I have no idea which preview this is, and yeah, I’m just lazy enough not to look.
Today, we’re looking at Spades.
Originally, I had planned on spades being associated with war, but then I realized that Spades was where I had planned to place Pandaemonium, the Parliament of Hell … thus, Spades is the center of Hell’s government … thus Spades is where the most terrifying thing in the universe has to live … BUREAUCRACY!
Within the blocks and quarters represented by the suit of spades are the most terrifying edifices of Hell, where even arch-devils and demon lords fear to tread … the government offices of Dis. Devils are natural bureaucrats, and the city of Dis lays this truth bare to the world. Each block of spades is crammed full of the government offices of one ministry or another. Petitioners find themselves waiting in lines that last for days only to discover they have the wrong paperwork or should be in the adjacent line.
One cannot enter one of these quarters without showing their papers (which they almost certainly will not have). This requires they be guided to a devil that can process their claim for papers, and thus starts the insanity. In essence, the attempt to process any task in one of these quarters is the same as for finding anything in a block of Dis, and the penalty (wisdom damage) is the same.
D6 RANDOM ENCOUNTER
1. Zombie bureaucrats seeking papers (and brains) (4d6)
2. Amaimon tax collectors (1d8)
3. Azizou demons on inspection (1d6)
4. Iron golems (1d8)
5. Bearded devils on patrol (1d8)
6. Random official and retinue
“My symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the offices of a thoroughly nasty business concern.” – C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (1942)
A. Nybbas: Nybbas is the demon lord of jesters and charlatans, and he heads up the Ministry of Food & Drink, which is in charge of tasting the food of archdevils and demon lords (they use shades for that) and in arranging entertainments and diversions for the masses of Hell. Nybbas’ quarter is always in an eternal state of misrule and mayhem, and the people here play rough, seemingly getting their ideas for pranks from old cartoons (you know, the funny ones made by our grandparents’ generation).
The quarter is a carnival of capering buffoons and clowns and mad pranksters parading through blocks that may once have looked like a sinister Paris, though it is now a ruin of broken glass, splintered wood and vandalized buildings. Besides the japing shades (most of them were wicked bards, illusionists and jesters in life), the quarter is inhabited by nupperibos and lemures, who work in the diabolical bureaucracy under the direction of dretches.
Nybbas’ gate is a 10-ft. tall red door with a golden knocker in the shape of grotesque jester’s face. Touching the handle on this door sends a 6 dice electrical shock into the person who touches it. The shock acts like chain lightning. Behind this door there is a 10-ft. long tunnel that ends in a second door colored green. When one enters this door, a gallon of alkahest, the universal solvent falls from the ceiling (save or struck by disintegrate spell). Beyond the green door there is a white door; when opened, the first person who opens it is struck by a scalding hot pie in the face (6d6 points of fire damage, plus 1d6 points of damage per round thereafter until the filling is scraped off). Beyond the white door there is a chamber guarded by 1d4+4 rubber chicken golems … okay, maybe that’s taking it a bit far. Beyond the white door is the final chamber – a seeming dead-end holding a garishly colored statue of a harlequin pointing at the door through which the adventurers entered. Pulling this finger releases a stinking cloud (as the spell) and, 6 rounds later, causes the entry door to become a gate into the next quarter.
In the center of this madhouse is a grand castle reminiscent of Mad King Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein castle, though Nybbas’ looks like it’s been through a tornado. The castle also serves as the ministry headquarters, where 20 companies of nupperibo and lemure bureaucrats do their best to follow the rather chaotic orders of their master. Five companies of red jesters serve as the supervisors of the ministry and Nybbas’ personal guard.
Nybbas appears as a fat man in a comfortable throne flanked by two fiendish giant hyenas. His court is filled with red jesters and shades forced to laugh eternally at stale old jokes and cruel pranks. Everyone entering the room must pass a saving throw each turn or be struck by hideous laughter. Nybbas has a moon-like face, glistening eyes that burn with an infernal passion and thin lips curved into a grotesque smile. He holds a traditional jester’s marotte tipped with a grimacing skull with living eyes.
NYBBAS: HD 15 (80 hp); AC -6 ; Atk 1 slam (2d10) or marotte (1d12 + save vs. hideous laughter); Move 6; Save 3; CL/XP 23/5300; Special: +2 or better weapon to hit, magic resistance 76%, immune to fire and poison, spells (dream, nightmare, hideous laughter, stinking cloud), summon 1d6 red jesters 1/day.
4. Chadper: Chadper is the Minister of Internal Revenues and perhaps the only demon in Hell more feared by other demons than by shades and mortal visitors. He and his tormentor demons, with their hell hounds, collect the tributes owed to Lucifer, in soul coinage and shades, by the other demons of Hell, down to the lowliest lemure.
The entire quarter is composed of black streets of smooth obsidian and buildings of the same material – all of it seemingly carved from a great block of the material and smoothed as though by burning sands. The only shades in Chadper’s domain are those collected for Lucifer and meant to be doled back out to the demon lords and arch-devils to reward their loyal service. They might be found in long chain gangs heading into or out of the city, but most often are kept in deep, stifling pits awaiting an accounting. These pits are guarded by squadrons of erinyes, who perch on the buildings above, slinging the odd dart or rebuke into the pits to keep the shades quiet. Chadper detests noise, and demands almost complete silence throughout his domain. All communication is by whisper or hand signal, and those who break this commandment are immediately set upon by a squadron of silenced tormentor devils and summarily executed.
The gates of Chadper’s domain are composed of the same obsidian as the rest of the domain, and consist of long tunnels with low ceilings (10-ft.) upheld by rows of pillars (20) carved into the shape of grotesque minotaurs. The gates are completely silenced, and rarely passed through save by captive shades, tormentors carrying back tributes, or demons and devils (including lords) coming hat in hand to beg forgiveness from Chadper and pay their taxes. The gates are guarded by obsidian golems, who merely masquerade as the grotesque pillars. Folk who enter the gate areas can be teleported by Chadper into his throne room as he desires, once per day.
Chadper’s great chancery is an obsidian cube, unadorned, with tiny doorways marked in silver tracery on the ground level of each face. Within are 1,000 joined courts where the tribute of Hell is counted, re-counted, certified and then, by the direction of Lucifer, doled back out. Chadper has no lair, per se’, but merely travels from court to court, accompanied by a squadron of tormentor devil guards, directing the dretches who serve him. He commands 8 companies of dretches and 20 companies of tormentor devils, making him among the most powerful devils in Hell. He can also sic a dozen hounds of Chronos on those defy him or refuse to submit to his summons.
Chadper appears as a faintly glowing angel with a twisted, atrophied face and two large, saucer-like ears that permit him to hear, per clairaudience, anything said in Hell. He wears black robes and a black breastplate and carries a +3 glaive that opens bleeding wounds (1d6 hit points per round until healed) in its victims. Those who die from these wounds rise up as vampires under his control.
CHADPER: HD 20 (101 hp); AC -5 ; Atk 1 glaive (3d4+3 + bleeding wounds); Move 18 (F24); Save 3; CL/XP 31/7700; Special: +2 or better weapon to hit, magic resistance 35%, immune to fire and poison, spells as 15th level cleric, double damage from sonic attacks and saves at -2 vs. sonic effects, control stirges and vampires, change into death fog (double strength) 1/day, summon 2d4 vampires or 1d4 stirge demons 1/day.
9. Leonard: Leonard, or Master Leonard, is also known as the “Black Goat” and serves as the Inspector General of Hell. His quarter appears to be a place of Renaissance splendor – broad avenues of azure stone flanked by white trees and buildings of peuce and tourmaline with ornamental iron work and gold filigree around the doors. Promenading through the streets are shades dressed in finery, with large, ribboned hats on the women and fine, ebony sticks in the hands of the men. All of these shades are mere illusion, and the buildings, though pretty, are all empty.
Underneath the streets the demons of the Inspector General do their work, in labyrinthine dungeon corridors were every torture known to demon is employed to root out opposition to Lucifer. The practitioners of the torture are 16 companies of azizou, who have a special knack for the work, while another 8 companies of barizou skulk about Dis seeking out disloyalty and inefficiency.
The gates of the quarter are located above ground, and are flanked by an honor guard of 60 manes demons in gleaming, golden armor, with hundreds of pretty, fluttering pennons on long pikes, each one topped by a bleeding, moaning head. The gates are curtains of acid (6d6 points of damage when walked through – save for half – and 1d6 points of damage each round thereafter (for 10 rounds) until neutralized with salt – eats flesh, stone and all metals except silver, gold and platinum). The curtains of acid are drawn aside to allow people to pass when Leonard wants them followed by his geruzou demons.
Leonard’s lair is deep within the dungeons under the streets, in a fortress of solid blue jade (3-ft. thick walls) called the Hall of Injustice. The Hall has many pitfalls and is guarded by a company of mehrim (goat demons). Leonard can be found in a scrying chamber, which allows him, via hundreds of floating crystal spheres, to see through the eyes of all of his servants.
LEONARD: HD 17 (101 hp); AC -1 ; Atk 1 touch (save or lose half hit points) or rapier (2d4+2 + 1d6 electricity); Move 18; Save 3; CL/XP 26/6200; Special: +2 or better weapon, magic resistance 85%, immune to electricity, petrification, poison and mind effects, cast spells as 11th level cleric and magic-user, teleport with error 3/day, scry (as with crystal ball) 3/day, summon 1d6 mehrim demons 1/day.