arly last summer seemingly four caravans filled with refugees, wanderers, and world-weary souls have arrived in the “abandoned” Valley of Ash. Fleeing troubled times and their former lives some decided to stay. They were warned…. “Do not tarry long in the Valley of Ash, for ‘tis a cursed place”, but where else to go? The road behind has nothing but danger and sorrow.
In the valley strange ruins dot the landscape, and a thick layer of ash lies just under the topsoil. Animals exhibited bizarre behaviors, and massive white oozes wander the woods digesting men and beast alike. The residents of the valley were stranger still, possessed by a madness that if left unchecked drove you to murder – or worse. As the year wore on the new residents started to show signs of the same insanity – a condition the local death cult called “The Curse of Ashendael”.
Despite this Curse the settlers started working together and called the new settlement Ashendael. The farmers and craftsmen they set up in a second settlement just outside the valley called Driftwood – a short ways north-east and out of harms way. A powerful wizard opened up a Skeingate – a portal connecting many points across the continent, and the Empire of Berphaunt eventually laid claim to the region as a result.
A noble of Berphaunt and general in its armies laid claim to Ashendael as his Barony. Lord and Lady Ravencroft now rule over the Ashendael and Driftwood bringing law and civilization to the Valley. A fey Dryad dwells in a Henge in the middle of town and is an ally, while an Einish brewmaster has set up a tavern in Driftwood. In a mere season The Valley of Ash has been transformed from wild frontier into wild frontier town!
Towards All Hallows the adventurers of Ashendael began to hear rumours of supernatural activities in a mysterious grove to the North East. The death cult and its dark leader Duraad had claimed the area as sacred to a mysterious figure they referred to as “The Master”. Over the summer powerful artifacts were discovered that all seemed part of…. Something. An arm, a head the death cult worshiped, and finally a heart that was coveted by a hellish demon Lord.
Finally a titanic military push brought the heroes to the center of the Grove, wherein lied the torn body of an Angel. Oozes sprung from its spilt blood. Were they some sort of defense? The heroes restored the severed parts to the Angel only to find it had sacrificed itself to stop a greater horror – a portal to the Plane of Shadow! Once the Angel’s sacrifice was undone this rend in reality began to spew forth shadowy abominations. The heroes in conjunction with the noble Order of the Blood Red Rose have been able to plug up the portal. But for how long?