17th of Passion, 6th Year of Factol Jamis’s Reign
The session opens into an awkward fight in the tunnels of Cocytus against the body-snatching Murska! Present are:
Soliloquy, who thinks the Murska are kind of cute!
Santher, who is starting to enjoy this plane.
Crown Guard, who will finally remember that he’s capable of telepathy.
Jasseira, who will teach the party the value of a flexible body.
As Pelchskull ineffectively attacks the three Murska, all of whom are wearing molting skins of former Minder’s Guild members, the rest of the party divides up as their combat ability suggests. Jassiera tries to keep a distance from these foul-looking creatures by tossing her trusty dagger at them, while Santher tries to get all up in the Murska’s business. Crown Guard tries to direct Santher while moving into a flanking position, while Soliloquy tries to work some of her enchanting magic on these creatures.
The three visible Murska themselves fall relatively quickly, their movements still clumsy thanks to the shedding skins they’re wearing. Santher’s excellent Punch-Fu is able to lock them down, until Crown Guard and Jasseira can start picking them off. However, while the winds in this tunnel are not nearly the strength they are elsewhere in this plane, they are strong enough to hide the tunneling presence of a fourth Murska, the largest of the bunch. It emerges from behind near Jasseira and Soliloquy, and spits some acid on the party.
Despite this, Santher manages to hold the off at the front (and even manages to punch one out), while the rest move to protect Soliloquy. The big Murska must have been slightly weak from hunger, as its blows were clumsy, and (mostly) evadable. Crown Guard does get caught up in its giant mandible, and was under threat of being torn in half, before Soliloquy clouded its mind, and shoved it away. Working together, the party struck down all the smaller beetle-like creatures before disposing of the larger threat.
Rummaging through the corpses of the Sellswords, Pelchskull lifts a bag off of them, waves it around a bit, and declares it to be the other “half” of their pay. Jasseira is annoyed that such “payment” would be found on the body of their foes like that, but Crown Guard believes that while twisted, Pelchskull was still promising to pay them in full. Whether they collected it now or later (Pelchskull insited later) was of no consequence to him. Besides, where would they spend it until they got back to Sigil?
The party, soon to be venturing back into less hospitable places in the plane, puts beeswax back in their ears and ties themselves together with rope.
Novakri, Crown Guard’s Quori spirit, psionically pokes him, and asks, “You know I’m telepathic, right?”
A Breezy Encounter
Continuing to push forward, the party enters a cavern where stalagmites can be found emerging from every wall. Like the rest of the layer, they’re all carved with crazy runes and script. Even weirder, there is no indication that actual precipitation exists on Cocytus; these stalagmites themselves must be man-made.
The party has little time to worry about that however, as a giant gust of wind — Class 1 Hurricane Strength — rips through the area. Everyone dives for the nearest thing they can hold onto — the stalagmites — and while each gets a relatively good grip, the fact that everyone has tied themselves together causes a few issues…
Despite being the first to dive for something to grab onto, Pelchskull fails to get a good grip on anything, and starts careening around the room, as far as the rope he’s tied to will let him. Santher grips onto a thick stalagmite, Jasseria to a thin one she can wrap her arms around, and Soliloquy tries to find one she can hide behind. Crown Guard, trying to rely on his great mass, lays flat on the floor. This is sure to work out well for him.
Despite Pelchskull pulling on him, Santher maintains a tight grip. Crown Guard has some difficulty, but manages to stay relatively unbudged. Soliloquy and Jasseira are no so lucky, the powerful wind breaking their respective holds, and tossing them into the various solid surfaces in the area. Luckily, as they’re still all tied together, neither of them fly too far away, and despite taking some solid blows, they both manage to get a new grip on the ground (Soliloquy thanks to her thin tiefling tail).
The second round of gust however, is not so kind.
Pelchskull falls unconscious from his head hitting yet another solid surface. Santher is holding on admirably, but when Crown Guard loses his own grip on the ground, Santher gets pulled along with him. Still attached by a rope to the two giant robots, Soliloquy too finds herself careening (once again) into solid rock.
Jasseira sees a ball of adventurers (including two heavy warforged) coming towards her, says “fuck this” and cuts the rope.
The end result is a gaggle of party members in pain as the wind finally downgrades to “extremely powerful”. Pelchskull and Soliloquy are unconscious, the former needing to be revived with a potion that Jasseira lifts off his body, along with the coin bag. He is revived however, and the party continues. Surely this plane can’t get any worse?
The Plane Gets Even Worse
Entering the largest cavern they’ve seen yet, Pelchskull orders them to cut any unnecessary lights (only Crown Guard, using his natural illumination sheds any other light in the room). Neither the ceiling nor floor can be seen through the light of one of the modified sunrods, and the way forward seems to be several giant pillars pushing through the inky darkness. Pelchskull proceeds with immense caution, tossing his sunrod to the next pillar before proceeding with caution. The party follows carefully.
Alas, they don’t make it too far when the reason for Pelchskull’s caution becomes apparent; his Sunrod lights up the figure of a lion-sized creature with a spiky mane and a piercing cry: a Howler! Pelchskull once again draws his sword, and starts pushing ahead before multiple cries ring out: Howler*s*!
Crown Guard rushes forward, running into two of the beasts. Alone, he is fairly ineffective at fighting them off, and takes two big blows, knocking him unconscious. The rest of the party gets a face full of the terrifying howl that these creatures possess, causing their brain to light on fire, and leaving openings to attack. While Santher feels a bit dizzy, his mind, already partially shattered (why else would a blood join the Bleakers by choice?) can resist the pain at least. He turns on a globe of light in his chest that illuminates a good portion of the room (and reveals more Howlers). Jasseira, hearing that Crown Guard ran into a pair of these beasts alone, rushes to try and help him. Soliloquy meanwhile, starts giving the howlers she can see cute nicknames.
Cutting one Howler down, Jasseira manages to get over to Crown Guard to bring him back to his feet. Santher is having a rough time protecting himself and Soliloquy, but is managing. Pelchskull at this point has disappeared. The remaining fight is rough, but Soliloquy finds out that these creatures react badly to fire (“I’m going to call you ‘Burny’”), which… actually seems to horrify her. Scare these creatures away, sure. But to kill these darling little animals?
Luckily, the party manages to scrape themselves into a numbers advantage, and while they’re all hurting (either thanks to Howler jaws or Howler spines), they manage to take enough of the beasts out that the ones that they can still see retreat. Searching for Pelchskull however, the party finds naught but his sword (poor quality and barely used) and some tattered clothes along with a bit of blood. But something seems amiss with the situation; there was ample light; why did no one see Pelchskull’s body being dragged off?
A (Debatable) Return to Sanity
Now lacking both a guide and leads, the party starts following the trail of chalk they made back to the portal to Quake’s Place in Sigil. The high powered wind has blown away some of the chalk markings, but the party manages to find enough of them to continue. It’s still time consuming, as Pelchskull had led them in circles at points, but manageable. As they close towards the portal however, they can once again hear the laments of the Howlers… they must be tracking the party! Entering into a sprint, the group digs deep to find their way back.
They don’t have much time before the Howlers will descend upon them, and quickly discover they need a key to reenter the portal. Songs are sung, and weird demands for “sesames to open” are yelled, but to no effect. As the Howlers press in, Crown Guard thinks back to what Pelchskull was doing before they entered the portal the first time: dancing! Despite his girth, he puts on a magnificent tango, causing the portal back to Sigil to reopen!
Crashing through the portal, everyone but Jasseira lands face first into a table (she lands gracefully into a chair, a delicious pot roast waiting for her). Apparently, the various denizens in Quake’s Place are now engaged in a high class meal, dresses in suits and slips. As the last person through, and having stumbled into a fallen Santher and Soliloquy, Crown Guard stumbles directly into the horns of a powerful demon (A Goristro), ruining the chaps meal.
The Goristro apologizes, but informs Crown Guard that he is honorbound to dismantle the warforged. Crown Guard protests, and (RET-CON!) tells the “devil” to unhand him. A bunch of "OooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooh"’s erupt from the chaotic crowd, which cancel out Jasseria’s attempts to placate the situation. Thinking quickly, Soliloquy uses her Mage Hand ability to erase and write three words on the “rules” chalkboard in Quake’s Place: “No Killing Here”.
As the demon once again apologizes for having to tear Crown Guard in half, a voice from the bar yells: "Hey! “No killing here!”
The demon turns to see Quake Lavender, scowling at him. He glances over at the chalk board, where the chalk is magically dotting the "i’’s.
“But Quake!” the demon whines.
“Hey buddy,” Quake frowns, “I don’t make the rules…”
And Ending with a Murder Mystery…
Now back in Sigil, they start searching for information on Pelchskull. The most obvious thing to do would be to search his place, so Jasseira leads the group to his abode in the Hive. However, once there they discover a completely different occupant living there; she knows of Pelchskull (he is a somewhat popular artist), but is unaware that he lives in the area. Regardless, she swears that no one named Pelchskull has ever lived there. The party splits off to try and get some of their own information.
The party gathers too late to find Pelchskull… at least, in a living state. When they meet up and head to the Warehouse District of the Market Ward to confront the Sodkillers, they find that he and the group were subject to an attack by a mysterious assassin. The Sellsword who had made the request for Pelchskull to be brought in, a Bladeling named Jidika, is disturbed by this turn of events. She refuses to divulge any information at this moment, but the likelihood that she needs to turn to outside help to solve this mystery is high, and the PCs know a lot more about what is going on than she does…