It’s unofficial as I didn’t play it, but here’s an overview of how I would have run the adventure to the close.
As I said previously, I came up with this over the course of a couple of hours really, with a focus on trying to finish out the adventure only, and still left some loose threads for Loge to continue looking at.
Now, importantly, all of these floating structures near us are the bodies of Dead Gods.
They aren’t portals, though perhaps they behave a bit like them in some ways.
The easiest way I could immediately think to break down three locations in the Astral was to build them as the three Pillars of D&D – Social Interaction, Exploration, Combat.
Our mysterious question mark cluster god, who can summon pop-up advertising to entice you in, is going to be our Social build.
Once, long long ago, there lived a god of commerce. He allowed his followers to enter the afterlife based on their worth at the end, though wasn’t too clear on how he calculated it.
Thing is, as his worship continued, it became about greed and transactions and good deals and less about actual commerce. As such, this twisted the god himself some – he became a god of greed and swindle.
What’s the one thing devils will love to do? Outswindle a swindler. And what did the god have in good supply? Souls.
Yeah, basically this guy is dead because he sold all his followers’ eternal souls for… I don’t know. A different purview that failed to pan out? Yeah, think I like that.
He’s a dead god of deals and a potential god of puzzles, say? That would explain his body being in the form of a question mark in a long forgotten language.
This ties in nicely with our patron’s research too. How does a dead god come back? Be a different god, have almost one follower, just hang on a bit longer.
As for the interaction, the party is pulled in and has to interact with this guy, who speaks in riddles but seems to be looking for an answer to something in particular – probably his identity. He’s using the latent magic of Loge’s familiar as a way to wake up just enough to interact.
The easy end of the puzzle is for one of the characters to become a worshipper, but has to be as the god of puzzles.
If the gang decides to say a prayer to the god of swindles, he’ll crumble into ash and dissolve into the Astral Plane. End of puzzle, no good outcome.
If they decide to say a prayer to the god of puzzles instead, his riddle is solved and he smiles as his body disappears and goes… somewhere else? He will become a new Power and new followers will appear in game. They will always be well disposed to the party and help if they can. They will be particularly fond of Loge’s familiar, though they can’t explain why.
(Now I’d just have to come up with the riddles!)
The Golden Dolmen was a harder one to come up with – this is the Exploration hook.
The party is transported somewhere when they get near the dolmen, and find the Bard’s familiar. I had an idea that no equipment comes with them.
The party finds itself atop a small hill in a clearing, and in every direction around them are entrances to some kind of maze. (Muhaha)
At the base of the hill is the entrance to a small tomb. Writing carved into the stones gives it as a resting place of the Third Moon, whoever or whatever that is.
It’s a pretty simple idea, solve the maze and get back to the Astral Plane. Some of the entrances lead back to this clearing, some lead to dead ends and some lead to other dolmens, long since fallen into disrepair. These have similar carvings, but are for Fourth Moon, Fifth Moon and so on.
There are some small burial items at the other dolmens. Take the back to Third Moon, escape.
In the mean time, everything is eerily silent, except for the party.
This is actually less of a puzzle and more of a dream – Dead Gods can still let off some of their remaining energy as a sort of dream, according to the Planescape books.
Once the items are placed in the tomb, there’s a ‘Godquake’ and the party wake to find themselves near the Golden Dolmen. They’re aware they were caught in a dream now.
If they don’t think to place the objects anywhere, a Godquake happens anyway, but they’re trapped in the dream for several days instead.
If they have managed to find out about these potential dangers already (somehow, it hadn’t come up before), then they’re aware they’re in the dream to start with, and have a clue that they need to solve their way out or be trapped for an unknown amount of time.
Lastly, Pyramid Head.
OK, so the description of the corpse implies that we’re looking at Aoskar, the former God of Portals, who has a large temple in Sigil before he was killed by the Lady of Pain.
We know that inside the pyramid body is a giant being holding a large sword with a stone pyramid for a head. Inside, the pyramid is riddled with boreholes of some kind.
And this is our combat encounter.
My basic idea here is, that’s not actually a giant – it’s a lot of worm-things that have been feeding on the body of Aoskar, and have gained a part of his power – this is a demigod of worms that has pulled itself into humanoid shape from lots of different bodies.
How does this affect the combat?
Loge’s spell Toll the Dead still does maximum damage (because it has been whilst on the Astral) however, as there are actually several bodies, it can’t ever do d12s for damage, only d8s.
Area of Effect spells work very well against it. It’s also already a bit clumsy, can’t move very fast as it’s making collective decisions on where to go and isn’t very smart.
As damage is being done, worms begin to shed from the being – so there’s multiple targets. I’d treat these as a Dire Leech or something equally terrifying. They can jump, grapple and slow party members, and they drain whilst holding on.
Once a character goes down, the leech attempts to get back to the main body and heal the whole.
When an individual leech goes down, it explodes with necrotic energy.
When all is said and done and Pyramid Head ‘dies’, the worms will retreat down their boreholes, leaving behind the sword and stone head – it’s some kind of mask.
The interior is basically filled with grave goods like a pyramid, but it looks like the place has been looted or eaten through several times.
There’s some artefacts that might interest a collector – such as Fell, Aoskar’s Dabus follower back in Sigil. Of course, bringing this stuff into Sigil and getting caught wouldn’t be good.
Not that the party is that welcome in Sigil any more.
After this, Drudge has made his observations and added to his research. Unity of Rings returns and asks Drudge about his research. He believes Drudge could benefit from more first-hand accounts of the Dead Gods and suggests talking again to the other Deva about his new findings.
If the party can tell, this is Unity’s way of making sure Drudge’s work isn’t published in Sigil, especially as he now has evidence that gods can be reborn in some way. Unity knows what this kind of information could do to the Planes – and it should be pretty obvious to the players too.
Unity takes the gang back to the Swallowed City and wishes them well. He can advise of a nearby location filled with Colour Portals that mostly lead to the Outlands, the Inner Planes and the Lower Planes.
Unity could also give Loge information about fire dwarves and have him investigate the Dwarven Mountain in the Outlands.