Well, I just got back to the desert after a lightning raid into the Bay Area, where I had a doubleheader weekend of dungeon master work (a 5 hour game and then and a 7 hour session the next day.) It seems that Random Encounters Metadimensional Travel Agency is turning into a more regular side hustle, and am now in a position to take on more clients.
For these sessions, I actually revisited a setting I originally created in the early 2000s for one of my first campaigns. Here is a bit of flavor text I began with to set the stage for the first adventure of “Rise of the Antha’ar“:
In the years after the elves departed, the kingdoms of Men struggled with their newfound freedom. For thousands of years the haughty Eldar had ruled over all the land of Galinea, with gentle nature magic cloaking their iron-fisted hierarchy; Men, halflings and gnomes were little more than beasts of burden and arrow fodder in the elven realm. But the ravages of the mysterious Elf Plague diminished their power, and for a bloody 50 years, they tried in vain to stamp out the flames of rebellion and independence, as men threw off the elven yoke. Weakened, dying, the once-proud elves assembled a fleet to carry their number westward across the sea, to seek safety in the fabled home of Solarus, their all-loving Sun god. Only a few elves remained behind, hated by most other races for centuries of domination.
In time, the sickness passed, and like green shoots after a forest fire, new kingdoms sprouted up in the aftermath of plague and war. Human warlords and prophets carved out new realms, some aping the greatness of the elven civilization, and others who proclaimed a new Age of Man. For the next hundred years, humans fought against encroachment by the goblins and orcs, but were just as likely to make war on each other.
The dwarves, too, were affected by the Elf Plague, though in different ways. Quarantined in their mountain homes, their ancient monarchies were overthrown by a confederation of mining guilds, who began to collectivize the disparate dwarf kingdoms into a single unified force, The Unified Dwarven Mining Directorate, (known by most as The Guild). Through clever diplomacy with human kingdoms, and the hinted threat of their mighty armies, the Guild has established a monopoly on mining of all metals, and also controls the minting of coins for many kingdoms. As the human appetite for iron grows, they grumble about the power of the dwarves.
Ma’ Sheorun is an ancient, glittering port city, at the northwestern coast of Galinea. It sits protected by a large bay, at the mouth of the mighty Sheorun River. To the east, the Khaz Korah mountains mark the edge of human settlement, beyond which the power of the orcish hordes swells in the vast and forested Korah Valley. To the Southwest, the coastal foothills of the Khazad Mountains. The erstwhile capitol city of The Guild, Dur Khazad, lies in those hills, only three days’ journey from Ma’Sheorun. Dwarven trade has made Ma’Sheorun wealthy and cosmopolitan, and one of the few truly multi-racial cities in a world simmering with murderous tension. But 100 years after the Exodus of the Eldar, the continent is a powder keg. It would take only a spark to ignite…