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How far should I shake things up?

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Har Megidon's picture
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How far should I shake things up?

Basically, there is this huge campaign I am making. I intend it to be world-shattering, apocalyptic, "nothing is the same anymore" type thing.

The Tower of Incarnate Agony is completed, with the dead god used being Aoskar. From it, the General of Gehenna uses the Heart of Darkness to "purify" billions of Gehreleths, transforming them to Yugoloths. Their chaotic taint being expunged results in the Spawning Stone generating Slaad non-stop, similar to how the original use of the Heart of Darkness created the Obyriths and Ancient Baatorians. Using his now extremely bolstered army and the Crawling City, he interrupts a Blood War battlefield, demanding that all fiends bow to him or die. After immense battles, the two warring fiends finally agree on a temporary truce, fully intending to restart the Blood War after the united forces of evil conquer the Outer Planes. Meanwhile, the Sign of One succeeds in resurrecting Aoskar, who is now tainted by the Tower of Incarnate Agony. The General of Gehenna offers Aoskar dominion over Sigil, if he helps them. Aoskar creates a portal to Sigil, the fiends overrun it, and it's up to the players to stop them.

Now, I doubt this would be good a lot. I doubt the players would be able to fight the General, even indirectly, I doubt that it wouldn't change things too much, I doubt that such things could happen without the Lady of Pain instantly flaying everyone, I doubt that it'll fit in with Planescape, I pretty much doubt everything about this idea. But I really find it awesome. The whole thing is, I don't just want to have this be a single sentence of fluff in my Modern Planescape's background which is "The General of Gehenna temporarily stopped the Blood War, nearly conquered Sigil but was flayed, and now Anthraxus is the ruler of the Yugoloths".

I believe the worst critic is the self, because it is either too soft or too harsh on his work. So that's why I came to you.

Zimrazim's picture
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Re: How far should I shake things up?

Yugoloths do have enemies who effectively counterbalance their evil influence. Otherwise they would have taken over the planes long ago.

The celestial races would be obvious candidates. Even though they don't 'crusade' all that much in the Planescape setting, they might easily do so if the yugoloths were to make a major move like this. (It wouldn't hurt if a group of PC adventurers were to petition good-aligned outsiders for aid, either.) Both the tanar'ri and the baatezu would definitely chafe under the yoke of the 'loths, and PCs (or even celestials...) might take advantage of this, stirring up mutinies or getting baatezu/tanar'ri troops to perform only in the most minimal and token fashion possible. The rilmani might also easily get involved in countering the efforts of the yugoloths.

Since the General of Gehenna not only attained his position but has held onto it so long, perhaps he has a very solid understanding of his own limitations. In other words, he's canny enough to know he'd be flayed if he tried to conquer Sigil by force himself. (I'd imagine other fiends would have tested this idea at some point in the past...) He might use cannon fodder (i.e. tanar'ri and baatezu) to attack Sigil if he has a particular goal in mind. There are also mortal pawns. Powerful mortal NPCs, perhaps a factol...

I really like the idea of a resurrected, evil-tainted Aoskar, but yugoloths really don't care for Powers, and I don't think they would knowingly work to increase the power of any deity. Even so, they might not refuse to work with deities altogether (they certainly did in first edition...). If the General offered great power to Aoskar, he would only do so with the full intent of pulling the rug out from under the Power later.

Har Megidon wrote:
I doubt the players would be able to fight the General, even indirectly

The General would have so many enemies at this point, including immortal ones, that a handful of mortal adventurers aren't likely to be his first priority.

Also, simply killing off a group of mortals isn't necessarily something an archfiend would find ideal, since (assuming their alignment doesn't have an 'E' in it) it would only send their soul-energy to planes that are NOT the Grey Waste. Much better to corrupt them instead. If the mortal gadflies are really that much of an irritant, he could detail one of his subordinates to focus its efforts on finding out their weaknesses (avarice? pride? lack of compassion?) and turning them toward Evil instead. (If even partially successful, this would have the pleasant benefit of causing the PCs' celestial allies to reject them.)

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Palomides's picture
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Re: How far should I shake things up?

More than anything, I agree with the problem that you point out concerning "How can the PCs have any impact on something of such huge scope?"
I recently read "Faction War" and while I had no problem with a world-(or Sigil)-shattering event (assuming you want to REALLY change things up), my biggest gripe with that module was that so much of the action took place outside of the PCs scope. The party just gets told "OK, all the factols have disappeared and a war has started..."

In my opinion, to make this work, you need to do two things:
1) Get the PCs involved early on. Have them go on a series of adventures where they are trying to stop the yugoloths from doing something horrible. Sure, you know that the party will be too late to stop them but it will make an impact on them if the PCs feel that they just narrowly averted the unification of the Lower Planes

2) [And this one is more tricky] Have an exit strategy. If the PCs can't stop (or at least contribute to the effort to stop) this upsurge of evil, then you'll have to be prepared to launch a much darker version fo Planescape (maybe a "Points of Light" type campaign where there are just a few beleaguered stronghold of good left) That could be done, but I get the impression that you aren't intending to change things that much for that long

Maybe there is some item that is allowing the yugoloths to "control" their spine tower. Perhaps if the untied forces of good can nullify this magic, then Aoskar will shake off the evil taint and the unification of evil would fall apart. The PCs shouldn't need to be the only party involved in this effort (and needn't even be the main one - maybe they need to go on a mission that will distract the yugoloth general while a second team goes after the item). But either way, the party should feel involved

Now this wouldn't be a complete reset button. There could be a lot of lasting changes. Some possibilities:
1) Perhaps Aoskar is now revived. Would he seek revenge against the Lady of Pain? Would he want to take over Sigil? Lots of plot hooks there
2) A lot of places of neutrality and good would be destroyed and/or tainted. Efforts would be needed to clean some of this up and to drive out lingering monstrosities
3) The forces of good were united in their efforts to fight off evil. While the forces of evil collapse back to bickering, perhaps the forces of good remain a little more unified than they had been in the past.
4) Would the yugoloths be shattered by this loss? Would Aoskar grind them under his heel? This seems like this would be their great master stroke where they put everything on the line. Would a defeat signal a collapse of their society? Would Apomps and the gehreleths move to fill in the gap?
sure you could argue that the yugoloths had a backup plan; but I find it more interesting if things were more shaken up and the 'loths had to at least fight for their former position.

Whatever you decide, I strongly recommend you think through an "exit strategy" that somewhat allows a return to "normal". Also think over what long-term changes you actually want as a consequence

Har Megidon's picture
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Re: How far should I shake things up?

Zimrazim wrote:
Yugoloths do have enemies who effectively counterbalance their evil influence. Otherwise they would have taken over the planes long ago.

The celestial races would be obvious candidates. Even though they don't 'crusade' all that much in the Planescape setting, they might easily do so if the yugoloths were to make a major move like this. (It wouldn't hurt if a group of PC adventurers were to petition good-aligned outsiders for aid, either.) Both the tanar'ri and the baatezu would definitely chafe under the yoke of the 'loths, and PCs (or even celestials...) might take advantage of this, stirring up mutinies or getting baatezu/tanar'ri troops to perform only in the most minimal and token fashion possible. The rilmani might also easily get involved in countering the efforts of the yugoloths.

Since the General of Gehenna not only attained his position but has held onto it so long, perhaps he has a very solid understanding of his own limitations. In other words, he's canny enough to know he'd be flayed if he tried to conquer Sigil by force himself. (I'd imagine other fiends would have tested this idea at some point in the past...) He might use cannon fodder (i.e. tanar'ri and baatezu) to attack Sigil if he has a particular goal in mind. There are also mortal pawns. Powerful mortal NPCs, perhaps a factol...

I really like the idea of a resurrected, evil-tainted Aoskar, but yugoloths really don't care for Powers, and I don't think they would knowingly work to increase the power of any deity. Even so, they might not refuse to work with deities altogether (they certainly did in first edition...). If the General offered great power to Aoskar, he would only do so with the full intent of pulling the rug out from under the Power later.

Har Megidon wrote:
I doubt the players would be able to fight the General, even indirectly

The General would have so many enemies at this point, including immortal ones, that a handful of mortal adventurers aren't likely to be his first priority.

Also, simply killing off a group of mortals isn't necessarily something an archfiend would find ideal, since (assuming their alignment doesn't have an 'E' in it) it would only send their soul-energy to planes that are NOT the Grey Waste. Much better to corrupt them instead. If the mortal gadflies are really that much of an irritant, he could detail one of his subordinates to focus its efforts on finding out their weaknesses (avarice? pride? lack of compassion?) and turning them toward Evil instead. (If even partially successful, this would have the pleasant benefit of causing the PCs' celestial allies to reject them.)


The Celestials and Rilmani would probably launch an enormous war against the Fiends, while the Slaad just wonder why there are so many of them and the Modrons keep to themselves. The idea of a Factol being manipulated is good, especially with the Aoskar ressurecting. Perhaps he manipulated the Factol of the Signers to delay their ressurection of Aoskar to after he was put on the Tower of Incarnate Agony. The whole Aoskar thing is only so he could get a portal large enough for his army. He has no intention of filling his promise. The corruption idea seems interesting. I can easily see Yugoloths trying to manipulate things so that the best way to stop them requires alignment shifts, and the players trying to find options that don't involve losing their soul or at the very least being real jerks.
Palomides wrote:
More than anything, I agree with the problem that you point out concerning "How can the PCs have any impact on something of such huge scope?"
I recently read "Faction War" and while I had no problem with a world-(or Sigil)-shattering event (assuming you want to REALLY change things up), my biggest gripe with that module was that so much of the action took place outside of the PCs scope. The party just gets told "OK, all the factols have disappeared and a war has started..."

In my opinion, to make this work, you need to do two things:
1) Get the PCs involved early on. Have them go on a series of adventures where they are trying to stop the yugoloths from doing something horrible. Sure, you know that the party will be too late to stop them but it will make an impact on them if the PCs feel that they just narrowly averted the unification of the Lower Planes

2) [And this one is more tricky] Have an exit strategy. If the PCs can't stop (or at least contribute to the effort to stop) this upsurge of evil, then you'll have to be prepared to launch a much darker version fo Planescape (maybe a "Points of Light" type campaign where there are just a few beleaguered stronghold of good left) That could be done, but I get the impression that you aren't intending to change things that much for that long

Maybe there is some item that is allowing the yugoloths to "control" their spine tower. Perhaps if the untied forces of good can nullify this magic, then Aoskar will shake off the evil taint and the unification of evil would fall apart. The PCs shouldn't need to be the only party involved in this effort (and needn't even be the main one - maybe they need to go on a mission that will distract the yugoloth general while a second team goes after the item). But either way, the party should feel involved

Now this wouldn't be a complete reset button. There could be a lot of lasting changes. Some possibilities:
1) Perhaps Aoskar is now revived. Would he seek revenge against the Lady of Pain? Would he want to take over Sigil? Lots of plot hooks there
2) A lot of places of neutrality and good would be destroyed and/or tainted. Efforts would be needed to clean some of this up and to drive out lingering monstrosities
3) The forces of good were united in their efforts to fight off evil. While the forces of evil collapse back to bickering, perhaps the forces of good remain a little more unified than they had been in the past.
4) Would the yugoloths be shattered by this loss? Would Aoskar grind them under his heel? This seems like this would be their great master stroke where they put everything on the line. Would a defeat signal a collapse of their society? Would Apomps and the gehreleths move to fill in the gap?
sure you could argue that the yugoloths had a backup plan; but I find it more interesting if things were more shaken up and the 'loths had to at least fight for their former position.

Whatever you decide, I strongly recommend you think through an "exit strategy" that somewhat allows a return to "normal". Also think over what long-term changes you actually want as a consequence


For your advice:
1) I have the idea of the climax being the pcs infiltrating the Crawling City and sabotaging it's engine, so the most powerful weapon of the army cannot enter Sigil. That'll be a huge contribution.
2) Yeah, I really should think up of a way to do that,
For your questions:
1) That's what he is doing. He wants dominion over Sigil and revenge on the Lady of Pain, and the General of Gehenna says he can have it if he helps their forces. Of course, the General doesn't intend to give up such a powerful strategic resource.
2) That's part of why I'm doing this. Evil being spread across many planes makes them more interesting.
3) Hmm...
4) The Yugoloths eventually descend into temporary anarchy before Anthraxus takes the throne, as he is the most powerful 'Loth remaining in the world.

Palomides's picture
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Re: How far should I shake things up?

OK, I had read your first post a little differently. I thought that Aoskar was just an unthinking agent of the yugoloths plan (as he is dead after all), something to be controlled to meet their goals. But based on your later comments, it sounds like he might be more active and might even involved hatching this grand scheme.

Whatever your vision, I think you've got a lot of good seeds and you're thinking through the effects BEFORE initiating the campaign. It think that's more important than anything.

simblanco's picture
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Re: How far should I shake things up?

Sorry, maybe I'll go out of topic or out the spirit of the Planes, but this reminds me a lot of Star Wars....

I think your idea of "shaking" things is great, but I like more the idea of the Yugoloth conspiracy. I think the 'loth prefer to work behind the curtains than with a frontal attack, manoeuvring their puppets and then arriving only at the final moment and say "We have won" (like the Emperor Palpatine did...).

So, some random thoughts: The General of Gehenna sets in motion all his plans, ie the resurrection of Aoskar, the truce between Baatezu and Tanar'ri and their attack to the Upper planes, the conquer of Sigil (maybe Rowan starting the Faction War is another puppet...), all pretending the 'loth are not involved. The PCs must understand everything is connected to the greater evil scheme of Yugoloth domination and try to convince so their allies (good and neutral powers, even fiendish "independents" renegades).

If they are not able to stop the General's secret plans or just to thwart a part of them, well, with a sort of coup d'etat a "Galactic Empire" will now command large portions of the multiverse (all the Evil planes, some of the Neutral, and maybe Inner planes as well?) and also thousands and thousands of Prime worlds in a dark evil grip. Lots of pantheons and powerful beings swear allegiance to the 'loth: their layers and realms get corrupted and slip toward the Grey Wastes. Yugoloth forces are everywhere, keeping their Neutral-Evil cynical peace. Maybe someone is even happy about this, confronted with the Blood War's slaughters or either the chaotic Tanar'ri lack-of-domination or the strong Baatezu dictatorship: the 'loth leave alone all the low level commoners, free to do what they want until a certain level (and thus inspiring a NE behaviour). Good-aligned heroes will try to stop the 'loth conquering all the free remaining planes, to sneak inside the Empire and to finally overthrown it (playing the role of the "Rebel Alliance"), maybe helping some enemy powers of the 'loth to assassinate the General.

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Palomides's picture
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Re: How far should I shake things up?

"These aren't the modrons you're looking for"
"Beware the Dark Side (of the Great Ring)"
"Sigil, you'll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villany"

Har Megidon's picture
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Re: How far should I shake things up?

Okay, here is a vague idea of the campaign plan:
The pcs meet Fell, who is extremely frightend and keeps talking (or is rebusing the right term?) about how everythings all wrong and only mentions it is in Carceri.
The pcs go to Carceri.
The pcs find the complete Tower of Incarnate Pain, as well as many Gehreleths (Gehreloths?) that are somehow allied with the Yugoloths.
The pcs find a clue that leads them to Gehenna.
The General of Gehenna interrupts a battlefield with his "join us and die" speech.
Epic battle.
The Devils and Demons have a temporary truce.
Aoskar is ressurected.
The pcs sabotage the army when its gathering by stirring up animosity and damaging the Crawling City's engine.
The pcs help the Harmonium fortify Sigil in preperation for the war.
The Battle of Sigil begins.
The General of Gehenna appears as a last resort.
The pcs trying

Also, had an idea of propaganda posters promoting the alliance:
"MAKE EVIL, NOT BLOOD WAR! *image of a Pit Fiend, Balor and Ultroloth scheming together*
The Blood War is simply a waste of fiendish lives! Join the Fiendish Alliance, and take out those filthy Celestials instead of your fellow evil brethren!
THE TRUE ENEMY:
*images of Archons, Eladrin, Angels and Guardinals labeled*
TODAY THE LOWER PLANES, TOMMOROW THE MULTIVERSE"

simblanco's picture
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Re: How far should I shake things up?

Palomides wrote:
"These aren't the modrons you're looking for" "Beware the Dark Side (of the Great Ring)" "Sigil, you'll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villany"
Smiling lol !

Back to the campaign, maybe the force of good will have a lot of troubles organizing a common defence while the armies of Fiendish Alliance prepare their assault to Sigil. The PCs will have a very hard time to convince everyone into cooperating with the Harmonium ("Yeah, today we help the Hardheads against this supposed fiendish invasion, but tomorrow who will help us against them?" - a common berk on the streets)

But what are your plans for the Lady of Pain? I always get stuck at this point when planning a campaign involving the conquer of Sigil. Is she stronger than the General&Aoskar, whatever they try, or are they really able to defeat her? That's why I was thinking about the "Galactic Empire" thing: even if the 'loth can cast their shadow over large portions of the multiverse, Sigil will be always a neutral harbour. Maybe the factions kriegstanz is temporarily suspended and everyone is involved in the more important "Yugoloth vs rest of the multiverse" conflict.

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Palomides's picture
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Re: How far should I shake things up?

Regarding the Lady of Pain. I personally wouldn't have the fiends make any moves on Sigil until after Aoskar returns. That way it will be a struggle of titanic proportions. If the PCs are in Sigil at that time, I think their only goal would be to avoid (and rescue others) from the resulting destruction; and fight off a few of the fiends in the army that slipped in when Aoskar returned.

The only pre-Aoskar activity in Sigil that might rouse the Lady would be a more co-ordinated effort by the Signers to get untied about their goal. If they were smart, the Signers might want to leave (possibly regrouping in Torch due to manipulation by the yugoloths)
Sure there will be a lot of rattled people in and about Sigil (pre-Aoskar) due to the plans in the works and everyone wil be on edge and new alliances will start forming; but probably nothing concrete against which the Lady could act.

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