What is it?
A “Fall of Rome”-inspired RPG game setting, intended for the 5th edition of the Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying game, but easily adapted for any fantasy RPG.
A note about terminology: many references are made to the word “barbarian” in The Dying Empire setting. Except when referenced explicitly in terms of game mechanics or character class, this word is intended to mean any human in the game world that is not a citizen or member of the Quelan empire.
The game is set in the slowly crumbling remnants of a once-dominant and controlling Roman-inspired empire known as The Quelan Empire. For all intents and purposes, the Quelan Empire is an alternate history version of the Roman Empire, one in which High Elves stand in for Romans, and the other traditional D&D races serve as stand-ins for other peoples of the ancient world.
Possible specific settings within the empire could be on the fringes, i.e. Britannia, Asia Minor, Northern Africa, etc. This would allow for a more survival, combat, or exploration-heavy game as the PCs must contend with the wilderness, barbarians, and strange wildlife. Another option is in the gutted capital cities – a decaying Rome-analogue, or a bustling, multicultural stand-in for Constantinople; this game would likely be better suited to a city-based campaign or a game overtly (or covertly) political in nature.
The Quelan Empire
The titular “Dying Empire” is one that spanned more than a continent at its apex, subjugated various diverse and widespread peoples, dominated and controlled the trade of its region and time, as well as spread its influence far beyond its physical borders. The high elves who founded the empire used their intellect, natural connection to the land and the flow of magic through and in it, and their imperious nature to subjugate a wide swath of their continent. Their long lives ensured that a suitable emperor could reign for ages, but also encouraged competition and assassination attempts by those jealous of their power. What good is an emperor than can live for a thousand years if they’re in your way to claiming the power that is rightfully yours?