Can it truly be called a war if only one side knows about it?
The initial battleground for the Shadow War is fought quietly on the world of Praemal in the City of Ptolus. The unsuspecting city. Vecna and the Antediluvian consider Ptolus to be a crucial location, a critical asset, like a nexus it affects many of the lands surrounding it and maybe the entire world.
The corrupted glade has no sign posts to mark its location or guide to inform you of the dangerous territory you have now entered. The shades of light change just enough as colors drain away, the rhythm of life with insects, birds and wild animals change, while the natural sounds you have come expect dull and then go silent. The Kindred Vampires of Vecna use this as a beachhead to subtly invade the World of Praemal and Ptolus City
The battle will not initially be fought with sword and shield, but with cunning and subterfuge. The Shadow War is named as such for the approach of Vecna and the Kindred, to deploy their assault on the mortals before they every realize they are in peril.
The Rules of War
While not strictly just rules of war there are several key elements that dictate the unlives of Vecna's line. Those are the Book of Night
, Tenets and the Traditions
. These are part religion, part culture and part practical survival. The Book of Night is said to be written in the blood of Vecna, the blood of a god and passed on to his Kindred. The Tenets and the Tradition while written in the Book of Night have a weight or importance that last well beyond those pages. The Tenets are what Vecna expects and the Traditions are how to survive.
Weapons of War
The weapons of war for the Kindred are many each more powerful than the next. The Masquerade is their first weapon, a veil of disguise and lies they wear like a second skin to blend on and move among the mortals. Next are the Trusted which are not quite Kindred but mortal bound by their tainted blood who act as servants, spies, aids and even companions for a fraction of their power and a small gift of immortality. Next come the inique and powerful Vampire Gifts that allow them to snatch information from thin air, bending a mind to their will with a glance or blood sorcery. And never underestimate the effectiveness of good old fasion bribery which only requires a greedy heart.
The Vampire God
Vecna a name that stretches back in the lore of evil deeds having been infamous for his misdeeds in Oerth or Greyhawk as it it commonly known. What most do not realize is the greatest trick an evil god of secrets could play is not not be recognized for his actions. The actions that laced across worlds and cultures wrecking civilizations and ruining bastions of law. Now seemingly at a journey end on the world of night or a wars beginning Vecna will strike back for all the heroes and gods of light that have thwarted his plans across the ages.
The Chosen of Vecna are tasked with the subtle conquering of the Ptolus City, infiltrated from the Shadowfell. The Chosen of Vecna are younger vampires still in touch with their humanity. This gives them an edge in dealing with mortals while furthering the goals of the Kindred. The Chosen or the Chosen of Vecna are Ancillae Vampires that have some experience but are still relative new in the ranks of important Kindred. Sires promote and suggest the names of their best or prized progeny to their family elders. To be selected as a Chosen of Vecna is an honor for both the Sire and the Progeny.
The Elven Plague was the first volley fired by the Kindred Vampires against the Elves of Praemal and Ptolus City. This was first blood against the Elves in the Shadow War , a war they did not even know they were fighting yet. Based on the insidious and deadly nature of the plague combined with famous elven arrogance it would soon be debated that they may not recover in time.
A Phoenix Rises
The Phoenix Prophecy
There is a prophecy buried deep in the ancient lore, a prophecy that speaks of a bird of fire - the phoenix of legend shall rise against the forces of darkness and burn away the lies of the shadow.
The Phoenix Watch
Behind the Curtain
The Shadow War sets into motion the age old conflict of good vs. evil on a cosmic scale. The Chosen of Vecna are the Kindred Vampires tasked to conquer the City of Ptolus for their Vampire God. The heroes of the Phoenix Watch are called together by an ancient wizard helping them weave destiny, fate and need to discover what darkness plagues the land and how to stop it. I have had the pleasure of running the Shadow War for players on both sides of the conflict. The side of the light and good is cast by Dungeons & Dragons Players of the Phoenix Watch, you could use your favorite fantasy system like Pathfinder or Exalted. The side of shadow and darkness is cast by players of Vampire the Requiem modified for a fantasy setting, however you could also use Vampire the Masquerade with some modifications.