Realms, both wondrous and dire, border the world. One such realm is the Shadowfell . Although not inherently evil, the Shadowfell is fraught with dangers, and the barrier between worlds can be thin. Sometimes the darkness breaks into the light. Nearly two hundred years ago, in 213 AD, a cult of the demon prince Orcus purposely created such a gap, connecting one of Orcus’s unholy Shadowfell sites to Exsterno. Skeletons, zombies, and fouler creatures flooded through the rift into the light of day. The Aurora Empire dispatched legionnaires to eliminate the threat. The empire’s soldiers destroyed the undead, sealed the opening, and built a keep to watch over the location and contain the threat. This is the site known as Keep on the Shadowfell though it is now more commonly known as Shadowkeep. Though there was a brief peace afterwards, more battles came and wars were waged. Eventually, the great fort fell into ruins and its grand purpose forgotten. Today it is seen as a harmless tumble of stone and wood. If only that were true. Deep within the ruins of the keep, the magic seal crafted by the Aurora wizards continues to protect the rift, but time has begun to erode even this powerful magic. Moreover, the Cult of Orcus has returned to the site, intent on finishing what its ancient brethren started. The cult seeks to reopen the rift to the Shadowfell. However the magic seal has so far frustrated the cult’s intentions. Time, however, is on the side of the cult. Unless the cult is stopped, the seal will collapse and the passage into the Shadowfell will be opened anew. If that happens. Valkane will face the threat alone. Leagues of dangerous roads separate the village from its closest neighbors, and the place has always stood as a point of light in the ever-growing darkness. Even so, Valkane won’t stand long against endless swarms of ravaging undead. The Cult of Orcus seeks to open the rift, establish a foothold, and launch further atrocities against the world at large. A priest of Orcus named Kalarel heads the death cult. Kalarel uncovered the truth of Shadowkeep a few years ago, after finding records dating back to the time of the original opening of the rift. Since then, he has been ceaselessly researching an evil ritual that he believes will allow him to shatter the seal and once more open the rift. Even as he searches the vile rites, Kalarel continues to expand his influence. After gaining control of the keep, he was able to make contact with a local sklug smuggler , an Astral by the name of Boronte in Valkane and through this connection arranged the use of Boronte’s Kobold henchmen in return for the cult’s cooperation and aid when needed. Kalarel has also been able to establish dominion over a tribe of goblins that had set up a lair within the subterranean chambers beneath the keep. These creatures, led by a goblin named Balgron the Fat , guard the place ferociously, not completely out of loyalty to Kalarel but due to their own thirst for wealth and power. After his control of the keep was solidified, Kalarel dispatched a goblin named Irontooth to oversee Boronte’s kobolds operating out of his lair near Valkane. Through his goblin agent, Kalarel has ordered the kobolds to harass and if possible, eliminate anyone in the vicinity who have the potential to delay or thwart the priest’s plans. Kalarel also installed an elf spy named Ninaran in Valkane. Through the reports of this individual to Boronte which are then passed on to him, Kalarel keeps an eye on the activities of Valkane’s residents and knows when newcomers arrive. Kalarel is confident he will achieve his goal and soon reopen the rift to the Shadowfell.
Shadowkeep was once home to a group of goblins led by Balgron the Fat, now deceased and was where our adventurers defeated Kalarel and closed the Shadowfell Rift. Shadowkeep has since crumbled even further and its deepest most catacombs, including Sir Keegan's tomb have collapsed killing any remaining foes and burying all remnant treasures,