Savage Age of Shadow: Introduction

One of my favorite OGL settings was a dark fantasy world created by Fantasy Flight Games (in the heyday of d20, they were cranking out quality products left and right). The best way to describe it would be Middle Earth, but Sauron won the war. There's a lot of very Tolkien-esque concepts in the setting, but their approach and the concept of Heroic Paths was a pretty cool addition to the ruleset. Sadly, this came about when I was really just "collecting" RPGs since I had no group and I've never had the chance to play. Now, with my interest in Savage Worlds, I wanted to bring the amazing setting of Midnight to Savage Worlds and, hopefully, get the opportunity to run at least one adventure set in the Savage Age of Shadow with my current group of players. What follows is a brief introduction and in the coming weeks, you'll discover (or re-discover) the races of Aryth and the land of Eredane.

A thousand years has passed since the dawn of The Third Age and, with efforts to rebuild the Fortress Wall limited and alliances breaking, reconstruction all but stopped. Garrisons faltered and the wall was ultimately left to decay into a useless relic of a lost age. Izrador, the Shadow in the North, came for the final time at the close of the Third Age, not on the battlefield, but in the destruction of trust and corruption of men.

Northmen, long-corrupted by the Shadow in the North, moved south, settling nomadic camps along the frontier. Orcs squatted in the ruins of the Fortress Wall, keeps, and ancient cities destroyed in the last war with the Shadow. Magic and gold were traded for steel and dark pacts. The elves made promises of an alliance to the princes of Erenland, but Erethor was too weak to keep them. Izrador’s most insidious victory was the corruption of four great heroes and their transformation into the Night Kings, who then crushed the weakened coalitions.

When Izrador’s forces poured into the frontier, there was no one left to stop them. The forces crushed the desperately rallied force of elves, humans, and few dwarves to the Sea of Pelluria. In The Last Battle, came ashore in Southern Erenland and flooded over the defenders. The humans and elves suffered horrific casualties before breaking and fleeing south or deep into Erethor, while the dwarves fought like demons and died to the last warrior.

The march down the Eren took mere months and the heartland was conquered by midwinter. With the elves and dwarves divided, Izrador turns his orcs east into the Kaladrun foothills and the borders of Erethor began to burn.

Welcome to the Savage Age of Shadow

The human lands have been fully subjugated and the remaining insurgents are being systematically eliminated by agents of the Shadow. The principalities of Erenland have been divided among the legates of the Order of Shadow. Travel is restricted. Trade with the fey, literacy, and the use of magic of any kind are capital crimes.

The gnomes and halflings that failed to escape into the mountains have been enslaved and any elves or dwarves foolish enough to be discovered in the conquered lands are killed on sight. The dwarves of the Kaladruns have retreated to their ancient holds, converting every passage and mine into a killing field of murderous traps and bloody ambushes. The elves stand against the advancing orc hordes, but with each battle and skirmish, the Shadow drives the elves and dwarves deeper into their refuges.

It in now the 99th year of the Last Age. A shadow covers the land. Faith has fled. Freedom is lost. Hope is gone. The dark god has risen and the world is his. Who will stand against him?