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Blowing Up Midgard, part 5, The bindings of Demon Mountain bend

Blowing Up Midgard, part 5, The bindings of Demon Mountain bend

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 contains an outline of major events that blows up a setting-wide powderkeg that’s been sputtering for years.

Midgard Background

The Master of Demon Mountain is among the most enigmatic power figures in Midgard. If you’ve skimmed the Worldbook, it’s entirely possible that you missed most references to him. However, he seems to be hinted at in many chapters. So what is actually known about the Master of Demon Mountain?

The Master’s true name is either hidden, unknown, or lost to history, as is his heritage. He claims to be an archmage and the last scion of Vael Turog, the first lost human magocracy of the West.

While his peers were tearing their nation apart (ultimately culminating in the Black Sorceress’s Revolt), this archmage traveled the Rothenian Plain. After discovering the confluence of ley lines at Demon Mountain 610 years ago, this archmage spent sixteen decades wrangling the raw power under the mountain. 450 years ago, this archmage became the Master of Demon Mountain.

With his triumph over Demon Mountain, the Master gained ultimate skill in demon binding and even longer life. This came at the cost of his freedom, as the Master has bound himself to Demon Mountain. This only permits the most fleeting visits to his few allies, such as Veltrin, the Glittering King of the Ruby Despotate, for whom he has crafted a fleet of golden ships.

Despite his presumed age, the Master is renowned for his fecundity. Each year, at least one tiefling youth departs the Mountain bound for adventure or court intrigue. While all are silent as to their parentage, the Master claims each as their children.

In addition to his many children, the Master has raised up allies among the tribes of the Rothenian Plain. As his closest allies (at least geographically), the Master has trained their most skilled magic users in diabolism and granted their riders with Valesian manes. Most visitors to Demon Mountain are escorted or dragged by these loyal riders.

The Master’s bindings to Demon Mountain ensure his long life, delaying the decay of aging. Should these bindings to Demon Mountain be severed, the Master would age four and a half centuries in moments. The Master recognizes that this is his greatest weakness—even greater than his geographic tethering—and endeavors to achieve immortality so he may leave his powerful prison.

A decade ago, the Exarch Vermes II bet the Master of Demon Mountain that he could not collect five gifts from Midgard, even with the aid of a potion that delays death for a year and a day. The Master has accepted the bet, gambling that he can present Vermes II with five gifts before he expires. If the Master is successful, Vermes II will bind himself to Demon Mountain, and the Master will ascend to the head of the Ninemage Council. If he fails, the Master promises to return to his prison at Demon Mountain as a dutiful vassal to Allain.

Part 1. Plain Dealings (Levels 1–3)

A Bemmean merchant hires the PCs in Clarsaya to help guard his caravan’s voyage across the Rothenian Plain. The merchant pays a little too well, even considering the dangers on the open plain, and the PCs soon realize that they are being targeted by the centaur tribes that roam the plain.

Pursued to the Demon Mountain Road, the PCs are met by tiefling twins who offer refuge on the other side of the ley line. These twins, who are the Master’s favored children, escort the caravan to Demon Mountain, where the merchant delivers a potion. The children pay the merchant the PCs handsomely.

At this point, the PCs can return to Perunalia with the merchant. However, the PCs have impressed the twins, who confide about their plans to leave Demon Mountain now that they have received their inheritance. Disgusted with their father’s alliance with the Glittering King, they intend to travel to the Ruby Despotate to lead a slave revolt.

If the PCs accompany the twins south to help, they promise reward commensurate with the risk.

Part 2. Enlightening the Despotate (Levels 4–6)

The twins’ plan is a lie wrapped around a substantial nugget of truth. One twin remains at Demon Mountain, while the other travels to Reth-Saal with their father, who is glamoured to look like his twin son. Along with the “twins”, the PCs meet with local freedom fighters, who initiate a revolt using the twins’ arcane inheritance.

The revolt serves to hide the PCs’ role in toppling the Despot of Reth-Saal, the Glittering King Veltrin II. Much of the Despot’s power comes not from his legions of slaves but the demons bound to the prows of his demon ship fleets.

The “twins” task the PCs with pouring mushroom brandy over the prow of the flagship, Golden Bird, which frees the bound demon Yarochort. Once the Despot takes command of his flagship, the liberated Yarochort slips his chains and attacks Veltrin. The golden bird demon eats his tormentor’s body before dragging Veltrin’s soul off to the Khazzaki lands and through all Eleven Hells.

In the confusion, the Master collects Veltrin’s ruby encrusted chalice (the first of the five gifts).

The Master then sheds his glamour, revealing his true form. After proclaiming an enlightened Ruby Despotate, the Master anoints his daughter, Foxglove, as duchess of his new domain. The Master also announces his plan to free the trampled peasantry in more Midgard nations. The newly freed slaves flock to his army and navy, which he soon drills into crack units.

Meanwhile, the rest of Midgard quakes at the prospect of the Master unshackled.

The Master of Demon Mountain’s plans continue in two weeks!

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

5 thoughts on “Blowing Up Midgard, part 5, The bindings of Demon Mountain bend”

  1. Interesting take on the Master. Probably not how I’d prefer to run him, but I like this plot anyways will be very useful

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