The Eye Daemon

Another Vestitas hex encounter. This one concerns a town deep in the Chaos-controlled parts of the region, ruled over by a daemon who literally has eyes everywhere.

Summary: A small town is controlled by a daemon who instructs his cultists to inscribe eye glyphs all across the town. The daemon can open these eyes at will to see and project his powerful telepathic powers, using the network of eye glyphs to keep the town under constant surveillance and mentally dominate any potential dissenters.

Discovery: The town itself isn’t especially isolated. They cut down lumber from the jungle and turn it into furniture that’s then shipped to Imberkavitas just to the east, and also have significant amounts of farmland from the cleared sections that feed them and also help to feed Imberkavitas. When players enter hex 02.01, unless they are specifically avoiding civilization, they’ll find the town.

Exploration: It’s a Routine(+20) Awareness check to notice the strange eye glyphs all over town. If a player gets at least 4 degrees of success (in other words, if they would have passed a Difficult(-10) Awareness check), they see an actual, living eye on one of the buildings staring at them for just a moment before it blinks shut.

If the players inquire as to the meaning of the eye glyphs or as to having seen the eye itself, the townspeople will say that they are the eyes of their master, and that “he watches over us always and everywhere.” If the players inquire further, they make a Challenging(+0) Inquiry check. If they succeed, they learn that the eyes guide the town in everything they do, leading them to greatness. Those who seek to harm the town are brought to serve it instead by the majesty of the town’s master. They can cite a specific case of a sorcerer coming to town and, upon being fixed by the gaze of the great eye, entered into the town hall where he was compelled to become the high priest of the master’s faith. The high priest himself spends most of his time in the chapel, entry to which is forbidden to outsiders, but will emerge long enough to confirm the story and offer to bring the players into the chapel to behold the glory of his master. However, he will only allow them to enter one at a time.

If a player makes an Ordinary(+10) Psyniscience check at any time in the town, they can feel Warp energy coursing all through the area and its concentration in the city hall in the town’s heart. They can also feel a thread of psychic energy connecting each eye glyph to the concentration of energy in the town’s heart. A Difficult(-10) Forbidden Lore (Daemonology) check will allow a player to recognize the eye glyph as belonging to an eye daemon which plants itself in one location, becomes immobile, and then uses its extensive mastery of the Telepathy discipline of psyker powers to take control of everyone nearby.

If the players stay the night in town, the eye daemon will take an interest in them and seek to use his puppet master powers on one of them early in the morning. If one of them is standing watch, they will be the target of the puppeting. Otherwise he will select whichever one appears to be the most heavily armed and armored – they’re the least likely to have good Willpower. Once puppeted, he forces them into the town hall’s chapel where he will begin to indoctrinate them.

Confrontation: The heart of the eye daemon is in the town hall’s chapel, a giant eye attached to a mass of flesh whose dripping tendrils have attached themselves to the walls. Anyone who enters who is not already an indoctrinated servant of the eye daemon will be hit with the Puppet Master power every round, and once puppeted will begin the process of indoctrination, unless there is active conflict in the chapel, in which case they will fight the eye daemon’s enemies. Indoctrination requires a new opposed Willpower check between the victim and the eye daemon every hour, and upon failure the victim gains one indoctrination point. When indoctrination points exceed the victim’s Willpower bonus, they have been indoctrinated.

If the eye daemon is attacked and takes damage, it will release a psychic shriek automatically. This does not cost it an action but can only happen once per round. When under attack, the eye daemon may use Dominate instead of Puppet Master to increase odds of success.

Its main line of defense, however, will be the town guards, the high priest, and the town full of devoted fanatics. The eye daemon can spend a half-action to open one of its eyes and summon help using its telepathy, and will do so once per round after being attacked and taking damage. The first round it does this, the town’s six guards enter on the following round, having been brought from city hall, as well as the high priest if he was not in the chapel when the fight started. The second through fourth round, it summons two guards and 1d5 fanatics, and they take three rounds to arrive, having been summoned from another building. On the fifth round it summons 1d5+5 fanatics from the town pub, and they arrive three rounds later. On the sixth and subsequent rounds it summons 1d5 fanatics who take four rounds to arrive as they’re pulled in from further and further from the town. The eye daemon’s reinforcements are fanatically loyal and will fight to the death while it lives. If the eye daemon dies, all of its minions must make a Very Hard(-30) Willpower test, and if they fail they are demoralized and flee. Those who pass will stay and fight, but will retreat when they begin taking critical damage.

The daemon is generally not open to negotiation with the players. At first it ignores them, and if they stick around long enough for it to take an interest it will attempt to take control of them, and since the daemon will succeed in indoctrinating someone eventually it will only abandon efforts to take control when it comes to perceive them as a threat at which point it will attempt to destroy them. Only when all of that has failed and the players have the daemon at their mercy will it hear out any attempts at negotiation. Its starting disposition is 35 (it disdains mortals but doesn’t really hold a grudge over the whole “attempted murder” thing since it started the fight and the players aren’t actually going to kill it) and it has the confident personality.

Rewards: Anyone who passes a Difficult(-10) Forbidden Lore (Daemonology) check (or who passed it earlier to recognize the daemon) knows that the eye fluid of the slain daemon can be consumed in order to absorb its power to see through eye glyphs. A Challenging(+0) Forbidden Lore (Heresy) check will allow inscribing the glyph on any flat surface, at which point someone whose consumed the daemon’s eye fluid and has the Scrier’s Gaze psyker power can place their palm on the eye glyph and attune to it. So long as you have the prerequisite power, attuning is automatic, and as a half-action you can open that eye at any point in the future. This allows you to see (but not hear) through the eye and use any Telepathy powers (but not other disciplines) as though you were at the eye’s location. You may attune to any number of eyes, but you may only look through one at a time. Consuming the eye fluid causes 2d10 Corruption, and attuning to an eye glyph causes 1d5-2 Corruption, to a minimum of 0.

With the eye daemon dead, the town is left adrift. Anyone whose slain the daemon can install themselves as the town’s new ruler. Since the town had no Imperial contact to begin with, you do not have to be Highborn or otherwise justify your right to rule to any formal authorities. It’s a Klingon promotion. Whoever takes over the town gains 1d10 Influence and anyone who knows them gains 1d5. The town can additionally be levied at a cost of 2 Influence points in order to automatically succeed at an Influence roll for goods or services from the town. The town can provide anything that’s common or cheaper, any solid projectile weapon or service that’s average or cheaper, and any medical care, low-tech weapon, or basic armour that’s scarce or cheaper.

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