By and large, the Planes are presented in the Planescape supplements as deadly serious places. The Upper Planes have a vision of the Multiverse as it should be and a sacred duty to pursue it across all obstacles. Mechanus is proverbially humorless and Limbo is incomprehensible. The Lower Planes are places of drear, fear, and hatred. But laughter is an important part of many mortal lives, and a tragically missing element in many others. It's a powerful tool for communication and even manipulation. Thus, there are almost certainly places on any plane concerned with projecting a philosophy -- which is most of them -- where humor is studied, honed, and used.
So this thread is for ideas on how the Planes deal with humor. You can describe places the players will find funny, places where the NPCs will find the PCs a source of humor, places that philosophize about humor, things to obtain regarding humor, people who specialize in it: you name it.
This is probably the easiest plane to discuss. Both the Greek and the elven side of Arborea are known for their humor. The Greeks even have a deity: Thalia, Muse of comedy and idyllic poetry. Comedy is one of the great theatrical forms, regularly performed and taught in the training of bards and other performers from the region. Of course, comedy is not contained within the amphitheatre; it also plays its part in the cut and thrust of rhetoric, taught to the Greeks' orators for use in persuasion, commerce, and all manner of other situations.
To the Greeks, humor is about recognizing absurdities in life, and accepting the fundamental ones. There will always be paradoxes, mysteries and ironies; what can't be penetrated can still be appreciated. Resignation can come with a laugh at oneself or one's situation; good humor can make the workload lighter.
A PC seeking humor in Olympus will find many places to partake of performances, and many schools and professionals willing to train them in an ancient and respected art form. The temples and academies of the Muses will contain precincts devoted to Thalia where more specialized services and experts may be found.
The elves and the fey, on the other hand, favor a wilder sort of humor: pranks and gags are commonplace, especially on the unsuspecting. These are generally meant to puncture undue self-importance and attachments. Though long-lived and in some cases immortal, much of the beauty that these races revere is transitory: performance art, the passing seasons.
However, they're also known for pulling jokes in the middle of mortal combat -- to defeat an evil enemy is good, and for him to know that he is easily defeated is better. Fiends are often prideful, and embarassment is an arrow aimed straight at pride's heart. Both Squelaiche, Jester of the Seelie Court, and Nathair Sgiathach, fey deity of pranks and mischief, oversee some aspects of this practice.
Someone seeking humor in Arvandor will certainly find it. If they're well-off and seeking exotic entertainment, they may find themselves the butt of the joke, but usually only until they get the point. If they're someone who needs a touch of laughter to bring light to a dark life, the elves and the fey will almost certainly be able to provide.
A bard trained on Arborea may select, at any bard level where he would learn a new type of bardic music, to replace the type with "Inspire Energy (Sp): A bard with 3 or more ranks in a Perform skill can use his music or poetics to encourage his allies to vigor. To be affected, an ally must be able to hear the bard sing. The effect lasts for as long as the ally hears the bard sing and for 5 rounds thereafter. An affected ally can ignore the effects of a fatigued condition that existed at the start of the bard's performance. Inspire Energy is a mind-affecting ability."
Typically bards who take this song replace fascinate or suggestion (usually for moral reasons regarding mind control), or a level of inspire courage. If a level of fascinate or suggestion is replaced, the opportunities to obtain fascinate, suggestion or mass suggestion move up to the next such place respectively. If a level of inspire courage is replaced, future levels may be taken with the total reduced by 1.
As above, but the bard requires 15 ranks in Perform and an ally may ignore an exhausted state. Greater Vivacity requires Arborean Vivacity as a prerequisite.
There is a great deal of humor in the Abyss. None of it is kind. The laughter of demons comes in gales of cackling hordes and echoes down the halls of cruel overlords. It is mockery at its most brutal: lethal slapstick. Humor is just another way to express your power over others and your good fortune in not being the victim of their ill fortune. For once, you're not on the receiving end -- yuk it up, tomorrow may be your day.
In combat, demonic humor is an inverted reflection of the fey's: you can gain an advantage if you can demoralize your foe by a display of strength and callousness. To laugh at their pain, or in response to their attempt to harm you, is to show your invincibility.
There are a few places in the Abyss particularly devoted to laughter. Some petty demon lords spend their days seeking new jests to amuse their rapidly jading immortal fancies, and on rare occasions reward richly the performer who manages to break through their boredom, though more often the attempt ends in another type of performance. The entertainment of prisoners thrown into combat against impossible odds is often great fun, though woe to the mortal who dares upset the punch line by failing to die bloodily at the hands of his tormentor. In realms of bizarre illusion one may find all logic reducing into absurdity, a shaggy dog story that will go on until Armageddon. To beings that consider the entire Multiverse unreasonable, these places are no stranger than the rest of Creation.
Demon's Cackle Cost: 500gp
This bloodstained totem can be carried anywhere on the body. It has a single charge. If the user would become staggered or unconscious from nonlethal damage, the item expends its charge and the user ignores the condition. Instead, they begin laughing creepily and uncontrollably -- not enough to mimic the spell Hideous Laughter, but enough to interfere with speech, spellcasting that has verbal components, or the use of bardic music. The laughter and the consciousness last for 1d4+1 rounds, after which if the nonlethal damage has not been healed, the user suffers the staggered or unconscious conditions normally.
Faint conjuration [evil]; CL 3rd; Craft Wondrous Item, hideous laughter, creator must obtain blood from a living demon; Price 500gp.