Our game begins in a small village on the border between the Raphan Empire and the Taint. The party is a collection of adventurers who have responded to a call for soldiers to serve the Baroness Deora. Since the division of the Taint by the Dread-Lord of the Kingdom of Shadow, the Family have been nothing if not contentious. Constantly trying to maneuver their way closer to the Throne, they engage in all manner of subterfuge and even open conflict with each other. The Baroness is currently in the midst of a land dispute with the neighboring province controlled by Faltak the Lame. She is hiring up hedge-knights and sell-swords, and your group has decided to take her up on the offer – the pay is good, the loot is better, and it offers up the chance to gain power, prestige, and knowledge.
In the Kingdom of Shadows, all beings are ultimately under the authority of the Tenebrous Throne and the Throne’s regents. However, aside from the dangers of living in the Taint, life generally went on as it has always done after the Dread-Lord took control. Crops are planted, businesses are conducted, worship is held, and festivals observed. The only true “citizens” of the Kingdom are those that have been elevated to citizenship, or “migrated”, but these are rare, and most towns and provinces are left to govern themselves, as long as they abide by the 5 central tenets of the Kingdom: 1) The practice of “turning” and the channeling of the Lux Aeternum are forbidden, as are the consecration of arms and of water. 2) The established annual hostages are delivered to the Regent. 3) That all arms are to be bound while in the townships of the Regent, and surrendered upon request of any Regents’ officers, nor may any arms be fitted with any form of Truedeath magic. 4) That the Trees are to be left untouched, neither watered nor molested, nor may any portion be carried or transported for any reason. 5) Obeisance must the offered at the arrival of the Dread-Lord. All who do not bow to the God-King of Night will pay the ultimate penalty.
Religion tends to be varied. While the Haradi worship of Yesuch’i, their monotheistic deity, is still the majority, there are temples and shrines to numerous faiths through the Kingdom, including St. Cuthbert, Corellon Larethian, and Pelor, as well as many more esoteric faiths, such as the worship of Boccob and Wee Jas and the increasingly prevalent Cult of the Morninglord.