One puzzling option in the maze engine sequence is the option for destroying all magic items. I thought this options was way too harsh and did not really add to the story. I came up with an alternative which brought the adventure to high new levels.
The team just finished the Maze Engine and banished Baphomet, they had already banished Yennoghu in combat. Unfortunately during the Maze sequence, all their magic objects, scrolls included were absorbed through a vortex. The Tridrone told them that they were brought to Mechanus. They didn’t have their Teleportation Helm but the halfling cleric could use Word of Recall to get them back to Hilltoppple, a small settlement that they created just outside Gravenhollow. There was no way for them to planeshift so they contacted Vizeran through Sending, and told them in 25 words that they had banished to demon lords. They caught his attention and 10 minutes later he teleported to them and then teleported back to Araj with them and the Modrons. In his tower they explained to him what had happened, the only two missing items are the Timmasks and the Grimoire, Vizeran explains that he has a big investment and decides to help them.
The day after in the floor of Araj, Vizeran has a magic circle drawn on the floor, and 5 human and drow salves shackled and sad, around it. (the team knows that they will be sacrificed to power the spell. A while back the shield guardian was damaged and they brought it to Vizeran who decided to repair it. Later they brought to the tower the 100 refugees from the Vast Oblivion, asked if they could be left there and Vizeran accepted. Next week Vizeran tells them that the shield guardian is ready. Then he tell the druid that he used the life energy of 40 refugees to power it. Blood magic ala Full metal alchemist. When the rest of the party found out they destroyed the control gem and left the useless guardian making company to the stone angels in the labyrinth).
Vizeran is about to cast “call Kolyarut” to ask him to bring them to mechanus, the cleric wouldn’t have any of it and they get into an argument and decide to leave.
They contact Lord Zelraun and explain the situation, he aids them with a planeshift spell. They get to Regulus, and important city in Mechanus. The modrons have a pyramid hierarchy and each one of them knows a lot of laws related to their level in the scheme. The tridrone explains that he has to give account of his more than 200 years in Eberron since the last great march and then he needs to speak to a Pentadrone. They go to a giant “government” building and start a one-day long process of paperwork, getting seals and signatures and interviews, all to get the audience, the team is going nuts, but for the tridrone this is life. Finally the team and the modrons get to see a pentadrone bureaucrat. First thing he says to the monodrones is that they broke a law level 4 (which they didn’t even know as they are level 1 modrons) that states that a modron in level 3 or lower cannot go into a building with unregistered extraplanar creatures. With a fingersnap the 3 monodrones disassemble to scrap pieces. Then he tells the duodrone they rescued from the vast oblivion that he has to go somewhere to get repairs and a possible promotion to tridrone. Then he asks the tridrone for an account of everything. after that he is dismissed. Then he asks the team to fill a million forms and paperwork to register their stay. It takes them hours. Then they are excused to wait for an audience to state their intentions.
Next morning they are called forward to an audience with a Hexton, who tells them that one of the objectives of the last great march 200+ years ago was to deactivate and destroy the maze engine which was broken and got to the material plane by accident. But ! this objective was level 4 and up, so the tridrones, duodrones or monodrones didn’t know about it. only pentadrones and tetradrones. He says that they did a service to Mechanus but also broke a law that states that it was a severe crime to use the broken engine (which they call a “maximum orderer). He doesn’t know what to do exactly and is looking through stacks of paperwork while he talks to them.
He then finds a lost clause in a 200+ years old document stating that every law passed has an expiring date of 175 years for extraplanar beings.
He declares them guilty of a serious crime but states that he is unable to process them as the crime has expired and they cannot be judged for it. He offers his help. Explains that a few months ago there was an unauthorized teleportation of goods (time passes faster in mechanus), as they belonged to no one they were transported to a faraway storing place. He offers to Mecha-port them to the place. Which is a form of teleportation in which they transform to the building parts of modrons, small cogs and pistons and whatnot. They instantly disassemble to million pieces and are reformed in a faraway place. They fought some native lifeforms of mechanus before arriving to the storage place in which they found someone waiting for them, it was a chronomancer. He told them that they were criminals against the flow and natural order of things, pointing to the cleric and Derendil. The fight started and they couldn’t get more info from this creature. In the next room they found their stuff intact.
When going out they were expected by the creature in the picture. It was an Inevitable Marut, his name Adarasimare. He is very polite and explains that his job is to put a stop to beings that defy death. Explains that life and the universe has a normal way of working, and that the flow must not be altered, or there are consequences. He tells them that they are guilty, he knows their names and a lot about them: the druid is guilty because at some point he reincarnated Derendil (into a real elf by the way). Then pointed to the cleric and told her that she had by this point, raised the druid from the death once, and Derendil 5 times. Then he pointed to Derendil and said to him that his life had already ended 6 times (yes Derendil has died 6 times, he’s full of scars from deathblows, ala Beric Dondarrion from GOT), it was a serious transgression to the natural flow.
He said this with a certain sadness. And begged them to not make this longer and just surrender themselves, he told them they could still die like men, in a brave instant. Instead of fighting and dying like dogs with pain and blood.
Guess what…. they wouldn’t have any of it and fought this creature, it was really tough but at the end they won, in its deathbed the Marut told them that they had just made this more serious, that the authorities in the great flow of things knew their names and that sooner or later they would be punished for their crimes. Then the fighter cut his head. After this they used word of recall to go back to Hilltopple with their stuff.
2 days later they got the vision from Basidia asking for their help in Zuggtmoy’s wedding.
I think this is a nice alternative to that entry in the maze engine that says that all magic items are destroyed.
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