So, we're back in first edition and some of us are none too happy. But have they even stopped to ask themselves why? Obviously the campaign trail has led them here. Moreover why would such a powerful spell gate them back in time to somewhere far from their destination? The answer to that is that it wouldn't.
So they end up at a castle called Neverfall Keep while they are looking for Shadowfell Keep. But are they really supposed to be looking for the Shadowfell? given that they have travelled so far back in time, would Shadowfell even exist?
What do we know of Shadowfell anyway? That a high paladin Sir Keegan ruled there. That he discovered some fell magic in the caverns below the keep. Caverns much older than the keep itself. That this magic corrupted him with its evil to the point that he murdered his own family and locked himself in the caverns below.
What was this diabolical magic? Certainly it has to have some role central to the unfolding plot?
Unfolding plot? Yes, The plot that a group of Cultists following the evil high priest Kalarel are resurrecting an ancient faction of the cult of Orcus, Demon Prince of the Abyss. Now--why would Kalarel end up in the Shadowfell? One might guess and probably correctly so that it has to do with this artifact found by Sir Keegan centuries ago. The lingering question is what magic does it work?
Some have speculated that it will bring in an army of Orcus--and this certainly seems born out by the encroaching bands that already are spilling forth to the south. The same army that already has left Winterhaven in ruins. But not only Orcus seems to be a player in this unfolding doom, but a long lost god by the name of Iuz. Who is this one and what part does he play? Well Douven gave some clues when he stated that Orcus was allied with Iuz in times past.
But it would seem our adventurer's are too late. But the Gods seem to be directing them. Visions have unfolded which seem to show an awful future ahead, and which have directed our players to a circle of ancient runes and the bones of a massive, ancient, red dragon. Why? To fight some long dead dragon? No, but to travel back in time.
Why travel in time you ask? Valthrun has already answered this question as he lay dying in the PC's arms. To destroy an ancient artifact that someone named T'Coth has been sent back in time to preserve. Why would Iuz, as Valthrun intimated, send back someone to preserve an artifact? Two artifacts in the same situation--they musty be allied. Obviously it has something to do with the artifact that lies below Shadowfell keep. Perhaps they need to be together to work the magic Iuz, Orcus and Kalarel are planning.
So we find out heroes in a seemingly distant land--but who really knows if it is distant? Perhaps thousands of years have passed and the face of the land has changed. Our heroes have been enlisted to rid a nearby keep of some marauding monsters by the high priest of Neverfall. Does thsi make sense? Are they still guided by divine aid? Perhaps the secrets they seek lie deep within these very caverns which they are about to enter.
What of the keep? It certainly doesn't seem to be Shadowfell Keep--but then again? Why the coincidence in names? Do caverns lie under this keep as well. Is the artifact truly here after all? And if they find and destroy it--what then? Are they to remain in a land far from their homes? What will happen to Kalarel and the Shadowfell? Will destroying the artifact change things in their time? Will Kalarel still need stopped? What of T'Coth and the Red Dragon? They were warned to beware of him. But thus far noone has seen him at all. What awaits our intrepid adventurers next?
Only time will tell. . .