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Author: Orri Eiríksson
System: D&D Planescape
The players become the main course for an eater.
The brotherhood of belief, also known as the eaters or the hollow, are a rather unique sect whose focus is to feed of the belief of others, including factions (whom they like the taste of) and priests (who were their main course back when they were a part of the Athar). In this adventure the players meet up with a powerful member of this sect, who leads them on a wild goose chase to the Ethereal plane (coming soon to planewalker...well someday, anyway) in order to feed of them. He prefers faction members and those who are strongly aligned in one way or another (extremely evil, good, lawful or chaotic).
For those who are unfamiliar with the Ethereal plane, it is a misty plane of physical existence, what some would consider the core of reality. The godsmen believe that all creation stems from this plane, from the Source of the multiverse. Godsmen are noted for their ability to travel in the Ethereal, especially the more dedicated members.
-An offer they cannot resist-
Word is on the street that a strange tiefling (aren't they all?) by the name of Exorcus is hiring help. It is said he seeks to rescue a friend of his, a rouge modron who was travelling in the Ethereal looking for something, or, failing that, at least find a travel recorder (a mimir) belonging to the modron. If rumor is to be believed, then Exorcus has previously hired seven other groups for the same mission, who apparently failed. Those pc´s with contacts in the shady parts of the city can find out that the first mission was led by Exorcus himself. This story is mostly a lie. There is no modron, nor a mimir. Exorcus has hired seven other groups but has led them all himself and consequently fed of their belief, leaving them mad and stranded in the Ethereal. He offers a lot of jink, even suspiciously so. To explain this high pay, Exorcus says that the mission is both important and exceedingly dangerous, ergo the seven parties lost. In fact, he thinks it is so dangerous that he has graciously decided to come along with them, to make sure they won't become lost in the Ethereal....
-Savouring the meal-
Exorcus is a gourmet. He doesn't just trap the pc´s and start feeding, he inconspiciously tapping their belief until they're too weak (read: too insane) to defend themselves. He encourages them to speak of their belief, factions, religion or the nature of good/evil. Questions about the blood war or poetry, or anything to make them feel deeply. Exorcus tells them that the portal they will be using is located in Bedlam, the gate-burg to Pandemonium. To reach Bedlam, they will use a portal in the Gatehouse. Also, he tells them ("by the way...."), they need to see someone in Bedlam who belonged to the last party he sent, to try and find out exactly what happened to them. Of course, that is a ruse. Exorcus only found out recently that one of his victims survived and managed to return. He means to kill him, since no-one must know his identity (very dangerous for a Eater).
They find the man lying on the road in front of the portal to the Ethereal, having lain there for several days. The man is a wretch, totally mad and barely able to speak. When he sees Exorcus he snaps and attacks him (as Exorcus knew he would). Exorcus kills him mercilessly, letting the pc´s get a glimpse of his true self. If they manage to subdue the man before Exorcus kills him, he tries to convince them that he is mad beyond hope and is better off dead. He hints at a great danger in the Ethereal that they will encounter that can do this to a man (that, at least, is true). Questioning the man reveals nothing...except that huge parts of his memory are missing.
-Into the deep-
Once in the Ethereal the pc´s who are strongest in their beliefs feel a strange, uncomfortable coldness radiating from the tiefling, whose eyes appear to have sunken slightly. If commented on, he shrugs and tells them that its an attribute of his fiendish blood: when he gets excited, his blood chills. Actually, they are feeling his drain, his feeding of their belief.
By now, the pc's are probably wondering what that rouge modron Exorcus supposedly sent before was looking for. Exorcus has been silent on the subject but now he tells them that he and his friend (the modron) have discovered a rift in reality, located in the Ethereal, that seems to be spreading rapidly. And he is on a quest to save the world, no less.
-A random encounter?-
Several hours later, Exorcus stops suddenly, seeing something ahead of them that he doesn't like (Exorcus has the ethereal sight proficiency). Two beholders emerge from the mist (or several, if the party is really powerful), one a lot bigger than the other. The lead beholder addresses Exorcus: "Where is my payment, semi-fiend? Pay up or face the consequences." The tiefling quickly whispers to the pc´s that he paid the beholder for directions in the Ethereal a long time ago and the he is just making up an excuse for killing and robbing them. The truth is, that the beholder once helped Exorcus kill one of the parties that got out of hand, but he is so full of himself that he thinks nothing of attacking both Exorcus and the pc's at the same time, expecting to win easily. He offers no explanations, nor does he deny Exorcus' claim.
-Learning the dark-
Sooner or later, the pc's must find out the truth or go insane. The cold feeling only becomes stronger as they go on travelling. If the cold is brought up again, Exorcus frowns and tells them to try to mentally block it out, since it is of a mental nature (something he hasn't mentioned before). This concentrates the pc´s thoughts on Exorcus, effectively making the drain faster. There is one quick way of discovering the Hollow's identity: channeling belief at him directly (exactly how this is done is up to the DM) causes a physical stream of lightning-like light from the one who is channeling towards Exorcus. Otherwise, the only other chance is noticing the sudden lack of conviction and spirit in each other and Exorcus' seeming cheerfulness, which seems to be gaining momentum. The otherwise pale tiefling also begins to have rosy cheeks and alert attitude as his draining goes on.
When and if the pc´s try to take action against him, Exorcus attacks them. He is a powerful fighter and has a number of special abilites, powered by the pc´s belief (a chance for the DM to be nastily creative...). If they kill him, they feel a rush of sheer belief returning to them. Possibly, they might discover how to sap belief from others during this rush....and come to like it. It probably is no need to mention that draining peoples belief is one of the vilest acts one can perform. Now is also a great time to introduce a base for new Ethereal adventures. Perhaps the pc´s come upon the headquarters of the Etherfarer Society (as portrayed in The Guide to the Ethereal Plane).