Currently Recognized Layer Number: 444 Name: Cogerron, The Pathless Nightmare, The Torment of the Unshaped Ruler: None Currently Known Variable Gravity Normal Time
Secrets abound within The Abyss. A physical incarnation of secrecy as a concept is the labyrinth, with the potential of hidden passageways and valuables long lost-and perhaps better off for having been such. Among the many labyrinths of The Abyss, one of the most infamous and mysterious is the maze-layer Cogerron. Lacking a known master, the conflicts that rage over Cogerron have sprung as much from the great hatred between the demonic powers represented there as the tantalizing secrets contained within the layer’s embrace. That it once was a part of some eminently powerful being’s domain is evident in the ruins that dot its landscape, in its terrible guardians, and in the incredibly complex mechanism that lies beneath its surface. That this lord was also powerful, evil beyond measure, and alien in thought beyond most demonic reckoning is just as obvious. In a plane of manifold dangers Cogerron is one of the most perilous locations of all.
Cogerron is anything but barren. Most of its surface is a limitless jungle covered in vines and growths of impossible colors and shapes. This flora made seemingly of some manner of pulpy ‘flesh’ rather than genuine vegetable substance. It bleeds, it wriggles, and it is invariably malevolent. Even when it poses no obvious danger, it moves of itself to hinder anything within reach. The roughly flat ground is composed of similar material, though harder and denser; the landscape is broken up by numerous depressions and sinkholes, many of enormous size as well as great mountains of black basalt that stand alone, erupting from the ground as though they have no real connection to the simulated earth. The layer seems to lack any volcanic activity, though the ground is known on occasion to heave, opening and closing sinkholes at random or tearing open to spew out feculent gases or other horrid discharges. Over it all a pale sea-green, half-twilit sky stretches, filled with alien celestial arrangements, moons and stars and planets that collide and dance around each other; there is no record of the phenomena in the sky resembling any known pattern of stars. To date few have attempted to investigate the strange vista and none have successfully discovered its distance. The horizons are illuminated by green aurorae shifting in maddening waltzes. The light of Cogerron is always dusky and no actual ‘sun’ has ever been seen to shed any bright illumination on the layer.
What quickly becomes apparent to even the most dull-witted observer is that there is no consistency of shape, color, or activity in Cogerron other than it is all strange, and very little is even nominally harmless. Everything is disconcertingly alive and menacing and there is an omnipresent and palpable feeling of watchfulness and malevolent intention. Whether mortal or immortal, any visitor to Cogerron likely feels an unending, mind-gnawing dread spawned by the unknown malefic presence that once resided here.
Beneath the surface of Cogerron stretches a labyrinth arguably more intricate and vast than any so far catalogued in Creation. Much of it has yet to be explored. On its surface are ruins such as freestanding walls and occasional structures, many of extraordinary size and all of foreboding, twisted shapes. Terraced pyramids, always constructed with uneven numbers of sides and steps and never quite adhering to so simple a word as ‘structure’, huge edifices that appear to be shrines of some sort, and mazeworks of basalt and the pseudo-vegetable ‘life’ are most often observed, but again there is perhaps no way to call any feature of Cogerron common in any sense. Vines grow over nearly every ruin, piercing the walls and wrapped tightly around them, exposing only detailed mandalas and multicursal patterns as if their very existence repels the plants. Intricate stelae are nearly everywhere, many of them complex puzzles that can be arranged with little effort despite their incredible age; these stelae manipulate the layer itself in ways that are rarely immediately apparent (when they are not also immediately deadly); while some affect local factors, there are numerous examples of stelae causing layer-wide adjustments and upheavals, or even implied changes that are clear only in the shaking of the ground and the sound of the mechanism underground. The mechanism which affects Cogerron’s configuration has never been glimpsed despite numerous attempts at digging beneath and around the stelae (an often suicidal act as such attempts almost invariably attracts the attention of Cogerron’s denizens).
The labyrinths beneath the surface drink up all light and strangle the soul almost from the first step. The intricacy of its roughly hewn passages is staggering, and the halls themselves vary in size from mammoth chambers to minute arteries impassable by anything larger than an insect. The vague malevolence of the surface becomes an oppressive and all-encompassing presence, almost palpable, almost as solid as the walls. The most immediate dangers besides its plant life are the vile hunters that kill and eat anything they find roaming the halls called the Ones Blind Beneath. There are some other denizens of The Pathless Nightmare. Squamous spewers (Draconomicon), chokers, and sentient wooden statuary with powers similar to those of elder and rogue eidolons (Lords of Madness, MMII) are among the most common. With the exception of the eidolons, none of the mobile creatures of Cogerron seem to be nativ, although they all seem to be equally incapable of providing any meaningful input as to when they arrived, or who or what was responsible for their settling within the layer.
Direction in Cogerron, far more than most layers, is a confusing and complex issue as it pays little heed to mortal conceptions of such. The most overt representation of this comes in the form of even reaching it in the first place. There is no central point where beings who planeshift into the layer arrive even if they use its portals in The Grand Abyss or Pazunia. Instead, destination within Cogerron is controlled by the composition of the group of beings intending to reach the layer, or if they possess certain items which apparently specify where they are supposed to arrive. Teleportation within Cogerron is similarly bizarre. The requirements to reach each location are included in each specific entry.
Regardless of whether Cogerron is entered from Pazunia or elsewhere in The Abyss, the portal key to enter Cogerron is an unsolved puzzle. The unsolved puzzle need not be particularly complex, however, and it can be as simple as a child's toy left incomplete or as genuine as a riddle asked of another being to which they are genuinely incapable of guessing the answer. The one holding the puzzle upon entry must be unable to solve the puzzle itself; a minion may be used to open the portal in the place of the one genuinely desiring entry, or spells or abilities which drain Intelligence in order to be accepted may be used. Cogerron can be departed by making a contribution to the layer's complexity and then planeshifting normally either through one's own power or through the aid of a magic item. This can consist of anything as simple as adding additional information or even simply triggering any stelae and departing within five minutes. However, given the potential lethality involved in triggering the stelae, in practice there are a small number of stelae of limited influence used specifically for this purpose that are also heavily guarded due to their utility.
One of the paradoxes of Cogerron is that for all its vast age it has only become known to the more common array of Abyssal personages relatively recently. It is Abraxas that is credited with first reaching Cogerron since whatever lost age it was ruled by its own prince, entering it via The Grand Abyss Abraxas was amazed by the antiquity of Cogerron’s features, which were ancient even to the reckoning of his former qlippothic masters. In the ages since, he has never yet known of a single qlippoth entering Cogerron until recently, nor have any of the remaining qlippothic lords seemed to take interest in the struggle over the layer with the exceptions of Vuron indirectly (whose presence may be an indication of general qlippothic disinterest or otherwise unique knowledge of the layer) and Zuggtmoy, whose interest is extremely recent, furtive, and as yet unknown to the Lord of Mysteries. Although Abraxas was the first mazza'im to enter Cogerron, he would hardly be the last. Abraxas managed to conceal the existence and his knowledge of The Pathless Nightmare from what qlippothim had survived the Second War of Law and Chaos. Some time afterwards, such surviving qlippothim as existed eventually discerned through magic that Abraxas, as well as most of the other prominent klurichir of// Madness and Bile//, such as Shaktari, Siragle, Laz'bralthull, The Guardian of Gates, and the Guardian of Realms, all had visited the layer upon the same day and shortly before the major battles of that titanic conflict began. Precisely what transpired upon that day remains unknown as well.
Despite Abraxas' great interest in the layer he was not able to devote all of his attentions to it between attempting to maintain his power as a demon prince, ensuring that he was not betrayed by the other klurichir during Madness and Bile, and fighting against the surviving qlippothim. Nor was he ever willing to attempt to seize control of Cogerron directly and turn it into a second layer that he directly ruled out of fear of some consequence that is as yet unspoken. Instead, he turned to an ambitious, yet unfortunately for him, underestimated demon lord who had already developed a portfolio related to labyrinths and those that spawn within them in order to protect Abraxas' holdings with Cogerron: Baphomet. Baphomet, in turn, seemed to make his own array of discoveries upon Cogerron which allowed him and those who followed him to evade any consequences of their betrayal and made their own bid to claim the secrets of the layer for themselves, using a second entrance upon Pazunia to covertly enter and leave it. Knowledge of this second entrance eventually became far more common to the point where it could no longer be held by any single party reliably, and eventually the array of factions that occupy the layer currently came to be present upon it. For all of Abraxas' studies, he now only controls a small but potent force in the layer which is strong enough to maintain a viable level of contention against even the forces of Demogorgon.
Abyssal Flora: The least potent of Cogerron's 'flora' can best be represented as fiendish or even Corrupted assassin vines. Stronger versions are actively ambulatory or worse still, can alternate between ambulatory and sessile life cycles depending on which stelae and which beings are active around them. The flora of Cogerron never actually attacks the Ones Blind Beneath (which again, is another subject that is actively being researched as to how they are not recognized). Due to the unique nature of Cogerron's 'flora' it rarely reacts to the normal array of spells and powers aimed towards plants, and when it does so, such reactions are often random in nature. Some of the better known spells that are successful, however, include the antilife shell, repulsion, and protection from evil or other spells that incorporate elements of such. To the extent that there is an explanation for this it seems to be that these spells work in the general case without assuming that the flora being repelled is actually conventional plant life.
Average specimens of Cogerron's Abyssal flora slow movement down by 20 feet per round, down to a maximum of ten feet per round when walking or slithering along the ground. They also deal 2d6 points of damage to creatures that they constrict or bite at a minimum, although there are regions that are far more dangerous and can even spew digestive juices and corrosive toxins upon those who trespass upon its territory.
Cartographic Defiance It is not merely the substance of Cogerron that defies conventional mapping, it is an innate property of the layer itself. Maps of Cogerron are literally incomprehensible to the point of threatening the sanity of mortals and what vague tendrils of coherency are even present within demons. A map that is made of any portion of Cogerron using a durable substance such as paper, parchment, or even stone only lasts for 1d4 rounds before the writing itself becomes indecipherable by any means. The single time in which magic was used to create a map it instead created a living symbol of insanity (MMIII) spell.
Life and Death, One and the Same Everything on Cogerron appears alive. Any spells, abilities, or effects which are meant to ‘see’ life energies or differentiate between subtypes as one example kinds fail because of the overwhelming and omnipresent influence of the layer. Detecting any creature, specifically or by type, is impossible with the exceptions of divinations targetted towards a specific individual by name, with personalized parameters and components, and any divination meant to detect undead. The layer appears unable to respond to the presence of undead creatures, though the Ones Blind Beneath, the All-Watcher, and all mobile indigenous creatures still track to their movements or physical presence normally.
Living Sinkholes Throughout the vast majority of Cogerron the land itself is apt to open up beneath any creatures and structures atop of it. The living sinkholes of Cogerron open over the course of a single round, allowing a Ref save DC 21 to either get out of the way of the collapsing ground or take flight in order to avoid falling into them and taking 16d6 points of damage in the process. The Ones Blind Beneath seem to have no special invulnerability or preternatural senses as to when the sinkholes will appear either and they are just as vulnerable to falling into them as everything else within Cogerron. Beyond the innate dangers of the sinkholes they also present a secondary hazard in that several forms of Cogerron's flora have adapted themselves to germinate and grow rapidly in the hopes of devouring incapacitated or weakened creatures by their fall, and such sinkholes are often rapidly concealed by such growths fertilized by the dead and wounded.
Madness Within In any place where the ‘sky’ cannot be seen, whether within a structure or in the mazeworks, the malevolent presence of the layer is most potent. Each round, any non-indigenous creature must succeed at a Will save (DC 21) or be shaken. This effect takes place regardless of immunities not derived from cosmic or divine status, and persists only in each round the save is failed. The save DC increments by 1 point per hour until it reaches a maximal value of DC 42. A creature that is shaken for three consecutive rounds becomes confused, and no matter what action it takes due to this effect it begins to babble gibberish loudly, perhaps alerting nearby creatures (in the mazeworks, the Ones Blind Beneath are almost sure to arrive within 1d4 rounds. If this initial insanity is cured within a day or a victim temporarily leaves Cogerron, then this minor derangement disappears within a day and leaves little further effect. After this period of time the insanity becomes pernanent, and can only be cured through more drastic methods such as miracle or programmed amnesia (Spell Compendium).
Malign Sentience One element of the madness inherent to Cogerron is its ability to impose itself upon constructs. Although constructs that are already awakened, or possess some level of inherent intellect such as demonflesh golems or most planar golems in general are immune to this effect, otherwise mindless constructs are not, and they receive a Will save DC 42 and are not considered to be immune to this particularly malicious effect. Golems affected by the Malign Sentience of Cogerron are visually distinctive from unaffected statuary in that they possess insanity-inducing, ever-shifting patterns and etchings across their exterior (Will save DC 10 + 1/2 HD + Charisma modifier). Insanity inflicted by the constructs infected by Malign Sentience lasts for one round per hit die possessed by the construct involved.
The Incoherent Skies Above The further one flies into the skies above, the more reality itself-as well as those who intrude upon this region of tenuous Creation-becomes incoherent. The farthest that any being has gotten into the skies so far has been several dozen miles, even with teleportation. The initial signs of this property appear beneficial in that this incoherency allows beings to affect larger than normal regions. The space and reach for those affected increases by five feet for every two miles upwards that a being travels until it reaches the point where a being is treated as two size categories larger in terms of the territory they can affect. However, after this initial region the deleterious effects become more readily apparent and even damaging. Beyond this region, all beings are slowed (Fort save DC 35) as they are too scattered to effectively control their own bodies or even thoughts. Further upwards, the effect starts to becoming damaging, forcing a Fort save DC 42 or else take 20d6 points of damage per round as their bodies are annihilated by the skies themselves. This region can be successfully scryed upon remotely. This is rarely done due to the improbability of encountering anything within the skies-but it is still attempted from time to time.
Stelae: Scattered throughout Cogerron are innumerable stones with long-forgotten symbols, mandalas, and puzzles of basalt, gem, and most disturbing of all, even flesh. These are the stelae of The Pathless Nightmare.
The only discernible 'rule' is that successfully triggering a stelae always does something-whether it is immediately detectable to the being that triggered it or if its effects become readily apparent through their often bizarre lethality. Stelae have been classified by Abyssal scholars according to how widespread the effects that result from their triggering are within the layer. Lesser stelae affect everything within an 1800 foot radius while greater stelae affect everything within an 18 mile radius. Major stelae take effect over the entire layer that is relevant to the nature of what is triggered by them, even if the effects resulting from a major stelae triggering are extremely minor, such as only moving the position of a group of stelae by one notch throughout the entirety of Cogerron. Any sentient creature, including the undead, can trigger stelae. However, the restless dead cannot cause passive effects or trigger portals. Some of the better known lesser, greater, and major stelae are the following:
Itinerant Stones (lesser stelae): Some of the most dangerous lesser stelae are the itinerant stones. When triggered, they create a small amount of an extremely short lived, yet portable substance that can be used to trigger other stelae throughout Cogerron. By itself, this would not seem so dangerous, save for the fact that itinerant stones have a nastily malign will which allows them to keep themselves in existence by literally sucking the life out of every creature around them. Every being within a 50 ft. radius of an itinerant stone must make a Fort save DC 42 or else take 1 negative level every 10 minutes. Each negative level taken by a victim of an itinerant stone helps to preserve its existence for another 10 minutes. Furthermore, if an itinerant stone gets below 40% or 20% of its original hit points, then it starts becoming capable of charming or even dominating beings within the same radius (Will save DC 42), manipulating them into range of more potential victims until it heals itself. Once an itinerant stone triggers a stelae then it becomes permanently inert. Although reactivating the material of which itinerant stones are made has been a subject of much experimentation, so far none of these efforts have proved successful.
Knowledge for Knowledge (greater stelae): Not all stelae in Cogerron have physically observable consequences when they are triggered. One example of these more abstract stelae is generally known as knowledge for knowledge. The knowledge for knowledge stelae offer hints and visions as to various configurations of the layer and its labyrinths. Not surprisingly, this information doing so comes at a potentially steep price. To trigger the stelae requires feeding it with a certain degree of knowledge-which is in turn dependent on the power stela involved. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that the being that triggers the stelae ends up receiving the knowledge involved, and the stelae themselves seem to have a certain array of bizarre limitations upon which beings can and cannot be their beneficiaries at any given time. Once a being is within 30 feet of one of these stelae (which can take many forms, making them particularly dangerous), it cannot again be departed until it has been triggered. The least powerful stelae may only remove a day or a week's worth of memory, forcing the being to sleep for a day as their mindset rearranges itself to accomodate the lost. The most powerful of this type of stelae can instead totally erase the knowledge that its triggerer contains, leaving them a catatonic husk unless they are cured with either a wish or a miracle-and doing so in turn results in the loss of whatever knowledge was gained. The best known knowledge for knowledge stela is located within the lower depths of the layer, and it is controlled by the Tetrad.
Living Key (lesser stelae): Living key stelae actually turn the triggerer or some other being into an entity that can in turn activate further stelae. Demons or constructs are more often than not used for this purpose, as the act of turning a mortal into a living creature seems to be incompatible with their fundamental nature-driving them rapidly insane but also making the resulting living key inviable through causing 1d4 Wisdom drain per hour (Will save DC 42 to resist). This is often cited as evidence that the creator or creators of Cogerron distantly preceded mortal life altogether.
Restructure (greater stelae): A restructure stelae when triggered builds new walls and even edifices. However, the manner in which such things are built makes restructuring stelae some of the most dangerous within Cogerron. It is not through the wholesale creation of new stone and vegetation that such things are built. It is instead constructed out of whatever is nearby-often including other demons, which are horribly transformed once the stelae is triggered. Often, the only remnants of their existence are faces hidden within the walls, arms protruding from floors, or minor craters where beings with death throes were instantly slain by the stelae's triggering and exploded as a result. Victims of restructure stelae gain a Fort save DC 42 in order to resist its effects.
Overgrowth (greater stelae): The triggering of an overgrowth causes all of the plant life within the radius of its triggering to grow and mutate at a vastly accelerated rate. The best case scenario in such cases is that the vines merely entangle the beings that are trapped within them. More vicious effects that have been noted include actually awakening the plant life in a region, or even causing to grow so quickly that the floral burst crushes those beings unfortunate enough to be caught within it, simulating the effects of the verdigris epic spell but if anything, doing far more devastating damage. The most potent of the Overgrowth stelae deal 40d10 points of damage (Ref save DC 42 for half). Given these effects, it can be asked why these particular stelae are ever triggered? The answer comes in the fact that these floral bursts are extraordinarily short lived, to the point where even beyond the massively destructive effects that can be produced against rivals with them, when the plant life walks off or dies back off, often new pathways into the labyrinths below are revealed. This leads those who trigger the stelae to the possibility of new artifacts-provided that they survive the original effects.
Pattern Against Pattern (greater stelae): A pattern against pattern stela possesses the power to destroy another piece of information within Cogerron. It can be used against a creature, in which case they receive either a Fort save DC 42 if they are to be entirely destroyed, or a Will save DC 35 if a piece of information is to be affected instead. In either case the target or targets to be affected must be located within The Pathless Nightmare. Pattern against pattern stelae stelae are valuable because they are the only known stelae that possess the power to actually destroy other stelae. However, doing so invariably infuriates the Ones Blind Beneath to the point where they will relentlessly hunt down any being that attempts to use a stela in this manner. More often than not, Pattern Against Pattern stelae are used to instead reset other stelae or alternately, to hide information concerning either the location or the triggering of stelae so they can be used exclusively by one faction or another. Pattern Against Pattern stelae are unique in that they exist in all variants of major, minor, and greater stature throughout Cogerron.
Given the power of Pattern Against Pattern stelae the effects of misusing them are particularly dire. Triggering it against a creature that is not present within Cogerron, or for that matter, attempting to eliminate a piece of information that is not entirely contained within the layer causes its power to rebound upon the being that attempted to use it. The result forces them to make a Fort save DC 42 or else be erased from existence themselves. This property has been used on occasion to slay rivals-and it has been reversed through a successful rank check DC 13 only in one known incident in the entire layer's history. That it requires cosmic power to reverse-and that the layer does seem to have some way of knowing when the stelae has been misused-provides tantalizing hints as to the potency of the being that once dwelled here.
Two Triggers (major stelae): One of the most potent and hazardous stelae, ironically, acts in a manner that is most comprehensible to mortals. These are the two triggers stelae which as the name suggests, simply adjust other stelae by two positions. Although two triggers stelae are among the most obvious and easy to describe within the Torment of the Unshaped, they are some of the most dangerous stelae because they can reshape much of the layer with minimal effort. Two Triggers stelae are turned on by performing two separate actions upon the device largely simultaneously such as turning one stelae clockwise and another counterclockwise, or linking two mandalas together in such a way that their two patterns become linked into a single, pattern of lesser symmetry than the first. Due to the massive destruction that some Two Triggers stelae have been known to wreak across the layer, whenever they are discovered they tend to be exceptionally well guarded.
Abraxas: Not surprisingly, the Demon Lord of Mysteries retains interest in Cogerron. Abraxas seeks to restore his fading power by finding artifacts upon Cogerron that aid him in his goals. Not lost on him is that any power that he gains through from the layer is power lost to Baphomet in his ambitions to become far more powerful than he already is. The presence of Abraxas upon Cogerron is not significant in numbers; it more than makes up for this deficiency in terms of the power of the individuals responsible: The Tetrad. This group of four glabrezu mages is so potent not only in normal magic but also in the use of Abraxas' demonic names that two of them working in tandem have given balors pause, and few have stood before all four without being bent to their power. The least among them possesses epic might, and the most potent is rumored to be one of the first glabrezu ever created and a student of Siragle himself; so adept at deceit and magic that they opted to reject further transformation in order to continue to use their skills in the form for which they were best known for them. The least powerful of The Tetrad possesses 28 HD, while the most potent among them has 42 HD instead.
Although Abraxas and The Tetrad control some of the smallest amount of territory within Cogerron, they are believed to know more about its intricate configurations than almost any other factions save for Baphomet and Demogorgon (though these two know more precise information about certain local factors while Abraxas’ knowledge is more generalized and comprehensive). For this reason, other factions often seek to strike temporary deals with them (which are broken by both or either party as soon as it becomes convenient) or, alternately, to steal their knowledge and treasure. The minions of The Tetrad are glabrezu spellcasters and magi of lesser potency, babau, and bar-lgura, and they specialize in using controlling and name-magicks in order to wrest information and loyalty out of the minions of rival factions whenever they are captured alive.
Baphomet: Next to Abraxas, Baphomet is generally considered one of the most knowledgeable beings concerning the nature and treasures of Cogerron. Morzax the ghour (20 HD/Blood War Champion 10), an old and wicked spawn of the Beast, oversees the expedition. Baphomet’s break with Abraxas and his revision as an abstract entity have afforded him a great deal of intuition regarding the secretive aspects of Cogerron, allowing him to make quicker progress than most of his competitors. Through Morzax and his other minions, Baphomet has learned a great deal about the basic functions of the mechanism as well as the locations and features of a number of stelae and structures. Baphomet’s forces have managed to remain intact to a much greater degree than his competitors, which benefits him greatly given his status compared to many of them, as well as his divided attentions.
Baphomet’s forces are comprised of numerous teams of minotaur scouts; despite lacking the benefits of demonic troops, their mortal-honed skills and strength are effective in defending the mobile campsites, and they are excellent at cutting through the brush on the surface. Their intrinsic affinity for mazes helps them in the mazeworks as well, and though the Ones Blind Beneath have exacted their toll and Baphomet has made no discoveries equaling those of Demogorgon or Vuron, his servants have a more complete knowledge of certain local networks of the maze.
Twelve ghours lead the expedition beneath Morzax, and with him provide guidance to the scouts as well as correlate and analyze their findings. All thirteen are blind, each having plucked out its eyes at the command of Morzax himself, who followed suit. Their blindness, when combined with Baphomet’s power, somehow has made them supremely adept at negotiating the layer’s hazards. Morzax’s eyes remain functional and he passes them along to the other ghours when sight is needed which allows him to see what they see through his eyes. This was done not only to increase their effectiveness but also as a practical measure. Cogerron has numerous symbols and other traps which are oriented to sight, and three ghours were already struck dead or mad by them before blindness was instituted. Moreover, their blindness gives Baphomet a further aspect of control; however powerful they are, a blind ghour that was compelled to leave or betrayed its master would not be able to survive on its own in the wilds of Cogerron.
Baphomet and Morzax in particular seem to be searching for stelae which control the general spatial arrangement of Cogerron's labyrinths. In this effort they have been partially successful and they control five Two Triggers stelae that allow them access to a significant portion to Cogerron's more obscure depths, in addition to capturing several artifacts that have been sent back to The Endless Maze for Baphomet's personal collections. Beyond these, Morzax's most notable discoveries so far are include the Ivory Spire, a potent weapon which he uses as well as an artifact. It allows its holder to transform its victims into statuary portions of the layer (Fort save DC 42 to resist), as well as allowing its bearer to pass through the walls and stonework of Cogerron, but only Cogerron, unhindered. Ominously, the Ivory Spire vaguely resembles a tooth or spine of some far more massive creature even than Morzax himself.
Demogorgon: Demogorgon has always had a major interest in Cogerron. What this says about the layer's origins as well as Demogorgon itself is a question that only Demogorgon seems to know the answer to and it speaks of it to positively no one. Among his many significant findings within the Pathless Nightmare is the horrific device known as the Soul Consuming Viscera-a particularly foul artifact that literally dismantles demons of varying types and recombines elements of both of them. Most of the results of such combinations are lethal. However, the few times that the combinations have been viable have been particularly horrific and powerful, creating grudging satisfaction in the Devourer of Souls and bringing devastation to his foes.
Similarly, the Devourer of Souls is always aware of the possibility of betrayal and independence among those beings that claim to serve him. Demogorgon's instincts for horrific innovation have found a way of solving this particular issue; create a minion without the flaws. This particular entity is one of the more potent constructs in existence: Xulith (awakened 36 HD retriever). Although the construct has been augmented in numerous ways, including giving it far more significant intellect and insight, Xulith's most infamous modification from the Twin Terrors is the one that is the least likely to be immediately lethal, but the most likely to be deadly over the long term. One of Xulith's eye rays has been modified to planeshift beings to a random location in Gaping Maw, Demogorgon's pre-eminent layer-a property that has brought many of Xulith's enemies to deaths that it finds particularly amusing.
Even before Xulith was sent to Cogerron, Demogorgon had made great strides in understanding both the mechanisms of Cogerron as well as extracting some of its more obscure artifacts and secrets. However, Xulith's interests have been far more focused since his arrival: towards understanding and eventually coming to control the Ones Blind Beneath. Unfortunately for Xulith's rivals, development has progressed to the point where although the ruhin are not entirely controllable, they can at least be temporarily immobilized in the presence of Xulith, and can even be redirected towards attacking Xulith's targets. It is entirely possible that this is a minor achievement compared to what the Devourer of Souls truly intends. If this is true, then it portends far more ominous developments to be made in the future by a being whose innovations routinely horrify and mar Creation.
Most of Xulith's finds are sent by the bizarre construct back to Gaping Maw. Given Cogerron's intricate history of betrayals and wayward minions, there are definite limits to how much the Devourer of Souls would trust even a minion that he created himself. However, there are a couple of artifacts whose immediate utility are such that Xulith retains personal control over them. Among the most prominent is the Seven-Fold Eye; a graftable device which allows its recipient to benefit from the equivalent of an anticipate teleport spell with regards to the Ones Blind Beneath, and furthermore protects them with a localized equivalent of an antipathy spell effective within a two hundred foot radius. Beyond Xulith's personal finds, his faction in general 'controls' an area of approximately twenty square miles upon the layer (not continguous to each other), influences a far larger area in terms of territory patrolled and scryed upon, and has ready access to twenty different stelae, including three Two Triggers and an Overgrowth in addition to relatively reliable routes to dozens of others. Xulith's 'faction' contains a considerable number of bebiliths, vrocks, bar-lgura, mariliths, and other retrievers of lesser but notable power, which use their mobility in order to gain advantage over and destroy their rivals.
Fraz 'Urb Luu: Even more than aggravating his rival demon princes (even Graz'zt) into inchoate fury, Fraz 'Urb Luu seeks to regain one of the most potent artifacts of The Abyss: The Rod of Fraz 'Urb Luu. As a consequence, Fraz 'Urb Luu sent an expedition in order to search for it and determine whether it is or is not present in Cogerron or not. Although desperation drives her quest, at the same time, she is gradually coming to the conclusion that The Rod either does not exist upon Cogerron at all, or it may have perhaps been destroyed. Fraz 'Urb Luu's minion in Cogerron is the kelvezu sorcerer-assassin Bluedagger (18 HD kelvezu/assassin 12), who has gained his knowledge of the layer with the same level of subtlety and malice that has made his current paymaster infamous both within and beyond The Abyss: by ripping it out of everyone else around him. His lack of success, although he has managed to survive the layer itself and Akaris' constant attacks upon him, is increasingly convincing him towards going completely independent like Klavikus, or even taking up with some other power within The Abyss entirely and facing Fraz 'Urb Luu's wrath (however remote) as compared to returning to Hollow's Heart and facing him directly.
Bluedagger is less interested in controlling territory than he is in gaining access to what the other factions know about Cogerron-in the hopes that if his suspicions concerning the absence of the Rod of Fraz 'Urb Luu are wrong, he would be able to act upon them quickly and acquire the Rod before any other faction either can do so-or even realizes precisely what they have found. The faction is otherwise mostly composed of vrocks and hezrous, and is magically supported by babau and glabrezu spellcasters of varying types.
Graz'zt: Although Cogerron in its endless internecine warfare with little prospect of meaningful victory represents much that the Dark Prince seeks to eliminate from The Abyss, he still maintains an interest in ensuring that nothing that can overturn his lusts for sex and power emerges from the layer. As such, Graz'zt has agents upon Cogerron, but participates to no significant degree in hunting for artifacts there. Mostly, Graz'zt's agents prefer to waylay any beings that make significant discoveries upon the layer-especially those that could potentially threaten his power. These hijackings and murders are mostly accomplished through the power of k'Ssl (22 HD Tagheron) who answers primarily to Vuron in Az'zagrat.
Klavikus: Even in the period of his decadence, The Goat still found an interest in Cogerron and the artifacts discovered within the layer. Although the rumors that the Lash Embrar in fact originated here are false, the fact that Demogorgon has often fought The Goat over possession over the device caused him to be sure that Demogorgon could not find something upon the layer that might allow him to steal the Lash Embrar, despite the layers of magical protection and devious traps that he had placed upon it in order to prevent such. As a result, Orcus has almost always had minions sent to Cogerron to fight for its spoils.
During this tumultuous period, a particularly ambitious balor known as Klavikus (35 HD/gestalt necromancer) attached himself to Thanatos and The Goat in pursuit of greater power and influence. However, his desires were frustrated by the presence of those of far greater might than himself in the Belly of Death. Klavikus realized both that he could neither stand against Ter-Soth, or for that matter, even Glyphimhor in his power. Based on this insight, he wisely chose to exile himself, as well as those demons that were willing to follow him in the promise of greater power (and items) for themselves, or simply attached themselves parasitically to his mercenary cause for personal gain or in the hopes of betraying him to his many rivals later.
Although he had no way of predicting the end that came to The Goat, he was extremely well positioned to take advantage of it. Once he heard of Orcus' assassination, Klavikus completely took charge of the faction upon Cogerron, killing all beings that may have caused him trouble, or those that might be inclined to betray him to his enemies. Since then he has discovered enough artifacts to become an independent faction upon the layer. He worked mostly to serve his own power, and on occasion, for those beings that could either pay him enough to be worth his (temporary) loyalty, or who it might amuse him to betray whenever it became more advantageous for him to do so. Although he had his share of near-escapes with the factions sent by Demogorgon and Graz'zt (both of which had personal grudges against Klavikus), generally his tenure in Cogerron has been productive and amusing, offering him both treasure and a more or less constant stream of foolish lesser demons for him to feast upon and abuse.
Klavikus' pleasures lasted up until just about the worst possible thing that could happen from his perspective actually transpired. Orcus came back from the dead, resurrected and if anything, more wrathful than ever. Although The Goat has been primarily interested in regaining ground lost while he was dead, Orcus still maintains an interest in claiming artifacts from Cogerron, if for no better reason than to spite three of his most notable adversaries within The Abyss in terms of Fraz 'Urb Luu, Demogorgon, and to a lesser extent, Graz'zt. That Orcus can simultaneously advance his own interests and punish a traitor further motivates him upon Cogerron and against Klavikus, and gives the balor pause as to how much of a future he has within the labyrinthine layer unless he can either find support from some other power (unlikely) or find an artifact of such surpassing power as to allow him to defend himself from Orcus' imminent attacks (which is slightly more likely).
Although Klavikus has made many notable finds upon Cogerron, the one which has helped keep him alive (as best the term applies) is a horrific device that seems to be related in some way to the Soul Consuming Viscera discovered by Demogorgon and the mazza'im spell called the mosaic of agony.T his discovery is a particularly vicious antidemonic weapon that seems to operate in a way that parallels certain qlippothic powers. It fuses any living creatures caught within each blast with each other, slaughtering them in a manner so painful and dramatic that even other denizens of The Abyss are often sickened by its grotesque displays of might. Beyond the artifacts which he possesses, Klavikus' faction controls ten stelae, including a Pattern Against Pattern which he uses to eliminate information upon his personal activities as well as those of his faction-and also accepts payment in order to protect victims with sufficient wealth from the wrath of The Watcher.
Klavikus' faction contains the highest proportion of undead within Cogerron. These serve him as scouts and warriors particularly in regions where the local flora and fauna will not tolerate an openly demonic presence. These are created from the corpses of any mortals or other suitable creatures by Klavikus himself (who has some measure of necromantic might) and his other more powerful minions-and in general, providing Klavikus with fresh corpses is one of the easiest ways for outsiders to ingratiate themselves to the otherwise justifiably paranoid balor. The most notable among them are a cabal of six liches between Neonate and Magister in potency. They have dedicated themselves to Klavikus in order to avoid being permanently slain by Harthoon as punishment for transgressions or for simply annoying him in the past.
Zuggtmoy: After Zuggtmoy was liberated from the Temple of Elemental Evil, she returned to The Abyss and Shedaklah in particular, seeking once again to establish her prominence after the debacle of the Temple and the setbacks delivered by Madness and Bile. Increasing her influence in The Abyss is one particularly vile tendril of this goal. Towards this end, Zuggtmoy has infested a small region of Cogerron with the audacious goal of accomplishing that which no figure, demon prince or other, has apparently succeeded at doing: taking over the entire layer and appending it to Shedaklah or establishing direct control over it. Through such means, not only would her layer become far more massive, but she would also have access to whole new lifeforms to modify as well as all of Cogerron's deeply corrupting artifacts.
The endgame of Zuggtmoy's schemes has two parts. The first element is to control all of the Restructure stelae of the layer simultaneously. As far as this particular element of her goal is concerned, it could take centuries, if not millenia, to come to completion. Once this is done, she believes that there is an underlying trigger that can be used to reshape the entire layer. Once the entire layer is reshaped, she can mold it into life forms utterly amenable to her style of control and manipulation. .
The Demon Queen of Parasite's presence, not surprisingly, is not what any being would consider to be a conventional entity. Instead, it is a highly overgrown fungal disease called the Xytthys Infestation. Among its other tactics, it lures beings into its presence with hallucinogenic spores, spellcasting, and false indications of the presence of artifacts and stelae. Once they become close enough, they are then immobilized either physically or through other means, infected with other types of spores (Will save DC 38), and then quietly allowed to return to other factions. So far the Infestation has taken no major actions beyond misleading several atrocity-led factions to their deaths in the labyrinths and capturing minor members of other factions that will not be missed. However, this is not a situation that is likely to last long into the future. The infestation so far can affect a region within 5 miles of its central cluster of spores and growths but it does not control any stelae directly so far lest its possession of them alert the other factions of Cogerron as to its presence.
Non-demonic factions: Although Cogerron is deep within The Abyss, the ancient nature of the layer and the treasures contained within still attract attention from entities beyond the demonic. The Desderain do not possess any permanent infiltrators upon the layer and the circumstances which would attract their attention to rescue beings, or otherwise interfere with its conflicts, are rare to the point of being unprecedented.
Anthraxus: Although most beings that think of daemons and their involvement with The Abyss assume that they are all mercenaries fighting for one side or another, this is in fact a somewhat incorrect assumption. Daemonic involvement extends to some degree deep within The Abyss itself, as the daemons seek to either promote one faction or another, or set the demonic lords back in pursuit of draining as much wealth and power out of as many sides as possible for their own selfish gain. One of the most prominent daemons present upon Cogerron is the pawn of the disgraced former Oinodaemon Anthraxus, the accursed Akaris the Bloated (20 HD yagnodaemon).
Yagnodaemons occupy a place of both power and peril within the daemonic hierarchy of treachery and betrayal. They are only a minor step away from becoming nycadaemons with all of the power and status that even the least of the greater daemons possesses. Simultaneously, they are constantly threatened not only from those beneath them, but also by those that might support lesser daemons against a yagnodaemon's control over a region. It was in such a situation that Akaris the Bloated found himself. In vengeance for a slight (real or imagined) against a daemon of lesser power, but with far more significant allies than himself, Akaris was horribly cursed by a Hag Coven with which the more potent daemon had made alliance for its own malevolent purposes. The name of the curse was the Patents of Stasis, and the nature of the curse was such that Akaris would never again be promoted, imprisoning him in his position with little power – and less influence.
When Anthraxus was ousted by Mydianchlarus from the Siege Malicious, his first priority was naturally to regain possession of it. To this end he has ever since scoured the Cosmos for tools such as powerful artifacts or forbidden lore to restore his lost power. His tenure as Oinodaemon offered him the knowledge of many possible avenues to pursue, including Cogerron and its deadly secrets. The question then remained as to what servitor to send that might survive the dangers to whatever degree he considered daemonically ‘reliable’; at last he found such a minion in Akaris. Although even the mighty Coven-Pacted daemon’s lore was no more complete than that of the lesser demonic powers in Cogerron, he could insinuate to Akaris that a particular object could be found there, an artifact too powerful for Akaris to wield (even considering daemonic ambitions) but strong enough for Anthraxus to regain his seat. In return for the successful retrieval, Anthraxus would rescind the Patents of Stasis and propel the yagnodaemon into a place of power in the new era of his dominance over Nether politics. Thus Akaris was sent, and thus the daemon hunts for that most elusive of demonic artifacts, implied to him by Anthraxus’s poisoned lips: The Rod of Fraz’Urb’Luu (Anthraxus is more than aware of the Prince of Illusions’ interest in the layer).
Naturally they are both lying to each other. Their deceits are so transparent that at this point, for any truth to pass between them beyond the most basically factual would be shocking, a level of falsehood extreme even for their kind. Anthraxus knows that Akaris would have done or said practically anything to get away from Gehenna – and just as importantly, to stay away from the Furnaces. Similarly, Akaris knows that Anthraxus will never actually lift the Patents of Stasis, and will probably kill him instead. Still, Akaris was so willing to get away from the rest of the daemons that he willingly accepted what he saw as escape from both the constant risk of death from the manifold conflicts of Carceri and the daemonic hierarchy of The Grey Wastes.
Akaris has had no success whatsoever in finding The Rod of Fraz 'Urb Luu. In fact, Akaris thinks that the Rod of Fraz 'Urb Luu has absolutely nothing to do with Cogerron and is stalling Anthraxus as best he can (which isn't very competently at all) in order to avoid informing the Nether Fiend of his failings-or acting publically in a way that indicates that he is taking the wrong path directly, and risking being slaughtered by one of his underlings by an ambitious underling. Akaris is quite likely to end up abandoning Anthraxus entirely and becoming yet another independent faction. However, this betrayal is not entirely due to his purely evil nature; it is also the direct result of contact with one of Cogerron’s enigmatic contents, a rough five-pointed star of porous grey stone found quite accidentally. This object has altered Akaris to a horrific degree that he has thus far tried to hide from his master, even as the stone whispers into his mind alien things that compel him to abandon Anthraxus’s mission entirely and join the darkness of the mazeworks below.
Akaris' hideously warped form barely betrays any trace of his true origins as a yagnodaemon. Instead of the typical arm that drains the life from those that it touches, Akaris' mouth has been modified into an insectile sucking mouthpiece which deals negative levels, needle-sharpened at the end like that of a tick or other parasitic insect. He is barely humanoid and his bloated torso is covered with a black and brown spotted carapace that leaks a foul ichor between its joints. Flightless, he propels himself on legs that scarcely seem to be of sufficient size and strength to move him at all, much less with any measure of speed.
Due to Anthraxus and Akaris' very specific interests, they control a comparatively small number of stelae. The territory controlled by them is similarly diminutive compared to other factions. For the most part its complement consists of those daemons that balance between being sufficiently pathetic to be susceptible to intimidation by Akaris and the more distant threat of Anthraxus personally and having enough might and knowledge to avoid falling to Cogerron's myriad traps and other dangers. They include a sizable number of canodaemons, a few nycadaemons that are particularly disgraced elsewhere in the Depths Below, and a massive array of derghodaemons that have been modified through Anthraxus' magicks to be unusually potent within the layer.
Thphonis: Unity is a foreign concept to the Proteans for the most part, with little that they agree upon except experiencing Creation in all its forms and varieties. One particular element of disunity among the Proteans is the value of puzzles. One faction among them came to believe that solving puzzles was in itself, a lawful activity by providing an implication that perhaps all puzzles, verbal, physical, or intellectual, could have solutions and hence would support the cause of Order. Another faction believed instead in the opposite tenet; that solving puzzles was nevertheless a form of experience like any other-and hence worthy of being sought after. One of the most intelligent and unorthodox among the Solvers (as the best appellation applied by those who use conventional language) was Thphonis (26 HD Imentesh Protean). Eventually, she discovered the existence of a layer that, according to all of her lore, seemed to be a puzzle in its own right. A puzzle which she quite naturally felt the need to solve.
This need became her overriding (and vaguely infamous) obsession, leading to the formation of one of The Pathless Nightmare's newest-and most bizarre factions. She seeks to eventually trigger all of the stelae in Cogerron simultaneously, this 'solving' the entire layer itself. Towards this end she has settled within Cogerron and dedicated herself to finding out as much about the stelae and when possible, activating them. Few among the Proteans actually follow her. Still, there have been a few that think that the issue of Cogerron's solution is sufficiently interesting that they have chosen to join her in The Abyss. Thphonis has a loose conglomerate of two keketar, seventeen naunet, and a few dozen githzerai laborers and skirmishers in her following. Although any demon or Protean seen as following her is run off of or slain for approaching the major expeditions there are also several demons (notably, an asakku obsessed with inflicting insanity) and even a couple of mortal mages that assist her in solving what is indirectly referred to as The Conundrum.
To study The Abyss in such detail does not come without consequence. Exile would connote unity through stigma among the Proteans and so no sanction could or will be applied against her by others of her kind. Instead, it is the nature of The Abyss and of Cogerron itself that has made Thphonis and those who agreed with her increasingly distinctive-and increasingly twisted. The Pathless Nightmare is reshaping and malforming her as slowly and surely as some of the layer's less overtly malevolent flora. She has already physically changed to some degree, acquiring Ravages from the layer through circumstances that no one, especially her, has quite comprehended as yet. The changes in her mental state, although less obvious, are if anything far more disturbing as her methods of studying Cogerron have become just as cruel and vicious as any demon's. Thphonis is well on her way to becoming one of the few Proteans in the history of the species to become utterly corrupted by The Abyss. She is also the last being to suspect that this is happening.
If few Proteans will have much to do with her (especially given her recent changes), there are even fewer among the normal array of Abyssal denizens that consider themselves in any way her supporters. In some ways, the degree to which she is not believed in her ambition actually protects her. If Thphonis' ambitions were taken more seriously she would either be seen as a threat and eliminated or seen as a potential resource to be used until she could contribute no further to whoever sought to manipulate her more efficiently.
The Frenzy: A wound-like gorge seven miles long from which spring rivers of black goo at each end, the Frenzy is always full of the Ones Blind Beneath, crowding each other around a singular silver rock at the center of the gorge. The creatures swarm over their brethren and the rock, tearing each other to pieces or trampling them underfoot.
Despite the overwhelming hostility of The Frenzy the major factions have still made furtive attempts to explore it for their own ends. In times past, a predecessor of Xulith attempted to lure The Frenzy in its entirety out of its location and goad it to attack every faction that threatened Demogorgon's ambition to control Cogerron. This direct attempt failed so badly that not only were most members of the faction at the time slain by the Ones Blind Beneath, but as punishment for the failure, the barely surviving demon who led the attempt was given over to the Ungorthiax and slain. Since then attempts to both study or manipulate The Frenzy have been far more subtle-but even with increased subtlety, fatalities still occur quite frequently. The Frenzy is an oft-used means of disposal for both enemies and overly ambitious subordinates.
The most notable discovery with regards to The Frenzy has also been happened quite recently and it was made by Abraxas' Tetrad. After they deciphered when The Ones Blind Beneath were both spawned within it and were more active throughout Cogerron, they realized that The Frenzy is in some bizarre way a timekeeping or coordinating system as to their creation and their attacks against interlopers. This knowledge is naturally guarded quite jealously among them as it has enabled them to explore far more of The Pathless Nightmare during the periods of relative maleidolon inactivity, or to divert their enemies into regions where the Ones Blind Beneath are far more active. However, they have yet to make any serious attempts to manipulate The Frenzy itself, lest they inadvertently alert their rivals that they have figured out far more of its nature.
The Frenzy can be found by any being that is enraged or otherwise mentally disturbed when the attempt to teleport to it is made. This disturbed state can be induced either by class features such as rage or through magic.
The Lake of Scales: Not a lake at all, this depression is filled with a truly immense squamous spewer (Draconomicon; 60 HD, Colossal+) that writhes in near-eternal slumber. The amorphous creature has not been known to leave the sinkhole it lairs in but it has awakened to devour creatures that come too close to its ‘shore’, and will breathe on creatures whose presence it finds overly onerous. Despite the dangers, several expeditions have sought the means to force the creature to vacate the spot in the event it is guarding some great treasure or important cavern entrance beneath its dwelling. So far none of them have been particularly successful in this effort. The Lake of Scales is located near the Slithering Vale and is about a week's travel away using the best known labyrinths and passageways. Teleportationz or planeshifting directly to the Lake requires one being within the group that is capable of damaging others with its breath.
Mar-Motah: So named for the word carved out in Abyssal letters into the stone arch that marks the location (a word that has no known meaning), Mar-Motah stands in the middle of a still pond of thick, grey liquid. Though the liquid is nothing like water, numerous assassin vines, mobile plant monsters such as Corrupted (BoVD) tendriculoses, and teeming masses of insect-like pests swarm the area, though what these last feed upon, if anything, is unknown. Mar-Motah is otherwise somewhat placid and contains no immediately discernible menaces other than the indigenous life. However, it has ceased for some time to be occupied. The All-Watcher also seems drawn to any activity in Mar-Motah within a very short time, coming to investigate and kill anything it finds there not of the layer’s indigenous inhabitants within a period of 2d6 minutes. Further, though it may also be due to the All-Watcher, several small garrisons have simply vanished without a trace when near to the pond, and the various expedition leaders have all cut their losses and ceased trying to explore Mar-Motah’s significance-with one notable exception: Abraxas. The Lord of Names almost constantly observes Mar-Motah through the Tetrad at a minimum – even though doing so may alert Baphomet's minions as to their interest. Infrequently, he also rotates his minions there every few days for short periods to cast divinations upon the arch before the All-Watcher’s invariable arrival.
There are also several other inexplicable elements of Mar-Motah. Abyssal as a language is comparatively recent, and in fact, far postdates the apparent creation of Cogerron as a layer. However, no investigation conducted through magic (and at a safe distance) has indicated that the construction of Mar-Motah is any less ancient as than the layer itself. Beings that remain around Mar-Motah for longer than twenty four hours find themselves the beneficiaries of a nondetection effect that is virtually impossible to eliminate for around forty two hours afterwards. However, the effect itself can be penetrated by other beings that have similarly benefitted from Mar-Motah at any other time during their lives.
Mar-Motah can be reached through magic by any being that has had its name altered in a fundamental sense. As the word magic necessary for such an alteration is rare (although not surprisingly, known to The Tetrad) upon those occasions in which other factions wish to reach it, travel is typically a long and arduous overland process. So far only the faction of Demogorgon has successfully made the attempt.
Piecemeal Menagerie One of the most disturbing locales in Cogerron, in a layer itself that often stymies the bizarre thoughts of the Abyss' denizens, is the Piecemeal Menagerie. It is named as such for two reasons. The first, and most notable, is that it consists of a series of displays of demons, none of which have been found anywhere in The Abyss since the ascension of Flauros and the selection of the Queen of Chaos as his Consort. The second is that those demonic prisoners of the menagerie are not stored intact. Rather, they are preserved in various configurations of viscera, body parts, and forms that are not physically connected to each other, but at the same time, manage to keep the prisoners alive. It apparently utilizes techniques similar to those once used by the more bizarre qlippothim, only far more ancient in order to keep creatures alive in a physically discontinuous format.
Opening the 'displays' is difficult and in all of the better known recorded history of the Piecemeal Menagerie it has only been successfully accomplished by a former faction member that once served Demogorgon and Abraxas himself during Madness and Bile-but before the layer became better known throughout The Abyss. From what discoveries have been made of it, all of the hearts are missing, and seem to have gone missing not long after the initial burst of discoveries once the secrets of reaching Cogerron escaped the control of Baphomet. The Piecemeal Menagerie is located within ten miles of The Frenzy and several hundred feet downwards into the subterranean labyrinths. There are multiple pathways downwards to it of lesser or greater degrees of difficulty to access and the caverns are of varying degrees of stability.
The Piecemeal Managerie can be reached by any being that is somehow physically disconnected from itself yet remains sentient. Liches with their phylacteries present or zhedin possessing multiple hosts (particularly ekimmu) are common means by which the region can be reached. In another oddity of the Piecemeal Menagerie, attempting to open a display will almost invariably provoke the creation and/or the attack of the Ones Blind Beneath. In comparison, carrying any artifact or item of Cogerron will prevent such an attack, and in fact seems to inhibit the ruhin maleidolon from interfering with any being proximate to those bearing such an item. This eccentricity has allowed for the extended exploration of the Piecemeal Menagerie, although with little success so far.
The Pyramid: One of the only known ‘complete’ structures aboveground, this five-sided pyramid of violet, rank flesh is crowned with three withered, alien arms grasping clusters of eyes clouded over with cataracts yet still moving beneath blinking purple sclera. The Pyramid is continually growing and shrinking in no discernible pattern, but it is always more than large enough for a multitude of Colossal creatures to dwell within. The entrance to the Pyramid is a great, puckered orifice that seems to respond to any creature not of the undead type (it does not seem capable of detecting the undead) that approaches it by opening with a horrid sucking sound. Sometimes this portal unleashes numerous thorn-studded tentacles, torrents of poisonous feculence, or flocks of fanged maws on wings, but at other times it has allowed creatures to enter the edifice unmolested or created portals to other aboveground locations in Cogerron (never the underground mazeworks). The interior of the Pyramid stinks of unbelievable rot and decay, and is lit by coursing streams of luminescent tumors that erupt in series, leading creatures deeper into the bowels of the structure. Vast ulcers open in the walls and floor, discharging poisonous gases or vicious beasts, and it is seemingly impossible to avoid the slimy muck that coats every surface. The Pyramid, uniquely, seems to have no discernible method by which it can be teleported to, although it is possible to teleport to any of the stelae nearby with comparatively little trouble. What, if any, meaning this particular anomaly has remains unknown to this day.
Slithering Vale: The closest approximation Cogerron has to any central location is the Slithering Vale – as it is within ten miles of most of the best known entrance points upon the layer. It is named as such due to the presence of a unique and disturbing form of plant life present there: a unique form of vine that resembles nothing else as much as a form of eyeless and headless serpent (they are not seemingly related to Graz’zt’s viper trees). These range anywhere from five to ten feet long and are of various sickening colorations. They seem to be spawned by some phenomenon or origin located at the bottom of the vale. However, such rare attempts as have been made to discover how this is accomplished have only revealed that the vale is several thousand feet deep and that the slithering vines seem to be spawned from all points from within the valley without discernible pattern.
The Slithering Vale is one of the most stable locations within Cogerron in terms of teleportation or planeshifting. Carrying or bearing any kind of reptilian scale or skin, even a small fragment, is sufficient to keep a group of beings using either means of transport together. Otherwise, the same scattering effect applies, but will only move beings within ten feet of each other instead of far more significant distances.
The Theater of Gouges: Appearing to be a round crater melted into the ground of Cogerron, the pitted surface of the Theater imprisons numerous demons and other creatures that twitch in agony and are unable to free themselves. Anything that treads on the solid-seeming stone of the Theater may find the ground suddenly turn into liquid as it tries to add to the ‘collection’ already being tormented within its embrace. Every few moments, spurs erupt from the crater floor to impale the imprisoned creatures (they also rise up to stab low-flying creatures, forcing a Ref save DC 42 in order to avoid them, and they can reach creatures up to two hundred feet in their air), tearing them to pieces over and over again; these stony spikes seemingly prefer to enter any orifices present in such prisoners, and the resulting scenes of carnage defy all sane description, particularly on the rare occasions that mortals have stumbled across the Theater of Gouges. No creature caught by the Theater seems capable of dying despite the continual violations. At the exact center of the crater is one of the stelae, though whether it created the Theater or is merely defended by it none can say (the imprisoned creatures are unable to communicate through their eternal agony and their sufferings impede attempts at normal communication).
The Theater, unfortunately, is one of the easiest regions to reach within Cogerron as it can be done with the presence of any being that is physically suffering when the attempt at teleportation or planeshifting takes place. For this reason it is often used as a means of 'disposal' for those beings that are attempting to get rid of rivals whether within their faction or without-by misdirecting them in such a way that the Theater will do their work for them, without ever being seen as directly responsible for their demise.
The All-Watcher: The All-Watcher is a Colossal tree-shaped construct of mottled gray and cyanotic blue rubbery flesh covered with eyes, presumably under the perpetual control of the Malign Sentience of the layer (or perhaps it is even the source of this effect), and resembling in many ways an overseer beholderkin. It seems to roam the expanses of Cogerron at random and can appear anywhere on the layer However, as yet, it has not crossed paths with the primary camps of the factions because of the vastness of the Torment. The All-Watcher seems to be connected to the underlying mechanism of the layer, resetting the stelae regardless of their specific criteria otherwise (it apparently has a preternatural sense in terms of detecting when their mechanisms are disturbed, and can reset stelae while ignoring any specific conditions required) wherever it can and killing everything that it comes across. It can render itself invisible, moves effortlessly between spaces on the surface (and possibly beneath), and seems to reappear shortly after it is destroyed. It is apparently without intellect or speech and ignores all attempts to communicate with it. Whatever it is, whether a guardian or part of the layer itself, it seems virtually if not truly invulnerable. Thus far, several of the factions, specifically those with a mind to conserve their forces, have deployed multiple teams of servitors to divide the attention of the All-Watcher by solving several stelae at once. The All-Watcher often interrupts its course to address a new stela’s change which has led to occasional cycles of causing the creature to chase solutions in a circle for days at a time. Eventually, however, the creature will always break the consistency of this behavior or another condition will alter the cycle (such as another faction’s efforts or the actions of Cogerron’s other inhabitants).
Ones Blind Beneath: The massive mazes below the surface labyrinths of Cogerron are occupied by monstrosities known simply as the Ones Blind Beneath. Their appearance strongly implicates that they are qlippothim because of their alien physiologies and the degree of terror and fear that they inflict even upon other demons. In fact the Ones Blind Beneath are not qlippoth at all, but something far more insidious and alarming. The Ones Blind Beneath are ruhin maleidolon unique to Cogerron that are literally created by the interaction of the layer's visitors (or as Cogerron sees them, invaders) with the layer itself. They are the congealed terror and fear of Cogerron's potential victims given physical form in order to 'defend' it. The Ones Blind Beneath have no set appearance, but they are always horrifying. Their only common behavioral trait is that they are vicious, near-mindless predators that attack any living thing drawing their attention, especially in the mazeworks and areas such as the Frenzy which they frequent. Once within the mazeworks, the Ones Blind Beneath will always arrive to attack the invaders within 1d4+1 hours.
Cogerron Knowledge (the planes) Table Knowledge (the planes) DC Sample Information Acquired 20 Cogerron is a labyrinthine layer fought over by most of the major Abyssal factions because of the presence of valuable and rare artifacts there. 25 Cogerron can be accessed from any of its portals with unsolved puzzles, or items or situations with similar symbology. 30 You are aware of Cogerron's better known dangers-as well as the more recognizable stelae and the means by which they are triggered. 35 The two powers of The Abyss that appear to have discovered Cogerron first are Abraxas and Baphomet. 40 You are aware of most of the major factions residing in Cogerron and the nature of their forces present within the labyrinth-layer. 45 Cogerron appears to predate the era of qlippothic dominance.