The PCs begin wanting answers from Coin, but get an unexpected answer. They spin off that to the next adventure and encounter chaotic echoes.
- Brus Reckoner
- Male half-orc Inquisitor of Yog-Sothoth.
- John “Angel Eyes” Wilmarth
- Male Aasimar Cleric of the mad idiot god Azathoth.
- Fág an Bealach (Faugh)
- Male svirfneblin Brawler of archetype Mutagenic Mauler.
- Bill the Bard
- A lost male human bard with his donkey Bottom.
- Male hobgoblin rogue.
The PCs were sent to give a puzzle box to a psychopomp so that she would securely dispose of the remains of Wu-Shi. When they did, she opened the box, turned very vague and walked away. The PCs meanwhile fought off a bunch of the unquiet dead. Bloodied and bruised, they returned to Coin to seek answers.
“Right! Where’s Coin?”
The PCs were keen on tearing shreds off Coin for leading them into a clear trap or something. Coin, they surmised, had lead them into a trap. They were halfway through constructing elaborate conspiracy theories when Coin greeted them.
“Ho, gentlemen! Did you manage to rescue Wu-Chi?”
They stopped dead. They had left Wu-Chi with him. “No… You have him.”
“No, I sent you not long ago…”
The PCs went pale. Where was Wu-Chi? What the hell was Coin up to? Bill quickly flim-flammed Coin into explaining the situation from his perspective. Coin explained that he had sent them to go get Wu-Chi not long ago, and this was the first time he had seen them since.
From the PC’s perspective, they had clearly rescued Wu-Chi and braved colliding planets to bring him back. Coin tried to get them to explain what had happened. They began spinning out a theory about time travel.
Then Bill the Bard noticed something odd about Coin. Well, actually, the absence of oddness.
When they had received the puzzle box from him, Bill had noticed weird dimples in the corners of Coin’s mouth. Where he swore originally Coin had vertical dimple creases, they were crosses when he had given them the puzzle-box. And, strangely, on the interior of the opened puzzle box was a smiley face with crossed dimples.
They had been had.
The PCs were explaining to each other this little nugget and Coin asked them to explain it to him. They eventually caved in (whilst entertaining the idea of parallel universes and multiple Coins). They explained the puzzle box, and visiting the psychopomp. They mentioned the puzzle box being opened and a loud chime sounding, and the psychopomp becoming very vague. Brus tried to rant about being attacked by undead when he was stopped with the vision of Coin shaking in anger. A tear streaked down his cheek.
“Do you know why they call me Coin?” he asked them, reaching into his pocket.
“Thousands of years ago, my wife and I were students at Goldmoss University in Apogee. We were in love and wanted to live together. We stumbled across the idea of building our own holiday home whilst learning about the creation of pocket planes. We imagined creating a fine home - a castle - to retreat to. We began creating one coming off a storage room we had access to. Out of fancy, we fashioned the portal like a painting.”
“One day, we were engineering this pocket plane and we made a mistake. I was trapped on the half-finished painting side, and my wife was on the other. She was left in reality and I was not. We tried to fracture the portal but it was deeply entwined with the place I was in. Destroying it may have destroyed me.”
“My wife had another idea. She tried to make portals from elsewhere back to the castle, to provide another way out for me. The first one connected with the storage room door - close but not close enough. It also had the unfortunate side-effect of disassociating the storage room from reality.”
“Again and again my wife tried to build portals back. They always fell short at the storage room. As more connections piled on top of each other, the geometry in the storage room fractalized and turned into the tesseract-style maze you see around you.”
“I watched for years my wife leave and enter, leave and enter. Sometimes old. Sometimes young. She grew weaker… I had told you that Wu-Shi’s portal-hopping had stolen some of his soul each time he passed through. I was stuck watching my wife lose shard by shard of her soul, always endeavoring to save me, but always falling short.”
“Eventually she died, weak and alone. To my disgust, the chaotic prankster demigod you call Limen - or Bhedlam, or Ataxia, or Kaotia, or Ysar-otat… - he decided to seize our portals as his own. There was nothing I could do to stop him exploiting and defouling my wife’s efforts.”
“In one final twist of the knife, Limen offered to take care of my wife. Instead of finding her peace, he mind-blanked the psychopomp sent to escort her to the afterlife. She was left to wander the planes, soulless and restless. And not with me.”
“Do you know why they call me Coin?” He held a coin up to the PCs, showing the face of a man. “What can you see that he can’t?”
He flipped the coin over revealing a beautiful woman. “The woman on the other side. Limen’s cruel joke for me.”
Coin let that hang in the air for a second. “That is why I want the portals taken down. And that’s why now… we have to kill Limen.”
Kas and Fikt
As an aside, Bill asked about the portals and his wife. Coin felt like there was no way to find her. After some investigating, Bill discovered that Coin had children. Three in fact. Kas, Fikt and Kit. When Bill had stayed back with Coin to discuss limenology, he had to hurry to his friends via a different set of portals. Now that he remembers it, he was escorting his donkey through a large library (Goldmoss’ library, it turns out). He was so nervous about being rumbled that he walked through what he thought was the right door. It was not, but he vaguely remembered that stylized cross that seemingly labelled Limen.
On his adventures he had run into a boy and a girl matching Kas and Fikt’s description exactly. The girl even looked reminiscent of the engraving of his wife Coin had on a locket. Kas and Fikt, Bill remembered, were looking for their brother, but seemed very capable with portals.
Enough talking! Coin had a plan. They were going to hit Limen where it hurt: in his portal-roaming gang of cultists. Bring a little chaos to the chaos demigod. Kill them all and take their gold. This might unbalance Limen a little bit and let them continue building the portal-destroying weapon. He clearly knew what they were up to and disrupting them. And hopefully the cultists had Wu-Chi, so they could rescue him again.
Coin mapped out a path to the cultists. Two hops, but that was okay. The cultists were set up to be fairly limenologically distant from Coin, but there was a short-cut to them. The PCs established an elaborate series of safety words with Coin, lest they be pranked again.
Without further ado, they launched themselves through the first portal.
This door was at an angle and looking towards a deep chasm extending far up and down. They were deep underground which comforted Faugh greatly. Bill and Bottom were effectively blind in the darkness, but the others didn’t want him disrupting their darkvision. As John escorted them, Picklick and Faugh searched for traps.
Behind them, a pebble of light clacked against the chasm walls and disappeared downwards. John didn’t quite catch the magical incantations on it, but noted it was in his favourite colour.
Faugh and Picklick came to a doorway. No traps, but an axe was embedded in the frame. The room beyond was different from this cavern. The cavern here was rough-hewn and littered with weird totems, scratched signs and body parts. Through the doorway was an elegantly bricked room… but covered in bizarre lumpy debris. There was… slapping sounds? Moaning?
John cast light in the cavern, perfectly illuminating the stealthing Picklick and Faugh. Their shadows stretched deep into the next room. There was a scream and howling. Something was in there.
Picklick and Brus ran in. Broken pieces of furniture rolled away and lumpen, misshapen atrocities lunged at them. A huge blob made of mouths rolled in front of the door and attacked Brus. Picklick was set upon by several of these freaks.
One of them was a tentacled thing that didn’t so much move as evolve into a space. It whipped at Picklick, merging temporarily with him. Not good.
Brus used his vicious naginata to split some weird seal/man hybrid in two. The stomach opened up, disgorging an internal brain and eyeballs wrapped in intestines. Another was full of internal misshapen teeth and hair.
Picklick stabbed a two-legged beast that was all joints and little else. He found a knee and popped it with his short sword. Unfortunately the tentacled thing whipped him and something unnatural invaded his very being. His face started slipping. His knee bent in a way it really shouldn’t. An eye sunk into his head onto his tongue. This was not good. Not good at all.
After a few wayward jabs, Faugh managed to bust open the mouthed blob with his cestus. The PCs made a protective wall around poor Picklick and beat up the rest of the monsters. Brus’ bane-improved vicious naginata made mincemeat of them without too many further casualties.
When the dust had settled, John read the crazy carvings in the room. Clearly this was an attempt by trapped miners to call on Azathoth. A call by rank amateurs, as it turns out. Azathoth arrived and turned them all to insane messes. John tried to call on Azathoth to fix Picklick’s horrible affliction, only to be told, “Already in here, buddy.”
Through sheer force of Will, Picklick shook off his corporeal instability and they were ready to go.
The next hop
After cursing Coin’s lack of information about the hops, the PCs decided to check the next door. They opened it up and hot, stinking air blasted through. They could see a vast plain of fire, magma, brimstone. Crumbling islands of obsidian snaked through ruins. If they thought the mine was inhospitable, they had another thing coming.