World of Harran
Events are slowly beginning to make themselves clear to the coterie. Mysteries and riddles have begun unmasking themselves as the Seekers and Defenders discover more knowledge of the nefarious plots and machinations of those who would see the downfall of the free races of Harran. Disparate evil forces are once again cooperating on a scale unheard of: giants working with drow, the drow creating drowgans, salamanders working with giants, mind flayers and beholders working together, and all of them ultimately working under the auspices of the newly-returned chromatic dragons. This conflagration of evil has come to be known simply as the Prismatic League.
—- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- Perhaps the most mysterious of the new threats is the sudden reappearance of this mythical tower. DarkSpyre is the citadel of an ancient orc sorcerer, and now stands some 30 leagues south of New Chicago. The citadel was purportedly carved from a granite mountain peak, leaving a single black fang to point at the sky. DarkSpyre mysteriously disappeared without a trace 775 years ago at the time of Harrold's Curse. Now it has returned, exactly where it once stood, with all its ancient defenses intact. The duke of New Chicago has ordered his army to attempt to breach DarkSpyre, but thus far without success. Meanwhile, there is evidence that leaders of various humanoid groups may be convening within and possibly along with foul aberrations such as mind flayers and beholders. This is considered the powerbase of the southern group, that is set to lay siege to New Chicago once the Scarlet Queen has returned.
—- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- The dragons are no doubt the leaders of the League, but whether they take their calling from some higher being is unknown. They have divided their forces up into three groups in what appears to be a final strike against New Chicago as such: White Wing (Northeast Group) Found north of New Chicago. Most likely under the control of Nengil the White. Thought to be composed of frost giants and ice trolls. Two adult white dragons were killed by the party in the glacial rift of the frost giant jarl, so they have escaped their captivity. Black and Red Wings (Northwest Group) Based out of the former Dragon's Keep, this group is likely under the control of Ariscola the Black and Nyacenth the Red. Influences all lands from the Igneous Sea to just west of New Chicago. Forces possibly commanded directly by Snurre Iron Belly of the fire giants. Also known to be composed of salamanders and stone giants. Green and Blue Wings (Southern Group) The most recent threat, likely based out of the newly returned DarkSpyre. Not much is known of this group but most likely under the auspices of Wendel the Blue and Tone the Green. Tone is thought to have settled in the southeast region of Roesner. This group is also known to have attracted mind flayers and beholders. It appears this group will be used to attack New Chicago once Zuggtmoy is freed. Other forces include ogres and ogre magi. Recently however a large ogre stronghold was eliminated in a deft strike by the rangers of Chicago.
—- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- The Drow were allied with the chromatic dragons in the ancient war against the dwarves, and in fact, were the force that finally broke the back of the Metallic League (dwarves, humans and dragons). To the south, in the area of the Millennials, the Drow took over many of the ancient dwarven cities. It is a surprise now to find Drow to the north (as the party did in the Dwarven Undercity near Dragon's Keep), and particularly to find them directly allied with Tiamat, as they traditionally worship Lolth. Could this mean that there has been or could be some sort of Civil War amongst the drow? The dragons seem to have engaged the drow to work with them once more. The drow are cross-breeding other drow with the essence of sterile, corrupted metallic dragon eggs to form drowgans, a new abomination. And what are their plans for the drowgans? Who do will they serve? Some speculate that these drowgans will be used as the vanguard for some new assault, but where they will be used is unknown. Did the mysterious drow who aided the party in their escape of the Undercity succeed in destroying the breeding mechanism for these abominations as they claimed they would? Not all drow seem to be in favour of these new creatures, and it appears that some sort of civil unrest is occurring amongst the drow themselves.
—- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- Fire giants were part of the assault on Dragon's Keep and now occupy it. They are getting aid from stone giants, who are fortifying the regions around the Keep. Frost giants are active north of New Chicago, and there had been sightings of a white dragon flying in the company of a giant. The glacial rift of the frost giant jarl was dealt a serious blow by the party, and two adult white dragons were destroyed in the process as well. Logan knows groups of giants have been found in: Jarl, the northern parts of Chicago, and that many groups (Hill, Stone, Frost) have been working in concert. Since giant tribes often have trouble working with themselves, this is very unusual. He wonders what force is unifying them. Could it be another effect of the tongues? The greatest density of the giants is in Jarl. Refugees are now flooding from Jarl into Chicago, Roesner, and Boldane (the Duchy on the far side of Roesner from Chicago). Since the withdrawal of Roesner patrols and troops from Jarl, there is nothing left to hold the chaos back and hence the mass exodus. Refugee camps are appearing on the borders, while border keeps and patrols are being fortified. King Snurre's letter discovered in the rift of the frost giant jarl, reveals some insight into their plans:
Great Frost Giant: Our time approaches … wait now for the signal from h… command. We must coordinate … assault. The time has come to take what is ours. We will subjugate the Human lands, and prepare them for our Queen's triumphant return. You need not know the entire plan. Our clerics will be coordinating with the others from here. What you do need to know is your part of the plan. You will be acting with the North-East Wing. When you receive the word, you will be acting in concert with my Fire Giants, the Salamander Army, the Stone Giants, Ice Trolls and … Forces. Each of these strongholds is now on alert as well. Together, in concert with the North-West Wing and the Southern group, we will overwhelm the Human kingdoms. We are less than a year to the return, even though we have fallen behind due to unexpected disruptions in creating the Drowgan shock troops, all will be on track soon.
... ... ... ... ... from Dragon's Keep to … ... Snurre Iron Belly
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In 772 Corrigan annexed Jarl in the name of Roesner, occupying it under the pretense of keeping it safe from the Prismatic League. As the armies of Boldane and Chicago had taken heavy losses in the failed attempt to defend Dragon's keep in 770, they were more than happy to let Roesner take the front line while they recouped. It is now known, thanks to the party's efforts at the Temple of Elemental Evil, that sometime during this period (or even possibly before 770), Roesner came under the influence of an Elemental Cult… a cult that had been outlawed by Augold more than 30 years earlier. Yet Corrigan elevated the faith to a level or respectability and prevalence in Roesner. After the fall of the temple of Elemental Evil, it was revealed that the cult was attempting to summon the enslaved goddess Zuggtmoy, lady of fungus and decay, back into the world from which she had been banished in what has become known as the Ritual of Returning. This ritual is to take place in year 777, as ordained in the Prophecy of Harrold ("3 dark gods"). Immediately after the fall of the temple of Elemental Evil, it is known that Zuggtmoy travelled to Yorsex (capital of Roesner) with Avalon, her avatar, now carrying her golden orb of death. Logan knew the orb was definitely linked to her, and that its destruction would harm her in some way, likely eliminating her link with the Prime Material Plane for a period of 66, 111, or 166 days. No one knows what happened to Zuggtmoy since her arrival in Yorsex. Since then however, there as been an unusual, accelerated growth of fungus, which climbs over the streets and buildings of the city. It actually looks quite beautiful, or so says one witness. Meanwhile, Roesner has been on the warpath for several years now. For two years Roesnarian troops laid siege to historic Jarl City (the duchy's capital) for both its political and strategic importance. Shortly before the pursuit of Og began, the siege of Jarl was finally completed. The army of Roesner attempted to lay siege to Dragon's Keep, against the Black and Red dragon wings, but eventually failed. The survivors pushed on to assail the orcs at the temple of Og, but were defeated by the combined efforts of the Defenders and the Seekers. Why Roesner assaulted the Keep is unknown. With the decimation of Jarl's Black Legion in the Battle of Og, there have been several repercussions which have led to most of Roesner's army and forces being pulled back within Roesner's borders. The only forces Roesner seems to have left outside are members of the elite Green Legion to protect Jarl City, who made a daring raid to capture it but it is rumoured its protectors are a skeleton crew. Perhaps frustrated by his failure at the Keep, the duke hired the very orcs he was trying to destroy as mercenaries, and then appropriated feudal land grants from his barons and nobles to give to the orcs. Outraged by this action, the barons have since lead a revolt against the duke, waging civil war. Most of the troops in Jarl were recalled to face this new threat but Green Legion remains in control of the city. It is rumoured that Duke Corrigan of Roesner is mad and this may account for their aggressive stance of late. Logan has traced the transformation of the duke. While he was always ambitions, he seemed to become more so after the battle between Bahamut and Tiamat Patricious is a high-level magic user. Magic use is a proud tradition in Roesner, and there is a much higher concentration of mages in the Duchy than found elsewhere in Harran. No one has seen the Duke beyond the palace courtyard in the past couple of months.
The Tsuli Empire
—- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- Not officially recognized as part of the League, the Tsuli Empire is none the less a power that needs to be watched. An evil empire located to the south of the free human kingdoms, the Tsuli are a ruthless race of humans and other mixed races such as doppelgangers. The Tsuli meddle in the affairs of the free kingdoms but tend to avoid open warfare. They often prefer to wait for the outcome of other conflicts before intervening to their benefit. They often worship Teskai. Recently however, the Tsuli have begun more direct interdiction, possibly our of desperation, by redirecting agents of the free kingdoms towards a new threat: the scarlet plague of Zuggtmoy. It was always thought that the Tsuli were in league with Zuggtmoy, but Tsuli agents teleported the Defenders to a subterranean location near the Tsuli city of Karth. There the Defenders discovered that this hitherto unknown plague was infecting the Tsuli city. Thus it appears the Tsuli were desperate to manipulate someone to counter this new threat to their empire on their behalf. The Defenders also learned that this new threat seems aimed at the whole world and not just at the Tsuli as Zuggtmoy seems to have her own plans for world domination. Tsuli ships have also been seen recently plying the waters of the Igneous Sea between Valience and Jarl.
—- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- —- As if this threat were not enough, the Defenders have discovered that Zuggtmoy, the Fungus Queen, whom they had thought banished to the Abyss by the destruction of the Orb of Golden Death, is indeed working on her return to Harran. It is believed she is responsible for a new and terrible threat: the Scarlet Plague. Her followers have also created a new race of beings, the Abatoans, with which they hope to spread this plague to all living things, in an attempt to conquer all of Harran itself. Zuggtmoy's followers are busy with the Ritual of Returning, which will occur in just under a year, in 777AC. The ritual will not only see the return of the fungus queen, but it also signals the time for the final assault on New Chicago by the aberrations from DarkSpyre. The ranger Loblaws has been somehow implicated in this ceremony, but to what end is unknown. Snurre referred to the return of 'our Queen' in his letter, so it can only be speculated that this League worships Zuggtmoy to some extent. How Zuggtmoy is related to the dragons, and possibly Tiamat and Llolth is open to speculation as the gods move within the cogs of their own machinations. The Hierarchy of Zuggtmoy is believed to be thus: Zuggtmoy created -> The Master, to rule in her stead, who then in turn created -> The Guardian, to lead her forces in battle.