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Dancing With The Devil
Author: Samuel M. Wright
System: D&D Planescape
After being tossed out of a high class party in the Lady's Ward in
Sigil, a half-fiend sorcerer decides a human adventurer is going to teach him
dancing and courtly etiquette. Or die trying. Grabbing a sharp dressed
adventurer who's light on his feet, the evil son-of-a-pit-fiend makes the
adventurer an offer the cutter can't refuse: Teach me to pass in society and
be heavily rewarded. Fail and get strangled with your own entrails. Ever dance
with the devil? Better not step on his toes...
In Sigil, in the Lady's Ward, outside a posh tavern filled with aristocrats
and faction high-ups.
Outside of a posh tavern in the Lady's Ward of Sigil, a member of the
adventuring party is scragged after leaving an exclusive party, being stunned
and teleported away by an horned figure. The adventurer find's he is alone in
a posh but gaudy kip in the Lady's Ward, surrounded by mismatched but plush
furnishings and a covey of female slaves of various races. In front of the
adventurer is a figure in black, a tall man with fiendish features, black
horns, and billowy black bat's wings. The creature offers the captive some
refreshments and sits on a throne of bones at one end of the posh apartment.
"I apologize for the rough treatment, I am Skelenos Tirth. I require someone
of your skills, the courtly skills, to teach me what I need to know. Jink
doesn't make you an aristocrat, its what you know-dancing, poetry, sweet
words. I am wealthy and powerful. I can crush your skull in one hand. I can
summon hordes of warriors from the pits of Hell. But I can't dance. So, you
are going to teach me. Do well and I will reward you handsomely. Fail, and I
will strangle you with your entrails…"
Skelenos Tirth, the son of a Pit Fiend and Human slave, was thrown out of a
party at the same tavern the adventuring party has been invited to enjoy.
Though a wealthy merchant and powerful sorcerer Skelenos lacks the courtly
manners to pass in polite society even when his diabolic features are
disguised. Skelenos wants nothing more than to belong to the cream of Sigil
society, but stepping on toes both literally and figuratively the night before
skegging the charismatic hero he's just kidnapped got the half-fiend tossed
out of the party and he's running a black one now. Seeing a dapper adventurer
dancing blithely at another party at the same tavern gave him an idea. He'd
kidnap the cutter and employ him as a tutor in courtly ways. So, turning
invisible, he grabbed the adventurer after the party and teleported with him
to an isolated apartment in the Lady's Ward.
Skelenos is half Pit Fiend, giving him a number of magical powers, and he
has trained himself in magical arts and metalcraft. He makes an abundant
living selling greensteel weapons and armour in the Market Ward, and can
afford the best of everything. The only drawback being that he has no taste
whatsoever, buying things because they're expensive so he can show off his
immense wealth. He may be encountered selling items in his smithy, but
caution should be applied when buying from him, as he enchants all of his
items so that he can watch and listen to their owners through them, spying on
his customers to learn their secrets. Skelenos is fond of using stealth and
hit-and-run tactics, and always has magical items that provide him with
improved invisibility and teleportation on his person. Regardless of the
level of the party, Skelenos should be powerful enough that no single party
member can defeat him.
The captured player has his hands full. He can try to escape, but he's
surround by slaves whom Skelenos has trained well to keep him informed of any
such attempt. Nothing can tempt them to betray their master, they are far too
afraid of him. And the apartment has neither windows nor doors, being designed
for one who can teleport and enchanted so it only allows Skelenos to use
magic. Only a tiny airduct and the pipes of a golden commode lead out of the
apartment. The character has little choice but to endeavor to teach this brute
of a fiend's son to become an aristocrat, and meanwhile ignore the
consequences of such a well-trained fiend joining the elite of Sigil.
The rest of the party may try to find their companion and rescue him, and
will find reports of an ill-behaved brute getting tossed out of the club the
night before, but whether they connect that to the disappearance of their
friend is another matter. Even if they do, the must use whatever skills and
powers are at their disposal to trace the location that their comrade was
teleported to, then attempt to break into the apartment and retrieve the
This mission requires that at least one party member be a high charisma
character with skill in etiquette and dancing, preferably a Bard or Paladin,
so that they may teach courtly arts to their captor. This character in
particular determines the power level of Skelenos Tirth, as the fiend must be
able to overpower this character with relative ease.
Obviously, the situation for the character captured by Skelenos is bad.
He is being held hostage and must teach the evil brute Skelenos to behave
without angering him. When Skelenos is in a good mood he is true to his word,
letting the captive tutor enjoy his slave-girls, eat the finest foods, wear
the most sumptuous clothes and jewels, and giving endless of bags of jink as
"tips" for a job well done. Bloods who do well with Skelenos Tirth do very
well indeed, if they survive the beatings. Generally, any even slight insult
or mistake will result in a beating at the hands of the fiend. Vary the
brutality level of Skelenos to fit the power level of the sod he's kidnapped.
Berks who've purchased items from the fiendish merchant will be
unwittingly giving away their plans as the fiend watches and listens to them
scheme against him. That makes the element of surprise go right out the
window. Also, there is some time pressure here. The captive player must be
rescued before the fiend tires of him and kills him out of hand, and also
before the beast actually learns anything valuable from his captive and uses
it to rise up the social ladder of the Cage. If Skelenos Tirth can become a
member of Sigil's elite, he'll move up in the ranks of Hell, as well, and be
able to bring baatezu troops into the Cage using his new social position.