The characters find themselves meeting in a dimly lit mess hall of the main guard tower at Dawncrown’s Golden Coast Stronghold: Rhogar of Ioth Okarthel’s prestigious military, M477, mentored by orks in the art of war, Nullum, a sorcerer born of dark and forbidden knowledge, and Borivik the Unshackled, enemy to the Atrotonian Empire. After some time mingling among the guardsmen, a mysterious figure in a black cloak and leather armor approaches them. He is Alder of the Night Wardens and the reason for their meeting. These adventurers have been forced or persuaded into a life of monster slaying and heard the recruiting call of the wardens.
After introduction, Alder leads them from the stronghold on a simple horse drawn carriage. Shortly, they arrive in the humble town of Coastalshire. However, one thing stands out amongst the community – a chapter of the Mage’s Academy. Alder informs them that they must solve a goblin infestation in the town as their first test. After discussion with the townsfolk, they learn that two students in the academy have been murdered and that goblins have been seen on the outskirts of town lately. The adventurers gain entrance to the academy and investigate further – revealing that the human victim had developed his own spells, and that the halfling victim had gained forbidden knowledge of a dark, hellish realm during his academic travels.
Footprints are discovered in the library that lead out into the courtyard. Something or someone has obviously infiltrated the academy and murdered these prestigious students – though no one has seen the perpetrator. The adventurers come to the conclusion that the monster must be living inside the grounds. They discover a cellar full of wine and class materials. To the lament of the thirsty wizards, the wine is destroyed in search of the murderer. Eventually, a hole is discovered in the corner of the cellar leading to a dark cavern. Inside, the adventurers discover a nothic – a one creature who feeds off of knowledge and was obviously drawn to the unique knowledge obtained by the victims. The beast is slain after it tries to bargain its way out of death – for true wardens care only for justice. Alder commends the recruits for discovering the true perpetrator and quickly leads them out of town on the carriage towards Warrior’s Landing.
On the long trip south, the party comes across a bloodied battlefield where the dragonborn and Dawncrown fought in the last conflict of their 200 year old war. The dragonborn slew King Julius and claimed his head for Kalith – winning their independence from the greedy human nation.
After days of travel, they come across the gloomy village of Twilight Hearth. At the top of a hill behind the town lies the gate of Warrior’s Landing. The home of the Night Wardens is heavily fortified with siege weapons and murder holes in the event of an attacking force. At the sight of Alder, the gatekeepers make way for the weary travelers.
The recruits meet Sigmund the Great Wolf face to face. He is an imposing presence and has no tolerance for the weak willed. He instructs them that they must earn the recommendation of two different officers before he grants them status as Night Wardens. Skothvauld the Tempered, an Urrok of great martial prowess, sends them on a mission to kill an owl bear that has been terrorizing a trail near Twilight Hearth. The heroes make use of their ingenuity to lure the beast from its cave and light it like a torch using animal fat from the nearby butcher. Skothvauld commends their ability to adapt to the situation instead of taking the beast on in a blind fight, and they receive his recommendation.
Next, Nilatar – a mysterious drow sorcerer from a far away land – tells them of a necromancer who was hiding out in a nearby crypt. The necromancer had already been disposed of by Nilatar, but some of the villain’s monstrous undead remained. He wanted the recruits to travel to the crypt and destroy any undead they encountered. Within the crypt, they fought off zombies, skeletons, and even a dreaded ogre zombie who almost proved to be too hardy for the recruits. With the deed finished, Nilatar granted them his recommendation. Being swifter and already having gained combat experience in their pasts, the recruits were ready to take Baldur’s Covenant and become Night Wardens forever.
Within the chapel of Baldur in Warrior’s Landing’s keep, Sigmund and the other officers prepared the Rite of Binding – a dark and traditional ceremony passed on from the first of the Wardens. Sigmund handed each of them a black potion and ordered them to drink it, reciting “Drink now of death, and know our conflict”.
They felt their souls cosmically travel through time and space and awoke at the foot of a gargantuan golden gate – the gateway to Deuminus itself. Behind them was a vast blackness with gnarled roots reaching out of it towards the gate, as if the blackness was trying to grapple the paradise of the gods and pull it into oblivion. Standing at watch in front of the gate was the Night Warden patron god, Baldur. He wielded a massive greatsword in his eternal pose, ready to ward off any who would dare march on his fathers’ gate. Baldur reached out to the souls of the recruits and led them into the blackness, protecting them from the evil that awaited.
Inside of the black realm, the heroes immediately felt a deep cold infiltrating their bones and heard the arcane shrieks of countless souls being refined into energy for the legion of infinite malice that surrounded them. The legion lashed out at them in an attempt to drag them into damnation, but Baldur’s protective energy held against the monstrosities. For some time, they were forced to endure exposure to this realm of pure negativity. Nullum, having been previously exposed to the void, was able to discern a message from the demons to his mind – “Do not think that this pawn of the Primal Forces can protect you forever. You will have eons to prove that you belong here”.
Eventually, their souls were returned to their bodies in the chapel of Baldur. However, two of the recruits died from exposure to the Void – leaving Nullum, Boravik, M477, and Rhogar to carry on Baldur’s will. They completed the Rite of Binding by accepting Baldur’s Covenant and pledging loyalty to the Great Wolf, protection of the innocent, and Baldur himself.