Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bettellyn: The Grand Reliquary -- Part I

Continued from the previous article.  Click HERE to go back.

This religious center sits on the banks of the Llyn River, just a few miles upstream from Citadel, the capital city of Bettellyn.  Its purpose is to display and protect ancient relics of Bettellyn faith.  The reliquary marks the center of a gated community of mystics and clerics whose role is to pray to and meditate about The Seven.  Chapels, cloisters, steeples, offices, dormitories, kitchens, refectories, workshops, barns, wells, gardens, statues of archons on pedestals, walled orchards and vegetable patches surround the reliquary.  Every hour, bells, gongs, and chimes ring, marking the passage of time.  Peaceful chanting echoes from the chapels.

Entrance to the estate is free between dawn and sunset.  Daytime passage to chapels, offices, and the reliquary itself is unrestricted.  A road leads directly from the main gate to the reliquary.  Along the way, faithfuls slowly make their way to the ancient structure, taking three or seven steps, kneeling, and touching the cobblestones with their foreheads before standing up and taking a few more steps.  Carved stone bins protected under tiled roofs lie at regular intervals along the road and near chapels, enabling faithfuls to light incense sticks.  A thin haze, heavy with the scent of camphor and dragon’s blood, floats in the streets at peak time.  Faithfuls may take several hours before reaching the reliquary, all under the watchful gaze of mystics assigned to the compound’s security.  Visitors bearing bulky bags, backpacks, weapons, and armor will be asked to check them at the entrance before proceeding.  Any combat equipment must be concealed from sight to get past mystics guarding the entrance.

Mystics: My3, AC7, hp 11, MV 140’, AT#1 (open hand, baton, or bolas), Dmg d6 or by weapon, ML8; AL L.  Adepts of Samarion.  St14, In10, Wi13, Dx13, Co12, Ch9.

Six mystic watch the main gate.  Twenty more watch the road to the reliquary.  Another 74 are spread out in the compound along with a score of clerics of various levels, tending to daily duties.  Two out of six mystics carry bolas.  The remainder wield white batons equivalent to blackjacks.  For every ten mystics involved in a security action, a master will show up.  If more than 20 are involved, a cleric will also be present.

Master Mystic: My8, AC2, hp 28, MV 190’, AT#2 (open hand), Dmg d12+1, ML9; AL L.  Witness of Samarion.  St15, In12, Wi16, Dx14, Co13, Ch11.

Cleric Overseer: C10, AC5, hp 45, MV 120’, AT#1 mace +1, Dmg d6+1, ML8; AL L.  Messenger of Samarion.  St12, In13, Wi17, Dx10, Co11, Ch12.  Roll 1d6: Potion of ESP (1-2), Potion of Healing (3-4), Potion of Waterbreathing (5-6).

Seen from the outside, the site features a thirty-foot-tall, gate-less, circular wall and seven, evenly-spaced towers topped with a glass-like structure.  During daytime, simply touching the wall will teleport Lawful visitors inside, at the center point between the towers (and vice versa when coming out).  Those who aren’t of the proper ethos will be teleported outside the compound instead, about 3d10 feet above the nearby river.  This magical effect is limited after sunset to bearers of a medallion of Samarion.  Lower level mystics or clerics only have a 10% chance of wearing one.  All upper ranks do bear medallions.

The open courtyard within the wall is covered with glazed tiles laid out in concentric patterns of heptagons and hexagons.  Smooth and featureless white marble coats the towers.  Large stained glass windows appear at each angle, marking the locations of three intermediary floors.  A bronze-plated door adorned with archon carvings allows access to each tower’s ground floor.  At night, the carved archons seem to be holding fast the doors' edges—these portals are wizard-locked until sunrise.  Although relatively crowded with wide-eyed visitors marveling at the relics inside the towers, the site remains deserted after sunset.  Mystics will check the towers at sunset to verify everyone left, before locking the doors with a simple command word.  A Messenger of Samarion will thereafter disable the wall’s daytime teleport feature and head to a chapel for the vespers.

Scale: 1 square = 10 ft.  These towers are identical: one ground floor with a magical bronze door (Area 1), three intermediary upper floors (Areas 2-4) and one top level enclosed within walls of force shaped to resemble an Eiffel-like, glass-and-metal structure (Area 5).  Each stairs segment, 30' long by 20' wide, rises about ten feet above the previous, giving the stairs a gentle angle.  Area 5 therefore lies about 160 feet above ground.  Stone pillars stand at the stairs’ four corners.  Stained-glass, ogive-shaped windows measure 10’ wide by 20’ high.  The first row sits about 45’ above ground, 85’ for the next row, and 125’ for the last.  They are illusions designed to look like windows on both sides, reacting in accord with sunlight or moonlight.  As a convention for this adventure, arrows on the map point toward the tops of the stairs.  Doors are about three feet wide by six feet tall.

Tower A: Elarion; B: Ardonyl; C: Astafiel; D: Horana; E: Sabbaiah; F: Eyoth; G: Samarion.

Area 1. Archon’s Landing

The bronze door displays a representation of the corresponding archon, as described in the original Bettellyn article.  Companions of the Faith should be able to identify immortal archons.  Trying to bash down the door incurs 30% chance per round of alerting mystics outside the structure; a
Turn later they will mount a concerted action against the transgressors (30 mystics, 3 masters, and a Messenger of Samarion, in addition to all those waiting outside).

At the center of the ground floor stands a bronze statue of the appropriate archon, 16’ tall and on top a 6’ high plinth.  It is a bronze golem which activates when someone breaks through the door or when the tingle of small bells echoes inside the tower (see Areas 2-4).  The bronze golem attacks anyone moving.  The stone plinth may levitate, enabling the golem to quietly reach as far up as Area 4.  It may then step off the levitating plinth and pursue transgressors upstairs to the top level (Area 5).  It ignores foes who drop to the ground and remain motionless.  If all targets are prone, the bronze golem keeps watching until relieved by a Messenger of Samarion (2d4 rounds after the golem begins its vigil or after its destruction).

Bronze Golem: AC0, HD 20***, hp 90, MV 240’ (80’), AT#1 fist, Dmg 3d10 first + 1d10 heat, Save F10, ML12; AL N.  Special Defense: fiery blood—save vs. death ray or take 2d6 points of damage when scoring a hit with an edged weapon; immune to fire-based attacks.  Unless disintegrated or wished away, the golem regenerates an hour later.  If alone at the time, it returns to Area 1 and resumes its watch.

The ground floor features mosaics on the walls and floors representing scenes from the appropriate archon’s lore.  It is otherwise empty, including its four corner areas.

Click HERE to continue.

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