Book One: Enter the Dragons
A group of disparate adventurers meets in the city of Hazuth, having traveled there for a variety of personal reasons. Poor and hungry, they are all drawn to the promise of coin and a noble patron in the form of Lord-General Titus Grantham, who has put out a very public call seeking assistance for a delicate matter. After shouldering their way into Grantham’s manor house in Hazuth’s riverfront district, the party is sworn to secrecy. The Lord-General’s mission is not just delicate, but not entirely legal to boot: he wishes for the party to sneak on board the Maid of Dolphins, a ship owned by the powerful Knotter’s Row Gang and retrieve for him an artifact that the gang stole from his personal collection. He offers the party a princely reward and any other spoils they find aboard the ship.
After staying at the Maiden’s Mound, a high-class inn in the city center, the group heads to the Maid of Dolphins. They sneak on board but are discovered, and the secretive mission turns into a pitched battle with the Knotter’s Row Gang. At the climax of the fight, a former Cloister member who was with the gang members inadvertently blows a hole in the ship’s hull, forcing the party to flee before they can fully loot the ship. The adventurers do manage to recover Grantham’s artifact, along with a set of mysterious dice that Zevari pockets. Now hunted by the Knotter’s Row Gang, the party sneaks back into the city as the ship sinks spectacularly before a huge crowd at the harbor.
The party is caught, but not by the Knotter’s Row Gang. They are pursued by the Whistlers, another criminal organization, who encourage the party to seek out one of their contacts at the Blue Ball, a seedy inn near the city gates. The Whistlers let the party go, but make it clear that they will be watching.
That night, they unwrap Grantham’s artifact, finding that it is an Orb of Dragonkind. The draconic spirit within the orb speaks to several members of the party, making sinister promises of power or threats of destruction. They decide to take the orb with them to the Blue Ball on the next day. At the inn, they meet with its proprietor, Ari El Kamau, who is himself a former adventurer. He offers to buy the orb from them, offering hints that Grantham cannot be trusted with such an object of power. They refuse, but as they are leaving, Grantham’s men raid the inn and take the party into custody. To their surprise, Grantham is candid with them about the orb: it contains the soul of a nefarious red dragon named Cirendra, and he tells the astounded adventurers that he collects such objects to use against those who would do evil in Dambrath. He offers to recruit the party for another lucrative mission, this one to the Hills of the Dead Kings in the far north. He gives the party glasses that can see through illusions, for the entrance to the tomb they seek is concealed by magic.
Before heading to the Hills, the party spends a day shopping in Hazuth with their reward money. An alchemist named Sigra expresses considerable interest in Zevari’s tiefling nature. The adventurers meet Alinser, whose shop travels across the world by unknown means, and his gnomish assistant Elsimore. Kevin purchases a bowel disimpacting rod for horses that becomes one of his treasured keepsakes. All throughout Hazuth, they smell sulphur in what should be fresh water, a disconcerting sign that not all is well in the city.
When they leave for their northward travel, the party discovers a dead werewolf that Rugok deduces is a follower of Malar, the vile god of the hunt. Not long after, they fend off a ravenous pack of Malarite werewolves who are in the end stages of a crippling disease known as the Wolfplague. The Hunt Lord in charge of these werewolves remains at a distance, too weak to engage the party.
Followed at a distance by the werewolves, the party makes their way to the Hills and discovers the tomb of Reinhar IX, an Arkaiun king who once ruled Dambrath. Within, they discover ravenous undead disturbed by members of a tiefling cult that worships Asmoda, a woman they purport to be a god. Realizing that they cannot fend off the tieflings and the undead without significant losses, they make common cause with the tieflings’ leader, Anatoly, to take on the mummified Reinhar. During the battle in Reinhar’s burial chamber, Rugok is struck with mummy rot and begins slowly turning to dust.
The party seeks help in Dunfeld, a nearby town, but none of the local clerics are powerful enough to cure the curse. While staying at the Pack Mule’s Load, Rugok suggests that help might be found in the Feywild, where powerful magics are more common than on the Prime Material Plane. After parting ways with Anatoly, the group heads eastward as Rugok’s health rapidly fails. They shelter in the forest of Ammathtar, where they run afoul of a pack of satyrs and a beguiling naiad. After a playful battle, they convince one of the satyrs, Kerenon, to lead them into the Feywild via a nearby cave.
Unfortunately, the cave turns out to be infested with kobolds, leaderless since the death of their dragon master centuries ago. The stunted, stupid creatures put up little resistance against the invading adventurers, but Somar falls into bewitched waters within the cave and loses all of his memories. Carrying the mostly mindless dwarf with them, the party descends into the Feywild. They engage with forces of the Wild Hunt, including vicious redcaps and a banshee, and make their way to the city of Wilderbrink.
In the city of Wilderbrink, the adventurers become embroiled in a plot to recover Duke Daerodalian Reneiros, the former ruler of the city, from the clutches of the Wild Hunt. The nefarious, unseelie fey captured Daerodalian some time before, and Wilderbrink has suffered in his absence. One person who is not eager to see Daerodalian return is the merchant Kestria Corellathon, who heals Rugok’s mummy rot. The half-orc becomes so enchanted by the city that he leaves the party to explore its secrets. She offers the party rewards beyond measure if they will bring Daerodalian to her before restoring him to his throne. She tells the party of a secret way out of the city that will put them near to the Wild Hunt’s encampment, but the path is littered with dangers and the adventurers must engage with an ancient fomorian giant on their way through the root structure of the great tree on which Wilderbrink is built.
Out in the Feywild, they engage with the forces of the Wild Hunt. Ingvar sacrifices himself, burning the nearby woods as a distraction so that the party can sneak into the encampment. In a pitched battle, they engage with the Alderking, Daerodalian’s sinister guard, and are able to free the eladrin lord. Daerodalian returns with the party to Wilderbrink, where Somar betrays Kestria’s plan, and she is driven from the city.
A grateful Daerodalian hosts the party and offers them a boon of gold and gifts. He also allows them the choice of a companion from adventurers who had been swept into the Feywild: the angry tiefling Rill, the rakish bard Reston Ineuros Talvert Veswind the Sixth, the mysterious human wizard Garn, and the dishonest rogue Cymrin. The party chooses Garn who is affable but has unusual golden eyes.
With the duke’s blessing, they are given a path back to the Prime Material Plane in a nearby cavern. When they arrive at the location the duke has given them, they discover that the forest has given away to shifting sands and the cave has been infested with more kobolds: a dragon has come to roost at the powerful ley line. The party fends off the kobolds and comes into direct conflict with a young blue dragon. Kevin manages to kill the dragon with a stone from his sling by causing the drake to choke to death. While rooting through the dragon’s hoard, Somar finds the ring Rhind, which is part of a powerful set of jewelry imbued with draconic powers. He also hears, via a communications apparatus, a conversation between the red dragon Armaganth and his blue compatriot, both of whom have designs on Dambrath.
Upon returning to the Prime Material Plane, the party went to the city of Ammathtar while deciding whether or not to report back to Grantham. Somar and Garn lose themselves in research on dragons and learn about an old, powerful figure called the Grey Man, whom they suspect might himself be a powerful drake. Eventually the party decides that they must give Grantham the draconic staff he hired them to retrieve.
In Hazuth, they find that Grantham is gearing for war. The general pays them handsomely for the staff, and he shares that the nation of Halruaa has embarked on an invasion of Dambrath from the east. He is leading Hazuth’s troops to war against Halruaa and the aggressive ruler Vulian Anshin, who rose to power after his predecessor was assassinated. Left without a benefactor, the party decided to follow Kevin’s visions, which were calling him westward to Luenath.
While traveling west, they meet the tortle shopkeep Lumke, whose entire store and home are kept within a crab shell that is bigger on the inside. They also encounter Wainhurst, an elderly man who was trying to make his way north toward the ruins of Heller’s Fort, where he believes his son perished. After the party witnesses the horrors of seeing a young man torn apart by necromantic magics while in the ruins, they offer to find Wainhurst’s son for him and send him away for his own safety.
As the party makes their way to Heller’s Fort, they engage with monstrosities of the Far Realm and are dogged at every step by werewolves. Eventually, they are pinned down in what remains of the village of Hellerslea and they are taken captive by a sect of werewolves. They are taken to the werewolves’ leader, who is revealed to be none other than their former compatriot Rugok. During his wanderings in the Feywild, he crossed barriers of time and space and became corrupted by the Far Realm. Now far older and utterly mad, he seeks to turn them to follow his alien masters. After the party tries unsuccessfully to escape, he forces them through a horrific test in the verges of the Far Realm. The party defeats Rugok’s test and comes away with spellscars, invisible but powerful. Unable to sway them to his vision, Rugok ruefully lets the party go, telling them that they will eventually see things as he does.
They make a stop in Maarlith to meet Wainhurst and provide him with his son’s ring. There, they discover that the city is in the grip of a terrible fear. Rumors of werewolves haunt the night, and the Trade Prince Aethel Dekhor has not been seen in some time. His physician, the cold-eyed Lord Korris Fenn, seems to be ruling in the prince’s stead. Kevin insists that they flee Maarlith and avoid getting involved.
The party takes a boat to the delta of the River Dambron. On a lush, green isle, they encounter a benevolent ki-rin, who takes them to the ruined city of Luenath. They meet Blais of the White Claw, who is a powerful druid and werewolf; Slott, a goblin who delights in cooking and idle threats; Luth, a taciturn guardian who leads the society’s defenses; and Athla, a reformed Far Realm worshipper. Within the ruins has sprouted a thriving society of werewolves, outcasts, and magical wanderers from Halruaa called the Arambrai. The society welcomes the party in.
Luenath has not been without its tragedies. An adventuring party known as the Keepers had once defended the city, but they had spent themselves fending off an invasion of powerful undead. Blais asks the party for help in fending off what remains of the undead forces. When they pursue the undead to their source, the adventurers find that they are being summoned by two cambions of Orcus who are in service to Asmoda. Their tiefling cohort, which includes Anatoly, easily overwhelms the party, but Zevari is able to bargain for her friends’ lives. Anatoly reveals that he has had his eye on Zevari. He wishes for her to become part of a circle of powerful tieflings who have the strength to channel the powers of a vile artifact: the Wand of Orcus. He also reveals a glimpse of her ancestry, which can be traced back to the icy hell of Stygia. After the cambions have what they want, they and the tieflings depart, ending the undead threat.
Within the city, Kevin seeks an answer to the visions he has had about two wolves, one white and one black, walking the same path. Initially he thinks that this is a sign that Garn must come back into Selune’s fold, but after a communion with the exarch Silvanus at an ancient fountain, he realizes that he must find some way to unite Dambrath’s two tribes of werewolves before the coming draconic troubles.