This is the intro that my players went through last week. The players played level 0 PCs and we were using the D&D Next system.
This story takes place in the elvish Kingdom of Undaria. It is a beautiful forest that is guarded fiercely by its inhabitants. No outsider is allowed within the forest and few elves ever travel outside of it. The kingdom is ruled by two sisters, the Queen Lady Rathien and her sister the witch Theloria. In the middle of the forest lies a city of the same name as its kingdom. There is where our story unfolds.
Claym was delivering swords to the guards at the barracks. Some of the guards were talking about a thief who had stolen something from the queen, Lady Rathien. Claym meets with his friend Ltn.Sura. Sura tells Claym about the thief and asks Claym to keep his eyes open for him. Claym agrees and heads back to his shop. On the way he starts noticing strange going ons. There is no breeze. The forest has gone still. A bird lays dead on the path. Its eyes having bled out. Then another bird is found. Then a squirrel. All with the same end. Eyes bled out. Claym heads back to Sura to let the guard know. Once there Claym sees the High Commander of the Guard, an elf by the name of Arl, has captured the thief Lysather. Arl was told to put the thief to death immediatly. The queen herself had gave the order. Claym demanded that this thief be given a trial, as was the way of their people. Claym and Arl are about to start reaching for swords, which would not had bode well for Claym, but just then the Queen was walking by the barracks heading towards Thornwood.
Nai’evis was working at her shop. It was a typical slow day. Suddenly a male elf burst into her shop. He quickly closed the door and got low. Guards were heard outside yelling about someone going this way or that. The male put a finger up to his lips and started reaching for a dagger. He said he wasn’t going to hurt Nai’evis. She remained quiet and demanded to know what was going on. He introduced himself as Lysather and he is wanted for stealing something from Lady Rathien, the Queen. He claims that the queen’s sister , the witch Theloria, had asked him to steal a key from the Queen. Theloria claimed that she needed it to keep something safe and it was important to the whole kingdom that she gets the key. Nai’evis listened carefully and offered to take the key to Theloria since the guards wouldn’t be looking for her.
After parting ways Nai’evis gets to Thornwood, the home of the witch, the strongest spellcaster in all of Undaria. The witch is there to greet Nai’evis as if the witch was expecting her. Theloria tells Nai’evis that the key unlocks the Heart of the Forest. The Heart is a power source that had been used to establish the kingdom and then was locked away so that no one would be able to use its power to corrupt and destroy. It would take both rulers of the kingdom, the witch and the queen, to unlock it, but the queen had been acting odd as of late. The witch could no longer trust her sister and with the visions of death coming to the witch recently she couldn’t wait for her sister to come to her senses. Then the witch did something unexpected. She offered the Heart to Nai’evis. The witch told her that Nai’evis would know what to do with it when the time came. Without another word she started to leave. Nai’evis asked where she was going. The witch replyd, “My sister is coming. I’m going to meet with her and I fear only one of us will survive this encounter.”
Laucian was working in the library. His best friend Galyth came in looking worried. Galyth was the newest advisor to Queen Rathien. Galyth asked Laucian to come to the palace in a while and speak with the Queen. The Queen has been acting odd as of late and Galyth wanted a second opinion. Galyth wanted to set up an audience with the Queen before Laucian showed up. Laucian gathered some books together for reference and after a short whlie headed to the palace to meet the Queen.
Once there Laucian discovered that Galyth was sent to the Bastille of Justice. No one would tell him why so Laucian headed straight there to find out what happened to his friend. The two friends were allowed to meet in Galyth’s cell for a few minutes. There Laucian discovered that Galyth is part of a conspiracy to usurp the Queen. He wanted to be sure that the Queen was actually going mad before moving out. Now that Galyth was in prison he asked Laucian to meet with the conspirators and help them get into the palace. Laucian agreed to help.
Laucian meets with Imra, the now leader of the coup. Imra has maps of the palace but they are incomplete. Laucian corrects a few of the mistakes on them and comes up with a way to sneak into the palace and ambush the Queen in her throne room. The coup moves out and all goes. They get to the throne room to discover that the Queen isn’t there.
Lambarth was heading home with his grandfather. They had shown a couple of younglings a prime hunting spot that was sure to give them some good sport. A few hours after leaving the group Lambarth heard someone crashing through the forest. It was one of the younglings. Vaeril. He was breathing heavily and had a heavy fever, and worst yet there was blood seeping from Vaeril’s eyes. Lambarth took Vaeril to Lambarth’s home, while grandfather had gone off to find the rest of the group.
Once home Lambarth sees that Vaeril is getting worse. The fever is hotter and he had started forming pox marks. Lamberth and his father headed out to find some king’s root. It should bring the fever down. Meanwhile Lamberth’s youngest brother went to town to get the healers and the eldest stayed to keep an eye on Vaeril. Upon returning to his home Lamberth discovers that his house was ransacked and his eldest brother is dead. Vaeril is nowhere to be seen. Lamberth headed to town to warn the guard while his father went to seek Vaeril.
It All Comes Together
As the Queen strolled towards her sister our four heroes all met up for the first time. Laucian with his group of conspirators, Lambarth looking for healers, Nai’evis hiding her Heart, and Claym demanding justice for the thief. There the queen and the witch faced off. The sky is darkening and the world is going still. A plague of insects start coming from the sky. Most of the city begins panicking. The sisters continue to face off, neither flinching. The witch pleads with the queen to stop her madness. The queen simply states that now is the time of Blighterghast. Suddenly the elf Vaeril appeared from behind the witch. She doesn’t notice him, but Lambarth saw him coming and put an arrow into his hip. It wasn’t enough to stop him and Vaeril begins to swell up with pus until he explodes in a gory shower of pus and ichor. The witch is knocked away and covered in pus. The witch polymorphs into a cat to absorb the blow. Suddenly the queen begins to summon a sickly green fire from her hands. Everyone is shocked for the queen is not a spell caster. The fire is thrown from her hand and the witch barely avoids it. The queen starts another spell. Then suddenly the spell winks out. The queen looks down dumbfounded as she sees an arrow head sticking out from the front of her throat.
Laurian is standing behind her with a bow. The queen is too shocked to react and falls to the ground dead. Swords are drawn from the guard but the witch stops everyone. She tells everyone to listen and in the distance coming from the north is the sound of an army coming towards them. From out of the forest an angry mob of elves charges. All of them look sickly and all of them have blood coming from their eyes.
The witch, with tears in her eyes, puts up a thorn wall that rips and tears and kills any of the elves that run into it. Lambarth sees his grandfather impaled on the wall, his eyes replaced with pools of blood. The witch turns to the High Commander and orders him to evacuate the city. She then turns to the heroes of our story and tells the males to keep Nai’evis safe, for she holds a power that might one day save Undaria. They agree and begin to flee. Along the way they seek out family that was in town and agree to meet at the human settlement a few days south of Undaria. At the south gate the party is greeted by a vision. They see the witch facing her thorn wall. Something huge pushes through it. The creature is covered in bugs and can not be seen except for the piercing green fire in its eyes. The witch launches one spell of blue fire at the monstrosity. Trees are blown away by proxy but the towering beast doesn’t flinch. For a second all can see it’s face. Teeth, rot, and evil are all that is best to describe its face. Then the creatures voice is heard within the minds of all. It asks for everyone to join it. The witch begins another fireball. The one known as Blighterghast simply snatches her up in its jaws and she is gone. The vision ends as a wave of filth, bugs and plague come towards the heroes. Nai’evis retrieves the Heart and it begins to pulse brightly. Suddenly the heroes find themselves on top of the mountain range looking over their home. Most of the forest is blighted and destroyed, except for the southern gate and forest. Somehow the path of the refugees is safe and the heroes now have a long journey a head of them.
The players had a lot of fun with this. They didn’t really have any control of what was going on around them and they were more just trying to keep their heads down and helping when they could. I think this will help set up a feeling of growth and accomplishment when they someday face down Blighterghast and work at fixing the damage wrought.
Another fun thing was I didn’t have the group pick classes until after the intro. We ended up with the following
The Blacksmith- Paladin
The Potter- Druid/Witch
The Guide- Mage
The Sage- Rogue
The players wouldn’t have picked these classes out themselves but after the intro they made sense. Tonight I’m running the first level 1 part of the adventure. Wish me luck and the PC’s as well as they face the Aftermath of Riverhaven.