The Rise of the Sanguine King
The Rise of the Sanguine King is a Dungeons and Dragons campaign that combines high fantasy, national intrigue, apocalyptic story-telling, science-fiction, and horror influences ranging from Harry Turtledove’s alternate history fantasy to John Carpenter’s “The Thing.”
The Story Thus Far
The players, outcasts doomed to stagnation at Fort. Murdock, known better as the Bottom, a place where military failures and political exiles are sent to be forgotten and die, where one day attacked by a wholly unknown entity. A malevolent shapes-hifting creature which seized control of the bodies of the dead and spread itself like a plague. Only known as the Fleshwarpers, the beasts lay waste to the fort, killing all but the handful of survivors. These few warriors learned in the chaos that somehow the very kingdom they serve was behind the release of these new horrors. Several of them had been wounded by the Fleshwarpers, and showed signs of the infection which would lead to them “turning” soon. With only an encrypted journal of the wizard who might have summoned these things here, the survivors journeyed into the wilderness for a year to fight off the corruption and find a cure.
While this band of survivors was facing their own trials in the wilderness, a second group of heroes, soldiers in service to the same kingdom, suffered their own tribulation. In the night the norther fortress-city of Cedric was overrun by a strange new breed of beast. These beasts could change their shape at will and used the bodies of the dead and living to mold new forms and spread their numbers. The defenders of Cedric fought valiantly, but they where betrayed by the wizard Gallengar. Gallengar was revealed to be working with some sort of Mind Flayer assassin and let the monsters, whom he called Fleshwarpers overrun the fort and assimilate the inhabitants of the city. He then allowed himself to be consumed, and transformed into an aberrant beast somehow able to command the hoard of the Fleshwarpers. The soldiers fought him in a bloody storm and defeated him, but did not kill him. He was rescued by the seemingly mindless fleshwarper spawn, which threatened to overrun the few remaining soldiers, had they not been saved by a archer with command of the primal magic of the spirits and his allies. This archer revealed himself as a member of the Order of the Pentad Sigil and told the soldiers that he and his comrads opposed an entity known only as the Sanguine King and his children, the “Unborn.” The soldiers were lead away from fallen Cedric, to a glade where several other primal warriors waited. There, a lone figure among the primal warriors told the rescued soldiers that now their only option for survival where to throw in their lot with the Pentad Sigil, pulling back his hood to reveal the purple tentacles of a Mind Flayer.
Eventually, the band in the wilderness did discover a ritual that rid them of the infection of the Fleshwarpers. It cost them a year of isolation and suffering as they worked to fight off the infection killing them, but also to crack the code and complete the work of the Gnomish wizard Jeckerey who had called the Fleshwarpers to this world. After this, the survivors left the mountains to return to the “Kingdom” to settle accounts, but as they left the mountains, only wilderness and scorched ruins where villages had been a year before greated them. No birds sang and few beasts where seen, and narry a mortal was in sight. A year and five days after the Bottom was purged in fire, the band of survivors crested a mountain path and surveyed a plain below them. Upon that plain was a lone walled city, its buildings hidden in smoke and twilight, and the field around it filled with shifting inhuman figures.
A new epoch is coming. The nations of the world are slipping now as a sudden darkness surrounds them. Can this band of survivors perhaps save the world from this new threat of the Unborn, or will all that was, all that is, and all that will be be drowned in the coming of the Sanguine King?