Thursday, 15 March 2012

Scrawling over the Classics Planescape part 4 Pandemonium

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF I don't have access to a scanner and I so wanted to draw up some of this shit up and scan it.
technology is lawful evil!  Baator needs forms! Okay I found out about Henrich Kley and it's going to be like that for this post okay?   
Also cannot get camera to talk to computers , I brought a new cable for it and everything. It is frustrating no small amount I can tell you. Also? My give a shit take is on nearly empty right now and my head has the chemical buzzing like small refrigerators. I will do my Princessly best to make this worth the use of your eyeballs skins but if I just wind up type fuck shit balls arson over and over do not be too surprised.

Its tunnels and winds!
I like Pandemonium . I reckon there's fun to be had here! If nothing else , you get to play some really harsh ambient drone music for a sound track. There's this c.d , called Our Glassy Azoth (not sure if that's the album or the band name) that I got for a dollar from a bargain bin that has the most amazing horrible alien soundscape noise. No listen for you, because I can't find it.
Look okay short notice , heres a live recording of Coil doing elves.  Haha that's actually the kind of joke that they would make.  Play loud for instant Pandemonia player immersion. Skip to 3 30 minutes in if you must. Best Orchestral Industrial Gay Sex Magic band ever.

 "No there's no blood in my alcohol tonite, I have some horse tranquilizer  for later, though.....I have a tranquilized horse for later... its back stage... I tranquilized a horseeeee...for later..."

It's a safe bet anyone who got that reference has owned a black trenchcoat at some point in their lives.

So tunnels and wind? NOOOo I just wanna talk about Coil... okay fine. SO for adventures here just draw maps that look like intestines fucking
more that here:

Wait. ANyone need back round info on this plane?
Its wind and tunnels! Okay it's maddening dark black tunnels with wind that's either howling or skin shredding. THe sound drives everyone batfuck, and there's oh look I'm just going to paste from  because it's more interesting than the other wiki on it and 
bold is meeee
Pandemonium is a great mass of matter pierced by uncountable tunnels carved by the howling winds of the plane. It is windy, noisy, and dark since there are no natural sources of light. The wind will quickly extinguish any normal fires, and lights that last longer draw attention of wights who have been driven insane by the constant howling wind.   No we can do better than wights. More about that soon.

Every word, scream, or shout uttered is caught by the winds and flung to every corner of all of the layers of the plane. (this is good, there is Howlers which are like spikey wolves , but guess who drew them so they rule, anyway so, I, reckon HOWLER KINGS are a thing, they are big all their spikes have grown into a crazy tall crown and they are long, dirty and elegant, and they know which caverns the whispers stick to, and so they know all kinds of stuff and they will share their eavesdroppings but they give you a little quest to do afterwards, but they get all Hannibal Lecter on you and make it something that fucks with your head in some weird way. Um.. a crude way to mechanical represent this is give the character who asked the question a saving throw penalty (say.. will?) until the player works out what this quest is testing or saying about them or trying to teach them.. This hopefully makes the player all like ahh MY HEAD. 
I'm going give an example am I not? 
I swear there was another picture of a howler that he did?
Okay You play Joe BowJob the ranger and the HowlerKing tells you want you want to know (d6 1-3 it knows, 4 -5 it vaguely knows and is a dick about it6 it does not know)  and then says okay nowwwsss youss must escort thisss limbless lamb through the whissssperingg woodsss throough the porrrtalll. ANd Joe BowJob does and all kinds of stuff trys to eat the lamb, and all his rations have worms and nothing is good to eat. and so he either has to eat crap and gets sick or he has to kill the lamb and eat it.

 THe lesson is "nature is a cold heartless fucker, stop thinking your better than everyone cause you live outdoors"
 If the character does not do the quest the HowlerKing curses you so whenever you try and sleep you overhear anything nasty said about you anywhere.
 Conversation can be accomplished by shouting and even then the words are spirited away by the wind before traveling farther then 10 feet.Would it be fun to make everyone stand in a different room and yell at each other what they are doing, while , you the d.m walk in and out of the rooms so you know what the hells going? Coz It would work well for fostering paranoia of doppelgangers, betrayal and party theft. Plus some of the monster ideas I have below.

The stale wind of Pandemonium is cold, and it steals heat from any unprotected travelers. The endless gale buffets each inhabitant, blowing sand and dirt into eyes and carrying away loose items. In some places, the wind howls so fiercely that it lifts creatures off their feet and carries them for miles before dashing their forms against some dark cliff face or another. People have been known to be battered to pieces, their bones eventually ground to dust and added to the excess of sand being blown about. I like this. Natural traps that are just small holes in the tunnel , that sand blast the skin off anything in the way of the hole. Also puzzles with say a cave with huge gorge , and whatever you want on the other side. On the players side is a series of tunnel exits blowing wind, if they block all but one up the wind flow is strong enough to shoot someone to the other side. 
MAybe have some creatures using this earlier, with a swiss cheese wall that they jam all kinds of broken weapons and glass and bones into one hole, and then pull a switch and all these hatches slam over the other holes, and the wind blasts out of the remaining hole sending all the shrapnel rocketing forward. The first layer Pandesmos has bigger tunnels and spaces suiting this kind of shenanigans.

Also the worlds most horrible hydroslide is an option here, with the players on some kind of shitty ass row boat with wheels and a sail, shooming down some absurd fast wind speed tunnels.
 And have to make lightning fast decisons, "okay youse going left or right?" "up or down?" Under the spikes or over the spikes?" There is so many video games with this kind of nonsense. Maybe this is my low level adventure idea. THe party needs to get somewhere in pandemonia and worrys about running around and being destroyed by random encounters.
 So this addlecoved cutter is like "wahey lets I'll take you on my tunnel boat, I do trips across the first layer of pandemonia once a day for some hearty jink" and the party is like sweet (or says ah fuck it, lets go rob someones house in the upper ward) 
BUT then the mad tunnel boatmen gets injuryed or killed, and the party have to follow his stupid bleeding directions or maybe if he's dead , he has the way through the tunnels written in some crazyman rhyming bullshit.
Maybe have it like this mechanic which I can't remember what the fuck it's called (friction? heat? tension?) where everytime the players choose wrong, you make a note that they have one more going-wrong-point and at the end you look at their point total and see where they end up , and the higher the point total the worser the place they arrive at.
 Or possible have a couple of number totals that are actually really good even involve racking up a point total of 14. OR just make a roll on a table and add the point total to it, and higher is worse results. Table entrys would be like oh knows fungus in the way, or Spikes at your head, or crazy cavern jump, or rough ground damages wheel, really small tunnel have to duck for cover. 

MAybe this could be a time sensitive quest so you anything slowing them down or trashing the boat (and required absurd jury rigged repairs) can be enough of a bad result to make the party cuss and shake their fists at the uncaring skys.

picture unrelated

In a few relatively sheltered places, the wind dies down to just a breeze carrying the haunting echoes from distant parts of the plane, though these sounds are so distorted that they sound like cries of torment- which they very well may be!  


There are very few residents of this plane. SEE BELOW I MADE NEW MONSTERS Beyond a few nests of fiends, the only other residents are the Banished. These wretched creatures are the descendants of mortalhumans, goblinoids, giants, dwarves, drow, and other races that could never find their way out. None recall who banished them, but they form rag-tag groups that make up the sad bastions of civilization to be found on this plane.
or short  people that replaces their heads with tools?

blah blah here is crazy man village you try and buy something but oh noes roll d12
1- absurdly cheap! Like force you at sword point to take all their stock of what ever you want to buy
2-everything is so fine. and not weird at all and totally stress this fact about how normal and happy and everything everyone is and how the equipment looks decent and the prices are fair
3-10% of money is refused on the grounds that its fake, or has rude imagery or has some royal everyone hates or looks like that guy anyway
4-Coins not used. Just rocks. Just the right kind of rocks. 1 in 4 chance of anyrock presented to the shop owner being acceptable. If players start asking about what makes an acceptable make up some shit and but still have the shop keeper turn them down 75% of the time. "oh no, you see how this sedimentary and has a slant eplisoid  tilt to it? That is normally acceptable but only if its a clockwise tilt. This , I'm afraid is counter clockwise " Encourage players to make wisdom checks to look out for just the right kind of rock. It wouldn't do them any good.
5-roll again but this time have a flat 50% chance that half way through the transaction up number of townsfolk walk into the shop, and then they and the shopkeepers matter of factly draw weapons and attack, with a completely casual indifference
6-Choose one player that everyone in town discriminates against in complete arcane way "hey look at that frigging Lobeswinger, Pike off Lobeswinger, we don't want none of your shellfish around here!"
7-Shop keeper talks backwards
8- Everything is labelled and sold as something else torches as spoons etc. Shop is in the style of general store with everything behind the counter so you have to ask for what you want
9-Everything pretends to be deaf and illiterate . Actually are not. Use charades for communication
10-Shop unattended. Everything, and I mean everything, is nailed down.
11- Shopkeeper directs all questions to a hand puppet. Hand puppet overcharges. Shopkeeper starts argument with hand puppet and stabs it. Then is helpful and gives discounts before passing out from blood loss. Immediately another shopkeeper with a hand puppet enters from back room and repeats process
12- Win a paper scissor stone contest for a discount on food and perishables. Win a paper scissor stone wind beetle xorn contest for a discount on armour and weapons. Win a paper scissor stone rock beetle xorn paladin orb of destruction crossbow fireball shoes contest for a discount on anything else.

picture unrelated

Most petitioners are immediately swallowed by the winds and merge with it. A few actually take physical form, however. They appear much as they did in life, but they are bonier, and the howling winds seem to affect them as much as they do visitors of the plane. Also, most of them are utterly insane. And some have tool heads

gravity: if you live here, you get to decide which tunnel surface is down for you. If you don't , you don't. Down stays whatever direction for you that it was when you entered Pandemonia. Until you fail 4 will saves or wisdom checks. Then you can make a wisdom check to change which tunnel surface is down for you. Note:you have to fail this wisdom check though
Howlers, and other natives will use this to their full advantage, running along the "ceiling" to drop down with impaling attacks and then to fall back up to the ceiling again.


Pandemonium consists of four layers.


This is the first layer of Pandemonium and the largest. Relative to the other layers, at least, it is the most hospitable. The headwaters of the River Styx are found here flowing sometimes through the middle of caverns and tunnels since gravity has little pull here.
waters mean fish!


Part of this cavern is given over to winter's snow and ice. Here frost giants and winter wolves prowl, seeking what prey they can find.   SUre but dull. Although if those frost giants have never had a chance to stand up in their lives and drag them selves around surprisingly fast, their bulk filling the tunnel , their eyes wild and complete devoid of sane thought, and it lunges a calloused hand grasping the unlucky torch bearer  and biting his head clean off. And now it's dark, and loud with the sounds of chewing and muttering and the scrape of a great bulk still coming toward you. 


Cocytus, the second layer, is known as the Layer of Lamentation. It is here that the howling winds are strongest. The caverns and tunnels of this layer are smaller than those of the previous layer. Strangely, the passages here show signs of being hand chiseled but who might have done this and when it occurred is a mystery to all but a few learned sages.
those wacky sages. Where do they learn this? Also this layer needs huge open caverns with rock formations like organ pipes that play music. Horrible music. Possibly if you had some crazy musical  artifact that you needed to play a tune on , here's where you would try and find it. Maybe there's a place here where all the music that's ever been played is being howled all at the same time by the wind whipping through frightening rock formations. The cacophony its called.


The caverns and tunnels of this layer are even smaller than the previous layer and many passages require crawling to get through. Of course, this tends to focus the force of the wind, so getting through these tunnels is a miserable experience.

Dripping water joins the wind's cacophony here. AND LITTLE POOLS WITH FISH Gravity is fairly normal on this layer so it pulls the water downward.

 Minerals are leeched from the cavern roofs and walls creating stalagmite and stalactite formations of rare beauty. Of course, the wind seeks to continually distort and destroy these shards of serenity.
lets play mistake rock formations for enemys! And have people that throw poison knives standing really still near these strangely human looking rock formations! Or tucked away in little grottos or alcoves near invisible in the bizarre twisting shadows. They are deadly silent except for the occasional giggle


Agathion is the fourth and final layer of Pandemonium. It has only isolated caverns without any connecting tunnels. These chambers, howeve r, contain portals that lead to otherplanes.

Many of these caverns have stale air within them if any at all. Surrounded by solid stone, these bubbles of space hide many secrets. It is rumored that many a deity has either stashed treasures of great value or imprisoned beasts to mighty to be slain in these small, rounded rooms of stone.

Somewhere in the lower planes someone makes sculptures by trapping animals in these spaces and using magic to sustain and spur their growth horribly them until they grow to the very contours of the spherical rock, eventually dying from the bone pushing against organs. This vast skeletal ball is then teleported out and makes a fine conversation piece for your hellish entry way.
If you find a portal leading to one of these and are willing to fight a pig that's nearly taking up the entire 20 foot diameter chamber and can kill it and dig through its guts, you can find the ring of substance and abnormal growth implanted inside it! 


Ah lets go back to regular font 
so GasperMen gliding along the floors and ceilings real sneaky like possessed door mats or manta rays, and then rear up gibbering (will save or paralysis) if it works they snatch on to you and fly off and dump you somewhere and then go back to to split the party up more, before finishing people off.

Okay I was drawing up these ones that were going to be like the fiends of pandemonia but no scanner so pfft.
Anyway these guys. 3 kinds. The  Kleshas,  "the 3 poisons" Desiderium , Dominus, and  Abhorreo .
All Klesha are surprisingly stealthy and have exact visual knowledge of their surroundings in 300 feet radius, even through barriers such as stone or darkness. Also true seeing.


Desiderium appear as naked humanoid with 2 great hands emerging from their back. The hands are arranged as wings the palms open and front facing and each one is bigger than the humanoid in between them, the feet of which do not touch the ground . The hands constantly feel out the surroundings. In a narrow environment the fingers support the central figure by pressing against the sides of the tunnel but in the rare event of encounter one in a open space the hands rotate , still palm forward, but with the fingers touching the ground. The central figure appears to be a drugged haze , with eyes closed and a smile of ecstasy on its face. Wounding the central figure does nothing to change the expression even though wounds to it are fatal as any other creature.

Like all Klesha it seeks to turn others into more of it. It either does this choosing a particular avaricious individual and tailing them slightly or  by isolating an individual by killing or otherwise removing its companions. That individual is "marked" .It then silently follows just out of sight of the individual, (sometimes in a parallel tunnel) and keeps the target safe from other monsters. Natives of pandemonia can tell when someone has been "marked" by a Klesha although some are crazy or dumb enough not to care. The desiderium can the make minor illusions to hint at shelter , the re-appearance of companions or treasure if the individual is so motivated. The more effort spent to chase these the more the taint grows (represent by wisdom loss everytime the player states "I want..." or  "I need.." (either in or out of character) deduct a point of wisdom. MAybe give them a save if you want, but either way tell them they just lost a point of wisdom. Don't tell them why of course) . If the reach zero wisdom they slip into a coma. If the Desiderium can get hold of them it will spend a hour gently cooing and massaging their flesh into a malleable putty and shape them into a egg like shape. The "egg" will then hatch , and the new Desiderium will emerge (the old form appearing as the humanoid in the middle). 

Desiderium are loners however and will not remain around an "egg" that it has formed.

 If the marked individual resists desire repeatedly and shows no sign of wavering , the Desiderium will kill them if they feel the have a reasonable chance to do so.

In Combat they attack with grabbing and crushing with one hand at a time (the desiderium can only move slowly if one hand is so engaged) or flinging a grabbed individual into its companions. It can also make the tips of its fingers sticky and seize weapons or shields in this way. SOme times it will use this on a marked individual, to take a beloved object and then run away.
art by Cédric Plante done especially for this!

Dominus appear as gaunt human figure with a row of stitches running from the groin to the top of the torso. It has no sex organs and instead of a head and neck it has a tall paper crown. Blood stains are seen in the paper crown occasionally that are suggestive of a face bleeding on the other side of the crown.
Dominus are a lot more aggressive than Desiderium and will sometimes attack and kill things without regard for anything other than killing. In combat they may inflict a variety of hold person , command, and domination effects with grandiose hand gestures. They have little strategy about this other than sewing confusion. THey attack with frightful strength despite their withered frame, often grasping one opponent  by a limb and using them as a club against others. Sometimes they will already be in command of weaker inhabitants of Pandemonia and will send them forth to die, sometimes supporting them with physical attacks and powers sometime merely observing.
Dominus create more of them selves by repeatedly  dominating a stupid or weak creature and then having that serving a marked individual. The more the individual relishes or abuse there new found minion the more wisdom them they lose (effects as Desiderium) . Again once the individual has fallen into a coma, it either commands the marks minion to carry them off, or it attacks immediately. Left alone with the mark, it will take off its crown (revealing another crown underneath of the exact dimensions of the first) and place it over their head and neck. The mark head and neck are then dissolved into bloody goo by the crown over the next hour. The new Dominus will awake and proceed to strip off it's clothes , pull off any external genitals and scoop out its guts and organs, and sew itself shut, using hair , pieces of cloth or intestinal strips.

Abhorreo appear as a black blurred resembledge of beetles standing on 2 legs, with an empty skin crudely draped over it's multiple mouth parts and antennas.
It has similar approaches to reproduction as desiderium but instead uses hate, paranoia and distrust. With illusions relating to the same (same mechanics but use words like I don't trust, or suspicions  of other people in the group). 
If has gotten a mark into a coma , it will peel their skin off and stuff it full of discards shell plates from its hide. It will then leave in to rot inside the skinless corpse, and after a week a new Abherreo will emerge.

In combat they have a varying amount of bladed fangs, claws, and hooks (roll a d4 each round , thats how many attacks it gets ) and can cast off their skin and fling in to wrap around a target holding them fast like a rubber straight jacket. IF the skin is damaged beyond repair, the Abhorreo will peel a new one off the first available body. While it lacks a skin it cannot mark or use its illusion powers.

This took way too long, I am so going to sleep now. No proof reading for you, I've been at this for maybe 5 hours or something. What the butt I tells you What the butt.


  1. Also the worlds most horrible hydroslide is an option here, with the players on some kind of shitty ass row boat with wheels and a sail, shooming down some absurd fast wind speed tunnels.
    And have to make lightning fast decisons, "okay youse going left or right?" "up or down?" Under the spikes or over the spikes?"

    pandemonic indeed

  2. I really really really like this series.

  3. This post was incredibly long, and often difficult to read. It was organized in such a way that I found myself confused where you were going with your idea, or where you were coming from when you presented it. You posted dark grey text over a darker grey background, which was frankly even difficult to read when highlighted.

    AND YET, somehow, it all made perfect sense and was a wonderful, brilliant, inspiring, extremely creative post. Thank you for sharing your ideas on Planescape. Your blog is definitely one to follow!

  4. I love the idea toolhead people. I'll have to think more about toolheads.

  5. @ian johnson I do know how that text went grey. I should change is back, it is kind of cruel. Now that I read over the post it seems a tad infected with chaotic neutral evil. I glad you liked it despite all its meandering . I figure the longer the better for a posts when it's game ideas.

  6. also? I can't get over how fucked that map would be to try and play through. Just look at it and try and imagine trying to keep track of it with only someone's spoken explanation of what's happening. I presume the follow the left hand wall all the way to the end still works though. Although maybe with those one way tunnels (presume hella hella strong winds blowing down them, so you could make it if you very slowly spiked and roped your way along) would mess with that? Damn it Jim , I'm a princess not a topologist !

  7. Whoa the bit about frost giants is an unexpected waking fucking nightmare.