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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Low-level Planescape adventures in the Outlands

    I am doing some concept thoughts on a possible Planescape campaign next winter and I have decided that I would want to make it a fully planar campaign and also start characters at 1st level. Since lots of cool stuff in Planescape is at the higher levels, I certainly want to go there, but to keep PCs from going from 1st to 10th level in two weeks, I am thinking about having various adventures that are linked by recurring NPCs and artifacts that are spaced apart by several years.

    I'm not much of a fan of urban adventures, so instead of starting with adventures in Sigil, I want to go into the Outlands instead, with the gate towns Faunel, Glorium, Bedlam, and Curst being possible adventure sites to visit. Which are all good places to have introductions with the Signers, Fated, Bleakers, and Anarchists.
    I also like the Dwarven Mountain.
    At this point I have very vague ideas that yugoloths from Gehenna are looking for something very destructive hidden in Carceri that will get the Doomguard and Dustmen interested and might be related to the gehreleths. Perhaps some of that could be foreshadowed in early adventures.

    That being said, what kind of things could 1st level characters in the Outland get involved with?

    Another big question is what to do with the Rilmani. They are the native outsiders of the Outlands, but they are also generally considered to be really boring and I've never seen anyone do anything with them. Are they worth developing further or should they maybe just be ignored?
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    Default Re: Low-level Planescape adventures in the Outlands

    Don't listen to the Rilmani naysayers!

    While it's true that there isn't a lot of material published for them, they actually inhabit a really interesting design space as far as NPCs go. It's easy to go nuts with the Slaad, run something orderly with the Modron, drag a game down with the Baatezu or Tan'nari or lift it up with the exemplars of Good. But the Rilmani are the Balance. You can throw them into any campaign as either the good guys or the bad guys or as both simultaneously! They are too often portrayed as being more Lawful Neutral than the True Neutral they are, which is a mistake; a Rilmani can do something random for the sake of it being random, far more so than a Slaad or other creature of Chaos might act chaotically naturally, the Rilmani would do it on purpose, to balance out an act of Law. That makes them unpredictably predictable. In the same vein, they can be Evilly Good and Goodly Evil; to them, 5 Good acts are necessary to balance 5 Evil ones. On the flipside of this, sometimes the Chaos of the imbalance between Good and Evil is also necessary to balance out some state of Law. This makes for some interesting play if done right.

    It's also worth bearing in mind that they can be as much Big Picture players as they can operate on the smaller stage and that on the Material Plane, they only exist where another contender is in the ring; their opportunity to exist on the Material only exists when another Outsider has been summoned. It's also interesting to note that the Rilmani cannot be summoned directly themselves, except by other Rilmani calling for aid. What this means is that if you see a Rilmani it's usually because something is going down; there's a Devil doing deals, a Slaad running rampant or an Angel pulling strings, for example. Now this doesn't necessarily mean too much in the context of an Outlands setting, because the Rilmani are native to it, or indeed a Planar Campaign as a whole because they can travel to other Inner and Outer Planes easily enough, but it's an indicator of how they operate; where the Rilmani show their hand, there's another player in the game. This makes them great StormCrows; harbingers of other events and a signal flag that the Plot is moving into a new arena.

    They're also great "puppetmaster" antagonists; they like not to involve themselves directly with events, preferring to manipulate others into restoring the balance from behind the scenes. Rather than having some nefarious plot or altruistic goal, their sole purpose is restoring balance where it has been upset. Imagine the look on a group of adventurers faces when they get to the heart of the plot, finally stripped back all the layers of the intricate plan, fought their way through deadly monsters and heinous traps, only to find a rather pleasant looking metallic dude where they expected some rotting lich or diabolic conjurer...and what's even worse, is when he says (in a very mild and genuine manner) "thank you for your time" because his entire plan was just to keep them occupied in opposition to some other group or individuals so as not to upset the balance of events in the region.
    Last edited by JellyPooga; 2020-07-10 at 06:52 AM.
    I apologise if I come across daft. I'm a bit like that. I also like a good argument, so please don't take offence if I'm somewhat...forthright.

    Please be aware; when it comes to 5ed D&D, I own Core (1st printing) and SCAG only. All my opinions and rulings are based solely on those, unless otherwise stated. I reserve the right of ignorance of errata or any other source.

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    Default Re: Low-level Planescape adventures in the Outlands

    You could have the Rilmani work with the party behind the scenes, even. They could easily fit the wise old mentor archetype, who sends the PCs on missions. As long as they think that whatever destructive things the loths are looking for is too bad, they should be on the same side.

    But yeah, I haven't done much interesting with them either. I tend to ignore them.
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    Default Re: Low-level Planescape adventures in the Outlands

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    I am doing some concept thoughts on a possible Planescape campaign next winter and I have decided that I would want to make it a fully planar campaign and also start characters at 1st level. Since lots of cool stuff in Planescape is at the higher levels, I certainly want to go there, but to keep PCs from going from 1st to 10th level in two weeks, I am thinking about having various adventures that are linked by recurring NPCs and artifacts that are spaced apart by several years.

    I'm not much of a fan of urban adventures, so instead of starting with adventures in Sigil, I want to go into the Outlands instead, with the gate towns Faunel, Glorium, Bedlam, and Curst being possible adventure sites to visit. Which are all good places to have introductions with the Signers, Fated, Bleakers, and Anarchists.
    I also like the Dwarven Mountain.
    At this point I have very vague ideas that yugoloths from Gehenna are looking for something very destructive hidden in Carceri that will get the Doomguard and Dustmen interested and might be related to the gehreleths. Perhaps some of that could be foreshadowed in early adventures.

    That being said, what kind of things could 1st level characters in the Outland get involved with?

    Another big question is what to do with the Rilmani. They are the native outsiders of the Outlands, but they are also generally considered to be really boring and I've never seen anyone do anything with them. Are they worth developing further or should they maybe just be ignored?
    Resource stuff for other planes? Like a quartermaster for Baator needs to meet with a provisioner from the Beastlands to deliver meat for human mercenaries, but to do so they need help setting up a neutral meeting. A LG Archon has a crush on a succubus and wants help setting up a date, just weird extra planar stuff.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
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    Default Re: Low-level Planescape adventures in the Outlands

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Another big question is what to do with the Rilmani. They are the native outsiders of the Outlands, but they are also generally considered to be really boring and I've never seen anyone do anything with them. Are they worth developing further or should they maybe just be ignored?
    I've presented the Rilmani as beings with a clinical interest in the nature of the Planes that supercedes any emotional engagement with a cause other than cataloging why the Material-Inner-Outer system is what it is, and performing experiments to see what the consequences are. Socially, they can be affable or annoyed but they're always distracted, and each individual Rilmani has their things they're preoccupied about that they can circle back around to. They don't respond to surprising or upsetting things in the intuitive way, often being curious instead of shocked or upset. All of this speculation and odd activity is performed because a primary conceit of the Rilmani is that the Planes are not a stable construct, nor is the array everyone is accustomed to inherently stable or permanent: they see themselves as trying to understand and maintain the homeostasis of the cosmos-system because the alternative is collapse either into nothingness or the incoherent fragment-planes referred to as Far Realms. In the face of nonexistence the Law/Chaos and Good/Evil distinction are unimportant.

    From that premise there is then different opinions on what best practices are: those that simply wish to collect as much information as possible and theorize in the abstract; those that infiltrate and manipulate attempting to stabilize conflicts; and the radicals that experiment with instigating events to see what happens to "the balance." Thing is, even though they do what they do with academic rigor and ponderous resolution of the precise next steps, their basic premise is speculation, so frequently they're just trying to preserve the superficial status quo. Other times, they're just tinkering with things is strange ways seeing if something trivial turns out to have a hidden importance to how everything fits together.

    I had them speak about their philosophy and objectives in alchemical terms, seeing the cosmos as different change-agents that have to applied in the right proportions to create the magnus opus, but not knowing the precise formula or what that outcome would actually look like. Factions with different ideas of what to do were less like political opponents and more like labs arguing over whose work deserves the grant. There was less formal governance and more a dissertation committee to discuss whether someone exercising their discretion had overstepped or under-performed, and the most powerful individuals and types were not inherently "the leaders" but the ones with the tasks that were the most dangerous and required the greatest discretion.

    One of the longest-running main antagonists I've had in a campaign was a unique Rilmani assigned the task of trying to postulate cataclysms might that break the Wheel system, but who has started doing live tests using proxies and blinds to conceal their culpability. Several capers I ran PCs through included fighting small-fry Rilmani because they'd draw attention as unusual individuals and sometimes a Rilmani lab would decide to prod them, see what exactly made them unusual and what they were capable of (part of the game premise was that the two main players had a shocking secret that I revealed over the course of the game).

    I liked using the Rilmani as inscrutable figures that turn up sparsely as antagonists rather than direct foes that appear in mobs. I played up that they were extremely subtle and frequently hid and infiltrated groups all through the Wheel, and specifically created new types that were always hiding their identities. The effect I went for was that they were alien even compared to other outsiders because they were focused on tasks that would seem trivial or irrelevant but that they viewed as of great importance. They worked as comic relief...hiring characters to do exceedingly strange jobs with unintended consequences...as providers of information tidbits that only made sense later, and I used their status as experimenters and spies to drop some surprising reveals and developments.
    Last edited by Yanagi; 2020-07-14 at 09:39 AM.

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    Default Re: Low-level Planescape adventures in the Outlands

    Quote Originally Posted by Yanagi View Post
    I've presented the Rilmani as beings with a clinical interest in the nature of the Planes that supercedes any emotional engagement with a cause other than cataloging why the Material-Inner-Outer system is what it is, and performing experiments to see what the consequences are. Socially, they can be affable or annoyed but they're always distracted, and each individual Rilmani has their things they're preoccupied about that they can circle back around to. They don't respond to surprising or upsetting things in the intuitive way, often being curious instead of shocked or upset. All of this speculation and odd activity is performed because a primary conceit of the Rilmani is that the Planes are not a stable construct, nor is the array everyone is accustomed to inherent stable or permanent: they seem themselves as trying to understand and maintain the homeostasis of the cosmos-system because the alternative is collapse either into nothingness or the incoherent fragment-planes referred to as Far Realms. In the face of nonexistence the Law/Chaos and Good/Evil distinction are unimportant.

    From that premise there is then different opinions on what best practices are: those that simply wish to collect as much information as possible and theorize in the abstract; those that infiltrate and manipulate attempting to stabilize conflicts; and the radicals that experiment with instigating events to see what happens to "the balance." Thing is that as that even though they do what they do with academic rigor and ponderous resolution of the precise next steps, their basic premise is speculation, so frequently they're just trying to preserve the superficial status quo. Other times, they're just tinkering with things is strange ways seeing if something trivial turns out to have a hidden importance to how everything fits together.

    I had them speak about their philosophy and objectives in alchemical terms, seeing the cosmos as different change-agents that have to applied in the right proportions to create the magnus opus, but not knowing the precise formula or what that outcome would actually look like. Factions with different ideas of what to do were less like political opponents and more like labs arguing over whose work deserves the grant. There was less formal governance and more a dissertation committee to discuss whether someone exercising their discretion had overstepped or under-performed, and the most powerful individuals and types were not inherently "the leaders" but the ones with the tasks that were the most dangerous and required the greatest discretion.

    One of the longest-running main antagonists I've had in a campaign was a unique Rilmani assigned the task of trying to postulate cataclysms might that break the Wheel system, but who has started doing live tests using proxies and blinds to conceal their culpability. Several capers I ran PCs through included fighting small-fry Rilmani because they'd draw attention as unusual individuals and sometimes a Rilmani lab would decide to prod them, see what exactly made them unusual and what they were capable of (part of the game premise was that the two main players had a shocking secret that I revealed over the course of the game).

    I liked using the Rilmani as inscrutable figures that turn up sparsely as antagonists rather than direct foes that appear in mobs. I played up that they were extremely subtle and frequently hid and infiltrated groups all through the Wheel, and specifically created new types that were always hiding their identities. The effect I went for was that they were alien even compared to other outsiders because they were focused on tasks that would seem trivial or irrelevant but that they viewed as of great importance. They worked as comic relief...hiring characters to do exceedingly strange jobs with unintended consequences...as providers of information tidbits that only made sense later, and I used their status as experimenters and spies to drop some surprising reveals and developments.
    I love the idea of a radical Rilmani or group of them, poking things to see what happens. The portrayal of them as curious researchers is a really good one; where other planar exemplars come across as somewhat fanatical, the Rilmani can easily be played as being much more moderate; applying scientific method and reason where the Modron or Tan'nari deal only in absolutes...right up to the point when the players realise that the Rilmani are just as fantical and absolute.
    I apologise if I come across daft. I'm a bit like that. I also like a good argument, so please don't take offence if I'm somewhat...forthright.

    Please be aware; when it comes to 5ed D&D, I own Core (1st printing) and SCAG only. All my opinions and rulings are based solely on those, unless otherwise stated. I reserve the right of ignorance of errata or any other source.

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    Default Re: Low-level Planescape adventures in the Outlands

    Quote Originally Posted by JellyPooga View Post
    I love the idea of a radical Rilmani or group of them, poking things to see what happens. The portrayal of them as curious researchers is a really good one; where other planar exemplars come across as somewhat fanatical, the Rilmani can easily be played as being much more moderate; applying scientific method and reason where the Modron or Tan'nari deal only in absolutes...right up to the point when the players realise that the Rilmani are just as fantical and absolute.
    Well, the cell/lab structure also meant that they could be low-stakes opponents where not every fight was to the death and/or they could act as taskmasters that provided activities for players that didn't immediately immerse them into one of the major conflicts of the setting.

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    Default Re: Low-level Planescape adventures in the Outlands

    Quote Originally Posted by JellyPooga View Post
    I love the idea of a radical Rilmani or group of them, poking things to see what happens. The portrayal of them as curious researchers is a really good one; where other planar exemplars come across as somewhat fanatical, the Rilmani can easily be played as being much more moderate; applying scientific method and reason where the Modron or Tan'nari deal only in absolutes...right up to the point when the players realise that the Rilmani are just as fantical and absolute.
    Funny, that reminds me of how I debug programs at work. Someone comes up and says "hey, this thing is acting weird" (seriously, that's occasionally almost the exact text of the emails) and its my job to fix.

    So the first thing I do is try to duplicate the catastrophy, in order to know what the starting point it. Then put in break points or debug messages around the suspected area that will report or show what's going on when I make it break again. Then, if it's especially opaque or odd, start putting in some odd or extreme values to see what the output looks like.

    Finally, once something is fixed, you need to test it. Have a system where only 4 or 5 users create documents at once? Have it create 500 at once, one of every type possible. Just to make sure it will won't fail under a heavy load.

    Since there are, if I recall correctly, infinite primes you can run this sort of testing & fixing system on entire worlds. Too many portals to alignment X plane opening? Recreate it on some primes, have agents in everyones' camps sending you reports. Got a fix for it? Better test that by opening a whole bunch of portals on a test prime and making sure it works. It works? Now you have to roll out the fix to all the planes. Which may mean that you have to get people to stop doing something long enough for the fix to get in.
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    Default Re: Low-level Planescape adventures in the Outlands

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Resource stuff for other planes? Like a quartermaster for Baator needs to meet with a provisioner from the Beastlands to deliver meat for human mercenaries, but to do so they need help setting up a neutral meeting. A LG Archon has a crush on a succubus and wants help setting up a date, just weird extra planar stuff.
    The question I always have with these things is: Why?

    What does it matter to the PCs? These things are certainly activities that players can do, but how does it connect to the principles of themes and of belief changing reality, which the GM advice says a Planescape campaign should be all about?

    The more I am rereading the material and particularly the sections that go into how the dynamics of a campaign are intended, the more I think that they did a great job creating a unique fantasy world, but they didn't really do it from the perspective of game designers or with actual campaign play in mind.

    The DM guide only tells us what a Planescape campaign should not be, but has no actual advice on what adventures should look like instead.
    The other thing is that the main selling point seems to be adventures in the outer planes, but most attention and released material seems to have gone in the urban setting of Sigil and faction politics in Sigil.
    I assume that's the reason why the Planescape books are still extremely thought after by people who want to get into it, but it very rarely appears to be played. It's great stuff, but turnig the world into a game requires serious work by the GMs, which is something a campaign setting should be doing itself.
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    Default Re: Low-level Planescape adventures in the Outlands

    That's absolutely true. They had a lot of ideas about belief changing reality, but I don't think they ever managed to really write a plot hook or adventure that really took that into account. In the end, almost all of them seem to come down to classic player/faction motivations: greed, lust for adventure, power politics, self-defence.

    It's probably the reason why I love reading Planescape materials, but haven't actually played in the world much. I mostly use it to cannibalize locations and NPCs for other campaigns.

    Mind you, you have to put it in the context of the times. From what others tell me, it was still revolutionary at the time.
    Last edited by Eldan; 2020-07-15 at 04:48 AM.
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    Default Re: Low-level Planescape adventures in the Outlands

    I think I got a campaign concept that actually works with those premises.

    The campaign starts with a group of 1st level PCs stepping through a portal into the Outlands to flee from a dying prime world. Next to the portal, people who have already come through have started to set up a small town that keeps growing as more people keep arriving. This new town is literally a blank slate, consisting of people who only have what they could carry, with no place to go and cut off from any old allegiances and commitments they used to have in their old world. Signers, Fated, Bleakers, and Doomguards all see them as people who might be inclined to adopt their philosophies.
    The town starts as neutral, but not out of a commitment to Neutrality, but because it does not have established its own personality yet. What happens in the town and how the people deal with it will determine its overall alignment. And as with the gate towns, altering the alignment changes the location of the town, potentially ultimately pulling it into another of the outer planes. (The planes I want to work with are Beastlands, Ysgard, Pandemonium, and Carceri, which can all loosely be associated with the Signers, Fated, Bleakers, and Doomguard respectively, but the concept would work with all other 16 planes as well.)
    When the subtle changes start to become more obvious, some people really like the idea of fully shifting the town to one plane, while others want it in another, and other people prefer keeping it in the Outlands.
    The main challenge I see is getting the players actually invested in the town.

    Also, I want to say I absolutely hate the organization of the Planscape material. It's near impossible to find anything if you want to look it up again. Even when you know something is in the PSCS, you still have no clue if it's in the Player's Book, the DM's Book, or the Sigil and Outlands Book. Looking for a demon? Could be in the Monstrous Compendium 1 or 2, or in the PSCS monster book, the Planes of Chaos monster book. Such a pain in the ass, especially when you deal with pdfs.
    I'm trying to figure out where the rules are for travel times in the Outlands. Lady knows when I might be able to find it again.
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    Default Re: Low-level Planescape adventures in the Outlands

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    The question I always have with these things is: Why?

    What does it matter to the PCs? These things are certainly activities that players can do, but how does it connect to the principles of themes and of belief changing reality, which the GM advice says a Planescape campaign should be all about?

    The more I am rereading the material and particularly the sections that go into how the dynamics of a campaign are intended, the more I think that they did a great job creating a unique fantasy world, but they didn't really do it from the perspective of game designers or with actual campaign play in mind.

    The DM guide only tells us what a Planescape campaign should not be, but has no actual advice on what adventures should look like instead.
    The other thing is that the main selling point seems to be adventures in the outer planes, but most attention and released material seems to have gone in the urban setting of Sigil and faction politics in Sigil.
    I assume that's the reason why the Planescape books are still extremely thought after by people who want to get into it, but it very rarely appears to be played. It's great stuff, but turnig the world into a game requires serious work by the GMs, which is something a campaign setting should be doing itself.
    Great question! I agree, it is hard to make Planescape into an actual campaign because it is interesting worldbuilding but doesn't tie the players in very well. Spelljammer had some of the same problems, but at least you can give the players their own ships there and hen they want to do stuff just because owning a starship is neat.

    I like your solution down below. Bringing in refugees and having the party need to settle a town is a great way to give them a stake and have a view point on the setting.
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    Default Re: Low-level Planescape adventures in the Outlands

    Another question, one I am really struggling with: What do the Dustmen do? What do they want?

    They got their nine pages of description in the Factol's Manifesto, but the only piece of information on this most important aspect of a faction that I could find is "The Dead don't have a lot of plans these days. Never did. A body can bet they'll continue their Mortuary duties and work to reach True Death".

    So they have no reason to ever appear in any capacity? Why is that a faction? The existence of Lawful Good Mercykillers at least feels like it could have been a genuine oversight, but a faction that doesn't do anything is even more bizarre.
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    Default Re: Low-level Planescape adventures in the Outlands

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Another question, one I am really struggling with: What do the Dustmen do? What do they want?

    They got their nine pages of description in the Factol's Manifesto, but the only piece of information on this most important aspect of a faction that I could find is "The Dead don't have a lot of plans these days. Never did. A body can bet they'll continue their Mortuary duties and work to reach True Death".

    So they have no reason to ever appear in any capacity? Why is that a faction? The existence of Lawful Good Mercykillers at least feels like it could have been a genuine oversight, but a faction that doesn't do anything is even more bizarre.
    Well they reanimate the dead to be workers, so I imagine you can get up to some pretty cool conflicts between them and different religious organizations. They might track down people who have been Resurrected and kill them like flesh Inevitables, they fight for undead rights or just to protect their undead from religious zealots. Inevitables are probably the closest to their ideals anyone gets, emotionless robots that hunt down immortals and maintain the natural order but do Inevitables like the duskies?
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

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    Default Re: Low-level Planescape adventures in the Outlands

    There have been some pretty fanatical buddhists, ascetics and gnostics in history, so there's inspiration there, I suppose.

    Other than that, I suppose they mostly appear in opposition to other factions. They recruit potentially useful people and then make them do... nothing. I can imagine that drives a lot of other more proactive factions absolutely up the wall.

    Then, you have to consider that in most factions, the lower ranks aren't really strong believers in many cases. They join up for political power and mutual protection. If you need to join a faction and the Free League isn't really for you, the Dustmen are quite likely the easiest to join and the least demanding. Stay quiet, do some useful work, keep your head down. You get the minimum amount of food and shelter, other faction members don't mess with you too much and they promise you a nice burial.

    And finally, they may well be very good employers for player characters. Most of their higher ranking members possibly can't go adventuring themselves. Too emotional, all that danger and uncertainty. So they'd higher someone to do their dirty work for them.

    (The Lawful Good Mercykillers did later on in the history of the setting split off into their own faction, the Sons of Mercy.)
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    Default Re: Low-level Planescape adventures in the Outlands

    The books make it a big point how belief affects reality, and how that's what the factions are all about.

    With some factions it's very obvious: Athar want to get rid of religion, Anarchists want to get rid of governments, and the Harmonium wants everyone to follow one universal set of rules. Even the Signers, Fated, and Bleakers think that life would be a lot easier for everyone if more people come around to see things the way they do. If their beliefs become more widespread accepted, it will be an improvement for the Multiverse.
    But as they are presented, the Dustmen don't really gain anything from trying to teach people about the truth they have discovered. If anything, wanting to teach and convert everyone is a kind of attachment to the world that goes against their beliefs.

    But I think a little tweak, that only expands a little bit on what is already in place about the Dustmen, would help a lot in making them an active faction: What if detaching yourself from the world is so hard because the world is attached to you? It's not just you who has to let go of the world, but the world also can't let go of you. You could say that it's like a specific case of the Sign of One philosophy, and souls keep getting reincarnated because the living believe that it happens.
    That would even be quite similar to the rumor that the purpose of the faction is to kill all life in the Multiverse at the same time, so that the Multiverse as a whole can attain True Death.

    With this addition, the Dustmen have a reason to promote their beliefs. It doesn't conflict with anything that is already established and it gives them a purpose and a direction they can work towards to.
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    Default Re: Low-level Planescape adventures in the Outlands

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    The books make it a big point how belief affects reality, and how that's what the factions are all about.

    With some factions it's very obvious: Athar want to get rid of religion, Anarchists want to get rid of governments, and the Harmonium wants everyone to follow one universal set of rules. Even the Signers, Fated, and Bleakers think that life would be a lot easier for everyone if more people come around to see things the way they do. If their beliefs become more widespread accepted, it will be an improvement for the Multiverse.
    But as they are presented, the Dustmen don't really gain anything from trying to teach people about the truth they have discovered. If anything, wanting to teach and convert everyone is a kind of attachment to the world that goes against their beliefs.

    But I think a little tweak, that only expands a little bit on what is already in place about the Dustmen, would help a lot in making them an active faction: What if detaching yourself from the world is so hard because the world is attached to you? It's not just you who has to let go of the world, but the world also can't let go of you. You could say that it's like a specific case of the Sign of One philosophy, and souls keep getting reincarnated because the living believe that it happens.
    That would even be quite similar to the rumor that the purpose of the faction is to kill all life in the Multiverse at the same time, so that the Multiverse as a whole can attain True Death.

    With this addition, the Dustmen have a reason to promote their beliefs. It doesn't conflict with anything that is already established and it gives them a purpose and a direction they can work towards to.
    I like it! It comes close to "we make a big deal out of forcibly extinguishing lamps" in that it is clearly not going to work so no one really hates them, but if they got close everyone would need to step in to stop them. The very slow, long approach is their game.
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    Default Re: Low-level Planescape adventures in the Outlands

    One can also argue that in general, due to the nature of Planescape, a faction's philosophy is more true the more people believe in it. Perhaps it is simply not possible to detach yourself from the multiverse unless a lot of people believe that is possible.

    Apart from that, I suppose the Dustmen take that from buddhism. The high ranking Dustmen might be Bodhisattvas, though of course in a really twisted way. (Real Boddhisattvas would embody joy, kindness and compassion, and Dustmen would lack all those.) They are those who hold back from enlightenment in Nirvana to help others along the path.
    Last edited by Eldan; 2020-07-22 at 02:43 AM.
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    Default Re: Low-level Planescape adventures in the Outlands

    I don't think they need an extra reason to expand. Do they know a 100% working, reliable way to achieve True Death for each member? No? Then the more Dustmen there are to seek it and exchange ideas/insight/inane senile blabbering (or, in a more insidious interpretation, to be eventually ordered to put their lives on the line trying new ways to die), the higher are the chances one of them eventually gets onto something. The key part in "they'll continue their Mortuary duties and work to reach True Death" is "work to reach True Death"; the Mortuary is more of the side project that also gives them funding and free workforce. And by the way, having reliable funding and free workforce is pretty big, so either the Dustmen are, in fact, using these for something today — or else they have some bloody great savings for tomorrow. Now, is it better to flaunt such power or to appear apathetic and impotent? Well, you're the DM, you tell me.


    Then again, i'm a Bleaker myself; i don't put much stock into reasons, much less stated ones. That which is a sound reason for an ambitious low-ranked Alice, may be just a petty worldly attachment for a devout low-ranked Bob; a matter which truly apathetic low-ranked washout Carol never bothered to consider; a rhetoric which ambitious high-ranked Delilah uses to justify what she'd do anyway; a plan which fanatical high-ranked Foranon sees as his ultimate chance to prove himself, and would never abandon even if Primus itself declared it unreasonable; and a cover for Ethalone's (who is a true believer but also never has been good at planning ahead and mostly followed people he respected until it turned out everyone is now somehow respecting him most of them all) utter lack of idea of how the Dustmen got here and what they should actually do next (but he also can't just openly state "ok guys Yora is right we have no reason to keep going, go home everyone" because he's not that kind of person).

    In society, as in molecular physics, pieces tend to fall where they get to, not necessarily where they would be most in place.
    Last edited by Lord Haart; 2020-08-01 at 07:05 PM.
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    Default Re: Low-level Planescape adventures in the Outlands

    I never considered the free workforce aspect.

    The really cynical extension for that would then be that basically the entire Dustmen faction are unpaid research interns for Factol Skall's great project. It also explains why he is a lich, when undeath seems at first glance to go against the Dustmen's goal: he has to oversee the Great Project and doesn't want to die before one of his peons has figured out how to do it right.
    Last edited by Eldan; 2020-08-10 at 05:35 AM.
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    Default Re: Low-level Planescape adventures in the Outlands

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    The question I always have with these things is: Why?

    What does it matter to the PCs? These things are certainly activities that players can do, but how does it connect to the principles of themes and of belief changing reality, which the GM advice says a Planescape campaign should be all about?
    Two major reasons:

    1) This is where the philosophy meets the pavement. It's all fine and well to sit in the echo chamber of your Faction headquarters in Sigil, preaching to the choir about how your way is best. But at some point you need to put these beliefs in action and apply them to real-world situations.

    A mission like getting an archon a date with a tanar'ri or tricking a modron into a logical paradox should provide ample opportunities for roleplay along party/Faction lines far beyond what a simple dungeon delve could. Situations like this require a lot of non-combat interactions which can really showcase what characters believe and stand for.

    2) Even proselytizers need to eat. The missions and jobs the PCs and their Factions take pay the bills and allow them to expand their capabilities to spread whatever it is they're spreading.

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    Default Re: Low-level Planescape adventures in the Outlands

    Hey Yora, have you got any notes on what you have fleshed out? I'm looking forward to hearing how this goes and what you come up with.
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