‘It’s been raining for three straight days, which is normally a good thing for this stinking city; washing the muck and mire from the streets. Unfortunately, not all of the refuse was washed away as my patrol found four bodies in a nearby alley. All four were well armored, with their weapons still in their hands. They were obviously guards for one of the high and mighty. A closer examination of the bodies and the alley made it clear that it was quite a fight and whoever killed them paid dearly for it. As best I could tell, over a dozen men fought her. The dead were not local toughs but experienced fighters.
Shouting from the mouth of the alley interrupts my examination; more bodies have been found along the main road. This scene is far different; the bodies are neatly lined up and left in the open for all to see. These four were executed. As I approach the bodies, I can see the rest of the patrol is on edge. When I get to the first body, I can see why, the life has been drained from it and on its bare chest is the seared imprint of a dark hand. I’d seen that mark before; it’s the sign of the fanatics who call themselves the Servants of the Pool.
Lost in thought, my aide taps me on the shoulder and points toward the last body and the symbols on his robe. The last man was a legate. This is the last thing I needed, a feud amongst the order. More deaths will follow and the temple will demand that I find the killer who is one of their own. Any man that can kill a senior legate and his bodyguards is too much for my patrol, they might as well kill me now.’
The Servants of the Pool, also known as the Dark Hand of Izrador, or simply the Dark Hand, are a small and secretive order that is devoted to the sacrifice of the unworthy, those falsely serving the Dark God. The Servants are similar to normal legates with two major exceptions. First, they have no Astirax as they do not trust their motives or devotion to Izrador. Second, and where they get their name, the Servants bond with a black mirror or pool, gaining the power to drain life with their black hand.
The Servants of the Pool formed in the early years of the Third Age as the Shadow struggled to recover from its losses and many abandoned the Dark God’s service. The Servants, through an often-deadly ritual, bound themselves to a dark mirror by thrusting a hand into the mirror. They believe that if an individual is true in their service to Izrador, they will survive the contact; if not true, the pool will take their soul. Surviving the ritual turns the servants hand ebon black, a lifeless thing that becomes an extension of the mirror. The Servant can use the hand to absorb life and transfer it to the mirror.
This ability comes at tremendous cost and risk. Very few survive the ritual and even then the unnatural hand is a constant drain on its host. The hand must be “fed” just like its parent mirror or the hand will feed off its host. Each arc the hand must take at least one life (10 Con points) or it will take a CON point from its host. Once taken, the point cannot be restored.
The Dark Hand: The dark hand is an extension of Izrador, a broken god hungry for the power to restore his godhood. When the legate makes a successful touch attack with his dark hand, it drains 1 CON point from its victim. If the legate sucessfully grapples a creature, she drains 1d4 CON points per round instead, though a successful Will save each round (DC 10 + 1/2 class level + Cha mod) reduces this to 1 point for that round. The dark hand is especially potent against legates and Astirax. The dark hand leeches away the divine power Izrador grants to his legates. For each CON point a legate loses to the dark hand, the victim loses 1-4 stored spells, starting with the highest level first. Astirax are also not immune as the hand attacks their life essence as well as the essence of their host. The Astirax is unable to flee its host as long as it’s in contact with a dark hand.
This ability comes at tremendous cost and risk. Very few survive the ritual and even then the unnatural hand is a constant drain on its host. The hand must be “fed” just like its parent mirror or the hand will feed off its host. Each week the hand must take at least one life (10 CON points) or it will take a CON point from its host. Once taken, the point cannot be restored.
The Servants of the Pool are hunting a legate, who is risking his life to help the resistance. The servants must be stopped before they kill the legate or reveal that he’s supporting the resistance.
A number of important resistance fighters have been found dead with the distinctive mark of the dark hand on their bodies. The servants of the pool have to be found and stopped.
The party finds a dying servant of the pool. The servants have been killing legates and their servants for the past two months, throwing the local Shadow’s forces into turmoil. Should the party find a way to heal the servant so the war inside the order should continue or turn over the dying servant to gain influence/contacts with the order.