To Chance with Hell (Planescape)

Session 7: Harbinger House (Part 3)
In which our heroes piece some dark together, learn about prison, and get confused about who exactly Trolan is

“When something smells, it’s usually the Butz.”

3nd of Valiance, 6th Year of Factol Jamis’s Reign

The PCs were successful in driving off the mysterious murderer, but they feel their work isn’t done yet. Deciding to pursue him into the night, they take a bit of time to learn the dark on their destination (the Carceri Gate-Town, Curst), and swap info with the [[Sodkillers | Sodkiller] Narcovi.

Seeking to chase after the killer are:

Crown Guard, who might have written the wrong alignment on his sheet, but it canonically Lawful Good (amazingly).
Soliloquy, whom a canonically Lawful Good Warforged with suggest prostitute herself to gain information.
Santher, who is not the Warforged I’m talking about above.
Captain Lu, who is going to teach some tables some manners.

Jasseira has some business to look into for Cyan, so she stays behind in Sigil, but will try and catch up. She does inform them that the portal that the killer jumped through lead to Curst, but the available PCs are otherwise on their own.

As dabus and Dustmen stream into the park, Narcovi and her Minder’s Guild mates start looking for answers. The PCs have learned some information that she hasn’t, so she grudgingly agrees to swap notes. The PCs learn the following (potentially not exclusive):

1) All the victims were of a “Lawful” disposition. Given that most were attacked at night, there is some credence to the idea that the killer picked targets of opportunity, but potentially there were some picked for personal (rather than pragmatic) reasons.

2) Each successive victim was tagged with an additionally slash; i.e. the killer’s fourth victim had four slashes on their body, the sixth had six, etc. Crown Guard believes their souls are being taken, but Narcovi isn’t entirely convinced (although admits it is a possibility).

3) Pelchskull was obviously not killed in the same manner; his death is merely connected due to Harbinger House (he was seeking to retrieve the Planarity from Pandemonium). An informant, who they will not describe because that would not make them a good informant if their description got out Crown Guard, lead the to him. They did not find the Planarity in his possession. He was killed by a seriously poisonous venom that comes from a variety of Giant Black Asps in the Beastlands.

Narcovi doesn’t know what exactly the ritual the killer is performing is for; she’ll check with the additional information the group gave her.

Afterwards, Itheros, factor of the Mind’s Eye (and the one who asked them to stop the killer) approaches them. Crown Guard is quick to offend, declaring that he should have told them that they were going to arrest his Sons of Mercy comrade, Haster Mensen, before they did. Itheros is taken aback by these allegations; he tries to affirm that their job was to seek the killer, not the stone, but asks that they speak of this somewhere more privately. He simply states that it was coincidence that his friend was caught with it; they did nothing but ask. The Sodkillers got involved because they’ve got an interest in seeing whoever murdered Pelchskull imprisoned, as that would make them connected to their missing comrades as well.

Crown Guard is unconvinced, but Soliloquy butts into the conversation to try and restore some decorum to it. She tells Itheros everything that she knows about the killer. Crown Guard tries to see if there are any facial tells on the Seeker, but nothing seems to overly phase the Zenythri. Upon hearing about his appearance, and about the mysterious Trolan who has driven the cultists to Sigil to commit suicide (effectively), Itheros tells them that the man they saw an Trolan are one in the same. He informs them that he was brought to Harbinger House by the dabus many years ago, proclaiming his love for the Lady. He wasn’t involved in the “plan”, but speculates that perhaps the time inside changed him.

Regardless, Itheros gets darkly serious that Trolan must be stopped… whatever the cost. He informs the party that he has… strange powers. Chaos seems to follow him, and he can change his own appearance. The party declares that they will follow him to Curst, but Itheros is little help; he’s never been there. He does tell the party to be careful tho.

After some failed research to find out the gate-key to the portal “Trolan” took, the party eventually antes up and pays for the information from the Guild of Doorsnoops. They learn that the key to get into the portal the killer took is a set of three interlocking rings, and that (like most portals to Curst and Carceri) one-way. They also question the Doorsnoop member, and find out that the killer (and a beautiful blonde woman) visited looking for the same information. They asked about getting keys to other locations, but settled on just getting the keys for both Curst and Ecstasy (the gate-town for the plane of Elysium). The portal key to Ecstasy is a small charm bracelet, held to one’s heart as they enter a daycare in the Lady’s Ward (it’s two way with the matching portal in the gate-town). He tells the that A’kin the Friendly Fiend would have the components available.

A’kin is friendly. Too friendly. What should have been a quick 15 minute in-and-out turns into an hour and a half of Crown Guard and A’kin gossiping like old friends (despite the fact they they just met). The party, bored out of their minds (but enjoying the delicious free drinks and complementary mints), finally gets back to that rooftop near Bloodgem Park, and jumps into the portal to Curst, the time now past midnight.

You’ll find it hard to leave beautiful Curst!

4nd of Valiance, 6th Year of Factol Jamis’s Reign

Arriving in the gate-town to Carceri, The group finds that the inside feels… suffocating. One giant road leads to what looks to be the only “gate” out of the berg, the town itself surrounded by a giant wall and some of the nastiest razorvine that even Santher has seen. Despite the number of guards that can be seen patrolling the wall and gate, none can be seen actually wandering around town. It’s like they don’t even care what happens inside.

The party quickly starts asking around to see if there has been anyone matching “Trolan’s” description. They easily find a one-eyed human named Steve McGaul who offers to trade them for his information. Crown Guard offers him jink, resulting in a tongue lashing from the man, who calls him the most “clueless son-of-a-bitch” he ever met (incidentally gentle reader, it is here where Crown Guard, the lawful good robot, offers Soliloquy up for “favours”). Glaring at the warforged, Soliloquy understands what exactly this guy wants: he wants to get out of Curst!

Crown guard: No.
Captain Lu: h6. ABSOLUTELY.

Steve tells them that since that maniac arrived, he wasted no time in cutting down this one asshole in town (producing the same ingredients and flashy effect as described to the party before). He hears he’s been on a tear, but that they should talk to the captain of the Wall Watch, Yurel Zarnthaskar (human, Fated).

Yurel immediately becomes everyone’s least-favorite NPC. The Captain doesn’t like him because he’s a Taker (which is so opposed to his own take on the Ring-Givers philosophy), Soliloquy doesn’t like him because he’s burning perfectly good paper, and Crown Guard doesn’t like him because he clearly declares that there is a chain of command which begins at calling him “Sir”, and him calling them “long-term residents”. Their claims that they can leave the city if they wanted to fall on deaf ears. “If I had a gold piece for everytime I heard that cutter”.

(I guess Santher doesn’t care, but that’s kind of a Bleaker thing so.)

They ask him about the recent murders, which he’s heard of but doesn’t particularly care about. As long as the ones being murdered are the criminals in town and not his men, he doesn’t see any particular reason to lift a finger to stop it. When they mention his name is Trolan, the Fated snorts. He had heard that that Trolan barmy (who came in preaching about how much he and his followers love the Lady of Pain) had came in about a day ago. Last he heard, him and his followers were stuck in a tavern called the Undead Unicorn. The party suggests that he has figured a way out of town, but Yurel shrugs.

Crown Guard tells him that they’ll be leaving in a few days, which just causes the captain to roll his eyes.

When the party makes their way to the Undead Unicorn, the group sees some robed men (in the same colours of the cultists earlier) entering the establishment. They’re clearly carrying some gear underneath however, the light near the entrance illuminating both weapons and armour. Their new friend Steve whispers to them, “Anarchists”. The party becomes confused, and pause as they consider their move. Santher catches a fire being set on the roof of the tavern, and in the small light that’s set, he thinks the one who set it was the killer, Trolan! But then they hear a shout from inside the tavern yelling that Trolan’s will die for his attempts to ruin the nature of Curst!

Do you think maybe someone lied to them about an important detail?

Well, as long as that important detail doesn’t kill anyone.

The party rushes into the tavern, intent on heading up the stairs and fighting “Trolan”. In the bar, they see a dwarf cowering (another bar fight?), two cultists looking to their leader for protection, and a dead cultist on the group. The five men who entered the establishment have thrown off their robes and are threatening to kill the man they believes is Trolan. An eladrin whom the GM may have described as a tiefling (there are too many damn tieflings!) has a crossbow trained on a beautiful, but panicking tiefling, and is ready to fire.

The party still hasn’t decided whether they care or not.

Looking to move past these gentlemen to reach the upstairs, the eladrin fires true with his crossbow, and an acidic smelling bolt rips into maybe-Trolan’s shoulder. The Tiefling almost immediately begins to turn pale, the bolt obviously poisoned. As his friends are cut down, one weakly yells in a panic, “Trolan! No!

Crown Guard moves to apprehend the Eladrin (despite the warnings of one of the other Anarchists to stay out of this), which causes the group to begin attacking the party, believing they are friends of that Trolan jerk.

The dice giveth, the dice taketh away, the dice giveth. The online d10 thing the DM is rolling is hot, rolling a 9 or 10 a ridiculous 80% of the time. Soliloquy and Santher get tagged had, before a trio of Anarchists proceed to roll a 3, 4, and then 5 to their attack rolls. Still, Crown Guard was surrounded, but Soliloquy managed to clear some room for Crown Guard to tend to the poisoned man.

At this point, the man had suffered two rounds of intense poison damage, and was looking to suffer a third. The man needed time, time he didn’t have because the PCs were obviously confused about the situation, and had hesitated to save him big-time. He needed saving throws and healing. Pretty much everyone is carrying potions of healing and Crown Guard’s Inspiring Word could help him. So Crown Guard comes over and administers… an Anti-toxin. Which would give him a +2 bonus to his next saving throw. The saving throw that comes after he once again takes massive damage.

(He died.)

At this point, the Anarchists have been roughed up, but they’re all still standing. The virtual d10 of doom comes back and on a 2d10+1 damage roll, hits Soliloquy for 20 fire damage (her tiefling heritage prevents five of it), and Crown Guard for 21. After the DM checks that yes, his dice roller isn’t broken (just rolling like crazy), he introduces the next surprise as a man is pushed off the top landing (which is now crazy on fire) to the floor below. The wild-eyed crazy haired murderer appears! Surprise! He tells Trolan “not to get up” and begins hacking at Crown Guard.

What follows is a gong show; Crown Guard barely holds onto a scant few bits of HP before having to retreat, Santher drops under the deft attacks of two Anarchists, and Captain Lu is sucking on fumes for his HP total too. Soliloquy possibly at one point has more hit points than the other three combined, which is saying something because she was bloodied too. And the Undead Unicorn is falling in on itself too!

As a pair of tough looking cutters come in, the bar owner pointing at them to take out the killer (whose name is revealed as Sougad), the remaining Anarchists escape. Their task is done, no need for them to stay and die in a flaming mess. It burns (metaphorically) for the party to escape too, but with everyone down on HP, even some valiant hits from Captain Lu can’t foreseeably take this tough blood down before the entire building collapses on them. Soliloquy busts a whole in a weakened wall with Magic Missile before dragging Santher’s unconscious body in, Captain Lu jumps out a window, and Crown Guard escapes stage right. All they hear as the building falls is the maniac cackling of Sougad, the Law-killer.

. . .

It takes about an entire day for the flames to die out enough for the party to start shifting through the rubble. They find most of the expected corpses inside, with the body of the tiefling Trolan, unrecognizably burnt but with a piece of the bolt that struck him still in his shoulder. his cultists and the two Anarchists the party managed to bring down are there too.

The also find two bodies of the two barmies who were coaxed into trying to kill Sougad before the building engulfed them. One was clearly killed by the falling wreckage. The other? A look of horror on his melted face, and numerous slashes cut in his chest. The remains of some walnut shells are found too.

Sougad’s body? Gone.

Session 6: Harbinger House (Part 2)
In which our heroes continue to trust Chaotic Evil demons, go to law school, and see the Lady of Pain at work

Building a Mystery

2nd of Valiance, 6th Year of Factol Jamis’s Reign

The recent attack by a group of Free League cutters has left the group confused. They knew before that there was clearly something important going on about the recent spate of murders, but now it appears that someone (a mysterious blonde woman?) is looking to stop them from shedding light into the dark. and what of this Trolan guy, who appears to have been convincing berks to worship the Lady of Pain?

Seeking answers to this mystery are:

Crown Guard, who is taking the bar exam tomorrow.
Soliloquy, who has discovered that not everybody likes her!
Santher, who is getting too old for this shit.
Captain Lu, who thinks they might have missed some clues in that one bar.
Jasseira, who has joined the group halfway in but is drunk so could care less.

Needing more clues, our heroes head back to the Shattered Temple area looking into the death of an Athar Bariaur named Vienna. They have a short conversation with the caretaker of the establishment, another Athar cutter named Kuarri the Ancient (a male Tiefling). The building is used as a place for Athar to sleep in, and consists of little more than about a dozen small rooms with a pile of hay to sleep on.

Kuarri tells them that he was sweeping downstairs when the murder happened, hearing the sounds of a struggle in the upstairs bunks. It was too late to save Vienna by the time he arrived, the murderer escaping out the window in the room. He can’t tell the party much, except that the murder happened at night.

The party finally makes a decent perception check, and finds a couple of clues in the room. The first is what (after some examination) appears to be dust from a shattered black pearl. The second, found in the victim’s hay bed, is a vrock feather, the quill covered in dried blood. Soliloquy recognizes that black pearls are often used in dark rituals and spells used to slay individuals, but comes up short on the vrock feather’s purpose. The books she’s borrowed from the Athar and Fraternity of Order don’t shed light either.

The party therefore decides to split up; one group will take a trip to Harbinger House, while the other asks around about black pearls and vrock feathers.

Because one cannot make too many deals with the demon

Jasseira and Crown Guard start hitting up the local merchants looking for clues. The logical place to start is trying to figure out where black pearls (a fairly expensive gem) came from. Jasseira figures that Oalf Giantfighter (Fated) of the Sleepy Dwarf Gem Exchange might have some info, and she’s right. The dwarf blood is very evasive about his “stock” of black pearls, and after enough prodding, he stammers that he was in fact, robbed of his stock about a week ago. He believes the culprit was this wild eyed man that visited asking him specifically about them. At about 1000g a piece, he is notably frustrated at his loss, although he does not report that anything else he owned was stolen.

Another store – the Wizard’s Mark, run by a chap named Gondion (Society of Sensation) – was also robbed it seems. The pair finds this out while looking to see where the vrock feathers were from. Gondion tells the pair that not only were thirteen vrock feathers taken, but a handful of walnut shells and five spinning tops were taken. Together, the pair identify the uses of these new components (walnut shells are used in spells and rituals to confuse, while a spinning top is often a focus for spells and rituals that seek to disrupt the nature of matter), but they’re unsure how those plus the vrock feather combine.

Crown Guard decides that asking his best demon friend, Shivam, might know. And it turns out, he does! But of course, information comes at a cost. Shivam asks the clueless warforged if he’d perform a small task for him in exchange for the information; there’s an amulet he seeks. Its owner should be returning to Sigil in a few days, and he asks Crown Guard to get it (but leaves it up to our hero to figure out how to acquire it). Crown Guard dithers and leaves without making the bargain, but he’ll be back… they always come back.

The other team meanwhile visits Harbinger House for the first time, and find it absolutely bizarre. It sits in the Lower Ward on a quiet dead-end street, and looks akin to a bundle of building blocks with scattered doors of all shapes and sizes littering its surface. Soliloquy tries to detect magic on the place, and it lights up, but she’s unable to really determine what lies on the other sides of the doors.

That’s when Captain Lu notices that there’s a little kid watching them. So Captain Lu goes to do a little “Pirate Diplomacy”.

30 seconds later, the boy, named Urchend (Free League), is strung up by his feet being shaken by a fat blue Chaond. Pirate. Diplomacy. He sings, and tells the group that he witnessed the murder of Lini, the fourth victim. Urchend saw the struggle through one of the bar’s windows. He mentions that he heard the killer laugh maniacally, sending bolts of lightning at the victim, before he saw a red glow transfer between the now lifeless corpse and the murderer. He describes the murderer (it matches the description that Jassiera and Crown Guard got), but he doesn’t know anything more than that. Captain Lu shakes him a bit more (for his own whimsy more than anything) and tells him to skedaddle.

Going back to the beginning

The party meets back up to investigate the place where Old Favur was killed, which happens to be quite close by the Harbinger House. As a former Godsmen (and then Mind’s Eye), Favur was living nearby waiting for the Mind’s Eye to reward his service by finding him a great place in the multiverse to retire to.

He didn’t get to enjoy that retirement however, said Eltiva Baubledrop (Gnome, Mind’s Eye). Eltiva was Favur’s housekeeper. She discovered the body when she went to do her regular cleaning; blood still on the floor indicates where he died. She tells them that a message written in blood, “Now it begins” was written on one of the walls (the Dabus have since cleaned it up). Searching Favur’s room doesn’t turn up much except for a partially consumed spinning top. Soliloquy finds its presence weird; the top is normally used as a focus, it isn’t meant to be consumed. With a little more knowledge in hand, they hope to go visit the site where Jidika was killed.

Leaving the place, the party runs into a barmy woman who points at Crown Guard and laughs. “I know you,” she half-speaks, half-sings, _"you’re going to fight the murderer!“. She continually is wobbling and dancing, as if to some strange song only she can hear. Her name is ”/campaign/to-chance-with-hell-planescape/wikis/Harlique/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”>Harlique, and she begins describing the death of an orc that might happen tonight… an orc wearing the garb of the Sons of Mercy who Crown Guard believes is one of his contacts, Haster Mensen! They put the barmy in the care of the Bleak Cabal before leaving.

Rushing to where Haster normally calls kip, the group arrives to find him bound and gagged, arrested by the Minder’s Guild. Nearby, the group of Mind’s Eye, led by Itheros. Crown Guard is about to violently interject, when one of the Factors of the Sons of Mercy, Thasala, stops him. The Aasimar tells Crown Guard that an object related to the murders – the Planarity – was found in Haster’s room. They’re taking him to the Sigil Courts to be tried in a few days time. Thasala doesn’t like it any more than Crown Guard does, but if Haster is innocent, then they will prove it in court.

Law and Disorder

Crown Guard pushes his way into the building they’re holding Haster in, looking for some answers from his friend. A pair of Fraternity of Order guards stand nearby, but allow the group to question the orc. Haster claims innocence; he doesn’t know what that orb thing is, or how it got in his stuff. His lawyer, a fellow Marytr named Moses Maleski tells them that right now what they need is evidence that he wasn’t involved, but Crown Guard is more concerned that Harlique has foretold Haster’s death; he wants more protection (and volunteers himself to guard the place).

However, with only the warnings of a madwoman to back up his claim, he isn’t able to convince the courts to allow much more than an extra guard. Frustrated, Crown Guard vows to keep an eye outside the courts for trouble. Meanwhile, Jasseira pretends to be a lawyer and hilarity (and drinks) are consumed.

As night falls, the group is waiting around outside the courthouse for the murderer to strike. It is as they’re waiting when screams can be heard from a block away. Jasseira, Captain Lu, and Soliloquy rush to see what’s the matter while Crown Guard and Santher keep an eye on Haster. When the first group approaches the sight of the disturbance, they see a raging Balor roaring and threatening the nearby neighbourhood. They think it might just be an illusion, but none wish to get close enough to check.

And indeed, it was a distraction to draw some of the group away! Striking from the rough, the murderer jumps and attacks Crown Guard! Fortunately for our mechanical hero, the DM doesn’t roll above a 5 to attack him at all. Together, the two warforged manage to get some good hits on him before the rest of the party shows up.

Teleporting to the roof, the killer vows to take out Crown Guard the next time they meet, and takes off running. The party scrambles onto the rooftops to follow, and a chase begins. Unfortunately, Captain Lu’s physique does him no favours, and Santher gets distracted helping someone who Captain Lu’s girth incapacitates. Soliloquy and Crown Guard can’t get close enough, but Jasseira (rogue extraordinaire) manages to keep a relative pace. The party quickly discovers they’re heading towards Bloodgem Park, where all the cultists who were seekign to worship the Lady of Pain are gathering.

Jasseira isn’t quick enough to tackle the murderer before he pulls something out of his pocket and leaps into a portal. Jasseira can’t follow after him, but recognizes what’s on the other side as being the Outland Gate-town of Curst (which leads to the plane of Carceri). Unable to catch him, but at least able to drive him out of Sigil, the party regroups as the feverish chanting of the nearby cultists begins to ring through the air.

The cultists loudly proclaim their devotion and love to the Lady of Pain, and most bear gifts. The Planebusters can do naught but watch as the object of their affection appears; they know what comes next. Less than a minute later, The Lady has passed over Bloodgem Park, leaving naught but a field of corpses. Soliloquy hears the dying words of one of the cultists: “Did you see? The Lady truly l-loves m….*

Dustmen start streaming into the park for the bodies, and the party has to figure out their next move…

Session 5: Harbinger House (Part 1)
In which our heroes investigate a series of murders, discover the insidious nature of so called "talcum powder", and help some barmies who worship the Lady

Something Wicked This Way Comes

2nd of Valiance, 6th Year of Factol Jamis’s Reign

The group has managed (somehow) to successfully complete a mission! There are still questions about that mysterious tiefling, Ghieena (Crown Guard still assumes that there is something dreadfully wrong about her), but they largely take a day off to relax and enjoy the spoils of winning. Speaking of Crown Guard, he makes a mysterious deal with a demon named Shivam, who has followed the group to Sigil. After taking a relaxing day-off, the group decides that the unfinished business with Pelchskull should be investigated. A bladeling named Jidika has been looking into his murder, and has been looking for our heroes to see what they know.

Knowing that dealing with the Minder’s Guild is often dicey when one side tends to negotiate with one hand holding a weapon, Crown Guard asks for some help from a Sons of Mercy factotum, Haster Mensen. He arranges a meeting between the Jidika and the group so that words (rather than swords) can be drawn. Present are:

Crown Guard, who is going to pin this whole thing on Ghieena somehow.
Soliloquy, who is going to spend half this write-up reading.
Santher, whom the dabus are now imitating (There’s a joke in there. It’s something about Santher being strange and your mom’s a whore).
Captain Lu, who hasn’t met a murder that won’t stop him from investigating a bar.

Upon arriving at a Sons of Mercy hangout (complete with Sons of Mercy backup, should the need arise), the PCs find themselves across the table from a grim dwarf cutter named Narcovi. A sodkiller herself, she immediately starts grilling them heavily on their recent movements.

“Where were you yesterday? Two nights before? Three? When were you last to the Beastlands? Describe your “journey” with Pelchskull.”

She inscribes some of these details in her notebook. She refuses to answer questions about this meeting and what this is about… but where is Jidika? Isn’t she whom they were supposed to meet here?

After about an hour of brutal questions, Narcovi stands up to leave. “Stay in the Cage cutters, we want to know where to find you.”

Captain Lu protests, “And wha’ ‘xactly should stop us from leavin’ the Cage?”

Norcovi glares back at him: “Well cutter, the dark of it is that Factotum Jidika is no longer with us; someone put her in the dead-book last night. And you’re all prime suspects. If you’re telling the truth, then take my advice and keep your head low.”

Afterwards, Haster fills in some of the gaps that Narvoci didn’t mention.

“There’s been a string of murders this last week. Of course, there’s sadly nothing unusual with a berk losing his head in the Cage, but if these murders are bothering the Sellswords then it’s probably serious.”

Haster doesn’t know the specifics of the murders; he’s not investigating after all, and no one from the Martyrs has been involved. Luckily, someone shows up who does.

A well-defined humanoid with perfectly coifed hair, silver eyes, and a slightly green tint to his skin steps into the room. “Indeed.” Soliloquy recognizes him as the factor of the [[Mind’s Eye]] named Itheros (a Zenythri). “I would speak with you.”

Itheros cuts to the dark of it; the chant that the Mind’s Eye is hearing indicates that an incident in their past is likely the source of this chaos.

“As some of you may know, before her Grace expelled us from Sigil, the Mind’s Eye did not exist," says Itheros. “We were comprised of two factions: The Believers of the Source, and the Sign of One. The Believers of the Source – similar to the Mind’s Eye today – believed that we can all achieve god-hood; if we challenge ourselves, we will be reincarnated into a more powerful form, eventually reaching the level of the gods. Our… the… past Factol of the Godsmen – Ambar Vergrove – set about a plan to help individuals along the path to godhood. It was known as Harbringer House.”

The Zenythril continues. “Harbringer house is a place where the Godsmen brought individuals who they believed had the “spark” of godhood. Some of the individuals that were brought to the house were more… cooperative… than others. When her Grace expelled us from Sigil, our new FactolOmbidiasmade the decision that the experiment was a failure. The inhabitants were released, and the key to the structure – the Planarity – was hidden away on Pandemonium. We have been recently informed that this is no longer the case."

The Zenythril pauses momentarily. “We believe that Harbringer House lies in the centre of all of this. We seek a deal; we believe that some of the former inhabitants of Harbringer House are behind the murders that have been occurring within the city. We have been charged with tracking down the Planarity to once again seal the structure behind us. Because of this, we do not have the manpower to track down the killer. Especially because of the gruesome nature of this case, we would prefer that this business does not soil the good name of the Mind’s Eye. We seek a group that can put a stop to whomever is killing these individuals while keeping the who business in the dark. We have heard of your success in freeing Vartus Timlin, and believe that you therefore might be the ones to aid us."

The group nervously laughs between themselves; they considered the incident with Timlin to be a failure, but perhaps not every faction has seen it that way. They agree to a hefty sum for tracking down the killer (as per the Planebuster Charter, 1002g; a sum divisible by 6), and get the chant on the string of killings.

There have been seven individuals murdered thus far that draw attention:

  • 17th of Passion: Old Favur (male human), member of the Mind’s Eye, and former custodian of the Harbringer House, killed near his former place of employment.
  • 17th of Passion (same day): Pelchskull (male human), Xaositect, killed by a poisoned arrow while in Sodkiller custody).
  • 18th of Passion: Vienna (female bariaur), member of the Athar, killed in a faction residence near the Shattered Temple.
  • 19th of Passion: Lini (female Wilden), namer of the [[Mind’s Eye]], killed in a bar called the Ascension.
  • 20th of Passion: Fassa (male human), member of the Fraternity of Order, killed in one of the Court’s libraries.
  • 21st of Passion: Keluk the Grey (male githzari), another Athar, killed in the Parted Veil Bookshop (found in the Shattered Temple District).
  • 1st of Valiance (yesterday): Jidika (female bladeling), Sodkiller; killed on Harmonium Street near City Barracks.

With several crime scenes to visit, Captain Lu suggests going to check out the murder of the Wilden, Lini; it’s the most likely place to serve him a drink.

“Just one more thing…”

note: the following is an attempt at summing up the investigation. Players took notes about what they found/did not find, and it is that which should be referred to.

The players start with the fourth victim, the Wilden Lini. The Ascension, a drinking establishment run by a Githyanki known as Julius the Ninth Test. As it’s still morning in the Cage, the only activity going on in the place is a fairly typical delivery. A dabus hangs in one spot of the pub, scrubbing away at a spot on the floor. Lu orders the house special (ethereal ale: the drink that evaporates on the tongue), and starts asking the cutter some questions about Lini.

The group is told that Lini was a prime, whom Julius had taken in. He felt she was too wild, and needed some guidance. She took a keen shining to the philosophy of the Mind’s Eye, and began to work for Julius at his establishment. She was closing the place up alone when she was brutally murdered; Julius found her when the bar opened. He let (the now deceased) Jidika handle the investigation, but he does mention a few details. Lini was found with several slashes across her chest, although Julius does not know what weapon exactly caused them (he’s no doctor). He does remember there being a note pinned to her chest however, which the PCs would eventually learn read “Chaos is the only law, washed clean in the blood of order”.

The dabus was busy scrubbing in a spot near where Lini was killed; Soliloquy finds an lingering aura of evil emanating from the spot.

They group next checks the site of the sixth murder, where the Athar Monk (and Githzerai) named Keluk the Gray was found. The bookshop is pretty much what one would expect of an Athar-run establishment, filled wall to wall with screed and propaganda decrying the “so-called gods” that run around the multiverse begging to be worshiped. A small mess and an overturned table indicate the spot where Keluk was murdered.

The owner, a gnome named Kesto Brighteyes, is quite distraught over the whole affair (he had his store closed for a full day) but allows the PCs to investigate. He tells them that Keluk was killed by a bladed weapon and had a note on him, but Kesto didn’t examine either so he can’t properly comment. Jidika had already picked over the crime scene, but the PCs do find a footprint faintly made from talc powder under a fallen book. They question Kesto about Keluk, and find that he was doing some research; Crown Guard is suspicious about why Kesto would allow a “stranger” to be in his establishment alone, but Kesto affirms that Keluk may have been a (relatively) new member, but he felt he could trust him. Soliloquy borrows some Athar reading material, to the gnome’s delight.

On their way to the courts, a group of men dressed in amber and silver robes step through from a portal near the PCs. They cheerfully ask for directions to Bloodgem Park. When questioned about why they wish to go there, one of the men replies, “We’ve heard the words of Trolan and have fallen in love with the Lady. Now we’ve come to show her our love and devotion.”

Most of the party takes a healthy step back; worshiping the Lady of Pain is on the “do not do ever” list of things that a cutter does if they wish to live to see a ripe old age while in Sigil. Crown Guard attempts to threaten them into going back into the portal to wherever they’re from, but Captain Lu steps in front of him and gives them some directions as to hwo to reach their destination. They may be barmy, but a berk has a right to decide his or her path in life, even if the end result is virtual “suicide”.

The party then heads to Sigil’s courts to investigate the murder of the Guvner Fassa. Getting into the murder scene takes some work; two Sodkillers bar entrance to anyone who doesn’t have the permission of Quinn Eyestone. After some negotiation, the party passes some jink (40g) into their hands in order to pass.

The scene is perhaps the most bizarre yet; four dabus are scrubbing all corners of the room (including the ceiling). Like the one they met at the Ascension bar, here doesn’t appear to be any “mess”. In one corner, furniture and books are piled. A man behind them describes the scene.

“They’ve been at it since the body was removed three days ago.”

Turning around, the PCs see Quinn Eyestone himself, and two flushed Sodkillers. “I’ve never seen the dabus behave like this, cleaning the same spots over and over. It doesn’t bode well for the Cage, I fear. But enough about our silent friends. Do you have business here?”

Our heroes explain their mission, and Quinn tells them everything he knows. The victim, Fassa, was here late at night exploring a particularly tricky axiom (his attempts to describe it go right over everyone’s head). The body was found in the morning by custodial staff. Quinn noted that Fassa was found with a look of terror, and had precisely four cuts in his chest, and with a note that contained the same passage (“Chaos is the only law, washed clean in the blood of order”). In regards to the dabus, Quinn tells them that they’ve been coming by every two hours to clean and scrub. He doesn’t know why, but fears that (since the dabus are a reflection of the Her Serenity’s will) this dreadful string of murders are a prelude to an event that might shake Sigil itself.

Soliloquy notices that one of the dabus is intently cleaning away from the others; examining his work, she notices that he is dusting a book (over and over) titled “Powers and Demigods”. Opening it, she finds some blood on the chapter titled “Divine Ascension”. She asks Quinn to borrow the tome, hoping to see if there are any clues inside as to the murderer’s motives.

Murder, Lunch, and then more Murder

On their way to have some lunch (to allow Soliloquy time to pour over her new reading material), the group once again encounters a group of humanoids in amber and silver robes, this time being harassed by some of the locals. It’s quite apparent that these “cultists” who worship the Lady of Pain are causing a disturbance, and some are trying to take measures to make sure that they make it clear to Her Grace that they actively oppose such worship. Crown Guard steps in to make sure that the cultists aren’t harmed, and aside from a few taunts (“don’t know why anyone would want to protect some barmy who’s penning their own name in the dead-book”) they allow the cultists to head to Bloodgem Park.

Captain Lu brings them to one of his hang-outs, the “Square Bar”. Soliloquy tries seeing if there is any ritual that the “Powers and Demigods” book lists as being related to these murders. Sadly, nothing comes up; there are certainly rituals that involve sacrifice, but there isn’t anything that necessarily ties these killings together. As they group is relaxing when they overhear a group of four Athar talking about the murders. They’re obviously uptight; they’ve lost two of their kin, and are worried about losing a third. Santher and Crown Guard strike up a conversation, and hear some rumours (some fantastical, some chant they already know), but nothing that is especially revelatory.

As they’re heading to another crime scene, the group sudden finds themselves surrounded by a large group of Indeps. They charge the group as having stolen from a distressed lady, and seek to teach them a lesson. Drawing weapons (swords, maces, and clubs) they charge the party. The fight starts off somewhat sketchy, with some of the more skilled members pushing Lu into some a clump of razor vine, but Soliloquy uses her magic to ensnare the attackers on the dreaded weed herself. From there, it doesn’t take long for the group to push back their attackers.

Putting the fear into one of the Free Leaguers, Captain Lu demands what the dark is behind their attack. The terrified human tells it straight: they were told by an crying blonde woman that the group had stolen some of her possessions. The description (much to Crown Guard’s chagrin) does not match the tiefling Ghieena. In fact, the description doesn’t match anyone they’ve met, and that can only mean one thing: Someone doesn’t like the Planebuster’s investigating these killings.

With few clues and a lot more mysteries: who’s killing these people? Why? Is there a connection to the cultists? Who doesn’t want them sticking their noses into this dark? And how does it all tie into Harbinger House?

Those answers will have to wait until another day…

Session 4: The Staircase to Success
In which our heroes discover that some people have secrets, that the Infinite Staircase is pretty large, and that demons can be bargained with

Newsflash: Sometimes People are Hiding Secrets

21st of Passion, 6th Year of Factol Jamis’s Reign

Relatively fresh off their defeat at the hands of Vartus Timlin, Cyan has told the group to shake it off by taking on an easy assignment: delivering a package for the tiefling Ghieena. It won’t pay much jink (the current offer for the job is only about 142g), but sometimes little victories can help build into larger ones.

Crown Guard, who doesn’t let a lawful good alignment get in the way of extorting money from a desperate lady.
Soliloquy, who is putting on her best “game face”.
Santher, who gets more aerodynamic as he drinks.
Captain Lu, who will meet his nemesis: stairs.

Arriving at the disreputable tavern in Sigil’s Market Ward, the Yawning Rat, The PCs meet a blubbering Ghieena (who wears a wizard’s attire), who has all be given up on getting someone to deliver her message. She tries to put on her bravest face as the PCs enter. She tells the PCs that she seeks to deliver a package to a human known as Oriam Trascalia. Oriam is a member of the Planewalker’s Guild, an organized group of adventurers who base themselves on the Infinite Staircase. After being pressed a bit, she tells the PCs that the message is a formula for a potion, used to treat sores in unmentionable places. An hour passes as the PCs tell “Preperation H” jokes.

Still, Crown Guard is suspicious about her motives; if this is such an easy task, why doesn’t she deliver it herself? The Quori spirit in Crown Guard’s head doesn’t trust Ghieena; especially after coming off such a crushing defeat a few days ago, Crown Guard doesn’t want any “unknown” variables getting in the way. He demands that she tells them why she doesn’t just deliver it herself; she refuses. He starts to play hardball and walk away, Ghienna offers more jink (200g), and Crown Guard counteroffers 240g. A median price (220g) is settled upon. The stalwart warforged offers to “cut his share” out if she reveals her secret, but Ghienna still adamantly refuses.

Captain Lu doubles down on Crown Guard’s paranoia, and announces that perhaps they should call a press conference with all the major Sigilian newspapers. “BREAKING NEWS: PEOPLE IN THE PLANES HAVE OWN AGENDA AND SOMETIMES LIE BECAUSE OF IT – Clueless Robot who is not the Fridge.” His sarcasm is noted in session recap.

She hands them a sealed brass scroll tube with the formula inside, and gives directions to the Gates of the Moon, an entrance to the Selune’s palace on the first layer of Ysgard. She tells the PCs to “look for the Planewalker’s Guild; Oriam Trascalia will be there”. The portal lies in Sigil’s Guildhall Ward, within a garden’s archway. The portal key is an ounce of silver, and will bring the PCs to Ysgard. She tells them to speak to the locals there to find a portal to the Infinite Staircase, she is otherwise unhelpful with directions.

Before leaving, the PCs decide to crack open the tube and find out what nefarious instructions this obviously evil (she’s a Tiefling, ain’t she?) person wants. It turns out… it’s instructions on how to make a potion to treat sores in uncomfortable places. The main ingredient seems to be rare mushrooms. There is also a note inside from Ghieena’s teacher, Fyn Longfingers to this Oriam chap.

CSI worthy tests are done on the documents (Ink Tests, Magical Scans, Cryptography) but nothing turns up. This evil tiefling is good. She even waited around until another female tiefling would come along (Soliloquy!), the obvious signal to strike. The PCs debate replacing the formula in a tube with some “fake” orders, but decide that since they have the element of surprise they’ll just be extra wary when they meet Oriam.

A Place to Die For

Suspiciously, the portal that Ghieena asks the party to take brings them exactly where she said it would: The Gates of the Moon in Ysgard. The PCs hear the sound of crashing waves, as they are on a rocky island lit by the bright glow of a nearby full moon. Nearby, the silver palace of Selune rises. All around are humanoids resembling human women composed of moonlight and flame. They have unpredictable temperaments, confusing Crown Guard. They alternate between being sweet and crazy, but point the PCs to the palace of Selune herself, _Argentil.)

A Silver Golem stands guard over the entrance. It questions the PCs motives, but allows them through after they state their names and business inside. One of the moonlight and flame creatures bring the PCs to the doors baring entrance to Infinite Staircase. The intimidating doors are (like most of the palace) cast in silver, and on the door a gold symbol of infinity is carved. When the PCs approach, the symbol materializes, the infinity sign turning into a golden mask for a lillend, guardians of the staircase. She asks the PCs intentions on the Infinite Staircase. They repeat generally what they told the Silver Golem. The Lillend makes a comment about Soliloquy “not having the taint of taint of a baatezu", but otherwise does not question them or their motives.

The Lillend tells them the basics of the Infinite Staircase: The PCs will pass and crossover many different kinds of stairs; metal, wooden, crystal, marble, and more. Travel always seems like it’s going up, but the PCs will rarely see other individuals walking on stairs that appear sideways or upside down to their perspective. Zora warns them to not fall off the stairs; many invisible folds line the area, and crossing into one will almost certainly toss them into a random plane. She also warns them that the Lillendi do not tolerate people harming the Infinite Staircase itself. She tells them the landing where the Planewalker Guild reside is about six hours from the base, and gives them directions on how to reach it.

Captain Lu looks at the towering stairs that rise beyond perception, looks down at his hearty stomach, looks back at the towering stairs that rise beyond perception, and sighs.

What Climbs the Stair?

While traveling (taking frequent stops on the landings for Lu to catch his breath), the PCs come into contact with a priest of Chan (and Air Gensai) named Winthrys. He gives the party some brief information about the Planewalker Guild, tells them who is currently leading it (a Minotaur named Hav’run Thain, and lets them know that Oriam was involved in a messy relationship recently. He’s in a hurry so can’t say much more, but it gives the PCs a bit of a lead going in.

The landing where the Planewalkers Guild hangs out is a surprising change from the Infinite Staircase before it. What seems like hundreds of people have been creating a makeshift town of sorts, importing goods and services from around the planes. The PCs set to work looking for some leads on where to find Oriam Trascalia. They check in with the leader, Hav’run, who is telling some stories of his adventures on Krynn (Dragonlance). After Soliloquy impresses him with her best (magically aided) stink-eye, he tells the that he hasn’t seen the aging planewalker in sometime, but directs them to a tiefling with three horns named Caert. Caert had done some work for Oriam in the past he tells them, so he might know where he’s gone.

Upon request, he also tells Crown Guard where to find a Guvner named Schmitty Hesling who has been dutifully recording where doors on the Infinite Staircase lead. Crown Guard seeks some unique portals for his own personal goals.

After gambling it up on some “Summoned Monster” fights (Captain Lu: “Why did I ever bet against the demonic turtle?!”), and after Santher burns a hole in his side thanks to a really powerful drink (ruining all of Lu’s rations that he has “stored” in him; well, not so much ruined as having the seals broken. Lu sadly eats ten days worth of rations at once), they find Caert. After they slide enough jink in her hands to get her talking, she tells them that the “blood” Oriam was spending a lot of his time in this area of the infinite staircase known for its mushrooms. He was also in the midst of breaking it off with a barmy sorceress named Shavanistra (who, SPOILER ALERT, is dead because she doesn’t have her own NPC page). They get some directions from a local bariur guard, and head off to meet this Wizard.

Spiders, Demons, and Expanding Blocks, oh My!

Captain Lu rejoices! The trip to the “mushroom area” of the Infinite Staircase is downhill!

As they get closer, the PCs recognize that the staircases they encounter are all in rough shape; some have burn marks, others have been ripped apart by what appears to be brute strength.

Eventually, the PCs get into the “mushroom” area; the blue shrooms are identified as being the ones on the “fake potion” scroll. That tiefling went to a lot of work to entrap the PCs! They find their way forward blocked by a giant spider, who has bridges a broken staircase with its webs.

The PCs attack, but are surprised by a second spider who lurks underneath the staircase! A fierce fight ensues, with the lethal spiders managing to take giant poisonous bites out of several of the party members, before Captain Lu rides one of them in a deadly fashion. While the rest struggle, he knocks one off the platform, jumps on it’s back, and severs it’s head. While the party continues to struggle, he then jumps back on the platform and cleaves the other one in two. That’s just the kind of chaond Lu is.

Searching the spider’s webs, they find the bodies of two people; one of whom is a female in robes. On her person is an expended “scroll of demon summoning”. It’s expended runes are complicated even for Soliloquy, potentially resulting in a terrible mishap if not handled properly. Of course, this is the corpse of Shavanistra (who, SPOILER ALERT, is dead because she doesn’t have her own NPC page), so it’s very likely something went wrong.

Moving on, they find eight minor demons (Manes) being ineffectually ordered around by a male Dwarf. Crown Guard vaguely recognizes these Manes; wasn’t there something important about them? The party goes with plan A: send the slow-witted Warforged in first. Waiting behind some bushes (actually a staircase), they watch as Santher makes contact with the dwarf. What was that thing that Crown Guard was forgetting? As Santher makes his way up some stairs towards the dwarf, the dwarf (naturally) orders his cackling minions to attack the Warforged.

Santher takes a giant swing, and cleaves through six of the suckers!

Crown Guard remembers what these things deal is: they explode when killed.

(Unfortunately for the sake of irony, the DM rolls middling and Santher escapes hurt, but not dead.)

The Dwarf tosses a small cube of granite on the stairs, which quickly starts expanding into a very large (10×10×10ft) cube of granite (warning! 16 tons). The party manages to climb aboard as it slides down, and reach the dwarf before anything majorly disaterful happens. He yells for help from a nearby wreck of stairs, but is answered with silence. Punching the dwarf into unconsciousness, they disarm him, and find that he carries three more of those cubes on him.

These cubes harken from a different era of D&D, one where “the rule of cool” triumphed over mechanical “balance”. Imagine what fun the party could have with such items! So versatile, so cool. This DM can only imagine the shenanigans!

As they approach what appears to be a tangled staircase of metal, they see a thin looking old man waving at them from the connecting landing above. He makes some hand motions that the party does not understand. A snore from inside the ruined structure breaks the silence, announcing that something foul resides within.

Summoning his courage, Crown Guard stupidly wakes up a Galbrezu (re: level 23 elite demon) inside, and demands he show himself. The demon groggily tells him to go away, but when the warforged refuses, the fifteen foot tall demon saunters out of his makeshift cave, and eyes the party, and asks them what they want. Crown Guard meekly tells the demon (who has an AC higher than Crown Guard’s hit points) that they seek the wizard trapped on the landing above. The Glabrezu offers them a trade; he’ll bring them the wizard, if they give him 300g.

As he climbs to grab the Wizard (who is weak from having not eaten in several days), the party all fail Dungeoneering checks, except Santher, who instead checks out while the Demon grabs (well, more like pincers gently) his prey. It’s on the way back down when Santher realizes that “Hey, the physics and engineering principles of this bridge are unsatisfactory. We could probably collapse this bridge with sufficient weight, such as from one of these cubes”. Unfortunately, this action would likely doom the old man. Crown Guard start burning a hole in Santher with his eyesight (oblivious to the fact that it was, in fact, himself who “woke the demon up” and therefore put the on a clock). Captain Lu muses about letting the old guy fall and tossing the damn scroll case after him. They weren’t being paid to save his arse.

But it’s okay, Santher has a plan.

When Demon lets one of its hands out to take the reward (the non-clawy ones), Santher slams one of the tiny granite cubes in his hands! As it expands in grows heavier, the demon tosses it off the side, where it dangerously falls into another plane of existence. He then turns to Santher and says “no really. 300g.”

The party meekly wonders if they’ll take their other two magic cubes as payment instead. The demon examines them a bit, and then says “sure.”

So much for shenanigans, sigh.

Where a Wizard is Rescued, and a Dangerous Deal is Made

A weakened Oriam Trascalia now in their hands, the party goes to leave, when Crown Guard asks the giant of a demon: would you know of a way to find a portal I seek? The Demon grins. He has connections. He decides to join the group temporarily as they walk back to the Planewalker Guild camp, striking a bargain with the clueless Warforged. The details of which are between himself and Crown Guard. The demon leaves them shortly after.

Oriam is thankful for the party’s timely rescue; he had been trapped on that upper landing without food and without his magic (having expended it all to escape). He offers his help in the future if the party desires it. He also gladly takes the scroll case, and upon reading the message inside, he is puzzled and asks if any of them are Ghieena. The party tell him that it was the tiefling herself who sent them to find him, and that she had refused to come. Oriam is puzzled, but thankful enough that the chain of events led to his rescue. He writes a brief letter to Ghieena and her master, Fyn Longfingers to send back. He is tired, and must rest here, but promises to be here in a month’s time should they seek his help again. He tells them to hurry back if they wish to return through the entrance to Infinite Staircase in Ysgard; it will close soon!

Captain Lu sighs. “Oh well, at least these stairs are downhill.”

(one returning to Sigil montage later…)

Back in Sigil, a furious elf (named Fyn Longfingers) greets the party when they return for their pay at the Yawning Rat. He tells them how ashamed he is that his student would send an entire party out to deliver a simple message. Ghieena is nearby, in tears once again. His mood changes slightly as he reads the letter from Oriam, letting him know about the danger he was in, and how fortunate it was that a skilled group of adventurers had come along to rescue him.

Gritting his teeth, he begins to admonish Ghieena (again) for her actions, but admits that temperance must be taken; her actions, however deplorable for one of his students, ultimately saved his friend’s life. He believes this to show that if her conjuration skills are lacking, perhaps she has some ability as a diviner. He thanks the party and bids them adieu.

Captain Lu coughs, and holds out his hand. He didn’t ride a spider for free.

Ghieena meekly tells them that she doesn’t have the reward promised, having only scrounged up 160g worth. Fyn turns red, and promises to make up the difference. As the party leaves, you hear a long string of obscenities being directed to a poor tiefling girl.

Well, perhaps this will teach her the danger of making promises that a cutter can’t keep?

Session 3: An A-maze-ing Weapon
in which our heroes rub elbows with the Doomguard, get the Sodkillers and Harmonium into a fist fight, and propose three seperate deals, all of which they welch on

19th of Passion, 6th Year of Factol Jamis’s Reign

Having a Drink with Entropy

Cyan has informed our heroic party that one of the factors of the Doomguard, Nagaul, is looking for their assistance. Planebusters present to partake this pursuit are:

Soliloquy, who is using this job to pay for school
Santher, who gets a new nickname: “Fridge”.
Jasseira, who will teach the party the value of a flexible body.
Captain Lu, here to show the world that dwarf jokes are still funny.

The party are directed to a bar called the “Last Call”, that lies near the Armory (the former base of operations for the Doomguard). The neighbourhood has changed a lot since the Doomguard left for the Negative Quasielemental Planes. What once was a fairly gritty neighbourhood has started to become sterilized under the influence of the Harmonium (or to be precise, the influence of Nicolai Mabru, who allows the Harmonium to run it “unofficially”).

After Captain Lu gives the “stink eye” to a pair of Harmonium goons hanging around the Last Call, they are ushered into a private room at the back, where Nagaul and two heavily armoured Doomguard are waiting. Nagaul could easily be mistaken for being one of the Dustmen; breaking the sterotypical “boisterous” dwarf, she instead speaks in a very calm (but flat) voice. She lays the chant about the operation to the party, telling them the Doomguard seek a sword that Vartus Timlin owned, known as Lightbringer.

Timlin was once the factol of a group known as the Expansionists. About two decades ago, before the Faction War, Timlin was making plans to take over Sigil from the Lady of Pain. Well, that didn’t turn out too well for him; walking home from a strategy meeting, he stepped into an unfamiliar alley, and has been mazed ever since. Timlin was feared not for his charisma, but for Lightbringer. The Doomguard, looking to unite their fractured faction, are seeking to use the sword as a rallying cry. They’ve figured out the dark of getting into Timlin’s maze (a gold-plated rose dipped in honey, in a doorway near the Howling Balor in the Hive) as well as the way out (a plate of Timlin’s food that appears three times in the maze each day). They just need someone to get into the Maze and retrieve it.

With their instructions given, and a small supply of healing potions given, Nagaul directs that they leave immediately. The PCs depart to gather some supplies, in case this operation is not an in-and-out job.

For Those Still Following Along

As the party is out shopping (or in Jasseira’s case, stealing), they notice that a sizable group of Harmonium are following them, led by a Paladin of Bahamut. The party decides to break off, and it quickly becomes apparent the only ones the Hardheads are interested in tracking is Captain Lu.

Jasseria decides to follow them and learns that there is another group of cutters following the Harmonium. Santher decides to enter the Hive by himself, and gets kicked out by the Harmonium after failing to explain why they shouldn’t. Soliloquy goes off to do some research on Mazes, while Captain Lu has a plan.

His plan is thus:

Step 1. Bring the Harmonium in close contact with some Sodkillers who are currently hanging around the Hive.
Step 2. Antagonize the Sodkillers into attacking him.
Step 3. Yell and scream for someone like the Harmonium to save him.
Step 4. ???
Step 5. Prof— no wait, this plan still ends with the Sodkillers kicking the shit out of him.

Luckily Jasseira bluffs her way in and helps antagonize the Harmonium and Sodkillers into roughing each other up. Captain Lu tries to be something of a world wrestling champion by gorilla pressing a Sodkiller wizard into a Harmonium bloke, but merely ends up straining his back. Meanwhile, Soliloquy and Santher have entered the scene! Soliloquy casts Charm of Misplaced Wrath, sending the Paladin into a tizzy! Santher… Santher just watches.

(This will be a reoccurring theme of this campaign I’m sure.)

A quick exit from Jasseira into the gathering crowd, and one Web spell from the Sodkiller mage later, the Harmonium Paladin decides that this scuffle isn’t worth it, and calls his men off, to the jeers of the Sodkillers (who in fairness to the Harmonium, weren’t walking away unscathed either, thanks to Lu and Soliloquy). Gathered and free to move now, the party passes the Roaring Balor, holds up the gold-plated rose dipped in honey, and enters the maze…

Alright, Here’s The Plan…

[Vartus Timlin | Timlin]]‘s Maze appears before the party as a narrow alleyway that runs in various directions. The walls reach up to an unknown point in the sky, and above, the soft light of… whatever lights the Lady’s mazes… casts a sort of evening glow (it is about 6 “after-peak” when they arrive). Jasseira notices a small trail of ash leading from the “entrance” portal, indicating that someone else was here before.

As they wander the maze, they quickly come across a courtyard. The noiseless door allows them to see Vartus eating dinner, oblivious to their presence. Timlin is a giant of a man, dressed in black and carrying a a small armory of weapons (including a sword, sheathed at his side). With several days rations, they have a lot of time to sit back and just observe Timlin as he…

Santher: “Hi! We want your sword!”

…okay, plan B: trick him.

Jasseria steps in and bluffs about being a member of the Expansionists (and gives him a fake name), here to set him free. Timlin chews his food carefully, but is obviously interested in getting out of this trap that has held him for around two decades. Jasseria tells him that things are going to need to be set up so they can exit, and takes Timlin on a round-about tour of his own Maze, to subconsciously map it herself. Timlin starts becoming irritated at how unspecific Jasseria is being, and as she says that opening the portal will take at least several hours, he asks if he needs to be there while they work the ritual. Jasseria says no, and a grumpy Timlin runs off to get some sleep.

The party realizes that this plan kind of sucks, so after giving Timlin a bit of time to fall asleep, Jasseria runs off to try and steal the sword from him. Scanning the room (or rather, “alleyway”) that Timlin has made his bed in, there isn’t much to search through. Timlin himself sleeps on a pallet, dragged from a storage room the party found earlier (it also contained a body hanging from a hook, but the PCs didn’t seem to find that so worrisome). There was also a change of clothes, and a jug of water. Looking under the covers, Jasseira sees that he doesn’t sleep with the weapon, so there’s that at least. She declines to search anything else, and leaves.

That Old Plan Sucked, Here’s the NEW, NEW, NEW one…

While wandering back to the group, Jasseria notices that that group of Harmonium from earlier have followed them in. Adopting a new name, Jasseria goads them into confronting Timlin tonight, with the promise that they reward her for her cooperation. Leading to his room, the rest of the part follows behind, and watched the Harmonium barge in.

And then get their asses kicked once Vartus pulls a sword out from underneath his bed.

When the carnage is over, only the Paladin (who announces himself to be named Karnyne) is left standing for the Harmonium, but disarmed, heavily bleeding, and with all his comrades sliced in two. Jasseira follows Karnyne to finish him off, while the rest of the group moves to stop Timlin from follow him. What follows is a farce.

Captain Lu: “Y’see, Jasseira is a spy for the Hardheads, and there’s a ritual here that Soliloquy needs to cast, and we need to Fridge here to be a fridge.”
Timlin: Who’s Jasseira?
Soliloquy: I stopped paying attention about an hour ago.
Santher:_ Okay here’s the truth. We want your sword. One of your plates of food is the key out. We know where it is, and will trade you your freedom from your sword,_ Lightbringer.
Timlin: Okay, deal.

In another part of the maze, while Jasseria is twisting her knife into the Paladin’s stomach, she feels a shudder that her plans have gone completely off the rails.

Timlin Proposes his Own Plan

So the party then decides that the only solution is to try and murder Vartus Timlin in his sleep. The plan starts out great, as the party pulls a sword with the words “Lightbringer” on it from underneath his bunk. They then proceed to stab him as he sleeps.

But that just wakes him up. And Vartus does not like to be woken up. Revealing that he (shockingly) did not trust the PCs, he unsheathes the actual Lightbringer and starts hacking into Jasseria and Captain Lu.

Santher decides that now is the time to protest the party attacking a sleeping man. He first tries to convince Timlin that he isn’t there to hurt him (a difficult thing to say given that he’s go some stab wounds that suggest otherwise), and then tries to placate the raging man by trying to be completely honest that he has no intention of fighting him. Well, Timlin shockingly doesn’t believe him. So after trying unsuccessfully for about 10 seconds to prove he was telling the truth, Santher wades into combat himself.

A few rounds later, both Santher and Captain Lu are bleeding on the floor, Soliloquy is trying to run away, and Timlin has Jasseira in a hold.

“New plan,” says Timlin, “you show me how to get out of here tomorrow morning or I kill you and all of your comrades tonight.”

“I accept your terms,” says a bloodied and battered Jasseira.

20th of Passion, 6th Year of Factol Jamis’s Reign

The next morning, Timlin finds the group with a plate of his food in stow, and (with one hand still on Lightbringer) nudges the party to the exit. He allows them all to exit the maze with him, but scolds them on the other side for their deception… and then leaves Sigil with Lightbringer.

Session 2: Welcome to the Planes Blood (part 2)
In which our heroes are introduced to the lovely creatures of Pandemonium, the lovely weather in Pandemonium, and a giant demon wearing a suit

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.

When Crown Guard meets with his contact with the Sons of Mercy, Haster Mensen, he is told that the chant is that Pelchskull was picked up by the Minder’s Guild here in Sigil.

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…

The Guardian! Issue 1
The Planebusters!

“Gentlemen, meet Pelchskull,” this from Cyan, owner and operator of the Planebuster’s Guild. A powerful nycaloth and veteran of the Blood War, cyan decided it was time for a change and settled in Sigil to run the adventurer’s guild. A well respected and impeccably dressed man, Cyan can usually be seen dressed in the most fashionable and expensive clothes coloured in his namesake.

Pelchskull, on the other hand, is not so well dressed or kempt, “Hello, Hi, Hey there, Howdie,” a different greeting and a different handshake to each of the companions present:

Crown Guard: Me, the resident Warforged Hero with two souls. (See Issue 1 for a brief history.)
Jasseira: A shade with roguish charms and a quick tongue. She seems to be reliable enough but I’m not sure how smart she is. She seems to think I’m a robot, whatever that is. I quickly corrected her and explained that i was a Warforged, but i’m not sure she understood me… perhaps i should try talking slower next time…
Santher: A rune-etched Warforged from my home plane. I haven’t had the chance to have a one-on-one with him yet, but he seems a little, how shall i put this? Dim…
Does Sigil have that effect on everyone who’s been here for a prolonged time? First Jasseira and now Santher… am I next?
Soliloquy: A bookish tiefling but i sense some hidden power. She’s a wizard of some sort I believe. She didn’t say much so I’m as of yet unsure if she suffers from the same affliction as the others.

“I’m looking for your services as bodyguards. There’s an item i need to get from Pandemonium and the Howler’s only attack when they outnumber you… so, you know, safety in numbers and all that.”

“I don’t know what it does, but that’s not important, I know what it looks like at least.. that’s more than enough, is it not?” This in reply to my questioning. He was evasive about the object’s use but I managed to get that,in fact, he knew nothing about its use.

With that, we each set off to prepare for our journey.

First stop, the Sons of Mercy to see if we had more information about Pelchskull and his expedition. Nothing relevant but I did learn a bit more about the Plane of Pandemonium. I must say, I am very excited to visit a plane like this. Gusting winds, uncommon gravity, and “zoom tunnels” are but a few of the dangers to look forward to.

Next up, a visit to my old friend Kanatash to bid him good luck on his expedition to discover a portal or key to Eberron.

Finally, I headed back to my quarters to pick up my desert protection gear. The Kalashtar had to deal with sand storms that could could bleach the meat of off bones if caught unprotected and this protective gear could come in handy in a place where gusting winds were the norm.

We were to meet Pelchskull in Quake Lavender’s tavern the next day but getting in would prove to be trouble enough. Apparently not all Warforged are made equally and Santher decided to show up undressed and with no shoes (he lack of experience shows, it took me one expedition into a Reidran sandstorm to figure out that sand gets into everything! I was removing sand from my components for months after that expedition.) A burly bouncer stops Santher and tells him he can’t go in without shoes. I personally agree, proper attire must be worn for every occasion. Jasseira managed to convince the bouncer that Santher’s metallic feet actually were boots. She is a sly one, perhaps i was mistaken about her after all… time will tell.

The tavern was bustling with creatures I had never seen before, the most enchanting of which was a 6 armed woman with the lower half of a snake, I was later told she was Mary Lith (I knew a Mary once, she looked nothing like her but baked some of the best journey bread i have ever tasted.) The place was a hell hole, so chaotic. Everyone was fighting with everyone it seemed. Pelchskull was there singing on top of a table and pointed to animal trophy hanging on the wall, but getting to it would prove to be an issue.
Moving 5 feet in here was a challenge, reaching that trophy which was more than 30 feet from me would prove to be almost impossible… almost.

Jasseira had some sort of run-in with a gigantic Orc, something about someone stealing his coin but i believe she returned it to him; very nice of her.
Sol, decided it was an opportune chance to make a pass at some reptilian looking man, a Chaond I believe. As if this were the time or place for a mating ritual…
Santher, while lacking in brains, definitely makes up for it in brawn. He simply pushed his way through without trouble.
I followed Santher’s example but wasn’t as successful; a run-in with a goliath proved to be a bit of trouble. After bumping into him, I of course apologized, as anyone is wont to do in a situation such as this, and he, being the uncouth and rude individual that he is, did not accept my apology. Lucky for him I was in a hurry or I would have taught him a lesson in manners. After that unfortunate incident though we all managed to make it to the trophy which, as it turns out, was the portal to Pandemonium.

List of items every fledgling adventurer needs in Pandemonium:

  • Rope
  • Chalk
  • Goggles
  • Bees wax for your ears
  • Gear for protection from the cold
  • Special Sunrods that shed dimmer light

A not so gentle landing later, cushioned by Pelchskull, we were in the howling caves of Pandemonium. Santher decides to light up the darkness with the brightest light he could find signaling our location like a beacon to everything that can see; he gets chastised by Pelchskull. Ropes, bees wax, and coverings were used and we’re on our way. Pelchskull led the way slowly, still singing. I used some chalk to mark our way from the portal in case Pelchskull was lost or decides that we’re of no more use to him.

To someone unused to sandstorms or other such phenomena, Pandomonium is a hellish nightmare. To someone that is, Pandemonium is a surprise. I thought I came ready knowing what to expect. The winds blow at gale force and can deafen you. The walking on ceilings upside-down is disconcerting to say the least. The zoom tunnel, though, proved to be my undoing. They shoot you out with such force that it’s difficult to stop yourself. Another rough landing later with Pelchskull next to me still singing and we were on our way. These zoom tunnels will not catch me unawares again.

We finally make it to a cave where the wind dies off, somewhat. Pelchskull motions for us to keep quiet and for once stops singing; I fear there is danger lurking nearby.

Not a moment later:
“Pelchy! We thought we’d never eat you find you! Shall we con-continue?” in a shaky almost inhuman voice.

It seems “Pelchy” wasn’t too upfront with us. In front of us are the three adventurers he had hired before our group, the “Sodkillers”. But, their figures and skin are deformed. Stepping a bit closer into the light, I see that their bottom halves look like those of giant insects.

What are these insect/men creatures?
Will our adventurers defeat these hideous monstrosities?
What is purpose of the object that Pelchskull is seeking?
Is Pelchskull going to betray our heroes? Will he even survive this attack?
What’s in store for Crown Guard and his companions next?

Get the answers to these and many more questions next week in:
The Guardian: Issue 2:
If a Xaositect sings in Pandemonium does he make a sound?

Session 1: Welcome to the Planes, Blood (part 1)
In which our heroes are introduced to the Chaosmen, Quake's lovely establishment, and one of the most inhospitable places in the Outer Planes

Pelchskull’s the name, rhyming’s my thing.

16th of Passion, 6th Year of Factol Jamis’s Reign

This is it! The PCs are called into Cyan‘s office for their first big foray into the Outer Planes as part of the _Planebuster’s Guild._ Present are:

Soliloquy, the bookish Enchanter
Santher, the former excavation slave from Eberron
Crown Guard, former bodyguard, and not a robot Jassiera.
Jasseira, the plucky rogue who thinks Crown Guard is full of shit.

They’re quickly introduced to Pelchskull, a middle-aged Xaositect with a penchant for whistling and singing, who wishes to delve into the second layer of Pandemonium for an item; he wishes to hire the Planebuster’s to act as bodyguards (“the Howler’s only attack when they outnumber you…”). Under questioning from Crown Guard, Pelchskull admits that while he knows what the object looks like, he doesn’t know what it does.

Jassiera places a bet that the thing is little more than some crude drawing this berk made when he was seven.

Pelchskull offers the equivilant of 50g each up front, and promises another 50g upon completion. He tells them to meet him in Quake Lavender‘s place tomorrow, as going today would be hazardous (Jassiera knows from the place’s reputation that Quake’s is at it’s “best behaviour” on the 17th of every month. Usually). When he leaves, Cyan warns them that Chaosmen aren’t to be trusted, and to keep a keen eye on him; Pandemonium is not the place to get tricked on.

Things’ll be great when you’re downtown

The players have some downtime, so they set about looking into their own personal business.

Soliloquy does some research into Pandemonium, and picks up an Endure Elements ritual for the party to help fight off the biting cold, as well as some earwax to drown out (some of) the howling wind.

Santher helps keep Sigil Razorvine free, and starts looking into getting a shoulder-mounted crossbow. He manages to get the name of a gnome, Blus Goldglitter, who used to do some work on Modron Outcasts in Sigil. Blus left after the Faction War, but a name is a good place to start.

Crown Guard checks in with a contact of his with the Sons of Mercy, a half-orc named Haster Mensen. He checks to see if there has been any chant about this Pelchskull character, and is told that it seems Pelchy was asking around a few months ago to see if anyone was willing to accompany him to Pandemonium. Haster laments that a trio of Sodkillers offered him a better deal… and there’s been some dark that the Sellswords were looking for him. He also hears a rumour that a certain man he’s looking for was spotted on Mechanus

Jasseira meanwhile ends up going to the Festhall to get her own information about the plane of Pandemonium. Result: that last Sensate failed pretty hard! Undeterred, she looks into Pelchskull’s background, and finds out he’s an artist! She visits his abode in the Hive, looking to break into his place, but finds that his house is covered in some disgusting, smelly, sap. Steeling her nerves, she instead knocks on the front door and convinces Pelchskull to give him some of his worst work for display at the Festhall. He gives Jasseria a portfolio filled with 8 blank pages, one picture of a devil in a pink dress, and an elaborate painting of some dogs playing a card game. She throws the dog painting out, thinking it will never sell.

Welcome to Quake’s Place

17th of Passion, 6th Year of Factol Jamis’s Reign

Approaching the (in)famous tavern in the hive, the party sees numerous unconscious creatures outside, either stone drunk, beaten unconscious, or soundly sleeping. Inside, the roar of what looks to be a rousing bar fight is occuring inside, with humanoids from all over the multiverse inside, including several demons, the most scary looking being a Marilith. Behind the bar is a fairly attractive lady whom Jasseira would recognize as Quake Lavender, the owner of this establishment. She is one of the few people passively watching the action; the rest are either fighting, dancing, or playing Old Maid. Pelchskull is inside, singing and dancing on a table while an elf piledrives a kobold into a wooden chair. Upon spotting the party at the entrance, he waves at them and points to a stuffed trophy on the wall, the head of a giant pig-looking animal with several huge teeth (but not tusks, as one would see on a normal pig… it’s a hippo, although none of the players would recognize one as such).

Of course, moving that 30 or so feet across the bar to get to the trophy is easier said than done with the chaos inside. The first problem is getting Santher in; whereas Crown Guard came dressed in full clothing, Santher is his normal robot-looking self. The burly Khaasta bouncer stops him from coming in, pointing to a blackboard emblazoned with “Rules for Quake’s Tavern” upon it: “_No Shoes, No Service.”_ Luckily for Santher, Jasseira is able to convince the bouncer that the metal plating on his feet is a kind of shoe.

No one gets across the room entirely unscathed; Jasseira ends up getting caught pilching some money off a ripped Orc, Crown Guard runs into some trouble with a Goliath he runs into (who may or may not have been a Level 17 Warden), and Soliloquy ends up dancing with a Chaond, who falls in love with her when Sol snaps and yells at the brute to let her go (he is apparently a “M”). Santher doesn’t run into any big issue… but, well, Santher is a Bleaker, which is in a way, its own punishment. A bit roughed up but no worse for wear, the group follows the singing Pelchskull into the Hippo’s mouth.

The Rolling Green Fields of Pandemonium

Pandemonium is as terrible as advertised; it’s pitch black, cold, and the wind sounds like a hurricane, constantly billowing through the area. The party immediately begins taking preventative measures, inserting bees wax into ears (they could barely hear anything anyway) and tying loose articles of clothing down (sadly for Soliloquy, her designer earmuffs won’t stay on, but her horns catch them so she doesn’t lose them). Crown Guard takes to practically wearing rope as body armour; his clothes aren’t going anywhere. After a bit of yelling and hand gestures, the party ties a rope to everybody, ensuring that if one person falls into a a “zoom tunnel”, everyone will. The party, not trusting Pelchskull (and too afraid to try and understand the runes they walk on), resolves to mark their path back to the portal in chalk.

Looking at Pelchskull, the party can tell he’s still singing, but damned if you can hear a word of it between the earwax and the wind. Pelchskull has in his hand what looks like a sun rod, although it shines with the intensity of a regular torch. He chastises Santher for trying to use his built in light source (it’s too bright), and hands a modified sun rod to everyone but Crown Guard, who has his own light source (but a bit dimmer). Travel is slow, as Pelchskull kneels down to read whatever is scrawled on the surface of the cavern, following them up walls and ceilings, sometimes going in literal circles (and sometimes in perfect squares).

As you press forward, you notice that Pelchskull motions you guys to “be quiet” (as if anything else could honestly be heard above the blasted winds), as he leads you down into a tunnel. Immediately upon entering this tunnel, you hear the wind die considerably; there is still a stiff breeze moving through, but nothing compared to the horrid wind above. Like many areas of Cocytus, many passages branch off, but Pelchskull still seems to still be following some vague directions that the markings on the wall makes.

Travel is still rough, but the party is lucky enough to not encounter the worst of Pandemonium‘s gusts. The biggest obstacle becomes exiting out of one of Pandemonium’s famous “gravity cancelling” tunnels that shoot its occupants through at high speeds; Crown Guard tries in vain to slow his exit, but ends up crashing (along with Pelchskull) into a wall (Soliloquy manages to avoid being injured by landing ontop of Pelchskull).

As the party presses forward, they notice that Pelchskull motions to “be quiet” (as if anything else could honestly be heard above the blasted winds), as leads them down into a tunnel. Immediately upon entering this tunnel, they can hear and feel that the wind die considerably; there is still a stiff breeze moving through, but nothing compared to the horrid wind above. Like many areas of Cocytus, many passages branch off, but Pelchskull still seems to still be following some vague directions that the markings on the wall makes. Bees wax is removed, and some lights and stealth check are doused.

As Pelchskull creeps forward, a shaky voice blurts out:

Pelchy! We thought we’d never eat you find you! Shall we con-continue?

Emerging into Pelchskull’s light are a trio of figures, one half-orc and two human. They wear the garb of the Minder’s Guild, but they’re figures and skin are deformed. Stepping a bit closer into the light, the party can clearly see that their bottom halves looks like they come from a giant insect; Pelch whimpers slightly; the Murska have been waiting for his return…

Adventure time!

Adventure Time! is proud to announce The Guardian.

A story of Good vs Evil; Spirits, robots, maidens, and monsters.
Join us every week and follow the adventures of: Crown Guard – the sleepless Guardian, his spirit friend Noavakri, and their companions on their grand adventures to rescue a kidnapped princess and defeat the evil Quori empire!