Kenafiir is a stand-alone campaign setting for Dungeons and Dragons 4. The setting can accommodate nearly any campaign type, but was designed with martial characters in mind, making a player group group part of larger conflicts, rather than as isolated adventurers.
The history of Kenafiir is shrouded in mystery. The first written records begin at nearly the same time in all corners of the world. They describe scattered peoples, weary and confused. The first several hundred years after those records begun are extremely hard on the inhabitants. Communities struggled to survive, for while Kenafiir is largely fertile, the ferocious beasts known as [[Kell’Vin]] hunted them mercilessly.
ii. The Imperial Expansion
The people who settled in and around the Bossai Meadows had the obvious and profound advantage of pre-made shelter against the elements, hostile neighbors, and the [[Kell’Vin]]. The ancient walls of Endyreat warded off the dangers of the world, letting its inhabitants develop government and weapons faster than any of their neighbors. In the year 661 of this Age, with the founding of Kenafiir’s first true school of the Arcane, Kher Catiif set out to use Endyreat’s power to bring the world into the fold of the newly formed Kretzera Empire. Accounts differ as to his motives, but the First Emperor’s proclaimed dream of a world united in peace gave birth to the bloodiest period in Kenafiir’s history.
The Imperial Legions were the first well-trained and well-armed military units in the world and are arguably still the most effective. With nearly five thousand professional soldiers under his general’s command Catiif unleashed them on the world, demanding that wherever they went, the land and people should bow to the Empire. What might have been an ill-concieved power-struggle in the northern regions surged into a movement that nearly enveloped the world when the Empire’s first obstacle, Nunegar, chose to join Endyreat in its crusade, rather than oppose them. The hardened people of the Blackwood Highlands were astonished by the discipline and weaponry of the Legions and welcomed Imperial rule, hoping to finally gain a decisive advantage over the Vogati, their rivals in the east. The vast population and material resources of the Highlands quickly swelled the ranks of the Legions, while careful manipulations between the Imperial leaders and Nunegar’s King began the complex Imperial aristocracy that still exists hundreds of years later.
Imperial influence radiated outwards in all directions, quickly enveloping all the northern lands west of the Moondrop Sea. Refugees and the surviving warriors of conquered peoples fled before the legions and a loose alliance of southern tribes gathered at Shim, a bottleneck holding the only way for the Legions to pass south of the Highlands. The battle of Shim served as the first true example of the Empire’s might, as the gathered warriors were swept aside and Shim itself was reduced to rubble. Some few years later the Legions met the last barrier on their southward expansion, the desert kingdom of Kerizatz, a prideful people disbelieving that they could be defeated by any warriors not trained in the harsh conditions of the desert. That conflict lasted more than two decades, but in the end the Empire’s strength proved the desert princes wrong and they were eventually forced to capitulate. Having conquered a corridor cutting the continent in half, the Empire continued its Expansion to the east and west, but this time met with repeated failure. As the poor people of the Emyriad Wastes heard rumors of the unstoppable empire, the barbarian leader Meruk Folahn sacrificed his own life to earn the respect of a powerful desert sorcerer, who raised the fortress city Konovas from the very earth to oppose the invasion. Although the barely armed savaged of the wastes were slaughtered in the open, the Legions could not overtake Konovas itself for several years and were eventually recalled to hold the border while a more profitable war was being waged in the east.
Finally, the newly crowed First Lord of Nunegar was given the Emperor’s support to use the Legions against Nunegar’s ancient enemy, the Vogati. Frustrated by failure in the western deserts, the Empire put everything at its disposal into the conquest of the fertile east. The Vogati were by nature a hardened, martial people, rivaling the legions for tenacity and skill, if not for discipline or equipment. Having had years to prepare for the conflict, the Vogati militias proved a difficult, but not insurmountable obstacle for the Expansion. Over several years the Vogati were forced to slowly fall back towards their capitol.
Although Endyreat has the singular honor of being the only city surviving from the Age of Ash, there are in other parts of Kenafiir ruins marking ancient cities which did not survive the cataclysm which ended that age. One such spot became the foundation of Menadora. The ancient crypts below the new city were home to a sacred place which was revered to be the birthplace of the four Gods, worshipped by all men regardless of nation. Spurred by religious fervor, a Menadorn poet named Fosa Medina convinced many of the Eastern Paladins that it was the will of the Gods that the Empire should not come to rule Kenafiir. Leading those Paladins, Medina forged an alliance between the remaining eastern nations, much stronger than the failed alliance which died and Shim. Nixena, Menadora, and Lakook sent whatever forces they could to defend Vogat and their combined might and desperation struggled to hold the Empire at bay. It would seem, however, that the Gods were not as supportive of the new Medina Confederation as Medina herself believed. Although the alliance held for nearly three decades, the Legions eventually wore down the eastern warriors and in 752 began a last offensive to seize the city of Vogat itself and open the gateway to the other Confederation members. It seemed that Imperial peace would soon cover the world.
Where the gods had failed to intervene, however, other forced were not content to let the Empire become the only nation of man. In the most north-eastern parts of the continent lay an area known only as Kuela, named after its inhabitants. The Kuela are isolationist in the extreme, explorers and warlords alike who crossed their border were never seen again with never a glimpse of the defenders themselves. Despite this apparent power, however, the Kuela had never seemed interesting in interfering with the other nations of man. That is, until the Battle of Vogat. Beleaguered warriors from across the Confederation waged a final, desperate battle against nearly 30,000 Imperial Legionnaires. As the Legions closed in for the killed blow the skies opened up and the terrible, god-like, world-shattering arcane powers of the Kuela crashed down upon them. Men were killed by the hundreds and the vaunted power of the Imperial warmages was brushed aside effortlessly. The scars of that onslaught have forever shaped the terrain for hundreds of miles around Vogat, now called the Vogati Expanse. Mere hours after their arrival and without a spoken word to anyone on either side, the Kuela were gone again. The Legion’s survivors, shaken and defeated, retreated west to Nunegar. The Imperial Expansion was over.
iii. The Present
It speaks to the power and dedication of the Empire that even the end of the Expansion did not spell the end of the Empire’s quest for a unified Kenafiir. Despite the horrors of Vogat, the Legions solidified the borders with the Confederation and the western bandit kings, calling the land west of Konovas the Folahn Reaches. In the years since then, there has been little peace along either border. The Empire will not be satisfied until the Legions’ might brings a lasting peace to Kenafiir. The Confederation has learned and rebuilt and refuses to give ground in the constant skirmishes. The Folahn Reaches are again a chaotic mix of barbarians and bandits, but the fortress of Konovas and the shared hatred of the Empire continually rebuff the Empire on that front. And for their part, the Kuela have not seen fit to show themselves again.