Where and for whom?
Adventure is intended for a group of heroes traveling through one of the fantasy worlds. Threats during the adventure can be extreme, so I'd recommend that players have already experienced characters.
Targoth is a tiny kingdom located in the vast Cagorneth Valley. In the center, between the Talves and Carinta rivers, next to numerous arable fields, stands the proud city of Calavorn. King Gelrin sits there at the great court. His father, Talguin the Magnificent, many years ago repelled the attack of the orcs from the south and saved the kingdom from destruction. In the east and west, two castles guard the entrance to the valley. One is ruled by King Tergin's nephew, and the other by his son, Talamund. In the north, on the edge of the mountains lies an abandoned dwarven fortress Gorak-dor. It was once inhabited, but since the curse has fallen on this building, all dwarves have moved to the valley. They have lived for so many years between people that it has become natural for everyone. Also, in many villages and in Calavorn itself you can see a lot of their houses and workshops. Dwarven spearmen are stationed even in the royal army. The party is commanded by an orc war veteran, Taggron One-Eyed.
Despite the wealth in the valley, the kingdom is falling. The king fell into a strange illness. He became weak, gray and taciturn, and when he speaks, the orders he says resemble the words of a madman more than the wise king he once was. People talk about orcs descending from the mountains and robbing southern villages. However, no one knows if it's true or a lie. No evidence has ever arrived. The king's nephew who serves as a counselor laughs at all gossips. He does not allow any action against, as he describes, imaginary fears will not allow incitement to war. The only person who wants to change something is the son of a king. However, he meets with great resistance from the entire court and numerous supporters of his cousin. Like the king, the whole kingdom is slowly declining. On such days players appear in Targoth.
To the rescue of the king.
Players have been invited to Calavorn. If you have a dwarf on your team, he may have received a letter from One-Eyed Taggron. The sender of the letter could have been Talamund himself, or some court wizard in town. It all depends on the characters of your heroes and how you want to start the adventure. Regardless of the sender, the letter will always be a call for help. It is suspected that someone is manipulating the king and wants to destroy the entire kingdom. For convenience, let's determine that Talamund sent a letter and asks players for help. Let them come and help him save his father. On the way to Calavorn, the players' heroes will be greeted by a small cavalry squad under the command of one of Talamund's trusted men. The riders will be very interested in the reason for their presence in the valley. After a short, hopefully peaceful conversation, they will leave the characters alone. Before leaving them, they will outline in a few sentences that they have nothing to look for in the city, as evil prevailed there and all hope left the royal court.
A warm welcome.
If players flaunt the information that they arrived at the invitation of the prince, it will probably very soon reach the ears of the king's nephew and will try to quickly eliminate the guests. Being in the city, the heroes will learn about the powerful charm that was cast on the king. The court mage and the dwarf Taggron stand on the side of the king's son. They will want to devise a plan to remove the spell and they must kidnap the king to do so. It takes a full hour with the king to cast the appropriate spells and remove the black magic from his mind. I don't have to say that Tergin will try to interrupt their intentions.
King is safe. What about the kingdom?
Let us hope that the plan succeeded and the king freed himself from poisonous magic. Tergin fled from Calavorn with his people, and it looks like new hope has entered the hearts of people. The heroes themselves were probably warmly received by the ruler and in some way rewarded by him. Maybe some magic item from the treasury? The thing that should be very noticeable to the players is a beautifully made dwarven sword hung on the wall behind the throne. He once belonged to the dwarven king, ruler of the Gorak-dor fortress. Apparently he caused a curse that fell on his companions. Soon courtiers began asking questions about the situation in the south. There is news that several villages have been burned. However, no one knows who the invaders are or what properties have suffered. Someone has to go there and recognize the situations. Will the players undertake?
An army is coming.
After the conversations outside, the wizard's identity will finally be clarified. It is the king's uncle, Isferin, who many years ago, right after the battle with the orcs, went to the mountains to improve his magical skills. Apparently he created a small school there, but nobody knows anything. His specialty was illusion. He was very talented in it. Soon scouts will notify the upcoming army of orcs. They march straight onto Calavorn. The city will not hold. The walls are not prepared to sustain such a strong attack. The only hope is to take refuge in a dwarven fortress. There they can defend themselves against the overwhelming force. The people of Calavorn will gather their belongings and go to the mountains to the accursed, dwarven fortress. They will be accompanied by the king along with all his available soldiers. He will also send letters to both castles asking for soldiers. There will be an ambush on the mountain road. Two of Isferin's students will try to thwart the king's plans. What threat will they prepare? Maybe they'll summon a monster? Does anyone help them? Orcs, or maybe Tergin with his people? After the conversations outside, the wizard's identity will finally be clarified. It is the king's uncle, Isferin, who many years ago, right after the battle with the orcs, went to the mountains to improve his magical skills. Apparently he created a small school there, but nobody knows anything. His specialty was illusion. He was very talented in it. Soon scouts will notify the upcoming army of orcs. They march straight onto Calavorn. The city will not hold. The walls are not prepared to sustain such a strong attack. The only hope is to take refuge in a dwarven fortress. There they can defend themselves against the overwhelming force. The people of Calavorn will gather their belongings and go to the mountains to the accursed, dwarven fortress. They will be accompanied by the king along with all his available soldiers. He will also send letters to both castles asking for soldiers. There will be an ambush on the mountain road. Two of Isferin's students will try to thwart the king's plans. What threat will they prepare? Maybe they'll summon a monster? Does anyone help them? Orcs, or maybe Tergin with his people?
The fortress was once besieged and the damage was never rebuilt. After all, the conditions for defense will be much better than in Calavorn. I would allow players to be creative here and think of the best defense. The upper part of the fortress is closed. Sometimes you will see supernatural activity or ghostly characters there. Nobody will want to venture too much. What is the curse? During the war with the orcs, when enemies invaded the city, the dwarven king locked himself in the upper part along with his elite guard. While waiting for the end of the battle, protected by his warriors, his entire tribe was murdered by orcs. The king's betrayal brought a curse. They have been circling the upper level since then as ghostly souls until one day they do not respond to the dwarves' call and do not defend them against the aggressor. Taggron certainly knows this story. He heard it many times from his father.
The first orc attack should be heavy, but easily repelled. Then, when hope for victory arises, Isferin will come into play. By magic, he will destroy the outer gate and the defenders will be forced to hide in deeper rooms. The extermination will become obvious. Only one will remain. Take the old dwarven sword of kings, go to a higher level, and summon the souls of fallen warriors to redeem their guilt. The road to higher levels should not be obvious. The main entrance is closed, so you have to go a different route. Probably more dangerous. It is not known what is hiding in the tunnels of the abandoned fortress.
Dwarven ghosts will answer the call. However, make sure that this is paid for by a solid effort on the part of the players. Dwarven ghosts will pull their armor back, grab their spears and swords, and set off to meet the orcs. At the same time, soldiers from both castles will reach the fortress. Undead, fortress defenders and newly arrived reinforcements will come out against the orcs. This should be the final blow for invaders. In the sheer volume of battle, Player Heroes will have two more challenges to complete. Someone must defeat the wizard Isferin and the commander of the army, the great orc Gorbush. Let it be epic duels around a raging battle.
Isferin is defeated. Orcs are broken and chased away. Time to bury the fallen and restore damage. What will be the king's prize? Will he offer gold to heroes or maybe he will offer a manor and a knighthood? It all depends.
PS. I wonder if anyone noticed what was the inspiration :)