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Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD


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Armoury99's picture
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Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Folks who have taken a skeg at the 'Introductory Adventure' thread will know that I promised great things there... so here it is, my current draft scenario for PSCS

Some introduction and notes seem appropriate:

Obviously, this is a work in progress and several times the text has notes like [INSERT PRICE HERE] in it. You’ll also notice that it’s almost entirely STATless - although I have notes on various NPCs, I haven’t got presentable “hard stats” to show you yet (they’re generally the last part of my scenario designs).

This thread is rather HUGE (about 48 pages in word)

I set out to create this adventure with a few aims in mind:

* A scenario designed to get a disparate group of characters together for their first adventure

* A city adventure, about as different from a ‘dungeon bash’ as possible

*A good introduction to the basics of PSCS - I've tried to use ONLY our 3e info here as far as possible, since its the first experience of PS for many. Actually, I'm a long time [i]player rather than DM of PS and have never seen the inside of 'DM only' book - so if I mistakenly say that the Lady of Pain is really just an elaborate puppet worked by Cranium Rats or something similar, please let me know!

*A ‘living setting’ where the PCs aren’t the only folk in existence and their actions have consequences.

*A setting that will continue to exist after the adventure itself finishes, leaving the PCs (and teh DM) with a ‘home’ in Sigil.

Just a couple of other things:

*This isn’t the final formatting by a long way

*As stated in the text, this adventure was designed primarily for 1st level characters. Having seen some of the posts on the ‘Introductory Adventure’ thread however, I’m reconsidering this. My main worry with increasing the challenge level is that PCs of higher level and wealth won’t be attracted by the relatively meagre payment offered, and might not be interested in a stay in the Hive!

*Monetary rewards from the Hive dwellers are deliberately pathetically low, but my intention is to even the score through NPC treasure and other rewards.

*Some bits are still entirely missing, like the lair of Fingers, the Joculators, and Gnarlybone’s hideout. These are “coming soon”

So, have a read and see what you think - Are there any major omissions or plot-holes detected? It’s quite possible that something which seemed obvious in my head simply hasn’t been written down yet.[/i]

By Armoury99

Desire and the Dead is a Planescape adventure suitable for 1st level characters, either native planars or newly arrived primers. The scenario is set entirely within Sigil, mostly in Hive Ward, specifically the area near the Mortuary (part of the Grey District). The adventure is set post-Faction War using the PSCS material, but is easily adaptable to other periods.

The adventure can be used with characters above first level, as it involves a lot more talking and investigation that it does fighting, and many opponents will be humanoids with class levels rather than monsters. Much of the action is comparatively dangerous, but the party will usually have plenty of opportunity to retreat and rest up between encounters - these are city streets, not a dungeon. The party will rarely be in a situation where they cannot flee from trouble.

The adventure revolves around a plot by one Eyes Desire, a member of the Sensates still dwelling in the Cage. She wishes to disturb and unnerve the Dustmen, a Faction that her own has numerous philosophical issues with. With the aid of a mage, she has created the Thurible of Desire – a magical item that calls ceaselessly to those who have abandoned or are severed from the passions of life. The Sensate hopes that the desires inspired by the Thurible will cause many Dustmen to have a crisis of faith and maybe even cause them to abandon their order. To Eyes Desire, this is a mere diversion and an exercise in the philosophical warfare that as has existed for millennia, but her actions are potentially disastrous to those who live in or near the Mortuary, many of whom have urges best suppressed.

Desire has had the Thurible passed to a gang of chaotic pranksters, who are currently plaguing the district disguised (very badly) as members of the Funerary Guild. Desire hopes that when the Xaosetics are eventually apprehended, the Guild will take back their belongings, unwittingly spreading the Thurible’s influence among the remaining undead and Dustmen of the Mortuary.

The PCs likely become involved with the plot after encountering one of the undead affected by the Thurible, or by being exposed to it themselves. They may or may not discover the involvement of Eyes Desire.


The Factions may have been banished from Sigil, but the Kreigstanz goes on. Disputes of philosophy continue as they have for centuries, and one cutter unwilling to let the matter go no matter what Her Serenity says is Eyes Desire, a member of the Society of Sensation.

Although she uses the words ‘guild hall’ rather than ‘Faction headquarters’ to refer to the Civic Festhall nowadays, Desire has changed very little in the aftermath of the Faction War. A minor but dedicated plotter in various Sensate schemes, Eyes has recently set plans into motion to further harm the remaining Dustmen of Sigil, whom she fears are rebuilding their Faction in all but name. Convinced that the Factions will one day get back into the Cage, she is already laying the groundwork for the Society of Sensation’s glorious return, and trying to evict what remains of the others.

Desire contracted the services of Brunathel, an artificer formerly of the Believers in the Source. For her, Brunathel created an enchanted censor called the Thurible of Desire. When lit, the device enchants any incense burning within it, producing an effect similar to a Suggestion spell. It stirs up the emotions of those exposed to it, especially passions long denied or lost – and the more severed the victim is from his passions, the stronger the effect. While Desire told Brunathel that the Thurible was to be used to heal Sensates whose passions had been lost on the Grey Waste, her true targets are the Dustmen.

Eyes’ minions then contacted a band of Xaosetic jesters called the Joculators. They suggested that it might be fun to prance around the Mortuary district “making fun of all those stuffy black robes and grim faces.” She also had her agents provide them with a ‘disguise’ - a selection of funerary gear and robes that included the magic censor. The chaotic trio have been causing trouble in the area ever since.

The Thurible is currently filled with a particularly cloying and persistent incense from Arcadia, called Three Suns Prayer (also given to the Joculators by Desire’s agent). The smell of this incense clings to the skin and clothes of anyone in proximity to it, carrying with it the magical effect. As the Xaosetics have been running around with the Thurible for days, its lingering smell and magic (which persists for three days and nights) is scattered all over them, and over much of the area around the Mortuary as well.

The Thurible is affecting the remaining Dustmen and undead of the district most strongly, but almost everyone is finding themselves a little more bitter, short-tempered, and full of old longings. One of those infected is a recently arrived primer ghoul known as ‘Fingers’, who was previously starting to follow the view of the Dustmen and fighting his hunger for living flesh. If the PCs do not do something about it, he will be unable to restrain his murderous urges for much longer.


In the aftermath of the Faction War, those living in the area around the Mortuary were more fortunate than most. The district had always been fairly quiet; a sombre place where few bravos, drunkards, and ne’er-do-wells wished to congregate. Most gangs didn’t consider the area rich or fashionable enough to stake a claim on, and thieves found better (and safer) pickings elsewhere.

Even in the absence of the Harmonium, the inhabitants of Shuffle Street, Rattling Alley, and Wailer’s Square have managed to get by, but things have suddenly started to degenerate and they need some reliable protection. Wanting nothing to do with either the Sodkillers or Sons of Mercy (both equally balmy in their eyes), they have decided to risk their jink on some hired adventurers, luring them to the district with promises of friendly faces and free lodgings.

The Player Characters are contracted by the locals to keep the peace in the area, which suddenly seems on the verge of chaos. While protecting the district, the PCs will tangle with the Joculators and see evidence that something is affecting the area’s undead and Dustmen. They may well suffer directly from the Thurble’s effects themselves.

Encounters with Fingers the ghoul and others affected by the incense can shed some light on what is causing all the commotion. With luck, the PCs will also trace the Thurible back to Brunathel, then on to Eyes Desire for a final reckoning.


There are numerous ways in which the DM can bring the PCs together, several of which are outlined below. The PCs might be hired as group or - if this is their first adventure - taken on individually and introduced to the people they’ll be working with as the adventure starts:


·Planars visiting Sigil may well be attracted by word of free lodgings offered to honourable mercenaries.

·The character has a friend or relative living in the area, who requests their help.

·Members of a Guild or Faction might hear about the trouble in the area and be sent in by a factotum or local guild representative, either openly or ‘undercover’. The Sons of Mercy, Sodkillers, Harmonium, Guvnors, and Dustmen all have an interest in keeping the area quiet and productive, as do the City Guard and Funerary Guild. Each of these groups might also wish to expand their influence over the district – or just make sure that rival groups don’t.

·The PCs owes a debt to one of the NPCs in the area, or to someone who has traded their debt to Bald Grum.

·Dustmen PCs might have been working to induct Fingers the ghoul into their Faction, but he recently disappeared and the PC is looking for him.

·Planars native to the Cage might actually have grown up in the area, and have decided that now is the moment for them to begin a career as a hired sword.


·The Primer stumbled through a portal a few days, weeks, or months ago (depending on which is most appropriate to the character) and arrived in a local’s house or business. New to the city, the PC has been asked to help keep the district safe in exchange for a place to stay and information on the Outer Planes/how to get home.

·The Primer was a henchman/follower to a more powerful adventurer, who was recently scribed into the Dead Book while visiting Sigil. The PC has seen to their cremation in the Mortuary and is now looking for a way home.

·The Primer has no idea how he got here! His amnesia may be total (he has no idea who he is or where he’s from) or merely stretch for several months. Options include:

a)The first thing she was aware of in Sigil was lying in a gutter with a Cranium Rat sat on her chest, but then the creature scuttled off into the sewers.

b)His first recollection is a mind flayer with its tentacles buried in his head, but the creature was slain before it could finish its meal.

c)The character was shaken awake by a barman in the Whispered Word, saying “that’s enough styx water for you, berk. Time you headed on home.”

·The primer ‘died’ while on the Prime Material Plane, but mysteriously awoke on a slab in Mother Xero’s morticiary (if the DM has a copy of The Eternal Boundary, this beginning might be modified to create a good lead in to that scenario).

·The PCs fell through a portal from the Prime into the heart of the Hive. Stumbling through the city confused and frightened, the PC was saved from a band of murderous beggars by Silent Brom, who took the PCs under his wing.


Even if their political influence may have gone (or changed form) the Factions are still an important part of life in Sigil and the planes. Depending on how much the DM would like to introduce them at this stage, several characters in the district can introduce PCs to their Faction or Guild:

Bald Grum – the Fated, Council of Innkeepers, the Sigil Advisory Council.

Granny Marduk – Mercykillers, Sodkillers, and the Sons of Mercy.

Grimjaw the Githzerai – Minders’ Guild, Xaosetics.

Gnarlybone – Revolutionary League, rogues and the underworld.

Mother Xero – Dustmen, Funerary Guild.

Narma the Loud – Funerary Guild.

Silent Brom – City Guard, Primer viewpoint.

Sougad Sodkliller – The Sodkillers, City Guard.

The Joculators – Xaosetics.

Use these NPCs as mouthpieces to deliver information on Sigil, the Planes, and Belief in general, as well as their own particular philosophies (especially if your players are clueless as much as their characters). They can also update more experienced players on changes since the Faction War.


The PCs find themselves in the Whispered Word, a tavern off Wailer’s Square. It’s a quiet joint, populated by tired guildsmen, hoarse wailers, and relaxing Dustmen. Here they will officially meet their new employers:

The tavern called the Whispered Word is filled with a susurrus of quiet voices. The detail of these conversations is unheard but their subject is clear – you and your fellow adventurers. It’s a poor and hardworked band of berks that regard you, still stained with the grime of a long day’s toil: a mix of collectors, rag-pickers, coffin-makers, bearers, mourners, wailers, and morticians. A number of them wear the shapeless grey robes of Dustmen. The décor of the place matches the funerary nature of the people and their district: skull-shaped lanterns, tables made from coffin lids, and gauzy grey shrouds surround you. A wrinkled fellow with a blind eye gestures you to a table in front of the bar, where three figures await.

The three people sat at the table are collectively known as the Voices, unofficial representatives and spokespeople for the area:

Bald Grum is a heavy-set man with a wrinkled grey pate and a flattened wreck of a nose. Innkeeper of the Whispered Word, he is renowned as a miser and hard bargainer, but at least an honest one. He approaches the meeting with a brusque, business-like attitude, and does not suffer fools. Grum is a member of the Fated, although he no longer wear’s the faction’s badge or calls attention to his membership.

Silent Brom talks rarely, for him actions speak louder than words. He is a white-haired, scarred, and square jawed man tragically afflicted with rotting consumption and wracking cough. Caught on the Lower Planes some years ago, this thankfully uncomunicatable disease is slowly withering him away. A retired soldier and widower originally from a Prime world, Brom is a shrewd judge of character and a fearless if careful man. He regrets that he is simply too old and sickly to take up arms and sort this problem out himself.

Mother Xero is normally a kind and gentle old woman, though she has skin like cracked red leather and small ivory horns. Afflicted by the Thurible, she is visibly angry and may well snap at PCs during the meeting. She wears a holy symbol of Wee Jas over her grey robes, but is a mortician, not a priest.


Each PC may make a Sense Motive check during the meeting (DC 18 - a little easier than usual since all the Voices pretty much wear their heart on their sleeve). Those who pass will sense no deception in their patrons, although both Brom and Glum are clearly sizing the PCs up. If anyone makes a check of 23+ they will realise that something is affecting her behaviour.

No roll is required to detect that Xero is clearly seething about something, but a successful roll reveals that she is also deeply uncomfortable with the emotion. A successful Knowledge (Planes) or Knowledge (Factions & Guilds) check at DC 10 will reveal that this state of agitation is rather unusual for a Dustman.

Once the PCs are gathered before them, the Voices make them their offer:

“I am known as Bald Grum,” says the grey-pated bruiser in taverner’s robes. “This is Silent Brom and Mother Xero. We are the District Voices; we’re not factols or jackals or golden lords, but we speak for the people here, and we need you.“This used to be a quiet district, silent as the grave in fact. But of late trouble seems to have taken to walking our streets: Chaosites, thugs, and worse. We would like this place to be quiet again – that’ll be your job.

“Now we don’t want the Sodkillers or Sons of Mercy running things here, we want to sort out our own affairs and we’re prepared to pay you for the privilege. Keep the peace, keep things safe and friendly, keep them running smooth. We’re not looking to see berks murdered in the street, just kicked out or made to behave-

"Serve ‘em right if they did get scribed…” mutters Mother Xero darkly.Grum frowns at her for a moment, then continues: “For this service we offer you room and board, and maybe some extra jink depending on what trouble you have to handle. And should the worst happen, we promise to give you a good and worthy funeral. So, do we have a deal?”

Now’s the time for PCs to ask any questions they may have regarding the job. Paraphrase the following information for the PCs:

·The PCs can stay in two rooms above the Whispered Word. Each sleeps a maximum of three people. Additional PCs will have to call kip in the common room or be put up by various neighbours.

·If asked, Glum will say that the ‘board’ included is wholesome, but not exactly exciting: Just black bread and cheese, thick gruel, and stew. “It won’t kill you, but you want better food, you have to earn it.”

·Monetary Rewards - Glum refuses to be specific, saying that he will reward the group a sum the Voices deem appropriate at the end of each week, depending on how well they’ve done and how dangerous the work has been. He stresses that the folk here aren’t rich, but they are fair. If the PCs try and haggle, Glum relishes the opportunity and he’s a tough customer. Use an opposed Diplomacy check (Bald Glum’s total is +10)

·If any of the PCs require an advance, the Voices are prepared to give them just 10gp each, taken out of any future reward money they may earn.

·If any PC seems too greedy, mercenary, or untrustworthy, then both Silent Brom and Mother Xero will take a dislike to them. Although Brom will keep his opinions to himself, Xero will scoff that “you’re no better than sodding bloodcrows!” and storm out of the inn.

·If in need of healing during their work, the PCs should talk to Narma the Loud, a professional wailer. He has some skill in such matters, though he’s not a cleric.

·If the PCs attempt to find out why Mother Xero is so angry, they need to make a Diplomacy check with her (DC 10). If successful, she apologises and admits "this is most unlike me, but those chaos sods have just got under my skin!” Even on a fail however, the PCs learn that her shop was wrecked by some balmies yesterday.

·The trouble afflicting the area includes a band of balmies capering around pretending to be Funerary Guildsmen, a mysterious attacker who has fallen upon several residents around Rattling Alley, an influx of thieves and thugs trying to take the jink of local merchants, and a sudden increase in berks brawling in the street. The Voices advise the PCs to talk to the locals in the bar for further details.

·A fiend gang called the Proud Pariahs has recently moved into a nearby area, and the Voices think a show of strength in this district will help to keep them away.

·The Voices expect the PCs to patrol the district from time to time (at least twice a day), and to be available in case of trouble. Their ‘beat’ will be Wailer’s Square, Rattling Alley, and Shuffle Street.

Once the PCs agree to the job, they are free to mingle in the tavern. Many of the district’s residents have come out to see the PCs, and will want to clasp hands, exchange names, and give their greetings. Any character who spends time trying to make friends with the locals gains a +2 bonus to Diplomacy and Gather Information checks made with them during the adventure, as well as 1d3 minor gifts such as scarves, woolly hats, flowers, cheap charms, a lucky copper piece, or just a free drink.


Clearly, the PCs’ arrival is something of an event and people are quite eager to talk. As the PCs mingle, make Gather Information rolls. Assuming the PCs are cooperating, have the best score in the group make a Gather Information check, with assistance rolls by the others (see 'combining skill attempts' on P65 of the PHB). Each PC could also roll separately if they’re too paranoid or contrary to cooperate.

Remember that anyone who made an effort to be friendly (see above) gets a +2 bonus. There is also an additional +2 bonus to all Gather Information checks at this meeting, as that’s the reason most berks have turned up. Compare the results to the information below:

SUCCESS NUMBER less than 10

1.The PCs can learn some names and get directions to major buildings in the area, as well as hear loads of useless gossip.

2.The area specialises in various funerary services and is loosely connected to the Funerary Guild.

3.The PCs are warned that undead come and go through the area “but they don’t generally trouble berks who don’t trouble them.”

4.Laundry services are available from various washerwomen at Beater’s Corner in Wailer’s Square; baths can be had in the Three Tubs.

1.Most people feel that the PCs presence is a good thing, but a few think that hiring sell-swords will cause more trouble than it solves. As usual, the Dustmen don’t care much either way.

2.Three Xaosetics have been running around the area, dressed as Funerary Guildsmen but capering and cackling, playing pranks and engaging in petty vandalism. On at least three occasions they have used magic to disable their opponents (Daze, Flare, and Colour Spray respectively, although their informants can only describe the spells’ effects, not supply their names).

3.Mother Xero is a kindly old tiefling, a mortician who can make the most carved-up corpse look like Sune Firehair herself. “Normally she’s never a bad word for anyone, but her store got wrecked yesterday and she’s running a red one ever since.”

4.A few rough types have also been hanging around the district; thieving and trying to persuade local merchants to pay them protection money.

5.Hitchskirt Alley is the place the nearest place to find jinkskirts and jinkshirts.


1.Bald Grum is a Taker, though he rarely admits it. He’s also a member of the Guild of Tavernkeeps. He was quite the prize-fighter in his day: “There has to be some excuse for a face like that, eh?”

2.“Seems like Old Toadface isn’t coming back...” The PCs learn about Tad’Faddamfa the slaad and his recent absence.

3.Haigherty, owner of the Three Tubs bathhouse “thinks he’s the new Harys Hatchis.”

4.They say that Silent Brom is dying, from some vile pox caught on the Grey Waste in his mercenary days: “Terrible waste of a good man. Least it’s not catching, eh?”

5.The district’s been a tense and jumpy place these last few weeks. Seems like just about everyone is upset, on edge, or angry. The Dustmen seem just as disturbed as everyone else, which makes a sodding change.

6.Several residents have been attacked at night by something that hissed and spit at them. It roughed them up, but then shouted ‘no…no… no!’ and ran off. It moved on two legs and was roughly man sized, but no more detailed descriptions are available. Locals are already calling it “the Beast of Rattling Alley.”

7.A Sodkiller came touting his services a few weeks ago, just before all the trouble started. People are pretty worried that he and his fellow crow-feeders might return.

8.Lanis the Deathmonger is a hard and dangerous man, not to be taken lightly (Lanis himself is not be present).

9.A serious looking (“aren’t they all?”) githzerai warrior has been seen lurking around, but won’t discuss his business.


1.It’s rumoured that the Dustmen are re-organising and reuniting their Faction in all but name. It’s certainly true that they’re out and about again, although there are still far fewer here than before the Faction War. “A few peery berks are even going so far as to keep half an eye out for Her Serenity; she’s sure to take offence.”

2.Many locals use the services of Granny Marduk, a fortune teller on Shuffle Street. It is said that she used to be a member of the Mercykillers, but now wants nothing to do with any sect or Faction.

3.A trader named Dykos was recently maimed in an attack by the ‘Beast of Rattling Alley’. He’s become a virtual recluse since then. He lives at 8 Rattling Alley.

4.The Proud Pariahs are a fiend gang lead by a Rutterkin called Rash, easily notable because of the red welts and blisters on his skin. They’re based at the other end of Shuffle Street, but that’s still too close for comfort.

5.A local young rogue called Gnarlybone knows a lot about the seamier side of life. Here’s not here at present; but comes and goes every few days.


1.The ‘fiends’ in the Pariahs are actually just a Rutterkin (‘Rash’, their leader) and a couple of Dretches. The rest are just tiefings. They were pushed out of their old turf by larger and more organised gangs of real fiends.

2.It’s whispered that Lanis the Deathmonger, proprietor of The Swords Salute is a kidnapper who sells men and women to gladiatorial schools across the planes.

3.Glory the jinkskirt will ask to speak to the PCs privately when the meeting breaks up. See A TALE OF BLOOD & GOLD below.

The gathering eventually breaks up and the PCs are left to their own devices. Bald Grum will show the party up to their rooms, handing over a pair of large iron keys (only one for each room, although he has spares). Each key opens the room’s large and very simple door lock (Pick Lock DC 16).

Within each room is a small round window of thin horn, polished to translucence. More light is provided by a crude iron lantern in the shape of a demon’s maw, firmly chained to the rafters. A threadbare carpet covers most of the floor between three pallet beds that have shrouds for blankets. Each room also contains a sturdy coffin that serves as a storage chest, bench, and table. A large rusty padlock secures it, opened by their room key.


Although they can settle in and plan, Bald Grum will certainly ensure that the party don’t rest on their laurels. He expects them to get organised and keep him informed of their plans. How exactly they go about keeping the district safe is largely up to them, but he’s happy to offer advice and encouragement – and condemnation of anyone he thinks anyone is a slacker. Ideally, he’d like to see the PCs set up a base of operations where locals can report any trouble (probably the Whispered Word), and have at least some of the PCs patrol the district a couple of times a day and at least once at night. If the party does more than this, he will be pleased.


From this point on, the adventure is fairly freeform. Days will likely pass as the PCs get organised, get to know the locals, and get into various kinds of trouble.

A number of plot-related encounters are described below. The DM should intersperse these with random events and allow plenty of time to pass if the PCs need it, or are simply enjoying interacting with the locals. At least initially, Eyes Desire’s plot should only lurk in the background of daily life, which can be dangerous enough in the Hive.

SLIPPING THE BLINDS: The main way the PCs can mess up in the initial stages of the adventure is to get caught doing something untrustworthy, balmy, or downright criminal, or to go into a minor encounter heavy handed like the streets are just an urban dungeon (i.e. killing everything in sight). In both cases, the whole party will be summoned before the Voices to explain themselves. Grum and the others will give them a fair hearing, even if their words are rough. This may be a respectable district, but is still the Hive and life is cheap. Unless the PCs were doing something totally unconscionable, they’ll be let off with just a warning.


The following encounters can occur throughout the PCs’ time in the district, and deal specifically with Eyes’ plot and the Thurible of Desire. Some encounters come finding the PCs, while others will require the adventurers to seek them out. A summary of what can trigger the event is included with each encounter.


Trigger: The PCs trace the victims of the mysterious attacker in Rattling Street.

Use of the jawbone knocker on number eight, Rattling Alley, at a sensible hour of the day, will eventually produce a cleanshaven, grey-skinned dwarven face, which gruffly tells the PCs to pike it. Basic Diplomacy (or a good kick to the door) will gain them entry, but the dwarf is not who they are looking for. He is Grykas, the victim’s nephew. He has been looking after his uncle since Dykos was attacked, as the older dwarf has suffered something of a nervous breakdown.

Word that they are upon the Voices’ business will eventually persuade Grykas to let the PCs see his enfeebled uncle, although he warns them that Dykos has been badly injured in an attack and is not himself.

Before you slumps form of a pale and shaking dwarf, his features angular and grey, like cut granite. Illuminated by a single spluttering candle, he flinches as you enter, then recovers his nerve. His face is badly bruised but he bares a far greater wound: His left hand is wrapped in a bloodstained bandage, and is clearly missing all four of its fingers.“Who-who are you?” he stutters.

Dykos is part of a small clan of dwarves living in Sigil but originally from a Prime world called Aebrynis. He is a trader in headstones, but in no state to run his business: Currently Dykos stutters and babbles, mixes dates and events, mutters fearfully to himself, and displays all the symptoms of someone in the midst of a nervous breakdown.

Careful questioning will reveal the information below but it will be mixed up and jumbled in with terrified babble. To get a clearer story, the PCs will need to spur on his recovery. Several options present themselves: Emotion-control spells, a bard’s inspire confidence ability, plying him with mummerwine from the Whispered Word (see Appendix), or just some good role-playing from the players.

If the PCs succeed in calming Dykos they can hear the coherent story given below, if not the DM should intersperse it with whatever rambling and madness they deem appropriate:

“It was late. I had just closed a deal at the Whispering Word and was heading home. No escort; I had no jink with me, just parchment and everyone knew it.”“I was halfway through the alley when some fiend leapt at me from behind, grabbing me about the neck and shoulders. It had talons like rusty knives and it stank of death. It- it hissed and spat some screed about ‘needing it again’ and threw me against the wall. I was struck unconscious, I think.”“I came to my senses with a pain in my hand and the thing crouched over me, jabbering and slurping. It-it was… gnawing on my fingers... What was left of my-my fingers. When it saw that I was awake, it covered its face and ran. I don’t remember how I made it home.”

Dykos can add little more. He wasn’t robbed, has no real enemies, and doesn’t suspect his business partner of the night. If asked for more of a description of the creature he says “it was shaped roughly like a man, but far too lean and leathery, with a hideous frog-like mouth. Fangs like shark’s teeth, and white blind eyes.”

Aftermath: If the PCs help speed Dykos’ recovery, he will not forget them. Several days later (whenever the DM wishes) he will venture forth from his house and thank them publicly for their efforts. Although he offers no coin, his eloquent and heartfelt words will make the populace even friendlier towards the PCs – or help them to forgive any past indiscretions. The PCs gain an additional +1 to all CHS checks with the locals. The Voices will also note it, rewarding the PCs with an extra handful more gold at the end of the week.


Trigger: The PCs hear about Gnarlybone and seek him out.

Gnarlybone is well known locally as a scoundrel, but tolerated because he never steals from the folk of Wailer’s Square. What’s not widely known is that he has a hideaway just off Rattling Alley, where he keeps a stash of goods and equipment (see Appendix for details). PCs can find Gnarlybone by making a good Gather Information check (DC 20) with one of the local urchins or someone who buys his stolen goods, or by asking Narma the Loud or one of the Voices to set up a meeting.

Gnarlybone is a friendly but cautious half-elf; charming, precocious, and unashamedly cowardly. He is skeletally thin and sports a shaven head, prominent joints, and long fingers. He usually wears ragged garments similar to a monk’s outfit, not quite so poor as beggar rags. Only 17 years old, Gnarlybone is still a child by the standards of his race, but experienced in the ways of the Hive. He grew up as an urchin in the Grey District and genuinely loves the Wailer Square folk. ‘Gnarlybone’ is the moniker the other urchins gave him as a boy. He doesn’t remember his parents or know his real name.

Gnarlybone can act as a guide to the violent underworld of the Hive, and knows about both the Proud Pariahs and Joculators. He can supply PC rogues with thieves’ tools and also fence any goods they may have to sell. Although he knows where the Joculators have made their lair, he considers telling the ‘authorities’ (as he sees the PCs) as against the code of the alleys. He won’t reveal their location unless threatened with his life, offered a very large garnish, or persuaded that some bigger threat is at work in Wailer’s Square.

SLIPPING THE BLINDS: Gnarlybone is actually quite well liked in the district. The Voices won’t dismiss characters who just did heir duty to clean up the streets, but PCs who torture or murder Gnarlybone will receive the cold shoulder from many folk around Wailer’s Square, as well as petty harassment from the local urchins: Thrown stones and excrement, name-calling, telling tales on them, etc).


Trigger: The PCs seek out Narma; The PCs can also encounter Narma in Wailer’s Square, at his Guildhouse, or in a funeral procession.

Narma has no direct involvement in Eyes’ plot, but is a very useful contact for the PCs. He is a professional mourner, hired to accompany funerals to show how well loved the deceased was. Many a not so well loved berk has also put aside a few stingers to hire folks like Narma, to wail and gnash their teeth as the body wagon goes by.

Narma’s not a handsome man, but has great skill in contorting his face and body into a semblance of grief. He’s perhaps fifty cycles old, but looks older. Narma works throughout the city, but advertises his services with free demonstrations in Wailer’s Square, alongside his fellows. Narma is their leader by virtue of his superior skills (he is in fact a 3rd level bard) and organisational ability. He can perform a number of services for the PCs:

· He can contact Gnarlybone for the PCs and arrange a meeting; provided he doesn’t believe they’ll just scrag the young rogue.

· If anyone asks him about Dustmen or the troubles of the district, he knows that Glory the jinkskirt had trouble with a customer in Dustman robes the other night.

· He can identify Brunathel’s mark on the Thurible, and knows the mage lives in Lower Ward.

· He can tell the PCs all about the Voices and the local area.

· He can provide lots of general information, using a Bardic Knowledge score of +5

In addition to information, Narma knows the Cure Light Wounds spell, and acts as something of a healer in the district. He will treat bruised and battered PCs, but uses non-magical means unless the PCs are very badly hurt or specifically request magical aid. Although he’ll heal them with magic once or twice for free, from then on he’ll charge a small fee.


Trigger: The PCs investigate the scene of Joculator crimes.

It’s likely that the PCs will visit the aftermath of at least one Joculator attack. Each scene will vary, but a number of clues can be found at each location. Depending on how they approach the investigation, they can make Gather Information, Search, and Sense Motive checks to learn the following:

· A cloying smell hangs around the location; any religious characters will recognise incense, if not the particular type. After a few visits to crime scenes, this smell will start to faintly hang around the PCs too.

Characters who closely examine three or more scenes where the Thurible was used will start to carry the smell of Three Suns Prayer incense around on them, and be exposed to its effects (see TERRIBLE TROUBLE WITH THURIBLES).

· Witnesses describe three wild-eyed humans running amok, dressed as Dustmen but acting like total barmies. They were also swinging ceremonial funerary gear around wildly most disrespectfully.

· Damage done is usually minor – general mayhem, vandalism, petty theft, goods pulled down and pushed over, and the occasional blow to a particularly hidebound victim. The DM can go wild with random details (see DANCE OF THE JOCULATORS for more information)

· There’s a 50% chance that among the gawpers and bystanders is Grimjaw the Githzerai, keeping a quiet eye on things. If a PC pays particular attention to the crowd, have him or her make a Spot check, opposed by Grimjaw’s Hide of +6.

· A successful Sense Motive check (DC 23) reveals that the victim(s) a little more agitated and excitable than they should be. This effect is more noteworthy on characters that normally keep their emotions under wraps, but not very noticeable in either case.


Trigger: The PCs go to get their fortune’s told by Granny Marduk, or use similar divination magic to reveal what’s going on.

It is possible that the PCs may seek clues to their future, either by their own magic or the services of a soothsayer. Granny Marduk is one NPC where such things are available, from a tiny shop on Shuffle Street hung with carved wooden masks and dangling bronze charms:

Granny’s ebony flesh may be marred by a mass of wrinkles but her eyes and smile are bright. Her bead costume rattles as she shuffles a deck of tatted cards with ancient but still nimble fingers. She lays them face down on the table before her, the faded image of a bladed face looking out from their backs.

The playing cards do indeed depict the fading image of Her Serenity, which might well make some berks nervous. Although their design mimics the images of a Deck of Many Things (and this is how Granny refers to them) in fact the cards themselves are not magical, Granny is.

Granny Marduk turns the cards one by one, nodding and mumbling as though their images merely confirmed what she already knew.“Passion is written upon these cards. Desire is the key to your troubles! The Flame Card indicates that an old and powerful enmity is the source of your woes. The Jester and the Void and the Knight... Mmm, your enemy is far removed from here, I think, and uses others in their game-”The old woman suddenly hack and spits, scattering the cards and tracing a warding sign in the air. “Blek and sod it, you unlucky berks! I see the shadow of three Factions looming over you! Get out before their hubris taints me too. Get out! Out! OUT I SAY!”

Granny will only stop shouting once the PCs have left her shop, and if necessary she’ll flee from them - the old woman is clearly terrified and desperate get away. Repeat visits to Granny will prove equally unproductive, as she will simply refuse to see or help the PCs. She doesn’t know what Factions are involved and doesn’t care; if necessary she will pack up and leave the district temporarily to avoid the party.

Other fortune tellers and divinations will provide similar results, although without Granny’s extreme reaction.


Trigger: Glory approaches the PCs (Gather Information check or random encounter); The PCs specifically investigate trouble among the Dustmen; The PC befriends Glory or the jinkskirts.

The PCs are approached by Glory, a dark haired and tired-looking prostitute who works Hitchskirt Alley. Three nights ago she was approached by a handsome man in Dustman’s robes, searching for ‘a special service’ from her:

“Posh berk, he was. Unusual enough in these parts. But the thing is, he… he wanted to drink my blood. Just a little, he said. He was swaying back and forth, all unfocused, like he was drunk or something. But his eyes were red as coals and he had fangs like a fiend. He drooled… I’m no coney and told him to pike it, nice as I could. But he begged me, seemed desperate. Grabbed me so hard by the shoulders that I still have the bruises! I thought he was going to kill me but then he just let me go. Told me to get away from him. Suddenly he was in tears. I just blitzed it out of there. Sodding balmies.”

Blood-drinking, burning eyes, and supernatural strength are all classic signs of the vampire, but Primers will probably know more about this creature (at least in legend) than any Planars, given the general rarity of undead in the Planes.

If questioned further, Glory can reveal that she’s seen the man coming and going about the mortuary several times before, but he’d never seemed interested in her wares or any other girl before. She can easily furnish them with his description:

“He always wears a heavy cloak, with a deep pointed hood. Underneath he wears black silk and gold-edged red lace, expensive. I’d have said he was about thirty cycles old. Skin so pale it was sickly, with thick dark hair, clean chinned but with braided mutton-chops. He wears a heavy iron amulet, the Dustman sign. He was always very polite when he turned us down before.”

Glory and the other jinkskirts have seen the figure coming and going from the Mortuary for as long as they can remember, although his visits are generally a few weeks apart. She can also tell the PCs where the alley is: “Those sodding chaosmen were running through there that morning, and the whole place stank of perfume.”

If the PCs ask after the mysterious stranger at the Mortuary, they will receive a polite but firm “no comment” from the gate guards - those that can speak, anyway. The Guild treats information on its undead as strictly confidential, and the same applies to any Dustman/Guild member they talk to unless the PCs make a Diplomacy check (DC 20). If they manage the latter, the guard or guildsman promises to look into it for them.

Some time later, the PCs receive word through Mother Xero that the object of their questions has agreed to meet them at the mortuary, an hour before Antipeak that night. Read or paraphrase following to the PCs:

The journey is not a pleasant one. Already well on its way towards Antipeak, the darkness is illuminated only by blue-white witchlight flickering from the mortuary windows. It casts harsh bladed shadows down the street towards you, like a great fanged maw trying to swallow you up… And into it you walk.

If the PCs have visited Granny Marduk before this point, they may well feel that this description fits in with Granny’s prophecy, and they’d be right. The party will be escorted through the Mortuary by guards, who will not insist that the PCs relinquish their weapons unless they are already renowned as undead-hating fanatics. They’ll be warned however that what they see in the mortuary is mortuary business, not the business of the living; they’d better show caution and restraint unless they’ve come seeking the True Death.

The party are escorted through dark corridors, accompanied by the echoes of dirges and chanted eulogies. The corridors are chill, and in places ice crystals form strange patterns on the walls. The silence is broken intermittently by a groan or an echoing scream, or the sudden presence of an indistinct incorporeal form passing across the corridor – in through one wall and out of the other. Their escorts remain silent unless questioned, and answer only in terse whispers.

The meeting takes place in a crypt well below street level. Lit only by faintly glowing braziers, the gloom will loom oppressively around the PCs, edged with an undulating darkness that even Darkvision cannot penetrate. Close examination reveals only that there seems to be layers of darkness moving sinuously over one another.

The only furnishing in the room is a stone sarcophagus, beyond which waits a figure whose black robes leave him barely visible in the gloom. As the PCs enter, it leans forward and a face is revealed, identical to the visage carved on the sarcophagus lid. His appearance also matches Glory’s description.

The creature before them is Lord Madrigore, a vampire. Of course Lord Madrigore will not introduce himself as a member of the blood-drinking undead. He just won’t deny it if asked.

Madrigore is a stuffy and hidebound creature, who speaks slowly and deliberately. He came to the city two hundred years ago, and has joined the ranks of the Dustmen a short time later. He dwells in a baroque lair beneath Lower Ward, but often visits his tomb and his Faction’s old headquarters. As far as he is concerned, the Faction War was nothing significant in his quest for the True Death; to him the Dustmen’s status as Faction or Guild matters not at all.

If asked about the incident with Glory, Madrigore considers their words for some time before answering in a hollow emotionless voice:

“The thirst came on me suddenly, in a way it has not these past two hundred years. Not since I learned the Way of True Death and set aside my longings.“I was passing that alley of whores, as I have a thousand times before. But that night a cloying scent filled my nostrils. Suddenly I remembered the dark and misty streets of my immortal youth, and the… the pleasures of sanguine wine. I do not remember much of what happened next, though I remember the girl. I think I would have killed her, drained her dry and sought another if I could. But then I was struck by sorrow and wept for the first time in centuries as I contemplated my sins. If there had been sunlight or fire I would have sought it out, but there were neither. I returned to my sanctum and spent three Antipeaks in meditation. In time, I became myself again.”

Madrigore has no idea what happened to him. He had done nothing out of his normal routine, and this sort of thing has never occurred before. He can tell the PCs little more than he already has, and in fact was hoping that they could tell him the cause of what occurred.

Aftermath: If the PCs have been courteous and professional, then he presents them with a parting gift, “for your inconvenience and that of the girl. And a reward for your discretion.” He will pass them a dusty pouch, in which are a hundred tarnished electrum coins of unfamiliar denomination. If the PCs try to extort more money from the vampire however, or are rude or grossly indiscrete then Madrigore will become a dedicated if minor enemy. Although he will not descend on them from the shadows like a monster, he will see to it that the Dustmen do them no further favours.


Trigger: PCs encounter Fingers the ghoul in a random encounter; PCs stake out Rattling Alley looking for the creature that attacked Dykos.

The figure wandering past you stinks of incense, a cloying scent that becomes almost overpowering as he draws near. He’s a Dustman but seems highly agitated - Hissing and muttering issues constantly from beneath his filthy hood:‘No no no... failing…failing…not falling to dust, Fingers is…. Fingers… fingers…. Mmmm.... True Death, True Death…mustn’t give in, mustn’t know it. Need the quiet hole where it was… fingers must be good and not-not…like that again…no, oh no no no....”

This is none other than the ‘Beast of Rattling Alley’, Fingers the ghoul.

Currently Fingers wears a Dustman’s robe over ragged knee-length pantaloons and a filthy shirt and waistcoat. He walks along with hood up, head bowed, and claws concealed in the wide sleeves of his robe. His face is yellow and leathery, with hideous jagged teeth and white eyes almost blind from cataracts; Fingers is extremely weak sighted, and hunts mostly by scent but this is impaired somewhat by the cloud of Three Suns Prayer incense that hangs around him.

Fingers mutters to himself constantly - about the True Death, about failing his vows, and about his previous favourite subject - eating peoples’ fingers. It’s possible that the PCs will encounter Fingers before they learn of Dykos the Maimed, but if they encounter him afterwards it’s likely that they will leap to the (correct) conclusion that this is the creature responsible for attacking the merchant. The dark of things is a bit more complicated, however:

Having stumbled through a portal from a prime world called Nehéz about two months ago, Fingers found himself in the Mortuary. Disguising himself in a Dustman’s robe (after eating the previous occupant), the ghoul has prowled the streets for weeks. Seeing the many dangers of the Hive, he became a cautious hunter, feeding only off animals and those who wouldn’t be missed. Like many living primers, he found the city awesome and frightening but wanted to know more.

During this time, Fingers explored the streets and mortuary and overheard many conversations by Dustmen. He liked what he heard, and eventually being a Dustman became more than a mere disguise: Fingers is actually on the verge of embracing their philosophy for real.

Fingers had abstained from feeding for almost two weeks when he encountered the Joculators, who established a lair above his own. The stink of the incense leaked down, impregnating his clothes and reawakening his hunger for living flesh. Several times he attacked solitary individuals in Rattling Alley, but always managed to hold himself back from feeding. Eventually the incense overcame his inhibitions however; a few days ago he attacked Dykos the dwarf merchant and partially devoured his hand. Fingers feels deeply ashamed of this, not because of the harm done to Dykos but because it represents his failing to put aside his desires, and because he almost gave death to someone not yet ready for it.

If confronted, Fingers first tries to get away. If cornered however, he attacks his enemies frantically. He must make a WILL (DC 15) save in every round of combat, or begin to use his Bite attack – characters who make a Sense Motive check at DC 16 will realise that he’s deliberately holding back from biting, with some difficulty.

If captured rather than killed, Fingers will swiftly confess his crimes. He claims to have given up eating his favourite food (“fingers, mmm...”) but just couldn’t help himself the other night; the hunger has come back worse than ever in the last couple of weeks.

Amidst his other ramblings (or if asked about the smell on his robes) Fingers mentions that a band of “dancing dustmen” keep hitting him with a smelly metal thing and shouting and singing while he’s trying to have a quiet think at home. They moved into the ruins above Fingers’ house two weeks ago, and have been bothering him ever since. If given the chance, he’ll even show the PCs where he lives; a ruined tenement just off Rattling Alley. This is also the home of the Joculators.

Aftermath: Caring PCs might take Fingers to Mortuary, where a pair of Dustmen will take him into custody. Unfortunately these very Dustmen will later be involved in an angry exchange with their fellows as they are affected by the incense as well. The characters can hear about this from Mother Xero or any other Dustman of their acquaintance.

Under the care of the Dustmen and away from the affects of the Thurible, Fingers will eventually recover from his hunger and eventually even his muttering madness will subside. If they encounter him again once the Thurible’s affects have worn off, Fingers will be grateful for their help, although not very passionate about it. They will now have a contact and minor friend in the Mortuary, should they ever need one. Fingers would make an excellent ‘project’ for a PC Dustman seeking to advance in rank.

SLIPPING THE BLINDS: Seeing a monster (and not even a harmless one) it’s quite likely that the PCs will simply attack Fingers and kill him, although as the Voices pointed out when they were hired, this isn’t actually what they’re being paid for. They should also know by now that many undead are part of the Dustmen, and if they kill Fingers just because he’s a ghoul, that’s murder. Dustmen or good-aligned PCs should also be concerned with helping the ghoul stick to his beliefs.


Trigger: Random encounter; The PCs encounter the Joculators; the Joculators come looking for the PCs.

‘The Joculators’ are a trio of Xaosetics pranksters out to cause trouble. Jesters by profession, their current aim is to “laughing crazy make the puppets like dusties dance!” - but chaos and disorder is their true expertise.

The Joculators are a loose association of Chaosmen who worked as jesters and jongeurs – and secretly as pranksters for hire. After an incident where a joke resulted in the serious injury of a senior Harmonium officer however (they hid a bear trap in his privy), they were forced to flee to the Hive.

The Joculators were never particularly reserved or sane, and prolonged exposure to the Thurible of Desire has made them even less stable. Although they’re not really trying to hurt anyone, their pranks are starting to get out of hand. They’ve been up to various mischief so far:

· Ambushing Dustmen and forcibly dressing them in brightly coloured clothes.

· Running around with sheets over their heads, pretending to be ghosts.

· Throwing brightly coloured paint at the mortuary walls and various monuments.
· Disrupting a funeral procession by urinating on it from a rooftop.

· Blinding passers-by with Colour Spray spells.

· Running past people, hitting them with their ‘relics’ (including the Thurible)

· Stealing carts, wagons and pony carriages to race them.

· Stealing corpses and propping them up in comedic and obscene vignettes.

· Performing mock ‘recruitment speeches’ while pretending to be Dustmen.

· Using their Suggestion spells to start a brawls and arguments.

PCs will most likely encounter the Joculators engaged on one of their ‘happiness patrols’ around Wailer’s Square, but once they hear that the PCs are representing law and order, they will actively seek them out for a good seeing to. PCs are likely to hear the Joculators before they see them:

“Happy dusties, that is we, we do not laugh and we do not pee. Teeth like tombstone slabs, when we die our jaws hit the floor in dribs and drabs! Blessings of the none-day to you berk! May you die soon but begin not being not living with a laugh!”

From a distance the Joculators might be mistaken for Dustmen, but a Spot check (DC 10) reveals that they are wearing black-dyed jester’s motley under their hooded robes. Of course, they’re also shouting and capering and acting like balmies most of the time too. Each Xaosetic wears an excessive amount of amulets and funerary jewellery, including a dozen cheap holy symbols. They also carry a selection of other funerary equipment: A skull-shaped brazier, a huge ceremonial candlestick, and the Thurible of Desire.

Tactics: The Joculators aren’t really trying to kill anybody - they just want to bring the joy of chaos (and comedy) to a tragically depressing district. They focus their spells on distraction, confusion, and befuddlement rather than harm.

The Joculators may well come across the party randomly and decide to embroil them in one of the pranks above, but if the PCs have earned enough of a reputation in the district, the Xaosetics will deliberately target them for a humiliating ambush, using their magic to make the party seem as foolish and ineffectual as possible. Low level parties will be particularly vulnerable to their Sleep and Colour Spray spells.

PCs who are incapacitated by the Joculators will find themselves robbed and then either stripped naked, dressed in inappropriate clothing (women’s undergarments, theatrical villain costumes, etc) and left in whatever position the party are likely to find least amusing when they wake.

During their activities, Grimjaw the Githzerai is always lurking nearby. He doesn’t involve himself unless the Joculators get themselves into real trouble, however. When he does take action, he will ambush whoever is proving the most threatening, in an attempt to subdue or incapacitate them, and distract everyone else; lethal force will only be used if necessary (although it certainly doesn’t bother him). Grimjaw will also make efforts to remove any unconscious or dead xaosetics from the scene, and cover the retreat of the Joculators from both pursuit and attempts to track them. He has some of the Joculators’ caltrops, thunderstones, and tanglebags to assist him in this.

Capturing the Joculators: If captured, the Joculators will initially refuse to talk, or at least talk anything other than babble. They’ll seem even balmier than most Chaosmen, alternately giggling, weeping, and ranting. Eventual 'persuasion' (one way or another) will get them to reveal their plans - i.e. to cause chaos and disruption while dressed as Dustmen.

Pressing them on why they are doing this or who put them up to this will reveal that they met a man in the Hive who suggested the idea, and even gave them outfits and some props. If asked to describe him, the party will eventually make out that they met someone young, blond, clean, and nice smelling, who had a small red birthmark on his cheek.

If roundly defeated, the Joculators will slink away to a less ordered part of the Hive – unless of course the DM wishes them to return for later vengeance! If the PCs want to question them later (perhaps after experiencing more of the Thurible) they will have to track them down outside of Wailer’s Square, which could be a risky proposition. Tracing them via Grimjaw and the Minder’s Guild is probably the better option.

Capturing Grimjaw: Grimjaw is certainly not prepared to die for his charges, and will flee or surrender if badly injured. The Githzerai is much more taciturn and pragmatic than his clients. At first he will tell the PCs to pike it and little else, but will eventually admit that he was hired a couple of weeks ago by the Xaosetics to be their bodyguard: They paid a sizeable amount in advance to his Guild, and now he’s stuck with them. He doesn’t like them and does not share their lair because “that smoke they use sends them crazy.”

SLIPPING THE BLINDS: Depending on the level difference between the PCs and the Joculators, the party may well come off worse against them. The Xaosetics will then happily continue prancing around the district, possibly even dropping by to poke fun at the PCs for earlier defeats. PCs might require several encounters to get the better of these pranksters, giving the DM ample opportunity to play them as a minor but highly irritating nemesis for the group.

For more details of the Joculator and their Lair, see Appendix III.


Eyes’ plot isn’t the only thing happening in the Grey District. There are plenty of minor encounters to occupy the party’s time too: Helping drunkards home, driving off urchins, carrying the shopping of old ladies, etc. There’s also a 50% chance once each day and once each night of a more significant encounter. Some of these are affected by Eyes’ plot, others are not.

Roll 1d20 on the table below:

1) Arguing Collectors: Two small groups of collectors are arguing over a small pile of corpses piled up in a handcart. Each claims the prize is theirs and says the other group is attempting to steal it. If they do nothing, the argument eventually comes to blows (see encounter 2).

2) Brawl: A fistfight begins. There are 2d6 level 1 commoners (5hp each) involved. PCs who make a Wisdom check at DC 15 will detect the faint smell of incense. Roll on the table below to see exactly who’s involved:

1.Residents versus new immigrants (see Appendix)
2.Bubbers from the Scold’s Bridle
3.Funerary Guildsmen versus Day Labourer’s Guild
6.Rival Collectors

3) Bubbed-up Client: The PCs notice one of the local jinkskirts (a girl named Glory) having trouble with a drunken ‘client’ in an alleyway. He’s swaying and staggering as he growls and snarls at her, waving a half-empty ceramic bottle. A successful Sense Motive check indicates that he might well get violent.

If the PCs save Glory, she will warm to them and regale them with tales of her encounter with Madrigore (see A TALE OF BLOOD AND GOLD), and become rather attached to any heroic-looking PCs (male or female). If the PCs do not interfere, the bubber will briefly assault Glory with fist and bottle, leaving her lying stunned on the ground.

4) Dance of the Joculators: The party run into the three Xaosetic jesters (see DANCE OF THE JOCULATORS, above). Roll 1d4 to determine exactly what the party encounters:

1: The aftermath of a prank.
2: A prank in progress.
3: Joculators capering about on ‘happiness patrol.’
4: Joculators decide to prank the PCs.

5) Demonic Visitors: Panic spreads throughout the district, as news reaches it that Rash the Rutterkin and the Proud Pariahs are coming to kill the PCs and make Wailer’s Square part of their territory. Shops are shut, windows are shuttered, and berks flee the streets. If the PCs are brave enough to stand and await the fiend gang however, nothing happens.

6) Grimjaw the Githzerai: The PCs see Grimjaw the Githzerai strolling warily around the district. If approached, he will be terse and unhelpful, but insist that he has every right to be here. He’ll defend himself if attacked, but isn’t otherwise looking for trouble (see DANCE OF THE JOCULATORS for more information).

7) Guild Trouble: The PCs come across an altercation between Jaime (location 7) and some thugs from the Day Labourers’ Guild. The bravos are armed with cudgels and knives. At the moment they’re sparring with just words, but Jamie’s expressive cursing is riling them more and more.

Cool Funeral: A long procession of black-robed priests baring great candles, silver censors, and bronze gongs makes its way down Shuffle Street, accompanied by professional wailers who scream, thrash, and pray loudly for the soul of the deceased. Traffic comes to a virtual halt as they make their way slowly to the Mortuary (if the DM wishes, the funeral might prove too tempting a target for the Joculators, who attempt to disrupt it).

9) Pickpocket: The PCs are targeted by a trio of professional pickpockets, who try and dip a PC’s purse. They work as a team: one man distracting the PC(s), one lifting the purse, and another receiving it If detected, they scatter.

10) Procession: A solemn procession of priests wends its way through the Grey District, then up Shuffle Street and to the Mortuary. Trouble erupts when the priests (all primers) are told that the portal they were expecting to use no longer exists!

Heated arguments ensure, with a 50% chance that the priests foolishly try to force their way into th

Dialexis's picture
Joined: 2006-07-21
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD


The adventure is excellent -really, really great stuff!

I'll probably reply later and post a heap of compliments and specific praises to the module proposal, but in the meantime -the post seems to end mid-sentence. Did it cut off due to charater-length limits? Or will you just finish the rest later. Just wanted to know.

I think this would be easy to run as either a 1st level of 3rd ECL level module -with very little changes.

One last question -this seems to all be one stand alone adventure (rather than a 3-part adventure arc) -is this correct? (which is fine if it is).

But once again -excellent work!

Armoury99's picture
Joined: 2006-08-30
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

It did indeed cut off mid way through, I'll rectify this in a sec - since there's only about half of it there!

Dialexis, about the ECL, I pretty much agree.

Other half coming now...

Armoury99's picture
Joined: 2006-08-30
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

And now for part two!

10) Procession: A solemn procession of priests wends its way through the Grey District, then up Shuffle Street and to the Mortuary. Trouble erupts when the priests (all primers) are told that the portal they were expecting to use no longer exists! Heated arguments ensure, with a 50% chance that the priests try to force their way into the Mortuary if the party do not intervene to cool things down (exactly what religion is present is up to the DM; other options for processions include attacks by a rival faith or the Joculators.

11) Rag-picker Shivs: The sound of a fight attracts the PCs. A vicious knife-fight has erupted in a nearby alley, over a dead body and a pile of rags. 1d6 collectors are trying to kill each other over the prize.

The body in question is of an emaciated beggar, who died of exposure although several of his fingers have been gnawed off. scent of incense hangs heavy in the air.

12) Hazard: The PCs encounter one of the numerous hazards of life in the Hive. There’s a 50/50 chance that the encounter happens to one of them or that they merely turn a corner and see it happening to a local. Roll 1d4 and consult the table below:

1: Fallling Blade - One of the countless rusty blades adorning a building overhead breaks off and comes tumbling down, causing 1d10 damage unless those below make a REF save (DC 15).

2: Ooze Puddle - The character must make a Spot check (DC 15) or step into an ooze puddle, which sucks at their legs in an attempt to drag them into the Plane of Ooze.

3: Smog Bank - The party catches sight of a thick bank of choking smog drifting in from Lower Ward. Within 1d6x10 minutes it has covered the Grey District in choking black mist.

4: Razorvine – a loose cobble sends the character stumbling into a patch of razorvine. Make a Ref Save, DC 12 or suffer [DAMAGE]

13) Laughing Dustmen: The PCs witness a Dustman acting strangely: Laughing, weeping, angry, or displaying some other outburst of emotion. The Dustman is bundled into the Mortuary by his companions before the PCs can interfere.

14) Restless Dead: One of the district’s zombies develops desires and a vague awareness. It wanders the streets mumbling to itself, restless and unhappy but still almost completely mindless.

15) Sougad Sodkiller: Sougad Sodkiller is a bitter berk, genuinely unlucky and convinced that his lot in life is to receive the short end of the stick. For example, Sougad happens to share the name of a famous serial killer of Sigil’s recent past (‘Sougad Lawshredder’ from the published adventure Harbinger House) and gets rather annoyed by berks making uncomplimentary references to him, those events, and his current Faction.

Sougad’s been trying to get several streets in the Hive to employ the Sodkillers (or at least their portion of the city guard) but has so far had little success. He came to Wailer’s Square a few weeks ago but was rebuffed. Now he’s back having heard that chaos is plaguing the district. He’s had several setbacks in his career and is starting to get desperate for some success.

Sougad will patrol the district, looking for an opportunity to prove the value of his beliefs, occasionally stopping to harangue shopkeepers or passers-by. He’s a passionate speaker, but doesn’t handle unexpected questions well. Despite his slightly comical nature, he is a skilled warrior.

16) Thieving Urchins: The PCs witness a raid for food or clothes by a gang of Grey District urchins, who scatter in all directions if confronted. Fleeing urchins will be supported by their follows, who pelt the PCs with stones, dung, and name calling.

The urchins will duck and weave through the district, dropping their stolen goods rather than being caught. Eventually they’ll squeeze into a tiny hole to escape medium-sized PCs. Those who pursue them further will find themselves surrounded by 2d10 feral children, armed with broken bottles and rusty knives.

PCs who are overly brutal with the urchins will receive the undying wrath of their fellows and some condemnation from the locals as well. The party will also be harassed by urchins for the rest of the scenario.

17) Unexpected Portal: A sudden golden light heralds the opening of a previously unknown portal, one of many with a new key and destination since the Tempest of Portals. The DM can make up the location, or roll 1d6:

1 - The PCs glimpse an armoured knight struggling amidst a scrum of roaring fiends. A glowing icon, bright and holy is held out towards them in his bloody hand. Before either he or the item can pass through the portal however, he is yanked back by his attackers and the portal closes.

2 - A baroque tavern full of hubbub and cheer – but the drinkers are all of tanar’ri. From a across the room a succubus turns and winks alluringly at them before turning back to its game – throwing darts at a crucified figure pinned to the wall (if the PCs later explore the tavern, it can be a jumping off point for the Deva Spark adventure).

3 - A small party of wounded adventurers flees out of the portal, pursued by 4 goblins. This is a good way to introduce new characters mid-adventure. The adventurers consist of 2 wounded primer fighters called Cedric and Dagobert. The goblins will flee once two of them are killed or disabled.

If rescued, the adventurers (and the goblins!) will be overwhelmed by the sights and sounds - and smell - of the Hive. Injured, frightened, and suffering from the Sigil’s bad air, they won’t recuperate until after this adventure is over, after which they’ll begin looking for a way home.

4 - The portal opens to a black vortex of swirling darkness, a palpable stench of evil billowing out. A single bright speck appears, rushing forward, and the suddenly one of the mighty Solars emerges from the portal. It cleaves the arch that frames it in twain, then spreads its wings and flies away.

5 - The portal reveals a beautiful pastoral vista, a scene of humbling peace and serenity. People suddenly start running towards the portal, trying to escape to a better life. Only a handful make it before the portal closes, but for weeks a small cadre of hopefuls sits vigil before it.

6 - A massive tentacle forces its way through the portal, thrashing blindly in the street. Anything it touches is grabbed and yanked inside, never to be seen again. The portal stays open for 1d6 rounds.

18) Wandering Fingers: The PCs encounter a muttering figure swathed in ragged grey Dustman’s robes. This is Fingers the ghoul, see the WANDERING FINGERS encounter, above.

19) Zombie Husband: The ancient widow Sha’ref has been a washerwoman for decades, living alone since her husband was taken by plague thirty years ago. Although dead, he’s not far away however. His corpse was sold and animated as a zombie by the Dustman, used for cleaning moss and razorvine from the Mortuary walls.

Widow Sha’ref is quite content with this arrangement. She sees her husband regularly and always gives him a pleasant nod and hello, although he’s never answered her. But the Thurible’s effects have worked their magic on his corpse, and the zombie has developed a faint awareness and a desire to be with its wife once again.

“What? Eee, get away! Stop it, Kalin. Stop it, I say! Aaaaih! Get off! Get away from me you stinking lump! That’s not on!”

The PCs are alerted to trouble by the screams of widow Sha’ref, and will probably assume that her attacker is a living man. On running to her assistance, the party will discover the old woman fending off a zombie that appears to be trying to embrace her, mumbling “wife...” under its fetid breath!

The PCs can rescue widow Sha’ref however they wish, after which she will explain how her ‘husband’ followed her home today and suddenly attempted to kiss her. She’s no idea why his corpse has chosen today to go crazy, and is actually more worried that the Dustmen will want back the money they paid for the corpse.

An examination of the corpse will reveal the distinctive smell of Three Suns Prayer incense and a lingering aura of enchantment magic. A successful Search check (DC 15) also reveals the distinctive imprint of the Thurible in the side of the zombie’s head

20) Zombie Theft: The PCs come across some scruffy, suspicious-looking berks carrying 1d3 long cloth-wrapped parcels. Each parcel is carried by two thieves, actually thugs from the Day Labourers Guild. Their illicit cargos are bodies – zombies in fact, stolen from Jaime’s yard.

PCs are likely to stop the rogues based purely on their shiftiness, but Spot checks (DC 15) will confirm that their parcels look suspiciously like bodies. When challenged, the thieves will either drop their cargo and run (if the PCs outnumber them or are well-known killers) or turn and fight. The thieves can’t control the zombies, but will just send them lurching forward at the PCs. The zombies themselves will just stagger around for a few rounds, and then just stand there.

The thieves are workers at the Day Labourer’s Guild, and have decided to rob Jaime as a way of whittling down the competition and making a few coins on the side. Although they will claim to have been sent by the Guild and alternatively promise rewards if they’re let go and dire revenge if they’re not, they Guild has no involvement with their actions.


This section deals with the Thurible of Desire and various actions the PCs might take if they get hold of it.

The PCs will probably first come across the Thurible of Desire in the hands of the Joculators - when one of them hits a PC with it, scattering pungent incense everywhere. They can also pick up traces of the incense (and its magical effects) by visiting crime scenes, Fingers or his lair, and the Xaosetic hideout.


The Thurible of Desire is an enchanted censor cast in the shape of the Mortuary, connected to a short steel handle by a chain. It radiates strong enchantment magic, although the smoke and incense radiates only a lingering aura. Based on its construction alone, the piece is probably worth about 200gps.

If the PCs attempt to break the Thurible, it has [Hardness X and XX hit points]. It can be used as a flail in combat, but has a -2 attack penalty does only 1d4 points of damage. A successful attack doesn’t have to penetrate its target’s armour to cover it in incense however - a melee touch attack is all that’s required for that.

Careful examination of the item (Search check DC 20, but the PCs may ‘Take 20’ on this check if they wish) reveals a string of tiny glyphs - the name of the item and some kind of magical symbol. Bardic Lore or Knowledge (Arcana) result of 20+ reveals it as the Wizard’s Mark of Brunathel the Worthy, a powerful artificer based at the Great Foundry.

Powers: When its top is sealed, the Thurible automatically enchants any incense that burns within it, and also magically ignites it, causing the block to smoulder. Those exposed to the incense’s smoke receive a Suggestion effect, subtly encouraging them to give in to their emotions. Creatures normally without emotions suffer an additional effect, creating normal-strength emotions in a manner similar to the Emotion spell except that the emotions surface intermittently, but most often whenever they would occur in a normal person. The DC of both saves is 16. Characters who make a WILL save are immune to the effects of the Thurible for 24 hours.

The magic even effects undead creatures, drawing the memories and feelings from their flesh (physical or ectoplasmic) by an effect similar to psychometry.

The victim radiates a lingering aura of enchantment for the duration of any effects, as do any particles of incense.

Most victims of the Thurible just become a bit impulsive and over emotional, but Dustmen in particular will become more animate, have slightly more exaggerated reactions, and be highly uncomfortable with them. Actual undead affected will also become more animated, but often with more dangerous results - their emotions were never meant to resurface. See ‘Zombie Husband’ on the random encounter table for an example.

Other creatures that spend a lot of time around infected folk or locations are also likely to pick up a mild dose of it, which works as above but only lasts a few hours or so, depending on how much of the incense they’ve been around.

The Thurible is currently loaded with an Arcadian incense called Three Suns Prayer, whose pleasant but strong smell persists for three days. Characters exposed to the incense must also make a WILL Save every day they are infected, unless it is removed (see below).


It is almost inevitable that the PCs will be infected by the incense to some degree or other, but the effects will be minor unless one of them is a worthy Dustman, Bleaker, or has lost their emotions on the Grey Waste. There are a number of ways that party members can become ‘infected’ by the Thurible:

· Being hit by it in combat.
· Having incense dumped onto their heads by a giggling Joculator.
· Hands on examination of three or more crime scenes where the Thurible was liberally used.
· Searching the Joculator hideout.
· Grappling with a heavily infected person (like Fingers or a Joculator)
· Extensive search of an infected person’s clothing or equipment.
· Taking the Thurible apart to examine it.

Infected PCs will not initially notice any change in their behaviour, but their companions can spot the change with a Sense Motive check of 25 or more. There’s a +4 bonus is an observer specifically states they are looking for a heightened emotional state in the victim.


Infected characters will possibly try to remove the pungent odour, by bathing and laundering their clothes. This will create some interesting complications.

Firstly, a ‘quick wash’ will do little to remove the smell, and most of the washerwomen of the square won’t be too bothered by this, much preferring it to the usual stench of sweat and filth. The PCs will need to specifically request a thorough scrum to remove the smell if they want it out. The washerwomen will also wash multiple sets of clothes in the same tub unless warned otherwise, and everyone else’s washing and whoever does the laundry will likely be infected to a minor degree as well.

The same applies to bathing. A hard scrub is required to get it out of the PC’s hair and skin. This will likely be done at the Three Tubs, and unless they warn Haigherty before hand he too will be enamoured with the incense-flavoured water; he’ll bottle it as cheap scent and sell it to passers-by! If they warn him however, he’s simple throw the dirty water out (into Rattling Alley) where it will cause the local rats to enter a breeding frenzy.

Both these events should inform the PCs that there is something odd about the censor or its contents.


Given the Thurible’s design and obvious quality, the PCs may well decide to sell it – either direct to the Funerary Guild or via someone else (Gnarlybone or one of the Shuffle Street traders, both of whom will offer only about a third of its market value, as they’ll think it’s stolen Guild property).

Inevitably, the censor will make its way to the Mortuary and the Funerary Guild, who will not spot its magical nature at first. A few days of sudden arguments, fights, and incidents however, will convince them that something is up. After detecting the Thurible’s magical aura, they will swiftly trace it back to PCs.

Quartermaster Ambergris will take it upon himself to investigate, summoning the PCs to a meeting in whatever manner is most likely to disturb them and display his power – like having them roused from their beds in the middle of the night. Ambergris is a halforc, a Dustmen Factotum, and an arrogant berk to boot.

A quintet of threatening figures await you: A lean half-orc in Dustman robes, and four squat giants whose grey flesh hangs in loose folds and stinks of embalming fluid. These monstrosities flank their master with arms folded, their hollow eye-sockets flickering with malevolent crimson light.

“I am Quartermaster Ambergris,” the half orc announces. With a heavy clank, he tosses something onto the table before him. You recognise it the Thurible.

“Explain this.” He demands.

Ambergris is observing the PCs careful for signs of guilt, or falsehood. He all but accuses the party of attempting to harm the mortuary staff by sending them the Thurible, and threatens dire vengeance if he even suspects the PCs of wronging the Dustmen. Attempts to verbally assault Ambergris will fall on deaf ears; physical assaults will be immediately met by subdual attacks from his zombie ogre guards. Ambergris is more than prepared to beat the PCs into submission to make his point.

“This item is cursed, and powerfully enchanted. It strikes at the heart of our ideals, harms both we who follow the Way of death and those who dwell around us. And I promise you, it will be the cause of harm to you too... if you do not rectify the chaos you have caused.”

After letting the PCs vent their anger and giving them opportunity to explain themselves, Ambergris delivers an ultimatum: Find out where the Thurible comes from and who has sent it against the Dustmen or “you shall be judged to be the instigators of this.” Ambergris doesn’t care how unfair his ultimatum is, and will add that he expects a result within three days. He will leave the Thurible with the group when he leaves.

Attempts to dissuade or intimidate Ambergris will fail utterly, although a Diplomacy check will at least persuade him that the PCs are not enemies, merely played fools. Physical attacks on Ambergris will be met by his zombie ogres, who strike to subdue unless he orders otherwise. He wants the party alive to do the work.

If he feels the need to put further pressure on the PCs (or he’s just torqued off by their attitude), Ambergris will see to it that all co-operation between the Funerary Guild and the PCs ceases until they complete their task: No healing from Narma the Loud, no zombies for hire, no further information from Mother Xero or anyone one else in the Guild. No Dustmen will drink in the Whispered Word either, which will cut into Bald Grum’s profits and hence the PCs weekly reward (something Grum will angrily explain once he realises the cause).

The party will meet Ambergris again in three days time, and they had better satisfy his demands. Depending on the tale they produce, have them make a Diplomacy or Bluff roll to convince him. Fortunately Ambergris is a firm supporter of the Kriegstanz and will believe any story that includes a Faction plot... as long as the PC’s story checks out.

If satisfied, Ambergris will take back the Thurible (assuming the PCs still have it) and sweep imperiously out of their presence and back to the Mortuary. If unsatisfied, Ambergris will set his ogres upon them: a single additional warning (in the form of a good beating), followed shortly after by an attack to kill. Locals sympathetic to the PCs will warn them to flee the area before this final assault (possibly terminating their employment, if that’s what it takes to save their lives). The PCs will need to comply with Ambergris’ orders or flee the area for good.

SLIPPING THE BLINDS: Ambergris is an abject lesson in an uncomfortable truth: That the PCs aren’t the most powerful creatures in the universe, and sometimes the more powerful force their will on those who can’t prevent it. This won’t be the last such encounter in their careers, unless they want to be suicidally leatherheaded about it.

Having dealt with adventurers before, Ambergris is prepared for them to try something as foolish as attacking a factotum and four undead ogres. Although he has no warm feelings about them, he’s reluctant to give them death when they so obviously cling passionately to life. He’s happy to smack them around, however.

PCs who utterly refuse to assist Ambergris could well be in trouble – the half-orc considers it imperative that the Dustmen (sorry, ‘Funerary Guild’) makes an example out of someone for this affair. This is a point that the Voices or another wise NPC can lann the PCs to the dark of. They can also reason that it’s whoever is behind the Thurible that’s caused them their troubles, not the Dustman factotum... and that if they play him right, Ambergrius could help them get revenge on the real troublemaker.

NPCs can also advise the PCs to bite their tongues and bide their time if they want revenge on Ambergris himself, or tug on their heartstrings about how the area will be undefended if the Dustmen kill the PCs or drive them off.


Brunathel’s personal mark adorns the inside of the Thurible, which can be identified by Narma the Loud if the PCs can’t do it themselves. Aside from learning that he is a powerful artificer from the Foundry however, they will probably have to go to Lower Ward to learn more.

The portal to Lower Ward emerges in the shadow of the Great Foundry, which looms like a black beast bellowing smoke and ash.The sound of hammer on anvil and the smell of fire and forge sweeps over you. Everywhere about you are creatures from a dozen races, clad in sweat and grime, scurrying too and throw on apparently urgent business. The area teams with filthy but vibrant life, quite different from the air of desperation and lethargy that grips the Hive.

PCs asking about Brunathel can learn his identity and where to find him with a Gather Information check. Each inquirer will have to endure numerous sales pitches and buy 1d6gp worth of nuts, bolts, cogs, gears, and other merchandise however:


Brunathel the Worthy is a powerful artificer, both priest of Hephaestus and a mighty wizard (the mystic theurge prestige class).


Directions to Brunathel’s shop.

Brunathel the known as ‘the worthy’ because he is said to enjoy the favour of Hephaestus, his patron Power. He has his Power’s gift for creating magical items.


He’s an innovator, but refuses to make copies – every item he crafts must be unique and tailored to the client.

His premises are guarded by golems and other constructs, who throw out fools who waste his time.

He used to be a member of the Believers in the Source, but was never more than a Namer. He has not taken up with the Mind’s Eye, despite repeated attempts to recruit him.


Wreathed in choking smog, the tiny entrance to Brunathel’s workshop is barely visible. The symbol of Hephaestus is carved above a small but impressive door of Baatorian green steel.

Beyond the door is an antechamber crowded with polished braziers, gleaming armour pieces, and glowing lanterns of stained glass. Light sparkles off a hundred metal articles - including two bulky figures flanking the door, warriors so heavily armoured in interlocking plate armour that you wonder if they might be golems.

The narrow but long room ends at a sturdy desk, which stretches from wall to wall. Behind it sits a strange artificial creature made of steel and bronze, cogs, wheels, pistons, and wire. A clockwork face smiles at your approach, and the puppet lifts its hands in greeting, accompanied by the soft sound of whirs and clicks:“Welcome to the forge of Brunathel the Worthy, and may Hephaestus’ blessing be set upon your needs. How may I help you?”

Brunathel’s receptionist is one of his creations, a golem combining magic and primitive technology. It is powered by a series of bellows and clockwork engines in the cellar and is not truly intelligent, although it can interact with customers and answer several questions. Enquiries outside of its programming generally receive the answer: “Perhaps that is something you would like to speak to Master Brunathel about.”

Gaining an audience with Brunathel is simple once the PCs make it clear that they have business to discuss with him:

“Of course, sir. I shall indicate your arrival to Master Brunathel immediately.”

So says the automata, and on queue an echoing gong sounds somewhere beyond the far wall. A previously unseen door opens and a man emerges: He is accompanied by a wave of heat, the smell of hot metal, and the light of many forges. A large and stocky human, he is naked save for a loincloth, a heavy apron, and a collection of golden bracers and amulets. He is also covered by layer upon layer of sweat and grime.

“I am Brunathel,” he says, in a deep rolling brogue. “What are your needs?”

Brunathel is a devout worshiper of the Power Hephaestus, and believes that each crafted magical artefact is a prayer to his God. He rarely concerns himself with the uses his devices are put to, only the beauty of their form and function. He’s not really callous, just more concerned with his work than with people. If the PCs can actually bring home to him the chaos that his Thurible is causing, he’ll be prepared to help them.

Brunathel’s manner is brusque, curt, and pretty rude. He’s annoyed with the characters, who are clearly of insufficient means to purchase or commission an item from him, and he’s no time to chat with random berks. Only if the PCs produce or mention the Thurible will he be interested in talking to them.

Brunathel can easily identify the item as his own work, and will admit that he crafted it quite recently. He will be unwilling to tell them more however, unless they give him a good reason. What business is it of theirs, who he crafts for? If the PCs explain that the Thurible is being used to stir up trouble among the Dustmen and that people are being hurt from the item’s effects, he will sympathise – especially if they say they believe the item is involved in the plotting of Factions:

“The Factions, eh? That makes sense. They’re all shiftless politickers and mischief makers. Not a dram of sense between them.”

Of course, the PCs could just make up some tale to gain his help, but Brunathel is a hard man to peel (he has a Sense Motive score of +12). Although he’ll rebuke lying berks, he’ll be interested enough to demand the truth instead. Read or paraphrase the following to the PCs if they convince Brunathel to help them further:

“It’s called The Thurible of Desire. I finished it about a month ago; it was a request from the Civil Festhall care of some place called Eyes’ Desire. “It’s designed to reawaken the desires of Sensates who have lost their passions to the Grey Waste. I wanted to cast it in the shape of the Festhall, but they insisted on it looking like the image of the Mortuary. Anyway, the enchantment is passed into any incense burned within the Thurible, and onto those who experience the smoke or smell. The effects are mild and only temporary, but once a berk has experienced his emotions again a few times, they should take hold naturally and he’ll be right as rain.

"It’s a simple device and not the sort of thing I’m usually interested in. But the challenge to restore lost emotions to those who cannot experience them - that was what attracted me.”

If the PCs mention the effect the Thurible is having on Dustmen and the Undead of the Grey District, Brunathel agrees that this is in line with the Thurible’s effects, but adds that “if you use the item outside of its specifications, that’s your own fault.”

Brunathel’s Statistics are largely unnecessary. He is a planar human, Lawful Neutral, and has far better Armour Class, Saving Throws, and Hit Points than anything the PCs can currently throw at him. Characters who cause trouble will be ejected by the Iron Golems that guard the store – with whatever force the DM thinks the PCs deserve for being so foolish.

Under no circumstances will Brunathel leave his shop, let them into the back rooms, sell the PCs anything they could possibly afford, or show any interest in being further involved with the affair. If the party tries to give him back the Thurible, or get him to speak to Ambergris on their behalf, he’ll tell them to go find this Eyes’ Desire place at the Festhall. It’s their item, after all.


If the PCs make it to the Festhall (by portal or a long cab ride), they’ll find it a riotous place more like a noisy market than the beautiful ‘hall of a thousand wonders’ of Sigil myth. Entertainers jostle roughly and tout their skills, brokers and managers shout and scream at each other, and rival companies of actors roll brawling on the floor. Anyone who remembers the Festhall before the Faction War will likely be appalled. Jink seems to be the primary motivator here, at least right now.

Keen-eyed visitors (Spot DC 20) may also note a secluded shrine tucked away in the shadows of the great entrance hall, small but well-tended. It is filled with candles, flowers, and other offerings dedicated to the memory of Erin Montgomery. Messages are scrawled all across the alcove, and a few devotees are even now lighting incense before her portrait. Few people seem to acknowledge the shrine, but it remains a tiny island of calm amid the bustle.

Polite enquiries won’t avail the PCs here; they’re going to have to shout and demand if they want to be heard. How the party presents themselves will also have a large effect on how they are received: Jobbing actors and other entertainers will be listened to far more than cheap sell-swords who stink of the Hive.

Have the best Gather Information skill of the group make a roll, with an assistance roll by the other party members. Each person is also going to have to buy 2d6gp worth drinks, snacks, tickets, playbills, etc in order to learn anything.


Eyes’ Desire is not a place berk, she’s a person! She’s a broker and dealmaker for the Guild, with a stable of talented young artists.

She is a ‘mostly human’ woman who was something of a rising star in the Sensates just prior to the Faction War.


Previously she held the rank of factotum.

She dwells in the Festhall; earning herself a place through control of a number of prized sensory stones she seized during the chaos of the Sensate exile.

Not a woman to cross. It’s said she has quite a temper and a long memory.


Eyes is still a Factotum, though she keeps her affiliation more low profile since the Lady’s edict. It’s whispered that she’s still involved with numerous Sensate plots, both in Sigil and across the Planes. She wants to see her Faction back in the Cage as soon as possible.


Once they know who she is, PCs can easily make an appointment to see her if they pretend to have some legitimate business (mentioning the Thurible to one of her staff also gets them an audience). They will not be allowed to see her while armed and armoured however, or if dressed poorly and covered with the filth of Lower Ward and the Hive. Assuming the PCs are prepared to meet these conditions, someone will (after a very long wait) guide them upstairs through a maze of corridors to Eyes’ presence:

This circular chamber is adorned with cushioned couches and silk awnings, the air alive with exotic scents. Light is provided only by a single lantern - but it is an exquisite thing, a replica of the Festhall crafted from silver and stained glass. It rotates slowly on a clockwork base, sending arching shadows in a slow spiral around the room.

Behind the lanthorn rests an alluring figure; human with a touch of something else. She wears a high coloured dress of black and red, highlighted with gold jewellery that sparkles unnaturally in the dim light. Although she appears unarmed, guards of many races stand discreetly around the room, dressed as harem eunuchs in sashes and silk. Each has a freshly oiled falchion in its hand, whose tip rests lightly on the carpeted floor.

At the DM’s discretion, if any PC who heard Granny Marduk’s prophecy should say that they have now stood in the shadow of three Factions, give them a +1 bonus to all rolls in the meeting for acknowledging the power of teh Rule of Threes.

Each PC can also make a Spot check at a DC of 22. Those who succeed may notice that one of her minions is a particularly handsome young human with curly blond hair and a small red birthmark on his cheek. This description matches the one given by the Joculators of the man who gave them the Thurible of Desire. If the PCs specifically ask if any of her guards look like the man the Xaosetic’s spoke of, they get a +5 bonus to their roll.


How this meeting goes depends entirely on how the PCs play it, and what information they give to Eyes Desire.

Eyes comports herself like a princess, although the overall impression the PCs get is of a big cat lazing after a kill. Little can affect her composure, at least in the party’s presence. As far as Eyes is concerned there’s simply no way the PCs can threaten her physically, morally, or legally. Any attempt to do so will receive a threatening glower, but then she will laugh and make light of the situation.

Once they mention the Thurible, Eyes will ask them to show it to her, and will be more forthcoming if it’s presented. She won’t explicitly confess to influencing the Xaosetics or giving them the Thurible, although she is clearly pleased if the PCs describe the chaos it has caused.

She will happily admit that she commissioned the item from Brunathel, although she claims to have “misplaced it.” She immediately asks for it back, saying in an off hand way that a finder’s fee is probably appropriate. Unless the PCs physically prevent it, one of her servants will carry the lamp away while the conversation continues.

If the PCs refuse to give over their only evidence, Eyes will shrug it off and claim “it’s a mere bauble, of no matter.” She will make another attempt to get the PCs to “give back my stolen property” however before they leave. If they refuse again she will give an exaggerated sigh and attempt to have it bought, stolen, or forcibly removed from them over the next few days.

Eyes wants to hear everything about the PCs’ tale, and asks several questions of them, not all of which are related directly to the Thurible (her interest is in the experiences they’ve had in getting here).

Mildly ntrigued that her plot has come full circle, Eyes will drop enough hints that they’ll know she was behind things and that she holds no grudge over any suspicions they may have voiced so far. Depending on how impressive and professional the party are, she might even hint that she would consider using such canny cutters as themselves for work in the future (either truthfully or if she just thinks it will impress them).

She also offers a more tangible reward:

“You have produced an interesting tale,” the Sensate purrs, “full of danger and intrigue. A worthy and valuable inexperience for us all. If you are amenable, I would like to purchase these sensations from you. A fitting reward, I think, for all the trouble you’ve enjoyed on your way here.”

Before you can answer, a servant enters:

“Excuse me ma’am,” she says demurely, “but Shemeska the Marauder is here to see you.”

“Alas, it seems that our appointment is ended,” says Eyes Desire. “But please don’t leave without enjoying one of the Festhall’s many excellent bars, and see one of my people if you would like to take me up on my offer.”

After this, the PCs are escorted out one way or another. Some Player Characters may be unhappy with this ending, but there’s simply nothing that can be done about it... For now, anyway. Further revenge on Eyes’ Desire is certainly possible, but beyond the scope of this scenario.

Eyes will be true to her word and will pay each PC for a sensorium recording of their adventure (around 500gps depending on how much they impressed her). She plans no tricks or traps for them, although the PCs may well suspect one. In truth, she merely wishes to experience the adventure through their actions, and learn where her plans may have gone wrong.

The PCs’ actions at the meeting and as experienced by her will determine how Eyes feels about them. Unless they give her a reason however, she will dismiss the PCs as beneath her concern and not seek revenge for their actions. If they let her take the Thurible, she'll indeed have them paid - to the tune of [ABOUT MARKET VALUE]


Eyes’ origins are deliberately mysterious and ultimately up to the DM to decide. Her motives at present are relatively simple, however: continue the Kriegstanz, increase her own power, watch and prepare for an opportunity for the Sensates to return to the Cage. In her dealings with the PCs she’s happiest if she thinks she’s in control (by charm, intimidation, or the subtle threat of her guards). If they seem to appreciate who’s the boss in this situation, she’ll be much easier to deal with.

Eyes’ strives for control – of her emotions, her life, and her dealings with others. She has a formidable temper, and although she can disguise it with sweet words she finds it harder to keep it from her dark expressive eyes; although courteous and seductive, her manner never quite loses the air of threat. Although she acts as if her plotting is an elaborate game and pretends not to care much for their outcomes, privately defeats cause her to seethe and rage. She holds grudges and always seeks revenge, although it is a dish best served cold and painstakingly prepared.

Eyes is no coward but detests physical combat and sees it as beneath her. If confronted by physical violence to her person, she retreats, using her MAGICAL RINGS if necessary. She’ll happily summon Festhall warriors or even the City Guard to assist her, confident that she can charm or garnish her way out of any accusations.

SLIPPING THE BLINDS: The most likely problem here is that the PCs attempt to apprehend or attack Eyes Desire, especially if they have received the ultimatum of Ambergris the half orc. Given her guards and the PCs’ lack of weapons and armour however, it should be pretty clear that they should take what they’ve got and use a little patience if they are determined to get revenge. Berks who insist on making trouble with Eyes will find her harem guards to be well trained... and then have to deal with Eyes herself and the Festhall’s own warriors. The chances of success and escape are practically nil.

‘Harem’ Guards: STATS

Bards make persuasive employers and all the guards will fight to the death to protect Eyes Desire, as she has privately promised them all that any who give their lives loyally will be raised. They’re also all apprentice Sensates, so tales of disturbing the Dustmen are unlikely to bother them too much.

Festhall Guards: STATS

Sensate guards are trained primarily to deal with belligerent bubbers and people out of their brain-box on drugs, as well as berks who’ve had a bad time with a sensory stone. While their primary goal is to restrain and subdue the characters, they’ll happily respond with sharp steel if the PCs make capturing them too hard.


Once the PCs have confronted Desire, the central plot of the adventure is effectively over. It’s up to the PCs where they go from here. Once step they might well consider however (especially Lawful berks), is contacting the authorities about the plot.


Contacting the authorities will prove utterly ineffectual, as the PC’s tale will either be disbelieved or simply not cared about. The overstretched City Guard have better things to do than to investigate proofless accusations and minor disturbances in the Hive. At best they’ll get a sympathetic ear and someone who’ll take a statement, although they’ll actually have to stump up the jink for the parchment themselves: “Look berk, resources are tight at the moment. Do you want to lodge a complaint or not?”

The officer will at least applaud the PCs efforts and encourage them to keep up the good work. He may well try and get them to sign up ‘officially’ to the Guard or one of its component Factions (or warn them off those groups). Truly persistent PCs will eventually get a promise that the Guard will try and send someone round - although this is exactly what the Voices didn’t want.


Once the Thurible is removed from circulation, the incense’s effects will wear off and things will return to a semblance of normality (ignore any random encounter that involve the Thurible or its effects). Although much quieter now, they’ll still be plenty to occupy patrolling PCs and justify their wage; this is still the Hive, after all.

The PCs may have had several patrons during the adventure, each of whom have different criteria for success:

The Voices: Will be happy if the chaos subsides without blood washing through the streets, especially if the PCs explain why it all happened. They’ll not be concerned with revenge however.

If news of the plot leaks out, Dustmen in general will also be a friendlier with the PCs, in their usual dry way. Regular workers of the Guild will also be rather well disposed to the PCs.

Ambergris: Will be satisfied once he knows who is responsible, especially if the PCs can give him Eyes’ name. He’ll be content with the words “Sensate plot” however, and begin working on vengeance of his own. He’s prepared to use the PCs as agents of his vengeance if they’re amenable, but they’ll have to be patient while he schemes up some appropriate retribution.

Eyes Desire: Will be satisfied if the PCs give her the Thurible, make sensorium recordings of their adventure, and show some level of discretion regarding her name afterwards. She’ll only consider vengeance against them if they attacked her, however.

Ultimately, the party’s contract with the Voices of Wailer’s Square will lasts as long as the DM wants, or until the PCs get bored or rich enough to move elsewhere; even the Grey District of the Hive is not a particularly nice place to live once a berk gets some jink in his pockets.

On the other hand, the party might feel rather attached and protective of the people of the District, and want to stay. Once the chaos has died down, Bald Grum and the others will be happy with the PCs taking more of a backseat role in keeping the area quiet, with plenty of time off for adventures unless danger threatens again. Of course, they’ll have to pay for their rooms and board now, but the district will keep rewarding them in small ways: occasional free food and drink, scarves and sweaters knitted by friendly old ladies, etc. Once the PCs embark on a proper career as adventurers, the value of these rewards will swiftly become negligible, but it’s the friends that count.


Assuming they manage to finish the adventure with the Thurible of Desire, the PCs will have obtained a valuable magical item and quite a bit of interest in it.

The Dustmen and Eyes Desire will both want the item (to destroy it and to use it again respectively), and will send agents to purchase it, intimidate the PCs into handing it over, or simply steal it. If the PCs are strong enough to hold out and force a good price off the people involved [ADD HERE].

If the PCs go for a quick sale or one to someone who thinks the item is stolen (and Eyes will see that this information gets out if she can – it is her legal property, after all), the sale will net the PCs far less (around a quarter to half the price).

If the PCs think to approach the Gatehouse however, about using the Thurible for its original purpose (healing those who have lost their emotions, whether by magic or mundane means), the staff will happily take the item off their hands, giving the PCs a good price and a good feeling as well.


Various events from DESIRE AND THE DEAD can be used as seeds for future adventures.

The Voices could approach the PCs as representatives of many influential Hive residents, including Tad’Faddamfa the slaad or a senior Dustman. They’ll also be in touch if they ever need their services again (assuming things went well, of course).

Dykos the Maimed: If helped by the PCs, Dykos will make a full recovery. If not, his nephew Grykas will take over the business. Either dwarf may employ the PCs to guard shipments of granite and obsidian headstones coming into the Cage. In the aftermath of the Tempest of Portals, Dykos’ caravans have had to take a rather circuitous and occasionally dangerous routes. He might well contract the PCs to accompany them, or to scout a better route.

Eyes’ Desire: If the PCs showed intelligence and bravery during the adventure and professionalism and discretion during their meeting, Eyes will consider them for a number of minor jobs in the future. Of course, either her, the PCs, or both sides may finish the adventure looking to even the score.

Factotum Ambergris: The arrogant albino halforc is unlikely to end up friends with the PCs, but if they convince him that they’re innocent and capable adventurers, he might make use of them in the future. The PCs may well contact him for help in getting Eyes Desire, especially if the PCs have plans of their own in that direction.

Gladiators: Lanis the Deathmonger decides that the PCs would make a good addition to one of his shows. The party wake up one morning to find themselves imprisoned and on their way to a gladiatorial school in Ribcage. If they can’t escape, they must earn their freedom in the arena.

Gnarlybone: The young sneakthief requests the help of the PCs on a difficult job.

Nathri Raid: The nathri pack breaks its uneasy truce with Wailer’s Square and returns to loot and raid throughout the district.

New Portal: Whether they’ve encountered them previously in a random encounter or not, PCs can explore the changed portals scattered around the Hive or (with permission) in the Mortuary. As well as Dykos’ patronage, the PCs might be contracted by the Funerary Guild to find new portals to the great underworlds of the Planes, or the PCs might explore some portals on their own – many a merchant started out with just a portal key and a bag of speculative goods.

Old Toadface returns: To the disappointment of everyone, Tad’Faddamfa the slaad returns to the district and seeks to embroil the party in his schemes – using them as distractions, catspaws, or scapegoats for his illegal activities. The party might even be brave or foolish enough to approach him for one of his fabled ‘favours’. The Voices might even ask a trusted party to rid the district of Old Toadface’s presence for good.

Published Adventures: Characters with contacts in the Mortuary (or with the appropriate starting background) are ideally placed to take part in The Eternal Boundary adventure. The portal that leads to the tavern in the Abyss (in the random encounter table) could easily turn out to be the bar from The Deva Spark.

Ratter Goes Missing: Ratter and Ratter’s Boss go missing in the sewers, and the PCs are asked to delve into Undersigil find them.

Sougad Sodkiller: The Sodkiller might hire capable warriors for a variety of jobs – especially if he thinks they might be tempted to join his Faction. He’s also available as muscle.

Sweatshop Escapee: The PCs are approached by a desperate starving Halfling from one of Old Toadface’s sweatshops. She begs the characters to save her friends before starvation and the lash sends them all to the Dead Book.


The PCs won’t have to pay for room, board, or a few ales while working for the Voices, and will receive any ‘bonus pay’ due at the end of every week.

These amounts are minimal, but they are the most that the people of Wailer’s Square can afford. Although the Voices all chip in their own jink, almost half the money of any reward comes from donations by the people themselves, and they don’t have much. Of course, the PCs are free to keep any equipment or treasure they may acquire in the process of their work.

Weekly Rewards:

·Party is visible and friendly: +2d10cp

·Party performance rated ‘excellent’: 2d6gp (and better food from Bald Grum!)

·Party performance rated ‘acceptable’: 1d4gp

·Party performance rated as ‘poor but at least they tried’: 1d10sp

·Party performance ‘unacceptable’: nil.

Specific Rewards:

·PCs frighten off a band of thugs: 1sp for each thug.

·Catching a pickpocket: 1d6cps

·Dealing with the threat of Fingers the Ghoul: 20gp

·Driving off the Joculators: 50gps.

·Dealing with Sougad Sodkiller: 1d6+4gp

·Finding out the cause of all the trouble: 2d10gp

·Subduing a brawl: 1gp

·Saving people from the tentacle in the portal: 2d4gp

·Being publicly thanked by Dykos: 1d6gp

These rewards come partially in coin (mainly copper and silver pieces), and also in the form of various goods supplied by the populace, which the PCs can exchange in the Shuffle Street bazaars for the appropriate amount of cash.


This adventure can easily be set before the Faction War if the DM so desires. Only a few changes will be necessary, and these are outlined below:

·The Factions will be more prominent, though mainly as a source of gossip and scandal. The Dustmen dominate the whole area.

·The Voices will employ the PCs to avoid the attention of the Harmonium or the Mercykillers, rather than the Sons of Mercy and Sodkillers. The non-Dustmen of the area are also wary of undead patrolling their district if they ask the Dustmen for help.

·Bald Grum is openly a member of the Fated, and will be wearing their heraldry with pride.

·Funerary Guildsmen of the area are now either Indeps, Dustmen, or unaligned to any Faction - although most of these ‘Dustmen’ are namers with little more than robes and a badge to prove their Faction.

·Sougad Sodkiller will still be a member of the Mercykillers, although his attitude and aims won’t have changed. If set before Harbinger House, then Sougad’s name has no infamy, but he’s been hauled in four times by the Hardheads and his own Faction for questioning about some murders going on. He’s no idea why everyone seems to suspect him of being a murdering balmy all of a sudden...

·Eyes Desire and Factotum Ambergris are just two of many warriors in the kiegstanz. Eyes’ plot is just one of countless minor battles going on in the Cage. Both will be far more open and proud about their scheming, though not on the specifics.

·People in general will be more likely to believe that events are part of a larger plot in the Faction conflict.

·Faction-run authorities will promise to look into the situation, but will use it as an excuse to follow through on their own plans. If the PCs actually manage to convince someone to act in the district, they will descend on the area in exactly the heavy-handed way the Voices didn’t want: Mercykillers will be waving naked swords looking for berks to smite and Hardheads will be stomping up and down the streets. Ridding the district of these bashers might very well be the PCs’ next task; after all with Faction-backed reinforcements on the scene, they’re out of a job!

More than likely however, the PCs will simply be told be told by the other Factions that the Grey District is “Dustman turf” and they should take minor problems to them. PCs who do will eventually be directed to factotum Ambergris.


Below is a brief description of the prominent locations and NPCs found in Wailer’s Square, Rattling Alley, and the mortuary end of Shuffle Street. Given the shifting nature of Sigil’s streets, this information can easily be changed or added to by the Dungeon Master.

The Hive is dirty, desperate, and choking on a diet of evil and despair. Many who dwell here choose to live as far away from the forces of law and goodness as is possible in the Cage, while others have fled here to hide amidst the crumbling tenements or to indulge perverted lusts upon the weak and never-missed. Many honest folk are also simply too poor and feel too hopeless to dwell elsewhere.

Hive Ward is the home of exiles, malcontents, rogues, madmen, and fiends from every plane, and dwellers know that it’s a rare moment when they can feel truly safe even in their own homes. Contrary to popular prejudice however, here are good and hardworking people here. Many of them dwell in the Grey District, home of the Mortuary.

The Grey District surrounds the Mortuary. It hosts many Dustmen/Funerary Guildsmen and those who practice crafts relating to the dead. Corporeal undead are also relatively common, both mindless labourers and intelligent creatures. Many of them are Dustmen themselves or have business with them.

The Grey District is named for the grey and lifeless colour of both its buildings and the lives of their inhabitants – at first glance, it seems that both flesh and stone have had all the life sucked out of them. Ironically, this makes the area comparatively quiet and law abiding, mainly because it’s seen as impoverished and unexciting by the average rogue. The Funerary Guild also looks after its own, and no one likes to mess with people so influential in the ways of death.

Most berks make their living in the funeral trade one way or another, and the district is busy if not exactly ‘full of life’. Even at the busiest times however, the district is quieter than any other inhabited portion of the Cage, as if the looming presence of the Mortuary casts a hush over the nearby streets.

See the PSCS, Chapter 7 for more information.

Shuffle Street is a major thoroughfare that extends away from the Mortuary, eventually petering out into a maze of crumbling courtyards and broken alleys. Several portals line this road, connecting to the prime and planar Realms of several churches, mainly those with a heavy interest in death. They regularly make processions to the Mortuary in order to deliver deceased high-ups to their ultimate reward. Of course there are also many unknown gates here since the Tempest of Portals.

Shuffle Street is so named because on occasion long lines of animated bodies march slowly along here, to or from the Mortuary. The populace knows to avoid these grim processions, as the undead stop for no-one and incautious berks are trampled to death. Fortunately Dustmen walk ahead of these zombie armies, ringing eerily off-tone gongs to herald them.


The crumbling grey tenements of Shuffle Street are mostly abandoned, but there are a smattering of booths and shops, mainly those offering various funeral services and supplies, necromancy, or other moribund professionals. These peter out somewhat the farther one gets from the Mortuary, replaced by more normal stalls and premises selling food, cheap household goods, and various junk taken from corpses. Between these and the abandoned buildings are tenements occupied by Dustmen and other Hive folk.

Since the Factions were banished, new blood has trickled into the district to join the Funerary Guild, and inhabitants now see strange faces and hear many more languages and dialects than they did. Many are less than welcoming of the new immigrants, but vigour is springing starting to grip the district, competing with the age-old air of apathy and lifelessness.

Wailer’s Square borders Shuffle Street, the site of a regular market every ten or so days: grave-goods from as far away Heliopolis and Tir Na Og go on sale, and visitors can purchase everything from Viking death ships to enchanted mummification tools. Cager tradesmen have also started to make for the square, selling food and various simple luxuries. On other days the square is used by various stallholders selling goods typical for the street.

A number of professional mourners also call the square home, jostling with each other for potential business. These men and women perform extravagant displays of mourning to honour the dead. Competition for business is fierce and often unseemly; brawls have been known to break out over particularly rich contracts.

Rattling Alley winds its way out of Wailer’s Square. It is not named after the rodent-men of the prime, but for the magical knockers which adorn each door, a remnant of more prosperous times. Each door is of black lacquered wood, now cracked and faded, adorned with a skull upon whose forehead is carved a number. From each skull hangs a knocker shaped like a jawbone, which rattles at the slightest breeze. The house numbers don’t run in sequence, and in fact some unseen prankster changes them around on the doors from time to time.

The Alley itself is narrow with many offshoots even smaller. Its walls are blackened and soot-streaked, and notable for their relative lack of razorvine. There’s still enough of the lethal weed about to endanger bubbers who stagger too much.

Rattling alley is quite a prestigious address (for the Hive), and some of the houses actually use indoor privies rather than just emptying pisspots and bedpans into the street.


Hive Dweller – STATS com1
Tough Hive Dweller – STAT com2
Dustman – STAT exp2



The Funerary Guild (and its earlier incarnation, the Dustmen) are a constant presence. Although grim and sinister, the Dustmen are generally well behaved and bring considerable security to the district: Many a basher is afraid to make trouble in the Mortuary’s shadow for fear that the berk they try and bob turns out to be a vampire, lich, or something even worse.

Officially the Dustmen maintained a neutral stance during the Faction War, quietly cleaning up the bloody messes left by the other warring Factions. In the wake of the Lady’s Edict, the Dustmen simply gave up their badges, recruitment drives, and their seat at the council... and then just continued on as normal. True, a number of namers abandoned the philosophy and many non-dustmen began to work in the funeral trade, but little as changed in the Mortuary.

No particular personages are in charge of the area from the Dustmen’s point of view. Several dignitaries coordinate aspects of their work (funeral processions to other planes, cremations, the work of collectors, etc) and also deal with specific problems that impact on that work. One man looking out for general threats to his Guild is former Factotum Ambergris, who deals with any problems that arise in the district. PCs may well encounter him during the adventure.


The district Voices are a council of three reputable and popular representatives, elected by common assent each year. The current incumbents have all served for several years and few people bother to stand against them. The current incumbents are Bald Grum, landlord of the Whispered Word (location 1), Mother Xero the Dustman mortician (location 29), and retired adventurer Silent Brom (location 31).

The posts come with no written authority or monetary reward, only the duty of representing the district and its people. The Voices are unofficially recognised by the Sigil authorities, who prefer to have any dealings through them. The meeting place for the Voices and gatherings of the locals is the usually the Whispered Word inn, although larger gatherings often take place outside it, in Wailer’s Square itself.


The only other ‘dignitary’ in the area is a grinning slaad called Tad’Faddamfa – known colloquially (and very quietly) as “Old Toadface”. Tad’faddamfa is one of countless ‘alley lords’ in the Hive, controlling several gangs of thieves and illicit businesses.

Toadface is a [RED SLAAD] with a honeyed voice and dark green eyes that promise mischief and danger. He smiles often, revealing shark-like fangs on which shards of rotting meat still hang. Toadface owns the House of Shrouds and a couple of other businesses elsewhere, and spreads his time between them. He’s rarely seen out and about, but his shadow is said to be long; it’s rumoured that several vicious and violent gangs answer directly to him, engaged in some private business that he keeps carefully guarded. It’s rumoured that he’s looking for something in the Hive, though no one knows what. His various criminal activities are said to merely be a bit of entertainment for him while he continues his mysterious quest.

Although feared and despised by the mortals of the area - and quite a few of the immortals as well - Old Toadface is known to grant a favour to anyone who dares to ask him for one in person. Exactly how he fulfils the requester’s wish is a matter for his own desires and humour however. Of course, the individual will then owe Tad’Faddamfa in return – regardless of how satisfied they are with the resolution. Chant is that the slaad has some magic to make such deals binding, and may even be a Ring Giver, although most berks says that’s pure screed. Toadface certainly showed no anger or interest when a charitable Ring Giver was murdered near one of his stores last year.

Toadface has not been seen in the Grey District for many weeks, quite a long absence by his standards. People are beginning to suspect that some ill has befallen him, and hope that the district may be free of him once and for all.


Many locations on the map are not detailed below. The DM can fill in the blanks as needed during the adventure. Wherever there is no location marked, assume an empty shop or abandoned tenement looks out.

A quiet inn and tavern whose sign depicts a shrouded maiden with a finger raised to her lips, her features entirely obscured save for a pair of luscious lips. The inn goes in heavily for a funerary motif: It is bedecked with iron skulls, black shrouds, headstones, and coffins abound. It may be dark and shadowy, but it’s not disreputable. The Word is owned and operated by Fated merchant Bald Grum, who employs a handful of staff.

The Whispering Word has a selection of thin beers but specialises in mumerwine, a mild tasting but lethally strong liquor rumoured to be made partially from fermented embalming fluid. Unlike most bub, those drunk on Mummerwine tend to become quiet rather than loud, and move in a slow shambling gait. It creates ‘a numbness of the soul’ which many Dustmen and Bleakers find pleasing.

Treat excessive consumption of mummerwine as a poison, although its properties may prove useful later in the scenario:

Mummerwine (Fort DC: 18) 1d4 Chs + 1d4 Dex
Special - Those under the effects of mummerwine ‘poisoning’ gain a +2 bonus to Saves versus effects that create emotions, but are unable to benefit from bardic songs.

2. GNARLYBONE’S LAIRThis small grate leads down to a blocked off section of sewer and Gnarlybone’s hideaway. Characters will need to make an Escape Artist check (DC 10 but don’t forget about armour check penalties) in order to slide inside. See below for more details.

A very rough drinking hall, a new feature of the district that popular with the more disreputable new immigrants. Its sign consists of just several cracked tankards dangling from a bridle. Brawls and knife-fights are common; the only ‘furniture’ is rough hewn tables and benches, and a handful of braziers. Beer barrels are simply stacked in a corner, guarded by the three halfogre brothers who run the joint.

This irregular nook is used by the district washerwomen, who scrub and beat wet cloth on a handful of flat-topped stones. They are terrible gossips, constantly discussing the doings of everyone from local beggars to Golden Lords. The widow Sha’ref (location 19) is one of them.

Small collection of alleys, snickets, and ginnels used by prostitutes. A web of ancient beams overhead holds up the leaning tenements to either side; the girls and boys of the alley hang sheets over them to create private areas for themselves and clients.

Small bath house, containing a water pump, three large barrels, and a primitive boiler. A bath is 3 cp (5cp for piping hot), soap and oils are extra. The Three Tubs is run by an enthusiastic entrepreneur from Tradegate called Hal Haigherty, another newcomer to the Cage.

This small covered yard is home to Jaime, a former namer in the Dustmen who no longe

Armoury99's picture
Joined: 2006-08-30
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Damnit, foiled again!

Here's the last bit:

This small covered yard is home to Jaime, a former namer in the Dustmen who no longer even pretends to follow their ways. Jaime owns the contracts of a number of zombie workers, which he hires out as labourers. 2d12 are available to hire on any given day, supervised by his Dustmen friends (who constantly try to persuade him to rejoin). They’re available for XXgp per day (and a XXgp deposit).

This is the house of the dwarf Dykos, most recent victim of the Beast of Rattling Alley. His nephew Grykas is lodging with him while he recovers.

This tiny shop is the domain of Granny Marduk, an ancient Maztican woman who used to be a Mercykiller. She’s a cartomancer by trade, telling fortunes with a deck of cards designed along the lines of a Deck of Many Things. Some unknown tragedy occurred to her during the Faction War, and she not only abandoned her Faction but also became highly phobic of all such organisations.

Daibus recently sealed over the entrance to this alley, for reasons unknown. Razorvine and graffiti are competing to cover the blank grey mortar as fast as possible. The words ‘NAMELESS LIVES’ are scrawled prominently.

A tiefling called Selquint has taken over this property. He sells albino eels (reputedly caught in Undersigil), pickled in vinegar or sour wine. Nutritious, but an acquired taste. He also sells a few drugs but its mostly harmless stuff, at least by Hive Ward standards.

Over two dozen ancient skulls of various kinds have been nailed to a section of wall here. No one knows why, they’ve been here for years. Local urchins sometimes tap the skulls as a dare, for some are said to bite if the living stray too near.

Local ratcatcher and specialist fumigator, a githzerai with absolutely no sense of smell. His lead dog is a vicious scarred terrier called Ratter. The githzerai is peery of handing out his name, and so is only known as “Ratter’s Boss”.

Josiah is coffin maker and general carpenter to Wailer’s Square. A friendly chap, despite having lost most of his lower right leg to an ooze puddle as a child.

This crumbling cavern of a ruined frontage holds three crude stalls used by ragpickers to sell junk and tattered cloth. Stalls are set up first thing in the morning, on a first come first served basis.

Ku is an Oriental man, immigrant from the Realm of Yeng Wan Ye. His shop sells also holy symbols and lucky charms he claims ward against death. Hates his neighbour and business rival, Tuck of area of 17, and often has flaming rows with him over lost custom.

17. TUCK’S AMULETSTuck is a thin man with an oversized nose and a pox-marked face. He’s a long time resident of the Hive and sells holy symbols and lucky charms he claims ward against death. He hates his neighbour and business rival, Ku of area 16, and all the recent immigrants.

Primer orc, neither particularly large, stupid, or brutish. He is a rather nervous fellow, ill at ease in the awesome Outer Planes and frankly frightened by his people’s traditional enemies (elves and dwarves), of whom he has countless horror stories. His tiny shop also sells poor-quality knives and other blades.

Tiny hovel in which the widow Sha’ref dwells. This bent-backed old woman is rumoured to be a witch by the local urchins, but is just the kindly old lady she appears to be. She’s courteous and nice to everyone, but tough as old boots and wise as the canniest blood in the Cage; she’s survived countless plagues, three husbands, eight kids, and seventy years of living the Hive. She presently makes her living as a washerwoman in Beater’s Corner.

A pump-operated public fountain. The stonework is carved in the image of some three faced demon of the Vedic pantheon, mouths open and tongues sticking out. Each tongue is actually a pump, and working it causes the face above to ‘weep’ water into a trough below. Each of the statures faces is cracked and broken, and covered in graffiti.

A small hall containing rows of benches and several cupboards. These hold various bits of make-up, dark rags, and other professional aids (like onions to help them weep). Several wailers sleep here most nights, for the price of 1cp each. Narma lives in the back.

Tucked away at the far end of a long narrow alley is a ruined brothel called the Fallen Maiden. Once lavish furnishings now lie broken and rotten, and the erotic paintings on the walls are marred by peeling and damp. Most depict succubi and female aasimon of exaggeratedly voluptuous form.

The Maid was a private club run by a number of foolish young rakes from Lady’s Ward. They set the place up and used it as a hideaway for their own private entertainment about forty years ago, that is until some local balmy or jackal lord killed them all one bloody night. The locals all fear this place and think it haunted, and adventurous urchins and beggars who investigate the place sometimes fail to return.

The Fallen Maid is lair to actually a [LEMURE], left over from Powers-know-what perverted entertainments that took place here, or the final bloody night when they were brought to a halt. No one knows of its existence, as it has so far killed any who stray into its lair.

Knight of the post claiming to sell spells against necromancy and the undead. He is actually a petty sorcerer with a gift for peeling berks. He’s charismatic enough that the locals aren’t wise to his schemes, believing him the genuine article. Fortunately his services are too expensive for most locals to use, so he mainly preys on visitors.

One of several stores in the district selling funeral equipment: biers, candle-holders, coffin hinges and latches, death masks, sarcophagi, and the like.

This overhang is used by several itinerant peddlers who visit the district. It’s as often empty as not.

This small vacant shop has a wrecked door and broken window. It’s used as a kip by beggars.

Narrow stairs lead down to a rusty ironbound door on which the words KEEP OUT have been scrawled in several languages. The door is locked (DC 22), although both Ratter’s Boss and Silent Brom have a key. It leads to the sewers beneath the district.

Home of Lanis the Deathmonger, a very well secured house with ironbound door and windows. Various uncomplimentary things have been scrawled on his door. See location 33 for Lanis’ statistics.

Home and business of Mother Xero: Tiefling mortician, Dustwoman, and one of the district Voices. She’s a kindly old tiefling, always prepared to chat over a cup of tea. She’s the most philosophically minded Dustman at large in the district and happy to discuss the benefit of their beliefs. She’s a worshipper of Wee Jas and grew up in her realm on Acheron.

This razorvine hung arch used to be a well known portal, but no one has been able to activate it since the Tempest of Portals. Local residents and bored urchins occasionally toss trash and brick-a-brack at it, to see if they can get it to open again.

Small apartment belonging to Silent Brom. It is exactingly neat and kept very warm and dry with braziers. It also smells of medicinal herbs and ointments. Trophies and mementoes from a dozen planar campaigns are on display, lovingly maintained by their owner.

Fire-scorched ruin, avoided by all. This was the site of a battle between the Bleakers and Harmonium during the Faction War – The combatants all burnt to death when someone sealed the doors set the place on fire. It’s currently home only to Fingers the ghoul and the Joculators.

The image of a gladiator with sword raised marks the business premises of Lanis the Deathmonger. His trade is in the lives of men: he provides bashers to serve as gladiators, fighting to the death over a deceased high-up’s grave (an ancient tradition in several religions). He also supplies a few truly desperate berks who’ll publicly commit suicide to honour or accompany a berks’ passing. For this service, he pays their families up to 30 pieces of gold.

Fearless (ex): Lanis has spent years on the Grey Waste, and has lost several passions to the magical drain of Hades. Among other things, he is completely immune to fear.

Silent and dark-skinned earth genasi with a half-melted appearance. He never speaks and shows little care or interest in the outside world, but is a brilliant stone carver.

This tenement is nailed shut and unlike most abandoned houses, it hasn’t been broken into or simply had the wood stolen. The reason might be the big black X daubed across the doorway, indicator of plague within. The building has been sealed for as long as anyone remembers and no one can remember exactly what pox it was that killed all the residents, but no one has yet risked breaching the doors to find out if it’s safe.

A large and prosperous store, kept immaculately neat and tidy. It is owned by Tad’Faddamfa the slaad (“old Toadface”). The shrouds on sale are produced by halfling workers enslaved in crowded sweatshops elsewhere in the Hive. The store is run by a waif-thin tiefling girl named Barla, who lives in absolute terror of her occasional meetings with the boss.

This alley is blocked by mouldy ropes with gruesome warnings tied upon them: Three shrivelled nathri heads face away from the district, and three human heads face towards it. This barricade is the icon of an uneasy truce between the folk of Wailer’s Square and a pack of raiding nathri who took up residence in an abandoned tenement shortly after the Faction War. The agreement is simple; humans do not go further into Nathri territory, the nathri do not raid Wailer’s Square, and nobody else has to die.

Last year a charitable Ring-Giver named Tilf was providing free soup and (non-magical) healing in this abandoned shop until he was murdered by persons unknown. Unknown to the locals, Grimjaw the githzerai is using its attic as a hideaway. There’s only a 1 in 6 chance that he’s here on any given night however, as he normally stays with other contacts outside the district (and outside the Hive, if he can manage it).

(so far)

Dialexis's picture
Joined: 2006-07-21
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Absolutely awesome!

The adventure and all of the work -an amazing feat- is superb.

I'd suggest linking this thread to the original one by Rhys (some may not know where it is).

Besides Stats, pregen PCs, art, editing, and playtesting, you have completed it -which is just mind-blowing considering how intricate and well-developed it is. (The Level of detail is terrific, and the flow of the information is perfect -not to mention the storyline itself).

Out of the huge amount of stuff here, the only thing at all that I would suggest to modify would be Old Toadface -I think you should keep everything except simply change him from being a Slaad to a Hezrou, or ven better, a Hydroloth. (It fits a whole lot better with the sinister and oppressive alley lord -than a "supposedly" CN exemplar -who are all too often made out to be C(E)).

Well, and I'd also put out there that the "receptionist" in the Worthy's shop might actually be swapped for a Modron serving the same function and acting in the same manner (but then introduces the race, as they are not otherwise present in the adventure).

But other than those very very small tangents, the adventure is perfect.

And I think it can be done as an adventure for 1st - 2nd ECL PCs (which really is an introductory and beginners adventure, as most +1 LA races (tielfings, aasimar, genasi, and some others) would then be availible. And whether a DM decides to make it a 1st level or a 2nd level adventure, no changes (by us) would need to be made).

And like you said, it would be very easy to scale the adventure in a sidebar like the Dungeon magazines do.

Armoury99's picture
Joined: 2006-08-30
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Thanks for the critique, D. Very helpful

'Dialexis' wrote:
the only thing at all that I would suggest to modify would be Old Toadface -I think you should keep everything except simply change him from being a Slaad to a Hezrou, or ven better, a Hydroloth. (It fits a whole lot better with the sinister and oppressive alley lord -than a "supposedly" CN exemplar -who are all too often made out to be C(E)).

I've been thinking about Old Toadface recently too, reviewing the 3.5 stats for Slaad - I was currently toying with the idea of a Green Slaad insstead (by the MM3.5 description this would basically make him Jabba the Hutt, dunno if that's a good pastiche easily understood by new players, or just cheap plagerism that will look crap).

I was originally using a slaad because I didn't want a 'godfather NPC' who was obviously evil - but I've no objection to making him a fiend if people think that it would be better to 'go the whole hog' and have the big CE rather than a very dark CN/E (good point about that D). Anyone else have an opinion?

'Dialexis' wrote:
Well, and I'd also put out there that the "receptionist" in the Worthy's shop might actually be swapped for a Modron serving the same function and acting in the same manner (but then introduces the race, as they are not otherwise present in the adventure).

While I liked the automaton, its there basically to demonstrate a) sigil's wierdness, and b) that Brunathel is very powerful and skilled, and c) becuase I happened to be surfing for inspiration and found a cool picture of one.

I think the benefits of introducing a modron at this stage might outweigh the above however (and it still does a anyway...)

Again, does anyone else have a yay or nay? I'm always open to constructive criticism and this is an adventure for the whole planewalker site (if they want it), not just me and Dialexis.

Kestral's picture
Joined: 2006-03-27
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

I like it. Not only that, but I would consider running it. (That is a high compliment. I wouldn't consider running most modules, because my ability to understand many of them is so low.) It feels like a non-cheap way to introduce the factions, the essential wierdness of Sigil, the concept of the Faction War, the kriegstanz[, and the idea that not all things can be solved by fighting all at once. Good job. I really have very few, if any real criticisms that I could make.

However, one good point to make is that if the adventurers stay in the Grey District, the Voices, Bald Grum, and others might be willing to perform favors such as watch out for the PCs' residence(s) while they are away or otherwise cover for possibly minorly shady PC activity, either of which could potentially be worth more than any monetary or item rewards that might come their way. While obviously such care would not likely go so far as defending the PCs kip to the death, it is possibly a far better deal than the PCs might find elsewhere, and something offered freely.

Furthermore, such arrangements also offer adventure hooks for later adventures. Perhaps they had arranged for Brom to check their home while they were away, and when they come back, he appears to be dead, in their house/apartment, with a sword through him and his weapon appears to be missing...

taotad's picture
Joined: 2004-05-11
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD


It would be a remarkable intro-adventure if we could link all the planescape terms to their explanation in the encyclopedia too. Is there a way to do that without having to set the url-link for every word? (Clueless?)

Armoury99's picture
Joined: 2006-08-30
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Thanks guys - by the way, have you checked out the related thread on introductory adventures? Its getting quite lonely over there and we can use all the input you've got (also there's a potential rewrite of Old Toadface under discussion)


'Kestral' wrote:
one good point to make is that if the adventurers stay in the Grey District, the Voices, Bald Grum, and others might be willing to perform favors such as watch out for the PCs' residence(s) while they are away or otherwise cover for possibly minorly shady PC activity, either of which could potentially be worth more than any monetary or item rewards that might come their way. While obviously such care would not likely go so far as defending the PCs kip to the death, it is possibly a far better deal than the PCs might find elsewhere, and something offered freely.

Furthermore, such arrangements also offer adventure hooks for later adventures. Perhaps they had arranged for Brom to check their home while they were away, and when they come back, he appears to be dead, in their house/apartment, with a sword through him and his weapon appears to be missing...

I'll definitely add this to the adventure.

'taotad' wrote:
It would be a remarkable intro-adventure if we could link all the planescape terms to their explanation in the encyclopedia too. Is there a way to do that without having to set the url-link for every word? (Clueless?)

This also sounds like a grand idea!

Clueless's picture
Joined: 2008-06-30
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

'taotad' wrote:
Beautiful. It would be a remarkable intro-adventure if we could link all the planescape terms to their explanation in the encyclopedia too. Is there a way to do that without having to set the url-link for every word? (Clueless?)

Not at the moment no - but then since this isn't something I expect to host on the forums in the long term it's less of an issue right now. Aka - yes, if these get polished up and ready and the authors are willing - these modules'll get their own place in our downloads section as PDFs. Smiling Since at that point I'll be the one creating the PDF I can provide the cross linking by hand when it's put together.

taotad's picture
Joined: 2004-05-11
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

'Clueless' wrote:
Not at the moment no - but then since this isn't something I expect to host on the forums in the long term it's less of an issue right now. Aka - yes, if these get polished up and ready and the authors are willing - these modules'll get their own place in our downloads section as PDFs. Smiling Since at that point I'll be the one creating the PDF I can provide the cross linking by hand when it's put together.

You're a peach. Probably an overworked peach, but a peach nonetheless.

Flame_Drake's picture
Joined: 2004-12-05
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

I'd be willing to do a playtest of the adventure of sorts. It would be online at the WotC forums so it wouldn't exactly be what you would call swift, but I think this is a great start fora game, so I may as well help out if I'm going to run it anyway.


Dialexis's picture
Joined: 2006-07-21
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Flame Drake -that sounds good to me (I can't speak for Armoury99).

We definitely want some "regular" playtests, but an online playtest would be great -especially since we have a lot of desire for such, here at PW.

A couple of questions if I might: (None of these are meant to be condescending, and its not a job interview either)

1. How familiar are you with Planescape? (both editions, only as a player, introduced by PW, etc)

2. What is your experience as a DM? (1st time, old veteran of 1st edition, only with one group before, etc)

3. What is your experience with online campaigns? (DM'ed 1 before, long-time player only, none, etc)

And this last isn't directly related to you, but...

4. What of your Players? (essentially the answers to questions #1 & 3)

And seperate but related:

How soon are you going to be doing this campaign?

DatD is all done (at least for playtester -kudos to Armoury99), except for stats. "We" -as in collective of Planewalker can have them to you in pretty good measure, I'm sure, but I'm interested in how much of a crunch time do we have.

Oh, and most importantly -thanks for being willing to do this...

Flame_Drake's picture
Joined: 2004-12-05
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

'Dialexis' wrote:
Flame Drake -that sounds good to me (I can't speak for Armoury99).

We definitely want some "regular" playtests, but an online playtest would be great -especially since we have a lot of desire for such, here at PW.

A couple of questions if I might: (None of these are meant to be condescending, and its not a job interview either)

Fair enough.

1. How familiar are you with Planescape? (both editions, only as a player, introduced by PW, etc)

I’ll admit, not as much as I’d like, I’ve been in a tough spot to get a Planescape game running, and I was introduced by PW. I do feel comfortable with the setting, however, and I’m familiar with everything in the PSCS. I’ve also been bumming around here for a long while, although I mostly read articles and lurk.

2. What is your experience as a DM? (1st time, old veteran of 1st edition, only with one group before, etc)
I've played the last four years and run a number of games both of the regular variety and online. I'm I a master DM? No. Am I a competent DM? Yes.
3. What is your experience with online campaigns? (DM'ed 1 before, long-time player only, none, etc)
Pretty extensive compared to most people. I've DMed several games online over on the Wizards boards and played in many, many more.

And this last isn't directly related to you, but...

4. What of your Players? (essentially the answers to questions #1 & 3)

I’d like to get this going over on the WotC boards, and the protocol there is that you open a pre-game thread and let people submit characters, then take your picks. I’m betting that most of the players wouldn’t have too much experience with the setting, although I’m sure I’ll get someone who’s a real cutter. Experience will mostly be people who know the rules well.

And separate but related:

How soon are you going to be doing this campaign?

DatD is all done (at least for playtester -kudos to Armoury99), except for stats. "We" -as in collective of Planewalker can have them to you in pretty good measure, I'm sure, but I'm interested in how much of a crunch time do we have.

I’d like to start soon, but what that really depends on when the moderators on the boards get back to me and if they give it the okay, not that I think there will be an issue there. As far as I can tell, the two most immediate sets of stats I’d need would be the Joculators, Grimjaw and Fingers. Beyond that I think I can deal with the random encounters, and I can’t see us reaching the end of the adventure before the end of the next few months. Even then, it won’t start for at least two weeks since the pre-game has to run its course.

Oh, and most importantly -thanks for being willing to do this...
My pleasure, I’d like to be able to help.

Here’s the tentative pre-game thread:

Planescape: Desire and the Dead

[="Silver"][="1"]Art by jordarad[/][/]

Welcome to Sigil, City of Doors! Welcome Cutters and Clueless, its about time you arrived in the center of the Great Wheel! What’s that you say? The planes have no center? Bah, coxswain! Now I hear they’re looking for some help down by in The Hive, if you’re looking for something to do, I’d start there. It may not be glorious, but it’ll give you a kip The Hivers aren’t bad folk, although you’ll be seeing a lot of the Dusties, being so close to the Great Mortuary and what not. Live and let live and you’ll make it through just fine. Remember blood, you’re in the planes now, so use that brain-box of yours and keep your wits canny. Now just step through this portal Cutter, and see where your feet take you!”

-Jeremo the Natterer

By hard times, fate or (un)luck you have found yourself in the strange city of Sigil atop the Spire which sits at the center of the great wheel. Fortune smiled on you though, and you have been contacted with a potential job offering protecting relatively quite area of the Hive around the Great Mortuary. Who are you? Are you Planer or Primer? How was it that you came to the City of Doors? And what will you find know that you are here?

Game Rules:

Planescape 3.5 Campaign Setting
Players: 4-6
Level: Second
Method: 32 pt buy
Alignment: any non-evil
Books: Core (including XPH), MM 1-3, Fiend Folio, Draconomicon, Libris Mortis, Fiendish Codex I: Hoards of the Abyss, Frostburn, Tome of Battle, Tome of Magic, Oriental Adventures, Deities and Demigods, Book of Exalted Deeds, and Complete Warrior. Content from Web articles will be conditional.

There is also one more very important source that is available: The 3.X Planescape Campaign Setting (PSCS), which can be found [URL="/downloads/products/released.php"]here[/URL]. For those of you unfamiliar with this site, is the Official Planescape Fan site, and has been given permission by WotC to produce the PSCS as long as it is not for profit. All content featured in the PSCS is allowed.

Races: Any from PHB and PCS no questions asked. Races from the any of the Monster Manuals 1-3, Fiend Folio, Frostburn, ECS or XPH will be allowed as well, within reason.
Classes: Any from the listed sources with the following exceptions: The Samurai from CW is disallowed under any circumstances. The Artificer, Marshal, Healer, Favored Soul and Warmage are all allowed, as are the feats that are part of the Warmage and Artificer’s progressions.
Equipment: As standard for second level

Please submit a full character sheet with complete background, personality etc. Also if you could include a brief (three-line) blurb about yourself (the build your using in the long run, the type of player you are and what (if any) experience you’ve had with Planescape).


The quote's Jeremo's since he's in the picture, although I'm not completely sure that the text is fitting of him, but I think it works well. Any comments?


Dialexis's picture
Joined: 2006-07-21
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Flame Drake,

1. How familiar are you with Planescape? (both editions, only as a player, introduced by PW, etc)

I’ll admit, not as much as I’d like, I’ve been in a tough spot to get a Planescape game running, and I was introduced by PW. I do feel comfortable with the setting, however, and I’m familiar with everything in the PSCS. I’ve also been bumming around here for a long while, although I mostly read articles and lurk.

Actually, this is perfect -since this is supposed to be an adventure that introduces the setting to players (and perhaps DM's) and thus -should-require no more knowledge than the module and the PSCS.

I've played the last four years and run a number of games both of the regular variety and online. I'm I a master DM? No. Am I a competent DM? Yes.

Perfect -and your experience with online games is ideal as well.

I’d like to start soon, but what that really depends on when the moderators on the boards get back to me and if they give it the okay, not that I think there will be an issue there. As far as I can tell, the two most immediate sets of stats I’d need would be the Joculators, Grimjaw and Fingers. Beyond that I think I can deal with the random encounters, and I can’t see us reaching the end of the adventure before the end of the next few months. Even then, it won’t start for at least two weeks since the pre-game has to run its course.

Ok, that sounds like that could work. Tommorrow, I'll create a more a new thread for the stat work on all the NPCs needed. The one thing, I doubt we'll have done is sample PCs, but such isn't necessary at least yet. I'll detail a list of all the NPCs (as well as any other work -hopefully, we can get someone with some skill at cartography).

Then well see which PW's show up and help get this thing done (there have been a couple offers already, but we'll have to see how the holiday crunch affects this timing of this project).

The pre-game thread looks great (nice to include the picture and all -the Rebus speak is great -the intro works pretty well too -generic enough, but evocative all the same).

Really, looking over it again -it looks fantastic! (especially your explanation on the PSCS and PW)

If anyone else has any comments/praise/suggestions for Flame Drake (especially Armoury99) -let's hear 'em.

Flame_Drake's picture
Joined: 2004-12-05
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

'Dialexis' wrote:
Ok, that sounds like that could work. Tommorrow, I'll create a more a new thread for the stat work on all the NPCs needed. The one thing, I doubt we'll have done is sample PCs, but such isn't necessary at least yet. I'll detail a list of all the NPCs (as well as any other work -hopefully, we can get someone with some skill at cartography).

Sounds great. If you can't find someone to do maps that's fine, I can make text maps on my own well enough.


Armoury99's picture
Joined: 2006-08-30
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Go for it, Flamedrake!

I'll try and help out with the stats/maps situ, but everyone else go for it too. I'd love to see other people's take on the NPCs.

Rhys's picture
Joined: 2004-05-11
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

I had a bit of free time, so I went and statted the first 2 NPCs mentioned in there. Granted, they're not major NPCs, and not very difficult to stat, being of such low levels, and they're not even very likely to fight in the adventure, but I'll do some more later.

Gnarlybone the Rogue CR 1 Male half-elf rogue 1 CN Medium humanoid (elf) Init +2; Senses Spot +0, Listen +0, low-light vision Languages Planar Common ______________________________________________

AC 14, touch 12, flat-footed 12
(+2 Dex, +2 leather armor)
Hp 6 (1 HD)
Immune sleep spells and similar magical effects
Fort +0, Ref +4, Will -1 (+1 against enchantments)
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee dagger +1 (1d4+1/19-20)
Ranged dagger +2 (1d4+1/19-20)
Base Atk +0; Grp +1
Atk Options sneak attack +1d6
Combat Gear 2 daggers, 12 cp

Abilities Str 12, Dex 15, Con 11, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 14
SQ trapfinding
Feats Deft Hands
Skills Climb +3, Diplomacy +6, Disable Device +4, Gather Information +8, Knowledge (local) +2, Open Lock +6, Search +3, Sleight of Hand +8, Use Rope +4
Possessions combat gear plus leather armor, 4 gold pieces, 2 silver pieces

Narma the Loud CR 3
Male human bard 3
CG Medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Spot +1, Listen +4
Languages Planar Common, Bariaur

AC 13, touch 12, flat-footed 12, 14 versus target of Dodge
(+2 armor, +1 shield)
hp 16 (3 HD)
Fort +1, Ref +0, Will +3

Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee mwk short sword +3 (1d6/19-20)
Ranged mwk dart+3 (1d3)
Base Atk +2; Grp +1
Special Actions bardic music (countersong, fascinate 1 creature, inspire courage +1, inspire competence)
Combat Gear mwk short sword, 3 mwk darts, 2 potions of cure light wounds, potion of shield of faith (+2)
Bard Spells Known (CL 3rd):
1st (2/day)—cure light wounds, disguise self, hypnotism (DC 13)
0 (4/day)—daze (DC 12), ghost sound (DC 12), light, lullaby (DC 12), message, open/close

Abilities Str 10, Dex 11, Con 12, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 15
SQ bardic knowledge +5
Feats Skill Focus (Perform), Skill Focus (Heal), Dodge
Skills Bluff +6, Concentration +4, Disguise +5, Diplomacy +8, Gather Information +8, Heal +10, Hide +2, Knowledge (local) +7, Knowledge (the planes) +4, Listen +4, Perform (act) +11
Possessions combat gear plus mwk studded leather armor, mwk buckler, 26 gold pieces, 8 silver pieces

Dialexis's picture
Joined: 2006-07-21
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Rhys, so glad to have you on board for this project -and thanks for being the first to hash out some of these stats.

In reference to those, I think that Narma looks good -except why does this mourner have such high quality combat gear? Instead of three Mwk weapons and mwk armor, I think you could instead give him a mwk mounrer's outfit (increasing his perform by 2), and likewise give him a mwk healer's kit -for all his "surgery", a simple dagger (he uses his magic to protect himself), and then give him a +1 Amulet of Armor (in the shape of a crying skull) and then make the potions be scrolls, since as an actor he would love to hear his own voice -but the shield of faith would still be a potion.

Also, I think his alignment should be N -he is essentially an actor, who keeps a trade to pretend emotion for hire. He helps out the PCs only in hopes of restoring local peace (since current events put a real cramp on his profession). One could argue he might be good, but definitely not Chaotic.

As for Gnarlybones, I would at least have him be a 2nd level rogue (he isn't the run-of-the-mill kind, but a "leader" amongst the urchins). His Charisma is too high -I'd say drop it down to 10, or lower -I mean he's a sickly looking street rat that has very little identity, with the most noticable thing about him is his youth and abnormally large joints.

I'd change his stats to be Str 11, Dex 15, Con 10, Int 14, Wis 13, and Cha 8.

(or switch Con and Cha is desired, since not only does he have elven "weak" blood, but also lives in filthy unhealthy areas as a street rat, and clearly has unhealthy calcium deposits).

His intelligence and wisdom are important -its what sets him apart -he's knwoledgeable and canny-street-wise. This helps boost his skills -since his Knowledge (local) needs to maxed out (he is not only a thief, but a fence), and he needs Appraise (same reason).

If we go with a second level rogue, his gear should include a Mwk Thieves' Tools, and a small number purse of gems/coins, and maybe a bracelet or necklace (but of course, he doesn't need to have these on him when he meets the PCs -or maybe he does since he is about to sell them off). He could have a Mwk silvered dagger (stolen of some Clueless sod who attempted to attack some Dustmen dead, and beaten senseless by the locals and Gnarlybones robbed). Finally, throw in a packet of Dust of Dryness (pinched off some passing Mage, and used in case of an emergency to cover his tracks or make a get-away). Oh, and he would be fine with just plain leather jerkin as armor.

Besides those changes, I think we don't need to stat out all the NPCs (though they should all have they class, alignment, level, and faction (if any) listed).

These would include the Voices, Dykos, Granny Marduk, Lannis the Deathmonger, Ratter, Sha'ref, Glory, Lord Mandigore (2nd level PCs aren't going to bring down a vampire, and he isn't going to try and fight them -but if he has to -then curtain closes), Jaime, and Haigherty.

Brunathel also falls in this group -any thoughts?

Only the NPCs that have a forseeable chance of combat should recieve stats.

That said, here is a list of all the NPCs I think we need full stats for:

Joculators (three of them -I'm thinking two being 1st level -perhaps a bariaur (the 'tough'), a Chaond rogue (used to be part of the Painter's crew), and a gnome bard (2nd level -so the cause of the sleep and color spray spells)

Grimjaw: (I'm thinking Mnk 2 -or should we make him Mnk1/Ftr1?).

Fingers: (an advanced N ghoul?)

Proud Pariahs: (Rash is just a normal Rutterkin with some dretches -do we need stats, or just make the reference? -maybe we just need to state their possessions).

Sougad Sodkiller: How about a 3rd-4th level fighter (I'd like to give him at least one faction feat -PCs could take him on, but don't have to the way the story is written).

We'll probably also want to stat out a couple of generic Hive residents (urchin, Dustmen, etc). I suppose we could also use these to refer to the Day Laborer's Guild zombie thieves.

Also, even though they have no current chance of beating them:

Ambergis: (I'm thinking 8th level Cleric? -Definitely Faction Feats -and we should probably for ease's sake, provide the stats for the Ogre zombies).

Eyes' Desire: (My first thought was to have her pegged as a 6th Beguiler, with some levels in the actual Sensate PrC. Some might balk at this though -either objecting to the non-PHB class, or to the PrC -which we could include in an appendix -but might be unnecessary).

Of course, we'll also need to give sample stats for the "Sensate" guards -as well as her personal guards too. (I'm thinking 3rd level warriors and 4th level fighters, respectively).

Of course, we can change any/all of this if someone has a better idea.

Rhys's picture
Joined: 2004-05-11
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Some of those decisions may have been a bit arbitrary, and I like all of your suggestions, so my next installment will feature far more in the way of those tips.

What if Fingers were a ghast instead of a ghoul? I can't think of a good set of class abilities to add to him, and it seems like he should me more than CR 1, since it's admittedly quite possible that naieve Primes will try to fight him.

Dialexis's picture
Joined: 2006-07-21
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Excellent idea Rhys. (and you're right, Clueless might attack -especially prime clerics).

Fingers would then be a CR 3 -and with his special abilities makes him a tough, but not too tough fight (if it goes that way).

Also, his usual Ghast Stench would be mitigated by the Three Suns Prayer -mixing together, I'd say that it would lower the DC since the incense makes him smell less wretching (perhaps by 2, so to 13).

Also, Dykos wouldn't have been affected by it since he is a Duergar and is immune to poison -and thus immune to Ghast Stench (but still notes the incense/stench).

Also, Armoury99 talks of Fingers being near blind and "hunting" by scent. Ghasts and Ghouls don't have the scent ability, so what I propose to do is swap out Fingers Toughness feat (since he doesn't eat much flesh, he is not as resilient), and replace it with the Life Sense Feat from Libris Mortis -which essentially allows him to "sniff/see" living creatures in a 60? foot radius -essentially their life illimunate themselves and their surrounding.

So, Fingers could have adapted with his limited sight, instead, sniffing out the life senses of living creatures (but only at limited range -so very similar to the scent ability for him -except he uses his tongue/nose instead of eyes.

What does everyone think?

Rhys's picture
Joined: 2004-05-11
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Well I love it, because I think having excruciatingly minute details plotted out is great, and if we're doing it for the potential DMs, there's no time sink on their parts. But will some people find it annoying that, for a relatively small character, Fingers the Ghoul, we've planned out his life story, given him a unique item (Three Suns Prayer incense) to affect his stench ability, and detailed his unusual method for finding living creatures?

Rhys's picture
Joined: 2004-05-11
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

I give you: Fingers the Ghoul. The name is now something of a misnomer, but I'm sure most people of the Hive who refer to him as such don't grasp the subtle distinctions between a ghoul and a ghast. Such as, uh, a ghast is stronger. The incense item seems a bit clunky, but I wanted the game effects to result from something that could conceivably be a real item.

Fingers is basically just a standard ghast with the Lifesense feat instead of Toughness, except his Charisma has been lowered (he's not quite right in the head) and he's a point higher in Wisdom and Strength. Really, though, I lowered his Charisma to help make sure that his ghoulish abilities don't preclude him from interacting in the Hive. It's tough to walk down the street unobtrusively when everyone in a 10' radius has to make a DC 15 save or start retching.

I figure, some Dustmen supply him with the incense, to help out a fellow factioneer.

Fingers CR 3 Male ghast N Medium undead Init +3; Senses Spot +9, Listen +1, darkvision Languages Planar Common ____________________________________

AC 17, touch 12, flat-footed 14
(+3 Dex, +4 natural)
hp 25 (4 HD)
Immune undead immunities (MM 317)
Resist turn resistance +2
Fort +1, Ref +4, Will +7

Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee bite +6 (1d8+3 plus paralysis) and 2 claws +2 (1d4+1 plus paralysis)
Base Atk +2; Grp +5
Atk Options Ghoul fever, paralysis, stench

Abilities Str 18, Dex 17, Con n/a, Int 13, Wis 16, Cha 13
SQ undead traits (MM 317)
Feats Multiattack, Life Sense
Skills Balance +7, Climb +9, Hide +8, Jump +9, Move Silently +8, Spot +9
Possessions 4 packets of Three-Suns-Prayer incense, chipped bowl, flint and steel.

Ghoul Fever (Su) Disease–bite, Fortitude DC 13, incubation period 1 day, damage 1d3 Con and 1d3 Dex. The save is Charisma-based.
Paralysis (Ex) Those hit by Fingers’ bite or claw attack must succeed on a DC 13 Fortitude save or be paralyzed for 1d4+1 rounds. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Stench (Ex) The stink of death and corruption surround ghasts is overwhelming. Living creatures within 10 feet must succeed on a DC 13 Fortitude save or be sickened for 1d6+4 minutes. A creature that successfully saves cannot be affected by the same ghast’s stench for 24 hours. A delay poison or neutralize poison spell removes the effect from a sickened creature. Creatures with immunity to poison are unaffected, and creatures resistant to poison receive their normal bonus on their saving throws. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Additional Feat
This feat is not presented in the Player’s Handbook or Monster Manual.
Lifesense (from Libris Mortis): You can see the life force of living creatures as if it were normal illumination. To your eyes, a Medium or smaller creature provides bright illumination in a 60-foot radius. This life-light behaves like regular light—you can’t see into solid objects, or past solid walls. The radius for each additional size category is double that of the next smallest category, up to a maximum of 960 feet for a Colossal creature.

New Item: Three-Suns-Prayer incense Infused with the purity of a mountain-dwelling ascetic order, Three-Suns-Prayer incense is magically endowed with the power to diffuse foul substances. Lore: Three-Suns-Prayer incense is based on traditional magics which were made most famous by the secretive Order of Five Heavens, a clan of monks who established a monastery in Shurrock, the wild layer of Bytopia (Knowledge [history] DC 15). The formula has since spread from Shurrock, and the incense is used for its powers against poison and disease (Knowledge [history] DC 20). Description: A musty-smelling packet of dried leaves and powdered ingredients. When placed in a bowl and burned, it gives off a bitter, woody smell. Activation: A single packet of Three-Suns-Prayer incense can be lit with an open flame source. Its powers then take effect automatically. A single packet can be used only once, and cannot be re-lit once it has been activated once. Effect: 1d4 rounds after activation, the incense creates a thin cloud of scent with a 20’ radius. Within the affected area, all creatures gain a +2 enhancement bonus against poison and disease for 1d3 hours. Additionally, a creature with a natural poison or disease attack must succeed on a Fortitude save (DC 14) or receive a -4 enhancement penalty to the save DCs for such attacks for 1d3 hours. Aura/Caster Level: Faint conjuration. CL 3rd. Construction: Craft Wondrous Items, delay poison, 300 gp, 12 XP, 1 day. Weight: --. Price: 600 gp.

Note: Fingers the Ghoul regularly burns this incense before traveling the Ward, and willingly fails his Fortitude save when doing so. This habit gives him a notably powerful smell of incense, but usually renders his stench ability tolerable, if still unpleasant, to those around him. With these penalties, the save DCs against his ghoul fever and stench abilities drop to DC 9 Fortitude saves.

Armoury99's picture
Joined: 2006-08-30
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Nice work guys, now I definitely have to do some work! Getting a warm feeling all over as I see this project taking off.

I think that the last few posts illustrate how different DMs view something as similar as a low-level street rogue... but I think we'll just present several options here and see if we can reach a consensus with the playtesters.

Just a few comments:

Fingers: Yeah, the only reason that I didn't chose a ghast was the rather overt stench problem, but the Three Suns Prayer incense is a relatively small tweak to disguise it... and I guess the Hive and Grey District are no stranger to foul smells.

As I think you've guessed, I'd originally planned to add the 'Keen Scent' optional ability from Von Richten's Guide To The Walking Dead to Fingers to help him compensate for his near-blindness (basically, its just the Scent monster trait) but Life-Sense seems like a fine alternative (I just don't have Liber Mortis). It makes him a little more capable and less pathetic. He was supposed to be quite pathetic though (hoping to illicit PC sympathy), but i've no problem with it as is.

'Rhys' wrote:
some people find it annoying that, for a relatively small character, Fingers the Ghoul, we've planned out his life story, given him a unique item (Three Suns Prayer incense) to affect his stench ability, and detailed his unusual method for finding living creatures?

But some of us also like minutae... and although I admit that the encounter might well go along the lines of "what? eh? A ghoul! Attack!!!" they might capture him, talk to him, make him show them the Joculator HQ, or otherwise take an interest in helping him (especially if someone's a Dustman). So I'd say its worth it.

Rhys, I love the Three Suns Prayer writeup BTW; makes it feel like less of a plot device. I'd originally said it came from Arcadia (on a simple Lawful = long-lasting principle). Is there a reason for the Shurrock origin that I'm missing? (but I don't mind that either) You should post it as an article either way.

Gnarlybone: I'm pretty much with Rys on Gnarlybone's stats - Charming in a rough way, but with a lot to learn mentally. Since I wasn't going to give the urchins a rogue level (just level 1 commoners or experts), I'm happy with Gnarlybone as a 1st level rogue, unless we want to make him more of a challenge. Dunno whether he'd need scaling up for a higher level party?

'Dialexis' wrote:
not only does he have elven "weak" blood, but also lives in filthy unhealthy areas as a street rat, and clearly has unhealthy calcium deposits.

I definitely like this though.

Narma: I have a "too much treasure!" issue with Narma, but I'm a notoriously stingy DM. I like the idea of items linked to the Funerary trade (even if its purely descriptive), but then again some emergency healing potions might be needed by the party at some point...

'Dialexis' wrote:
Also, Dykos wouldn't have been affected by it since he is a Duergar and is immune to poison -and thus immune to Ghast Stench (but still notes the incense/stench).

Dykos: Actually, Dykos and Grykas are meant to be just regular dwarves from the old Birthright setting. I'd happily change it to Druegar for the reason you gave, but I'm wary of including yet another 'evil' race to be (potentially) recognised by the PCs...

Eyes Desire: Well, here she is - my initial take anyway.

She's "human with a touch of something else" (not enough to make her a tiefling - unless we want to?) and a straight sorcerer whose powers manifest through her will and ego; although nothing as a warrior, she's tougher than she looks both mentally and physically, with her desire and will to manipulate as basis for both her mundane and magical powers. She has no familiar at present.

Alignment-wise, I've gone for NE (ruthless, uncaring, but not a psycho). Frankly I could argue a case for several alignments (LE, CE, or even CN). What are your thoughts on this?

'Dialexis' wrote:
Eyes' Desire: (My first thought was to have her pegged as a 6th Beguiler, with some levels in the actual Sensate PrC. Some might balk at this though -either objecting to the non-PHB class, or to the PrC -which we could include in an appendix -but might be unnecessary).

I think we're wiser to stick with things simpler than this, but I would like to see this option statted up if you think it would look better (BTW I did consider Bard too but she's just not a performer - at least in my head).

Eyes Desire, CR 7 Female Planar Human Sorcerer Level 7 Neutral Evil Init +2; Senses Spot +3, Listen +3 Languages Planar Common, Celestial, Lower Planar Trade ______________________________________________

AC 15, touch 13, flat-footed 13 (+2 Dex)
Hp 33 (7 HD)
Fort +4 Ref +4 Will +8
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee Mwk Stiletto +5 (1d3+1/19-20)
Ranged Mwk Stilletto +5 (1d3+1/19-20)
Base Atk +3; Grp +4
Combat Gear Masterwork Stilletto (treat as small dagger, bonus included above)

Abilities Str 12, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 15, Wis 12, Cha 16
SQ: Can make Knowledge checks untrained, makes all Knowledge checks with +1 bonus (included below)
Feats: Alertness, Iron Will, Sensorium Scholar, Silent Spell
Skills: Bluff +10, Gather Information +6, Intimidate +6, Knowledge (Arcana) +4, Knowledge (Factions & Guilds) +6, Knowledge (Local - Sigil) +5, Knowledge (Outer Planes) +5, Profession (merchant) +11, Spellcraft +8
Possessions combat gear plus Amulet of Natural Armour +1, Ring of Protection +1, Bracers of Armour +1, Quall’s Feather Token (whip), courtier’s outfit, and 500gp worth of mundane jewellery – including three hollow rings, each containing a different poison (dark reaver powder, sassone leaf residue, and carrion crawler brain juice – see DMG, P297 for details).

Spells known:
0-level: Daze, Detect Magic, Ghost Sounds, Message, Prestidigitation, Read Magic, Touch of Fatigue
1st level: Cause Fear, Charm Person, Disguise Self, Hypnotism, Sleep
2nd level: Daze Monster, Detect Thoughts, Touch of Idiocy
3rd level: Suggestion, Hold Person

On a general 'level' note - I think that THIRD level is probably best, as it allows the PCs to be any of the PSCS races, but include options for running it as a level 1 or 2 game (scaling the adventure stuff). That's the principle I'm currently working on unless there are major objections.

PS: I'll see if I can persuade a mate of mine to do some character sketches

Flame_Drake's picture
Joined: 2004-12-05
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Sketches would be great! Are we sure about switching it up to third level (not something that I'm opposed to)?


Armoury99's picture
Joined: 2006-08-30
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

While my plan was to run for first level PCs, this excludes all the planar ECL races, and since PSCS is what this now 'introductory scenario' is about, I think we should run it at the minimum compatible for planescape-race PCs, which is 3rd.

You run it however you want however - it's the plot I'm interested in seeing the players' reaction to.

Rhys's picture
Joined: 2004-05-11
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Nice job on Eyes-Desire. Surprisingly compact stats.

You should include Eyes-Desire's spells/day in each line. So, that area of the stat block should look like this:

Combat Gear masterwork stilletto (treat as small dagger, bonus included above) Sorcerer Spells Known (CL 7th): 3rd (5/day): suggestion (DC 16), hold person (DC 16) 2nd (7/day): daze monster (DC 15), detect thoughts (DC 15), touch of idiocy (DC 15) 1st (7/day): cause fear (DC 14), charm person (DC 14), disguise self, hypnotism (DC 14), sleep (DC 14) 0 (6/day): daze (DC 13), detect magic, ghost sound (DC 13), message, prestidigitation, read magic, touch of fatigue (DC 13) ______________________________________________

Abilities Str 12, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 15, Wis 12, Cha 16

Feats: I don't remember the Sensorium Scholar feat. Where's that from?

Skills: I don't know if that's how the PSCS does Knowledge skills. Knowledge (factions and guilds) is fine, but I think we don't mess with Knowledge (local) and simply note the plane(s) of specialty for Knowledge (the planes).

'Chapter 4 of the PSCS' wrote:
For every four ranks in Knowledge (the planes) you must select a plane as a specialty, such as Baator or the Plane of Fire. This represents special attention paid to that plane's traits, layers, and inhabitants.

Combat Gear: This is only for items she might use in combat, but aren't listed somewhere above. So this is where you put the feather token, but her knife should go in Possessions, since we know she has it thanks to her Melee line. Maybe she'd like some potions or something, for healing and whatnot.

Speaking of that knife, what's the deal? She might as well use a dagger, since that's an allowable piece of equipment. When you say "treat as a small dagger," what do you mean? Do you mean treat as a dagger (1d4/19-20) built for a Small creature? As a Medium creature, Eyes-Desire would take a -2 penalty to attacks made with a Small weapon. Better, I think, to just give her a mwk dagger, since 1d3 damage is pretty poor, anyway. I would say a stilletto falls under the categorization of "dagger," anyway.

SQ: What lets her use Knowledge checks untrained? Is that the Sensorium Scholar feat? If it is, that shouldn't go in SQ. The name of the ability belongs in SQ, and then you should put the details somewhere below. So, if you want to include the details of the Sensorium Scholar feat, it should go in a little write-up of its own after the rest of the statblock.

Rhys's picture
Joined: 2004-05-11
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

I'm going for it. Double-posting be damned.

What to do about the Proud Pariahs? I could post Rash's stats, but they're almost exactly the writeup in Hordes of the Abyss. Rutterkins are not in the SRD and they're not Open Game License. I know Planewalker has a special deal going, but can we really include statblocks for non-OGL monsters on the site?

Furthermore, what's a rutterkin without his bizarre weaponry? The monster entry in FCI includes a sidebar with information on the two new Exotic Weapon that a rutterkin uses: the snap-tong and the tri-blade. These present the same problem as the rutterkin stats themselves. Can we include information on them?

I suppose we could avoid at least the second problem if we just armed Rash with some SRD-compatible equipment.

Armoury99's picture
Joined: 2006-08-30
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Thanks for the assist, Rhys. I'll tinker about until she's right...I'll just make 'Sigil' one of her Knowledge (planes) specialisations then.

Speaking of which: Is she ok with all sorcerer levels? I was considering giving her a level of rogue to better express her general sneakiness and cunning. She doesn't seem quite capable enough in general terms for the background I wrote for her...

The small knife thing was basically becuase I wanted her sidearm to be as small and unobtrusive as possible but I think I was just over-STATing...

'Rhys' wrote:
I don't remember the Sensorium Scholar feat. Where's that from

Its from our very own - the PSCS download: Chapter Four, page 44. It does indeed let her make untrained Kowledge checks (and gives the +! bonus).

Proud Pariahs: To be honest, the pariahs were simply bogeymen/red-herrings, never meant to feature in the scenario. They're easily changed, and in fact if we run the scenario with 3rd level in mind, it might be worth upgrading these berks to something a bit more scary...

Eldan's picture
Joined: 2006-12-04
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Just a short comment:
I simply love this adventure and I will definitly run it sometime in the future (I have a new group running and want to introduce them to the planes). Just one question though: Are there already maps for this adventure? As far as I know, there isn't a map of this district in any of the old planescape books (or is there) Would I have to draw them myself?

Armoury99's picture
Joined: 2006-08-30
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

'Eldan' wrote:
I simply love this adventure and I will definitly run it sometime in the future (I have a new group running and want to introduce them to the planes).

Hurray, another playtester - and a tabletop one too!

'Eldan' wrote:
Are there already maps for this adventure? As far as I know, there isn't a map of this district in any of the old planescape books (or is there) Would I have to draw them myself?

The Grey District is mentioned in several PS books and it's in Torment too. There's no existing map of this bit of it, but I'll hopefully get mine uploaded shortly (along with Gnarlybone's lair and the Joculator HQ).

Speaking of which - some more stats:

Hive Dweller: The ravages of disease may have taken their toll on the average Hive Dweller, but these berks are still no push-over: A life of ducking and diving in the Worst of All Wards breeds tough folk.

Average Berk (Hive Dweller), CR 1/3Human Commoner 1 Init +0; Senses Spot +6, Listen +4 Languages: Planar Trade _________________________________________

AC 10, touch 10, flat-footed 10
Hp 6 (1 HD)
Fort -1, Ref +0, Will +1
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)

Melee +0 Dagger (1d4/19+)
Base Atk +0; Grp +0
Combat Gear: Dagger

Abilities Str 10, Dex 10, Con 9, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 10
Feats: Alertness, Toughness
Skills: Hide+2, Profession +5
Possessions: Poor quality outfit, dagger. 1d10 cp.

Violent Hive Dweller: Psychopath, wannabe gang-member, bruiser, or bravo. Not the sharpest arrow in the quiver, but notably tougher. Poorly equipped too - DMS may consider adjusting experience awards.

Violent Berk (Hive Dweller), CR ½ Human Warrior 1 Init +0; Senses Spot +4, Listen +0 Languages: Planar Trade _________________________________________

AC 13*, touch 10, flat-footed 13 (*+1 dodge bonus v 1 opponent)
(leather armour + buckler)
Hp 9 (1 HD)
Fort +3, Ref +0, Will +0
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)

Melee +2 club (1d6+1/20)
Base Atk +1; Grp +2
Combat Gear: dagger, club, leather armour

Abilities Str 12, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 11
Feats: Dodge, Toughness
Skills: Intimidate +4
Possessions: Poor quality outfit, leather armour, buckler, dagger, club, 2d10 cp.

Sly Berk: This Tiefer is a lot more at ease in the Hive - he or she 'walks the walk and talks the talk' of the Hive. He's more an opportuinist and smart talker than a 'real thief' however (in the UK, we'd call him a 'wide boy').

Sly Berk (Hive Dweller), CR 2 Tiefling Rogue 1 Init +2; Senses Listen +4, Spot +2, Search +4 Languages: Planar Trade, Lower Planar Trade _________________________________________

AC 14*, touch 12, flat-footed 12 (*+1 dodge bonus v 1 opponent)
(leather armour)Hp 6 (1 HD)
Fort +0, Ref +4, Will +0
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)

Melee +0 Dagger (1d4/20)
Ranged +2 Thrown Dagger (1d4/20)
Base Atk +0; Grp +0
Combat Gear: 4 daggers, leather armour

Abilities Str 10, Dex 15, Con 11, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 14
SQ: Darkvision (60ft), Resist Cold/Electricity/Fire 5, Darkness (1/day)
Feats: Stealthy
Skills: Appraise +4, Bluff +7, Disable Device +4, Gather Information +3, Hide +9, Move Silently +7, Open Locks +4, Sleight of Hand +6.
Possessions: Leather armour, buckler, 4 daggers, thieves’ Tools, 1d6gp in loot or coin.

'scuse the rough formatting. Sort that out later

Flame_Drake's picture
Joined: 2004-12-05
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

What if instead of the rutterkin (if we can't use it) we use an advanced dretch or quasit with the elite array?

DRETCH – Tar Mouth Small Outsider (Chaotic, Extraplanar, Evil) Hit Dice: 4d8+8 (26 hp) Initiative: +1 Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares) Armor Class: 17 (+1 dex, +1 size, +5 natural), touch 12, flat-footed 16 Base Attack/Grapple: +4/ +2 Attack: Claw +9 melee (1d6+3) Full Attack: 2 claws +9 melee (1d6+3) and bite +6 melee (1d4+1) Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft. Special Attacks: Spell-like abilities, summon demon Special Qualities: Damage reduction 5/cold iron or good, darkvision 60 ft., immunity to electricity and poison, resistance to acid 10, cold 10, and fire 10, telepathy 100 ft. Saves: Fort +6, Ref +4, Will +4 Abilities: Str 16, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 10 Skills: Hide +12, Listen +9, Move Silently +8, Spot +9, Search +7, Survival +2 (+4 following tracks) Feats: Multiattack, Weapon focus (claws) ________________________

Environment: A chaotic evil-aligned plane
Organization: Solitary, pair, gang (3–5), crowd (6–15), or mob (10–40)
Challenge Rating: 4
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always chaotic evil
Advancement: 3–6 HD (Small)
Level Adjustment: +2

Tar Mouth is an unusual Dretch and can speak Abyssal as well as communicate telepathically.
A dretch’s natural weapons, as well as any weapons it wields, are treated as chaotic-aligned and evil-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
Spell-Like Abilities: 1/day—scare (DC 12), stinking cloud (DC 13). Caster level 2nd. The save DCs are Charisma-based.
Summon Demon (Sp): Once per day a dretch can attempt to summon another dretch with a 35% chance of success. This ability is the equivalent of a 1st-level spell.
Telepathy (Su): Dretches can communicate telepathically with creatures within 100 feet that speak Abyssal.

QUASIT – The Black Eye
Tiny Outsider (Chaotic, Extraplanar, Evil)
Hit Dice: 5d8+5 (27 hp)
Initiative: +7
Speed: 20 ft. (4 squares), fly 50 ft. (perfect)
Armor Class: 18 (+2 size, +3 Dex, +3 natural), touch 15, flat-footed 15
Base Attack/Grapple: +5/–6
Attack: Claw +8 melee (1d3–1 plus poison)
Full Attack: 2 claws +8 melee (1d3–2 plus poison) and bite +3 melee (1d4–2)
Space/Reach: 2-1/2 ft./0 ft.
Special Attacks: Poison, spell-like abilities
Special Qualities: Alternate form, damage reduction 5/cold iron or good, darkvision 60 ft., fast healing 2, immunity to poison, resistance to fire 10
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +6
Abilities: Str 6, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 15, Cha 16
Skills: Bluff +11, Diplomacy +5, Disguise +3 (+5 acting), Hide +19, Intimidate +5, Knowledge (arcana) +10, Knowledge (local) +10, Knowledge (the planes) +10, Listen +10, Move Silently +11, Search +10, Spellcraft +11, Spot +10
Feats: Improved Initiative, Weapon Finesse

A chaotic evil-aligned plane
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 4
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always chaotic evil
Advancement: 4–6 HD (Tiny)
Level Adjustment: — (Improved Familiar)

Although quasits thirst for victory and power as other demons do, they are cowards at heart. They typically attack from ambush, using their alternate form ability and invisibility to get within reach, then try to scuttle away. When retreating, they use their cause fear ability to deter pursuit.
A quasit’s natural weapons, as well as any weapons it wields, are treated as chaotic-aligned and evil-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
Poison (Ex):
Injury, Fortitude DC 14, initial damage 1d4 Dex, secondary damage 2d4 Dex. The save DC is Constitution-based and includes a +2 racial bonus.
Spell-Like Abilities: At will—detect good, detect magic, and invisibility (self only); 1/day—cause fear (as the spell, except that its area is a 30-foot radius from the quasit, save DC 14). Caster level 6th.
The save DCs are Charisma-based.
Once per week a quasit can use commune to ask six questions. The ability otherwise works as the spell (caster level 12th).
Alternate Form (Su): A quasit can assume other forms at will as a standard action. This ability functions as a polymorph spell cast on itself (caster level 12th), except that a quasit does not regain hit points for changing form, and any individual quasit can assume only one or two forms no larger than Medium. Common forms include bat, monstrous centipede, toad, and wolf. A quasit in alternate form loses its poison attack.

I'll put them into the new format later.


Dialexis's picture
Joined: 2006-07-21
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Very nice work guys -sorry I haven't been in to help lately.

A couple of comments on some of the past entries:


If you could, would you mind reading and answering the questions I posted to Flame Drake (if you do playtest it, -which would be great- we'd like to know how to categorize any feedback).


We'll let me know how things work out with your artist-friend. I'm a semi-professional artist, and so I'm interested in the quality of the work. (I'd be willing to chip in myself, but I'm swamped until at least the new year).

On the treasure issue -I think that we need to stick to the RAW -using the standard presented in the DMG.

Certain DM's may be more "treasure-lite" and others more "treasure-heavy", but I think we should write the adventure (and NPC's) along the rules, and let any individual DM personally decide on modifying treasure amounts.

Certain exceptions can exist -but really aren't exceptions anyways. For instance, the Hive dwellers -they might not have all their "gear" upon them -i.e. some own furinture in little hovels, or a tool kit at some shop, etc.

(In the same way that when I'm walking down the street, I don't carry all of my "wealth" on me).

That said, I think the Hive dwellers are perfect as written.

However, the "Sly-berk" (oh, and Armoury99, the intros to them are fantastic) is waaaaay, under "treasured" according to RAW (which state he should have 2,000 gp)

In order to rectify this -I'd say that he owns a small kip (which would be about a 1,000 gp) -and thus he has a key to his residence on him.

Or, as an alternative, he could have a wagon and trade goods equal to the same amount (so essentially, half of his wealth is not held upon his person -but still might be liquidated by persistant/greedy PCs).

For some more character...

The rest of his/her wealth should include -a MW leather armor -not necessarily clean, but fits him/her a bit softer and better.
Then, how about a purse of coins -55 gp worth in silver and gold, coated with Carrion Crawler Brain Juice (value: 200 gp) -which the tiefer has applied to the top most coins).

The sly berk thus protects his money from theft (theives usually filching it and dropping unconscious -and then free picking for the tiefling) -or as part of an "offensive" con.

Then, tack on a pair of dirty ivory & knuclebone dice (with jet piping) -value 100 gp).

Then give him/her a satchel of of counterfiet maps said to detail the locations of portals in Sigil (whips he sells to Clueless -as they are old Guvner maps that are now obsolete since they predate the Tempest of Doors). However, such maps still have some value (legitimately or not -approx. 100 gp).

Then throw in an elixer of sneaking and hiding, and last of all, give him/her a ring of onyx -shaped like a cat's eye (which not only is jewelry, but is also a portal-key) -aprrox value (100gp)

All in all, you get a CR 2 NPC with 2,000 gp treasure value (as RAW states), but still not not having any significant magic or large chunks of loot. Likewise, the combat stats would all remain (except for all the Armor Check Penalties would decrease by 1).

Eyes' Desire:

Pegging her at 7th level is very nice -since she is nigh-unbeatable to 3rd level PC's (especially when surrounded by 4th level bodyguards). However, for the next adventure, she is within range for actual combat/revenge (on either end).

The sorceror is a nice build. (I think beguiler is best, since it incorporates the enchantment/illusion spellcaster that is intelligent, manipulative, sneaky, and charismatic).

However, maybe we can give her some levels in the Sensate PrC (since we want to highlight her as a Sensate ans Planewalker PrC).

For ease though, we could always just have her level up in it, by the time of next adventure (though I'd rather not take this option).

I really like her items -great job, really. (and yes, let's just give her a mwk dagger).

We could go all out and detail a new weapon stilleto (tiny weapon, deals 1d3 piercing damage, critical x3, and due to size gives a +4 circumstance bonus to slieght of hands and hide checks -and costs 5 gp).

However, since she is not even going to probably ever use it against the PCs, there isn't a solid reason to add this detail.

However, as I looked over her stats (oh, and good job on the ability scores), I noticed that her skill points are off.

As a 7th level human sorceror, she should have 50 skill points -she doesn't even have half that amount.

So, here is my proposed revision (which also should help in mitigating the need for a level of rogue):

Bluff +13 , Concentration +7 , Diplomacy +12 , Gather Information +10 , Intimidate +10 ,Knowledge (arcana) +10 , Knowledge (factions & guilds) +13 , Knowledge (the Planes -focus Sigil) +12 , Listen +6, Profession (merchant) +10 , Sense Motive +6 , Spellcraft +13, Spot +6

With proper skills, she now becomes a much more credible mastermind.

Rhys, as for Fingers:

Great job in statting him up.

I also really like your write-up of Three Suns Prayer (but like Armoury99 suggested, I think we should make it from Arcadia -especially since we are tying it to a monastery -and permanance vs. transience tends towards law vs. chaos, respectively).

Now my only real issue is having Fingers have packets of the incense -and the Mortuary give him some.

The point of the incense is that it is supposed to be rare and unusual -it is a major clue in the adventure -if the PCs abduct Fingers and find the incense, they will start thinking (rationally) that he is somehow tied to Joculators -or that the Joculators are tied to the Mortuary -rather than being victims.

As the adventure currently is written -Fingers smells of the incense because he dwells beneath the Joculators hide-out, and smells from proximity to the thurible.

Before this, his stench would not be so mitigated (and still -that would only make a more than usually reeking Hiver). Besides, he is a ghoul, and is described as being reclusive and introverted -and his stench compliments this.

Now for the PCs, the clinging incense makes him more bearable now.

And for Dykos -I am fine with having him be a "normal" dwarf. His bonus versus poison and high Fort (as a tombstone dealer, the stench of the grave isn't that foriegn to him) would have made his ghast stench less remarkable and even less so with him already smelling of the incense as well.


I concede -1st level he is.


Despite making Armoury99 cringe at the amount of treasure -keep in mind two things (this is what the RAW state, and it isn't like all this "wealth" is noticable or extravagent and/or will fall into the PC's hand -it is unlikely the PCs will attempt to kill or rob the helpful ally).

As for the level, I really suggest that he keep it at 2nd level adventure (which allows most of all the PSCS races -the only exclusions being Githyanki, Githzerai, Khaasta, and Modron).
Modron for 1st timers to PS might be a bit too much, and Githyanki might prove problematic with Grimjaw and Ratter. And Khaasta is way beyond this level.

PCs still could be any tiefling, aasimar, genasi, or other ECL+1 race.

Also, there would not be a huge gap between PC levels (imagine a third level fighter and a 1st level githyanki in terms of damage, hit points, attacks, etc). The hit point disparity among PCs being the main issue for a DM.

A DM can easily make it 1st level as written (simply allowing more healing time between encounters and aid more coming from NPCs such as Narma)

Likewise, a DM could play it as written as a 3rd level adventure -but would have to keep in mind that several encounters would be overwhelmingly easy (such as the widow & zombie).

Of course, adding a side-bar on how to scale the adventure will help.

But I think we should keep it second level (especially in lue of all the other following proposed adventure arc modules).

Proud Pariahs:

Rhys brings up several excellent points here.

My proposed solution is to make Rash a half-Rutterkin (and fighter 2 -so his CR is 4).
Give him 2 Dretches (CR 2 each, and thus ECL 4 combined) -maybe one that Rash calls "Phlegm" -for his hacking and spitting, and the other named "Puke" for its habit of vomiting frequently when it gets excited.

Tack on a couple of tielfings (we could even use stats for the sly berk) as fillers in the gang.

An encounter with the gang would thus be an ECL 6 (which is really tough -and should seen as such). PCs who level up to 3rd level have a much better chance -and DM's should steer such an encounter till then.

And if PCs stay away from such an encounter, it will still be a viable challenge in the follow-up module if so pursued.

That and the gang doesn't fight as a group at all (Rash probably sending out his Dretches first and only joining if they seem to be in real trouble). Likewise, the gang members are really cowards, and so flee if Rash is brought low, or if Rash flees (which he will do if either half his gang is down or if both of Phelgm and Puke are killed -though he will eventually come back for revenge).

Armoury99's picture
Joined: 2006-08-30
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

'Flame_Drake' wrote:
What if instead of the rutterkin (if we can't use it) we use an advanced dretch or quasit with the elite array?

I was thinking of changing it myself, since I want to design a scenario that you can run with just the PH, DMG, and MM (and PSCS).

Eldan's picture
Joined: 2006-12-04
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Of course I will answer your questions.
1. How familiar are you with Planescape? (both editions, only as a player, introduced by PW, etc)
I have played two planescape campaigns as a player, as well as several short adventures on the planes, all in third edition. I was a DM in one planescape tabletop campaign, as well as one forum campaign in a german forum, which is still running. I was introduced to planescape by my DM as well as the game Torment. I now own all the second edition books.

2. What is your experience as a DM? (1st time, old veteran of 1st edition, only with one group before, etc) and
3. What is your experience with online campaigns? (DM'ed 1 before, long-time player only, none, etc)
I have run a few campaigns, some of them on tabletop, one online, as well as several single adventures in a group with a changing DM. The tabletop ones were all with the same group, the forum games were with changing players.
4. What of your Players? (essentially the answers to questions #1 & 3)
Well, at least two of them never played planescape before, those would be primes, but with some gaming experience. I might be able to convince my old DM, the one who introduced my to planescape. Also one regular player from my group.

It would take some time until I run this game, because were still in another campaign, were I'm a player. As soon as this one ends, I'll DM this adventure. Perhaps I'll also run it online, because some of my net-friends are interested. I intend to run this adventure because it suits my style. My adventures tend to be relatively non-linear, as I like to let the players decide what to do next. I also improvise a lot, so perhaps I will add some more encounters on the run.

Dialexis's picture
Joined: 2006-07-21
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD


Thanks for the generous reply. I'm thrilled that you are interest in playtesting and running this adventure -and it sounds like your tabletop game with all of your vast experience is perfect for what we need/want -especially in complimenting Flame Drake's online playtesting.

Let us when you get closer to the time of starting the campaign -or drop us a line about any question or comment earlier than that if you wish.

Thanks in advance.

Flame Drake,

Your write-up on the two advanced demons are great -the only problem is that I think that they are waaaaay to tough for 2-or even 3rd level PCs.

Those are two very difficult CR 4's (DR and tough SA's and SQ's).

Combine that with the Proud Pariahs supossed to be a gang (i.e. more than two) and the problem becomes even more of an issue).

That's why I think we can make Rash a 2nd level fighter (but half-fiend [Rutterkin]*). He is a CR 4, but not nearly as tough as either or your advanced demons -and he is bright enough to be a gang leader, but nothing more.

*Specifically, I recommend using the WotC's website article on making half-fiends specific instead of generic, to represent the Rutterkin more appropriately for what it is. (which actually might lower the CR to 3, so we could make him a Barbarian instead if we wanted).

The two normal CR 2 Dretches will be tough enough (and hence the combat scenario I presented) -and the "filler" tiefling warriors (CR 1's).

Eldan's picture
Joined: 2006-12-04
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

I don't have vast expierence, if it sounded like that, I formulated it badly. Sure, I was the DM of more than one campaign, but those campaigns were rather short and I started with DnD just about four years ago, with playing only every two weeks or so, and I wasn't always the DM.

Dialexis's picture
Joined: 2006-07-21
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Eldan, that is totally fine -and don't sell yourself short (remember that graybeards often are senile!)

Eldan's picture
Joined: 2006-12-04
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Sure, I know some of those guys...
"Back in 1980, when Gary Gygax..."

Rhys's picture
Joined: 2004-05-11
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

I've been off collecting rocks (yes, that's right) for about two weeks, but I'm back now. I'll start back on this statting project this week, and encourage everyone else to get back into it as well. I love this project and really want to see it through.

Flame_Drake's picture
Joined: 2004-12-05
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

I've also got some stats sitting on my computer that I need to finish. It also looks like I'll be able to start the Pre-game for the play test relatively soon, so we should have the project runnign full speed soon enough.


Dialexis's picture
Joined: 2006-07-21
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Yes, I think I finally brought the dreaded bronchitis-pneumonia monster to -10 (or at least 0 hp), and so I am back to running speed (well, not literally -yet).

Ok, to finish up Rash -could someone send me (pm) or post the stats for the 3.5 Rutterkin -as in the FC:I (its one of the few 3.X books I don't personally own -I'm familiar with the details and have the 3.0 ones and such).

If someone can get me them, I will do the WotC half-fiend rules for making specific fiendish templates -as detailed in their Web Enhancement articles.

Rhys's picture
Joined: 2004-05-11
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

I'll be in touch.

Rhys's picture
Joined: 2004-05-11
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

I thought I posted a bunch of character concepts and names for the pre-gens. Now I can't find it here. If found, please return to: Rhys, 223 Cadence Lane, Lady's Ward, Sigil.

Armoury99's picture
Joined: 2006-08-30
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Yeah, it has been a while.

But I'm still working... although among other things I've been attacked by the same Bronchitisosaurus that went for Dialexis.

Up here shortly (fingers crossed) is Gnarlybone's lair, the Joculator hideout, and the maps!


Fear not Rhys - I wouldn't want to disapoint someone with that high an Initiative bonus!

So, to prove I'm still working on this, here's Part One of what will be "Appendix II: The Pyre District" - site of all those lairs I mentioned previously. As before, please excuse any roughness to the stats and missing rules, as its all a rough draft. You may notice that there's less of the 'Ebenezer Scrooge' style of DMing (its the opposite of 'Monty Haul') present here than in previous sections.


As it leaves the shadow of the Mortuary and any pretext of respectability, Rattling Alley peters out into a maze of blackened ruins known as the Pyre District.

One of countless minor battlefields in the Faction War, it was site of the terrible Six Day Fire near the end of the war, when a Harmonium strike force met a mixed band of the ‘enemies of peace’ in the area. There was skirmishing in several streets and buildings, and while the fighting was at its fiercest someone set fires throughout the nearby streets, killing almost all the combatants and anyone else who hadn’t fled. No one knows who is responsible; both sides claimed the arsonist belonged to the other.

Several large explosions accompanied the fire, blasting otherwise secure buildings to rubble. The chant at the time was that several stockpiles of either alchemical equipment or explosives were detonated by the flames - some say accidentally, others deliberately. The Hardheads claimed this as proof of Anarchist involvement in the area, and the rumour stuck.

In the chaos that followed the Lady’s Edict no investigation was made, no reclamation begun. In the absence of even the Hive’s usual low standards of civilisation, even worse types took up residence: Balmies, monsters, fiends and the like (it’s from this area that the Proud Pariah’s originated, although they’ve since moved on in search of easier pickings). The district gets its name from the many bodies still rumoured to be buried in the area, entombed in a maze of ashes almost a mile in diameter. Brave collectors still search the area occasionally, but all too often fail to return.

Characters who head into the Pyre District will soon find themselves missing the relative comfort and stability to be found in the shadow of the Mortuary. It is a labyrinth of collapsed tenements and blocked alleys, covered in hardened black slime. The upper stories lean together in a web of burnt beams and cracked stone, leaving street level in constant darkness. Nooks and crannies abound amid the ruins; every glance reveals a hundred potential places where danger could be lurking. Occasionally, a traveller finds himself in an open space – remains of a square or collapsed tenement. These are at least brighter and less claustrophobic, but frequently stalked by monsters.

In drier (mainly indoor) areas, the ash still exists in its natural form, and billows up into choking clouds at the slightest disturbance. Here and there, gaps reveal a grim silhouette where bodies have been removed. Apart from this occasional sign of work by the Collectors however, no attempt seems to have been made to repair or renovate the area.

Gather Information


1. The Pyre District is a ruinous area beyond Rattling Alley. The Anarchists burned down the district during the Faction War.

2. It’s a bad place, cursed. “Not even the Dabus go there anymore.”


3. The ‘Pyre District’ is about a mile in diameter. It’s inhabited only by monsters, balmies, and fiends.

4. There are countless bodies still trapped within the rubble. Collectors occasionally search the area, but many of them fail to return.

5. The Hardheads and Anarchists were fighting in the area when the fire broke out. Several large explosions accompanied it. “It was like half the cellars were packed with smokepowder or something.”


6. The area used to be part of the Grey District. It was a meeting place for those interested in death – not Dustmen but death priests, necromancers, and various scholars interested in the afterlife.

7. The Harmonium was skirmishing with a number of its enemies in the district, although no one knows exactly what they were fighting over. No one knows for sure who was really responsible for the fire, although many blame the Revolutionary League.

8. Chant claims that a portal to Acheron has recently been found there.


9. The place was also home to a few undead who didn’t embrace the Dustmen philosophy.

10. PC’s learn that “there used to be a half-decent kip in there, called the White House Inn.”

11. There’s a healer in the district who serves the monsters, but little is known of him.

12. The PCs are told they should talk to Gnarlybone the rogue, who knows more about the area.


There’s a 1 in 6 chance of an encounter every hour that the PCs hang around in the Pyre District. The chance doesn’t vary much by day or night:

Pyre District Encounter Table (Roll 1d12)

1. Bugbear Bobbers
2. Wild Dogs
3. Wandering Fingers
4. Nathri
5. Dustmen
6. Doppelganger
7. Quasit
8. Mangey Old Wolf
9. The Patient Gamblers
10. Mister Click
11. Mad Tieflings
12. Hive Hazard



The characters are surprised by a pair of the local ‘entrepreneurs’ - two bugbears (brothers in fact) called Gugov and Maphenuk. They ambush the party as they pass through one of the countless narrow alleys; it’s only one man wide, and the brothers appear at both the front and back of the group:

With a thump, a broken and still bloody body in Collector’s robes flies across your path and slams into the wall opposite. As it slides wetly to the ground, a hideous bulky figure steps into the alleyway behind it, filling the narrow concourse entirely.

“That,” it growls in rough planar trade. “is that last berk as torqued me off. Yer bobbed berk, pony up yer jink or it’s the dead book. Now.”

This is Gugov, speaking almost all the Planar Trade he knows. His brother emerges behind the party, and is particularly cheerful if he finds himself facing the a mage or other lightly armoured character – he grins idiotically as he menaces them.

The Bugbears will initially demand all the PCs visible jink and any particularly nice weapons or other items on show, but will settle for less if the group makes a successful Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check. If denied an appropriate prize, they attack.

“Alley Fighting”

The narrow confines of the alley makes fighting with many larger weapons difficult. There isn’t quite enough room to use most slashing and bludgeoning weapons, and characters will find their weapon scattering off brickwork and catching on the rotted remains of beams.

Characters using medium sized slashing or bludgeoning weapons suffer a -1 penalty to attack and damage rolls. Large weapons of the above types suffer a -2 penalty.

Ref saves also have their DC increased by 4pts because of the limited movement.

These modifiers make any encounters more difficult. Adjust any XP awards earned by +15%

If both bugbears are wounded below ½ hps they will retreat, but if either is outright killed, the other will howl “you killed my brother!” and fight until slain.

Bugbear, CR 2 Medium Humanoid Init +1; Senses Listen +4, Spot +4 Languages: Goblin, Lower Planar Trade ______________________________________________

AC 17 touch 11, flat-footed 16 (+1 Dex, +3 natural, +2 leather armour, +1 buckler)
Hp 16 (3 HD)
Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +1
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)

Melee Shortsword +5 melee (1d6+2)
Ranged javelin +3 (1d6+2)
Base Atk +2; Grp +4

Combat Gear: Leather armour, small shield, shortsword, javelin

Abilities: Str 15, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 11, Wis 11, Cha 9
SQ: Darkvision 60 ft., Scent
Feats: Alertness, Stealthy
Skills: Climb +3, Hide +6, Move Silently +8

Possessions: Both bugbears carry 20gp in mixed coins and 30 gp worth of bronze-plated trinkets (weight 10lbs). Gugov also has a scythe slung over his back (see below).

Gugov is carrying a cloth-wrapped scythe slung over his back, crafted of black iron and bleached white wood. Silver runes along the haft say “Hail to the Reaper of Flesh, for all are his subjects in the Kingdom of Worms.” Still attached to the haft is a small parchment tag upon which is written "DEATHMON, RAT ALLEY, HIVE” in the lower planar trade tongue.

This is a ceremonial weapon used in rituals sacred to Oerthian Power Nerull the Reaper. It is a +1 Scythe crafted on the Plane of Carceri, and can also be used in place of an unholy symbol or divine focus in spells. The weapon’s market value is 2,343gp.

The scythe was on its way to Lanis the Deathmonger when its courier was intercepted and slain. The PCs will receive the market price from Lanis if they return it to him, or another favour of equal value (if asked about it, he’ll explain that it’s “stage dressing” for an upcoming event one of his contacts is staging). If the PCs currently enjoy a good relationship with the Dustmen however, they may take it there instead. That Faction will purchase the weapon from them at around 3,000gp instead, but Lanis will take revenge if he ever finds this out.

Scaling the adventure: If the party is only 1st or 2nd level, a singe Bugbear will be a moderate challenge unless they are a very well equipped or combat orientated group.

2) Dustmen Party, EL 6

The PCs encounter a trio of sinister black-robed women, hands and faces buried in the folds of their robes. If they approach they will see that their faces are fleshless skulls, although a successful Spot check (DC 16 in the gloom) will reveal that this is actually merely face paint. Although sinister in appearance, these are only Dustmen, patrolling the district to contemplate and absorb the energies of death.

These Dustmen (all women) are capable warriors, but they move cautiously nonetheless. If the PCs attack them on sight they’ll respond in kind, but will cease combat the moment the PCs do. If the party has a good reputation with the Funerary Guild, the monks will be communicative (if not exactly ‘friendly’). If not, they will merely wish the PCs a speedy journey to the True Death.

Dustman Monk, CR 2 Medium Humanoid Lawful Neutral (Dustman) Init +2; Senses Listen +8, Spot +8 Languages: Planar Trade ______________________________________________

AC 16 touch 15, flat-footed 11 (+2 Dex, +3 Wis, +1 natural)
Hp 11 (2 HD)
Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +6
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)

Melee Unarmed Strike +2 (1d6+1/x2)
Melee 2x Flurry of Blows +0 (1d6+1/x2)
Base Atk +1; Grp +2

Special Combat Options: Flurry of Blows, Evasion, Stunning Fist, Deflect Arrows
Combat Gear: Amulet of Abandoned Flesh (see below)

Abilities: Str 12, Dex 15, Con 12, Int 11, Wis 16, Cha 7

SQ: Monk class abilities
Feats: Blind Fighting, Deflect Arrows*, Numb, Stunning Fist*
Skills: Concentration +7, Diplomacy -2, Hide +7, Knowledge (Arcana) +5, Move Silently +7

Possessions: Black robes, Amulet of Abandoned Flesh.

* Indicates bonus feat from Monk Class.

Each monk wears a bulky amulet beneath their robes. Cast from iron in the shape of an elongated skull and sweeping collarbone, these are Amulets of Abandoned Flesh, icons of Dustmen philosophy assigned from the Faction vaults to worthy members. They render the wearer’s flesh hard and somewhat numb; blood also flows slightly slower than normal from any wounds, and the flesh always feels pallid and inexplicably unwholesome to the touch. Treat as a +1 Amulet of Natural Armour.

3) The Lost Beggar

The party encounters a frightened beggar by the name of Veese. Stuttering with abject relief, he begs them to save his miserable soul. After calming down a little, Veese will stammer out at explanation: He’s a primer who stumbled through a portal and found himself in the heart of the Pyre District, surrounded by terrible monsters.

Cautious PCs who make a Sense Motive check versus his Bluff of +10 (+14 if he can read their minds) will detect no lies but suspect that Veese is leaving something out.

But Veese's story is true… except for the fact that ‘Veese’ is actually a Doppelganger. The creature knows nothing of the planes, and is almost as scared as he pretends to be. Although he’d amassed a fortune back on the Prime, he had absolutely nothing on him when he accidentally activated the portal that brought him here.

Veese has been lurking around this area, reading the minds of those he spies on in an effort to learn more about the Cage - and find a suitable victim to replace (preferably a local underworld figure with access to some jink). Unfortunately, everyone who fits the bill around here seems much too tough for him to take on.

Veese will be as friendly and helpful as possible to the group, although he continually begs to be taken somewhere more civilised. If they leave him alone with a suitable victim (especially a prosperous-looking PC), he will ambush them; attempting to kill them and assume their form.

Veese the Doppelganger, CR 3 Medium Monstrous Humanoid (shapechanger) Chaotic Neutral Init +1; Senses Listen +6, Spot +6 Languages: Planar Trade ______________________________________________

AC 15 touch 11, flat-footed 14 (+1 Dex, +4 natural)
Hp 22 (4 HD)
Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +6
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)

Melee Slam +5 (1d6+1/x2)
Base Atk +4; Grp +5

Combat Gear:

Abilities: Str 12, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 13
SQ: Change shape, Detect thoughts, Immunity to sleep and charm effects
Feats: Dodge, Great Fortitude
Skills: Bluff +10*, Diplomacy +3, Disguise +9* (+11 acting), Intimidate +3, Sense Motive +6

* A doppelganger has a +4 racial bonus on Bluff and Disguise checks. When using its change shape ability, a doppelganger gets an additional +10 circumstance bonus on Disguise checks. If it can read an opponent’s mind, it gets a further +4 circumstance bonus on Bluff and Disguise checks.

Detect Thoughts (Su): A doppelganger can continuously use detect thoughts as the spell (caster level 18th; Will DC 13 negates). It can suppress or resume this ability as a free action. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Change Shape (Su): A doppelganger can assume the shape of any Small or Medium humanoid. In humanoid form, the doppelganger loses its natural attacks. A doppelganger can remain in its humanoid form until it chooses to assume a new one. A change in form cannot be dispelled, but a doppelganger reverts to its natural form when killed. A true seeing spell or ability reveals its natural form.

Veese is a dangerous opponent for a surprised PC of 3rd level or for even a whole group of 1st level characters, and it’s likely that the doppelganger may be victorious. If the PCs show a level of caution that prevents Veese from attacking them, award them the Doppelganger’s CR even if they didn’t realise what he really was.

At the DM’s discretion, a character who succumbs to Veese’s claws can be offered the chance to continue playing as the doppelganger, at least for a time. His aims are simply to learn about the planes, pocket whatever loot he can, and locate ever higher-placed victims. Experienced players might even take on playing Veese full time. As written, the doppelganger is effectively a 4th level character. Currently he has no class levels.

4) Lord Winsome

The party is approached by a Quasit calling itself ‘Lord Winsome’. It doesn’t attack, claiming that it’s come only to parley. Although clearly a vile-looking and wicked ceature, Winsome speaks with charming skill and a slight upper-class accent, as if he really were the aristocrat he claims.

Lord Winsome the Quasit, CR 2 Tiny Outsider (Chaotic, Extraplanar, Evil) Chaotic Evil Init +7; Senses Listen +7, Spot +6 Languages: Abyssal, Lower Planar Trade, Planar Trade ______________________________________________

AC 19 touch 16, flat-footed 16 (+2 size, +3 Dex, +3 natural)
Hp 13 (3 HD)
Fort +3, Ref +6, Will +4
Speed 20 ft. (4 squares), fly 50 ft. (perfect)

Melee 2x Claw +8 melee (1d3–1 plus poison) and Bite +3 melee (1d4–1)
Melee Tiny Rapier +8 (1d3–1 plus poison)
Base Atk +3; Grp -6

Special Combat Options: Poison, Spell-like abilities
Combat Gear: Rapier (poisoned, as his claws)

Abilities: Str 8, Dex 17, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 13
SQ: Alternate Form, Damage Reduction 5/cold iron or good, Darkvision 60 ft., Fast Healing 2, Immunity to poison, Resistance to fire 10
Feats: Improved Initiative, Weapon Finesse
Skills: Bluff +7, Diplomacy +3, Disguise +0 (+2 acting), Hide +17, Intimidate +3, Knowledge (any one) +6, Move Silently +9, Search +6, Spellcraft +6

Possessions: Winsome wears the decayed remains of a Noble’s Outfit, complete with rapier and rakish red cape and beret. Around his neck he wears a Collar of Protection +1 (as ring, but fits only Tiny animals). He waves his rapier around a lot while taunting enemies, but prefers his natural weapons in actual combat.

Poison (Ex): Injury, Fortitude DC 13, initial damage 1d4 Dex, secondary damage 2d4 Dex. The save DC is Constitution-based and includes a +2 racial bonus.

Spell-Like Abilities: Caster level 6th (save DCs are Chs-based):
At will - detect good, detect magic, and invisibility (self only)
1/day – Cause Fear (as the spell, except that its area is a 30-foot radius from the quasit, save DC 11).
1/week - can use Commune to ask six questions. The ability otherwise works as the spell (caster level 12th).

Alternate Form (Su): Lord Winsome can assume the form of a medium giant centipede at will as a standard action.

Lord Winsome scuttles along lintels and window frames around the party, but never comes within melee range if he can help it. His real aim here is to entice a spellcaster to accept him as a familiar, but he’ll settle for employment by the group (most likely as a scout or tout). The creature is otherwise only interested gaining power, loot, and having a good time (by Tanar’ri standards). It’ll happily throw in its lot with the party, but will betray them as soon as a better opportunity comes along.

If the PCs refuse to deal with Lord Winsome (or mock his manner, title, or name), the quasit will threaten to alert every monster within a mile of their presence unless paid off – although of course, he’ll phrase it slightly more subtly than that. If refused or driven off, Winsome returns with either Yavaka (encounter 5) or the Bugbear Brothers (encounter 1) within an hour to exact his revenge.

If somehow caught and compelled to bargain for its life, Lord Winsome will lead the characters to its horde, which is stashed in blocked up chimney, all that remains of some necromancer’s ruin. Although difficult to retrieve (especially without making enough noise to draw every monster in the district) and guarded by both a Falling Block Trap and Box of Brown Mould (see ‘traps’ in DMG, p72), the horde is considerable: It contains 17,000 copper and a 1,000 silver pieces (that’s 360lbs of coinage!). There's also selection of brass mugs and jugs worth 400gp (weighing 40lbs) and miscellaneous baroque jewellery worth a total of 900gps (one of these pieces has a closed eye depicted on it; this is actually an Amulet of Inescapable Detection). There are also three mouldy but still magical scrolls, of Blindness/Deafness, Halt Undead, and False Life (all at 9th level).

Stealing Winsome’s horde earns the whole party the enmity of the quasit for as long as he lives. No matter how long it takes, Winsome will want his revenge – even if it is on the groups descendants.

5) Torqued off Wolf, EL 4

The characters are followed by a scrawny-looking but very large wolf, whose clumpy fur is clearly ravaged by lice, ticks, wounds, and disease.

Closer examination may reveal it as a Barguest: Identifying Yavaka requires a successful Knowledge (Planes) check at DC 20 (18 if a character has low light vision, 16 if they can negate the gloom completely).

Yavaka came through a portal to hunt a juicy Sigilite or three, but has been bouncing from one dangerous encounter to another in the Hive, catching quite a beating (and a dose of Filth Fever) in the process. She’s pretty torqued off by now and looking for souls and flesh to appease her temper. She stalks the party from behind, hoping to catch a straggler. Pit Yavaka’s Move Silently against the PCs’ Listen skills to see if she ambushes them successfully.

Disease and injury have cost Yavaka 2pts of CON and DEX (reflected in her statistic below) and 8hps, making her easier to deal with than normal. Award the PCs 10% less XP for this encounter.

Characters wounded by Yavaka or who search her body (especially slitting her open) must make a Fort Save (DC 12), or catch Filth Fever themselves. See DMG, p292 for details.

Yavaka, CR 4 Medium Outsider (Evil, Extraplanar, Lawful, Shapechanger) Lawful Evil Init +6; Senses Listen +11, Spot +11 Languages: Infernal, Lower Planar Trade ______________________________________________

AC 17 (+1 Dex, +6 natural), touch 12, flat-footed 16
Hp 19 out of 27 (6 HD)
Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +7
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares); in Wolf Form 50ft (10 squares)

Melee Bite +9 melee (1d6+3) and 2 claws +4 melee (1d4+1)
Base Atk +6; Grp +9

Special Combat Options: Spell-like abilities, feed
Combat Gear:

Abilities: Str 17, Dex 13, Con 11, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 14
SQ: Change shape, damage reduction 5/magic, darkvision 60 ft., scent
Feats: Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative, Track
Skills: Bluff +11, Diplomacy +6, Disguise +2 (+4 acting), Hide +10*, Intimidate +13, Jump +12, Move Silently +9, Search +11, Sense Motive +11, Survival +11 (+13 following tracks)

* In wolf form, Yavaka gains a +4 circumstance bonus on Hide checks.

Possessions: special – lodged in Yavaka’s stomach (and causing her considerable indigestion) is the better part of a woad-tattooed hand. Still on one of its fingers is a bronze Ring of Protection+1.

Spell-Like Abilities: At will—blink, levitate, misdirection (DC 14), rage (DC 15); 1/day—charm monster (DC 16), crushing despair (DC 16), dimension door. Caster level equals the barghest’s HD. The save DCs are Charisma-based.

Feed (Su): When a barghest slays a humanoid opponent, it can feed on the corpse, devouring both flesh and life force, as a full-round action. Feeding destroys the victim’s body and prevents any form of raising or resurrection that requires part of the corpse. There is a 50% chance that a wish, miracle, or true resurrection spell can restore a devoured victim to life. Check once for each destroyed creature. If the check fails, the creature cannot be brought back to life by mortal magic.

A barghest advances in Hit Dice by consuming corpses in this fashion. For every three suitable corpses a barghest devours, it gains 1 Hit Die, and its Strength, Constitution, and natural armour increase by +1. Its attack bonus and saves improve as normal for an outsider of its Hit Dice, and it gains skill points, feats, and ability score improvements normally.

The barghest only advances by consuming the corpses of creatures whose Hit Dice or levels are equal to or greater than its own current total. A barghest that reaches 9 Hit Dice through feeding immediately becomes a greater barghest upon completion of the act.

Change Shape (Su): A barghest can assume the shape of a goblin or a wolf as a standard action. In goblin form, a barghest cannot use its natural weapons but can wield weapons and wear armor. In wolf form, a barghest loses its claw attacks but retains its bite attack. A barghest in wolf form can use pass without trace (as the spell) as a free action.

Although planning to tear apart the party to sate her pain and frustration, Yavaka could be reasoned with by canny planewalkers: If they offer to heal her up and cure her ills, she’s prepared to leave them alone, for now at least.

Scaling the adventure: If the party is only 1st or 2nd level, the DM should substitute a Worg or two for the Barguest instead

6) Patient Gamblers, EL 4

Ahead of you the oppressive gloom is broken by a faint flickering light – a lantern swinging gently from an archway in the side of the alley. The sound of low conversation drifts through the air, accompanied by the faint smell of rotting meat.

The arch was once a grandiose doorway, but now leads only to a single chamber, filled with rubble:

Behind the arch sits a chamber piled with debris, save for a small area at its centre. Here sit a pair of creatures playing some kind of game, using a combination of cards and a handful of painted knucklebones. A small pile of copper coins and trinkets are piled between them, on top some bulging leather sacks that serves as a table.

PCs who make a listen check (DC 15) as they approach will hear the pair talking in Lower Planar Trade: they mutter to each other in a clipped, familiar way; about past adventures, where they hope to be heading next, and joking insults about each others lineage and personal hygiene. If the PCs don’t make a successful Move Silently check however, they will also find the pair carefully watching the archway with hands on weapons. If they manage to approach quietly however, the pair will still be engrossed in their game.


These bashers are Yooguh and Suuth, a gnoll and a troglodyte respectively. Adventurers and bloodcrows by trade, they’ve been doing some business in the Pyre District and are waiting for their captain to open a portal (the archway) from back on Acheron so they can head home. Neither monster is particular looking for a fight, but nor are they bothered about finishing one if someone else starts it.

If a fight breaks out, Suuth immediately charges over to hold the archway, striking out with his twin handaxes. Yoogah snatches up his longspear and fights over his companions shoulder, especially targeting any spellcasters or lightly armoured types who come within reach. He will also use their Wand or the Aid Another manoeuvre as necessary. Their main aim is to make the group back off; they only want to leave with the boss’ loot – unless her bloodlust gets the better of them.

Suuth the Troglodyte, CR 2 Medium Humanoid (Reptilian) Chaotic Evil 1ST Level Fighter Init +6; Senses Listen +3, Spot +0 Languages: Troglodyte, Lower Planar Trade ______________________________________________

AC 20* touch 12, flat-footed 118 (+2 Dex, +6 natural, +2 armour, *+1 Dodge)
Hp 20 (3 HD)
Fort +7, Ref +2, Will +0
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)

Melee 2x Mstrwk Hatchet +2 (1d6/x3) and bite +0 (1d4)
Melee 2x Claw +3 (1d4) and bite +1 (1d4)
Ranged Dagger +4 (1d4+1)
Base Atk +2; Grp +3

Special Combat Options: Stench
Combat Gear: Masterwork cold iron/silver hatchets, 6 throwing daggers, Leather Armour

Abilities: Str 12, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 10
SQ: Darkvision 90 ft.
Feats: Improved Initiative, Multiattack, Two Weapon Fighting
Skills: Hide +8*, Move Silently +3

* The skin of a troglodyte changes colour somewhat, allowing it to blend in with its surroundings like a chameleon and providing a +4 racial bonus on Hide checks. In rocky or underground settings, this bonus improves to +8

Possessions: Enough scraps of cured khaasta skin to count as Leather Armour, secured by 12 tiny golden clasps, worth 5gp each. Two Masterwork quality handaxes, one of cold iron and the other of silver. Runes on the blades name them as ‘Brother Left’ and ‘Brother Right’ respectively.

Stench (Ex): When a troglodyte is angry or frightened, it secretes an oily, musk-like chemical that nearly every form of animal life finds offensive. All living creatures (except troglodytes) within 30 feet of a troglodyte must succeed on a DC 13 Fortitude save or be sickened for 10 rounds. The save DC is Constitution-based. Creatures that successfully save cannot be affected by the same troglodyte’s stench for 24 hours. A delay poison or neutralize poison spell removes the effect from the sickened creature. Creatures with immunity to poison are unaffected, and creatures resistant to poison receive their normal bonus on their saving throws (Yoogah is very familiar with Suuth’s stench and gains a +2 bonus to his save).

Yooguh the Gnoll, CR 2
Humanoid (Gnoll)
Chaotic Evil
Init +0; Senses Listen +2, Spot +3
Languages: Gnoll, Infernal, Lower Planar Trade, Planar Trade

AC 17 touch 10, flat-footed 17 (+1 natural, +6 armour),
Hp 17 (3 HD)
Fort +6*, Ref +0, Will +0
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)

Melee Long Spear +6 (1d8/x3)
Melee Battleaxe +4 (1d8+2/x3)
Ranged Shortbow +2 (1d6/x3)
Base Atk +2; Grp +4

Combat Gear: Splint Mail, Long Spear, Battleaxe, Heavy Crossbow and 12 bolts, Wand of Cure Light Wounds (30 charges remaining, the command word is “aunty’s blessing”).

Abilities: Str 15, Dex 10, Con 13, Int 8, Wis 11, Cha 8
SQ: Darkvision 60 ft.
Feats: Power Attack, Weapon Focus (Longspear)
Skills: Intimidate +0

* Yoogah is well familiar with his companions reek, and gets a +2 bonus to his Fort. Save to avoid Suuth’s Stench ability.

Possessions: In addition to his combat gear, Jooguh has a backpack containing rope and grappling hook, two flasks of water, a large sack, some loose parchment leaves (on which are a number of hastily sketched maps – although none of the district), a week’s provisions, a bedroll and winter blanket, some herbal bandages, and a pouch of 16gps.

THE TREASURE: The bulging sacks contains 30 bundles of crossbow bolts (5 to a bundle), 20 tough leather bedrolls, 200gp worth of supplies for repairing armour (spare mail rings, plates and pins, etc), three full Healing Kits, 600ft of hemp rope, 200lbs of ‘miscellaneous preserved meat’ (best not to ask of what…) a small keg of ale, and 100gps of minor adventuring kit (lanterns, locks, tankards, unholy symbols, etc).

7) Mister Click, EL5

The party comes face to face with Mister Click the ettercap – see Blighthouse, Loc 6 for more details.

Looming from the darkness is a hideous beast covered in plates of vermillion chitin, all streaked with gore. Its face is a terrible insectile visage drooling black spittle over the body of a large rat, which it holds in one claw. Its other ‘hand’ holds a black leather bag, such as is carried by healers and chirurgeons. A high-collared voluminous cloak hangs from its shoulders, but does little to hide its awful form. The thing spits a half dissolved rat’s head from between its mandibles and grinds its serrated jaws at you, emitting a series of clicks and hisses.

Mister Click is on his way home after a successful hunting trip (at Blighthouse as it happens), and means the PCs no harm. Although wary, he’s polite and courteous to those who show they mean no harm, although he can communicate only in gestures and clicks.

Characters can use the Bluff skill to communicate basic concepts with Mister Click. More detailed interaction requires magic or the ability to speak Ettercap.

Cool Nathri

The PCs cross paths with some of the nearby Nathri pack, who have laid an ambush in one of the district’s many rubble-strewn squares:

This small creature before you is mostly made up of large teeth and ears, and a shock of unruly hair. Looking like the unwholesome union of halfling and a goblin, it is dressed in rags and dragging an enormous bundle of junk along behind him. It looks up surprised and hisses; ready to bolt at the slightest move – but towards or away from you, you couldn’t say.

This is Fyzl (one of the rogues), who’s deliberately hanging around in the open acting as bait. His companions are hiding among the rocks and in the windows of the surrounding buildings. If they heard the party’s arrival, then the others are Invisible. Otherwise they are merely hiding, but turn Invisible as soon as they hear the PC arrive.

If someone approaches Fyzl, Naxur reveals himself on a nearby mound of rubble and challenges the group. Naxur claims that the PCs have invaded nathri territory in violation of the truce and must pay recompense in tribute or blood. Although this is a lie, the PCs may find him unnervingly cold-eyed and unafraid (Intimidate +7).

If the PCs try to negotiate, Naxur suggests a duel to settle the matter - pointedly picking the character he guesses will feel most honour bound to accept (any obvious paladin, knight, or barbarian). Naxur is reluctant to come down from his vantage point (which grants him +1 to hit for higher ground) but does so if necessary. He won’t fight to the death as part of this ruse, but will if real combat starts.

While Naxur talks (or fights), the rest of his band are creeping up on the party and attempting to steal anything they can get with Sleight of Hand. If they succeed undiscovered, the creep away and sound a distinctive barking call to their leader, who ceeses any interraction immediately and withdraws, claiming that “great danger comes.”

Naxur, Nathri Barbarian, CR 4 Small Humanoid Chaotic Neutral Init +3; Senses Listen +0, Spot +0 Languages: Nathri, Planar Common ______________________________________________

AC 20* touch 15, flat-footed 16 (+1 size, +3 Dex, +1 buckler, +4 armour, +1 Dodge*)
Hp 38 (4 HD)
Fort +6, Ref +4, Will +1
Speed 20 ft. (4 squares)

Melee Longspear +7 (1d6+3/x3)
Melee handspike +7 (1d4+1 plus poison)
Ranged dart +8 (1d3+1)
Base Atk +4; Grp +2

Special Combat Options: Invisibility, Poison, Rage, Spell Resistance 6
Combat Gear: buckler, chain shirt, 6 throwing darts

Abilities: Str 14, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 13
SQ: Barbarian Class Features, Darkvision, Ethereal Vision, “Psionics”
Feats: Dodge, Stealthy
Skills: Bluff +3, Climb +7, Hide +9*, Intimidate +8, Jump +7, Move Silently +7

* +4 bonus from size. On the Ethereal Plane, nathri also gain a +4 racial bonus to Intuit Direction, Listen, and Spot checks.

Possessions: Ceremonial champion’s cape, chain shirt, 6 throwing darts, +1 small Longspear (see below).

‘ShamanFang’ is a +1 Ghost Touch Longspear, sized for a small creature. Named ShamanFang in nathri runes along the haft, it is also decorated with carvings, beads, and feathers – it is the traditional weapon of the tribal champion and believed to be a source of great good fortune for the tribe. They will immediately begin seeking for it if Naxur does not return.

Rage: Naxur can Rage 2/day, for 7 rounds. He gains +2 to hit and damage (+3 with his two-handed weapon), +2 to Will Saves, and +8hp, but his AC also drops by 2pts. See PHB p25 for more details.

Nathri Traits (see below)

Nathri Rogue, CR 1
Small Humanoid
Chaotic Neutral
Init +3; Senses Listen +4, Spot +4
Languages: Nathri, Planar Common

AC 16 touch 14, flat-footed 13 (+1 size, +3 Dex, +2 armour),
Hp 7 (1 HD)
Fort +1, Ref +5, Will +0
Speed 20 ft. (4 squares)

Melee handspike +2 (1d4+1 plus poison)
Ranged dart +4 (1d3+1)
Base Atk +0; Grp -2

Special Combat Options: Backstab (+1d6), Invisibility, Poison,
Combat Gear: Leather armour, 6 throwing darts

Abilities: Str 12, Dex 16, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 8
SQ: Darkvision, Ethereal Vision, “Psionics”, Spell Resistance 6
Feats: Skill Focus (Sleight of hand)
Skills: Bluff +3, Climb +5, Hide +11*, Move Silently +7, Slight of Hand +10, Tumble +7

* +4 bonus from size. On the Ethereal Plane, nathri also gain a +4 racial bonus to Intuit Direction, Listen, and Spot checks.

Possessions: Leather armour, 6 throwing darts, improvised but serviceable thieves tools.

Nathri Traits

Poison Spike (Ex): Nathri can poison creatures using a small barb on their right hand that deals 1d4 piercing damage. Nathri poison (Injury DC 11, 1d2 Dex + 1d2 Int, 0).

Ethereal Vision (Ex): Nathri are able to see creatures in the Ethereal Plane from any plane coexistent with it. Ethereal objects appear hazy and are easily distinguished from objects in the current plane. Within the Deep Ethereal, nathri vision is not impaired and remains a 60 ft. range.

Psionics (Sp): 3/day - featherfall, invisibility. These are cast as a sorcerer of the nathri’s character level.

Spell Resistance (Ex): A nathri has spell resistance equal to 5 + 1 per character level.

These Nathri are of the “non-psionic” variant (see PSCS, chapter 2)

If their plan is discovered, the rogues simply flee (using their Tumbling if necessary) only hanging around in melee to grab something from a PC so as not to leave empty handed. Naxur meanwhile, retreats as best he can; after distracting the party for a round or two, he turns Invisible and creeps away. If cornered, he uses his Rage ability and fights to the death. Any other nathri who sees ShamanFang unattended will attempt to snatch it up and return it to the tribe.

Treat the nathri attack as 2 separate EL 4 encounters.

Wild Dogs, EL 4

A dozen scrawny beasts start tailing the PCs, looking for a chance to attack. Although easily intimidated by a large party, they will go for anyone caught on their own or who are left behind, especially familiars or other animals. Each dog flees if reduced to half hit points. If the PCs give ground after any dogs have been slain, the rest will stop to devour their fallen fellows:

Scrawny Hounds, CR ½ Small Animal Neutral Init +3; Senses Listen +5, Spot +5 Languages: n/a ______________________________________________

AC 15 touch 14, flat-footed 13 (+1 size, +3 Dex, +1 natural)
Hp 6 (1 HD)
Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +1
Speed 40 ft. (8 squares)

Melee Bite +2 (1d4+1)
Base Atk +1; Grp n/a

Abilities: Str 12, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6
SQ: Low Light Vision, Scent
Feats: Alertness, Track
Skills: Jump +7, Survival +1*

* +4 racial bonus to Jump checks, and to Survival checks when Tracking by scent.

Scaling the adventure: For 1st level parties, use only 4 dogs. For 2nd level groups, use 8 dogs.

11. Mad Tieflings

Coming soon!

12. Hive Hazard

Coming soon!

PART TWO: Blighthouse

Coming Slightly Later!

Armoury99's picture
Joined: 2006-08-30
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Okay, so I'm double-posting and this isn't actually what I promised next, but what the heck. As usual, editing is still in the draft stages. Gnarlybone's stats here certainly aren't my final decision - he's different from earlier versions becuase his character has shifted a bit too

(Grey District Map, Area 2)

Where the blackened tenements of the Pyre District meet the leaning hovels at the far end of Rattling Alley, a house with most of its front wall missing conceals the entrance to Gnarlybone’s lair. Only a few thieves and beggars know the approximate location; getting this information requires 20gp of garnish to various street folk and a Gather Information check at DC 25. Even then the party will have to make it worth their informant’s while with additional jink.

The half-elf certainly has no intention of taking the PCs to his secret hideout, but the party might end up here in several ways: They might go hunting for the young rogue, decide to bust him despite his good reputation, or larcenous types might just try and rob the young rogue.

Gnarlybone certainly wont meet the characters anywhere near his base, but PCs cold shadow him home afterwards. Tailing Gnarlybone to his layer requires a Move Silently and Hide Rolls, opposed by his Listen and Spot. He won’t head to his lair if he even suspects he is being followed.


1) Grate Leading Down.

A hole in a broken iron grate leads down into a blocked off section of sewer, beneath what was once a luxurious indoor bathing room. It’s a wide but narrow hole, needing an Escape Artist check to wriggle into (only DC 10, but remember to apply any Armour Check penalties).

Looking down into the sewer, it seems that this section has been sealed or blocked off from the rest of the system, and the stench of decay is mercifully weak. The passage beneath you is rather large and it’s quite a drop to where planks have been put across the effluent channel, but a hunk of tinber has been nailed half-upright, creating a steep ramp down to the floor. The chamber otherwise seems bare, save for a couple of exits in the far corner.

Clambering in is a very easy climb, but might become hazardous if rushed or attempted in heavy armour by a clumsy berk (the Climbing DC is 0). Its 20ft to the floor from the hole in the ceiling.

2) Blocked Off Sewer

Characters with the appropriate skills will not recognise the specific function of this chamber, which seems oddly designed and far too large for a sewer unless its attendant was a giant. It does seem to follow the basic layout of a sewer however, despite its grand scale:

You find yourself in a large chamber that seems at odds with your expectations of a typical cramped Sigilian sewer. Arching walls meet some 20ft above the floor, and the room runs maybe 80ft long and 40ft from side to side. Thick wooden planks have been nailed across the central 10 ft of the chamber, covering the effluent channel. Arches at either end of the room have been bricked up, sealing the room from the rest of the network.

Above you in the ceiling are several gratings, but all save one are blocked with rubble from the houses above. Other useable exits are in the far corner from where you entered: A patched wooden door, and a heavy-looking sheet of iron, which seems to block a hole in the wall.

Characters who make a successful Listen check (DC 20) will hear the occasional scrabbling sounds of movement below the planking. Characters who make DC of 25 will hear the faint sound of conversation just audible from area 5.

Trap/Creature (EL 5): Except for the 15ft at either side of the room, the planking has been sawn almost through in several places, creating crude but effective pit traps. Any character who walks across the planks will find the central portion collapsing around him: A Ref Save DC 18 allows the character to grab onto a secure section of boards, otherwise they disappear into the (thankfully dried up) effluent channel far beneath.

The bed of dried sewerage lies 20 feet below, and causes 2d6-2 points of damage to a falling character (the ‘residue’ cushions their fall a little). More dangerously, the pit is home to an otyugh that Gnarlybone has lured into the area with offerings of filth and garbage.

Otyugh, CR 4 Large Aberration Neutral Init +3; Senses Listen +6, Spot +6 Languages: n/a ______________________________________________

AC 17 touch 9, flat-footed 17 (–1 size, +8 natural)
Hp 36 (6 HD)
Saves: Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +6
Speed 20 ft. (4 squares)

Melee 2 tentacles +4 melee (1d6) and bite –2 melee (1d4)
Base Atk +4; Grp +8

Special combat Options: Constrict 1d6, disease, improved grab

Abilities: Str 11, Dex 10, Con 13, Int 5, Wis 12, Cha 6
SQ: Darkvision 60 ft., scent
Feats: Alertness, Toughness, Weapon Focus (tentacle)
Skills: Hide –1*

* +8 racial bonus on Hide checks when in its lair, due to its natural coloration.

Constrict (Ex): An otyugh deals automatic tentacle damage with a successful grapple check.

Disease (Ex): Filth fever - bite, Fortitude DC 14, incubation period 1d3 days; damage 1d3 Dex and 1d3 Con. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, an otyugh must hit with a tentacle attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If it wins the grapple check, it establishes a hold and can constrict.

A few bones (many animal, some humanoid) lie scattered in the mud. The brick wall at one end of the channel (leading away from the lair) has a hole in it by which the otyugh comes and goes, leading into the main sewer.

Scaling the adventure: For lower level parties, have signs of the Otyugh present but not the creature itself.

3) Sliding Panel

A massive iron door has been turned on its side and used as a crude sliding panel. It extends back through a crack in the corner of the wall, but looks like it might slide if pushed with enough force. The raised designs on its surface are so worn and rust-filled, they are now impossible to identify.

The simple mechanism for operating this door is located in Gnarlybone’s lair, but characters can overcome the latch with a successful STR check, DC 20 (up to two characters could combine their efforts on this). Alternatively, they could choose to just bash it open, but the reverberating clangs will certainly alert both Gnarlybone and the Carrion Crawler.

The panel has Hardness 10 and 70hps, the Break DC is 30

Behind the panel is a circular tunnel, once a minor sewerpipe. 1d6 rounds after the panel opens, a Carrion Crawler emerges and attacks:

Carrion Crawler, CR 4 Large Aberration Neutral Init +2; Senses Listen +6, Spot +6 Languages: n/a ______________________________________________

AC 17 touch 9, flat-footed 17 (–1 size, +2 Dex, +6 natural)
Hp 19 (3 HD)
Saves: Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +5
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares), Climb 15ft

Melee 8 tentacles +3 melee (paralysis) and Bite -2 (1d4+1)
Base Atk +2; Grp +8

Special combat Options: Paralysis

Abilities: Str 14, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 1, Wis 15, Cha 6
SQ: Darkvision 60 ft., scent
Feats: Alertness, Combat Reflexes, Track
Skills: Climb +12*

* +8 racial bonus, may always ‘Take 10’.

Paralysis (Ex): Those hit by a carrion crawler tentacle must make a Fort. Save DC 13 or be paralysed for 2d4 rounds.

The Carrion Crawler is also semi-domesticated by Gnarlybone, and knows to come when it hears the iron door banged or slid open. The carrion crawler retreats if reduced to half hit points.

Scaling the adventure: For lower level parties, include bars across the tunnel entrance to stop the Carrion Crawler’s body from coming through, but still allowing its tentacles to attack anyone in front of the door.

4) Door

This heavy door has clearly seen better days, and has been patched with new wood several times. An examination of the door reveals that the entire section around the lock has been replaced, and a new lock and handle have been installed.

The door has Hardness 5, 12hps, and a break DC of 15.

The new lock is cast in the shape of a snarling devil’s face, with its mouth as the keyhole. It’s made entirely from Baatorian green steel – an Appraise or Knowledge: (Planes) check (DC 15) identifies this, and that the lock itself is rather valuable (2000gps) and almost certainly trapped in some hideous devilish manner. The DC to pick the lock is 30. Failed attempts, or any interference with the lock or door, sets of the trap:

The Devilish Lock (CR 3): Burning Hands trap as 5th-level wizard, 5d4 fire, DC 11 Reflex save half damage; Search DC 26; Disable Device DC 26.

Clues: If Gnarlybone is in, PCs who make a Listen check (DC 15) near the door will hear what sounds like an interrogation is going on in the room beyond:

“Ah, Lord Daneel, we meet at last... I applaud your tenacity, but your paladin skills were no match for my band of master assassins! Make peace with your Power, Fiend Slayer – for now you die!”

See below for more details.

5) The Rogue’s Den

This is Gnarlybone’s hideout, in which he fantasises that he’s the master of a powerful guild of thieves:

Irregular sections of cut carpet are strewn across the floor, beneath a variety of surprisingly good home-made furnishings. A horde of canvas sacks hang from pegs on the walls, as does a large net with a blanket thrown over it – a makeshift hammock.

Wanted posters for nefarious Cagers are plastered over the walls, alongside playbills and cheap parchment adverts for taverns and inns. A massive iron lantern in the shape of a winged demon hangs from a hook in the roof. In the centre of the room a huge leather armchair. In front of it is a desk upon which several small statuettes stand.

A simple rope and pulley system allows the iron panel outside to be pulled open (into this chamber) and locked in place. The door can also be pushed back into place from here, but this requires an opposed STR check if the Carrion Crawler is in the way.

If the PCs surprise Gnarlybone, add the following:

Sat with his feet up on a desk is a half-elven youth stroking a large white rat:

“Take them to the Otyugh pit!” he commands with a theatrical wave and evil laugh. His comments appear to be directed not at you, but to the collection of figurines on the desk before him.

Skiffy the Albino Fiendish Dire Rat, CR 1/2 Small Magical Beast Neutral Evil Init +3; Senses Listen +4, Spot +4 Languages: n/a ______________________________________________

AC 15 touch 14, flat-footed 11 (+1 size, +3 Dex, +1 natural)
Hp 5 (1 HD)
Saves: Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +3
Speed 40 ft. (8 squares), Climb 20ft

Melee Bite +5 (1d4+1 plus Disease)
Base Atk +1; Grp -3

Special combat Options: Disease, Smite Good

Abilities: Str 12, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 3, Wis 12, Cha 4
SQ: Darkvision 60ft, Resistance to cold/fire 5, Scent, Spell Resistance 6
Feats: Alertness, Weapon Finesse
*Skills: Climb +11, Hide +8, Listen +4, Move Silently +4, Spot +4, Swim +11

*Dire rats use their Dexterity modifier for Climb and Swim checks. +8 racial bonus on Swim/Climb checks, and can always choose to take 10 on Climb checks, even if rushed or threatened.
Disease (Ex): Filth fever—bite, Fortitude DC 11, incubation period 1d3 days, damage 1d3 Dex and 1d3 Con. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Gnarlybone the Rogue, CR 2 Medium Humanoid 2nd level Rogue Chaotic Good Init +4; Senses Listen +6, Spot +1 Languages: Lower Planar Trade, Planar Trade ______________________________________________

AC 15 touch 13, flat-footed 12 (+3 Dex, +2 armour)
Hp 9 (3 HD)
Saves: Fort -1, Ref +6, Will +0*
Speed 30 ft. (6 squares)

Melee Mstrwk Dagger +2
Ranged Mstwrk Dagger +5
Base Atk +1; Grp +1

Special combat Options: Backstab
Combat Gear: Leather armour, 4 masterwork daggers

Abilities: Str 11, Dex 16, Con 9, Int 13, Wis 10, Chs 14
SQ: Evasion, Immune to Sleep, Low Light Vision
Feats: Improved Initiative
Skills: Bluff +4, Climb +5, Craft (Carpentry) +4, Diplomacy +5, Gather Information +7, Handle Animal +3, Hide +7, Knowledge (Local) +6, Move Silently +7, Open Lock +7, Search +2

* +2 to saves against enchantment.

Possessions: Masterwork leather armour, 4 masterwork daggers, masterwork thieves tools, Potion of Cure Light Wounds, Potion of Invisibility. He also owns a Wand of Detect Secret Doors (14 charges remaining), and Oil of Slipperiness. His kit also includes a 3 sunrods, 2 smokesticks, and a vial of holy water.

A search of the room reveals various loot and items of equipment, most of it mundane items (worth a total of 300gps – the DM can improvise from the equipment lists). There’s also a silver ewer worth 50gp, and miscellaneous purloined cutlery worth another 30gp. An old wardrobe contains a few changes of clothes and Gnarlybone’s Thieves Tools, plus a rope and grapple, and two large sacks.

The statues on Gnarlybone’s desk resemble giant chess pieces, depicting various famous planar figures (Daneel Fiendslayer, Mordenkainen, Grazzt, and Gith). These are each worth 20gps each to interested parties. Although impressive, the iron demon-lantern is non-magical and of average quality.


If caught unawares, Gnarlybone’s reaction depends entirely on what - if anything - he has heard about the PCs. If he knows them or they have a good reputation, he may be peaceful; otherwise he either attacks or runs. Living in the Hive, Gnarlybone expects bashers breaking into his lair to leave him dead or penniless, and so with typical Hiver mentality he intends to make this process as painful for them as possible.

He begins by hurling his pet albino dire rat at the group to distract them. He follows this up with the best plan he can think of at the time: Throwing a smokestick at the ground by his feet, drinking his Potion of Invisibility, and trying to run for it using his Tumbling skill. He’s unlikely to escape and knows it, but expects to be crippled or tortured to death if captured. If he escapes from their initial 'invasion', Gnarlybone will begin to stalk the PCs one by one, ambushing them with robbery and murder in mind.

If the PCs have alerted Gnarlybone to their presence – by making too much noise in Area 2, the young rogue will first pull back the panel and release the Carrion Crawler if possible, then grab some jink and retreat to behind the door. Once the party enters the room, he’ll attempt to slip out and away using his Potion of Invisibility.

Talking to Gnarlybone

Gnarlybone is annoyed by the discovery of his lair, and any negotiations with the PCs will have to include compensation and a vow of silence as to its location (and he’ll start looking for a new haven, even then). Once past this however, Gnarlybone is prepared to be quite helpful:

o He knows just about everyone of importance in the area, by site or reputation.

o He can act as a guide through the ruins of the Pyre District – though only if the PCs pay him at least 300gps.

o He sends regular gifts and tribute to Old Toadface, and knows how to get in touch with him and his agents.

o He knows that the Joculators are based at Blighthouse.

o He knows all the information available from a Gather Information roll of 25+ on the Pyre District.

Other than providing this information, Gnarlybone isn’t too keen on hanging around the heroes – they have too short a life expectancy. Characters who make a good enough impression however (see PH, p72), will find the half-elf awestruck and more willing to help. His first recourse in dangerous situations will still be to flee however.

Krypter's picture
Joined: 2004-05-11
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

It took me a long time to read through this thread but what I see here is absolutely top-notch stuff. Armoury99, I must congratulate you on the fantastic work you've done and how you've perfectly recreated that ol' Planescape flavour. Your description of the Hive areas is amazingly vivid and your cast of characters is exceptionally memorable.

If I had the time I would run this for some of the players I know who are not very familiar with PS, but unfortunately I'm in the middle of a campaign (as a player). The little references to other Planescape events (Sougad, the "Nameless Lives" graffiti in the former Alley of Birth, etc.) are clever little gems for the discerning DM or player to find. The adventure also has the perfect amount of cant; not overpowering but not entirely absent either.

Some minor comments and nitpicks, if you don't mind:

* I vote for having a modron at the artificer's place. They're another iconic part of the setting.

* Alley Fighting is an excellent idea, and should go straight into the PSCS.

* Old Toad the slaad seems a little incongruent. I agree that a hezrou would be better, maybe a crippled one to explain why he's running a sweatshop.

* You may want to keep the classes simple. Unusual PrCs can be daunting to people who don't own the books, and may reduce the utility of the adventure.

* it's barmies, not balmies. Normally I don't correct spelling but I saw this crop up a dozen times.

The only serious problem I have with Desire and the Dead is that there are too many encounters that overpower/overawe the PCs. Not one, not two, but three critical encounters in which the PCs will be intimidated and possibly beaten up. That is certainly realistic, but it may be extremely frustrating to players, especially ones unfamiliar with Planescape. In such situations players will often feel bullied and may turn against the DM. I would suggest a stronger resolution of the problem with the censer. Perhaps Eyes' Desire (is that with an apostrophe or without?) could be embarassed in front of her higher ups and her plan revealed as having failed? Disgraced, she may be reassigned to another plane away from Sigil. The PCs think they've won...until someone even more devious shows up and tries again...

I love the storytelling resolution of this adventure but it may be too much for regular D&D players and if the climax of the adventure ends up being the PCs filling out a useless police report it just wouldn't be an ending.

PS: If you need my help I could assist with the following: editing, layout and possibly mapping.

Azriael's picture
Joined: 2006-08-07
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

'Krypter' wrote:
The only serious problem I have with Desire and the Dead is that there are too many encounters that overpower/overawe the PCs. Not one, not two, but three critical encounters in which the PCs will be intimidated and possibly beaten up. That is certainly realistic, but it may be extremely frustrating to players, especially ones unfamiliar with Planescape. In such situations players will often feel bullied and may turn against the DM.

I guess this depends on the maturity of the group. Personally I don't mind taking a few knocks, especially at low level, in a campaign because payback's a *!@#% once you gain a few more levels.

I think it also depends on how the DM does it - I recommend reading Shemmy's storyhour 1 as an example of how PC's can still be given token rewards despite unbeatable (at the time) foes.


"We're making a better world. All of them, better worlds." - Anonomous Harmonium Officer

Dialexis's picture
Joined: 2006-07-21
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD


Once again, simply awesome work! I'm not even sure of where to start with the compliments.

So, perhaps in a reversal only Slaadi would appreciate, I'll start with mentioning the few errors that I saw.

Yes, you definitely changed tracks from the Scrooge motif -your NPC treasure amounts are fine, but many of the non-NPC are too high (check DMG 51).

Some of the most glaring cases are the Nathri Naxur -his weapon is worth over 8,000 gp -even though his NPC treasure should only equal 4,300 gp.

The bugbears have a current listed treasure value of almost 3,000 gp, though combined they should only have about 1,200 gp in value).

That said, I don't think that they really need to be changed -since we have the other encounters like the barghest and doppleganger with "no" treasure (it is unlikely that the PCs will cut open her stomach and find the ring -though I love the flavor -awesome stuff).

So, that can stay the same and all.

About the bugbear's scythe: Simply reduce the amount that the NPC's will pay for it. Lannis will only pay 1,000 gp for it -he's cheap and already lost the investment payed to the original locator. The Dustmen will pay the normal price -i.e. half value.

This seems more in line with the rules.

But once again -I absolutely love every single encounter -they are just fantastic. (My biggest problem as a DM would be that I would want to run every single encounter since they are so cool!)

Otherwise, some other things to tweak -the gnoll has a wand, but can't use it since she can't cast divine spells (although she might still have it as treasure -which is fine -just wanted to point that out).

I love those two -and would love to incorporate their unit in the second installment -(i.e. since it involves Toadface and his master in the Gray Wastes, it makes sense that a portal to Archeron might be used by a mercenary group to be contracted to guard a shipment or fight as a contingent in some minor Blood War skirmish, etc).

Thus, this scene only presages what may later come (but we'll want to flesh out maybe a seal or symbol of the mercenaries -foreshadowing and all).

To really tie-in things, this same mercenary company might ultimately work for the Rakshasa who is the prominient villian in the 3rd adventure.

As for Krypter's comments: I appreciate them, but have to say that I agree with Azriael.

Also, remember that Eyes' Desire appears again (the/a) major villian -beatable- for the PCs in the sequel adventure.

So, Payback time and all that jazz.

Now, I do agree with the Worthy having the Modron "secretary" -for all the reasons I described long ago -in a post far away... (actually just earlier in the thread).

As for Gnarlybone's Lair -great job -I love it -so many good nuggets of joy.

Some of the encounters in it are a bit too tough (especially considering the "boss monster" has the weakest CR of them all).

A couple of suggestions:

1. Lower the DC for the sawed planks to a DC 15 and don't have the Otyugh already there, but have the trap's noise attract it in 1 round later.

2. Consider just having the carrion crawler have the grate even for the 2nd level PCs -its just too deadly otherwise -you get hit and fail and then attack and you are dead almost without fail. And due to the restricted access, a party can't attack the thing at distance or gang up on it.

Thus, just let there be the grate which allows the carrion crawler to stick its tentacles through -its semi-domestication is the result of Gnarlybones throwing in bits an pieces of dead meat (corpses and otherwise) to lure it as a guardian and not to attack its "feeder".

However, Gnarlybones could have a vial of acid that he could throw at the grate, disolving it so the carrion crawler bursts through, covering his escape and likely dealing with any intruders as a last measure of defense.

Also, I'd still condier making him a 3rd level rogue -specifically since his Knowledge (local) and other skills are just too weak for his role as a "chief" pickpocket/thief of the District.

His BAB would go up -give him a Skill Focus Feat (probably Know (local)) and dump his skills across the board as you have them. His Fort and Will would increase and his hp would increase by 3.

The treasure can stay the same (except for including the vial of acid, and adding the Key to the devilish lock).

Also, one other error I picked out -a doppleganger's ECL is 8 -not 4. Just something to consider and edit in your write-up there.

Anyways, besides a very few minor typing errors, the installments are absolutely great!

*Also hope you are doing better too.

Eldan's picture
Joined: 2006-12-04
Planescape Introductory Adventure: DESIRE AND THE DEAD

Looks like the adventure will start in two to three weeks in our group, because that's when the semester ends and we have enough time. Bad news is, most likely I will have only two players. Well, I'll see. Also, I will have to convert the adventure to pre-Faction War.

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