Shemmy's Planescape Storyhour #2 (Updated x3 10-17-07)





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    Shemmy's Planescape Storyhour #2 (Updated x3 10-17-07)

    This one won't be getting updated here quite as often as the 1/week rate of the first ongoing storyhour. However I will be writing it up concurrently with the campaign, unlike the 2 year lag with the 1st one. I'm still trying to come up with a decent name for this campaign and its storyhour, but it's going to be different from the 1st one which was pretty much (Wherever you go, there's a 'loth). The 'loths aren't the focus of this one, though they will show up as it applies.

    This storyhour and its campaign take place roughly 150 years after the events of the first storyhour. However you won't need to know the results of the 1st one to follow this one since I'm trying to focus on a different section of the planes so as not to get repetative on themes here.

    That said, keep in mind that as this progresses there may be spoilers for the 1st storyhour, but I'll try to write this in such a way so as to minimize those. This first post contains very very few real spoilers. My players especially are advised to read at their own risk. It doesn't give anything away, but you will be aware of the existence of certain things that may develop into metaplot later on depending on how it develops and what you do.

    But here you go, hope that you enjoy:


    ****


    The battered, ancient landscape of the fractured cube hung suspended in the void of Tintibulus, the 3rd layer of Acheron, slowly tumbling through the darkness. Nestled upon the surface of the continent sized hunk of iron, something moved to keep pace with the turning of the surface in order to stay suspended in the shadow of one of the larger cubes that hung in the sky like a black sun.

    The mobile fortress moved like a living thing, and perhaps it was in some ways, though it was constructed of steel and stone, rather than bone and sinew. And rather than living flesh, flush with life, it was held together by the unholy union of tens of thousands of mortal corpses, suffused with the grim touch of negative energy that washed through its veins like slowly pumping blood. The fortress was insensate and uncaring to the ring of the cubes that echoed through the eternal night above, below, and all around, like the bells of a choir of fallen angels still pining for their lost glory.

    But while the fortress may have been oblivious to the logical disharmony of the crash of the cubes of Avalas and Thuldanin, the occupants of the vessel were not. Four of them in all, brought together by little more than the mutual fact that they were all, in their own unique ways, exiles. All of them sat in silence and gazed up through the glass dome above their heads, watching the dim and distant glow of the cubes above them slowly turn like cold, dead stars.

    “And another year closer…” The second of the Pentad, the one known only as Death, whispered softy as their moment of somber silence in respect for their missing and imprisoned fifth member ended.

    “Once more, as we have every five minor cycles of the gears, we meet again. Still four of five, but still resolute in our mutual, disparate aims, we come together to reaffirm our views and report on the progress that another cycle has brought to us.” The soft voice of the one known only as The Visionary rippled over the chamber.

    The first of the two heads of the one known as Tyranny glanced at the porcelain mask over the speaker’s face, nodding, as his other head still stared up at the darkness above. “Much has occurred, though precious little of it directly at our instigation.”

    The telepathic whisper of it known as The Risen answered, “If you feel that way, then you’re thinking far too conventionally. Look upon the Astral and the chaos that swirls in the silvery void. True, it may not be directly at our instigation, but we stoke the fires and grow ever closer to the goals of at least one of us.”

    Death nodded and a wash of silvery, filamentous light erupted from beneath the hood of his robe as he moved and smiled.

    The Risen continued, “And your own actions of late upon the Waste have served a purpose, even if our eyes are not concerned with the yugoloths in the slightest.”

    “Not yet at least.” Tyranny’s second head said ambitiously, its mandibles clattering.

    “Of course, that begs the question of what to do at all currently regarding the ‘loths. How do we approach or handle the… events… that transpired there?” Death whispered with yet another wash of silvery light from under his hood.

    The Visionary answered quickly with neither emotion in her voice, or showing on her mask, “The same as the ‘loths themselves: we act as if nothing has happened whatsoever. If nothing has happened then there is no need to rationalize, make excuses, or answer questions regarding it. The ravaged status quo is unblemished so far as we need concern ourselves.”

    “But,” She continued, “As the Risen has said, our eyes are not concerned with them. The other fiends are of course, another matter entirely, be it they in general, or certain of them in specific…”

    The Visionary’s hands began to shake as she paused and inhaled deeply. The others gave her time to recover from her memories, given that the Risen and Tyranny experienced emotions very much differently from her, given her status as the only mortal among their ranks, and that Death no longer had the capacity for true emotions.

    “What of The Imprisoned?” Tyranny asked them all as he conjured forth a diagram of the planes in the center of the room, focused on the inner planes.

    “That question has raged on our minds for the past century, ever since his whispers to us ended. His jailors are powerful, that is certain.” Death replied.

    “If they exist.” The Visionary said slowly, “And I know more than something about jailors…”

    “It is up for debate, but I may have some way of testing that. We shall see in the next cycle.” Death answered.

    There was a distinct pause as their collective thoughts wandered to the circumstances surrounding the loss of their fifth member. It was every bit as much a member of the Pentad as they were, and it had been as valued a partner in their mutual goals since the formation of their order. Still, its silence was lengthy and weighed heavily on them all.

    “And of the Astral? It seems that the status quo has simply been shifting back and forth from one side to the other.” The Risen spoke, breaking the silence.

    “Not forever it won’t. Our contacts in Slaan, Ilkool Rrem and the City of Devourings have made that abundantly clear.” Death said with a whisper.

    “And if it does, when they enter the conflict, what side do we support? Though the answer seems obvious to me.” The Visionary responded.

    “As you said, the answer is obvious. Our own side.” The Risen replied swiftly and with a maw of fangs flashing in the subdued light.

    “Though admittedly I am predisposed to certain specific persons, if not their entire side. Past debts and all, though the past may swiftly be catching up with them if the other business I had referred to in my sending before today have even a shred of truth to them.” Death said as he clasped his glistening, ethereal fingers together in a semblance of prayer.

    “And what of Object 105?” The Tyrant asked bluntly and abruptly.

    “Please do not speak of it so casually…” The Risen said as its eyes glowed in the shadows where it sat like twin lamps in the gloom of Hades.

    Death gave a deep breath before answering, “We have leads on material linked to it, but the archives have been expunged and stripped bare of any reference to its existence. Njul is dead and seemingly unwilling to return to life to answer our queries, and the once and current factol who was responsible for that fact seems to have been responsible for the purge. The Sodkillers have washed their hands of it entirely.”

    The Tyrant nodded and spoke, “Ortho seemingly has nothing on the matter and I am nearly certain that it was done without the Harmonium’s prime material power base even being aware of its existence. The Arcadian and Sigilian branches of the faction have also been similarly purged of any records of the period. However while I am certain that they existed, like the Sodkillers, they seem to have divested themselves of culpability.”

    “They would… as if willing it to be so would divest them of their sins…” The Risen’s eyes flickered with inner flames.

    “Calm yourself. There’s nothing you can do regarding it at present till we know more. Besides, entry into Sigil seems out of the question for you, and me for that matter, and something makes me think that Ortho would have nothing to do with you, current status or not.” The Visionary said in the direction of the Risen.

    The Risen gave no reply, but the tension was reduced drastically.

    “But earlier, you mentioned other material. From the scraps that we have found so far, what does it suggest?” The Visionary asked of Death.

    “They were afraid of it, horrified enough to rewrite history, whatever it was, and they have sought to erase it from existence these past hundred years. I am keenly interested for my own reasons, as is the Tyranny, but I have begun to worry of late that there are others involved in this as well. It takes much to worry me you understand…” Death responded.

    The Risen nodded, “Indeed.”

    “Object 105 was important to them, and then something happened and it was buried. It was forgotten and nearly erased from history, and for reasons that are not entirely certain, everything that touched it has suffered nearly the same fate as it.”

    “An entire cube does not simply vanish, and I of any of us should be keenly aware of that. What in the name of Marsallin did they do?” The Tyrant questioned.

    “I have my theories, and most of them are my worries.” Death said coldly.


    ***


    ”I hear Him, though but dimly at times. He whispers to me in the darkness of my heart and I am afraid. I am afraid that I will not hear Him clearly, and that I will ere in my actions. I fear that my interpretation of those commands may be false, and He demands and deserves better from his chosen. But I do not speak this to my flock, to His faithful. No, no I do not. Truth and control do not matter, only that their illusion exists.
    I listen to the darkness and there He rages! His fury at Her is ceaseless! Who is She!!? Who does She think She is to deny both birthright and destiny? What does She hide and what does She want? She fears us, She fears my Love, but why?”



    ***


    The silvery void of the Astral, perfect and timeless, was sullied and impure. If to view the void was to touch the serene face of a god, it would have had a mote in its eye. The Astral was aflame with war. Distantly the Psurlon city of O’pak’shael burned in the glowing serenity of that vast and pure emptiness. A million githyanki knights swarmed above the rubble, intent on the extermination of every living thing that had once called the city home. The githyanki screamed out their devotion to Gith and Vlaakith while their hearts yet lingered on the ashes of Tu’narath, itself a funeral pyre to all that was and all they were.

    They screamed their rage up into the unending vault above and below, stretching out to infinity on all sides around them. They screamed out their promises of unending death and misery to the enemies of the People out among the uncaring corpses of the dead gods, all of them drifting in eternal somnolence.

    Distantly, the massacre was watched in contemplative silence by a being who had witnessed their enslavement to the Illithids eons before, watched their rebellion and rise, watched their disintegration and the Pronouncement of Two Skies, and now he watched them once more, stumbling towards apotheosis.

    But the being, the Guardian of the Dead Gods, He formerly known as Anubis, cared little for the rage and bloodshed of the mortals. It would pass, and his thoughts ran towards other, deeper things at present. Besides, he was not alone as he hovered in the void and mused over what stretched out before him.

    Anubis pondered the implications of it all as he sifted among shadows and memories that swirled within the winds of the void. He listened to the whispered thoughts, joys and pains of the forgotten, honored dead and to the echoes of what was and would be through the color pools, those keyholes of creation. Anubis listened to the psionic pulses that dimly echoed through the dead and atrophied synapses of the Elder Brain Collective that had been silent since the days of Penumbra.

    He watched as the latent connection between they and the Godbrain, Ilsensine, fired and twitched. It was thinking, just as much as he was, pondering both the war in the Astral and that something else that Anubis and his silent companion also watched in the dim, flickering light of the flames of O’pak’shael. The other didn’t speak, but Anubis heard and understood anyway as he touched the surface of the colorless pool.

    Finally, after he had brushed his fingers against the surface, Anubis turned to his companion and spoke. “There is no such thing as a quiet death. There is only a long, slow, lingering twilight and the rage against the coming darkness. But perhaps we are all simply ashes and embers, flaring brightly for a time before scattering our dust on an uncaring wind.
    We are forgotten and then we are gone. At least that was always my impression before you showed me otherwise.”

    And then he was gone, slipping through the surface and into what lay beyond. The other only nodded and said not a word.

    ***
    Last edited by Shemeska; Wednesday, 17th October, 2007 at 05:22 AM.

 

  • #2
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    *adds another to the list of story hours to keep an eye on*
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    I see that you like to use personification as a stylistic device, too .

    But seriously man, great work, as usual! Just get published already .
    Oh, and I'm looking forward to the new PCs.
    "The worthy GM never purposely kills players' PCs. He presents opportunities for the rash and unthinking players to do that all on their own." - E. Gary Gygax (1938-2008)

    Planescape, baby.

  • #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Shemeska
    But here you go, hope that you enjoy:
    YaY!

    I was wondering what you all were going to get up to after the Yugoloth darkness. I was going to suggest something nice and light like, halflings

    Who needs planar intrigue when pie is involved...
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    Playin Cedric In the Jester's The Year 271 Campaign

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    One post, and here I am, wondering who is what. Good work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryltar
    I see that you like to use personification as a stylistic device, too .
    Keep in mind that I'm a biologist and I've never had any formal training in writing here, so I don't really have a clue what you just said (Plus I'm a diabetic and my blood sugar is a bit low right now. Comprehension is low when your head is fuzzy...)

    But seriously man, great work, as usual! Just get published already .
    Oh, and I'm looking forward to the new PCs.
    1) I've never really given serious thought to trying to get published for fiction or gaming material, just for the research journals of my field. I'm a wretched judge of my own quality of work or if my style has improved over time, which probably comes from having never gotten over a B in any college writing or literature course. I just do it for fun and it's likely to never be for anything more than that 'less money gets tossed at me and I don't see that happening. Long as folks enjoy and I have ideas I'll keep making stuff simply because this is fun.

    2) The campaign starts next weekend and there's going to be *counts* 5 PCs. Some of them are related to the last group, including one of Clueless's kids (apparently he will sleep with pretty much anything...) and Fyrehowl's kid. This next group of PCs are somewhat less chaotic than the last bunch, and decidedly more neutral and less good overall. It's going to be interesting because I don't have a clue if they'll all mesh with one another. *chuckle* The opening session is going to be 'unconventional', and let's leave it at that.

    PCs: 1 tiefling wizard/rogue, 1 fey-touched 1/2 drow w/ lots of different class levels, 1 elven cleric, 1 wierd tiefling/aasimar fighter, 1 half lupinal/half arcanaloth (who is going to be very amusing). No DMPC this time around since there's no obvious holes that they need plugged.

    3) I've been bored out of my mind for a couple weekends now; that will end next week once this new campaign gets started. More Planescapey goodness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by omrob
    I was wondering what you all were going to get up to after the Yugoloth darkness. I was going to suggest something nice and light like, halflings

    Who needs planar intrigue when pie is involved...
    Mmmmm.... pie....

    The darkness isn't gone, not by any means, but it hasn't spread to where this game is likely headed (though since it doesn't start for another week that could change depending on where the PCs go and who they associate with). This game will still be experiencing some of its aftershocks, but there shouldn't be too many spoilers for the next 6 months or so at least since this game is focusing on a different area of the planes than the last one. The PCs may actually end up being darker, but I'm hoping for more mystery than malevolence out of some of the plots that might get developed.

    The Yugoloths still have issues, but the 1st storyhour will develop that more fully by the time they have any influence in this 2nd campaign. And while he wasn't talking about the 'loths there, "There is no quiet death" applies there as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shemeska
    Keep in mind that I'm a biologist and I've never had any formal training in writing here, so I don't really have a clue what you just said (Plus I'm a diabetic and my blood sugar is a bit low right now. Comprehension is low when your head is fuzzy...)
    *grins* It's basically taking abstract concepts like hunger, death etc. and making them a person in your plot, able to act and think and all that. Yeah, I know that this isn't exactly what you've done here, but since I'm no writer either, it was the best comparison I could come up with . I use this a lot, too, because it just sets the mood perfectly - the party immediately recognizes they are facing an Enigmatic Enemy (tm) .

    1) I've never really given serious thought to trying to get published for fiction or gaming material, just for the research journals of my field. I'm a wretched judge of my own quality of work or if my style has improved over time, which probably comes from having never gotten over a B in any college writing or literature course. I just do it for fun and it's likely to never be for anything more than that 'less money gets tossed at me and I don't see that happening. Long as folks enjoy and I have ideas I'll keep making stuff simply because this is fun.
    I see where you're coming from, and it's actually quite similar to my motivation for writing stuff. But you really shouldn't underestimate your abilities as a writer - I've found that most people who just write "for fun" can do a better job than those who are constrained by guidelines they learned in some workshop or another... Judging from the amount of readers your SH has gathered here, others seem to agree with that opinion. Just keep that in mind if one day biology starts to bore you.

    It's going to be interesting because I don't have a clue if they'll all mesh with one another. *chuckle* The opening session is going to be 'unconventional', and let's leave it at that.
    Tease

    PCs: 1 tiefling wizard/rogue, 1 fey-touched 1/2 drow w/ lots of different class levels, 1 elven cleric, 1 wierd tiefling/aasimar fighter, 1 half lupinal/half arcanaloth
    That sounds like another mid- to high level campaign, right?
    "The worthy GM never purposely kills players' PCs. He presents opportunities for the rash and unthinking players to do that all on their own." - E. Gary Gygax (1938-2008)

    Planescape, baby.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryltar
    That sounds like another mid- to high level campaign, right?
    They're starting off at level 8 of class levels or ECL. The 1/2 lupinal etc has some levels to gain before she starts going for class levels though given the prohibitive LA cost of some of the abilities that she's getting. What she'll get eventually is around an ECL 12 with 9 caster levels tossed into the mix. Something like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shemeska
    2) The campaign starts next weekend and there's going to be *counts* 5 PCs. Some of them are related to the last group, including one of Clueless's kids (apparently he will sleep with pretty much anything...)
    Hey, you started that by having the elven cleric comment on clueless being easy. I just went with it... and fey. Well. Are.

    1 fey-touched 1/2 drow w/ lots of different class levels
    I'm not pulling another Clueless with this one (he of the 4 Pr Classes) - all of the classes are going to be *very* mage orriented.
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