Raid on Dambrath is a brief solo adventure designed for one or two PC’s of levels 5-7. In this adventure, the party has decided to steal valuable horses from an isolated ranch in the border marches of Dambrath. To do so they take a brief journey across The Shaar to the Gezerite monastery of Shabab, in The Toadsquat Mountains, where they are shown hidden paths through the mountains into The Luirwood. There they meet an ally who helps them strike at the unsuspecting ranchers with surprise, and escape again with rich treasure and some intriguing opportunities.
This adventure can be run as a continuation of the story from The Calimite and Surprise at Addis; as a direct sequel to The Calimite; or you can use it as a stand-alone. If you have run both previous adventures in The Tuigan Empire and are now going to run Raid on Dambrath as a sequel, then you are ready to play. Skip to the DM notes.
If this is your first adventure, it will be a short introduction to The Tuigan Empire, a Mongol-themed area of my own invention located inside the Forgotten Realms, and a way for the DM and players to test out some things (particularly the Horse Racing system) without the burden of a long story arc. The story is short, intended for a single one-day session. It contains some travel, lots of combat, and some racing and other contests where the character(s) can earn a little money. It is suggested that you and your DM should use The New Party Member Intro to get your character(s) to the starting point. You will have to omit references to previous events, and you may want to adjust the encounter toughness because the DM character Balud should not be present unless one of your characters is a lycanthrope.
It is suggested that you play Raid on Dambrath with two characters run by the same player. Create two Forgotten Realms characters at level 5-7 with any home region (but bear in mind that your characters must not be native to The Tuigan Empire). Humans are suggested, but any race is acceptable; however, playing a Small character (such as a halfling) will make you unable to ride a full size horse, limiting your enjoyment of the adventure. One of your characters should be a fighter, but the other may be anything you wish. Alignment, religion, skills and feats may be anything you wish, but at least one character should have at least one rank in Ride. Your characters may begin with maximum possible starting hit points and maximum possible starting gold pieces according to their class. You may purchase any equipment you like, including items exclusive to the Forgotten Realms, but you should not begin with a mount. If one or both characters are magic users, your starting spells may be anything you wish, including spells specific to the Forgotten Realms. Magic items may be anything you wish.
The story begins in the year 1427 Dale-Reckoning with both your characters emerging in the town of Shaarmid. You may create a backstory for them if you so desire. This may be useful if you intend to keep them around as NPC’s in the campaign (where their past lives may become useful hooks if you or the DM should revisit them), but it is not required.
What Your Character(s) Might Know
If your character(s) have any ranks in an appropriate Knowledge skill (such as History, Geography, or Nobility/Royalty), or if you intend to do some research during your travel time in-game, then feel free to follow the links around the campaign wiki (beginning with those on this page!) to reflect the odds and ends your character picks up. There is a lot, so don’t go crazy with it. Also bear in mind that the campaign area is still in development, so some links do not yet work and some information may be incomplete.
As mentioned elsewhere, the campaign area was creating using extensive published material for the Forgotten Realms. For information on the campaign area circa 1384 DR and earlier (the cutoff year), the most helpful of these are the two core books for the 3rd edition Forgotten Realms, the Player’s Guide to Faerun and the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting. Other supplements which have been used extensively for material are The Shining South, The Unapproachable East, Lost Empires, Serpent Kingdoms, and Underdark, plus the 2nd edition campaign setting The Horde (though please note that The Horde is set in 1360 DR). In addition to these, several other Forgotten Realms products such as Races of Faerun, Magic of Faerun, Power of Faerun, Lords of Darkness, Faiths and Pantheons, Champions of Ruin and Champions of Valor contain material which touches on the campaign area in a way specific to the particular topic of each volume. Any or all of these works are available in PDF form from your DM, free for the asking, but none are required.
Now you are ready to play Raid on Dambrath!
The Curtain Rises
As we begin, your characters have just been paid off and decommissioned from mercenary service for the Dwarves of The Great Rift. You left your homes a long time ago (at least, it seems that long) to enlist with the local branch of the Great Rift Department of Reclamation, Office of Contractor Relations, which stamped your paperwork, gave you your tags, and sent you through a portal to your bustling muster inside the Dwarven metropolis of The Great Rift. For months now, you’ve been tramping around the Underdark with your unit, pursuing Drow and other creepy crawlies best left unmentioned. You consider yourself a hardened veteran. Now they’ve given you your papers, your back wages, and a handshake, and you walk up a long ramp into very bright sunlight, heat and dust.
They tell you this town is called Shaarmid, in the middle of a giant baking grassland called The Shaar. Apparently this place is some kind of trade-meet, and it seems like they’ve just had a fair. Surrounded by a low, squat wall from which hundreds of pennants are flying, the mud-brick buildings of the city are nonetheless festively painted. There are colorful, strange people everywhere, buying and selling and packing up to go back wherever they came from. It’s pretty clear that you had better find some transportation soon if you intend to get out of here, since it looks like Shaarmid will be a ghost town within a day or two.
Fortunately, a particularly exotic person takes an interest in you as you wander the tents pitched on the plain outside town. This individual, who introduces himself as Menes, is some sort of a cleric, though of a god you’ve never heard of. As a cynical warrior with the dust of battle still clinging to your boots, you don’t pay much attention to his stories of a strange man called Tariq Dede who was executed and rose from the dead thousands of years ago in far-off Mulhorand. You are more interested in the flask of honey wine he gladly shares, which is excellent, and the helpful way he offers to carry your pack for you. The strange little man is brown as coffee, with fine, chiseled features and a fuzzy halo of woolly hair. His priestly robes are trimmed in green, black, and yellow and his holy symbol is a four-pointed cross with a hole pierced through the middle. His manner is soft and kind, but his eyes are sharp. His strangely accented Common sounds like what you think heiroglyphs carved on a temple would sound like if they made a noise, and he smells of dust and spices.
You and Menes make your way through the bustle of traders breaking camp until you reach the ornate pavilion tents of a very wealthy man and his large entourage. Whoever this is, he has had very good luck here. His men are the same color as Menes, but taller and thicker. They are taking down their large, brightly colored tents, removing the gold and silver decorations, the silk hangings and the expensive carpets, strapping on bright steel breastplates and preparing their beasts for departure. Their horses, which are numerous, are handsome Calimites, and they also have hounds, war elephants, even tame cheetahs! A few more robed clerics, who look quite a bit more senior than your new friend, are supervising everything from the edges of the chaos, when out of the center of the bustle walks the man Menes has brought you to see. Adam of Gezer is tall, dark, handsome and well-built, with a shaven skull and a noble face. You are taking a professional interest in the enormous greatsword strapped across his back while Menes introduces him as Knight of Dede (Peace Be Upon Him), Lord of Nazret and Axum, Protector of Addis, and so forth.
The gist of it is that this man is a wealthy noble and merchant lord of a far-off nation, who has come to Shaarmid to participate in the world-famous horse races held here each year. This year, he has actually won the purse, and now prepares to return to his homeland by a long journey east across The Shaar. When Menes has satisfied Adam of Gezer of your bona fides, both men warmly invite you to accompany them with genuine interest.
What the hell. It sounds like a relaxing trip, and you’ve got nowhere to be. Besides, you can smell coffee brewing in the camp, and your mouth is watering. You’d better get your stuff packed on one of the horses and then go find a good cuppa.
Getting to the Starting Line (For the DM)
At this point your party will be accompanying the Gezerite travelers as far as the monastery of Shabab, in The Toadsquat Mountains, where an appropriate NPC or DM character will suggest the idea of parting ways with them in order to launch a raid on Dambrath to rustle some of the valuable Dambraai racehorses raised on the isolated ranches in that region.
The DM notes for Surprise at Addis contain a detailed journey from Shaarmid to Shabab, which you can use with appropriate changes (such as removing NPC’s your party hasn’t met, like Batu and the Ogres). You can also have your party travel there with a group of Tuigan instead of a Gezerite group. The DM notes for The Calimite contain a long journey with a Tuigan ordu; simply lift the sections that describe their culture and camp life and use these instead of the Gezerite information from Surprise at Addis. I do not suggest having your party travel anywhere alone, because you miss the chance to have a guide introduce them to a new culture and unfamiliar landmarks.
Once the party has arrived at Shabab, you are ready to pick up with the DM notes for Raid on Dambrath.