Tuesday 31 March 2020

The Imp's Head

In Sigil's Hive District, there stands a building. It's three stories tall, covered in Sigil's traditional architectural 'blades', and stained with pigeon shit. It's not accessible from the street where it sits: other than a row of grimy windows, it has turned its back on Barb Street, like the sullen Hivers within.

Walking down a dark alley, always flooded, due to brokendown gutters, one might see a heavy, dark door, made of wood, painted black. The door is covered in thick, yellowy moss, and heavy strands of razorvine curl around the frame. Above the door, there's a crude piece of iron sculpture resembling the screeching head of an Imp.

If one were to knock, a small door viewer would slide open, with a rusty squeal, and you would see two balefully glowing orange eyes in the dark space beyond. This is Rozoknar, he is a Hamatula (Barbed Devil), he's the doorman, and the bouncer. Once Rozok's satisfied that you're not Hardheads, or Paladins, he'll open the door and let you in.

Inside, is the Imp's Head. The main bar is dimly lit, even at peak, due to the sheer level of grime on the windows. About sixty feet away, across a crowded room, stands the bar, a scraped, singed construction of heavy, dark wood. Above the bar, a sign in barely legible handwriting: No Change In Silver.

Behind it, stands the bartender; Kor Clotbur, an orangey Tiefling with alarming sabretooth fangs, and a massive scar across his throat. He speaks with a growl and a lisp. Kor constantly glances down at the massive crossbow he keeps behind the bar, not that he needs it to thrash a rowdy patron. Any casual observer can tell - he's built like a brick shithouse.

The main floor of the bar is crowded with round tables, at which sit the clientele: a barmy collective of Cagers, ranging from filthy, unshaven Hivers all the way round to perfumed visitors from the Market Ward. And let me tell you, that's a hell of a walk.

It's not like the bar has much to offer: the roof leaks, and everywhere you have to watch your steps for brass buckets full of dirty rainwater. The liquid sold as beer does not taste like it, aside from the alcohol content. Some accuse Kor of mixing the rainwater with grain alcohol. There's no band, not even a single bard on the empty stand in the corner. Water occasionally leaks up from the flooded basement, and on windy days there's always a fine rain of plaster dust from the ceiling.

Still, the bar is always full. Whispered and growled conversations fill the air, and there's always a broad selection of semi-famous patrons.

Willum, the sole employee of the P.I.C., sits in his own booth by the bar. He seems to be the only person drinking actual lager. No one dares sit across from him, unless they need something, or they're an idiot.

Bert, an elderly Human Athar with a specific grudge against the Raven Queen, the goddess of death. He'll buy anything claiming to increase longevity or prevent death, and many a crosstrader has peeled him with fake powders. His jacket's covered in jangling charms, and he's usually pouring some tincture or paste into his 'beer'. It's a wonder some basher hasn't sold him Purple-Worm venom, yet.

Seven-Times-Blessed, an Aasimar and disgraced lawyer, from some Material Plane or another, who offers advice and will represent a body in the City Courts, free of charge. She's incongrously cheerful and charming.

Hrogg, a smug Orc and member of the Doomguard. He comes here after a long day of knocking down walls and peeling off razorvine. He'll cheerfully challenge any visitor to a game of three dragon ante, but he'll get violent if he loses any money.

Brenca, a Wood Elf, and disgraced ex-paladin of Corellon. She'll not say what caused her to be disgraced, only that she's an Oathbreaker, and no, she won't help with your problems.

Aventa, a Human merchant from the Lower Ward who's going through a strange patch recently - she quit her Faction, the Free League, and has been cold and distant with her friends.

Colcook, the right hand creep of Shemeshka the Marauder, Sigil's most notorious crime boss. He's a hornless Tiefling, which is certainly disconcerting. He sits in the corner, drinking red wine, smirking at nothing and staring at the other customers. Kor would like to throw him out, but any slight against Shemeshka might result in his bar being burned to the ground.

And many other odd characters besides.

The Dark of It

Of course, the Imp's Head has a secret, and it's linked to that sign above the bar.

The Imp's Head is a bar for shapeshifters. The patrons - aside from Willum and presumably Colcook - sit around the bar in their true forms - only shifting back if they hear Rozok open the door.

Bert's a werewolf, and he knows he's headed to the Lower Planes for the feral violence of his youth.

Seven is a literal angel, albeit one disgraced for showing mercy to an escaping legion of Baatezu.

Hrogg is a wereboar, and while he doesn't necessarily keep that a secret, he likes the camaraderie of the Imp's Head.

Brenca's a changeling, who moved here from the Feywild after some traumatic event or another. She's not lying about being a paladin, though, prepare to be smited if you pry.

Aventa's not Aventa at all, but a Doppelganger called Salia, who was present when Aventa was murdered in a mugging. She briefly took on the woman's life to try and minimize her friends' grief, but she can't seem to find a way to escape the persona.

And Willum? Well, nobody bothers asking.

Kor knows about his patrons' true natures, and is entirely supportive. He himself is no face-changer, but his wife was a changeling, and she made him promise to open a place where those who the Cage doesn't trust, could come to trust each other.

He has, although the place barely stays above water. Both literally and figuratively.

Still, if one of your PCs is a shapechanger, mention that they've heard a rumour about a bar where their kind are welcome. After all, it can be good to have a place where you can be yourself.

The City of Cordiss

Cordiss is a city within the part of Aclas referred to as 'The Peaceable Lands', the territory within the Icon's Ward, a magical defence, which prevents the terrain-shifting, geography altering curse of the Mercurial Wilds from spreading further. 

Cordiss lies on the warm southern coast of the region known as Arvinia. It's a populous, well known city, although, its geography is odd: to its west, lie the expansive and lightly populated Ukalnos Hills, and to its east, the tiny Kingdom of Dienda and the nigh-wilderness of the Petran Clanlands. 

Sharing a region with the Diendans (Humans, mostly) and the Petran Genasi, both of whom are fairly pastoral, isolationist cultures, might cause an amateur historian to ask:

Just how exactly did Cordiss become such a major port, with so few opportunities nearby? 

The answer lies in the past. Until 8171 of the previous calendar, (1838 years ago) there was a region to the south-west of Arvinia, which was often called The Kingdom of Leaves, the reasons for which are lost to time. The former inhabitants of the Kingdom of Leaves (a culture known as the Xiey) travelled and settled in Arvinia when the Mercurial Curse took their homeland, and Cordiss lost it's purpose as the 'Gateway to The Kingdom of Leaves'.

Still, Cordiss is the most convinient stop on the route to the Xiey's new homeland, the Realms of Xieyac, so it hasn't completely fallen into obscurity. And it's a world-class destination for gambling, drinking and drugs, which counts in its favour. Still, it's glory days are behind it.

The Gateway to Xiey

Sure, Cordiss, formerly the greatest port in the world, has been reduced to a glorified trade stop, but that doesn't stop the Cordisians from reveling in past (and future) greatness. And with the coming of the Vis-Rail, the Cordisians hope that soon, their city will be connected to the world again - as of the current moment, the only ways to access Cordiss are a gruelling overland trek, a massive detour through dangerous waters at Cape Stane, or an expensive aerostat flight from Cilos to the north.

The Cordisians are notorious across Arvinia, for having a near-supernatural ability to deny the state of their city; if you ask, Cordiss is at the peak of it's history, a centre for art and culture (which to be fair, it is) and a major organ for shipbuilding and alchemy (which it isn't).

The Cordisians themselves are mostly Human, with a large minority of Hylen (Elves) and more than a few Earth Genasi. They have a very distinct and flamboyant sense of fashion, featuring a lot of warm colours and probably more than a few feathers.

The city is divided roughly in three: the docks is the oldest and most beautiful part of Cordiss, where the art galleries and theatres reside, alongside the towers of the Great Families, lit brightly in a startling array of reds and pinks, with great silk banners and incense burners on chains hung from their gantries and windows. The docks are also home to the city's large Xiey community.

In the centre, between the other districts, lies the gorge district, named for the deep chasm which cuts through the city, carrying the River Cora on its meandering path down to the Underdark. Some Cordisians say their city has a future as an access point to the Deep Kingdoms, although like everything else in this city, it may simply turn out to be a hazy dream on the horizon. The gorge district is the poorest of Cordiss' districts, and those wishing to bypass it may follow the Grand Bridges, a series of bridges that cross the district without ever forcing wealthy Cordisians to set foot in the mucky streets.

Finally, the Rib District, which contains the eponymous structures. Here, the debauchery and excess Cordiss is otherwise known for occurs in full swing.

The City of Ribs

Cordiss is perhaps best known for the bizarre structures it is built around: nine massive, curving spires, made of some pale, unknown mineral. They stand 30 stores tall, arranged in a rows of five and four, like a massive ribcage that the city sits within. 

This has gained these structures the imaginative name of 'The Ribs.' 

Ever the enterprising types, the Cordisians have integrated the Ribs into their city, building buildings against and up the damn things. The most famous restaurant in Cordiss, the Glass Gate, sits halfway up a Rib, and offers an (almost) unparalled view of the Far Gulf. On a clear night, you can see the lights of the Xieyan ports and the island of Far Dultirr sparkling in the distance.  

More importantly, the Sanctum (high temple) of The Prince, the Aspect of Revelry, is to be found in this part of Cordiss - his Hierophant (highest priest) can often be found in the city's bars and clubs - their identity is a mystery, but their drink preference is common knowledge. Some say that The Prince was a Cordisian in his mortal life, but his apotheosis was so long ago know that few can say for sure. 

The most surprising use of the Ribs, in the eyes of visitors, is as the city's Air Docks: visiting aerostats (airships) are encouraged to tie themselves to the various structures that protrude from the Ribs, clustering around the pillars in high winds or bad weather. This is highly inefficient, but it makes a real impression on rich tourists. 

Of course, it's not just visitors that dock on the Ribs. The Fourth Eastern Rib is off limits as a mooring for Cordiss' pathetic, outdated, military aerostat fleet (they're more useful as mobile billboards than war airships). 

On the other hand, the Fifth Western Rib is the sole mooring point of a single aircraft: the massive, triple-decker aerostat, known as the Pride of Cordiss, which, of course, is a massive aerial casino. Small launches stand ready at all hours to carry would be gamblers up to the dizzying heights of the Pride, where all the biggest deals are made, fortunes are won and lost, and the Heads of the Great Families might be found in their private suites. 

The City of Art

Cordiss has a reputation across Aclas as the 'place to be' when it comes to art. It's isolation only adds to it's mystique.

'You see,' says an underpaid painter in a garret in Iskadar, 'only real artists undertake the commitment to travel there. I went last year. It was amazing. You have visited, haven't you?' 

In the heart of the docks, under the watchful gaze of the tower of the Deglano Family, sits the Grand Museum of Fine Art. This beautiful building, four floors and three wings, is a classical example of Cordisian architecture, and the passion project of the Deglano Family, who paid for it. Thirty galleries, panelled in dark wood and tastefully decorated, with tall windows looking out over the chaotic rooftops of Cordiss.  

The Grand Museum contains the combined artisitic efforts of hundreds of years of Cordisian history, and hundreds upon hundreds of pieces from all across Aclas - which are most definitely not stolen. Especially the culturally significant ones. 

The most famous piece contained in the Grand Museum is not Gerbano's Woman with Sword, nor is it Cubrac's famous depiction of the Battle of Eltur, no, it is an ancient, wall-sized mosaic, displayed proudly in the largest of the galleries. 

This mosiac depicts a moment of massive religious and cultural significance to all of Aclas: the moment that The Maker (considered by some to be the god that created Aclas) struck down the World Serpent, a vast monster that was progenitor to all Draconic creatures. 

(To clarify, this event is not a myth. Ancient Celestials - who never lie - confirmed that it literally happened that way. The only part in question is whether the Maker or the Serpent were gods.)

The mosiac itself is made of thousands of pieces of polished stone, painstakingly arranged to depict the Maker with her golden sunburst head - she is impaling her silver chisel into the Serpent's chest, and she is raising her silver hammer to finish the job. The Serpent's scales - depicted in a dazzling rainbow of colour, to contrast the plain silver and gold of The Maker - are rent asunder, and its bright, carnelian blood falls in dramatic waterfalls to the bottom of the piece, where the first Dragons, Kobolds and Hydras can be seen pulling themselves from the pools of blood.

It has an inscription, although the culture whose language it is written in is long dead, so the meaning remains a mystery.

The City of Smoke

Still, Cordiss isn't entirely a wonderland of high culture. There's definitely a lot of low culture here too. One of the biggest Bardic Colleges in Arvinia exists here, as does most of the drug-trade going in and out of Xieyac.

Xieyan mages are known for a unique school of botanical magic - usually used to grow crops, but occasionally also applied to the creation of potent herbal drugs. Some of these, for example, the highly addicitive Kamor Spores, plague the Cordisian population with addicition. 

Furthermore, other than the drug trade (which isn't necessarily illegal, just immoral) there's a fuck of a lot of organised crime in Cordiss. Most of which is organised by the Great Families. The Deglano, the Sfera, the Decassa and the Do'Cordisi play out a proxy war through gang leaders and catspaws. Many a young Cordisian has bled to death in a gutter as a consequence of an ill placed remark, at a social function that they could have never attended. 

The Guts

Darker things than criminals stalk the streets of Cordiss at night, however. Citizens have reported seeing creatures in darkened alleys, some the same size as the city's omnipresent monkeys, some as big as a horse. No concrete description exists, but they are fleshy, amphibious, and overequipped with teeth. None have killed a Cordisian, yet, but it only seems a matter of time. 

As to these creatures' origins, no-one - not even the Great Families - are in the know, except for the city's clergy. The Church of the Maker built nine temples here in the 1200s, and they stand to this day, one having ascended to the position of Sanctum of The Prince. The secret purpose of these temples is to mask nine golden 'nails' that the Church drove beneath the city, to absorb the magic that exists below the city. (Gold absorbs magic).

As you might have expected, the Ribs aren't just a 'geological formation'. They literally are the ribs of a titanic, dead monster, whose body is mostly petrified, and which Cordiss is built on top of. 

In 1247, clergy exploring the undercity of Cordiss discovered a series of tunnels that seemed like giant, petrified intestines. It was only when they found a stone heart the size of a ship, that they realised what they were standing in. 

In 1288, explorers found a patch of unpetrified wall, dripping black ichor. It pulsated with the force of some hidden organ. 

Land was hastily bought, holes dug, and a financially crippling amount of gold poured into them, to form a circle of 'pins', absorbing the creature's ambient magic. And as far as anyone's aware, it worked. 

But as these dark shapes slither out of the undercity, and more and more cats, dogs and horses disappear, except for a puddle of blood, the city's clergy look to the ground below their feet as a chill passes over them. 

What could they do? If the beast awoke? 

Monday 30 March 2020

The Reaves of Acheron

The Eternal Battlefield of Acheron is not a forgiving place. The iron wastes of the great cubes hardly support much life, aside from the endless armies of Bane and his opponents. But even here, life has grown, out of the iron sand and chemical springs, to stand on rusted peaks and bathe in acid rain.

The Reaves, as they are known, are the natives of Acheron. They evolved here, in the distant and hazy past, and they much resent the colonisation of their plane by Fiends and the souls of dead mortals.

Your average Reave stands around seven feet tall, with hard, grey skin. Upon that skin, there are hard, reddish patches, that resemble patches of rusted iron. They have two sets of arms, splitting out from broad, boxy shoulders. They are heavily muscled, and their powerful legs allow them to leap far, perhaps between the whirling cubes of Acheron. As for their faces, not a soul knows; for the Reaves do not reveal their faces except to each other. When in the company of the 'two-arms', they wear distinctive helmets, with curving spikes and red plumes.

Beneath the helm, a Reave has broad, chiseled features, a short strip of coarse black hair (which is often styled into a design resembling a mohawk) and four yellow, reflective eyes, which are placed on the front and sides of the head.  Reaves have excellent vision, even in darkness, and have a visual span of 240 degrees, as opposed to your average humanoid's 120.

The strength of a Reave is never to be underestimated, and with their powerful pairs of arms they can achieve enviable martial feats, such as dual wielding greatswords, or utilising metal bows with massive draw weights. They are skilled climbers and unequaled wrestlers.

The most famous weapon of the Reaves, aside from their four-handed bows, is called the zakuhrrar, a blade, as long as the Reave is tall, that requires all four of their arms to wield. It was invented to hunt the achaierai, the massive, quadripedal avians that make up the most reliable food source in Acheron. The zakhurrar is made of a strange, crystalline material, the construction of which is a Reavish secret. This material was designed to resist the corrosive breath of an achaierai.  A humanoid with 20+ Strength, or 18+ Strength and the Powerful Build feature, can wield one of these monster blades, which deal 3d6 Damage a swing.

No two armed Humanoid could manage to wield the drughaa, the 'four-handed bow'; the draw weight is simply too high, the bow simply too large, and the possibility of an improperly drawn string slicing an ear off; too great. Still, when a Reave uses it, they can shoot accurately up to 400ft. with terrible force. They use spike-tipped, javelin sized arrows, designed to kill Fiends in one shot to the head.

These weapons are often used with great enthusiasm - against the Mercykiller colony of Vorekhan, against the armies of Bane and New Nishrek, and even against the Bladelings, Acheron's other natives. In recent Cycles, the Reaves have even begun to offer their martial abilities to those outside of Acheron, with mercenary companies appearing in the streets of Sigil, Dis and the City of Brass.

Reaves, despite their history of war, and the dangerous nature of their home plane, are often skilled artists, with one particular Reave - Excahor Longsight - being a member of the artisitic side of the Bleak Cabal. She is the inventor of the Sigilite equivalent of impressionism, which is similar to our impressionism but with more ennui and urban decay.

The most impressive power that the Reaves wield, however, is that of 'phasing', where the Reave becomes briefly semi-corporeal in response to an attack. This power does not allow them to leap through walls, but if they focus hard enough on it, it will pull them into the Astral Plane temporarily. If they release their focus, they will be returned to where they left from.

The traditional Reave cosmology consisted exculsively of Acheron and the Astral Plane, and in their mind these two planes still form the 'axle' of the Great Wheel, with the Outlands taking Acheron's place between Baator and Mechanus. Middling adventurers and self-important arcanists scoff at this 'ignorance'. Philosophers and factioneers simply say: who knows? maybe they're right?

As Reaves continue to expand into the Multiverse, they have come in contact with other planes, and hundreds have migrated to the City of Doors, mostly living in a small neighbourhood in the Market Ward called 'Little Avalas'. Many are beginning to join factions, with every faction (except the Mercykillers) having Reave members. The Bleak Cabal, Believers of the Source and Doomguard line up fairly well with various Reavish cultural concepts, and are the most popular.

Sunday 29 March 2020

The Planar Insurance Company

In the Hive District of Sigil, there's a building. Unusually for the City of Doors, it has an outer yard - of dying, yellowy grass. It's a square, stout building, with four rounded towers. It has an internal courtyard, like most Sigilite buildings, albeit a spacious one. The yard is surrounded by a rusty wrought iron fence, conspicuously free of Sigil's ever-present razorvine. 

The roof tiles are cracked and disjointed, many of the windows are boarded up, and only one door isn't obscured by planks, padlocks and chains. Above that singular door stands a plainly painted sign.

Welcome, to the Planar Insurance Company

The cagers of the Hive - one of the worst slums in the multiverse - have little need of insurance, but they have even less need of the P.I.C.'s service; it offers to insure entire planes of existence against 'wear, tear, damage or incursion'. 

The knowledgeable economists of the Market Ward scoff in contempt at this idea. What could damage a whole plane? Who would insure a demiplane, a secure pocket of reality? 

On the other hand, the wizards and arcanists of Sigil are surprisingly regular customers. The price to insure anything other than a demiplane is astronomical, so no-one has, for example, purchased insurance for Acheron, or the Feywild, or Elysium.  

A visitor might notice the odd fact that the supposed offices of this company are devoid of life, with nary a basher or berk seen entering or leaving, be it dark or light. Except of course, for the P.I.C.'s sole employee.

He's called Willum. He appears to be a human man in his forties, clean shaven and block-headed. He's got broad shoulders, plain, serviceable clothing, and a longsword in a battered sheath. He spends his time drinking quietly in one of two bars, (The Cat's Whiskers in the Lower Ward, or the Imp's Head in the Hive) or walking between them.

People come to meet him: famous adventurers, Acheronian Reaves, defecting Baatezu, visiting Yugoloths, Hivers and Cagers of every stripe. Even faction representatives can be seen, sitting across from him, drinking the liquid that the Imp's Head passes off as beer. 

All of them - even the big-shot adventurers - treat him with respect and deference. They talk about business, perhaps buy insurance from him. And sometimes, he arranges for innocuous little jobs: carry this sealed box, check in on this particular Guvner, visit this party and ask after the host. All harmless little tasks. But those who go about them do so quickly, even if they don't understand why they must be done. 

Because something is definitely off about Willum. Floorboards creak under a deceptive weight. Those who he brushes past remark on being staggered, as if by a much larger man. Those who can sense the presence of magic note a complex weaving of spells around him, like a cloak. 

And those who pry - by magic or otherwise - seem suddenly incapable of sharing what they know. And then, within 3 to 5 business days, they disappear without a trace. Even from locked rooms and sealed catacombs. Even from the distant reaches of the Great Wheel. 

When asked, Willum feigns ignorance, but he rewards the asker with a rare, toothy smile. 

Few then, have the guts to ask why Willum offers to insure entire planes, and indeed, just what he's insuring them against. 

Encounters in the Iron City of Dis

Dis is the capital of the Layer of the Same Name in Baator, which is better known as the Nine Hells. It's become entangled across various settings, but the concept is the same: a very big, very horrible city in the depths of Hell. 

I always feel like Dis has ended up as being just 'the part of Baator you can visit', which, i feel, defeats the point. No part of Baator should be the 'part you can visit.' 

Dis has a great setup for paranoia and sort of 'social surveillance horror'. Have Imps watch the party wherever they go. Street corners are plastered with posters calling for the invasion of their home plane. Shady merchants greet them by name, and exact age, in shops they've never been to. Baatezu list (notorious) sins they've committed as a form of greeting. 

So, here's 1d8 Encounters to spring on your players as they stalk the streets of the Iron City:

1.     One of Dispater's Courier Imps, flying along as if in a hurry. If the Imp fails to deliver its message, the Infernal war machine will suffer a setback: perhaps pointless (odds on a d6) or perhaps crippling (evens on a d6). If you choose to interrupt the Imp on its way, you will strike a blow for goodness in the multiverse - but get yourself in trouble at the same time.

2.     An Osyluth (Bone Devil). It's swooping low over the rooftops, looking for fools to pressgang into the Blood War. This particular Osyluth has a shameful addiction: it likes to help people. Every so often, for the perverse thrill of it. The Osyluth might attempt to exercise its 'vice' with the party, but if they bring attention to this bizarre hobby it will become aggressive. 

3.     First, a single hot, orange droplet. A Hamatula (Barbed Devil) looks up to the sky and grumbles. Tieflings run for cover, and all the tormented souls begin to moan in horror, in a unified chorus that can be heard all across this district of Dis. Above, the grey-black clouds glow with a baleful orange light. 1d6 Rounds later, it begins to rain molten iron. 

Any character who's in the open takes 4d6 Fire Damage a round. Combine this with fights or other encounters to really give a sense that Dis is inimical to mortal life.  

4.     The party wander through Dis' shifting streets onto the Street of Small Gods, which contains myriad temples to hundreds of evil godlings. The clergy here are protected somewhat from the predations of the Baatezu. 

 Here, the party might find a religiously motivated street-brawl. (have two Gods with opposing portfolios, perhaps Violence and Subterfuge. Make the Gods and the Clergy like, comically, laughably evil.) 

 They might find Clergy willing to work against the Baatezu, in order to subvert the hated Asmodeus and ensure their own particular godling's ascension.

 They just might find a secret temple to a god of good, and its beleaguered cleric. But are they truly uncorrupt..? 

5.     A group of Soul-Shells (Baatorian Petitioners, sent here for acts the Gods judged as sinful) are undergoing the painful process of being converted into Lemures, larval proto-Baatezu. While these people were probably the worst of tyrants, assassins and serial decievers in life, do they deserve this horrible fate? Which is the lesser of two evils? Besides, if the party rescue them without enraging the authorities, they might make good hirelings. 

6.     A bridge over a canal of molten iron, occupied by a small group of off-duty Baatezu. There's five of them, each from a different kind of Baatezu, and they're demanding exorbitant 'official tolls' from travellers. Their secret trap is that the bridge can be opened, dunking everyone on it into the molten iron. The baatezu, immune to the effects of heat, will be unharmed, but unless the people they're harassing are fleet of foot, they may find themselves incinerated. 

    The bridge's trap can be detected with a Perception Check of medium difficulty, or simply described to a player with a high Passive Perception. 

7.     Two Cornugons (Horned Devils), powerful foes that are not to be trifled with, escorting a Paladin of a good deity to some grim fate: presumably possession, torture, or, if the Devils are feeling merciful, execution. Will your players let this good soul walk to their doom, to avoid trouble with the authorities? 

8.     Hand two of your players a note saying 'You hear a whisper in your mind: One of your companions is not who they seem'. Make sure they don't tell anyone, unless it's in character. If your players enjoy RP, this will breed immediate suspicion and paranoia. Of course, nothing is wrong, everyone is themselves. It's just a routine psychic broadcast.