The Shattered Clan
Campaign Setting History
This timeline occurs some 2500 years prior to my other campaign, “Impoverished in the Northlands,” and surrounds the fall of one of the great dwarven empires, that of the Bangalore clan.
This campaign, or all of the stories that exist within this small portion of my campaign setting, will take place over a series of weeks with a range of players and characters. Any player could come in or out of the game at any time, and could, conceivably, pick up any PC, NPC or otherwise and play a roll in the campaign. The adventure log might look distorted at times, but eventually I might try to put a consistent timeline together.
Some of my characters are looking to play some of the opposition (the orcs or the cultists of Colluk). We shall see if this actually happens.
- This story can be broken out into a few sections:
- The Thirteenth Orc War
- The Rise of Colluk
- Forcing the War to a Close
- Burial of the 3 Heroes
- The Fourteenth Orc War
- The Shattered Clan
- Special Thanks Well Deserved
The Thirteenth Orc War About 750 years prior to the campaign’s start, the Barranka Orcs were assaulting the Vlen Hierden (old Ikish tongue for “Iced Peaks”) for the thirteenth time since the Bangalores first rose to power in the area. Around the same time, two dwarven clans far to the south had begun a conflict (the Haben-Kreagar War) over the rulership of an area of another mountain range and the stores of precious metals therein.
Without the support they usually counted on from their friends an allies, the Habens and Kreagars, the Bangalore dwarves found themselves hard-pressed to combat the armies of King Barranka, and soon found themselves losing ground to the overwhelming hordes.
King Bangalore put out a call to his clan as well as the reclusive elves, the gnomes and their human allies in the south, and the neighboring, minor clans that anyone with an idea which could help the dwarves in their plight report to the Bangalore city gates to present it. And so, a young engineer, son of a paintmixer from the small houses of the tiny clan Platherthorne, became the hero of the Thirteenth Orc War.
Bourum Painterbottom brought to the table several ideas, and within days he had revolutonized the way dwarves fought both under and over the mountains. The Bangalore forges produced interlocking shields to create a wall of iron which could hinge and fold to accommodate any width of mine shaft or tunnel. Sub-tunnels carved parallel to main mining tunnels, hiding the triggers for deadfalls and cave ins. In one instance, he planned out a series of ventilation systems from the lower mines that would run vertically through the upper shafts, carrying their poisonous fumes up into the mountain air above, and allowing fresh air into the darkest, deepest areas of the dwarven complexes. These systems included valves which could be shut off at any upper level to flood the level below with odorless poisons.
For every terrain they battled over, Painterbottom had another plan. For every fortress, improved battlements, for every battle, viciously effective weaponry. With the support of the dwarven priests and the leaders of their armies, he and his concoctions began to turn the tide. As the forges continued to create his machinations, more and more complicated as they became, the hero of the Orc War became known as the Iron Warlord.
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The Rise of Colluk
As the Barranka Orcs declined, being pushed back into the frigid, frozen lands of the northwest mountains, King Barranka was undone from within the orc tribes themselves. While most of the orc shamen worship Drangth, the orc god of strength and blood, some of the smaller tribes include cultist shamen and necromancers who worship Colluk, a wickedly powerful litch.
Although once an orc himself, Colluk is shunned by the tribal leaders, especially by the Barrankas, who fear his power and the depth of his corrupt, desperate evil. But with the King’s armies in decline, and with more humiliating defeats at the hands of the Bangalores and their new contraptions, Colluk began to convince the other tribal leaders, and even some of the Drangth shamen that he could succeed where King Barranka had failed.
After assasinating the king, Colluk and his cultist necromancers and priests worked to resurect an evil that hadn’t been unleashed on the blessed lands in more than two ages. Moiliandore, an old god, the rotting god, the one who should be left to sleep. This demon rose to Colluk’s call, willing to assist in return for freedom from the prison he bore eons ago.
Together with his magics and the demon’s destructive powers, they began to gain ground against the Bangalores and their allies once again.
As the orcs gained in strength, and won back their strategic targets. Once again the call for allies went out, and was recieved in an unlikely place. From the depths of the deep underdark, duregar, gray dwarves came to the city complex of Bangalore, bringing with them one of their most renowned wizards, the Hollow Dwarf.
This wicked creature once attempted to make himself into a litch, but botched the ritual. Now, he carried several of his organs around with him, enchanted to maintain their functions in his body, even though they existed within clay jars and glass bottles within an iron chest strapped to his back.
Together with the his magical abilities, the Iron Warlord was able to create a machine unlike any that could be imagined.
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Forcing the War to a Close
The Vlianderbiss itself, though the subject of myth and legend, is largely un-described. What it looked like, how it functioned, what effects it created were all secreted in the laboratories of those involved in its creation, and no other dwarf ever saw it in existence. Theories abound from a giant iron golem to a mechanized spider inspired by the Hollow Dwarf’s time spent with the drow. There is no certain report, although the theories all tend to say that the thing was inorganic, and thus virtually invincible to Moiliandore, the god of rot and decay.
The Iron Warlord, the Hollow Dwarf and the OrcSlayer (Bangalore’s fiercest warrior), together with twelve of Bangalore’s most faithful clerics designed and built the machine. Painterbottom would never allow the King or any of the Thanes of minor clans to see his plans, or to witness the havoc it could wreak.
The Vlianderbiss was unleashed on the monstrous demon of Moilliandore, and was able to keep the monster at bay long enough for the Hollow Dwarf, the OrcSlayer, the series of Clerics and the Iron Warlord (with an entirely new set of contraptions and war machines), to battle Colluk. After a difficult battle, they successfully imprisoned the litch, after which they could turn on Moilliandor, and with the Vlianderbiss, they were able to defeat it as well. The dark seals, keys to the prisons made for the two villainous creatures were divided into three, and distributed to the three heroes.
With both of their idols destroyed, and with the morale of the Dwarves repaired, the Bangalores once more pushed into the orcish hordes, and the war came quickly to a close as the Barrankas, leaderless, fled back to their ancestral homes.
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Burial of the 3 Heroes
The nine who survived would not speak of what occurred in the battles against Colluk and Moilliandore. Still, they were hailed as heroes for whatever it is that they did (even the wicked duregar), and they lived out their lives in Bangalore in peace.
The first to require a tomb was the Hollow Dwarf. Obsessed with completing the ritual to seal his immortality, it became abundantly clear that he would stop at nothing to learn Colluk’s secrets, even coming near to setting the litch free from his prison to diagnose where he, the dwarf, had gone wrong in his attempts. The Iron Warlord, the Orcslayer and his son (soon to be the new King of Bangalore, as he married the princess), and the nine remaining clerics who took part in the battle gathered to convince the Hollow Dwarf that he needed to be put away where he could no longer threaten the citizenry of Bangalore. He reluctantly agreed, and was imprisoned in his tomb, along with three of the nine clerics who stayed to complete the rituals required to entomb him.
Next was the OrcSlayer, who died peacefully in a drunken stupor. Again, three clerics volunteered to entomb themselves with him, as guardians over his body.
Finally, the Iron Warlord passed away many years later. He, as well, was buried with three priests who completed rituals to protect his tomb.
Each of the three was buried in secret locations, away from the sight of anyone, so that the secrets and the seals they held would be kept hidden for eternity.
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The Fourteenth Orc War
The events of the Fourteenth Orc War occurred 50 years before this campaign begins. The Bangalores and their dwarven allies had survived two generations in peace, recovering from the prior Orc War. The King, OrcSlayer’s boy, was an old man at the time, and his reign would be the last of the Bangalores over their ancestral homes.
First, a minor, but extremely wealthy dwarven lord, Lord Avershard, was betrayed in the night by his new wife and her son from a previous marraige. First, they killed him and his brothers in their sleep, then, they sold his mines and all found within to the new King Barranka, which he used to flood the mines and infiltrate Bangalore from within.
The Bangalores were in rout. In his final stand, with the most loyal of his soldiers around him in the temple of the Bangalore High Priest, the Son of OrcSlayer made his last stand. While the women, old men and children scattered, fleeing the teeming hordes of orcs, he issued his final decree. Every surviving Bangalore would live as long as their lungs held breath searching for a new home where the clan could be rebuilt. The survivors scattered as quickly as dry leaves in the wind, and the mighty Bangalores earned the moniker of the Shattered Clan.
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The Shattered Clan
With the vacuum of power left by the Bangalores, the orcs have completely taken over the Vlen Hierden Mountains. Everyone is displaced, from the elves that lived peacefully in the glens surrounding the southern rivers to the halflings on the western foothills. At the southern end of the mountain chain is the city of Kylamm, where an agreement between the Ikish humans and the local gnomes has build a defensible position. They offer sanctuary to any survivor or refugee from the mountains, and this is the starting point of our adventures.
The campaign will focus on the efforts to restore order to the area. The first adventure, of one Bowman Nuggetsmasher of the Bangalore Clan, found several slaves in the now orcish-controlled mines, including gnomes, halflings and dwarves of several clans. He carried back with his few new refugees dire evidence of much more dastardly plots.
A visiting Kreagar priest reviewed some of the dwarven artifacts found in the orcs’ possession, including weapons that were awarded to heroes of the Thirteenth War. According to this high-priest, the orcs would have to be looking for the hidden tombs to have located a cache of weapons such as this.
Although not all of the adventures herein will follow Bowman and his efforts to keep the orcs away from the dark seals on Colluk or Moilliandore’s prisons, it should be a central plot agent to all activities in these areas.
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Special Thanks Well DeservedAnyone outside of my campaign reading this might see an obvious use of campaign elements invented by or at least used by Chris Perkins in the Wizards of the Coast campaigns available for viewing on YouTube. Even if they go unrecognized, i would like to both avoid plagiarism and award credit where credit is due. Chris’ delivery of these campaign elements is powerful to say the least, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for his efforts and campaign style. I, of course, mean no disrespect, but when starving for names and events at the campaign’s beginnings, I borrowed some elements. To keep the continuity between the story my characters hear and the story recorded here, I’ve used them here as well. Sorry, Chris…and Thanks, because you’re awesome.
After that, take a look at your wiki. There is some more helpful info there.