An Empress Betrayed

Her face was frozen in a pleading gaze, her hands raised as if to shield her eyes from a bright light. To their horror, they suddenly realized that in their absence, the Empress had been turned to stone…

The companions returned to the Throne Room, victorious in their mission to free the Emissary of Ultair. Her Majesty stood stoically, facing the party with unblinking eyes. Wondering why the Empress was so still, they approached cautiously. Before them was poised a statue in the perfect likeness of Brelia.

Brelia, Empress of Sarpadia, has a feast, tournament, and festival every seven years. During this time she chooses 7 debtors and pays off their debts, releases 7 “innocent” prisoners, builds 7 bridges and 7 roads, and chooses 7 Champions to send on a perilous quest.

The adventure starts with the PCs at level 1, with mundane equipment. Each PC will face another villager of equal skill in a “1-on-1” battle in the arena. The villager each PC faces wields one magic item, which the PC can take as a prize ONLY IF THEY WIN THE COMBAT.

After the first round, the Empress declares “I’m getting bored. Genral Guren, make this more interesting.” At that moment the fighter strikes his hammer knocking everyone prone (except for those villagers with the magic boots).

After the second round, the Empress declares “Priest Beaubina, make this contest more challenging.” The Priest then summons fire, which burns all the combatants (except for those villagers who have magic cloaks).

After the third round, the Empress declares “Songwright, increase this contest’s difficulty”. He then strums a chord on his lute, emitting smoke. The entire battle ground is now partial cover, and line of sight is reduced to 10 squares.

After the fighting, the crew is sent on a mission by the Empress. They are to rescue an emissary who is being held for ransom by an evil group of anarchists. The crew has taken over a haunted ruin in the forest of Omn. They must sneak in to the hideout, find the prisoner, and escort him to safety. If possible, they must also kill or capture the band’s leader Jaron Faust. The PCs will be rewarded handsomely if they cripple the group and destroy or burn down their hideout.

Option 1: go to the last place the emissary was seen, the docks… where they “ask too many questions” and gain the attention of pirates who are in league with the rebels. The PCs collect clues, that the secret hideout is an abandoned temple in the woods.

Option 2: go to the map maker to see if there is an old map of the haunted ruin. The map maker gives the PCs some strange hand signals, facial ticks, and notes, which eventually inform the PCs that he is being watched. The mapmaker is loyal to the Empress, but was forced at knifepoint to inform the bandits of anyone asking about the temple…

Option 3: go straight to the ruin: the PCs sneak in and rescue the ambassador, who is being held by a band of goblins. Finding a note among the goblin bodies, it says “keep and hold the ambassador for ransom. he has knowledge of our plot and cannot be allowed to return with this information to the empress.”

A grave with the Empress’ name, forshadowing that she has come to the world and died before meets the PCs near the ruin. A mystery?

Read this adventure played out in a 12-week session at RealmsofEdeos.com.

Image Credit: Shock2006

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