The planet of Shadow has a tumultuous recent history. Though widely believed to have been the home of a fairly advanced civilization, it has been held by the Cult of Setesh for the past several centuries, despite being located in what most consider Imperial space. Common interests, it seems, kept the Empire from acting against Setesh and claiming the planet for their own. With an entire planet at their disposal, the Cult used both spelljammers and their gate mirrors to populate the planet with physically able slaves to cultivate food and craft goods for Set’s operations all over the Prime. Dragonborn, for their hardiness, physical prowess and the relative speed at which they reach maturity were transplanted from their homes on other planets to serve the Cult on Shadow. The population grew quite large and, for the most part, resigned to their fate.
In time, the Cult began to take children who showed martial promise and train them in combat to serve the Cult in their more physical confrontations. One such dragonborn was named Zelgius, son of Fanian. He excelled in melee combat, surpassing all but Set’s most gifted warriors and was eventually tasked with carrying out his god’s work on Aoteroa, an island the Cult was interested in acquiring for themselves. It was there he met The Unusuals, a group of adventurers of diverse backgrounds who had crossed the Cult of Setesh. They convinced Zelgius that his situation — and that of his people — was not hopeless but that he could fight back against his masters and their cruel god.
Zelgius spent the next few months aiding The Unusuals in their campaign against the Cult of Setesh. The party relentlessly pursued the Cult’s gate mirrors, eventually stranding Setesh’s followers on Aoteroa and giving Zelgius a path home.
After thwarting Set’s political designs on Aoteroa, Zelgius and Zachariah, a member of The Unusuals, travelled to Shadow and began to spread the seeds of rebellion. With the aid of the Platinum Knights, the pair stirred a longing for freedom within the long-enslaved dragonborn, and farmer after farmer took up arms against their oppressors. Having relied too heavily upon the resignation of their slave population, the Cult of Setesh was ill prepared for the battle they now faced, and outposts and cities fell before what became known as the liberation army.
After the Cult had been vanquished, the dragonborn people returned to life much the way it had been. Though free, the necessities of import, export, agriculture and infrastructure remained the primary concern of the planet’s inhabitants. Despite the stirrings of centralized government forming in Shadow Proper, many settlements remain independent city-states or farming towns with no more leadership than an elected mayor. Attempts to unite the dragonborn people under a single government continue, but implementation of such a system is proving challenging.
The largest of such city-states and Shadow’s busiest and most important port town is New Sandrith. Originally just named “Sandrith,” the city’s occupants decided the city needed a symbolic new name and, being perhaps a bit short of originality, decided to tack “new” in front of it.
Sandrith had been the primary conduit for import and export of goods since before the days of the Cult of Setesh on Shadow. While under Setian control, it remained a bustling port town for the export of agricultural goods both to support the Cult’s ventures and to sell to their allies. Many craftsmen also plied their trade here, creating almost any non-magical good Set’s forces needed in addition to the red silver weapons now so iconic of the Cult (such weapons are now banned in most dragonborn settlements). When liberated, however, many dragonborn left Sandrith for the larger and more isolated Shadow Proper across the sea.
Though still predominantly inhabited by dragonborn, other races now make their homes here as well. Several of the Platinum Knights who aided in the planet’s liberation settled down in New Sandrith, reluctant to depart a land that so embodied their lifelong dedication. With the port now welcoming new visitors, spelljamming merchants flocked to New Sandrith, and many maintain homes in the city. Gnomish, dwarven and human craftsmen have come both to ply their trades in a thriving market and to exchange techniques and knowledge with the well-established dragonborn craftsmen of New Sandrith. Halflings, nearly as ever-present as humans, have also made their way to Shadow. Many of the little folk have insinuated themselves into farming communities, finding the land perfectly suited to their society and quickly winning over the native population with their affability and work ethic. Other halflings remain in New Sandrith, content with the somewhat faster pace of the port town. Finally, travellers of almost every description pass through New Sandrith as one of few friendly ports in Imperial space. The transient population is exceptionally large, and the native inhabitants generate quite a bit of revenue through inns and houses for rent, all of which see a steady stream of visitors.
It has now been two years since the end of the liberation war. War heroes such as Zelgius, Zachariah and Elion Wyrmfang have disappeared from the land they were so instrumental in freeing, and a new threat is rising. The Empire, long tacitly approving of the Cult’s occupation of Shadow, seems to have finally taken notice of its border planet. Several Imperial transport vessels have been sighted in the area of New Sandrith, and the number of troops the vessels could have put on the ground is much greater than would be required for a simple diplomatic or scouting mission. The leaders of New Sandrith haven’t alerted their people to the threat for fear of causing a panic. They have sent for reinforcements from Shadow Proper, though such help may be some time in arriving, even if the burgeoning planetary government can send help at all. And so New Sandrith likely must rely on its residents and the kindness of its myriad visitors to defend it from Imperial occupation. Let the siege commence.