Realms, both wondrous and dire, border the world. One such realm is the Shadowfell. Although not inherently evil, the Shadowfell is fraught with dangers, and the barrier between worlds can be thin. Sometimes the darkness breaks into the light.
Nearly two hundred years ago, a cult of the demon prince Orcus purposely created such a gap, connecting one of Orcus’s unholy Shadowfell sites to the world. Skeletons, zombies, and fouler creatures flooded through the rift into the light of day. The empire of Nerath dispatched legionnaires to eliminate the threat. The empire’s soldiers destroyed the undead, sealed the opening, and built a keep to watch over the location and contain the threat. This is the site known as the Keep on the Shadowfell.
Decades of peace followed, and the village of Winterhaven arose within sight of the keep. Eventually, the great fort fell into ruins and its grand purpose forgotten. Today, it is seen as a harmless tumble of stone and wood.
If only that were true.
Time passes and empires fall, and even Nerath wasn’t immune to the ravages of time. The once-great human empire collapsed almost a century ago, and only memories of its glory remains. Deep within the ruins of the keep, the magic seal crafted by the Nerath wizards continues to protect the rift, but time has begun to erode even this powerful magic. Moreover, the cult of Orcus has returned to the site, intent on finishing what its ancient brethren started.
The cult seeks to reopen the rift to the Shadowfell. However, the magic seal has so far frustrated the cult’s intentions. Time, however, is on the side of the cult.
Unless the cult is stopped, the seal will collapse and the passage into the Shadowfell will be opened anew. If that happens, Winterhaven will face the threat alone. Leagues
of dangerous roads separate the village from its closest neighbors, and the place has always stood as a point of light in the ever-growing darkness.
Even so, Winterhaven won’t stand long against endless swarms of ravaging undead. The cult of Orcus seeks to open the rift, establish a foothold, and launch further atrocities against the world at large.
A priest of Orcus named Kalarel heads the death cult. Kalarel uncovered the truth about Shadowfell Keep a few years ago, after finding records dating back to the time of the original opening of the rift. Since then, he has been ceaselessly researching an evil ritual that he believes will allow him to shatter the seal and once more open the rift.
Even as he researches the vile rites, Kalarel continues to expand his influence. After gaining control of the keep, he placed agents in the surrounding areas.
Kalarel has established dominion over a tribe of goblins that had set up a lair within the subterranean chambers beneath the keep. These creatures, led by a goblin named Balgron the Fat, guard the place ferociously, not completely out of loyalty to Kalarel but due to their own thirst for wealth and power.
After his control of the keep was solidified, Kalarel dispatched a goblin named Irontooth to oversee a tribe of kobolds operating out of a lair near Winterhaven. Through
his goblin agent, Kalarel has ordered the kobolds to harass and, if possible, eliminate anyone in the vicinity (such as adventurers) who have the potential to delay or thwart the
Kalarel also installed an elf spy named Ninaran in Winterhaven. Through the reports of this individual, Kalarel keeps an eye on the activities of Winterhaven’s residents and knows when newcomers arrive.
Kalarel is confident he will achieve his goal and soon reopen the rift to the Shadowfell.
Will anyone dare to prove him wrong?