Leads & objectives:
- Recruit forces to defend Valena during the Hellmarch (the party has secured 500 Valena honor guard soldiers, and 3,000 barbarian ragers, and 3,000 Dwarven Hammerheim soldiers (from Logrim))
- Find out if a Hellmarch is occurring (Itheus believes it based only on dreams and random sightings across Kaldor)
- Obtain proof of the Hellmarch in order to convince Halbarad to defend Valena
- Rethem needs convincing, Alevar (Earl of Rethem) is waiting to see what Halbarad does before committing forces. The party insight revealed that he will probably side with whichever side gives him the better deal (power, wealth, etc)
- Itheus may have sold out Kaldor to Kamesh. A substantial minority of Kaldorians suspect that he is using the Hellmarch as an excuse to leave southern Kaldor exposed to Kamesh. Halbarad may believe this as well.
- Halbarad and Lilith may be seeking to overthrow Itheus (installing Lilith as queen), this may result in civil war unless Itheus abdicates.
- House Sevelda will probably retaliate against the party for the death of Ezren.
- No one in Rethem has heard of Lydia Vas Rethem (leader of Kuza) or her fellow zealots, even though she claimed to be from there. Alevar has started investigating this via his spy-ring.
- Someone is targeting the party (they deliberately herded Owlbears towards the party using magic as they were leaving the Johiran scrublands)
- A messenger hawk was waiting outside Hammerheim with a message from Alevar stating: “PLOT AFOOT IN PERAN HURRY”
- The party became aware of a cult that has been capturing and sacrificing people for some unknown purpose, and this may account for the rumors of disappearances that have been circulating around Kaldor for many months. Their sacrificial altar depicted the 9 places of Hell, suggesting that they are somehow related to the Hellmarch
- After the party successfully rescued members of the trade caravan, a survivor told them one of the cultists received a message: ““Du’Cell will not help us. His condition leaves him incapable of lying, and he believes he has found his own way of escaping. I doubt he can do us any harm. His knowledge is dangerous, but no one can hear it. Be not afraid.”
- Peran has not committed any forces yet
- The party was attacked just outside of Peran by a group of professional assassins, the group was apparently led by an assassin called Tuladin
- The party can negotiate a reward for the return of the Sloop and servant that were used during the river-pirate attack
- Agreed to help King Itheus recruit forces to defend Valena during the Hellmarch he believes is occurring
- Visited Kuza village only to find the sighting they reported were a front to get someone to clear out an infested temple so they could use it. The leader, Lydia vas Rethem irritated and mocked the party
- The party found Amiri. She agreed to honor the treaty to defend Valena only if the party killed Ezren and the settlers in Kuza village. The party convinced her to withdraw the Kuza assignment if they could open Freefall cliff, so that her Johirans could settle there.
- Ezren offered to provide a mercenary army in exchange for the party killing Amiri. When the party attempted to bluff that they agreed to his terms, he had his slavers attack. The party then killed Ezren in a pitched battle that the party almost totally lost as Ezren proved to be a formidable opponent.
- The party cleared Freefall cliff of the white dragon, Rimewind.
- Amiri, agreed to send 3,000 ragers.
- Kuza was destroyed by some unknown ritual, that must have taken month’s to prepare
- The party learned that Hammerheim was in no position to send troops until the ruling council had elected a new king
- In Hammerheim, the party successfully convinced the Brewmaster and Miner castes that Logrim had betrayed them by promising them both that he would support their claim in a caste dispute. The party determined (insight) that letters provided by Gwyddis’ allies were fake, but performed the favor anyways to gain Gwyddis’ trust.
- The party delivered a shipment of weapons to Hurag in Brand so that his gang would remain dominant there. This was done as a favor to Logrim as he feared that an unstable Brand would result in violence in Hammerheim, which would be used as a cover for political assassinations. When the party encountered a citizen of Brand (later intimidated into revealing she was a member of another gang) who asked that the party not deliver the shipment since doing so would result in a wave of killings (or deliver only part of it, leaving the rest for rival gangs), the party ignored her pleas, solidifying their reputation as stone cold mofos.
- The party met Gwyddis, and believes on their own intuition (the insight checks were inconclusive) that he is responsible for the death of both his father and brother, and he would probably rule as a tyrant, although he says he would reform the traditions that led to the decline of Hammerheim.
- The party met Logrim. If king he will rule similar to his predecessors, which may be to detriment of Hammerheim (not that this is necessarily relevant to the party’s decision on who to back for King).
- The party found Aesgir, and managed to close the gates at Keshan Inod. Aesgir then granted the party the right (symbolized by a crown forged by him) to vote at the dwarven council in his place. The party elected Logrim Oathkeeper, who then promised to send 3,000 troops to help in the Hellmarch.
- When told of a trade caravan ambush, the party decided to rescue the captured merchants, even though it would cost them several days time (while some kind of plot is unfolding in Peran).
Kaldor is a small country of approximately 360K people (mostly human). The kingdom itself has existed for over a thousand years, but for most of that time has been a vassal state of Kamesh, a large empire to the south. Kaldor gained independence from Kamesh 50 years ago, after a short war for independence. Today Kaldor exists as a collection of 4 city-states (Valena, Koor, Peram, and Rethem) and smaller hamlets and settlements. The crown set up by the Kamesh survived independence as the population of Kaldor has found it useful in mediating disagreements between cities and preventing wars. The seat of the Kindom is in Valena, though Koor is the largest.
Though small in landmass and population, Kaldor is very rich in precious stones, rare spices, and fine textiles. The nation is surrounded by mountains to the east and west, vast badlands to the north, and the Berat Sea to the south. As such it has been able to secure its territory with a comparatively small army.
The dwarven kingdom of Hammerheim is located under the mountain range at the southeast border of Kaldor. They generally keep to their own affairs, but maintain limited trade in Dwarven craft-work with Kaldor. Hammerheim society is organized as a rigid caste system of ancient family lines who form a council that is ruled by a king. Ancestors and traditions are very important. Dwarves that have achieved great notoriety through there deeds are awarded Paragon status, which provides influence on the ruling council independent of their caste status.
The Hammerhiem dwarves are a declining empire. Constant battle with the Underdark (the term that collectively refer to hordes of monsters that dwell underground) over the last thousand years have seen the empire pushed back to their one remaining stronghold. The ruins of their ancient empire, collectively known as the Lost Kingdom, are now home to numerous denizens of the underground.
The Johiran Barbarians occupy the barren, rocky, wilderness on the eastern fringe of Kaldor. Under the Kameshan occupation, they were able to maintain their independence by holding all lands to the east of the Rumar river. During the war for independence, the Johirans were an essential ally in defeating the Kameshan occupation. Kaldor gained their support by establishing various treaties promising territorial integrity and favorable trade deals. Sadly, the independent nature of the city states has seen the progressive encroachment of Koor and Rethem such that the Johirans only control the rock wastes at the foot of the Eastern mountains. This was only possible due to intra-clan warfare between various barbarian tribes, which allowed the opportunists in Koor and Rethem to play them off each other. In the last 3 years or so, the Johirans have united under a young war-chief named Amiri.
Velana: Seat of the kindom, though maintains no standing army, save for a small honor guard of elite fighters.
Koor: Largest of the city-states, home of General Halbarad, the war hero who led the independence army to defeat the Kameshan occupation. The most militaristic of the city-states, Koor maintains a standing army at least twice the size of Rethem or Peran.
Rethem and Peran: wealthy cities established to exploit the precious stones and spice markets. They each maintian a standing army, but are much more interested in commercial affairs.