Any bets on what killed him? Smart money is on a Mad Max style hell car race, but Ima hedge with a few gp on calling a pit fiend a demon.

I’ve got to agree with Fighter on one point though: hells really are great. If Milton and Dante can conjure up entire diabolical realms, why shouldn’t the rest of us join in the grand tradition? You get some pretty great art out of the deal in any case. Bosch’s garden, Gaiman’s bone city, and Pendleton Ward’s Nightosphere all spring to mind. But as a GM, my favorite part is figuring out the rules of the lower realms. It’s been a hot minute, but is it time for an Exalted story? You bet your last dot of temporary Willpower it is!

So no shit there they were down in the demon city of Malfeas. Our plucky pack of lunar exalts had snuck into the domain of evil for a jailbreak. The big-deal plot was that the Silver Pact couldn’t call a vote to invade the Blessed Isle without a quorum of lunar elders. And wouldn’t you know it, those sneaky demons had kidnapped a King Kong sized mandrill lunar and locked her up. There were supernaturally strong chains, custom-engineered plagues built to break the elder lunar’s willpower, etc. etc. durance vile.

The important bit is that, after sneaking through this absurd city, overcoming countless horrors, and even facing their own personified personal demons, the pack was set to spring their elder. All that stood in their way was the prison warden. His name was Octavian, the Living Tower.

For those of you who have never played Exalted 2e, Octavian is one of the relatively few monsters actually statted out in the book. He’s this huge monstrosity of muscle and combat charms, and is something of a go-to boss encounter. And unfortunately for my players, they were NOT PREPARED. By his second initiative pass Octavian had already downed the party’s full moon, had grappled our hapless hermit crab trickster, and was well on his way to a TPK.

“Is it my turn?” says the sorcerer. “Friggin’ finally! My spell goes off. I summon up all of my essence, point a talon at Octavian, and shout, ‘Thou art banished!'”

It was a suitably dramatic moment. If the magic worked, then it would theoretically be an insta-win for our shapeshifting heroes. After the dice were consulted and the rules triple-checked, there was one little problem remaining though.

“You guys are fighting this demon lord in Malfeas. Octavian lives in Malfeas. Where exactly are you trying to banish him to?”

There was much confused shouting. A compromise was reached.

“OK,” said yours truly, bemused as only an Exalted ST can be. “I’ll roll a luck die to see it it works.”

A single d10 clattered across the table. The inevitable happened. And after the exultant shouting died down, I had great fun describing the outcome.

“Octavian winks out of existence. Elsewhere in Malfeas, he reappears inside of his apartment. Your characters have no way of knowing this, but he spends the next several hours waiting for public transportation, taking a hell train back across town to try and rejoin the fight. Several lesser demons unfortunate enough to be in the same subway car try really, really hard not to make eye contact.”

It was the most fun I’ve ever had in Hell in any case. How about the rest of you guys though? Have you ever journeyed into the nether realms? What unexpected weirdness did you find down there? Hit us with all your best abyssal excursions and diabolical daytrips down in the comments!


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