Night's Dark Terror, Part 1 - Background
Date: Mon, September 17, 2007
Topic: Adventures & Modules

Servants of the Demon Prince of Wrath have found the valley of Esmerin in the Lortmils and now they've lost it again. Only a slaver ring can help them and only heroes can stop them.

This is the background to a campaign using In Search of Adventure and Night's Dark Terror (OD&D) in Verbobonc. Will post an outline and suggested NPC list in subsequent parts.

Fifteen hundred years ago, when Verbobonc was still ruled by elves and gnomes from the strongholds of Ridahel and Fort Verboek, a halfling explorer set forth from Ridahel to seek his fortune. Journeying into the Lortmils, he found at last, a vale of riches and mysterious magic and decided to settle there. Unwilling to remain alone in his isolated vale, he sent forth the priestesses of Yondalla from his caravan with tapestries that would guide the faithful to his sanctuary which he named Esmerin. Uthlas the Wanderer as the halfling was called continued his journeys until age slowed him and brought stone giant allies back to the vale some forty years after its founding. Then, he died peacefully, and as was the custom of his clan, he was buried in a casket in a river cave. For a century or more, the chosen of the priestesses were guided to the hidden vale by the enchanted tapestries that Uthlas had crafted but slowly, the secret was lost or forgotten and no more came. Esmerin was forgotten by the world and the halflings and giants settled into peaceful isolation. After the visit of Pontus Hardiggin in the mid fourth century, the elders of Esmerin began to realize that the outside world may yet find them but they had no way of tracking down the magical tapestries. Instead, they trusted to Yondalla and to Fate to keep them safe.
But Fate is unkind, and those that had come to the land after the elves had no respect for the ancient ways. It was only a matter of time….

The Iron Ring is a secret organization which controls the slave trade around the Nyr Dyv and beyond. However, its interests do not stop at slavery – the Ring’s Masters are always interested in any scheme or operation that makes money and increases the Ring’s power. From Rookroost in the Bandit Kingdoms, the Ring’s Masters watch over their secret empire and plot their next moves.
One day an ancient manuscript arrived in Rookroost, one of many items taken from an elf destined to spend the rest of her life as a galley slave. The manuscript was delivered into the hands of a sorcerer named Golthar, one of the Ring’s lesser Masters. On examining the manuscript Golthar became very interested in its tale of the ancient Esmerin and Ridahel civilizations and particularly of the former’s vast wealth. Immediately Golthar sought permission to investigate and then set off for the lower Velverdyva to look for Xitaqa, the ancient olven ruin mentioned in the manuscript.
Golthar soon discovered Xitaqa (see Chapter 8) and took up residence there with his hobgoblin aides. Investigations of the ruins revealed another manuscript which confirmed Golthar's suspicions - the elves had vacated Xitaqa and retreated south to Celene. Eventually, in the crypt of one of the buildings, Golthar came across a sacred tapestry with a silver needle and gold thread next to it (see Uthlas’ Tapestries). Golthar realized that this was the clue he sought to the whereabouts of Esmerin. Eagerly he touched the needle to the tapestry and watched in fascination as it wove through the cloth, but Golthar had no time to watch the full scene unfold. The crypt was home to a pair of gelatinous cubes and they were closing fast. Golthar grabbed the tapestry and fled but, as he did so, the ancient fibers crumbled in his hands. All that remained to him were the magical silver needle and its golden thread. His only hope lay in the possibility that other tapestries might exist, tapestries from which his needle and thread could produce the map he craved. Further explorations of olven ruins and tombs proved both dangerous and fruitless, but then a captured traveler revealed that a golden tapestry was hung in one of the settlements or homesteads east of Eglath in Verbobonc. But which one? The captive could not tell him.
By now Golthar was in no position to make polite enquiries, for his superiors were demanding results. Then, he was made an offer he could not refuse.

Kostchtchie the Prince of Wrath is a demon-giant who is consumed with anger and hate and recently, the frost giants of the higher Lortmils have found him a new reason to be angry. Culrann, the terrifying jarl of the frost giants of the Lortmils happened upon a hidden vale where stone giants and halflings dwelt in peace and isolation. With a small raiding band he attacked but was beaten back and his son was killed. Culrann implored the Prince of Wrath to aid him in terrible revenge and Kostchtchie, horrified by the slight that the stone giants had dealt his loyal followers, answered. The only problem was that Culrann’s scouts could not find the valley again. It was then that agents of the Prince of Wrath in nearby Verbobonc learned of Golthar’s search. The agents proposed an alliance and Golthar, seeing an opportunity both to pacify his masters and also to continue his search for the wealth of Esmerin, accepted. At once the Prince of Wrath’s agents sent out hobgoblin lieutenants to rally the goblin tribes of the Gnarley Forest and lead them against the settlements. No settlement was to be spared - the tapestry was to be found without delay! Those homesteaders who were not killed were to be captured and taken as slaves back to the Bandit Kingdoms.
Meanwhile, in the mountains to the west Culrann plotted and sent forth his servants to guard the paths into the Lortmils against interference from Verbobonc. No one would reach Esmerin before the Prince of Wrath and his servants. In the Viscounty, the former priestess of Saint Cuthbert, Elwyn the Ardent was sent back to her former home to spread chaos. Crops have begun to fail as blights spread across the land and the goblins and giants gather to descend upon the lands of man, elf and gnome. Only brave heroes can save Verbobonc in its darkest hour.

This article comes from Canonfire!

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