John Wick, the creator behind the 7th Seas RPG, is currently running a Kickstarter to create a second edition of the game, and did a call out for writers. Just my luck, I heard about it with a week to go, and half of that week I was on holiday with patchy WiFi. I’d already written for the prompts they provided, but was unable to submit on time. Much sad faces when I realized. But hey, shit happens. I didn’t want that work to go to waste, and since I was happy with the work, I thought why not post it myself? So I’m offering it up freely to the internet. Maybe someone can make use of it; shoot me a message if you do, I’d love to hear how it was used.
The below is a short adventure detailing the players entering caves that form the entrance to the Underworld. Notes for the GM are prefaced with ‘–‘ and written in italics.
The caves are cool and dark. Somewhere, there is the steady drip-drip-drip as water. If the old seer hadn’t given you directions, it is unlikely you would have found them. The wise-one told you this was the entrance to the Underworld, and regardless of if you believe, there is a definite strangeness about this place.
In the flickering torchlight one can see marks adorning the walls. Some seem primitive, finger-daubed charcoal, but others are more sophisticated. The art is as frightening as it is beautiful – depictions of figures descending into the depths; white fire from a star and a howling wind; a woman walking from dark to light, with flowers at her feet. Each set of images seems to depict a story, and some are clear warnings – in one image a figure disturbs bones, and a monster tears off the perpetrator’s head.
— After this warning, the GM may ‘place’ skeletons at the side of the path with associated artifacts. If the bones are disturbed or a player tries to take the artifacts, a howling wind will tear through the caves and very powerful monster, at least 5 times their challenge rating will attack the players. —
The art meanders along the walls, showing the way, and becoming more abstract as the air grows colder. The walk takes a long while, cold and silent. The flickering torches lending a dream-like feeling.
— At some point after this description have the players roll to notice the below change at a moderate difficulty. If they succeed, they will notice the change and hopefully pause. —
The change isn’t even noticeable at first, but slowly the patter of your feet becomes muted – white sand paves the way instead of solid stone. You pause at the edge of a large cavern. A soft white light fills the space, and in the far distance you see an arch. Directly in the center of the arch stands a tall, muscular figure.
— If they fail, they will stumble into a fear effect, causing them to run back up the tunnel for approximately five minutes. —
A heavy wind blasts at you, driving you back up the slope. While it does not harm you, you are filled with fear, and flee.
— The Guardian cannot be harmed. If the players step into the cavern the Guardian will speak, and offer the players the challenge of fire, wind, and clarity. Each challenge needs only be completed once, by a different player for the rest to be permitted through.
The challenge of Fire is to complete a maze of cold white star-flame. If the player touches it they will be frozen in place for a round.
The challenge of Wind is to find a way to walk across the cavern against the gale. The trick is to crawl or walk around the edge.
The challenge of clarity is to stand in a pair of silver moccasins and be on the receiving end of a standard prejudice, preferably one that the character holds.
When the three challenges are completed, the Guardian will welcome the players to the underworld, and step aside for them.
Photo by Jeff Williamson