Ancient bugaboos are root cause of problems on the Moonlit Island.
When Achiever, Yarnspinner, and Little Humble established the island during the Age of Heroes, they planned a division of labor. Achiever would create bigbeast lizards and spiders to provide heroic hunting challenges to the Dweorgs and Kobalts who lived on the island's coasts. Yarnspinner would create three witches whose mission was to sustain a "monster preserve" for these bigbeasts in the center of the island, and constrain the bigbeasts to remain in that area. Little Humble would create bugaboos able to empower the bigbeasts and the heroic people who hunted them.
Unfortunately, the inexperienced Powers created monsters that were tragically unrestrained.
Achiever created lizard and spider bigbeasts that could breed. This mistake was quickly noticed, and ever since no other monsters breed. But the situation in this one case could get out of hand.
Yarnspinner did not sufficiently limit the witches' magic. They drastically transformed the island. They raised two towering mountain peaks in its center. They lowered sections of land, dramatically altering the coastline. The lives and cultures of the early Dweorgs and Kobalts were dramatically affected by these changes.
Yarnspinner also did not include self-preservation in the witches' mission. All three witches were eventually overcome by evil influences. With no magic maintaining the "monster preserve", the lizard and spider bigbeasts became free to roam the island.
Little Humble created a type of bugaboo named a dealer that was much too powerful.
When created, the dealers looked like a large orange crystal with shadowy eyes. They were immobile, sentient, and able to communicate telepathically with intelligent creatures near them. To a limited degree, including only very close to themselves, they could grant a person's wish in exchange for a kind of sacrifice.
The people who found a dealer and made a deal were called petitioners. Some deals were concluded quickly. Others established an ongoing relationship between the dealer and petitioner. Most petitioners visited the dealers they discovered more than once, and kept secret the locations of the dealers. Some petitioners managed to move the large crystals to a more convenient yet still secret location.
But Little Humble negelcted to disallow one dealer petitioning another. When people moved dealer near eough to each other, this began to secretly happen.
Dealers made alliances of which their Dweorg and Kobalt "owners" were unaware. Soon there were factions of dealers granting each other power and striving against the other factions.
Today only a few dealers remain. But those are the strongest, who have been most empowered by the wishes granted with their ancient factions. They still are made of living crystal, but are now serpentinely mobile, sinisterly intelligent, and hungrily able to receive more kinds of sacrifices.
Tekhoon is the Bergtroll King of Mount M'Lady. He continues the work that Maw Lute gave to his grandfather and father: using tamed dragons to assist the island's Dweorgs and Kobalts as they reclaim their northern lands from the bigbeasts.
He is the PC's patron, assigning the PC his or her first quest. The PC is asked to investigate why people are disappearing near one of Little Humble's shrines.
As the adventure unfolds, the PC will learn that an evil cult wants to assassinate Tekhoon. Will the PC save the king?
Gehain is a dealer that wants to be worshipped. Long ago, his now-defeated faction-mates granted him many powers. Gehain can subtly infect the mind of people who touch him, causing them to become increasingly corrupt and fanatical.
Gehain can "bless" a petitioner's blunt weapon. Thereafter, the petitioner can wield the weapon more expertly (it gains the +2 equipment bonus for magic equipment). The weapon also drains the mental energy of those it hits. A petitioner who defeats an intelligent opponent with this type of weapon can chose to turn the opponent into a mind-slave. The drained mental energy is stored in the weapon, when when touched to Gehain empowers the dealer, allowing him to more directly influence the world.
In a similar way, Gehain can "bless" a wooden pole, so sacrificing people on the pole allows communication with Gehain despite the distance. As Gehain grows stronger, he will gain the ability to "bless" a wooden pole to store the mental energy of a sacrifice victim until the pole is brought to him. Eventually Gehain will be strong enough that he can directly absorb the mental energy of sacrificial victims no matter the distance.
Gehain's cultists have given him enough mental energy that he can now bless weapons and wooden poles even if they are not close to himself.
How else is the stolen mental energy empowering Gehain? Why does he want his main petitioner to form a cult of worshippers?
Zyreel is a Bergtroll and a former advisor to King Tekhoon.
Zyreel wants the Bergtrolls of Mount M'Lady to extend their tiny kingdom and establish a strong empire that rules all of the Moonlit Island. He knows that Tekhoon would never do this. The king is content to obey Maw Lute's ancient instruction to help other races grow and expand.
Zyreel believes the Maw Lute's assignment is accomplished. The Dweorgs and Kobalts are safe from extinction. They have established large capital cities and safe towns north of the two mountains. Furthermore, the size of the original "monster preserve", as described in ancient texts, was larger than the far nothern portion of the island to which the bigbeasts have now been driven.
Zyreel has many followers who appreciate his honeyed words. "Surely the Bergtrolls have done their work well for three generations, and can recognize their success! Surely it is time for the Bergtrolls to make themselves the rightful rules of Moonlit Island! Even now, the Dweorgs and Kobalts grow too strong and ungrateful. They will not willingly accept status as vassal states subservient to the throne whose dragon-riders fought and bled to give them back their historic territory. The annointing of a Bergtroll emperor should be an event all three races joyfully celebrate! But instead you and I must plot quietly, and work to make it happen."
Zyreel is patient. He appreciates his king, and all that the royal family has done for their kingdom and island. He does not wish to overthrow King Tekhoon, and has not picked out anyone else as a better candidate for emperor. Instead, Zyreel has become an annoyance to King Tekhoon after years of pestering and urging the king to expand the Bergtroll kingdom beyond Mount M'Lady. He still enjoys the king's friendship, but was dismissed from his role as one of the official royal advisors.
But Zyreel has become increasingly fanatical since finding Gehain. Cautious from having studied old texts, he has not made any deal with the dealer. But he has caught himself thinking that if Takhoon were to vanish, perhaps the political chaos would be the crucible in which a new leader with a higher destiny would emerge.
Yengol is a Bergtroll and friend of Zyreel. He has always been the most zealous adherent of Zyreel's dream, and for many years has spread impatient whispers that King Tekhoon should be replaced.
Yengol recently snuck into Zyreel's rooms and read his private notes about Gehain. Wanting to know more, Yengol visited Gehain and was corrupted. But so far he has not gathered the courage to make a deal with Gehain.
Renzo is the Bergtroll most devoted to Yengol. Unfortunately, he discovered the private notes that Yengol had stolen from Zyreel. He also visited Gehain, and has been corrupted.
Renzo recently found Yengol's copy of the notes about Gehain. Wanting more power for himself, Renzo visited Gehain and was deeply corrupted. Renzo was given a "blessed" weapon, and has begun sacrificing people on "blessed" wooden poles.
Renzo can feel that Gehain is growing in power with each sacrifice. The dealer has promised to share this power in many ways! Together they will establish a wonderful Bergtroll empire!
Mitzi is a Bergtroll captive of Yengol. Ideally she is also a friend of the PC.