The Cleansing Flame



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Created On 20 April 2000
Last Updated On 20 April 2000
Copyright (c) Simon E. Phipp 2000

This HeroQuest was originally written to enable a Yelmalio worshipper to remove a geas that completely changed the character. Normally, I would not have entertained the idea, but the player came up with a very good rationale as to why the character would try to change the geas. The Quest enabled him to burn the geas away and replace it with a number of replacement geases, so he ended up with more geases and had to perform a fairly dangerous HeroQuest on his own in order to achieve this. During the HeroQuest, I pulled no punches and he almost died several times, so in the end I think the character deserved the outcome.

I have modified the HeroQuest slightly to make it a little more generic and to help appeal to various levels of play, but the core Quest is the same.

This HeroQuest can be performed by any Fire/Sky initiate who belongs to a cult within the Yelm pantheon. It is used when an initiate gains a geas that he would like to change. Since the original time the HeroQuest was performed Yelm changed a geas, other cults cannot question the outcome of the HeroQuest. However, once an initiate attempts the HeroQuest and fails, the geas cannot be changed in the future.

Mythos

When the World was good and everything was in its place, nothing went wrong and nobody questioned the True Order. The Emperor had his place in the Sky and looked down on the world and everything was good. Then the world changed and things were not as they were. The Trickster came to Yelm and made him promise something he could not keep if he was to maintain his honour. Yelm knew that if he kept the promise he would have to leave the Throne and the world would be a worse place than it is now [1]. For the first time, Yelm was unsure about what to do and Shadows walked the world. Then Dendara, the Good Wife, showed Yelm a secret that only the women knew. She had a pot that had been stained and the stain could not be cleaned, but if she played the Fire on it then the stain would be burned away. Yelm knew what he must do and prepared himself. He spoke to his brothers and asked them for help. Lodril prepared a place in his Kingdom so that none could see what was about to happen. Dayzatar reached within Yelm and removed the Purifying Fire that dwelt within the Emperor and gave the Fire to Lodril who placed it within the Underworld. Yelm then descended from the Footstool and entered the Underworld [2] until he came to the Chamber of Fire. Then Yelm disrobed except for his Loincloth of Chastity and entered the Purifying Fire. He emerged clean and renewed, able to keep his place as Emperor and returned to the Footstool.

After Yelm was slain and descended to Hell, he entered the Chamber of Fire and took the Purifying Fire back, taking it to Hell with him. Ever since, the Emperor has been able to call the Purifying Fire when required.

When Lodril held the Purifying Fire, he took a small portion for himself. When he lay within the embrace of Gata, he gave her the Purifying Fire and together they created Oakfed.

The HeroQuest

The HeroQuest has five distinct stages:

Since the Purifying Fire has already been produced, the HeroQuest very rarely involves its creation. However, members of Yelm Imperator may attempt to create their own Purifying Fire in a related HeroQuest.

Descent into the Underworld

The HeroQuestor must find an entrance to the Underworld and travel down into the bowels of the earth. Most places that have entrances to Hell can be used to enter the Underworld as can certain Earth Sacred Places that give entrance to the Underworld. On a Practice Run Quest, the HeroQuestor may use any entrance to a cavern.

At the entrance to the Underworld, he must pay to pass the gates. This may be a cash bribe or it may be a magical item or special ability. In any case, if the bribe is deemed sufficient the HeroQuestor may pass. If not, he has to fight his way past.

On entering the Underworld, the HeroQuestor must descend into the Underworld. During this descent, he will have 2D4 encounters on the Entrance/Exit Table [3] before he reaches the next stage.

Finding the Cavern of Fire

The HeroQuestor must make a Scout (Caves) or a Mapmaking or a similar skill roll at a critical level in order to find the Cavern of Fire. At any stage, if he succeeds the Mapmaking he finds the Cavern of Fire. If he fails, he has an encounter on the Underworld Table. The next time he makes a Mapmaking roll, he must make a special roll in order to find the Cavern, otherwise he has another encounter. The next and subsequent times, he must succeed normally in order to find the Cavern of Fire. He must continue to wander and attempt Mapmaking/Scout/Navigate rolls until he succeeds and finds the Cavern of Fire.

Entering the Cavern of Fire

There are Guardians at the Cavern's entrance. The HeroQuestor must face 1D6 + 1 different Guardians as he enters the Cavern, each one a different combat and rolled on the Guardians Table. If the HeroQuestor has a method of avoiding combat then he may use it. The final Guardian is an Angel, sent by Yelm himself to guard the Cavern of Fire and must be fought.

The Searing Column

This is a 100' tall,10' diameter column of fire in the centre of the Cavern of Fire. It has several properties:

  1. It can cure disease (1D6 CON per disease cured)
  2. It can cleanse a Chaos Taint and remove Chaos Features (3D6 CON damage per Chaos Feature/Taint removed)
  3. It can remove Geases (1D6 damage /location for each geas removed, + 1 replacement geas + 1 extra geas).
  4. It can remove the Taint of Darkness (4D6 CON damage)

All damage done by the column can only be healed by time, magic has no effect on the damage. CON damage is recovered at 1 point per week, damage to a location is recovered normally.

To remove a geas, the supplicant must strip naked and enter the Searing Column with pure intent. He takes 1D6 points of damage to each location (7D6 for a normal humanoid) and magic or fire-quenching abilities cannot help stop the damage, although Vigour spells and the like will help the supplicant stay alive. For each geas removed, the supplicant must take a replacement geas that cannot be changed. The supplicant also takes a single extra geas when entering the Searing Column.

If the supplicant wishes to remove the Taint of Chaos or Chaos Features then he performs the same process but takes 3D6 damage per Chaos Feature he possesses. It is impossible to choose which Chaos Features are removed, all Features will be seared away.

Removing Disease follows the same format, but the supplicant loses 1D6 CON per disease he suffers from. Once again, he cannot choose the disease that is removed, all diseases will be removed at a cost of 1D6 CON per disease.

Removing the Taint of Darkness is also possible. The supplicant strips naked and enters the column, losing 4D6 CON in the attempt. If he survives, he is no longer treated as a Darkness Creature and may join cults such as Yelmalio. Those Darkness creatures that have attempted this Quest are few and far between but it has been known.

The GM must rule if any other curses may be removed through the Searing Column and what cost this may have. Certain incurable wounds may be cauterised here and certain HeroQuest curses may also be burnt away.

Ascent from the Underworld

The HeroQuestor must now make his way to the surface. Since he knows the way, he must make a single Mapmaking/Navigae/Scout roll in order to find the way back. He has a single encounter regardless plus one for each time he fails his Mapmaking. Any encounters are rolled on the Entrance/Exit Table.

Once he has reached the surface, he must bribe his way past the people guarding the entrance/exit otherwise he must fight his way out.

Conclusion

If the HeroQuestor has survived, then he has proven that he was worthy to change the geas, cure the disease or cleanse the taint of Darkness/Chaos. This is the only reward from this HeroQuest.

Practice Run Version

When this is run as a Practice Run Quest, the HeroQuestor must go to a prepared Cavern where there will be guardians and encounters, for he will attract enemies due to the nature of the HeroQuest. The Angel Guardian will often be a Rune Lord of Yelmalio or some other cult, or maybe just a good initiate, but always a dangerous foe. The Searing Column will be a bonfire prepared by the Guardian and his accomplices, but the effects will be similar. The damage done will be as above with similar results. However, a Practice Run HeroQuest cannot remove Geases, although it can be used to remove obligations or to prove innocence. It can cure diseases but cannot remove the taint of chaos or darkness, although it can remove minor blemishes or problems,

Encounters

Entrance/Exit to the Underworld

1 - 10Trollkin band (2D6)
11 - 17Dark Trolls (1D6)
18 - 20Great Troll (1D2)
21Mistress Race Troll (Substitute Rune Level for Practice Run)
22 - 30Insects (1D6)
31 - 35Shade (1)
36 - 40Demon (1)
41 - 43Skeletons (2D6)
44 - 47Zombies(1D6)
48 - 50Mummies (1D3)
51 - 60Elves
61 - 69Gnome
70 - 80Gargoyle
81 - 90Babeester Gor warband
91 - 100Other HeroQuestors

The Underworld

1 - 20Dark Trolls (1D6) 21 - 25Great Troll (1D2) 26 - 27Mistress Race Troll (Substitute Rune Level for Practice Run) 28 - 35Insects (1D6) 36 - 40Shade (1) 41 - 50Demon (1) 51 - 55Skeletons (2D6) 56 - 60Zombies (1D6) 61 - 65Mummies (1D3) 66 - 70Wraiths (1D3) 71 - 75Elves 76 - 80Gnome 81 - 85Gargoyle 86 - 90Babeester Gor warband 91 - 100Other HeroQuestors

Guardians

1 - 10Dark Trolls (1D6) 11 - 15Great Troll (1D2) 16Mistress Race Troll (Substitute Rune Level for Practice Run) 17 - 20Shade (1) 21 - 25Demon (1) 26 - 40Mummies (1D3) 41 - 50Wraiths (1D3) 51 - 65Gnome 66 - 75Gargoyle 76 - 85Salamander 86 - 95Griffin 96 - 100Angel

Notes

[1] The Yelm cult claim that it was not a promise that Yelm could not keep, merely an obligation that he would rather not keep.

[2] The Yelm cult claim that Yelm entered the Underworld so that he would know the way later when he had to make the journey. I am not sure about this and think this myth was introduced to the Yelm cult after Time.

[3] I normally do not like encounter tables on HeroQuests, but in this kind of situation, I can accept the idea. After all, he must defeat opponents at this stage. If the HeroQuestor has gained HeroQuest opponents in the past, they can be substituted for the encounters.

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