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I want to create an adventure involving Modrons, specifically rogue Modrons, that something is making them go rogue and you have to stop the thing that is making them go rogue. If that sounds vague, that's kinda my point...

The trouble is, the Monster Manual for 5e (I only have the main three 5e books) doesn't really describe in much detail how Modrons go rogue. Googling this subject hasn't really turned up much either. Lots about what happens after they go rogue, but nothing on how.

Just to clarify, this is not a brainstorming request. If there is basically nothing official out there, then I'll just have to come up with something myself and that's fine. I just wanted to know:

Is there anything in any official content for any edition of D&D on how Modrons go rogue?

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The idea of a 'Rogue Modron' originates from the Planescape Campaign Setting, specifically in The Planewalker's Handbook, on page 76.

Modrons are the clockwork caretakers of the gears of Mechanus, virtually unthinking in their strict hierarchical order. No beings’ minds are as focused on law, stability, repetition, and the security of harmonious regulation. But the multiverse isn’t perfect - not even in Mechanus - and sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes a modron receives conflicting orders from two or more superiors, or is confronted with incontrovertible proof that all is not orderly. Sometimes a modron’s mind just snaps.

These circumstances create rogue modrons. When modrons go rogue, they lose most of their special abilities and even the normal modron form that designates their position within the clockwork hierarchy. They find themselves cast out of Mechanus, the heart of law and the only world they have ever known, and plunged into the cold, lonely, and (worst of all) chaotic multiverse. Rogue modrons have the forbidden and reprehensible glimmerings of self-awareness, the only thing that allows them to survive in this new sphere.

There's a lot more detail on them in that book, I'd suggest giving it a read. But the heart of it is that Modron's are creatures of pure order...and exposing them to too much disorder (especially within their own ranks) is not good for their minds.

The biggest takeaway here, though, is this: They are self-aware. Normal Modrons are not. A Rogue Modron is no longer part of the mechanical hierarchy that is Modron civilization. Also of note...they all look basically like Quadrones.

I would also note that 5E does have an extra way they can 'Go Rogue'

A modron unit sometimes becomes defective, either through natural decay or exposure to chaotic forces.

MM224

Couple that rule with The Great Modron March (mentioned on the same page of the Monster Manual), and you have a vast host of Modrons trucking around the Outer Planes. Some of which are very chaotic indeed. To give you a hook to work with...this sounds like a great opportunity to expose Modrons to 'chaotic energies' or 'proof that all is not orderly' and possibly cause large groups of them to go Rogue.

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    \$\begingroup\$ For extra fluff....as silly as Modrons may look....the Great Modron March is generally considered to be on-par with a rampaging horde of demons, at the best of times. Their obsession with Order may mean that they cannot accept that the layout of your town changed since the last time the Modrons came through....so they will carve their way through your town the same way they went through last time...regardless of what is in the way. \$\endgroup\$ – guildsbounty Nov 3 '17 at 14:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1; Thanks a lot for this, I have indeed been given some inspiration for exactly how my Modrons have gone rogue, although not in full detail yet, but the beginnings of and idea. Essentially I interpret this as them all being very sheltered in Mechanus, and showing them the "truth" about the universe not being all lovely and orderly breaks their little minds, their new "self awareness" almost being like your typical "sympathetic villain" in the sense that you can see why they now want to act the way they do, now that they know "the truth"... \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Nov 3 '17 at 14:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ The way it sounds from your answer, as was postulated in Star Trek: TNG as a weapon for use against the Borg, a logic bomb could do the same thing; i.e. a virus that would attack/ unravel the logic behind the orders (even orders that build upon each other) and thus cause more of them to "snap" \$\endgroup\$ – Jesse Cohoon Nov 5 '17 at 13:56

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