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From the Streets: An Indulgence

From the Streets: An Indulgence

The Streets of Zobeck are calling you…

Danger lurks in the back streets of Zobeck. Places where you’re just as likely to find a knife in the back as the fence you sought to hire. Places where you might just want to remain unnoticed when you see who’s waiting for you.

Like the scoundrels in those dark alleyways, Zobeck’s stories are gore spattered, flush with the blood, loot, and secrets of the Clockwork City’s citizens. What kind of secrets? What might you find? What might you need?

Perhaps you committed an indiscretion while enjoying a night of celebration? That thug had it coming, we’re sure! Perhaps it was just one brief dalliance? No need to explain it! We know a priest who’ll sort you out before sunrise…

Black Book of Confession

Aura moderate abjuration; CL 9th
Slot —; Price 9,500 gp; Weight 2 lb.

This slender black book is filled with empty pages. Writing a full and detailed account of your misdeeds and signing your true name relieves your of the burden of that act and forestalls the loss of class and divine spellcasting abilities, as per the indulgence spell. The book doesn’t prevent alignment change, which results if you continue your misconduct. The book cannot be used prior to the misdeed and must be used before the next time you pray to your deity. The book is a single use item but must be protected afterwards. Its magic prevents it from deteriorating over time, but otherwise, it has the same saving throws, hardness, and hp of a normal book. Anyone fluent in the language of the confession may read the book. If it is ever destroyed, your deity immediately becomes aware of the transgression and its concealment by an indulgence, even if you died and your soul has departed to the afterlife.

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, indulgence; Cost 4,750 gp

And just in case you think those scoundrels might force a violation of your code of honor, why not go prepared? He who draws first, bleeds last, they say…


(Illustration by Jeff McFarland)

School abjuration; Level trickery 5
Casting Time 1 hour
Components V, S, M (alcoholic drink), F (prayer device worth 500 gp), DF
Range touch
Target living creature touched
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance yes

This spell, like atonement, removes the burden of misdeeds from the subject. You may be unrepentant and may even want to commit the misdeed again. The casting cleric’s deity (who must have trickery in its portfolio) accepts the taint of the evil act and absolves you before your own deity becomes aware of it. You must sacrifice at least 2,500 gp in rare incense and offerings, but under the circumstances, the casting cleric may ask for more. Indulgence must be granted before you commit another evil act or before the next time you pray, including prayers for new spells. If you have prayed since you committed the deed, it is too late for indulgence and only atonement can restore you.

Did this little bauble pique your interest? Our magics spark your imagination? We’ve more at the bar of the Wheatsheaf—pay no mind to the tieflings. Remember, what happens on the Streets of Zobeck stays on the Streets of Zobeck—come join us for this brand new patron project and add your story to the tavern rumors…


8 thoughts on “From the Streets: An Indulgence”

  1. Will print copies of Streets of Zobeck be available at Gencon? If so, is it possible to reserve a copy somehow? Thank you so much


  2. Actually, we’re getting ready to write it! If you like what you see here, sign up and join us in the development…


  3. @ JeninCanada,

    Hi there. I’m the author of the indulgences and the black book of confessions. (I was also a Top 4 Runner Up for RPG Superstar in 2010, though I always feel sheepish about saying that.)

    Wolfgang has the right of it. It does depend on your campaign. If I might elaborate, this was written for the Pathfiner Core Rules, so when I referred to a “true name” it was in the simplest of contexts. That is, “what does the world know you by”?

    Now it occurs to me that in some campaigns the GM might be using a special rule or magical variant on the “true name” concept. Probably the best way that I can address that is explain what you CAN’T do.. Or what was NOT intended.

    Atonement, from the Core Rules, requires sincerity. Conversely an indulgence does not require you to be sincere, but you do have to be honest with the forces that are obscuring your misdeeds.For example, I can’t commit an evil deed and then use the black book of confessions and sign Wolfgang’s name instead of my own (to give myself an extra bit of protection). It just doesn’t work if you’re not honest with yourself and the Trickster Deity who absolves you before your your own god catches wind of it.. So, how does one define a “true name”? That might vary from campaign to campaign, but the simplest answer is “the name by which history and the gods will know you by”.

    From a metagame perspective, the black book of confessions is a treacherous thing. It’s a personal time bomb. You’re locking away your sins from the sight of your own god. You’re lying to your own deity. However those sins never really go away, they’re just set aside, trapped. If anything should ever happen to the book, they’re set free.. and to borrow a phrase- “eternity will know you, and it will know what you’ve done.”

    Indulgences are for the desperate and those who just can’t bring themselves to be sorry for they’ve done. They’re granted by tricksters, and as such, there is a chance they can come back and haunt you.

    I hope this helps!

  4. This was well done by Jim Groves. He took a familiar concept and developed it into an interesting adventure hook. He asked the Streets of Zobeck patrons for comments and suggestions, then trimmed up the final product. This is what adventure designing ought to be. A place to come together with various talented individuals around a basic theme to design some great RPG adventure tools and inspirational writing.
    Jim, you’re a talented guy and a great designer. I’m glad to be working on this project with you.

  5. Wow. The Black Book of Confession of a powerful figure would be a fantastic MacGuffin for an adventure — maybe the characters are trying to steal it for purposes of blackmail or regime change, or they’re hired to recover it. So brilliant.

    The idea of gaining indulgences from the cleric of a trickster god reminds me of The Lies of Locke Lamora, and the nameless patron god of thieves whose clerics pretend to be priests of another, more upstanding deity. Imagine all the shady inquiries you’d have to make in order to find someone to grant you the Indulgence!

  6. @ James,

    Wow! You just made my whole day! That’s incredibly generous of you to say. I’m really touched. Hhaha, like I said to Ilessa that one time, “For the rest of the day you can say or do no wrong!”

    But speaking to the general audience.. This is only one example of the great ideas that ALL OF US are brainstorming in this project. (James Thomas included). And now that Richard Pett has thrown his hat in the ring and agreed to pitch an adventure, this is shaping up to be an awesome experience. And Ben McFarland is a time tested and proven manager and adventure author in his own right. I hope now that pay day has come, folks will give this awesome project the opportunity it deserves.

    @ Wade – I’m glad you like it! You nailed it in one in terms of how it can be used to blackmail someone. Also, imagine if someone stole one that belonged to someone’s important ancestor? You could threaten to ruin their afterlife!

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