Dungeons & Dragons Online

A cyberpunk ‘dream sequence’ themed One-Shot for an ongoing “Rise of Tiamat” campaign – The Glitched of Green Valley

So my DnD group has been playing a campaign with many elements from ’Hoard of the Dragon Queen,’ as well as ‘Rise of Tiamat’ for the last year or so, with my buddy DM’ing. During a few weeks when he was going to be unable to prepare, I offered to help out by running my first ever one-shot, which I decided to tie into our ongoing campaign.

Below is the long background which ties the cyberpunk setting into an ongoing campaign about the Cult of Tiamat, as I did my best to try and explain how the Sword Coast ended up becoming a dystopian cyberpunk setting. This is by no means a new and unique cyberpunk story, as I purposely tried to hit many of the cliches of the genre for my group’s enjoyment!

Click here to see much nicer PDF versions of the text below, as well as equipment tables used for cyberpunk weapons and armor.

TW: discrimination, racism, genocide

Setting and Background

The Sword Coast, 30 0000 years in the future. Centuries of pollution, toxic waste, and warfare have turned a once green and lush country into a grim, permanently overcast, and nearly lifeless wasteland. The few beacons of life on the once thriving continent are 3 megacities constantly at war with each other, forever competing for the little natural resources left in this world. The megacity of FELLSTAR is the most prosperous of the three, as well as the largest. It spreads out around body of water once known as The Sea of Fallen Stars, though few are around who still know the origin of the city’s name.

Thousands of years ago, THE CULT OF TIAMAT successfully succeeded in their goal to revive their beloved Dragon Queen Tiamat. With the power of the dragon goddess, they launched a devastating conquest of the Sword Coast, indiscriminately murdering all followers of the God of Justice BAHAMUT. They quickly established a theocratic empire with the most powerful warlocks at the top; THE UNDYING EMPIRE was founded.

With all resistance to their reign gone, the warlocks of the cult began experimenting with their magic, infusing machines with the weave. The next hundred years would be a time of wild dark magic and rapid technological advancement. Warlocks experimented with dragons, machines, and the living humanoid races, eventually being able to create automatons capable of thought. Having created ‘life’, the warlocks believed themselves to be gods. Their hubris would prove to be their downfall, as they openly challenged the notion that their power came from Tiamat. The theocratic government was shaken to its core by a split within their ranks. Open rebellion arose and over the next 10 000 years, the Undying Empire existed in a constant state of civil war. Devastation wrecked the once thriving Sword Coast, and left it in the scarred and barren state we find it today.

Out of the ruins of the once flourishing empire, the races of the Sword Coast began to rebuild around the few pockets of population strong enough to protect themselves against the mutated wild beasts in the WASTELANDS. A cabal of human warlocks quickly rose to prominence in these settlements, and amassed wealth, due to their ability to provide the much needed electricity for these new civilizations to function. This in turn led to a massive immigration into the few cities capable of sustaining life. Slowly, the megacities we now know took shape. While the process of electricity production remains a mystery to most denizens of the megacities in the sword coast, it became nonetheless abundant enough to lead to a period of rapid modernization in this post apocalyptic wasteland. Unbeknownst to the majority of the population of these cities, electricity generation came from machines grafted onto living BLUE DRAGONS, who were controlled by warlocks who still maintained a connection to Tiamat’s power.

Over the next few decades, access to technology led to massive income and racial inequality, leading to a deeply divided society. The rich humans got richer, while the poor humanoid neighbourhoods became overcrowded, damp, and filled with crime. Rampant corruption in the megacity’s government led to policies which enabled the entrenchment of this massive racial and wealth inequality. Most humans in Fellstar live in the shining towers of SUNSET HILLS, while the diverse humanoid races of Faerûn languish in the sunless streets of overcrowded districts. One such district is the crime-ridden GREEN VALLEY. Rich, human citizens are derogatorily referred to as SMOOTHSKINS, while the other races surviving at the lowest rungs of society are referred to as URCHINS.

This system is kept in place by the Dragonborn LAWKEEPERS, whose titles serve as an excuse to confine the poorest to their dilapidated districts, and far away from the wealth in Sunset Hills. Urchins in Green Valley hustle day to day in an attempt to scrape out a living in Fellstar. Organized crime is a staple of these districts. These distinct factions are almost always organized among racial lines. The Orcish HORDE are mostly brutes who run protection rackets on the many businesses dotted across their territory. The dwarven MINERS maintain a monopoly on construction in the district’s infrastructure through intimidation and bloodshed. The Tiefling INFERNALS supply Green Valley with DRAGONJUICE, an addictive drug which provides the denizens of the district with some escape into idyllic fantasies, away from he grim realities of their daily lives. Finally, the Goblin RATKEEPERS infest the sewers, and are a constant annoyance to everyone, since their focus seems to be mostly on petty violent crime.

The elven population of Fellstar has been the latest to undergo a period of ardent discrimination and genocide. An assassination attempt on FIRST COUNCILLOR DYNA CLOUD by THE DARK has led to a government crackdown on the secretive Drow organization. The Lawkeepers, officially tasked with dismantling The Dark, have began playing judge, jury, and executioner with any dark elves they come across. The few elves who still live in Fellstar have been caught in the crossfire, as Dragonborn often attack first and ask questions later. Most elves have fled the city, in search of the fabled Elven Sanctuary in the Wasteland.

Adding to all this misery, there have been recent reports of a sickness spreading in Green Valley, which causes people to turn into mindless, flesh-eating monsters. Those affected by this affliction have been referred to as THE GLITCHED. The Glitched often have their cybernetic implants contorted into inhuman shapes, often sharp edges to help attack their prey. As well, their cybernetics will flicker with an eerie green glow.

This ‘disease’ has been spreading amongst users of Dragonjuice. This illicit ‘substance’ is in fact a neurosensory experience which connects to someone’s NEUROLINK and allows them to experience moments of pure ecstasy. Users of Dragonjuice in Fellstar are plentiful, but few will admit to its use.

The person responsible for this outbreak is a Drow operative who successfully infiltrated an Infernal server cache, and installed a virus. This virus causes a major malfunction in the victim’s Neurolink and cybernetics, turning them into mindless hordes of flesh eating monsters.

Our adventurers begin their story in the dark alleyways of Green Valley. Thrust upon this unfamiliar world of corporate greed, organized crime, and fantastical technological advancement, they must rise to the occasion of this new plague, and find out the person responsible for this devastating new turn of events.

Story Summary

Introduction to Green Valley

The party awakens from their sleep to find themselves in an unfamiliar place. They have woken up in the cyberpunk world of the Neon Coast. The setting is the district of Green Valley located in the futuristic megacity of Fellstar. The party is roughly introduced to this violent world by Lawkeepers who murder the party member Erevann, confusing him for a Drow gang member. As the party engages the Lawkeepers, Drez Lightfoot appears and helps the party deal with the Lawkeepers. He notes they are not from around here, and gives them a warning about the dangers of Green Valley.

Mainframe

As the party continues to explore the neighborhood they’ve appeared on, they encounter a pair of glitched who are attacking a young girl. After dispatching the two glitched, the little girl explains that they are her parents. She asks the party to take her to Aunt Judy, who is a bartender at Mainframe, a bar nearby. Speaking to Judy reveals that the girl’s parents were addicts, and that this is a common affliction in Green Valley. Drez is at Mainframe as well, and he can approach the party. Drez can reveal more information, like telling them that he is a part of The Evermeet, an elf organization fighting back against the elven genocide by the Lawkeepers. He offers to take them to a Tiefling dealer nearby.

Kairon’s Den

The Tiefling dealer Kairon will deny that his supply is tainted. If taken up on the offer to try Dragonjuice, an NPC will turn into a glitched, confirming the virus is real. PC’s will not be able to try Dragonjuice due to the absence of a Neurolink. If confronted, Kairon will direct the party to his supplier, a higher level Tiefling Infernal named Kallista.

Keep Plaza and Kallista’s Farm

On a train to Green Valley’s citadel, the party is ambushed by glitched. When the party escapes the train station, they emerge onto Keep Plaza. They can infiltrate Kallista’s server farm where they will have to fight their way to the room with the access point. Upon reaching the access point, the party will realize only Kallsita is able to access it. If negotiated with, Kallista will reveal that they were unaware of the virus, but she can offer to develop an antiviral bomb called Phyzor to heal all glitched. Drez will push the party to murder Kallista and blame the virus on the Tiefling, claiming that they are making a move to take over the underworld of Green Valley.

Resolution

If the party chooses to murder Kallista and destroy the server farm, Drez will release the news that Tiefling are responsible for the Glitching. This will lead to a race riot where a tiefling genocide takes place in Green Valley.

If the party chooses to side with Kallista and allow her to release Phyzor, Drez will threaten the party and reveal that he is a Drow operative who released The Glitch in hopes to turn the Lawmakers’ attention away from The Dark.

Epilogue

Finally, the players will receive a communication from Judy that she’s been notified about an upcoming Lawkeepers raid on Mainframe. Upon arriving, the party will fight their way to Judy’s office, where the girl will wake up the party and remind them that their quest against the Cult of Tiamat is not complete.

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