Long ago, a dark power traveled through the space between worlds, intent on finding world upon which to wreak havoc. After seeding countless wars on many worlds, it found a new world to ruin. There it crash-landed, embedding itself deep in the ground and carving a valley-sized furrow in its wake. Patient beyond mortal comprehension, it began to sow the seeds of evil and reach out to those of a perverse and corruptible bent.
The Chaos Scar is a long, wide valley carved long ago by the fall of a massive meteor. As the giant rock passed overhead, milk curdled, livestock fell over dead, and ill fortune befell all. The meteor crashed into the earth with deafening force, and red radiance lit the sky for a week. Then it vanished.
The meteor had carved its massive gash in a dark and wild place between points of civilization. Where once had stood a wild forest and swamp between a line of small hills was this new valley—the Chaos Scar.
Over a mile long and several hundred feet deep, the Chaos Scar is a testament to the vast power of the meteor’s impact. As it carved its path through the earth, shards and fragments of the meteor tore away until only its heart remained, embedded in an escarpment at the far end of its new home. There, it sent out its call. Over the centuries, creatures of evil spirit have been drawn to this beacon. The meteor's dark sentience spurred competition among them so that they fought with one another. The weak were killed or pushed to the edges of the meteor’s influence, while the strong and cruel rose to the top of the pecking order.
Following years of conflict, a group has emerged to rule the valley. It calls itself the Brotherhood of the Scar. Some nearby cities and nation states believe them to be worshipers of Bane. Others think them servitors of Zehir, or possibly a demon prince. The order seems to have reached some sort of understanding with the meteor, because while the conflicts between the monsters of the Chaos Scar continue, the Brotherhood is left to its own devices. The Brotherhood built a keep around the meteor, and the other denizens of the Scar have carved out their own dominions within the valley’s many caves. The weakest settle near the mouth of the valley and the plain beyond, while the strongest lair closer to the valley’s terminus and in the fortress that now encloses the valley’s upper wall.
Some cities have tried to hem in the threat of the Chaos Scar, with little to no success. A long-forgotten ruler who fancied himself a king erected a wall across the valley’s mouth long ago. It still stands, partly in ruins, its gates open and unguarded. Towers that once ringed the valley have fallen to ruin as well. Some are inhabited by monsters; others are simply empty.
The Chaos Scar itself is death to most who wander in. It is filled with evil and riddled with caves both natural and tunneled by generations of monstrous denizens. The deeper one travels into the valley, the deadlier the foes lurking in its caves and hollows. Strange features have been raised, or have simply appeared, within the Scar—circles of standing stones, bizarre towers, grotesque cottages, and other more otherworldly features. Capping off the valley is the fortress of Hallowgaunt, home to the mysterious Brotherhood of the Scar, crowned by a perpetual storm of black clouds and crackling lightning.
Many adventurers have entered the Chaos Scar. Few have returned. Those that do weave dark stories of monsters working in concert as never before. Others tell of monstrous creatures working against one another. Welcome to the Chaos Scar.
Running a Chaos Scar Campaign
If you’re interested in running a campaign with a unique twist, a Chaos Scar campaign is right up your alley. Each Chaos Scar adventure is intended to be run with minimal preparation.
Each month, we’ll update the Chaos Scar valley map with the locations of new caves as they’re unveiled in Dungeon. As we press deeper into the valley, the caves will grow more difficult and present threats that are correspondingly higher in level.
Some months, we’ll explore outside adventure sites or unique locations in the valley that aren’t adventures at all.
The Chaos Scar valley is intended to be dropped into any campaign setting. It’s remote, but nothing says it needs to be.
There is no overarching campaign goal other than to reach the end of the valley and destroy the meteor.
There is no reason to keep the goal of the campaign from the players, unless you’d like to do so. If you’d like to change the end goal, villain, or overarching agenda, it’s easy enough to do so.
Finally, feel free to allow the PCs to chart their own course. One of the goals of this campaign is to reduce the workload of DMs running it. Once the valley has been populated by a few caves, PCs should be allowed free reign to choose which dungeon they approach next. Maybe they feel like pressing their luck in a cave farther up the valley. Maybe they’re just looking to wade through some lower-level lackies after a humiliating defeat the session before. And while there’s nothing wrong with throwing them a surprise here and there by upping the level of an encounter or a cave, we advise against doing so on a regular basis. Part of the fun of the Chaos Scar is that the players know what they will face, on a rough power equivalency basis, in relation to their own level.
Be sure to check out and join the Chaos Scar group and the Chaos Scar DM Support group over at the D&D Community pages.
If you’d like to contribute an adventure to the Chaos Scar, send your proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Chaos Scar” and the level of the adventure in the subject line.
Chaos Scar Adventures
Number indicates the adventure's level; letter identifies the adventure's location on the canyon map.