To Chance with Hell (Planescape)

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…