Pen and Paper: Ma’bra Temple

Since the launch of World of Warcraft, people have been using it as a platform for roleplaying as well as some good old hack-and-slash and a comprehensive collector’s game. Now, quite some time ago a pen-and-paper RPG was released as well (by now in its revised edition).

I will be starting a new feature, detailing non-canon locations throughout the sundered worlds of Azeroth and Draenor, as well as its inhabitants and some short plot-hooks that are nestled in each. These can be used both in your tabletop RPG game, as well as used as raw material for organizing RP events on your local RP server (like mine!). The first such location is, traditionally a Shadowpriest location.

Ma’bra Temple

Situated on one of the large rock formations floating in the Nether around Outland, this temple was once the center of worship of the Anchorites of the Void. Inching ever closer to whatever nether vortex will eventually consume the temple, the few monks still taking care of this monument are fatalistic in their beliefs, and welcome an eventual consumption of their physical forms by this representation of the Void.

The temple’s architecture stems from the same time as the temple of Karabor, and shares many similarities besides being a much smaller place. It has the same high-vaulted gloomy halls, with winding corridors and cells for the priests. The outside platforms look out into the void itself, and many of the monks gather here at times for prayers and introspection. The main hall of worship is shrouded with the robes of monks that passed away, ending their lives in Ma’bra. Each robe has a single sigil on the back, denoting the spiritual name of this priest now that he or she has become part of the Void.

The High-priest of this temple is the aged Draenei Bara’nandu, a hunched figure marking his age in the thousands, always dressed in austere grey robes marked with symbols of despair. Besides the general caretaking of the temple itself, he also oversees the ritual dousing and re-lighting of the Lantern of Ma’bra, the temple’s main holy relic.

The Lantern of Ma’bra is a large stone lantern in the middle of the hall of worship. It is a solid and simple design, with light purple crystal shutters which emit the purple light that is ever-present at Ma’bra. In fact, the light of the lantern manages to pierce the walls, so even though it is in a closed room, the light emanates to outside the temple and within. The temple is basked in a purple glow while the lantern is lit, acting as a beacon to those who study the void.

The “public figure” of the temple is Mun’duuro, the son of Bara’nandu. Even though he counts only a few centuries, he has the regal posture and the careful attitude of a Draenei several times his age. He accepts his task with grim determination, and defends the temple against occasional incursions.

When enemies do appear, he dons a set of grim adamantium armor, adorned with symbols of fear and shadows, shrouded with chains. From the end of each chain dangles a small prayerbook or a censer alight with incense. His hefty adamantite warmace sports a large diamond-shaped head, thorns emerging from all sides. The enchantments placed upon it give it a menacing purple-black glow, and the presence of the temple’s power make the weapon even more menacing and domineering. In battle, Mun’duuro sports an adamantite face-mask which has no holes saves for the eyes, essentially making him a faceless opponent. He shows enemies no mercy, not with his withering spells, not with his mace, never.

The newest priest to join the brotherhood is actually a sister: Lila’makaah is a young Draenei orphan whose parents were mortally ill from fel energies caused in battles with the Burning Legion. Seeking a place of refuge and solitude, they died at the temple and left their baby girl in the priests’ care. She is at the age of her teens, and as such feels cramped by the dour and humorless temple, and its morose caretakers. She feels she has no place here, and wants to explore the world outside. While the priests may argue that this is indeed for the better, they also believe that she needs more experience and study before setting out in the cruel outside world.

Plot hooks

  • Strange shadowy beings have assaulted the temple, seemingly only warded off by the light of the temple’s relic. Even so, this poses a tremendous risk during the short time it is doused and relit. Outside help may be called in, as the priests’ shadow magic has no effect on these creatures. Whispers circulate that these are the spirits of deceased priests, who have returned from the Void to devour the living. Some of the more fanatical priests have contemplated ritual suicide by standing outside on the platform during the “dark time” before the lantern is relit and allowing themselves to be consumed.
  • Lila’makaah hires outside help to “rescue” her from “a priesthood of evil priests who want to sacrifice me” as a ploy to leave the temple early.
  • The aged master of the temple has fallen ill, and his duties now befall to his son. Because of this, he no longer has the time to also arrange the temple’s defenses. Outside adventurers and heroes are hired to provide an active defense for the temple until the master recovers.
  • Eerie sounds echoe through the temple, and their source is unknown. These chants last for days, even at times when all priests are gathered. Experts on the magical arts claim that this is a summoning, and the fact it lasts so long means it is a very powerful one. However, no one knows who is summoning or what is being summoned. Again, outside help is brought in to solve the mystery.

In all cases, outside help means the players (whether tabletop or on an RP server). On RP servers, a good way to represent the temple is by gaining the Raid ID of a raid that completed BT (But while the reset is still a way off) so that this scenario could be played out in BT. Get some friendly people to play the temple’s NPCs, and arrange your very own (murder) mystery!

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