Artifice
Artifice

Artifice

The burg of Artifice is a place where misery marries ingenuity and breeds devices of the most sinister design. It’s a place where one’s darkest fantasies can be given form and function. It’s a place of brilliant minds trapped in a ceaseless cycle of cruelty, under the whip of the marilith archdemon, Jn’Nias (marilith tanar’ri [she/her] / CE), the puppet mistress pullin’ the strings of some of the finest crafters of necromantic contraptions in the multiverse, working in some of the most unsavory conditions. Some of them are working here and earning great blood money. Many more, unfortunately, have been captured, bobbed or are petitioners who were formerly brilliant twisted inventors who sold their souls without thinking through the consequences. It’s a place where genius meets gruesome, a horrifying fusion of intelligence and madness — all orchestrated by Jn’Nias, the grand mistress of malevolent invention.

Now Jn’Nias, she’s a crafty one. She’s master manipulator who has an eye for talent, a nose for opportunity, and six hands to seize it with. She’s the kind of demon who’d sell her own mother for a pouch of soul gems and think herself a fool for not demanding more. Her reign has transformed the burg into a veritable factory of horrors, where the screams of the damned harmonise with the clanging of hammers and the buzzing of infernal machinery.

A stomp through the streets of Artifice is a parade of the grotesque and the macabre. Shops brimming with torture devices that’d make a kocrachon drool, markets peddling all manner of dark artifacts, each one more sinister than the last. It’s a place where pain meets artistry, where suffering is sculpted with a master’s touch, each piece a masterpiece of malevolence.

If you’re a budding necromancer, you might fancy a gander at the grand bazaar, a place where every sin and vice is catered to with a demonic flair. Here, you can find everything from soul distillers that can reduce a man to a quivering puddle of essence, to transfiguration chambers capable of warping flesh and bone into grotesque parodies of the mortal form. It’s a shopper’s paradise, if you’re the sort who gets their jollies from the suffering of others, that is.

But make no mistake, cutter, while the streets may be paved with suspiciously stained slabs, they’re also lined with danger. In Artifice, even the walls have ears, and some of them are actually attached to living creatures. It’s a burg of backstabbing, where allegiances are as fluid as whatever that horrid stuff is that flows through the gutters. And don’t even ask about the screams coming up from the sewers. One wrong word, one misplaced trust, and you could find yourself on the wrong end of a torture device, your soul the currency in a demon’s bargain.

For a plane that is powered by lies like the Abyss, the burg of Artifice bucks the trend. And sure, while torture is a notoriously unreliable way of figuring out the truth, its certainly a productive way of getting information out of a berk. Consequently, a lot of the chant that gets sold in the Abyss can trace its roots back to places like the Chambers of Visceral Truth or the Dungeon of Experimental Investigations, just two of the more feared establishments in the burg.

So, if you find yourself in Artifice, ye best be prepared, cutter. If you’re on the pointy end of a torture device then good luck, it was nice knowing you. If you’re more the shopping sort, then bring yer wits, yer courage, and a strong stomach. Because in the land of Jn’Nias, even the bravest souls can find themselves broken, their genius twisted to serve the dark desires of the Abyss.

Source: The Slayer’s Guide to Demons. Expanded by Jon Winter-Holt, mimir.net

The smoke stacks of the crematoria of Artifice

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