Campaign Arc: The Free Lands of Ranyth
Tens of thousands of years ago the god Corvandatt produced her clutch of eggs and lay down to rest and recover. She charged the Grestlin with guarding her young as they absorbed energy from the natural world and slowly developed. The Grestline are a crystalline race born into service by Corvandatt.
The Grestlin performed their job diligently for an age, but as Corvandatt slumbered they grew increasingly dissatisfied with servitude. They abandoned the nest and started a new life in the Emerald Crater.
The races of the world developed, flourished and spread.
The dwarves of Goram’s Depths discover a deposit of unusual gemstones in one of their new exploratory tunnels. The iridescent spheres seem to have magical properties and enhance anything to which they are bound. A dwarf named Dorthrump takes some gems North for identification and appraisal whilst the find is excavated.
Corvandatt awoke to discover her clutch raided and went on a murderous rampage, slaughtering the dwarves and destroying their home. The surface dwellers will all share the dwarves’ fate.
Golems are constructed and sent out to gather minerals and ore for the creation of an army; this leads to the formation of sinkholes all over Ranyth. Skeletal remains are reanimated, people go missing, and the traders of Black Mesa are missing shipments from Goram’s Depths.
Sufficient minerals are harvested to construct a powerful mask golem; it launches an attack on Black Mesa and destroys the city. What remains of the City’s council asks for adventurers to go and speak to the dwarves in the north to find out who was responsible (or head to the Emerald Basin and end the menace if already known).
Corvandatt strikes an alliance with the Drow of the Emerald Basin; the Grestlin are fearful of her return to full strength and will assist just about anyone with an assault that has a hope in hell.
Corvandatt regains her full strength. The drow and her legions lay waste to the surface world.
The above is obviously what goes on behind the scenes and the consequences of nobody getting involved. Black Mesa need not fall, it depends entirely upon the course of the game.
Far to the west are the Free Lands of Ranyth; hitherto cut off by a bordering civil war that spanned a century, the cessations in hostilities have allowed for an influx of new trade and a fresh flush of immigration.
Black Mesa is the largest and oldest of the frontier towns, with a population in the thousands. Enjoying the protection that being seated high above the surrounding land provides, it has prospered as a prominent nexus. Such boons are not without their price, and the town has been struggling to contend with a sharp increase in both organised and street crime. The obvious campaign starting point with the Dancing Lights quest, or a Sinkhole Investigation.
With the discovery of outlying ruins and the promise of undiscovered treasures, intrepid adventurers are not an uncommon sight.
Neighbouring civil war:
Adjacent Fordlam has finally ended its bloody civil war – an uprising against the Trestouche Dynasty. With the monarchy’s armies conquered, the sundered country can rebuild; following a hundred years of attrition, trade will be of the utmost importance.
Jagged mountains stretch across the north, encompassing an isolated rainforest in the north-west. Fumaroles exist for a good few miles outside this area, as an inactive volcano lies beneath the rainforest. Converging rivers and streams run south and west; a vast deciduous woodland covers the central and eastern area, with expansive plains to the west.
Locale names and lore:
Black Mesa: Housing a population of 6,244, Black Mesa is by far the biggest city in the region; despite its size, the residents consider The Town of Black Mesa to be the full and proper name. Standing proud of the surrounding landscape by several hundred metres, on a pillar of black sandstone, it is both prominent and defensible.
Oakmist: A large deciduous forest spanning over a hundred miles to the east, and at least the same again to the south. An abundance of eponymous Oak runs throughout, and a thick rolling fog frequently covers the ground up to a metre deep. The woodland is divided by Timlen river, with the south being much older than the north; North Oakmist was once home to a small Human farming village named Gressfall, whilst South Oakmist is known to house elves.
Gressfall: This farming village flourished for thirty years, with families attracted to the fertile soil. A disease took hold some 120 years ago, claiming the lives of every resident; locals have given the area a wide berth ever since, and the forest has reclaimed the land. Referred to by the Elves as Amoenthas. This is where I plan to use the Elemental’s Grotto.
Keltharrem: A band of Wood Elves call this home, and home is a village constructed high in the treetops.
Fairfields: A relatively young hamlet home to a small group of hunters and their kin, it sits in the plains to the south-east of Black Mesa. Much of the furs and game for the region originate from these laconic fellows.
Blackbriar Burrows: Far south enough of Fairfields to seldom be a concern, Briarroot is home to Gnolls, and generally avoided by others.
Goram’s Depths: A dwarven hold, nestled amongst the peaks of Dagnor’s Teeth. A recent discovery in the depths of an exploratory tunnel has sparked excitement.
Emerald Crater: A tropical environment, that if glimpsed from a neighbouring summit, would appear an impenetrable mass of green. There are rumours of a tunnel passing below the mountains but one could risk a trek through the precipitous heights; a good opportunity for a skills challenge! Belvere’s Crucible was created for use in the basin, as was the Ogre Compound.
Tonk’s Landing: Home to the renowned engineer Tonk Fizzlechip, who chose to make his home in the hinterlands; explosions are less likely to be a concern. His workshop stands some ten metres up a raised platform, where he moors his airship – kept aloft by gasses harvested from a nearby fumarole.
Ruins of Ayuttha: Following the discovery of a small cache of precious relics, this has become a popular destination for would-be adventurers and traders. The ruins themselves are thousands of years old, and nobody really knows who once lived here.
Additional locations and quests
The Illusionist’s Tower: This can be dropped just about anywhere but I plan to use it as the group travels between primary locations.
Belvere’s Crucible: A couple’s doomed attempt at immortality; designed for the Emerald Crater but could be used elsewhere.
Ogre Compound: Because nobody likes ogres.
Savage Centipedes: Another travelling quest and encounter.