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Keeper Renegade Campaign: Halflings - Lizardmen - Highmen/Undead

Keeper Renegade Campaign Info

Part 1 is shared with the canonical Keepers campaign. This branch begins when the player chooses the Lizardmen rather than the Dwarves.

Part 2: Lizardmen

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Keeper Renegade 5-1

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Here the player can choose between High Men and Undead.

Part 3A: High Men

Choosing the High Men over the Elves in the Keepers campaign also leads to this branch, the narrative doesn't change in any way.

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Finale

The Highmen have the easiest of the four starting positions, being allied to the large Human faction at the center of the Valley.

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Julia's Keepers will not necessarily be hostile, but since she will not ally the Humans, you will have to destroy her in the end. It is technically possible to fight the Humans instead, but the ending still assumes the intended Human-Highmen victory.

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Part 3B: Undead

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Finale

Arguably the most difficult of the starting positions, due to Human cities being rebellious when you conquer them and the lack of Animate Ruins (unless you planned ahead and removed your Life Spheres at character creation). You must to destroy all other factions to win, as in the loyalist finales.

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Plain text transcript

- - - Lizardmen

Julia is wrong. She will see it when I bring these Lizardmen to her in the Valley of Storms. Already I have learned more of the lizards and their forces than what is known among the Keepers. They only ask for a few tracts of land for their loyalty. Further, I see that we have a common enemy. The Frostlings threaten to freeze the lizards. Frostlings cannot be trusted, and must be driven out of the northern swamps. Despite tireless efforts to reason with the frozen creatures, the cold hearts refuse to give the lizards leave their rightful wetlands. About the Lizardmen: Lizardmen live in a primal realm where lines of razor teeth devour the weak. As a result, they are often mistaken for carnivorous, evil brutes. Sadly, the Keepers share many of these falacies and perpetuate distorted stories to the more gullible races, such as the Halflings. Truthfully, though, Lizardmen must exhibit feral bias to survive, and their nature can be altered by shrewd diplomacy. As a race, they are closely bound to animal instinct and employ other animals to accomplish their more menial tasks. They are efficient and clever, capable of much good if given the opportunity.

The lizards have legitimately repossessed the land, which unjustly stolen from them. I had hoped our victory would brighten my brethren of the Keepers, but now they complain that the Frostlings have doubled their aggression against the Dwarves, blaming me for their inability to keep them at bay. What am I supposed to do? Should I turn my back while the Frostlings rob the lizards of their homeland? What makes the Dwarves more deserving of our aid? The lizards need me, but the prejudicial Keepers yield to me nothing but criticism.

I am amazed at the patience of this race. Sure, there have been skirmishes in the past, but they have suffered great losses, with no champion to return their ancient home. Such a place is the peninsula of Sobek. Once a most fertile spawning ground, the land was lost after a series of natural catastrophes. Before the lizards could rebuild, tribes of migrant races claimed access to the peninsula. Humans, Orcs and even Dwarves now claim pieces of the land. The lizards trust me to do the right thing and return the land to the rightful owners.

So soon, they forget me. I, who saved them at Lyra, am denounced by my fellow Keepers. They see my power, and cry foul for their Dwarven allies. Do they desire oblivion? Where is their faith? Why not trust me? The lack of unity among the Keepers leaves the Lizardmen with doubts. I have proven worthy of their forces, but they hesitate to commit troops to my squabbling brethren. Can I blame them for mistrusting the bad examples of the Keepers? These lizards put trust in me, and eagerly accepted the peninsula as my gift of good will.

The Lizardmen promise complete fidelity after this last mission. My brethren will soon have no choice but to concede my points. The lizards ask that I deliver unto them a large expanse of the Serpent River. Traditionally, the river was one of trade from Inioch's Elves to the United Cities, but since Inioch's fall, the river harbors Azrac pirates, and myriad other marauders, out to profit upon the lush waterway. Clearly, the river needs to be claimed by a force capable of directing it responsibly. Lizardmen qualify, and have promised to maintain the river with honor.

No longer will my brethren regard the Lizardmen as savage monsters to be ignored in the swamp. This acquisition will force trade and honest negotiations between the other fair races and these good people. The lizard kingdom is greatly strengthened by this victory. Their settlements now grow unmolested by other races, and I await the Lizard King's command dispatching many of their forces to my command, that we may go establish supremacy in the Valley of Storms. Once she witnesses my conquests, Julia will have no choice but to accept me into her good graces.

A complication has arisen since my promise of troops. The Lizard King has begun hedging against sending troops, and I may have to take drastic action in order to persuade his assistance. They claim they cannot commit troops until Blackwater Lake is conquered. Strategically, the request is reasonable. Blackwater Lake ends the Serpent River. The lake is a place of mystery. Rumors tell of evil living beneath the lake. The lizards claim they cannot keep the Serpent River safe, and split their troops to send to the Valley unless they have the lake safely within their influence. The lizards have an outpost on the banks of the lake. A strong force of Humans holds most of the land, with Orcs and Dwarves occupying other regions. Regrettably, many Dwarves obstruct the Lizardmen in land where lizards clearly belong. Dwarves curse me for sending them scurrying back to their true homelands, but it is where they belong. They should thank me. It is time to restrain the Humans and eliminate the evil things that creep about the region, for the good of all. I know that when Julia sees my power she will embrace my ideas as her own.

How dare she expel me? Learning of the incident at Blackwater Lake--no doubt, from lying Dwarves--Julia has proclaimed me an apostate. Me! Fallen away? It is she that has lost her way. I have done what was necessary. Do they not see the star in the sky? I cannot be expected to wander about aimlessly in fruitless missions of charity, this is a war. When I excel, they give the gratitude of daggers! The Lizards have taken possession of the land, and have passed on their condolences that I have fallen out of favor with the Keepers.

The star changed to crimson last night, as I prayed for a sign of hope. How can I repent of my bloody sin of rebellion? Must I, or was I right all along to cater to swamp-dwellers? Now Julia's words ring truer. She warned that my actions at Blackwater had liberated forces sympathetic to Meandor and his bid to release Inioch. Now I know that long-dead Inioch has returned from the dead, by Meandor's beckoning. Undead legions pour out of the earth, as Inioch prepares to take back the Valley in which he lost his life. Last night, I heard hissing whispers, promising me things. Power. Order. Vindication. I listened, and beheld the withered face of the dead Lord Inioch. In a fit of fear, I commanded it begone. I dare not contact Julia; she'd consider the apparition proof my betrayal. I pleaded for answers. As I prayed, a being of light appeared to me, offering me means to defeat the darkness in my heart. This time, from the enigmatic Highmen. I teeter on the brink of sanity between dark whispers of sure power and a bright star which may hold the key to deliverance.

- - - Branch A: Highmen

A choice had to be made. One which would secure the future peace of this world. Let Julia remain forever with her Elves. She lives, locked in tradition. The Keepers may not understand my choice, but they will. I made mistakes. Too many mistakes. The Highmen care nothing of that, but welcome me with warm embraces. They offer me redemption from my poor choices and absolve me of guilt. Their power is beyond this realm, and penetrates my core. The voices of darkness are quelled in my heart, and I am free to see with the light the Highmen emanate. Yet, the cost of my salvation is steep. My advocate with the Highmen's High Council is in peril. Without my help, Gabriel will perish. The Undead, seeking to destroy my alliance with the Highmen, trapped Gabriel's army near Blackwater Lake. They have driven him far from me. Without Gabriel's help I will be unable to communicate with the Highmen. It is their order of things, and I must respect order. I will go and do the things I am commanded by the Highmen, to prove my loyalty is beyond question. About the Highmen: The Highmen appear to descend from heaven in times of crisis to aid Humans. They live in perfect harmony, in a society of equals, governed by a ruling body called the High Council. They keep to themselves, yet have high esteem for races which pursue good endeavors. They are mysterious and do not speak of their military might except in battle hymns that I have to confess seem exaggerated. They do not fear death, and viciously seek to obliterate undeath. Little else is known of this enigmatic people, which explains the distrust given them by other races.]

I am unworthy of praise, yet Gabriel persists. If only Julia could hear it. She and the Keepers think I have betrayed them, but I have not. I love them all the more, now that I am among the Highmen. I cannot help but feel the grace of these beings sharpening my own desire to be noble. Gabriel speaks of the noble path and his confidence is inspiring. Gabriel says that a great time of change comes, and that I should rejoice. When I fear, he chastises me gently, reminding me that fear is the food of demons.

My hope for reconciliation between Julia and me just died. Blaming Humanity for Elwyn's death, a group of Aldorian Elves is determined to destroy the Highmen before they build sufficient forces here. They have captured an assortment of powerful altars within Unicorn Valley that are capable of leveling cities. The Elves require time to heal, but we must move now. They must be expelled from the valley and the altars must be secured. To complicate matters, the unicorns will side with the Elves, as has always been their way. I doubt Julia will understand the need for this assault.

Highmen sing dolorous hymns to the fallen. Beauty mixes with loss in perfect symbolism. I want to weep. I see the wounded Elves. Fallen. I am hollow. Gabriel says that the Elves and Highmen have long shared a special relationship in and out of this world. His people weep for every fallen Elf--the fairest of all kin. The Highmen have peculiar beliefs, but they do soothe my trembling. They act on a faith for which I can only hope to hope. They are gifted with bright visions, while I squint blindly in their world of light.

The Cult of Storm's forces have been taxed by many campaigns of exploration and assaults made against them by the Undead. The Cult has left a vast region, rich in farming and mining, weakly guarded by a city to the south called Durlag. I will capture the resources and remove the Cult from Durlag. Naturally, the Frostlings are also interested in this fertile area, and I can expect to have to fight Undead as well. A victory should give the Highmen sufficient resources to overwhelm the mounting Undead masses which migrate toward the Valley of Wonders.

I have taken the Cult's lands and given all the excess to the Highmen. These resources will go far in establishing them upon this world. They are pleased with my offering, and have allotted me further resources that I can better serve them. Things are modest, yet comfortable. Gabriel is anxious to tell me more of the Highmen and I admit I find it all quite fascinating. I have nearly forgotten Julia in all this. I see now that while her ways were good, they were for a different time, one which has passed into ancient history.

Over a century ago, Humans destroyed the Court of Inioch. Revenge has bred war and contention between Humans and all other races. Now I learn the truth. The terrible Human race is not terrible at all, but it is free. They may choose atrocities and death, or they may choose a more divine path: one leading back to the Highmen. Most importantly they must be allotted freedom for their progression. Humans cannot survive long in slavery; they must be free. Inioch did not respect that. He sought to subjugate the juvenile race, and it cost his people their empire. Inioch knows the plan of the Highmen because, before he died, the Highmen prophesied of this day. He ignored their warnings. In order to stop that which has been foretold, Inioch gathers the dead, many of which died in the Pass of Grief while seeking to flee Human rage. If races cannot respect basic Human needs, an end will come. The star portends the end of Inioch's reign and the start of a new age. Though the swaying masses of animated corpses appear endless, I will trust in this vision, and by the star I shall conquer.

The waves of dead break. Their Master hides in the Valley of Wonders. The star over the Valley burns bright. Placed there by the Highmen to bring this reconciliation, the light serves another purpose. The Highmen are solemn, combing the Pass of Grief with care, for the remains of any long dead Elves. They sing songs of release, and plant the bones of the deceased within the ground below altars of solid stones. But something greater occurs here. Each cairn lifts another soul upward and away into a realm of release-another path to Evermore.

- - - Finale A Highmen

Behold! The Valley of Wonders. I should have ignored the message, but Julia was a friend. Her message was simple and short. Gabriel is not pleased that I would seek such a distraction before this great engagement. Julia desires that I return to them, and they will forgive me. I had not planned to return until after the battle but Gabriel's reaction was of such judgement that I actually found myself contemplating it. For a people believing in freedom, the Highmen can be strictly intolerant at times. Still, I know that I cannot go back now. The Keepers would lock me away in some scholar's tower to study an ancient mystery. I will not be shut out of this final conflict. No, I will remain until the end. Only I know the Highmen. Perhaps I can keep the Keepers from wasted hostility. Evil must be our only target. Gabriel will be here too. He says that he must fight if he is to be exalted. He acts as though he might die, or that death is part of his exaltation. I choose to stay and see that he remains safe, and that evil is vanquished forever.

The Highmen have come in their glory to forge a new age of Humankind. They give Humanity dominion over all other races. Such an obligation comes not freely to the Humans. They must abide laws, for it is only by law that freedom may exist. Should they choose to neglect that law they will lose their power and terrible calamities will befall them. For some races, little will change as their lands are inhospitable to Human life, but others find it impossible. The Elves refuse to surrender their forests to the race which has slighted them so grievously. So they went to Evermore. Every Keeper followed the Elves. Other races are simply gone, though I know not where or how. Gabriel was exalted to the High Council. I'm left alone. Gabriel sent me a gift. To the untrained eye, the gift appears to be just a clear stone, but it is a portal through which I may observe other worlds. The Highmen will leave soon, but with Gabriel's gift I can follow him. Even so, I have lost a friend-many friends. The Humans look to me as some sort of oracle, but I refuse to encourage them. Among the Keepers, the artifact would be studied, but no one remains to behold it. The Humans want me to teach them mysteries, but I will not. I am a prisoner, left with this window. I can see many things, but I am bereft of one desired vista. In regret, I wish very much to see it. I wish to see the world before this change. The time when I had friends and was more than a relic. It is gone. I am left to ponder. Was it real, or only another image trapped in the crystal of my mind?

- - - Branch B: Undead

Forbidden thoughts haunt my mind. Inioch's whispers cannot be ignored. I am consumed by this carnal prison. I try to scream but can make no sound. I am truly alive. I see the truth in my being. Life is weak. All things die, but death is without end. Inioch has given me much and expects only that I gratify him him. I am hesitant to strike against the Keepers -my past life. I will be merciful. The enemy we share will be my target. I have not chosen to ally with Inioch's exalted children to punish the Keepers. Dark Elves have long held "the Skull", a mountain of utmost sanctity. Once a shrine to Elven folk, the Dark Elves have defiled the place with their half-dead, squandering the powers of death. Inioch will be most pleased with my offering. Surely, if I succeed, he will bless me with the power to control the dark cravings that strangle me. I will have power to end all war. The mountain -this Skull- glows bright with the return of Inioch. I will deliver it to my Master's feet, and he will give me power. Then I will be free. About the Undead: The Undead draw strength from the places of death. They are inherently resistant to fire, cold and lightning. They are not affected by death magic or poison. They are inherently superior in almost every way to the living. Hellhounds and other things demonic are frequently found within the confines of an Undead town. Undead fashion battering rams from the bones of their victims. Others who die by Undead hands are reborn as skeleton warriors and archers, and the dreaded death-knights.

Inioch is pleased with my offering. He tempts me with perfection. He promises unquenchable power over all beings and I know they are true. I cannot disbelieve. I have no choice, but power. My will is drawn to Inioch. The Keepers send their warnings, pleading that I forsake this path. They do not understand. I will make them understand. I will chain their hearts as Inioch has chained mine. Chained in truth, they will taste the thing they fear and know the meaning in spite of life. But first, I will prove myself worthy of Inioch's grace.

When Inioch reigned, all wizards began their training on the Isle of Burbatak. Now Inioch desires the school and it's secrets returned to him. For more than a century since the fall of the Valley of Wonders, the vast island has known no single ruler. Many factions have come, trying to lay claim to the secrets entombed within the depths of the place, but none have conquered its twisted shorelines. With Inioch's power, I will reclaim the isle, returning Burbatak and the power it embodies to its rightful owner.

The squabbling races have been swept from Burbatak. Their weak are our strong. The wave of change cannot be stopped. A fire cannot be quenched by the very stuff that gives it flame. The forces of Undead grow daily. Why did I resist the truth for so long? My fellow Keepers now claim I am insane. They do not know; but they will. Even now, they scramble to the parasites of life, seeking alliances with the accursed Highmen. The Highmen! The same beings that unleashed the Human race upon the world, and drove them to Inioch's court.

The Highmen and Keepers have allied to prevent our advance. A buffer of Human settlements lay between us, the Elves and the Highmen. These Humans will bolster my Undead legions. It is ironic that I should learn more of the Highmen and these Humans from the Undead than from their allies, the Keepers. I see now that the star over the Valley of Wonders is a Highman trick. This war is their creation. Inioch's death was their doing. Even the Cult's revenge is a tool of refinement upon their hapless Human children. All devised so that one Human, among many, might be elevated from a world of conflicting choices and embrace an existence where more worlds of suffering Humans may be created. But death has prevailed. The Humans chose death at their birth, and will know it now. And we of the Undead shall not pick the most virtuous among Humanity. We shall not subject them to cruel choices without direction. No, we will feed upon them all. All will come. All will know Undead glory. Fear not, my friends. Your mortal torture shall soon cease.

The husks of seasoned warriors join our ranks. It is not enough. The living are quick, and must be brought into submission. Only our cultivating hand can bring silence to this land. I feel my arms blistering as corruption flees me--as I am sanctified by Inioch's kiss. My vision, which was blurred by emotion, is clear, cold, and pure. Soon I will be worthy of Inioch's power. I will be one with him.

The Highmen wish to enter the Valley of Wonders, but we beat them to the very path that they forged--a ravine where Elves fled and died by enraged Humans. The Highmen watched from their distant places with callous hearts, permitting atrocities in hopes that their fallen children might see the error of their ways. Now they desire to pass, but we shall not allow it. No more will we bow to their deceitful ways. They will fall to the might of universal justice. The Dead will no longer be denied the rights that bind this reality.

I am numb. My limbs are heavy, but continue to move no longer needing the touch of life. I have cast the Highmen from their heavenly throne. As the demons they cast from their own realms, they have fallen like stars from the sky and cannot stand before me. I am bound by Inioch's chains of power. The laws of death are upon me, but I welcome them. Inioch is just. Inioch is my king. I have only done that which was just and true. By his power will the world will be reformed, to fit his image.

- - - Finale B Undead

My Halfling allies draw back in fear, but I am beyond their trivial concerns. Julia held a funeral in my behalf. Do not mourn for me, my dear ones. Soon you shall know the freedom that comes from death. Inioch has promised to free me from the burden of breath, and grant me unstoppable power after this last engagement within the Valley of Wonders. With that power, I will free you. Is this not what you desire? True peace comes only in shedding mortality. Come and fear not. As you are, I once was; I am, what you will be.

I knew for certain that Inioch was right. His power shook the earth. His voice penetrated me. But now, I doubt. Darkness hid his true nature. The Keepers are broken and all life withers. I flee. I must hide. Curse Julia! As she fell, she cursed me. I touched her fallen form with the pride of a victor, and somehow was healed. My flesh, once pocked by the rot of my deeds, was mended by her last enchantment. I finally know life, but am dead. I see how I succumbed to Blackwater's temptation. The star is gone. All stars are gone. Inioch knows of my transformation. He knows me. He rules all. I destroyed the forces that might have saved me! It is only a matter of time before he finds me. Inioch will not let me go. I am too valuable to him. Of the Keepers--I am the last. I seal this record with the hopes that the living might someday rise against the tide of oblivion. My only hope for this world rests in the return of the beings I decimated. And yet, how will they know not to make the same mistakes I did? Will they believe the same lies, and follow the same lusts? Demons streak the sky, searching for me. They will find me soon. I must hide this record and destroy myself. Only then will I, or this record, be safe from the powers of Inioch. My prayer is in memory. Remember. Remember the days when once flourished Elves, Dwarves and jubilant Halflings. Believe the good, when faeries kissed verdant hillsides. A time when satyrs and nymphs danced freely in sacred groves. Wee things blossomed. All thrived in an Age of Wonders.

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