Fortune favors the strong.
For nearly a thousand years, the continent of Vanadia has been ruled by vast empires. Orcs, men, and several dynasties of elves have controlled vast swaths of land across the central plain. Kings have risen and fallen. Soldiers have fought and died in war. Great cities have been founded and been razed. Meanwhile, the common people have done their best to scrape out a living as nations clashed, to survive — and possibly even profit — during periods of intense turmoil.
These days, Vanadia finds itself in the midst of an uncharacteristically long peace under the rule of the Third Imperium of the Elves. However, all is not well in the empire. Trouble brews at the borders, the common folk plot uprisings, and there are rumors of dark magic in the newly discovered land across the sea. The elves send heroes to all corners of the empire to maintain peace, but they’re stretched thin. Their holdings fray at the edges. Will this peace last? Can the elves hold their various conquered territories? And more importantly… should they?
The Vanadia campaign setting exists because I wanted to be able to run D&D campaigns where the struggle wasn’t about good and evil. Most of the time the real world isn’t black and white, why should we pretend it is in games? Instead, the main conflicts in Vanadia are between colonizer and colonized, one culture versus another. As in the real world, they’re between groups of people who have irreconcilable differences, neither group purely good or evil, but both instead somewhere in between.
In the following sections, I’ve outlined a sort of campaign bible. It will of course grow and change, but as it stands it should provide enough information to create characters and adventures in this setting.