This is part of my ongoing series on the Shattered World setting, which contains pieces you can drop into your own game. In this post, I’ll introduce one of the three major factions of the Shattered World, and a sample NPC belonging to that faction.
The Empire of Shadow
Over a century ago, a council of wizards formed a loose confederacy on the coast of the continent of Iziz. Their original intent was merely to prevent outsiders from interfering with their individual projects, by collaborating on defenses and intelligence. Their lands, castles, and influence grew larger by the year, until their Empire of Shadow engulfed the inhabited half of Iziz.
The High Wizards care nothing for administration, so daily life in their Empire is quite libertarian. It’s a good place to run a business. However, misshapen lieutenants of the High Wizards—the Legates—occasionally snatch people from the streets for strange experiments, and anyone who complains disappears as well. Petty crime abounds, but large-scale crime and revolts are quickly eliminated by the feared secret police, the Wolves of Shadow.
The Wolves maintain their own network of several hundred independent adventurers. Each adventurer in this network receives a magical ring that calls when the Wolves have a need. The Wolves hand-assemble parties of adventurers at their imposing headquarters, the Towers of Pain, to deal with threats that are too small or undefined for the Wolves themselves.
Macario, a Wolf of Shadow
Behaviors: Stand straight, brook no nonsense, purse your lips
Need for Adventurers: Macario has plenty of unsavory jobs that call for adventurers who will handle unusual assignments, no questions asked. For example, an experimental undead super-soldier escaped from a laboratory and is headed for the city of Hallowdeep.
Agenda: Hide evidence of the High Wizards’ more nasty experiments
Secrets: Macario stands in an uncomfortable position within the Wolves. He often gets the “dirty work,” the messes caused by the High Wizards that are too unpleasant for the other Wolves. He needs adventurers who will carry out assignments—even morally questionable ones—without too many moral qualms.