The Hedonists
The Hedonists

The Hedonists

Cesh Maturin and the Hedonists

A Coterie of the Sensates

Cesh Maturin and the Hedonists

Cesh Maturin (planar human bard [he/him] / Sensates / N) is the leading figure and philosopher of a group called the Hedonists within the Society of Sensation. The Hedonists are predominantly young people from a affluent background, and they all adore their leader. Cesh’s variant of the Sensate spiel focuses on the exclusive importance of aesthetics and pleasure, typified in a cult of youth and beauty as seen in the following excerpt from one of his speeches:

“Realise your youth while you have it. Don’t squander the gold of your days, listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless failure, or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar. Live! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing”

Cesh is a vibrantly handsome and intelligent human in his late twenties, easily commanding attention through both his good looks and sonorous voice. The child of Guvner parents, Cesh was soon frustrated with the boring lives of his family and sought anything to escape ennui. The sorrow over his parents’ murder in an yet unsolved incident (chant is on Anarchists, but perhaps more well-lanned and malicious—and often short-lived—cutters say Cesh himself was involved) seemed to pass over quickly when he realised the possibilities of his newly acquired jink. For Cesh wealth is just a means to gain pleasure, not a goal in itself. Cesh now lives only for excessive pleasure, however depraved or enlightened. The one other thing that can earn bloods a hefty reward is any dark on the rumoured well of eternal youth, or magical items to the same effect. Cesh is growing painfully aware of the betrayal of his mortal flesh (though he is still in his prime), and is jealous of the longer-lived races. Even so, he prefers his partners to be elves, aasimar, tieflings and the like, ’cause he cannot stand seeing them grow old.

“Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses like the soul”

The Hedonists as a group are all beautiful, and of a variety of races. However, only races aesthetically pleasing according to Cesh’s standards are allowed; like aasimar, (though they’re often too morally limited to follow the tenets), tieflings (exotic ones – no leathery monstrosities here!), elves, humans or genasi. No dwarves, gnomes or humanoids have been allowed to join the Hedonists yet; a rather bigoted point of view which has often been a cause of friction between Cesh and Factol Erin herself. Chant is the group also includes a deva (the name of Jovius is frequently whispered, though there’s little or no proof) and the succubus Tryste. The group totals no more than about sixty folk, but most of them command a wide range of resources (be it political, economic or cultural), and their social clout more than makes up for their shortage of numbers.

“We will never accept any theory or system that would involve the sacrifice of any mode of passionate experience”

The Hedonists try to resist all societal constraints (morals, law, politics) upon their life-style, regularly getting into trouble with the Harmonium. The horrible asceticism of the Dustman make them the prime ideological enemy, but as long as the Hedonists are left alone there is no action. Some Hedonists, in their ever-expanding search for new experiences, killed a “dancing girl” in the Hive. When the events were recalled in the Festhall during an extravagant party, Cesh Maturin’s laconic comment was:

“I should think the novelty of the emotion must have given you a thrill of real pleasure”

The parties and sometimes orgies of the Hedonists are legendary among the elite of Sigil, shocking their conventions but at the same time enticing them. Cesh, wealthy from inheritance, owns a mansion in Sigil that has a portal to an even larger house in Arborea. Most cutters do not even notice that they aren’t in the same house, having passed through the portal (which works just like a door, no fancy light-show) with the portal key being the feeling of expectation, a feeling that is very common among the guests. The one sure thing about Cesh’s social events is that this expectation will always be gratified.

“Pleasure is the only thing worth having a theory about.”

—Cesh Maturin

The lavish Arborean mansion, located picturesquely at the banks of the Oceanus, is often used as the starting-point for trips along the river. These pleasure cruises in Cesh Maturin’s yacht Selena often cross into Elysium and the Beastlands. The vessel is crewed by a dozen fiercely loyal amazon warriors, who also watch over Maturin’s Sigil dwelling. Unknown to most, the Selena is fitted with a spelljamming helm, allowing for easy traversal of the few waterfalls along the way, though the captain is watchful of the magical nature of the Beastlands. The ship is used when the Hedonists feel the need for some variety in their pleasure, there is nothing like the soothing waves of the Oceanus to smooth out the intrigues of Sigil.

The last party in Sigil will pose another of Cesh Maturin’s few problems; how to always top the excesses of the last event. Adamok Ebon (see Uncaged: Faces of Sigil) was contracted to journey to the prime world of Krynn to bring back a small silver dragon, and the unveiling of this new prize was the piece de resistance of the party. For as long as it amuses the revellers, the hatchling will remain encaged in Cesh Maturin’s house, then it can possibly make for a very nice trophy on some of the heavily decorated walls. Minimalism is definitely not Cesh’s style. His latest favourite is one Alita Silvershadow (prime human fighter [she/her] / CG), an independent raven-haired beauty that was won over by Cesh’s considerable charm on the last boating trip. Somewhat contemptuously referred to as ‘that prime plaything’ by the other Hedonists, Alita appears to have taken to the decadent life style with great vigour (perhaps due to her upbringing as a noble in the wealthy Sembian city of Selgaunt in Toril). Some priestesses of Bast and Isis have been noted conspiring against the prime upstart. Other rumours in the group speak of an Anarchist infiltrator which is looking to spring news on the Hedonists’ activities, perhaps to get Erin to shut the group down. A green-eyed redhead named Clara (planar human [she/her] / N(E)), a very intense woman with some morbid tastes, has been causing some ripples with her trips to an exotic garden in a backwater prime. The chant is that the experiences to be had there surpass anything found in the planes.

None of the Hedonists know the chant of Cesh’s major dark, hidden away from prying bloods in a room located behind a secret entrance in his office. Only Cesh himself possesses the key to the room. Hanging on a wall in the dusty room is a key of another variety, the key to Cesh’s continued youth and vitality. Pulling away covering reveals a striking portrait of Cesh Maturin, but the person pictured bears little resemblance to the charming being. Instead, the Cesh in the picture is a haggard, ugly middle-aged man sporting a decidedly wicked grin. What is more, the portrait changes, and not in a way Cesh finds very positive. With each year, the picture gets further aesthetically unpleasing, and of most horror to Maturin; the picture grows older! And is that budding horns beginning to form on his forehead? The portrait of the (a)moral Maturin darkens his everyday thoughts, and he is continually seeking other ways of achieving immortality. The mysterious artist of the portrait vanished decades ago, and Cesh is willing to spend vast amounts of jink for chant revealing his location.

Plot Hooks:

  • Events surrounding the murder easily lend themselves to PC involvement.
  • PCs could somehow happen to be invited to Cesh’s parties, if they have the required clout. Perhaps they have to interact with one of the guests, who is otherwise elusive and hard to find.
  • Cesh could hire them to recover some exotic drug (“can you get me some more of that Glitterglee, the experience was impeccable”), creature (“I’m feeling like a small gold dragon today, could you please acquire the beast?”) or art object of immense aesthetic value (“I’m so tired of this pretentious Cager art, fetch me some depraved paintings from Baator – I heard this Bel has quite a nice collection. It would help keep the the next party no less mythic than the last one”).
  • Involvement in Anarchist plot to overthrow Cesh – “He is the perfect symbol of the degenerate decadence of the ruling factions”.
  • Moral officers of the Harmonium want to impose limits to the wild orgies of the Hedonists – good if one of the PCs is a Hardhead.

Source: Truls Rostrup. The key inspirational work for this article to check out is Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. For a more, eh, extreme source one could look at the character Jesus de Sade in the excellent comic Preacher (DC/Vertigo).

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