The Ebony Trials

Published January 11, 2014 by


Description

Just off the coast of Scorpion’s Reach lies a gigantic relic of a bygone age: The Ebony Trials. Formed out of hundreds of house sized black cubes, The Trials drift up and down the coast stopping at predetermined points for 1 month at a time. Just outside The Trials a town has formed, unoriginally named “Black.”
Each cube of the Trials serves a specific purpose. They can be divided into three categories:

  • The Transport Cubes: These ferry passengers to and from the shore during the stopped period. During the movement period they attach to The Base Cubes and it is assumed they are responsible for The Trials’ movements. Their movements are all automatic.
  • The Base Cubes: These are the only cubes that don’t move on their own, The people of Ebony have formed a makeshift town out of these blocks.
  • The Challenge Cubes: The real reason people visit, The Challenges are constantly shifting and moving, and are filled with dangers, treasures, and numenera.

While most who live on in Ebony physically live on it, some choose to follow alongside it in boats.

Details

Rulers:
Box: A strange man who's head has been replaced or covered by a cube similar looking to those that make up The Ebony Trials. Some say he can speak, if he does it doesn't happen very often. He is the only one capable of manipulating the cubes of The Trials
Population:
Variable
Region:
The Steadfast
The Ebony Trials Hearsay:

Many Boxes?

Some people are claiming to have seen Box in more than one place at the same time, sometimes with radically different appearances. Can Box change his form? Is there more than one Box? Or does he just get around very quickly and have a snappy sense of fashion?

Thoughts of Their Own

A psychic came out of The Trials a few days ago with a black shard of something sticking out of his back. He was screaming that the cubes were alive and were planning something. Since then a few people have been reporting hearing faint voices inside their head when within the presence of The Trials.

The End:

No one knows if The Trials have an end, or if it just rearranges itself forever. If it did have an end, who knows what might lie there.

The Weird of The Ebony Trials:

Fake Cubes

For a few months now there have been some odd looking cubes appearing in the Trials. These cubes just look… wrong. Sometimes they’re misshapen, a different shade of black, or any number of other issues. People are afraid to enter these specific cubes.

The Screams of The Lost

People enter the Trials and never leave all the time. Most of them end up dead, but sometimes late at night you can hear the screams of those still alive but trapped.

Points of Interest:

The Entrance

The Entrance to the Trials is made up of four large doors, Red, Yellow, Green, and Blue.  No one knows what the colors mean, though sometimes those who have left The Trials are willing to impart their wisdom about their meanings. Once a door has been selected, a cube is removed from the main grouping and placed on the other side of the door. Once the door has been entered the cube is placed back amongst the main grouping.

The Exit

The Exit is a single large door. Those who leave The Trials are usually exhausted, damaged, but happy. Whether their happiness is from simply surviving the ordeal or if they found something valuable is hard to tell.

Black

The town of Black is a merchant town, relying on trade and adventurous individuals to stay alive. Fortunately there is no shortage of people willing to try their luck at The Ebony Trials.

The Challenges

The Trials… Glory and Treasure awaits those who challenge it and win. It’s said you can only leave at certain points of The Trials, so be prepared for a long haul when you enter.

GM Information Beyond Here

Each Cube or room is an individual challenge. The basic layout of the Trials is as follows: A room, an intermediary room with 3 colored buttons (chosen at random), and then a door to the next room (chosen based on which button is pressed. Every 3 rooms your players are awarded with treasures (Information, Shins, maybe even Numenera), at which point they can choose to exit the Trials.  The colors of the buttons/doors correspond to the type of challenge awaiting the players. Red is a combat challenge, Blue is a puzzle, Yellow is an obstacle course, Green is a rest room. The further into the Trials you go the more difficult things get.

The following is a set of example rooms, you can use these or make your own.

Red

  • Many mechanical monsters much weaker than your group.
  • Two or Three mechanical monsters of the same strength as your group.
  • One monster much stronger than your group.
  • One monster much stronger that must be killed with a weapon hidden in the room.

Blue

  • A table covered in shapes that must be matched with holes hidden around the room
  • A series of buttons that must be pressed in a specific pattern.
  • Totems of animals that must be stacked based on predator/prey relationship.
  • Shapes that must be matched with holes based on a specific order.

Yellow

  • A powerful storm is in this room, simply make it from one end to the other.
  • A series of rotating platforms separate the ends of the room.
  • A bottomless(?) gap separates the ends of the room, the only way across is a balance beam, or handholds along the walls.
  • A large “river” of acid that must be crossed. Silky ropes hang from the ceiling that can be used. Bonus: Maybe the silky ropes were created by a spidery mutant.

Green

  • A small fire and some biscuits.
  • Bedrolls and some salad.
  • Some tents, and some soup.
  • A roast pig-looking creature.
  • Proper beds.
  • Impressive beds and a lavish feast.