The City of Fumes is the planar headquarters of the Mercykiller faction, a place where punishment is seen as a virtue, a necessary step in reforming those who seek to violate the law...and all seek to violate the law at some point. Justice is harsh, terrifying, and swift here, and all of the residents are eager to dispense it.
Physically, the city is one of gleaming metal walls welded, fused, and bolted together. It perches on the edge of one of the iron cubes of Avalas. The gleaming metal is from the acidic fumes that emanate from the city's acid-gurgling fountains, which also enshroud the city like a choking cloud. The metallic city booms and bangs and echoes, making it difficult to hear most normal conversation, and the fierce winds here threaten to pitch someone right over the edge of the corner, and into the void beyond.
The laws of Vorhekan are enforced with a strict and typically fatal justice, under the idea that a terrified populace is an obedient populace. A magical towerthat overlooks the city, called the Eye of Rigelus, records every action of every person in the city, ensuring that all illegal activities are documented. Making your way through the city requires extensive knowledge of passwords, countersigns, and other bits of permission. It is not strictly illegal to bribe judges in the city, but it isn't exactly cheap -- justice carries a high price.
The Fumes of Vorkehan force those new to the city to make a saving throw each day. Failure means that the character acts as if the victim of a stinking cloud spell, choking with nauseating fumes.
Those going over the corner at a fast pace (such as running or in a vehicle) must make a saving throw or fly off into the void of Acheron.
Sites in the CityEdit
Hall of Dark GablesEdit
Of particular interest in the town is the Hall of Dark Gables, the Mercykillers' planar headquarters. It consists of eleven distinct sections, including the Umber Cloisters, the Sacrarium, Bailey Court, the Chapterhouse, the Treasury, Nightshade's Close, Bleak Court, Maelephant House, the Arsenal, Gaoler's Row, and the Courtyard of the Leafless Tree. The structure is made of steel and oily black stone set with adamantine spikes. The walls are topped with rolling tubes of steel and tall towers. Upon the weathervanes of the towers and the adamantine spikes dances a blue-green radience called witchfire that the faction uses as a light source. The lights are too intense to look at directly without lasting eye damage...which of course makes them a perfect form of punishment, forcing offenders to stare at the lights until their eyes burn out.
In addition to the faction members guarding the place (levels 3-6), the place hosts four maelephants (two at the entrance, and two at the Umber Cloisters), and an honor guard for the factol of 12 9th-level warriors including paladins and fighter/thieves, and more than a few tieflings. Devils often also occupy the Hall, filling its guest quarters..
The city makes fine implements of war. Marching boots, bedrolls, tents, whetstones, banners, drums, trumpets, and armor are all available at high quality for a low price (though the rations are still meager and tasteless). Faction members also have access to blades, light sources, and mounts at reasonable prices (though tips are encouraged to allow for the best service).
The Warden of Vorkehan is an outcast osyluth, banished from Hell for showing mercy. It is not a mistake he has ever repeated. He is called Tall Tally (male osyluth, lawful evil), and as a bone devil, he's fond of lean, skeletal troops. There's nothing he hates more than a fat or stout soldier, meaning dwarves and halflings get special hatred. Tally is constantly eating, though he never puts on weight.
Though the devil makes for a good show, most of the day-to-day in the city goes through the scribes. They oversee the shipment of goods, keep payroll, and copy orders. They are lead by Ollecin (male human, level 3 Wizard, Chaotic Neutral) a member of the Revolutionary League undercover. Ollecin rules by fear, keeping his underlings too terrified to ask many questions, and delights in creating havoc by transposing numerals, misdirecting troops, and re-routing deliveries. It seems that the war engine is big enough to absorb these losses without much of a probelm.
Vorkehan's Garrison Commander is "Stubby" Lurrie (male human, level 8 fighter, Lawful Neutral), a powerfully lean man covered in thick, red hair, and an excelent tactician. His daughter, Lestrina "Double-Time" Lurrie (female human, level 3 bard, Neutral) is the engine behind his tactics, transforming average folk into disciplined, effective warriors with drilling, inspections, and constant oversight.
The Rogue ArmyEdit
Rumors have it that the Wells of Vorhekan are filled with more human detritus than usual, all of them outsiders. They also have it that some creature outside of town is snapping up patrols and merchants, making travel to and from Vorkehan dangerous.
The truth is this: a rogue army (one of Avalas's more common hazards) has managed to find Vorhekan, and has gathered outside of the walls, determined to destroy it. They are attempting to bribe the gate guards to lower the wards and spells protecting the city so that they can then attack, but they haven't been successful yet. To keep the element of surprise, they're capturing everyone who discovers their presence outside of town.