To Chance with Hell (Planescape)
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The Blood War
Every planar, from the deepest hole in Pandemonium, to the loftiest heights of the Mount Celestia, knows about the Blood War. All blood spilled across the multiverse is but a drop in the ocean of gore that has been this oldest of conflicts. And there’s no end in sight. The lawful baatezu and the chaotic tanar’ri have locked horns since they first stumbled on each other. These two forces are arguably the most powerful of the fiends, and millions of the vile creatures march and seethe across the Lower Planes, great machines and dark spells are designed and thrown into the conflict, lives and supplies are sucked in never to be seen again. The only way it will ever end is one side completely annihilates the other. Many graybeards believe it is a war to determine the face of evil. Others just write it off as proof that evil defeats itself in the end, and are thankful the fiends have something to keep themselves busy. How the war started is anyone’s guess, but no one seems to remember a time the Blood War wasn’t raging across the Lower Planes.
The war takes place mostly on Gehenna, the Gray Waste, and Carceri, but its horrors touch every part of the multiverse and just about every group is involved in it one way or the other. The yugoloths and other fiends stand in the middle of the conflict as mercenaries, joining whoever suits their own interests at the time only to turn stag a moment later. They are as trustworthy in battle as they are with history. Lawful forces aid the baatezu, preferring the evil they know over the evil they don’t, while chaotic forces favor the tanar’ri, hoping that they will prevail over tyranny. The forces of good continue to be split over how to deal with the Blood War and as a result do a little bit of everything, but not much of anything. Some believe the good powers are the ones responsible for keeping the war going so long, as it’s a widely accepted fact that a consolidated evil force could overrun the Upper Planes. Only by keeping evil divided can the forces of good survive, so the chant goes. Truth being, none of the powers have been known to interfere directly. Sure, they’ll manipulate events and send supplies to whatever side they favor, but no acts of divine might ever take place in the war. Whatever the dark of the war is, it’s a blessing for the rest of the multiverse, especially Sigil. Neither side can claim the Cage without immediate reprisals from the other, so both sides are real leery about sending forces into the city.
Still, Sigil can hardly claim to be above the war. Baatezu and tanar’ri alike use it to trade weapons and other supplies, for spying, and to recruit (or otherwise obtain) soldiers to fight in the war. Great fame, wealth, and power are said to await anyone who survives service in the war, but trust me berk, you’re far more likely to end up in the dead-book the first day than see a glimpse of reward. Besides, you’d have to be plain barmy to take a fiend’s word.