The Sundering is going to be a massive deal, and although it started (as many of the world shaping things do) as a colourful bit of epilogue to Ormid and the gang's departure from the “future”, it has become something that I want to literally change the world and the universe it sits in.
Now this raises some interesting questions about the future I had previously planned. In truth, I no longer see the Unified Order as having the same easy sweep to power as I originally imagined; partly because of the way things are developing in the Post War Campaign (the Order seem to be pissing off their main source of power lately – the Warforged – though there are some interesting plot developments on the way there), and because of just how much I want the Sundering (which that group are literally days away from) to change the world.
Now, I wont be ruining anything for the players by talking about the immediate effects of the sundering, as exploring the terrible new world as it settles into a radically altered state will be a big part of the campaign (along with dodging those seeking the Vial of Jantherak and all the other trouble they will no doubt get in). No, what I want to talk about it the future – 1000 years into the future to be honest – the setting for my next campaign (which I intend to publish as a pod cast with supporting notes rather than an ongoing written record).
The world changed in ways no one could imagine when the Sundering occurred. Other universes merged with our own, magic shifted and warped, and even the boundaries between the lands of the living and the lands of the dead grew thin or merged in places. The mortal races flocked together against this overwhelming change, and many, many nations died – either in seconds, or over the decades.
On Fey (the only place we shall quickly look at today, for the next campaign is a “Round the World in 80 days” type thing, as much about exploring the altered world as winning the “Grand Race”), most cities vanished over the next 100 years; either by being abandoned by their inhabitants as trade routes became blocked, fear took hold, or the natural resources they relied on vanished, or by being scoured from the face of the planet. Irin, always the centre of the planet's humans consciousness, attracted refugees by the literal millions, and although it initially almost collapsed under the influx, the new arrivals – many drawn from far away – began to build onto the ancient city, drawing strength from its legendary indomitability and ancient power.
In the year 2480, Irin as a separate city is ancient history, for it is now the name of the central ward of the vast fortress city of Unifica Primae - the gargantuan, 1,200 mile across super-city of the Unified Order (also called Unity, Unifica or Heartwatch). It is home to billions of humans, dundorin, vyrleen, ghaerduun, warforged, and, since the signing of the Five Races Accord in 2027, small communities of aelwyn – though of course, multitudes of other races not recognised as of the Five Accord races also dwell there.
Unifica is a gas lit world all of its own; a foggy, claustrophobic universe all and unto itself. It is a place where the Unified Order hold strong sway, and the worship of “unlawful” gods is forbidden. It is a place of terrible slums and glittering palaces; a place of artifice, ingenuity and blackest arcane horror. It is a realm of gentlemen and nobles, cut throats and murderers, and things that defy logical or sane analysis.
It is a wondrous cesspool of magic, evil and heroic endeavours; the stalking grounds of fell necromancers, daemonic entities and worse (yes worse). It is a place of industrialisation, magical mass production and polluted air, rife with civil and political unrest. It is the haunt of terrible conspiracies, organised crime cartels of terrifying power and a corrupted and increasingly detached ruling order. Poverty, plague and hopelessness are rife amongst most, their gin soaked minds barely able to comprehend what it must be like to be of noble blood – the industrialists and ancient magical families - and to live in the floating palaces of golden crystals above the Irin Ward.
And beyond the walls of this “sanctuary” - if the Order are to be believed, and the few adventurers (like Sir Ghaelen Vorde) that return from that place sane - is a terrible world of barbarism, wild magics, dimensional horror and lawless madness. The land itself is sundered; tortured by dimensional stresses and the transposition of this world with other alien dimensions, and only the most insane or desperate would seek to enter it.
Unity may be a depressing place (for all but the privileged upper classes of course), and a dangerous one, but out there...
...Out there is only death...
Or at least, that's what the Order says...
Maybe those madmen who are proposing an illegal race around the world will be able to confirm or quash those tales. Maybe, in their blimps and other sky engines, they will be able to show the Unified Order as the controlling liars they truly are.
Or worse, maybe they will find that the Order have been telling the truth the whole time, and the fabulous nightmare that is Unifica Primae truly is the best this world now has to offer.