Some time ago, a group of unassuming young adventurers traveled from the city of Fallcrest to the forested town of Winterhaven. Initially seeking the missing explorer, Douvan Staul, they were quickly tasked by Lord Padraig to discover the source of attacks on merchant caravans and farmers. Their investigations led them to the dark priest Kalarel, who had infiltrated the ruins of Keegan’s Keep at the instruction of a group of powerful Orcus cults known as the Ashen Covenant. There, he was to reopen an ancient portal to the Shadowfell and release a long-imprisoned undead abomination upon the living world. The heroes thwarted this plan, trapping Kalarel in his own portal while the beast he’d sought to release tore him apart. The gateway collapsed, leaving the Ashen Covenant’s plans in tatters.
Then the heroes learned that the merchants and villagers who had survived sacrifice to Orcus were instead sold as slaves to a gang known as the Bloodreavers. Investigation indicated this gang made their home in Thunderspire Labyrinth, an underground maze that was once home to a great kingdom of minotaurs. Now, perched between the upper world and the Underdark, the Seven-Pillared Hall was a destination for those who sought to trade in goods far from the eyes of authority. Their quest to free the slaves brought them into contention with a duergar clan and then with a rogue mage, Paldamar, in the service of the dark god of secrets, Vecna.
Having rescued the slaves and vanquished Paldamar, they learned of a magical pyramid containing unimaginable treasures. They quickly came to realize that the pyramid was little more than a trap, housing the splintered remains of the tiefling wizard who had created the place. After slaying each of his incarnations, they were at last able to free themselves and attempt a return to society.
What they found instead were troll armies marching on civilized lands. Under the guidance of the chieftan Skalmad, given great power by an item known as Moran’s Eye and an artifact known as the Stone Cauldron, these troll hordes seemed unstoppable. Any time Skalmad was defeated he would rise again from the Stone Cauldron. The town of Moonstair lay in his path. The heroes infiltrated the caverns that served as Skalmad’s base of operations and pursued him into the Feywild. They survived confrontations with cyclops and fomorians and finally faced the chieftan at his Stone Cauldron. Destroying the Cauldron put an end to him, but not an end to the adventurers’ travels.
What came to them next was word of trouble in the Underdark, where the dark elves made their home. Anticipating the need to destroy the entire drow enclave, the heroes instead discovered that the dark elves were under attack by forces of Orcus – demons and undead who had over-run their city of Phaervorul. Matron Urlvrain enlisted their aid in destroying the undead menace and Zirithian, the rogue drow who brought worship of Orcus into their Lolth-serving community. Travelling to the Rotting Throne in the Shadowfell, they slew Zirithian and took the cursed sword Nightbringer from his hand. They then drove the sword through the Eye of Orcus, a faint manifestation of the demon lord in the Shadowfell, destroying sword and Eye alike.
The adventurers’ problems with Orcus cults was not yet at its end. With the help of the Ashen Covenant a great shadow dragon known as Urishtar had taken command of Nightwyrm Fortress in the Shadowfell. Here a Soul Vortex was constructed that diverted the souls of the recently deceased from the Raven Queen’s judgement. The heroes became involved when it was discovered that Raise Dead rituals could no longer restore departed souls. Instead, these souls were being harvested by Urishtar at the Ashen Covenants behest. The heroes slew the shadow dragon and destroyed the Soul Vortex, freeing the souls that had become trapped.