Deep in the elemental plane of earth, there is a massive gemstone several stories tall. This immense gem serves as the base of operations for the Tourmaline Order. The order’s primary concern is the containment of magical items it deems dangerous. Though it was established thousands of years ago the founder of the order remains a mystery. Some rumors claim the founder is a crystal dragon who uses the Crystalline Vault as a cover for enlarging their treasure hoard. Others state that a xorn runs the Tourmaline Order to supply themselves with a steady flow of magical gems to consume.
Rumors aside, the Tourmaline Order itself is well regarded across the planes. They are often called to collect cursed items or artifacts that threaten towns. Once they’re obtained, the items are secured within of the myriad vault chambers. The complex’s walls and doors are constructed from magically hardened crystal. The vault is also warded against teleportation and summoning effects. Anyone who makes it inside the Crystalline Vault must deal with the Keepers of the order. If they make it past the Keepers, thieves also must face deadly traps surrounding each item. In its entire history, the Crystalline Vault was only breached once. The psychic lich Nodpos assaulted the vault with an army to retrieve his stolen memoirs.
Seekers are the best-known members of the Tourmaline Order. Each Seeker has a ring set with a unique tourmaline stone. This identifies them as an official member of the order to outsiders. When not seeking out items, Seekers have living quarters within the Crystalline Vault. Most Seekers are relic raiders, but anyone good at handling magical items is welcome to apply The majority of Seekers are oreads but humans and dwarves common as well. All Seekers have a bit of wanderlust in them since they spend so much time away from the Crystalline Vault.
Keepers are the defenders of the Crystalline Vault and the items it contains. They are easily recognized by their crystalline spears. Unlike Seekers, Keepers rarely leave the Crystalline Vault. They spend most days patrolling the vault for intruders and checking on the items. When not patrolling they hone their skills in the order’s training hall. Keepers drill as phalanx soldiers to use the vault’s narrow hallways to their advantage. They rarely accept those trained in other fighting styles. Humans tend to lack the discipline for the regimented schedule of a Keeper so most are oreads or dwarves. All Keepers carry at least one elemental gem at all times to use if they’re overwhelmed by intruders.
Seers oversee the daily operations of the Crystalline Vault. They take orders directly from the mysterious founder of the Tourmaline Order. They are always seen wearing masks made of different gemstones. These masks act as truesight goggles and the material plays some part in the Seer hierarchy. Seers are powerful diviners who use magic to locate items for the Seekers to collect. They are the highest ranked members of the Tourmaline Order. All other members defer to their orders without question. Some Seers are accompanied by crystalline horrors. There are rumors they are the tortured and twisted remains of thieves who tried to steal from the vaults.
The infamous thief Celandas has vowed to become the second person in history to steal from the Crystalline Vault. The Tourmaline Order has been on high alert since her statement. They have been searching far and wide for any information on her location or intended target. Celandas has been enjoying all the publicity. She will send vague and cryptic messages to the Vault. In the messages, she will taunt the order for their inability to find or capture her. The order has offered a substantial reward for information leading to her capture. Several leads were sent in that ended up being wild goose chases. Some to suspect Celandas herself is sending the tips to further toy with the order.
Magic items locked deep inside the Crystalline Vault have been spontaneously activating. So far only a few minor cursed items have turned themselves on. Some in the Tourmaline Order fear what could happen if an artifact is activated. The Seers suspect that the items are being possessed by an outside force such as a shadow demon. Their divination spells have yet to locate any incorporeal invaders. Whispers have been spreading among the Keepers that it’s not a demon or a spirit behind the activations. The current rumor is that the items themselves are developing sentience. Some Keepers believe that sentient items might resent being kept locked up for so long and are starting to lash out.
The Noble Shaitan Ashrp has long watched the Crystalline Vault with envious eyes. He rules a nearby kingdom on the elemental plane of earth. Ashrp is convinced that the magic items kept in the Crystalline Vault could be very useful. He has petitioned the Tourmaline Order many times in the last hundred years to open up their vaults. The order has politely and sternly rebuked his requests. They also remind him that their mission is to protect others from these dangerous items. Ashrp knows the Crystalline Vault was besieged once by Nodpos. He has been quietly gathering his own an army of shaitan and other genies to lead an assault.
Drag & Drop Encounter (CR 8)
The cries for help echo through the hallways of the Crystalline Vault. In the middle of the hallway, six Seekers are fighting for their lives while. Two of their companions lie dead on the floor nearby. Surrounding the Seekers on either side are two rust lords. They are wide enough to block any attempt to escape past them. The Seekers weapons have already been dissolved by the rusting attacks. They are fighting back with hilts and scabbards but having little effect. The rust lords sense their prey is weakening and close in for the final attack. In desperation one of the Seekers grabs the berserking sword they were bringing to the vault.