D&D General Help! My Players Want To Meet Primus...

Sparky McDibben

Adventurer
First up, if you're playing in my "Augustus Giovanni Must Die" campaign, GO AWAY.

No really. Kick rocks.

Alright, so the city in my current sandbox urban campaign is menaced by crazy sewer people empowered by a rift to the Far Realms located deep under the sewers. My PCs want to close this rift for various reasons. One of them asked me once, "Hey, is there like a god of order?" and I, being a dummy-McDum-dum, said, "Well, there's Primus. He's the progenitor of the modrons and he lives on Mechanus." And my player was like, "Cool, I want him to help us close this rift."

And now I'm like, "Uhhhh...."

So my initial thought here is that Mechanus is dealing with some kind of threat that has absorbed Primus' attention. If the PCs can make the threat go bye-bye, Primus will grant them an audience.

So I need something so powerful that Primus can't not deal with it, but not so powerful it will wipe out my 13th level PCs. My initial thought is that there's a slaad invasion, and they're empowered by this Chaos artifact that's creating a beachhead onto Mechanus. Primus and the modrons are busy dealing with all the foot-soldier slaad who are running amok through Mechanus, leaving no resources free to take out the Chaos artifact.

NPCs:
Cute modron mascot for potential party adoption
Helpful djinn (planar merchant) who can explain the situation to the PCs

Enemies:
Strike teams: 1d4 red slaad, 1d4 blue slaad, and 1d4-2 green slaad (encountered en route to artifact, half hp and spell slots)
Defending Chaos Artifact: 1d6 red slaad, 1 blue slaad, 1d4-1 green slaad, 1 grey slaad (plus random battlefield effects from Chaos artifact)
Reinforcements From Limbo: 1d4 red slaad, 1 green slaad, 1 grey slaad, and 1 death slaad (appear as PCs go to take control of the Chaos artifact)

I would love input on 1) how reasonable this setup is for a group of 5 13th level PCs (sorcerer with no damage spells, twilight cleric, Mercy monk, Bear barbarian, and swashbuckler rogue), 2) Setups y'all think are better than what I laid out, 'cuz I need all the help I can get, 3) Ways Primus can help the PCs without just solving the problem for them.
 

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GMMichael

Guide of Modos
Psh. I  wish I could just ask for an audience with a god. I can't even get the jarl to meet with me, most times. There was a time when gods wouldn't blink at you unless you were level 20 or higher... so 1) not reasonable at all.

Practically speaking, you're derailing your own adventure if you let the PCs go down this road. 2) a better setup is that the PCs have no idea what Primus is up to, and why it won't aid them on their quest. 3) However, some research and adventure will reveal a ritual that they can perform to get an avatar of Primus to perform a small task, like temporarily closing the rift, giving the PCs a small window to disperse or intimidate the crazy sewer people.
 

I don't think you need this crisis at all, the PCs are going to have their hands full just getting Primus to notice them.

If you're going to get Primus's attention, you're going to have to do it in an orderly way. You can't just jump the queue and dial him up, there's going to be minions to go through, processes to follow, forms to fill out. You'd probably have to go progressively up through the modron heirarchy, convincing them to help you one after another (I don't know if it's still the case, but back in AD&D the lore said that modrons couldn't even comprehend other modrons unless they were within one step on the hierarchy). And each of them would have their own arcane and increasingly unhuman procedural logic to follow, and would become increasingly less tolerant of chaotic tendencies among the PCs, etc etc.

You COULD make an entire demented adventure out of this. Perhaps the PCs have to travel to Mechanus, or maybe to Sigil. A rogue modron would probably be their best guide, but rogues are not looked kindly on by other modrons, and may have their own agendas.

Or maybe there's some sort of inevitable that could help out? They're certainly lawful, but they tend to be outside the modron heirarchy, and having an inevitable along with the party when they try to close the rift leaves the PCs more to do than just watch as a god snaps his robotic fingers and fixes everything.
 


aco175

Legend
I would think the best the PCs can get is a meeting with an agent of the god. This way the agent might have some alternative motives or things he thinks Primus would want and not be all powerful like the god. This agent might be able to help with a location to an item to aid them or information on the rift itself, but the information may not be accurate in the end.

I like the idea of slaad. You could have some sort of kidnappings going on and the captives are being use to implant a tadpole in some sort of breeding program. This adds a second problem to their main objective. Do the captives take precedence to closing the rift or can they be accepted casualties. Include some seedy humans that work with the slaad that can be captured or killed, maybe a gang of thieves who have a base in the sewers. They can be forced to work with them and some might want to help the PCs. It is cool in the movies when the bad helper gets turned on and a tadpole bursts out of him before the final fight.

I like to throw in another adventuring party that may help or hurt the PCs. They could be in the sewers looking for gold and just following up on a tip which could go either way, but they could be working for a noble who hired them to find their missing child taken captive, Now they have a reason to work with or against the PCs to complete their objective. They can also be a patch if the PCs get in over their heads and need a rescue. It also works if they need a rescue from the PCs. This may sway them to help and attack a location to distract the slaad and allow the PCs to get to the final place. Having one or more sacrifice themselves to "Hodor" works to make it memorable.
 

Sparky McDibben

Adventurer
Psh. I  wish I could just ask for an audience with a god. I can't even get the jarl to meet with me, most times. There was a time when gods wouldn't blink at you unless you were level 20 or higher... so 1) not reasonable at all.

Practically speaking, you're derailing your own adventure if you let the PCs go down this road. 2) a better setup is that the PCs have no idea what Primus is up to, and why it won't aid them on their quest. 3) However, some research and adventure will reveal a ritual that they can perform to get an avatar of Primus to perform a small task, like temporarily closing the rift, giving the PCs a small window to disperse or intimidate the crazy sewer people.
There's nothing for them to derail, as there are no rails. The other problem here is that the crazy sewer people are trying to summon an Elder Evil (Kyuss) through the portal, so it seems eminently reasonable that Primus would have a hand in wanting that portal closed. The crazy sewer people are literally beyond reason, though; they can't be intimidated or dispersed. In sufficient numbers, they can actually change consensus reality briefly (in one case, replacing the lungs of every left-handed ginger with cotton candy).

If you're going to get Primus's attention, you're going to have to do it in an orderly way. You can't just jump the queue and dial him up, there's going to be minions to go through, processes to follow, forms to fill out. You'd probably have to go progressively up through the modron heirarchy, convincing them to help you one after another (I don't know if it's still the case, but back in AD&D the lore said that modrons couldn't even comprehend other modrons unless they were within one step on the hierarchy). And each of them would have their own arcane and increasingly unhuman procedural logic to follow, and would become increasingly less tolerant of chaotic tendencies among the PCs, etc etc.

You COULD make an entire demented adventure out of this. Perhaps the PCs have to travel to Mechanus, or maybe to Sigil. A rogue modron would probably be their best guide, but rogues are not looked kindly on by other modrons, and may have their own agendas.

Or maybe there's some sort of inevitable that could help out? They're certainly lawful, but they tend to be outside the modron heirarchy, and having an inevitable along with the party when they try to close the rift leaves the PCs more to do than just watch as a god snaps his robotic fingers and fixes everything.
So my problem with this is simply how do I make paperwork an adventure? Usually getting around paperwork is the adventure in my experience, where you need to do people favors, but modrons are processes incarnate. They don't do favors, and a rogue modron wouldn't have enough pull to get them in to see Primus. Can you help me square that circle?

I like to throw in another adventuring party that may help or hurt the PCs. They could be in the sewers looking for gold and just following up on a tip which could go either way, but they could be working for a noble who hired them to find their missing child taken captive, Now they have a reason to work with or against the PCs to complete their objective. They can also be a patch if the PCs get in over their heads and need a rescue. It also works if they need a rescue from the PCs. This may sway them to help and attack a location to distract the slaad and allow the PCs to get to the final place. Having one or more sacrifice themselves to "Hodor" works to make it memorable.
I like this idea, but only a very select group of crazy people risk the sewers, and only for very high prices. So the PCs might be able to hire henchmen or hirelings that know sewer routes. I dig it!
 

Undrave

Legend
First you need to find the Four Cyber Planet Keys before the Decepticon can use them for evil,

Then you put them into the Omega Lock.
 

bedir than

Full Moon Storyteller
So my problem with this is simply how do I make paperwork an adventure? Usually getting around paperwork is the adventure in my experience, where you need to do people favors, but modrons are processes incarnate. They don't do favors, and a rogue modron wouldn't have enough pull to get them in to see Primus. Can you help me square that circle?
The quest of the seven keys (adapted)

Rather than paperwork they do fetch quests, in an orderly fashion. Each challenge and key should be related to an individual PC being the spotlight, with the final key being unity and teamwork.
 

MarkB

Legend
The players may want to meet Primus, but what the PCs need is simply to meet someone far enough up the food chain to be able to help with their problem, right?

So maybe get them in the door, but almost immediately bogged down in the ultimate bureaucracy that is the plane of Order. But just as they're beginning to despair, introduce some incident that they can help with - perhaps a group of fellow petitioners who aren't so level-headed and start to run amok. If the PCs help out against them, they earn enough of a favour that someone will let them hire out a squad of Inevitables to go kick these Far Realms creeps' butts and close the rift.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
I don't think you need this crisis at all, the PCs are going to have their hands full just getting Primus to notice them.

I second this. Primus is at the top of not just a bureaucracy, not just the largest bureaucracy in the planes, but the Platonic ideal of bureaucracies of which all other bureaucracies in the multiverse are but a dim reflection!

If you're going to get Primus's attention, you're going to have to do it in an orderly way. You can't just jump the queue and dial him up, there's going to be minions to go through, processes to follow, forms to fill out. You'd probably have to go progressively up through the modron heirarchy, convincing them to help you one after another (I don't know if it's still the case, but back in AD&D the lore said that modrons couldn't even comprehend other modrons unless they were within one step on the hierarchy). And each of them would have their own arcane and increasingly unhuman procedural logic to follow, and would become increasingly less tolerant of chaotic tendencies among the PCs, etc etc.

Indeed.

Honestly, given that the office you're trying to reach is that of an immortal, it would be reasonable to say that the process takes longer than a mortal lifetime. Mortals are ephemeral, and Primus' machine is for eternity. Getting approvals to see Primus will require things like getting authorizations from committees that meet once a decade and so on.

The PCs are probably overreaching to seek a audience with Primus personally. A rift in one city on one planet on one Prime Material Plane is beneath him. He has people (sorry, Sentient Resources) to handle small stuff. Going to Primus for this may be like trying to go to the President for something that's really managed by a task force under some branch of an agency for a city.

Hm. A literal Local Law Enforcement Agency.
 
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