin

Shemeska and A'kin are trying to show eachother up. Shemeska will be bringing an ultroloth guest, in order to display to it A'kin's bizarre behaviors. A'kin however, has arranged this entire party by manipulating Jeremo and arranging for him to receive the demiplane seed, and will explain to the ultroloth that these various exemplars, including important Baatezu and Tanar'ri, are here to be spied upon due to his acts. The pair will not take overt actions, but will try to get the other guests to fight their battles for them, sabotaging eachothers' plans and the like.

Xideous forms a sort of shared goal - both would like to catch him, but for slightly different reasons. A'kin is impressed with his scheming, and wants to be able to modify the contents of his Book of Keeping so as to influence the mortal perception of the Yugoloths. Shemeska would just as well kill him. Throughout the party, both will try to get as much information about Xideous' whereabouts, plant detection magics on him, etc. Shemeska had planned to use Kylie and her reputation as a messenger service to try to get close to him, except that A'kin brought her to the party instead - as such, she has changed plans and has, on short notice, attempted to smuggle in a sensory stone of her own design into the lineup, one whose description suggests that it might contain the true name of a Yugoloth, or at least several Yugoloth secrets (called 'Promotion to Arcanoloth'). She will of course publically decry the presence of the stone. The stone in fact has an insidious enchantment that would worm its way into the mind of whomever views it, so that Shemeska could find them at a later date.

Shemeska will try to fluster Cirily & company by letting them know how rich and powerful they've made the Yugoloths. A'kin on the other hand has been a silent partner in the arms trading, via Estevan.

A'kin will make a grand gesture of explaining the nature of the divinities to Omott, feeding him the biases he wants to establish. This will slightly upset the upper planars, who suspect that A'kin is pushing him towards evil.

A'kin has also brought Kylie the Tout along as a guest, despite his knowledge that she is one of Shemeska's projects. By doing so, he hopes to undermine Shemeska's trust in her. He has convinced her to go with him by commenting that this is a chance to make deals with a number of powerful individuals that might require her messenger services for the sake of discretion.

Stealing the Demiplane Seed

The infamous thief Nightclaw has found out about the party and intends to steal the demiplane seed, to cap off a career of stealing rare and valuable items. He must gather information about the target, gather his tools and make his preparations, and then execute the plan. These things happen over a certain time period.

Nightclaw, Elven thief

Brawn 2, Finesse 5, Wits 3, Resolve 3, Presence 5

Civil Skills: Mechanism[Locks,Arcane] 5, Search 5, Disguise 4, Mimicry 4, Sleight of Hand 4, Conceal 4, Deception 4, Rope Use 3, Stealth 3, Streetwise 3, Perception 2, Etiquette 2, Forgery 2, Investigation 1

Martial Skills: Escape 5, Footwork 5, Climb 4, Balance 4, Leaping 4, Run 3, Throw 2

Times are measured in terms of how long it has been since the Agency was hired.

Preparations:

-7 days: Jeremo obtains the demiplane seed and hatches his plan.

-6 days: Jeremo contacts the Sensates and begins detailed plans of the party.

-4 days: Jeremo finalizes plans with the Sensates and sends out the invitations.

-3 days: Nightclaw obtained news from a friend in the Sensates that a huge party was going to be thrown at the Palace of the Jester for all the exemplars, and that a demiplane seed was in the offing. His friend is not an accomplice, and knows Nightclaw as a simple drinking buddy (he has such buddies in all of the factions). To his buddies, he's known as Saltirel Ravenhair.

-2 days: Nightclaw hires on to the staff of the Palace of the Jester as the servant Favel. He is the only new hire within the last two weeks. He sneaks a peak at the invitation list while cleaning the master's quarters. Nightclaw also cracks Jeremo's safe and finds his plans for the protection on the demiplane seed. A servant (Trent) sees him go into and out of Jeremo's room. Trent figures to sit on the information unless he can make money or favors out of it.

-1 days: Nightclaw continues to work as a servant in hopes of discovering more information about the planned protections. He learns that Jeremo is looking for people to investigate security risks.

0 days: The agency is hired. Nightclaw shows up in disguise during Favel's lunch hour, claiming to have been sent by Xanxost the Slaad to verify the authenticity of the demiplane seed. He is allowed to see it under guard, though it is not within its final protections at this point. He is not the only one who has asked to verify authenticity - Revnaj the Balor has also sent someone, as has the Order of the Planes Militant.

+1 day: Favel's day off. Nightclaw asks his drinking buddy about the preparations the Sensates are making for the party and learns of the sensory stones and food preparation. He also has a glasscutter make a replica of the demiplane seed from his drawings. He consults with a wizard in the Market Ward about the likely weight of such a magical object, and whether or not it would be heavier than normal glass or crystal. He consults a second wizard about the various spells that will be used to protect the seed, and decides to substitute one of them.

+2 days: Nightclaw applies a coating of silver nitrate to the gold utensils being prepared for the party. In the chaos produced by the fiends complaints, he intends to slip past into Ballroom B.

+3 days: Favel stops showing up to work, and Nightclaw leaves a fake suicide note in his quarters lamenting the loss of his love Rachel to another suitor. The other staff do not remember Favel ever mentioning Rachel, but note that he was a very private person. At this time, Favel is sneaking into the Sensate hall to find the wizards who will be standing watch. He slips a poison into the food of one of the wizards that will make him ill for the next week, and modifies his copy of the Force Wall spell to one that only creates the appearance of a Force Wall.

+4 days..+6 days: Nightclaw waits.

+7 days: Party time!

Other things:

* Arms deal taking place at the party

* Baatezu planning to attack the 311th layer of the Abyss in the absence of its lord

Miriael the Betrayed's picture
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Re: Sigillian Detective Agency

The links appear to be broken :/ I don't suppose anyone has copies/alternate links? The premise is very similar to what I want to do with a campaign I'm running in the autumn, and would love to get a look at these.

Thanks Smiling

NichG's picture
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Re: Sigillian Detective Agency

I realize this may be somewhat necromantic, but hopefully that can be forgiven for the sake of updating the links to non-broken status, since I've had some people find me and ask me about this campaign.

The campaign notes and 7thscape rules are now up at: http://games.urbanhermitgames.com/7thscape/

sciborg2's picture
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Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Sigillian Detective Agency

NichG wrote:
I realize this may be somewhat necromantic, but hopefully that can be forgiven for the sake of updating the links to non-broken status, since I've had some people find me and ask me about this campaign.

The campaign notes and 7thscape rules are now up at: http://games.urbanhermitgames.com/7thscape/

I missed this the first time around - thanks!

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