View Full Version : [Org] {Item} Children of the Burning River

2006-08-23, 12:28 PM
Children of the Burning River

As you walk into the pavilion, you are struck by the oddness of a river being "indoors." Of course, it's not long before you realize that things inside go well beyond odd. It's one thing to be told that the river burns, it's something else entirely to watch the flames coming off the water.
After a few moments an elf you hadn't noticed sitting next to you speaks up.
"Beautiful, isn't it? To answer your questions, the water is pure, the flames are quite real, and I have no idea how it works."
You shake your head as you realize you hadn't gotten around to asking the questions yet.
"You know, the flames don't affect the temperature of the water. It's as cold under there as anywhere else on the river. Each acts as if the other isn't there. Of course it's magic, but I've been studying it for two hundred years and I still can't explain it... And I know my way around magic."
He goes back to staring at the river, as if you weren't there. Just at that awkward point where you're prepared to speak again, he continues...
"It's even more beautiful if you detect magic. And even more inexplicable... But where are my manners? I'm terribly sorry, I always get a bit distracted when I'm here. A good day to you, my name is Halarian Silverstar and welcome to the Burning River."

General Description: A loosely organized group including wizards, a monastery, and other assorted folk who have come across a burning patch of river.

Purpose: To discover the secret of the burning river and to protect it from anyone who would exploit it.

Alignment: LN (All non-evil)

Authority Figures:
Halarian Silverstar (Male NG Elven Wizard 16)
Halarian has been studying the river since he discovered it over 200 years ago. He can be found on most days sitting on the bank staring absently into the flames. Everyone acknowledges him as the "leader" of the Children, though he has little interest in such a title, handling any questions or problems the group may have more out of politeness than anything.

Jenta Arlani (Female LG Human Monk 11)
Leader of the monastery, Jenta handles most of the day-to-day administration of the town that has built up around the flames.

Other Important Figures:
Sir Eduardo de la Rosa (Male LN Human Fighter 7)
Sir Gustavo Velasquez (Male LG Half Elf Paladin 6)
Two members of the Knights of Carrejo, they were sent into the mountains to investigate reports of unusual lights in the night. When they arrived, Halarian convinced them to downplay the phenomenon and convince the Knights to leave the area alone. The two Knights have since been assigned to the area, and act as defenders of the group.

Felix Nilsson (Male CG Human Wizard 6)
Felix was at one point Halarian's apprentice, but is now a respected wizard in his own right. Each now runs their own laboratory and does their own tests on the enigmatic river. They are still friendly though, and regularly share results.

Angus Ironheart (Male LN Dwarven Monk 5)
Angus is the right hand man of Jenta, but takes a dim view of this whole river thing. Not at all curious, Angus just doesn't get what the big deal is. The river is what it always has been, let it be.

2006-08-23, 12:47 PM
Detecting magic on the pool only deepens the mystery. Contrary to your expectations, neither the water nor the flames show as magic. But you do see occasional wisps of magic rising from the flames in place of smoke.
"Would you care to step inside? I promise it will be worth your while, if you're not afraid of a little pain," Halarian says playfully.
You volunteer... after all, it's just one more adventure.
You walk out into the water and it strikes you that the elf wasn't kidding... The water IS cold and the flames ARE real. But you're tough, and you've been through worse.
You hear him speaking some sort of incantation and as he continues the wisps of magic become a steady stream, rising up all around you. As he builds to the end of the spell, the magic swirls all around you shifting closer and closer until he releases the final word, and the streams seem to jump into you, burning into you wherever they touch.
It takes a moment to recover from the shock of that moment, but you recover your senses fairly quickly. The first thing you notice is that the river doesn't seem nearly as cold. A moment later you grasp that the flames have dimmed and it's time to drag yourself to shore and get an explanation.

Economics: The Children of the Burning River are a relatively poor organization, with few items worth more than a few hundred GP in the town. However, Halarian not only has a treasure trove of magical items, but is a remarkable crafter of magic items in his own right.
Members of the group have access to three main economic benefits:

1) Access to the Burning River

The Burning River is a magical location with the following properties:

Once per day, when a being invokes the magic of the pool while in the flames, they incur the following effects:

1101Permanent Endure Elements
2202Resistance to Fire 5, Resistance to Cold 5
3303Resistance to Fire 10, Resistance to Cold 10
4404Resistance to Fire 15, Resistance to Cold 15
5505Resistance to Fire 20, Resistance to Cold 20
6606Resistance to Fire 25, Resistance to Cold 25
7707Immunity to Fire, Immunity to Cold1
Damage taken can not be healed by any magical means or the character will lose the beneficial effect. The HP sacrifice is permanent and cumulative and can not be regained by any means.

Anyone undergoing the ritual carries permanent scars where they were "touched" by the magic. These can appear as tattoos to outsiders.

1 The immunities to fire and cold, by being granted simultaneously, cancel out the vulnerability that would normally be associated with the properties.

2) Access to arcane research including a wide variety of spells and unique magic items (at a 10-20% discount)

3) Potential to recieve a Coldflame weapon.
Crunch - Item:

Coldflame is both a special material and a weapon enhancement. Only creatable through a special ritual, and with only one wizard who knows the process of high enough level to cast the necessary spells, Coldflame weapons are extremely rare. Coldflame appears to be clear crystal wreathed in blue fire, but acts as steel in most respects including its ability to be worked and its physical properties (hardness 10, 30 hp/inch.)
When used against a creature without an affinity to heat or cold, a Coldflame weapon has a 50% chance of acting as an Icy or Flaming weapon (+1d6 cold or fire damage) except that all damage done by the weapon is elemental (except precision-based damage).
When used against a creature vulnerable to cold or fire, the weapon acts as the vulnerable element (even against regenerating creatures that treat fire or cold as normal damage.)
Moderate Evocation; CL 11; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, fire shield and Otiluke's freezing sphere; Price +3 bonus.

Only seven coldflame weapons currently exist, two longswords for the knights, a quarterstaff for Jenta, a dagger for Felix, two nunchaku for Angus... and Halarian's intelligent rapier Zareth:

Intelligent +4 Coldflame Rapier;
AL LG; Int 18, Wis 18, Cha 10; Speech, Telepathy, 120 ft. Darkvision, blindsense, and hearing; Ego Score 24.
Lesser Powers: detect magic at will, Item has 10 ranks in Diplomacy (+10 total) and Listen (+14 total).
Greater Powers: Quench 3/day, Item creates wall of fire in a ring with the wielder at the center 1/day.
Zareth can best be described as a fusspot. He is ultra-organized and constantly flustered at Halarian's frequent absent-mindedness. Halarian created Zareth to remind him of things, but got more nagging than he bargained for.
Strong evocation; CL 15; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, fire shield, Otiluke's freezing sphere and locate object; Price 149,600 gp.

2006-08-23, 12:47 PM
Available knowledge/Gather Information:
DC 5: The Burning River? Sure, there's a mineral deposit up in the mountains turns the whole riverbed red. When the sun hits it, looks like fire. Very pretty.
DC 10: There've been reports of strange lights up in the mountains. But come on... rivers can't actually burn.
DC 25: I think there's a monastery up in the mountains. Odd folk, I think they have some thing for tattoos.
DC 35: There's a group up in the mountains that have built a building over the river, so they must be hiding something.

Membership Requirements: There are two paths to joining the Children of the Burning River: training as a monk at the monastery, or gaining the favor of Halarian. While the requirements to join the monastery are well defined and regimented, (Complete 3 tasks for the monastery, complete 3 weeks of training, donate 300 GP) Halarian can be as enigmatic as the river he studies. For some, simply bringing a shipment of supplies into the mountains, or telling a good story can be enough to gain his trust, while others must travel far searching for an obscure book, spell component, or piece of laboratory equipment.
In general, completing an adventure worth half a level's experience that benefits the Children will allow entrance into the group.

Racial Makeup:
54% Human
28% Elves
9% Half Elves
9% Other

Class Makeup of Other Followers:
61% Monk
10% Wizard
6% Ranger
6% Expert
4% Rogue
13% Other

2006-08-23, 12:48 PM
While the origin of the Burning River itself is unknown, the origin of the Children follows Halarian Silverstar. While flying through the mountains looking for a secluded spot to build a tower, he caught sight of flames in a river valley. He initially disregarded the fire as a village and continued on his journey, but when he chose the clearing as a spot to rest and eat, he discovered that not only was there no one tending the flames, there was no apparent fuel to burn. At this point curiosity struck, forever changing the course of Halarian's life.
Instead of continuing his search, the hours he had alloted to studying the river turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months. Instead of the quick, authoritative investigation he expected, he wound up building his home in the valley in order to continue to study this baffling phenomenon.
Fortunately for Halarian, instead of the seclusion he originally sought, the river brought the occasional traveler during the day, and the flames attracted passers-by seeking shelter during the night. From these visitors, a community formed around Halarian of those as curious as he was.
While some of the group took to wizardry, forming an impromptu school around Halarian, a second group formed that spent more time in martial studies than arcane. They built a monastery directly across the river from the school, and it was this group that coined the phrase "Children of the Burning River."
The martial skills of the Children were quickly tested as the same forces that attracted them also attracted those with darker purposes in mind. After repelling two bandit groups and several tribes of orcs and goblins, it became clear that something needed to be done to hide the beacon-like flames. The solution involved connecting the roofs of the school and the monastery, covering the river.
Through the years, the one constant within the Children has been Halarian. While he has made numerous discoveries: Coldflame, the activating incantation for the pool, several unique spells; he has not been able to determine the source of the river's magic in two hundred years of study.

Adventure Hooks:

The PCs come across a knight fighting two trolls, and as he strikes the killing blow on one, it collapses down, breaking his blue-flamed sword. (Anyone who makes a DC 25 spot check notices the broken blade melt as if it were water.) Unfortunately for Gustavo (or Eduardo... or whatever you happen to name them,) while he has another sword, he has no other source of flame to finish the second troll. Should the PCs help (and we all know that if there's one thing PCs specialize in, it's setting things on fire) he'll ask them to accompany him back to the Burning River site so he can thank them properly (and to protect him until he can get a new sword.)