History of the Second Republic
There was once a great Empire that stretched over much of the known world and was constantly at threat from the dark lands in the north. Every so often the Dark Lord would muster his armies and cross the world spine mountains. Generally when he did this he came through the Darkmouth pass, along the side of Mount Firestone as it was closest to the Tower of Darkness where he lived.
The forts at the south end of the pass, in the shadow of the smoking mountain fort of various incursions. Some creature of darkness would come through but over time the forts were upgraded and more magical defenses were added. Soon they were joined together in a network of walled routes to a larger town, Trevallis, over time this fortified outpost became the key defensive structure in the Empire and many of the magical discoveries made there became used across the empire.
The dark one was contained in his lands (the other passes were much harder to use and easier to defend). Small raiding bands of orks and the like would occasionally make it through but generally the empire was in a golden age.
Then Mount Firestone erupted, the side closest to Tevallis blew out spraying the town and its fortifications with ash and earth before a wall of lava poured out over them.
One of the core defences the city had was a series of Utter Domes that could be maintained for up to a month but switched off and on quickly. The defenders were trained in firing mass volleys of arrows and magical attacks in the periods the domes were dropped. And the first reaction the defenders had to any situation was to turn on the domes.
The stopped the lava, and the ash, but the heat poured in and the domes could not be dropped. Soon the air became foul and the everyone died. The domes stayed up until their power sources depleted. By which point the lava had cooled and was solid. Leaving the town and it's forts buried but pristine under domes of rock.
After the lava had cooled enough to walk on the armies of the Dark Lord marched unopposed into the Empire cutting large swathes before the now lax armies could be raised. Then the war of attrition began. The armies of the Empire built defensive position after defensive position. Slowly falling back at the cost of thousands of lives.
The Imperial Generals knew that time was on their side. The Dark Lords horde had no supplies except that which they stole (and where possible retreating Imperial forces burnt fields) eventually the Orks would run out of Goblins to eat and the Ogres would run out of Orks. Given enough time the Dark Lord would be stopped and forced back. Years of magical trench warfare, defensive lines being thrown up by battle mages over and over again but the tide turned.
The plan was working. The Imperial Armies were well fed and supplied, the empire had moved itself to a battle footing. The loss of life had been terrible but the Horde and ground to a halt...
Then the Dark Lord sacrificed the ten thousand prisoners he'd been holding (the Imperials thought they had been for food, and in a way they were). The Dark Gods gave him the power to raise all the dead in the whole Empire and give them one command. A command to walk to the Imperial city and kill everyone in their way.
And so the Empire fell and the time of darkness began.
The southernmost of the fortified villages where on a river and were least covered by lava. But had been layers with ash. The zombie here easily heeded the call. Trevallis itself had been almost completely covered leaving a hole at the top over the central tower that was the cornerstone of the defences. By the time of the raising this had been filled with detritus making it easy for the zombies to climb out and leave. (Those not stuck in buildings.)
But the rest were left in under the ground scrabbling at rocks walls trying to get out. Then the Imperial City was destroyed but the Dark Lord and the Zombies now only had one command "Kill anything that gets in the way".
The time of darkness was almost 300 years. Until the descendants of the few Imperials who had escaped by boat across the ocean where they had found a new world returned to reclaim their homeland in the name of the Unified Republics. The Dark Lord was toppled, some think he had died or just left years before. But the forces of darkness fled from the reclaiming forces of the Republic. Hardened warriors who had grown up taming a foreign land and taught that one day they would reclaim, what was rightfully theirs.
The Second Republic stretches across the lands of the Empire. Scores of fortified towns and city states held together in series of shifting alliances. And far to the north the small town of New Trevallis sits on the south shore of the great river. To the north the land is poked with caves in which dwell dark creatures that fled to this hiding ground...