The Binding of Narfell
Introduction to Campaign
The Binding of Narfell
Narfell is a wintry country covered in infertile soil and scraggly grass. Glaciers on Mount Nar reach down from the peak and into the plains. Icelace Lake is frozen nearly year round. Bitter, killing winds blow unceasingly.
From the backs of tall, shaggy horses, nomadic folk hunt reindeer and wild oxen. Calling themselves Nars, these fierce riders and archers supplement their resources by raiding west into Damara, south into the Great Dale and east to Rasheman. More often than not the great tribes fight among themselves.
In its height of power, Narfell was ruled by evil priests. They maintained their power through horrid blood-pacts with demon lords, gaining the control of demonic armies. This once great civilization fell over 1,500 years ago in a terrific battle with its ancient enemy, Raumathar.
The empire’s few survivors fled to Narfell’s current borders, vowing to rebuild their mighty realm. That dream, however, has long since faded. Now, Narfell is a frigid land of barbarian tribes who have little or no knowledge whatsoever of their grand and sinister past, preoccupied as they are with simply surviving the region’s harsh and bitter winters.
The remnants of Narfell’s magnificent empire still exist, the ruins littering the region’s plains. These ruins are often avoided by the Nars, for they have learned that the ruins usually contain ancient and long-dormant magical traps, as well as ghosts and wraiths. Once in a while, a group of foreign adventurers decides to explore the ruins. The Nars do not discourage this, as they can always pick up the pieces after the foolhardy adventurers set off any traps, which are usually lethal.
Trade is minimal, but merchants who do not wish to traverse the empire of Thesk sometimes pass through Narfell instead by way of the Long Road. The Long Road starts in Damara and enters Narfell through the pass in the Giantspire Mountains before intersecting with the Cold Road at N’Jast. From that point, the road continues on to Nathoud, which stands in the shadows of the Icerim Mountains in northern Rashemen. The Giant Gap, as the road is commonly called, is virtually impassable in the winter and is plagued by hobgoblins.
Places of Interest
This oupost was created by the paladin king Gareth Dragonsbane to secure trade from his kingdom of Damara to the mystical realm of the Witches of Rasheman. The ruler of this outpost, the High Warden Vandalar, has seen nearly seventy years. Vandalar and his second elven wife, Merah, still govern Highwatch. His son, Soran, has taken over the more marshal aspects of Highwatch, which include leading the Knights of Ondrahar and being the Highpriest of Torm, the Loyal Fury. This huge keep, carved into a mountain, is a defensible place that all are welcomed in as long as they come with no ill intentions. Those that have less savory ideals often are seen quickly and summarily executed by the knights of Torm.
Ruins of Bael Turath
In the northern wastes there once was an empire of humans, a predecessor even to the Nars. They also dabbled far into abyssal magic, but they were not wiped out before they made their gravest of mistakes. Once sworn, a pact with devils is not easily renounced. Bael Turath fell after the pact was sworn and the tiefling race was born. The ruins are now a place of hidden treasure, lost magic and horrible secrets.
This tent city appears only for one month in the still frigid summer, when ice finally loses its icy grip on southern Narfell. This is the one place that the Nar gather every year to trade with one another. This place is where the last city of the Nar empire fell, it is sacred to the Nar so the festival that shares the same name is the one place the savage tribes will not fight one another.
Tower of the Nentyarch
This structure is part ancient oak and part huge tower. The long line of Nentyarch has watched over the southern Rawlinswood for centuries. When the Nar Empire fell many abyssal spirits invaded this forest. The druids could not abide this corruption and came north, where they grew their tower and fought the demonic incursion. The druids soon found that not all of the demonic stain could be removed, so they imprisoned what was left and left their most powerful practitioners to forever guard the prisons they had created. Not necessarily the most powerful, but the one druid with the most wisdom holds the title of Nentyarch, the leader of this ancient order.
The Standing Stones
These strange rock formations seem to be just that, but on certain nights, they glow with fey magic. It is even whispered when the Hunter’s moon rises something exits from the ring and stalks the icy wastes.
Humans make up well over half the population of Narfell. The Nar empire was a human empire that reverted to barbarism. These tan skinned tribesman make the best trackers and horseback riders in all the wastes. While humans also founded the keep of Highwatch, the pale skinned Damarans are known to be very religious and nearly obsessed with military perfection.
Since then a number of dwarven craftsmen traveled north to help build and guard the keep of Highwatch, bringing with them much to trade. The elven tribe named the Vil Adanrath hunts the wastes with their loyal wolf companions and primal magic. Also tieflings have been known to pass through Highwatch on their way north to Bael Turath, it is whispered that the tiefling bring with them foul magics but there has been no proof.
Other races appear from time to time in the glacial wilderness, although these are rare happenstances. Halfling nomadic traders sometimes venture to the far north, though there smaller mounts hate the chill air. Eladrin nobles and gnomish arcanists wander into highwatch occasionally but rarely stay for long. The Order of the Nentyarch has a fair number of half-orcs that are drawn to the primal magic. Elves and humans rarely intermingle but the famous pairing of Vandalar and Merah have encouraged such unions to become more frequent resulting in half-elf children.
Deities and Magic
For the humans and dwarves of Highwatch religion is very important. The royal bloodline of Damara worships the god of martyrdom, Ilmater, while the High Warden’s family has built a large chapel to the god of protection, Torm. The dwarves have also added small shrines to Moradin the Stonefather and the Sunlord Amauntor.
The elves and Nar have turned away from formalized religion and have paid homage to the primal spirits. These tribes still honor the gods that claim to have a connection to nature; the moon maiden Selune and the lord of the wilds Silvanus. Silvanus is also the chief deity of the druidic orders found in the Rawlinswood.
The tieflings as a race are rarely religious; they find it hard to look for aid from beings not of this plane. While the wickedest of Nar still cling to the old tradition of demonbinding and pray to abyssal and supernal lords for power.
Magic is quite prevalent in Narfell but certain cultures have natural affinities.
The humans and dwarves of Highwatch are naturally drawn to divine magic but often temper this with martial practices. Those that turn to the arcane arts are often wizards that have studied war magic to defend the keep.
The elves and druids are drawn to primal power sources. The Vil Adanrath often use magic to aid in archery or befriend beasts, but a few have mastered shapeshifting and it is rumored that half the wolves that run with the elves may be druids. The Order of the Nentyarch are known to be great primal magicians and can summon spirits to heal their comrades or bind their enemies.
Tieflings are often natural born sorcerers or have sworn pacts with powerful spirits out of necessary. While Eladrin and Gnomes have mastered the arcane powers that effect them mind like enchantments and illusions.
Lastly the Nar fear and hate magic, but each tribe does have a shaman that can call upon the power of nature…or in some cases the demonic power that was once their races pride.
For the Players
I would like for you to make a level one character with several points in mind;
- You will be starting in Highwatch, if you live there, what do you do in the keep? Have you always lived there, are you a recent addition to the town? Do you have a connection to any of the important locales above?
- There is a reason some races are common and others are not, if you plan on one of the uncommon races you will need to explain what you are doing in Highwatch or even the Narfell area. I am sorry but I can veto a race if it would interfere with the storytelling and campaign building process.
- Races often do stick to pre-described classes, if you are misfit what happened to make you like this? Although I do feel like limitation make you think about your character more in depth than just picking the coolest race and class to you, or min-maxing. Sorry, no psionics or artificers, although most other classes are allowed. Monks will be considered martial/divine and will be allowed.
- Essential Controllers & Leaders are accepted, but not Essential Strikers or Defenders. There may be some exceptions.
- A Character history would make my day as a DM and let me include your past or make your character more meaningful to you.