Originally intended as the beginning of a “legacy” campaign for Dragonstar, I started running through some aspects of this campaign in Of Darkness & Light and staged the invasion of Scarn by one of the Dragon houses. I felt it best to bring the characters up in levels (at least five, preferably higher) before introducing the Dragon Empire. My preparation involved a lot more, though, and I came up with several possible plots and based the overall campaign arc on the player's choices of characters. I'd enjoy running this campaign again and try to develop some of the additional plots herein. For now, if you're a Scarred Lands player (even if you're not), I hope this gives you some inspiration for your own campaigns.
The world of Scarn (known as the Scarred Lands to its inhabitants) is located inside the Domain of Noros, the noble house of the Black Dragons. House Noros has been working to destabilize the kingdoms of Scarn, particularly on the continent of Ghelspad, for several decades and only recently have the activities begun to benefit the House.
Here are a few suggestions for possible locations on Ghelspad where the ISPD and intelligence agents may lurk and stir up trouble:
The region would easily be left unstable and fractured if the current king were to die and leave no heirs (a definite possibility). Lord Wexland may also prove an ally to agents of House Noros – in fact, it may be these very agents who established this new religion in the Wexland province.
Heteronomy of Virduk
Another good region for this campaign would be in the Calastian province of Virduk. With the efforts of Oruz the Halfling working on uniting others of his race against Calastian occupation, another hotbed of conflict could easily be created.
House Noros uses agents of the ISPD and its own intelligence agency to destabilize the kingdoms of Ghelspad.
The Eternal Order of Night may have operatives on the planet attempting to determine House Noros’ interest in corrupting the planet and to destroy any ISPD operatives they encounter along the way.
Kingdoms under the influence of ISPD and/or intelligence agents may end up with soldiers or militiamen at conflict with the player characters. Tribes of humanoids may also come into conflict with player characters.
Local assassin guilds hired by ISPD/intelligence agents to carry out destabilization as unwitting pawns are another possible challenge to present to player characters. The Lords of Darkness supplement for Forgotten Realms has some really good possibilities, particularly the Fire Knives and the Night Masks (either should be easily dropped into Ghelspad).
In addition to the various plot hooks mentioned in the history and details about the above kingdoms (see Setting), the following are other possible plot hooks master minded by the agents of House Noros:.
The Age of Innocence
Agents of House Noros’ Aristacorp’s bio-warfare division have developed a new bio-weapon and are in need of experimental data. Scarn, a newly discovered world at the edge of the Domain of Noros, has been chosen as the dragon lords require some way of “softening up” the world for invasion. Though the plague had originally been targeted to a small, but diverse, island, one of the inhabitants escaped the island and is carrying the plague.
The Slitheren Presence
The intelligence agents have begun to lend aid to the slitheren of the Mourning Marshes as they raid southern Vesh. They provide the ratmen with information and magic, using the humanoids’ own fear of the Titans against them and playing off their superstitions. The ISPD/intelligence arm of House Noros’ military has also begun planting seeds of dissension among Bregisi citizens (particularly using their likeness to Calastians).
Curse of the Asaathi
The ISPD/intelligence agency has allied with the Asaathi of Swamps of Kan Thet. They have enchanted entire populaces of venomous serpents and sent them against the kingdom of Zathiske and the Shelzari city-state. They are using the snakes to try and root out some of the most nation-states’ able-bodied warriors secretly, allowing the Asaathi to attack and igniting a war.
Much to the annoyance of the Dwarves, the Drendali have been attacking with greater frequency and devastation – boasting powerful new “magic” weapons -- in recent weeks and months. The Dwarves have chosen to send an “expendable” group to determine the origin of these weapons and, if possible, put an end to it.
Farmers have recently become paranoid of strangers and travelers after strange events leave some of the season’s crop ruined – even going so far as to lynch one believed to be involved in the events. These symbols, easily viewed from the air, are actually markers for the Noros invasion force.