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Subj:	Assassin
Date:	97-03-18 21:11:23 EST
From:	ilium@juno.com (Stephen P Martin)
To:	Ethesis@aol.com

Originally presented in The Wild Hunt 41

This month's heroquest is a minor pattern established by Esteban Vio III,
an assassin of great stature and harsh rigors. He founded the Blue Lodge
of mystics who tracked and slew those tainted by chaos.

In the quest he sanctified himself (Station 1), then infiltrated a
hellmouth and entered into the upper region. Following that, he met and
mastered a chaos demon that was the second soul of a great magician. He
slew it, robbing it of power (Station 2) and then escaped from Hell.
Finally, he slew the magician-priest which had controlled the demon
(Station 3).

The quest can be inacted just for the power involved. Recently a
rune-lord attempted it to slay a lunar heroquester/regional military

To prepare for the quest one must live one month as an exemplary cultist
within one's cult. Then one participates in a high holy day ceremony and
recieves ritual cleansing. This is also the first station of the quest.
As the quest is not well known (as it is one of the semi-secrets of the
Blue Lodge), the myths and information dealing with it require some work
and search to find. One should also locate a Hellmouth (see Hellmouth)
for the journey, and select a chaos-tainted target.

The Purification. This is a ritual cleansing and rebirth, and is symbolic of Esteban's dedication to purging the world of the chaos that remained. For Waha cultists it would be conducted by the Earth Witch (and would result in the normal gifts) (c.f. Waha's Beastquest), for Humakti it would be a chance to aquire more Geasa and Gifts, etc. Following this ritual, the questers are no longer on the mundane world for the duration of the quest, and are going to touch in and out of the magical world. This helps them a great deal in walking the path and in drawing them to the demon they must face. After leaving their temple, the questers must go through a hellmouth. Some of these are guarded by trolls (and can be passed with appropriate guile or bribes), some by slightly less savory guardians (such as chaos), others are secrets of various cults (most religions have a Hell for purifying purposes). After that has been accomplished, the quester enters into the upper (or free) region. By going straight one will arrive at the target. There is a chance of meeting other things before the intended demon; the following chart is intended to represent some possible encounters: -- l) minor psychocomp (1-2 random actions, 3 quester's own or related cult, 4-10 semi-hostile) -- 2) shaman -- 3) elemental -- 4) hellgod (1-2 old/unknown, 3 quester's own or related cult, 4-10 semi- to fully hostile) -- 5) trolls -- 6) chaos creatures (ld3-1 for every two party members) -- 7) random spirits -- 8) random inhabitant STATION TWO
At this station the party encounters the demon they had intended to meet; they may also meet a lot they hadn't intended to as well. They must fight it physically and slay it. It will then attack in spirit combat (total their POW vs the demon's). If it succeeds in winning and possessing, the questers will all be enslaved. If the questers succeed in reducing its MPs to 0 they've won this part of the battle. They will realize that they have successfully encountered and slain the right one because they will drop to the more or less physical parts of the upper hell. This runs like a vicious wilderness encounter with similar types to the above being met, but deleting the psychocomps, shaman, and gods. One adds in creatures of darkness, more chaos creatures, and possible demons. The questers will feel the drop/change in state, and this is the time to leave post-haste. There will be no mystical magnet effect drawing them to their goal via myth. Instead, it is a rather rough trek, with good chances of getting lost if not well-prepared. STATION THREE
Upon dropping to the mundane world the questers become invisible to magical detection. This is the bonus. On the other side, the chaos tainted target will be aware of the loss of their demonic doppelganger even if they had no knowledge beforehand that they had one. This will alert them that something is going on. The assassination needs to be accompished within the month for the impetus of the quest to hold. Upon its being accomplished, the questers become one with the normal world again (thus they aren't connected to the death in a manner which can be discovered with magic). In the assassination attempt, any magic or weapon which was successfully used to harm the demon will strike at double chances and do double damage. If a weapon is used which was also used against the demon, but failed to harm it, it will do no damage to the target untill after the month is out and the force of the quest fails. AFTERMATH
Slaying the target is obviously what completes the quest. It does so in a way that puts the questers beyond the reach of rune magics (no trail for the magic to grab onto), and that makes it hard to catch the culprits. Those who succeed in this quest will also have doubled resistance to possession (the spirit must succeed twice to possess rather than only once,) and any weapon which harmed the demon (not just the magician) will do double damage to chaos-tainted things. Blue Lodge cultists who successfully complete this quest will have fiery blue eyes and access to a two point rune magic that blocks all detection/leaves no traces to detect while operating. They will be able to boast that they have stalked on Esteban's path through Hell. Others who succeed will be able to boast that they have "raided hell and slain demons", and though people won't know the particulars they will be impressed. If they went on this quest with the Blue Lodge's blessings they will have gained associate status by these actions. If they did this as a stolen quest then they should avoid particulars when discussing it, so as to avoid attracting the attention of the Blue Lodge. Failing this quest can mean a loss of mystical awareness, befoulment of the world, and in general a bad scene and partial loss of ability to heroquest.

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