A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #31
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Imp

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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Rule replies "Hold on a moment. It may be to our advantage to make Vayyel think he's taken something that's too hot to handle. In fact that may be the only way to resolve the situation. He's no cultist. It does not seem wise to tie our hands in advance. Of course, we are not going to take any foolish risks."

    Spoiler: Ash
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    Center seems to have been completely open and honest in his statements.

    Rule, on the other hand, seems to care only about how to turn the situation to his own advantage.

  2. - Top - End - #32
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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Still mulling over what she knows about the various entities involved in this rather convoluted plot, Eilyra frowns, and speaks up. "It sounds rather like the creature you encountered, Center of All, was something called a Gloom." She shakes her head. "Not a weak creature. At all. As in, likely to be more powerful than Gargauth or Graz'zt. Especially as it is an assassin. Controlling one? Maybe. But not a simple thing."
    She pauses, and after scanning the room, her attention turns back to Center of All. "I don't suppose you have any blood, or anything from the Gloom?"

    After giving him a chance to respond, she continued. "Recovering the key, I think, would be the simplest approach, if we can find a way to do it. A retriever could, but getting one? That is not so simple. We're not likely to find the Gloom via magic, not based on just a description, so locating it does seem rather like a dead end. Probably literally, if the Gloom realizes someone is hunting it."
    Letting that sink in for a moment, she continued. "Now, if all that's needed is a gate to Tharizdun's domain to use the key, preventing that seems to be rather... challenging. For us. However, that does seem like a problem alerting some of his opponents might fix. Of course, then the key's existence is known, but as it is already known, well..." She pauses, and smiles, a cold, cruel smile. "That isn't really a barrier."
    Another brief pause, while Eilyra takes a breath, before she continues. "However, that does leave a few, rather important, questions. For example, what are we getting in return for this no doubt extremely challenging task? What are you looking to get out of this, Rule? Graz'zt's place? And why is the Gloom likely to be acting in Vayyel's interest?"
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    Eilyra Dlardrageth, Expedition to the Demonweb Pits
    Violet, A Faerie Affair
    Adamant, Planescape: Full Circle

  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    In reply to Eilyra, Center of all says "Sorry, no. It was over before I could even react."

    Rule of Three says "What are you getting? Why, a chance for redemption! What else do you want?

    As for myself, I aim only to stop those who endanger the interests of myself and others. Just like you, if I should be able to profit along the way, I should not spurn the opportunity.

    As for the assassin, Gloom you say, it must have been acting on information from Vayyel. Beyond that I could only speculate.

    I could probably arrange to get the services of a Retriever. It may be worth a try. They are big though, too big to pass through most gates in Sigil. And stupid, too stupid to really tell us much other than by leading us. It'll be a challenge, so let me think about it."

  4. - Top - End - #34
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    BlueWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Ash

    Ash enjoys the looping erudition of Eilyra. It so often lead the conversation into places both unexpected and fruitful.

    "I think that it's fair to assess that if ordinary magics such as those of a Retriever can locate the key, we can do so. I rather assume, though, that anyone going to such lengths to obtain the key has already gone to great lengths to conceal it."

    She turns to Rule of Three.

    "You put too much faith in the reasonableness of a devil. And, frankly, I don't trust you to put the general good above your own self-interest. But if, as you say, we need to keep our options open, I will offer you one refinement. Swear me an oath that you won't do anything with this key without my explicit permission, and I'll help you find it. A real oath, mind. If that's acceptable, I'll get to work."
    "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." Kurt Vonnegut

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Eilyra gives Rule of Three a look. "Really? That's the best offer you can make? Redemption? It does not seem terribly likely to accomplish that. Working with demons and fiends to stop a demonic plan. Sure, it probably qualifies as a questionable deed, but that alone does not meet the requirements of redemption. How about a more... concrete reward?"

    After Ash finishes speaking, Eilyra nods. "The Retriever, I think, would need to be under Center's command, as it inherits his familiarity with the key, which it would need to track it. And the Gloom is going to be a problem."

    Then she frowns, before she continues, shifting topics once more, but still sounding rather confident. "But the plan of raiding the library... it seems reasonable, but... Tharzidun isn't known as the Mad God for nothing. Assuming a reasonable or logical organization system of the books of his followers... that's a big assumption. And that's not even mentioning the potential for traps, reflecting his own penchant for corruption and twisting. And even in the best case... In the time we spend reaching and searching the library, they can likely just use the key. If it's our only option, it's the only option, but..." She shrugs. "It is unlikely to suffice in isolation." Her voice trails off, thoughtfully, before she looks to Center of All. "You came to Rule of Three, because his predecessors had given it to you to guard. Would you know who else is involved? Is anyone guarding the lock? The other gods sealed Tharzidun away, and while they might not know the exact mechanism the key might use... they can probably make it harder to use it in secret... and make that secrecy critical to the success of the cult."
    Last edited by Archmage1; 2021-05-19 at 08:04 AM.
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    Eilyra Dlardrageth, Expedition to the Demonweb Pits
    Violet, A Faerie Affair
    Adamant, Planescape: Full Circle

  6. - Top - End - #36
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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Edigaria

    The deva's words rattled around in her head all day as she went about her business. How could he know anything about ... well, it was Unity of Rings, and knowing (or acting like he knew) random bits of information to string together into a soothsayer's prediction was kind of his thing. No need to be suspicious he was in league with the yugoloths, no sir, no need ... and yet Edigaria of the Estervales dithered, indecisive. She'd been doing fine on her own so far, hadn't she? Well, okay at least. Sure, her immortal soul was being sought after by just about everything whose name started with the sound "de-", only her own increasingly hard to keep track of web of promises and lies kept her from having it ripped out of her at any moment, and she was half-convinced if she set foot outside Sigil she would be accosted by agents of one of the Powers, but ...

    Well, no but. Just that this city sucked, and she was tired of slumming it here. (It's the most interesting place we've ever seen and you know it. Shut up, eyes should be seen and not heard ... thought ... whatever.) So why not take the nice angel's advice? (Deva, you moron. Did I not just say shut up?) She closed her milky eye spitefully. Best case, maybe she'd get a chance to put down one of the plates she'd been spinning for what felt like forever. Worst case, she learned nothing and whiled away another night in a tavern pretending to drink and laugh. Well, that wasn't the worst case, but she'd resolved to be at least a bit cheerier.

    So she found herself at the Black Sail Tavern at three ... oh, crap, three after midnight. Well, let none say she did not know how to be fashionably late. That was somehow still a thing out in the vastness of the planes, causing her to muse, not for the first time, that existence was a bit more humanoid-centric than she might've guessed. (*Rumble.* Oh hush, it's true in the Wheel, anyway.) Brushing greasy hair back with fingers already stained from the Lower Ward's soot, she stepped inside, good eye glancing over the clientele in search of what she assumed would be some sort of adventuring party. When her gaze met that of the surprisingly mundane-looking dwarf behind the bar, he jerked his head towards a back room. It seemed she was expected by more than just a deva's ramblings. She nodded back to him gratefully (Ah, the legendary silver tongue of the Estervale line at work. I can just wear an eyepatch, you know.) and crossed the dimly lit common room to step through the door in the back.

    Beyond that was another, heavier one, presumably for discussing weightier business behind. She knocked three times and spoke into the shutter, ""Edigaria to see ... someone, anyway. Pretty sure I'm expected."

  7. - Top - End - #37
    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    At the knock on the door, Joel gets up and opens the shutter to see who's there. He lets the newcomer into the room.

    "Hello, Edigaria. I'm Joel Taverus, the owner here. The situation here is a bit complicated ..."

    [Insert introductions and recaps here. Moving on ...]

    "And so, Center-of-All also got in touch with the deva Unity-of-Rings, who recruited you to this little party."

    Rule of Three says "Back to business. Ash, your proposed oath is unfair. We could certainly use your help on this, but to promise that you will have final say over what we do with it? Would anyone else here agree to that? I doubt it.

    I am here to help, just like the rest of you, though my skills are more in dealmaking than in fighting. So as for payment, if anyone should be offering it, it should be Center-of-All, not me. However, as far as I can tell, he doesn't have a copper to his name."


    Center-of-All says "There is more that you should know.

    The coalition that defeated Tharizdun included gods of every alignment, as well as worshippers and supporters that lent them power from every plane.

    Afterwards, there was disagreement over what to do with the Key. Many wanted to destroy it, to make it less likely that the mad god could ever escape. Others believed the prophecy that the Key would be needed again, and wanted to keep it safe. The matter almost came to blows, and not along the usual lines of alignment.

    Rule-of-Three was of the latter view, and made off with the Key. He gave it to me to hide it, as I agreed with him. While some searched for it, the general view became that it had been destroyed. I believe it would be dangerous to let too many people know it still exists. It would cause much conflict.

    As Rule would have guessed, there was a third faction. They believed that Tharizdun could be controlled, his great power harnessed. They seem foolish to want to take such a risk, but it was not a pipe dream; in the fight against the mad god, possible ways to control him were found and studied. This faction was the foundation of what you know as the Cult of Tharizdun. I understand that the Cult has degraded into a mad group of worshippers, but in the old days, they were much more organized and sane. While I was in hiding, I know these things from friends who brought me news."

  8. - Top - End - #38
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    BlueWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Ash

    Ash jots notes furiously as Centre-of-All speaks. She reels off a first question, speaking quickly.

    "Thank you for this. Forgive me - I've never been to the base of the spire. If no magic works there, then there's no way that magic was used in locating you or the key. Which means that someone told someone about the key. Could you make a list of all of the people who knew that you possessed the key?"

    She whirled on Rule of Three, speaking dispassionately.

    "Nice try, but I didn't ask everyone to let me control what happened to the key. Just you. If you don't ever take possession of it or try to dictate what happens with it, there's no problem. Since you haven't offered me any kind of payment whatsoever for this, I feel that that's an extremely reasonable 'fee'.
    Last edited by Toliudar; 2021-05-21 at 12:40 AM.
    "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." Kurt Vonnegut

  9. - Top - End - #39
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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Eilyra frowns, deeply at Rule's words, clearly having second, and third thoughts about participating in this adventure. Let's see... mission to acquire the Key that RoT wants for no pay, with the strong hint from Center of All that RoT is likely to seek to control Tharizidun, because of course he would. And his claim of his skills being deal-making? Really? His skills, in this case, seem to be recruiting the desperate, the lost, and singing a tale. But, since I am here, I can at least ask questions.

    She looks back to Center of All. "You mention factions. Which gods were in which faction? If we're going to see about putting more obstacles in the key user's way, it seems like the faction for destruction, and the faction for safekeeping would be a good start."
    Spoiler: Current Character List:
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    Eilyra Dlardrageth, Expedition to the Demonweb Pits
    Violet, A Faerie Affair
    Adamant, Planescape: Full Circle

  10. - Top - End - #40
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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Rule says "So you don't trust me, Ash? But you trust these others, many of whom don't exactly have spotless histories either? And you expect me to trust you completely? I don't trust anyone completely. I'm not seeing the logic here."

    Center of All says "As far as I know, only Rule-of-Three - the one who gave it to me - knew that I had it.

    My friends among the rilmani suspected it, of course, but I never confirmed it. In any case, I trust them completely. By now, they will be on the way back to the village near the Spire. I told them to go back, because they would be in danger if I am being hunted.

    As for the Mad Rajah, I knew him as Rajah Manapora. Being Center-of-All in of Sigil, I met him briefly a few times. He could cast discern location, and if he tried it on me, it wouldn't have worked. That might be enough for him to guess the truth, if he assumed that the Key had not been destroyed.

    The gods ... Listen. I do not want them involved. The gods today are not the same as the ones back then. They were known as the Great Powers. I do not know what happened to most of them.

    One name you would recognize is that of Pelor. He wanted the Key destroyed, which I do not.

    And ... I do not think the gods would forgive that I defied their will."

  11. - Top - End - #41
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Avakuss takes perfect mental notes of the knowledge being shared and apparent enemies already made. These details were not his area of specialty. The path of the discussions didn't seem to be going in a productive manner however so he finally speaks up.

    "Do we know whether the key is access to the plane or to a prison on that plane? Pandemonium seems to be our best first stop, to gather information and maybe even hinder their plans. It has been a long time since I was there but we should be better at resisting the effects there this time."

    "As I see it our goal is to get our hands on the key and get it back to Unity Center, not Rule. Ending the threat of whichever devils get in our way is bonus. I doubt Rule is coming with us. I don't think we should get hung up on Rule obtaining the key first. As expected he does seem to have enough of an angle to benefit from all this beyond the multiverse surviving, enough so to coordinate deals for some of you. Perhaps a favor owed for each of the rest of us would be fair. "

    "Unity Center, safe to assume you are coming with us? What is the prophecy about the key?"


    Spoiler: OOC
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    Stupid me, meant Center, not Unity. Corrected.
    Last edited by Cavir; 2021-05-21 at 05:31 AM.
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    Keston Tornok for GF's AoW
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    Suga for Kish's The Sunless Citadel
    Cendrik for J-H's Servants of the Thrallherd
    Semult for Kish's Wrath of the Righteous
    Faazeran for kinem's Drow Against Midnight

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  12. - Top - End - #42
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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Center-of-All says "I know the laws of the multiverse can be confusing. I am Center-of-All, representing the law that any point is the center of everything. Unity-of Rings, representing the law that all is connected, is currently a deva. And of course Rule-of-Three is here.

    Certainly, I will come. The prophecy came from the goddess Gamayun, one of the vanished ones. It states that the Key will be needed to save that which must be saved.

    Details of how the Key works, I don't know."


    Rule says "Center, doesn't your kind have the ability to cast Mind Blank?"

    Center says "Yes, but that wouldn't stop the Rajah. He specialized in information. His magic would overcome that. Or so he boasted."

    Joel nods at that.

  13. - Top - End - #43
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    BlueWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Ash

    Ash grimaced. The more that Rule of Three twisted out of her offer, the more it became clear that he wanted the key for himself, for his own purposes.

    "Rule, you're terrific. I'm not asking you to trust me, nor am I asking anyone else to trust me. Just that you take an oath not to influence what happens to the key, or take it yourself. Not such a big price, yeah?"

    Her brow furrows as Centre explains further.

    "Centre, I'm confused. If magic doesn't work at the base of the spire, how would Discern Location find something that was hidden there? And if some magic DOES work there, then I'd like to suggest that our investigations include a trip to that murder scene.

    Spoiler: OOC
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    Ash is trying to figure out whether divinations would reach the base of the spire, and what magic is and isn't possible there.
    Knowledge (the planes): (1d20+19)[30]
    Spellcraft: (1d20+33)[39]
    "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." Kurt Vonnegut

  14. - Top - End - #44
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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Eilyra frowns once more, before looking back at Rule. "If Center's right, and no one knew he had it, with the exception of the Rilmani, who probably don't have the kind of contact with demons to sell the information, then what happened to the prior Rule of Three? Is it possible that his departure caused the information leakage?"

    She also looks over at Center-of-All. "Have any of your friends either vanished, or came into an unusual amount of wealth recently?"
    Last edited by Archmage1; 2021-05-21 at 05:55 AM.
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    Eilyra Dlardrageth, Expedition to the Demonweb Pits
    Violet, A Faerie Affair
    Adamant, Planescape: Full Circle

  15. - Top - End - #45
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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Edigaria

    Mulling over the issue, Edigaria wondered why she was here. From what she could gather, this Key sounded like a massive bargaining chip she might be able to use to buy her way out of almost any obligation ... and presumably Unity of Rings at least knew she'd be tempted by that, likely the others as well, and yet pushed her to get involved. Watching the open mistrust of Rule of Three being bandied about, she had the feeling others in the room would not take kindly to her own mercenary reputation, and she decided not to touch the issue of who could be trusted with a ten foot pole unless she had to. She was also not keen on going to visit the base of the Spire, where almost all of her own hard-bargained-for protections would wink out, leaving nothing but debts, especially not where a planar assassin had already proven able and willing to kill over this Key. Instead, seeking out further knowledge of the issue would at least let her figure out who the interested parties were, what they wanted, and whether it was worth risking her immortal skin over. (Our immortal skin. Excuse me? You don't even have your own eyelid, let alone skin!)

    "Seems to me those with motive are either in Hell or can be learned about in the cult's library," she interjects after thinking a moment, purposely leaving out the idea of a trip to the base of the tower. "Of those two options, breaking into a library, insane cultist librarians or no, seems the simpler task than facing a cornugon lord down near a rakshasa rajah's prison that was already almost accidentally opened once. Bonus, it'll probably let us nail down what this Mad Rajah's connection to Tharizdun's cult is. If the Gloomy bastard decides to have a poke at us too, better we have some idea what its employers want, assuming it's not just out for stealing a key to multiversal destruction for its own giggles."

    She shoots a look of sympathy to Center-of-All at his fear of gods' reprisals, understanding all too well the spectre of punishment he must live with every day. "Gotta agree there, I'm not too keen on having interested Powers with eyes on us at all times, here. Best we figure as much out ourselves first, before inviting something to butt its nose in and take over."


    Spoiler: OOC
    Show
    (Alright, now's the time to earn your keep. What do we know about this Mad Rajah, or a cornugon named Vayyel? We? Surely you mean your own august knowledge, and not the unearned arcane memory library you wheedled access to. Just do your job and check!)

    Knowledge (Planes) about this Mad Rajah, Manapora: (1d20+49)[65]
    Knowledge (Planes) about Vayyel: (1d20+49)[67]

    Knowledge (Nature) about Glooms (checking what she knows herself, whether it's enough to be extra afraid): (1d20+19)[21]

  16. - Top - End - #46
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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Eilyra sighs, and purses her lips thoughtfully at Edigaria's words. "I suppose that at a minimum, I can help with raiding the library. I think it is a dubious route, but..." She shrugs, and smiles, almost cheerfully. "Ancient libraries have a tendency to have interesting scrolls or books in them, and if we don't find anything about this Key, the use therein, or anything along those lines, well, accidents happen, I suppose."

    And if this is a waste of time, killing Rule would be quite cathartic, and I'd have plenty of support. And if the Mad God escapes, well, it's a big Multiverse. Could even potentially be an excellent lever for restoring my name, although that wouldn't be trivial, but if it were easy, anyone could do it.

    She looks over at Center of All once more, her tail flicking back and forth as she launches another rapidfire set of questions. "That said, if we are going to do this, best to solve as many problems as possible. Can you describe the Key? Does it have a name? What can you tell us about using it? Is there a specific location involved? Some sort of ritual work? Something else?"

    Without missing a beat, she looks back to Rule of Three, before looking at Joel once more, her eyes burning with intensity as she continues. "The Mad Rajah is still sealed, to the best of your knowledge?" Looking back at Rule, she continues, her tone a bit firmer. "Either of your knowledge? And would you have any idea where Vayyel might be found? Or his objectives, and known allies?"
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    Eilyra Dlardrageth, Expedition to the Demonweb Pits
    Violet, A Faerie Affair
    Adamant, Planescape: Full Circle

  17. - Top - End - #47
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Avakuss minutely shook his head. He spoke a little slower, trying to ease the tensions with Ash. "Joel and I, with Rule's help, resealed Rajah Manapora. Center-of-All successfully had the key for millennia. That dedication is remarkable. I greatly respect that. He's kept us safe that way all this time. Thank you Center-of-All."

    "When such an admirable entity needed help, he turned to and trusted Rule of Three, who in turn turned to us. Rule was the one who started that safety, current holder of the office or not. We see how important keeping the key a secret has been. This whole meeting is Center and Rule trusting us not just with the mission, but moreso with the knowledge that the key even exists. I'm not saying to go sodding barmy with blindly trusting Rule on everything (Sorry Rule) but he's not going to let everything fall apart, even if it's only for his own best interest. Think about this too... anyone think The Lady will just stand by if they are putting Sigil at high risk?"

    "In terms of how Center was found, also consider the time involved. Although there may be a leak, even the biggest fool looking for the key would have to eventually consider the base of the Spire, away from all magics and Powers. Those involved are not fools, yet Center's work kept it safe that long anyway."

    "Leak or not the library seems the best start at this point unless Center has a better suggestion. Do we all have protections for going to Pandemonium?"
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    Keston Tornok for GF's AoW
    Loradralsornux for GF's Savage Tide
    Suga for Kish's The Sunless Citadel
    Cendrik for J-H's Servants of the Thrallherd
    Semult for Kish's Wrath of the Righteous
    Faazeran for kinem's Drow Against Midnight

    Extended Signature - More detailed game/character notes

  18. - Top - End - #48
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    BlueWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Ash

    Avakuss both amuses and intrigues Ash.

    "Streets in Sigil could and - and probably have been - paved with the bones of those who have relied on an understanding of what the Lady will or will not do. But if our next step is to traipse through some ancient library, well, I'm up for a lark."
    "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." Kurt Vonnegut

  19. - Top - End - #49
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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Center-of-All says "Thank you, Avakuss.

    No magic that I know of works at the base of the Spire. But if magic finds nothing, the one place that is hidden from it becomes a likely guess. That's an example of the law of Unity-of-Rings, I think. One extreme becomes the other.

    The Rule-of-Three that I knew was a half-celestial human-elf mix. He must have passed away by now.

    None of my friends have vanished or suddenly changed as far as I can tell. The village is fairly isolated, though we visit neighboring villages and about once a year a few rilmani will travel far to get news and trade goods. I am absolutely certain that none would betray me. I have known them many long years.

    You here in this room ... I do not know so well. In the old days, the three of us who represented the laws were always friends and allies. I see that much has changed since then, but I say that without judgement.

    I have not yet told anyone what the Key looks like. And I will not, unless each of you swear an oath, not just Rule. Swear that you will not take the Key for purposes other than those we agree on, and swear to not hinder my cause of fulfilling the prophecy. Will you do that?"


    Rule says "I suppose that is fair enough, then. I will swear if the others do.

    As for the Mad Rajah, yes, he's still sealed away last I heard, and I get a report daily. The baatezu control the prison, and could release him at any time, but I don't think that's in their interest.

    Since we are all in this together, we should make some ground rules now. We each have our specialties. Some of us have powers of divination or healing. Some are renowned fighters and adventurers. Well, I have contacts and informers that took many years to cultivate, that may well prove vital. My information has already fingered Vayyel as the likely suspect, and I have made deals with fiends to bring some of you on board. Also, as a well known figure in Sigil, I could easily become a target of Center's foes.

    In short, while I am not planning to be on the front lines, I am a full partner in this. We share equally any loot we may find, as well as information gained. Agreed?"
    Last edited by kinem; 2021-05-22 at 09:38 AM.

  20. - Top - End - #50
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Eilyra leans back in her chair, clearly thinking, a small frown on her face, and the tip of her tail flicking back and forth. So, no hint of how the current RoT came to be known as RoT. Considering RoT's prior behavior... I'd say RoT probably offed him, which, again, means that if betrayal occurred, it came from his end. And considering his earlier refusal to swear a very similar oath that Ash asked for, and twisting it by his response... If I do this, great care will be needed. And I'll need to keep my options open. This "quest" is effectively impossible, without a description of the key, especially if RoT, who is the current sole source of information, is as involved as I suspect he is. And his request to share in the rewards, while bearing dramatically lower risks, and being in the perfect position to betray? A full share, I think, is excessive. Especially as he is overstating the risks he will be facing.

    She shakes her head softly, as she finishes her thinking, and she leans forward as she starts to talk again, her tone cool, and calm as she looks to Center-of-All. "I'm afraid I can't swear such an oath without knowing what, exactly, the prophecy is, and where it came from. It would also be helpful to come to an agreement on what we want to use the key for. Destroying it..." She frowns, and shakes her head, before looking around the table, her attention flickering between those present as she addresses the group in a fairly dry tone.
    "A older technique to strengthen wards involves focusing their weaknesses in one point, to magnify the strengths. It isn't often used today, because, well, for the most part, it was really only useful for sealing things away, and the weakness being a key. But the key was an integral part of the wards; The destruction of the key often led to a slow erosion of the strength of the wards, which, in this case, would be sub-optimal." She pauses for a moment to let that sink in, before continuing. "Equally so, attempting to use the key to gather power is foolishness, at best. Tharizdun is of Chaos, and thus, so is his power. Any ritual utilized to draw upon that power will put you under his power, and you will have little to no control over what you gain. What was that common saying..." A brief smile flickers on her face before she continues. "Right, don't try absorbing an energy field bigger than your head. For it will end badly." Once more, she shakes her head. "Which, really, only leaves one option: Concealing the key." A wry grin appears on her face, for a moment, before vanishing. "Or, I suppose, using it, and putting down Tharizdun, which isn't a reliable option. Not necessarily impossible, but not something to do without a lot of preparation."

    Giving Center-Of-All a moment to consider, her attention turns to Rule-of-Three, and her expression is quite serious. "Now, as for your arrangement... I think you are overstating your risk, considerably. The Gloom retrieved the key. It did not cover the tracks. It did not exterminate the rest of Center-Of-All's village." She does frown, as she thinks of a hole in her argument. "Although, an entire village of Rilmani leaving their home, with a corpse, seeking resurrection is certainly unusual enough to potentially draw attention, I suppose." She shrugs, and continues, her tone slightly warmer, but still, matter of fact. "But we face the same risks, and more. All you need to do is keep off of the stage. We, on the other hand, are likely going to be attacking hostile strongholds, and drawing rather a lot of attention. How about a half share, with the other half held in ambiance, and used to compensate for resource expenditures and the like by any of us? Things like healing items, resurrections, hiring a golem, and so on." She looks to Center-Of-All. "That Wish or Miracle to restore your life probably wasn't cheap." Before she looks back to Rule-Of-Three. "Of course, if you are actually attacked, a full share after that point seems appropriate."

    After delivering her rebuke, she looks back to the adventuring team. "As for Pandemonium... there are a few threats. The maddening, shrieking wind that can and will drive those who hear it insane, and deaf, along with driving rocks before it, which are harder to deal with. We are likely to encounter Slaadi, or other similar chaotic creatures. But it is manageable. Earplugs can handle the deafening, although, it sort of does prevent hearing, and make spellcasting more challenging. With the winds, ranged attacks will be harder to use, and it is of chaos; Expect lawful arguments to hold less sway. Mind Blank, or similar effects should prevent the insanity as well. Also, Sonic magic won't be as effective, as the power will be stripped from your spell, and added to the winds." She smiles for a moment. "Unless someone happens to have earplugs handy, I think a quick shopping trip is in order. I do know a reputable merchant."

    After she finishes speaking, she leans back once more, and looks around the table, clearly waiting for a response.
    Last edited by Archmage1; 2021-05-22 at 10:51 AM.
    Spoiler: Current Character List:
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    Eilyra Dlardrageth, Expedition to the Demonweb Pits
    Violet, A Faerie Affair
    Adamant, Planescape: Full Circle

  21. - Top - End - #51
    Titan in the Playground
     
    BlueWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Ash

    The other winged woman nodded, taking copious notes. When Centre of All suggests a shared oath, Ash tilts her head, considering.

    "While I understand Eilyra's desire to come to consensus on a final disposition of the key now, I have become bitterly aware that making predictions - such as 'what is the best thing to do with the key' before we actually understand the nature of the thing itself, the forces that are pursuing it, and what the implications will be for the security of the prison, may be premature. Therefore, I AM open to taking such an oath. Just as I am open to sharing with Rule of Three any information that we learn that is germane to the task of finding this key.

    "Rule, what is the nature of the daily report on Mad Rajah you receive? You know better than most that, what magic creates, magic can deceive. And...the location that Eilyra is describing seems incompatible with the essential nature of a library. It's hard to imagine reading and finding books in gale force winds that drive you mad and then kill you with boulders. Do we have a way to reach the library directly?"


    Ash sighs, and returns to a topic she had been putting off, turning to face Rule.

    "Early in our conversation, you said -"

    She flipped back several pages in her notes.

    "You said 'Gargauth is a bitter enemy of Vayyel's. He could not stand to see Vayyel regain a place in the hierarchy before he does. To see his rival brought low, he's willing to make a deal.' For reasons that I hope are clear, I would like to know more about the nature of your interaction with Gargauth, and what kind of deal you discussed with him."
    Last edited by Toliudar; 2021-05-22 at 12:53 PM.
    "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." Kurt Vonnegut

  22. - Top - End - #52
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Imp

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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Center of All says "I'm trying to remember the exact words of the prophecy, and translate it properly. As I said, it came from the goddess Gamayun, a reliable prophetess, neutral in alignment. She said ... 'On the day of reflection, when bright bondage covers all, the Key will open the chain, and save that which must be saved.'

    By the standards of prophecy it's actually clearer than most, but all I can make of it is that the Key will be needed. That's all I know, enough for me, but if it's not enough for you, I will not describe the Key."


    Rule says "Full share. If the Gloom comes for me, I'll probably be too dead to demand my share. And to pull this off, you'll probably need my contacts.

    There is an Erinyes who's my main contact with the baatezu. For reasons that should be clear, I won't name her. Her information has always been reliable. In return, I pass to her information about the tanar'ri, which I get from similar deals over there. Neither side gains a net advantage, but my contacts' reputation at home as impressive spies is ensured. And, they are in place when I need them.

    She gives me the reports, and she was my go-between with Gargauth. I sent him an offer: to release you, Ash, in exchange for your help in stopping a scheme which could bring Vayyel great power. He agreed. Conditional on success, of course."


    Joel says "I for one am willing to take that oath.

    As for the library, I can answer that. The third layer of Pandemonium, Phlegethon, contains a variety of caverns, and some of them are nearly free of the winds and noises that occur naturally there even in some smaller, sealed-off spaces. There is even a humanoid town, Windglum, on that plane. Well, the library was built in such a place.

    We know of a gate from Sigil to a tunnel next to a cavern adjacent to the library. The cavern was guarded by a monster, but surely you expected that much."
    Last edited by kinem; 2021-05-23 at 03:31 PM.

  23. - Top - End - #53
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Listening to the prophecy, Eilyra frowns, as she considers what she knows of Gamayun, and the prophecy. Gamayun... She's been gone for eight hundred years or so, and made quite a few prophecies. But her following required that every day be a day of reflection. Perhaps the day of reflection is somewhat more...magical, in some way? A reflection of... something through time? Bright Bondage covering all... this could be anything. Light, generally good gods are associated with brighter colors, so could be a victory of the good gods, but there isn't anything specific there. Opening a chain, however, seems fairly clear: Releasing Tharizdun. But why would Tharizdun save something? Or is it the other way? Retrieving something from Tharizdun? This is getting into speculation. As for the oath... Center of All's oath seems to boil down to let it happen, which, well, who knows?

    However, as Rule speaks up, Eilyra's attention turns back to him, with a bland look. Why yes, if the Gloom targets any of us, it will likely be able to kill it's target, unless we know it is coming. That is hardly a counteroffer, in fact, more of a bonus. More relevantly, that is a shared risk anyway, but while he operates from the shadows, we'll be making ourselves rather known, I suspect. An Erinyes agent? Shouldn't be too difficult to narrow down, and identify, especially with her relationship with Gargaunth, but without information, I doubt she'd deal with us. Of course, Ash being in debt to Garguath is the classic conundrum. Either an opportunity, or a weakness. I suppose only time will tell.

    Once Rule's voice stills, Eilyra's coolly lyrical voice responds, to Center of All. "I can agree to that, with the condition that if you choose to rescind the oath, or if it seems probable that the risks grow... excessive, as freeing Tharizdun is probably not a great plan."
    Granting the Rilmani a momentary reprieve, Eilyra's attention turns to Rule once more, this time, with a small frowns. "Yes, you would be. And as I said, if it seems that you are actually at risk, you would receive a full share. Otherwise, the remaining half share would be reserved to cover expenses, as needed, or, if you are, in fact, attacked, given to you. We will be taking the same risks, with the added bonus of being much more obvious, and a far clearer threat to whatever the Gloom's master is seeking."
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    Eilyra Dlardrageth, Expedition to the Demonweb Pits
    Violet, A Faerie Affair
    Adamant, Planescape: Full Circle

  24. - Top - End - #54
    Titan in the Playground
     
    BlueWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Ash

    When Rule speaks of Gargauth 'releasing' her, there is a delicate dance of emotions that flicker across Ash's face. Hope and relief make a concerted effort to take hold, but are held back by the combined efforts of defiance and disbelief, and eventually, her face hardens into a grimace again.

    "I believe you, but not him. Nonetheless, I'm in."

    She begins to refine and expand on her notes, glancing up at the three other recruits, realizing that she and Eilyra have done nearly all of the talking. She begins to play with the words of the prophesy, teasing them apart and using synonyms, ciphers, translations into other languages to try to tease meaning from what seems like an extremely unlikely sequence.
    "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." Kurt Vonnegut

  25. - Top - End - #55
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Avakuss looks to Center. "I swear I will not take the Key for purposes other than those we agree on, and not to hinder your cause of fulfilling the prophecy."

    He addresses the group as a whole. "Some of us are gaining apparently critical deals made by Rule for doing this. Should they receive a lesser share, or nothing further even, than those who didn't make such enemies? Should I get a larger share for probably being the one in front taking the hits? We could spend weeks debating this while the enemy continues onward. Let's simplify this. Everyone here gets a full share, with an extra share reserved for things such as healing and pulling any of us out of the Dead Book. Agreed?"

    "Joel, of course there will be a monster in the cavern. I doubt it is some sickly young goblin with a rusty dagger. Any word on what it is? Once the creature is dealt with, is the library connected to the cavern directly? Any word who occupies the library?"

    "The earplugs are a good idea. It's been a long time since I've been there. Anyone know of a supply this time of light?"
    Spoiler: Games
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    Keston Tornok for GF's AoW
    Loradralsornux for GF's Savage Tide
    Suga for Kish's The Sunless Citadel
    Cendrik for J-H's Servants of the Thrallherd
    Semult for Kish's Wrath of the Righteous
    Faazeran for kinem's Drow Against Midnight

    Extended Signature - More detailed game/character notes

  26. - Top - End - #56
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Eilyra gives Avakuss a flat look. "A fifty percent drop in expected returns? I certainly agree that reserving some of our expected findings for healing, resurrections, and other such communal benefits is an idea, but splitting things nine ways is excessive, at best. Fifteen percent to each of the combatants." She looks over Ash, Avakuss, Edigaria, and Taric, to make it clear who she was referring to. "Fifteen percent reserved for group beneficial expenditures, such as healing, scrolls, potentially components, or other required supporting items or services, and ten percent to Rule. If it turns out that Rule is attacked, it becomes fifteen percent to Rule, and ten percent reserved. If and when we reach a conclusion, whatever remains of the reserve is split between those of us here, including Joel and Center-of-All."

    She pauses for a moment once more, for effect. "Of course, it is also quite possible that we won't find anything of value in the library, in which case we can all be very disappointed."
    Spoiler: Current Character List:
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    Eilyra Dlardrageth, Expedition to the Demonweb Pits
    Violet, A Faerie Affair
    Adamant, Planescape: Full Circle

  27. - Top - End - #57
    Titan in the Playground
     
    BlueWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Ash

    The black-winged woman glanced up from her notes.

    "How about equal shares all around, after expenses such as healing, bribes, and the like?"

    She pauses, considering going on with a further explanation of the proposal, but instead returned to her notes.
    "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." Kurt Vonnegut

  28. - Top - End - #58
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Imp

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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Center says "Eilyra, fair enough on the swear. I really don't think that Gamayun would want to release the mad god. 'Open the chain' ... that could mean a lot of things."

    Joel says "I for one don't ask for an equal share of this hypothetical loot, since I don't see how I would earn it. My magic may be as strong as ever, but my body is not, and as an adventurer I'm not in the same league as some of you. I've already died twice in my life, and I'm in no hurry for the third.

    All I ask is for two things: tip well whenever you drink here, and if I die as a result of all this, find a way to bring me back.

    My contribution may be minimal, but since I knew where this might lead, I do have ear plugs for all.

    Center, I swear I will not take the Key for purposes other than those we agree on, and not to hinder your cause of fulfilling the prophecy.

    As for the monster, Avakuss, I mean the one we fought. Some kind of stronger chaos beast with magic and freaky powers."


    Rule says "You're a good sport, Joel. Eilyra, I know you still hold a grudge for whatever you think I should have warned you about last time, but it's clear that you're outvoted on this. I will get a full share, and I will continue to ask my contacts for relevant information, which is not without risk to myself.

    Center, I swear I will not take the Key for purposes other than those we agree on, and not to hinder your cause of fulfilling the prophecy."

  29. - Top - End - #59
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Avakuss tilted his head slightly thinking back to the beast he had fought with Joel and others. "It's the same portal and creature? We were that close to the library back then? Interesting."

    "If it is the same monster, we stand a much better chance than back then. If I am assuming correctly that we here were selected for our power, the real danger from the beast is it turning us against each other through effects like Confusion and Insanity. Dispel magic should be used quickly if any of us succumbs. Granted it was long ago so the creature is probably more powerful. The wind from the tunnels is still a real threat for the same reason, even with ear plugs. My powers aren't impeded by being deaf but I don't have a good way to be deaf at will. "

    "I do have Mind Blank in effect for myself which should be protection from the beast, but it won't help against the wind. The creature seemed to have greater invisibilty when we fought it but I can see through that when I am expecting it."

    "Also, anyone not have darkvision? There is no light there. I have a magical light but using it would draw attention to ourselves. Joel, do you still have that restoration wand from back then?"
    Spoiler: Games
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    Keston Tornok for GF's AoW
    Loradralsornux for GF's Savage Tide
    Suga for Kish's The Sunless Citadel
    Cendrik for J-H's Servants of the Thrallherd
    Semult for Kish's Wrath of the Righteous
    Faazeran for kinem's Drow Against Midnight

    Extended Signature - More detailed game/character notes

  30. - Top - End - #60
    Titan in the Playground
     
    BlueWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Planescape: Center of All - IC

    Ash

    "I will also vow to follow Centre's wishes in the disposition of the key, and will assist with an equal share distribution of any proceeds from this enterprise.

    "As to this creature...I have the knack of tracking creatures from telepathy, and speaking telepathically, but that won't do any good with those of you who blank your minds. If the creature is reliant on mind magic and invisibility, I will have some gifts for countering that, and for dispelling other magical protections as well."


    She paused, considering Avakuss' other comments.

    "I also have some healing talents, including the raising of the dead as needed. We will, of course, endeavour to ensure that such talents are not required."
    "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." Kurt Vonnegut

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