|CE large city
|Corruption +5; Crime +0; Economy +4; Law +3; Lore +3; Society -1
|Qualities notorious, prosperous, racially intolerant (non-Abyssals), rumormongering citizens, strategic location
|Population 24,000 (32% human, 16% tiefling, 10% half-elf, 7% drow, 5% gnoll, 5% lizardfolk, 4% goblin, 4% khaasta, 3% ogre, 2% bugbear, 1% tanar'ri, 11% other)
|Base Value 13,600 gp; Purchase Limit 100,000 gp; Spellcasting 7th
Of all the cities along the Lower Planes, the gate-town of Plague-Mort has better claim to being the greatest than perhaps any other. Though none are especially immense, it well-deserves its title of "Tradegate of the Lower cities", thanks to its lax legislation, the prosperity of the adjoining Abyssal city of Broken Reach, and the poor conditions shared by many other towns along the Lower. And in spite of its location, it continues to follow the route of Broken Reach in being kept free from the Blood War, if only to avoid being swept along in its wake. While not an easy place to live, it has many opportunities for those ready to take them.
The city itself is not especially old, dating back only 200 years to the shift of the former gate-town, Bladed Reach. However, the "government", such as it is, continues on from that settlement without interruption — so say the Arch-Lectors and Arch-Lectresses of Plague-Mort, at least. It claims a number of renown figures, including XXXXXX, Eclavdra, and even the Lady of Pain as former rulers of the city in some incarnation, though few hold much stock in that.
Rule in Plague-Mort is only by those with the strength to hold it, usually falling in the pattern of a half-dozen weak rulers barely managing a number of months, followed by a strong dictator holding the city without fail for decades until his inevitable defeat or demise. Arch-Lector Yarmoril falls firmly in the latter category, having held control of Plague-Mort for the last 35 years without the slightest waver of his control. Even now he fights the attempts of both the Illuminated and the tanar'ri to claim the town, and shows no signs of slipping on either front. He continues to treat Plague-Mort as his own personal playground, the city and its denizens to treat as he wishes. His ultimate goal for Plague-Mort shows this in spades — it's no secret that Yarmoril hopes to eventually push Plague-Mort into the Abyss, and bring even more prosperity to the city (and himself) by unseating Broken Reach.
Plague-Mort is divided into four quarters; three open regions, and the area known simply as the Keep in the very center. This latter section of the city is a near-circular region close to 1000 feet across, walled from the rest of the city with black granite near 200 feet tall. It's in the walls of the Keep that one finds the gate to the Abyss, a tall gateway covered in razorvine next to the two arches that lead out to the public square. Accessible from both sides, within this gateway glows what seems to be a view of the Plain of Infinite Portals, though if one passes through it, they find themselves instead in the holding center below the keep of Red Shroud in Broken Reach.
Within the Keep itself is the Palace of the Arch-Lector, a monument to decadence and opulence built on the backs of Plague-Mort, thanks to the 20% cut the Arch-Lector demands from all merchants here. Nearby are the barracks of the Hounds, Yarmoril's personal enforcement squad that makes sure the people of Plague-Mort don't act out too much, and ensures any of the numerous minor rebellions that emerge are quickly quelled. Here can also be found the city prison, where those that come to the attention of the Arch-Lector are held, as well as those that have gone too far in offending the Hounds. A squat structure that dips seven floors underground, each floor of the prison is devoted to a different role, including a good variety of "interrogation" methods. Finally is Yarmoril's own chapel, where he regularly holds services to Oghma, his ostensible patron; it's an open secret that Yarmoril's true god is a far darker power, but no one can identify precisely who that god is.
Outside the Keep, the quarter visitors are most likely to spend any large amount of time in is the Merchant Quarter, spanning the anticlockwise third of the town. Dozens of merchants both local and traveling ply their wares here, and though it certainly has its share of slavers, fences, and apothecaries, there's still plenty for those not so eager to dip into the dark. Some of its establishments have even founded a reputation beyond Plague-Mort: near any well-traveled cutter can tell a person the best food in the city can be found at Sweet Larissa's Sausages, while the products of The Poisoner's Phial are well-regarded by both doctors and assassins (despite the name, alchemical products of weal and woe are sold here, with medicinal salves stocked right next to a fine approximation of bebilith venom). There's no lack for drink and bed either in the Quarter; it's a common joke that Plague-Mort holds an inn every third block, and a bar every second. Many merchants make their homes in this Quarter as well, for the convenience, safety, and just to avoid having to dwell in the Slums.
Across the antispireward third of the town is the Temple Quarter, with a temple for near every deity of the Outlands, from back-alley chapels barely more than a shack to massive chapels spanning a full half a block. Officially, there are only churches to the Outlands gods to be found here, but everyone knows such a claim is merely for appearances, to avoid too much attention from gods that would prefer the Abyss not make too large an inroad in their home; while some of these temples are legitimate, others are simple fronts for the deities of the Abyss. Kali, Lolth, Beshaba, there isn't an Abyssal god that doesn't have a place of worship secreted away somewhere here, whether in a false front or within the sewers and catacombs beneath the Quarter's surface. Hardly limited to gods either, of course, as cults to just about every Abyssal Lord, and even a few would-be claimants to the title, can be found here.
Finally, in the clockwise third is the Residential Quarter, where most citizens are forced to live. Colloquially known as the Slums, it's a hard place to live, with gangs sweeping over the streets seeking to impress any stragglers into their ranks, mobs of beggars clinging to one another just to stay alive, and very little presence from the Hounds to give even a semblance of order. There's a few shops here, mostly from merchants whose goods aren't good enough to allow a place in the Merchant Quarter, and even more taverns than there. The thieves' guild operates from this Quarter, preferring to keep to the shadows out of long-ingrained habit despite their existence being neither a secret nor a threat. There are two exclusions from the anarchy of the Slums; first is around the Public Square, kept thusly by the Hounds to encourage merchant traffic to and from Broken Reach. From here, the Arch-Lector offers his pronouncements, holds public executions, and presents the rare sponsored performance or show. Second, and only barely, is the neighborhood known as "Rich Man's Row", a two-block-square spot near the Merchant Quarter where the highest-class citizens of Plague-Mort are required to reside. Only barely as the Arch-Lector has no great love for people threatening his power by any means, including economic; the Hounds are often slow to clear the angry poor away from the region, and the Arch-Lector himself is known to poke through the area directly when it starts to grow too large for his taste. It's amazing how many would-be dissidents and traitors get uncovered plotting here and hauled into the prison to rot.
- Bostrak, supposed acolyte of Oghma (Pe/♂ human/Priest (Unknown) 9/Xaositects/CE)
- Blind Lemon Dulmaster, performer (Pl/♀ tiefling/Expert 5/CN)
- Gaz the Hound (Pl/♂ tiefling/Fighter 2/Rogue 3/CE)
- Larissa, proprietor of Sweet Larissa's Sausages (Pl/♀ human/Rogue 4/CE)
- Green Marvent, leader of the Illuminated, proprietor of The Bell and Whistle inn and tavern (Pr/♂ human/Wizard 11/CE)
- Laran Susspurus, proprietor of The Poisoner's Phial (Pl/♂ tiefling/Alchemist 10/Doomguard/NE)
- White Scar, proprietor of The Eye of the Dragon inn and tavern (Pr/♂ drow/Magus 3/CE)
- Arch-Lector Byrri Yarmoril (Pl/♂ tiefling/Priest (Unknown) 16/CE)
|Images of Plague-Mort
- Player's Primer to the Outlands, pg.21
- Planescape Campaign Setting - Sigil and Beyond, pp.45-46
- Well of Worlds, pp.89-105