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Postfest VI: Planes of Retribution
Posted on Sat, March 18, 2006 by Dongul
mortellan writes "Adventure Background: Few but his most ardent worshippers know that Trithereon the Summoner, god of Individuality and Retribution will take up the pursuit of villains that think themselves safely beyond the reach of law and the vengeance of those they have wronged. With his legendary Baton of Retribution, Trithereon can find his quarry anywhere on any plane eventually. When those he chases are found the Baton warps the surrounding area so there is little chance of escape; what the Baton has in fact done is draw them into a newly created pocket plane that is entirely alien to Trithereon’s foe. It is said that once face-to-face on this strange plane Trithereon asks but one question of his intended foe, and if it is not answered truthfully then the answerer will surely be left trapped on his own personal prison plane for a sentence of 100 years. That is unless a means of escape is found…

Planes of Retribution
By: mortellan

Average Party Level: Varies.

Edition:
Adaptable for any edition of Dungeons & Dragons.

Adventure Hooks

These hooks can be used in any combination with any of the Planes of Retribution and any of the Villains found below. You can also modify those trapped within to any level of play as well.

-Your company is tasked to obtain an important artifact that will aid in the reversal of a horrific curse that has plagued the last two generations of a wealthy benefactor’s family. The trouble is divinations say that Trithereon trapped the item’s owner on another plane for a crime. Your benefactor spares no resource or contact to send your party into this plane for the item but time is limited before the gate closes.

-While journeying through a dense tangled forest, your party comes upon a wall of vines and thorns enveloping what can only be a silvery wall mirror. Uncovering it you soon notice that it inexplicably becomes a window into a strange plane and before you know it all in the vicinity are magically drawn in. Now you must wander the plane, deal with its dangers and hopefully find the mirror out on that side that has randomly relocated.

-Your party is trying to teleport to their chosen destination, not knowing they are in a zone of wild magic. The resulting magical reaction hurtles your group into a strange alien landscape. What's worse, all magic items and memorized spells seem to have been dispelled for an indeterminate amount of time. Survival becomes imperative, as the heroes must hold out until a means of escape is discovered.


Prison Planes
Unless otherwise stated all these pocket planes follow the same rules for a prime material plane. In general the size of each plane is imperceptible and will vary little from its original environment. Thus great distances can be traveled if you need without ever actually getting anywhere including the ‘ends of the world’.

-Mauve Badlands: This world is striking to all who would see it for the first time. The landscape is an endless wasteland like no other, for everything from strange eroded rock formations to gravel covered slopes to the very ground itself is a subtle hue of purple. Even more unsettling is the overarching sky above this barren land, a swirl of green far as the eye can see to the horizon with darker green clouds drifting aimlessly. There is no sun or moon yet the days can be marked by the lightening or darkening of this bizarre green atmosphere. What little water that exists here looks poisonous and foul in color but is otherwise normal to the taste. The dangers of this badlands are typical for a desert, including environmental risks and many strains of poisonous snakes that lurk in deep holes within the mauve terrain. Beyond this there are two significant effects inherent to the Plane.

The first is the Howling. At an unpredictable interval a painful, ear piercing sound elevates on the Plane from no apparent source. The strength of the sound is such that little can be done to block it short of spells such as Silence and once the shrieking noise has abated there is no more pain or discomfort. After enduring many stressful encounters with the Howling, intelligent residents of the Badlands soon exhibit changes to their Ego in the form of defense mechanisms. Unless their Willpower resists, one day a person may go into Denial about their predicament while another day can be spent Rationalizing their reason for being here. The worst effects soon include Regression to a previous state of development like childhood or Repression wherein their worst deeds and memories are forgotten entirely. The varying effects on the mind can be treated as an unlimited duration Confusion spell when any combat or skills are attempted.

-Miasmic Marshes: This Plane is wholly inhospitable to most humanoid races. A perpetually foggy, odorous swamp spreads in all directions like a nightmare. The waters of the Marsh have a disgusting milky consistency that is only overborne by the reddish plant life that grows abundantly from it, furthermore producing the fetid mist that hangs over everything. Dry areas of elevation can be found amid the varying depths of the Marsh for a brief respite but frequent rain and other conditions flood them time to time. Unclean insects and other tiny slithering vermin chirp and creak all day long here belying the true threat of the Plane.

The Marsh is sentient. Although not communicable by normal or telepathic means, the truth can be discovered by use of spells like Detect Thoughts. The Marsh has no alignment otherwise and cannot be reasoned with for its purpose is to terrorize and punish those interred without prejudice. The swamp lashes out when a victim least expects it in a variety of ways such as invisible tendrils of force stealing valued items in their sleep, or through tangible bodies of fog that can envelope a foe and inflict any number of physical tortures upon them short of death. At its most malevolent the Marsh will whirl its deepest waters and try to suck victims under only to jettison them out far away from where they started. The Marsh can be fought in the short term but it cannot be utterly killed. Treat its clouds as any variety of Solid Fog spell or alternatively with the stats of a Crimson Death Mist creature. Whirlpools are treated as Water Elementals of varying size and the invisible tendrils can be Air Elementals.

-Phantom Realm: This plane is enigmatic and eerie in every fashion. All around the landscape is a featureless expanse of gray and black plains and rolling hills. The sky above is eternally pitch-black with no day or night to be discerned. What is most bizarre is the ground, for it glows with a harmless, phantasmal translucent fire. To make matters more startling, the Plane seems to suck the color from everything in it giving all within a ghostly appearance. Sound also travels the air slower here, further disorienting those who haven’t spent long on the Plane. The Phantom Realm is a depressing, lonely environment. Visitors soon find there is no hunger or thirst here, as if the ghostly fire itself sustains those upon its surface.

The lack of positive stimuli here has driven many a stranded prisoner mad and that is when the latent danger of the Plane manifests. Each visitor to the Phantom Realm eventually will lack the Willpower and begin to see a personal imaginary tormenter. The Tormenter is for all intents and purposes real to them but no other can see or affect it, nor can it be disbelieved. The Tormenter is always an antagonistic personality tailored to play on the hope, fears, prejudices and pride of the trapped individual. The Tormenter is at its worst when there are actually other beings in the Realm for it will transpose itself over them to confuse and belabor its victim, sometimes with dire results for the other person. Ultimately the only way to surely kill off the Tormentor is to withdraw into catatonia or a coma, which is what the Tormentor strives for anyhow.

Prisoners of the Planes
These threats are the primary denizens of their personal Plane of Retribution. Each is unrepentant in Trithereon’s eyes and will seek to escape the Plane prematurely through guile, force or diplomacy. It should be noted that Trithereon won’t let these villains out of their penance so easily and as such they cannot be killed by any means short of a Wish. They do age normally and can die in this manner. Anytime a Prisoner is thought killed or destroyed they are instead randomly teleported (items and all) to another part of the Plane and regenerated back to life. Most Prisoners will see this predicament as a curse while others may view it as a boon. Either way they use this immortality to their reckless advantage, never revealing it to any who may stumble into their world.

-Brother Helius of Pholtus (Cleric, human male): A pariah of the Palish Church, this fire and brimstone cleric none-the-less wandered the center Flanaess proselytizing for Pholtus in his own deluded way. Given what he claimed was a second sight by the Light of Pholtus, Helius alone could see through the disguise of the Rhennee who are to a man, demons beneath human skins. His god’s solution according to divine guidance was to send them back to their Plane (the hellish Rhop) by the fastest means possible: burning or burying them alive. Drowning was not proper for these Rhennee devils for they seemed to thrive around water. Naturally his work did draw a small zealous following, a traveling mob that could exact his mad proclamations. However, churches of Pholtus everywhere excommunicated Helius for fear of repercussion from temples of Heironenous, St. Cuthbert or Trithereon. And rightly so for in his second tour around the Nyr Dyv, Helius was doggedly chased by several temple-backed adventuring parties.

Helius went into hiding in the Abbor Alz while all his loyalists were rounded up, yet by design one of his flock claimed to be the renegade Pholtine thus ending the manhunt. Few know but that is when the avatar of Trithereon took up the hunt anew and once cornered, put Brother Helius to the Question with his Baton: “Do you adore the Rhennee?” This Question haunts Helius to this day for he lied to Trithereon and sealed his fate. In truth Brother Helius was enamored of Rhennee women and his whole campaign was created to indulge in and then conceal his wanton lust. Brother Helius is still dressed in his fading and tattered Pholtine vestments over equally tarnished chainmail armor. His distinctive magical flaming mace, The Fist of Pholtus, is also still in his possession among other items he jealously carried away into hiding before his imprisonment.

-Karthos Mandrake(Bard, human male): This prisoner was a serial murderer in the Urnst-Nyrond region three decades past. Karthos was a celebrated artist and singer who enjoyed the ear of Kings, Countesses and Dukes. His wealth gave him the luxury of more than one home as he traveled between countries often. Pressures of maintaining his level of creativity drove Karthos to excessive drinking and isolation in his home to work on secret works of art. Before long he developed a murderous psychotic behavior in which grizzly artworks were made from parts of his hired models, typically women and children. Mandrake’s art was never shared with the public understandably and as his money ran out he finally returned to working and performing for wealthy clientele, but he never lost his sadistic urge.

Mandrake’s downfall came as he did a small recital for an influential Nyrondese merchant’s dinner. At the residence his performance was cut short as Karthos saw the merchant had one of his old and inferior paintings on display. After demanding it be taken down and refused, Mandrake went on a murderous rampage and fled with several witnesses still in shock. Karthos only returned to his nearest residence for the last of his money and belongings before departing in haste to the Bandit Kingdoms where authorities would never locate him. Eventually the law uncovered the grisly works of art in each of Mandrake’s homes but the rest of the remains could not be found nor could the true number of his victims be determined.

Trithereon was moved by this injustice and tirelessly found Mandrake to put him to the Question. “Where are they?” Trithereon’s simple request to locate the remains of the victims went unanswered as Mandrake was awestruck. No answer was just as bad as a false one in Trithereon’s view and thus he imprisoned the murderer until time he would talk. Karthos is now a middle-aged man who is further twisted by living in his new environment. His possessions are few but he does still possess a Cloak of Invisibility that facilitated much of his exploits and a magically sharp single edged short sword that surely was his instrument of art.

-Ilestra the Umbral Stalker (Rogue/Wizard, valley elf female): A spy and sometime assassin from the Valley of the Mage, Ilestra was chosen for her ability to appear as human or other elven breeds. In her trade she was accomplished and had earned among her peers the nickname the Umbral Stalker for her penchant at using shadow magic like her laird the Black One. Her assignments afterward became more intensive into places like Highfolk and Keoland and it was during her lengthy excursions that she began overstepping her mission boundaries. Ilestra began engaging in the cruel hobby of mutilating comely young elven women. Faces were disfigured, eyes gouged out, teeth were pulled and long ears were clipped, but all her victims were left alive to agonize. The string of victims soon became too big to ignore and Ilestra fled back to the safety of the Vale of the Mage. Upon discovering the heinous risks his agent was taking abroad, the Black One banished Ilestra from his domain whereupon she departed into anonymity in Ket.

The long hand of Trithereon caught up to Ilestra two decades later after her crimes had passed from the memory of all but those she physically and mentally scarred for life. The Question was made to the ignoble valley elf. “Who has wronged you?” Ilestra defiantly lied and answered it was the gods who had wronged her thus dooming her to a planar prison. In truth Ilestra was jealous of the Black One’s First Protector, the drow woman named Tsylin San, who was also the same woman who learned of Ilestra’s hobby and then turned her into the Black One. Ilestra has adapted to her new environment well all things considered. She still sports much of her old gear including a magical long sword, Boots of Elvenkind and her closely guarded spell book.

Sources:
Greyhawk Adventures
A Guide to the World of Greyhawk
Living Greyhawk Gazetteer




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Re: Planes of Retribution (Score: 1)
by Wolfsire on Mon, March 20, 2006
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Mortellan, reading that was like watching Law and Order: SVU while listening to Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun!  I loved it, even while it freaked me out a little.  The Hooks, the Planes and the Prisoners were all well done.  It is just kind of weird that we both did prison planes. :-0




Re: Postfest VI: Planes of Retribution (Score: 1)
by SirXaris on Fri, April 08, 2011
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Very nice ideas, Mortellan.  I like them alot as they will add much to my campaign. :)

SirXaris



Re: Postfest VI: Planes of Retribution (Score: 1)
by CharlesObergfell on Thu, August 25, 2011
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Great article, if some Greyhawk's deities are widely known in all DD worlds (eg in 4th edition) like Vecna, Kyuss, Pelor, Kord, poor Trithereon was left aside. The figure of a god like Thrithereon doesn't appear (perhaps i'm wrong) in other dd's pantheon. The Planes of Retribution give a picture which explain why these character is difficult to understand and why he exists only in GH world.
Trithéreon is   chaotic not lawful, for cultural reason we can't afford the domain of Justice with chaotic behaviour. Alas, Trithereon is also good and the notion of vengeance is quite incompatible with good values (eg. the golden rule : don't do to other....) The idea of planes of retribution sketch the complexity (and give a good reason why these god is put aside by RPG players outside GH) of these god and why in GH is so popular. For me Trithereon is justice as fairness (if somebody love philosophy the reference is J Rawls), because retribution in the text show us the limits of lawful rule and the necessity of a chaotic (but not arbitrary) intervention for establishing justice. The need of suppressing wrongness is deeply entrenched in our  psychology and Thrithereon answer and satisfy this.



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