Single Post

posted by SirPhoebos Original SA post

Planescape Module: Eternal Boundary - A Synopsis

I've decided to not do a full write-up of Eternal Boundary. Basically, rewriting and breaking down stats doesn't hold my interest. Also, While I bought a lot of Planescape material back in the day, I never had a group to play it with. As a result, my understanding of 2nd Edition mechanics are not hard-coded. So instead, I'll just do a synopsis of the plot, the major pieces of lore introduced, and what I see as the good and bad parts of the module.

Eternal Boundary introduces us to The Illuminated, a cult based out of Plague-mort (that's the Gate Town to The Abyss, for those that don't recall). Their beliefs is that it is philosophically correct to control as much as you can. As The Big Lebowski says, "At least it's a fucking ethos." Their current scheme is to infiltrate the Factions of Sigil (this module is where the word Kriegstanz is used to describe the inter-faction conflict). To do this, they have a gang that roams the Hive and casts feign death on barmies, then leaves them for the Dustmen to pick up. One of their agents in the Dustmen arranges for the bodies to be dumped through a portal to the Plane of Fire. In fact, on the other side is an abandoned efreet fortress that the Illuminated have taken over and set up protections against the environment. Once their, they dispell feign death and use magic to restore their sanity and make them think that a Power is giving them a second chance at things. Once they're convinced of this holy purpose, they are sent back to Sigil to join a specific faction.

This module is meant for players of level 1-3. Keep this in mind.

The PCs get involved when a higher-up in their Faction or an independent contractor asks them to go look for a particular barmy in the Hive. After searching around, they find out that he's been put in the dead book, but when they report the bad news, they find out the guy was last seen hanging out with the Doomguard! From here, the PCs have to unravel the mystery, leading them to the Mortuary and eventually to the Plane of Fire.

The first half of this module is actually pretty good. It gives some advice on how the different factions would view the events of this module (most are naturally pissed that someone is trying to mess with them). It also provides a good set of encounters in the Hive that I think could be used in any adventure or campaign. The motives and actions of the antagonists are pretty well thought out, if sometimes a bit fiat. Things only begin to deteriorate when it's time for the PCs to go to the Mortuary.

My big problem with this part is that the difficulty is greatly influenced by whether or not one of the PCs is a Dustman. If there is one, then the section is pretty easy. Otherwise, the place is a death trap. The issue is that the Mortuary is laid out in a pretty non-linear fashion, and it calls for the PCs to do exploration while snooping around. But there are several rooms that, going by their descriptions, are well above what a lvl 1-3 party can handle.

For example, while searching for wherever the Dustmen send off corpses, the PCs might stumble into the office of the Factol. Factol Skall is in fact a level 19 Lich. Yeah.

At least the module takes into account that the PCs might get captured, either by the Illuminated or the Dustmen, and it sets events up so that the PCs can still progress to the next part of the adventure despite this setback. The writers are kinda condescending about it though ("sure, go ahead and give them another chance if they fuck up, if you want to be a softie "). But one way or another the PCs are on the Plane Plane of Fire. The goal of this part (that is to fully foil the plot and get full credit) is to destroy the enchanted gem that's holding back the hostile environment. Not that the PCs know this or would realize what the gem did if they found it. While there isn't any Lich here, there is a Stone Golem that the villain controls. Obstensively, it's there to keep the natives from mucking the place up. Still, it seems like a beastie well above what a level 1-3 party can deal with.

If the PCs manage to foil the Illuminated, the modules tells the DM to reward them 1000xp, "reducing it if you had to hold their hand through the module." Fuck you, Eternal Boundary.

Next Time: Monstrous Compendium - Planescape. Or: Heaven is OP