This is a snapshot copy of Planewalker before our recent database crash. Please go to www.planewalker.com for the current site.

The Spinrazor

Announcement!

We have moved to new, and hopefully better hardware! Along with this move came a bunch of updates to our code base. Please let me know if you spot something wonky.

Krypter's picture

Location Cocytus, second layer of Pandemonium [Burg] Character Adversity can be turned to strength. Every challenge is an opportunity. Even a calamity can be turned to your advantage. Grasp the nettle, seize misfortune, and turn it into power. Description Spinrazor sits within the layer of Cocytus like a lump that refuses to be blown away by the surging winds of Pandemonium. In fact, the whole town is constructed around a merged stalagmite-stalactite column that rises for thirty stories inside a magnificent cavern of limestone and pink granite. What’s completely barmy is that the cavern is filled by a small hurricane, or gyre, that circles the column and creates an eye of serenity right at the centre where the town is built. Ramshackle rooms and sturdy metal shacks are all attached to the stone column, which spans more than 300 feet in diameter at its widest (top and bottom) and perhaps 100 at the thinnest. The canny inhabitants of this burg have harnessed the power of the hurricane by building an apparatus of rotating gears near the middle of the column. Massive weighted chains are attached to gears that in turn drive pistons, mills and water pumps. Large rocks are hurled on chains from the burg into the hurricane, which promptly whips them around and generates the force that the town needs. An ingenious cabal of Guvner dwarves and gnomes operate the Spinrazor apparatus from which the town takes its name. The gnomes also refer to this as the Hurricane-in-a-Cavern, or H.I.A.C. The spinrazor mechanismo can sometimes malfunction, and that’s when a large rock on a chain can suddenly land on the lower town levels and crush whole buildings. That’s why the better kips are built near the top of the stalactite, not the bottom. This particular cavern also has unidirectional gravity, which is why, greybeards speculate, the hurricane forms in the first place. Travellers arriving from the connecting caverns are warned to watch out for high-speed flying debris and statues (see below) within the hurricane. Once inside the eye of the gyre, the Spinrazor is an oasis of peace, albeit one ruled with an iron fist. Ruler The head of this burg here is Grenaea (Medusa/F/Fighter9/Fated/LE), an exceptional Medusa of great skill and greater ambition. She deposed the previous ruler (an aging bladeling) through force of arms and has reigned ever since. Since her touch is light and her edicts few, most residents don’t mind having a “monster” as their overlord. Fact is, her punishments are so strict it keeps most of the barmies in line and boosts trade, so few traders can complain. Grenaea’s talent lies in her exquisite control over her flesh-to-stone power; to wit, she can transmute any creature into marble, obsidian, limestone, slate, pumice or even slightly valuable materials like iron. With a critical success she can even transmute a small part of a person’s body, like a single arm or hand. She has used this power to carefully punish transgressors and to collect tithes of magical items and treasure from adventurers. The wily medusa has in the past used her power to generate needed materials by using up the pool of convicted criminals or captured creatures from out of town. Militia Grenaea’s bodyguard of 30 bladelings and 12 kytons (chain devils) maintain the peace, although there have been instances of bobbing and garnishing among the troops. Their chief ‘colonel’ is one Martudius Onz (Pl/Male Kyton/LE/+4 HD), a razor-eating kyton with huge arms and a fierce sense of discipline. He’s the one who keeps all the rest in line, and without him the rest would degenerate into a corrupt mercenary group. The magistrates of Spinrazor have a common punishment for serious crimes: Grenaea is asked to turn the sod into something really hard, like lead, and then the berk is swung out into the storm attached to a long chain on one of the gyres. The weight serves to increase the energy generated by the gears in the central column. Should a lucky basher survive his full sentence (up to 10 years) in such incarceration, his statue is then retrieved and a scroll of stone-to-flesh can be used to return the criminal to society…providing a sufficient garnish is paid to the review officer. Inhabitants Spinrazor boasts a lower proportion of Bleakers and barmies than most other burgs on Pandemonium. There is a strong contingent of the Fated here, but the Takers often squabble amongst themselves. Several Guvner researchers are here as well, carefully monitoring the oscillations of the H.I.A.C. (Hurricane-in-a-Cavern), as they call it. Many adventurers pass through town on their way to the deeper caverns of Pandemonium, and all leave a little lighter thanks to the “water levy” that the burg charges, ostensibly for providing pumped water through the Spinrazor. Some 4,000 souls live here permanently, most perfectly willing to support Grenaea’s harsh rule if it guarantees protection from the howlers and the barmies. ‘Course, everyone here is a bit touched in the head too, but only in a way that can be concealed or doesn’t affect anyone around them. The most egregious barmies are sent back to the Madhouse, in sliced junks by mephit mail, if necessary. Services Spinrazor offers something that is precious and very, very rare on Pandemonium: a clean, hot bath. The apparatus powers some sort of water mill that pumps hot geyser water to those that can afford it. A fancy bath and innhouse called The Hotstones offers steamy relaxation after the cold, dark and noisy hell of the rest of the plane. You can still hear the winds here, but they are mercifully dull, and the invigorating smell of the baths is worth the steep price (5 gp per person, per night).

Other services here include guides to the lower planes, tiefling sword-swallowers, fine statuary and stone-cutting, and a good trade in blades of all kinds, many of them sold to the bladelings for their twisted collections. An establishment of particular note is Fenwick the Tailor’s (Fenwick, Pl/Male/Gnome/CN/Godsmen/Wiz13), an eclectic shop run by a dry gnome who loves to tailor bizarre clothes for off-plane customers. Once a wizard of some skill, he has retired and poured all his talent into crafting bespoke magical cloaks, robes, dashikis, capes and the like. All orders have to be paid in advance, but take only a miraculous single day to complete. Current Chant A pair of enterprising ratmen calling themselves Mr. Bates and Mr. Wych have set up shop importing scrolls of Stone-to-Flesh and Soft Potions into the burg to sell on the black market. In fact, they run most of the black market here. Chant has it that they’ve created some sort of elegant nest within the most complicated part of the apparatus, one which is only accessible by large rats. The two gentlerats make use of oracular information to stay one step ahead of Grenaea’s wrath. They keep cranium rats in individual cages and put them together when they need some clever idea from them. Another rumour has it that some clever crosstraders stole Fenwick’s magical Golden Scissors. These are part of a set of enchanted tailoring instruments (including a Golden Needle and Silver Thread) that Fenwick uses to craft his fine garments. Without the scissors, poor Fenwick has been sewing a single gigantic mess of a garment that no-one can use. It is said the Silver Thread is so strong that only the Golden Scissors can cut it. The crosstraders sold the scissors to Mr. Bates & Mr. Wych, who are attempting to blackmail Fenwick. Surely a grateful gnome would bequeath some of his magical thread to anyone who returns his precious scissors? What blood wouldn't want an unbreakable thread in a labyrinthine plane of dark, winding passages?

History of the Apparatus Spinrazor became a suitable location for a town not only because of the hot-water springs beneath the cavern floor, but also because of the huge accumulation of gears, springs, rods and broken metal that early explorers found in the cavern. Initial examination of the debris seemed to indicate that this portion of Pandemonium had at one time experienced a very serious planar breach from Mechanus. Master Darkseeker Therald speculated that a whole minor cog from within the Clockwork Universe was smashed upon the Howling Plane during this breach, and that the gyrations of the impact combined with Pandemonium's winds to scour the cavern into the perfect shape for a hurricane. Once the breach was sealed, the prevailing winds aligned in just the right order to create a funnel to power the maelstrom indefinitely. When the Darkseekers decided to create an outpost, they brought with them Guvner explorers and theologian-cartographers, some of whom became fascinated with the mechanical debris and the natural philosophy (physics) of the swirling phenomena. The research station grew and grew, and eventually the pragmatic dwarves decided to make use of the cogs and chains to pump the hot water they had discovered. The first phase of the Apparatus involved pistons and pipes to extract the hot water. Initially the artificers used sails to harness the gyrating winds, but those proved too expensive and fragile to maintain because of the flying debris. After some experimentation, Guvner greybeards asked a Cipher metaphysic to suggest ideas, and within a day and a night the Transcendent Master told the researchers to "make it spin and dance like a kyton mystic". A planewalker was asked to invite a kyton to Hurricane Outpost, and with the aid of the Cipher Mondibelas the concept finally emerged. The town could indeed be made to dance, if the largest gears were wrapped around the stone column and immense chains were attached to them to harness the power of the storm. The full rage of the hurricane could be made to pump pistons, channel water, and turn mills. Now all the residents needed to do was find some sane labourers. The eye of the hurricane helped immensely in this matter. The relative quietude of the center of the cavern often ameliorated the effects of insanity. Raging symptoms became less severe and minor idiosyncracies rarely manifested. The name of the Apparatus originally derived from its use as a defense mechanism. The chained devil later brought more of its malevolent kind to the burg, and convinced the engineers to attach massive blades and scythes to the chains to create a defensive barrier. It only took the Guvners a year to realize that the additions were intended to maim and kill as many travellers as possible rather than to aid in defense, and those additions were dismantled. The kytons stayed, and their name for the Apparatus, the Spinrazor, became the town's de facto name.

Planescape, Dungeons & Dragons, their logos, Wizards of the Coast, and the Wizards of the Coast logo are ©2008, Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro Inc. and used with permission.