Thursday, 8 March 2012

Planescape part 3 , also FTW

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF Here I am in Melbourne, which I have discovered is actually quite likable and am dreading getting back to Dunedin. Dunedin is like Pandemonia but instead of endless windy tunnels, is castles, witchery houses and greenery. But the point in common is that there is a constant sense of mental unwellness chipping away at you. And it's not even winter yet. A friend in Dunedin keeps quoting Game of Thrones "winter is coming".  Winter brings the madness. Their are far more cute people in Melbourne. Dunedin kinda looks like someone took a piss in the genepool. But finding a job in Melbourne is a whole bunch of not going to happen, except hospo jobs , but me attempting to work in a kitchen again will result in stabbings. Tempted to go scavenger again, squating , dumpstering etc, but it's kinda a full time job, and makes it difficult to do anything else. I think I will just have gird my loins and battle the winter in Dunedin with G+ hangout games and save like a scheming dragon to get my ass back here so I finish the Krav training and try for an instructors position. Ah crikey poop poop. I am down and being autobiographical. Bah.
I have photos of the stuff I did when I had my studio, and other photos of note, INCLUDING a nail polish combination that is totally baatorian greensteel (that planescape verdigris metal colour), but not the cable to transfer it.

So I will write up some more ideas about planescape, but not the places I wanna do because I want scan some pictures and give you some heaps good random tables. So some other places that I can write up right now and not have much prep work done.
 ANd people will look at these fruits I hatch from my Thought Organ and I will feel validation for something I do. Which is nice when you're having to pretty much abandon about 2 - 3 years worth of art work that you actually are quite proud of. And thus feeling sad and arsony.

Mount Celestia.
The lawful good plane. Yup. This one is exciting. I just read the wiki on it to refresh my memory own it, but I just double forgot what I just read.
YEah So lets make it a huge Mountain. Maybe it already was? Or maybe it had a mountain on some of it. DOn't know , DOn't care. ANyway now it's a big mountain. Like super big. Planescape big.
THe river mcspishy splash um.. Oceancia or what ever goes around it's base. SO its like super mountain rising out of a beauty-full (and orderly) lake/river thing, and it's horizon is all misty and it's slightly cold and all very epic.
To traverse MT celestia is to travel through goat trails, and wide mountain passes, lush green plateaus , alpine forests, mighty (and orderly) waterfalls, handsome stone bridges. and blah blah.
Up the toppish somewhere is where the Nephilium live . The used to be called Archon, but then that's a better name for a sinister planar peoples, so Nephilum. THey are like Trumpet , sword, throne and have some powers and warm the seat nicely for some generic good super mooks.
So lets leave them there. Also keep whateva godhouses are littering up (but in an orderly fashion) the place here, Kord , and some kind of Couatl king and werfslkgflrdf
I wanna put something at the top of all this. While the Nephilium are like the rank and file and like a temp agency (but orderly) for the gods of justice and shit, I reckon there needs to be a super force that is the heart of the concept of this plane. Which is WOrthness, or Value, or Virtue or some old timey word that if you went around saying these days , people would also assume you to be a racist or some other bigot. Well I would, anyway, because I distrust old people in positions of authority. Actually , wait , I distrust young people in positions of authority too.
I DIGRESS , Mt Celestia , its about testing peoples mettle, and arcane codes of justice, and living up to standards. So it should have these mysterious armoured figures, who loom giantly and pronounce enigmatical judgements or bestowing boons or quests in order to raise up the forces of light, (in contrast to Elysiums "just chill the fuck out dude" and Arboreas , wait what the fuck was arborea again? Let me check.. Oh another magic forest , I'm going to lose it at magic forest so bad writing this, so Arboreas "run around in nice forest with no pants on Supreme Hippy Bullshit")



Okay yes, you saw that coming. YEs Mt Celestia, Jack Kirby's Celestials , I'm so freaking clever.
Look, okay, Law at it's extremes will come across like complete batshit random, like these guys. and they had titles like the Calculator, The Prober, THe Judge etc.
So total Law and Good, you have to earn our attention, here's some cosmic law reason why we do fuck all blah blah.
So a epic quest would be  having to climb Mt Celestia in order to get the Celestials attention and plead your case with them (say the players world is about to be cast into the sun because it's invested with demons and oozes), but all the god waiters and Nephilum would get all shitty with you for trying to go above them. And you would have fight or sneak up the mountain in order to have your audience with the Celestials. ANd if you succeed , you could get an awesome happening, where the sun is huge and red in the sky of your home, and the sky is full of Nephilium telling everyone off, and how it's there fault that the world needs to be burned, and KABLOOMERS the Celestial show up and go " OH THIS IS SO NOT HAPPENING, WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE? And then a epic curbstomp happens and all the righteous gods and smug angels get their butts handed (orderly) to them so damn hard , and the campaign world is forever got bits of gods and angels parts stuck in the mountains and stomped into the bedrock. ANd the evil gods and demon queen the world is like sweet , No Good Gods!, and The Celestials go "ALSO? YOU, YOU , AND YOU ARE NOW GODS OF GOOD. HERE'S YOUR MANUAL , FUCK IT UP AND GET DESTROYED UTTERLY" so then Jubilex the slime lord is stuck being the God Of bountyful harvests and Playing Well With Others and what not, and having to resist all the Celestial Level Geas dumped in on It and trying to be a shit to everyone but still following the Manual.
Actually I think that's what's happen to Planet Earth. Like it's not lakes of snot and viper trees, but it does  seem like someones trying to sneak bastardness into the basic operating conditions all the time.

ALSO? Travelling around Mt Celestia involves constant "testing", so a bridge will break and you'll have to use team work to survive etc. The better you do at these tests, the faster you get anywhere on this plane. Assume one test for a quick a to b mission here, and a 1d6 tests for trying to go up to the next layer on the plane, oh wait I did not mention layers?                                                              
                                                                                                                                                                    |       \
6th layer, whatever dull ass gods, gets far more space castly and less noble mountain           }        |
                                                                                                                                                         _     /           |
5th layer, the palaces of Nephilium, weapons and barracks for fighting evil               _[| |]_/             \
                                                                                                                                                   /                           \
4th layer the keeps of the Nephilium , orderly city and libarys                                   /                             |
                                                                                                                                           _h/                               |
3rd layer has lesser Nephilium , instructional engravings, noble animals       _/                                     \
                                                                                                                                      /                                          \
 2nd layer resting place of knights and has castles and keeps                   __ /                                            |
                                                                                                                              /                                                  \
     1st layer, animals, simple villagers, gnomes, cliffs                    ___ /                                                      \
this is the lake oceanous wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww/                                                                  \w

Here's a table of Random Celestia's walking around oh what's that over there or blocking our progress or what have you?:
1:The test of bravery ; someone is in peril, like a small child hanging from a clifftop tree under a waterfall with big blocks of ice falling down it or a milkmaid being attacked by a Dire Cow that squirts milk that acts like a grease spell, or a landslide with a gnome village below(why is there evil on this plane? DUh testing...). THe test should appear threatening to the players, with a good chance of a maiming happening, if not out right death. If the players succeed by overcoming the obstacle , then the person they rescued tells them a short cut or gives them some healing milk . If they get smashed by the obstacle , maybe a Deva or a Nephilium helps them in the nick of time, gives them a condescending pat on the head or what have you.
Not attempting the test means the path taken gets way steeper, or it starts to rain, or snow, or it gets dark. Anything that's telling you the road of fear is harder in the long run.

2: Test of Kindness: Someone in need asks to borrow something like a backpack or a horse or something else annoying. Helping out means, they lose the item, but get to find a better version, sometime in the future. Eventually. Not helping that next time they need a favour from someone on this place, they don't get helped. In case it's not obvious play this plane like a patronizing moralizing, quantum ogre-ing wad of smug.

3. Test of Justice, There is some human knight dudes attacking some ork familys. But these are redeemed orks! Not breaking up the fight, attacking the orks, or killing the knights, means a fail. Fail means next time you go to sleep you wake up blind. For a day or so. BEcause without justice how will we find our way? Success means nothing. Justice is its own reward. Chuff Chuff Chuff.

4. The Test of robot bees, clockwork bees attack the party. Success means you did not get beaten up by the robot bees. Failure means you get beaten up by the robot bees. The moral here is Don't be Weak. ANd that Scrap Princess is already hating this table.

5. The Test Of Mercy: AN ogre or something attacks. NO wait an ettin . Yeah, an ettin, and when it's reduced to low hitpoints, it surrenders, but only one of the heads swears it will changes its ways.
Oh noes what a dilemma! If they let it live, thats a fail, and later like 1d4 ettins attack them. If they chop off the bad head and try and prevent it from bleeding to death (successful or not) that's a success , even if the good head dies, coz hey that's the brakes when you drive the evil bus.
If they drag the ettin around and try and talk the bad head into good headness (...) thats an A+ and they totally have an ettin to help them out while on Mt Celestia. MAybe this and justice should swap names? Meh

6.The test of Virtue: An nephilium shows up and is like "nah go back and take another path, youse are  scum. Unless you can prove to me that you are not" Fighting the Nephilium is a fail. Attempting to tell the Nephilium all your good deeds is a fail (thats hubris baby), although if you have a favour owning from another test, that person totally shows up and goes "nah yeah these guys! Wow! These guys!" and that's a success and you get to where you are going faster. Turning around and walking the another path without complaint is a success. The path still takes slightly longer than it would other wise but the Nephilium will help out later maybe. Whining about the path means it takes ages and ages.

You get the idea, just go through some Just So or Aesop's fables, and use them. Espially the older ones that do not make a whole lot of sense.
Look heres a link
Okay I'm tired, someone wants their computer back, quickly heres some notes on the beastlands
This is full of animals , but the other layers should be for megafauna and dinosaurs, and then some layers for the animals that never happened, or could happen. Ditto plants and fungus.
Also a layer where everything is heaps big, so like blades of grass are the size of tall trees etc.
Once a year, its the BONEDANCE,
it goes real dark except for glowing fungus, and all the animals go to sleep and hide and then all these glowing animal skeletons run around and fight and have sex with each other and make entirely new composite animals with the bones getting stolen and eaten. And this is how ideas of new species get tested.
IF the players can stay alive through the bone dance, they can keep a single trophy like a jawbone or antler, that makes a great weapon, or can be grafted into something like masterwork or +1.
WIth the discretion more powerful trophys more powerful effects.
Protecting the plane as well as the Animal Lords, there can be summoned by the plane or the animal words, is Pantheroid , or a Lionoid or other animal, which is a gigantic lion or panther made up of lions or panthers in a terrifying cat composite.


  1. fear not, Scraps, and keep your chin up

  2. adversity maketh mount celestials?

  3. noooooo my asci mt celestia ! Stupid formating! Its not orderly at all!!!!

  4. and those aesops I linked to are not really that adaptable for a game... blast!

  5. This is... actually totally gameable. Which is the first time I've ever seen anyone take on the Lawful Good type planes and made them into realio trulio potential play environments. Wow, I am in awe.

    ...I'm just a bit sad that you've taken whatever half-formed ideas I had about a perversely non-violent DnD campaign and make me hate them all - really, I do not want to play Homily of the Week.

    My instinct would be to take this basic structure and Chinese it up, or Pendragon it up, or both at once; the whole "achieving purity through testing" thing works best to my mind on Mt Meru, rather than in some vaguely-faux-Christian-with-neoclassical-detailing Manque Olympus. And if you did go the martial arts discipline peaceful warrior route then instead of Aesop's Fables you get Journey to the West which is awesome instead of preachy and more open-ended than railroady, by which I mean the challenges are just laid out there and you have to deal with them however and there may be some insights along the way, rather than getting someone grading you on how you did at each step. Also the final reward can be "now you're pure go make the world pure too." Which could be extra creepy depending on what you've learned.

    But making the evil gods take over the good ones' gigs is genius, and the bonedance is beyond genius: so many opportunities for the PCs to make or get into trouble there - the sort of dangerous toy Telecanter would give his players (this is high praise).

    Man, my posts are looking not very imaginative to me after seeing this... I have to withdraw and regroup.

    1. I'm tempted to go back and make some more tests, I feel that those ones I made were weak sauce. You should totally run with it, especially Journey of the West-ing .
      Those stories are awesome, but have you noticed the complete lack of morality in them? Like there's a demon, Monkey immediately runs off to fight the demon, and if that does not work , he flys back to the jade emperor / or Buddha and sweet talks some celestial muscle into pile driving the demon situation . A nearby village is happy coz no demon, and monkey tells them to immediately build 2 or 3 gold temples to buddha , because substance level farmers don't have anything else to do right?
      They then leave, mission accomplished.
      It's so awesome, that the only moral is being powerful is great, and the best way to promote a religion thats about non materialism is demand everyone build solid gold statues to Buddha. It's so damn gonzo I love it.

      It's also really interesting how the jade emperor (which is a taoist figure) and Buddha and Confucius values all get thrown together despite the conflicts actually occurring between those religions at the time. Like a lets just assume everything is correct approach to cosmology.
      I guess a western equivalent would be christians believing tales of fairys and ghosts , despite these things totally not existing in christian canon .

      Anyway totally take whatever ideas you read here and put your own spin on them.
      More is more and all that!

  6. Have you seen Secret of Kells? I meant to mention it to you.

    1. it's really great.
    2. nice mix of "Irish monks saved our Christian Civ." and "trust the faeries." I can't remember who said "there are over 36000 gods recognized in China today, including Jesus and Mary, and most Chinese believe in all of them" but, even if it might be offensive, it's awesome. I want to run that game.

    ...also you said to keep mentioning artists to you: I buried this one in a post a couple of weeks ago, mentioning him again because I suspect you'll like his stuff - Robert Powell in Mustang

    1. sweet! I will watch this! And I like that artist! I will give it a good eyeballs soon!

  7. I am totally fine with validating these ideas, like Richard said you took something where every time i read it all i thought was "there's nothing for the players to even fucking do there" and made it filled with adventures that all i want to do now is play through.

    Really excellent job.
    I hope the other things work out. Scavenging sends interesting.