Adventure Background

The threat of Elemental Evil surfaces in different worlds of the multiverse whenever the force known as the Elder Elemental Eye tests its strength. In its current incarnation, Elemental Evil arises in the Sumber Hills. The scattered towns and isolated homesteads of this frontier now face a dire threat. If the forces of Elemental Evil can’t be defeated before they grow, madness and destruction could spread unchecked through the North.   The presence of Elemental Evil in the Sumber Hills goes back thousands of years, when a sect of renegade drow discovered the extensive caverns beneath the Sumber Hills and claimed it as their territory. These dark elves venerated a terrible god of primordial evil, and they built a shrine to this nameless power. In time, the ancient drow cult faded away (or was wiped out), and the place known as the Temple of the Elder Elemental Eye was forgotten for centuries.   The dwarves of Besilmer were the next folk to discover the site. Besilmer was a realm of pastures and cropland. The dwarves established an underground stronghold called Tyar-Besil beneath the Sumber Hills to defend against the trolls and giants that plagued the region. The dwarves discovered the ancient drow hold and its temple below their own delvings. They lacked the strength to clean out the ruins, so they abandoned their deeper excavations. Trolls and giants soon broke the realm of Besilmer, and the remaining dwarves abandoned the place altogether.   Over the years, adventurers occasionally stumbled across the buried stronghold of Tyar-Besil and the drow vaults below it. Few made any lasting record of their explorations, and their names are forgotten. But in the year 893 DR (using the Dalereckoning calendar, about 600 years before the present day), a band of adventurers called the Knights of the Silver Horn found the place and commenced an exploration of the ruins. The adventurers came back to Tyar-Besil again and again, and when they decided to establish strongholds and tame the territory, they raised their keeps over each of the known access points leading to the ancient dwarven ruins. The adventurers feared something in the deep caves below the Sumber Hills, and they intended to set a permanent watch over the area.   History didn’t cooperate. A generation or two after the Knights of the Silver Horn established their strongholds, an orc horde swept through the North, and the keeps were overrun. For centuries they stood empty. Locals came to know them as the Haunted Keeps, and various monsters occasionally occupied the ruins.   The abandoned keeps and the dwarven stronghold beneath them might have been forgotten forever, but a few years ago a drow named Vizeran DeVir returned to the ancient Fane of the Eye. A renegade drow wizard of great power, DeVir was no servant of Lolth; like the forgotten sect that created the temple long ago, he devoted himself to the nameless power of the Elder Elemental Eye. His beliefs led to his exile from drow society, but his faithfulness to this dark power did not go unrewarded. Guided by visions, Vizeran DeVir created four mighty weapons imbued with Elemental Evil: the spear Windvane, the dagger Tinderstrike, the trident Drown, and the war pick Ironfang. He left these weapons on the altar of the Elder Elemental Eye for their fated bearers to discover.   Within the last few months, each of the four elemental prophets was driven to seek out the ancient altar by dreams or visions. One by one, Aerisi Kalinoth, Vanifer, Gar Shatterkeel, and Marlos Urnrayle claimed their weapons and became the leaders of their respective cults. The four prophets established themselves in the ruins of dwarven Tyar-Besil and occupied the Haunted Keeps that guard access to the vast dungeon. Lunatics, outlaws, power-hungry villains, and monsters of all description began to trickle into the valley, drawn by the dark call of Elemental Evil. Meanwhile, the prophets experimented with their new toys, nurturing the seeds of elemental nodes that grew larger every day and testing their powers to create ever-larger natural disasters.   After thousands of years, the seeds of Elemental Evil once again sprout beneath the Sumber Hills. Whether anyone can expose these sinister plots and put a stop to them remains to be seen.