In my last post, I began talking about an old school-ish D&D game idea. I'm going to expand on that in this post, talking a bit about the setting.
Andasso is a medium-sized region sandwiched between two powerful nations: The Empire of the Unbroken Circle to the south, and Brennia to the north. It has remained mostly isolated from these nations for several reasons. Its geography is not conducive to invasion--it is bordered by the two branches of the wide and fast-moving Andasso river, and it is mostly dry hills and scrubland. The people of Andasso (who call themselves the Bisani; everyone else calls them the Andassans) have also fiercely resisted incursions by outsiders, and thereby gained a reputation as barbarians and even cannibals.
Five years ago, though, the Empire learned of a rich deposit of gold in the Andasso hills, so it dispatched its most skilled army into the region to conquer it. The natives resisted fiercely, preventing the Empire from establishing firm control. Then the Brennians intervened, ostensibly to help the Andassans, beginning a protracted and vicious three-way war in the region.
Since the Brennian intervention, Andasso has degenerated into chaos. The two major powers have exhausted themselves fighting each other and the natives. No significant organized government remains. When the Imperial and Brennian armies clashed at a place called World's End (so named because it was the last place created by the gods, according to local lore), both armies collapsed as organized fighting forces.
Now Andasso is chaotic and violent. Towns are usually run by a local warlord, and bandits roam the countryside. Some of the remaining soldiers want to keep fighting for their nation; most simply want to survive. And the people just want to be left alone.
If I were to run this campaign (and I hope to someday), the PCs would start as soldiers from one of the two invading armies. Just before the Battle at World's End, the PCs are instructed by their commander to travel to a nearby mine and retrieve some items that the commander left there for safekeeping. But after that, the PCs are on their own--their army no longer exists, and their commander is dead.