The Story So Far
It was just more than 200 years ago that the great battle between the Zentil army and the undead legions of the vampire Jackson occurred within Shadowgap. The fight all but destroyed both forces. The Crimson Tide then mopped up the evil from the region, leaving Shadowdale to once again carve its niche out of the land.
Prospering from the open trade routes, Shadowdale has grown in both size and influence. The north and south dales are now fully part of the kingdom. The towns of Charton and Camptown have sprung up, while the town of Shadowdale plays host to ambassadors from every kingdom in the realm.
The realm has changed much over the past 200 years as well. Since their defeat in Shadowdale the Zentils have lost much of their influence in the area, including the town of Voonlar, and have consolidated their power around the Inner Sea once again. Although the Dwarven Kingdoms of the Desertmouth Mountains have seen a steady growth, the Elven Nation continues its decline, as it seems to be in a struggle with a strange new evil within the Great Forest, the Draconians.
Also within the last fifty years the Red Bat tribe has united the Orcs and has claimed Daggerdale as their own. The Orcs now have a government in place that has allowed them to open diplomatic and economic relations with many kingdoms, including Shadowdale. Shadowdale signed a treaty nearly fourty years ago with the Orcs of Daggerdale that has allowed Orcs to move freely within Shadowdale. While unpopular at the time the treaty has brought peace to the region, until the recent conflict between Daggerdale and the Dwarven Kingdoms.
At first the conflict between the Dwarves and Orcs was simply a war of words, playing on the long-standing hatred between the races. Then a year ago the Orcs destroyed a Dwarven village. The Dwarves claimed the attack was unprovoked, but the Orcs claim that the village was built within their kingdom and was being used as a staging point of several covert raids by the Dwarves. Both sides asked for Shadowdales help against the other, creating a political nightmare.
The nightmare fell squarely in the lap of Shan Gilmartin, the newly elected Lord of Shadowdale. Lord Gilmartin was pressured by popular support for the dwarves, but also by the merchants guild that feared a war with the Orcs might spell economic disaster. Lord Gilmartin chose the middle route and decided that Shadowdale would remain neutral. This decision was not well received in any corner and has been the target of much criticism. To his credit though, Lord Gilmartin has worked hard with both nations to reach a peace and has been able to negotiate a very unstable truce.
The truce has allowed business to go on as usual within Shadowdale. Merchant caravans travel through the town on a regular basis. Farmers are bringing in their crops as the people prepare for the celebration of the fall harvest. The Crimson Tide has stepped up its patrols of the roads and to the outlying villages, but so far there has been no reports of any trouble.
The Crimson Tide has flourished right along with Shadowdale and has become the most powerful adventuring guild of the region. Since its founding in Shadowdale "The Tide" has always considered itself a protector of the kingdom. That role was made official nearly 100 years ago by Lord Ben Vendir. Shadowdale now promises members of the Tide leniency on taxes and subsidizes healing done at any temple within the dale and in return the Tide has promised to keep the land and its border safe.
The arrangement between The Tide and Shadowdale has made them a little less of the adventuring guild that they once were. As a result several others have sprung up all around the dale. Most come and go, for whatever reason, but one that some call The Knights of the Dale has gained some prominence. The Knights are a loosely organized and highly diversified bunch that meets at Bec and Boks tavern.
Bec and Boks tavern is not only their meeting place, but the famous old Dwarves have seemed to take them under their wing as well. Bec and Bok have filled the Knights with the spirit of the original Crimson Tide. Indeed, the Knights have taken up a seemingly forgotten quest of the old Tide, which was to reunite the fabled artifacts of Osiris. Some believe that these artifacts are the actual pieces of the dead god. The original Tide was able to capture both The Arms and The Chest of Osiris, now the Knights have began the search for The Legs.
The Knights of the Dale investigated The Legs for some time before finding that they were hidden within The Great Stonearch. Then moving through the secret rooms of that arch, the Knights found The Legs, which took the form of a large golden set of scales. But just as they were going take possession of it, a hideous and fearsome demon appeared and snatched The Legs from them. The demon made his escape with the arch collapsing around it and The Knights. To this day no one has been able to garner any more information on the demon or the whereabouts of The Legs.The Campaign So Far...
The Knights of the Dale have been adventuring together for more than 2 years now. They have traveled all the lands surrounding Shadowdale and have thwarted many an evil plan, as well as garnering much wealth and magic. As the group grows in power and number its noteriety has begun to take hold across the kingdom and beyond its borders.
The Knights fame is well-founded on thier deeds, but unfortunately those deeds have left them with poweful enemies who are still at large. Most notably a mysterious Necromancer that hides in the ruins of the ancient city of Eversult within the Spiderhaunt Woods. The Knights have turned back several of his brutal plans including unleashing a large undead army on the Southern Dale and destroying his chief captain. However, when the group went to root out this evil at his lair, they were rebuffed by another large skeletal force that was aided by what appeared to a legendary creature known as a Beholder, but this particular creature was made even more gruesome by that fact that it seemed to be zombie as well.
Along with the Necromancer, the Knights have earned the ire of a shadowy sect of clerics bent on releasing a Devil that has been captured within the walls of magical prison. Only a strange blue crystal key, which the group had found, held the secret of unlocking the Devil's cell. The clerical sect attempted to steal the key without luck, then afterwards the group decided to try and destroy the devil themselves instead of attempting to guard the key. It was a bold plan and in the end they were only just able to keep the Devil from escaping. The group was able to root out the sect's leader and send him to his doom. Still, the key remains and it begins to glow brighter as the one day a year in which it will works grows quickly closer.
However, with powerful enemies has come great allies as well. The Knights have found and befriended a reclusive group of Oliphants (a type of humanoid elefants), who had been worshiping Apis at a hidden temple deep within the folds of the Thunder Peaks. The Oliphants have provided the Knights with much wisdom and guidance along thier travels and have provided a safe haven in times of need. Also along the same lines, the group has assisted a regiment of Champions of Thoth as they gaurded the Tree of Knowledge. The Champions have been able to lend their assistance to the group as well, going as far as taking one of the Knights in a teaching him their ways of combat and magic.
But the greatest ally to this point has been the respect the Knights have earned from the people of the dale. They are recognized and welcomed in almost every village in the dale, and even into the bordering lands. This respect has spilled over onto the leaders of the Dale and all the way up to Lord Gilmartin himself. While the Crimson Tide is still the most renown adventuring band, the Kinghts are quickly becoming the peoples favorite.
Still, even with all their allies and adventures, the Kinghts could not predict sudden turn of events that would bring war into the heart of dales. It was only a week ago now that the villianous Orcs of Daggerdale launched an attack on the unsuspecting town of Charton in the Northdale. Completely surprised, the garrison of the town was of little match to the orchish army. The town fell, but some escaped to report that the army still holds the town under the command of a fearsome Ogre general with the aide of powerful shamans.
The whole of Shadowdale is still realling from this vicious break in what had become a long standing truce. However, Lord Gilmartin has done well to prevent and all out panic and even now raises the hopes of the citizens by calling on the Crimson Tide to gather their guild to counter the attack. He has also begun the muster of the dale and common men have been quick to pick up a weapon in the face of this threat. Still, little news has come from the rest of the dale and worry begins to grow on a daily basis of other outlying town, and the Kinghts of Dale must wonder what role they will play in these trying times.