Plane2 3

Fires of Dis (1995)

This is Fires of Dis (1995), which you may have guessed, finds players journeying to Hell. My favorite. Bonus: it was written by RuneQuest creator Steve Perrin.

This one is double the size of the previous Planescape mods (64 pages!), which means it covers a lot more territory than its brethren, namely Sigil, the Outland gatetowns of Fortitude and Ribcage, two layers of Hell (Avernus and the city of Dis) and Dispater’s Iron Tower. Like most D&D modules, there are pretty clear seams between the city, wilderness and dungeons portions of the adventure, though because it is Planescape, encounters are curated into a series of set pieces. Lots of folks call this railroading and consider this a bad thing. I am a little more ambivalent and I rather like how Fires of Dis works out, so I guess I am pro-railroad? I dunno.

Anyway. Plot wise, Fires of Dis is about the diabolical plot to corrupt a paladin and the players are important, unwitting stooges in Dispater’s plan. He’s stolen the paladin’s holy avenger and the players need to get it back. Doing so requires them to cross paths not just with Dispater himself but also Tiamat. And the players’ success is probably a bad thing because, well, Dispater’s a devil, he’s got more cooking than just a simple theft. The resulting mess is a big one and seems insurmountable, but clever PCs can navigate events to a relatively happy ending. It does require quite a bit of staging to get there, but I think the pay off is worth it. YMMV, as ever.

However, whatever you may think of this sort of scenario structure, it makes for a fantastic moment when the players are negotiating with Dispater for the return of the sword. He’s pretty open to it, requiring the players to give up something of zero value to them in return. Which seems like a good deal. But he’s a devil, so even the most pragmatic party is going to squirm about it. It’s delightful.

There’s lots of art. Not sure about a lot of it. The painting of Dispater doesn’t feel right – I am a firm 1E Monster Manual Dispater partisan. I quite like the portrait of the paladin though.

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