Old swords, ancient kings, and forgotten cities. Once the greatest city in the land, now guarded by darkness and death. Akibara was one of the hubs of the east, gateway to the sea, entrance to the lands. Now it lies amid a forgotten desert of ruin and death.
Akibara was once a thriving trade city, ruled justly by a popular king. Nearby three other smaller regions were in a constant power flux fighting for dominance over a small valley of debatable significance. A powerful mystic from a distant land came to these towns and quickly tamed the riot by omen and prediction. Through his influence the three regions joined forces and turned on Akibara.
This same mystic had given as a gift to the king of Akibara a beautifully crafted sword of unknown powers. The mystic said it would come to his help at his greatest need. And so, unknown to the newly united regions and the king of Akibara, the mystic had set a destiny in motion. The united foes marched on Akibara with visions of defeating it and taking it for their own.
The sword in the king's hands saved the city from the invasion by raining an unnatural fire from the sky on the combined forces. The fire burned out and completely destroyed his enemies as well as the land and farms all around Akibara, but not touching it. The fires burned for months and by the time they were finished there was nothing left around Akibara for three days of traveling.
The king was beside himself for grief and what he had caused. The grief quickly grew and madness took him. Soon imagined plots against him began to sprout and perceived rivals were imprisoned and, in many cases, executed without a proper trial. Many started moving away for fear of the king's wrath so the king closed the gate with penalty of death to those that would attempt to leave.
And this is where outside history has no knowledge. When the gates closed, they were closed for the last time and nobody was known to escape. Stories of the king's violence and madness combined with the inhospitality of the surrounding lands made it an easy thing for the city to fade from history. Few attempts were made to study the city after the collapse and even fewer since then. Hundreds of years have passed without thought about the lost city and, while it is still known, few care. It is simply a story to tell by the fire.
-Rumors of undead in the surrounding area have started to sprout. The corpses of forgotten people are being reanimated by the whim of a necromancer that has made Akibara his new home.
-The mystics goal was to make a portal to another plane to release his trapped god. The death of so many was required and an incubation period for the portal had to be waited out but now is the time of the once trapped god's new rising.
-Tales talk of the sword in pretty good detail. Rumors now say that the sword has turned up somewhere else in a similar simulation and the PCs are some of the few that know the story of the last one. Can they stop the use of the sword? Steal it? Diplomacy?
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? Responses (5)-5
I love it. Creates a possible adventure stop for characters, and leaves enough open for me to draw my own conclusions. Why did the mystic do this? What happened since the city was closed? This post got me into it early, so I even prefer not having those questions answered by the poster.
I like the prophet, the cursed sword and the Madness of the king. This could come around again, with the PCs seeing the second coming of the mystic bearing peace and a sword. Can they react in time to keep their homeland from being blasted? I wonder about the mystic himself, and would like to see more about him and his apocalypic gifts.
Fantastic, it is an epic sized story that can be dropped into any setting. I like Scras's idea of having the mystic try this again, and then the PCs have to travel to Akibara to learn of the true nature of the mystic. Or (to reach deeper into the bag of cliche') what if one of the PCs or an important NPC is the long lost child of the King. As the blood of the king he bares some responisibility for the the deeds of his father, and he may wish to reclaim his legacy.
Nice plot. The history is good. Lots of possibilities for getting the players involved in either stopping a reuse of the sword or simply investigating the lost city's region and the city.
A good monkey's paw item, if a little powerful
The side plot Scras adds is a pretty good one, and a quest to destroy the sword also has good, if perhaps not that original, possibilities.