Chapter 1: The Avernus Job [First Layer of Hell]

The Nine Hells are no place for the mortal soul. Those who willingly walk into the most infamous dens of iniquity and horror are sure to return home with stories, treasures, and... more
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Shurijo
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Chapter 1: The Avernus Job [First Layer of Hell]

Post by Shurijo » Thu Feb 27, 2020 12:26 am

Log'thar leads the group into the back room of the tavern. As he opens the door, the tiny imp darts from the ceiling through the door and into the room. The imp perches atop a shelf and continues to watch the group.


When the group enters the room, the devil known to all as Tubidu flashes a charming smile, exposing gleaming, pointed canine teeth. His slick, tightly cropped hair drops down over its forehead in a widow’s peak, which is flanked by two tiny horns, like those of a baby goat. The devil wears luxurious, impeccably fashionable garments. A formidable pair of cloven hooves are hidden below his robes. His eyes glow red and a prehensile tail, covered in crimson scales, impatiently twitches from a long opening cut into the back of his fine outfit.
Image

"Welcome," he greets. His hand sweeps forward to display a table of fine wine, whiskey, and food which appears (and smells) better than what was served in the main room outside.

"Partake of your desires. While you render services, your food and boarding at The Highway will be covered." Smiling again, he continues, "However, any activities you partake in Ribcage, such as the Bathhouse--or Oilhouse--and other establishments will be of your own accord and expenses."

"Each of you possess the necessary skills for the task assigned. And each of you are exception beings individually and no doubt conflicts may arise. Any such conflicts may leave the entire party dead--much like the last group sent on this job. You will need to be expedite in your travels. Extended stays for mortals have profound implications on your well-being—and it behooves us to have everyone safely return intact."

"As some of you may already know, many eras ago Gruumsh, the orc god, had a small domain in Avernus before he left for Nishrek. After the legendary fight with Corellon Larethian, the elf god, Gruumsh built a tower which he called the Chrome Spear. From this tower, he plotted revenge upon Corellon and the elves. And here, he sought to make deals with Bel, the ruler of Avernus. In their alliance, Bel taught Gruumsh how to use souls as a source of power. However, the orc god was tricked by Bel. The technique resulted in Gruumsh converting his own warriors into soul coins. In his anger, the orc god forged a fabled weapon to use against Bel. He left the tower before using the weapon and I believe it still lies within his tower."

"One of Gruumsh’s last acts was to seal the tower from beings such as myself and other fiends, demons, and devils. The weapon has never been used or seen, but the legend says it is powerful enough to kill a being as powerful as Bel. Any act of that caliber, would disrupt the delicate balance of power of the nine layers of hell. I would like to acquire this weapon so that it does not fall into the wrong hands."

With his generous smile, he motions to the imp and it flies off into another room.
Feel free to ask questions or interact, I'll post part 2 on Friday to continue the mission debrief portion of the chapter. If no questions, then we'll just continue with the debrief. The imp will be fetching some items/gear/map, etc. for you, so it'll be back in a few moments.

And ... Welcome to hell!

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Chapter 1: The Avernus Job [First Layer of Hell]

Post by Vardaen » Thu Feb 27, 2020 2:46 pm

The warforged with its blue glowing power lines stands at the side of the table and partakes in none of the fair. It does tilt its head slightly as a mention of an Oilhouse, "Curious."

Listening and observing it speaks first, "A relic of such power would have suitably powerful wards, protections, traps, defenders, et cetera, to protect it from falling to, as you said, the wrong hands, or any hands that are not Gruumsh. How many groups previous to our have been sent and have perished? Calculating the odds of a successful venture without further information is difficult."
"He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom." - Gandalf
J.R.R. Tolkien, Council of Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Chapter 1: The Avernus Job [First Layer of Hell]

Post by Shurijo » Thu Feb 27, 2020 3:01 pm

The devil nods his head acknowledging the warforged's questions. Replying, "Several months ago, I sent one group. They were led by my partner, Jezirpa. The mortals' souls have been taken. I believe Jezirpa is still alive--captured by one of the devils - possibly Mephistopheles. I do not know how many others over the last few millennia have failed. The location of the Chrome Spear is not well known. Additionally, geography and time works differently in hell, so if you found the tower before that does not mean you will find it again in the same location."

"The previous group held an artifact, made from multiple soul coins crafted by Gruumsh, which served as a wayfinder. Jezirpa secretly held this object. If she still in possession of the object, she can assist locating the tower."

Meanwhile, the imp returns with a silver platter bearing a strange looking hollow disc, four large coins, a rolled parchment, and a book covered in infernal symbols.

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Chapter 1: The Avernus Job [First Layer of Hell]

Post by RorytheRomulan » Thu Feb 27, 2020 10:21 pm

Ryld looks over Tubidu. picks up some grapes. He starts twisting berries off of the cluster to pop them into his mouth. Bathhouse? As if I could. He gives Tome a questioning glance at the mention of an oilhouse. Would that be the same as... only... He shakes his head. That's quite enough pondering about that.

He takes the tray from the imp. "Which would be faster, a break-out or paying her bail? How much?"

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Chapter 1: The Avernus Job [First Layer of Hell]

Post by Shurijo » Thu Feb 27, 2020 10:31 pm

Tubidu replies to Ryld, "Do you mean for Jezirpa? I only know she is still alive. I do not know her location or condition. I do not believe it would be a monetary matter."

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Chapter 1: The Avernus Job [First Layer of Hell]

Post by RorytheRomulan » Fri Feb 28, 2020 1:24 pm

"Oh." He elevates the tray for emphasis. "What do we do with these?"
Do the coins on the tray look like soul coins? Is the rolled parchment sealed?

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Chapter 1: The Avernus Job [First Layer of Hell]

Post by Shurijo » Fri Feb 28, 2020 4:18 pm

If Tubidu is insulted by Ryld preemptively taking the tray from the imp, the devil doesn't show it. However, the imp hisses at the half-elf as he takes the tray from the fiend.

Tubidu takes the golden disc from the tray and hands it to Log'thar. As he provides the object to the orc, he states, "Take this Disk of Teleportation to enter and leave Avernus. The disk can only be used twice—once to enter Avernus and once to return to Ribcage. The disk will expand to a 25-foot radius when activated. Use the disk outside the town and try not to bring any beings back from hell when you return.”

Next, the devil takes the book from the tray and offers it to Tome, the warforged, saying "This book contains common knowledge of Avernus to supplement your existing knowledge."

Ryld holds the tray with the remaining five items. Each of the four round objects are large, iron minted coins with different designs and symbols. These coins are approximately 5 inches wide, 1 inch thick, and weights about one-third of a pound (equivalent to a IRL baseball).

Taking the first object, Tubidu holds it for a moment feeling its essence and then says, "These are soul coins. You can use these coins to restore your vitality from the soul bound to it. These also serves as currency and can be used to bargain with or bribe devils, if needed. The souls trapped within these coins may attempt to communicate with you and bargain for you to set them free. I suggest otherwise. If you do complete the task, then you can keep any remaining coins or free the bound soul to begin their afterlife. "

Starting with Log'thar, he hands the first soul coin. "This coin contains the soul of an ancient orc shaman. This coin has a strong desire to unite with their brethren, which are held by Jezirpa's wayfinder. If you can find her and use her wayfinder, then that will increase your odds of finding the tower and expedite your journey which will also increase your survival odds."

With the remaining three coins, he offers one each to Ryldfrynatar Filifar, Morneth, and Tome. Each of the coins has an unique soul bound to it, which the possessor can feel once they receive the coin. (See the OOC thread for exact details on how the coin communicates and its powers.)

Tome's coin immediately sends the urge of mating and becoming heavily inebriated, which the warforged easily resists. "This token is the soul of an unfortunate shifter from your world who took one too many risks."

Both Ryld's and Morneth's coins have faint callings to them and remains quiet for now. "These two coins contain, in many regards, were goodly humans."

Lastly, the devil takes the rolled parchment and breaks the blood seal with his long and sharp fingernails. As he rolls out the map across the nearby table, he conjures daggers to hold four corners of the map to tabletop.

"Your teleport destination is unknown as those spells are not consistent within Avernus. However, you must return to the same location where you arrived to teleport back to this plane. Otherwise, you could teleport to another plane or destination in Avernus. The map may not be as useful. As you know, time and distance are not always as they seem in Avernus."

Image

The large river is the river Styx, mentioned above, which zaps your memories, so you definitely shouldn't plan to swim through it - if you need to cross it.

With the tray empty, Tubidu takes it from Ryld and hands it back to the imp. The tiny fiend then flies away, returning it to another room.

"You should take any rations needed. For water is difficult to find and tastes foul. Any flora and fauna found may be edible, will surely not be pleasurable to your tastes."

Tubidu stands waiting to see if there’s any questions or clarifications needed
Feel free to roleplay the souls as you want (or not). See the OOC thread for details.

FYI - you will need these coins, most likely for currency or bargaining in hell, since hell creatures don't care for anything other than souls - gold and treasures are useless to them.

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Chapter 1: The Avernus Job [First Layer of Hell]

Post by RorytheRomulan » Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:29 pm

Oh, oops. Meh, Ryld glares at the little creature as it flies off. A vain hope for freedom emanates from his coin, and he shoves it in a pocket rather than "feel" the human's desires a second longer. At Tubidu's warning, he eats another grape.

"Can you recommend any locations in Avernus that we should avoid like the plague?"

Using the legend on the map - if there is one, although unlikely - he tries to gauge how many days it would take to travel from one corner to the other.
Since Ribcage isn't actually in the Nine Hells, do its merchants always accept gold as payment?

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Chapter 1: The Avernus Job [First Layer of Hell]

Post by Shurijo » Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:57 pm

Tubidu smirks at Ryld's question. "I believe that would extend to the entire extent of Avernus," he jests.

Pointing at the red, winding river which flows through Avernus, he says, "I believe the river Styx should be avoided. As you know, coming in contact with it's water will cause you to lose memories and forget who you are - which I believe could be worse than death. Magical items tossed into the river lose all properties and the more powerful objects, simply dissolves. I am unsure of its affect on warforged beings, but I would not take the risk to be the first warforged to test its power."

Looking up to the others, he continues, "The hellscape disorients the senses and has defied attempts to map it accurately. Cartographic methods are useless, since distances in Avernus are impossible to gauge and locations sometimes shift supernaturally. As such, the map shows pictorial impressions of locations that can only hint at their distances from one another. It is by no means something that can, or should, be taken literally."

Pointing to the pool of green slime, "I believe this is the Pit of Shummrath. This mountain must represent Bel's Forge--the home of Bel, the second-in-command and former lord of Avernus."

"I do not recognize these symbols and figures. It has been many years since my last visit to Avernus. When I last visited, Bel ruled Avernus. Now the archduchess Zariel, the former angel of Celesita, rules in his stead."

Rubbing his beard, he ponders Ryld's question for a bit longer and responds. "It is rumored that Mephistopheles has an emissary in Avernus."
Ribcage is the "border town", so it accepts both, but most establishments will prefer soul coins. Either way, soul coins are much, much more valuable to most than gold or treasures.

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Chapter 1: The Avernus Job [First Layer of Hell]

Post by Othniel » Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:00 am

Morneth saunters in after the others. At the devil's prompting, she selects a bottle of whiskey from the table, opens it, and takes a swig. She listens as things are explained and questions asked. The soul coin she accepts with some measure of curiosity, but she tucks it away within her clothing.

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