Breath of Zehir

Breathless: Adilisia

The fate of the comotose ranger is revealed.

Elven ranger Adilisia was last with the party in the Halls of Madness, where she drew The Void from the Deck of Many Things. Her body continued to function, but her mind was elsewhere; in essence she fell into a coma and is unable to be roused. With Harold’s absence from the group, the party placed a Ring of Sustenance on her finger, returned her to the Pokeball, and moved on.

Adilisia has been placed in temporal stasis by a phane, an abomination from the Dawn War. Abominations were weapons created by the gods and the primordials to destroy their enemies, and at the war’s conclusion were locked away in the astral prison plane of Carceri. Created by Pelor, the god of the sun and the calendar, a phane has a measure of power over the flow of time. This one is leaching Adilisia’s life to empower itself, and once her consciousness has been annihilated, it intends to release more abominations from Carceri.

Adilisia is slowly losing her past, being drained of her experience and regressing in her mental aging. She is at early childhood now and unless the phane is stopped she will pass the point of un-birth and be lost forever to the void. Divination magic, bringing Adilisia to Pelor, or consulting a library of astral lore would reveal the nature of her condition and direct them to consult a dreamwalker.

Further investigation leads the party to Gannayev-of-Dreams, a bishonen hagspawn spirit shaman who dwells in the astral dominion of Arvandor and whiles away his time wandering through the dreams of the exalted here. Tall and ruggedly handsome, Gann wears a sarcastic half-smile and affects an air of casual indifference. His skin has a faintly blue or violet cast, a legacy of the night hag who was his mother. Unlike other hagspawn – men born of a human father and a hag mother – Gann’s face is neither brutish nor ill-favored, but the exalted of Arvandor still treat him with a good deal of suspicion. Gann has a seductive, dry wit and enjoys sparring intellectually with men and flirting with women. He respects those who can keep him entertained and turns each insult around into a compliment. He is vain and conceited, and sees no ill in entering the dreams of sleepers since deep down "they know what they want, and I can give it to them.”

The party convinces Gann to guide them on a dreamwalk and enter Adilisia’s sleeping mind on the Plane of Dreams. (This would be Harold’s adventure, played on a Candyland game board, as she has mentally regressed to early childhood.) At the end of the adventure they force the Phane out of her subconscious and it manifests in Arvandor, where they do battle.

The Phane enters combat by summoning three alternate reality duplicates from Adilisia’s past, present, and future (Heroic, Paragon, and Epic tier respectively). Each uses her abilities and powers from those characters, and are also insubstantial taking half damage from all sources except psychic and force damage.

  • If they kill her past self, Adilisia wakes up with no memories whatsoever and takes the resurrection penalty of -5 instead of the usual -2 to all attack rolls, ability checks, and skill checks.
  • If they kill her present self, Adilisia is dead. They need to cast Raise Dead, spend the component cost for an epic-level character, and she takes the resurrection penalty of -2.
  • If they kill her future self, at some inconvenient point in the future Adilisia vanishes for a moment, then returns having simply dropped dead. If her future self is not killed, she still vanishes, but then returns a moment later, either at full health or bloodied depending on how much damage the duplicate took.
    When the Phane is defeated, these selves merge with Adilisia and she regains all the lost experience stolen by the Phane.

- – - -

Adilisia’s stated goal is to become a godslayer. To do so she can ask Morte or make a streetwise check; at a moderate DC, she learns the beings with the most lore on the destruction of gods are the Tanar’ri, known on the Prime as demons. Deities occasionally slay one of their own, but demon princes are far more capable of doing so… provided they can work together, which is extremely uncommon. Tanar’ri are not the most friendly or diplomatic of creatures, however.

With a hard Streetwise DC, or some coaxing of Morte, she learns of one being who might know the answer, and be willing to share it: Rule-of-Three. This cambion shapechanger lurks in the Styx Oarsman tavern in the Lower Ward, and meeting it is a challenge in and of itself. The bouncer only allows in fiends (devils and demons), those of fiendish blood (such as tieflings), or exceptionally depraved mortals on a case-by-case basis. Bardryn would be welcomed, and Berrian or Faustus might be able to bluff their way in, but Adilisia would need some jink to bribe the bouncer. Any good-aligned allies would certainly be banned.

If Adilisia manages to ask the favor of the enigmatic Rule-of-Three, it requires payment in the form of three eyes: one of a Cyclops, one of a Beholder, and one of an Astral Dreadnought. For the ritual to work, the eyes must be claimed by her, and her alone; allies can heal her, aid her, and otherwise distract and hinder the monsters, but only Adilisia may attack the target. (Automatic damage that does not require an attack roll, such as Divine Challenge, Razor Bracers, or Action Point effects, is exempt from this requirement.)

Cyclopses are easy to find; several can be found in the Little Bytopia district of Sigil, and are fairly standard monsters. Beholders are trickier; the players must find a portal to some region of the Underdark and look for trouble. (Vayastra’s shadow walk takes her to the Feydark by way of Deadtrees, where an Eye Tyrant holds court.) The beholder’s central eye functions as a +5 magic orb implement.

Finding an Astral Dreadnaught is an epic undertaking and requires that the party sail the Astral Sea on a vehicle (see MotP). They can purchase an Astral Skiff, or hire a well-armed Spelljammer, but most Planar Dromond pilots stay as far away from those monsters as possible. Stavros Twotalon is an accomplished captain and can assist in hiring a crew (see Mordenkainen’s).

Hunting an Astral Dreadnought means aimlessly wandering the astral sea, and that means making yourself a fat target for Githyanki pirates, slavers from the Nine Hells, psychic storms, and other wandering monsters (not to mention Zehir’s assassins). Roll on a table of random Astral Sea encounters to determine when the players encounter a Dreadnought. The random table is from 1-20, with 20 or higher being the Dreadnought, and lower rolls resulting in harder encounters. The players can make a navigation check between each encounter for a +2 or -1 to the d20 roll, or cast a Divination ritual for an automatic +5. The Astral Dreadnought appears in Manual of the Planes; adjust math as required, and include features of the Cloud Ray Elder from the Dark Sun Creature Catalogue.

Presumably the party succeeds, slaying the creatures and bringing back the eyes to Sigil. Rule-Of-Three discards the cyclops eye, accepts the beholder eye as payment, and asks the players to meet at the Temple of the Elder Elemental Eye in Sigil (the same temple where Berrian discovered his own destiny). There, it performs a ritual that channels the power of entropy into Adilisia. This font of pure destruction empowers her with the Curse of Tharizdun, the Chained God that planted the seed of ultimate evil and created the Abyss. Thus by slaying gods, ending lives, and channeling destruction, Adilisia becomes a tool of the demons that seek to annihilate the entire multiverse. She gains her epic destiny Punisher of the Gods, and the ability to amplify her Hunter’s Quarry with an Immortal Curse and bring doom to her enemies. Unlike other epic destines, this irresistible power comes with few benefits other than damage output, and no roleplaying strings attached; whether she wants to or not, simply by wreaking havoc across the planes she is serving the demons in their ultimate purpose. It is up to the party to decide whether it was wise to unleash devastation at this magnitude.

Next week: Gabriella’s epic destiny awaits.

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