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The Gift of Giving

Initial Brief

“As we reflect on that which has been lost, we look to a future certain to be blessed with strength, unity and prosperity. We offer this gift as a token of our devotion to Rastaban, and as a promise that our Order will continue to-”

“…continue to STEAL from HARDWORKING PALADINS? You're a disgrace to your Order, and-”

“Oh, you're one to talk. Don't think I don't see what you've got planned for your gift, you conniving…”

Last year's Benefaction Festival did not go quite as planned. This year will be different. This is an order.



The Benefaction Festival is an annual event, during which representatives from each Order present a gift to a delegate of the Silent Regent in a display of generosity, loyalty, and unity. However, as Carta and Catarina are each informed by hooded figures, last year's Benefaction Festival nearly descended into chaos. This year, the pair are tasked with overseeing the Order of the Rod's quest to collect a gift for the City (this year, the still-living head of the Lord of Ice's old bodyguard) in the hopes that a similar crisis can be averted. Since the Rod Paladin sent out on this quest has already left for the Plane of Conflict, the party must follow her into Conflict and divert any complications that might lead to tension between the Orders.

After being sent to the Rod Sanctum, Carta and Catarina begin to follow a trail left by Chosen Danica of the Rod, but run into a Conflict Weaver who has been granted a permit to spew heresy in the interest of provoking Conflict as fuel for her rituals. Defeating the Weaver in combat, the party provide the final spark for her ritual and a rift to Conflict opens from within her.

Advancing through the treacherous territory on the other side, Carta and Catarina encounter a group of Wheel Paladins who appear to be on their own mission to collect treasures from as many places as possible in one night. Carta hands them a poker chip and a key, both of which possess interesting Qualities favouring Carta himself. The party also encounters a group of what they deduce to be Shroud Paladins in pursuit of Chosen Danica. The Order of the Shroud had given the gift of a story at last year's Benefaction Festival, with the subject of the story (a Rod Paladin) taking offence at the attention being drawn from them. This minor conflict had led to a number of incidents which resulted in the entire Festival descending into chaos. Though it is hinted that this group of Paladins are attempting the same this year, Carta and Catarina allow the spies to follow behind them without complaint. Or not. It's hard to tell when negotiating with Shroud Paladins. Catarina also shares her conspiracy theories about the City. This draws the confusion and then awe of the Paladins, who seem to suspect that she is of their Order.

The pair move onwards to a castle made of ice, in which a force of old Conflict entities still reside. Here, they encounter Danica, who is hesitant to accept the support but is more concerned with collecting her Order's gift than challenging the party. They follow Danica through a wall which appears to have been warded by the Lord of Fire during a siege long ago, during which the castle and the Lord of Ice's faithful bodyguard were abandoned. While passing through the wall, both Carta and Catarina are faced with an internal conflict that demands to be resolved; Carta struggles with the decision of whether or not to let the Shroud Paladins go about their business, while Catarina is forced to confront her conflicting feelings towards the Planes of Connection and Conflict. Carta and Catarina briefly discuss loyalty and the Silent Regent, with the contents of the conversation removed from Catarina's memory as soon as it concludes.

On the other side of the wall, the party find the headless, dormant remains of the bodyguard, which is being reconstructed by Danica. As the snowy form of the bodyguard takes shape, the party counter its attacks, with a particularly clever deception from Carta ultimately leading to the bodyguard being defeated. Danica secures its head and cheerfully heads out of the castle to reach a predetermined planar overlay point, followed closely by Catarina. Carta speaks to the Shroud Paladins who have followed them this far and are now in disguise as ice sculptures inside the castle.

Once Carta catches up, the party wait for this region of Conflict to extrude itself into their own Plane. Catarina and Carta both perform rituals to influence the gift held by Danica: Catarina ensures that any story spoken about the bodyguard's head will be warped and contradictory, while Carta prepares a ritual so that he may put his own spin on any story spoken about the gift.

With the rituals completed without attracting Danica's attention, the party watch as a scene from Rastaban appears overlaid with the icy Conflict scene before them. They step through into a marketplace in Rivergate Town, in which several merchants appear to have been driven to violence as a result of the incursion. Successfully defending themselves, the party follow Danica to the Imperial Boulevard - though not before Carta takes advantage of the surroundings to purchase memories of a failed, untrustworthy relationship from a struggling couple in the area.

As Carta and Catarina push onwards, it begins to snow and Conflict begins to press more strongly into the Mundane. A rift suddenly appears before the party and the Lord of Ice themself steps out, demanding the safe return of their bodyguard. The party negotiate down and Catarina eventually swears loyalty to the Lord of Ice as their new bodyguard, which seems to appease them. With all threats dealt with, Carta moves on to the Imperial Boulevard to witness the Benefaction Festival, while Catarina follows the Lord of Ice into Conflict…


The Festival begins with the usual celebrations and several gifts from the Orders. The Wheel Paladins present a sack of gifts (minus Carta's key, which teleported back to him) and are dismissed from the stage. Danica presents the head of the Lord of Ice's old bodyguard, perfectly preserved and still-living, as a testament to the Order of the Rod's courage and resilience. The Shroud Paladins encountered previously step up and begin to tell the fantastical story of how Danica recovered her Order's gift… but their speech comes out garbled and contradictory. Confused, they try again and begin to speak of the history of the Lord of Ice and their bodyguard, but Carta's ritual takes effect and their story comes out somewhat differently.

They speak of a soldier made from ice, skilled and ruthless but never given a chance to express their feelings. They speak of its master who locked the soldier inside a castle to protect it from the dangers of the world outside. They speak of the master moving on and forgetting their loyal soldier, who continued to love them in spite of their abandonment. They speak of the City, and-

At this point, Carta's ritual ends, the story is cut off, and the Shroud Paladin who had shared it is ushered backstage. The story is not featured in any of the plays recounting the events of the Benefaction Festival several weeks afterwards, which of course means that any memories of the story are false and should be forgotten.

Meanwhile, Catarina trains with the Lord of Ice. She demonstrates her resilience by fighting wave after wave of the Lord of Ice's soldiers, and the Lord of Ice gives her a list of tasks to achieve on their behalf. Returning from Conflict, she and Carta report to their anonymous employer before going their separate ways once again.

Carta uses the poker chip in the Order of the Wheel's gift haul to scry on the storeroom where their gifts are being sorted. Informing his contacts in House Keelen of its location, he manages to engineer a minor heist and ends up being the proud owner of a coin which always lands face up. He then meets with his shadowy mentor in the Philosophy of Seluga, who exchanges Carta's memories of the Order of the Shroud's story for an old memory of his past with the Silent Regent. In this memory, the two fought together against Outsiders as comrades, neither of them quite as… extreme as Carta knows them to be today. Finally, Carta performs a major ritual so that his key may be used to open any door into Connection.

Meanwhile, Catarina visits her aunt, Grand Magister Isabella. Isabella is hesitant to speak with her, but the allure of a collection of body parts collected from bizarre Conflict entities proves too strong. Isabella is intrigued by the specimens and refers to a compendium of historical Conflict entities, which she believes the creatures found in the Lord of Ice's abandoned castle to be. Before she reaches the end of her patience with her niece, Isabella gives Catarina contact information for a colleague with an interest in the history of Conflict.



  • 3 favour from the Imperial Bureaucracy for being unable to blame for the chaos at the Festival, as well as for returning a permit held by the Conflict Weaver at the Order of the Rod.
  • 1 favour from House Keelen for engineering the heist.
  • Key may now be used to open doors into Connection.
  • A coin stolen from the City which always lands face up.
  • Memories of Miyan and the Silent Regent as comrades against the Outsiders.


  • 3 favour from the Imperial Bureaucracy for completing the job.
  • 1 favour from Grand Magister Isabella for providing Conflict specimens for study.
  • Contact: Councillor-Apprentice Hesperia Parda, a Conflict Weaver with an interest in the rebirth and evolution of Conflict.
  • Weapon gains Brutal Quality - Gain 1 WOUND per encounter as your strike is charged with bitter cold.
  • Branded by a Liege of Conflict - You are branded by a Liege of Conflict and as such are identifiably their servant while in Conflict. Actions you undertake in Conflict will metaphysically reflect back on your patron and particularly striking actions may have consequences. While you are in their Domain, you are IMMUNE FEAR. If you die while in the Plane of Conflict on the Lord of Ice's business, you will be returned to their Court and given the choice of returning by the Lord of Ice's power (at a potential cost), or of falling into the Void (at which point your regular Blessing would kick in if you are Blessed).
  • The Lord of Ice has instructed you to perform the following tasks:
    • Bring other worthy warriors into the service of the Lord of Ice.
    • Claim property of the Lord of Fire in the name of the Lord of Ice.
    • Construct a fitting monument to the Lord of Ice somewhere in the Mundane. The colder and stabbier, the better.
resources/adventure/the_gift_of_giving.txt · Last modified: 2020/01/06 18:08 by am