Twilight of Alirium
For a thousand years, the Alirian Empire held sway over half a continent. Most of its provinces had existed for so long that only vague legend remained of the kingdoms they had once been. Over the years, however, the Emperors and nobility developed a taste for excess fed by the spoils of war, and by taxes on the less influential outlying provinces. When the barbarian tribes came pouring from the unconquered north, the Empire was caught with its legions stretched thin in foreign lands, and a disgruntled and impoverished populace.
Generations have passed since those days. Roads once straight and level have become little more than overgrown tracks. Only the eldest can tell of seeing even an Imperial messenger. Petty warlords deck their warriors in pale imitations of uniforms of the Shining Legions. Few now travel more than a few miles from their villages and homesteads. Merchants and peddlers travel in well-guarded caravans, telling of attacks by wild goblin men in the barren wilderness between towns.
Though the Empire is gone, however, life goes on. Those who survived the turmoil of the fall were a hardy lot, and their descendants even more so. These stern folk have stayed the onrushing tide of darkness, and have made lives for themselves beneath its looming crest. Now it is the time for the next generation to prove their mettle.