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View Full Version : [3.5] To Hell in a Handbasket...



TheCountAlucard
2010-06-01, 07:44 PM
This Friday marks the potential end of my eighth-level D&D game, as the player characters descend into the depths of Baator. Just the first circle, mind you, but it's still a dangerous endeavor.

They intend to steal back a set of blueprints from the fortress of Bel, Archduke of Avernus, lest he use them to manufacture a race of infernal robots to fight in the Blood War, potentially unbalancing the delicate equilibrium of Law and Chaos.

According to Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells, Bel's fortress occupies around 600 square miles (using our math powers, we estimated it to be around 26 miles in diameter, assuming a circular shape), with no less than 14 concentric walls of brass to protect it. Said fortress is also home to the Dark Eight, the superpowered generals that aid Bel in the Blood War.

Something tells me that even if I make this a cakewalk, it still won't be easy. :smalltongue:

Unfortunately, there really doesn't seem to be much more detail on his fortress, and I'd like some ideas for what to throw at the poor PCs...

Deth Muncher
2010-06-01, 07:53 PM
Unfortunately, there really doesn't seem to be much more detail on his fortress, and I'd like some ideas for what to throw at the poor PCs...

Advanced HD/Size Pit Fiends wielding regular but Vorpal Pitfiends wielding Vorpal Swords.

CockroachTeaParty
2010-06-01, 08:02 PM
If the PC's are only level 8, they should probably have some manner of help getting them inside. Perhaps some rival devils help smuggle them in? Or demons? Or eladrin?

nedz
2010-06-01, 08:03 PM
A prototype of one of the infernal robots would seem apt.

strider24seven
2010-06-01, 08:05 PM
Or, you could opt to take Virgil with you. He's been there before. Actually, he's been around quite a bit- he's been through all 9 circles of the Inferno! And written a lot of poetry.

TheThan
2010-06-01, 08:09 PM
Advanced HD/Size Pit Fiends wielding regular but Vorpal Pitfiends wielding Vorpal Swords.

Wait, you mean gigantic pit fiends wielding normal sized pit fiends, wielding vorpal swords?

I like it.

The Glyphstone
2010-06-01, 08:12 PM
Advanced HD/Size Pit Fiends wielding regular but Vorpal Pitfiends wielding Vorpal Swords.

Not enough pit fiends.

You want max-HD advanced Pit Fiend Psychic Warriors with Augmented Expansion, dual-wielding max-HD advanced Pit Fiends, who are dual-wielding normal Pit Fiends, who are dual-wielding Pit Fiend Psychic Warriors with Augmented Compression, who are dual-wielding Vorpal Swords. Make all such pit fiends except for the Compressed ones Kensai 6 as well, so that the Pit Fiends they are carrying also become Vorpal.

It's Pit Fiends all the way down!

Deth Muncher
2010-06-01, 08:22 PM
Wait, you mean gigantic pit fiends wielding normal sized pit fiends, wielding vorpal swords?

I like it.


Not enough pit fiends.

You want max-HD advanced Pit Fiend Psychic Warriors with Augmented Expansion, dual-wielding max-HD advanced Pit Fiends, who are dual-wielding normal Pit Fiends, who are dual-wielding Pit Fiend Psychic Warriors with Augmented Compression, who are dual-wielding Vorpal Swords. Make all such pit fiends except for the Compressed ones Kensai 6 as well, so that the Pit Fiends they are carrying also become Vorpal.

It's Pit Fiends all the way down!

I also meant that the Pit Fiends that are being used to smack people with are also somehow Vorpal. Glyph's idea is the awesomerist though.

Siosilvar
2010-06-01, 08:32 PM
Not enough pit fiends.

You want max-HD advanced Pit Fiend Psychic Warriors with Augmented Expansion, dual-wielding max-HD advanced Pit Fiends, who are dual-wielding normal Pit Fiends, who are dual-wielding Pit Fiend Psychic Warriors with Augmented Compression, who are dual-wielding Vorpal Swords. Make all such pit fiends except for the Compressed ones Kensai 6 as well, so that the Pit Fiends they are carrying also become Vorpal.

It's Pit Fiends all the way down!

Erm... I'm not even going to try to work out the attack sequence for that.

Thrice Dead Cat
2010-06-01, 08:43 PM
As they are only 8th level, I'm more tempted to have their romp through hell be more political in nature, perhaps facing some lower devils, such a few Erynies rather than an all out brawl with the horrors of Pit Fiendalapalooza.

Deth Muncher
2010-06-01, 08:45 PM
Wait, who's running this? TDC or Count?

TheCountAlucard
2010-06-01, 08:56 PM
Me. And while making it dangerous for them is a priority, I don't exactly want a TPK, either.

The Glyphstone
2010-06-01, 09:02 PM
The other option is a stealth-heavy endeavour. Make one of their sponsors/manipulators, possibly unwilling, another of the Lords of the Nine, who arranges circumstances that the vast majority of Bel's forces are temporarily displaced or otherwise distracted. Now it's a challenge to infiltrate the fortress rather than go in spells blazing - if they encounter guards, sentries, or staff, they've got to hope they win in 1 round/get off a Dimensional Anchor, else they'll go for reinforcements. Think Metal Gear games, except instead of armed guards coming to search for them, they have Pitfiendapalooza (I like it) with True Sight. If they get in a fight, they're already seriously screwed.

PId6
2010-06-01, 09:03 PM
Or, you could opt to take Virgil Dante with you. He's been there before. Actually, he's been around quite a bit- he's been through all 9 circles of the Inferno! And written a lot of poetry.
Couldn't help but fix it for you. :smalltongue:

mabriss lethe
2010-06-01, 09:39 PM
Couldn't help but fix it for you. :smalltongue: Ummmm. Virgil was Dante's Guide through 2/3rds of the Divine Comedy.

PId6
2010-06-01, 10:31 PM
Ummmm. Virgil was Dante's Guide through 2/3rds of the Divine Comedy.
Ah, I'm just going to go over here now... :smallredface:

TheCountAlucard
2010-06-01, 10:45 PM
Ah, I'm just going to go over here now... :smallredface:One other thing to keep in mind was that Virgil was actually unable to go with Dante through the lower circles. Now, let's drop the whole "Divine Comedy" bit before this degrades into forbidden religious discussion...

I like the idea of having them treat it like a shadowrun, but I don't want one combat to spell their demise.

The Glyphstone
2010-06-01, 10:59 PM
Well, you don't have to have every patrol be capable of teleporting. Looking at the list of Devils, Chain Devils (CR 6), Hellcats (CR 7), Imps (CR 2) and Lemures (CR 1) are all incapable of teleportation. Coincidentally, they're also the weakest devils on the food chain, and the ones likely to be left behind in this sort of emergency. Erinyes (CR 8) are the weakest ones who can teleport, and they'd probably be the overseers - so have only a couple of patrols with an Erinyes leading it, and make sure they're aware that the overseers are the #1 kill/disable priority because of their escape mechanism. Give them some scrolls of Dimensional Anchor as a backup - less than there are total Erinyes, but a few.

Now, ensure that there's enough patrols around that they can't fight their way through all of them - both for the attention it'll attract, and the resources they'll drain to where they might not be able to beat the dangerous opponents.

The Tygre
2010-06-01, 11:52 PM
I'd go the stealth mission route. Move through pipes, dungeons, back-rooms, etc. If the PCs go in there guns a blazin', tthat's gonna' wake up the whole fortress, including the Dark Eight and Bael himself. A close call with a Duke might be called for. I'd have to check which ones are under Bael though. Maybe they like, stumble in on one and instead of him killing them he lets them pass or even shows them the way as part of a plan for a coup d'etat.

Coidzor
2010-06-02, 12:16 AM
Either sneak in while other hubbub is going on, so only a token amount of resistance is encountered as long as nothing is cocked up and they aren't idjits about it, be smuggled in to the inner areas with optional something else creating a distraction, or attempt to sneak in during the chaos of an out and out demonic foray into this layer of hell.

I believe they do occasionally actually assault the first layer of hell and manage to stir things up a bit.

AslanCross
2010-06-02, 12:43 AM
Advanced HD/Size Pit Fiends wielding regular but Vorpal Pitfiends wielding Vorpal Swords.

Devils wielding Vorpal Devils wielding Vorpal Weapons is indeed quite terrifying. :smalleek:

Seriously now, look up medieval fortifications. Crusader castles often had entry tunnels that had multiple murder holes that defenders could shoot through. Add traps of various fiendish types---the fire summoning traps from DMG2 are a good idea since devils are immune to fire.

Spell Turrets (also DMG2) that launch fire and poison-based spells like Cloudkill and Fireball will probably be standard fare.

Other traps that simply imprison the PCs are likely---multiple portcullises that drop around the PCs and expose them to devils with at-will ranged Spell-Like Abilities would be a likely addition.

Also, take a cue from Dispater's tower--the walls are heated. What you could do is have the walls heat up only when intruders are detected, so they either let go and fall to their deaths, or the entire area around them heats up and the devils (immune to the damage) can scale up or even teleport to meet them.

Keep in mind that all baatezu have telepathy and many can teleport, so it's very easy for them to rush to deal with any intruders.

megabyter5
2010-06-02, 06:56 AM
One other thing to keep in mind was that Virgil was actually unable to go with Dante through the lower circles. Now, let's drop the whole "Divine Comedy" bit before this degrades into forbidden religious discussion...

I like the idea of having them treat it like a shadowrun, but I don't want one combat to spell their demise.

I'm probably wrong about this, but I thought Dante was the main character, and Virgil was the author.

nedz
2010-06-02, 07:12 AM
I'm probably wrong about this, but I thought Dante was the main character, and Virgil was the author.

You are wrong, Dante was the Auther and Main character. Its a travelogue.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inferno_%28Dante%29

Kaiyanwang
2010-06-02, 07:21 AM
Publio Virgilio Marone was a Roman Poet and Philosofer. Is, BTW, the author of the "Eneide", an epic poem and ideal prosecution of Iliad (was actually made to justify, or at least suggest, divine ascendace of the emperor Augusto).

Dante uses Virgilio in his Commedia as a guide. Virgilio guides Dante for all the Inferno and the Purgatory. He cannot access to Heaven, so, for heaven, a woman loved by Dante, Beatrice, is Dante's guide.

Dante is the author of Divina Commedia.

The shocking part? It's an epic quest accomplished by two bards.

Optimystik
2010-06-02, 08:09 AM
The shocking part? It's an epic quest accomplished by two bards.

It was less of an "epic quest" and more along the lines of "self-insert fanfiction." :smalltongue:

As for the Hell bit, I agree with TDC - something should be drawing off Bel's main forces (perhaps he is in the middle of an assault on the Abyss, or defending against one) so that the players aren't running into Pit Fiend-wielding-Pit Fiends everywhere. A few loners patrolling might be a good idea, as sort of a "you should probably hide!" scenario, but not around every corner or even every other corner.

Eldan
2010-06-02, 08:16 AM
Well, let's expand on the political and stealth part a little.

Without knowing your backstory, I'd recommend that the players gain some potent help. Two factions suggest themselves:

A demon lord or Yugoloth: both have a stake in keeping the robots from being built, the demons to avoid being disadvantaged, the 'loths to keep the thing balanced. Both could provide at least a distraction: a massive attack on Avernus just when the players need to head in. Both could also be interested in the blueprints for their side.

Alternatively, as has been suggested, use another Devil. An important part of Baatezu politics is that they often try to maneuver around to someone else's disadvantage. Perhaps one of the Dark Eight doesn't like the new plan, because the robots overshadow his troops too much, making him look bad. Perhaps a Disposed Lord sees this as a convenient revenge plan, or even wants to do the robots himself.

Basically, the fortress of Bel should be near-unconquerable even by epic level threats. Level 8 will have it very, very difficult. Use stealth. Perhaps let them bribe a higher level devil: they could come up with some very tempting offers for an Erinyes or other mid-ranking devil.

Optimystik
2010-06-02, 09:23 AM
The problem I have with "another devil" helping the PCs, is that very few of them want to screw around with Bel. They all know that he is basically the only thing between their cushy lives of politics and soul-collecting, and having to get their claws dirty on the front lines. Even Asmodeus leaves Baator's defense in his hands, with little to no oversight. Of all the devils, Bel has the least interest in Hell's politics, thus the politicians have the least interest in him.

A more likely sponsor of a raid on Bel's fortress, as suggested earlier, would be a Demon. However, an Eladrin could also be a good choice - they loathe devils with a passion and are perfectly fine using unorthodox means to achieve their objectives.

In fact, a great twist would be
A demon disguised as an eladrin
which would cause the PCs to trust him, yet explain why he is so eager to toss a bunch of level 8s into mortal peril with minimal assistance.

TheThan
2010-06-02, 11:42 AM
Not enough pit fiends.

You want max-HD advanced Pit Fiend Psychic Warriors with Augmented Expansion, dual-wielding max-HD advanced Pit Fiends, who are dual-wielding normal Pit Fiends, who are dual-wielding Pit Fiend Psychic Warriors with Augmented Compression, who are dual-wielding Vorpal Swords. Make all such pit fiends except for the Compressed ones Kensai 6 as well, so that the Pit Fiends they are carrying also become Vorpal.

It's Pit Fiends all the way down!

Also make sure their swords are vorpal scimitars and they have improved critical. Just to add insult to injury.

Cieyrin
2010-06-02, 12:54 PM
Also make sure their swords are vorpal scimitars and they have improved critical. Just to add insult to injury.

Vorpal hasn't worked that way since 3.0. It's natural 20 only in 3.5.

Thrice Dead Cat
2010-06-02, 12:55 PM
In fact, a great twist would be
A demon disguised as an eladrin
which would cause the PCs to trust him, yet explain why he is so eager to toss a bunch of level 8s into mortal peril with minimal assistance.

Ooooh, that's just plain eeeeeevil.


If you do go with some stealth aspects, make sure you still give them some sort of second chance either before or during any possible skirmishes to get the Hell out of Dodge.

Kaiyanwang
2010-06-02, 01:00 PM
Ooooh, that's just plain eeeeeevil.


True. I love it!

Optimystik
2010-06-02, 01:08 PM
You can even drop hints - an unusually fiery Firre Eladrin, for instance. Furthermore, he can play up the "Chaotic" aspect of his alignment and thereby obfuscate the moral side. Disguise his bloodthirstiness as zeal for eradicating Devils, and the PCs will be more likely to rationalize any evidence they see.

Eurus
2010-06-02, 01:15 PM
Erm... I'm not even going to try to work out the attack sequence for that.

One can only assume that's how Hecatonchieres (I have no idea if that's spelled right) are made. :smallwink:

The Glyphstone
2010-06-02, 01:32 PM
One can only assume that's how Hecatonchieres (I have no idea if that's spelled right) are made. :smallwink:

No, it just leads to the exact same procedure being followed with Hechatonchieres instead of Pit Fiends.:smallbiggrin::smallcool:

TheThan
2010-06-02, 01:59 PM
Vorpal hasn't worked that way since 3.0. It's natural 20 only in 3.5.

CURSES! FOILED AGAIN!

PersonMan
2010-06-02, 02:26 PM
No, it just leads to the exact same procedure being followed with Hechatonchieres instead of Pit Fiends.:smallbiggrin::smallcool:

Or, you could just have 2-3 layers of Hechatonchieres, with Pit Fiends following those. I mean, with 1 max-advanced H-ieres wielding 100 smaller H-ieres, you could get 10,000 Pit Fiends to start their sequence with!

...They would also be Vorpal.

Ormagoden
2010-06-02, 02:28 PM
Not enough pit fiends.

You want max-HD advanced Pit Fiend Psychic Warriors with Augmented Expansion, dual-wielding max-HD advanced Pit Fiends, who are dual-wielding normal Pit Fiends, who are dual-wielding Pit Fiend Psychic Warriors with Augmented Compression, who are dual-wielding Vorpal Swords. Make all such pit fiends except for the Compressed ones Kensai 6 as well, so that the Pit Fiends they are carrying also become Vorpal.

It's Pit Fiends all the way down!

Don't forget that the vorpal swords are dancing item familiars.

PersonMan
2010-06-02, 02:31 PM
Don't forget that the vorpal swords are dancing item familiars.

If we can anthropomorphize them, they can wield Vorpal daggers, or something. Which are also dancing item familiars.

strider24seven
2010-06-02, 03:52 PM
Make sure that you find a way to obtain a psicrystal with an Item Familiar Vorpal Dagger and a Weapon of Legacy Vorpal Dagger for each of you. Of course, if you were a Kensai (CW), then all daggers you ever wielded could be Vorpal...

Just some musing on my part.:smallamused:

Cieyrin
2010-06-03, 11:16 AM
Of course, if you were a Kensai (CW), then all daggers you ever wielded could be Vorpal...

Kensai don't quite work that way, either...

They have one (count them, one) signature weapon and serious consequences for if that weapon is lost, stolen or destroyed. It's not you're a master of every weapon of that type, you're master of one and enhance it.

Machiavellian
2010-06-03, 01:05 PM
I love the "hidden eladrin" but personally, I'd make it an Avatar of Demogorgon who has disguised himself as an eladrin. This intertwines the Blood Wars more and makes the PCs soon (eventually) fight the "Eladrin" who would morph into an Aspect of Demogorgon (Minis Manual). Icing on the cake, Count

TheThan
2010-06-03, 01:12 PM
Kensai don't quite work that way, either...

They have one (count them, one) signature weapon and serious consequences for if that weapon is lost, stolen or destroyed. It's not you're a master of every weapon of that type, you're master of one and enhance it.

True, but the Dm can do whatever he pleases. Beside I don't think duel wielding will be such a big deal with kensai, its not like he gets the enhancements for free. Or better yet, tie the pit fiends together by their ankles and wield them as one weapon (fiend-chucks).

Cieyrin
2010-06-03, 01:19 PM
Or better yet, tie the pit fiends together by their ankles and wield them as one weapon (fiend-chucks).

There's only one answer to this:

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4012/4667051062_77dee4a720.jpg