The land is in ruins. The orcish hordes, led by their god-king Grammir the Beautiful, have conquered, burned and pillaged the mainland for the better part of two centuries. The heroes destined to stop him failed, betrayed twice by their own number: first, by Maximus the Archer, who sold them out for riches, then by Kratonos Halfblooded, who, corrupted by the power of the ancient god Wrath, joined Grammir. The orcish empire had no one to oppose them, and they spread.
But these problems are distant and half-forgotten. As the orcs spread, refugees came in droves to the Isle of Cindar, where they were welcomed by the eight duchies. For 200 years, the population of Cindar has grown, the power of ancient magics protecting the isle and its people from Grammir and his wrath.
While the Dukes and their noble families rule Cindar, the commonfolk more often see the hand of the great guilds. Who can buy and sell, what crops can be planted, who can build a home or a barn, these things are all dictated by guilds. Even who may adventure into the ancient Imperial ruins that dot the countryside must be sanctioned by an adventurer's guild.
And so we join our heroes. First is Kurz Lum, an Aasimar Cleric of a mysterious and unnamed deity. Fair of face and of voice, Kurz has a strange insight into the events that happen around him. Is this simply gut instinct, or is some greater power involved? Unwilling to kill any thinking creature, Kurz has a powerful code of ethics, so much so that he will die rather than kill. This behaviour, and his willingness to preach in the streets, has set him at odds with the pirates of the northern isles. To this day, the villainous Captain Calhoun hunts for Kurz, the only man to have escaped his dungeons. Thankfully, Kurz has the support of the Elven Duchy of Thardia, where Kurz once helped heal the duchess' daughter of a strange disease. Aside from these facts, his past is mysterious, and he has told no one of it.
Next, there is Trotter, the stoic Halfling Ranger. Lost as a young child, although whether through abandonment or some other wickedness is unknown, Trotter never knew others of his kind. Raised in the mountains by a highly intelligent wolf, whom Trotter would later name Manegarm, his life became the forests around him, the stone underfoot. The mountains he called his home were infested with goblins, who would attack the travelers attempting to use the treacherous mountain passes. Trotter became the travelers' silent protector fighting the goblins and, more treacherous still, the trolls the stalked the mountains. One winter, he came upon a group of goblins being attacked by a troll. Sitting in wait to kill whoever was the victor, the troll soon destroyed the goblins, but left before Trotter could eliminate it. Trotter went down to scavenge what he could from the goblins, but the troll returned, the situation a trap for Trotter Trollhunter. Manegarm, Trotter's constant companion, caught scent of the creature before it could attack them, and the brave wolf attacked the troll to defend his friend. The sound of the troll's howl of pain loosened the snow far above and began an avalanche. Caught in the pressing weight of tons of snow, Trotter, the troll and Manegarm were carried down the mountain. Surviving the avalanche, Trotter managed to dig his way out. He soon found the troll, half-buried and dead in snow, but Manegarm was nowhere to be found. Gathering what small things he had with him, unable to return to his home until after the winter, Trotter set out into the world for the first time.
He came first to the human city of Olkand, famous for its smiths and craftspeople. There, he tried to sell raw ore from the mountains to help replace his gear. A kindly smith saw the ore for what it was: incredibly rare and valuable mithril, and promised that he would one day make Trotter a powerful weapon. Trusting this promise, Trotter left the ore with the smith and continued his journey eastward, coming to the Dwarven Duchy. Here, he helped hunt a roaming troll, using his knowledge of the beasts to help the dwarves. His journey then took him north west, to the city-states of the north. Here, he met Eris Glasshair, an Elven thief on the run from Thardian officials. Helping protect her, he fell madly in love and the two spent a single night together. When he awoke the next morning, Eris was gone. After some searching, he left the cities brokenhearted and travelled to the land of the Barbarians, where he stayed for some short time. Unfortunately, his lack of knowledge about the world led to problems when he accidentally spoiled much of a barbarian tribe's winter food stores. Cursed by the barbarians, he escaped to the east, to familiar lands, where he met Kurz in the harbour-city of Waterwall.
The two have travelled for some time together. While allies, they do not consider each other friends. They respect each other's powers and abilities, but their differing opinions on killing causes a sharp divide between them. Kurz believes that no thinking creature should be killed, even monsters. Trotter, on the other hand, believes that killing monsters prevents them from enacting further harm. The two will continue to use each other until there is no further need.
Unfortunately, that time seems far away. Finding that their mission to protect the people, and Kurz's personal quest of uniting Cindar under a single banner, has been dogged at every turn by the adventuring guilds, the pair have made the choice to begin their own guild: a place where adventurers can become a bulwark against the dangers of the world, and where normal people can come for healing, comfort and work. Their first duty is to secure land to build their guildhall, and so they have come to the capital city of the Duchy of Caldor, Greatpine, to meet with Duke Rutgar Ostengard and beg for a landloan....