The Heroines of Hildegarde began as an all-female Dungeons & Dragons group led by our website founders. The campaign hinges on the bond between the characters, who grew up together as orphans in Hildegarde Abbey. While the story has evolved since the beginning, below is the initial plotline where the story began…
The Heroines of Hildegarde
Hildegarde Abbey is located along the north coast of the Sea of Fallen Stars near the edge of The Vast. It is situated on temperate farmland well away from any major cities or towns. The small villages of Bishop’s Nest and Rosehelm are within a day’s ride of the Abbey. The Abbey is a convent (nunnery) run by the Abbess, an older, formidable halfling that keeps the orphans in check. The convent is a cloistered self-supporting community and everything essential for life – water, a mill, gardens and a workshop is found within the monastery walls. The nuns rarely go beyond the Abbey’s structure.
The convent consists of buildings grouped around an inner court or cloister. The buildings include a chapel, refectory (dining hall), kitchen, buttery, dormitory, library, school, infirmary, guesthouse, barn, bakery, laundry, workshop, and storeroom. Beyond the buildings lay vegetable gardens, orchards, grain fields, a mill and a stream that provides fresh water. A high wall and ditch surround the convent for protection.
The nuns primarily worship Selûne, Goddess of the Moon and pay homage to the deities Helm and Mystra. They are a part of the Order of Silverstars, which consists of priestesses dedicated to protecting the vulnerable. High-ranking priestesses are often gifted with a Moonblade, which has special properties that harm those who are evil.
It is widely known along the Sea of Fallen Stars that the nuns of Hildegarde Abbey are devoted to protecting the weak and vulnerable. As such, many female orphans are dropped off at the cloister to be raised by the church. These orphans come from all races and walks of life – their parents may have been killed in battle, they may have had too many children already or did not desire a female child and it is rumored that some nobility has even sent their children in secret for protection.
Life at the cloister is a simple one, filled with prayer, manual labor, spiritual reading and training. Days begin with the ringing of bells, some time between midnight and two a.m., signaling the first prayers of the day. After a short nap, prayers were again held at sunrise, and then at three-hour intervals throughout the day. Communal prayers averaged about three hours per day, while private prayer and contemplation could take another two hours. Meals were served once a day in winter, twice in summer, with meat forbidden except in case of illness. At least three hours per day were spent in manual labor, with remaining hours not spent in prayer devoted to study, knowledge, education and training.
Priestesses in the Order of Silverstars are trained to protect the vulnerable. Many of the nuns are trained in various fighting styles, healing and forms of magic in addition to prayer and wit. The nuns train their charges in their ways with the intent that the orphans will become priestesses themselves one day. Most of the orphans choose to become nuns when they reach adulthood, though some have ventured out on their own.
Five orphans in particular formed a special bond in childhood – a human female, a half-elf, a moon elf, a half-orc and a gnome. This motley crew grew as close as blood sisters. They spent their days working, praying, training and slaying imaginary dragons as the “Heroines of Hildegarde.” As the adventure opens, two of the heroines have gone missing in the night. They have left only a note saying that they have struck out on their own – determined to see the world and join the infamous Order of the Gauntlet in the city of Phlan, to the North, along the Moonsea. After discussion with the Abbess the remaining three heroines decide to leave the walls of the Abbey, for the first time since their arrival, and head to Phlan to find their “sisters” and bring them home.