DMG Review: A Chase Through The Planes

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From the start, A Chase Through The Planes has an edgy, otherworldly feel to it. The story begins for the PCs when a Blackstaff from Waterdeep contacts them about a certain item stolen by a thief—an arcanaloth named Viarcraia—that then high-tailed it to another plane of existence. A trap caught the thief’s blood and the Blackstaff has used it to attune a Compass of the Planes to help them track her down.

Viarcraia actually works for a morkoth named Lorion, who had her steal a Tome of the Stilled Tongue. The tome has some interesting aspects, but the one that’s clearly important to the antagonists is that it has a direct link to the lich-god Vecna, Keeper of Secrets. Viarcraia attempts to cover her trail by hopping from one plane to another using a Well of Many Worlds, which leads the party on a merry chase.

The group hits the Plane of Fire first and are presented with an interesting inter-planar bazaar that leave the players with the choice of slowing their chase to take the opportunities it presents or moving forward as quickly as possible—without angering the efreeti guards. It also adds survival elements due to the extreme heat and lack of water.

Once the group tracks their prey to her exit portal, they’re able to follow her into the Shadowfell, pitting them against the despair that it brings—and, of course, the Shadar-kai. The encounter, like many throughout the adventure, provides some good options for completing it without resorting to combat. That can be crucial for a party that has some clever players or anyone interested in role play opportunities.

I also loved one of the suggestions for a random encounter here using a balhannoth and—if the DM feels especially devious—an anti-magic zone. Once through the dreary Shadowfell, the characters are thrust into the mystical charm of the Feywild. This plane provides the interesting quirk of wild magic, as well as a mischievous faerie dragon that serves as both a prankster and a guide.

The faerie dragon encounter is well done in creating a counter point to the previous ones, while showcasing the ambient illusion and charms of the Feywild. Once the party is able to shrug off the charms of the Fey, they are on to Ysgard.

This is the strange plane of the Norse mythology with floating earth-bergs and rivers of earth. The greatest thing about Ysgard is that if you die, you resurrect 1 day later. Of course, that would mean not catching the thief before she holds up in Lorion’s stronghold, but players tend to get…rowdy, when you tell them that their characters are immortal.

Arcanaloth

This section offers an interesting take on a skill challenge, where the players decide what skills, items, and abilities they’re going to use to get through a raging battle alive. The point isn’t to win, but just survive to get to the other side.

Finally, the party arrives in the Astral Sea, which houses the morkoth’s liar: an island with sickness causing mosquitoes, planar creatures, and a few other fun surprises for the characters (poison grung, anyone?).

A leap into an active volcano (illusion) takes the group into the morkoth’s lair. From there they have to fight crystal elementals attempting to trap them inside crystal prisons, a friendly tortle, and a chance to leap into a plane of fire incinerator, before the showdown in the morkoth’s own lair. Pro tip: Fighting a morkoth in it’s own pool is a Bad Idea. Not to mention he’s got some sneaky backup.

The adventure ends with a just-when-you-thought-it-was-over library full of nasty guards, traps, and a mirror realm that leads to the real library. I, for one, appreciated this part for my arcana loving players, which you can read a little more about in my Scribe Subclass Deep Dive.

Overall, this is a well designed planar run, with several little things that help world build—like the prestidigitation field that Lorion uses to keep his library and artwork dry, since he’s, you know, a squid-thing living in a small lake. The writing has some minor grammar imperfections and a few things that could be explained more clearly, but those end up being very minor annoyances.

The author makes good use of some of the enchanted workings from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything and the artwork does a good job of painting the picture from one plane to another. The versatility of this adventure is certainly a selling point; a fast paced and clever group could probably burn through it in a single session—if the DM let them by forgoing most random encounters. At the same time it could be stretched out to give the players time to explore each plane a little more or even be used as the foundation for an entire planar campaign.

Check it out on the DMG today and let me know what you think. If you have any products that you would especially like to see a review of, just let me know. Here’s to good fortune and tasty mead, adventurers!

(Product received for free in return for an honest review. This post includes affiliate links, which provide a small commission when a purchase is made through them. That commission is what helps keep the Drunken Dragon going and we appreciate your support!)

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Published by Shaun Thomas-Arnold

I'm a writer, a fantasy geek, a book-worm, a sci-fi nerd, and I'm sure a few other names you could call me. I also think that tabletop games are better than video games in nearly every way. Some of my favorite writers are: Ursula K. Le Guin, China Mieville, Jim Butcher, and Susan Kaye Quinn.

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