There were three floors to the monastery. The ground floor was the most used floor, and the general hub of the monastery. Upon entering the building, was an entrance hall which held a gathering of monks. Further along was a large combat training area for practising in unarmed combat. There was also a dedicated library, but many bookshelves all around the monastery. Other rooms in this floor consisted of a storage room, quarters (archmandrite's, guests', and monks') and a kitchen.
The lower floor held a lobby, stationed by a monk, and nine rooms to host the Eight Chambers. Each room was vastly different in both size, color and style.
The bottom floor was essentially an underground cavern, bearing Valas' tomb. The tomb was surrounded by four iron golems, and would activate if the tomb was disturbed. The area was protected by many gates bearing the symbol of the Black Raven.
The monks of the monastery were taught to fight slavery of any kind, even imprisoning a criminal was prohibited by the monastery's philosophy. Furthermore, since Valas Black Raven was once a slave, the monks believed all servants were to be treated with respect. Monks would follow Valas' values and were taught to fight in unarmed combat.
Only monks were allowed to visit Valas' Tomb. In order to become one of these monks, one had to master the Eight Chambers. The newest monk of the order would become the Master of Chambers, and give up that position once another monk joined the monastery. The master would show potential initiates from chamber to chamber, and instruct them on the trials ahead.
The Eight ChambersEdit
The Eight Chambers were a series of trials which had to be completed in order to join the Black Raven Monastery. The lower floor of the monastery was dedicated to these sets of trials. Initiates looking to join had to enter each chamber without their armor, weapons and items. They could only use a small selection of weapons available in the chambers. Due to the deadliness of the trials, many challengers died within.
The Chamber of StoneEdit
The first chamber was a seemingly empty room containing five levers. They had to be pulled in the correct order, or would reset. The first successful pull would summon a magic-resistant stone monk, which had to be defeated. The second pull would summon two of these monks, and so on, up to the fourth level. The potential initiate would have to defeat a minimum of ten stone monks, then could trigger the final level, to complete the trial.
The Chamber of Shadows Edit
In the chamber of shadows, one had to navigate through a series of dark portals in a particular order. The shadows could both hinder and help the challenger. Each incorrect turn would summon a shadow monk, and then reset the participant's progress. These monks could be avoided, and didn't have to be defeated. After the correct passage of dark portals was taken, one could pass to the next trial.
The Chamber of Sorcery Edit
This chamber contained a series of flowing panels on its floor. The challenger had to use them wisely to defeat the foes within the chamber. Two crystalline monks awaited the challenger. The pair of monks would cast lightning bolts. The challenger could only survive the encounter by standing on a specific glowing rune, which would grant protection to lightning. The two monks had to be slain in combat.
The Chamber of Clockwork Edit
The fourth chamber was filled with deadly whirling blades and drill. Three clockwork monks would appear in the chamber. After one of the monks was defeated, he would explode in a fiery burst. Only by getting to a specific platform, whilst avoiding the traps, could the challenger survive the bursts. All three monks had to be defeated.
The Chamber of Sand Edit
The participant started the trial by being teleported to a room filled with sand, with four levers on the walls. Two powerful sand monks would attack the participant with magical attacks. The challenger had to pull the levers, which would cause a beam of fire to shoot across the room. Only by luring the monks into the beams of fire, whilst avoiding their onslaught, could the participant kill them and complete the trial.
The Chamber of Silk Edit
Poisonweb spiders had strung venomous webs across this room, and lurked in its dark corners. Upon entering the chamber, several spiders would swarm the challenger with deadly poison. Multiple web spells are cast, and the challenger could find themselves trapped. The challenger had to kill every single spider in order to continue.
The Chamber of Battle Edit
This chamber consists of two rooms, the first containing one iron monk, and the second room, another one. The first room had a single platform, whilst the second had two. The participant had to pull a level whilst each iron monk was on the platforms. The lever, however, was far away from the platforms. The participant could kill the monks whilst they were on the platforms. Other ways were to achieve this were to summon creatures to distract the monks at the location of the platforms. Once all levers were pulled, the challenge was complete.
The Chamber of Immolation Edit
The final chamber was incredibly dangerous. Huge gouts of fire would erupt from the floor and flames would strike down from the ceiling. Two very powerful brass monks would engage in combat with the challenger. The competitor would have to kill both monks, whilst avoid dying in the hostile environment. Only after defeating this final trial could one become an initiate at the Black Raven Monastery.
After his escape from slavery, Valas Belaem del Pharm founded the monastery in 1181. In the late 13th and early 14th centuries DR, Ormis Dohor lead the monks of the monastery. The title of the current leader of the monastery was archimandrite. Ormis took leave to visit the Legion of the Chimera capitol at the Severed Hand, and left Aruma Blane in charge. When Ormis refused to side with the legion, an envoy named Dolon Daemba was commanded to corrupt Aruma and make sure that the monastery kept out of the legion's business. Aruma was a harsh leader, and exiled every monk which spoke out against her.
After Dolon's plans were exposed by a group of adventurers, he confessed his love for Aruma. He then convinced her to leave Faerun with him, to his place of origin, Sigil. Aruma left control of the monastery to Salisam Harbash as part of a three monk council.
The monastery held many monks, all of which followed the current archimandrite. The monastery seldom had visitors, but were sometimes visited by adventuring groups.
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