The Third Age of Llowellen represents the default setting that players expect of a traditional Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Epic levels are now so rare that they are all but unattainable. The times and technologies are loosely synonymous with those of medieval Europe and yet magic both arcane and divine remains a significant and powerful force in the world.
These Early Middle Ages of Llowellen are a time of ominous portents and grim omens. The Mother-Goddess Anwen is mortally wounded and slowly dying. Her passing will bring the decline of the Fey races and begin the slow fading of magic from the world. But these are events that have only now been put into motion and have not yet come fully to pass. They remain grim realities of the distant future, foreshadowed by the terrible events of these days and foreseen by an unfortunate gifted few.
The ancient times are coming to pass and little remains to hold the Mortal races in check with the balance of nature’s ways. Indeed, mankind seems to have evolved to become the antithesis of the old ways as ancient forests are felled, rocks quarried from the earth and metallic alloys forged and manufactured to construct cities that stand proudly defiant of the Mother-Goddess as the harbingers of a new age.
The featured setting of the Third Age is The Feyen Isles. This small island realm is a land of temperate woods and tangled forests. The northern coasts of these lands are mired in cold marshes and wetlands, while the western shores are dominated by rain soaked highlands and mountains. The seat of the Seelie Court and The Resplendent Throne has ever been in the small land and the people here have long been loyal to Anwen and the Old Ways. But these are changing times, the Fey are retreating, their lands diminishing, mankind is beginning to control areas that were once denied or inaccessible to them.
Players of a Third Age Campaign have a great diversity of options available to them from the indigenous faen, centaurs, satyrs and werebadgers to the immigrant gnomes and the foreign bugbears, and wereboars. The aquatic elves, merfolk and sauhagin found in the surrounding oceans are also familiar faces in The Feyen Isles.
The Third Age, or The Early Middle Ages
The northern wall of North Reach looks out upon the Belekov Mountains. The mighty gates fixed in that wall rarely open anymore. On the few occasions when the north gates do open to allow entrance to the occasional merchant caravan or an especially daring traveler, they reveal a wide road, paved with great stone flags forming a smooth and level traveling surface striking due north for the mountains. However, closer inspection reveals the signs of a lack of maintenance, and after a few miles the road deteriorates into little more than a wide dirt track, overgrown with weeds and with only the occasional stone paver visible in the hard soil. It obviously sees little travel and even less care.
Few stand atop North Reach’s northern wall and gaze out upon that mountain vista or care to think about what lies beyond those distant highlands. Fewer still are brave enough to make the journey in that direction (except those players foolish enough to join me in The Forlorn Waste, of course). North Reach relies on its commerce from other roads in other directions and pays no mind to the north, beyond the village of Two-Ford and the foothills and across hundred of miles, lies the reminder of one of the most tragic moments in the history of Summan. To those who even care to remember, the north gate leads only to bad memories or mournful legend. To the rest it leads where only madmen would dare to go – the ruined city of Korakaa and the great Forlorn Waste that surrounds it.
Korakaa, the great temple-city to Fallen Prince of the Undead, stood for centuries as a bastion of evil and hate. Foul beings of all kinds flocked to its mighty walls and found succor and purpose within. At its heart stood the great Citadel of Orcus, the black heart of all Orcus worship upon the World of Llowellen. Countless evils were perpetuated in those corrupt precincts, and equally countless wicked plots were hatched and carried out therein.
Finally the goodly kingdoms could stand the presence of this festering boil in their midst no longer. The Shoshannic Church led a delegation to Mixaab, the last Summanian High King. Only with the backing of Trinity’s secular armies would the Holy Church be able to erase such a blight. In his last major pronouncement before the overthrow and fracturing of the Kingdom of Trinity into the Midden Lands of today. High King Mixaab called for a mighty crusade to tear down the walls of Korakaa and forever end the presence of Orcus worship in the world.
This crusader army, raised from all nations, became known as the Army of Light and marched for Korakaa. In command of this army Mixaab placed his most trusted adviser, the sorcerer Kyrian Starcrest. Supported by inumerable knight commanders, wizards, church patriarchs and scores of heroes of renown, Kyrian quickly advanced his army from its staging ground of North Reach, through Korakaa’s outermost defensive positions and into the great plain that surrounded the temple-city itself. Flush with their many victories, the Army of Light suddenly found arrayed against itself seemingly endless legions of every sort of vile warrior-race and fell outsider imaginable called up from worlds other than this and lining the battlements and fields before their redoubt – one of the greatest fortresses and citadels ever erected in that time. The beginnings of doubt seeped into the ranks of the Army of Light.
However, hope was not lost as the heavens opened up and flight upon flight of angels and celestial beings descended from on high to swell the ranks of the Army of Light. With grim determination in both camps, battle was joined on the plain before the gates of Korakaa. The war raged for over a year, the Army of Light advancing to the very foot of the walls and then being pushed back by a new surge of demonic power. The disciples of Orcus led by the Grand Cornu, Orcus’s single highest-ranking priest upon Llowellen, threw every vile attack they could at the Army of Light in defense of their city. Rains of horrific fire and acid fell from the skies or belched from fissures in the ground, great constructs crushed their foes before them, terrible clouds of poisonous gas choked entire regiments, and heretofore unknown plagues swept through the Army of Light. Nevertheless the forces of good persevered and fought on.
Finally, though the battle seemed no closer to victory, the fates seemed to smile on the Army of Light. Unexpectedly the city fell. In a single night the entire city virtually emptied of defenders as they all were magically transported to a point several miles outside the city’s walls, complete with baggage train and mounts for many. The magical expenditure necessary to complete this miraculous maneuver cost the Grand Cornu his very life in sacrifice to Orcus, but the legions of the demon prince had broken free from the Army of Light’s cordon. They immediately took flight before the stunned Army of Light, heading south.