All seek the ouroboros’ wisdom. The infinite serpent that bore the world and shall one day consume it again. Few ever attain it unless they pay the price.
Old Snakefolk Adage
Knowing the future is an ability that keeps civilizations and cultures enraptured with the possibility to understand what has not yet come to pass. Were it true, it would become a mighty weapon that the powerful would wield to always be one step ahead of their rivals.
The ancestral priests of the infinite serpent, the ouroboros, knew that this dangerous secret lay hidden in the boundless knowledge of their obscure deity. According to their cultural myth, the serpent is the beginning of the world, as it gave birth to everything. As well as the end of it, as the serpent shall one day consume it all again; in the same manner that it consumes itself. The priests believe the serpent is all-cognizant and that this information can be philtered out by cabalistic rituals and prayers.
The Church of Lost Desires
The snakefolk priests created a special place of worship for the ouroboros hidden deep beneath the crust of the surface. A place that can only be found by following a near-infinite network of caverns underneath their grand ziggurat. There lies a strange church-like compound with a grand, opulent altar paying homage to the infinite serpent. The magical effigy of the ouroboros offers arcane insight into the future. A dreamlike vision that portrays upcoming events but it is shrouded in mystery as all visions are. Interpreting these glimpses of what is to come is the lifelong work of the snakefolk priests. They have come to realize that the visions that the ouroboros gives them often cause the subjects to act in ways that bring havoc and despair upon their lives.
The majority believe that the fault is in the interpretation. A few think that even trying to glimpse the future is an insult to the ouroboros, and thus, it castigates them with images that lead them to failure and death.
The characters learn of this place researching a way to get accurate information about their campaign-arch’s future. The promise of information is so important that they are willing to risk angering the snakefolk priesthood in exchange for learning about the tragedies to come.
Features of the Church
Tier 2 Adventure
Light. The stone braziers in the church feature continual flame spells. The magic fades in 1 minute if removed.
Secret Areas. Pushing hidden bricks causes walls to move and reveal narrow passages (Search check).
Chamber Ceilings. The church has 40-foot-tall, domed ceilings decorated with detailed landscape frescoes.
Once per Dungeon Turn (10 minutes) while in the church and the caverns nearby, roll in this table.
|1d6 Random Encounters|
|1||A patrol of 2d4 snakefolk archers barges in. They drank a strong spirit and, thus, are unaware of the characters.|
|2||A swarm of snakes catches the characters’ scent and promptly approaches looking for an easy meal.|
|3||An errand knight named Rallo approaches carefully. He too looks for the ouroboros’ wisdom and joins the party.|
|4||Two snakefolk priests arrive carrying a large serpent they plan to sacrifice to the ouroboros. When the characters are seen the priests release the dangerous snake.|
|5||A strange voice speaks to the characters in the language of snakes. Alas, only the snakefolk can understand it.|
|6||A snakefolk priest approaches the characters and warns them that this path shall only bring their untimely demise.|
1. Cavern Entrance
The characters must circumvent the snakefolk security in the ziggurat or be ambushed by a swarm of snakes (Stealth check). The characters then traverse the underground tunnels for hours before reaching this cavern.
2. Cave Antechamber
An ever-burning brazier with carved serpents stands by a long stairway that descends into the church.
Two snakefolk warriors stand by the stairs and are alerted by the characters’ presence. Ordinarily, no surfacers are allowed here but they may be swayed to ask the high-priest for an audience (Reaction roll). On a success, one of the warriors descends to ask the high-priest whether the characters are allowed. The priest refuses…
3. Pit of Bones
The soil in this dead-end cavern is softer and produces a cracking sound when creatures walk on it. After 1 Dungeon Turn of inspection, it is revealed that a bed of countless bones lies a few inches under the surface. Some bones are old and others are as recent as only weeks old. Most of them belong to humanoids (Healing check).
4. Church Balcony
The long stairway opens into a 10-foot-tall balcony that overlooks the opulent ouroboros’ church. The high ceilings are decorated with detailed frescoes.
The golden vase by the curved balcony collects all visitors’ offerings as they arrive. It contains 452 sp. A snakefolk warrior stands by it and expects the characters to make an offering. Due to the church’s construction, the warrior remains unaware even if a fight starts in area 3.
5. Believers and Supplicants
Twenty-eight snakefolk sit on the wooden pews before the grand altar. They await their chance of making a petition to their sacred ouroboros. To be awarded this privilege, the snakefolk follow a convoluted registration process that often has them wait here for weeks.
6. The Grand Ouroboros Effigy
The altar is protected by three snakefolk warriors, and two snakefolk priests, one of them being the high-priest. They immediately refuse the characters and let them know that their presence is an insult to the infinite serpent. If the characters insist on petitioning the snake, the snakefolk attack. They don’t, however, fight to the death.
If the battle goes south, the high-priest orders a stand-down and declares that such prominent warriors would not have come without the ouroboros’ approval. The characters may then consult the ouroboros.
7. High-Priest’s Vault
This secret room contains the personal hoard of the snakefolk high-priest. He protects it with his life.
Treasure. The chests contain 2,400 sp, 8,400 cp, and a tome that reveals that the high-priests do not really what entity answers people’s questions at the altar.
8. Broken Vault
This vault collapsed decades ago and was never repaired. The coffers are empty. The east tunnel connects the dilapidated chamber with the surrounding caverns.
9. Supplicants’ Vault
Wealthy snakefolk visitors can ask for their belongings to be stored in this publicly-managed vault.
Treasure. The chests contain 3,400 sp, 9,200 cp, a potion of healing, and a crate of spices (400 sp).
The characters make a personal petition to the ouroboros altar with the priests’ help and receive a series of cryptic visions about their future. The GM decides what each character beholds in this magical vision. The visions should point the character in the right direction but they should never forget that whatever answered their questions may have a hidden agenda.
If the characters threaten to slay the snakefolk priests, they won’t be able to consult the ouroboros. Against such odds, even the high-priest would rather give his life than to aid such bloodthirsty combatants consult the effigy.