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Blowing Up Midgard, part 3, Morgau Must Feed

Blowing Up Midgard, part 3, Morgau Must Feed

It’s Midgard Monday! Each week, we visit a corner of the wide world of Midgard. Look for standalone content you can drop into your campaign—whether it’s in Midgard or your own homebrew. Find new inspiration each Midgard Monday!

The Midgard Worldbook is packed to the brim with lore and legends of the Midgard campaign setting. Its nine interconnected meta-regions offer decades of gaming material, even without the hundreds of adventures available for play. Empire of the Ghouls is one example of a massive campaign spanning the length and breadth of Midgard.

So why don’t we blow up the Worldbook and redraw the face of Midgard?

In this (non-canonical) series, we’ll create outlines for mega-campaigns set in Midgard. Each tier will contain an outline of major events, ending by blowing up a setting-wide powderkeg that’s been sputtering for years.

Spoiler Warning: This article contains limited spoilers for the Empire of the Ghouls adventure path. This article presumes that adventure has already happened with generally favorable outcomes; GMs who plan to run this or whose PCs were not as successful may need to make adjustments. 

The Vampiric Rot at the Heart of Midgard

More than three centuries ago, the vampire Lucan arrived in the Duchy of Morgau, He infected the monarch’s children with undeath and introduced intelligent undead to the nobility. Despite the neighbors’ best efforts, Lucan could not be dislodged from his station and ultimately ascended to the throne of Morgau.

Frequently, Lucan lashed out at Morgau’s neighbors, stooping to conquer when the time was right. 250 years ago, Morgau devoured the Barony of Doresh, whose nobility have been replaced by vampires and other intelligent undead.

More recently, Morgau gobbled up the Electoral Kingdom of Krakova. Despite success on the battlefield, Morgau has had less success in ruling their newest vassal in the Blood Kingdoms.

Lucan’s rule has long been bolstered by two important Midgard factions. The Blood Sisters of Marena, the Red Goddess of winter, lust, sickness, and death, are loyal priestesses to the living in the Blood Kingdoms (and beyond). Emperor Nicoforus and his legions of ghouls have long supported Lucan’s territorial ambitions from below Midgard, and their surprise assaults were critical in the overwhelming victories in Krakova.

These two supports are weakening. After the failure of the Blood Wedding between clerics of Marena and Vardesain, the ghoulish god of hunger, Lucan has lost support with these factions. Furthermore, after betrayals by two of his dukes, Emperor Nicoforus is cleaning house within the ranks of the Empire and cannot be disturbed by surface problems.

Few things are more dangerous in Midgard than a vampire who feels backed into a corner, and Lucan is loath to surrender his seat of power.

Part 1. Magically Delicious (Levels 1–3)

Marikel Yaroch, chef of Zobeck’s finest restaurant (Firlot), is in a pickle. One of her short order cooks, Jos Akacsok, has disappeared, and Firlot is hosting a party at the behest of the bearfolk ambassador to the Clockwork City. As all her staff are mages, she can’t recruit anyone off the street—and Jos was her only diviner.

The PCs traipse across Zobeck’s districts, rubbing elbows the cook’s distasteful associates in the Gullet, Ashmill, and the Market District (see Zobeck: Clockwork City Collector’s Edition). Pursuing a lead into the Cartways, the PCs locate Jos along with five other missing citizens in the clutches of a vampire. After the vampire departs, the PCs can battle with dominated cultists who are tasked with taking the captives north to the Blood Kingdoms.

Part 2. Part of a Balanced Breakfast (Levels 4–6)

Having rescued the captives, the PCs learn there have been a rash of disappearances from the ranks of Zobeck’s destitute and undesirable. A professor at the Arcane Collegium, Rudwin Whitstone, consults the stars to determine that many of the missing are currently at Castle Langrone in southern Doresh.

Reaching Castle Langrone, the PCs find the locale to be less fortress and more farm. Lucan’s children are converting the best arrivals into vampire spawn and vampiric vanguards (see Tome of Beasts 3) to bolster the principalities’ armies. The weaker arrivals are milked for their blood.

The PCs free the prisoners and discover news of similar farms outside of Engerstal and Wallenbirg. GMs might look to adapt the Warlock lair The Food that Food Eats to present the village of Domek as one of the blood farms, which allows the PCs to flee to the safety of Dornig before the next part begins.

Part 3. Tricks are for Vampires (Levels 7–9)

Deprived of their blood farms, the Blood Kingdoms go on the offensive. Military conquest offers new food sources, and the resulting casualties reduce strain on existing supplies.

Operation Kingforest. Having arrived safely in Reywald, the PCs alert Saintmistress Rowmantle to the developments in the Blood Kingdom. Their arrival comes too little, too late.

As a wholly undead force, the Blood Kingdom’s army crosses the Tomierran without troubling the magical beasts that live there. Meanwhile, one of the still-loyal Red Sisters of Marena uses powerful magic to flood the Dornitian elf roads with blood precisely when the vampiric forces erupt from the forest line.

With travel slowed throughout the kingdom, the invasion is a rousing success. While the Grand Duchy doesn’t fall in the invasion, the Blood Kingdom occupies Reywald and destroys the towers along the roads to Salzbach and Hirschberg. Much of Dornig’s regular military is destroyed in the process, and the PCs must make difficult decisions in helping members of the Great Procession flee to the relative safety of the Donnermark.

Two Queens. From the Donnermark, the PCs learn that the Blood Kingdoms have captured both the sleeping Dornitian imperatrix and Queen Urzula, Krakova’s queen in exile. Both monarchs are kept in the Twinned Cathedral, which the conquerors are rededicating to Marena and Vardesain in hopes of making amends with these faiths. It’s rumored that Prince Lucan is coming for the rededication ceremony. (Certainly, the foul vampire is debating how to deal with his prisoners.)

Tasked with infiltrating the Twinned Cathedral, the PCs find Queen Urzula of Krakova has joined Lucan’s vampiric coterie. The Imperatrix, while yet alive, remains immovable due to her slumber and the vampires debate whether their bite is sufficient to rouse her. The PCs must make difficult decisions on how to deal with the monarchy.

The Bitemark. Having throttled Dornig, the Blood Kingdoms turn to the next thorn in their side—the reavers of the Wolfmark. Taking root in the Smuggler’s Isle, the vampires turn approximately 100 reavers into spawn and dominate another 400 to their whims. Using these new allies, the Blood Kingdom captures the Free City of Jozht.

After bolstering these vampiric reavers with forces from Wallenbirg and Hiederbirg, their army marches on Skogarholm. The PCs must decide how (and whether) to help Skuti the Whelp protect his fledgling domain—do they stand and fight? Do they flee? Do they convince other reaver dwarves to open up another front near occupied Krakova?

Part 4. Gristle in the Fangs (Levels 10–12)

The Blood Kingdoms turn to their next bogey, the Canton of Grisal in the Ironcrags. Despite two open fronts, Lord Fandorin, the Fey Lord of the Grisal Marches, believes that Grisal is ripe for the taking if Lucan will grant him sufficient vampiric shock troops. Lucan reluctantly agrees, and Fandorin besieges the Black Fortress of Grisal under the cover of shadow magic.

Instead of fighting at the ramparts, the PCs must convince nearby allies to march to the aid of the Ironcrags.

Grandmother’s Fire. The PCs travel to Zobeck for assistance, but Mayor Olleck fears that aiding Grisal may break an almost forgotten pact with Baba Yaga. Upon visiting Baba Yaga, the PCs secure her promise to release the city from the pact if they can find the thief who stole the fire from her hearth. (By scaling up CRs slightly, GMs can readily use “Grandmother’s Fire”, an adventure from Tales of the Old Margreve.)

The Kyprion Cross. Going to each of the Seven Cities, the PCs find potential allies who are reluctant to divert their armies north while the Dragon Empire is perched at their doorstep. The PCs must help fortify defenses on Kyprion before the Septime forces will march to the aid of the Ironcrags. With any dealings with the Dragon Empire, the PCs are bound to encounter their many agents, double agents and spies—check out this article to generate compelling foes.

Penumbral Promises. Finally, the PCs go to Runkelstad, the City of Wands, in the Magdar Kingdom. While it’s the summer home of the Widow Queen Dorytta, the PCs court a different ally—shadow fey who have settled in the city. The fey lord is willing to work the shadow roads around Grisal to help break the siege, for a price. With the fey, one never knows how their alien desires will work against you.

The Heimlich Maneuver (Level 13)

With Zobecker supplies, shadow fey mobility, and Septime war companies, the PCs marshal their allies to Grisal in an epic battle sequence. With a lot of heart, a little luck, and a pinch of self-destruct, the PCs can rout Fandorin’s forces. With Lucan’s armies overextended, the Blood Kingdom must shrink to a more manageable size. But what’s the next move for the nation that must feed?

Get into Midgard with the Midgard Worldbook! This acclaimed campaign setting is rich and deep, with a decade of support from Kobold Press.

Want a more focused start? Try the Zobeck Clockwork City Collector’s Edition! This detailed sourcebook
gives players plenty of room to run, and includes adventures within the Clockwork City itself!

About Benjamin Eastman

Benjamin L. Eastman was introduced to D&D by his four closest friends—who immediately betrayed his trust by sacrificing his first character to a demonic artifact. Undeterred, he’s played all manner of RPGs in the intervening years. In addition to writing Warlock Lairs and monsters for Kobold Press, he’s contributed to the Stargate RPG and Americana, and co-authored DMs Guild adventures including Baby Tarrasque. He is perhaps proudest of the bar brawl—his first published monster in the Creature Codex

6 thoughts on “Blowing Up Midgard, part 3, Morgau Must Feed”

  1. I’m convinced these are all ideas pitched for campaigns to be officially published but never got to publish for whatever reason. Love it

    Also why do you require name and email to post a comment? kinda annoying

    1. Author here: I can confirm that these are not discarded pitches from the Warrens. The next three are still in the works.

      As for the email requirement, I believe that it’s a WordPress requirement.

  2. This is amazing and perfect timing for some campaign prep! Absolutely loving Midgard Mondays and the lore!

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