The Dembram Republic, spread across the southeast quarter of the massive continent of Suinvar, is no stranger to conflict. On top of the constant invasion attempts from the Grindel Territories on its southwestern border, Dembram has been in four wars over its history with the neighboring Volgan States to the north.
Until last year, the Dembram Republic and the Volgan states had been embroiled in the Fourth Volgan War, lasting a brutal 17 years. In the fall of last year, the armies of the two countries were battling along the River Running at the northern border of Dembram. It was a two-year campaign with terrible casualties on either side, but neither had been able to truly uproot the other. While Dembram had pushed the Volgans back to the far side of the river, they remained at a stalemate from then on. It took intervention from a third party to bring the conflict to a halt.
In the middle of a fortnight-long river battle, strange men and women in blue tunics and mithral armor appeared out of thin air. Spells on either side were suddenly nullified before they could even be cast, and powerful blasts of arcana knocked soldiers of both armies onto their backs. Stunned and confused, the soldiers listened as the newcomers gave them an ultimatum: cease all aggression and agree to meet peaceably to negotiate a treaty, or face complete destruction.
The newcomers, as it turned out, were Mage Knights, the heralds and followers of a group whose name was previously lost in mythos and legend from ages past: the mystical and immortal Archmagi. The Archmagi have returned to Acadecia after a millenia-long absence. And if these powerful wizards have returned, it can only mean that they have been drawn here by a terrible impending doom.
The tale of our heroes begins a few months later, in the bright, cool early spring of Freeport, the largest city in the Dembram Republic, nestled on the east coast and a center for trade, culture, and of course, adventurers. Most notably, the world-renowned Shining Blade Guild has its largest chapter-house in Dembram located here. Over one hundred adventurers claim membership in the guild, each there for their own reasons, but all of them looking to make a name for themselves by blade or spell. Four people sat in one of the chapter-house’s briefing rooms, waiting for their first assignment from one of the guild’s lieutenants.
Two elves sat among them, Cendred Tear and his adopted brother Feyred. Both hailed from the massive, sprawling forest of Everwood that absorbs most of the central north half of the continent. Both were rogues of a sort, one in skillset and the other in personality.
Also with them was a stocky dwarf, scarred and callused from years of skullduggery. He introduced himself only as Borador, with no clan name—highly unusual for a dwarf, as their people hold their respective clans in high regard.
Finally, a middle-aged man sat with them, wild-eyed and wild-haired, of nebulous temperament and questionable sanity. He carried a beautifully-crafted chainblade, a hand crossbow, and a large oak trunk. This was Robin Wolfgang.
Their first mission: to investigate a silent mining village to the northwest. The mission was perilous, and suffered no few setbacks thanks to a series of rotten luck on Borador’s part and an assassination attempt on the road, but eventually the party made it to the mining village—only to find it completely overrun by kobolds. Nearly all the miners and their families were already dead. Through some clever trickery, the party managed to drive off many of the kobolds back into the mountains and slew the rest. Investigating the mines, they came upon a discovery that would shape the future of the world.
Apparently the miners delved into a long-sealed chamber with a great and terrible treasure locked inside. After slaying the ogre sentry—nearly killing Cendred in the process—they discovered a magic orb whose arcana was so potent that it nearly killed anyone who even touched it. After sending word back to the chapter-house regarding the assassination attempt and the discovered orb, the party was immediately transported via powerful magic back to Freeport; the brass didn’t want such a dangerous object traveling on the open road. Afterward, it was discovered the assassins had demonic contact of some sort; their touch was tainted, and their coded messages were in Abyssal. Curious as to what these developments meant, the party nonetheless took a few days of much-needed relaxation time.