The Chronicles of an Age of Shadow Campaign commences about one generation after the Unification War, when the greatest bulwark against the Darkness fell. In ancient times, the free races warred against the Darkness and banished it through the efforts of valiant heroes called the Iron Circle. Thereafter, the Iron Circle went on to establish realms and dominions across the continent of Deryn, the greatest of which was Radnurgem, the shining Empire. A period of peace and enlightenment followed.
Centuries later, the Darkness returned and it was revealed that instead of defeating the enemy, the Iron Circle had betrayed their sacred trust and made a pact with it. The Darkness moved in force and brought allies from distant planes in a massive invasion. However, the successors of the Iron Circle came together by fate and where the original heroes were tested and found wanting, these heroes withstood the onslaught and literally altered the fundamental structure of the cosmos in their efforts to combat the Darkness. Where once the universe comprised a multitude of dimensions, each overlapping the other, now all Existence converged on a single world adrift on the Astral Sea and the planes above and below were forever closed off.
A dark time, a time of opportunities…
You come from various places, from various backgrounds, with various hopes and dreams. Life in your settlement was not easy, but it also did not satisfy your craving for something more. You knew from a young age that you were destined for something more; that your future did not lie in the place you were born. Though you were born in a time of Shadow, when the Darkness ruled the land from its fortress in the far north and when Magehounds patrolled Deryn rooting out dissension, rebellion and magic use, your heart yearned for the time before the Fall. Something in the stories you had heard about the Shining Age made you desperate for freedom yourself. The oppression of your existence under the Rule of the Shadow hardened something inside of you, making you unsettled with what you saw and still see around you – the self-centredness, the brokenness and even the surrender to the ways of the Darkness.
You spent much time in your youth training, honing your skills, in the deep belief that one day you would venture forth to seek your fortune. You badgered travellers passing through your settlement for tales of the wider world, for events occurring elsewhere, for shreds of knowledge and even instruction. All in preparation for the day you would leave. You gathered together coin and equipment, knowing that one day you would need it to survive in a world hostile to your own values.
That day came sooner than expected.
Something happened to change your life: the loss of a loved one, a fight with a rival, the devastation your settlement from one of the many turmoils plagueing the land, or maybe just simply a keener awareness of the passage of time. You came to the realisation that until you took action, your destiny would continue to remain on the horizon, forever out of reach. That day itself, you gathered your meagre possessions and left your home. Whether it was quietly before the break of day or with warmth and farewells from your family, you turned away determined to only ever return when you were satisfied that you had sought out all life had to offer and to perhaps make a difference in the world.
The Fallen Lands
Chance or fate has brought you to the area known as the Fallen Lands. In distant times, the dominions of the Elves and Dwarves touched this part of the world and in some places, their legacy remains in the form of ancient ruins, roads overgrown with tangelweed and abandoned cities. Hundreds of years ago, the empire of Radnurgem claimed this region as its western border, facing the Great Inland Sea, beyond which lie the Uncharted Lands. Northmost the fat, bustling seaport of Far Volmar sprawls across the mouth of the River Mar, at the southern edge of the Cold Wastes which lie at the threshold of the lands of Shadow even farther north; to the south end lies the stronghold of Drakhonspar, a bastion of foul Orcs and their barbaric kin. In the north east, the abandoned Kelgorn Keep stands a lonely vigil, futilely watching for the monstrous hordes that already poured forth from the Chaos Scar in the valley beyond. In between these places, tiny villages eke out a difficult existence from behind earthwork-and-timber walls, living lives reminiscent of the one you left behind.
Somehow, you are drawn to the Duchy of Daggerfen, the ancient seat of power in the Fallen Lands. Now just a modest town, Daggerfen exists in the ruin of what was once a great city that was destroyed during the first days of the ShadowFall. The Dukes still rule here but at the suffrage of the Shadow who keeps maintains watch on these frontier lands through the Dark Marshal that oversees the region, regular Magehound patrols and the Orcish legion at Drakhonspar. As with most other places throughout Deryn, Daggerfen placates the Shadow with regular tithes, tributes and offerings from their pitiful harvests.
Yet, you sense a residual dignity here that you did not find in your own homeland. The folk of Daggerfen move with some pride and unspoken honour that you are drawn to. Where you were greeted with suspicion and fear at other settlements while travelling the lonely roads on your way here, you received a measure of hospitality long thought lost in these dark times. When questioned by the local Magistrate about your presence, you quickly became a member of the family or were hidden under the floorboards of the shack where you were staying. Either way, something opened your heart to the stoic folk of this land, and you resolved to stay in the region awhile to see what aid you could lend them as you sought your destiny in the world.