By William Hohmeister
Last time on Planescape: Torment!
Escape! Errands! Swearing! And Nameless heads for the local watering hole…
The Gathering Dust bar. Nameless has never found a more hideous den of putrefied flesh and watered-down drinks. He’s here to see Emoric, who just might know where Pharod, the man with the answers, is hiding. But before he can talk to Emoric it’s time for… sidequesting! We don’t do it for the money, we do it for the fame.
Mortai Gravesend has an over-dramatic name and acts like a used car salesman. He sells Dead Contracts for the Dusties. By signing a contract, the signer gets fifty coppers and a foreboding sense of doom; he’s just signed his future corpse to the Dustmen, to do with as they please.
Nameless: “What do the Dustmen do with the body?”
Mortai: “Nothing, nothing. We bury it! Respectfully. And sometimes raise it as a hideous undead.”
I’m wary of signing Nameless’ corpse over to the Dustmen. While he’s technically immortal, it seems to take a while for the resurrection to kick in. I’m worried about what might happen if they try to raise him while he’s busy coming back from the dead on his own.
Nameless: “Huh. No thanks. Can you tell me about Emoric?”
Mortai: “A respected initiate of the Fourth Circle. A very wise man. What is your business with him, may I ask? Perhaps I can help you instead.”
Nameless: (Lie) “Well, I was thinking about signing a contract with Emoric.”
Mortai: “No, no, good sir! He will not offer half the price I will for such a contract, it would be a… a… mere pittance compared to what I could give you! Consider this before you make a hasty decision!”
Okay, it’s time to walk away. Maybe Nameless will wait a week, see what the real trade-in value of his shell is when Mortai can’t meet his quota this month. Nameless heads over to Norochj, who stares broodily into a beer with a zombie’s finger floating in the foam.
Norochj: “Norochj. Initiate. Dustman. Guard.”
Nameless: (Points to himself) “Jim.” (Makes a heart shape in the air and pats Norochj on the chest) “Friend.”
Nameless: “I said you look troubled… Nacho Libre?”
Norochj: “Troubled, yes.”
Nameless: “Tell me about it… Norris?”
Norochj: “Many troubles have I. Help can you. A mausoleum awakes, the dead walk, the dead disturbed, the Dustmen disturbed. Find out what disturbs the undead, and copper coins will I pay.”
Nameless: “Look who can speak in complete sentences now, when he wants something.”
Nameless: “I said I’ll do it, North Dakota. Where’s the mausoleum?”
Norochj: “North and west of here. Make a circle over your heart to open the entrance portal.”
It’s portals all day in this town. Nameless finds the portal, thanks mainly to a woman nearby who screams about “Portals! Portals everywhere!” He steps inside, and meets a g-g-ghost!
Guardian Spirit: “Defilers! Leave this place at once!”
G Spirit: “Leave now! This place is a sanctuary for the dead. I will not allow their slumber to be disturbed by another mortal.”
Nameless: “I could help, for a price. You could let me do the driving out for you!”
G Spirit: “Okay, but I have no money. I don’t even have pockets.”
Nameless: “Eh, I’m here, I’ll do it anyway.”
Nameless and Spirit pound it out. Morte looks on sadly.
The mausoleum has a lot of skeletons, all of them hostile. Nameless heads straight for the Necromancer, bypassing the dead where he can. Where he has to fight he sends in Morte, who grinds their bones to make his bread. Right up to the Giant Skeleton, who whales on Nameless despite Morte’s toothy attentions.
Nameless: “Morte – gah! – go to plan B!”
Morte stops chasing the giant, as Nameless takes cover just behind Morte. The giant, unable to reach Nameless, circles around as Morte bites it, and Nameless runs in the opposite direction. Finally, the giant falls. Morte and Nameless headbutt each other and get pumped as hell.
In the Necromancer’s lair there are… way too many skeletons. And the Necromancer.
Nameless: “Is ‘Strahan Runeshadow’ your real name? There’s no way. It’s like your LARP name or something, isn’t it?”
Strahan: “Who I am is of no consequenssss to you. What I want is the question that should concern you mosssst.” (Strahan totally checks out Nameless’ bod).
Nameless: (Walks over to Strahan’s desk and examines a mint, in-box Han Solo figure) “You gotta lot of nice stuff, nerd. Shame if something-“ (Nameless drops the box) “-happened to it.”
Negotiations broke down.
The skeletons swarm, but Morte and Nameless discussed strategy before they entered. They use the oldest, most effective Dungeons and Dragons tactic known. It’s called, “The Roleplayer’s Motto.”
Nameless: “Run away!”
Morte moves to attack Strahan, but the skeletons go after Nameless as he flails stupidly to escape. Once he’s got them sucked in, Nameless hides behind Strahan’s desk, jumps over it to evade a sword, and leads the skeletons on a mad chase.
Morte: “Looks like the only monster here… is tooth decay.”
Strahan’s diary! (Let’s see what the nerd was really up to!
Jenny the Ectomancer looked at me today! I knew the entrails tie was a winner!
Jenny just laughed when I asked her to the Ghouls and Guys Dance. I’ll show her. I’ll make myself into the best lich she’s ever seen!
Immortal blood? Who even has that? No one understands me, not even my stupid spellbook! My dumb crystal ball says there’s an immortal in this crypt, but hellooo? I need a live immortal, obviously. Gods!
OG Spirit is so grateful, he doesn’t even care that Nameless is still intruding in the mausoleum. Nameless freely loots the rest of the place before heading back to cash in the quest to Norton
Next time on Planescape: Torment!
Portals! Religious confusion! Maybe the actual main plot! (I swear, I’m getting to it. But there’s so much to do!)