After their successes in the Siege of Bordrin’s Watch and the Shadow Rift of Umbraforge, the Fancy Bastards had established something of a reputation for themselves within Overlook. The party was introduced to a wealthy dwarf named Bram Ironfell, a member of the Elsir Consortium and scion of Clan Ironfell.
Bram took the heroes into his confidence as he told them of the recent discovery of a parchment connected to the shadar-kai arms dealer Sarshan. Bram believed that the parchment detailed the location of the Karak Lode — a mine belonging to his clan that had been lost for generations. Bram hoped that if the mine was found, its wealth could be used to defend Overlook and the Elsir Vale against the brewing conflict that the heroes saw hints of in the Shadowfell. Following the directions on the ancient scroll, the party headed south past the Westdeep and into the dry lands known as the Thornwaste. There, they were beset by dwarf warriors from a rival clan who had caught wind of Bram’s discovery. They also encountered a wanderer named Mag Blackthorn, from whom they sought guidance through the treacherous wastes. Beyond the Thornwaste, the heroes came to Dunesend — a small village at the edge of the desert, controlled by a cruel gnoll called the Warden. After defeating the Warden and his allies, the heroes learned that the village was held in thrall by a mysterious desert despot calling herself Shephatiah, Queen of the Drylands.
The Warden’s path through the desert follows a forgotten track to Shephatiah’s lair in a lost mine — the Karak Lode. Along the way the party encountered Markas, who was also seeking the Karak Lode in the hopes that it would fund his master’s research. However, they found the ancient dwarven ruins occupied and defended by desert raiders and foul subterranean creatures led by an evil dryad. The party made short work of the queen and her followers, but they could find no trace of the mines. They did, however, encounter an odd and mysterious old person that they called The Birdman.
As they waited out a sandstorm (and the Birdman disappeared), the Fancy Bastards found themselves beset by a band of cavern choker assassins led by a troglodyte curse chanter. Only by retracing the steps of these marauders did the characters locate the previously hidden entrance to the mines. There, the true Queen Shephatiah held court.
Exploring the ancient dwarven caverns, the heroes battled Shephatiah’s followers before confronting the real Queen of the Drylands — a powerful naga. Having discovered a rift linking the mines with the Elemental Chaos, Shephatiah had made the Karak Lode her lair. However, after defeating the naga and her servants, the heroes uncovered evidence that Karak’s wealth was now controlled by an unknown group from another plane.
The Fancy Bastards returned to Overlook and recounted their findings to Bram Ironfell, who told them he would leave the mine sealed. However, the forces responsible for shipping the mine’s wealth through the Elemental Chaos have a long reach and dark plans…