Content of the article: "Input for campaign premise"
I'm about to start a campaign in a frozen environment (inspired by the upcoming Rime of the Frostmaiden), and I think I got the overall premise down. I would like some input from you guys about what you think about it, and whether it has the possibility of turning into an interesting campaign. I plan to have the party experience many smaller adventures, where they will eventually discover some clues tying it all together, and hopefully adding to their horror as the people around them celebrate.
The baseline idea is basically that the world froze over for about 800 years, and no one really knows why. This destroyed the previous world order, threw the world into chaos, and changed the way that people lived their lives. Instead of the large sprawling empires of old, people eventually banded together in city-states and smaller kingdoms, which is where the story starts.
People see this catastrophic event as a great calamity, but in truth, as the players will discover clues about as the story progress, it is a divine intervention by the two most powerful deities in this setting, to contain a terrible nightmarish entity from the Far realm that the elves summoned to the world by accident. These two deities function as a sort of dualistic religious system, with the Lord of Frost, and the Lady of Fire, each representing the race of giants as well.
As the campaign begins, the storms are subsiding, the climate is warming up, and people are celebrating the change of climate, not knowing that this will eventually spell doom for them, when the entity start to thaw up and spread its madness into the world.
This is my full story breakdown.
The Calamity is the catastrophic event that swept the world in darkness and cold. It is a well-known and documented period in time, but few mortals actually know exactly what happened and why the changes came to be, as it is a secret that is kept by the gods themselves and only their closest servants.
What is known?
Some 800 years ago, the world was at its peak development. The empires of the world were at peace, and while the world still harbored pockets of evil and madness, by far and large, it was a peaceful and safe place. The long period of peace brought it with an opportunity for mortals to dive deep into technological and magical studies, and none mastered magic more than the elves of the vast forests, who were born immortal and able to study it endlessly. As their studies deepened, something happened in the lands of the elves. They became isolationist and started to cut ties to their former allies, closing off the borders to their enchanted kingdoms.
Not long after these changes, the elven territories were plagued by unnatural weather. Darkness spread across their lands, and chilly winds started to howl through the trees, killing plantlife and animals alike. With the magical might of the elves, they managed to eventually protect their lands from this disastrous weather, that had by now been noticed by the other civilizations as well. As they manipulated the winds, the weather increased in intensity, and soon it started to affect the rest of the world, with only pockets of the world being left untouched (such as the empire of the tabaxi). Eventually, the Age of Darkfall would take root, sweeping the world in merciless blizzards and storms, that would eventually crumble the once-proud empires, with most of them falling to banditry and anarchy, leading to the modern times, where most of the empires have fallen, giving rise to smaller, pettier kingdoms.
What really happened?
The elven archmages studied subjects that were forgotten and buried in ages past. Seeking ways to reunite with their people from other planes of existence, they began to study how to break the boundaries between worlds, creating portals to mysterious realms where they could start to trace their origin as a race. This came with a cost, as the folly of the mages meant a miscalculation in the utilization of raw magical energy, tht eventually opened a rift into an alien and dark realm that could not be closed by normal magical means. Peering out from the realm of madness were a unfathomable creature known as Bhaal'ross, the keeper of secrets and bringer of darkness. Terrified of their discoveries, the elves shut down all connections to the outside world, and desperately tried to contain the evil creature in the realm beyond, but they eventually failed, as the elven realm of Malanor fell to the psychic influence of the creature.
With each mind corrupted, the creature grew in power, until it eventually entered the world, and the portal collapsed behind it.
While at first, the creature kept to a confined area, it soon started to spread its corruption beyond the borders of the elven realm, manipulating the weather in order to turn it into a copy of its own hellish realm of madness. These disturbances became so abhorrent that it started to alert the Lady and the Lord, who would manifest in the physical realm to combat this dark entity that would otherwise consume the realm, and the mortals living in it.
At first, the Lady of Fire reached out with her burning rays of divine fury to try to incinerate the creature into ash, and let the earth swallow it. This greatly weakened the creature, who had already taken root deep in the earth, causing the ground to shake in massive earthquakes, and flames to sprout from the ground in malicious agony. Disliking his twins uncalculated assault, the Lord of Frost started to alter the weather patterns of the world, convincing the Lady that any further attempt at destroying the entity could mean the destruction of the world as well. Only a divine storm of cold and frost would be able to chill the creature, and encase it beneath the earth, where it could cause no harm to the mortal realm.
In their combined efforts, the Lady caused the ground to turn into liquid magma to sink the creature further into the ground, and the Lord of Frost covered the land in the unnatural blizzards, that would mean the downfall of many mortal realms, and in turn, lives, but it was the lesser of two evils, and a price the world must pay to survive. The Lord of Frost reached out to the elven goddess of Shareel, a beautiful songstress associated with magical enchantments, and demanded her divine essence as a punishment for allowing her people to dive so deep into forbidden territory. When she refused, the Lord of Frost forcefully drained her magical essence with little effort, and turned it into a magical, endless howling blizzard, that would cover the world in a frosty layer to keep the evil entity frozen in place, and unable to reach the surface.
Swearing to keep their efforts a secret, the two deities returned to their duties, leaving behind measures to monitor and control any outburst that may come to be.
What is changing now?
The mighty spell that the Lord of Frost put into motion is slowly starting to loose its potency. The elves, immortal and slow to react, eventually felt the betrayal of their beautiful goddess, once benevolent and inspirational, now vanished, and with her, their ability to maintain their enchantments for long without additional magical support that were hard to come by. Unforeseen by the twin deities, this loss of faith would also cause the curse placed upon the goddess to vane in power, as she was no longer fueled by mortal devotion to keep her winds blowing.
This is causing the world to thaw once more, revealing the evil secrets buried and forgotten beneath the earth.
As explorers have started to venture back to the place of the great calamity, a madness has spread in their hearts and minds, turning them into monstrous creatures.
Now, it is only a matter of time before the spreading madness will reach into the far corners of the world, thawing the world in the progress and making the land fertile again, if only for a short while, before the mighty Bhaal'ross will rise from the ground, and start to tear this reality apart, spawning a new age of darkness, twisting the mortal realm into a nightmarish place where he can thrive and rule his mindless servants once more, before moving on to devour the next world in the multiverse.
Hope to get some feedback from you guys, you've helped me out tremendously before, and I want to get this campaign right 😀
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