This post covers part five of Basking in the Light, the second installment in our Land of Vampires series. In part five of this level 4 adventure, the party investigates both Sebastian and the Blessed Father and makes their choice between these two towns and their sparring leaders.
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Part Five: A Choice Between Two Secrets
The party has reached a crossroads.
Jeremy (and by proxy, Sebastian) wants the PC to expose the Blessed Father breaking his own rules in hopes that the Ring of Light will cast him out.
The Blessed Father wants the party to leverage their outsider status to get close to Sebastian and take the silver flask for him to study. Additionally, he wants to learn anything and everything he can about the party’s arrival in Steymhorod, hoping to reverse the process to escape.
Scarcity in Steymhorod
There is not as much treasure to be found inside The Candle or Sebastian’s Sanctuary as there might be in another level 4 adventure as resources—from magic to munitions to money—are scarcer in Steymhorod than they are in Azuria. Assuming this is interesting for the player and the PC, there should be an added element of caution and a closer valuation of risk as they proceed in their adventure.
A Dark Mirror: Investigating Sebastian
Sebastian’s most prized possession is his flask of enlivening which allows him to consume blood drawn at Lazarus’s clinic instead of from a living victim. He typically keeps it secure in his upper room but is occasionally seen with it in town.
The Brotherhood erroneously believes that this is an elixir of health and that depriving Sebastian of it will cause the aged man to fall ill and die.
Descriptions of the rooms of Sebastian’s home can be found below:
For a prosperous and powerful man, Sebastian keeps very little food. A thick layer of dust covers much of the kitchen.
This large room is tastefully decorated with books and ancient tapestries depicting scenes from the history of Steymhorod. A thick reinforced wooden door at the top of a short flight of stairs leads deeper into the house.
Sebastian holds town gatherings in this room when necessary, and this is where he receives the party. He offers them red wine but does not take any himself. A small, unlocked storage room off the north-eastern corner contains four broken mirrors with golden frames worth 50gp each. The door to the living quarters is locked but can be opened by a character succeeding on a DC 15 check using thieves’ tools.
Dried herbs and other alchemical reagents lend a pungent odor to this room. Dusty tomes lay stacked in the corners. The hearth is cold.
The books describe ancient histories of the region. The GM may reveal items of interest from the History of Steymhorod post. A player succeeding on a DC 14 Intelligence (Investigation) check discovers 100gp-worth of paper and ink of sufficient quality for transcribing spells and a 2nd-level spell scroll (GM’s choice).
If the party has snuck in, there is a 20% chance Sebastian is reading in this room.
This large room has a still, sepulchral air. The absence of light lends a physical weight to the darkness.
In the northwestern corner is a raised bier supporting a black polished wood coffin. If the party has snuck in at night, there is a 50% chance Sebastian is in the coffin. A locked chest at the foot of the coffin contains the flask of enlivening. A character succeeding on a DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check discovers a letter under the bier from a “Lord D” sympathizing with an “eternal torment” and including wishes that the flask would bring some measure of comfort.
Staring into the Light: Investigating the Blessed Father
The Blessed Father is really a man from Azuria who is trapped here in eternal torment as punishment. He desperately wants to get back to Azuria and hopes that the party’s manner of arrival may be used in the reverse. He also leverages his powerful position in the Ring of Light to sate his baser desires.
Behind a pair of imposing doors an acolyte and a thug, both members of the Brotherhood of Light guard the entry. The acolyte, a fiery woman named Venette, shows the party up and attends them unless dismissed. The double doors into area 2 are locked. Venette has the key.
A grand stair sweeps up into the second floor. Comfortable couches, accents of golden finery, and luxurious red drapes adorn this room.
Venette offers the party refreshment. Those taking drink must succeed on a DC 17 Constitution saving throw or suffer the effects of the zone of truth spell. After, the Blessed Father makes his grand entrance from upstairs.
Anuriel, the Blessed Father
A dark-skinned man in luxurious white robes adorned with golden thread, the Blessed Father cultivates the appearance of wealth and power contrasted by the dilapidated town surrounding his home.
Anuriel uses the mage stat block.
Motivation: I want to find my way out of Steymhorod to end this torment.
Flaw: I have no qualms manipulating others to further my goals.
If possible, Anuriel conceals his true interests and motivations. Once he learns all he can from the party, he eagerly retires back into his rooms to prepare for a trip.
You can read more about the Blessed Father in the people and places of Steymhorod post.
The luxurious décor of the interview space carries into this room dominated by a large, round bed.
Crowded yet orderly bookshelves line the walls in this room. A crystal orb and an open book inscribed with arcane runes rest on the desk.
The desk holds one of Anuriel’s spell books and a crystal ball. The spell book contains three 1st-level spells and one 3rd-level spell. Anuriel’s familiar, a pseudodragon, sleeps atop one of the bookshelves. If the party is not in the company of the Blessed Father, the familiar alerts him to their presence.
An incredible array of paintings and art pieces hang in this gallery. It is pristine and light and beautiful.
Anuriel has spent much of his time in Steymhorod tracking down relics from his homeland in Azuria.
One of the statues is a mimic that assails any intruders unless it is complimented.
A successful DC 14 Intelligence (Investigation or History) check allows a player to learn the items are from Azuria. Success by 2 or more allows them to pinpoint that they hail from Cyrinia. Another 2 and the player can date them to thousands of years ago. (The relics actually date back to the age before the flood that created the world of Azuria. At the time, the joined continents were called Eldura, and Cyrinia was called Palais.)
If the party has gotten into the Blessed Father’s tight confidence, then he may relate that these items were presents from when he and his party escorted Marena here to be wed. He does not dwell long on this topic and grows uncomfortable at prodding.
A bright flame unnaturally suspended in the air commands much of the space in this topmost room, half of which is open to the air and shows a commanding view of the Ring of Light and the countryside of Steymhorod.
Anuriel summoned and trapped a fire elemental in this crystal container. If the party removes the magical containment, either with a dispel magic spell or by shattering it with weapons, the elemental burns as much of the Candle and the Ring of Light as it can before it flees the region. It avoids recapture at all costs.
By the end of the adventure, the party has likely made an enemy out of either Sebastian and the town or the Brotherhood of Light. In either case, once he learns the manner of the party’s arrival in Steymhorod and can get away secretly, the Blessed Father sets out to find Lord Nassarq. He hopes the powerful vampire can aid him in returning to Azuria and escaping Lord Drogo’s punishment.
The Party Angers St. Sebastian
Should the party run afoul of Sebastian or the town, either by assaulting their leader, joining the Brotherhood of Light, or getting caught acting against the town, they lose access to this bastion of safety and hub of resources.
The Party Angers the Brotherhood of Light
The Brotherhood does whatever it can to maintain power in the Ring of Light. One of its most effective ways of keeping that control is through vigilante “justice.” Another effective way is by kidnapping transgressors in the night and hauling them out to the bonfires surrounding the ramshackle town to light the pyres of morning. Cultivating a culture of fear and paranoia keeps most citizens in line.
This adventure continues next week with adventure three in Land of Vampires!
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