by Caliendria The Creative Wizard
Based on the Campaign by Daniel Casey ‘The Caverns of Midnight’s Fools’
A Book of Keeping has reportedly been acquired by a cult devoted to the worship and service of Asmodeus. The book holds the true names of every yugoloth in existence and whoever has the book controls the creatures. Its leader plans to use it to summon yugoloths to serve his bidding in the name of Asmodeus. Certain this isn’t merely rumor; the mysterious General of Gehenna has telepathically contacted a party of mercenary yugoloths tasking them with retrieving the book and destroying the cult. With no fear of true death on the material plane and honored the mysterious General of Gehenna would choose them, the party descend into the myriad caverns of Midnight’s Fools where the cult is hidden. Throughout the caverns lurk other dangers as well as a rival party trying to get to the Book of Keeping first. The arch-devil Levistus, imprisoned by Asmodeus in ice for a past betrayal, has gotten wind of the book’s existence as well and has sent a party of his devils to retrieve it. Levistus believes with the book, he can strike down Asmodeus thereby freeing himself from his icy prison and taking over the Nine Hells. (Daniel Casey)
Strada Sunstrand is an Elven warlock who has devoted his life to the service of Asmodeus. Over the last few years, the cult has fallen from once lofty heights. Sunstrand was able to insinuate himself within the region’s aristocracy and was primed to advance even farther when a diplomatic delegation of paladins revealed his true nature. Disgraced, Sunstrand fled to the caverns with his followers, which included a corrupt nobleman and his vassals. The caverns house a myriad of evil creatures who have been driven from what they consider their land by the region’s nobility. However, they are constantly warring with each other in the caverns, so no group of monsters have been able to emerge to strike back at the nobility. The caverns serve as a kind of prison and free-for-all battle of everyone against everyone. In the caverns, Sunstrand was able to discover clues leading to where a Book of Keeping was hidden. Sunstrand and his minions destroyed the faction hiding it taking their lair and treasure for their own. The move won him the favor of Asmodeus, for now, and he has been tasked with using the book to create an army of yugoloths to subjugate the region – (Daniel Casey)
“The first yugoloths were created by a sisterhood of night hags on Gehenna. It is widely believed that Asmodeus, Lord of the Nine Hells, commissioned the work, in the hope of creating an army of fiends that were not bound to the Nine Hells. In the course of making this new army, the hags crafted four magic tomes and recorded the true names of every yugoloth they created, save one, the General of Gehenna. These tomes were called the Books of Keeping. Since knowing a fiend’s true name grants power over it, the hags used the books to ensure the yugoloth’s loyalty. They also used the books to capture the true names of other fiends that crossed them. It is rumored that the Books of Keeping contain the true names of a few demon lords and archdevils as well.” —(Monster Manual, 5th Edition)
The four layers of Gehenna were infinite planes with gravity at a forty-five degree angle to the ground, making travelers feel as if they were on the side of a mountain with no base or peak. Anyone losing their footing could tumble for miles/kilometers before finding enough purchase on the slope to halt their fall. Nearly all terrain that was not a river of water or lava was slightly slippery to quite slick. All structures were either built onto or carved into the slopes. Heat and light came from the ground, much like Tarterus, but the source was volcanic: lava flows, vents, fumaroles, and mud pots were very common. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occurred often, tearing the land apart. On the hotter layers, unprotected flammable items and creatures would catch fire from the glowing ground or superheated gases being ejected. The barriers between layers were always underground, usually in dead end corridors. – (forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Gehenna)
The story starts with the group of 4 fierce Yugoloths being summoned by The General of Gehenna. He instructs them to reach the Book of Keeping deep within the caverns as quickly as possible. He transports them to the entrance of the caverns where there are three entrances. It is thought that caverns are a huge network of tunnels and open caves that spread accross three levels within the mountains and that from each level you can reach the other levels and the caverns as a whole are filled with monstrous enemies and piles of treasure and artifacts. There are no maps of the caverns that are known of and therefore the group do not know which of the entrances would be the most direct route the centre where the General believes the Book of Keeping can be found. They are aware that the caverns are home to many outcast creatures and monsters. But again, exactly what they may face, they do not know.