The Shade Isle Campaign
Dolheim was once a part of Rûne. In the year 885 (thirty-one years prior to the start of the campaign), a band of knights from Laomark—Sir Svartsen the Black and his company of Twelve Avengers—marched south with their armies and took the Thanedom of Gran-Heath by force. Over the next few years, both High King Bregus of Laomark and High King Angus of Rûne sent armies to overthrow Svartsen, but every attempt proved unsuccessful. In 892, Svartsen declared his new holdings to be a sovereign state, the Principality of Dolheim; he built the city of Jearing (pronounced “yearing”, not “jeering”) on the former site of destroyed Gran-Heath and crowned himself prince of the realm. His most loyal followers, a circle of twelve black knights, were made the Barons of Dolheim; each was given their own realm to rule as they pleased.
In Svartsen’s own dominion of Jearing, the Black Prince rules with an iron fist. He is a tyrant and a dictator: any and all dissent is rooted out by his Secret Police, who are even more unwaveringly loyal than the Twelve Barons.
It is now the year 916, and Svartsen has ruled unopposed for almost twenty-five years. Though he has visibly aged, the Black Prince seems to have lost none of his old strength or vigor, and the same is true of his Barons—their skill with sword and spell remains as sharp as ever. These past two and a half decades have seen Svartsen condemning people in droves to a fate of exile and transportation—first rebels and malcontents within his own realm, then criminals, then suspected rebels and malcontents and criminals. The people of Dolheim live in constant fear, because they are ruled by a autocrat whom they cannot be rid of—none dare oppose the Black Prince’s might—and yet, he arrests and sentences people seemingly on a whim. If his thirst for trumped-up “justice” cannot be slaked by oppressing his own people, he raids the Rûnish border and captures slaves to transport instead, and this has been his main source of victims for at least the last ten years.
Svartsen ships people in great numbers, with steady frequency, across the Nhordic Sea to the pœnal colony at Shade Isle. Why this is, the people cannot say; all they know is that they must suffer it, for there are none now who can save them.