Heralds Of Orcus
In the beginning…Nentir Vale
It was near ten thousand years ago when the Gods did battle with the Primordials to decide who would make the world in their image. Although the Gods won the day, the land was scarred and ruined by their wars. It bears these scars even today, in the dark places and shadows.
Of all the Primordial Demons that rose up, Orcus the Demon Prince of Undead was the greatest and most terrifying. With legions at his heels and his Heralds at his side, Orcus marched upon the throne of the Raven Queen herself, seeking to enshrine himself as absolute master of life and death.
Orcus was thrown down in battle by an alliance of Gods and mortals. At the site of his great Onyx throne, Orcus was fought in single combat by Bahamut. Orcus’ great throne was shattered, leeching his strength and power. The land was shattered also, a great wound opening in the earth where the throne had stood. The trees burned where the shards of Onyx fell, and the land was cursed to bear only the vilest of creatures forth from that day.
Orcus, unable to fight on, was cast to the far planes where even his evil could do no harm. His legions were scattered and his Heralds were bound out of time. The Gods were victorious.
But the legacy of Orcus endured, for not all of his works were destroyed. And in time, Four may walk once more and seek to call their master forth…
Your characters have grown in and around the Nentir Vale, a small flicker of light in the dark wilderness that surrounds it. You all have ties to the village of Winterhaven, which lies in the north-west of the vale. There you know a few folk of note:
- , the local noble and ruler of Winterhaven.
- Valthrun the Sage, an alchemist and academic student of history.
- Sylvana Wrafton, inn mistress
- Tomas Wraftonyoungest son of Sylvana.
- Danil Wrafton, eldest son of Sylvana and aspiring paladin of Bahamut.
Winterhaven sits at a three way crossroads. The Northern Road, still called “King’s Road” after a forgotten ruler, carries you up between the Cairn Peaks and the Coldwood. Follow this road far enough and you will reach the small hamlet of Pendale and the great stone walls of North Holt Abbey at the foot of the Worlds Edge Mountains. Beyond the Abbey, the land falls away into Great Span which itself is bridged by the Dwarven Fortress-Bridge Dunradil leading into the heart of the mountains. Deep within Coldwood it is rumoured that Elves maintain a large forest home, Mirlanthir, concealed by the thick branches and tangled underbrush.
Back down the King’s road, just a little north of Winterhaven, is Lake Wintermelt, the perennially warm source of fish for the area. Here the fishermen ply their trade, ever watchful for the creatures that lurk at the water’s edge.
From Winterhaven, follow the road east and the markers read Gardbury Downs and Fallcrest. The Downs are a marshy, unpleasant area dominated by a massive watchtower, relic from the old Empire. Ruins scatter the surface of the Downs and draw treasure hunters to their stagnant reaches. They must contend with the undead which abound, for the Shadowfell waxes strongly here. Even further east and the road turns for the Witching Pass, through which lies distant Fallcrest, known only through traders’ tales; and exotic and marvellous place. This road is not the safe passage it once was.
The final, unused road out of Winterhaven leads south and the markers read The Desolation. More than a week’s walk away, the barren and scarred land of the Desolation is a testament to some past tragedy. Now, strange creatures walk its cracked ground, and the Shadowfell presses hard against our world. Edging the Desolation is the Burning Wood, whose scorched trees and blackened earth often light the skies with eruptions of silent green fire. The centre of the Desolation is Rift Canyon, a winding chasm that leads deep into the ground. Many tales of terror and wonder are told about the depths of this great place, but nobody seems to have met anyone who has actually entered the Canyon’s depths