High Fantasy Campaign

Prologue (Sage Phineas)

The last Questor had perished…

And any hope that the Land had of conquering the onrushing tides of the forces of Chaos died with her. Twelve had been summoned by the Council of High Sorcery to embark upon the Quest. Prophecy foretold that only one had to reach the breach in the Blight to seal it and cut off the forces of Chaos from the land forever.

Some had entered the Blight by stealth, others with a vanguard of the lands bravest knights. Five had entered as a company of heroes, depending on both strength and stealth to seal the breach. One questor, a sorceror had tried to divine a means into the breach. All had failed, only Jari, a Priestess of Sulimon had managed to make it to the breach in a procession of prisoners. There she stared into the abyss and encountered the Lord of Kaos. He proved to be too strong for her and she became one of the corrupted.

Now she lead an army of harpies out of the Blight, striking behind the lines, cutting off supplies and ravaging the command centers.

All hope had failed.

In the beginning some kingdoms, sought to appease the forces of Chaos by surrendering in hopes that their lands may be spared. Others had chosen to fight the encroachment from the Blight at the first sign of trouble. The Kingdoms in the South, were not convinced of the gravity of the situation and therefore continued their internal wars and squabblings.

In the North, the BlightGuard had put up a fierce but short resistance, bolstered by the Knights of Valon. To the East the Dwarves of the Thunderskil Mountain range fought independent of the humans, but just as fierce. However the Hordes of Chaos were too great this time, as new terrifying creatures were unleashed upon the Lands. As winter fell the Dwarven Stronghold was under siege and the great northern capital of Valonor had fallen to the Dredd Lords and their horrific forces.

The fate of the kingdoms which surrendered was worse than those who had died by fighting. Live prisoners were brought to the breach where they met the Lord of Kaos and were transformed into grotesque monstrosities.

After news of what had befallen the Northern Kingdoms reached the South, all bickering was put aside and the battle was joined in earnest. But it was too late, the great fortress of Valonor and the Dwarven stronghold of Thunderskil had been the key to defense in the North for millennia. Neither had ever fallen before to the forces of Chaos, which created in the SouthLands and aura overconfidence. With the Northern chokepoints under Chaos control, all the Midlands were open to attack with the coming of spring. Spring came unnaturally fast last year, and the Midlands were caught unprepared for the assault.

In the following summer the twelve were called to the Sorceror's tower. The Council of High Sorcery had divined that prophecy foretold of one who must enter the Blight and conquer the Lord of Chaos. Once news that the last Questor had perished, inexplicably the Sorceror's tower exploded killing the council and devastating the surrounding lands. With the destruction of the Sorceror's Council, the remaining Kings had marshaled their forces to make a stand on the Indiri Peninsula, however, their depleted forces were no match for the ChaosLords vast armies. Refugees by the hundreds of thousands fleeing the Chaos Hordes flooded the archipelago below the Indiri peninsula. Others took their chances past the eastern escarpment and into the vast wastelands.

The great navies of the Salenzi people were all but destroyed in the fall while in a last ditch effort to land a strike force in the North andclose to the breach. It was the last hope of the Land, out of the forty thousand troops which departed out of the South with the armada only six thousand reached the Northern shores of the Blight. Those which did held out for two days on the small beachhead before being vanquished.

With the navy destroyed there was no escape for the millions overflowing the Salenzi port cities. The last few fleet ships had been commandeered by the Joint command to marshal troops up and down the peninsula.

A few entrepreneurial pirates decided to turn a quick profit and booked passage for the wealthy with a promise to take them to safe lands of promise. Those same ships returned after a couple days at sea to pick up more wealthy individuals.

You have amassed your savings and are debating booking passage on one of the least unscrupulous looking vessels, the Stormraven. News out of the North is not promising, while the combined armies are holding the peninsula, they are experiencing heavy losses and it is only a matter of time before they will be forced to retreat. By day you watch the wounded arrive into the cities in increasing numbers, overtaxing the clergy's attempts to administrate. By night the skies are alight with the funeral pyres that burn for the dead.

You look out the window of your room and decide to wait until the morrow to make your decision.

Episode I: Voyage of the StormRaven

The forces of Kaos easily broke through the well prepared lines on the northern Salenzi peninsula on the 12th day of harvest in the year of consecration 2035. While the DreddLords main force encircled the armies of the Southlands, a smaller expeditionary force of nearly 20,000 rampaged down to the southern most tip destroying everything in its wake.

Ruth sat back in the Lucky Mermaid tavern enjoying a warm cup of mead. She pondered on the life events that had lead her here. Particularly the fighting. She had been in countless battles since the start of this doomed war, and not once had she drunken a toast of victory with her friends. More often than not it was a drink in remembrance to the departed. There were so many faces, both young and old, from all over the Land that her memories became blurred in trying to remember the totality of it all. For the first time in her life she considered giving up the fight. With dreadful surety she had come to the realization that that no matter what happened now, all was lost.

The last Questor had perished.

All hope had died.

And with that any chance of defeating Chaos. All she could do know was look to her own survival. If she were going to have her vengeance she needed to survive. She needed to escape this deathtrap which she sat in. Therefore she seriously considered the offer made by the captain of the StormRaven last night to serve on board his ship. She did not understand what use the captain would have for a veteran soldier, she had never been on the ocean before, but was intrigued at the prospect of far away lands, distanced from the slaughter that had befallen her homeland. It was futile to stay, the expeditionary force which invaded the Indiri peninsula was only a small portion of the KaosLords armies. It was time to leave, but perhaps, first another taste of battle.

As she exited the tavern, she noticed a distinct chill in the early afternoon air. In the distance she heard the booming thunder. There was not a cloud in the sky. Sorcery, she thought. There must be fighting off to the north, but not very far. She traveled up a nearby hill to join other curious townsfolk who wanted to know what all the din was about. In the valley above the port, she saw the forces of the expeditionary army engaging the pitiful defenders of the port city. Two sorcerers added their skills to the defenders resolve, but in a matter of minutes it was all over. Soon creatures corrupted by the hand of Kaos would be in the city proper. There was no sign of the Southland armies that held the northern chokepoint. Ruth feared the worst.

She sighed inwardly at the prospect of missing the final battle for her home soil. It was already over. There was no use staying here to defend against the onslaught that was to come. She had survived many battles, some even miraculously, but she knew in her heart that there would be only death in this town come nightfall. Her mind set, she took off at a quick run down to the docks to take up the StormRaven captain's offer.

Anastasia Gabrielle sat in her luxurious apartments overlooking the wharf awaiting the return of that that boyish lout Jareld. He had run off at the sound of approaching thunder fearing that the city was under attack when instead he was suppose to be helping her pack her things. The three large suitcases were inadequate for Anastasia's belongings, but the captain of the ship she had booked passage on would not allow more no matter how much she was willing to pay.

Things had really gone sour for Ana after the death of her mentor and friend, Leander. Leander had been Chief Vizier to the King, but more importantly than that he was a sorcerer. He was not just any sorcerer mind you, he sat on the Council in Chaldera. Now the sorcerer's enclave and most of central Chaldera was a smoking ruin.

Leander had instructed her in the ways of Sorcery for which she demonstrated enormous potential. However her people were a superstitious lot, and no queen had ever ascended to a throne with the gift of sorcery. In the best interests of their daughter, Ana's parents decided to keep her talent a secret and warned Leander to moderate his lessons in the arts. Ana was very eager to learn, but Leander respected the wishes of the Duke and Duchess in these matters. This did not stop him from imparting knowledge to Ana, he was only restricted in developing her skills as a sorceress.

Then on that fateful Autumn day Leander brought back news that Anastasia was called to be one of the Questors. Her parents were horrified that their daughter would be sent into the Blight. However, powerful as they were, they could not stand up to the council decision in this matter. Therefore they petitioned Leander to use his influence in the council to save their only child from this fate. Leander thought this folly for the traitor had indicated in the prophecies that the Questors must be called forth to stop the hand of Kaos upon the land. However, Leander respected the wishes of his friends and decided to delve further into the prophecies to see if there were some loophole he could use. Countless days spent in court would prove useful to him after all.

What he discovered in the ancient prophecies was nearly the death of him. He used his discovery to convince the council that if the Lady Anastasia Gabrielle was sent into the Blight with the others that she would perish. There was fierce opposition and deliberation, but the prophecy from which he read was validated and in the end, another was chosen to take her place. Leander was tasked by the council to conduct more research in the prophecies in order to aid the Questors. However Leander had destroyed the other pages he had discovered. The prophesies he had found indicated that if the traitor returned all the Questors would perish! The land was doomed.

Anastasia knew nothing of this of course as she waited impatiently for Jareld to return. Jareld was Leander's Nephew, and had been sent with Traskin, Captain of the Guard to accompany her to safety. Unfortunately, Traskin had died a fortnight ago saving their lives from Chaospawn. A loud thump against the doorframe announced Jareld's return. Breathless, he informed her that the city was under attack and the ship they had booked passage on looked ready to depart.

Anastasia would hear none of it. They had paid for their fare and the ship would not leave until SHE was ready. Jareld however became quite insistent and she relented to his wishes not wanting to create an incident. As he dragged her luggage down in front of the apartments a problem arose, their carriage and driver were gone. Ana couldn't believe her ill fortune, and ordered Jareld to head to the ship to get some sailors to help her move her possessions. Before Jareld could depart screams erupted from the middle of the street. Two Chaospawn had appeared out of nowhere sending the people into panicked flight. One chased after some poor woman down an alleyway the other paused to look around, its wild eyes settling on Ana. It sprang towards her and Jareld, who fumbled vainly at his belt for the sword that he had left upstairs…

{to be continued}

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Last Updated: November 2, 1997

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