2016 Campaign Setting Changes
A hundred years have passed since the adventurers of the Eastern Reach met a fateful end and the immortal Duke Konrad usurped the rulership of Versmark. The Empire has not fared well since then, its borders crumbling on all sides. To the east, Konrad the Dragon has claimed more territory for himself, carving out his own petty empire as the Empress’ legions retreat before his armies. Orcs pour forth from the uncharted east, pillaging a countryside now bereft of Imperia’s protection. In the south, Scoradia faces a similar threat, overwhelmed by orcs and other monstrous creatures in the wake of the Empire’s complete withdrawal from the southern continent. The west and north, emboldened by Versmark’s sedition, have distanced themselves from the Imperial Throne. The Northern Provinces are functionally independent, while much of Vespera is part of the Empire in name only.
Internal dissent, corruption, and deteriorating wealth have decimated the Imperial Legions, turning them into a pale shadow of their former glory. Wide-spread reforms and harsh realities have turned them from the elite force they once were into glorified levies. Still, a few cling to their ancient traditions, and tales of heroism and conquest reminiscent of the days of old can still be heard.
Local lords and rulers have risen further in prominence as the Empire gradually shrinks. Many are now consumed by their own petty ambitions for land and power, scheming against one another in regional conflicts that can no longer be kept in check by the Throne. Even as lords squabble over territory, however, magical creatures have come out of the woodwork. While some pose little threat, most are hostile, marauding across the countryside and wreaking havoc in what were once peaceful parts of the Empire. Even so, strange and wondrous sights can be beheld – tales of fairies, unicorns, pegasuses, and other mythical creatures are becoming more commonplace.
Magic itself has waxed and reached its zenith, contributing to the chaos which grips the realm. Sorcerers are born in unprecedented numbers, men and women manifest eldritch powers, and strange, cosmic happenings alter the very fabric of reality.
In all this, the Empress has remained silent, maintaining her long absence from the mortal affairs of the Empire. The people clamor for her return but receive no reply. The Imperian Church flounders, steadily losing its influence as more and more people look elsewhere for answers. Dark cults have arisen in the vacuum, creating pacts with demons, devils, even Death itself… and worse. Old Magic begins to be felt on the edges of civilization, where the people have turned to ancient ways to answer their prayers…