The idea for this campaign was born almost Athena-style (fully formed and ready for battle, that is) from my brain upon reading the 4E Manual Of The Planes. I doubt I’ll ever get around to using these notes, so I’m posting them here for someone to have a blast with. I really love Paizo’s adventure writing. It’s the best in the business as far as I am concerned.
However, while I enjoyed the overarching themes of their Second Darkness Adventure Path, the execution seemed… off. Some of the conceptual ideas were, in my opinion, under-used and rather clumsily applied. So when I read the section in Manual of the Planes about Mag Tureah, it seemed like a perfect fit… and i really love that the drow portions of the Path could be kept more or less intact while having the fomorian puppeteers in the background. Also, I switched Allevrah’s name with Depora, because I like the sound of Depora far better.
These notes are basically the outline or framework that I would build a full campaign from. If it was an Adventure Path, this would form a lot of the “Adventure Background” section of the first adventure.The campaign world is my own homebrew world of Aerys, focused on the Arthurian-inspired region known as Brittanis. You can find some (but not nearly all) additional information regarding Aerys at my Obsidian Portal wiki page in the Links section.
Modified Second Darkness Plot Notes
- The fomorian arcanist-king Thurazor (MotP p44), King of Mag Tureah, Lord of the Obsidian Doors, The Black Eye of Moran, has ruled his Feydark realm for several centuries. His fomorian people and their captured slaves and magic have held out against the constant war led by the Summer Queen and her lover the Lord of the Green—held out, but just barely.
- Thurazor has a great and terrible secret, as far as fomorians go—he is completely, irrevocably sane. Possessed of the frightening power but none of the limiting madness the mutated giants, Thurazor has led his twisted, demented people well, but he desires an end to the constant knife-edge that his shadowed kingdom rests upon. Thurazor desires to carve a kingdom for his own people out of the natural world, far from the reach of the Archfey who plague his kingdom.
- The Feydark realm of Mag Tureah is riddled with persistent, shifting portals to the natural world—the portals are typically one-way, but not always. Doorways from the natural world into Mag Tureah always appear in places of ruin and great destruction in the natural world—it’s nearly impossible to predict where the gateways will open, but they all share that trait in common. Sometimes they last for a moment, an hour, or a day and the size varies from barely enough to pass a gnome to massive shimmering archways a battalion can traverse. They are, above all, unpredictable and chaotic. Nor are they finite—new portals to Mag Tureah begin to open whenever a village, town, castle or settlement of any kind is destroyed.
- Thurazor has after over a century of research and striking deals with demons, devils and other, even more sinister and alien entities, discovered the basics of the magic behind how the portals work. He has also dabbled in blood magic—using the energy produced by pain, fear and death to fuel magical rituals and spells. Thurazor’s plan is deceptively simple: intentionally create a massive, city-sized ruin and use the power of that destruction to fuel a ritual that will bind the portals of Mag Tureah into permanence. Then, using those stable doorways to his Feydark realm, Thurazor will begin an invasion of the natural world, using the very city he destroyed as the new capitol of a cruel, brutal fomorian kingdom of death and madness.
- The city of Trilagos sits unknowingly on a ruin of incredible age—an outpost of the original Aquilonian colony of Helios, long sunk under the swamps that Trilagos sits atop. These ruins extend out into the massive lakes that surround the modern city. Deep within this lost Undercity are many forgotten artifacts of that massively powerful culture—and a group called the Ebon Cabal has discovered them. Thurazor has financed and supported this group by proxy for decades now by using a band of doppelgangers, in exchange for their research into creating the blood magic ritual he needs for his plan.
- While their research into the Blood Portal ritual nears completion, the Ebon Cabal has already made a discovery of epic potential—the magic used to call a meteor from the heavens—and Thurazor has used this discovery for his own ends. Through another set of proxies, Thurazor saw that the basics of the Starstone magic found their way into the hands of an elven general, one Depora Raivaniyel, member of the secretive Winter Council, a group of powerful elves dedicated to keeping knowledge of the vile blackskinned elves—the drow—from the mass of the elven race. Thus far, the Council has been successful and the drow remain boogeymen and dark legends among the elven (and to an extent, eladrin) peoples.
- Violent and militaristic, Depora immediately saw the potential in the Starfall magic to put an end to the threat of the drow once and for all. A warrior by trade, she was forced to research in secret and eventually succumbed to her frustration at not being able to decipher the magic completely—she made a pact with the Demon Lord Rahvyn to gain the knowledge she needed to decipher the keys of the ritual, and thus her damnation was secured.
- When Depora presented her plan—calling a starstone down on the major cities of the drow and wiping them off the face of Aerys—the Winter Council erupted in opposition. Calling them weak and foolish for not being able to make the hard choice, Depora lashed out and murdered the loudest of her opponents in cold blood. She succumbed completely to the cruelty and malice in her demon-tainted soul, and there, right in front of the Winter Council, spontaneously transformed into a drow. A great battle raged and Depora was injured but escaped.
- Realizing she had nowhere else to go and desiring revenge on her former people more than anything else, Depora traveled to the land of her former hated enemies—the drow city of Zirnakayan—and quickly slew and took over one of the ruling drow Houses. She then bent all of their resources and power towards the destruction of her own former people and intends to use the Starfall magic to obliterate the elven capitol of Erethril.
- Thurazor’s original intention was to use Depora to eliminate a serious rival against his own nation—the drow know about the portals of Mag Tureah and wish to research their power for their own purposes—but when Depora turned into a drow, the fomorian king altered his plan, guiding Depora’s fractured mind. In order for the drow to successfully invade after the Starfall magic destroys their leadership and royalty, the human nations must be sufficiently in chaos that they cannot unite against a drow takeover on their border.
- Using the same clan of doppelgangers, Thurazor manipulates Depora to attempt a “test-fire” of the Starfall magic. His intent is to use Depora as a catspaw and when she destroys the elven city, his ritual will be in place and the city she destroys will become the hub of the new fomorian nation. Then he will use the same Starfall magic he gave to her to eliminate the city of Zirnakayan and the only other being who knows the Starfall magic.
- From that point, Thurazor can use the Starfall magic with impunity in the natural world, setting up multiple points of access from Mag Tureah, creating a linked network of fomorian cities that will form the core of his Twisted Empire.