Tegresin The Laughing Fiend (Help Me Todd Stewart; You're My Only Hope)


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

Grand Lodge

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I realize some of my questions on Tegresin (maybe all of them) have no published answer as of yet.

So whatever is in Todd Stewart's head -- published or not -- is what I need.

I am remarkably curious all of the sudden as the PCs in my years-running Korvosa campaign will, in another year or so, leave Korvosa behind and start adventuring in the Maelstrom, Galisemni, the Abyss & Hell & Abaddon.

And I need some info on Tegresin!

....

Is Tegresin LE or CE or CN or what?
Tegresin seems like he should be LE considering he's the one who possessed Dou-Bral and corrupted him into becoming The Midnight Lord. Further, Tegresin's description (at least when Todd Stewart was DMing him at PaizoCon this year) seemed more Infernal, Hellish. But his personality seems awfully Chaotic, whimsical. Could Tegresin be CE even though he tainted Dou-Bral into the LE Midnight Lord?

Where does Tegresin keep his demesne?
When I played in Todd's "Felicar's Whirlpool" adventure my impression was that Tegresin stays somewhere deep in the Maelstrom. I checked out my copy of 'The Great Beyond' after PaizoCon and seem to remember his prison is somewhere in the Astral Plane, in a castle in a forest. Can you give me more info on this place? Could it actually be in the Maelstrom, or where in the Astral Plane -- in relation to other Spheres? Is it closer to the Abyss or Hell, or even Galisemni?

With whom does Tegresin have current relationships?
Is he enemies with Asmodeus or Pazuzu or Sarenrae? Does he have an uneasy alliance with the Proteans or Zon Kuthon? Does he have an Avatar or chief lieutenant or something? Who forced him in his prison?

What would you say his CR is?
Barbatos, Ahriman and Ragathiel are CR 26. Mephistopheles, Pazuzu & Cthulhu are CR 30.

Along those lines, how ancient a being is Tegresin?
Compared to say, Barbatos. Or Asmodeus.

....

I know that Todd Stewart wrote 10s-of-thousands of words more than are in The Great Beyond -- you said so in the Know Direction podcast. And I know Todd Stewart loves Tegresin because you said so at PaizoCon. So I'm assuming Todd Stewart has pages and pages of material about Tegresin that are not yet Pathfinder canon. Of course, I realize that none of that is canon, that it could be published differently than what's in the mind's-eye -- but I could really use some help on this guy!

Help me Todd Stewart; you're my only hope
(In return, I'll start pronouncing Trelmarixian 'Trel' mer e' Shion' in my home game!)

Contributor

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Much of my answer later today will be -wildly- non canonical. Tegresin's appearance in TGB, the well of many world's chapter in 'Classic Treasures Revisited' and a chapter opening quote for devourers in Undead Revisited is the extent of his/it's published material.

He was the primary antagonist in my home game, and the Felikar's Whirlpool oneshot game I ran at PaizoCon. Don't assume his Canon nature to be the same as my home stuff.

Quickly he's NE. He's trapped in Golarion's cosmology and he's been f'ing with the place since that point. In my home game he's basically a stranded, entrapped, and bitter baernaloth (which obviously cannot be PF Canon).

His age doesn't really matter. He's from a different reality, so arguably he predates TGB. In my home game he was there when the proteans were the only game in town, so to speak. He doesn't like them. At all. For reasons.

He doesn't have a CR. Godlike without being a divine being. In his demiplane he counts as a god for all purposes. Outside of it he can't do much unless acting via proxy through projections, objects he created, people who struck deals with him, etc.

I wrote a non Canon story called 'Tea with the Laughing Fiend', look it up on Google.

His demiplanar prison is 'The Prison of the Laughing Fiend' which drifts between the Astral and the Maelstrom. He can move it about to an extent.

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Also it isn't Canon unless it's in print and/or stated by a Paizo employee. Excess stuff I wrote, fan fiction I wrote, my intent in published stuff, and stuff in my home game is not Canon and I don't wish to create any sort of pseudo or shadow canon where the planes are involved.

I'll provide more details on Tegresin tonight.

Contributor

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Also Tegresin was behind Dou Bral's corruption only in my home game. That isn't canonical and I don't know the 'real' answer there.

It isn't known who or what imprisoned Tegresin, though CTR has a (dubious) legend. I have my own answer for my home game, which I'm unlikely to ever do a big reveal on.


W E Ray wrote:

Is Tegresin LE or CE or CN or what?

Tegresin seems like he should be LE considering he's the one who possessed Dou-Bral and corrupted him into becoming The Midnight Lord. Further, Tegresin's description (at least when Todd Stewart was DMing him at PaizoCon this year) seemed more Infernal, Hellish. But his personality seems awfully Chaotic, whimsical. Could Tegresin be CE even though he tainted Dou-Bral into the LE Midnight Lord?

What? Where's that from?

EDIT: Ah, posted too soon.

Grand Lodge

Tremendous thanks in leaps and bounds, Todd!

The PCs in my Korvosa game are now too high level to really enjoy playing in the city. It's just not fun for them to beat up on little crime lords and petty Korvosan bureaucrats that are miles lower than their APL. They're gonna do a big dungeon crawl underneath Castle Korvosa in the Grand Mastaba, go to Scarwall, and go to The Sunken Queen to deal with a Marilith who is trying to bring back Sorshen -- all of which I have designed. THEN they'll be ready to move off into the Planes and do all manner of fun extraplanar/ Planescape/ Great Beyond adventuring. So I'm in the mood to play with that development now.

And right out of the Gate (so to speak) I knew I needed more info on Tegresin so I could decide whether to use him a little or a lot or not at all. I'm reasonably comfortable on how the cosmology runs in my homegame but need yet to really integrate The Laughing Fiend. Your posts will realy help me out. And oh crap!, I LOVE that he is a Baernaloth!
(In my Korvosa campaign the PCs, at 1st level, were in a castle where they found a summoning room and a trapped Yagnoloth; they ran away even though it tried to bargain for release!)

Contributor

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Oh, also Occult Realms strongly implies that Tegresin is behind the demiplane known as the Mnemovore. But getting the reference implies familiarity with Tegresin's appearance in non-canon material, so by Canon the link isn't absolute.

Contributor

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Various little vignettes and such from my home game so far as it concerns Tegresin, all of it very very non-canonical. I cannot stress this enough.

Within the Prison of the Laughing Fiend, Tegresin initially appeared as a quasit wearing a crown slung lopsided over one ear, looking vaguely cute. He claimed to be the loyal familiar of an ancient and exceptionally obscure mortal wizard known as Marcinilus the Summoner. Tegresin claimed to be waiting for his master to return, absolutely sure that he'd be coming back soon, even though he'd been absent for over 30k years.

Marcinilus existed, but he never had any connection to Tegresin's demiplanar prison, nor was Tegresin his familiar. Gradually as the PCs grew to sort of trust Tegresin, he slowly sloughed the quasit form and resumed what might or might not be his actual form: a fox headed imp sort of thing with an oversized scorpion's tail and draconic arms and legs. He still wore the crown slung over one ear and still acted cute. His shadow on the other hand moved independently of him and didn't resemble his obvious body. The shadow was much larger and more draconic in nature.

Eventually one PC tried to scry the name of the alluded to BBEG in the campaign 'The Laughing Shadow' which they thought was a nickname for the wizard that Tegresin claimed to be the familiar of. One of the PCs grabbed Tegresin by the scruff of his neck and used him as a material link when trying the scry. The image they got was of Tegresin's cherubic smile and their own hand grabbing his name, at which point the fiend waved up from the scry image.

At that point the game was up and he didn't bother trying to hide his true nature, floating after the PCs when they tried to run, held aloft by the scruff of his neck by his own shadow, chuckling.

From my notes of that game session:

Tegresin the Laughing Fiend hangs in space, held up by his own shadow by the scruff of his neck, and it becomes more obvious to you as not simply a shadow, but a very real, very tangible and quasi-independent thing, vaguely draconic as it looms above its tiny, smirking physical corollary. Simultaneously, both the shadow and the fox-headed fiend chuckle.

“Oh the look on your faces! That's just priceless... Oh trust me, I've so enjoyed this farcical dance of the last few months.” Tegresin claps his hands together and hops from one reptilian foot to the other, pausing only to adjust the over-sized crown that sits askance on his head around one of his vulpine ears.

“That being said however, it seems that we're at an impasse of sorts mortals. You have a choice. That is after all the essence of what defines you things of meat and soul conjoined. We can stay and chat allllll you like; that would make me smile. You ask and if I so deign to answer, well, I'll do just that. Of course the first thing you creatures are prone to ask is what I actually am.” The tiny, fox-headed fiend sighs, his barbed tail droops and his independently moving shadow shakes its head. “Everyone asks that. Even Jatembe asked that, the f*cker…”

“Oh it’s priceless that you thought I was some vanished wizard’s familiar all this time, locked inside a demiplane and pining away for my missing master. Nothing of the sort.” Tegresin’s eyes narrow and both he and his shadow smile once again. “Who was Marcinilus the Summoner you ask? There's a short answer and a long answer. Short answer: lunch in a manner of speaking. Long answer: hands eyes and ears, a proxy if you will, and one in a long line of people who've chosen to come to me and asked for something. None of this is his. None of it ever was. His home on the Material plane is forgotten, lost to time, plowed over, seeded, and harvested by peasants ignorant of his name or all of his mortal genius. His only real fault was never understanding his limitations when he discovered my name. He sought me, and he found me. He knocked at my door, called out my name, and I let him in like so many before him.”

“I gave him exactly what he wanted. But as I am wont to do, I asked for something in return. You desire godhood, you earn it and find yourself imprisoned. You desire worthy, virile heirs and you have them, but only after a night in oh so tender arms of a balor.” The fiend laughs, mirrored in larger size by his shadow. “I enjoy irony and I enjoy feeding poisoned wishes to the desperate, the foolish, and the soon to be broken.”

“What am I?" His tiny vulpine teeth glitter as his shadow smiles as well, its grin like black and bleeding holes in the fabric of reality, "Everything worth mentioning comes in threes: Evil, not from this place, and a liar above all else. But I am the least of your worries.”

The PCs spent their time after that realizing that they couldn't fight Tegresin, but they could try to act in ways that would stymie his long-term plans, assuming that they could figure them out. Tegresin was simply watching the results of a mad dash for things that he'd sprinkled out on the planes, most of them basically poisoned candy, and some of them less objects and more situations that he and his proxies engineered for his amusement and the greater ruin of the cosmos all around him. He was very 'loth-like in his actions.

Contributor

Inside Tegresin's prison plane, the PCs ran across a number of daemons that Tegresin had been surgically toying with. They also came across some bodaks, the end result of a group of mortals that stumbled into his domain. One of them was a noted subject of his attention, a mortal cleric of Shelyn. That bodak had their silver holy symbol melted into their body and the repeating phrase 'Godslave' burned into their flesh in swirling patterns again and again and again. Tegresin has utter contempt for the divine (another 'loth trait).

Contributor

The PCs eventually allied with Bezalasus the Thunderer, a blue dragon who prior to them, had been linked and unable to rid himself of a cursed, variant well of many worlds known as Tegresin's Devouring Well. They asked the dragon about his first encounter with Tegresin, inside of the fiend's demiplane:

Bezalasus: "He sat down in front of me, looked up and giggled. So I breathed a bolt of lightning."

PC: "I figure that didn't do much..."

Bezalasus: "His head exploded like a goblin holding a sword above its head during a thunderstorm. His burning brains and flesh splattered across the room with the reek of ozone and the sickly sweet smell of carbonized viscera... it was all rather satisfying until the bits of him started moving on their own accord and oozing back together, twitching their way across the floor and slowly reforming. As soon as his larynx and throat were formed to the point of being capable of it, he started cackling again even as the rest of his head was simply missing and still in the process of regenerating."

"So no, it didn't exactly do much."

Contributor

Your one question I haven't answered yet was who is Tegresin allied with. In canon he isn't. In my home game he also isn't. He considers literally every other being in Golarion's cosmos to be akin to an insect by comparison to himself, and he doesn't have allies so much as servants and useful tools. He mostly gains those by virtue of people who stumble into his demiplanar prison being trapped there and outside of the normal flow of time until they make a deal with him. There's literally no other way out except to sit down and either amuse him or more often to make a deal for one of his little Monkey's Paw wishes, which is about how all of his deals go.

Most people leave enslaved, indebted, and in fear of disobeying him should he ever call upon their services. He also creates objects and seeds them out, though the number is relatively small and he might be limited in how many he can thusly create as extensions of himself to distribute and ensnare people by use of them.

One of his servitors in my home game was a janni merchant prince by the name of Jazmari Paz

He goes pale when you mention Tegresin. Eyes glance to each of the PCs, looking for something.

I don’t believe that we’ve met before. What does our mutual master desire this time?

I was born the unwanted, unlawful bastard son of Sultan Khalid bin Yzdigard, late father of Sultana Ashadieeyah bint Khalid, and a Marya Shazid al-Vialesk, a shazadah marid noblewoman. I was sold into slavery as soon as I could speak, which was probably the one thing that saved me from being quietly executed in the middle of the night. Such mercy, yes. I spent decades toiling in mines on the edge of Elemental Earth, and then decades as a personal servant to a noble shaitan family who found my mixed heritage a novelty. Eventually they grew tired of me and my tasks were limited to cleaning and simply existing in the background and not speaking. One of their ancestors had been a cleric and a scholar, and one day they tasked me with cleaning the shelves of their library.
I found a very, very old book. It fell from the highest shelf to hit me in the head. Funny that.

The cover was burned and mutilated and spattered in old, dried blood, but the pages were completely pristine as if someone had tried their damndest to destroy it at some point in the past and failed. It contained a series of poems, each of which spoke to me, resonated with my life and how I felt that I had been wronged, that I’d been dealt a poor hand by the Lady of Fate herself. The final stanza of each poem carried a similar phrase, something promising in many different iterations, “But you lost child, you of bitter circumstance and broken promise, you the broken one whom fate reviled, you I will provide with a bargain most honest.”

Each page was illustrated was a scene from childhood fantasies, with each of them in the background showing a castle with flying pennants, some of them with tiny images and some with a letter. The letters on the castle pennants were an elaborate acrostic providing directions to summon a portal to the Prison of the Laughing Fiend. I didn’t go there immediately or blindly. I waited ten more years, memorizing the process and hiding the book so that no other would find it. I learned his name, I learned his past history such as it exists, and only then did I go. I went knowing that once there, there is no leaving unless you strike a deal with him. I went there in full knowledge of what he was: Evil. Immortal. Trapped.

“Hello Tegresin," I said to him, and he was there seated upon a chair made of spellbooks, waiting for me, "I wish to strike a deal.”

He and his shadow smiled, dropping his pretense of being something small and non-threatening, and the air chilled by a dozen degrees when he spoke, “Well well, not a fool for once. Sit down then and let’s see if we can’t come to an agreement.”

What did I ask for? “Success at the expense of those who made me what I am.”

“So be it Jazmari." He smiled that damnable smile, "I rather like you.”

That day my father was murdered by his only legal heir, his daughter. My mother was devoured alive by the Brackish Emperor Kelizandrianox.
In return, I do what the imp that is not an imp requests. He gave me what I wanted.

What horror has he visited upon you?

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Additionally, it's worth noting that Tegresin doesn't like to advertise his existence. He somehow manages to make sure that he and his demiplanar prison are obscure as heck and he and its true nature deliberately obfuscated and covered by layers of contradictory myth. He lies habitually, weaving stories with just enough truth to be believable, only to fall apart later.

Grand Lodge

Perfect.
This will be a great resource for me to use. I can immediately add a book in the campaign today with info on the Prison of the Laughing Fiend that Tegresin once planted in Korvosa via proxy. It's always good to give seeds to the PCs for later in the campaign. Again thank you; these posts will be well plundered for use in my campaign once we leave Korvosa behind!


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Tea with the Laughing Fiend

Also, big dot.

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Since it's my home game and I can gleefully break canon, there was this little quote.

"We bored into its still-living, ever screaming brain, shackling and leashing its form to better suit our needs and making concrete and stable a thing whose nature defied stability. In that state it gave us those two things we desired: practical usage and sweet, blessed, unending agony. It served not as a thing of creation, not a thing of destruction, but as a living, screaming conduit by which we tore holes between realities: seeding, polluting, tasting, corrupting. The methods of the Architect were things of beauty and those of Yrsinius the Elder potent beyond measure, but the living conduit of the elder protean in whose madness and agony other realities would name draeden... it was mine and also yet my favorite, even now in my imprisonment." - Tegresin the Laughing Fiend

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The dragon Bezalasus (who by name at least is canonical as a former owner of Tegresin's Devouring Well) who the PCs in my name worked with, and who Tegresin used to get the PCs in possession of the Devouring Well had a particularly poor interaction with Tegresin, and his deal with the quasit that was not a quasit was pretty iconic of those sorts of deals.

From my notes of that session:

Bezalasus the Looming Thunder and his lover Eveseldria the Howling Storm came into possession of the Devouring Well. Bezalasus entered it and bargained with Tegresin. “I wish a Kingdom to honor my bride.”

Tegresin smiled and granted him a wish. The Kingdom of Loric Fells would be his, but while she would have a kingdom to honor her, she would not live to see it, nor would the dwarves who then occupied the land above and below remain to claim it. The wish was granted, and when the dwarves began to withdraw into their halls, the dragons only saw a land worthy of seizing, plundering in its defenders absence, and ultimately a weakened kingdom theirs to conquer. The Howling Storm descended first into the Clanhold, butchering the few remaining defenders and making off with much of the gold that now fills her husband’s lair, but she found that the dwarves had already been killed. She assumed it was drow or some other threat from the Darklands, but it was a plague, and in a week’s time it claimed her as well. Her husband found her lying in the central cavern of the clanhold, already dead, pocked by swollen blisters and bleeding from the eyes. Her death thrashing had collapsed much of the surrounding tunnels. Tegresin smiled. Bezalasus had his kingdom, but he had no queen with which to share it. He burned the body to ashes, keeping only the head with the hopes of restoring her to life at some point in the future. The Well remained bound to him.

The PCs eventually found the spot where Eveseldria died, still mockingly marked by Tegresin to remind Bezalasus of his bargain.

“Behold. Here is your Kingdom.” Outlined in the dragon's ashes, written in Draconic in a small sized hand. Repeated attempts have been made to deface them, the stone is deeply cut and scored by desperate clawing, but the words are still there, hovering in the air above the stone. The words glow with an overwhelming, nauseating evil.

Grand Lodge

Okay, this one is pushing it, almost begging....

It would make things remarkably easier if there could be a connection, especially familial but Anything , between Kazavon the Blue, ancient worshipper of The Midnight Lord and dragon whose bodily relics are protected in the Grand Mastaba in Korvosa -- and more importantly an ancient, evil Blue Dragon my PCs are interested in -- and the ancient, evil Blue Dragon Bezalasus, who has a relationship with Tegresin?

If those two ancient, evil Blue Dragons could have a connection, especially a big one, I could really use that to transition from Korvosa to the extraplanar campaign.

At the very least, if I just have to create my own connection between the two, can you give me a relative age for Bezalasus? Was he alive when Kazavon was alive or would he be at best a great-grandson (or great-nephew or fourth cousin)?

....

And I can't express enough thanks.

The material you're giving us, non-canonical as it is, is great. I would have loved to been the PC who said, 'Let's just scry on the campaign BBEG to find out what he looks like; we know his name and can use his twerp Familiar as a "physical connection" as a focus! The DM can't stop us!' The Bodaks with "godslave" and the spellbook throne are priceless.

PaizoCon really made me voracious for Planescape-like adventuring again; I played in two extraplanar adventures, Todd Stewart's adventure in the Maelstrom with the Laughing Fiend and an actual Planescape adventure in Sigil and the Abyss. And now my Korvosa campaign is finally getting to the point where extraplanar adventuring is on the horizon. A few dungeon crawls (on which I've finizhed development) to go and poof, bye bye Prime Material. I can start brainstorming ideas for the next chapter of the campaign.

Grand Lodge

Also, if you don't mind the time posting between studying pharmaceuticals,....

I know you love your creation, the Proteans -- you wrote "Proteans Rule" when you autographed my Core -- is there a specific Protean I could use, I dunno yet as a foil or as an 'enemy-of-my-enemy' ally, or as the next BBEG, or something, as another NPC with whom my PCs can speak?

Or,.... if you can't recommend a specific, named Protean NPC, what are some guidelines you'd advise for me to make my own? What are some Protean naming conventions or examples? Since I also use Slaadi, what are some intrinsic differences (other than serpentine to froggy)? Would the two be enemies or would they have a more 'Demon-to-Qlippoth' connection. This obviously could come from your research on the Egyptian myths and differences between snake & frog, I guess. What kind of personality does a Protean have? Who is their mysterious god?

I already have the idea of a Hegessik Cleric wandering around that the PCs can first meet. And a jerk Izfiitar who disdains the PCs but may need them against one of Tegresin's grander meddlings. A Keketar religious zealot who is quite insane, reminiscent of the generic mad prophet on the Prime. But the ideal would be a really cool, considerably advanced Imentesh. Almost a guide. Do you have any Proteans you could share with us? (Should I start a separate Thread?) And especially, do you have a Herald of the Speakers you can share with us?

Contributor

W E Ray wrote:

Okay, this one is pushing it, almost begging....

It would make things remarkably easier if there could be a connection, especially familial but Anything , between Kazavon the Blue, ancient worshipper of The Midnight Lord and dragon whose bodily relics are protected in the Grand Mastaba in Korvosa -- and more importantly an ancient, evil Blue Dragon my PCs are interested in -- and the ancient, evil Blue Dragon Bezalasus, who has a relationship with Tegresin?

If those two ancient, evil Blue Dragons could have a connection, especially a big one, I could really use that to transition from Korvosa to the extraplanar campaign.

At the very least, if I just have to create my own connection between the two, can you give me a relative age for Bezalasus? Was he alive when Kazavon was alive or would he be at best a great-grandson (or great-nephew or fourth cousin)?

....

And I can't express enough thanks.

The material you're giving us, non-canonical as it is, is great. I would have loved to been the PC who said, 'Let's just scry on the campaign BBEG to find out what he looks like; we know his name and can use his twerp Familiar as a "physical connection" as a focus! The DM can't stop us!' The Bodaks with "godslave" and the spellbook throne are priceless.

PaizoCon really made me voracious for Planescape-like adventuring again; I played in two extraplanar adventures, Todd Stewart's adventure in the Maelstrom with the Laughing Fiend and an actual Planescape adventure in Sigil and the Abyss. And now my Korvosa campaign is finally getting to the point where extraplanar adventuring is on the horizon. A few dungeon crawls (on which I've finizhed development) to go and poof, bye bye Prime Material. I can start brainstorming ideas for the next chapter of the campaign.

In canon, Bezalasus the Looming Thunder isn't given an age catagory. If I recall correctly from my home game, I made Bezalasus a mature adult, so while I never plotted out his actual heritage, you could conceivably make him a descendant of Kazavon.

Additionally, Tegresin oh so -enjoys- duping people into thinking that he's anything but the transcendent horror that he is, based on his small, familiar-sized and often beguilingly cute or at least adorably threatening physical form. At one point when my PCs still thought that he was some BBEG/lost wizard's familiar still dutifully dusting the empty demiplane, pining for his master's return, the PCs walked in on Tegresin literally holding a fancy tea party with some stuffed animals and dolls (which they later realized where representations of various beings, including themselves, that he was presently manipulating and drawing into conflict). He had a stuffed jackal named 'Hungry Hungry Horseman', and a stuffed Rovagug named 'Mr ARGLEBARGLENOMNOMNOMlemmeout'.

Despite the cutesy act though, he's grotesquely malevolent -and capriciously so- in a manner that I'm not sure I've actually played an NPC in a game at before. He's Evil and within his demesne effectively all-powerful but with some obscure and undefined limits, and so he acts without care or consequence out of malevolent boredom and deeply petty revenge. Talking about how he's trapped though and that he's comparatively powerless in any direct fashion outside of his prison demiplane is the one way to get under his skin. Actually managing to get out from under his thumb or flip one of his bargains will actually get him to go apoplectic (as in my home game it appeared that Old Mage Jatembe managed to do, though at truly considerable cost to himself).

And the truth about Tegresin's grand master plans is that he truly doesn't seem to have any -obvious- ones, at least not that I ever hinted at in-game in my home game. As embittered as he seems to be, he seems resigned in some capacity to his imprisonment in the short term at least, and utterly confident that he will in the end get out, somehow, and "...devour this reality like so many, innumerably many before." While he's trapped though, he'll gleefully do his best to inflict as much misery upon the cosmos as he can, with who/why/how being immaterial. He's playing the zero-sum 'loth game of 'a perfect universe is one devoid of mercy'. Ultimately he'd consume the cosmos and inflict a sort of Roko's Basilisk'esque eternity of pointless agony upon every creature that ever slighted him (and everyone else too because that's how he rolls) while he chuckled and sipped some tea.

Contributor

W E Ray wrote:

Also, if you don't mind the time posting between studying pharmaceuticals,....

I know you love your creation, the Proteans -- you wrote "Proteans Rule" when you autographed my Core -- is there a specific Protean I could use, I dunno yet as a foil or as an 'enemy-of-my-enemy' ally, or as the next BBEG, or something, as another NPC with whom my PCs can speak?

Or,.... if you can't recommend a specific, named Protean NPC, what are some guidelines you'd advise for me to make my own? What are some Protean naming conventions or examples? Since I also use Slaadi, what are some intrinsic differences (other than serpentine to froggy)? Would the two be enemies or would they have a more 'Demon-to-Qlippoth' connection. This obviously could come from your research on the Egyptian myths and differences between snake & frog, I guess. What kind of personality does a Protean have? Who is their mysterious god?

I already have the idea of a Hegessik Cleric wandering around that the PCs can first meet. And a jerk Izfiitar who disdains the PCs but may need them against one of Tegresin's grander meddlings. A Keketar religious zealot who is quite insane, reminiscent of the generic mad prophet on the Prime. But the ideal would be a really cool, considerably advanced Imentesh. Almost a guide. Do you have any Proteans you could share with us? (Should I start a separate Thread?) And especially, do you have a Herald of the Speakers you can share with us?

Separate thread and I'll reply at some point later today or tomorrow.

Grand Lodge

Todd Stewart wrote:
Bezalasus the Looming Thunder..., mature adult, ... never plotted out his actual heritage,...

.

Oh this is such good news. I greatly try to conform to canon (and head-canon from designers & contributors I like and respect), even go way out of my way when developing my own games to do so -- and boy when there's an opening like this....

Consider Bezalasus, a Blue Dragon enemy of Tegresin, impotent and frustrated against The Laughing Fiend as he may be, having a strong familial connection to Kazavon, the long-defeated villain of Golarion antiquity who worshiped The Midnight Lord. Who was turned from Dou-Bral by Tegresin in the first place. (unofficially)

In Todd Stewart's game Bezalasus does not know at first that the vulpine cutie-pie is actually Tegresin -- just the way the Laughing Fiend likes it.
But I can see, and correct me if I'm wrong, Bezalasus getting that cursed Tegresin's Devouring Well in the first place because he had been searching for ancient history regarding his own ancestor, Kazavon, and Kazavon's deity, The Midnight Lord -- and The Midnight Lord's lost, long-forgotten connection to Tegresin. ....In the same way a mortal sometimes want to seek out information on his own blood-heritage, Bezalasus the Thunderer could have sought out lore and great magical treasure on Kazavon, and The Midnight Lord, and found a link between The Midnight Lord and Tegresin, and then sought more info and got cursed with the variant Well of Many Worlds.

That kind of thing also seems to fit perfectly with Tegresin's goals: spreading wrath and destruction and confusion and rage throughout the Planes! Tegresin doesn't want specific info on who/what he is to be learned but he does what he can to distribute both clues for foolish Primes to find him (to be manipulated and corrupted) and also tools to spread wrath and destruction and confusion and rage throughout the Planes.


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Todd, I love you!

So, would Tegresin have to change all that much if you used a home canon where the Great Wheel and the Great Beyond co-existed? It doesn't seem to me like I would have to do much to introduce him to Planescape proper.

Grand Lodge

I use a home canon with both Great Beyond and Great Wheel. Tegresin's prison demiplane seems easier a fit than many things (I Screamingly struggled with both Sigil And Galisemni in the same universe!) that seem harder to meld together.

I think the trickier part may be Tegresin's seeming near-infinite CR which I can just interpret as the relatively common deity megalomania. According to Todd Stewart he sounds similar to The Lady of Pain, you know, power-wise.

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FallenDabus wrote:

Todd, I love you!

So, would Tegresin have to change all that much if you used a home canon where the Great Wheel and the Great Beyond co-existed? It doesn't seem to me like I would have to do much to introduce him to Planescape proper.

Honestly you wouldn't have to do much at all, though you'd have to take into consideration what relationship he had -if any- with the baernaloths of the Waste, or specifically those who comprise The Demented. In my home game Tegresin isn't at all like any canonical baern.

I also run the baern in my games as essentially intelligent metaphysical viruses that leap from reality to reality once they've thoroughly infected it, leaving only a disintegrating, cancer-ridden corpse in their wake, so to speak. They go from reality to reality, 'perfecting' each new, nascent cosmology, introducing Evil and eventually abandoning it and their own creations therein alike. There are hints of that in for instance the story that I wrote based on The Architect (and its homage to 'The Magician's Nephew'), and in my storyhour a very brief glimpse into the demiplanar home of that same baernaloth with imagery reminiscent of Lewis's Wood Between the Worlds, but with every visible portal between realities broken, burned, corrupted, or shattered in the baerns' wake.

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W E Ray wrote:


I think the trickier part may be Tegresin's seeming near-infinite CR which I can just interpret as the relatively common deity megalomania. According to Todd Stewart he sounds similar to The Lady of Pain, you know, power-wise.

I don't really define his power other than godlike but limited in scope, with the specific limitations being an open question that he certainly isn't interested in explaining. Still the fact remains that he very much is bottled up in his demiplane. He was imprisoned before, and presumably it could be done again.

His presence in a cosmology that he's not native too also seems to have thrown him for a loop as he explains that 'magic doesn't the work the same way here as I'm used to'. He's frustrated beyond measure by his inability to do certain things that would seem second nature to him, and despite how long he's been imprisoned, he's still figuring out the nature of those changes, loopholes around any restrictions, and alternate ways to do the same thing. He bemoans having to abide by rules set down by beings he has no respect for, though he doesn't explain just who he is or isn't talking about.

He doesn't show the standard 'loth deific antipathy, but he also doesn't have any compunctions against brutally experimenting upon any fiends that wander into his demiplane, including the NE daemons. They aren't his or his kinds' creation, despite their alignment, so to him they're just another broken thing of soul-stuff to toy with simply for the idle pleasure of seeing the insect pinned to glass and squirming, or to take it apart and put it back together again to see what's different from what he's used to.


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Todd Stewart wrote:
FallenDabus wrote:

Todd, I love you!

So, would Tegresin have to change all that much if you used a home canon where the Great Wheel and the Great Beyond co-existed? It doesn't seem to me like I would have to do much to introduce him to Planescape proper.

Honestly you wouldn't have to do much at all, though you'd have to take into consideration what relationship he had -if any- with the baernaloths of the Waste, or specifically those who comprise The Demented. In my home game Tegresin isn't at all like any canonical baern.

I also run the baern in my games as essentially intelligent metaphysical viruses that leap from reality to reality once they've thoroughly infected it, leaving only a disintegrating, cancer-ridden corpse in their wake, so to speak. They go from reality to reality, 'perfecting' each new, nascent cosmology, introducing Evil and eventually abandoning it and their own creations therein alike. There are hints of that in for instance the story that I wrote based on The Architect (and its homage to 'The Magician's Nephew'), and in my storyhour a very brief glimpse into the demiplanar home of that same baernaloth with imagery reminiscent of Lewis's Wood Between the Worlds, but with every visible portal between realities broken, burned, corrupted, or shattered in the baerns' wake.

Thanks Todd! Here's a present in exchange! I couldn't tell if he should have wings or not, so I went without. Hopefully he came out well!

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FallenDabus wrote:


Thanks Todd! Here's a present in exchange! I couldn't tell if he should have wings or not, so I went without. Hopefully he came out well!

Holy crap that's awesome! Thank you so much! :D

The Tegresin in my home game would think that's pretty spot on for his appearance there as well! My home game's more fox-like less quasit-like non-canon version


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Weird bit of inspriration - that if Tegresin was instrumental in corrupting Zon-Kuthon, then perhaps it was Zon-Kuthon who imprisoned Tegresin as the Midnight Lord's sincere way of saying thanks.

After all, only in suffering may one attain enlightenment. And how better to make a multiverse-hopper with infinite freedom suffer than to cram him into a prison from which he will never, ever escape? It's entirely possible that even the complete collapse of reality would still result in leaving Tegresin trapped in that bubble.

Zon-Kuthon might've represented the Laughing Fiend finally biting off more than it could chew, as he inadvertently brought about something that simply hadn't existed before.* (Sort of like how the Four Horsemen brought about the demon race, and I think all of them but Charon died horribly and got replaced as a direct result of that).

* Something inspired by an offhand comment of Mr. Jacobs, where, IIRC, he described Zon-Kuthon as both the king and the prisoner of the kytons. I don't remember at all where I saw that comment.

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Zhangar wrote:

Weird bit of inspriration - that if Tegresin was instrumental in corrupting Zon-Kuthon, then perhaps it was Zon-Kuthon who imprisoned Tegresin as the Midnight Lord's sincere way of saying thanks.

After all, only in suffering may one attain enlightenment. And how better to make a multiverse-hopper with infinite freedom suffer than to cram him into a prison from which he will never, ever escape? It's entirely possible that even the complete collapse of reality would still result in leaving Tegresin trapped in that bubble.

Zon-Kuthon might've represented the Laughing Fiend finally biting off more than it could chew, as he inadvertently brought about something that simply hadn't existed before.* (Sort of like how the Four Horsemen brought about the demon race, and I think all of them but Charon died horribly and got replaced as a direct result of that).

* Something inspired by an offhand comment of Mr. Jacobs, where, IIRC, he described Zon-Kuthon as both the king and the prisoner of the kytons. I don't remember at all where I saw that comment.

That's certainly one possibility, and it has a poetry and irony about it that's fitting. I've got my own answer for my home game, but until/unless the prerequisite lore is published I don't wish to get into my ideas on the issue because they're liable to unnecessarily hamstring future authors on the topic.

But I do agree that even a complete collapse of Golarion's local cosmology would still present Tegresin still bottled in his demiplane. He's not getting out anytime soon and he realizes this. He'd be a malevolent little s&&& anyway already because that's what he is, but this provides him some motivation and direction behind it all. None of his actions are truly indiscriminate on a long time scale.

Dark Archive

I do have to say its cool to read writer's own home game stuff, but I still think its weird to want to follow as close as possible to writer's own headcanons <_< Like wouldn't it just be cooler to make your own version with, maybe that as inspiration or not?

Grand Lodge

Sure, of course--
But after playing in Todd Stewart's adventure at PaizoCon, having my PC go up against Tegresin's machinations and talk to Tegresin personally, I wanted a bit more info so that when I run The Laughing Fiend in my own game, I have a better idea of who he is.

Think of it more like when your DM introduces a really cool NPC in the adventure and, at the end, you ask the DM more about the NPC because he was so cool. In this case the adventure was a five hour slot at PaizoCon (so my exposure was brief) by one of the great developers (who's gonna have more developed ideas about the NPC than I) and to top it all off, it's an NPC that could well get more published material (Why not get a jump on it?).

Also, let's face it, gone are the 90s and late 80s when I had tons of time to design and develop and create. I'm an academic dean who trades on the precious metals commodities market on the side. Paizo has spectacular stuff that I can tweak and modify for my own use when I want, but can always fall back on. (It's kinda odd, though, the last five or so years I've really just enjoyed trying to fit canon into my games without too much alteration; I've taken pleasure in it.)

This is what the Boards are for.

And the Proteans,:
Well, I got no feeling whatsoever on them. They're just CN snake outsiders to me. No Fluff. No ideas. ....And I Know how much Todd loves them so I figure there's gotta be a ton of good stuff on the Proteans I can ask him about.

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CorvusMask wrote:
I do have to say its cool to read writer's own home game stuff, but I still think its weird to want to follow as close as possible to writer's own headcanons <_< Like wouldn't it just be cooler to make your own version with, maybe that as inspiration or not?

I absolutely urge folks to do whatever they want in their own games at home. While canon is something that freelancers should methodically adhere to so that everyone playing the game is starting off with the same expectations and base of background flavor, anyone at home isn't thusly bound and I'd encourage them to take that baseline lore and make it fit their needs and group's desires as they see fit. My home game doesn't adhere to canon and I'm downright fanatical about sticking to canon in stuff I write and trying to connect obscure things across multiple books to make sources fit together cohesively.

Use published stuff as inspiration and don't feel compelled to stick with it strictly (unless you want to of course).

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W E Ray wrote:

Sure, of course--

But after playing in Todd Stewart's adventure at PaizoCon, having my PC go up against Tegresin's machinations and talk to Tegresin personally, I wanted a bit more info so that when I run The Laughing Fiend in my own game, I have a better idea of who he is.

Think of it more like when your DM introduces a really cool NPC in the adventure and, at the end, you ask the DM more about the NPC because he was so cool. In this case the adventure was a five hour slot at PaizoCon (so my exposure was brief) by one of the great developers (who's gonna have more developed ideas about the NPC than I) and to top it all off, it's an NPC that could well get more published material (Why not get a jump on it?).

*blush* I'm really glad that you enjoyed the game I ran, as non-canon as certain aspects were (ie all of the speculative material regarding Dou-Bral). But if you want to use Tegresin in your home game, either the published Laughing Fiend or my home game's version, please go right ahead and I'd love to know in what capacity you do!

As far as the proteans go, I responded in the other thread you started. :)


Bump.

Well, almost two years later and my PCs are *Finally* meeting Tegresin in tomorrow's session.

Madame Carrington the dream-reader in Korvosa (from "House on Hook St") is sending them to the Shadow Plane's 'Nightmare Realm' Demi-Plane. The PCs also got a little help in the form of some magical charms from (Richard Pett's) Gnome Wererat Lich, Sliris. (I made "The Styes" Old Korvosa.)

Specifically in The Nightmare Realm (Demi-Plane of The Shadow Plane), the PCs will be in the Veiled Bazaar, an ethereal-like shadow market introduced in PFS.

That's where they're meeting Tegrsin -- projecting himself in a Dream-reality (Nightmare-reality) into the Nightmare Realm, where he's still in a prison cell. The PCs will assume his little prison cell in the middle of the Veiled Bazaar is actual rather than metaphysical.

I'm really looking forward to Tegresin voluntarily answering so many of their questions about where they've just arrived ("Please help me, I adventurers."), even answering how to get from the Veiled Bazaar in The Nightmare Realm of the Shadow Plane, all the way to Duskfathom -- where they're tracking some of Norgorber's Cultists and an artifact called The Nightmare Key.

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