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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default What To Do With Your Layer Of The Abyss (3.5)

    So, my last D&D campaign set up major villains for my current one. Each rose to power as a force of evil in the campaign setting.

    So, Jamben the dread necromancer has now got his own secret necromantic academy, Jaren the cleric is now Nerull's majordomo, and Jaden Kane the blackguard is now at the head of an undead army...

    For this thread, though, we're dealing with Malnar.

    Malnar is a Shifter barbarian. He's very much a mercenary, and is more than willing to solve your problems for a fee, provided that they can be solved with copious applications of his fiery greataxe. He eventually managed to attain half-demon status via a wish, in his search for more power.

    Well, I decided that sometime in the five hundred year gap between campaigns, Malnar defeated a minor demon lord in personal combat, gaining control of a jungle-like layer of the Abyss in the process.

    Now, though, I'm trying to puzzle out exactly what he'd actually do with the thing. So, I'm turning to you, Playgrounders, for some ideas...

    What would you do if you were Malnar, and you found that you had control of your very own layer of the Abyss?
    It is inevitable, of course, that persons of epicurean refinement will in the course of eternity engage in dealings with those of... unsavory character. Record well any transactions made, and repay all favors promptly.. (Thanks to Gnomish Wanderer for the Toreador avatar! )

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    Default Re: What To Do With Your Layer Of The Abyss (3.5)

    Well, it's likely that most of the layer's denizens wouldn't recognize Malnar as their new lord and master, or maybe he wants them to really know who's calling the shots. That's where the killing starts. After clearing a nice and wide swathe through the demon ranks, Malnar, who has now gained a level or two, demands allegiance from the demons. They occasionally betray him and also die. He himself grows in power. Realizing that the only way to dethrone this new combat beast would be to gain power on their own, the demons of the layer began a brutal war between each other, to weed out the weak. This, of course, sat perfectly well with Malnar, and he would often take trips through the wilderness, slaying anyone foolish enough to come across him.
    Eventually, though, he grew bored of the demons, and commissioned a wizard (whom he later had stuffed) to create a Sigil-like network of portals across his realm that would capture unsuspecting warriors from the Prime Material and drag them into the unebbing fray of the jungle layer where he would watch them struggle and die. Eventually, these hapless fellows began to survive and band together, and these roving groups wandered the realm. When they got too strong, Malar would track them and kill them, then resume watching from an unreachable tower in the midst of the thickest, most dangerous jungle (that he himself has no problem wading through).
    Last edited by Flickerdart; 2009-02-26 at 04:27 PM.
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    Default Re: What To Do With Your Layer Of The Abyss (3.5)

    Ideas:

    -Malnar envisions the ultimate training ground. A world full of hazards, puzzles, and monsters that only the truest warrior could ever hope to navigate. It would defeat the point to know everything when he attempts to train himself for the unexpected, so it comes to be that not only Malnar knows the nature of his endless layer of tests and lessons (perhaps he is able to grant the land some degree of sentience, perhaps there is someone he trusts to manage it, perhaps he made it himself and had Modify Memory cast on himself). The problem however, appears to be that Malnar made it too good and no one has seen or heard from the guy since. Perhaps for plot reasons, the PCs either need to seek out his help or make sure he is dead, so they attempt to go in deep and find him. Or perhaps the PCs never do have a reason to go in, but the plot takes an unexpected twist when Malnar emerges as a powerful demi-god like being.

    -Either the devils or the celestials like the idea of a powerful warrior that can be bought and has a foothold in The Abyss. More to the point, this lawfully aligned force has better capital than their chaotic enemy. So half-demon though he may be, the devils/celestials buy his loyalty and turn his layer in to the central HQ for an epic offensive against the demonic horde.

    -Time has created a lot of enemies for Malnar and the once aggressive barbarian who traveled the world has now been transformed into a paranoid recluse. Malnar has transformed his layer into a combination of the ultimate fort for his personal defense and the ultimate hazard that only he can survive in. Perhaps the PCs have to navigate this hazard to get to Malnar, only to join forces with Malnar to fight a far more troublesome enemy. The goal is to give a nice dungeon, a nice pretext to a large plot hook, and a neat little theme about the dangers of going through life with no loyalties.

    -Malnar may seem like an ambitious and reckless warrior who goes through life without thought, but actually his motivation is much deeper. The plane is transformed into the fulfillment of his ultimate desire (to recover his long-ago destroyed homeland or to find a place to be alone (perhaps why he doesn't mind killing people) or to create the first truly anarchist society). Having satisfied his main goal, Malnar lives a life of relative quite. However when something later destroys his beloved layer, Malnar goes berserk. That's when the PCs realize the past Malnar was holding back and was comparatively merciful. This new Malnar is truly a monster.
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    Default Re: What To Do With Your Layer Of The Abyss (3.5)

    Well, the obvious solution is to have Malnar take control of the plane and build up a large demonic mercenary force, hiring it out to other powerful entities (demon lords, corrupt kings, what have you). This way he gains power (has a large army and seat of authority), has the ability to still gain power (by payments), can still do mercenary work, and on an even grander scale (if he enjoys personal combat, which would be my guess, he could simply lead the army from the front), and seems to mostly fit the character presented (though granted I don't know about his views on positions of authority and responsibility. Maybe he has other people take care of management while he runs out with his huge fiery axe?)

    I do like Flickerdart's "Most Dangerous Game" idea too though, I'm just not sure a mercenary character would be content to sit around a lot- I might change it so he has a more active involvement.
    Last edited by AmberVael; 2009-02-26 at 05:29 PM.

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    Default Re: What To Do With Your Layer Of The Abyss (3.5)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vael View Post
    Well, the obvious solution is to have Malnar take control of the plane and build up a large demonic mercenary force, hiring it out to other powerful entities. This way he gains power, has the ability to still gain power, can still do mercenary work, and on an even grander scale, and seems to mostly fit the character presented.
    I like this, especially because I want him to play at least a semi-active role throughout the campaign. I'm not a fan of having villains just sit around; even if his actions will never directly involve the PCs, it's still better than having him twiddle his thumbs until it's his turn to step in the spotlight...

    Quote Originally Posted by Vael View Post
    (though granted I don't know about his views on positions of authority and responsibility. Maybe he has other people take care of management while he runs out with his huge fiery axe?)
    This very well might be the case. I'm still undecided as to that part.
    It is inevitable, of course, that persons of epicurean refinement will in the course of eternity engage in dealings with those of... unsavory character. Record well any transactions made, and repay all favors promptly.. (Thanks to Gnomish Wanderer for the Toreador avatar! )

    Wanna see what all this Exalted stuff is about? Here's a primer!

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    Default Re: What To Do With Your Layer Of The Abyss (3.5)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vael View Post
    Well, the obvious solution is to have Malnar take control of the plane and build up a large demonic mercenary force, hiring it out to other powerful entities (demon lords, corrupt kings, what have you). This way he gains power (has a large army and seat of authority), has the ability to still gain power (by payments), can still do mercenary work, and on an even grander scale (if he enjoys personal combat, which would be my guess, he could simply lead the army from the front), and seems to mostly fit the character presented (though granted I don't know about his views on positions of authority and responsibility.
    I was thinking along similar lines, but additionally his army could be used to raiding and plundering when they aren't out on the job. Campaign wise they could steal something important.

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    Default Re: What To Do With Your Layer Of The Abyss (3.5)

    I'm picturing a vast world of fortified provinces. Malnar periodically takes charge of one and attacks another; the defenders learn, the attackers learn, and M gets to kill things. Occasionally, he'll simply lead his housecarls (whatever he calls them) against an entire province by surprise, just to keep them sharp.

    Then, when he's hired to attack someplace else, all the survivors of his army get reshuffled when they return. No permanent power structure to create alliances that could threaten him, constant carnage and honing of his troops... what more could he want?
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    Default Re: What To Do With Your Layer Of The Abyss (3.5)

    Depends on his personality. Personally, he seems to come across as a survival of the fittest mentality. A plane like The Hill from Marvel would probably work for him - a nasty place where the food and water is at the top. And everybody else is at the bottom. Want to be at the top? You fight your way up or find another way to work your way up with your brain. The only way to get anywhere is through force, either economic or physical.

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    Default Re: What To Do With Your Layer Of The Abyss (3.5)

    If I was an evil overlord with my own layer of the abyss...

    I'd probably want to have the thing be extremely well fortified, with crack troops. Most likely put a giant wall around the thing, with lots of insidious traps.

    Since it's an entire layer, I'd try and milk it for all kinds of resources. Devise all sorts of nasty equipment for my hordes.

    Now, a lot really depends on how reliable the demons are. The Undead can probably be trusted to do their job better than Demons. As such, I might either kick them all out, or leave them only to do unimportant tasks.

    Even if he couldn't do much to the terrain itself, all that wood is probably worth something. Especially since much is likely to be of the magic type. Which could be traded to others with.

    It might be an idea to offer refuge, and support to other villains, to get a nice little powerbase up.


    A lot depends on what the guy's goals are. Does he want to conquer more? Who knows, maybe he could end up offering an alliance with one of the great demon princes. Maybe he might assault other layers. Perhaps, he could even seek to invade the material plane or the heavens.

    If the guy doesn't really care about "world domination" and such (it really is overrated you know. Being world emperor would SUCK), maybe the guy just wants to develop spells and such. Of course, then the guy isn't so much of a threat. Of course, he could still be assaulted by people who desire wealth and power.
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    Default Re: What To Do With Your Layer Of The Abyss (3.5)

    He could capture infant creatures from the material plane and raise them as fanatical soldiers who believe him to be a god. He presumably has some sort of stronghold---he can raise and train them there, and at a young age, force them to begin their own clans in the jungle. I think Dwarves might work well. If needed, he can call on them as an army, and they would make particularly dangerous foes in the plane itself.

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    Default Re: What To Do With Your Layer Of The Abyss (3.5)

    Quote Originally Posted by Xuincherguixe View Post
    Most likely put a giant wall around the thing, with lots of insidious traps.
    A wall around a layer of the Abyss?

    Quote Originally Posted by Xuincherguixe View Post
    If the guy doesn't really care about "world domination" and such (it really is overrated you know. Being world emperor would SUCK), maybe the guy just wants to develop spells and such.
    Except that he's a barbarian.

    Thought I'd mention, Malnar's not excessively intelligent, wise, or charismatic. Intelligence of 14, Wisdom 10 (but he wears a Periapt to make it a 16), Charisma 10.
    It is inevitable, of course, that persons of epicurean refinement will in the course of eternity engage in dealings with those of... unsavory character. Record well any transactions made, and repay all favors promptly.. (Thanks to Gnomish Wanderer for the Toreador avatar! )

    Wanna see what all this Exalted stuff is about? Here's a primer!

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    Default Re: What To Do With Your Layer Of The Abyss (3.5)

    Well, he could multiclass :P

    And as for walls around layers? When has D&D ever made sense?
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    Default Re: What To Do With Your Layer Of The Abyss (3.5)

    have anyone mentioned this?
    "capture the players and let them loose in the jungle to HUNT THEM!!!"
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    Default Re: What To Do With Your Layer Of The Abyss (3.5)

    Huh only one? I ended up with three.

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    Default Re: What To Do With Your Layer Of The Abyss (3.5)

    Layer of the abyss hmm? 1) is it full control? can he change planar traits by the force of his will or is physical labor needed? if he has complete control I would create the Ultimate hunting ground, using the natural terrain and nasty features you come up with (variable gravity, lava rivers, the most vicious creatures in the planes) and watch for "worthy opponents" to capture and bring into this planar deathtrap (his mercenary work would be a good way to "scout" for people like this) if he hasn't pacified the local demonic populace, I would use them as well, mollifying them by allowing them to participate in these "hunts" as a second adversarial force, allowing him to solidify his holdings and keep his unruly minions occupied between jobs. If he doesn't I would still be pulling "the most dangerous game" since the abyss is not a cakewalk no matter what layer you're on, I do agree he needs a citadel of portals, though this would not be a "paranoid" feature at first since he would use it for buisiness and as a place to bring his new "playmates" before he dumps them in the wild to face off against him and the demons

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    Default Re: What To Do With Your Layer Of The Abyss (3.5)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vael View Post
    Well, the obvious solution is to have Malnar take control of the plane and build up a large demonic mercenary force, hiring it out to other powerful entities (demon lords, corrupt kings, what have you). This way he gains power (has a large army and seat of authority), has the ability to still gain power (by payments), can still do mercenary work, and on an even grander scale.
    This, and an arena, a bloody big gladiatorial death match, where he obviously fights anyone who want to get to the top. The ultimate personal combat, in which he guarantees gain in power, and more interesting challenging fights as it goes on.

    It would initially be a training grounds for the demons on the layer, but then become more of a entering right for the army, before taking on a more bloody "to the death" approach for holding upper ranks in the army.
    The demons like a power struggle that they can win with fighting so go along with it, and more powerful creatures from other planes soon come for the reputation and power that goes with the titles. Malnar always sits on the top, accepting any challenge set to him, and thus setting an official means to go about attempting to end his life, noone would attempt to assassinate him in an underhanded way as it gives them no power anymore, the arena lives on and the next in line just gets appointed leader.

    Thus it keeps everything in line and based on blood, just the way Malnar likes it. It also keeps trade of all sorts coming through the layer as the blood sports attract viewers and therefore more money, and its the place to go to get the best mercs. Being of high reputation it also explains why important figures are going to go there to hire mercs even though its on one of the layers on the abyss!

    Hope this helps =)

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    Default Re: What To Do With Your Layer Of The Abyss (3.5)

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    Well, it's likely that most of the layer's denizens wouldn't recognize Malnar as their new lord and master, or maybe he wants them to really know who's calling the shots. That's where the killing starts. After clearing a nice and wide swathe through the demon ranks, Malnar, who has now gained a level or two, demands allegiance from the demons. They occasionally betray him and also die. He himself grows in power. Realizing that the only way to dethrone this new combat beast would be to gain power on their own, the demons of the layer began a brutal war between each other, to weed out the weak. This, of course, sat perfectly well with Malnar, and he would often take trips through the wilderness, slaying anyone foolish enough to come across him.
    Eventually, though, he grew bored of the demons, and commissioned a wizard (whom he later had stuffed) to create a Sigil-like network of portals across his realm that would capture unsuspecting warriors from the Prime Material and drag them into the unebbing fray of the jungle layer where he would watch them struggle and die. Eventually, these hapless fellows began to survive and band together, and these roving groups wandered the realm. When they got too strong, Malar would track them and kill them, then resume watching from an unreachable tower in the midst of the thickest, most dangerous jungle (that he himself has no problem wading through).
    Wow this is awesome! Consider it stolen (at least the portals taking combatants into a jungle warzone part).

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    Default Re: What To Do With Your Layer Of The Abyss (3.5)

    Quote Originally Posted by Reaper_Monkey View Post
    This, and an arena, a bloody big gladiatorial death match, where he obviously fights anyone who want to get to the top. The ultimate personal combat, in which he guarantees gain in power, and more interesting challenging fights as it goes on.

    It would initially be a training grounds for the demons on the layer, but then become more of a entering right for the army, before taking on a more bloody "to the death" approach for holding upper ranks in the army.
    The demons like a power struggle that they can win with fighting so go along with it, and more powerful creatures from other planes soon come for the reputation and power that goes with the titles. Malnar always sits on the top, accepting any challenge set to him, and thus setting an official means to go about attempting to end his life, noone would attempt to assassinate him in an underhanded way as it gives them no power anymore, the arena lives on and the next in line just gets appointed leader.

    Thus it keeps everything in line and based on blood, just the way Malnar likes it. It also keeps trade of all sorts coming through the layer as the blood sports attract viewers and therefore more money, and its the place to go to get the best mercs. Being of high reputation it also explains why important figures are going to go there to hire mercs even though its on one of the layers on the abyss!

    Hope this helps =)
    Oooh, I like this one. Naturally, there isn't just one, there are many of them - perhaps no one knows just how many, except Malnar himself? - but the only one worth mentioning is the one Malnar presides over, the one that only the best of the best of the best can live to even think about, let alone actually see. Think Roman gladiatorial combat, where there were many arenas used as testing grounds but only one Coliseum.

    Something else you may want to consider: Malnar has several (exact number depends on what you think would be cool.. maybe many, since he can only count "one, two, many, lots" ) powerful spellcasters bound to do his bidding. They literally only exist as experience factories, churning out powerful magic item after powerful magic item in order to provide his soldiers - and even himself - with the best possible equipment. Maybe even make this a side-trade of his, he might literally have factories for the expressed purpose of churning out magic items to sell. After all, weapons and armor mean war, and war means profit for the intelligent mercenary. Additionally, it would give him another safety net, nobody would want to risk killing the person providing them with magical goodies.

    If you need justification for this, maybe Malnar had an intelligent captain who pointed out the potential profit in such a plan, and Malnar decided to start accepting powerful spellcaster servants as payment, eventually getting enough to start the business as described.
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    Default Re: What To Do With Your Layer Of The Abyss (3.5)

    Here's what I would do if I were running a layer of the Abyss.

    1) Set up a beautiful, paradisical resort.

    2) Send henchmen to the Material realm to kidnap truly Good low-level people.

    3) Do NOT try to buy their souls. Instead, just kidnap them.

    4) Convince them the paradisical resort is the heavenly afterlife they've earned.

    5) Sell hunting passes to demons/devils who get to come in and bag the saintly little buggers just as they start to enjoy themselves. Also, sell tickets to other demons/devils to watch.

    Mmmmmm-hmmmmmm
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    Default Re: What To Do With Your Layer Of The Abyss (3.5)

    Quote Originally Posted by Another_Poet View Post
    Here's what I would do if I were running a layer of the Abyss.

    1) Set up a beautiful, paradisical resort.

    2) Send henchmen to the Material realm to kidnap truly Good low-level people.

    3) Do NOT try to buy their souls. Instead, just kidnap them.

    4) Convince them the paradisical resort is the heavenly afterlife they've earned.

    5) Sell hunting passes to demons/devils who get to come in and bag the saintly little buggers just as they start to enjoy themselves. Also, sell tickets to other demons/devils to watch.

    Mmmmmm-hmmmmmm
    What about Paladins?

    Sure, some would quit, but detect evil and/or "Thank you, but I feel my duty still comes before my rest." types. I guess it could be avoided just by ignoring Pallies, but where'd the fun be then?
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