Morglon-Daar and Hopeless

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ripvanwormer
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Morglon-Daar and Hopeless

Post by ripvanwormer » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:32 pm

Morglon-Daar is a settlement detailed in 4th edition's Demonomicon, a trading town built along the ledges of a massive rift at the edge of Khin-Oin and populated and ruled mainly by the creatures known as daemons or yugoloths in most other editions (mezzoloths, dergholoths, piscoloths, yagnaloths, arcanaloths, etc., under their 4th edition names: mezzodemons, derghodemons, piscodemons, yagnademons, raavastas).

In Planescape (and the Great Wheel cosmology in 2nd and 3rd edition), the Wasting Tower of Khin-Oin is located in the Gray Waste (of Hades), on the layer of Oinos. It's not stated to be on the edge of a chasm, but there is a chasm in Oinos in canon: Ghoresh Chasm, detailed in Hellbound: The Blood War.

With all this considered, I'd relocate Morglon-Daar to Oinos in the Great Wheel cosmology, placing it within Ghoresh Chasm at the base of Khin-Oin, where the River Styx pours down the side of the chasm. Morglon-Daar's status as a trading town/gateway to the lower planes, a point of light of sorts from which player characters can begin their journeys into the netherrealms, means it makes sense as the closest settlement to the gate in Hopeless, the gate-town in the Outlands that leads to the Gray Waste. If Hopeless is the most neutral evil part of the Outlands, then Morglon-Daar is the least neutral evil part of the Gray Waste, an obvious counterpoint.

The gate in Hopeless is described in A Player's Primer to the Outlands as a well full of thick, black ooze. To travel to the Gray Waste, travelers either jump into the well or summon the ooze from the well, allowing it to envelop them and pull them in as a group.

There's a well in Morglon-Daar as well. Located in the affluent neighborhood Riftwatch, it's called the Black Pool and said to be one of the few sources of water in the city that mortals can drink. While it makes a certain amount of sense for the portal from the Outlands to the Gray Waste to be polluted and corrupt while the portal from the Gray Waste to the Outlands is clean and pure, it doesn't really fit to have visitors to and from the city continually entering and leaving from one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in town instead of in the commercial district said to be "where most visitors and goods first enter the city." So I'll just have the Black Pool be a source of fresh water, not a portal to the Outlands. Instead, there will be a well in the center of the Bazaar in the commercial district (the Spray) identical to the one in Hopeless, full of the same mysterious black tar.

ripvanwormer
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Re: Morglon-Daar and Hopeless

Post by ripvanwormer » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:35 pm

Some speculative elaboration on their mutual history:

Ghoresh Chasm

Sometime in the past, after the Reckoning of Hell but before the death of Orcus at the hands of Kiaransalee, a cataclysm shook the Gray Waste. A massive chasm opened up in the heart of Oinos, running from the Field of Nettles all the way to the base of Khin-Oin itself and swallowing the yugoloth fortress of Ghoresh, which dropped noiselessly into the endless void before crashing on to an outthrusting ledge.

Both sides of the Blood War paused, terrified of what the formation of the chasm might portend. The most ancient of them remembered that the number of planes was not stable, and that in the distant past two planes had divided into nine, and nine into seventeen, as philosophical conflicts rended the planes permanently asunder. Had the fury of the Blood War gone too far? Was the Gray Waste going to become two separate planes, one aligned slightly toward Chaos, one toward Law? Expeditionary parties reported the shifting colors of Chaos and the rigid lines of Law inscribed in a spiral deep within the chasm, and a group of ancient yugoloth seers called the Priory of Rot claimed that only a perfect combination of chaos, law, and neutrality working together could unveil the chasm's secrets. The leaders of the Blood War paused to reassess, Demogorgon and Asmodeus calling for a momentary truce for the first time since the height of the illithid empire. Commanders of both armies, including Zapan of the Dark Eight, met in the ruins of the fortress of Ghoresh deep within the gap, only for the conclave to fall into chaos when a balor refused to move from Zapan's chair, leading to a battle that pitched every fiend into the chasm (necessitating a new pit fiend step up to replace Zapan).

Further negotiations were planned, but neither side trusted the other enough for any progress to be made. The ruins of Ghoresh, however, slowly became the core of a new city eventually known as Morglon-Daar.

Morglon-Daar

The yugoloth fortress crashed on a narrow ledge near the base of the Wasting Tower of Khin-Oin, proving stable enough to be a useful base for explorations into the chasm and a meeting place for the major powers of the Blood War. This initial ledge became known as Riftwatch. The stones of Ghoresh were raised again to form towers, battlements, and small stores selling weapons and supplies to would-be explorers. This small settlement would soon expand when the gate-town of Hopeless was pulled from its place in the Outlands.

Xengahra and the fall of Hopeless

Xengahra was a yugoloth of unknown caste who made a pact with the night hags to gain enhanced power and a beautiful physical form like that of a solar. Serving the hags, he took over the settlement of Morglon-Daar in their name, giving them a monopoly over trade with those exploring the Rift for a period of several centuries. When his contract with the hags was up he slew them all and fled to the Outlands, where he set himself up as ruler of the gate-town of Hopeless.

The chant is, there's always been a town of Hopeless in the Land, a spiralling place where dreams go to bleed and die. Once, according to myth, Hopeless had a counterpart on the opposite side of the Wheel, Hope, but Hope vanished long ago, ascending to Elysium or locked away in a box by the gods, replaced by the more superficial joys of Ecstasy. Hopeless remains, a bastion of diminishing faith on the edge of misery until it falls into the Waste, which has happened hundreds of times over the ages. Under Xengahra's reign, it's said, the angel-loth attempted to recruit revelers, entertainers and bards to the city to keep it pinned to the Outlands, away from his enemies, only to have each entertainer fall into despair, or tortured in punishment for being insufficiently cheerful, each bard only increasing the town's misery until the slide into the Gray Waste was inevitable, leaving Xengahra behind to wander the Outlands alone.

As for Hopeless, it had grown too dismal and dreary to remain on the plane of neutrality and it manifested on a new ledge on the opposite side of Ghoresh Chasm, near the falls where the River Styx plummeted into the depths. Though much of it was destroyed by the planeshift and subsequent fall, it was soon rebuilt, renamed the Spray and connected to Riftwatch by a narrow, winding road around the edge of the chasm. The mysterious Priory of Rot, who had made themselves a home in Morglon-Daar since the disastrous first Blood War conclave, summoned the archomental Ogremoch with powerful spells, forcing the prince to build twin bridges connecting the Spray to an island in the midst of a natural harbor where the River Styx collected in a pool before dropping further into the gloom.

In the Outlands, all that remained of Hopeless was a spiraling pit. In the center of the pit is a low, gray well full of thick, black ooze. Along the spiral, a new town was eventually built, named Hopeless like its predecessor.

And in Morglon-Daar, in the Spray, another, identical well manifested, full of the same mysterious ooze as its counterpart in the Outlands. Around this well formed a commerical district the locals called the Bazaar.

Packaos the Immortal

Resembling a cherubic halfling in late adolescence, Packaos is actually centuries old, having served at various times as ruler of Hopeless and as one of the Blightlords who rule Morglon-Daar. As he's died multiple times in front of credible witnesses, some believe he may be a petitioner (though whether of the Outlands or the Gray Waste, there is no consensus), a disguised yugoloth, or even a minor god. Some claim he was the balor who refused to give up Zapan's seat at the Blood War conclave, or that he's actually the original Zapan. Today, Packaos runs a mercantile operation, connected to the Planar Trade Consortium, sponsoring caravans that travel regularly through the Gray Well from Hopeless to Morglon-Daar, up the River Styx and across the Outlands to neighboring gate-towns.

zontoxira
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Re: Morglon-Daar and Hopeless

Post by zontoxira » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:59 pm

I'll note this down, in case I run an adventure in the Gray Waste ;)
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