This post will give a brief rundown of some of the lore of Shadows & Silver. This post will be short and sweet, not because there's not more information than this swimming in our heads, but because we don't want you to have to read pages upon pages of lore in order to get into the game. We intend for the world to be very immersive, and should be able to learn whatever you need about the world very quickly just by playing. Still, you want to know what to expect before you get inside, so here you go:
Shadows & Silver centers around the city of Midport, a coastal trading and manufacturing city in the Confederation of Adun. The region of Adunay is constantly in turmoil, and decades of continuous war, political upheaval, and plague have devastated the land and populace. Midport is a bleak place. Its skies are clouded with the smog of industry, its water is polluted by the run-off of alchemical warfare, and the vast majority of its people live hungry and destitute. Corporations and what's left of the old nobility scramble to hold on to whatever they can in wake of demonstrations, strikes, and slave revolts. Crime is... well, let's just say even the city guards are criminals.
Across Adunay, things are even worse. The land is tainted and few places still contain arable land. Plague ravages vast swaths of land, and much water is undrinkable. Border disputes with Salicia to the south and the ongoing war with the orc nations to the north mean continual battles on Adunean soil. Adunay is quickly becoming a wasteland, and the Confederation is throwing up its hands in despair.
Throughout all of this, the Church of the Archons attempts to maintain order. A continent-spanning organization, the Church claims authority over the affairs of men as the last followers of the ancient who created the world in aeons past. But whatever divine power they wielded in those mythical days has since gone cold; instead, its clerics wield the alchemy that has proven so destructive in the past century of war. They have maintained control through brute force and political intrigues for centuries, but that control is beginning to break down as people realize the Archons are not returning to rescue them from what is surely the end of days.
In the east, a giant has fallen. The many nations of Nerath, bound together by religious fervor, have crumbled. Their campaign against the Confederation forty years ago ended in disaster when the Church sacked their cities and drove their people into the wilderness. Civilization is now but a memory in those vast wastes. But, increasingly, those seeking a bit of freedom and relief from the dangers of Adunay flee to that old land to stake claims and make their homes. Colonization of Nerath is not without dangers, however. The land is strange, and terrible creatures roam the wastes. It is a cutthroat land now, with no laws except the survival of the strong and crafty.
The histories of Adunay depend greatly upon who is telling them. They are cloudy, and have many discrepancies. Doubtless, this is due to the constant war and disaster, but many suspect the Church of meddling to maintain its position of power. Whatever, the case, people are sure of the events they lived through.
Forty years ago came the invasion of the Nerathim, those zealots from the eastern wastes. They laid siege to Achalon, most glorious of the Adunean city-states. Urged by the Church, the states set aside their squabbles to create a coalition to drive out the Nerathim and, after years of bloody fighting, they beat them back to their lands and destroyed them utterly. No one can really say for sure how a ragtag group of squabbling rabble like the Aduneans managed to break the multi-million-man siege of Achalon, let alone push them back to their homelands and crush them. It was probably strength in numbers and good ol' Adunean ingenuity, though.
Believing that, the states decided to make their coalition permanent, an overarching Confederation that governed all the states as one nation. with strength in unity, they believed, they would conquer the Plain themselves. It worked for a year or so, but then tensions started to flair.
Burdea, a state in Upper Adunay that suffered heavily in the war with Nerath, tried to leave the coalition rather than submit to the rule of the new Confederation government. Claiming Burdea was sovereign over its own affairs, Major General Alexei Graudyn led his troops in storming Fort Lussk, a Confederation stronghold. He was hailed as a folk hero and continued his raids against Confederation forts for fourteen months. When Burdean Prime Minister Hendrick Chatham, fearing Graudyn's political aspirations, had him arrested and hanged for treason without a trial, Burdea plunged into civil war. The Confederation leapt at the chance to crush the vulnerable republic. All that remains of its cities are the blackened husks of buildings, and most of its people live in refugee camps throughout Adunay.
In the wake of the War of Burdean Sovereignty, the Confederation was weakened by the infighting of states and the old nobility that tried to keep itself in power. Nineteen years ago, several of the craftier states banded together and chose the Krunag prince Adlai Surestov as their leader, claiming he was a descendant of Arcos the Great, founder of the old Adunean Empire back in the golden days of Adunay.
Adlai supplemented his army with orcs, ogres, and other sub-human beasts from the northern mountains, and their vicious attack on an already weakened Adunay was relatively unchallenged. Within a year he had crossed the Carradin mountains and stormed Achalon, crowning himself Arcos IX. The Confederation was devastated at Achalon, and sufficiently weakened that Adlai pressed his advantage and invaded Lower Adunay. His orcish soldiers yielded him victory after victory until the Church stepped in with its alchemists. The war was terrible, as the blackened husks of many cities throughout the Adun River Valley demonstrate.
Adlai was removed from his throne and beheaded seven years ago, and his death is now memorialized as the holiday Kingsblood Day. With his death, the Confederation once again re-established itself and, after a brief interlude of peace, began an invasion of Krunag to punish those northern beasts for the havok they had wreaked on Adunay.
Today, the Confederation, bankrupted by a costly war and out-of-control inflation, is trying to maintain its unity by colonizing the wastes of Nerath. This is creating tensions with Salicia, which has its own interests in that land, and with talk of a new war the states are once again beginning to squabble. There's rumors that some are trying to crown a new emperor, and it's only a matter of time before the next civil war breaks out.