A sickness has come unto the simple mining community of Duvik's Pass, poisoning their wells and blighting their crops. With the pestilence leaving the strongest men of the town's guard a few short days away from death, the burden of descending into the mines and purging the wellspring of whatever evil has settled there falls to an intrepid band of adventurers. Can these noble heroes prevail within the depths of Duvik's Pass, or will they too fall victim to the perils of The Burning Plague?
Duvik's Pass is a small town nestled within one of the few valleys that cross through the Serpentcoil Mountains. It has long been a waystop for travelers and adventurers seeking to rest aching limbs and drown painful memories within her gates. Moreover, it has also gained attention recently as a potential power in the area's commerce, due to a discovery of substantial silver deposits buried in the mountains nearby. Over the past three years, the men of Duvik's Pass have burrowed into the ground seeking the wealth therein. Able-bodied folk from neighboring villages flocked to the town, hoping to lend their strength within the mines and garner some share of the prize.
Hope and industry turned to despair and potential ruin with the advent of the Burning Plague four months ago. It began quietly enough, with the miners returning home from their work at nightfall complaining of blistering sores and an unbearable thirst. Shortly thereafter, the town's livestock was decimated by an unknown illness and her crops began to wither. The elders of Duvik's Pass declared that the well water had been soured by an unknown disease, but by then the Burning Plague had already begun claiming the young and the sickly. To make matters worse, the last few men still strong enough to plumb the wealth of the mine fell prey to a savage attack staged by a warband of kobolds just over half a month past. This fact is not known to the townspeople, who continue to await the return of their missing sons and husbands, while praying for an end to the sickness that continues to spread within their home. While the kobolds have claimed the majority of the mine from their human foes, they too have fallen prey to the Burning Plague. Already they have begun to suffer losses to its ravages. The source of the disease is Jakk of the Tornclaw clan, an orc shaman who seeks vengeance upon the people of Duvik's Pass for an old wrong. It was ten years ago that Jakk saw his tribe slain by the humans of the valley. A young Jakk was one of the few of his clan to survive a concentrated effort by the militia of the Pass to eradicate the threats nesting in the mountains above. As the years passed, Jakk devoted his life to watching the men of Duvik's Pass and their efforts and preparing his revenge. His prayers to Gruumsh One-Eye gave him resolve as he watched the "weak ones" steal the riches that should have been his clan's. After the god revealed to him the secret of the Burning Plague, Jakk used his newfound power to infect the springs feeding the town's wells as well as the other creatures dwelling within the mines. He has watched from the shadows as his plans have come to fruition. Yet all has not gone as planned. Gruumsh, being a harsh deity who values strength above all things, has decided to test his disciple. Jakk has contracted the Burning Plague himself and has, despite his prayers, not been able to escape its grip. Although he grows near to death, the shaman will not rest until all of the peoples of the valley are laid low. He maintains his encampment by the springs below the earth, continuing to reinforce their corruption and awaiting an attempt to free the Pass from his hold. It is at this point that the adventurers enter the story
3.5 ed characters only normal races and classes
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