The Chronicles of Hallowdwell
Heroic Tier Introduction
The kingdoms of Allandria and Arktfar warred with one another for generations, evenly matched, throwing their youngest and bravest against one another until the lands between them lay cracked and ruined. But in this age, with the recent death of his wife weighing fresh upon him, King Xavier V of Allandria grew weary of his great-great grandparents’ war and called a truce. The noble Council of Arktfar came willingly to the negotiating table, and the perpetual battle at last came to an end.
But in such bloody circumstances, old grudges grow deep and unquestioned; some resented the end of fighting before victory. One such was Mearis Lord de Thuin, who stormed out of the treaty proceedings and went into seclusion at his estate in southern Arktfar.
The two nations enjoyed their newfound peace for only a year. Efforts had barely begun on rebuilding and recovering the battlefields of old when a terrible darkness arose from the south: plague! Arktfar, once mighty, suffered as its population collapsed. The survivors watched in horror as their loved ones who succumbed to disease stood up again and roamed the countryside as the cursed undead. They could read the signs; the clouds of miasma and the first of the monsters could only have come from one place. And so, by an appropriate corruption of the name “de Thuin,” the plague and the rotting horde came to be known as Deathwind.
Now, Allandria sits in a precarious position. If Deathwind overcomes the last of Arktfar’s defenses, Allandria will surely be next. And yet there is no help from neighboring kingdoms, who still know Allandria as the belligerent and uncompromising power of old. In the meantime, refugees from plague-wracked communities show up in waves, seeking shelter within the walls of Allandria’s great castle, Hallowdwell.
Only heroes can turn the black tides! Whether by diplomacy with other great nations, retrieval or research of powerful magic, or direct combat with the undead, Allandria’s plight provides innumerable opportunities for men and women of skill to earn glory and reward. Indeed, adventurers, mercenaries, and opportunists of all stripes have begun heeding the call to Hallowdwell. Can any of them bring hope?
Departures from the Default D&D Setting
“Points of Light” is a recent development: Prior to the rise of Deathwind, monsters were scarce and the great kingdoms’ territories broad and safe. So long as a place is far from the front lines of the old Allandria-Arktfar war, it’s safe to suppose they’ve had time and security enough to bring about some impressive cultural developments. But now the things of campfire stories walk the roads preying on travelers, and traffic across borders has all but ceased.
Less Cosmopolitan: With a few exceptions, communities tend to be racially segregated. Elves live with elves, humans with humans, and so forth. The PCs’ likely diverse group is a startling thing… but a sign of hope as well. As refugee populations splinter from different areas, and adventure leads people to range far and wide, this will slowly change.
The PCs are a Cut Above, and Heroism is Contagious: Your characters are among the few, maybe even the only, fully PC-classed individuals around—people of legend and prophecy. However, by questing and interacting with other notable individuals, you may awaken that power in them as well.