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Shadow Lord Rising

by Rodger Burns

New alternate history spins off around 900 AC, with the first battles between Wendar and Denagoth. Here, Landryn Teriak is a lot more capable, and defeats Wendar quickly and efficiently. The new Denagothian empire soon expands eastwards into Heldann and southern Norwold, establishes a military alliance with the tribes of Ethengar, and becomes a fairly serious threat to the rest of the Known World.

The Shadow Lord isn't unopposed, of course. The wizards of Glantri, threatened to both north and east, build up their armies and start seeking spells to destroy this new adversary. The Northern Reaches kingdoms are also endangered, especially after Denagothian mages and priests of Idris start infiltrating and meddling in local politics. The loss of the trade routes across the Ethengar plains reduces Darokin's influence considerably, and Alphatia and Thyatis are both mildly concerned by the emergence of a new power in their long-running conflict.

In this AH, Saga of the Shadow Lord is undoubtedly an entire campaign. The Denagothian army has a solid core of elite heavy infantry, backed up with mounted cavalry skirmishers drawn from the Ethengarian tribes and strong magical support. The Bone Elves are another weapon in Teriak's arsenal - pitiable souls who chose to submit to Denagothian rule rather than perish, and are now acting as torturers and assassins on the Shadow Lord's behalf. (In 3E, Bone Elves are often wizard-rogue multiclassed characters; in 0E, use Joe Mason's Elven Thief variant.) Overthrowing the Shadow Lord in open battle may be impossible; working through the intrigue of spies and treachery to encourage Glantri, Darokin, Thyatis and Alphatia to unite against the madman is an equal challenge...