The Nesbit 5E
You are a member of a tribe that lives in a small mountain range west of the Great Sea between two large rivers. Your tribe, known as The Children of the Moon to the other folk in the area, is a primitive tribe of limited civilization. They deal in many of the arcane sciences on a simple level, but are known for their nocturnal habits and fierce battle techniques, more than they are for magical use. Though only of Halfling size they are of a much sturdier build and so have characteristics closer to Human then to Halfling.
The Tribe is rigidly segregated by sex, with males acting as warriors or hunters, and females acting as chiefs or shaman. Males are more often than not accompanied by a large wild dog that they use for transportation and as a fighting companion. Magic is used exclusively be females, although males have been known to use enchanted items if they can get them. The weapons most commonly in use are the compound bow and short sword (actually a long hunting knife). Females are trained in use of the staff and blowgun. The patron deity of your tribe is called 'Magath' and takes the form of a giant snake with a human like face. Your battle tactics are those of the snake: Strike hard and fast if cornered, and strike from ambush if possible. Always use poison.
Starting at a young age, children are exposed to various poisons (in small doses) during rituals, and are therefore very resistant to poisons and infections by the time they reach adulthood. The death rate among children however is quite high — about 90%! That is why the characters in front of you have such high characteristics. If they were not that high, they would not have survived until now.
Your age is 14, the age of trial. For the past year you have been in training for the “Rites of Passage,” a ritual of advancing into the ranks of adulthood in your tribe. Your training has been supervised be Galapas, a warrior of some renown. Your initial individual class training (Warrior/Fighter, Hunter/Thief, Chief/MU, Shaman/Cleric) was completed about a year ago at the age of 13. Since then you have been training together as a cohort in preparation for the rite of passage. You have been told that the passage is a trial of mind, body, and spirit that is the final test in what has been up to this point, a lifetime of tests.
The trial takes place in a maze inside a pyramid thought to have been built by the ''ancients.'' The pyramid lies in the middle of a small lake near your village. It is an object of worship and is, not unjustly, feared by many of your tribe. And that fear has been growing. For four years now, none of the groups to enter the pyramid have returned. The tribal elders are afraid that Magath' has become angry with the tribe and has doomed them to extinction. As a result, your training has been even more rigorous than usual.
Yesterday you were the guests of honor at an all day celebration and feast. After a good nights rest, you were awakened by Galapas just before dawn and told to dress quickly. In the distance you heard the call of a drum beat and the low thrum of the chant of many voices. As you leave your hut you notice that a squad of warriors in full battle dress is waiting for you. As you are escorted out of the village in the predawn glow, it becomes obvious that it is almost empty; only a few children peek out of closed huts. As you arrive at the ritual clearing by the lakeshore, the pyramid looms out of the dimness across the lake. It is about 3OOft. tall with a spring at the summit. Water cascades down each of the stepped sides. (think of an Aztec pyramid). The sides are thickly covered with moss and algae and they glisten black in the low light. You notice the two high-chiefs of the tribe flanking the high-shaman behind a large altar stacked with branches. All of them are wearing the ritual clothing of their high rank. The rest of the adults of the tribe are standing in a double circle around the altar in full battle dress, chanting the invocation of courage, as you are led into the center of the circle and before the altar with your guide Galapas. The High-Shaman raises her great staff of office and shouts a piercing cry to the dawn. The drums stop and silence falls over the group as the sun rises over the limb of the horizon, casting the first rays of the dawns light on the summit of….
THE TOWER OF PASSAGE