This is an example back story for the D&D 5e campaign, Slaves of Troustar.
Return to Pregame
You in the World
Leaving behind your homeland, the hidden maze of burrows on the forested foothills of the Pinnacle Mountains, you make your first small step west to the great city of Ac Rumb. Your small band, known as the Tink, inhabit the northern edge of the Palarah Forest. Further south lies the mighty dwarven kingdom of Todimn. To the northwest rests Lake Holoust and upon its edges the beautiful elven city of Myrast. To the east are the forgotten territories – Once might civilisations lost in ruin and decay.
Most gnomes prefer to concentrate on their own projects and bother themselves only with the lives of those in their villages, but as a rare magic user and adept study of life you have chosen to read well of the world and take the subtle clues that cling to the tales of the simple creatures that pass your lands to advances your awareness of the goings on on the borders of your home.
You have noticed in recent times that these communes with the forest animals seem to be unnaturally vivid, foretelling strange things like changes in weather or visits from other members of nearby gnomish burrows. The engineer minded of your village have put these visions down to nothing more than your overexercised observant mind. They jest, as gnomes are want to do, that you have your nose in every corner of the village sniffing for honey, and the occasional murmur of the term ‘sticky beak’ makes you wonder if the it is a referenced to you. It would give you a good chuckle if it did.
But there has to be something more to all of this. It can’t be just the muddlings of old age. Especially, the day you found the offer of adventure to that hotbed of culture Ac Rumb. As you picked up that flyer a surge of energy set you square on your fanny. It was a telling.
You read on. Meh! Young traveller, you thought. Your a gnome you have always been young at heart. It’s time to make farewells and set off for a journey like no other.
What has your life given you? What secrets do you hold? Why did you decide to take this journey?
Your centuries on terra firma, the many books you have collected and the whisperings on the wind have given you a pretty good grasp of the goings on of Ac Rumb, though that grasp may be a little dated and strongly biased towards animals.
You recall a scrap of text you had managed to squirrel away some time ago. You can’t recall where you got it from, but it appeared to be a page out of a history book of the Vesluvian Empire. You hurry back home and dive into you collection (no doubt the dive was quite literal for a gnome). There it is! It isn’t on Ac Rumb exactly but is is on it’s ruler. Close enough!
Wide-eyed you read:
Lord Vecevious – Patrician of Ac Rumb
Since the disappearance of the Mad King Jelofar of the Vesluvian Empire some fifty years previous, Lord Vecevious has reigned as patrician until an heir to the throne is found to replace him.
Since the patrician took power, peace has reigned over the kingdom and a peace of varying degrees has been forged with Vesluvia’s neighbors.
Benevolent? Arguably. Dictator? Absolutely. Lord Vecevious’ takes a unique approach to the care of his kingdom. Rarely seen by his subjects, his policies reflect an eye in every corner of the world that gradually adds to the prosperity of the kingdom and its capital of Ac Rumb. Unlike the crazy spectacle of violence of his former King in response to defiance of the laws of the kingdom, Lord Vecevious takes a more subtle approach. If a threat to the state occurs, the perpetrators just tend to go…missing indefinitely…forever.
Of course there is still crime in the city. There would be no Thieves Guild without it. However, crime in the great city could almost be considered, controlled. As many a commoner would say in the Bleak District, “Ain’t noten wrong with a bit o crime now and then. Keep too’er many visit’ers away and the rest o-us sharp!”
There is little known of Lord Vecevious’ past and what is known is little more than conjecture. Some say he was the fabled, Black, from the Assassin’s guild. Others believed he was the spymaster for both King Jelofar and his father. Whatever else, his claim to Patrician of Ac Rumb was absolute and with little conflict (that wasn’t dealt with swiftly, quietly and mysteriously.)
His age is another conundrum. He has been in power for the past 50 years but on the rare occasion of his public visits has not appeared to age. His tall thin form may give credence to elvish mixed into his human blood but his features are distinctly human which leads others to believe his longevity is a result of some magical influence. …
Your Story Begins
The pain of leaving your burrow that has hung around you during the first several weeks of your journey has suddenly vanished as the great spires of the city of Ac Rumb rise before you.
Even on the outer edge of the city before the outer walls you notice homes, shops, warehouses and more. You delight to find pockets of small small city gardens and vegetable gardens bent around spare pockets of land.
You increase your pace as you spin your head around trying to take in every aspect of this city. A few times you have even tripped over your own feet in your enthusiasm to glimpse it all. You had never been beyond the burrows, of what could loosely be described at the gnomish state, before and the small alien towns and villages that have dotted the path to the city along the Limo Q’esso Road pale in comparison.
Ahead lays the blue-Gray eastern gates protruding from the earth like giants teeth. High above the walls reaches a great tower vibrating a purple glow of magic. A magician’s school, you wonder. Would they let you visit? No time to worry about that, you think. You need to find the Butcher’s Arm first.