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Eleasis DE 34

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The Five Dominions are all that remain of a once-great kingdom. At the height of its power, the Crownand the Creedled humanity in the Black Crusade's and drove the twisted elvesand dwarvesto near extinction. As a result, the ancient wards that held an ancient evil at bay were shattered, and the Shade seeped into the world. Now, more than a century later, the Crown commands a mere quarter of the land, resources, and citizens it once did. Where once stood more than a dozen dominions, now only five remain, ruled over by desperate and opportunistic regents who squabble and scrape over scant resources and dwindling land.   Still, there is fortune and glory to be had across this doomed realm for adventurers dogged enough to venture beyond the crumbling walls of humanity. Frontier settlements cry for help as the Shade encroaches; twisted horrors stalk the dense wilds; and forbidden knowledge and lost treasures wait in countless ruins. What follows is the current shape of the Five Dominions, such as it is – the cities, settlements, and land marks that remain...for now. Hither comes the Shade.   SETTING PRIMER: HITHER COMES THE SHADE   “Do not seek eager what lies beyond the walls of man. Hither comes the Shade – the twilight of all things.” – The Final Tenant of the Creed   1. The Shade Encroaches on the Five Dominions: With fire and iron, we snuffed out the Old Magicks – and, as a result, the wards holding back an endless darkness shattered. The Shade seeped into our world. With it came vile arcane magic, unfathomable horrors, and a ceaseless darkness both figurative and tangible, inching us ever closer to the end of all things.   2. The Withered Road: The encroaching darkness of the Shade swallows more of humanity’s domain with each passing day. Like a twisted vein of refuge amidst the inky gloom, the Withered Road is a simple thoroughfare of pallid earth that extends from one side of the realm to the other, dotted with roadhouses and villages. The Road offers a fleeting reprieve from the Shade – and the terrors that dwell within it.   3. The Grand Bastion of Doressan: As the Shade encroached on our domain, we took refuge in the dwarven ruins of the Pinnacles. Upon those crumbling, ancient stones, we forged the great city of Doressan, only reachable by dirigible. Doressan, our skybreaching city, is dotted with beacons of gaslight, and spared the horrors of the Shade – for now.   4. The Crown and the Creed: From the last great human city of Doressan, the matriarchal Crown rules alongside the Creed, a pantheon of gods worshiped for their benevolence and justice. The power of the Crown wanes, and the voice of the Creed is little more than a strangled whisper.   5. The Veiled Mages of the Ordisterium: Veiled alchemists and arcanists, the Ordists of Doressan are Crown-sanctioned magic-users. They bend the eldritch arcane to their whims, and are responsible for black powder and the blaugas that lifts our dirigible and lights our lamps. Their most impressive and terrifying creations – the Ogre – are elephantine magical machines designed to withstand the crippling power of the Shade. Ordists serve throughout the human dominion, and can be found from Doressan all the way to the meager villages at the edges of the frontier.   6. The Ruling Regencies: Governing the remnants of a once-great empire, four regents act as overseers in service to the Crown. These four dominions, along with the Crownlands, are the boglands of the Barony of Strand, the mountainous Duchy of Rekhart, the frigid County of Thurland, and the forested Margrave of Hildebrandt – each of them supplies a valuable resource to the Crown, and each is plagued by their own unique darkness.   7. The Black Crusades: The Crown and the Creed saw our great destiny, and called us to arms. The ordists perfected our black powder, and with fire and iron we drove the elves and dwarves and their Old Magicks to the edge of extinction. Those few meager tribes that escaped justice slipped into the shadows, and exist now as distant myths – fairy tales we spin for our children.   8. The Forgotten Glory of the Wardens: In the Black Crusade's, the anointed Wardens cut down the armies of the ghasts in great, bloody swaths. Armed with Flintlocks, hatchets, and the stark black-and-white garb of their faith, these puritanical templars are scattered now, a remnant thanklessly forgotten by the people they once protected.   9. Familiar Forms, Twisted in Shadow: From the wolves that stalk the wilds, to men and women dwelling in frontier villages, many mortal creatures have become warped by the unfathomable energies of the Shade, now appearing savage and monstrous. They roam the wilds and ruins of the world, searching for answers and respite – or prey to sate their dire whims.   10. A Plague of Ghasts: Once innumerable, now twisted and warped by the Shade, the few remaining elves seek to usurp humanity with dark magic. Halting their ages-old feud with the maligned, stone-skinned dwarves, these ghasts live like vermin beneath the earth and in the dark wilds. Iron burns their fiendish flesh, and fire sends them skittering.

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