Wow, this is great! I'd love to hear more. Should I PM you with a mail address?
So, the "mystery" of RotR is revealed (at least, the return of the runelords) is revealed pretty early?
Also, no follow up regarding Korvosa and Ileosa's misgivings?
Oh, there's much, much more than that, trust me and yes, feel free to pm me any time (along with anyone else who's interested in this discussion).
So the mystery isn't 'revealed' per se, but rather it's hinted at with growing dread. Kind of like the One Ring, Sheila theorizes that the Shards may be starting to surface because they are reacting to their Master's stirring consciousness, but no one knows which ones are waking or how long it will take them... and her theory isn't even actually correct. I've got a whole thing about what's really going on with the Sihedron all laid out.
Heh - you should see what I've got going on with Fenster from Shattered Star, Vol. 1...
One of the things I feel you have to do to make a story truly epic is to not have everything that matters happen right in front of one group of people every time. That's one of the reasons for my 'B-team', but some of the major NPC's also have an important role to play. There is an entire redemption arc for Nualia that carries through the Lady's Light, her eventual sacrifice and rebirth (drawn to Sorshen's malfunctioning clone) and finally into Korvosa where she assumes the role and title of Blackjack after Vencarlo is assassinated. She and Oriana fight their own clandestine war against the Queen's imperialistic intentions, made easier by the devastation caused by the Bloodveil.
Not to give too much away, but probably my favorite moment in the campaign is this scenario that I call 'A Gathering of Eagles' - the giant attack on Sandpoint ends up being much, much bigger, but most of the major NPC's up to that point gather in the defense of the town and I have about a dozen asymmetrical combat encounters planned where the players get to take over various NPC's, from Vin Vender and Daverin Hosk escorting 'mi'lady Heidmarch through the streets to Shalelu and the druids who moved into Thistletop defending the bridges to Oriana and Nualia fighting back-to-back in the very town square that Nualia had once plotted to raze to the ground and so on. I expect some really powerful moments of both victory and sorrow to come from that one.