Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Von Furstenberg Schism, pt. 5: What is Lys von Furstenberg doing?

While the PCs deal with the various perils of the jungle of Magyaru, the von Furstenberg party is making its way inland from the other (Western) side of the island. But what would draw a sorceress to this island? Why are they here? They are here to bargain with the Ancient Ones of Magyaru that are rumored in various ancient tomes to haunt the ruins. There is an artifact here, one that reputedly allows communication with the Old Ones, and promises access to the very limits of arcane knowledge.

Lys von Furstenburg wants to learn to harness their powers, and hopes to trade "food," in the form of human slaves, for knowledge of the Illusion and Dream Killer powers of the Old Ones.

The necromancer Marak Longinus Delacroix hopes to draw from the wells of the Old Ones' knowledge of life and death for knowledge of, and dominion over, the realm of death and its denizens. He also is getting on in years, and can feel his own creeping mortality. He also recently has found knowledge suggesting a way to avert death, though it will require his own death to do so: He wants to become the first Liche Lord since the Time of Legends, and undead sorcerer king to rival the Emperor himself. He plans to offer the Old Ones the possibility of freedom in exchange for their knowledge.

Their party consists of:
·         Lys von Furstenburg
·         Marak Longinus Delacroix
·         Koraline Fast
·         Lexandro the Slaver
·         8 Generic Scum
·         25 Human Slaves

Later, when the players encounter the von Furstenberg party, they will all be gathered in a cavernous room with grotesque carvings of beings whose forms are enough to crush the sanity of a prole. The slaves are notably fearful and some are, in fact, well beyond the boundaries of sanity. 

Within the room is an object, or maybe a device.

The Obelisk of the Old Ones

In the room, there is a large artifact made of an unknown metallic "stone." It's more or less a six sided obelisk, carved with intricate symbols which are constantly fading and emerging on (in? behind?) its surface. Merely looking at the obelisk requires an Ordinary Willpower Test (+0), or the person looking at it becomes rapt, and will gaze at it indefinitely, lost in the play of space and time, reality and Warp. He or she may make additional Willpower Tests each round, but each failed roll adds a degree of difficulty to next test. Also, each round of "rapture" under the influence of the obelisk results in 1d10 Insanity Points, plus 2 points per round of past influence (i.e., a person who has failed 2 Willpower Tests to escape its influence would take 1d10 plus 1d10+2 IP).

If the person interacting with the obelisk succeeds in the Willpower Test, he or she may break free from looking at it. Alternately, he or she may choose to make a Challenging (-10) Psyniscience Test, which will allow him or her to learn at the feet (tentacles?) of the Old Ones. Here's how that works:

Make one roll, each, against Intelligence, Willpower, and Fellowship. Count the total degrees of success/failure and use the following as a guide.

4 or more Success
Dark Pact*; acquire Talent (1-3 Foresight, 4-6 Light Sleeper or 7-10 Paranoia), +10 to Forbidden Lore (Occult); +10 to Forbidden Lore (Warp).
3 Success
Soul Bound**; Acquire Talent (1-3 Foresight, 4-6 Light Sleeper or 7-10 Paranoia), +10 to Forbidden Lore (Occult); +10 to Forbidden Lore (Warp), and 1d3 Random Arcane Magic Spells from any area.
2 Success
Acquire Talent (1-3 Foresight, 4-6 Light Sleeper or 7-10 Paranoia), +10 Forbidden Lore (Occult); +10 Forbidden Lore (Old Ones).
1 Success
+10 Forbidden Lore (Occult); +10 Forbidden Lore (Old Ones), and 1d2 Random Arcane Magic Spells.
+10 Forbidden Lore (Occult); +10 Forbidden Lore (Old Ones)
1 Failure
1d10 Insanity; 1d10 Corruption
2 Failure
2d 10 Insanity; 2d10 Corruption; 1 Malignancy.
3 Failure
2d10 Insanity; 2d10 Corruption; 1 Minor Mutation.
4 or more Failure
3d10 Insanity; 3d10 Corruption; 1 Major Mutation.
*In exchange for making a Dark Pact with the Old Ones, you get the following—
+5 Intelligence and Perception, Power Well, +1 to Magic Rating, Unnatural Toughness, Knowledge of an Arcane Magic or a Dark Magic discipline not already known, and 1d5+1 new spells in that area. You also become a member of a Cult and acquire the Peer (Cultists) talent, and are required to recruit members and organize them into cells, seeking the return of the Old Ones and their more powerful minions.
** A Soul  Bound character must make a Very Hard -30 Willpower Test to engage in actions that run counter to the interests of the Old Ones.

This is a very, very powerful artifact, but one fraught with dangers for those without the will (and luck with the dice) to master it. Even at the highest degrees fo success, the person using the artifact must pay a steep price for the power(s) he or she is granted. Failure, of course, is rewarded with insanity, corruption, and the potential for mutation. Roll well, or grow some new appendages, you crazy bastards.