Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Athena Encounters, Part III

Quests of Athena
Athena is the patron for many adventures. Each can be incorporated into general campaigns or even used as alternate divine tests for her cleric-types with variations based on how difficult they need to be. Roll 1d20.

1. The moral course of action is always the best (Boulaia): A great prize is available, but it obviously doesn't belong to the party. The treasure even has a specific person's name labelled on it.

2. Seek justice, especially for those who cannot seek it themselves (Areia): Beset by brutal followers of Ares, a nearby hamlet seeks to hire the party to help with what little funds they have left. Accepting such treasure might be as immoral as not helping them at all.

3. Work with your skills: true talents will reveal themselves (Ergane): An excellent seamstress, who is claimed to be divinely talented, has taken up shop nearby. She will need to either be supported (if she's humble) or chastised (if not). An Arachne spirit (see Part II) will be dispatched by Athena's temple if things aren't resolved soon.

4. Stand bravely in the manner of Athena, fear no evil! (Pallas): With signs of mass destruction and crushed citizens, it is made known that a gigante is terrorizing the area (link). If outmatched, Athena will lend some protective magic items to help defeat (and skin) it.

5. Remain chaste, temperate, & obedient (Parthenos): A lucky party member is visited by an avatar of Athena to remind him of the importance of chastity and temperance. Unlucky for him, an avatar of Aphrodite visits him the next night.

6-7. Hone one's tactics for victory (Nike): Rumors abound of a follower of Athena who is skilled in the way of tactics. Investigation will show him to be a palladium guard (see Part II), and he will only grant assistance to those who would assist in his charge.

8. Encourage good citizenship: It is time to vote in the local area for two potential rulers. Unfortunately, a mild scratching of the surface will reveal that both are utterly corrupt. Athena would smile on rectifying such a situation, even if it might involve going against 'Democracy'.

9. Support owls & wisdom (Glaukopis): The area has become overrun with detritus and other pollution. If nothing is done, an owl totem spirit visits the party to encourage them to "give a hoot" about it.

10. Local emphasis: horses, prophecy, diving, etc.: A temple of Poseidon is attempting to lay claim to land held by Athenians. Spouts of saltwater arise, and war with his cult may occur if the situation is not remedied soon.

11. Vengeance upon transgressors: A gorgon is rumored to be in the area (see Volume I). Heroes may wish to slay it until they realize that she was once a priestess of Athena.

12-20.  (reroll twice, combining the quest requirements.)

The Ares Caves
a Quest in the Name of Championing Athena

Background: Violent folk and beings have been menacing the area. Most would be thankful for their removal, especially followers of Athena. Even worse at least one of her priestesses and palladium guards have been abducted by them.

Map © John Godsland - licensed under CC BY 4.0

The Caves
Scale: 1 square = 5'.
Ceiling height: usually 5 + 1d8' tall, relative to the ground, which dips at times too.

Location 1
It is dark with flickering torchlight, sconces set every 15'. A scent of blood can be detected upon the air. The passage splits up ahead.

Location 2
Something stirs and growls from a pile of large and bloody sticks in the western portion of this room. Those who linger will see a huge bear emerge- but with the head of an owl! It's raging eyes and bloodstained beak indicate trouble and not much wisdom.

Owlbear Align: N, MV: 40’, AC: 5, HD: 5, Atk: 3, Dmg: 1d6 claw/ 1d6 claw/ 1d4 bite, SP: hug (+2d8 damage), SV: F5, Mor: 11.

Investigation of the pile will reveal the remains of 1d3 of the owlbear's latest meals, along with a little treasure.

Location 3
Braziers scattered throughout the place cast strange, dancing shadows on the ceiling. The northwestern cave extension shows what looks like a ruined altar, defiled with violent marks. Those with the appropriate knowledge can  identify it as a former altar of Athena, marked in the way of Ares.

Any disturbing of it (or the making of other sounds) will alert the resident of the southwestern cave extension. With a hissing and snake rattling, she will come to investigate.

Gorgon AL C, MV 40’, AC 3. HD  6+4 (w/ serpent body), Atk: 1; Dmg: 1d6 (bow) or 1d4+1 (snake hair bite); SP petrifying glance (save vs. petrification/ Fortitude save DC 15 negates), immune to poison, arrows and bite cause 2d6 additional damage (save vs. poison/ Fortitude save DC 15 negates), SV: F5

Location 4
1d4 Greek armored men stand sentry here, their shields embossed with images of inverted, bloody swords. Beyond them is a small pond. To the northeast, the sounds of more of them can be heard further away. To the south can be heard the clanks and grunts of bloody battle.

Ares Hoplites  AL: C, Mve: 35’, AC 4*, HD 1+1, Attk: 1, Dmg: by weapon, SP: +1 per odd level with spear or short sword & shield, when fighting as a phalanx: +3 AC bonus and +2 damage when attacking an area or when fighting those in lighter armor, but -2 to all rolls when fighting on uneven terrain; Sve: F1.

Within the pond is hidden the hoplites' treasure.

Location 5
This place serves as a makeshift barracks. 6 cots are littered about, though they are littered with gore. Apparently the inhabitants fight often, shedding blood freely in the name of Ares, seeing who deserves a good night's rest. 1d4 Ares hoplites will be here at any time (use the stats above, though they won't be wearing full armor- weaken their AC by 1d6 each).

Location 6
This larger, roughly 35' x 35' cave is stained with blood and littered with bones. 2d3 Ares hoplites are battling near its center, inflicting terrible wounds in this makeshift arena. Symbols of Ares are dominant throughout.

At the far end watches their apparent leader, Atlark. Blessed by Ares, he is positioned upon a war chariot. He is guarded by 1d4 other Ares hoplites, though it doesn't look like he needs them.

Atlarcus, Lvl 3 cleric of Ares (for magical side-effects, etc., see link), Align: C
(while on chariot) MV: 80’, AC: 0/2 rear, 
(while on foot) MV: 35', AC 4/6 rear
HD: 3, Atk: 1 (spear), Dmg: 1d6+1, SP: cleric abilities, spells prepared (1st: Command, Cure Light Wounds (reverse), Remove Fear (reverse), 2nd Level: Strength*), SV: C3, Mor: 9, holy symbol, red robes, medium hoplite armor, helm, shield, 3 spears, 38 silver pieces. Main Emphasis: Shed blood freely, Appearance: pale complexion, black hair.

Next week: our series on divinity encounters continues with Dionysus!