Join the Fight for Freedom at the Planar Zoo!

Real World Adventure Hooks for D&D — Locke & Key on Netflix
D&D Ideas -- Demiplane

“Welcome to the Balip — Nop Pop. Trust me, it sounds more terrifying if you spoke my native language. Here we are freedom fighters, naturalists and, well, if I may be so bold, heroes! I am sure by now you have seen or at least heard of the Planar Zoo. Ran-Kitra has been taking creatures from their homes and putting them on display. Humans, orcs and other intelligent species are taken from their families and shoved into unfamiliar surroundings to be watched by those who purchase tickets. It is up to us to rescue them and return them to their native homes.” — Excerpt from a recruitment speech for Balip — Nop Pop

planar zoo planar adventure 5E D&D
Zookeepers, plushies of fundrous power and gate keys are a few of the unusual elements adventures encounter during their Trip to the Planar Zoo. [Art by Nelson Vieira]

Internal strife at the Planar Zoo

In our Trip to the Planar Zoo for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons, adventurers find themselves visiting a very unusual zoo facility when they awake to find themselves part of the exhibit. The Humanoid Exhibit is an adventure for 4-6 characters of 10th-15th level featuring a new playable race — zookeeper — along with 8 new creatures and 3 new magic items including plushies of fundrous power. Adding this element of internal disagreement and trouble brewing among the zookeepers makes for an extra layer of intrigue and interaction for adventurers as they slowly realize their predicament and attempt to escape.

One of the zookeepers forms a group set on disrupting the facility this freedom fighting organization is great because it can allow you to use the Planar Zoo in a completely different way. If you want to make it so the inhabitants are unable to get out on there and the other strange creatures set free as hazards wandering around then Balip — Nop Pop is the answer for you.

This organization is led by a Av-Athel, the same race of Zoo Keepers. The strange cone headed and four armed humanoid with lots of items either magical, technological or a combination of the two is an anomaly for most from the Material Plane. This intellectually superior race normally works the Zoo and takes care of the creatures on display. However Ran-Kitra does not wear a white lab coat and study the denizens but instead seeks to undermine the Planar Zoo.

Ran-Kitra was once in love with Em-Katha but their love was spurned because Em-Katha dedicated their love to the Planar Zoo. Because of this Ran-Kitra decided to get back at them by taking it out on the facility. This obsession of revenge eventually settled into a passion of freedom.

When Ran-Kitra encounters the denizens from the Material Plane (the player characters) they will use a soft and sweet voice like an adult speaking to an infant or animal. Ran-Kitra is not aware of the denizens’ sentience, completely believing in their own kind’s intellectual superiority. Stifling a surprise when the party speaks, they will still be rather condescending in their conversational tone.

This is great because Ran-Kitra is vastly more intelligent and needed at least for the time being to get out of the Planar Zoo, but their words should get on the players’ nerves. Ran-Kitra will share as much detail as the characters ask for. They will explain in a slow voice and in the least complicated answer they can give. More questions are met with encouraging remarks like, “Aren’t you so quizzical, that is just adorable.” But they will answer.

Should Ran-Kitra encounter Em-Katha a strange conversation follows in their native language. Should a player cast a spell to understand the conversation they will hear the kind of back and forth a typical couple or long time friends might argue about, small details not all that interesting but seem all the world to the one bringing it up.

Ran-Kitra posses a gate key allowing them to get in and out of any enclosure in the Planar Zoo facility.

Ran-Kitra

Medium humanoid, chaotic good

Armor Class 13

Hit Points 81 (18d8)

Speed 30 ft.

STR 12 (+1)

DEX 16 (+3)

CON 10 (+0)

INT 24 (+7)

WIS 18 (+4)

CHA 16 (+3)

Skills Perception +8, Survival +8. Stealth, +7

Damage Resistances All ranged attacks, acid, cold, fire, force, lightning, necrotic, poison, radiant, thunder

Senses passive Perception 18

Languages Av-Athel, any other with the aid of a translator node

Challenge 12 (8,400 XP)

Touch Analysis. Ran-Kitra’s metaphysical awareness is remarkably keen. They have the same ability to acquire information about beings to see to their needs, but with particular practice they are able to acquire more with less time exposed. As a bonus action Ran-Kitra lays a bare, empty hand against a creature and learns through osmosis two of the following traits:

  • Armor Class
  • Average HP
  • Strongest Ability Score
  • Weakest Ability Score
  • Movement Capabilities (burrow, flight, swim, etc.)
  • Damage Resistances and Immunities
  • Damage Weaknesses

Shield Projector. Ran-Kitra is equipped with a small shield emitter pinned to their collar. The emitter scans the area around them for incoming projectiles and energy fluctuations, giving a burst of rebuff against such things if it detects them. This gives them resistance to all ranged and energy attacks, though it does nothing against melee attacks, as if the emitter were programmed to rebuff solid objects it would be too difficult to do things like sit at a desk or shake hands with people.

Actions

Multiattack. Ran-Kitra makes one Tranquilizer Gun attack and two Telescopic Stun Baton attacks.

Tranquilizer Gun. Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, range 40/150 ft., one target. Hit: 2 piercing damage, and the target must make a DC 16 Constitution saving throw, taking 40 (9d8) nonlethal poison damage on a failed save or half as much on a successful one. Additionally, on a failed save the target will fall into a lethargic state and be treated as if under the effects of the slow spell. A target reduced to 0 hit points this way will fall unconscious but be stable. The target will wake up in 1d4 +1 hours.

Telescopic Stun Baton. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 22 (4d10) nonlethal lightning damage and the target must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be stunned until the end of the Ran-Kitra’s next turn.

Ways to use Ran-Kitra

  • The most obvious is the characters are captive and unable to escape the Planar Zoo enclosure themselves, so Ran-Kitra steps in to lend aid. Problems arise when other Zoo Keepers are around and Ran-Kitra has already let others escape from their enclosures.
  • During an escape attempt Ran-Kitra shows up and adopts one of the characters stating they will protect them while trying to get out. Ran-Kitra might not want to let thecharacter go when it is time despite their desire to free all the others. “I was helpful. Can’t I keep just one?”
  • Ran-Kitra is an obstacle and is running around, shutting down equipment and opening enclosures. While not intending to do so, Ran-Kitra is actually making things more difficult for the characters. They have to find new routes as doors are locked and sealed in front of them, lights go out creating further issues and monsters show up from previously sealed doors that are now open. Characters must find the cause and convince them to stop

Either pick up a copy of Trip to the Planar Zoo for use in your 5E D&D game to springboard your own planar adventures or use Ran-Kitra in other ways but either way, thanks for reading and until next time, stay nerdy!

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Follow Ted Adams:
The nerd is strong in this one. I received my bachelors degree in communication with a specialization in Radio/TV/Film. I have been a table op role player for about 20 years 17 of which with the current group. I have played several itterations of D&D, Mutants and Masterminds 2nd and 3rd editions, Star wars RPG, Shadowrun and World of Darkness. I am an avid fan of books and follow a few authors reading all they write. Favorite author is Jim Butcher I have been an on/off larper for around 15 years even doing a stretch of running my own for a while. I have played a number of Miniature games including Warhammer 40K, Warhammer Fantasy, Heroscape, Mage Knight, Dreamblade and D&D Miniatures. I have practiced with the art of the German long sword with an ARMA group for over 7 years studying the German long sword, sword and buckler, dagger, axe and polearm. By no strecth of the imagination am I an expert but good enough to last longer than the average person if the Zombie apocalypse ever happens. I am an avid fan of board games and dice games with my current favorite being Quarrios.

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