Lore of the Campaign.   Posted by MC.Group: public
 GM, 6 posts
 Master of Ceremonies
 Maelstrom Manager
Mon 16 Mar 2015
at 22:37
Lore of the Campaign
This is just a general checklist.  I describe or link a description to each of these below, but just in case if you already know them, here they are for your reference.  If your character isn't going to know much about the multiverse, you don't necessarily need to read about any of these things...

  1. Knowledge of pact magic from Tome of Magic, and how its practitioners are viewed in society.  It is only recommended that you know that it exists and what the general concept of it is, not necessarily how to be a vestige binder yourself.
  2. The Order of Seropaenes.*
  3. Sigil, the Cage and the City of Doors, how to enter and exit it, as well as how it is shaped.
  4. What the three transitive planes are.
  5. Understanding of Planar Touchstone sites.
  6. The Sublime Way from Tome of Battle.***
  7. Understanding what an invocation is and how an invocation is different from a spell and from most spell-like abilities.**
  8. The difference between devils, demons, and yugoloths.*
  9. The definition of a "petitioner" of an outer plane.*
  10. BONUS: The 15 factions (completely optional)
  11. The chaotic and lawful divine creatures (celestials are good, fiends are evil....)
  12. Deities and which planes they correspond to
  13. Planar revolutionary cycles

*If you have ranks in Knowledge (religion), you better know this.
**If you want to play a warlock, or be trained in Knowledge (arcana) and have max ranks, you better know this.
***If you have ranks in Martial Lore, you better know this.

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:06, Thu 19 Mar 2015.

 GM, 7 posts
 Master of Ceremonies
 Maelstrom Manager
Tue 17 Mar 2015
at 23:18
Pact Magic, vestiges, and binders
The following text in Darkblue below is an excerpt from the Tome of Magic supplemental book. This excerpt contains multiple fragments of text from the selection, and these excerpts may not be in order.

“Binders—you know why they’re called that? Because they give up
their souls to bind with the dark forces. Heretics, the lot of them.
They profane the natural order! Should you ever meet one, destroy
him, and let the gods punish him for his crimes.”

—Prelate Czarran Highfi st, dwarf paladin of Moradin.

A promise possesses power. An oath owns its maker. These two simple statements express the fundamental principle of pact magic. From this kernel, pact magic grows and branches, letting mortals draw from a wellspring of power that no divine power can touch.

A pact magic practitioner [also called "binders"] gains his power by bargaining with entities called vestiges—the remnants of once-living beings now trapped beyond life and death. Whether they were mortal souls strong enough to shatter the cage built by death, wayward outsiders too willful to cease existence, or dead deities unable to lie quietly in their astral graves, vestiges are the outcasts of the cosmos. They dwell in a place no one can reach and exist in a manner no one truly comprehends. This eternal distancing from reality drives most vestiges mad and twists their views of all beings—even themselves.

Because vestiges have been divorced from normal reality by some extraordinary means, they can return to it only by binding themselves to other souls. Binders, so named for their willingness to share their souls with these exiled spirits, can summon them forth by means of special rituals. Since vestiges constantly hunger for any small taste of reality, they always answer the call of any binders powerful enough to draw them forth from the void.


Each vestige is associated with a seal—a series of lines within a circle—that acts as its symbol and as a portal through which it can enter normal existence.

To call a vestige, a binder must know and be able to draw its seal. In fact, anyone can draw a seal, but only someone with the power to host a vestige can hope to create a pact that opens a door for it.

Immediately after drawing a seal, a binder must ritually invoke the desired vestige’s name and title to summon it. Again, though anyone can intone the proper words, the binder’s power is the key to success. Even so, a binder can summon only those vestiges that are within the range of his personal power.

The origins of a vestige’s name and title seem associated with both its previous existence in reality and its current state. These appellations can change over time, although such alterations occur only rarely. For this reason, most binders spend a great deal of time studying the origins and theories of pact magic in order to gain the insight that will allow them to foresee future developments.

Once a summoned vestige manifests, a binder must formally address it and request a pact. The general terms of the pact are always the same, no matter which vestige is summoned. To gain the powers that a vestige offers, a binder must agree to host it for a period of 24 hours. When a binder offers a pact, a contest of wills ensues between him and the vestige. This contest might be played out by means of an argument, a staring match, a riddle posed to the binder, or in any number of other ways. If the vestige ultimately wins, it maintains an amount of infl uence over the binder for the duration of the pact. If the binder does not act as the vestige wills, it can punish him. However, if the binder reigns supreme after the contest, the vestige quietly accompanies him.

Once a binder makes a pact with a vestige, the two are inextricably bound. A shard of the vestige’s soul fuses with the binder’s spirit, creating a link so tight that the binder’s body manifests some physical sign of the vestige’s presence. The inconvenience of such a sign is a small price to pay for the supernatural powers that the vestige grants—powers that require no components, no complicated gestures, and no tongue-twisting words to use. When a binder wishes to us the abilities granted by a vestige, he simply wills the desired result to happen.

End excerpt.

Vestiges and binder abilities don't have a skill set for them in the same way that spellcasters do for Spellcraft, but a character trained in any two of the following knowledges can make a knowledge skill check to identify what vestiges the binder is bound to: Knowledge (the planes), Knowledge (history), Knowledge (religion).

A Spellcraft check made to identify an ability that is actually a binder's vestige ability will either incorrectly identify it or tell the check maker that a spell isn't being used at all.

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:38, Tue 17 Mar 2015.

 GM, 8 posts
 Master of Ceremonies
 Maelstrom Manager
Tue 17 Mar 2015
at 23:57
The Order of Seropaenes
The following text in Darkblue is an excerpt from the Tome of Magic supplemental book.

The Order of Seropaenes is an alliance of various religious groups sworn to destroy pact magic and conceal its existence. Although the specific faiths are often at odds about other issues, their members are willing to work together in order to negate the greater threat posed by binders.

A fundamental order guides the universe, and pact magic perverts that order. By exploiting spirits that the gods have banished, binders endanger the delicate balance between gods and men, and reveal secrets that should remain unknown to mortal minds. No matter how they present their activities, the fact is that binders dabble with damned spirits, allowing these abominations to possess them and adding to their power with each binding. If not stopped, these wretched spirits could one day supplant the gods themselves.

The Order makes extensive use of its darker elements to locate suspected binders, using rogues for espionage, wizards for divination, and blackguards to learn what they can from the darker agencies. Based on the information gained from these sources, paladins, fi ghters, and favored souls go to binder hideouts to capture or kill their enemies. The order sends only its good members on such missions because they are more likely to capture their foes alive and bring them back to the stronghold for questioning than evil members are. The higher-ranking members of the order consider interrogation an invaluable tool for learning where to fi nd other pact magic practitioners and to what other areas the cancerous knowledge might have spread.

The very existence of the Order defi es logic. It unites
adherents of many opposing religions, who agree to work
together for one reason only: to oppose, contain, and destroy
pact magic.
Ages ago, a scholar and archeologist named Syfal uncovered
a large cache of writings. He found a treatise on the
existence of a pantheon that simply could not exist, and a
theory on how to bind and control the rogue spirits that were
its members. The problem was not the binding, but the fact
that these essences somehow existed independently of the
divine order. They were beings of great power that existed
somewhere between the gods and their servants, but were
beholden to neither.

When...news of these vestiges [spread], word of [pact magic] teachings eventually reached the larger churches. Knowing that the gods hold power primarily through mortal belief, the church leaders feared that [these] spirits would decrease the power of the deities by drawing mortals away from the established religions. Their fears were not unfounded, since the mortals who regularly contacted these vestiges gave them attention bordering on worship—in fact, many did worship the spirits. If the churches allowed the binders to persist, the vestiges might rival or even displace the gods.

While religious organizations scrambled to contain the damage, a priest of Vecna named Seropaenes called a meeting of the elders from the established churches at a remote site in the Crystalmist Mountains. Attendance was sparse, with only clergy from the churches of Heironeous, St. Cuthbert, and Wee Jas in attendance. Seropaenes began by describing the implications and dangers of pact magic to his fellow clergy. He then proposed that the churches unite under a common banner—one that would not compromise the strictures of their faiths and would guarantee the integrity of their respective dogmas. Desperate to avert the threat posed by pact magic, the high priests from each church agreed, forming the Order of Seropaenes.

At first, the order operated secretly, with members devoted to certain gods kept isolated from those devoted to opposing deities. Still, it was highly effective. Its members swept through the lands, retrieving forbidden grimoires, imprisoning binders, and crushing the heretical uprising. Word spread, and soon other members of the parent churches realized what was happening. Although they agreed that the threat presented by binders was indeed great, the alliance with agents who served the gods of their enemies caused a great upheaval. How could paladins of Heironeous band together with Vecna’s necromancers? Was the threat so great that good and evil had to unite against it? Publicly, the member religions banned the Order of Seropaenes, but some secretly funded it, thus continuing the crusade. The order veiled itself in a cloak of secrecy, and over the years, most of the churches forgot about it. Records of its existence were quietly cleansed from the annals and sacred texts of all faiths. So complete was the destruction of the evidence that not even the highest-ranking members of the Church of Heironeous now know about the order and its mission. Rumor holds that the Seropaeneans now receive funds not from their constituent religions, but from some other, larger organization. In fact, some paranoid binders believe that the [House Dimir, a faction that is officially disbanded], pulls the strings of the order.

End excerpt.
 GM, 9 posts
 Master of Ceremonies
 Maelstrom Manager
Wed 18 Mar 2015
at 00:28
City of Sigil
The following text in DarkGreen below is composed of excerpts from Manual of the Planes and the Planar Handbook.  They may not be in the same order as they appear in the books.

The most famous planar metropolis of all is the city of Sigil. Located at the center of the Outer Planes and built on the inner surface of an enormous ring, Sigil claims to be the true crossroads of the multiverse. The city is ruled by the dreaded Lady of Pain, an enigma credited with enormous power— including the ability to bar divine beings from her realm. Bards call Sigil the City of Doors due to its large number of portals, but the locals aren’t that poetic. They just call it the Cage, a name suited to a city that’s tough to get into and tough to leave. Not just physically—though unless you know a little something about portals, even that’s a challenge—but emotionally. After all, what could you ever need that you couldn’t find in Sigil? The place has everything, and then some. It’s a filthy, noisy place, with smokechoked alleyways and crowded streets, but Sigil is alive in a way that no other city could ever hope to be.

As befits its paradoxical nature, Sigil is in the center of an infinite plane (the Concordant Domain of the Outlands), floating above an infi nitely tall spire and built on the inside of a gigantic hollow ring of unknown material. The place has no sun or moon (see Illumination, below) and no real “horizon,” and only naïve visitors wonder aloud about what’s on the other side of the ground.

The only way in or out of the Cage is through its many interplanar portals. Locals claim that you can get anywhere from Sigil if you just know the right portal. While that may be an exaggeration, it isn’t far from the truth. See Entering and Exiting Sigil, below, for more on the portals that give the city its reputation as the gateway to everywhere.

Newcomers should hire a guide. Like any large city, Sigil has its bad parts, and wandering without guidance could lead into dark alleys—or worse. A good guide can help travelers find fair-priced inns, places to buy essential materials, and contacts who can provide needed information. One of the best-known guides in Sigil is a tiefling named Kylie.

Sigil (Metropolis): Nonstandard; AL LN; X gp limit; Assets X gp; Population: 250,000 (37% human, 20% planetouched [aasimars, mephlings, neraphim, tieflings, and the like], 10% elves, 10% halflings, 3% dwarves, 20% other).

Authority Figures: The Lady of Pain (female, unknown race);
Arwyl Swan’s Son, leader of the [Children of Justice] (male human);
Rhys, member of the Sigil Advisory Council (female, tiefling);
Shemeshka the Marauder a.k.a. King of the Cross-Trade, information broker (female arcanaloth).

Sigil may well hold the honor of being both the best-and worst-protected city in the multiverse. It has no walls or gates, so it has nothing to fear from sieges or any of the other threats that face a typical city. On the other hand, just about anybody or anything can walk right into the city whenever he, she, or it pleases through the portals that connect Sigil to other planes.

The portals aren’t specially marked, ornate gates, but instead look like average doorways, windows, arches, manholes, fireplaces, and the like. That’s because that’s just what they are. Any bounded space big enough for somebody to walk or wriggle through—from a sewer entrance to a wardrobe—might double as a portal to another plane. But a visitor to Sigil need not worry about opening his bedroom closet and accidentally tumbling through to the Abyss. Most portals need a portal key to activate them—usually, a specific object that has some affinity for what’s on the other side, but sometimes merely a word, a gesture, or the right state of mind. Without the correct key, a portal is just an open space. Many of the city’s natives are more than happy to sell keys to specific portals, or at least sell the knowledge of a key’s nature.

Some portals don’t cooperate with the commercially minded, however. Many don’t linger long enough to become well known, and some don’t even lead to the same place twice in a row. But since nobody knows how to make or control portals, little can be done to improve the situation.

Furthermore, there’s no way around the portals, no special back door to get into or out of the Cage. You can’t call or summon creatures into or out of Sigil (even with a gate spell), nor can you use plane shift to get in or out. You can’t use astral projection, though, strangely enough, the various other teleportation spells work just fine within Sigil itself. Since the city resides on the Outer Planes, no connection to the Ethereal Plane exists. Even the deities themselves can’t (or don’t want to) overcome these restrictions.

If the DM allows it, a character who makes a DC 25 Knowledge (the planes) check knows of at least one portal on his [or her] home plane that purportedly leads to Sigil. That’s not saying that the portal won’t be hard to reach or well guarded, but the route can be discovered.

In most cities, the architecture depends on three factors: the building materials available, the environment, and the dominant style and personality of the locals. Sigil has none of those things, and its architecture demonstrates that fact amply.

There’s nothing to build with in Sigil. The “ground,” though hard and sturdy, isn’t stone, and it crumbles to dust when excavated. The place has no trees to turn into lumber (the only plant that seems to thrive in Sigil is razorvine; see below). You can’t even dig up sod or mud to build a crude hut. Every piece of material in every building on every street is imported from another plane. No two buildings are made from the same materials or designed the same way.

Sigil doesn’t have much of an environment to shape its architecture, either. It never gets very hot or very cold, it has no monsoons or tornadoes, and what does pass for weather just tends to make everything look gray and dingy. Thus, since the inhabitants don’t have to worry about their houses surviving the next big storm, they build whatever kind of structures suit their fancy. What’s more, they build wherever they like, with no thought to overall city planning.

Finally, Sigil has no dominant style. The look of the city reflects the fact that its residents come from everywhere. Dwarves build sturdy stone structures next to graceful elven villas. Down the street stands a faithful reproduction of an Abyssal palace, and tucked into a nearby alley is a white marble shrine to Pelor. On top of that, since it’s easier to scavenge than to import, half (or more) of the buildings in Sigil are ramshackle affairs thrown together from the parts of a dozen other constructions. The gorgeous darkwood facade of that tavern probably came from an old elven inn, and its stone fireplace was carried rock by rock from the ruins of a foundry twenty-three blocks away.

Despite the lack of a sun or moon, Sigil enjoys days and nights much like any terrestrial city. In the early hours of the morning, the "sky" slowly brightens, reaching a peak of illumination as bright as the noonday sun in a mid-latitude city (tempered somewhat by the near-perpetual haze). After peak, the illumination fades over the next several hours until darkness reigns, and then the whole cycle starts over. With no moon or stars, of course, “night” in Sigil isn’t like a typical country evening. If it’s clear, though, you can usually make out the flickers of torchlight and lanterns from the other side of the city high above (remember, the city’s built on the inside of a ring, so the far side of town is directly overhead).

All told, over the course of 24 hours, Sigil has about 6 hours of bright light and the same amount of darkness. The rest of the day resembles twilight, allowing beings sensitive or vulnerable to bright light or sunlight the freedom to go about their business with relative ease.

Because of Sigil’s role as the melting pot of the planes, it’s easy to see how the city might seem like little more than a recipe for anarchy. How can a place where devils and demons rub shoulders with archons and slaadi hope to maintain order? In truth, three factors keep the city relatively stable. The first is the Lady of Pain. This ultrapowerful being—possibly a deity, but no one’s sure, since she doesn’t allow worshipers—moves calmly and silently through the streets of Sigil. With a mere glance, she can cause creatures to sprout wounds and bleed like a fountain. Someone who manages to get on her bad side will fi nd himself banished to an extraplanar maze, where he’ll likely die of starvation (or even old age) searching for the single hidden exit. Somehow, the Lady also makes it so that deities and beings of similar power can’t enter the Cage, even through its portals, so a coup isn’t really an option.

The second factor keeping the city intact is the dabus, the strange, alien servants of the Lady of Pain. These silent, humanoid creatures serve as workmen, patching the streets and shoring up buildings; as arbiters of justice, running the city courts; and, when necessary, as peacekeepers, putting down riots and the like. However, the dabus don’t bother themselves with quelling petty crimes, so the streets are far from safe.

The third leg propping up the social order in Sigil is quite a bit flimsier: the people themselves. In the heyday of the factions (see History, below), everybody knew who was in charge of law and order. Now, the closest thing Sigil has to a police force (not counting the dabus) is a citizen group called the [Children of Justice]. Unfortunately, without any official power to make arrests or carry out sentences, the [Children of Justice] don’t garner much respect from the locals, and thus aren’t terribly effective in limiting crime. Similarly, the so-called Sigil Advisory Council, founded by former members of the faction known as the Transcendent Order, may have the city’s best interests at heart, but the group lacks real political power.

End excerpt.
 GM, 10 posts
 Master of Ceremonies
 Maelstrom Manager
Wed 18 Mar 2015
at 01:47
The Transitive Planes
While the d20 srd does a great job describing the astral plane, ethereal plane, and plane of shadow, I'd like to expand on those concepts just a wee bit.

Transitive Plane (n) - A plane that overlaps or superimposes itself upon another plane of existence that switches the physical properties of the default version with that of another.  For example, every plane has an ethereal plane, which switches the physicality of matter with that of life forces.

The three types of transitive planes are as follows:

Astral Plane - The Astral Plane is what connects the multiverse from every single point to every single point.  Time does not pass in the astral plane, and gravity is nonexistent.

Ethereal Plane - In the ethereal plane, life forces make up existence, and physical objects become as tangible as souls in the default world are.  In this reality, life forces float about. Ghosts attacking corporeal creatures on the default plane are literally attacking the creatures' souls.  Certain spells and abilities, such as ethereal jaunt, allow someone to travel, with all of his or her gear, completely into the ethereal plane and move about, providing ample opportunity to bypass physical barriers.

Dark Plane - The Dark Plane is somewhat of an antiplane that varies from plane to plane.  Most of the time, it is referred to as the Elemental Plane of Shadow.  While this is correct for the material plane, and for most of the outer planes, it is incorrect for many other planes.  For example, the dark plane in the Elemental Plane of Fire is the Plane of Smoke, and the Elemental Plane of Water has the Elemental Plane of Ice for its Dark Plane.

The only thing that exists in most Dark Planes is wherever light isn't touching. This allows a creature to instantly travel from location to location through shadows alone in almost instantaneous time (in most cases, it actually is instantaneous).

The physical dimensions of some Dark Planes may be slowing travelers down (most notable of this is the Plane of Ice) due to the sudden appearance of new structures and geographical features (sometimes coupled along with the disappearance of other structures and features).
 GM, 11 posts
 Master of Ceremonies
 Maelstrom Manager
Wed 18 Mar 2015
at 02:06
Petitioners are residents of the outer planes.  Essentially, when you die, you become a petitioner and go to the correct outer plane that you're currently (most) aligned to as of death, judged by the deity you worshiped in life (in terms of worthy or not worthy to dwell on your deity's plane), and then, if judged unworthy, you are then judged by Boccob the Uncaring to see which outer plane you're supposed to go to.

For example, if you're judged by the Boccob the Uncaring to be Neutral Good, you'd be whisked off to the Blessed Fields of Elysium.
 GM, 17 posts
 Master of Ceremonies
 Maelstrom Manager
Wed 18 Mar 2015
at 14:42
CHILDREN OF.... (These are the alignment-factions.  You may be in more than one of these, but you can't be in any that are opposed with one another.)

Children of Balance (neutrality)
Children of Charity (good)
Children of Freedom (chaos)
Children of Justice (law)
Children of Might (evil)

CLASS-FOCUSED FACTIONS. (These factions are based on mindsets and what one trains to do, or are elitists of a certain class.)

Izzet League (rather elitist group of wizards, only accepting the Best of the Best.  Many magic guilds of high power are part of the Izzet League.  The Daggerspell Casters is one such guild.  There are all sorts of crazy rumors about how powerful the wizards in the Izzet League's Council are.  Some are mad, some are victim to exaggerated rumors, etc.  Mage colleges can be "approved" of by the Izzet League, similar to how there are Ivy League schools)
Sublime Way (initiates and disciples of the martial disciplines of the 9-pedal blossom.)
Theurgian Society (group of binders dedicated to finding out as much as possible about vestiges)
House Dimir (Officially disbanded, this thieves' faction functions as everything from search and rescue to assassinations.)
Gruul Clans (name for the alliance/conglomerate of many various tribes and clans, some of which are rather barbaric in nature)


Fraternity of Knowledge
Order of Illumination
Order of Seropaenes
Cults of Rakdos (general name for all the cults wanting to resurrect Tiamat or Asmodeus or whatever, the cults don't really work together at all to be honest)
Interplanar Merchant Syndicate/IMS (you want a trade to be official?  Want to deposit your coin in a bank and be able to make a withdrawal on almost any plane?  Talk to the IMS.)

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:49, Tue 09 June 2015.

 GM, 18 posts
 Master of Ceremonies
 Maelstrom Manager
Wed 18 Mar 2015
at 16:11
Divine creatures of law and chaos
Law: There is a type of construct called the "inevitable". Originally, they were only created to punish those that cheated out of laws, such as deals, death, etc.

However, over time, more have begun to be created for more biased purposes.

For example, the Jaugermut is an inevitable that enforces the Pact Primeval (see Fiendish Codex II). There are also inevitables that are programmed to believe that each creature has a purpose predetermined by them that furthers the causes of law- every creature- and have cults of necromancers that animate dead corpses of what were chaotic beings. They are the only divine creatures that make petitioners that originally weren't of their alignment (lawful evil). Lawful good inevitables speak in Arcadial and lawful evil inevitables speak in Acheral.

Chaos: Sylvans are the creatures of chaos. They are further divided into the Fae (chaotic good) and the Hagravens (chaotic evil). Hagravens speak Feral, and fae speak in Nymphal.

This message was last edited by the GM at 16:13, Wed 18 Mar 2015.

 GM, 19 posts
 Master of Ceremonies
 Maelstrom Manager
Thu 19 Mar 2015
at 14:46
Deities and Planes
Boccob the UncaringOutlands
The SeldarineArborea
The Hag Countess (not a devil lord in this campaign)Tartarus
The Abyss**Abyss
Aspect of HadesHades
Lolth and most of the Drow pantheonGehenna
St. CuthbertArcadia
Lords of the Golden HillsBytopia

*This deity does not own the plane of residence.
**The following is quoted from this page.
The Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss sourcebook suggests the possibility that the Abyss is actually alive, and that it spawns demons out of its urge to spread chaos and destruction.

This message was last edited by the GM at 14:49, Thu 19 Mar 2015.

 GM, 20 posts
 Master of Ceremonies
 Maelstrom Manager
Thu 19 Mar 2015
at 20:17
Planar revolutionary orbits
The Great Wheel turns, ever so slowly. Unless if you find a nice demiplane to hole up in with wonky time for you to be able to survive a few million millennia, you probably aren't going to be affected by this at all.

What you need to know is that only the outer planes rotate. This can cause a lot of confusion over time, especially within the everchanging chaos of limbo. Limbo acts like a vacuum, almost, and it likes to suck in a bunch of stuff via planar breaches with the elemental plane currently adjacent to it or even with one of its transitive planes. Due to the Astral Effect*, Limbo might also consume chunks of matter from any of the other elemental planes as well.

*Astral Effect: If a planar breach happens to the astral plane, there's a chance such a breach might overlap a portal to yet another plane. Since time doesn't pass on the astral plane, such a catastrophic breach might bleed through time as well as through multiplanar space. In Limbo's case, this can actually cause Limbo's elemental vacuum and garbage disposal to eat at an elemental plane that isn't adjacent to limbo at all.