The Dying Empire, Quelas, is a game setting originally written for D&D 5e, but easily suited and customizable for any fantasy-based RPG.
It began as, most creative things do for me, as an idle pondering. This one was inspired by the Fall of Rome podcast, which I stumbled across, of all places, via Deadspin. Patrick Wyman instilled a real sense of curiosity in me regarding the fall of Rome, and Rome in general. The ancient Roman world was something that I always kind of shrugged off in school. I enjoyed the classical Greek era of history, I always found the turbulent early centuries of Middle Eastern (Hebrew, Arabic, Islamic) history fascinating. But Rome? It was never something that enticed me.
This podcast changed that – it gave me real perspective for why things were the way they were in Rome. Why the evolution of European society and government led to the empire’s downfall. And I began to think, what would a Roman-esque empire look like in Dungeons and Dragons?
I’ve been a near-lifelong P&P gamer – from the 9th grade onwards, I was creating worlds and the characters who inhabited them in the fertile ground of my mind. Often, I’d try to put these headspace worlds into text. More often, I’d just force my family and friends to join me in these worlds as I ran them through game after game of D&D or Pathfinder.
As luck would have it, things kind of coalesced – I was inspired by the Fall of Rome podcast, my regular home RPG game went on a hiatus, and an opportunity opened up for me to run a new game in a local gaming store. I wrote a world reference document. I came up with a campaign synopsis, and I recruited players. And the world of Quelas, the Dying Empire finally began to flesh itself out.