A Light in the Darkness with 6 Sub-Campaign Categories, Gazetteer, 6 Massive Journals, More


I'll post this here for basic information. Full campaign details are here at: https://alightinthedarknessbythomascourtney.wordpress.com/


“It’s always darkest before the dawn.”

“When hell freezes over.”

“The light shone in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not.”

Copyright 2008 Thomas Courtney, Tom Courtney

Chapter 1: Introduction to the Campaign

Welcome to Cellinor! Known as “The Realm” to it’s citizenry, Cellinor is the Light in the Darkness of a world without a memory.  A world that does not understand it’s own past, or for that matter understand it’s own future. It is a world that knows of a destruction so powerful that it nearly annihilated every civilized race, and yet left few records as to what occurred.  

The Realm  is growing, and bringing peace and prosperity to many and yet it is still deadly and mysterious. Outside of the Realm the lands are much worse; they can be savage and wild, brutal or beautiful, and they are chocked full of adventure and discovery.  Ruins and ancient monuments protrude from hillsides, and it’s more common to stumble across something from the “Old Time” than not doing so.  Even in the Known Realm itself where “civilization” is but a few generations young, the Old Time, the time before the End Days, manifests itself in ruin, brick and stone, recycled  and built upon for modern use. The truth is, even commoners know that the New Age, the Celn Age, is not as sophisticated as that of the Old, the time of Kasille. Kasille is named after the few deciphered monoliths scattered amongst the world. The Kasillians were an empire of many races, prosperous and advanced, who either annihilated themselves, or came to some doom the like of which is hard to imagine. And yet, the evidence is all around but the clues are scattered and do not yet tell the tale.   People search for lost knowledge and lost artifacts that can’t be made in current times. Magic and technology are the trade of those brave enough to search.  And many do, for the risk is great but so is the reward. Others fear what is discovered may lead to a new doom. The mystery of what happened to these ancient civilizations remains a mystery. But that mystery is beginning to unravel to you!

What is known is that once there was an ancient and powerful civilization that was brought to ruin by an unknown cataclysm, the End Days. Too much time has passed, and the truth of what was before, and why it was destroyed has been filled with superstition, rumor and perhaps, exaggeration. That empire and its secrets have now been reclaimed by the primordial forces of nature and lost to the knowledge of men.  The wilds are simply too savage a place to explore for these answers, unless you’re willing to risk your life and maybe more.

A hundred generations have passed since that time .and now a single Kingdom shines as a beacon of light for the land. The inhabitants of this kingdom love their king who has faithfully defended their borders and now ensures peace and prosperity for all citizens.  This is not an easy task since the few major cities are built upon the ruins of ancient ones, and these are scattered in the wilderness adjacent to the resources large groups of people need to survive and to thrive.  Only a lone highway, the King’s Highway, connects them as it meanders through still inhospitable and ruthless wilderness.  Fiefdoms outside the major cities exist by means of a lord and a protective garrison. While most do quite well, it is not uncommon to hear of one that has been taken back by the evils of the Wilds.  In many ways, the entirety of the Known World is a vast belt stretching from East to West.  Above, lay the Forbidden Lands, below the Empire lie the Lands of Ice and Night.  Even the bravest of explorers do not return from these lands.  The mere mention of either is enough to send commoners into panic.

Unbeknownst to the common folk however, this kingdom is under dire threat from secret enemies within as well.  The king’s loyal servants have been ordered to seek out brave souls who would aid the defense of the kingdom. Some in secret, and some in leadership roles. Others search for the knowledge of what led to the End Days, and to the meaning of the coming signs, which point to yet another unyielding end for the Lighted Folk, The Darkening!

Your heroes can help Lord Borindin, and the Celn Empire, or they can help themselves or other allies.  Regardless of your motivations, the Darkening comes for all.  For as they say in Celn lands “Every wick must reach it’s end”.  Will you fight to keep the flame alive? Or will you prepare for the Darkness? Consider these adventure motivations carefully. You and your party will choose one to begin and change or keep your allegiances depending on your actions and decisions!


  • thomasocourtney
    Posts: 14 edited July 2017

    The campaign world is published on Wordpress and is available in full for all.  It composes nearly 400 pages.  There are also 6 narrated storylines there of campaigns run over the last 5 years. I have only recently packaged it all so that I could share with others.  Here at Obsidian Portal, if you go to my page, you can see the adventure journal of one current Campaign, called Shadows of Edessa. But I'm a bit (a lot) new to this website and can't yet figure out how to put it all there. If anyone's interested I gladly will try harder. Until then, feel free to follow our updated adventures, or read any of our year long campaigns published on wordpress at the website listed in the opening post of this thread. :)



    Post edited by thomasocourtney on
  • thomasocourtney
    Posts: 14

    Here is a feature story. I often provide several of these to players before we play a game. I tailor each to their character creation and then write the adventures to coincide with character nuances. Plot points then delve into player backgrounds.  I hope you enjoy any of them.



    “I should have never taken you in, you’ve done nothing but brought me an early grave.”

    Thus were spoken the last words of Edher Muldoon, the grandfather and caretaker of one Mavrik Hawksight. Mavrik waited for the mouth of the Sergeant to utter it’s last unkindness, and rolled the sheet up above his grandfather’s face.  He looked around at the cabin, covered in a finely thin layer of black soot. He stepped over the bad floor board, and opened Grandfather’s chest. There lay the sword he was never allowed to touch. The sword of his father.  He removed the weapon and placed it in his rucksack. Then, he went to the cabin door, opened it, and walked out, never to return.



    “Screech, quiet down, would ‘ya?” The blacksmith removed his smeared goggles so he could see the end result of his namesake engraved upon his work. His thick hair and Dwarvish beard stuck out in all directions.  “Another fine masterpiece for that miserable scum, Grogue.” It was hard admiring this armor, not knowing how Grogue was going to use it. 

    Not that he could guess. This was the third suit of plate armor that his “employer” had ordered, but the other two, only Patra knew what he did with them. Still, it was better than being in the mines. “One day Screech, one day, I’m going to make him pay for this suit. This one, and every last hammer blow.”



    Abel never forgot that fateful day, the day atop the burial hill of Amador.  Too young to find his justice, and too old to forget his pain, he took out his confusion on the black rock veins.  His father’s axe, Dantes’ pick axe, his only souvenir.  What a legacy to be left with the instrument of a man killed for doing the very thing he now did.  Working for the man who killed his parents. The years passed, and Abel grew strong with the long days of labor. Grogue’s men made sure of that.

    The day he stood alone in the mine, it took him nearly half the morning to realize there was no one else there, but him. In an instant,his axe was the only one still striking and ringing out.  He remembered, laying it over his shoulder, and walking out into the sunshine, to see the wheel at a stop, the water overflying into the dry earth.  Not a soul in sight. And just like that, the boy on the hill, was free. 



    “I have often the lot of you told, I do not serve the soup when cold!”

    Grabbing the handle, Chantecleer tried to lift his little elvish arms but found the enormous soup pot too heavy. This made him even more pink in the face, and made the tips of his elvish ears grow dark purple.  He was of course trying to show his customary protest of throwing “what could have been delectable, inedible” at his favorite target, one of the “Guardians”.  This one, a rather ugly mechanical and metal armored beast of a statue had been placed right in HIS kitchen.  It was a double protest, for him to hurl what he called “disgusting drival, and it ain’t trivial!” at it.  Today’s abomination was the roasted rabbit and eel soup he had perfected in his cooking school in Tyre. As he so often mentioned, this is why he was taken from a life he deserved, to the uncouth kitchen of the Edessan Palace. He was here to bring culture to the Papral House of Edessa, one bowl at a time. Not being able to lift the entire mess, he instead scooped it bowl by bowl and hurled the soup piecemeal at the metal statue.  Each bowl clanged off it’s metal plates, bits of eel and rabbit dripped down it’s joints.

    Exhausted from his tantrum, he stood with his back to the statue, pointing at each of his underling chefs, all of whom shivered with fear. One Halfling actually hid under the central table.  He thumbed backward at it. “It’s bad enough I have the beast, I will not stand you ruin my regal feast!”

    The cooks got the message, and quickly went back to work.  Chantecleer turned around, seemingly satisfied that this time the idiots who prepared HIS meals would do a better job.  He looked up into the empty darkness of the metal man’s helmet. For a brief moment he thought he saw a small red glow appear inside the deep hollowed recesses.  But he knew it was just the fire’s glow from the kitchen’s light, where they were heating a soup, for the King and Queen of Edessa, done right.

  • thomasocourtney
    Posts: 14

    Narrative Interlude, Justice or Judgement?

    Atop a windswept hill stood the elders, the women and the children of the community of Amador. A woman tied to the post was in the center of the grassy clearing. She was wearing white, and few other noises were heard except her indiscriminate sobbing.  The people around her didn’t speak.  Their ash covered faces were streaked with tears, their eyes squeezed, heads turned toward the man, tall and imposing standing next to the sobbing woman, their hats rustling, brims flapping.  Shirt sleeves and pant legs snapped and shook in the gale, but their bodies didn’t flinch or move.  Neither did the man, whose hat seemed glued to his head, despite the wind’s best efforts to tear it off. Beneath the brim, all was dark. A man without a face.  This was not a time to move, it was a moment when decisions would be made for the community, if it could really be called that since they found the black rock. Above them, a clear sky, not a cloud in sight. Under their feet, flattened grass, a few granite tops of rocks, and pressing down on them were the boots, dozens of pairs alike of Grogue’s men.

    Despite the various men at arms in their clanky armor,  there was only the whistle of the wind and it’s effects, her sobbing.  The woman.  Far below, the valley seemed to be merely a painting, the river and farming fields a series of brush strokes. Beyond the hilltop, was the mine of Amador, the black rock mine, which seemed a giant scar in an otherwise picturesque view.

    “Justice,” said Grogue, his protruding teeth making a mockery of his otherwise human like grin. It came out as nothing more than a word, slick, yet low, but it had an immediate effect on the woman Grogue was looking at, the very same every person was staring at. The woman in the white dressing gown. The woman whose hands were tied to the Post of Justice. Her eyes blinked when he said it, and her chest heaved in and out.

    “Or Judgment?”

    A small child from somewhere in the crowd began to cry too; One of Grogue’s warriors turned his head in it’s direction, and as if by some magic, it was immediately silenced.

    “Which shall we choose today, eh?”

    No one dared to answer. Even Father Faria, the Patral Lord of Amador, who had once spoke to Grogue many years ago on a day like this, and as all knew lost a hand as his reward.

    “WELL????” Grogue’s silky voice rose with the wind, “WHAT SHALL IT BE TODAY, AMADOR?????”

    “Please, please…,” pleaded the woman’s husband.  “She didn’t mean any harm, she wasn’t thinking straight…please…” It was Dantes, a merchant to whom Grogue used for basic necessities in the village. A self-composed man, you had never seen him like this. It was as if his eyes were willing his wife back to him. He was stretched to the breaking point.

    “Dantes, Dantes. Let’s not break tradition, here…,” Grogue walked around the woman tied to the post, he ran his clawed fingers along under her chin, she flinched at his touch.  “You know what this place was like before you invited me here.  You know the way things were?”

    He took out an object from his pocket, about the size of a child’s closed fist, it was dark, but speckled with glints of shiny particles. “You know what you want, what you’ve always wanted. Wealth.”

    “Wealth, peasants of Amador.  A wealth beyond measure, a wealth that a town like yours could only dream of. And I’ve given that to you.”

    “I’ve given you your dreams. Have I not?” Silence.


    More silence.

    “The Patral Houses need their Rock.  To protect this realm from the heathens of the isles, from the heathens of the North, from the monsters all around us and from within. And you are paid for this Rock,” he continued, spittle flying from his shadowed mouth, holding the rock in front of the downturned faces of the community,” and stealing from this relationship, hurts US ALL!!!!”

    “But she didn’t steal it!!!!!!!!!!” You heard someone cry…

    Grogue stopped in mid step.  A subtle smile began to appear under the shadow of his hat, his axe lay motionless at his side, as if at the ready for his use.  A simultaneous crinkling sound as many armored necks turned towards a small child, “Who said that?” said Grogue.

    “I did,” you replied…

  • thomasocourtney
    Posts: 14

    The first 4 sessions and the rest of the NPC folio, character background stories etc are in the journal log on my page. If anyone is in San Diego, we always enjoy having an extra player for a session, and people tend to move so we are always interested in happy and flexible people.  :) Thomas

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