The Shadows of War
The Shadows of War
An empire lies in ruins; war is brewing, and the dead are rumored to rise.
The Third Age: The Age of Unity
Thousands of years ago, the Versarian Empire united the continent of Turgynn under one banner, beginning the Third Age of the world. The land saw unprecedented peace, prosperity, and cooperation between the races as borders were opened for the first time in hundreds of years. Emperor Yannis Auren the Conqueror established a dynasty that lasted for many hundred years; few elves even remembered a time before the Empire.
Eventually, however, the Empire slowly began to crumble. The forested northwest territories were the first to secede, followed by the snowy southern territories. Political corruption, dissent, and a disputed right to the throne ultimately led to the assassination of Emperor Athil Auren the Young and the collapse of the empire. Thus began the Fourth Age of the World.
The Fourth Age: The Age of Blood
The Archdukes of the twelve Territories each declared themselves kings and engaged in what would later be called the Great War, one of the longest and bloodiest disputes in recalled history. It was at this time that the tieflings and dragonborn came into existence in an effort to turn the tide of the war. By the end of the war, millions had been killed and the land had been razed. The war ended not because it was resolved, but because of dwindling populations, famine, and plague. Countless cities and villages across the land were abandoned, leaving behind decrepit ruins. The elves of Qualestyl and the dwarves of Thialtur each closed their borders and retreated into their kingdoms, completely blocking out the other kingdoms.
In those remaining ten kingdoms, old hatreds between the humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, and others were slowly forgotten, allowing for the races to mix again. Yet orcs, who originated in the desert-filled northeastern territories, were viewed by the other races as aggressive, ugly, and unintelligent, and were persecuted and reduced to roving clans. As a result, they quickly turned to evil; they nurture their hatred and seek the destruction of the other races.
In the hundreds of years since the end of the Great War, the land has healed and the people have taken up farming again. But the wilderness and the open plains have become dangerous places, filled with monstrous creatures, orcs, and bandits; travel between cities often requires an armed caravan, with cities acting as points of light amid the darkness that surrounds them.
The Dark Rumors
It is now over a thousand years since the fall of the Versarian Empire. Nothing has been heard from the Thialtur dwarves or the Qualestyl elves since the time of the Great War, and there are rumors that King Balnur of Dviria is gathering his power to begin a conquest of the land and establish a new empire. Fearful of what the future may bring, the other kings have begun gathering their strengths for possible war.
Yet there are even darker rumors creeping across the land. Stories of the dead returning to haunt the living, even of people’s own shadows turning against them. If these rumors are true, then surely there is a dark time ahead for all of Turgynn.
The sun is setting, the light of hope is dimming, and the shadows of war only lengthen in the dusk.
The World As It Stands
Turgynn is a land where a sword is every bit as important as having three hired bodyguards. It is a land rich in magic, though those who can harness its powers are rare. It is a land darkening with new dangers. It is a land in need of adventurers.
Nobody will tell you what to do next, unless you’re taking orders. Nobody will give you a hint if you get lost, unless you make it worth their while. Nobody will protect you unless you hire them. Nobody will guide you on your quest to greatness; you must control your own destiny. What will you choose to do? Who will you help? Should war erupt, whose side will you support? Will you fight for the free kingdoms, or will you fight for unity under a new empire? Will you ignore the war and allow it to end as it will, or will you strive to conquer the land all for yourself?
But those decisions may be a long ways off, and war is no more than the shadow of a rumor; you likely haven’t given it much thought. For now, your main concern is finding enough money to eat. Rumors of adventure have led you to the town of Ulai. It is a small town on the Dvirian side of the border with Versaria, straight west of Otan. You find yourself in the Rushing Waters Inn on the banks of the river, weary after a long day of traveling and eager to rest.