The Fire Daemon

Properly back into the swing of things now, here’s a Vestitas encounter all in one go with no missing parts at all. Today’s special guest is a daemon who you probably don’t want to fight with flamers, leaving the Ecclesiarchy scared and confused. Counting Brandt’s Landing, this is 25 hexes of Vestitas filled in, making the hexcrawl loosely one quarter complete. Of course, Grey Harbour and Imberkavitas will require a lot more effort than one-encounter hexes, even the big ones like the Living Dead. Although, on the other hand, my estimate does not include Echo Lake, which is a lake, and may or may not end up having anything interesting hiding in its murky depths.

Summary: A lone cultist is attempting to summon a fire daemon to consume a town deep in Imperial territory.

Discovery: A Routine(+20) Psyniscience check will reveal that there is serious Warp shenanigans going on in town, and even lead characters towards the cultist’s cellar, where he is preparing a summoning circle to bring forth a daemon of pure fire to consume the entire town. If characters stay the night here, any psykers in the party will receive dreams of fire and awaken with agitating burns that provide a level of fatigue (this fades after an hour of rest like normal). This prompts another Psyniscience check if they haven’t made one already.

Exploration: Prompted by dreams, boredom, or a sense of thoroughness, characters who inquire as to whether anything unusual has been happening in the area who succeed on a Routine(+20) Inquiry check will learn that animals have been disappearing from the area. Staking out the affected fields will allow characters who make an Ordinary(+10) Awareness test to see the cultist trying to make off with a sheep in the middle of the night. The cultist will ditch the sheep if pursued, requiring a Challenging(+0) Athletics check to be caught, or an Ordinary(+10) Stealth check to sneak up on him while he’s still distracted hauling the sheep off to his cottage. The Stealth check also allows characters to follow him home to his cottage.

If the characters catch the cultist and turn him over to the local authorities, the local Arbites judge will jail him pending trial and investigate his cottage, turning up the entire Chaos altar, at which point the cultist is turned over to the Ecclesiarchy in Grey Harbour, who purge him with extreme prejudice. If the characters investigate themselves, a Very Hard(-30) Interrogation check will get him to divulge the location of his hidden shrine, while only it takes only a Challenging(+0) Awareness check to find it if they search his cottage personally. A door in the kitchen has been covered up with a shelf, and behind that door is a pantry converted into a Chaos altar where the cultist has been burning sacrifices.

If the characters don’t catch the cultist while staking out his sheep abduction, they get one more chance the following night before the cultist has made enough sacrifices to summon the fire daemon.

Anyone who stays up at night and succeeds on a Challenging(+0) Logic test will notice that the smoke coming from one cottage is much, much darker than from the others. This is the smoke from the cultist’s latest sacrifice, which means if they didn’t stay up late to stake out the first sheep abduction, the fire daemon is being summoned at that very moment. If it’s still the night of the first sheep abduction (since the characters arrived), following the smoke will lead the characters to the cultist’s cottage. The cultist will claim he has no idea why his smoke is darker than anyone else’s. A Challenging(+0) Insight test will reveal he is lying. Whether they catch the lie or not, the cultist won’t let the characters in unless they either threaten him with lethal force or convincingly claim they represent some kind of Imperial authority. In both cases, the cultist will attempt to flee if the characters make their Awareness check to find the hidden shrine. It’s a Challenging(+0) Athletics check to catch him if he does so, or, if the characters had the presence of mind to plant a guard on him, that guard can make a Routine(+20) Athletics check to stop him from slipping away. If the guard fails, other characters may attempt the usual Challenging(+0) Athletics check.

Confrontation: On the third night after the characters arrive (the first night there is a dream, the second night has a sheep sacrifice that does not summon the daemon), the cultist steals another sheep, sacrifices it, and successfully summons the fire daemon. The fire from the sheep leaps from the sacrificial altar onto the cultist, consuming him and using first his body, then his cottage as fuel to summon up the daemon. The fire shapes itself into a form that is vaguely simian, or perhaps feline, then stalks through town, setting one building after another on fire. Since it is made of fire, ordinary weapons (and especially flamers) are completely useless. The creature has the Incorporeal trait, but unlike most incorporeals, it is vulnerable to any weapon that uses ice or cold to deal damage. Additionally, any kind of firehose or other fast flowing source of water does damage as though it were a flamer, with small jets like from a broken faucet acting as a hand flamer, larger jets like that of a broken household pipe acting as a flamer, a burst civic pipe acting like a heavy flamer, a load of water like a burst sewer main acting like a flamer dealing 2d10+10 E damage, and anything larger than that, like a flood gate being burst or the daemon being submerged in the ocean, simply killing it instantly.

The daemon is either non-sentient or completely unwilling to talk. Its only desire is to burn and consume anything and it will not cease doing so even for a second (even if cutting back temporarily would allow it to burn more in the future – it either can’t or won’t plan ahead). If the daemon is not defeated, it consumes the entire town and then moves out into the countryside for a while, slowing but not stopping its dissipation by consuming grass and trees until finally it burns out a few miles from the town’s remains.

Rewards: Defeating the daemon earns the gratitude of the town’s Lord Mayor, who will grant the characters each a large sum of money that can be used as a Very Rare(-30) item in trade. This also puts the Lord Mayor’s Disposition at 60 automatically, so characters may be able to call upon him for favors in the future. There is no reward for capturing the cultist before he summons the daemon.

If the Lord Mayor should happen to turn up dead during the confrontation with the fire daemon (or whenever else characters find it convenient to assassinate him), any character who is highborn can fill the convenient vacancy. Anyone installed as ruler gains 1d10 Influence, and anyone associated with the new ruler gains 1d5 Influence. The town can provide any weapon or service rare or cheaper, and anything else at all scarce or cheaper. If the characters or one of their allies rules the town, they can levy the town for 2 Influence to automatically succeed on a requisition check. The town has a relatively small garrison of a single Arbites judge and one PDF platoon, but any attempt to throw a coup will provoke a response from Grey Harbour unless something’s been done about them already.

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