The War Without End

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cmnash's picture
Joined: 2004-05-17
The War Without End

Hi, As I threatened on Shemmie's EN World version of the storyhour, I started my storyhour there, and was deafened by the silence of response to it :cry: so I thought I'd post it here and see if I got more feedback. I've copied the posts from there to here, to start it off.

Please let me know what you think of it; I know I've violated some of the sacrosanct holies of Planescape by defining the Lady of Pain and Sigil's purpose, but I would like to know what you all think of it please

------Posted to ENWorld------

Having been an avid consumer of wonderful storyhours like SepII's, Pkitty's, Blackdirge's and Shemeska's I thought it time to create my own and contribute to the wonder that is ENWorld's Storyhour.

I'm going to start with a backstory (currently) unknown to the players/characters, then some ooc campaign description and then move on to the PC intro's before starting on the 6mths+ of sessions.

I apologise in advance to canon-lawyers for the numerous liberties I have taken with the DnD canon which is why I've called this 'Planescape-ish'. I am especially apologetic about defining the Lady of Pain, but my aim has been to create an enjoyable game and I think I've done it ...

The beginning ...

How did it start? no-one who was there will tell, but as I have found some of the secrets I will record what I have learnt.

The birth of an infinite multiverse also gave birth to an infinite variety of things, not all of whom were content with their lot. Chief among these malcontents, who named Himself Tharizdun, was one who believed the multiverse to be flawed. He believed that it was His destiny and right to control the multiverse and use it as His plaything, for what else would do Him the honour he so rightly deserved? So He set about the unmaking of all that was, for there was no other way to bring about His goal.

But His actions were observed by His peers - the beings known as Powers or Gods - who were appalled by His goal - the unmaking of the multiverse and their own concomittant demise. As They were unwilling to set a precedent by His destruction (and unsure if They could destroy Him), They confined Him within the Grey Waste - a dank miserable place at that time unclaimed by any of Their number.

Time passed and His madness - that was what His peers deemed it to be - fed upon itself and from it's fevered revolutions sprang forth inspiration. He created servants who would not be trapped as He was and sent them forth to work His plans. He promised these creatures - the Baernaloths as we know them - that they would survive the Unmaking that He planned and have dominion as His favourites in the multiverse that He would create to follow.

His creatures set about the tasks that He set them; but the other powers had not been idle and had created servants of their own. These servants crossed paths, purposes and eventually swords with those of Tharizdun and the powers began to learn that He had a plan to achieve His goal. Horrified the so-called 'good' powers tried to block His plans, but the enmity held Them by the so-called 'evil' powers largely nullified their efforts.

But not all the Baernaloths were content with their role. One of them was subverted by one of Tharizdun's peers, a power who had chosen not to create Her own servants, preferring to subvert the servants of others. This power had no name - and does not to this day. Her choice of a feminine form - for reasons known only to Herself - has led to her being dubbed The Lady.

The extent of Tharizdun's progress in His plan was made apparent by the traitor and The Lady set about countering His progress using Her minions. Piecing together the information they gave Her, She learnt of a mighty weapon that She might use to combat Him - the Last Word, the ultimate magic of unmaking, a force potent enough to slay a power.

A being of plots, She was unwilling to confront Tharizdun immediately with this weapon and initially used it - successfully - against a lesser power who had pledged allegiance to Him. Flushed with the success of the Last Word and having absorbed the essence and potential of the power She had slain, The Lady resolved to confront Tharizdun.

But to Her dismay, She found that Tharizdun had also somehow learnt the Last Word and was, therefore, immune to its effects. Even as She fled from Him, The Lady began to concoct a plan to counter Tharizdun's plan and advance Herself at the same time.

Using Her minions She arranged a Conclave of the Powers at the centre of the Outlands - believed to be the spot that the multiverse had come into existence from - where magic did not function and the powers would believe themselves safer from treachery.

As expected, not all the powers came to this Conclave, but enough did. What they discussed and who said what is unknown - but as can be imagined is speculated on at great length by the few who know of its existence. But what I have discovered, and can relate here, are the Six Accords of the Conclave:

    First: Tharizdun is a pariah and will henceforth be known as The Enemy as He is the ultimate Enemy of all sane Powers

    Second: The Enemy should be destroyed and if this not possible for some reason, confined so that He could not bring His plans to fruition

    Third: We agree to give some of our servants to create an organisation that would counter the servants of The Enemy once He had been confined – they will known as the Med-Jai

    Fourth: The entity who co-ordinated the conclave and brought extent of the plans of The Enemy to the other powers' attention would be rewarded with Her own demense where none of the other Powers would ever interfere

    Fifth: The Powers who did not attend the Conclave were declared outlaw and were free game for their enemies present at the Conclave – none there would help them

    Sixth: To record for all time the Accords of the Conclave, a symbol would be erected at the spot of the Conclave

Being of diverse natures and opinions, the powers could not agree upon what the symbol of the Accords should be. However, the next power who visited the site of the Conclave found that an immense spire had grown there. Although seemingly infinite, the spire does have a summit, where the names of the Powers and the Accords they reached were recorded by the multiverse for all time. The Powers took this as a sign that the very multiverse itself approved of their Accords.

The war that was the inevitable result of the Fifth Accord is unimportant to this record. It should be noted, however, that The Lady slew several of the errant powers with the Last Word - unknown to her comrades - and increased Her own potential as a result.

But, as had been suspected in the wording of the Second Accord, the Conclave could not destroy The Enemy - even when He had lost allies and servants - the Baernaloths had fled into hiding at the outbreak of the war.

So The Lady arranged a Second Conclave. This time She invited only those powers who had honoured the Third Accord and provided servants to create the Med-Jai. With these eleven powers, after binding them to secrecy, She shared the Last Word and together they confronted The Enemy within the Grey Waste. After a titanic stuggle they were victorious and cast The Enemy into Belierin, the layer of Elysium that held the only gateway to His prison.

On the site of this gateway the twelve powers confirmed the Med-Jai and their pact to keep The Enemy imprisoned for all time and entrusted the key to that prison to their leader The Lady.

She pondered for an age the best way to keep this key safe, before deciding Her course. She created the demense promised Her in the Fourth Accord - Sigil, the City of countless doors (after all how best to hide a key than within countless others?) and set it above the Spire in the Outlands as a reminder to the other powers of - as She saw it - Her primacy in their actions.

This is the end of my account, and by it's recording I have doomed myself to never return to Sigil, for fear of The Lady's retribution.

Legagog the Knowing, Aranea High Priest of Vecna, Uncoverer of all Wanted Hidden

cmnash's picture
Joined: 2004-05-17
The War Without End

To set the scene for what's coming I want to give some backstory about our group. We have been playing DnD exclusively since the release of 3rd Edition and thoroughly enjoyed it. We started with a conversion from 2e run by Tim and then moved onto Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil by Monte Cook, run by Stuart. This mega-campaign tested the endurance of the group Sad , and by the time it ended I think we were all glad that it had ... but it did provide a large amount of inspiration for my own campaign. After RttToEE, another group member, John, started a conversion of 'The Night Below' 2e campaign, but for various out-of-game reasons (mainly caused by a large amount of player absences resulting in 2 players trying to run 5 pcs Sad for most sessions) we abandoned that - hopefully to resume at some point.

Following on from these 3 loooooong campaigns we were all suffering DnD fatigue and wanted a change - something different. So, inspired by the "T.V. Structure" article in Dragon 293 we decided to adopt a more collaborative format. More info on the structure and our ideas about levelling characters
can be found here.

So with the basis established we needed one person to come up with an over-arching plotline for the campaign - sort of like Bablyon 5 in DnD terms. And it was my turn! :eek:

I had always been enamoured with the Planescape 2e setting and that is an ideal basis for the format we had adopted - e.g. different DMs can use different planes/worlds for their adventures - so I surfed along to and bought a load of the supplements (which I'm still reading!). We also all wanted to try high-level play (I was especially inspired by Sepulchrave II and Piratecat's storyhours [I am not worthy!]) but nobody wanted to start with high-level characters so we further decided that we would start the PCs at 2nd level and level up after each session until 7th was reached and then slow down.

Onto this I superimposed an organisation I had created for the RttToEE campaign - the Med-Jai (yes, inspired by the Mummy and Mummy 2 films), who's purpose is to keep the Mad God Tharizdun imprisoned.

This was not known to the Players or their Characters when we started - all they knew was that each of them had a strange tatto upon their bodies ...

The setting created I began the process of writing the PCs into it ...

cmnash's picture
Joined: 2004-05-17
Ebon Mordain

Ebon Mordain

Ebon's Homeland

Ebon comes from the Theocracy of the Pale, a cold, harsh region, where the Church of the One True Path lead a single religion devoted to the Lawful Good god Pholtus. Though he is a "good" god Pholtus demands unfaltering devotion from his followers and strict adherence to the One True Path. He makes no allowance for moral ambiguity and shows little tolerance of other faiths. Despite Pholtus’s intransigence however the people of the Pale are loyal followers, proudly embracing the principles of law, order, discipline, community, family, loyalty, dedication and justice that he stands for. On the western borders of the Pale a war has raged for many years between the forces of the Theocracy and demonic minions of Iuz that occupy the neighbouring lands of Tenh.

Ebon's Childhood

When Ebon was a boy the war briefly spilled into his hometown and, as it passed, his mother and father were left among the dead. Afterward Ebon and his sister, Blanca, were taken into the Church and encouraged to fill the emptiness inside them with the teachings of the One True Path. Seeking retribution for the murder of their parents, Ebon elected to join a martial arm of the Church and trained diligently to become a Warrior-Priest, while Blanca chose the path of a Marshal to support and protect her little brother, as she had always tried to do. In the years to come Ebon rose through the ranks and joined the fighting in Tenh, where he gained a measure of satisfaction from slaying the demonic followers of Iuz. However, as time passed, he began to lose conviction in the righteousness of the Holy War. Undoubtedly the destruction of the demons was warranted but there seemed to be little discrimination between good and evil and more often than not all non-believers were slain.

Ebon's Day of Change

One day Ebon found himself in a small settlement much like the one he had grown up in as a boy, however it was not the demons that had done the killing. The people of the village had been put to death for Heresy by the Enforcers of Pholtus led by their Captain, Marann. As Ebon viewed the aftermath of this so-called justice, he was approached by the mysterious stranger called Hallam, a man who in time would change the course of Ebon’s life by showing him a new path, one that gave him the purpose that he sought but had never truly found. Their conversation, so life-changing for Ebon went as follows:

    Hallam – "You know - deep in your heart Ebon - the wrongness of the Theocracy. You cannot to deny to me, let alone yourself, that you feel used and deceived by the church here."
    "But there is more to your discontent then that. It is a deeper wrongness in the path that your life has taken. You have always felt ... 'out of place' haven't you? the certainty that your colleagues felt was never yours to share was it?"
    "All of this is because you are destined to a higher purpose. It is your birthright and your responsibility, but you can only accept it with open eyes and a conscious choice."
    "It is yours to claim and trust me in that you will be doing the right thing more than you can in any other way or by doing any other thing."

    Ebon - Ebon was surprised at the power of the stranger's words and how much of a chord they struck within him. Yet he was prudent enough to do his best to hide the fact. He wondered if his discontent with the Church had really become that obvious. And yet it was more than that, what the stranger spoke of did have some meaning for him.
    "There is truth in what you say" he answered carefully "I have indeed become less certain of my faith of late."
    "But tell me who are you to speak of birthrights and a higher purpose? What do you know of such things?"

    Hallam - "You know - deep in your heart Ebon - the wrongness of the Theocracy. You cannot to deny to me, let alone yourself, that you feel used and deceived by the church here."
    "But there is more to your discontent then that. It is a deeper wrongness in the path that your life has taken. You have always felt ... 'out of place' haven't you? the certainty that your colleagues felt was never yours to share was it?"
    "This is because you are destined to a higher purpose. It is your birthright and your responsibility, but you can only accept it with open eyes and a conscious choice."

    Ebon - "who are you to speak of birthrights and a higher purpose? What do you know of such things?"

    Hallam - "I know many things about you and your purpose Ebon. Most of which I am not allowed to share with you at present."
    "What I can tell you is that you do not belong in this place. You belong in another place, and that is why you are so discontent here. However, I will not coerce you into leaving this existence behind. It is something you must choose to do."

    Ebon - "There is truth in your words I sense, but it is a hard thing that you ask of me. Am I to make this choice based solely upon the information that you have given to me. Can you not tell me more of this place or purpose for which you say I am intended? Or must I make a leap of faith, for my faith has been poorly placed o'er long and is not to be trusted."

    Hallam – "Your faith has been misused and abused. But I think that you should be reassured by its strength and the length of time that it has taken for you to lose it. It is not your faith that is misplaced - it is the way that it has been used by those in power in the church."
    "Pholtus IS a 'good' god - his church in the Theocracy is not however, they are consumed by the letter of the law and place it far above the spirit of the law."
    "To make this choice and accept the birthright would be to do the right thing to yourself, Ebon. You are the product of our order and were placed here deliberately. A mistake as is transpires, and one that we owe you recompense for."
    "But to give you that recompense, you must choose to accept that birthright and the responsibility inherent in it."
    "If you wish to accept this birthright and responsibility, you must walk through the door of that house and you will be on the first step of the road to find who you are."

And Hallam vanished, as strangely as he appeared. Ebon knew in his very soul, that Hallam spoke nothing but the truth, just as much as he knew that what the Church did in Pholtus' name was wrong.

So he stepped through the door.

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