I'm seeding some planar activities and interactions for my home campaign. Fighting demons/devils/Dao as a way of encountering them is good and proper, and doing some research to defeat a demon-guarded crypt is another good one, but I have been reading City of Brass and the economy section is very cool. The Enchiridion brings up the same sorts of questions. So my goal is to avoid Planescape-style trivialization of the outer planes and the powers that live there, but to provide an interactive experience of them.
With that vague goal in mind here's an encounter location. I'm looking for feedback on
- "how to introduce characters to the Inner Planes" and
- what do you think of this specific encounter? is it gameable? would it be fun?
In my campaign there is a ruined elven city in a large mountain valley. I have placed Esma on a mount outside the ruins.
The Pavilion of Trade
The ancient elven empire possessed peerless arcane power and traveled the planes. Lesser Demon Princes might attend court, the Caliph of the Djinn might treat with the Mage-Emperor.
To facilitate easy trade with the Plane of Fire they struck an accord with the Sultan of the Efreet and Amaimon of the Azer.
On a small lump of elemental rock they built a pavilion of finest translucent marble, set with previous stones. A fountain of elemental water burbles. All is bright from the firmament of burning beyond the archways.
The pavilion is enchanted to provide a survivable temperature, though it is still hot and bright. Natives of the prime will take 1hp damage per hour/ or heat exhaustion will give them -1 to attack and damage for 24 hours thereafter.
Note: no defensive magics are in place. The might and notoriety of the Elven Mages keeps the peace. That empire is gone. Letting this fact slip, or implying it to a savvy listener will expose the careless adventurer to great danger.
Note: casting Dispel Magic or Anti-Magic spell in this place is sure to cause incineration.
When a mortal enters the pavilion through the gate, a chime is rung and nearby natives of the Plane of Fire may come calling, where they will barter for wares.
Who comes to trade?
Lesser Efreet Malik - ambitious, deceptive, wary of the might of the elves, unaware that the empire has fallen. Wishes to climb the hierarchy by force or diplomacy. If he realizes the PCs are not protected by the aegis of the elven empire he will trade at much worse terms, and possibly attemot to take the PCs as slaves or kill them an take their magic items.
Monadic Deva - weary, aware of the fall of the elven kingdom, if PCs are good, will provide cautions, healing, possible spells if she believes in their quest. Not really trading as checking in on, and policing.
Azer x3 - members of Amaimon's questers. Wary of being swindled. Seeking information or magic. Will mark the PCs as enemies of Azer if deceived or toyed with
Fire Elemental Noble - avg intelligence
Jann Adventurer. Survives by her wits. She entertains at the Sultain's court and is generally left alone by Efreet for this reason. Will rest and recuperate on the Plane of Air. She is tolerated by the Azer but suspected as a spy for the Efreet.
General Trade Items any will accept
- Rare Burnables - incense (sandalwood, cedar, fir, mesquite, ebonwood, strontium, pure copper, lithium chloride
- magic items/artifacts
Efreet Trade Items
- Bards/Poets. Storytellers brought to the Sultan are of high social worth
- Exquisite beauties of the mortal races
- Weapons that can be of use against the Djinn
- Larva to trade with demons
- Weapons and Armor +2 (he will not let on that on these are +2 on Inner Planes and therefore +0 on the Prime)
- True Names of Minor Demons (he will not let on the dangers of speaking such a name, of course)
- Dam Mamara - he will not let on the dangers of this substance
- Wishes for only the most precious of offerings
- Research (spells, technologies, intelligence) anything to take back to Amaimon
- healing for one of their brothers, injured in a battle with a salamander
- Divine intercession or Divination by a party cleric (may have to take place on the Prime)
- Pure grade Bronze or star metals for forging new Azer
- arms and armor (with honesty about magic properties across the planes)
- items providing protection from Fire or survival on plane of fire
- rare burnables
- magical fire spells cast upon it
- future service as an elemental guide
- temporary protection from fire (48 hours kiss of the elemental)
- recharge flame weapons or wand of fire
- Seeking stories to tell at the court of the sultan
- seeking magical items to keep her safe on her travels
- will tell of City of Brass, general info about the plane, do's and don'ts
- Has heard tell of an alliance between the Efreet and a Demon Prince and how they cast down Tharizdun in the day (for my campaign)
Two forays through the Trade Gate of Fire - the first they met an Efreet and traded some wands around. the team is very suspicious of him, but they have a proposal. The party has a ring of 2 wishes. He will give them 2 wishes in exchange for one wish. his wish is unknown. - They return to carry through with the deal, but this time they are met by 3 noble Azer, part of the Retinue of Amaimon. One is wounded from a Salamander ambush. The Paladin lays on hands and heals the Azer. For this he is given a ring of fire protection and named Friend of the Azer. But then the Efreet showed up and chased off the Azer.
The team is very suspicious of the efreet -as well they should be - the Efreet Merchant wishes to swap places and power with the local Emir, and as his wish is completed the local Emir appears, now wearing the more modest garb of a trader, and is enraged to find his place taken. The party has their wishes but the Efreet tells the old Emir how he got in this predicament, and the party runs back through the gate with flames following and escapes narrowly.
Some new friends and two new enemies on the plane of elemental fire.
Grodog, thanks for the feedback. Good call on the timelines. They would know from the length of time that the empire had fallen. Perhaps they are wary but won't immediately attack or anything becayse they desire trade.
It seems like an Efreet should be ready to make deals, or trade, or barter. A demon would just devour or dominate, but an Efreet might have a response roll maybe?
Some quick thoughts:
1. If the elven empire has fallen a long time ago, the fact that the gate hasn't been used in ages will likely be a tell that tips off the firey denizens. If so, the PCs will likely be assumed to be adventurers/explorers rather than diplomatic representatives (perhaps unless they happen to have elves in the party?). Also: if it's been ages past, others will have likely already come through the gate in the past?
2. The NPC interactions, motivations, etc. seem fine (although I would assume that larvae would be to trade with devils, barghests, and perhaps daemons, rather than demons).
3. To counter the possibility of the elves being known to be gone, perhaps the Prime gate leads to an intermediary location (perhaps only on a periodical basis, as when the the moon is full, or upon the city founder's birthday, or when the proper elven song is sung, or whatever; the intermediary destination might be the moon, another planet/asteroid, another time, etc.), and in that intermediary location, the PCs might find some gear of the ancient elves, and thereby be more-easily perceived as belonging to that group??
Assumptions at play here:
I don't think you could just open up a trade post on Pazunia without lessening the evil there, but the inner planes seem like you could do business? Does this take away from the Plane of Elemental Fire hostility?
I'm thinking this is a way for mid level characters to encounter the plane (levels 4-8, my party is 5/6) without dying but with a big chance for knowledge and experience and exposure with a small chance of a win and a small chance of death? Too contrived?
1. If the Efreet fights a party of 4x 6th level characters that seems like a scary but not totally one sided encounter?
2. 3x Azer fighters in the retinue of Amaimon are maybe 5 HD or a 5HD leader with 2x 4HD followers?
For trade items I'm stealing the trade list from the Enchiridion and the treasure list from the city of Brass. Do you guys have any ideas for valuable barter goods on the Inner Planes?
Manual of the Planes says "rare scents and perfumes" for the plane of air, gems for the plane of earth, and "rare potions" for the plane of water.
what do you guys think?