The Realms in Darkness
It’s been seventeen years since the Black Citadels appeared in the skies of the North – over the desolate, accursed desert of Anauroch, said to have been the cradle (and grave) of an ages-dead empire of mighty wizards. Before long, tattered refugees began to stagger from the lands that neighbor the nightmare desert, bearing tales of demon-soldiers in the night, fiery rains, and hovering towers that spat lightning. Within weeks, news arrived of the fall of the city of Silverymoon … then Luskan, Neverwinter, Waterdeep, Baldur’s Gate, each of the great cities of the North and West in turn. Reports told of mighty sorceries and terrible monsters, of invaders appearing within the walls, all preceded by the massing of a great storm of smoke and fire over the city, and the appearance of a floating Black Citadel from the sooty skies. Refugees from Amn, Tethyr, and Calimshan brought tales of the dead rising en masse to feed upon the living, hordes of hungry corpses marshaled by black-armored horsemen, and a shroud of darkness that has plunged the lands of the South into perpetual midnight.
Since then, the Legions of the ancient Empire of Netheril reborn have swept the lands of the North, West, and South. Only the Thayan Protectorate to the East, ruled by the ruthless and powerful Order of Red Wizards, remains free of Imperial occupation, staring down the Empire over threats of apocalyptic magics. Pockets of resistance remain within Imperial lands, however – pirate hideouts of the Sea of Fallen Stars, fortified dwarven strongholds in the mountains of Turmish, enchanted fey forests. Unlikely alliances have formed against the common foe, and struggle desperately to break the Empire’s stranglehold on the Realms.
Empire of Ashes is a GURPS, 4th Edition campaign using a modified version of the Dungeon Fantasy campaign frame, in a dark alternate universe of the classic Forgotten Realms setting. Dark high fantasy, mythic struggles against overwhelming opposition … one part Rebellion-Era Star Wars, two parts “Middle Earth if Sauron Won.” Influences obviously include the classic Forgotten Realms setting (as it existed in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Edition D&D) and the more recent Midnight FRPG setting.