Sunday, July 31, 2011

Stone Walls; Iron Bars

The Black Iron Prison is the Plane of Confinement. Despite it’s name, the prison is not always as apparent as iron bars and stone walls (though it has plenty of that, carved as it was from ancient bones of some demonic titan)--its evil is more subtle than that. Restriction and imprisonment of various forms permeate it.

Portals to the plane are sometimes found on the Material Plane in the form palm-sized, rusted, black iron boxes, heavier than they appear.  Visitors to the plane describe an "outer" desert of squalid intern camps, stretched arond and inner, three (or more) dimensional Escher maze of cell-blocks, isolation chambers, and interrogation rooms.

The plane is the home (and the prison) of the deodands, a vile race sentenced to serve as the guards and administrators of the apotheosis prison as punishment for ancient crime. Demonologists have cataloged three primary castes or species of these creatures (though there are undoubtably more):

The lowest caste of deodands are tall, emaciated, scabrous creatures with frog-like mouths. Their bare skins weep a tarry ichor from numerous injection sites. They're junkies and dealers; they mix the astral excreta of despair, callousness, and resignation that oozes from the souls that fall into their hands with the bile of arthropodals that make their homes in the prison’s substructure and inject it beneath their skin. The tarry substance--and a brief respite from their paranoia in a cold, sneering high--are the result. The tar is packaged and sold (to the prisoners to be smoked or injected) in exchange for pleasant memories or dreams, or hopes--anything that defines the former self-hood of the soul. When not engaged in commerce, these tar demodands are the menials of the prison.  On the Material Plane, their shadows have the same viscous consistence as their tar, but no psychoactive properties.

The middle caste are the color of a fresh bruise.  Their limbs are swollen like blood sausages, and their tick-like bellies appear filled to near bursting, sloshing loathesomely as they waddle or fly drunkenly on ridiculously small wings. Their bloated faces are unpleasantly human-like and wear expressions of volutuous satiety, complete with drool running from the corners of their mouths and down their double (or triple) chins. Always their skins appear to glisten as if oiled; this is due to a slime they secrete.  They sweat even more when they eat, and they eat almost constantly. They fancy themselves gourmets, and there is nothing they consider so refined as dining on astral substance of souls. They prefer fatted souls, though and first expose victims to their slime.  Under the slimes influence, they become grossly corpulent. At that point, they're ready for the slime deodands who drain them to emaciation and let the process begin again. Slime deodands are torturers and interrogators in the deodand hierarchy.

The highest caste are strutting, sadistic martinets--the wardens and senior guards of the prison. They’re vaguely human-like in form, but with pale, wrinkled skin that seems ill-fitted to their bodies. They’re androgynous with bald heads and unfeminine faces, but pendulous breasts and high-pitched voices. They have a penchant for dressing in uniforms, the more elaborate the better. Sagging deodands (as they’re called) are found of searches, interrrogations, and tortures. They foster paranoid not as a hobby, or even a vocation, but simply due to their natures. Infractions are always found, and prisoners are encouraged to inform on others--but only after they themselves are questioned to the breaking point.

It’s a good thing for Prime Material Plane that deodands seldom arrive on it unbidden. Sadistic sorcerers have been known to arrange “renditions” for enemies, though the price for such a service is rumored to be steep.


Anonymous said...

One thing the deodands must import is paper for their never ending reports, sent to some home office which none of them have ever seen or visited. The Hell Syndicate dominates this 'paper trade' taking payment in the form of information and, occasionally, a freed prisoner.

Recently, some independents have found a way to contact one of the chief sagging deodand and have been trading paper with him. There is profit to be made for those brave enough to risk dealing with the deodans and defying the Hell Syndicate.

Stefan Poag said...

Burroughs and the Mugwumps of Interzone spring to mind.

The Angry Lurker said...

I wouldn't to be anybodys bitch there.

Trey said...

@seaofstarsrpg - Of course, these documents may carry a malign, corrupting influence themselves...

@Limpey - I suppose the Burroughs influence is never far away.

@Angry Lurker - Very wise. ;)

Needles said...

I suppose it all comes down to this little heavy iron box that weeps in the corner. The way it plays that sad mornful music or the way it leaks that odd fluid. At night it calls to me..
Anyhow awesome stuff & you can't go wrong with Butterball!

Trey said...

@Needles - He's not just for Thanksgiving anymore. ;)