Location: Abyss / Pazunia

Shriekstone. Even the name’s got an eerie ring to it, carryin’ the sound of the wailin’ winds that chill the soul. It sounds like a place where sanity goes to die, a place wedged up against the screamin’ tunnels of the Howling Plane. Shriekstone is the gate-town that sits at the borders of the Abyss and Pandemonium.

Imagine a burg that’s a testament to the unabating frenzy of Pandemonium, and the evil genius of the Abyss. Situated snug in a dark valley-nook of the Abyss, this place is where some of the hardiest and most resilient of Abyss dwellers have found a way to thrive amidst the everlasting tumult. Also some of the barmiest.

The burg looks like it was designed by a drunk spider. The lanes are twisted pathways that loop on themselves if they’re feelin’ like it that day, and the buildings sway and tilt as if dancin’ to the eternal winds’ discordant symphony. The locals, they’ve got this air of feral cunning about them, and a gleam in their eye that tells you they’ve seen things most wouldn’t dare to even dream of.

Walking through Shriekstone, every rock and crevice seems to echo the anguished cries of the wind, forever trapped in the valley here and seekin’ to escape. If you’re the psychic type you’ll suffer most — the very stones beneath your feet seem to be shouting secrets, tales of madness, and forgotten woes. It’s a hard place, full of hard people; the sort who’ve learnt to endure, to fight against the shriekin’ gales that threaten to strip ’em of their very selves.

Now, the gate to Pandemonium is the crown jewel of the burg, a maelstrom of swirling energies, alive and pulsating, invitin’ and threatenin’ all at once. It’s a mesmerising whirlpool of chaotic forces, that can both receive guests from the Plane of Madness and send the bravest or the most foolhardy adventurers on a trip through the maddening tunnels carved by Pandemonium’s fierce winds. It wanders through the burg like a lost bubber stumbling home, but since its shrieking winds create such a kerfuffle it’s pretty easy to track down. They say the gate sticks to the streets — it never pulls in buildings — but the same cannot be said for unlucky berks who get in its way. They’re off on a trip to Pandemonium whether they like it or not. The trip is dramatic; they’re swallowed up by the howling vortex and spat out into Pandesmos. Sometimes near the return gate, sometimes not.

But there’s more to Shriekstone than interplanar travel. The burg is also a place of commerce and exchange, where hardy traders and foolhardy explorers from both planes mingle, sharin’ tales that’d curdle a Prime’s blood. They offer goods both strange and wonderful from the dark corners of both planes. It’s a place where you can find a motley crew of traders and misfits. The more cunning ones have found ways to turn the constant scream of the wind to their advantage, creatin’ devices and contraptions to harness its power. The locals have a symbiotic relationship with the gate, see? It’s a source of livelihood for the burg, a chance for exploration for the brave, and for the philosophers, well, it’s a source of inspiration, to ponder the nature of chaos and madness.

In terms of the mad genius that cutters have used to earn a living, first off, ye’ve got the Whisper Traders. These cutters are half-barmy oracles who listen to the whispering winds. Cackle-Toothed Carrin (planar tiefling oracle [she/her] / Bleak Cabal / CE) will interpret what the whispers say to tell fortunes of dubious provenance. Loran Shattersense (planar halfling priest of Dallah Thaun  [she/her] / CN) meditates silently for hours, listing to the voices and filtering out the real juicy useful secrets from the background noise. These darks can be worth some serious jink to the right buyer. And Mad-Eye Murn (planar human alchemist [he/him / Sensate / CE) has learned the knack for catching the mad winds’ whispers and bottling ’em up. People buy these for all sorts of reasons — secret messages, riddles of the cosmos, or just to have a chat when they’re feelin’ lonesome.

Then there’s the Unfound Emporium, a shop filled to the brim with things that ain’t got no owner. Lost thoughts, lost dreams, lost socks — if it’s gone missin’ anywhere in the multiverse, you might just stumble upon it here blown in by the winds and picked up by the proprietor . It’s a proper pandemonium in there, an ever-changing inventory that just might have that thing you didn’t know you were looking for. It’s run by Beryn Storm-Scavenger (planar gnome [she/her] / Fated / NE), a cutter with wild hair and a jittery personality.

Take a stroll up to the higher parts of the burg and you’ll bump into the Wind Sculptors, real artists, these ones. They chisel out statues and carvings shaped and smoothed by the wild gusts of Pandemonium itself, creatin’ pieces that are as chaotic and vibrant as the plane itself. Don’t miss out on the Windswept Gallery, a place of ever-changin’ art. Paintings, sculptures, performances that change with the winds, it’s like catchin’ the fleeting essence of chaos itself.

Ah, and we can’t forget the Chaos Brewers, can we? A pub that crafts its own spirits distilled from the winds. It’s not just a tipple you’re gettin’ here, it’s an experience. A sip might bring on a roar of laughter, a surge of sadness, or a burst of insight — like rollin’ the dice, it is. Grennan Braggstone (planar dwarf alchemist [she/her] / Revolutionary League / CN) is the master distiller here, but is also under deep cover infiltrating the Whisper Traders to dig up scandal on the factions in Sigil.

And last but not least, ye have Stoic Haven, a little nook where the weary can venture to find a bit of quiet amidst the chaos. It’s run by an old sage called Sernin Hushmonger (planar half-elf [he/him] / Transcendent Order / CN)  who’s somehow, don’t ask me how, managed to find a way to quiet the winds for a spell, offerin’ to sell a berk a moment of peace to collect their thoughts before they head back out into the maelstrom.

The banshee Screaming Sovereign

Who Rules: Takin’ control of Shriekstone is no small task, mind you. The burg’s been subject to a never-endin’ squabble of power-hungry berks all wantin’ a piece of the pie. That place, it’s like a fly trap for the ambitious and the crazed, it is. But right now, word on the street is that the one holdin’ the reins is none other than the Screaming Sovereign (planar banshee [she/her] / CE). Now she, lemme tell ya, is a character out of a nightmare, so she is. She’s mostly translucent, tattered like a ghost that’s seen better centuries, with a visage that could curdle milk from a mile away. She’s a connoisseur of shrieks, collectin’ them like a barmy collects tears in a jar. Some say she’s got the voice of every lost soul that ever stumbled into the place recorded, trapped in little gems she wears around her neck, all the better to add to her shriekin’ orchestra that plays day and night through the streets.

The Screaming Sovereign rules with an iron fist wrapped in velvet, a dictator with the manners of a lady at high tea, all polite smiles and kind words while she rips the voice right out of ya. Some say she’s workin’ on some grand masterpiece, a performance to end all performances, where every shriek, wail, and scream collected will play at once, shatterin’ sanity of the audience with the power of pure, unrestrained agony. She’s surrounded herself with a gaggle of yes-men and lackeys, ready to please and appease her screaming majesty. And don’t even get me started on her advisors, a bunch of stooges scooped up from the madhouses of the planes, each more unhinged than the last, with names like Wailing Wendel and Shivering Sherlie.

But ye gotta remember, cutters, that while the place is buzzin’ with all this business, it’s still the Abyss meetin’ Pandemonium — no place for the naive. Keep yer wits about you and yer jink secure, ’cause there are plenty about who wouldn’t mind lightenin’ your load, if ye catch my drift.

Source: Jon Winter-Holt,

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