This is the second part in a series on The Dead Queens of Morvena. After the series is completed, I will repost a combined (and likely reedited) version that will serve as my own entry for the RPG Blog Carnival that I am hosting. I want to encourage critical comments, opinion, advice, or praise (might I deserve it) for each part of this series. Your input will no doubt influence the final product.
In my previous post on The Dead Queens of Morvena, I provided a detailed back story on who the two queens were, where they lived, why they were murdered, and what happened to their half-blood demon children. This series is part of the first RPG Blog Carnival. Today I'll be offering up some additional back story and development (i.e. adventure hooks) that could be used to integrate The Dead Queens into your existing RPG campaign, or even to start a new one. The back story for two sister-queens should be enough to provide any campaign with a rich and detailed foundation on which to build at least one, if not many, adventures. What follows is a couple of examples where an adventure might 'hook' the characters. Of course, there are endless possibilities of other hooks that might also be used; if you have an idea for another hook - please share it!
Hook #1: Accidental Tomb Robbers
Old Fetherruin is once again a well traveled, yet sparsely populated, wilder-land. Merchant caravans and traveling tradesman from nearby lands frequently pass through Old Fetherruin with minimum protection or aid. The long journey is often uneventful and even pleasant at times, for the lands of Old Fetherruin seem like a timeless place of nature's primal majesty. The old growth forests that fill its valleys and the rocky summits of its wind blown hills speak nothing of the evil that lurks there. The mires and bogs that swallowed up the last ruins of Morvena have all grown in, only to be replaced by thick stands of high-canopied trees. Wildlife abounds, and the lakes and streams of Old Fetherruin flow with clear, cool water into other lands. Where once the main passage through Old Fetherruin was a narrow path winding its way through the valleys, it is once again a wide and beaten dirt road. Some might even say that Old Fetherruin is safe enough for lone travelers to pass through. They would be wrong.
Thieves and bandits have discovered Old Fetherruin as well, and recently several groups have been terrorizing and robbing the merchants caravans passing through Old Fetherruin along its main road. Merchants who can afford the protection are doing so, but the guild masters of a merchant's guild from a nearby land have decided that the rogue bandits roaming in Old Fetherruin are far too organized to be merely passing through as well. They believe the bandits have set up a hideout somewhere in the hills overlooking the main road. The PCs are hired to pose as unguarded merchants passing through Old Fetherruin so that they might bait the bandits into attacking them. This works, and once they have captured a few of the bandits and interrogate them, the PCs discover that they do indeed have a hideout in hills: a series of old tombs and catacombs one of the bandits discovered by chance. The PCs then seek to track down the remaining bandits and bring them to justice, but a few of them, fearing for their lives, flee deeper into the catacombs. As the PCs chase the bandits into the catacombs, and in doing so, discover a secret passage that leads to an even larger, undisturbed, tunnel and tomb complex. Possibly one of the party members 'realizes' that these older tombs were constructed for royalty. They may even discover that these tombs are the burial site for The Dead Queens of Morvena. In either case, opening the secrete door lets loose hordes of undead set on seeking revenge on the living, and now the bandits are the least of the heroes problems.
Hook #2: Hostage to the Sister-Queens
Old Fetherruin is once again home to a few, scattered pioneering families who farm and herd their flocks in relative piece. A small inn, The Lonely Roadhouse, has even been established along the main route through Old Fetherruin. Its a humble establishment, that serves as both a welcome rest stop for weary travelers and a meeting place for the region's populace. The PCs find themselves in this inn during their travels, and this is where this particular adventure hook begins.
No one has seen anyone from the Angra or Mainyu families in over two months. If it were the winter season, this might not be so surprising as each of the families live in a remote highland area of Old Fetherruin. But it is the summer harvest season, and now is the time that the farmers come to The Lonely Roadhouse to sell their surplus crops to merchants and travelers. A tenday ago, Frezwick Angra (the nephew of Helios Angra) stopped in at the Roadhouse and, after hearing of the lack of news from his uncle's farm, became strangely worried and left immediately to venture up into the highlands to see if there was trouble. He has not since returned. The innkeeper, Margen Dunwielder, is now becoming concerned that something horrible has befallen these families and wants the PCs to investigate. He's willing to pay them, if need be.
The farmers are all pure- or mixed-blooded teifling. The presence of tieflings in the region, while somewhat unusual to outsiders, has been accepted by locals as "normal" - to the point that this is not even mentioned unless the PCs inquire about it. What the PC's also don't know is that the previous spring Frezwick and his cousin Kirin (the daughter of Helios Angra) discovered a series of old and abandoned catacombs in the hills that obviously looked as if they belonged to some royal family. Their curiosity peaked and they decided to open several of the tombs in the catacombs hoping to find treasures of a buried king or better. All the young cousins found, however, was howling masses of undead that had been waiting for centuries to seek revenge on the living. The Dead Queens, whose minds had lost all trace of reason, immediately assumed these two half-blooded tieflings as their children and tried to capture them. Fortunately, Frezwick and Kirin managed to escape with only minor injuries. They fled back to the Angra Farmstead and, not thinking the undead would venture out of the tombs, swore never to tell anyone what they had done. This proved to be a major mistake, as the Queens and their small army of undead began nighttime searches of the hills and valleys surrounding their tomb. The undead scourge discovered the Mainyu ranch first and received the full force of five centuries of rage and revenge. Not one soul was left living there. The Queen's have continued to search in ever widening circles around their tombs, stopping at nothing until their "children" can be returned with them to their grave-beds. Only the worst outcomes can be expected for the Angra family, and it is up to the PCs to stop the The Dead Queens' madness.
Well, that's the end of the second installment of this series. I hope you enjoyed it. The final and last installment will include stat blocks for The Dead Queens of Morvena using 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons rules. Until then, GAME ON!
The text of The Dead Queens of Morvena is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may are available. The artwork included is this post is by Joel Thomas (The Barrow of the Forgotten King, WotC), Daarken (Dungeonscape, WotC), and one of the artists from the Races of Faerun. In case you are wondering, the names Angra and Mainyu together mean "evil spirit" in Avestan. In Persian mythology Angra Mainyu was the god of darkness, death and destruction, the enemy of Ahura Mazda.