Wandering the decaying wasteland, the brave group of adventurers come up on a gigantic statue of a woman holding a torch. Upon inspection they quickly discover the statue is a structure with an entrance at the base. Stepping across the threshold, the pervasive force of Vermut diminishes, and the lawfully-aligned characters feel in better spirits than they had since The Change.
Floors 1 & 2
The ground floor is a single rectangular room with several humanoid corpses buried under dust and ash. The few items of furniture look equally untouched in many years. Ascending to the second floor, the characters see another humanoid corpse and a golden mask lying next to its disfigured head. It, too, is buried under a thick layer of dust and ash, but still gleams with an intense golden hue.
The third story holds a few shelved books written in a language the characters cannot understand, but look familiar. If, through magic or some other creative means, they decipher the angular glyphs, they learn that an ancient humanoid people had experienced a plight similar to Veloren's. Having determined that Vermut was a, if not the, source of evil contaminating the world, they built a massive structure dedicated to their sun-god as a means of protection. A single cleric was dedicated to running the lighthouse fire which, when maintained, diminished the evil illuminating power of Vermut. The text is unclear exactly how this person kept the fire burning, through sacrifice and the power of the ultimate god, Helos, is referenced repeatedly.
The fourth floor opens onto an observatory built to resemble a crown around the statue's head. A door to the side leads to the statue's torch, which includes a giant soot-stained brazier. Mounted in the center is a red crystal. If any fire comes in contact with the crystal, it bursts into an intense flame for twenty-four hours. If the brazier is lit, all lawfully-aligned characters enjoy a feeling comparable to being Blessed while in the lighthouse. The view is breathtaking, but as Vermut rises above the horizon, the characters feel their sense of dread return in full.
Lighthouse Mask of Helos
A mask of what appears to be smooth gold that, when held against one's face, quickly molds and adheres to such a point where it becomes indistinguishable from the character's real face. The wearer now has a visage of immeasurable beauty; their Charisma attribute is permanently increased to 18 and they may cast Charm and Fireball once per day. Anyone touching the mask must make a Save versus Spell or Spell-Like Device to resist placing the mask against their face.
Chaotically-aligned characters experience excruciating pain as the mask causes 1d4 HP of damage each round until they are dead or the mask is torn off. Lawfully-aligned masked characters live forever, but cannot leave the lighthouse. If the masked character leaves the lighthouse, the mask painfully peals away from the wearer's face taking much of the original skin with it. Thereafter the character's Charisma attribute is permanently reduced to 5. The character also permanently loses 2d6 Hit Points. If a masked character is killed, the mask falls freely from the deceased face and reverts to its golden hue. The mask is made of magical gold valued at 1,000 gp. However, a Cleric of Helos will pay 1,000 x 1d8 gp.
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Author's note: This is an excerpt from my upcoming adventure Verloren: The Refuescent and the Atramentous. It is currently in first draft stage and will be available for sale at RPGNow when published. The title for this particular encounter is a tribute to Tim Shorts.