However, today I thought I would share some of the notes I made when first planning the current campaign for Ormid and the gang. I actually make a lot of notes in a dead tree "black book" (the current being the latest in a long line), and often sketch out dungeon maps on good old fashioned graph paper. However, I do like to write little bits of text and save them in my electronic archives, so I have an easily searchable database of who, what, why and when.
So, these are my personal introduction to the situation in Kadash, the rise of the Blue Lord, and his dark allies. Enjoy!
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Ebon Eye got to the only portal into the Eastern Guild a long time ago, and spent time dismantling it. As such, by the time the group reach it, it is exquisitely wrecked. However, Ebon Eye failed to take one thing into account; the growing resources of the Unifying Order of Mages (now mostly called the Unified Order).
With the discovery of the gate's state, word has been sent to the Order, and within days, some of the finest artificers, ostiumancers and enchanters are hard at work trying to repair the damage.
However, it soon becomes clear that two groups of components are missing. One – the bone marrow and blood of a blue dracane of advanced age – is easily identified. The other, a strange resonant crystal, is unknown to anyone. And so the group will have to seek out a blue dracani whilst the experts mull over the nature of the other material.
Fortunately, there are several mages in the Order, recently joined, who represent the “House of Granite” - an order of abjurers and enchanters who come from the distant city of Kadash; the City of Aqueducts. Located in what used to be Zaepheri'Criz (the Desert of Blades) – now a region of table mountains and winding, desolate canyons, scoured continually by the sun and howling, abrasive winds – Kadash survived the upheavals of the Age of Loss, and has flourished as a principle trade city in that inhospitable region. However, for the last year, it has suffered a serious loss of trade, all thanks to “The Blue Lord”; an ancient dracani that has taken up residence in the ruins of the once splendid city of Tammatuli.
Supported by a clan of Nahokir'Gigorim (Sand Giants), as well as by worshipers within Kadash and the desert, the Blue Lord demands a “tax” from anyone trying to use the (normally) safest route through the canyons, either northwards towards the city of Braax, or south-westwards towards the oasis city of Tulan'Dezir. This has seen a cease of almost all trading between those cities (which are invaluable links to the wider world), and a massive drop is supplies within Kadash, as well as profit for its merchants.
There are a few alternative routes, but these lead through lands haunted by savage gnarrak tribes or the nameless “mantis people”. Still worse are the spectres of those who lived in the ancient cities lost when the Age of Loss began; Scarridian ghosts, Tammatulian wraiths and other immaterial undead are a threat even the gnarrak fear. However, a brave few have managed to get through on these routes, and so, Kadash endures – just.
Efforts by the “Blessed Houses” (the ruling merchant houses in Kadash) to root out those citizens working for the Blue Lord have had minimal results, and to make matters worse, a former high ranking ambassador for House Kythus, has become the principle spokesman for the Blue Lord; arriving with the “Watchers” (giants) to deliver the Lord's terms to the city. This man – Sariq Ahmed – has only survived the hate of the cities people thanks to the promise from the Blue Lord that should he be harmed, a thousand people of Kadash will be killed for each drop of blood he loses.
Having been oppressed by a dracani in the ancient past, the people of Kadash would pay handsomely anyone able to end the Blue Lord's threat – and more than a few have tried, most turning up burned and mangled in the cities central plaza, dropped from the skies by the Blue Lord himself.
So, if the group could accomplish what no others have, they would not only gain the materials they needed (and the monster's legendary hoard), but would win the gratitude of an ancient and wealthy city.