Friday Hooks – Eye of Eternity

In the city stands a magnificent statue of a dragon. The story goes, that hundreds of years ago, heroes defeated the dragon and built the city. What they don’t tell you in the story is that the statue is the real dragon, and it is not dead but it merely slumbers.

Hundreds of years ago, the great alchemist poisoned the dragon and petrified him. The effect is not permanent however, and the dragon will soon break the spell. The headmaster of the college of wizardry in the city knows this and has a plan to defeat the dragon permanently.

In the ruins of an ancient city, deep in the desert, is said to be the final resting place of the alchemist who petrified the dragon. The headmaster believes the final resting place also holds a powerful artifact, the Eye of Eternity, which may be powerful enough to permanently end the dragon.

The heroes are tasked with travelling into the ruins and retrieve the artifact.

Sample complications and twists:

  • The headmaster is supposed to accompany the heroes, but before the party can leave the city, a secret society reveals itself and attacks. They are a religious cult who worship the dragon as a harbinger of death, a purger of the weak so that the loyal may rule. Their revelation either hurts the headmaster or forces him to remain behind to investigate.
    • The secret society has members all around the country and in every tier of civilization. The party must keep their mission a secret, or else risk being found by the secret society.
    • Upon their return, the secret society has already taken the city and toppled the government. The city is now besieged by supporters of the crown who are attempting to take the city back. The heroes must either get into the city to stop the dragon from awakening, or help in the siege to take back the city.
  • The Eye of Eternity is extremely powerful, enough so that the alchemist took it with them to the grave and riddled their tomb with traps. But no one is entirely sure what it does (it would be up to the GM, but is practically a plot device). It might even do more than just defeat one dragon. Is it more dangerous than it’s worth?
    • In addition, the Eye of Eternity requires a special activation process. The heroes need to figure out how to activate it before they return with the artifact, and trial and error may not be the best way to find out. Maybe they can find the manual.
    • The Eye may not be the only thing hidden in the alchemist’s tomb. The heroes might also find the recipe for the petrifying poison that trapped the dragon so many years ago. Between the world shattering deus ex machina and a petrifying poison, perhaps the poison is a safer option.
      • If the recipe exists, it has one ingredient will be very difficult to come by: the key to the poison is the victim’s blood. To retrieve the dragon’s blood, the dragon cannot be petrified and needs to be awake, in order for it to bleed.
        • The sword that cut the dragon so many years ago, and provided the alchemist with the blood for the poison, can be found with the warrior’s descendants. Perhaps the heroes can borrow it. Perhaps they won’t necessarily ask for permission.
      • Other ingredients are not easy to come by either, and could incredibly rare items or something that is dangerous to come by. Que side-quests.
  • The alchemist’s tomb is a huge construct, designed to keep people away from the artifact that lies with the alchemist. It is a maze, filled with riddles and traps (likely to do with alchemy). This is the dungeon delving part, if there ever is one.
    • In addition to traps and riddles, the alchemist created a potion that keeps their servants in a state of undeath. In effect, they are zombies, tasked with keeping unwelcome visitors out. At the center, the alchemist has given himself a more powerful potion, effectively making them a lich, or other powerful undead, in charge of the servants.
    • If the heroes reach the central chamber, and defeat the alchemist and their servants, it is still possible that the alchemist has some devilish plan, a final trick. Perhaps the Eye of Eternity is a forgery, and the real one is hidden even deeper. Perhaps a final trap will set in motion a self-destruct sequence that makes the tomb fall apart. Be creative.
  • The dragon is not just a dragon. It is the physical avatar of a God or another being of immense power. There is a reason why it is being worshiped, because even if it is petrified, it can communicate telepathically to a limited degree. As the spell is becoming weaker, it’s power grows. At first, it’s only the psions who can sense it, but as its power returns, and its release from the poison draws near, everyone can feel it, and even hear it.
    • The dragon’s voice can be used to count down to the end, using events in the story as the benchmarks instead of actual time. When the heroes are leaving the city, they can feel the dread, and people have been leaving the city because of it. Those with telepathy might even hear the voice of the dragon in their sleep. When they reach the alchemist’s tomb, the telepaths can hear the dragon’s voice while awake, and the others dream of the dragon speaking to them. When the return to the city, the dragon speaks as if it was awake, filling everyone in the country with a terrifying sense of dread. At this point, the heroes will know that time is now of the essence, and lingering for too long risks the release of the dragon.
    • The dragon being able to communicate telepathically might encourage the heroes to attempt to communicate back. This is a mistake, as it invites the dragon’s attention. The dragon can read minds, to a limited degree, and might attempt wrenching control of that person. Early on, it is unlikely to succeed, but the heroes will feel the dragon’s attempt as a cold talon reaching into their minds.
      • The dragon’s cult welcomes it into their minds. They might even consider it a great honor to be chosen to be its vessel. The dragon won’t be able to use many of its powers early in the campaign, or keep control for long, but it can use the vessel’s voice and sense everything the vessel sees. Later on, it might be able to grant its vessel limited magical powers, likely tied to necromancy or entropic energies.

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