Chapters

Chapter 1 - Gathering an Army (Episodes 013-058)


For a hundred years, the humans of the east have lived in segregated farming settlements and mercenary strongholds with nothing but their need to fend off the savage races binding them. They had no hopes to unite their people – Survival was their only viable dream. Things began to change once they realized that an unsteady order had fallen back into place in the lands – Roads of communication opened between settlements and people began to travel once more. With the gnomes and halflings once more traveling from the south, the humans found themselves once more gaining a foothold in the world, after being hunted like game. Though they were not yet a nation. Still a divided people struggling and surviving in small groups, unable to trust any but those immediately around them.

However, now a new development has caused the people to rally and finally unify their forces. Years ago, rumours came from the grey fields that the divided clans of the savage races had begun to form truces, one small group at a time. These gangs were manageable since most of these races themselves had suffered great loses during the War of Many. None of them were at their same power as they were centuries ago. Thus far, the outlying villages had managed to fend off any attackers and even carved out territorial boarders running along the deserts and towards the grey fields.

Only months ago, a new and much greater danger arose. This evil showed its numbers when they began to raid camps in the south edge, quickly ravaging the people as they marched their army north towards the edge of the Vale. Rumors began to spread of a shadow stretching for as far as the eye could see, dotted with the eyes of demons. Notice went out throughout the lands that it was time for man to rise up once more and defend this world. Now it is the responsibility of these fighters, warriors, and brave common-folk to search out and chase down the evils destroying their hopes of eventually taking back their home from the savages and of building a great nation once again.


Chapter 2 - Into the Highlands (Episodes 059-079)


Sent into the mountains by a military desperate for any hope of survival, a group of soldiers, an Oracle, and a random adventurer picked up along the way trekked across fields, wastelands, hills and mountains. They fought ogres, lions and a basilisk. They were forced to infiltrate the enemy army in order to rescue a kidnapped ally. Many of them beheld the soft glow of the afterlife, just before being dragged back to the material world. Others instead embraced the warmth of the basking light. Along the way, they managed to find a couple other adventurers in need of partnership to assure their survival in this world.

Now, on the other side of the Breach Mountains, a group of once strangers, who possibly never would have even chosen a seat next to the other in a bar, find themselves staring into an unknown forest and vast wilderness. Their previous goal – to stay alive – has been accomplished, but they now become aware that they are alone, with no allies and a possibly vast number of enemies, with no clear designation.


Chapter 3 - Unlocking the World, Part I (Episodes 083-122)


The world is in trouble.

The Prime Material Plane has been damaged and the rest of the Great Wheel is soon to follow, due in large part to the elves selfishness in their attempt to partition themselves from the world. The guardinals and archons did what they could, sacrificing themselves in traversing the Astral Sea to come into the Material Plane, hoping to patch the rift. Though all they could do was slow the leak of energy and eventually their lives were given to the cause, however fruitless it might seem in hindsight. They were able to dam the flow of astra into the world and make sure that the Prime Material would at least stay in tact until they, or someone wiser than them, could figure a way to stop and possibly even reverse the effects of the planar rift.

Meanwhile, beasts of horrid imagination (which is a description much closer than you would like to believe) were able to flow through the rift and into this world. As the elves gate cut a pathway directly through the Wheel, each plane that rotated through it would have a direct route from their home into ours. Creatures of shadow and light, earth and fire, and energies of unimagined power crept forth and invaded the Material Plane. Fortunately, the boundary that the archons were able to set kept the majority of these monstrosities at bay – Though that isn’t to say that some, more powerful than imagined or more cunning that planned, weren’t able to slip through into freedom from the battle royale slaughter that continually persisted within the astra.

Because of the chaos surrounding the rift, there were several consequences that effected the people forced to live within the Material Plane. For one, this plane had been a prime source for arcane energy and arcanic devices created by powerful men and beings. However, when the rift was open it was not unlike pulling a plug from a drain, letting all of the arcane energies flow out into the Astral Sea. The great mages who had spent a lifetime – some more than their own – studying and perfecting their arcane arts had found themselves powerless, as the energy leaked from their bodies. Men who had created great weapons and tools which harnessed the arcane had found their items no better than a common blacksmith’s. A small child born with brilliant sparkling orange eyes, within a matter of hours was looked upon again to have nothing but common grey. There was nothing special anymore in the world.

When people realized that they were in trouble and a blight had struck their world, they did what any person would have done – they turned to their deities for help and advice. They begged and pleaded for assistance from those with great power. Though no voices were heard. No help came. The problem was that the deities could not hear the voices of their patrons. The rush of astra and arcane through the rift created a noise and chaos which the deities could not overcome. They had effectively been cut off from the Material Plane. Without communication with their gods, the people of the plane began to lose faith, soon abandoning their deities and turning to despair and lose with no comfort.

With their patron’s faith waning and with it their divine power, they found that the situation erupting in the Great Wheel was becoming overwhelming. The Prime Material was not the only plane in trouble, as the rift had cut through the Great Wheel it allowed travel to every plane, so long as the path lined up. Demons, devils, and primordials rose up to destroy those who had forced them into the far reaches and recesses of the planes. This was the dawn of a great war between the deities and those who had craved their power for eons.


Chapter 4 - Building a New Home (Episodes 123-171)


Soon after the main force of the Skaldernian army made its way into the vastness of the desert in pursuit of the Dark Army, the outlying villages and farms began to rebuild their settlements as people returned to their homes. However, they had little time to settle back in as a new, much more menacing threat swept across the fields. Like locusts, swashes of undead hordes came in waves, destroying the body of every man, woman and child that came within their reach. Hearing of this plague making its way across the country, the citizens of Skalderna began leaving their homes, en masse traveling to the relative safety behind the walls of Langen. So while the people’s spirit rebounded against the power of the Master, they now had no choice but to cower and hope that something will save them from the current scourge.

Convinced that this new threat was brought on by the powers of a powerful mage, or perhaps several working in league with this “Dark Master”, the collective council (made up of the leaders of the largest cities within Skalderna) decided that once and for all magic must not just be shunned upon, but outlawed entirely. No longer would it simply carry a stigma and those cursed with its touch be outcasted; now they would be hunted and sentence brought against them for the crimes they had obviously committed, or to keep them from the horrors that they would eventually commit after being corrupted by their power. The council sanctioned witch hunters to seek out those who would practice the arcane, while the churches also provided their own inquisitors whom they had trained for similar situations.

Meanwhile, the people of the Shoanti tribes within the ever-burning desert were in a similar situation. They found themselves in an unfortunate battle with the people whom they would hope to someday call ally. However, while the warriors are well equipped for battle and the shaman well versed in the rites of the dead, neither are prepared to battle with the dead. What was once the Skaldernian army tasked with hunting down the Dark Army had now transformed into a group marching on the people of the desert; their bodies now simply an empty husk. With this undead army encroaching on their territories, they have had no choice but to leave their home and find haven in the mountains. The decided that the best place for was where their spirits and ancestors could guide and protect them; Storval. The Elder lead them through the grounds, the maze-like pillars, plateaus, and valleys making it impossible for the army to follow them.

From a distance, small pillars of white smoke can be seen coming from the crevasses of the Breach.


Chapter 5 - Unlocking the World, Part II (Episodes 179-240)


Life in the Outer Planes has been rather dull these last few centuries for, without the constant warring and endless praying by the mortals of the Material Plane to keep the Gods busy, they really have nothing else to do other than their more common duties that they agreed to when taking upon their positions of omnipotence. The Raven Queen in particular, who has only had her position upon the throw for the last millenia or so, has found her duties severely depleted as of late.

True, there is still murder, war, and general death within the cosmos as much as their has been for the last million years or so, though the vast majority of those souls never see Latherna due to their deific intervention or the restorative abilities of a semi-powerful priest; both of which are much more prevalent than they ever have been – or probably would be – in the Material Plane. And now that the Prime Plane has been disconnected from the rest of the Axis, well let us just say that the goddess of Fate and Death hasn't felt like either of her roles have been fulfilled recently.


That is, until...


Chapter 6 - Beginning of the End (Episodes 241-...)

Newhold has been rescued, and the group finds itself back in one piece. The resistance has been halted for now, but there are still some who managed to escape death or capture. There also appeared to be something much more sinister in the actions of their leader than simply overthrowing Padilla and the governing faculties, which most definitely requires further investigation. The military, and our group in particular, may not have much time to move on those leads though, as there still is a city on the verge of falling to the destruction left behind.

The weird and strange are not just confined to Newhold. As civilization begins to reach out beyond its initial boundaries, the new settlers of the Highlands begin to come across some of the oddities and undesirables that have called these lands home for much longer than our group has known of the world beyond the mountains. Secrets to much more than the original inhabitants may be hidden in this region.