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1999 ART Module  -  The Final Test

 

GAME MASTER’S REVIEW

   The premise of this Module, “The Final Test”, is a simple one: Four apprentices have come to the end of their apprenticeships and have been set a ‘Final Test’ by their Masters.  The characters have not been informed about the Test: of what it entails, what’s expected of them.  They are only told at the last minute that all they have learned during their studies will come into play; that their actions and conduct will determine if they need a further year’s study to ‘mature and re-learn lessens obviously forgotten’ if the Test is failed.
 
 

Setting

   Some very basic and easy-to-follow notes on the setting of the Module follow.  They include details about the game world where the adventure is situated and information on some of the minor characters within the Game.
 

   The Game is set within the Kingdom of Pallum.  This is a fictitious Kingdom ruled by a wise and just King whose father before him conducted his affairs in the same manner.  Things have been stable in the Kingdom for the past fifty odd years – basically for as long as anyone can remember.

   Within Pallum there is a secret organisation of Mages known as the Order of the Crimson Flame.  The Order has Chantries in every major city and along every major trade route in Pallum.  This Module focuses on one such Chantry located along Pallum’s southernmost trade route – the Iron March.

   There are four Masters of the Order of the Crimson Flame who run the Iron March Chantry.  They are:

Irdrid of Thalm                        =        Old man with a walking cane, sharp wit and iron will.
Morgum the Magnificent          =        Mid fifties, bald patch with two tufts of hair either side.
Jyroth of the ‘Bumbling’ Ways =        Average man with scar running from left cheek to jaw.
Kodan the Noble                    =        Thick spread of black hair, always neat and proper.

   Irdrid is an authority on the creation of Golems and automatons.  Morgum is interested in animals, woodlands, nature and other such natural phenomena.  Jyroth is an enigma, with unknown interests and is often thought of as a fool by his peers.  Kodan is a sage specialising in the history of the Kingdom of Pallum and Illusion magicks.

   The talents of all four Masters are visible throughout the adventure as each Master has had a hand in the final test their students must sit.

   The Iron March Chantry is situated a day’s walk south of a small village called Willowbrooke, and five days south-west of the nearest major city, Duram.  Right next to the Chantry lies an enchanted wood – called Allbryte Wood – which the Masters often venture into secretly for arcane purposes.

   The Chantry itself is a large two-storey manor house that rarely receives visitors.  Few travel to the Chantry as it is private property and not easily visible from the Iron March trade route.
 
 

Main Characters in the Module

   There are a number of characters that make an appearance within the module.  They are outlined here for easy reference by the Game Master (save for the Masters of the Iron March Chantry who are described on the previous page).
 

   Naebelus the Centaur

   Centaur who the players meet during their first night within Allbryte Wood. Naebelus has been asked by Master Morgum to waylay the apprentices by drugging them and taking their backpacks.
 

   Gryff the Criminal

   A murderer who the players stumble across nailed to a tree for his crimes.  Gryff is suffering from agonising bouts of pain due to his crucifixion.  He represents a moral test the Mages must undergo – do they help a fellow human being in pain or allow this murderer to die as his punishment dictates?
 

   The Faerie Knight / Silver Knight

   This character is simply an honourable Faerie who has agreed to face the characters by arrangement with the Masters of the Iron March Chantry.  He is made out by Naebelus to be a Knight ‘who guards the crossroads at the end of the forest in honour of a fair maiden now deceased…’ but in reality is but a minion of the Wood aiding the Masters by challenging the apprentices to a fight for the love of the challenge.
 
 

   There are also a number of creatures that make an appearance within the Module.  These creatures are not sentient (nor some of them real!) but they are listed here once again for quick reference by the Game Master.
 

   The Troll

   This Troll is an illusion created by Master Kodan.  It has been designed to distract the apprentices and test their skills and wits.
 

   The Gargoyle / Golem

   This creature is really a Clay Golem crafted in the form of a Gargoyle by Master Irdrid.  Only a magical blunt weapon can destroy this creature – a weapon that is held by the Silver Knight and surrendered only when he is defeated.
 
 

Module Structure

   Below lies the general structure of this Module.  All Scenes occur in consecutive order (ie: they follow one another!), but there are two Evening Events that are slotted in when the party encamps in the wood for their first and second evenings.  As such encampment can occur at any time these Events lie outside the linear structure of the plot.
 

   Scene #1: The Journey begins

   This is the introduction to the Module for the players.  The characters leave the Iron March Chantry and walk to the village of Willowbrooke where they stay overnight in an Inn with their four Masters.
 

   Scene #2: The Final Test

   The Masters lead their young apprentices away from Willowbrooke revealing to them a secret path leading into the mysterious Allbryte Wood.  It is here that Master Irdrid reveals unto the four young lads that they must pass a test of wits, knowledge, and conduct to graduate beyond the rank of apprentice or else spend another year within the service of the Order of the Crimson Flame.
 

   Scene #3: The Pit of Stumbling

   As the players begin their journey a pit lies hidden under refuse and litter in the middle of the path.  The pit is an introduction as to what lies ahead, simply being an event that is designed to waste the player’s time and break their confidence just a little.
 

   Scene #4: The Trail Ends

   The party reaches a fork in the road and has to make a decision: do they keep following the main trail off to the left or deviate down a goat track veering sharply to the right?  Both way the path ends and the players’ end up lost in the wood…
 

   Scene #5: The Great Chasm

   The sound of water draws the players ever onwards through the wood, leading them an old Bridge that crosses a 100-foot chasm and back to the path!  Trails leads down into the sixty feet drop where a river seems to coarse and rage its way to the right.  Players must cross the chasm one way or another – swim the river or cross the Bridge – in order to continue their sojourn.
 

   Scene #6: Trolls, Trolls, Trolls!

   An illusionary Troll appears to challenge and delay the players on their journey!
 

   Evening #1: Beware of Strangers

   Naebelus, the Centaur, invites the party into his camp to share his hospitality for the evening.  Under the ruse of friendship, Naebelus plans to drug the players and make off with their equipment to increase the difficulty of their journey through Allbryte Wood.  Along the way his disarming charm and entertaining tale is all an attempt to lull the party into a false sense of security...
 

   Scene #7: A Mystic Rune

   A magical Rune lies in wait to trap the unwary players and once again delay their journey.
 

   Scene #8: A Moral Conundrum!

   A criminal, Gryff, is crucified to a tree alongside the path.  A sign above his head lists his murderous deeds and the names of his seven victims.  Gryff is in great pain, dying slowly and in agony on the tree. What should the apprentices do?
 

   Scene #9: The Poisoned Pool

   With only a day’s supply of food and water (regardless of whether the players’ packs have been stolen by Naebelus), the players reach a dappled pool of tranquil water where they may rest and drink from.  Needless to say the pool is poisoned with a toxin which induces a coma.  A hidden warning and cure lies near the pool – but there are not enough vials of anti-poison for everyone!
 

   Scene #10: Twisted Vines

   A section of the Wood about half a mile in radius near the path possesses roguish vines that attempt to entangle and waylay members of the party.
 

   Evening #2: Rest and Reverie

   A harrowing evening befalls the players as they try and take rest to face the adventures the next day bring.
 

   Scene #11: The Silver Knight

   A Faerie Knight guards a crossroads challenging any that come unto it to duel with him.  The Knight will let anyone to challenge him only once per day, allowing his opponent to choose the terms of the duel: a battle of wits, steel or magic.  Once defeated the Knight will disappear leaving his equipment behind where he once stood.
 

   Scene #12: Prison-matic Wall

   The way out of the forest is blocked by an extensive, multi-coloured magical wall that reaches as far as they eye can see.  To escape the players must dispel this Prismatic Wall with three magic items they have collected along their travels.
 

   Scene #13a: The Guardian of the Scroll

   A scroll sits on a stone pedestal at the end of a path with a Clay Golem shaped in the form of a Gargoyle protecting the scroll.  To escape from the Wood the players must capture the scroll and defeat its guardian.
 

   Scene #13b: The Treasure Trap

   Five chests of copper bits and pieces lie at the end of a path…  What is the purpose of these chests?  Hidden within one of them is a ring – a magical ring – that the players need to help dispel the Prismatic Wall blocking their escape from the Wood!
 

   Scene #14: Finale

   After making their way through all of the tests and out of the Allbryte Wood the players will return to the Iron March Chantry.  There, each apprentice must face the Four Masters alone, explaining what they have learnt from their Final Test and why they failed several of the tests within the Wood.  Those who convince the Masters they are ready are granted their leave – those who do not must remain as apprentices with the Order of the Crimson Flame for yet another year.
 
 

How Is the Module Supposed to Work?

   The Module is divided into several Scenes which are small, individual events in their own right.

   All the Scenes set within the Allbryte Wood (except for one or two) are tests set by the Masters of the Iron March Chantry.  The tests range in difficulty from simple (such as ‘the characters co-operate to escape from a trap’) to difficult (a moral decision must be made about the life and death of a murderer!).  At the end of such Scenes is a little box explaining what the players need to do to fail a test…

   ‘The Final Test’ is supposed to be about the four Masters attempting to determine if their apprentices are ready to venture out on their own into the real world.  The Masters expect their apprentices to fail at least one test as there is a lot for them to do…  The idea is that those tests which are failed are learnt from, with each character gaining an opportunity at the end of the Module to ‘justify their mistakes’ and prove to the Masters they are mature enough to graduate.




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