All Good Things Must Come to an End

bard.jpgIt is DR 1493, the Year of the Purple Dragons, and for the past decade, a Grand Alliance of the regions’ major powers has helped bring about previously unheard levels of prosperity and safety to the resident of the Sword Coast. Several prominent bandit groups were either destroyed or paid off, finding a new life among the Zhentarim, where their criminal activities could be put to…better use. Farmers saw more plentiful profits, as local thugs and corrupt leaders who once stole from them were chased out of towns by the Harpers and the Emerald Enclave. And merchants among the great cities saw historic levels of profit as the Lords’ Alliance and the Order of the Gauntlet worked together to reduce tariffs and better enforce the trade routes. But this Grand Alliance could only last for so long, and recently, cracks have begun to form, as each of the powerful factions have begun focusing on their own agendas. This tension culminated at the recent decennial meeting of the Alliance, during which discussions broke down and most members stormed out in anger and frustration.

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The causes of this tension are many, but just to name a few…The Lords’ Alliance has begun placing more importance upon protecting the larger cities of the Sword Coast such as Baldur’s Gate, Waterdeep, and Neverwinter. As such, they have withdrawn their patrols along the lesser-traveled trade routes, leaving the many smaller towns along those roads far more susceptible to raider attacks. Meanwhile, the Harpers, who admire the independence of those townsfolk brave enough to eke out a living on the edge of the wilderness, have begun placing agents, some even rumored to be undercover, in many of those small towns, hoping to send warnings of impending attacks to nearby settlements, but in doing so have left their spy networks in the major cities greatly depleted. The other major factions in play are the righteous Order of the Gauntlet, the elusive Emerald Enclave, and the self-serving Zhentarim. Each of these factions has their own agenda, and while they still hold some mutual interests, they may not be enough to keep the Alliance together.

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As cracks in the Grand Alliance widen, criminal activity has increased along the Sword Coast. Raids against smaller villages have increased, magical artifacts and valuable treasures have been stolen from museums and temples in the larger cities, and kidnappings have begun occurring far more frequently than in recent memory. While there does not seem to be any discernible pattern to these incidents, certain representatives among the factions believe they may be connected, and deeper investigations have uncovered evidence reinforcing such theories. Harper agents discovered matching insignia on the bodies of raiders at attacks that took place hundreds of miles apart. The insignia were emblazoned with a single flame surrounding a five-headed dragon. The Harpers may know more about the symbol, but if so, they’re keeping such information to themselves.

As rumors of the increasing attacks have spread across Faerun, adventurers from far and wide have come to the Sword Coast, some seeking to help stem the tide of darkness, others looking to embrace it, and of course, some simply looking for glory and treasure. The only question left to answer is…which one are you?
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Tyranny of Dragons

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