For the game this time around, I decided I would set the play in a time period that, though loosely mapped out in my head, had never been explored by any group I’d played with. This is the Age of Strife, five hundred years after the Sundering, the event that ended the Age of Magic. This is a time when the forces of civilization have fallen, as Chaos has encroached upon their territories, torn down their cities and cast out their people.
So I’m going for a more ‘Sword and Sorcery’ vibe then high fantasy one like I normally do. The Vancian D&D magic has only begun to be used in this setting as wizards had to relearn their lost arts after the end of the era. I’ve decided that several things that end up being part and parcel of the ‘modern era’ will have their seeds now.
Before the end of the AoM, there was a vast human empire called the Empire of Valas. This is a rough Roman empire analogue. So skilled in magic and organized war, thanks to worshipping the Lords of Law, they slowly encroached upon the world, conquering one petty kingdom after another. Eventually they were a vast and sprawling empire. Allied with the Dun (later the dwarves) they even managed to shatter the strength of the unassailable Tryshallans, bringing their fallen leaders into the heart of Valas bound in iron chains (deadly to the fey Tryshallans).
But then it fell. Their power was broken in a single cataclysmic night. Since then, they have fought a desperate struggle, falling further and further back from the encroaching wildness. An empire that once spread across the face of the known world has been reduced to a mere shadow of its former glory. Not that you could tell by the way the decadent nobility behave.
Many Tryshallan have thrown off the human shackles and fled back into the wilderness. The Sundering stole a great deal of their power, but in an odd quirk of fate, they are no longer slain by iron’s cruel kiss.
And the Dun, once powerful creatures of living stone, have been cursed with mortal flesh. Much of their underworld empire has fallen as well, caverns and citadels lost to earthquakes and goblin invasions.