Friday, 11 January 2013

Silver Marches - Web of Everlasting Darkness: A Bit More Brainstorming

The Web of Everlasting Darkness

Of course, this should be War of Everlasting Darkness. Oops.

Initial Thoughts

After much trawling of the internet I have finally been able to locate a PDF copy of Season 11 of D&D Encounters: The Web of Everlasting Darkness.

It's a rather unusual approach to an adventure. There are eight weeks of adventures and the PCs gain a level each week. There are no experience point or even magic items, per se; advancement is hand-waved. Furthermore, there are gaps of weeks or months between each weekly adventure; this is not your usual campaign or adventure path!

That said, I quite like the basic story and I would like to see the events of the Demon Weave played out in my own games. In addition, I love Mike Schley's map of the Silver Marches and I want to use it to run a game. What I thought I might do, therefore, was use The Web of Everlasting Darkness as the outline for an adventure path or campaign of my own construction.

Obviously, I need to fill in the time and XP gaps but I also need to remove the overt railroad; my players much prefer making their own choices. Nevertheless, here are the background and summary sections from the published adventure to provide a framework for what I end up creating.


Deep in the darkness of the Demonweb Pits, Lolth has been spinning a web of deceit, treachery, and ambition.

Her goal is to seize control of arcane magic, a domain that has lain vacant since the death of Mystra a hundred years ago.

To facilitate this grab for power, Lolth has sent the prophet Danifae Yauntyrr to all the cities of the drow. Danifae is a fallen priestess, a scoundrel, a seductress, and- if history is any guide- an avatar of Lolth.

Whispering to the leaders of all the great drow houses, Danifae has spurred them to gather ancient knowledge and relics to aid Lolth 's ascent.

The drow have scoured the world for the physical remnants of dead or sleeping primordials, sought out the remains of great wizards, gathered artefacts once sacred to Mystra, and fought for control of magical locations on the world's surface. As the dark elves have gathered arcane energy and channelled it to Lolth, her strength has grown.

Lolth's web has extended to cover most of the world, forming a Demon Weave to replace the sundered Weave that Mystra maintained. This new matrix of arcane magic grants the priests and wizards who serve Lolth access to newfound abilities, and their task now is to use them.

Across the surface world, Lolth's servitors draw on the Demon Weave to create shrouds of darkness that they call the Darkening. Under this pall of shadow, the drow can move and fight with darkness on their side during what would normally be daylight hours. With this newfound advantage, they hope to help complete Lolth's ascendancy to her new role as deity of Magic.

Adventure Summary

This series of adventures takes place in the Silver Marches (also called Luruar), a region in the FORGOTTEN REALMS® setting. This area includes the city of Silverymoon, the dwarf stronghold of Mithral Hall, the orc-infested Spine of the World Mountains, and numerous forests, ruins, moors, and dungeons.

The following is a summary of the eight short adventures that make up the War of Everlasting Darkness campaign. The adventures take place over the course of almost two years, starting in the spring (of the year 1484 in the Dalereckoning calendar) and coming to a close in the autumn of the following year (1485).

Nightfall in Methegrist (Session 1)

Drawn by their own motivations, the characters gather in the village of Quaervarr, under the eaves of the Glimmerwood.

Setting off together, they investigate rumours of a mysterious wandering phantom bound to a ruined fortress deep in the forest.

There, the adventurers can either ally with, mislead, or fight off a group of would-be tomb raiders. Inside the ruins, a short dungeon offers exploration and a couple tricks and traps. The characters then have a chance to end the phantom's wandering by defeating the minor devil that has cursed its former home. Just as the characters lift the curse, however, a sinkhole opens up in the
dungeon. From it, a stream of darkness pours upward slowly growing to cover the sky.

Envoy to Many-Arrows (Session 2)

Orcs from the Spine of the World are attacking the village of Winter Edge. The village elder asks the characters to approach and parley with the orc King Obould in Dark Arrow Keep. After years of peace, why have the orc tribes begun another war in civilised lands?

The characters are quickly ambushed and captured by more orcs than they can easily handle. However, they can attempt to save themselves in one of two ways.

The characters, hoping to impress King Obould with a show of strength and martial skill, can offer up one of their own as a champion in the arena known as the Pit or they can talk the orcs into letting them go.

While negotiating with the orcs, the characters can see that the king is having difficulty keeping his subjects from succumbing to the bloodlust that was the way of things before the first King Obould. The characters have an opportunity to remove some of the orc tribes from the war.

Siege of Mithral Hall (Session 3)

A horde of orcs spreads across the Glimmerwood and the Moonlands, while their raiding parties reach as far as Silverymoon and Everlund. In response to Obould's position on the war, the characters travel to inform and seek aid from the dwarves of Mithral Hall. However, orcs are laying siege to the dwarven defences. The characters must win through the siege lines to get into Mithral Hall.

Descent into the Depths (Session 4)

A bumbling dwarf mystic named Axelcrantz informs the characters that they must obtain a magic relic lost in the Underdark - a relic that will play an important part in the thwarting of Lolth's plans. Unless they can use diplomacy to convince the xenophobic dwarves of Citadel Adbar to give them safe passage, the adventurers must fight their way through the hazards of the Underdark to succeed in their mission. The dwarves might require the characters to accomplish a secondary task before granting passage.

Spirits of the Fell Pass (Session 5)

Axelcrantz performs an augury, revealing that a key to breaking the magical darkness that hangs over the Marches lies in the Fell Pass, where drow work to raise an undead army. The adventurers must protect Axelcrantz from orc patrols and restless spirits as he travels to the apex of Fell Pass to perform a ritual that can banish the darkness. However, the drow wait in an ancient fortress located in the pass. They have no intention of allowing their undead-raising ritual to be thwarted.

Trolls of the Evermoors (Session 6)

In the Fell Pass, the characters uncovered information telling them that the town of Nesme is on the brink of being overrun by trolls, and Silverymoon is next. Forced to dwell beneath the constant shadow of the Darkening, the people of Nesme have succumbed to hopelessness and have little chance of defending themselves.

The adventurers must reach the town, help direct and assemble its defences, and prepare for the assault.

Shores of the Darklake (Session 7)

As Lolth 's Demon Weave nears its completion, the magic of surface-dwelling spellcasters begins to falter, even as the drow are empowered. As the magical wards protecting Silverymoon fall, the characters follow another of Axelcrantz's visions to the svirfneblin city of Blingdenstone. There, on the shores of the Darklake, they must help overcome devils to open up the trade routes without which the Silver Marches will fall.

Spellcaves of Eryndlyn (Session 8)

Armed with the treasure, knowledge, and power they have acquired in their adventures around the Silver Marches, the characters travel to the ruined drow city of Eryndlyn to confront Tsabrak Xorlarrin, the powerful wizard responsible for the darkness that covers the land. But are they prepared to face Danifae, the avatar of Lolth?

The key to their success lies in helping a reborn Mystra seize control of the Demon Weave and restore her tattered Weave.

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