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General Eberron lore related question

Lets say the party need to get into a Silver Flame Monastery. The monk (martial arts adept) guarding the bridge wants them to answer three questions to test their faith. What questions should he ask?

NB anything involving swallows will probably be too easy for my players.
 

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Guang

Explorer
One question on Silver Flame doctrine. One question on an ethical dilemma, perhaps mercy versus justice, or honesty versus protecting the innocent. A third question that would require the penitant to show humility (or some other character trait). How the second and third answers were answered would be more important than the answers themselves.
 



MarkB

Legend
One nice thing about monks is that they don't need any particular gear or armour in order to perform at their best. Perhaps, rather than explicitly barring their way, this guardian could pose as a tired, hungry pauper wanting to gain entry to the monastery, but worried that he won't be able to convince its occupants of his devoutness.

The party's willingness to aid him, and the manner in which they do so, are their test of faith. If they attempt to leave him at the wayside and approach the gates without him, they'll be automatically denied entry. If he accompanies them, the phrasing he uses to address the guards will confirm whether or not he vouches for them.
 

Gradine

Final Form
A test of character is much more in line with church than a straight quiz. One thing to keep in mind is which sect of the Silver Flame we're talking about. Someone mentioned "mercy vs justice". The traditional church would consider mercy the correct answer; but more hardline sects would place more importance on stamping out "evil", whatever that entails.
 

Guang

Explorer
I like the idea of an ethical dilemma question, any ideas?
Well let's see....
Should you turn in to the town guard someone who steals in order to buy medicine for their sick mother? What if they are surprised in the act and accidentally kill someone? What if you decided to let them go, but it turned out they were lying about their mother being sick? What if it was your mother that was sick?
Anything that makes it a difficult decision that has to be thought through carefully - how they answer is more important than what they answer.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Well, you could mix it up a bit, throw curveballs by asking for displays of faith, then ask a doctrine based question.

Firstly, you could have the PC's undergo a purification ritual using some silverburn and a candlestick. Just looking at the flame, and waving your hand though it should be enough. The point of using silverburn is to weed out werecreatures and other supernatural threats who are weak against silver. Which shouldn't be most PC's, so it's basically a freebee.

Then have someone display their archery skills, because the Silver Flame loves archery.

Finally, a good question to ask: What is "The Hierarchy of Evil"? (The proper order for prioritizing what kind of evil you should smite first)
 

Well let's see....
Should you turn in to the town guard someone who steals in order to buy medicine for their sick mother? What if they are surprised in the act and accidentally kill someone? What if you decided to let them go, but it turned out they were lying about their mother being sick? What if it was your mother that was sick?
Anything that makes it a difficult decision that has to be thought through carefully - how they answer is more important than what they answer.
It really needs to be something with a "correct" Silver Flame answer that can be faked. The PCs are not Silver Flame - they are not even "good" people.
 

Twiggly the Gnome

Adventurer
It really needs to be something with a "correct" Silver Flame answer that can be faked. The PCs are not Silver Flame - they are not even "good" people.

A notoriously wicked man has contracted a strain of lycanthropy that has shifted his personality to be more kindly. Do you do nothing and increase the good in the world, or cure the disease and restore the man's moral agency?
 

Guang

Explorer
It really needs to be something with a "correct" Silver Flame answer that can be faked. The PCs are not Silver Flame - they are not even "good" people.
I understand. I don't have a firm enough grip on the Silver Flame to be able to help more specifically. It was fun to put myself in the monk's shoes for awhile though, thanks!
 

EscherEnigma

Explorer
Going with the themes above...

A test of doctrine.
A test of morals.
A test of wild card.

Now, if this is a monastery that regularly has visitors coming and going, they probably can't get too worked-up for these tests. The test of doctrine should be simple, the test of morals a striaght-forward ethical dilemma (think Philosophy 101), and the "wild card" could just be "passport and visa, please".

If it's a more cloistered place where guests are infrequent, then the monks might make the tests way more complicated just 'cause it's the only kind of fun they get. The test of doctrine could be something really obscure (so not something they can research ahead of time), but it just so happens that Brother Drones-On-And-On is in the nearby village giving a sermon later today on that very topic. The PCs get there, and it turns out that Brother Drones-On-And-On is aptly named, and it's a challenge for the PCs to stay awake to get the answer they need.

The test of "morals" could be a scenario they put the PCs through. Perhaps while the PC is on their way back from listing to Brother Drones-On-And-On they run into a (fake) beggar requesting some kind of aid. The aid shouldn't be easy/quick, but something that would delay them from their task for at least a day or something. The "test" is to see if the PCs do the task or continue on their way. Bonus points if you make it so that the PCs have a fair chance of figuring out it's a test and not a person that's actually in trouble.

And the wild card... if the monks are having fun with this, then it should be some petty and tedious task... Go to the silver flame chapel in the nearby town, and carry back a torch lit from the sacred flame... oh, and did we mention it's a super rainy day?

If the monks are having fun, then it's also possible to "fail" all the tasks, but get in anyway. The "guard" is going on about how awful and terrible the PCs are for failing their trials, and then the head monk (or whatever you want to call the rank) shows up saying "what's going on? Are you harassing pilgrims again? For your own boredom, even?!" and so-on.
 

It can't be two elaborate or time consuming, this is basically a dungeon bash, I'm looking for an alternative to "kill the monk" which is more interesting than "roll a deception check".
 

Galandris

Adventurer
OK. If it's a dungeon bash, I suppose the emphasis is on ressource management for the party. Therefore, I propose to include a test that they will pass anyhow but that could deplete ressource.

Ask three very basic questions of faith you are sure the players know or can even deduce from the environment and add a test of faith.
The monks present them with a brazier featuring a silver flame. Inside the brazier is a silver arrow tip. The monk say "only the faithful will be able to take the arrow from the flame, the other will lose their hand". Have a pilgrim try in front of the player (preferentially before they are told a test is in order to enter the monastery) and yell in extreme pain... It is probable the party will expand ressources to protect themselves from the elements, postulate it's radiant damage and add energy protection on top of that because they know they are not faithful.

Of course, the flame is just an illusion and the pilgrim the porter monk. A faithful wouldn't doubt an order from a minister, would he? Hesitation (or refusal to do it) means failure, though... It's probable players will understand it and try to shield themselves from damage instead of killing the monk.
 


ChaosOS

Hero
Supporter
So, I think we need some more context - what kind of monastery is this? Most are probably pretty open, but if you're turning this into a dungeon there's probably other things going on.
 

Yeah, it's on a remote mountaintop, but it used to be pretty open. It has been mostly closed up for about a year, by someone in the Silver Flame hierarchy that the party want to have words with. Some of the folk inside are loyal to X, but others are regular Silver Flame folk.
 

ChaosOS

Hero
Supporter
I think one angle that might work is Melysse Miron and the Tarnished - basically, tests to see if the party is really servants of Bel Shalor.
 

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