Friday, April 11, 2014

The March Begins

For the second "episode" of Plane-atary Express, the PCs experienced a slightly different kind of "job."

At the beginning of the session, because of how well their first job went Balial gave the party a mimir. Mimir are magical creations which store information and can answer questions relating to it. This mimir is full of information pertinent to the Outlands. There is an awesome Planescape supplement called Player's Primer to the Outlands which comes with a CD representing the mimir. The tracks are available for download through the WotC website though I own a physical copy which is a lot of fun. The players really enjoy using it and the recordings are really cool.

While going about their daily business and shopping in the Great Bazaar all of the characters were suddenly struck with extremely painful headaches. Each step towards Plane-atary Express was met with increasing pain. The players decided to "follow" the direction of the lessening headache. The pain led the players to an abandoned shop just outside the Great Bazaar.

The door to the shop opened easily and inside was a dusty and trashed room with papers scattered about. On top of a table sat a large, leather bound book with a black cat sitting right next to it. When asked if the cat was responsible for the headache, it quickly responded in a very deep voice, "No."

Turns out that The Book was the one who had summoned the players. Many years ago it had been borrowed by Jysson, a clerk you used to work in the very shop where they were standing. Jysson died and became a petitioner on the Beastlands and was now the cat standing next to the book. The Book wanted to returned to it's owner, Heiron Lifegiver, a magician who most likely lives in Automata, the gate town to Mechanus. In return, The Book will tell them where a stash of gold and other valuables is in the shop.

After hemming and hawing for a bit, the party agreed to take The Book back the Heiron. They weren't much excited about this (in game) because of how rigid and lawful Automata is. Luckily The Book knew of a key and gate directly there.

Instantly, things were off to a fun start. The PCs decided to now file for street passes and register with the Office of Visitors and Temporary Entrants, and decided to just fun down where ever Heiron may have gotten to. The Book, remembering where Heiron used to live, led the players to a butcher's shop, Thandol's Smoked Meats. While sampling a selection of his wares (Bebelith legs where the daily special), the players inquired as to where Heiron was. Thandol told the PCs that Heiron moved out but can occasionally be seen at The Divine Machine, a nearby tavern.

Asking around at the Divine Machine didn't turn up any answers, but when the players left the tavern they were approached by a tiefling woman asking, "How'd you get the book?" The players were able to convince the woman, Muenscaal, to talk to them. She is a friend of Heiron and was able to tell the players where he is hiding: in the Council of Order building. In their closet. If the knock three times then whistles, he will open the door to his magnificent mansion.

The half the players walked right up the Council of Order building and asked if they could go to the closet. They were then presented with a long stack of forms to fill out, each requiring the signature of a different bureaucrat. Additionally, their permits of entry were requested. Failing to produce them, they were all fined 10 gp.

Being primarily chaotically aligned, the party decided that filling out paperwork was not the best option. Instead, Norbys decided to try sneaking into the Council of Order at night. This was not easy as there are 10 guards posted around and in the building at all hours of the night. In order to help him, the rest of the party created a distraction just up the block from the Council of Order. A bunch of ruckus and a well timed ghost sound from Nearin, and enough of the guards moved away from the building long enough to Norbys to slip in through a window.

Norbys hid in the closet under some random papers until the morning. Successfully hiding when a minor bureaucrat came in to get some paper, though just barely. At the same time, the rest of the party spent the entire morning filling out paperwork until they could finally reach the closet. Norbys knocked on the wall of the closet just as the rest of the players were walking down the hall way. Heiron opened the wall and looked out from his magnificent mansion. Initially confused to be staring at a black clad gnome, he became even more confused when a bunch of other misfits opened up the door and pilled in.

While explaining their desire to return The Book to Heiron, a pack of thugs from the Council of Anarchy shoved their way past the bureaucrats at the entrance by flashing their paperwork to commit acts of anarchy (Form U40a). Turns out they had been tailing the party and were looking for Heiron already. He owes them money for his acts of chaos in Automata. What is extra fun is that the Council of Anarchy had been mentioned by the mimir.

A fight breaks out, with the players trying to prevent Heiron from locking himself back in his mansion and beating back the Council of Anarchy Thugs. After a few rounds of pure chaos in the Council of Order, a cry erupts from the entrance and outside the building. The modrons were pouring forth from the gate to Mechanus! That wasn't supposed to happen for another few hundered years!

In the confusion, the players were able to escape with Heiron in tow and drag him a few blocks as everyone just stood their gobsmacked at the cascade of modrons pouring forth from the gate.

The players returned the book to Heiron who didn't provide them with much of a reaction and no reward. The Book, however, told the players where Jysson's stash of gold can be found in the shop. The Book and Jysson also informed the players that they are welcome to keep the shop for themselves, maybe as a home!

As is probably obvious, this adventure was another pre-written module titles "The March Begins" and is Chapter 1 of The Great Modron March by Monte Cook and Colin McComb. I found the set up to this adventure really intriguing and quite fun. I love that the main NPCs the players interact with are a book and a cat. However, this module was really week once the players arrived in Automata it really fell apart. I had to make up a lot as things were going along which is fine, but the story as written was shaky and without good transitions. Luckily the players enjoyed themselves enough and the introduction of the modron was well heralded.

The successes of the night were voice acting the cat and the book, the introduction of the mimir, and the players getting their own home.