(necessary GM details coming later!)
The party meets up in town, each player arriving together or separately for the Vernal House Bell Ceremony
. They have found lodging in a crowded inn with a public room below.
The city is thronged with visitors for the holy ceremony. Players may have come for personal religious reasons or for business in the crowded season. Vendors selling street food supplement the overworked public rooms, and other vendors offer everything from jewelry to crafts to farm produce, nearly anything you can imagine. Atalasu City is a major hub for all sorts of commercial routes.
One player’s purse is snatched as he or she goes out to buy dinner or another purchase. When complaint is made to local law enforcement, they explain that petty crime is greatly increased during the festival, and they offer temporary employment to the victim and his or her friends. They will be required to work in pairs or trios for safety and efficiency.
If two or more of the party opt to accept hire as temporary enforcers, they will thwart a smash-and-grab as a group attempts to overturn a vendor’s cart and make off with the day’s take.
It’s the day of the spring equinox, and all the faithful are crowding toward the temple. Did you remember to buy your bells? Many have sewn bells to their clothing, so that they jingle as they move, but the majority have brought or bought bracelets with one or many tiny bells to encircle their wrists. At the key moment in the ritual, even though all spectators will stand perfectly still, all the bells in the temple grounds will shiver and ring, marking the successful return of the gods to this home temple.
Make or buy bells to wear before the ceremony!
Select your viewing point! The Sylph Knight will appear at the top of the temple tower and display the branch cut from the sacred apricot tree, miraculously flowering. Find a place where you can see.
1) The courtyard, standing in the Virtue Circles
2) Atop the temple wall
3) Along the inside of the wall
4) Standing on something outside the wall
5) Waiting inside the temple, no view but you’ll hear the bells
It seems as though you’ve been waiting a long time. The crowd is happy but is getting restless in the spring sun. Where is the Sylph Knight?
Oh! You can see movement atop the tower. Is that the Knight? Is this the moment? The crowd goes silent and still, holding their breaths and waiting for the bells to ring on their own.
The top of the temple tower explodes into brilliant fire. You block your eyes from the flash and a wall of incredible heat washes over you.
The temple is on fire. The courtyard is full of terrified people. The fire is already spreading to buildings along the temple wall.
Challenge #1: Rescue Spectators!
There is real risk of trampling in the panic, not to mention the danger of a large building fire. Find a safe escape route, and then rescue at least two attending faithful, probably including a child and a doll.
Challenge #2: To The River!
The fire spreads through the city. Shops and houses are pulled down, creating a fire break, in attempts to contain it. Those who have come into the city for the festival are terrified and lost; those who live in the city are terrified and devastated, watching their homes destroyed.
There is a safe place near the river, protected by the water. Guide some travelers there. (If you served as law enforcement earlier, this is a good time to put on that badge to help move people more quickly.)
Challenge #3: Beyond The River!
There is word that the city of Garritford is opening its gates to refugees. Find a way to cross the river and enter the city. The ford is not recommended in the spring, due to high water levels, and the ferry is crowded with escaping people. Don’t drown!
If you made it to Garritford, congratulations! There will be time tomorrow to listen to the rumors and try to learn what happened in the temple. No one has ever seen such a thing, and surely if the gods were this angry, there would have been other signs? Maybe the talk of sabotage is real…