The curtains of our campaign open on the kingdom of Iconia, on the continent of Chrace, in the world of Jurn. Reports had been flying for weeks of a massive fleet of Orcish ships crossing the sea from the continent of Rhovard, intent on invasion. Iconian soldiers had swept the kingdom, rounding up every young, able-bodied person they could find to meet the Orcish invasion fleet on the beaches and hurl them back into the sea. The resulting army mixed professional soldiers with untrained rabble from all walks of life.
Among them stood Wren Moonwhisper, a pacifist Elven priestess of Mishael, the god of healing, pulled reluctantly from her forest hermitage by the pressing need of her people. Next to her stood Moirae, a Tiefling warlock and devotee of Ashkenthar, bearing a strange book and mysterious leaden key. Next came Damon, a halfling urchin and rogue, rounded up off the streets and pressed into the army against his will, as well as Skippy (actual fantasy name also pending), a ranger of mixed Elven and human heritage, bearing bow and sword in defense of his homeland. Finally at the head of the company stood their unit captain, Venjin al-Sokamji, a massive Dragonborn warrior and career soldier, charged with maintaining order in the ranks.
As the Orcish ships approached the shore, their holds opened and hordes of furious warriors surged forth, wearing strange ceramic armor, bearing swords of wave-forged steel and black-powder firearms. The resulting battle was brief and ugly; the forces of Iconia wavered against their strange new foes, and finally lost morale as a massive red dragon swept over the battlefield, bathing hundreds of soldiers in fire. The Iconian ranks broke and fled, with the orcs in hot pursuit, scattering in every direction.
The Player Characters found themselves encircled by Orcish wariors, but Venjin and Skippy were able to cut a path through the invading Orcish foes, making their way towards a narrow staircase that led up a cliff and off of the beach which served as the site of the battle. As the PCs reached the top of the staircase, an Orcish warchief noticed that Venjin’s warhammer boasted a head of Orcish design and shouted that he would take it from Venjin’s corpse.
The PCs chose to flee rather than fight the warchief, and chose to make for the nearby forest to the north, which happened to be close to the location of Wren’s hermitage. She knew the forest paths like the back of her hand, and was able to help the characters to evade the pursuing orcs, leading them to an old abandoned tower that she had seen many times. Taking shelter inside, the PCs began to look around the tower, and at the very top floor they discovered a locked chest, carved with ornate runes. Producing her leaden key, Moirae was able to unlock the chest, revealing a whole miniature world inside – a tiny continent floating in a little ocean, with a painted sky of sun and clouds lazily drifting around the box lid.
Suddenly they heard the sound of pounding footsteps below, and realized that the Orcish warchief must have caught up with them! With no other option, the PCs jumped into the box, which shrunk them down to miniature size! As they looked around, they found themselves in the middle of a field of corn, standing next to a road. There was a massive city to the north, and a rune-covered stone archway nearby to the southeast. As they looked around and tried to get their bearings, the PCs heard a wagon approach, and dived into the corn fields to watch the wagon from a safe distance.
It was fortunate that they did, because as the wagon rolled by they observed it contained several Dragonborn bound in chains and dressed in filthy rags, and flanked by a team of soldiers. The PCs chose to do nothing and let the wagon pass by rather than engaging with the strange folk. Instead, they made their way to the stone archway to the southeast, which bore an inscription in an ancient dialect of common, which read, “Unite the people and gather here the Earthstone, the Lodestone, the Sunstone, the Timestone, and the Skystone, and the way out will be opened to you.”
As the PCs examined the archway, they noticed some children watching them from the corn. Venjin approached and tried to talk to them, but the little boy called him an “abomination,” and added that Venjin, Wren and Skippy were all abominations. The PCs tried to ask more questions of the strange children, but they fled back into the corn, headed in the direction of a nearby farmhouse. Minutes later, the PCs observed a man come dashing out of the house and mount a horse, riding to the North, towards the massive city, a breakneck speed.
Wanting to investigate, the PCs approached the farmhouse and found inside a mother and her two young boys. The mother called the PCs abominations, and said that the Order of the Sacred Flame would come for them soon. Venjin chose to work with his fearsome reputation, intimidating the woman and her children quite fiercely. Through questioning they were able to find out that they were in a country called Cordova, and to the north was the capitol, Cordova City. Cordova, the woman said, was run by a religious group called the Order of the Sacred Flame, which taught that humans were the chosen race and all others were abominations, fit only for enslavement or death.
The PCs asked the woman if her family had any slaves, and she replied that they did have a couple of Dragonborn slaves at work in the fields. Taking one of the children, a young boy named Arian, the PCs asked to see the slaves, and the boy took them to a place in the fields where two Dragonborn were chained to a post, harvesting grain. Venjin asked what their names were, but Arian told him that “Your kind don’t have names, only numbers!” Shocked, Venjin insisted on giving the Dragonborn names, dubbing one Shamosh and the other Barok. He offered to free them, but they said they had nowhere to go. He promised to return to free them someday, and they said they would tell no one about the PCs. With that, the group adjourned for the day.