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Restful Bliss

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Author: Monte LinEmail: :

This hook is intended to belong with the adventure anthology, Tales from the Infinite Staircase. There are some spoilers within the adventure, so do not read unless you have played or read through the official adventure anthology, Tales from the Infinite Staircase.

Prologue and the Dark:

This adventure takes place in Mechanus, on a cog controlled by the myconids; a humanoid fungal race devoted to Order and self-contemplation. They are normally a solitary, pacifist culture. Before the Iron Shadow struck Restful Bliss, this cog became popular with the Doomguard and the Mercykillers because the myconids developed an experimental new method of treating "dissidents." Restful Bliss is a combination meditative resort and prison. The myconids, a peaceful people, faced a difficult decision judging crimes by their own people, and the crimes committed by others to their society. Pacifist by nature, these fungal people knew that repeat offenders could not be allowed to roam free, especially in Mechanus. Instead, they developed a rehabilitation program with myconid means: the offenders must spend time infected with a fungus to promote well being and contemplation. In the meantime, their body serves as "soil," serving the myconids as they serve their sentences. The Mercykillers managed to obtain permission with the myconid people to observe and to learn the latest "rehabilitation" techniques. It is an uneasy alliance, however, as the Red Death is usually much more...zealous...in their belief of punishment than the myconids. Also, some of the mushroom-men believe that the faction only intends to drag this part of Mechanus into Acheron. Adding to the mushroom brew is a small sect of Doomguard who were drawn to the literal emphasis on decay. Surprisingly, the more meditative Sinkers camp out amongst the myconids and their prisoners, learning their ways and reveling in the slow breakdown of the prisoner's psyche and body. Completing the mess is the Iron Shadow. And when decay becomes stagnant, chaos (or a pale imitation) breaks loose...

Introduction, The Penal Colony:

The lillend from the Infinite Staircase includes this location as one of the already infected, and calls it the "Musky Sleep". They give generalized directions, and say they had little success exploring the doorway, as it reeks with law. The doorway is an organic valve, made of some plant-like flesh. (See Tales from the Infinite Staircase, “Landings and Doors,” page 19) It is easy to push through the opening, although it is very disconcerting. When they arrive, they get a whiff of decayed plant material. Looking up, they can see the "sky": a dark void with disks of metal slowly turning. Looking out, they can see that this disk has been hollowed out, so that the edge of the cog serves as a huge wall. The bottom of the disk is a forest of strange, organic-looking shapes that stretch off to the distance. It is at this time that they see a lone figure bolt from behind a fleshy column. Characters who pursue this being notice that he/she/it steps on some small mushrooms, which release spores. The pursuing characters must make a Save vs. poison, or be incapacitated by the spores. If the characters catch up with the woman, she pleads with them to help her. They can see that she is completely covered with a rash, and is emaciated and frightened. She tells them a very scattered story of being captured and turned into fungus food. She managed to escape, but she is being pursued. The woman, who calls herself Arseen Lowland, an Indep, is partially immune to the effects of the spores, having been already infected. With her help, she can guide them through parts of this prison to where her friends are. Then they can escape.

I Fought the Law, and the Law Won:

Those who didn't chase after her, or who have been incapacitated, are found by a Mercykiller patrol, large enough to harm the characters. They are wearing masks wetted with some formula, evidently to protect them from the spores, and arrest the characters for trespassing on foreign soil, or for the manslaughter of young myconids (i.e. the small spore-emitting mushrooms). At the Mercykiller's headquarters, which is a hollowed out giant growth, they are charged with involuntary destruction of the myconid's young. Unless the characters are also of the Factions of Law, or can argue well for their case, the Red Death sentences them to Ingestion. They are given a bottle each of a very thick, fibrous liquid, which renders them passive. Unfortunately for the Mercykillers, but fortunately for the characters, the liquid doesn't sedate them as much as it should. For a brief moment they feel completely passive (drugged out), but it quickly passes. The Mercykillers don't seem to notice. They leave the characters in the middle of an open field. Close examination shows that there are people buried by fungal growth. It is difficult to dig them out, as the growth is firmly attached to their bodies. Again fortunately, the fungus grows slowly, and the Mercykillers aren't very diligent (due to the Iron Shadow), and so the characters can escape if they are quiet and sneaky about it. The DM can have the characters suffer from some form of side effect of the potion.

The Wild Bunch:

Arseen's friends have set up camp in a clearing, free from active spores, even if the soil is mulchy. There are quite a few of them here, enough to overwhelm the characters. They all have similar rashes. At first, they are very friendly. They only wish to escape, and to help others escape from this torture camp. They tell of experiments on their bodies by the myconids, and the Mercykiller's glee at torturing them. Note that they believe every word of it. What they have left out is that they are all dangerous, violent criminals (the myconids only imprison the most dangerous of outsiders. Others are simply exiled). This becomes evident if the characters try to leave. The ex-prisoners prevent them, fearing that the characters will reveal their location. They may even physically harm them.

Doctor’s Dilemma:

The Doomguard are the only ones who know that it is some form of psychic infection promoting order and decay, although they don't know to call it the Iron Shadow. Although part of them enjoys the existence of Restful Bliss, the slow breakdown of the prison via the Iron Shadow is too much of an opportunity to pass up. However, since they are infected, they don't know how to pass it along; the best they can do is keep quiet about it, and prevent the myconids, the Mercykillers, and the prisoners from discovering the cause. They are doing this by keeping the myconid king from brewing a proper potion that would cure them. The king, very ill from the Iron Shadow, spends its time meditating for the cure. The Iron Shadow prevents the myconid king from inventing some means to defeat this new threat, since it squelches creativity. The Doomguard keeps an eye out for anyone who may have a suggestion and takes measure to make sure it doesn’t lead anywhere. There are some Doomguard who don't agree with these methods, and they attempt to find the characters and inform them of the happenings. They'd rather keep Restful Bliss functioning, and, in a vain attempt to increase the amount of chaos, they have been helping the prisoners escape.

Epilogue, Strange Brew:

At this point, whether escape from their imprisonment or encounter the prisoners, the characters run into some of the myconid-loyal Doomguard. They tell them that the myconid king is very close to figuring out the cure, but needs a catalyst. The Navimas from the Fourth Tale is perfect as the catalyst; all the characters need to do is get it to the myconid king. The prisoners and the destructive Doomguard will attempt to stop them. The loyal Doomguard and the Mercykillers (once they are convinced to help) will do all they can to help the king. The myconid king must ingest a drop of Navimas, which will distill through its body, and the spores will carry the distilled chaos throughout the cog. The king will die from chaotic overdose, but the myconids quickly and efficiently organize to choose a new king. If they do not have the Navimas, but they do have the book the Everchanging Order, the king can read and utilize the recipes to create a weaker, local version of the Navimas. The king expends all his body mass and energy to create and spread the spores throughout the cog. He dies as above. The Mercykillers recapture the prisoners, and the Doomguard retreat back to Sigil. The myconids thank the characters, and provide whatever reward is appropriate.

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