THE DEMON VERGE
a classic Dungeons & Dragons campaign
inspired by Arnold Hendrick’s wargame Demonlord
There is trouble in the Verge. This is nothing new; the region borders upon Nisshar, the frontier of the Demon Emperor’s domain. The lords of the Verge, a collection of petty princes, minor dukes and barons, have a long tradition of conflict with their neighbors -- and each other. But one year ago, they allied under the common banner of Hosar, the sun-god cult, and swore to end the depredations of Lord Nish and his dark hordes once and for all. The dark masters of the Demon provinces, in kind, made a blood-oath to snuff out the alliance of Hosar forever. One year ago, the forces of light and darkness met upon the battlefield to meet their final victory, or death.
Neither force can claim victory. Not when High Priests and Demons alike were laid low in the battle, villages and cities put to the torch, shrines and temples shattered. The ones that both sides had hoped to court as allies -- the Dwarves of Ula, the cragmen of Altu’han, the Sorcerer Cloud Prince of Lyung, the barbarians of the Great Forest, and the mysterious Ancients -- refused to aid either of them. Perhaps they sensed the folly in this supposed final conflict. Perhaps they were simply weary of generations of war.
Whatever their reasons, the result is that an already lawless region has plunged into near-chaos. With its failure to convincingly defeat the infernal powers of the southeastern steppe, the religion of Hosar has lost much of its sway over the people, and cults both old and new, wondrous and terrible, are re-emerging. Brigands and bandits rise up in the place of lords disgraced or slain during the war. Monsters and vile warlocks once pressed into the Demonlord's service are now unleashed to do as they will.
Once, the Crown would have sent its legions to restore order. But Altacia is not called “the Old Kingdom” only because it has ruled so much of the continent of Narth for so long. Altacia is in its dotage now, and its rivals sense the weakening of its grip. Embattled and impoverished, forced to fend off threats from within and without, the Crown can only spare a small band of young warriors -- little more than mercenaries -- drawn from across the Kingdom and its colonies to send to its imperiled eastern border.
With your royal charter, you have traveled to this borderland, the so-called Demon Verge, with a vague directive to bring things under control. But the Throne City lies leagues away, and here in the Verge, the Old Kingdom’s power has faded. Will you help restore that power, or will you establish your own?