Interested parties have learned that the secluded monastery of Pelor on Perch Hill has acquired copies of several* volumes from the Evil Encyclopedia of Evil. Retrieve these documents by any means necessary and bring them to the temple of Quasxthe; ask for Viblet Kewne.**
* we suspect five, though the exact number is not known
** 1,000gp per volume
I mentioned in an earlier article that I created the Evil Encyclopedia of Evil to serve as a handy evil macguffin whenever I need it. This was the first thing I used it on (and indeed, I created the EEoE for this scenario).
Because I didn't ban it, most people were making evil characters. So I figured, okay, here, have an evil bounty (moreover, an easily-accomplished evil bounty, unlike the already-established "find merfolk to feed to Sir Bigglesworth's pet elephant" and "bounty for dead metallic dragons").
I don't think it was quite a conscious decision on my part, but it did wind up being completable in only one session. Which goes slightly against some of the originally-stated intentions of the open gaming table (among other things, "squeeze as much playtime out of as little material as possible"), but it worked out okay.
So, my first task: come up with a map for the monastery. After some searching for "monastery" and "temple" and "temple of Pelor" and so on, I found the Covenant of the Hallowed Doctrine Monastery, on page 111 of Heroes of Horror, and adapted it to my use.
a cloakroom (some bright yellow cloaks)
b weapon storage for guests (empty)
2 cleansing/purification room
3 dining room
4 dish room
6 changing room
7 training room
8 arsenal (a few maces, one or two of some other things)
9 communal sleeping room
10 abbot's chambers
11 chapel, sacred vessel (BoED 37) on altar
14 gardening shed
16 guest quarters
(light blue) duck pond
S stairs down
Randomly distributed around the grounds: 6 generic mongrelfolk (i.e., monks without monk levels, who I will henceforth call cenobites, which I'm sure is the name of some obscure prestige class, but that's okay). There was also a lantern archon in the chapel because lantern archons are neat, and Abbot Waxter (a cleric) and Prior Trakis (a paladin) in various places. (When the PCs actually got there, I discovered that I couldn't effectively open more than one character in Heroforge at once without slightly more effort than I wanted to go into in the middle of a session, so Waxter happened to be elsewhere at the time, probably ministering to Endeesy or one of the villages.)
So the players decided to take on this bounty. They somehow convinced the Lawful Good monk that it was a corrupted temple (I'm sad that nobody brought up Pelor, the Burning Hate).
So off they went! When they got to the monastery, the PCs came upon a peaceful cenobite weeding the garden, and after a brief conversation, promptly bludgeoned him into unconsciousness. Then, noticing some stables, the monk went to free the horses to cause a distraction, and came upon another cenobite tending the horses. There was a scuffle, and the cover was blown.
The rest of the party barged into the monastery itself, and bluffed most of the cenobites they found into going after the monk. They came upon Prior Trakis in the training room and the lantern archon in the chapel, and these two individuals would have none of it.
After a fair amount of battle, one of the cenobites had gathered up some injured others and escaped, the lantern archon teleported away to find Abbot Waxter, and Prior Trakis had been killed and his body looted (he had keys to all the doors in the place).
Then they went downstairs!
1 confiscated objects room (iron door)
2 empty crypt (the monastery was too new to have anybody to put here, though I'm sure Prior Trakis is there now)
S stairs up
c cell (iron door with small window)
In the confiscated objects room, the party discovered copies of the Book of Blight, Compendium of Corruption, Opuscule of Offensiveness, Report of Wrath, and Volume of Villainy, which they divvied up amongst the party members. They also discovered a male erinyes in antimagic shackles trapped in the furthest cell. The erinyes promised to do each of them a favour if they released him. They released him. Some of the party tried to get the erinyes's true name out of him by threatening him with holy water, and he was filled with glee and mirth and applauded this diabolical effort, but denied it with the "no wishing for more wishes" exemption. (The erinyes told them to call him Feathers, instead.) They then arranged for following the favours:
1.) never hurt any of them
2.) tell them everything he knows about the Evil Encyclopedia of Evil (which basically turned out to be everything in the item entry on the subject)
3.) never use any of the Evil Encyclopedia of Evil
4.) steal the volumes of the EEoE from Viblet Kewne once they cash in the bounty, and never tell anybody (not even the party) where he put them
5-6.) the erinyes just gave each party member a feather and told them to break it when they want to cash in the last favours
(3 and 4 might have been merged together, and Feathers owes them three, I can't quite perfectly remember, though I'm sure I wrote it down somewhere...)
Then they returned to the city and Viblet Kewne was just as slimy as they expected. The engineer dragon shaman pretended not to have one of the books so he could keep it, but they cashed in the other four for a cool 4,000gp. Then they went to a tavern, and after a bit, Feathers popped in to report that he had successfully reacquired the books.
I gently suggested that everybody should probably move one step closer to evil based on the events of the session, though it was only a suggestion rather than a command and I don't think anybody did (one evil mission might just be temporary misguidedness, plus they still wound up keeping the books out of the hands of the slimy Viblet Kewne and in the hands of an erinyes who has made a verbal contract never to use them (and devils are all about the contracts, so everything should be hunky dory so long as Feathers stays away from Helms of Opposite Alignment, though even then he'd turn Chaotic Good, so they should still be fine)).
All the same, an evil job well done!
...at least until next session, when they'll discover the following bounty added to the list:
Information sought leading to the whereabouts of a band of evil adventurers who broke into the monastery on Perch Hill, terrorized the monks, and murdered Prior Trakis, a paladin of the faith. See Abbot Waxter at the Monastery with any information.
Be on the lookout for a group consisting of:
> an orc-descended man, in possession of a horse
> an engineer man
> an Omorashi human woman
> three additional human or elf men
Be warned: these individuals are armed and extremely dangerous. They may be in league with an evil erinyes devil – this creature is very powerful and should not be engaged without proper training. They may also be in possession of copies of several volumes of the Evil Encyclopedia of Evil – if found, these books should not be read and may be returned to the Monastery for an additional reward.
Authorized by Pelor’s Archbishop of Shell, Jov Sauart