Intro for this new campaign:
After the venerable Spiral Tower University capitulated from within as a consequence of a sudden uprising by Warforged patriots, the Warforged Leader Cinder 8 was murdered, almost as if by accident, by roaming mercenaries who chanced upon him; the entire Forged Revolution fell apart without his guidance. By now entire countrysides had been cleansed of all humanoid life, and grand Forges built on the crumbling ruins of civilization. They existed for the purpose of building ever-more Warforged soldiers... The Forges ran day and night until they sputtered out, and for some reason yet unknown, now they were all left vacant; the wandering infantile products of the Forges roamed across the land, examining all they saw in their new eyes, looking for purpose in life. Without the clear direction of a strong leader, most of the Warforged eagerly took orders form any passerby, and swiftly became a happy slave caste beneath the stinking toes of all men, even peasants.
Then the plague hit.
Some said it was a weapon released by the Warforged to finish the job of murdering all men, while others said it was a pox from the gods. What was certain, however, is that anyone affected by the sickness became a ravenous zombie, pathetic and insatiable. The plague was very effective in galvanizing people into groups based on various ideologies. Today these groups are all highly influential in politics and everyday life.
• The Humanists are composed of several religious groups with one goal: to exterminate the Warforged slaves and abolish the creation of such abominations. Few in number, their righteous valor and hatred are powered by the gods themselves, in spite of widespread corruption and well-documented abuse.
• The ForgeMasters: a collection of Warforged that seek to reactivate the Forges and annihilate all mankind and gods alike. They are quite organized but lack the means of operating the Forges, for now.
• The People: a conglomerate of disparate folk and ideologies that only share one common ideal, which is that everyone can get along if they choose to. They abhor the use of Warforged as slaves, and are bitterly loathed by the Humanists. They are generally progressive, disorganized, and freedom-loving.
• The governments of Latebrosa and Fallcrest: two states which have been at seemingly-endless war, yet rumor has it that both are being led by the same sinister forces, and that the war is a ploy to control the populace.
Other than the stale war that has been waged between Fallcrest and Latebrosa for the past century, the various kingdoms and duchies that dot the map are respected in name only. Fierce ideological battles erupt in mob violence regardless of borders, and secret meetings are a fact of life in taverns and chapels everywhere. The real question in this cloak-and-dagger puppet show is, who is pulling the strings?
Here's where you come in.
About forty years ago, well before the Forged Revolution was even a dream, the governments of Fallcrest and Latebrosa engaged in an unfriendly competition. Each, controlling several surrounding kingdoms, exercised crippling taxes on their peoples; each with a specific secret objective: the funding of secret experiments that would produce superior soldiers out of regular men. The rhetoric told the public differently: it was made clear in public announcements that the opposing nation was composed of liars, fornicators, and generally unwelcome blights that should be eradicated for the greater good, and it was they who were stealing the kids. Paranoia ran high on the national level, with each nation's name becoming a curse in the mouths of the opposition's citizens, all eager for bloodshed.
Meanwhile the experiments ran unabated. First, animals started disappearing; then children from all kingdoms disappeared from their beds at night. Families appealed to the authorities, but the half-hearted investigations always ran dry, and no wonder: the children from all kingdoms were being held captive in the same arcane laboratories, experimented upon in some of the most outlandish, ignorant, and sometimes surprisingly effective ways that either side could imagine.
The first thousand children's souls were sold briskly to devils in exchange for arcane knowledge. Those children were skewered and thrown into pits they had been forced to dig with their own hands, then buried by others, who were then flensed, tortured, injected with alchemical reagents, and rendered down for the needed chemicals that their bodies could provide. Palpable evil permeated the place.
More kidnappings followed. These children were injected with a "miracle serum", composed of the arcane reagents rendered from the previous batch of children and forced through re-education programs. A handfull of this batch were sleep-deprived until the very entities between the stars could no longer ignore their madness and turned their baleful gazes at the accumulated madness that gathered around the little ones, and those star-sized beings found gateways to the natural world via those young twisted minds. The particular wing of the compound in which those little ones were held suddenly exploded one moon-lit night in a singularity of star-fire, and the children and their heinous overseers were never seen again, and that particular method of torture was discontinued.
More kidnappings. Hourly exercise was mandatory for all subjects. It was rigorous and excessive: broken limbs and blisters were the least a child would suffer, and violations of the crassest nature pierced the night with howls and begs for mercy that seemed to never come.
In spite of these horrors, some of the children survived their practices, and fewer still excelled. It appeared that the miracle serum was working, but in unpredictable ways. Some children gained super-human strength, and had to be killed while several overseers held them fast. Others gained mastery of telekinesis and had to be kept blindfolded to prevent them from destroying their cells. The overseers underestimated the intelligence and resourcefulness of these desperate children. Some of those first ones, the older ones, whose souls had been sold for knowledge, had slept in their unmarked dirt graves for months and years. Their fatal wounds were knitted together with patches of diseased flesh, and they clawed their way through the dirt into the smoldering night. Soon it would all be over.
The overseers had neglected part of their early infernal contracts. In their haste, they didn't bother to read the eighty-eighth section, on page 88 of Document 8, Volume 8 of the contract, which had a comma that was positioned in the most awkward way, which negated the previous seven volumes of contract on behalf of the infernal beings and placed the onus of expense squarely on the shoulders of the overseers. As they were by this time quite delinquent on the remainder of their payments, the time of reckoning had come.
The compound was assaulted by the blazing fists of the recently un-deceased; and the resurrected, infernal youths cascaded like wildfire through the chambers, freeing some and murdering others. Shackles were shattered, straightjackets were shredded, and blindfolds obliterated. The magically-sealed bars and arcane marks that held the young captives were cast aside, no longer potent after the demise of their casters. However, several more innocent children would die in the flames that consumed much of the place, the flames licking out to claim their adequate price.
The remainder of the children broke down the barriers of the compound and realized they had no idea where "home" was. The landscape was indeed foreign. They huddled together for warmth in the autumn winds. With none else to turn to, the children banded together. Small grouped and branched off to become robbers, while some older ones took the initiative to guide the rest: they looked down, felt the soil, and took straight to plowing their own fields. They agreed that they had been hurt by the world outside, and would never trust outsiders again. With their new-found powers, they could light their own fires, purify their own water, dig wells, and build crude houses with ease. At first they decided that they would never let anyone hurt them again. The wisest of them, Ideravad, declared that they should go one step further: to make sure that the innocent would never suffer again. The pact was unanimous, and children with too-old eyes swore together to make the world a better place. Today they willingly train themselves and each other, ever striving for excellence in austerity, and venture into foreign lands to punish oppressors everywhere. After some debate, they settled on a name for their group. They call themselves "The Revengers."
In the cities of Fallcrest and Latebrosa, every few years, a strange person will come through, asking questions about missing children, old parents and families; and the government spies that infest the cities will do their best to make that person disappear. Lips stay sealed in these paranoid cities, but whispers in the dark mention other facilities like the one you were tortured in, which have produced diseases and monsters that ravage the land. Now the plague has taken its toll on municipal resources, and crime of every stripe goes unpunished and the innocent are made to suffer. The tyranny and the lies have to come to an end.
It is up to you, the Revengers, to set the record straight, to reunite with your families, and to save these people from their oppressive governments and the monsters they created.