- Roughly a hundred years have passed in the world since the previous edition of the campaign setting. The current year is 1479 DR, the year of the Ageless One.
- The Spellplague has drastically altered the cosmos. The Spellplague broke out in 1385 DR (the Year of Blue Fire), the result of unfettered wild magic on the death of the goddess Mystra. Whole countries are gone, especially in regions south of the Sea of Fallen Stars. Even familiar lands have become magical and fantastic in appearance. Islands of rock called earthmotes drift through the sky. Weird towers and spires of stone jut from the landscape. Spectacular chasms and waterfalls abound. All thinks were sustenance for the Spellplague’s insatiable hunger – it assailed and transformed flesh, stone, magic, space, and dimensional walls. Even the cosmos beyond Toril was affected. Some ancient realms returned that had been thought gone forever (such as the Feywild), and entire planets (such as the Abyss) shifted to a new cosmic structure.
- Portions of Abeir have fused with Toril. The Spellplague raged even beyond planar boundaries, and Toril’s long=lost twin world, cut off for tens of millennia, was also caught up in the maelstrom. Large parts of Faerun exchanged places with equivalent land masses on Abeir, bringing their populations with them.
- The number of gods has dropped markedly. During the last censure, even deities succumbed to divine and diabolical plots or to the chaos of the Spellplague. Of those now absent, many died, some left, and a few were revealed to be aspects of already extant gods. Others lost so much power that they became exarches, lesser divinities who serve the other gods.
- The Spellplague left its mark on creatures. Some effects of the Spellplague persist to this day, especially in the so-called Plaguelands where wild magic yet rages unrestrained. After exposure to the Plaguelands, some creatures exhibit physical marks called spellscars. These spellscarred individuals develop unique abilities, but are not without price. Victims of the original Spellplague were horribly changed, not simply scarred, their flesh warped in unimaginable ways. The abilities of the spellscarred, though unique, are never as monstrous and powerful as those of plaguechanged creatures. Luckily, such monsters are few, and of those, only a handful are free-willed, mobile threats.
- Huge Underdark collapses have changed the surface of Faerun. As the earth fell away, the level and position of the Sea of Fallen Stars shifted drastically. An enormous opening into the Underdark has formed south of the Chondalwood. In addition to this country sized hole in the earth, underground shifting has made the Underdark much more accessible to the surface world.
- Thay has become a terrible undead threat. The former land of the Red Wizards is now under the control of a single power mad regent: Szass Tam. He nearly succeeded in performing a ritual that would have made him an immortal being. Szass Tam failed, but in so doing he transformed Thay into a nightmare land of death. Now the regent is intent on expanding Thay’s borders so that he can attempt the ritual again.
- The ancient empire of Netheril has been restored. The Twelve Princes of Shade rule from their capital city, Shade Enclave, in a land newly reclaimed from the Anauroch Desert. Netheril is once again a major player and a threat to all the northern realms.
- Ancient elven lineages have returned to Faerun. With the reappearance of the Feywild, its natives have begun exploring the world again. These fey folk collectively call themselves eladrin, and many Faerunian elves have also adopted this name for their lineage, though they have not forgotten their traditional cultural distinctions and names. In casual speech, the word “elven” collectively refers to the two branches of this fey people: elves and eladrin.
- Most portals no longer work. The breaking of the Weave destroyed most of the portals that crisscrossed Toril, because it destroyed the hard-won knowledge of arcane casters. Although arcanists have relearned their craft since the Spellplague raged, most portals remain nonfunctional or dangerously malfunctioning, broken relics of a legendary past.
Tears of the Raven Queen
Part 1: In the Temple
At the Inn of the Dancing Cyclops in Waterdeep (located at the southwestern corner of The High Road & The Street of the Tusks), three travelers are seated near one end of a long table. Jonas watched his friend Teae leave the Inn with her two new acquaintances, Oneldight and Sabine (who all have an appointment with the High Priest of the Raven Queen), and turned to ask Ay-una and Mia if they have ever heard of a gent named Plodmoor. Mia thinks, but says she has not that name ever. Ay-una tells him that it sounds really familiar and stares at the empty stage for a moment, thinking. “Yes, I remember now”, says she, “he was that new Magistrate at the dinner party we went to with Father. When I was introduced to him, he held onto my hand over long… to the point that Mother and I thought was unseemly.” Janos nods at this and comments, “That sounds like him. There was some talk about him in the village.” Their conversation was broken by the sound of the Watchmen’s bells ringing in the street outside. The three jump up and follow several others outside to see what’s up. They see the Watchmen running east toward the City of the Dead. Meanwhile, at the Temple of the Raven Queen, just as Teae, Oneldight and Sabine open the door they hear the Watchmen’s bell sounding first inside the temple and soon picked up by those outside. The three notice that all the lanterns are out inside the temple. Teae sees some shambling skeletons as she steps inside and shouts out a challenge! She is charged by one and dodges its attack. Two more close in on her and Sabine gets off a spell but misses the one she’d targeted. Oneldight moves into range as another skeleton joined the fray and Teae set off a Turn Undead spell killing four with one blast. The fight continues with Oneldight joining in and soon after the three travelers from the inn burst in and help. Eventually, 8 skeletons are lying in heaps about the foyer of the temple. Sabine finds a guard and gives him a last rites prayer. Ay-una pokes about the bones making sure the skulls are well separated from the spines and finds 10 gold pieces! [Group gets 325 xp each and splits up the gold]
Part 2: Below the Temple
Jonas, Teae, Oneldight, Sabine, Mia and Ay-una start to search the rest of the temple. Someone finds a pool of blood. Then they see a trail of blood from that pool to another, and then another. The crimson trail leads them closer and closer to the large statue of the Raven Queen. The group searches about the base of the statue for some kind of entrance as the trail has stopped suddenly right there. Mia sees that Oneldight is concentrating on one foot of the statue, which is of a different kind of stone. After a little manipulation, Mia figures out that that foot turns! When she moves it such, a door moves back into the statue base and opens to a set of stairs leading down. Jonas calls for light and leads the group to follow the trail of blood down. At the bottom of the stairs is a short hallway lined with sarcophagi and a trail of blood and entrails leading to a room at the far end. Following Jonas, the group moves quickly forward to the room and finds four more skeletons forming a circle about some runes on the floor that are wet and shiny looking. One of them is on fire. Sabine pulls off Turn undead and pins two of them to a wall, injuring a third! She is attacked by Blaze (yup, the guy on fire) using a HUGE fireball, now she is sort of burning. Jonas moves in, healing Sabine and hits Blaze and slips away from him. Slowly the others move into the tiny space and the fight is on! Both sides take damage, but the group has several healers and stay up and fighting. Eventually, there is nothing left but bones and bloody runes. The clerics look to the dead High Priest while the others check out the sarcophagus. It has been opened and the area where a right hand would be was disturbed, as if a ring were forcibly removed. Ay-una studies the circle and the runes and suggests it was for teleportation ritual. The clerics notice that the only part of the High Priest’s body that isn’t maimed and used for making the runes is the area around his pendant. They remove it and study it and discover it is a magic item. Ay-una makes sure skulls aren’t attached to spines any longer and comes up with another 20 gold! [Group gets 650 xp each and splits up the gold. The Feather of the Raven Queen, a +1 magic item and Holy Symbol is given to Sabine by unanimous agreement]