To Chance with Hell (Planescape)

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!

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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!