THE ISLAND OF KHETH (Heroic-Tier Campaign)
Map of Kheth
The campaign begins on the isle of Kheth, which was declared part of the Dragovar dynasty in 1375 DY.
Dragonborn explorers first discovered the island in 808 DY and named it Azun’zadi. A cursory examination revealed that it was infested with terrible monsters, so the explorers left it alone. By the mid-nine hundreds, Azun’zadi had become a favorite hunting ground for Dragovar warriors and nobility. Eventually they expunged the worst of the island’s inhabitants, leaving it ripe for colonization.
The island today is mostly civilized, with a few dark areas and caves where monsters continue to thrive. The island’s best-known landmark, apart from the small coastal town on its eastern shore, is an ancient ruin on a hill marked with serpentine statuary, and beneath the ruin, a partially collapsed dungeon complex adorned with serpentine motifs.
Various dragon overlords have claimed the island over the years, renaming it accordingly. In 1100 DY, a green dragon named Kheth wrested the island from a copper dragon named Irindol and renamed it after himself. Future visitors would thereafter refer to the island by its new name or suffer the consequences.
Map of Tyrak'n
Tyrak’n is the largest settlement on the island, built upon its eastern shore. “Tyrak’n” is short for Tyrak’s Town, named after the human explorer Tyrak von Zarkyn. In 1369 DY, Tyrak came to the island in search of treasure and encountered hill giants and orcs wandering the hills. After much bloodshed, Tyrak’s crew defeated the giants and orcs and took their gold. Tyrak used most of his spoils to build a trading post that has since grown into a small town. Tyrak established trade routes to other civilized islands, and the Dragovar rewarded his intrepidity by making Tyrak the island’s magistrate.
Tyrak’s grandson Cyrik is the current magistrate and oversees all business in Tyrak’n. Nothing ever seems to slip past his guard, thanks to his wife Thariel, who has an uncanny gift for knowing everything about everyone in town.
The wooden palisade that once protected Tyrak’n has partially been replaced by a new stone wall. Construction of the fortified wall is progressing slowly due to a lack of funds and skilled stonemasons, but Magistrate von Zarkyn is determined to complete the work in the next year or two.
The buildings of Tyrak’n are mostly single-story wooden affairs, with a few notable exceptions. Von Zarkyn Manor is a two-story stone house with a turret in one corner. Across the street is the stone Temple of Avandra. Tyrak’n also has an old stone garrison tower atop a hillock, although it needs work and is currently encased in wooden scaffolding.
The caravel that brought Tyrak to the island over a hundred years ago is now a permanent feature of the town docks. The Talisman has been gutted and transformed into a tavern and brewery. The Talisman’s proprietor, a jovial tiefling named Lucius, is also the proud brewer of Tyrak’n’s notorious Impstinger Ale. One of Lucius’s longtime acquaintances, Captain Ghordan Raiko of the Lantheon, is a merchant who brings trade goods to Tyrak’n every month. Raiko’s arrival is always a cause for celebration at the Talisman.
Nineteen years ago, a ship called the Morrow’s Folly ran aground during a rare torrential storm. The skeletal wreck lies just outside of the town proper and has been thoroughly plundered. The survivors of the wrecked ship (notably the captain and several very young children) were taken in by the local citizenry and still inhabit Tyrak’n to the present day. Captain Morrow has tried his best to help raise the children, but he refuses to speak about where he was taking them before the storm hit.
PERSONALITIES OF TYRAK'N
Tyrak’n has a population of roughly 200 people, including the following noteworthy individuals:
Cyrik von Zarkyn (male human): Grandson of the town’s founder and the current magistrate of Kheth.
Thariel von Zarkyn (female elf): The magistrate’s wife.
Jegger Trout (male halfling): Captain of the town guard.
Denarion Morrow (male half-elf): Captain of the wrecked ship Morrow’s Folly.
Lucien Vezetus (male tiefling): Proprietor of the Talisman (a tavern built into an old caravel).
Alyson Rivers (female halfling): Local priestess of Avandra.
Johias Ilum (male human): Local fisherman and town drunk.
Szoltan Grayshard (male dwarf): Crusty local stonemason and father of Magnar.
Voruna Grayshard (female dwarf): Wife of Szoltan and local schoolmarm.
Magnar Grayshard (male dwarf): Local stonemason, dullard, and son of Szoltan and Voruna.
Aiven Niri (female eladrin): Reclusive, good-natured local wizard who lives outside of town.
Ghordan Raiko (male human): Captain of the hammership Lantheon under the flag of Sea King Valkroi.
Tamara (female dragonborn): First mate of the Lantheon.
All residents of Tyrak’n know the following information about the island and its neighbors:
The island of Kheth is triangular in shape and roughly 50 miles across (north to south). Beaches line the north, east, and south coasts, with sheer black cliffs to the west. A rain forest dominates the island interior, which rises and falls, creating a series of hills and gorges. The forest provides Tyrak’n with a ready supply of wood, rich topsoil, fruit, herbs, and meat, not to mention goods that can be traded to other islands for grain, wool, and various other commodities that Kheth can’t provide.
Kheth is a subtropical island. The summers are warm and humid, with frequent showers of misty rain. The heavy rain usually comes in the winter, when the temperature is mild during the day and cool enough for long sleeves at night. Thunderstorms are common, but the sea remains calm throughout the year. Once or twice each winter, the island is peppered with hail, but these hailstorms turn to rain quickly.
Tyrak’n is the only settlement on Kheth. The remainder of the island is home to harmless subtropical wildlife as well as stirges, fire beetles, snakes, spiders, scorpions, boars, and the odd spitting drake. Before the island was colonized, Dragovar nobles used to hunt rage drakes on the island, but there don’t seem to be any more of them around (which is a good thing).
Kheth, the Green Dragon
The island of Kheth is named after its current overlord, a sly and paranoid green dragon the size of a killer whale. Kheth demands tribute from the island’s other residents, but the tribute isn’t exorbitant (monthly cattle and gold), and once appeased the dragon keeps to himself.
Kheth’s claim of the island has not gone unchallenged. Seven years ago, another green dragon came to the island, presumably to usurp Kheth’s rule, but Kheth drove it off after a fierce battle. Visiting sailors sometimes speak of a copper dragon making wide circles around the island; some speculate that the dragon is Irindol, the island’s previous overlord, whom Kheth displaced long ago.
According to Magistrate von Zarkyn, Kheth is quite knowledgeable about the world. However, the dragon rarely imparts information free of charge, often demanding a donation to its growing hoard or some other service in exchange.
Kheth lives in a cave that overlooks the northern shore. A narrow footpath leads up to the mouth of the cave, which is encrusted with sharp crystals. Kheth has a handful of kobold lookouts that watch the cave entrance and patrol the hillside.
This lonely hill is a day-and-a-half’s walk from Tyrak’n. Atop it rests a crumbled ruin, in the middle of which sits an old stone shrine. The ruin was probably an abbey or temple dedicated to some ancient snake cult, as the grounds are strewn with toppled statuary depicting snake-headed men. The green dragon has a few kobold minions that patrol the forest near the hill, probably to discourage exploration of the ruin.
The Mysterious “Ghost Giant”
Citizens of Tyrak’n who explore the misty southern beach at low tide occasionally spot enormous footprints in the sand, leading to and from the nearby woods. It is commonly believed that a giant lives somewhere on the island, although it has yet to reveal itself to the people of Tyrak’n. Jegger Trout, the captain of the guard, believes it’s a hill giant, but attempts to locate “the Ghost Giant” or its lair have proven fruitless.
The island of Vorkon can be seen from Kheth’s northern shore. The savage orcs and ogres that inhabit Vorkon belong to the Firespear tribe, so named because they like to douse their spears in flaming pitch. These fell creatures have dark gray skin covered with warpaint, but they don’t wear much armor. The Firespear chieftain has never been seen, although there’s a standing bounty of 1,000 crowns on its head. (The bounty was issued by Magistrate Lenya von Zarkyn in 1420 DY and is still honored by the current magistrate.) An active volcano rises up from the jungles of Vorkon, spewing a thin plume of black smoke and white ash into the sky. If Vorkon has a dragon overlord, no one in Tyrak’n has seen it.
Other Islands Near Kheth
Most of the other islands within easy reach of Kheth are barren shards of volcanic rock jutting angrily out of the sea. They serve as perches for harpies that feast on fish and the occasional sailor. The closest Arkhosian islands of consequence are the Sister Islands, Castanamir and Mheletros. Io’galaroth, the City of Caves, is hewn out of the dark cliffs of Castanamir, while Mheletros is home to a massive Dragovar prison-fortress called Zardkarath.
BRIEF HISTORY OF KHETH
High points of the island’s history are summarized below:
Kheth usurps the island from a copper dragon named Irindol.
Tyrak von Zarkyn finds gold on Kheth and uses it to build a trading post. Kheth permits the construction of Tyrak’s Post in exchange for gold and food.
Tyrak’s Post grows and is renamed Tyrak’s Town, which locals later truncate to “Tyrak’n.” Tyrak von Zarkyn is appointed Magistrate of Kheth by the Dragovar.
Three townsfolk go missing while gathering wood. Kheth warns Tyrak to keep his people away from the ruin atop Serpent Hill.
Tyrak dies of an illness. The Dragovar send Ganamir, a dragonborn noble, to the island as its new magistrate, much to the consternation of local townsfolk.
Orc raiders from the neighboring island of Vorkon attack Tyrak’n. Magistrate Ganamir is killed. Tyrak’s son Leryk slays six orcs by himself. By year’s end, he is declared the new magistrate.
Orc raiders step up their attacks on Kheth until the green dragon finally intervenes. Kheth orders Leryk von Zarkyn to travel to the island of Vorkon, kill the orc chieftain, and return with his head. Leryk and his retinue set sail from Tyrak’n and never return. Leryk’s twin sister Lenya becomes magistrate.
The captain of the guard and two other town guards vanish without a trace one cold winter’s night.
Lenya von Zarkyn dies during childbirth, but the baby Cyrik is saved. The Dragovar send a dragonborn noble named Tarun to serve as magistrate.
Magistrate Tarun tries Kheth’s patience by withholding tribute. The dragon orders her to leave the island at once. Two other replacements are subsequently banished for no apparent reason.
After a meeting between Kheth and a Dragovar emissary, Cyrik von Zarkyn is appointed Magistrate of Kheth at the ripe old age of eleven.
A shroud of fog envelops the island for twenty days. During that time, sea devils attack Tyrak’n and abduct several townsfolk.
Magistrate von Zarkyn travels to Io’calioth to celebrate the birth of Princess Kalavai of the Dragovar. He returns three weeks later with an elven wife.
The ship Morrow’s Folly is caught in a terrible storm and crashes near Tyrak’n. The captain and several children survive the shipwreck and remain in town.
The Storm Goddess, Sea King Draeken Malios’s flagship, drops anchor in Tyrak’s Bay. Malios meets privately with Magistrate von Zarkyn, then departs suddenly.
Another green dragon challenges Kheth’s rulership of the island but is driven off.
Three teenagers from Tyrak’n explore Serpent Hill and are never seen again.
Townsfolk begin seeing Vorkon orcs on the island. Work begins to replace the town’s decrepit wooden palisade with a fortified stone wall.
YOUR ORIGIN STORY
The campaign begins on the isle of Kheth, which begs the question: Are you a native of the island, or did events conspire to bring you here? This section describes some likely origin stories for your character. Once you’ve chosen or concocted a story for your character, you can begin to hash out the details with your DM.
YOU'RE TYRAK'N BORN
You are a Tyrak’n native. Your family lives in town and either fishes, forages, tends a modest garden, or runs a small business. You are friends with just about everyone in town, although you’ve probably forged a very close bond with at least one of the individuals listed under Personalities of Tyrak’n (above).
If you are a half-elf between the age of 17 and 25, you may choose to be the son or daughter of Magistrate von Zarkyn, giving you a fair amount of local clout. Your father is a shrewd leader and has taken great pains over the years to appease the island’s green dragon overlord and uphold his grandfather’s good name. Your mother is warm and funny in private, but surprisingly aloof and formal in public. You fear that there’s something important she hasn’t told you or your father . . . a secret she’s likely to carry to her grave.
If you are a halfling between the age of 17 and 25, you may have had a troubled older or younger brother named Kynt who disappeared four years ago. Kynt broke the law when he persuaded two other local youths (a human boy named Jesper and a half-elf girl named Vazia) to join him on an expedition to the ruins atop Serpent Hill. No one is allowed there, by order of the magistrate. Kynt and his friends never returned, and the magistrate refused to send a hunting party to find them.
YOU'RE A SHIPWRECKED ORPHAN
Nineteen years ago, a ship called the Morrow’s Folly crashed on the island of Kheth during a freak storm. The only survivors were the captain—a half-elf named Denarion Morrow—and several young children. You were very young at the time (2–5 years old then, making you 21–26 years old now), so you don’t remember anything. You and the other children were adopted by the local townsfolk and raised as native Tyrak’ns. Although he’s not much of a father figure, Captain Morrow has been watching over you all these years, but he still claims that he can’t remember anything that happened before the shipwreck. You have no clue where you came from, or who your real parents are. You are friends with just about everyone in town, although you’ve probably forged a very close bond with at least one of the individuals listed under Personalities of Tyrak’n (above).
Four years ago, three of your friends (a troubled halfling boy named Kynt, a curious human lad named Jesper, and a half-elf girl named Vazia) left town to explore Serpent Hill, even though locals are strictly forbidden to go there. They never returned. Captain Morrow urged Magistrate von Zarkyn to send a patrol to locate them, but the magistrate refused. The two men haven’t spoken since. Jesper and Vazia were survivors of the Morrow’s Folly shipwreck, and Captain Morrow regrets not going after them himself.
You were born and raised elsewhere, brought to the island of Kheth by ship, and, for whatever reason, left behind. Hoping to find your place in the community, you’ve probably forged a close bond with at least one of the individuals listed under Personalities of Tyrak’n (above).
If you are a dragonborn, you may be the son or daughter of parents who were exiled from Arkhosian soil. One or both of your parents may have been pirates or outspoken opponents of the Dragovar monarchy. In either case, they probably figured you’d be safe on a small, backwater island of little consequence to the rest of the Dragovar empire.
If you are an elf between the age of 24 and 30, you may choose to be the son or daughter of Lady Thariel von Zarkyn from a previous marriage. Your father is a wealthy ship captain named Torel Winterleaf who recently made some powerful enemies. Three weeks ago, you were spirited out of Io’calioth by your father’s servants, smuggled aboard the tradeship Lantheon, and sent to stay with your mother for your own safety. You never got a chance to say goodbye to your father, and your mother didn’t exactly welcome you with open arms. It’s been 23 years after all, and your sudden arrival has created unrest in Von Zarkyn Manor. For his part, Magistrate von Zarkyn seems to be handling the situation quite well, particularly since your mother never told him she had a child with her previous husband.
If you are a tiefling between the age of 17 and 25, you may choose to be the niece or nephew of Lucius Vezetus, the friendly proprietor of the Talisman. You were born and raised in the slums of Io’calioth, and several years ago your parents brought you to see “Uncle Lucius” as a child and left you with him without explanation. Although he makes you do chores around the tavern, your uncle has been very forgiving of your irksome adolescent antics. When asked about your parents, he merely frowns and grumbles in Infernal.
NONE OF THE ABOVE
Perhaps you’ve come to Kheth for entirely different reasons. As a result, you may or may not have forged strong ties with the community. Some brief suggestions are listed below:
• Someone you care about was arrested ten years ago by Dragovar authorities and sent to the prison island of Mheletros. You believe this person was imprisoned wrongfully, and the key to clearing his or her good name rests with a missing sea captain named Denarion Morrow . . . whom you’ve finally tracked to the backwater town of Tyrak’n.
• You swindled or double-crossed a sea captain named Lydia Taralan, only to discover afterward that she was working for Sea King Senestrago. Upon learning the truth, you fled aboard the hammership Lantheon, headed for Tyrak’n. You’ve opted to lay low until things blow over. Hopefully by then, you will have found some protection . . . or some way to make amends.
• The church of Avandra has sent you to Tyrak’n to assist the local priest, Sister Alyson. She specifically requested “someone gifted with an adventurous spirit.” Alyson believes that certain townsfolk are blessed with an adventurous nature that will soon manifest, but they need Avandra’s assistance to survive their travails. You are the one Sister Alyson hopes will help these other adventurers “safely walk the dark path.”
• You had a vivid dream about a silver dragon. It asked you to travel to the island of Kheth and locate a man named Johias Ilum. The dragon in your dreams sounded real enough, and it also claimed that the rewards for your success would be great.
• You recently joined the crew of the hammership Lantheon, but your duties to date have been less than thrilling. The ship has just returned to Tyrak’n loaded with goods, and you’re beginning to think that maybe Captain Raiko isn’t going to promote you anytime soon. A sailor’s life isn’t as exciting as you’d dreamt it would be, and you see yourself wanting more.#