# Thread: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

1. ## Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

What is their long term/short term plans?

defend it from xykon and...

Its like in the princess bride where the one guy was in the revenge business for so long he didn't know what to do after that, not right away any way.

Without RC, they can't seal it.

With RC, that brings the baggage of TE being there too. not that RC would comply any way.

As to their plans, what are your thoughts on the "what if" scenario of finding the gate first? What do they do now?

2. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

Their plan is to have the area surrounding the Gate be the arena for their final climactic battle with Team Evil. Getting there first gives them the home turf advantage, as they will have time to survey the area and prepare it for combat their way, without giving Xykon and friends the opportunity to do the same.

Right now, there is no long-term plan from the Order, because there simply is no long-term if they fail, the gods will just destroy the world. If they succeed in stopping Team Evil, then they can delay the destruction of the world for long enough to actually start planning a more permanent solution, but at this point it all hinges on protecting this Gate from any and all immediate threats at all costs.

3. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

When they were racing for the previous Gate Durkon intended to call a few Celestials with a Planar Ally to guard the Gate. He still can call them for 13 days even after losing levels. Not sure if he has the requisite XP, and also not sure whether it would be dramatically appropriate, but if we were talking about a game - not the worst plan; he is extremely unlikely to level up soon enough and they are already close to the finish line.

4. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

Blackmail the world powers for money and such?

5. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

Originally Posted by Roland Itiative
Their plan is to have the area surrounding the Gate be the arena for their final climactic battle with Team Evil.
I don't think any plan that includes fighting an enemy who spams Meteor Swarms around the one thing that keeps the world in one piece and the gods from destroying said world is a very good plan, especially if the aforementioned thing can be to expected to explode spectacularly from a small scratch.
In other words, I don't think the Order really intends to do that.

6. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

The Order's goal was never to defend Serini's gate. Their goal is to defeat Team Evil and prevent them from being a large-enough threat that the gods would take action.

7. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

Best option might be to commune to Thor to ask him for a similiar ritual to the one that Redcloak has so that Durkon and Vaarsuvius can give control to Thor and take the prize off the board for Team Evil.

Then they can focus on dealing with Team Evil in relative security and then negotiate with Redcloak from a position of strenght.

This of course requires:
1. Trusting Thor
2. That Thor can come up with a similiar ritual as The Dark One concocted.

8. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

Originally Posted by dancrilis
Best option might be to commune to Thor to ask him for a similiar ritual to the one that Redcloak has so that Durkon and Vaarsuvius can give control to Thor and take the prize off the board for Team Evil.

Then they can focus on dealing with Team Evil in relative security and then negotiate with Redcloak from a position of strenght.

This of course requires:
1. Trusting Thor
2. That Thor can come up with a similiar ritual as The Dark One concocted.
I like this, and as you note, the Ritual is what's the problem here for the Gods. Not Team Evil in and of itself. (Though they can certainly blast the last Gate into oblivion via collateral damage, and that would obviously be bad.)

Accordingly, we know the Divine half of the Ritual hasn't been written down, but is psychically implanted within the mind of the Bearer of the Crimson Mantle. Per RedCloak, though maybe he was lying. My question is, if the Crimson Mantle goes away---because V Disjoins it, let's say---does RedCloak still remember all of the elements to the Divine half? I mean, before old age takes him like the guy who drank from the wrong cup in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade?"

EDIT: Since we need a casted 9th level spell from a novel quiddity, the Order can't do anything that would prevent RedCloak from being able, eventually, to cast such spells in the interest of strengthening the Gates. Killing him through accelerated old age seems to get in the way of that...

And there's certainly no other extant member of a novel quiddity, that can cast 9th level spells, right? Like Wish?

9. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

my guess is that they are going to meet serini and maybe the gate, get a bunch of exposition and go off on a side quest, for some magical macguffin, and then try to stop TE from reaching the gate, because their brute force approach finally pays off, for the final confrontation?

there is still the IFFC (IIFC?) that has plans unfolding too.

10. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

Originally Posted by dancrilis
Best option might be to commune to Thor to ask him for a similiar ritual to the one that Redcloak has so that Durkon and Vaarsuvius can give control to Thor and take the prize off the board for Team Evil.

Then they can focus on dealing with Team Evil in relative security and then negotiate with Redcloak from a position of strenght.

This of course requires:
1. Trusting Thor
2. That Thor can come up with a similiar ritual as The Dark One concocted.
Several spanners in the works here:
1. At some point, one of the characters mentioned the ritual taking at least a week, maybe longer. Time the Order certainly doesn't have.
2. If they're trying to get The Dark One's cooperation, stealing the Magical Nuke he was after and giving themselves control over it is likely to just drive him even more wild.
3. Most of the other gods would not be happy with Thor doing the same Bad Thing TDO wanted to do. Could even cause a schism in one or more pantheons.
4. If The Order took control of the Gate, immediately after criticizing Redcloak for trying to do the same, there's a 0% chance he'd ever consider working with them, even if defeated/captured.

Originally Posted by Ghosty
EDIT: And there's certainly no other extant member of a novel quiddity, that can cast 9th level spells, right?
Careful, that's how you summon the rampant Banjo-Will-Become-Extremely-Important and/or Jirix-Is-Our-Only-Hope wild mass speculation.

11. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

Originally Posted by Precure
Blackmail the world powers for money and such?
Is that you, Haley Starshine?

12. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

Originally Posted by Ionathus
...Careful, that's how you summon the rampant Banjo-Will-Become-Extremely-Important and/or Jirix-Is-Our-Only-Hope wild mass speculation.
Those are doors I don't want to open, yeah. I was referring to the MITD being the last surviving member of the 'Greek' pantheon that got 'et by the Snarl. Though not a full Deity (but who knows?), he was an Outsider member of their group. We know that non-God Outsiders get mindwiped between different times the world gets remade. Perhaps he's a refugee from that time? And Wish explains the Escape! scene so well.

It allows an out if RedCloak rides this Greek tragic hero archetype into a smouldering ruin, and it turns out The Dark One is indeed a giant butthead who has been lying to RC all along, and has no intention of working with anyone.

13. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

Originally Posted by Ghosty
Those are doors I don't want to open, yeah. I was referring to the MITD being the last surviving member of the 'Greek' pantheon that got 'et by the Snarl. Though not a full Deity (but who knows?), he was an Outsider member of their group. We know that non-God Outsiders get mindwiped between different times the world gets remade. Perhaps he's a refugee from that time? And Wish explains the Escape! scene so well.

It allows an out if RedCloak rides this Greek tragic hero archetype into a smouldering ruin, and it turns out The Dark One is indeed a giant butthead who has been lying to RC all along, and has no intention of working with anyone.
That's also a door you shouldn't want to open. Mostly because Redcloak turning out to have been Redherring all along would feel wrong for quite a number of reasons, but also due to the little fact that this is certainly not the case: Redcloak knows what the Monster is, and he would probably make a greater fuss about him being a literal god.

14. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

Originally Posted by Metastachydium
That's also a door you shouldn't want to open. Mostly because Redcloak turning out to have been Redherring all along would feel wrong for quite a number of reasons, but also due to the little fact that this is certainly not the case: Redcloak knows what the Monster is, and he would probably make a greater fuss about him being a literal god.
How about the kid of an Elder Titan? (Which would tie into the whole feeding him babies gag, earlier in his arc.) RC knows what he is (or thinks he's really sure about it). I don't know that RC's ever shared that with Xykon though, although Xykon thinks the MITD is really powerful.
Spoiler
The Stereotypical Big Game Hunters think he's unusual, but not unique, IIRC. Xykon doesn't think the MITD is a Deity, even a minor one, or he wouldn't have tried that mind-control compulsion on the MITD.

But does the MITD need to be a Deity to be of that pantheon's quiddity? Thinking of someone like Ganymede or Hercules; not Gods, but Demigods or hangers-on. Though holy crap, the list of Greek monsters/kids of one or another of the Titans, is not a short one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...ical_creatures

Anyway, being an Outsider but not a Deity might be why the Snarl didn't smoke him instantly when it ravaged through that pantheon. Hypothetically.

If he did cast in Green, we'd never know it from that magical darkness he dwells within.

Getting away from all that, if there isn't a representative of another quiddity around that can cast 9s, RedCloak absolutely has to survive. Or The Dark One has to agree to help.

15. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

Originally Posted by Ghosty
RedCloak absolutely has to survive.
Or The Dark One has to agree to help.
This, or, MiTD needs to be a baby titan. (Something like an Empyrean?)

16. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast
This, or, MiTD needs to be a baby titan. (Something like an Empyrean?)
Ya know, I had no idea what an Empyrean was. (Besides an HR company...) Googling around for it led me to the Pathfinder wiki, wherein I found this: https://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/mo...al-titan-lord/

Specifically, this part of the description:
A feral titan lord once walked the dimensions with other titans, but something in his planar travels went awry and sent the colossal creature plummeting down. Whatever anomaly stranded him in the disputed territories also deprived him of his memories and intellect, and he has since wandered the uncontrolled realms, living off the land and reduced to little more than an animal. There are rumors that a feral titan lord sometimes hides among the populace, masquerading as a simpleton laborer for reasons unknown
Sound a bit like anyone we know? (Minus the whole 'slaying-the-village-after-an-errant-insult' thing.)

17. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

Originally Posted by Ghosty
Ya know, I had no idea what an Empyrean was. (Besides an HR company...) Googling around for it led me to the Pathfinder wiki, wherein I found this: https://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/mo...al-titan-lord/

Specifically, this part of the description:

Sound a bit like anyone we know? (Minus the whole 'slaying-the-village-after-an-errant-insult' thing.)
Yeah, but PF isn't 3.x, it's just related to it. We do have empyrean's in 5e, but this strip has nothing to do with 5e.

Caveat: I am out of line with my guess there, since we have entire threads (curated by Grey Wolf) regarding "What is the MiTD?" so let's not derail this one since all the detail one needs, and more, exist there.

18. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast
Yeah, but PF isn't 3.x, it's just related to it. We do have empyrean's in 5e, but this strip has nothing to do with 5e.

Caveat: I am out of line with my guess there, since we have entire threads (curated by Grey Wolf) regarding "What is the MiTD?" so let's not derail this one since all the detail one needs, and more, exist there.
Oh, I agree; the last several posts really belong in the iterations of Guess the MITD. I simply thought the flavor text for this Titan entry was surprisingly suitable for what we know about the MITD.

I also can't think of another candidate for another quiddity. Which means RC must survive or the Dark One must come down and cast. That changes everything about fighting Team Evil. RC has to be able to use 9th level spells, even if that means the deaths of the Order of The Stick. Everything is secondary to ensuring the preservation of that quiddity.

Finding a refugee from the Greek pantheon, I thought, might give us some wiggle room, narratively.

19. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

Originally Posted by Ghosty
does RedCloak still remember all of the elements to the Divine half? I mean, before old age takes him like the guy who drank from the wrong cup in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade?"
We've seen Redcloak take off the Crimson Mantle before and he didn't seem to forget about what he was doing, nor did he age rapidly. Of course possibly destroying it would have a more direct impact, but it seems like our first guess would be that he would retain what he knows and revert to aging at a normal rate.

In any event, finding the gate would give them an opportunity to prepare for battle on their own terms, which would be somewhat helpful. It also would potentially give them a chance to study the gate and the rift in a way they haven't been able to, which is important because even if they were to defeat Xykon, that would be at best a temporary fix to the problem of the Snarl. Thor has offered a possible permanent solution, but it's clear that even the gods don't have a full understanding of what is going on with the snarl.

20. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

Originally Posted by Ghosty
Oh, I agree; the last several posts really belong in the iterations of Guess the MITD. I simply thought the flavor text for this Titan entry was surprisingly suitable for what we know about the MITD.

I also can't think of another candidate for another quiddity. Which means RC must survive or the Dark One must come down and cast. That changes everything about fighting Team Evil. RC has to be able to use 9th level spells, even if that means the deaths of the Order of The Stick. Everything is secondary to ensuring the preservation of that quiddity.

Finding a refugee from the Greek pantheon, I thought, might give us some wiggle room, narratively.
I think the point of showing how dead the Greco Pantheon were was to show how much hinged on the Dark One -- specifically, a new antagonistic god that doesn't fit in with any of the previous cosmic mold.

Also, the Order could get away with killing Redcloak and resurrecting him when it's less dangerous (sure, he'll lose a level, but he's likely above lvl 17 by now). This would also allow a chance for Redcloak to talk to his god.

21. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

I actually was thinking about that earlier - surely, if the Order's intent is to prevent the Gate from being used, wouldn't they be better off not discovering its location and all the secrets of Kraagor's Dungeon? Sure, if they find it, they can prepare a defense, but then they also reveal the location in the scenario that they lose. That the Gate's location is unknown has been so far its best defense.

So perhaps the Order's plan isn't to find the Gate - they haven't said that explicitly. Their mission is simply to kill Xykon and/or Redcloak. But if that's the case, then they're really not equipped to do that. Their side consists of a 6-person team that can't really take Xykon and Redcloak in a straight fight - and there are very few scenarios in which the odds would be shifted in their favor. The army of bugbear minions alone would probably be too much for them to handle.

Setting aside the standard fantasy trope that small teams of underdogs with low odds and nothing to lose are the most powerful martial power imaginable - they really are not the proper force to do this job. Considering what's at stake, it's bizarre that no one else is fussed enough to swing by to try to intervene. Those dwarves might've sent along a squad or two as backup. The Azurites might've spared more than two scouts. At the very least, I hope those sky pirates are still hanging nearby to provide moral support. We're talking the end of the world here, with possibly the end of all things - surely there's more urgency required?

If the Order is here to assassinate Xykon - then strategically, this is a very flawed plan. But ... if the Order's intent was to run the dungeon and discover the Gate, then sending a small group of adventurers would be the right plan.

Fantasy tropes say that of course, it's always going to be a small brave band of heroes that brings events to their exciting climax, and of course the Order is going to explore the dungeon and find the Gate - by intent or accident - because otherwise, this would not be an exciting fantasy story.

But if this was the real world ... well, imagine that Cthulhu suddenly awakens, arises, and occupies the city of Montreal, where he and his horde of humanoid giant squids construct a doomsday artifact by which they hope to disassemble the fabric of space-time. And the only people headed towards Montreal at this moment are UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and a team composed of a Olympic shooter, a quantum physicist, a doctor, an indie folk singer, and a psychopath serial killer - all of whom have outsized personalities, hilarious badinage, and moving backstories. The rest of the world - sits back and watches.

Just feels like we could be more active somehow.

22. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

Originally Posted by skim172
But if this was the real world ... well, imagine that Cthulhu suddenly awakens, arises, and occupies the city of Montreal, where he and his horde of humanoid giant squids construct a doomsday artifact by which they hope to disassemble the fabric of space-time. And the only people headed towards Montreal at this moment are UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and a team composed of a Olympic shooter, a quantum physicist, a doctor, an indie folk singer, and a psychopath serial killer - all of whom have outsized personalities, hilarious badinage, and moving backstories.
You never disappoint, skim.

23. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

Spoiler
What if Serini is behind ALL of this?

She lost faith in her group for some reason giving X her diary so he could destroy everything her party accomplished so she could finally feel like she could rest and get back at them for believing they abandoned her?

What if the reason their group failed is not because they sealed the gate, but because they didn't travel to the Snarl's world to deal with it properly?

I mean what's more epic than the final arc being going up against a god killing eldritch abomination within the remains of the world they all originated from if you take the gods version of events as accurate?

24. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

IF they find they gate, which they might not, I would expect it either leads to a confrontation with Team Evil, which given what Elan just said seems unlikely, or it serves to present them with new unpredictable information. Perhaps more lore on to what the gates actually are, and what's actually in the rifts.

25. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

Originally Posted by Hopeless
Spoiler
What if Serini is behind ALL of this?

She lost faith in her group for some reason giving X her diary so he could destroy everything her party accomplished so she could finally feel like she could rest and get back at them for believing they abandoned her?

What if the reason their group failed is not because they sealed the gate, but because they didn't travel to the Snarl's world to deal with it properly?

I mean what's more epic than the final arc being going up against a god killing eldritch abomination within the remains of the world they all originated from if you take the gods version of events as accurate?
While I could never quite understand how Serini could be so stupid as to write down the coordinates of all the Gates in one place and then just lose the book, there's the thing that the defenses of her Gate worked just fine thus far, and thereby it would seem she did not want to actively sabotage her own efforts, after all.

26. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

Originally Posted by Ghosty
I like this, and as you note, the Ritual is what's the problem here for the Gods. Not Team Evil in and of itself. (Though they can certainly blast the last Gate into oblivion via collateral damage, and that would obviously be bad.)

Accordingly, we know the Divine half of the Ritual hasn't been written down, but is psychically implanted within the mind of the Bearer of the Crimson Mantle. Per RedCloak, though maybe he was lying. My question is, if the Crimson Mantle goes away---because V Disjoins it, let's say---does RedCloak still remember all of the elements to the Divine half? I mean, before old age takes him like the guy who drank from the wrong cup in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade?"

EDIT: Since we need a casted 9th level spell from a novel quiddity, the Order can't do anything that would prevent RedCloak from being able, eventually, to cast such spells in the interest of strengthening the Gates. Killing him through accelerated old age seems to get in the way of that...

And there's certainly no other extant member of a novel quiddity, that can cast 9th level spells, right? Like Wish?
So does the Bearer of the Crimson Mantle have to be goblinoid? What if they managed to steal it from Redcloak and used it as a focus so Durkon could talk to the Dark One directly, tell him what's happening, and then call it off?

27. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

Originally Posted by Arcane_Secrets
So does the Bearer of the Crimson Mantle have to be goblinoid?
The Dark One pretty much only let goblins worship him, so yes.

What if they managed to steal it from Redcloak and used it as a focus so Durkon could talk to the Dark One directly, tell him what's happening, and then call it off?
The Mantle isn't a two-way telephone. Redcloak says it himself that he's never directly talked with his god; and unless the Dark One has the same intelligence as Elan, he will notice an enemy dwarf trying to scam out a plan he's worked on for decades.

28. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

Originally Posted by understatement
The Dark One pretty much only let goblins worship him, so yes.

The Mantle isn't a two-way telephone. Redcloak says it himself that he's never directly talked with his god; and unless the Dark One has the same intelligence as Elan, he will notice an enemy dwarf trying to scam out a plan he's worked on for decades.
Pretty much. I can't quite see how Durkon (or anyone else form the Order) could concievably become a priest of the Dark One.

29. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

Originally Posted by Metastachydium
Pretty much. I can't quite see how Durkon (or anyone else form the Order) could concievably become a priest of the Dark One.
Easy.

Spoiler

1) First, it must be acknowledged that the Dark One is Lawful Evil, and clerics can only be one step of their god's alignment. Durkon is LG (Thor likely being NG), so he has to shift down to Lawful Neutral, minimum.
2) But of course, it's pretty hard to switch alignment in the span of a few days. Thus, Durkon can take 2 paths:

a) Quickly commit some Evil acts Miko-style. Never mind that it would be horribly out of character - just have him kick Mr. Scruffy a couple of times.

b) Find a Helm of Opposite Alignment. Again, considering the Order only has a few days and no means of fast transport (now that the Mechane has likely departed), this has a high chance of succeeding.

3) Once Durkon is comfortably settled as Lawful Neutral, he can now pop over to Redcloak and ask nicely for the Mantle. Again, never mind that the Order has no clue how the Cloak works or its power. Also, this requires Durkon to defeat Redcloak, which despite a minimum of four levels gap is easily achievable and effortless.

4) Now, Durkon has to switch gods. Imean, a major part of the last book was him reaffirming his faith in Thor, but Thor understands emergencies. Durkon, who hasn't even heard of the Dark One until a few days ago, will now believably switch an entire religion to a god whose people he has a racial bonus against.

5) The Dark One, who apparently has the observational skills of an ooze, won't notice Durkon performing this well-timed and intelligent switch. Something's off about his High Priest, as in someone completely different from a guy who has worn the cloak for over 30 years. No biggie.

6) Durkon decides to tell the Dark One to call it off. When asked "or else what?" Durkon has nothing to respond with because he has zero leverage.

Wait...

30. ## Re: Assuming the order finds the gate. What next?

Originally Posted by understatement
Easy.

Spoiler

1) First, it must be acknowledged that the Dark One is Lawful Evil, and clerics can only be one step of their god's alignment. Durkon is LG (Thor likely being NG), so he has to shift down to Lawful Neutral, minimum.
2) But of course, it's pretty hard to switch alignment in the span of a few days. Thus, Durkon can take 2 paths:

a) Quickly commit some Evil acts Miko-style. Never mind that it would be horribly out of character - just have him kick Mr. Scruffy a couple of times.

b) Find a Helm of Opposite Alignment. Again, considering the Order only has a few days and no means of fast transport (now that the Mechane has likely departed), this has a high chance of succeeding.

3) Once Durkon is comfortably settled as Lawful Neutral, he can now pop over to Redcloak and ask nicely for the Mantle. Again, never mind that the Order has no clue how the Cloak works or its power. Also, this requires Durkon to defeat Redcloak, which despite a minimum of four levels gap is easily achievable and effortless.

4) Now, Durkon has to switch gods. Imean, a major part of the last book was him reaffirming his faith in Thor, but Thor understands emergencies. Durkon, who hasn't even heard of the Dark One until a few days ago, will now believably switch an entire religion to a god whose people he has a racial bonus against.

5) The Dark One, who apparently has the observational skills of an ooze, won't notice Durkon performing this well-timed and intelligent switch. Something's off about his High Priest, as in someone completely different from a guy who has worn the cloak for over 30 years. No biggie.

6) Durkon decides to tell the Dark One to call it off. When asked "or else what?" Durkon has nothing to respond with because he has zero leverage.

Wait...

Feh. You make it look hard, when it really isn't. As we know, whoever vanquishes a Supreme Leader will immediately become the new Supreme Leader, and as such, an honorary hobgoblin. Now, all Durkon has to do is torture Redcloak to death while he sleeps and then desecrate his corpse or whatever, to become non-Good. And then all he needs to do is don the Mantle and Big Purple will certainly recognize this new, somewhat short and hairy hobgoblin as his new high priest, because this short and hairy hobgoblin will be a hobgoblin and all. And then suddenly everything will be all sunshine and happiness, because it will turn out Big Purple was a really nice guy all along, and Redcloak was a bad influence on him.

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