Adventure areas: Plane of Water, The Nine Hells
Important Objectives: Unlock the Cryptex, find a way home
Time is fleeting. You can feel the energy of the light pulling you to somewhere. Where is yet to be seen.
All you can remember is the light. A blinding flash of godlike power, tearing apart your molecular structure and transporting you to some other world. You can feel an intense heat as you seem to pass through one world, and then you can feel wind rushing all about you as you pass through another.
You land hard on the ground of an enormous plateau that reaches high into the night's sky of this new world.
You can see clearly into space; The Plane of Fire, Air and Water... even others you've never heard of.
DC less than 29 - You can only guess you are on some kind of planar crossroads.
DC 35 – There are ancient texts that mention a being called the “Dweller”.
DC 40 – This being has, from time to time, been known to aid those the universe chooses to defend it in very abstract and unfathomable ways.
“The Planes are shifting”, speaks Aldar. Looking to the sky, it's plain to see. The Fire plane converges with the Plane of Air violently, sending a giant flame across the cosmos. Then, only moments later they separate again.
This also happens to the Water Plane, before it goes back to it's normal state.
A slow, beguiling voice creeps over you, “I am the beginning of the end, and the end of time and space. I am essential to creation, and I surround every place. What am I? ”
You can see a long rope bridge behind you that seems to stretch on forever. A ragged, cloaked figure in black floats before the bridge with large angelic wings protruding from it's back. The creature's dark hood showing no face beneath its robes. It stares on at you blankly, but you can feel this being is beyond mortal.
“The letter E is the answer to this... Enigma.”, it says the last word as its hood turns quickly in Aldar's direction.
In the flash of a millisecond the being is hood to face with Aldar, staring him down. You can see Aldar's discomfort as the creature appears before him.
It stares blankly for a moment. “An internal struggle haunts this one. An Enigma of his own, has he. If you wish to decrypt his Cryptex, you must find the next key.”
You ask the being many questions, but it doesn't answer anything but, “Many answers to one question, every world will fall. The one known as Morteus Nethe, he will destroy us all. Time is infinite, but never finite, yet your world has just fallen. You must find the answers for yourself, as you have become the chosen.”
The being shows you a vision of your world as it burns in the flames of defeat. All the cities of your allies lie in ruin and demons walk freely upon the land. There, sitting on his new throne in Celestia, the Demon King drinks the blood of your people from the skull of your King. The war is over... you have lost. How long have you been gone?!
Reality hasn't quite set in yet for your group.
The Dweller raises its hand and gestures to a point in space. The entire world spins using the bridge's farthest point as its axis. It turns to what seems to be another plane of existence.
Its cold voice leaves you with one last riddle of wisdom, “In your travels, you will fight Angels. You may befriend Devils and learn from Immortals. You have been shown the path, as destiny awaits. Only then shall time be relative and straight.”
You step foot on the bridge and walk toward your destination... ahead of you is an unknown swirling universe. Behind you, the strange being slowly disappears into the cosmos that surrounds him, fading more the farther you walk away. The bridge seems to span on forever.
How long have you been walking now? Has it been a day, a week? Months? Years? You feel no different, but something in your heart tells you... time is erratic here.
Looking over the bridge, you have seen galaxies form and die, suns go supernova and so much more that your medieval minds cannot even begin to comprehend. Walking on for what seemed to be an eternity, you feel as though you are dreaming. Your mind awakens from the smell of sulfur as you find yourselves standing on brimstone at the Gates of Hell; “Ribcage”.
Objectives: Find the 9 Gates – PC's must get to the lowest level of hell.
Avernus – The PC's choose to enter through Tiamat's lair on the first Gate in the large plane of Hell, known as Avernus. They find a dying bearded devil there, speaking nonsense as it seems Tiamat has been out hunting and left this one barely alive to hunt for more. After a bit of torture from the party, he tells them to enter Tiamat's giant lair to find a Gate to the next plane down, Dis.
Dis - The party finds themselves in the second hellplane, Dis. They easily navigate the plane with the help of their new recruit, the sniper Lawrence, whose skills in stealth tactics seem insurmountable. He helps the party avoid detection and finds the third Gate; The Gate to Minauros.
Minauros - Minauros, a great city of devils. The scent of mortal flesh drew in a host of violent attacks as the party rushes quickly to find the next Hellgate. After much effort, and losing their way many times, Jace finally leads the group to the next Gate.
Phlegethos - The Hellplane of Magma, a burning world that is said to power Hell itself is nothing but a sea of lava, brimstone and huge firey dragons. Luckily, Frank's sword has been to this plane before and easily helps the party find their way through and to the next Gate, which lies in the center of a dormant volcano.
Stygia - The plane of boiling blood, home to the great river Styx, that flows through all Hellplanes, torments this land. All manner of Devils are found here, and wandering souls being harvested in the massive, boiling river of blood. The party finds the next Gate again quickly, and fortunately. Staying here too long would have consequences.
Malbolge - The Graveplane. Shrines to destroyed souls that are prized by the Devil Lords rest here. A dedication to the destruction of all that is Holy and Good. Running from Azmodan, the group manages to escape their doom at the Devil Lord's hands and passes through the next Gate.
Maladomini - Hellplane of the Devilmother. This is where devils are born into the world from the souls of the damned. The party manages again to traverse this world unseen with the help of Frank's sword and Lawrence's stealth skills. The next Gate stands before you.
Cania - Plane of the Pitlords. This is the land of Devilish Royalty. The only way to the next Gate is through the massive firey keep of Mephisto, Lord of Carnage. As Lawrence's skills fail him at a crucial moment, he is seen and the castle before them is alerted of their advance. In a fantastic display of flying through the castle, Mephisto lashes out with his power to create a firey explosion just as the party finds the gate, blasting them through it as the Devil Lord curses them with an Infernal bellow!
Nessus - The ninth and final Hellplane, the home of the Lord of Darkness, Asmodeus. In a flash, the party falls onto a circular platform made of cooled brimstone, etched with ancient Infernal runes. Before you, sitting on his throne is the Lord of all Devils and creator of The Nine Hells.
"Welcome.. to the realm of Asmodeus, the Archfiend, Dark Prince, The first God-Fiend, Lord of Darkness and Ruler of Hell.", speaks the herald of Asmodeus as he steps down from the throne of skulls to greet you.
"That is enough, Basileus. They know who I am. Tell me mortals... why have you come before me?", he pauses for a moment and then stands up slowly. "ACTUALLY... I already know. I've heard whispers of a mortal with an ancient artifact that he cannot unlock. That must be you.", he motions toward Aldar.
Aldar turns white as a ghost when the Lord of all Hell stares into his eyes. "I..", he begins to say.
"I.. am a generous host. I am known to love bargains.. I'll make a bargain with you all.. I'll give you the answers you want. You must only sign my contract to offer me your souls for eternity.", he smiles and laughs; a growling snarl on his face.
"As a token of my.. goodwill. I'll decode your cryptex. Then, we can get to the contracts.", he says reaching out his hand as the cryptex appears in his hand.
He looks over the runes, "Hmmm.. I haven't seen this text in a millennia. It is very old."
He turns the dials for a moment, perplexed. "Ahhh.. yes. There is the missing link.", he turns the last dial.
An amazing display of holy power opens a hole in the sky when he reads the last rune. Aldar's protective spell, taught to him by Chronos, throws the King of Devils away from the cryptex as it hovers back over to Aldar's open hand. As he reaches out to take it, the power covers over his allies and in a flash of Celestial power, they are gone... the sound of Infernal hatred follows them as Asmodeus' rage is set upon them.
With two sections of the cryptex opened, the PC's are instantly transported to another plane of existence... The Godplane.
Next time on, "Aych-E-Double-Hockeysticks!?", did you really just go through all 9 gates of hell and swindle the Lord of Darkness, Asmodeus!? And how did a Sniper from Mechanus manage to sneak the party all the way down there!? Only the next brimstone-burning, devil-tricking game will tell!