Session 0 - Characters and settingThe group consists of four people:
The Game Master - Myself
Thorm - Dwarven exile enlisted in the Imperial Army
Rowley - Human sergeant in the Imperial Army
Arakasi - Human monk with mystical abilities and a mysterious past
The world is a Fantasy world with magic, races such as elves, dwarves and orc, is around Tech Level 2-3, which means somewhere around the Iron Age, and the events take place in something akin to the real worlds Roman Empire called the Empire of Baresh. The Empire is slightly more technologically advanced than the Roman Empire and has the added advantage of employing organised magic users in the form of a Collegium of Magic
The Empire of Baresh has been the major power in the area for centuries, enjoying a long heritage of strong rulers aided by capable advisers and ambitious noblemen. Its power is based on three pillars:
- Might, in the form of its disciplined and professional, but expensive, army
- Money, mainly supplied by its cunning merchants who have secured a monopoly on the export of items from the northern realm of the dwarves; and finally
- Magic, provided by the Imperial College of Magic.
Times of TurmoilHowever, the Empire has seen better days. About 25 years before our heroes come into the picture, the town of Roggle Hill was turned to volcanic glass and a foe popularly called the Terror appeared. This Terror summoned hordes of monsters and waged war against the Empire from inside its most central heartland with the assistance of powerful magic. After a while undead creatures were added to this invasion. During the early war, the Dwarven kingdom in the north provided military assistance and supplied the Empire with quantities of weapons, iron and coal, but the King and his council soon had a change of heart and closed themselves inside their mountain homes, severing all ties to the outside world.
The Elves evacuated all their domains but left their greatest heroes behind to support the Empire in the struggle.
Despite the help of the Elves and focusing all the resources of the Empire on this titanic struggle, it seemed impossible to make headway. Soon, the Imperial Capital was besieged and all hope seemed lost. Then one night, the Imperial Capital and the surrounding landscape was devastated by immense magical force which left the city standing, but eradicated all life and left the city weathered as if hundreds of years had passed and full of violent spirits. After this, the Terror was not seen again and the armies of the Empire started to regain lost ground as the monstrosities now lacked leadership and the support of magic.
As the war against the Terror was brought to an end, the impact of over a decade of war is becoming known:
The Empire has spent all its resources on this one task, drawing upon the manpower, supplies and wealth of all its provinces. As a result, the heartlands are greatly depopulated and most now live in the cities. The outer provinces have been less affected, but have still had to pay heavily to support the war effort.
With the Emperor dead and the administration gone, the Empire is weakened and cannot defend all its provinces. Some regions have already banded together into new kingdoms and principalities for mutual protection while others have become snapped up by active neighbouring realms. To the north, the orcs are making inroads, laying claim to abandoned forts and villages. To the east, the Fen Princes are taking possession of all undefended provinces they can without exposing any weakness to each other. In the south and on the islands, ambitious vice-roys and lordlings are proclaiming themselves independent and on the seas, pirates roam unchecked now that the Imperial Navy is no longer able to protect trade.
While there are many veterans in the army, everyone in the Empire is tired of war and there are no resources or leadership which can bring about a reconquest. The people of Baresh are occupied by trying to rebuild and resettle all the lands which have been reclaimed from the reign of the Terror. A major effort is now being made to reclaim and cleanse the Imperial City and this is where we join the players.