In the Shadow of Princes
999 of the Post Cataclysmic Era
Much has gone before in this campaign and it’s needless to try and begin here by cataloguing the adventure so far. This seems a good place to indicate the current tenor of the campaign and the immediate direction it is taking.
For the purposes of this storytelling tool I have decided to give this campaign the name I chose (Shadows and Princes and all that) because now more than ever the players of this game/story have become aware of the immediate imagined history that forms the backdrop of the campaign world. “The Last Heroic Age” before the peace of the previous generation has always served as a potent symbol of old glory, a world of adventure beyond the reach of the PCs, and a source of unknowable mystery. This was a fictional history consisting of people and names but no events; ideas but no plot. As more has been revealed about the specific events of that Heroic Age twenty-five long years past, the players ought to begin to see their own actions and adventures within a linear continuum that is contiguous with (and not distinct from) the fabled history of the Heroes and Princes that until now were only names, albeit iconic names with definite attributes and imaginative significance, but mere names nonetheless.
Now that the stakes have been to a certain extent revealed and especially now that the motivations of Golan Trevize have been somewhat unveiled, it becomes possible, for the first time, for the players to define their characters in direct relation to the previously untold history of the campaign world and begin to formulate genuine hypotheses about the larger questions that pervade this world and emmanate from the murky years of the Post Cataclysmic Era’s unknown pre-history, a time recorded in latter Chronicles as The Age of Poisoned Sea and Sky.
The main segment of the campaign is taking place in late 999 of the Post Cataclysmic Era. It is a time of upheaval, as the “Old Peace” that governed Europa and the near-East for a quarter century has by now been utterly discarded. Every corner of the known world is inflamed by war, spurred and instigated by the fires of the Phoenix Order and their war-like puppet state, the Imperium Romanorum.
Many of PCs have been laying low for some time. Denille Olivoix and Jimmy Nails have been basically in hiding, preparing weapons of magic and science and plotting their next moves. Their hands will soon be forced as news emerges from Italy (Latia) concerning the great battles unfolding for control of the Eternal city of Rome itself.
Of course, half of the PCs are currently engaged in the Roman conflict and trapped behind enemy lines. As they prepare to lower Rome’s defence screen and make their escape from the Phoenix Order, they are witnessing a civil conflict that could break Rome’s military supremacy and throw the embattled world into a state of anarchy. Now is a time for leadership and high heroism as the Occidental world, until recently enslaved by Rome and the Phoenix, will begin its first crucial steps towards a new order of being.
As the legions recede new powers will rise. Old tribal conflicts will resurface anew as liberated patriots challenge Rome’s conspirator factions, those who allied with Rome’s hegemonic rule during the Imperium. And greater trouble stirs in the Eastern plains of the Ukraine as rumours grow of a dark new power emerging from the Black Spire of Kiev. Rumours speak of marauding bands of walking dead men and human-machine hybrids crafted for war. And, in terrified whispers, the name of the Spire’s new master is known. It is XHAN and his ultimate allegience could be the greatest determinant of mankind’s fate in the months to come.