This is good. While the concept may not be new, the backstory really brought it to life for me.
I would probably put these in an area where the previous owners (having lived) discarded them. Then, I would herd the players to this spot, without weapons of their own (perhaps they were captured and are attempting to escape.) Ok, this sub brings out the evil GM in me, but I like to keep my players on their toes.
These would also be a good tool for conmen. Sell them to unsuspecting adventurers, impressing them with the cutting ability, then set upon them on the road, knowing that they would be hampered. Steal from the corpses, and repeat.
A tantalizing glimpse, but I would also like more detail. Perhaps an intro where the soul dies for the first time to answer the question of how he landed there. Maybe even a plot hook on how to get the adventurers in and out of such a hell, either looking to save a lost comrade or on a mission for information from the deceased (who would quite likely demand release as payment.)
I'm witholding my vote for now.
Excellent writeup, Drackler. Not every being must be of world-shattering proportions in order to be useful or make a game enjoyable. Sometimes a little subtlety can kick off larger events or have just enough impact to affect an important outcome.
History of the Blood Duelist
In elder days gone by, when the world still lived in barbarity, and civilization was a new word upon the lips of man, dogs were considered to be protectors sent down by the gods. Over time the idea of protector became broader until it encompassed judgements passed upon dangerous criminals.
Dogs who were no longer capable of hunting or guarding were put to use as executioners for those convicted of violent crimes. The condemned would be bound to posts and set upon by the dogs until dead.
One such condemned man was found guilty of murder, even though all knew it was in self defense against the thug of a rich man. Unable to bear the thought of his son being torn apart by dogs, the man’s father pled to be executed instead, saying, “Let me duel the gods of judgement for my son’s life.” An allowance was made, with the added condition that if he were to survive for a set amount of time, his son would be set free.
Thus began the tradition of the Blood Duelist.
A variation on #17, a keep may have been abandoned when it wasn't worth defending or was emptied out via brigands. If land surrounding the keep becomes wild, it would be an excellent, easily defensible place for a band of brigands to keep their home and loot in. Until something nastier comes along, of course.
This would make an intriguing adventure to use as a seed for future adventures. Those final readings would be great teasers to drive the players crazy as they try to decipher them. Players trying to figure out what the GM is up to tend to generate good plot ideas on their own. :)
I would probably make a few changes to extend it and make the players feel less railroaded. Rather than give the players an easy clue about the mine, I would make them wander around town and the surrounding area; make them get to know the town and figure it out. Push the limits of the old Seer's life. I would add more of a plot around the attempts against Beppi, setting up a red herring to make the final revelation less predictable.
Having said that, I like this. It is creative, sets up an area to explore, has my mind working, and is a good quest sub.