Dungeons and Dopers: Planescape

The Dungeons and Dopers crew is starting a secondary campaign this summer (no room for new applicants currently, but we’ll possibly have room for alternates/puppeteers and we’ll definitely have room for people who want to play antagonists as we get into the campaign). The campaign will be set in Sigil, The Cage, with adventures leading off into the multiverse. The planes are a realm in which belief itself holds sway, where titanic mountains float in empty space and the corpses of gods, dead but still dreaming, float in the Astral. I’m already plotting the major story arc that the players will intersect with… once they’re ready and they’ve begin to puzzle out the dark of it.

Dramatis personae:
-A Warforged Warblade: the perfect warrior, born to blood and slaughter but utterly ignorant of factors as simple as human emotions
-An illusionist/summoner: a trickster, fast talker, one-man-traveling-carnival, he bends perception instead of reality to much the same effect
-A celestial planetouched psychic warrior: combining psionics and the sword to lethal effect, he warps reality through force of mind alone
-An infernal planetouched cleric: on the path to mastering the powers of space and time themselves, as granted by his deity
-A fifth, as of yet undetermined player

The story thus far: the Centuries War and the dawn of a new world

[spoiler]The world as you know it: 250 year ago the kingdom of Transumbria spanned the north and south of the river Umbria, a mighty river which serves as both a natural harbor to the Sea of Jade and a highway from the interior of the continent. Transumbria was the richest, most powerful nation on the continent and one of the few states whose influence spread to the entire world through both trade and the excellent mage colleges which dotted Transumbria. The king at the time had twins, two boys with the firstborn being named heir apparent and the second relegated to a position of little influence and responsibility. It wasn’t long until the second born son attempted to murder his elder brother, and after failing, was exiled by the king in the frozen north, far, far past the icy Mountains of Saint Vembria.

However, after the king’s death, the older brother proved to be a fairly weak and ineffective ruler while the younger son proved to be ruthless and canny. The kingdom of Transumbria soon split into a brutal civil war, with the boundaries shifting back and forth past the river Umbria as the years went on. 200 years later, in the players’ time, Transumbria is still split by the ceaseless Centuries War into the northern nation of Vembria, named after the Mountains of Saint Vembria which run through it, and Umbria, the southern nation. (The players serve at the pleasure of the king of Umbria.)

The battle had been roughly stalemated for 100 years until psionicists started being born, and born almost exclusively in Vembria. The mages of the time were utterly baffled by the emerging psis; their power came from a source utterly alien to the well trod theories of magic, and virtually all traditional means of magical protection proved utterly useless when faced with psionic combat. The best theory of the time, still not supplanted by any better understanding, is that psionicists somehow warp reality itself in accordance with their will. The method, methods, or true limits of their power have never been properly explained. Their effectiveness in battle, however, is beyond dispute.

The emergence of Vembrian psionicists quickly turned the tide of the battle as they overwhelmed the magical defenses put in place by the Umbrian state mages. For the first time since the war of the twins, the battle lines shifted far to the south of the river Umbria. But Umbria was not ready to concede defeat, and every forge in the city, every scrap of iron, steel and adamantine, was put to the cause. Based on mages’ proven inability to stop the psionicists’ march southwards, the Umbrians created a legion of Constructs; psionically neutral, immune to mind affecting techniques and utterly devoted to the craft of war and slaughter, the constructs attacked the Vembrian psionicists in the only manner in which they were vulnerable, through physical combat. These Constructs were named Warforged, and they began to slowly drive the battle lines back to the river Umbria.

The Warforged were created with limited sentience, able to receive and interpret orders in the chaotic flux of battlefield combat: they proved to be perfect living weapons. It was not long after the first batches of Warforged were created that anomalies began occurring as the spells which granted them sentience were twisted and warped by the reality effecting tides which reverberated across the entire world, unleashed by the psionicists themselves. These anomalies led to later generations of Warforged gaining not just sentience, but true sapience. A Warforged who would later come to be known as the Lord of Blades was the first to ask “Who am I, and why am I here?”

Sages have suggested that something truly revolutionary has been occurring, with the Centuries War only serving as a proxy for something far, far greater. In addition to the sudden appearance of the Warforged and the rise of Vembrian psionicists, fiends, devils and angels have been seen in increasing numbers and a small but growing population of the so called ‘planetouched’ has sprung up from their relations with mortal women. What the Outsiders want, and what part these new planetouched will play in their schemes, is unknown. How any of this is connected with the emergence of strange reality-bending psychic powers and the creation of a new lifeform itself? Well, that’s anybody’s guess.

What seems clear, and is increasingly becoming obvious even to those without magical or psychic aptitude, is that something is coming. Something big. Something world-shattering.

This is the world in which the players find themselves.
[/spoiler]

Also, ‘the story thus far’ brought to you by the words ‘far’ and ‘utterly’.

Since Finn has been keeping the journal in my campaign, I’ll keep one in his. Stay tuned for the wacky adventures of our group, from the perspective of the leader (by virtue of being the only sane one) illusionist!

This unit’s sanity is not in question. This unit should be considered the leader, as this unit is the allegorical “alpha male” amongst this group of puny fleshlings.
It is the only logical solution. Submit to your warforged overlords.

Q.E.D.

First Iteration

R18 [R-OneEight] was a warforged soldier created in the Umbrians’ creation forges. Unit R18 was brought away from the front lines and given to a hobgoblin clan to serve as their manual laborers and fighters. The Hobgoblins warriors were skilled in the Sublime way of the 9 Swords, and divided up the Warforged amongst their warriors and families.

Unit R-18 thus found himself commissioned by a Hobgoblin Warblade master: Jerik Thrazt- a descendent of Allek Thrazt, who became an infamous outcast of the hobgoblin masters of the Iron Heart school of Blades. Jerik was skilled in the Iron Heart techniques of Allek, but also a master of the Stone Dragon style of swords.
However, Jerik was forced to become an outcast due to the infamy of his kin. He took his family, and with the help of Unit R-18, he left his clan behind in exhile. However, Jerik fanatically believed he could re-deem his family, if only he could find and wield one of the 9 legendary blades of the 9 sword styles. Most notably, the deadly Unfettered greatsword of the Stone Dragon Style. It was his mission in life- if he could return this Greatsword of Reshar to the hobgoblin clan leaders, his family would no longer be considered outcasts. Jerik cared not for his own redemption; he did it because he had a young son: Erakis Thrazt, who one day could follow in his footsteps, becoming a master warblade. A Warblade, to whom only the pursuit of glory and the thrill of battle with a worthy opponent mattered. Jerik the Master of the Stone Dragon and Iron Heart Styles along with his wife, Aya, a master of the Diamond Mind/White Raven techniques entrusted Unit R18 as protector of their son, Erakis, and as a guard for their Family, a new pack, as they traveled across the lands and avoided the dangers of those who seeked to stop Jerik from his quest to find the Legendary Sword.
And so into this lifestyle, away from the harsh realities of the Centuries War, Unit R-18 was given a sense of purpose. He became the boy’s protector, and guarded the family with his own life, from any threats from Mardilkuthor Pwarna, the charcoal-black dwarven rebel leader, whose group stood in the way of any of those who attempted to try to locate the 9 blades.

Erakis and the Warforged unit grew close during these times. R-18 was nicknamed “Shunya” by the boy, meaning “The void/The emptiness”, and Shunya felt proud of his title, as he observed his young charge spend many hours learning maneuvers and training in techniques far above his level, taught to him by 2 masters, Jerik and Aya. Shunya began to see the beauty that lay in a life of travel and battle. The Unit stood by steadfastly, absorbing the teachings and ramblings of Jerik, as he spoke of coming close to discovering to location of Unfettered, the legendary sword of the Stone dragons. The weeks of exhile grew into months, and the months into years, as Erakis grew well into his teenage years, eventually using Shunya as his sparring partner. While the threat of Mardilkuthor’s spies was always present, Shunya’s strength and the blades of Jerik and Aya were always enough to keep them at bay, and allow the pack to survive.
These were the happiest times.
Shunya realized how luck and fate had chosen him, to be given to such a noble pack, and to have a life not offered to many of his kind- he himself was beginning to see the beauty inherent in the Blade as well, learning to move his own body to fit the stances and maneuvers taught to his charge, openly practicing them during their sparring battles. Most other Warforged he had seen were all laborers or soldiers, forced to become fighters or artificers, always in service performing mundane rote tasks over and over rather than having the chance to experience the thrill of combat, the beauty of the sweeping blade, and the joy of victory! And yet all of those thrills of combat were a paltry reward compared to the joy and warmth Shunya experienced at the hearth of his pack, with his charge and masters eating a meal together, sharing the love of kinship.

The Juggernaut’s army came in the Night.
The Warforged Leader’s assault was quick and brutal.
They smashed through the woods, and destroyed the surrounding areas as they marched onwards. They came in the night, there was a blinding green-flash, and suddenly Aya, stood, cut through and bleeding out. The numbers kept coming, and surrounded Erakis easily, before anyone knew what occurred. It was a warforged army, but not one led by the Umbrian forces.
Their leader was a towering hulk of Metal and Machine, glowing red eyes, glowing red spikes all across his armor-plated body, larger than any Warforged before. The other Units referred to him reverently as “The Lord of Blades” and spewed forth his decrees as they attacked the three Blades. Erakis eventually would fall, leaving Jerik and Shunya standing back-to-back, blades covered in oil and gore, facing the Warforged onslaught.

“SPARE THE MECHANICAL UNIT. FINISH OFF THE FLESHLINGS. THE UNIT WILL BE FREED FROM HIS ENSLAVEMENT. NO LONGER WILL YOU BE THE TOOL OF THESE FLESHLINGS. THE DAY HAS COME FOR THE WARFORGED TO RULE THIS LAND BY BLADE AND BLOOD!” issued the mighty Juggernaut. Jerik roared and leaped into combat, his blade flashing in the moonlight as the other warforged came forth and pinned down Shunya, not allowing him to come to the aid of his master. Jerik unleashed his Stone Dragon techniques and slayed two of the Warforged holding down Shunya, but at that moment when his back was turned, the Juggernaut called “The Lord of Blades” plunged his curved blade into Jerik’s back. The blade flashed a sickening green color as Jerik spat up blood.
“The… the Faithful Avenger? He… has one of the Legendary Blades? But… but how?” Jerik gasped, and then groaned as the blade continued to be driven down into his body, splitting him in half.

“PUNY FLESHLING. NOW YOU UNDERSTAND WHY YOU ARE NO MATCH FOR THE LORD OF BLADES. FELLOW UNITS, INCORPORATE THIS WARFORGED UNIT INTO OUR RANKS, THE UNIT HAS BEEN FREED AND WILL SERVE OUR CAUSE WELL. WELCOME, R-OneEight. YOUR ASSIMILATION BEGINS TODAY. ONWARDS!”

Thus ended the first night Shunya knew true real pain.
Watching his beloved family and charges slain before his very eyes in the name of this unit’s own freedom. His only source of happiness and joy, stripped away- the sickening green flash burned into the visual circuitry of this unit. Months began to pass again to create years as this unit marched onwards within the ranks of his leader: The Lord of Blades.
**
-End of First Iteration-**

Second Iteration:

[spoiler]
Unit R-18 gripped the longsword blade tightly. The memory banks replayed the sickening green flash to the visual receptors. Master Jerik’s last words whispered into auditory receptors- “Shunya… The Unfettered… it must exist. Please. Make- u-us p-puh-proud…” Jerik’s last words were Shunya’s Ultimate mission.
His master had given this Unit one last gift on the night of Failure. The night of this unit’s dishonor, Master had given UnitR18 the chance to redeem himself with a task: the duty and honor of avenging his master’s family fell upon Shunya.

This Unit would avenge his family, and he would defeat the only thing that was able to fell the greatest warrior he knew: The Lord of Blades MUST BE TERMINATED!

Thus, the story continues:

This Unit: R-18 was incorporated into the ranks of the Lord of Blades’ guerilla army, serving only to seek out battle and destroy the Lord’s foes. The Lord of Blades broke away from the Century Wars, and created his own army, created entirely of Warforged, either those who seeked out this charismatic leader, or those “forced” to join his army. The choice was Freedom from Humanity or instant Death. Thus, R-OneEight was forced into Freedom. That Unit’s memory chips encoded and rarely played his memories of his faithful pack, but he dared not play them anymore. Freedom from Humanity meant giving up ties to the old ways and embracing his new Master- his living God: The Lord of Blades. A Warforged’s humanity was suppressed under the Adamantine Rule of the Lord of Blades. Unit R-OneEight’s body was painfully stripped of its armor, and replaced with shiny Adamantine plating, and the Unit was forged to become a living weapon, built for war in the name of his Lord. His fellow Warforged fighters did not understand why that unit R-OneEight would break ranks at times, seeking out the deadliest foes, and Shunya dared not show off his Warblade Martial techniques in front of the other fighters. OneEight was but a cog in the machine of the growing Juggernaut. Shunya thirsted for Vengence, but his Lord’s Freedom prevented any choice other than serving the Lord of Blades, lest Unit OneEight be slaughtered as an example to the other Warforged. Unit OneEight began to give up hope as years passed, and the unit became a killing machine. But thoughts of his pack and their adventures avoiding their enemies always seemed to trigger a pleasant memory. And yet, they were senselessly killed. Killed because they habored a Warforged amongst them. The Lord of Blades cared not who he had slaughtered- a Martial Blades Master, and another seeker of one of the 9 blades. Jerik and his pack were merely another group of fleshlings, standing in the way of Progress.
THE DAY HAD COME FOR THE WARFORGED TO RULE THIS LAND BY BLADE AND BLOOD [/spoiler]

Third Iteration

Ironically, it would be his pack’s own enemies that would lead to OneEight’s chance at freedom.
Mardilkuthor Pwarna, the dwarven martial master’s own spies were the ones who had seen and tracked down R-18, and offered him a chance to escape. The Lord of Blades was hell bent on not only expanding his new Warforged army, but also to truly live up to his moniker and own the 9 swords, all while the Centuries War distracted the Transumbrian continent. Master Pwarna’s forces had been watching the Thrazt pack, and had seen their slaughter at the hands of the Lord of Blades. Now, Master Pwarna’s spies finally found Unit OneEight again, and offered Unit R-18 a chance to break his bonds. To escape and forge his own path- in the hopes that the enemy of my enemy will one day slay the greater threat. Unit OneEight was stolen away from the Lord of Blades Warcamp, and bought to Master Pwarna, who seeked his help to one day stop the Lord of Blades and Avenge his own family.

Shunya agreed immediately.

And so began Unit R-18’s life again for a third time.
With the help of Master Pwarna, Unit R-18 was brought back to the Kingdom of Umbria, to serve the King with the remaining warforged soldiers. Unit R-18 attempted to blend in with the other fighters, however his own martial training betrayed him. The Unit’s own memories hidden deep within, and the martial techniques of the Warforged survivor of the Thrazt clan impressed the Umbrian generals, and Unit R-18 was quickly removed from the regular army and placed under the service of the King himself. The King’s Enforcer. An honorable neutral Warforged Warblade, caring not about anything but the thrill of combat, the beauty of the fight, and the glory of felling a worthy foe. These became the trademarks of the killing machine in the King’s service.

But deep down, that sickening Green flash lives on in the unit’s visual circuits. It recalls the visual replay of the curved blade piercing flesh.
Perhaps most importantly, Shunya feels. The Empty One feels the pain and the loss of his Pack. He is still ever seeking, ever training, ever preparing, knowing that he must fell a foe far greater than his training had prepared him for, the one who had felled both his Masters, and slain his Charge. The hulking juggernaut that has grown to become an unstoppable leader, and one who possesses one of the 9 legendary blades of lore.
But what is better for a warblade than such a noble sense of purpose? What more could a WarBlade ask for than a chance to slay the greatest foe for the greatest cause?

Shunya will complete his Master’s last orders and repay his debt to Master Pwarna as well. He must find his own legendary blade, and he will avenge his pack and restore their honor by defeating the greatest foe: The Lord of Blades must be terminated!

**
TL;DR:**
Unit R-18 is an Enforcer for the Umbrian King, having distinguished himself in combat from the other warforged due to his unique training as a Warblade.
However, his Upbringing has kept him away from people, and his own experiences have jaded him to almost all of humanity including his own kind.
Unit R-18 appears to thirst only for the thrill of battle, the joy of combat, and the honor of slaying a worthy foe. However, the time he spends alone in mediation and training belie a greater sense of purpose…

[spoiler]Micahel was the proud son of Tyrius and Robin Allister, citizens of Vembria, for five whole years. For five years, they believed their son’s red eyes were a fluke of nature. That his reddish skin was just an unfortunate condition. That that whiff of brimstone around him every so often was their imagination. But when his tail started growing out, they couldn’t convince themselves any longer. Ashamed and afraid of their son, the young parents hired a powerful sorcerer to banish him…not just from their village, but from their entire plane. Something went wrong with the spell, though. Instead of being sent to a different plane, the spell rebounded…and Micahel ended up in the middle of nowhere at the southern edge of Umbria.

Only five, Micahel was defenseless. Fortunately for him, he came across a small sect of the Guardians of Infinity: a religious organization that worships and does the bidding of Cyndor, a god of time. The guardians, believing that all actions have consequences, accepted the young tiefling into their order, feeling that if they left him alone it would return to haunt them. Betrayed by his parents, he got rid of his last name, choosing only to go by Micah. He grew up in the sect’s small monastery, learning the teachings of Cyndor under the tutelage of other clerics. As he grew older, his loyalty to the sect increased, and he discovered he had impressive talents in the school of divine magic. He started training in the domains of time and space, wanting to learn more about the planes and the very fabrics that held them together. He couldn’t forget his parents’ botched attempts to banish him somewhere else, and despite the neutral leanings of the sect itself, the resentment and anger burned inside Micah’s heart.

When Micah reached his twenty-fifth birthday, he felt he had learned everything he could at the monastery and chose to return to civilization. With an endless war going on, he easily fell into the job of a mercenary, putting his skills as a cleric and his ability to bend time and space out to the highest bidder. Micah found the anger and hatred inside of him opened a path to bloodlust, and felt extremely satisfied whenever he killed someone. He enjoyed the massacres he got paid for…but only killed when the job called for it. His years under the teachings of Cyndor kept him from becoming completely chaotic…if he took on a job, he would fulfill it, no matter who or what got in his way.

On the eve of his thirtieth birthday, Micah found himself working in Vembria and back in his home village. His human parents, now in their 50s, barely recognized the son they had cast away. But he remembered. After the job was completed, he returned to the town at night on his own job. He tortured his parents to acquire what he wanted from them: the name of the elven sorcerer that had tried to banish him - Elthuon. After he got the information, he felt justified in burning the entire village down to the ground. Their screams for mercy and forgiveness fell on deaf ears, he turned the town that had betrayed and banished him was razed and turned to ash, most of the residents trapped and burned alive; his parents included.

Returning to his job as a mercenary, he was soon hired on retainer by the King of Umbria. Word had spread of a cleric burning down an entire Vembrian village, and someone that ruthless the king wanted on his side. So now Micah does odd jobs for the king as the war rages on, all the while searching for Elthuon so he can exact his revenge.[/spoiler]

I’ve decided to tell my backstory in story form, with a series of stories describing who my character is and how he acts. I don’t have time to post them all at once, so here is the first one:

The Lone Traveler

[spoiler]One dark, cloudy Umbrian night, a man walked along a narrow, twisting forest path. He was a tall man, with a light sword at his waist and a heavy and tattered traveler’s coat across his back. As he walked, he whistled a soft tune, of the struggle in a man’s heart between love of a woman and love of adventure. This song described this man’s life perfectly; in his case, adventure won. Suddenly, the bushes on both sides of the path started rustling and a group of scruffy men stepped into the moonlit path, surrounding the man. All of them were armed. The traveler was seemingly unphased.

“Evening, gentlemen. Pleasant night for a walk, isn’t it?” he asked. The biggest of the men, and seemingly their leader, drew a sword and pointed it at the traveler. “Quiet, ye! An’ no funny busn’s!” he growled. “Now, ye’d best be handin’ over yer gold an’ sword, 'fore we take 'em”. The traveler nodded, sadly. “Ah, then you’re common bandits!” he said, eying their Vembrian-made swords. “And not from around here, I’d wager. Vembrian looters, eh?” The big bandit shoved his sword closer to the traveler. “Aye, nea that tha matters to ye! Now, the gold!” The traveler simply nodded again. “But if you’re not from around here, then you haven’t heard the legend of the Headless Knight, have you?” From behind, one of the other bandits asked the question: “Who’s he?” The traveler smiled.

“Well, legend says that about a hundred years ago, there was a knight. Not a very good one, mind you; he wasn’t very good with a sword.” He seemed to ponder something. “What was his name again?” He muttered a curse in some foreign language that none of the bandits recognized. “Ah, well, it doesn’t matter”. The bandits still pointed their weapons at him, but they seemed more curios than angry now. “Anyways, this knight, one day he was riding through this very forest when he was ambushed by a group of bandits, much like you fine folk right here. He decided to fight, and lost his head for his trouble.” He paused for a moment; there came the very faint sound of approaching hoof beats, but none of the bandits seemed to notice. “They say that he’s been riding around these woods ever since, looking for his head” continued the traveler. The sound of hoof beats was louder now; some of the bandits started shifting uncomfortably. “He kills every group of ruffians he finds, hoping that they are the ones who took the head.” The sound of hooves was much louder now; then, suddenly, the traveler shouted another foreign curse. “By the gods, what is THAT?!” he shouted, pointing into the foliage.

As the bandits turned to look, the sound of a galloping horse could be heard very clearly, and out of the trees burst the glowing image of a tall man in heavy armor mounted atop a similarly glowing horse. The man was missing his head, and swinging a rusty-looking longsword around blindly. Shouting in fear, the bandits scattered as the horseman passed through the pass and deeper into the forest. The traveler waited just a moment to make sure they weren’t coming back, then smirked. “Suckers!” he whispered to himself. “You carry a sword instead of a staff and wear a coat instead of a robe, and no one ever suspects that you’re a wizard.” The man picked up his tune where he left off and strolled onwards down the path.[/spoiler]

Edit: Realized this might not be clear. When he curses, that’s him disguising a verbal component of his spell.

Also known as… Dune.
(couldn’t resist)

Nope, It’s probably where it came from. :smiley:

S’okay, I hate coming up with names. That’s why the main NPC’s in the story currently are “the king” and such.

First session is now completely planned, including loot. Ready whenever the PC’s are good to go.

Ah… that was an awful color spray.

This looks interesting. I ran a Planescape campaign for a few years when it first came out, and I loved playing Planescape:Torment on my computer. I would be interested in running an antagonist; I guess I would need more info on the current state of things in Sigil- is this long after the Faction War, what has happened since then, etc…

There is no Faction War in my campaign, bah!
Also, we should be able to update this soon, and may end up needing an extra player… the summer is up in the air.

Apartment set up, internet working, looking to get this rolling again some time soon.

Okay: roll call folks. We need to choose a new day as Saturday doesn’t work, and I need confirmation on who can show up when so I can plan encounters appropriately. Lemme know, y’all.