Mark of Death, the War and the Blood of Vol

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Hey everyone.  As a quick disclaimer, people playing in my campaign, please don't read this thread since it's about major plot elements and it would only take the fun out for you.  TY.

What's happened so far

With that out of the way, I'm currently doing an Eberron campaign in 4E.  The campaign is set roughly 100 years after the end of the Last War.  The campaign started in Sharn with the module Seeker's of the Ashen Crown and from there moved to custom elements.  The module ended with Demise being captured instead of killed, with the party betraying the Brelish Crown and escaping to Aundair.  In Aundair a group called the Templars are the secret police of the nation, they were looking for Demise for many crimes and smuggled out the party along with Demise to their capital Fairhaven.  There, Demise was taken into custody and the leader of the Templars Strum Legacy was first introduced to the party.  Queen Aurelia however was less impressed with the party and stated that Breland had branded them traitors.  However if the party was willing to help her with pirates attacking the Lightning Rail she would return them to Breland with a letter or recommendation from her which would go a long way to convince Breland to forgive them.  The party didn't make it back to Breland and instead ended up in Thrane.

In Thrane, one of the party members expressed a deep hatred for all people of Thrane, the religious nation of Khorvaire.  She ended up setting fires and burning down half the outer quarter of the city (and killing hundreds of innocents) while the party escaped by boarding and hyjacking the Lightning Rail.  During travel back to Breland where they skipped the usual stops of the train, they realized that the Thrane military had blocked off their next stop.  So they caused the train to crash (killing the innocent on-board) and escaped in the confusion into the Mournlands.  From there the party encountered all kinds of weirdness.  They were getting desperate to get out but the Thrane military had cordoned off the outer perimeter and had patrols with airships.  They decided to move forward and keep going in the Mournlands, trying to walk the 1000's of miles to Breland.  However during a haunted house event with a Gelatinous Cube they ended up with 2 dead.  The wizard who burned down half the capital of Thrane used her ritual Lehmund's Secret Chest to teleport the party out of there.  The only catch was that the chest had been confiscated by Aundair because the party had put a dead body inside of it (the body of Tikulti, Demise's second).  So they didn't know where they were going to end up.

We then had x-mas break.

The campaign re-started with two of the group waking up on a boat going to Dread Hold, the prison in the Principalities in the north.  They were locked up for 2 years inside the deepest vaults of the prison.

2 years later, a group of rebels breaks into the prison and frees them.  Naturally they ask to know where the wizard is, blaming her for the events and their imprisonment.  Confused and Angry they managed to find unlikely allies (read the 2 players who's characters died to the gelatinous cube) and escape.  They even managed to steal a military grade airship from the warden of the prison.

Questions are asked and they find out it's 2 years later, a War has started, the people who rescued them are rebels from Aundair, the Templars took over and are now the tyranical leaders of the nation, Queen Aurelia has been murdered.  Aundair, Thrane, Zilargo and the Principalities have allied themselves to take over the continent.  Breland, Karrnath and the rebellion have banded together to oppose them.  Valenar may have joined their side after the party intervened.

Thrane and Karrnath are currently in a massive personal war and only one is likely to emerge.  Thrane having declared a Holy War against Karrnath and their undead/necromantic tendencies.  The Blood of Vol being in Karrnath and a major political power both in the spotlight and behind the scenes have a personal stake in the war.  The death toll is already in thousands.

Thanks to that however, Breland and the rebellion have managed to survive long enough to find a footing.  When the war first started Breland found itself suddenly cut off from all of it's trade and the economy of the nation crashed.  Suddenly the nation was surrounded by enemies.  To the North Aundair was building Mana Towers (large structures created with magical energies from the Dragon shards that the Templars have been collecting for the past hundreds of years.  The towers have the power to channel and amplify arcane magical energy to devastating effects).  To the south the Bloodsail Pirates are assaulting the coastline.  The the south east Zilargo is attacking farm land and causing problems for trade routes and to the north east Thrane's zealots are distracted by Karrnath but still capable of causing damage if provoked.


Anyway that's a good enough idea of where things are at.

So the reason for this thread is to talk about where the campaign is heading.  The party is currectly composed of a Vryloka Vampire (roleplayed as part of the Blood of Vol), a Human Rogue/Half-Orc Barbarian (the player made two characters and switches from time to time when story appropriate), a Human Wizard (the one who burned down the capital of Thrane), a Human Monk, a Dwarf Artificer and another Human Wizard.

Demise

Demise is still alive, she joined the Templars and is now apparently serving Strum Legacy.  However there's things that the party doesn't know.  For one she has the Mark of Death, which explains why she can manipulate the dead and create them.  She would be the scion of the dragonmark, probably in the Siberys stage.  She's part of the Skullbearer faction of the elves, but more importantly she's the key to Erandis Vol returning to life.  If that happens, her own Mark of Death (which is more powerful than the Siberys version, a kind of ultimate version) will no longer be dormant.  This is the personal stake that the Blood of Vol has in the war.  Currently Demise is protected by the Templars and out of reach, but the Blood of Vol is manipulating things behind the scenes.  If Demise is captured and used in a ritual to return Erandis Vol to life, she could become a walking God on Khorvaire capable of challenging other superpowers (like the dragons who hunted and eradicated her house and everyone with the Mark of Death for millenia).

Demise knows that she has a huge target on her back, which is why she allowed herself to be captured by the Templars and the party.  They offered her a means to stay alive and protection against the Vol.  She doesn't know about Erandis Vol and her plans however.

During the two years that Demise has been with the Templars, she used her Mark to turn the two dead PC's into loyal Generals of the Templars.  Which will be key battles in the coming sessions, currently the party doesn't know that they have been used this way and only know that there's two Generals by the name of Whisper and The Limper who are causing all kinds of havoc.  It'll offer the players who lost their PC's to regain them if the Generals are defeated.  Maybe make them revenants ?


Karrnath

The story behind Karrnath joining Breland and the rebellion against Aundair and the rest is really about Erandis Vol and Demise.  The Blood of Vol manipulated the nation into going to war with Thrane.  The party burning down half Flamekeep also helped since from there, Thrane blamed Karrnath for the attack (the wizard left a whole bunch of "evidence" to make them take the blame).  I figure that Karrnath will probably win the battle against Thrane with the help of the party.  From there the nation would become some kind of superpower, having legions and legions of undead to send into battle after harvesting Thrane.  From there, the party might suddenly realize that Karrnath is actually not on their side at all.  And suddenly, Demise becomes the hero since she can control undead via the Mark of Death.  She could take over the armies of Karrnath and hand the victory to the party and their forces.  But then she's still a crazy necromancer with thousands of undead under her direct control and a continent in shambles after major battles in the war.  Aundair is still standing and has the protection of the Mana Towers.  But that leaves the rest of the continent in a weakened and vulnerable state.


Erandis Vol

Erandis Vol is currently a Lich, meaning her ultimate version of the Mark of Death is currently dormant and useless to her.  Her plan is to use Demise, who has a very powerful version of the mark, to power a ritual to return herself to life.  It would kill Demise, but that's small potatoes to her.  She would then take over the continent, fuel her undead armies with fallen nations and then launch an all out war against the Argonnessen.  Once she feels comfortable with her power base, she will call upon the Principalities to join her side, which will happen almost overnight.  The party and their allies of course won't understand the sudden shift in allegiance until later in the campaign.  The Principalities after all are composed of mostly elven descendants from the line of Vol.  Currently Principalities are allied with Aundair and their allies because of a contract of allegience and nothing more.  They are hired pirates effectively.  Once that happens, Zilargo will fall almost over night since the Bloodsail are mainly moored in the capital Trolanport.  This will give a major boost to Breland and her allies since two fronts will now be taken care of and they can turn their attention to Aundair and Thrane.


Drooam

Drooam is currently a neutral people, they want to be recognized as a full nation.  Currently both sides are trying to sway them to join their side however all diplomats sent to negotiate have been killed by the Hag Twins.  However this could become a truly pivotal element if Karrnath becomes a rogue superpower.  The sheer amount of bodies they have could counter the legions of undead that Karrnath would unleash upon the continent.



Looking for feedback.  Thanks to those who post ! 
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Just as a further thought since I see people have viewed the thread but not posted.  I'm basically looking to see if the lore I'm using is properly used.  To make sure I understand how these factions and NPC's work.  If the ideas I have sound like fun and are plausible within the realm of Eberron.  Just feedback basically.  thanks to all who post
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

It's 100 years in the future, so you've the freedom to do most anything. It certainly looks fairly sound, though I'd question how Demise has the Mark of Death and how there are so many descendants of the line of Vol, when Erandis should pretty much be the last one left.

Side note: Whisper and The Limper? Somebody read The Black Company ;)
Call me Ender.
It's 100 years in the future, so you've the freedom to do most anything. It certainly looks fairly sound, though I'd question how Demise has the Mark of Death and how there are so many descendants of the line of Vol, when Erandis should pretty much be the last one left.

Side note: Whisper and The Limper? Somebody read The Black Company ;)




Haha, yes I read and loved The Black Company, I own all the books.  And since the characters are essentially turned into servants of the enemy faction it reminded of TBC. 

Anyway, in the campaign when I say the vampire is part of the blood of vol it's not actually accurate.  Erandis Vol is the last of her line.  However she's gathered around herself over time many kinds of undead creatures including vampires which she guided and protected over the centuries.  So essentially the vampire house the PC is from considers her their Queen and ultimate leader and call themselves Blood of Vol, but that's in name only.

Any ideas on how to add lore, depth etc ? 
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Erandis appears to be your endgame villain, with Demise as your recurring direct villain, yes? If so, I'd be thoroughly interested in what's become of Kaius now. He could be a powerful ally for the players if he's still alive (or, really, undead) at this point. The man has a very personal hatred for Erandis and a general hatred of the Blood of Vol (but mainly because he knows Erandis is the puppeteer pulling the strings). Perhaps he's been spending the last 100 years trying to root out all he can about Erandis. Maybe he's the only one who has figured out exactly what her phylactery is, since it's clearly not a normal phylactery (and Erandis doesn't even know what it is).

Also, if the Mark of Death has finally cropped up on someone (Demise) and Erandis intends to make a play, has The Chamber caught on? The dragons aren't likely to take a reappearance of the mark well. They could be out to rid themselves of Demise... and maybe they're willing to level an entire city just to be sure she's taken care of. 
Call me Ender.
Erandis appears to be your endgame villain, with Demise as your recurring direct villain, yes? If so, I'd be thoroughly interested in what's become of Kaius now. He could be a powerful ally for the players if he's still alive (or, really, undead) at this point. The man has a very personal hatred for Erandis and a general hatred of the Blood of Vol (but mainly because he knows Erandis is the puppeteer pulling the strings). Perhaps he's been spending the last 100 years trying to root out all he can about Erandis. Maybe he's the only one who has figured out exactly what her phylactery is, since it's clearly not a normal phylactery (and Erandis doesn't even know what it is).

Also, if the Mark of Death has finally cropped up on someone (Demise) and Erandis intends to make a play, has The Chamber caught on? The dragons aren't likely to take a reappearance of the mark well. They could be out to rid themselves of Demise... and maybe they're willing to level an entire city just to be sure she's taken care of. 



Thank you very much for your feedback and questions.  Awesome :D  So in order of your questions:

1. Erandis is indeed the end game and Demise the recurring villain, with Demise jumping between ally and villain during the campaign.

2. Kaius, now this is an interesting NPC.  Considering he was turned by Erandis herself.  I like it, the party could use him as an insider ally later on in the campaign to gain information about Erandis.  Maybe once the party becomes an actual threat to Erandis, Kaius would approach them and relay key information ?  For now, he's a vampire under the command of Erandis, but he's scheming and hates his current position.  I like the idea that he might have figured out where her phylactery is located or what it might be.

3. As for the Mark of Death on Demise, I think Erandis would have been using as much resources as possible to protect Demise and keep The Chamber from discovering her.  Of course it won't work forever, but I figure that can come into the campaign at a later point, maybe mid-late paragon or epic.  of course the actions of the party will matter.  I agree that The Chamber would come down as a force of total destruction, possibly blowing up an entire city.


Do you have (or anyone for that matter) a suggestion as to what her phylactery could possibly be ?  I have some ideas, but I wouldn't mind input here.

"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

In my campaign, her phylactery is actually tied to the bloodline of Lord Haensu, the elf of the Cairdal Blades that fought Erandis and believes he vanquished her. I've adapted him to have been the man who led the elf side of the original extermination of the line of Vol alongside the dragons. This means that in order for the heroes to actually defeat Erandis for good, Lord Haensu's bloodline must be dead. (Luckily for them there's only one left in my game. Unluckily for them it happens to be one of the player characters.) That, or they have to find a way to bring Erandis back to life and then kill her before she manages to actually use her dragonmark.

As for Kaius, how did Erandis return him to her control? In 998, he's free of her machinations and running Karrnath while actively opposing the Blood of Vol. What happened in the 100 years to get him back beneath her thumb? Additionally, is he still running Karrnath, or was his death faked again and the leadership simply continued on?

Personally, if it were me and I was looking to flesh out the campaign, I'd focus on developing what happened over the past 100 years and the political ramifications of such staggering changes. I'd also take a close look at the Dragonmarked Houses. With the political climate changing, what is their stance? They're not the types to idly stand by and watch the economy take a dive. Maybe they're ready to make a power play of their own? Maybe they're the ones who notice Demise first and begin following her to discover if she has a true dragonmark or if it's just another aberrant. And if they see it IS a true mark... well... there's a lot there to play with.
Call me Ender.
In my campaign, her phylactery is actually tied to the bloodline of Lord Haensu, the elf of the Cairdal Blades that fought Erandis and believes he vanquished her. I've adapted him to have been the man who led the elf side of the original extermination of the line of Vol alongside the dragons. This means that in order for the heroes to actually defeat Erandis for good, Lord Haensu's bloodline must be dead. (Luckily for them there's only one left in my game. Unluckily for them it happens to be one of the player characters.) That, or they have to find a way to bring Erandis back to life and then kill her before she manages to actually use her dragonmark.

As for Kaius, how did Erandis return him to her control? In 998, he's free of her machinations and running Karrnath while actively opposing the Blood of Vol. What happened in the 100 years to get him back beneath her thumb? Additionally, is he still running Karrnath, or was his death faked again and the leadership simply continued on?

Personally, if it were me and I was looking to flesh out the campaign, I'd focus on developing what happened over the past 100 years and the political ramifications of such staggering changes. I'd also take a close look at the Dragonmarked Houses. With the political climate changing, what is their stance? They're not the types to idly stand by and watch the economy take a dive. Maybe they're ready to make a power play of their own? Maybe they're the ones who notice Demise first and begin following her to discover if she has a true dragonmark or if it's just another aberrant. And if they see it IS a true mark... well... there's a lot there to play with.



Interesting idea to have the phylactery be tied to a bloodline.  I've seen that suggested before but I hadn't thought of it for this.  I'll give it serious thought.

I think Kaius would have been forced to fake his own death by the blood of Vol so they could take over Karrnath.  Of course there's a public figure head who's just a puppet for Erandis who's controlling everything from behind the scenes.  How she got to Kaius and regained control of him (not total control of course but enough to make him do what she wants) is something I'll have to come up with before Kaius contacts the party but for now I'll leave it at that.  She could have done it a number of ways, but in the end it's not really important.  She's in control of Karrnath, she's got the royal line under her thumb.  However the nation is locked in battle with Thrane right now.  So it's keeping her forces busy.

The Dragonmarked Houses are currently claiming neutrality.  Of course that's not actually true, they are scheming and aiding one side or the other.  Currently House Orien is allied with Breland and her allies, providing its services.  I'll look into fleshing out the Houses though, I'm sure it'll come in handy.  And I've detailed some things about the last 100 years but the party is kind of focused on the here and now with the war raging and Breland in the gutter.
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)