So despite my last post calling for players, I decided to put my Uz campaign on hiatus because I had that age old problem of burnout. Now I'm feeling less burned out in time for the release of 5e, and I've mentioned a couple of times that that system fills my nostalgia-sack to bursting with precious orgone, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. As I was going to do with the playtest version, I'll be using the Wilderlands for this, since it is at least somewhat close to 5e's default assumptions while still being palatable to me.
Mer Shunna Temple, Most Holy Shrine (on Land) of Armadod-bog
In the dying years of Kelnore, when that glittering but death-sick empire collapsed under the weight of its own decadence and hordes of invaders, a strange people came to the shores of the Trident Gulf. They were a green skinned people, and legend says their blood carried an ancient lineage from the Demon Kingdoms in the distant south. In the gulf they found the god Armadod-Bog and the race of fish-men that were at that time his servitors. Armadod-bog promised these green men that they should have a great empire if they venerated him and mortified themselves for the sin of being born land-things.
And so the Viridians met their god and their fanatical hordes of flagellants conquered many of the cities of old Kelnore, enslaved the caveman of the Elephan Lands, and butchered many northern elves. Eventually they traded fanatics for keen archers, but this did little to stem the tide of their empire building. Twice they forced the "Invincible" Overlord to submit, first at the infamous Bloodless Battle and again when the great and terrible relic from the Uttermost War nearly destroyed the City State. They ruled territory as far north as Damkina, as far south as the hills north of Lenap, and as far east as the Majestic Mountains.
But those days are gone. Like Kelnore before them, and like the First men and the Markrabs before them, their empire is dying. His Piscine Majesty, the seemingly immortal Viridian Emperor, has retreated with his sister-wives, the infertile remnants of his once powerful race, into the Mer Shunna Temple, and rumors abound that he is losing his power. Certainly that seems to be the case abroad - Damkina has asserted its independence, the new Invincible Overlord - Bjorn the Mighty - and his Skandik allies are reclaiming the land beyond the Majestic Mountains, and even the Elves of Elsenwood have grown bold enough to once again challenge Viridian soldiers. There are even rumors that the Satrap of Tell Qa seeks to join Damkina in its revolt against the Lord of Land and Sea.
Even Armadod-bog seems to have turned his many, ever-open eyes away from the city. The sect of Mycr, a peaceful god worshiped in the Desert Lands, has been growing within the city and throughout the empire. It is said that they work magics to undo the rituals to the city's traditional gods, and that they preach such rank heresy that the gods are literally sickened by them. During better times, his Piscine Majesty would have drowned these freakish blasphemers by the thousands. Once his hosts even stormed their strange cave cities and sacked the temple to their "true god." Now only a few score are killed every year, and without the Emperor's emerald hand to guide them these few executions are at best half-hearted.
Despite all this, it is doubtful that any city in the Wilderlands can rival the splendor of Viridistan even in this debased state, much less any "empire." For this reason it has attracted a large population of Tharabian mercenaries and many adventurers. The PCs are presumably of this second category. One can carve a lot of wealth out of the corpse of a dead empire.
In future posts I hope to cover some subtle differences in the races and backgrounds of the PCs as well as give an overview of the different quarters of the city, its common religions, and the nearby dungeons.