*The Many Years of Anguish* were hard on the nation of Zakiim. Drought, famine, and disease plagued the population and poisoned the soil, and it would be 13 years before the country would be able to begin recovery. In dark times, some people search for solace in insidious places. Such was the case of the cleric known as Xierhan, who became increasingly convinced that his nation's plight was punishment from the gods; retribution for the sins of the ruling Solar Council. Over many months, Xierhan consulted with the God of Pestilence and Anguish, and for his devotion he was rewarded with power that he could previously have only dreamed of. But the God of Pestilence is vile and manipulative, and while Xierhan leveraged his charisma to develop his own cult following, his mind began to fray under divine influence. As he circled the whirlpool of insanity, Xierhan became fixated on bringing a finality to Zakiim's suffering: a noxious, contagious disease that would threaten all life in the nation. Xierhan and his followers built the Vault of Pestilence, hidden away in the sweltering southern jungles. It was here that Xierhan conducted appalling experiments in an effort to produce new toxins. It was here than Xierhan became convinced that by offering his own life, and the lives of his followers, he would be granted the privilege of acting as patient zero for the most virulent plague the world had ever seen. It was here that Xierhan was wrong. Because the God of Pestilence is vile and manipulative.
More than five hundred years ago, clans of dwarves and gnomes made an agreement known as the Phandelver's Pact, by which they would share a rich mine in a wondrous cavern known as Wave Echo Cave. In addition to its mineral wealth, the mine contained great magical power. Human spellcasters allied themselves with the dwarves and gnomes to channel and bind that energy into a great forge (called the Forge of Spells), where magic items could be crafted. Times were good, and the nearby human town of Phandalin (pronounced fan-duh-lin) prospered as well. But then disaster struck when ores swept through the North and laid waste to all in their path. A powerful force of ores reinforced by evil mercenary wizards attacked Wave Echo Cave to seize its riches and magic treasures. Human wizards fought alongside their dwarf and gnome allies to defend the Forge of Spells, and the ensuing spell battle destroyed much of the cavern. Few survived the cave-ins and tremors, and the location of Wave Echo Cave was lost. For centuries, rumors of buried riches have attracted treasure seekers and opportunists to the area around Phandalin, but no one has ever succeeded in locating the lost mine. In recent years, people have resettled the area. Phandalin is now a rough-and-tumble frontier town. More important, the Rockseeker brothers-a trio of dwarves- have discovered the entrance to Wave Echo Cave, and they intend to reopen the mines.
The Dragons of the world are incredibly influential. They are practically immortal in years and bow only to certain gods, such is their power. Through endless generations of plotting and scheming they have reached an incredible amount of wealth and influence in a world of the mortal races. * There are three categories of magic in the world: Divine, Pagan, and Dragon (Arcane) * Divine as expected, covers things cast by Clerics, Paladins, and some Druids/Rangers. * Pagan covers magic used by Warlocks and most Druids/Rangers * Dragon magic is Arcane magic.. what Bards, Wizards, Sorcerers and others use You are not affected by this for the most part, but here are some key points: * Artificers are finding a way to harness arcane magic without channeling directly themselves. Where the rumors of this exist it's widely met with either hope or fear depending on how people feel the dragons will react. If your party contains an artificer you may need to consider this. Potions (a form of alchemy) are practically non-existent in this world. Those who have or use them usually serve a dragon. * Scrolls are also kept under pretty strict supervisions. Wizards and others who create them usually serve a powerful dragon * The Gods are worshiped openly but open devotion to them is not common. There is a balance of power with the Dragons who allow churches everywhere and accept that they are not gods nor can control them. But in cities in particular, temples are discouraged from active recruitment and are kept from exerting too much influence.
**The Tomb of the Iron general is a dungeon adventure for 4 players of 3rd-4th level, designed to be completed within 4 hours of play. It features orcs, traps, and the angry dead.** The untamed wildlands have reclaimed much of the formerly mighty empire of Gilmarron. All that remains now are crumbling tombs, dilapidated foundations, and whispers of lost glory. "The Iron General", as was his moniker, was a brutal leader within the Gilmarron army. In a suit of black plate and said to be able to destroy entire battalions with salvos of arcane magic, the Iron General struck terror into the hearts of men on the front lines. His fearsome approach to leadership won him many battles for the empire and cemented his place among the lost legends of military history. Buried with the bodies of his most trusted lieutenants, his tomb was hidden away in the cold, wind-swept mountains of present-day Abbotsrijk in an effort to protect it from grave robbers. Now, as warmer climates creep southward and the ice begins to melt, this artifact of history has been uncovered. A band of orcs, pushed north by Abbotsrijk's expansion, have recently stumbled upon the tomb and hope to use it as cover from the cold for a few days. They know little of what lurks within.