It's a pretty straightforward story but it works well to set up the gameplay. These northern lands are real frontier territory, far from the civilised and familiar parts of Avernum, so it makes sense to find dangerous lands full of pioneers looking for unsettled land and despots looking to oppress them. It also allows Spiderweb to avoid the well-travelled areas we've seen in past Avernum games and effectively change the atmosphere. Resources are tight this far from the major towns and the air of desperation adds a credibility to some of the simple fetch quests, while effectively underscoring the bigger scenarios. If you are looking for a tightly woven story with a big plot twist mid-game, this isn't it. It's more like the story in Fallout, where the simple premise overarches and ties together the party's travels.