Chapter 3 - Initiation
© 2009 - Randal Snyder
This adventure is the first follow-up to Chapter 2 - A Lesson in Loyalty.
While it is possible to adapt the adventure without using Chapter 1 or 2, there are characters that are introduced in Chapter 1 and 2 that will need to be referenced. Characters can be of any experience level, but is best used with new and inexperienced PCs.
With the success of the previous two missions and the successful recovery of the artifacts that Lady Soldat was seeking, the group has proven themselves worthy of joining the Order of Seekers. The only question remains - do they want to?
The information about the Seekers is located in Chapter 1.
The group is requested to stay at the Lady Soldat's home for another week. During which, she has arranged for the Order to gather at another villa in the town. Mid-week the invitations for a formal dinner party are delivered to each character in the group.
"In great honor do we request thy presence for a feast for the finest friends. For the feast is in your honor for we are in debt to your heroic deeds.
As lights in the dark, you have shown the way for a future generation. You have sought the truth and found the way.
Honorable Duke Flanar de' Lorain"
If the group begins to ask around, they will be told that it is a huge honor to be granted an invitation to the Duke Flanar's home not to mention a gala in honor of them. The group will be required to dress splendidly in dress uniforms with gold rope trim and the like or ball gowns for the ladies. A tailor of suitable skill is in the service of the Lady Soldat.
However, not all voices are so kind. Duke Flanar is known among the commoners as a cruel man who often beats his servants, ridicules the commoners, and despises non-humans. It is widely rumored that he once used sorcery to cheat a man of his daughter's hand in marriage - though no one can prove it.
Even worse, a knoll stumbled into town during the week claiming to have been cursed by the god Mortarious - god of death. A pestilence spread among his people after a group matching the character's descriptions passed through their encampment. Something foul and sinister surrounded them, the knoll continued. He died of fever not long after. Since then some of the villagers have become sick too.
The knoll carried with him Bolhas' Fire , a disease spread by flees. Humans and fair skinned creatures turn red with fever including painful blisters that often fill with blood and burst. Victims of Bolhas' Fire often die. Bolhas is a god of disease and brother to Rascion the god of pestilence and waist. Flees will leave a victim only a few minutes before the character dies.
Characters present when a victim of the disease dies have a Luck T# 12 to avoid being bitten by a flee. A successful Resilience T# 15 roll means that the disease does not affect the character. It will take two days for the Fire of Bolhas to take effect. On the third day, the character will suffer a high fever, body aches, and a -3 penalty to all skill checks including Stun.
The fever will last five days during which, the character must make a Resilience T# 15 or lose 1 point of Health. If the character's Health reaches 0 then he dies. The fever breaks after the fifth day and the character's Health score will return in time. Roll a Resilience T# 15 once per day. Each success results in one point of Health being recovered.
A successful Medical Aid check vs. T# 15 will grant the character +1d5 to his Resilience roll.
Eventually, the day arrives and a coach is sent to collect the group. Along the road to Duke Flanar's estate the group will overhear the worried cries of a woman who's child has contracted. If the group includes several unusual species then the towns folk will recognize them as the supposed cause of the disease. This will earn the group hostility and suspicion from the villagers. Seeing them dressed in posh clothing in the carriage will incite them to riot as they blame the rich for much of the commoner's suffering.
The Duke lives almost on the completely oposite side of town as the Lady Soldat. In fact, the two can see eachother's villas overlooking the town on opposite hills. Rows of torches light the path to the front steps of the home which is flanked by two guards dressed in red cloaks and carrying spears. As the group approaches the guards cross their spears commanding, "Halt. Those that would enter must prove themselves."
They will refuse to let the group enter until the proper response is given to the following phrases. The answer to each is in parenthesis.
Search out the truth (always)
Power lies beneath the surface (find the way)
History changes only the faces (uncover the mask)
If the players do not recall any of the responses, have them roll Intellect + Education checks vs. T# 20. They will each get three chances. If they fail, by less than 5 then one of the characters says something close enough to allow entry.
Once inside, they are greeted by a long hallway flanked on either side by red robed figures each holding a lit candle. In unison the congregation speaks, "Behold the path of the Order. In darkness they must seek the light." Suddenly all candles are blown out and the room becomes completely dark save an angelic figure at the far end of the hall. The Lady Soldat, dressed in a white robe adorned with the symbol of K'aya, a golden upside down triangle with a single eye in the center. Her voice strong and proud calls out. "Step forth from the darkness and embrace enlightenment."
If the group does not move forward one of the hooded men near them will tell them to move.
Once in front of the Lady, she will speak of secrets lost, found, and of those who are charged with discovering them. "Will you take up this charge? Will you take the mark? Swear loyalty to the oath of the Seekers." She asks this of each character. The first to agree will be approached by the Lady and offered a drink, a goblet filled with a sweet smelling liquid that is red like blood. "Through blood we are joined as one. Drink and submit to the mark of the Seeker." The drink is a potent, bitter sweet wine.
If at any time one of the characters refuses, he is escorted out and the ceremony will continue.
Two men approach and flank the character. One raises the character's right arm and the other grabs his left. A third aproaches with a burning red brand that causes 5d5 temporary damage from branding the symbol of K'aya into the underside of the character's arm.
After the last character is branded the collection of robed figures recites the phrases:
Search out the truth - always
Power lies beneath the surface - find the way
History changes only the faces - uncover the mask
The final act is presenting the new members a gold necklace with a pendant in the shape of the Eye of K'aya. Moments later torches are lit and the banquet hall is filled with servants moving tables in preparation for the feast to come. The necklace and pendant are worth 10 silver pieces to all but collectors who would pay up to 100 silver. However, these pendants are magic devices without any enchantments. Those with this knowledge may be willing to spend 1000 silver for such a trinket.
This is a feast of the finest people near Ren. If the group includes non-humans they will get the feeling that they are not welcome, specifically from the Duke Flanar himself. "You are not one of us no matter what they say. Inferior blood!" Many others, however, are delighted to see non-humans integrated into the Order. Looking about the room there are no non-humans present.
If at least one character in the group joined the Order of Seekers, they will be contacted in the future for more adventures, oportunity for treasure, and so on. If all of the group refused, then the Seekers will mark them as potential enemies. Though there will not be any open hostility, the Order will see to it that contracts are given to those friendly to the Order and not the group. They will use their influence in other ways such as bribing guards to give them a hard time or using their influence to shut the group out.
Most importantly though, if the group begins to interfere with the Seeker's plans, they will suffer the wrath of the Seekers in full force.