A Tour of the Planes

Server Maintenance: Patch 1.7.1
Encounter Adjustments and Resource Updates

We will be performing extended maintenance this week to apply patch 1.7.1, which includes a number of content hotfixes in preparation for the release of the much-awaited expansion to Tour of the Planes, Doors to Infinity. We will also be performing a hardware refresh during maintenance, and, as a result, the game servers will not be available until the maintenance period is over.

Patch Notes: 1.7.1

- Adjusted the open quest “Break the Crusade”, including the Grand Templar Klytus encounter, to be more appropriate for level 7-8 characters. This will amount to a significant increase in difficulty, and the loot tables for these encounters have been revamped to reflect this.

- Added new quick travel links between Wolf’s Paw and Passage, making travel easier if not necessarily faster.

- Added in-game resources for Thane’s Domain and the Mournland, paragon-tier adventure areas. These areas are works in progress and will be available in a future content release.

- Added the Planar Keyring. This strange item allows users to store an unlimited number of keys in a single inventory slot. Players may receive this item at the conclusion of the Wolfwood story arc from a specific quest NPC.

- Added a number of new quests in various areas in preparation for the Doors to Infinity expansion.

Content Preview - A Terrible Night to Have a Curse
After 100 years of rest, an old evil hungers...

For once, you find yourself in somewhat familiar surroundings, with evergreen forests, well-traveled roads, and no sign of robots, dragon-men, or vicious beings from another realm. However, the scene isn’t as idyllic as one would hope: there’s a snap in the air that draws the heat from your body, there are flickers of movement at the corners of your vision, and as the sun sets, an overpowering sense of terror washes over the land.

Welcome to Barovia

Set in the heart of the Balinok Mountains, the realm of Barovia is a heavily forested realm, much like the Sword Coast of Faerun. It is a cold land, and its people are hardy and hard-working. Life here is relatively peaceful, and most would say the biggest threats in the land are the wolf packs that roam the thick forests that surround the town of Barovia and the occasional bandit party that harasses the merchant traffic between various villages.

They also say that, if you’d asked the same question to their ancestors, they would merely have pointed to the castle on the hill.

Visible from nearly every point of interest in the land, the ancient castle looms over Barovia as a chess master over his board and pieces. In hushed tones, the villagers speak of Lord Strahd Von Zarovich, ruler of Barovia, and his undead minions. For almost one hundred years, Strahd has been content to stay in his castle, his edicts delivered by coach to the villages and Vistani camps, and the stories of his horrific cruelty have begun to fade into memory and myth. None wish to court his wrath by entering the castle, nor do they dare disturb his isolation, for fear of a return to the old days, when anyone could be an agent of his will, and the doors and windows barricaded against his wrath.

Unbeknownst to them all, the Lord of Barovia stirs, and an ancient evil stirs with him.

New Instance – Castle Ravenloft

The ancestral seat of the Von Zarovich, Castle Ravenloft lords over the Barovian countryside as a permanent reminder of who rules. A gothic nightmare of stone and steel, the castle has stood for countless generations, many of them in the tyrannical grip of Lord Strahd. None dare approach the castle, for fear of drawing Strahd’s attention both to themselves and to the land he rules.

A message has been sent to the burgomasters and camp-masters of the land with an odd request: a group of adventurers will arrive soon, and they should be directed to the town of Barovia, where the burgomaster will give them a special letter and conduct them to the castle proper. The words are written in Strahd’s hand sure enough, but the tone is grossly out of character, more a polite request than an edict disregarded at one’s own peril. The people of Barovia are on edge and want answers, but they can only be found somewhere in Strahd’s personal domain: Castle Ravenloft.

New Feature – Paragon Paths

With the max level cap being increased to 20, the need for additional character refinement brought about the introduction of Paragon Paths, an exciting new feature debuting with the Doors To Infinity expansion. Upon reaching level 11, a character may select a paragon path to further develop their character’s role and abilities. Paragon paths are often (though not always) class-specific, and some have additional prerequisites; other paragon paths are restricted to members of a certain race or are associated with a nation or faction on a given plane. A given path grants new benefits and abilities along a common theme, and generally draw out a particular facet of the character’s class. For example: a fighter may select a paragon path that improves their resilience in combat, improving their defenses and increasing the amount of damage they can take. Conversely, another path may improve a fighter’s abilities with two-handed weapons, granting them better damage, more accurate attacks, or even the ability to strike multiple opponents at once.

With over 400 individual paths to choose from, every character can find something that appeals to them and that can help make their character stand out.

Content Preview - Return to the Sword Coast
The sea is the only high road for a gentleman

Beregost has never looked as comforting as it has upon your return. Having been abroad for far too long, you are surprised to find that Faerun has changed little: no massive rifts in the planar continuum, no marauding bands of Void Reavers destroying everything in their path. For once, everything is normal, or as normal as the Sword Coast can be. Sure, bandits pop up every so often (though not nearly as dangerous as the Black Talon, thank Helm), and yes, someone might be trying to kill you, but that’s not new. If anything, you could use a vacation. Maybe a nice sea voyage…

Drink Up, Me Hearties, Yo Ho!

For decades, the sea trade between Baldur’s Gate, Athkatla, and points south has been a profitable, if not extremely dangerous, undertaking. Some crusty old salts say that the best way of getting from one place to another is with a deck under your feet and wind in your sails, and in this modern age, they aren’t far off. New discoveries in nautical engineering have made seafaring vessels sturdier and faster, and the average sailor is a highly skilled professional, especially when compared to his forebears of even twenty years ago. Further, the local sahuagin clans have all moved on, looking for easier pickings far to the south. Really, the only danger plaguing the sea lanes would be pirates, and those aren’t that dangerous anymore.

Well, not exactly. The pirate crews of old have taken a more capitalistic approach to their trades, instead offering their services for convoy duties. As knowledgeable of the seas and currents as Umberlee herself (though they’d never say so aloud), these “merchant marines” can be of inestimable assistance navigating treacherous reaches of the Sea of Swords and dealing with the occasional goblinoid raid. However, many of these crews are unscrupulous in the best of times, and are as likely to allow their charges to fall into harm’s way as defend them, and in both cases will probably make a fair profit from seized cargo and other salvage.

Still, there is nothing like a bracing breath of sea air to revitalize and invigorate a man. Unless that man is attacked by the Dread Pirate Tolmek and his crew of bloodthirsty cutthroats. In that case, well.

New Instance – Reston’s Quay

It is said that, in the days of high adventure when the seas were the last great frontier, Marcus Reston was a pirate’s pirate: a skilled navigator, sharp-eyed cannoneer, and peerless swordsman. A true leader of men, Reston led a pirate armada of nearly fifty ships and held the admiration and respect of every man-jack in his command. Ship’s scuttlebutt said that Reston was a commander in the Athkatlan Navy, until he was ordered to destroy innocent merchant ships to “prove a point to those damn Northerners”, at which point he promptly mutinied, escaped pursuit from the rest of the Athkatlan Navy, and began a legendary career as a buccaneer.

Stories tell also of Reston’s home base, a secluded island deep within the Sea of Swords called Reston’s Quay. The Quay is surrounded by dense seaweed and long stretches of dead water, making navigation through it impossible to all but the most skilled of navigators and sailors or to those who know the safe lanes through to the island. Many believe that, by now, the Quay must also be surrounded by a ship’s graveyard of great size. Even so, Reston’s Quay remains missing on nautical charts and maps, and whatever riches reside there must wait for those intrepid enough to seek them out.

Memory Stone 100627
In which our heroes find Shade.

Nagash unleashes withering hexes, but he is defeated, and this time he is not able to escape from us.

We return to the werekin with news of our victory. Pieter explains that he has news for us too. He brings out a cage, and in it lies Shade. This would be useful, except she is… deactivated. Whatever device powered her is missing. Pieter tells us that his scouts found her at the border of the swamp, so that is where we must go. It seems illogical that we must expend effort to save our enemy from the fate she brought upon herself, but it appears to be necessary.

We head back to the Voidfang fort. The shield has been removed, and the fort has been attacked. All of the shifters are dead, a number of them burned to ashes. There are a few bodies of the Flamists, who apparently were the attackers. We search the remains and find the diary of the Voidfang leader. He wrote of Shade’s arrival, and the words she spoke. How those who joined the Reavers would be spared from the eventual destruction. He also wrote of how Shade’s faith needed to be tested. They took her power source and dumped her in the swamp, the idea being that if her faith is strong, she will prevail. Faith. What a strange concept. The device is not here, most likely the Flamists have taken it. So we will follow them. If they are reasonable they will surrender it without a fight, but faith is enemy to reason.

Memory Stone 100704
In which our heroes return to church.

The trail leads us back to, of all places, the ruined chapel. The Flamists were quick to capitalize on our efforts of cleansing the structure of the undead. We enter, and are immediately attacked before being given opportunity to explain ourselves. So be it. I will not protect these fools from their own follies.

The first group of zealots is felled, but there will be more. We press farther into the ruins, pleased to discover that the Flamists did not reactivate all the traps we passed our first time through. The next group is deep in prayer. Again, we attempt diplomacy. Again, we are rebuffed. Heretics, their leader calls us. I find myself actually offended. Blasphemy and abomination, I could understand, but heretic? How arrogant, assuming we were ever of his flock.

Their arcanist uses similar magic to Jan, but it is not enough. They are no match for us.

Memory Stone 100815
In which our narrator... well, just read it...

We press on to the main chamber. More Flamists. Killing them has become… tedious. There is no challenge; I simply press through the motions and emerge successful, the outcome never in doubt. As Klytus dies, he is revealed to be a Reaver. Not possessed by one, but a Reaver wearing his armor. I feel… nothing. No sense of triumph or relief. Just more weariness. Strange. Regardless, we take what we came for and return to the shifter camp.

I restore Shade’s power source and she awakens. She wastes our time by describing her incompetence and flawed construction. According to her, she, along with the jackal-headed being we saw earlier, was built to combat the Reavers. Except she had been corrupted while working for the Lord of Blades, and as such was forced to serve them. Naturally, she has almost no memory of her time serving the Reavers. After much effort she is able to recall that she gave one of Gant’s journals to a half-elf who was on her way to Sigil. Rather than correct her own mistakes and help us find this person, she sets off on her own, making clear that she could have escaped from her bindings at any time.

The situation is either much better than we think, or much worse. The Reavers have hardly been threatening adversaries. So far their strength has been infiltration, not combat. Only Razza gives me pause. And it turns out that there are others, such as Shade and the Jackal, who are also working to stop them. This should be reassuring news.

But then I think of our “allies”, and I wonder if we would be better off without them. Whoever built them prioritized aesthetics over function, and it shows. While they are far superior to the clumsy Warforged of this realm, there are still significant errors. The bipedal humanoid form is unstable and has much room for improvement, but none was made. Their builders, like mine, were trying to replicate the human form instead of trying to innovate. What a pity.

Even if they had been physically designed properly, the help they could possibly provide is of dubious quality due to their mental flaws. The Jackal seems to believe that destruction of everything is preferable to the destruction of everything at the hands of the Reavers. Based off our current knowledge, he is incorrect. At least the Reavers plan on remaking everything once they are done. As for Shade, she appears to be rather proud, although she certainly has no reason to be so. She allowed herself to be distracted from her duties of watching against the Reavers by working with the Lord of Blades. And while she claims to be a victim of the Reavers, she admits to not actually remembering the details. She could have chosen her path. For all we know, she is another monster like Gant.

I should have killed her. It would have been safer. And I shall be keeping an eye on Ryltar.

Memory Stone 100822
In which our heroes meet the new girl

We are about to make our return trip to Sharn when Audra stops us. She informs us that she has decided to stay in Eberron with her brother. An irrational and short-sighted decision, but I have learned that attempting to reason with my allies is usually a pointless endeavor. Better to choose my battles. I instead ask for the stone she carries. She gives it to me, and we part ways. Just as well. I suspect the shifters will need her before too long.

Our second trip across Khorvaire is much less eventful than our first was. No obstacles hinder our return to Sigil. But still, an impossible task awaits us: to find a single Clueless in the Cage, when all we have is a picture. The streets are crowded with what appears to be refugees. A curious spectacle, but probably short-lived. I tell the others where we should begin looking for our quarry, when Charles bumps into a passerby. It is her. The probability of this occurring by chance is so astronomically low that it would be illogical to believe this was random. This was caused by some outside force, hopefully working in our favor. There is a minor scuffle, in which Charles ends up in possession of the green stone, and we all retire to an inn for introductions.

She is Treasa, a follower of Corellon Larethian, and she does indeed bear one of Gant’s journals. She is somewhat familiar with us, as Gant has written a small amount about us. He has not transcribed his many faults, however. I tell her some of what she doesn’t know, and she agrees to join us. Gant’s journal includes clues regarding the whereabouts of the other stones; we must quickly make our preparations for the next part of the journey. What a pity; I had been hoping to linger in Sigil, there’s no time for it. We disperse. The others go shopping while I must attend to my duties at the Hall of Sensation.

Upon our reunion, we decide to test each of the Lady’s keys and see where they lead. We go from plane to plane, staying just long enough to identify our location before moving on. During this process I end up holding every sigil stone we have acquired. We decide to return to Faerun, for it seems that Ryltar will be able to avoid Lloth’s wrath. I don’t completely understand why Lloth is angered at her follower; probably some pointless religious thing. Ryltar in turn is upset at his goddess, and at all the gods in fact. He sounds like an Athar. If there were more time, I would take him to them. I am disappointed that I am not able to help him now. I hope I can do so in the future.

The portal we take back to Faerun is run by Guy. It takes us back to Nashkel. Most of the others go to speak with Guy, but Yan follows me as I head back to the river. I don’t know what’s changed since we’ve been gone, but there are still fish in the water. I talk to them. Grumnil interrupts me; he wants me to use a stone to check if Guy has been possessed by a Reaver. I do so. Guy does not look particularly happy to see me, but it appears he is not possessed. I return to the fish. They hear what I have to say.

Memory Stone 100829
In which our heroes get on a boat.

The others return. They say the clues in Gant’s journal leads to Zakhara, and that the only reasonable way to get there is by sea. To do this, we must go to Baldur’s Gate and find a captain by the name of Edward Teach. Guy recommends him. I suppose that will do. We ready our horses and head north. Our journey is brief, interrupted only by our stop in Beregost. Ragnor looks well. Rumors of piracy abound, but pirates won’t be much trouble for us.

We arrive at Baldur’s Gate. We split up, hoping to cover more ground. I make my way through the streets towards the docks, but I do not find Teach. I do, however, find Treasa. She is stumbling out of some dilapidated building, a pub by the sounds from inside and the smell of her skin. She looks unwell, and I tell her such. She responds by telling me our new captain is even worse off. I think she thinks that’s reassuring. Does she frequently drink this much? I help her to the inn where we spend the night.

In the morning we return to the docks. Charles has used his company’s wealth to hire a skeleton crew for the ship we will be using, the Kraken’s Whip. Teach seems capable enough. He tells us that it will take a few months for us to reach our destination. That is… regrettable, but necessary. We set off. Charles appears to be enjoying himself. Ryltar and I are not particularly affected. The other half of our group isn’t doing very well. It seems that the constant motion of the boat is causing them nausea. What a pity. I wonder if my training is what allows my body to move with the ship. That’s probably it.

We take a brief stop in Athkatla. Charles goes to the Bulgakov estate to deliver Audra’s letter, and we go with him. Nicolai seems distraught by his daughter’s message and asks us to leave. I ask him how Andreyev is. Nicolai says his son is recovering. I warn against undue optimism, and then return to the Whip with the rest of the group. We soon set off again.

A storm approaches. Teach tells us to get below the deck. After a short while we are thrown off our feet by a sudden movement. Ryltar informs us that the ship has stopped moving. We head up to see what the problem is. The sky is tinted a sickly green, and we appear to be stuck in a morass of seaweed and half-sunken ships. Running towards us on paths of kelp and planks are several men of low moral fiber with weapons drawn. Yan and Grumnil halt their advance entirely with walls of fire and blades. An anomaly appears, suspended in the air above the conjurations. A side effect of their spells, perhaps?

Seeing that they do not need my help, I head after a pirate who had escaped my allies’ spells. Treasa follows me shortly. We work well together, cutting the man down while preventing him from harming the other. The pirates are defeated, but the anomaly in the air is taking form. It is a portal, and it is Razza who steps from it. He doesn’t fall into the whirling, flaming death below him. He just hovers. He explains that he doesn’t seek destruction. His goal is to simply recreate the multiverse as it is, only correcting all the little mistakes. How disappointing. I hope he’s lying. He wants the wardstones. I have no intention of giving them to him. Razza is enraged. He summons some manner of beacon behind us and blasts us all with a wave of energy. I shield myself from it, letting my allies take the brunt of the attack. It may seem harsh, but our best chance of survival lies with me, not them. My belief is confirmed as I watch Razza ignore their attacks.

I reach into my bag and take out one of the wardstones. I’ll only get one chance at this. I concentrate, then take the space between Razza and myself and put it behind me. He is taken off guard by my sudden appearance, and I see my opening. I reach out to touch him with the stone, but my hand stops, running into some invisible barrier. A protective sphere appears around Razza, becoming visible as it fractures and shatters with the stone’s touche. I drop to the ground, or what passes for it. Yan and Ryltar should have an easier time at penetrating Razza’s defenses now.

Except they don’t get the chance. Razza’s beacon lashes out with cords of crackling energy that drag us towards the center. Razza gives us a mocking farewell before we are pulled into the nexus.

We reappear in the countryside. It is actually rather pleasant. An elf driving a cart greets us. Curious, I don’t know the language. None of us do. There is a nearby city, so we approach it. I address a guard with the greeting Gant offered in his second journal. He responds positively. I put my staggering intellect to good use as I manage to divine the name of the city through charades. We are in Venezia. A passerby notices the scene we are creating and pulls us aside. He addresses us in Common, although he calls it something else. He introduces himself as Ezio Auditore and asks where we’re from, suggesting a couple places I’ve never heard us. Upon learning that we aren’t local by any means, he offers to take us to his friend. As we’re about to set off, Ryltar correctly identifies the man as an assassin. Curious that such a man has taken interest in us.

Memory Stone 100912
In which our heroes go to their local library.

Ezio leads us to his friend Leonardo’s workshop. It is a peculiar place, filled with peculiar schematics, half-finished paintings, and contraptions the likes of which one might, might, be able to find in Sigil. Leonardo explains the political and religious atmosphere of the world we are in. It is quickly evident that the entire plane is completely Clueless. We will be lucky to find a way home. As we plan, Leonardo notices some impish creature lurking by the wing of one of his machines. Grumnil attempts to blast it down, but fails to. Charles and Treasa berate him for this decision. I don’t know why.

I go to a tailor and buy a dress. No purpose in drawing needless attention. When this is done, I reunite with Yan at a nearby inn and help him with a ritual that will allow him to read the native language. This proves less useful when Charles shows up with rings that will allow us to understand any spoken language. I wonder how much this frivolous purchase set us back.

A note is slipped under our door. I pick it up. I can’t read the language, but it is sealed with the mark of the Knights Hospitaller. I take it to Yan and Grumnil. They have received a similar note. Both tell us that the writer might be able to help us leave this plane, and where we could meet them on the following day.

We arrive at the designated spot at the given time. We are met not by a Knight Hospitaller, but by a Templar. He suggests that the answer to escaping this plane may be found in Venezia’s library: one of the greatest sources of arcane knowledge in the region, and also under heavy guard by the Inquisition. The Templar offers to arrange for our access, but for a price. He knows that we can contact Ezio, and he knows that Ezio has been murdering Templar. If we find anything of use, we are to repay him by telling him the name of Ezio’s next target. The knight gives us a day to consider our options.

Charles pushes for us to accept the deal, stating that we don’t have a choice. Not entirely correct; we simply don’t know what our other choices are. Treasa is greatly opposed to helping the Templar, for she disagrees with their goal of strictly controlling magic. I too am unwilling to aid the Templar, but for a different reason: betrayal is an unpleasant business, especially when the victim is a man who has done nothing but help us. Charles is surprised by my reluctance. I explain that I am willing to betray Ezio, but only if we truly have no other option.

We split up in search of any other option. Searching the bazaar yields nothing; if this city has the key to our escape, then it holds it in the library. We return to the workshop. Leonardo has some serendipitous news: he’s discovered an entrance to catacombs which we can use to enter the library undetected. The interior is also guarded, but this will at least get us past the door. We decide to take up the Templar on his offer, but only so we can examine the library. Then we return through the catacombs and take what we found on our previous visit.

The Templar makes good on his offer. We are allowed into the library. Only Yan and Grumnil can actually read the books, so the rest of us look busy while they research. At the end of the day we depart, seemingly empty-handed. When we return to the inn, Grumnil subtly informs us that he may have found the answer. Now we just need to return and steal the book.

Memory Stone 100918
In which our heroes encounter the Rat King.

We enter the catacombs and are immediately set upon by undead. Their location is more than coincidental. I wonder if they were placed here to defend the tunnel. If this is the case, then they are not very effective.

The next chamber of significant size contains a bier on which lays a shield. It is enchanted. Strange that someone would leave that here with these corpses; they aren’t animate, so they could hardly use the thing. Treasa picks it up and inspects it. There is some religious text inscribed on it. Something about drinking blood and immortal life. Sounds more like vampirism than religion. Anyway, there is a massive horde of rats heading our direction. They swarm over Ryltar as they enter the room, but mere vermin don’t pose much of a threat. They do form up into one giant mass, which is strange, but no more so than cranium rats. The passage they came from appears to be a dead end, but our map says otherwise.

Grumnil and Ryltar, both familiar with underground passages, find and open the hidden door. There are a number of armed members of the inquisition on the other side. They appear to be waiting for us. Curious. Did they hear us approach? Maybe they heard the rats. They fight with impressive coordination, but it’s not enough to stop us and they all fall. Ryltar goes from foe to foe, slitting their throats. A practical precaution; why haven’t I thought of that before? And why did Ryltar start now, with these guards? Has our encounter with Razza changed him in some way?

The inquisitors were guarding a trapdoor into the library. It is very heavy. We manage to open it and incapacitate, or kill, the guards in the library. Grumnil finds the book he spotted the previous day and we leave. We even manage to return to our lodgings with a minimum of harassment from the city guard. Perhaps we will be able to leave this city with a minimum of fuss.

The next morning is likely to prove me wrong. The guards, indeed, the entire city, appears to be on high alert. At first we worry that our theft has been discovered, but if so this is not the cause for alarm. It’s merely that the doge and his top aide have been assassinated during the night. Hopefully we will not be drawn any further into this city’s machinations than we already have been. I suspect my hope will prove fruitless.


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