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The Seven Deadly sins
Author: Orri Eiríksson
System: D&D Planescape
Sometimes, the highest form of happiness can only be achieved by suffering. Insight comes at a price, as the darkness in a mans heart can be difficult to face.
There is a place in Amoria, the first layer of Elysium, where the confrontation is, arguably, made easier. For is it not easier to face a physical foe, than one in your own mind?
-A helping hand...-
For whatever reason, the PC´s will be travelling in Amoria. They will probably be at least neutral, since the travellers way will make it nearly impossible for evil characters to travel. Perhaps they were visiting the City of the Star, perhaps they were relaxing after their last adventure (Elysium would be the place to do this). No matter the reason, the PC´s are now heading home. They have just gone past the Asura´s bridge (with only minor cavity searches) when, not unusually, they are called upon for help.
A young prime elf approaches them, looking very worried indeed. "Please, travellers. My friend and I were seeking the legendary Mirror of souls when my friend fell down this pit. He couldn't climb up and we had no rope so he decided to find another way out. He´s been gone for so long that I fear something has happened." The elf´s name is Hlamdir, a high elf from the prime world known only as The melting pot (the name planewalkers give it). He explains that the mirror of souls is a legendary place which is said to aid those who seek to face the darkness of their own souls. His friend, a young human paladin-to-be named William had begged him to join him on a quest of atunement. They sought to find the mirror so that William could face the part that was hindering him on his way to paladinhood.
In fact, they have already found the mirror of souls: It is the pit William fell into. Later they will find out why paladins aren´t really the ones that should be seeking this place, especially young and inexperienced ones like William.
Any PC worth his salt should be able to find a way down without getting hurt. Even if they decide to jump, the fall is only 30 feet but very steep. Down in the pit they will find a network of tunnels, linking together seven caves (map up to the DM, of course). Within these caves the PC´s will face seven challenges, or as many as it takes for them to find William and return to the surface. Finishing the seven challenges will magically transport them to the surface.
The caves radiate strong magic, making detection, location and teleportation impossible. Messing with the walls, using spells like dig, stone shape or such, collapses the caves (mountaineers, dwarves and engineers will be able to decect this on a successful INT roll).
-The seven sins-
The challenges are as follows: pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, covetousness and sloth. Each is represented as a manifested spirit, and will each need to be defeated. William is a prisoner of anger, so if the PC´s don't reach anger last, they can simply climb out with William. However, others have failed these tests and there is treasure to be had in each of the caves (cheese for the bait really, the PC´s ought to explore without further prompting). Not all of the sins need to be fought, most of them are best defeated by wits. Actually, only gluttony has to be fought.
Gluttony manifests itself as a huge, fat giant, which belches poison gas (stinking cloud at low level, cloudkill or worse at higher). It will attack and attempt to eat one of the PC´s at a time. It won´t defend itself while eating, for it cares only for eating.
Pride is a crowd of people, cheering and waving at the PC´s. ´Persons´ from the crowd will attach themselves to individual characters and praise them constantly for the thing they are most proud. Pride can´t be fought, the only escape is humility. Truly attributing their acomplishments to others, luck or the fates is humility. For each boast the PC´s make, one act of humility needs to be done. If the PC´s get carried away they will be prides prisoners. Have someone rescue them in a few weeks.
Envy is a room full of treasure. Amongst the treasure, a single powerful magical item rests (ring of regeneration or another item everybody can use and everybody wants). This item is quite real but the rest of the treasure is an illusion. There are two ways out: Deciding to leave the item behind, or, Agreeing on one owner, unconditionally.
Lust can be fought, but it is a nasty way out. It manifests itself as members of the opposite sex, one for each character. Each of them is a paragon of beauty for their species, each of them make stunningly literal attempts of seduction. Leaving this cave requires either killing all of them (ugh) or simply resisting their charm (save vs spell). For every hint of enjoyment of the treatment the PC´s give, the save is at a cumulative –2 penalty and lust gains 2 hit dice (originally, each has as many hit die as the players).
Covetousness may have to be fought. It manifests itself as a group of dwarves that demand a price from the PC´s (a large sum of treasure or some specific magic items). If the PC´s do not comply, the dwarves attack. Make it a tough battle. However, if the PC´s DO comply, they have truly conquered covetousness and should earn a XP bonus.
Sloth is a nasty one. Fortunately, since the characters are adventurers, they are hardly suspectable to its lure. Its manifestation is a place of extreme comfort. It has everything the PC´s could ever dream of (use your imagination). It´s all an illusion. If the PC´s try out the comforts, only a save v.s. spell will get them out (with a 1-4 penalty, according to the magnitude of the laziness).
Anger will also probably need to be fought. Here young William is held prisoner by his own anger. If the PC´s manage to defeat theirs, they can the rescue unconscious sod and drag him out. The cavern seems to be full of mephits of every kind. They cover the walls of the cavern, shouting (surprisingly accurate) insults at the PC´s. In the center of the cave, anger manifests itself as the greatest enemy (living or dead) of the PC´s. For every insult that gets to the characters, anger becomes more powerful. Attacking anger in a berserk rage should be nearly impossible.
Anger will attack the characters if they do not attack it, but if they have recognized it as anger (by name that is) and tell it to leave them, it will.
-free from sin-
As soon as anger is gone, the PC´s and William are magically transported to the surface, where Hlamdir is waiting. Saving William is definitely a good deed, so the PC´s should reach wherever they are going in only half an hour (an attribute of the travellers way).