Here is the fluff portion of the player’s packet for the campaign I’m going to run in Malune. In addition to the background info, I prepared several background options for characters along the lines of those presented in the Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide. Hopefully, I’ll be able to start DMing by early February, so I’ve sent out the basic info to let my players start coming up with their characters.
Here’s the packet’s text:
For almost 500 years, the Mage Lords of Mulyr’kun reigned over the southern lands of Avornea. In a devastating war against the infernal empire of Rhaelgath, the seventeen most powerful mage lords performed an arcane ritual that shook the foundations of the world and wiped Rhaelgath from its surface. Only three of the seventeen survived the powerful backlash from the ritual. Mulyr’kun never recovered from the war and within a century of the Wrath of the Mage Lords, it had collapsed into a collection of warring city states.
Starting the Campaign
The campaign will start with your characters answering a request for help exploring a series of ancient ruins. Arik Graeme, a rough-looking man who seems to be a veteran soldier, has asked prospective candidates to meet him at the Red Tower Alehouse in the village of Rivercross. He offers good pay of 100 gold crowns in exchange for several artifacts of a lost age that he believes are buried in ruins somewhere near the village. In the case that he is incorrect about the vault’s location, he still promises to pay 20 gold crowns for the effort.
You’ll need to decide on your character’s reasons for being in the region and accepting Arik’s call for adventurers.
The village of Rivercross is on the banks of the Sunwater River to the south-west of the independent city of Free Port. It has a population of about 800 residents in the actual village with nearly 100 more people living on nearby farmsteads and ranches. The residents are mostly humans and halflings, but there are also a handful of dwarves, elves, and dragonborn. There are no resident eladrin or tieflings, but travelers of all races pass through on occasion.
The village is ruled by Lord Mayor Adam Mursenne. He oversees the village’s justice, defense, and laws. A town council handles most day-to-day affairs while Lord Mursenne steps in as needed. Like many other nearby settlements, Rivercross pays tribute to the city of Free Port in exchange for beneficial trade and defense pacts.
Places of Interest
Durlom Brothers Trade Depot: The shop of the Durlom brothers deals primarily in trade goods, but they also have a tendency to buy unusual or magical items off of travelling merchants.
Graveyard: The village’s graveyard lies just to the west of town. It contains a small shrine devoted to the Raven Queen.
Karask’s Forge: The dragonborn smith Karask is a veteran soldier that returned home from war in order to buy the village’s forge. He largely focuses on horseshoes, tools, and cookware, but he is also a capable armorer and weaponsmith.
Red Tower Alehouse: The Red Tower is the favorite eatery of the locals. It is known for its well-seasoned meats and the strong ale brewed in the cellar.
Rivercross Provisioners: This shop sells a wide variety of mundane equipment useful to both villagers and travelers.
River Maiden Inn: This inn and tavern is the only inn located in the village. It is favored by travelers and merchants.
Temple of the Bright City: The village’s temple contains shrines to the gods of the Bright City: Erathis, Ioun, and Pelor.
Lord Mayor Adam Mursenne (male middle-aged human): Lord Mursenne is the hereditary ruler of the area around Rivercross. He is generally well-liked by the villagers.
Elra na’Sanat (female elderly human): Elra is the owner of the River Maiden Inn. She keeps up on almost all of the gossip in town, and also seems to feel that it is her duty to protect the villagers from scheming merchants and travelling con-artists.
Karask (male adult dragonborn): Karask owns and operates the village’s forge. He is a veteran soldier who spent his youth fighting against gnoll clans in the Highlands and Borderlands to the west.
Brother Marten (male elderly dwarf): Brother Marten is the resident priest at the Temple of the Bright City. By his own account, he is just an “old, gray-beard” looking for peace, but he is said to have travelled throughout the world during his youth.
Rianna Kasato (female young adult human): Rianna is one of the best trained arcanists in the village. She is capable of performing several arcane rituals and has a small alchemical laboratory in her home.
The city of Free Port, also known as Sumia, is one of the most prosperous cities on the continent of Avornea. The city is located at the mouth of the wide Sunwater River on the coast of the Azure Gulf. Well-travelled roads connect the city with the nations of the Highlands, Borderlands, and Heartlands.
The city is ruled by seven elected High Lords who often are powerful and wealthy merchants. The High Lords have done well to make the city a center of trade and keep it safe from war with its neighbors.
Forest of Wisps: This large forest covers several thousand square miles upriver from Mirror Lake. It is swampy near the banks of the river, but higher and drier areas can be found on the northern and southern edges of the forest. The forest earned its name from the frequent sightings of will-o-wisps in the swamps along the river.
Giant’s Shield: A large area of rocky badlands south of Mirror Lake is known as the Giant’s Shield. The badlands are home to tribes of gnolls and goblinoids in addition to dangerous beasts.
Independent Settlements: Not all settlements in the region owe allegiance to the city of Free Port. Instead, they rely on their own defenses and hired men-at-arms for protection from the region’s dangers. These independent settlements are often farther from the city in areas like the fringes of the Giant’s Shield and the edges of the Forest of Wisps.
Mirror Lake: Mirror Lake sits to the south-west of the city of Free Port. It supports several fishing villages along its shore.
Sunken Forest: The large woodland known as the Sunken Forest lays to the south of Free Port on the east side of Mirror Lake. The forest is dotted with small lakes and ponds surrounded by dark, swampy regions.
The great kingdom of Capasia collapsed following the death of King Ivan Trothnar II and the secession of Aldun.
Civil war erupted in the Highland nation of Kroftland following the assassinations of King Aldar na’Krof and Lord Ronath na’Krellen. The fighting died down after Lady Nyra na’Torwyn retreated into exile in the city of Grak’s Deep.
The city of Grak’s Deep was attacked by the forces of the illithid lich Xazimuul. The attack was repelled, but not without heavy losses.
Nyra na’Torwyn returned to Kroftland and unseated King Mikar na’Grein with the help of her companions. One of her first acts as Queen was the establishment of the Order of the Stag.
The forces of Grak’s Deep fought a campaign against Xazimuul in the ancient tunnels beneath the Iron Peaks. Several members of the Order of the Stag joined the fight and manage to destroy Xazimuul and his phylactery.
Martin Auranholm united several towns in the Borderlands.
Queen Nyra na’Torwyn began to rebuild the ruined Kroftlander capital of Krof.
The nations of Aldun and Capasia fought in the War of the Phoenix and the Lion. The Capasian army had early gains, but they were eventually pushed back to the Audorne River.
Gnoll tribes led by priests of Yeenoghu overran the central Borderlands and took control of the city of Venne.
The nations of the Highlands signed the Highlands Pact agreeing to help protect one another from external threats.
At the command of Witch-Queen Nathaulla, the nation of Talara invaded Kaldeshan and took control of the city of Talsh. This effectively split the remaining portions of Kaldeshan into two independent nations.
Martin Auranholm led an army in the liberation of Venne from the gnoll tribes holding it. After his victory, Martin took the title of Sword-King.
With the balancing influence of Kaldeshan removed, several chaotic wars erupted in the Lake of Steam region.
The nations of Kaldeshan, Free Port, and Mesnul sign the Sumian Accords in order to unite against Talara’s growing power.
The nation of Dakmiir captured the city of Veldun.
The Second Talaran War was fought between Talara and the nations of the Sumian Accords. The allies managed to prevent Talara from capturing the city of Nells.
The magical wards around the ruined city of Kalgir weakened allowing demons to escape into the nearby regions of Aldun and Capasia. At first the two nations blamed one another and fought a short war before focusing on the demonic threat. Priests from several churches worked together to restore the mystic warding.
Your characters meet with Arik Graeme in the village of Rivercross.