Agatheron's Points of Light
Realms, both wondrous and dire, border the world. One such realm is the Shadowfell. Although not inherently evil, the Shadowfell is fraught with dangers, and the barrier between worlds can be thin. Sometimes the darkness breaks into the light.
Nearly two hundred years ago, a cult of the demon prince Orcus purposely created such a gap, connecting one of Orcus’s unholy Shadowfell sites to the world. Skeletons, zombies, and fouler creatures flooded through the rift into the light of day. The Empire of Nerath dispatched legionnaires to eliminate the threat. The empire’s soldiers destroyed the undead, sealed the opening, and built a keep to watch over the location and contain the threat. This is the site known as the Keep on the Shadowfell.
Decades of peace followed, and the village of Winterhaven arose within sight of the keep. Eventually, the great fort fell into ruins and its grand purpose forgotten. Today, it is seen as a harmless tumble of stone and wood.
If only that were true.
A More Recent History
The people of Winterhaven avoid Shadowfell Keep. Some leave it alone because all ancient ruins have a disturbing feeling about them, a feeling composed of lingering memories and unknown mysteries. Some say the place is haunted. Others fear the rumors of goblinoids using the place as a lair. Whatever the reason behind its solitude, one fact is clear. Within two short decades after the collapse of the Nareth Empire, Shadowfell Keep was abandoned and left to fall apart and decay. It was on a grisly night about eighty years ago that the commander of the keep garrison, Sir Keegan, put into motion the events that led to the keep’s downfall.
Perhaps the Shadow Rift’s malign influence is too strong to resist. Maybe Sir Keegan was an insane monster driven by demons we may never understand. Whatever the case, at the stroke of midnight on that fateful day, Sir Keegan began to systematically slaughter every resident of the keep. His own wife and children were first to fall to his blade, then his trusted advisors, and finally many of the soldiers under his command. Sir Keegan was too skilled for any one soldier to defeat, yet eventually the garrison managed to respond with an organized defense. Although
many brave soldiers died, they managed to drive the mad knight into the passages beneath the keep and finally dispatch him.
The keep became notorious for a time. As one of the last bastions of the fallen empire, there was no one to order it back into service. So, it was abandoned, feared for a time, and eventually, more or less forgotten. An earthquake a few years later collapsed the upper towers and walls, and turned the place into a ruin of tumbled stone. Rumors persist of great treasures buried beneath the keep, yet few have dared explore the passages over the year. Sir Keegan’s ghost is said to roam the corridors beneath the ruins, wailing in grief over the tragedy of his
life. The people of Winterhaven avoid the place, and the mere mention of Shadowfell Keep is considered bad luck by many of the farmers and villagers.
Entering the Keep
After tracking down their mentor Douven Stahl, and destroying the Kobold Lair, the heroes learned of a much more dangerous plot centred around the ruins of Shadowfell Keep. It appears that an cultist by the name of Kalarel is seeking to reopen the rift to a temple of Orcus in the Shadowfell. The Kobold raids were merely to tie down resources in Winterhaven, and to distract any unwanted attention away from the Keep. However, with the plot uncovered, the heroes have made haste to the keep ruins, hoping for the element of surprise.
Initially, their task worked, the goblins that had inhabited the entrance area to the tunnels beneath the keep were caught entirely off guard. The heroes made very short work of them. However, their foray into the crypt, found things somewhat more difficult, as the undead are less easily surprised…