From the outside, the parish temple in Sag Harbor looks like a bog-standard Temple to Denari. The temple has all the trappings. It has reminders that nothing is free, paeans inscribed in the walls to Eversink’s glorious past, and paintings of great white birds in soaring flight over the lagoon. It’s like the Church of Denari picked a Temple layout from a catalog, ordered one up from the Temple factory (TM), and delivered it here fully formed on this quiet street corner.
If one looks closer at the walls, one will see the paintings of the great white birds aren’t swans. They’re giant egrets. The grand poems to Eversink’s glorious past make Eversink more glorious-er than it ever was. A war or two slipped into the lines that never existed. Even the lessons about gold and commerce are more about building wealth than building business. One can see the scratched-out swans underneath all the other religious literature on the walls if one looks closer.
This is not a Temple of Denari. This is a Temple of Vetyx, the Great Egret (so it claims), a glorious (small) God of Riches and Honor (so it also claims). The temple deacon is Marketpriestess Elizabeth Vasari, and the small God Vetyx lives in her head. Every morning, when the Marketpriestess rises for the day, Vetyx whispers sermons into her ear. Every day, she goes to the Temple and ministers to her flock. Every day, the believers return. Every night, she prays to Denari to get this damned thing out of her mind.
To the believers, Vetyx is an improvement. Where Denari promises great wealth from commerce and trade – work – Vetyx promises great wealth and honor from great heroic deeds. Vetyx promotes knightliness, going on an adventure, fighting for a cause, amassing piles of wealth, and tithing it back to Vetyx. The (small) God talks its believers into believing the impossible is possible. With extraordinary acts of honor, mountains of gold will spontaneously appear. Believe, and act within Vetyx’s strict code, and wealth will follow.
And, Marketpriestess Elizabeth Vasari’s sermons are much more engaging and exciting than before. They used to be the same old droll Denari this, Denari that. Now they’re full of codes of honor, war, adventure, and promises of gold, gold, so much gold, such riches! And the storytelling — wow.
The cult is gaining in popularity and growing under the Church’s nose like a weed. Marketpriestess Elizabeth Vasari (under Vetyx’s influence) convinced the other Marketpriests at her Temple and other local Temples to follow Vetyx. Soon other Temples in this corner of Sag Harbor will flip. The cult will grow, and as the cult grows, so will Vetyx.
Vetyx is invading Eversink. Vetyx’s plan is to hollow out faith in Denari from within until faith collapses. Once collapsed, Vetyx will reap all that faith and worship and grow. Once big enough, it will eat Denari and use Eversink as its burrow. A new God is in town, baby, and Vetyx will eat and eat and eat until it eats the world.
Vetyx will never be satiated because Vetyx is, in truth, a small god of starvation and the flesh. It has no other body than a hungry maw with infinite twisting teeth. It’s a glutton, and its hunger is bottomless.
Marketpriestess Elizabeth Vasari was a regular, unassuming, run-of-the-mill Marketpriestess of Denari. She had her little Temple on the corner and her flock. Elizabeth lit the candles, sang the songs, prayed the sermons, and tended to the souls of the locals. She was unmarried and lived with her mum in a small apartment over the local florist.
The Marketpriestess was shopping for a birthday present for her mum in the Grand Marketplace. She spotted a new tent she’d never seen before. No surprise, new tents appear in the Grand Marketplace all the time. This one sold beautifully polished seashells. The Marketpriestess, delighted, held the beautiful conch shells up to her ear one at a time so she could hear the ocean.
The third conch held Vetyx. When the Marketpriestess pressed the conch to her ear, Vetyx crawled into her ear canal. She screamed, dropped the shell on the ground, and fled.
The next few weeks were a grand battle between Vetyx and the mind of Marketpriestess Elizabeth Vasari. Slowly, Vetyx ground down her resolve and then set up shop. Then it remade the local Temple in its own image and forced the Marketpriestess to build its cult.
Marketpriestess Elizabeth Vasari (With Vetyx in Her Head)
Elizabeth: Kind, Humble, Thoughtful
Vetyx: Silver-tongued, Plotting, Hungers
Defense – Health: Hit Threshold 3, Health 6
Defense – Morale: Hit Threshold 4, Grit 2 (Vetyx’s faith), Morale 15
Offense – Sway: +2; Damage Modifier +2 (Vetyx’s convincing scripture)
Abilities: Malus 15
Special Abilities: Allies (cost – 3), Summoning (cost – 3, local worshippers), Mastermind, Persuasive (cost – 3), Warded (cost – 6)
Refresh Tokens: 3
Description: The Marketpriestess is an unassuming priest of the Church of Denari. She does not look much different than other priests of Denari — same frock, same hat, same plain look and plain speech. She is educated but middle class for Eversink.
Special Abilities come courtesy of Vetyx. It will speak through the Marketpriestess’s mouth. It will use Marketpriestess Elizabeth Vasari’s powers of persuasion to protect itself, whip up followers and hurtle them at PCs. Attacks are sway attacks, and attack morale. While Vetyx has the power to teach Marketpriestess Elizabeth Vasari Sorcery (Spheres: Hunger, Fear, Flesh), it has not yet, as it does not trust her with its power. It finds her an impure vessel, and it hungers for a better one.
Villainous Plot Seeds
The Inquisitors have a Job for You: The Church has gotten wind that something’s not right at a Temple in Sag Harbor. They’re not sure what, though. The attendance at one of the Temples is through the roof — they haven’t seen attendance to services like this in years. Instead of rewarding the Marketpriestess who leads the congregation, the Church instead employs the PCs to check it out.
Dark Dreams of Denari: The PCs receive disturbing dreams of swans ripped apart by massive jaws. The swans scream as the jaws close around swan bodies and wings and slowly mash the swans into a bloody pulp while the PCs watch. The dreams feature the sound of smacking lips and tongues and horrific slobbering. And then, a black blot grows to blot out the entire world. At the end of the dream, a female voice whispers, “Look for my priestess, Elizabeth.” The dream becomes more vivid each night.
The Schism Riots of Sag Harbor: While many in Sag Harbor flock to Vetyx, some locals are still hard-core believers in Denari. They’re not changing their ways no matter what anyone says. Tensions build in Sag Harbor until they boil over one day in a fruit market. The PCs are caught in the fray as rioters pelt each other with fruit, flip over carts, scream religious slogans at each other, punch each other and light the place on fire. As the PCs escape, they run into a rioter who tells them, “Some new God over on seventh and silver streets,” and then dashes off again. These tensions will grow unless the PCs get to the bottom of this problem.
Possible Changes to the Story
It’s entirely possible Vetyx is the Great Egret, the God of Honor and Wealth, exactly like his claims. With such fervent belief in wealth creation into the lagoon, fishermen fish up small gods of wealth from the lagoon all the time. Denari absorbs them and the world moves on without anyone noticing.
If the story you want to tell is one of politics instead of horror, make the following minor changes to Vetyx:
Instead of starvation and horror, Vetyx is a god of wealth and honor.
Vetyx does provide Sorcery to people he inhabits with the same Corruption as any other Sorcerer. His spheres are now Gold, Crusade, and Rampart. Crusade charms anyone in range and persuades them to pick up their weapons and fight for the cause of Vetyx. Rampart is a variation on an Earth sphere — shields, summoning giant earthworks, reinforcing stone walls, and the like.
Otherwise, the story is still the same. Vetyx is invading Eversink, the Church (and Denari) wants it removed. It’s up to the PCs to decide what to do next – keep Vetyx around, find a middle ground, expel him from the city, destroy it completely, etc.
Disclaimer: These posts are unaffiliated with official canonical posts or printed materials about Sword of the Serpentine. “Swords of the Serpentine” is (TM) Pelgrane Press. For more information on Eversink, .