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Karameikos Campaign Idea

by mac1dsr

After five years, I am returning to Dungeons and Dragons, and of course that means restarting a Mystara Campaign.

My last campaign was a globe trotting campaign where the characters never became too involved with political events but travelled from the Duchy of Machetos all the way to Specularum, via the City of Thyatis and the Savage Baronies.

I am thinking about doing the opposite in this game, immersing them in the politics of Karameikos. I have the following general outline for the overall plot and I am looking for suggestions.

I think that these events would occur over a roughly 20 year period, from AC 995 to AC 1015.

Phase I: A Brewing Storm

Thyatian settlers are still pouring into the Ducate of Karameikos pushing the frontiers farther and farther north. Indeed, Traladarans have seen the early success of these settlers and are striking north also. This is increasing the strain on the these northern frontiers causing increased conflicts with the humanoid races in the northern mountains.

Baron von Hendricks, though never committing his own troops, has been aiding his cousin by importing clerics of Vanya (with the collusion of more conservative elements of the CoK) to act as chaplains to the troops in the mountains.

This while a mysterious leader named Bargus, Blargus or Barglus is uniting the northern humanoid tribes.

Phase II: The First Humanoid Wars.

A united army of Orcs and Goblins sack Threshold, burning much of the newer parts of the city. The old city and the fortress hold, though the bridges to the old city are largely destroyed.

The army marches north from Specularum, en mass, to engage the Humanoids. The Orcs and Goblins are driven back into the mountains The Humanoid Army would have been destroyed at the Battle of the Three Armies, near Castellan Keep, had the Imperial Army of the Dragon Empress not shown up and done significant damage to both armies. The IADE is never heard from again, but Kobold travellers become more common in the mountains of Karameikos.*

With both armies near exhaustion, Duke Stefan and the Orc King Ortal make a peace treaty.

Phase III: An Unsteady Peace

Much of the land conceded to the Orcs had been claimed by Traladarans, and this causes much discord among the Traladarans. In addition, further actions by Von Hendriks and the CoK to Thyatianise Karameikos cause add fuel to the fire.

CoK priests are run out of villages and local will not pay taxes to Thyatian speaking officials. The Ambassador from the Five Shires adamantly denies arming peasants in the west in an attempt to overthrow the Black Eagle Baron.

Phase IV: Traladaran Revolt

On Midsummer's Eve, soldiers in the Black Eagle Barony find a stash of weapons, (short swords, short bows and four foot spears) in a coastal village. They respond by hanging all 98 Traladaran residents and raiding halfling "smuggling ships". The next week a Cult of Halav Priest is lynched outside of Luln, for conspiring with the Thyatians. Duke Stefan takes this personally and has five members of the mob drawn and quartered for treason. The Traladarans are now in open revolt.

The revolt is fiercely and quickly put down in the Black Eagle Barony, and Von Hendriks sends troops to help in the rest of the revolt which is largely confined to the shore, Kelvin and Specularum. Black Eagle troops terrorise the lands west of Specularum.

A young Karameikan Naval Captain and his young Kerendan Marine Commander who were captured by rebels witness the devastation when the Black Eagle Guard free them, but slaughter all of the villagers in the village they were being held in. Using his contacts, as the son of the minister of war, he gets to address the Archduke about the horrors. Stefan dismisses his complaints as "horrors of the battlefield". The archduke is taken aback when the Marine Commander interrupts him, "No, father, there was no battlefield."

The passionate argument of the Duke's returning daughter convinces the duke to make peace with the rebels. Using members of the Cult of Halav as go betweens the Duke makes a number of concessions to the rebels, including abolishing the Thyatian tradition of slavery. The Duke also declare Karameikos an independent kingdom, free of Thyatian domination.

Phase V: The Second Humanoid War

The Black Eagle Baron, outraged at the peace concessions begins to openly encourage the humanoids to revolt, even sending his court wizard Bargle to teach them tactics. Von Hendriks argues that the ban on slavery would apply to them also and says that this is needless interfering, and contrary to the previous peace treaty.

The Orcs and Goblins, predictably march to war. Bargle is able to organise them remarkably quickly, as if they knew him or something.

In the war, the Black Eagle Baron reluctantly send his troops, but unlike the efficiency of the previous war, the troops always arrive a day late. The Baron blames the loss of dedicated Hattians and Thyatians from his troops due to the concessions in the last revolt.

Eventually, the Karameikan Army wins, and a devastated Karameikos settles in to a peace.

Phase VI: Peace

Von Hendriks and local Thyatians continue to plot, but the realm is cautiously peaceful. The years of civil war have taken their toll, but luckily the neighbouring nations have fought devastating wars and are unable to interfere as the Kingdom of Karameikos consolidates.

Phase VII: Foreign Invasions

Halflings invade Karameikos and capture the Black Eagle Baron. King Stefan is convinced to stay out of it, and the Halflings turn the Barony back over to King Stefan.

Later that year, Von Hendricks escapes and is seen in the court of the Thyatian Emperor, pleading his case. At the same time conservative Thyatians are pressuring Stefan Karameikos to return to Thyatian traditions. And there are rumours of a strange wizard organising the humanoids to the north.

The Castellan of Foot Doom is murdered in the streets the day before Von Hendricks and several hundred Thyatian mercenaries arrive in the Baron of Halag. A day later a messenger presents a list of charges to King Stefan, including treason against the Empire and failing to defend a vassal from foreign invaders. Thyatian troops march in from the east, von Hendricks from the west and Bargle's humanoid army from the north.

Luckily, by this point the King of Karameikos is being advised by those odd, magical heroic beings, known as PCs.

*The IADE is an underground Kobold Empire. Kobolds are a horrific, silly nuisance in my game that inject some humour and terror into my game. A strictly Lawful Evil race that is devoted to the Dragon Empress, Kobolds do not use metal, live underground, are immune to fire damage, construct elaborate papiermache homes, are martial arts masters (monks) and sorcerers and domesticate rust monsters for mounts. Players hate them, because you can fireball them, they turn magic items into pet food, cast magic missile and punch, hard.