Largest and most powerful of all the countries of the Old World, The Empire is your homeland, a vast land, made up of numerous princedoms, duchies, leagues and city-states. Its history goes back some two-and-a-half thousand years, to the earliest days of Human development. Its founder was the legendary warrior Sigmar Heldenhammer, “Hammer of the Goblins,” who united the warring Human tribes and, in alliance with the Old World Dwarves, drove the Goblin hordes from the Old World, back into the Dark Lands beyond the World’s Edge Mountains. Later, the legends tell, he was accepted into the ranks of the gods, and now his Church is the most powerful of all The Empire’s religions. Indeed, the Church’s high priest, the Grand Theogonist, is the Emperor’s closest advisor. The current Emperor, Karl-Franz I, was elected (by those few provincial rulers known as Electors), and was crowned in Altdorf by the Grand Theogonist. He is still a young man and the people have great hopes that, under his benevolent leadership, The Empire is poised on the brink of a new golden age.
The Empire is a huge country, filled with a multitude of people, places and creatures. Many of these people are simple peasants; others are artisans and traders who can sell you equipment, serve you in inns, and so on. A few are wealthy adventurers or nobles, with little time for commoners such as yourselves. Nevertheless, you need to talk to people and win their friendship if your career is not to be a short one. But beware! The cosmopolitan cities of The Empire attract the dregs as well as the cream of society. There will be thieves who may pick your pockets and bandits who may waylay you on the road. On the other hand, if you always treat everyone as a potential enemy, you may miss useful contacts who could supply vital pieces of information.
Perhaps the most significant feature of The Empire is its vast forests. These are well-known as dark, dangerous places, home to all kinds of perils: strange and evil creatures, renegades, bandits and the followers of perverse cults of the Great Lords of Chaos. Only the foolish or suicidal would enter them without good reason. Settlements are few, small and widely-scattered and travel is a risky business even for those who stick to the roads, and would be even more dangerous were it not for the well-defended coaching inns which secure the roads at regular intervals. Regular patrols of Roadwardens do their best to protect travellers from bandits and the like, but they are hard- pressed, busy folk who cannot be everywhere at once. They have enough on their hands without having to worry about formal trials for every wrong-doer. Consequently, justice is often dispensed summarily and on the spot.