Thursday, February 16, 2012

Keep on the Nine Hells Part II: Tyr Shadaar

After foiling the Asmodeus cult and destroying the infernal portal under their castle, the PCs woke up disoriented in a hellish cave. The PCs all made endurance checks to see what kind of vulnerability to fire the oppressive heat of Nessus confered on them. Before they could dwell on this dastardly mechanic, they were attacked by a vicious group of spined devils and imps.

After defeating the devils, they ventured forth into a bewlidering system of caves. As they explored the caves, they witnissed the cult leader, whom they had previously defeated, being disemboweled by a horde of imps. Pleased but somewhat shocked and unsettled by his fate, the PCs went on to kill the imps.

Entry Cave

Random Cave

When the PCs finally managed to emmerge from the horrific caves, they found themselves staring at a hellish landscape: the dreaded prison-realm of Tyr Shadaar.

Tyr Shadaar 

As the party wizard critted his knowledge check on Tyr Shadaar, I decided to be generous with the information I doled out:
Ozmand is quite studied on planar matters; elemental fire being of particular interest to the evoker, he has studied the Nine Hells and Nessus extensively. Here is what he knows of Tyr Shadaar:

Tyr Shadaar (or “Traitor’s Hold” as it is best translated) is a prison city built atop a bloodrock island in the middle of a vast sea of molten lava within the heart of Nessus. The forlorn place is ruled by one of Asmodeus’ trusted lieutenants, a powerful pitfiend named Azrael.

When mortals reach out and call upon infernal powers during acts of betrayal, their souls are forever doomed to this eternal prison. In rare occasions, when the act of betrayal is particularly heinous, the calling on infernal power is not necessary, and the soul will be instantly dragged to the hellish prison.

There are several planar properties unique to Tyr Shadaar. Once on the island, the souls of mortals exist almost as if made of mortal flesh. The ravages of heat, disease, hunger, and violence all await the damned. Exceptions exist; aging does not seem to affect the damned, and when the damned invariably die (usually due to violence) they are reanimated in the Caves of Carnage. Due to the vicious imps that hunt the caves, many souls are doomed to a cycle of many cruel deaths before they are able to free themselves from the caves again.

Planar travel is deemed by academics to be impossible on Tyr Shadaar. Teleportation fails, as does any ritual so forth attempted. The only possible travel off the island appears to be via the planar arch in Azrael’s throne-room. The Pitfiend’s arch is keyed to specific portals throughout the planes. Only the pitfiend seems capable of operating this artifact.

The island of Tyr Shadaar is dominated by a large tower. The Citadel of Despair cuts up through the bloodrock mountains like a vicious blade; a river of molten lava flows from it like an open wound. An aerie of fallen angels patrols the skies outside of the fortress and destroys anything foolish enough to approach the tower.

The town of Tyr Shadaar is a noisy, filthy, and violent place. The souls of traitors and betrayers organize into violent gangs to battle for the rare niceties of the island; the largest buildings on the island are dominated by these gangs of predatory thugs (with the exception of the Infernal Maiden). Elsewhere, the island is covered by a shantytown of shacks and tents populated by the weaker more desperate souls of the island.

At the center of town lies an oasis (of sorts). The Infernal Maiden is a safe-haven for those with enough gold to afford its creature-comforts. Run by a charismatic devil named Horus, and serviced by a bevy of beautiful succubi, no devil or mortal is allowed to harm another within the walls of this inn (any transgressors to this rule are promptly ejected and slaughtered).
This is where we ended the adventure; the PCs emerged from the bloody Caves of Carnage to look on the dreaded hellscape and wonder how they were ever to return to the mortal world.

We've recently discussed it, and everyone involved seems pretty pumped about returning to this adventure. Some serious reworking will need to be done to make the epic level threats truly dangerous, though. When we do return to Tyr Shadaar, I'll be sure to share the experience here.


  1. I ended up taking the Birth On Another Plane background to justify my awesome knowledge check. So, despite being human, Ozmand is from the Elemental Chaos.

    1. I hate to burst your bubble there, professor, but Nessus is in the Astral Sea ;)

    2. Okay then. Maybe he was born on a planar skiff as his mage parents traveled the planes.

    3. I assumed your vast knowledge of the Nine Hells stemmed from your excessive pyromania.

  2. Replies
    1. Hmm, a magical information network. Brilliant. Now we need an Al Gore (All Gory?) to "invent" it.