The PCs have just dealt with the last loose end in a previous campaign arc where they thwarted a powerful necromancer, a powerful telepath, and a powerful dragon who all wished the domination of the surrounding areas.
A year or so ago, there was a strange adventure involving a rich patron, a one Duke Jarlamn. Jarlamn was an eccentric, uncertain man possessed of both great curiosity and great wealth. He wanted the PCs to test a theory, and all they had to do was bring a specially treated gem within ten feet of a warlord in the Stonelands. The adventure was a success, and on prompting Jarlamn explained that he had stumbled across research involving the Children of Despair, and suspected that the warlord was in fact one of these evil beings. The gem’s reaction to the proximity was evidence in support of this.
A day later, the PCs encountered an absurdly powerful man with an ancient quality about him (though he did not look overly aged). This strange gray-haired man had warned the party to stay out of things they did not understand. They then learned that Jarlamn’s estate was burned to the ground and the noble himself had disappeared.
Now, with those strange events nearly forgotten, something is about to return the PCs to the path leading to the Children of Despair…