The Shattered World
After The Sundering War, Hershim found its northern and southern regions split among a handful of small kingdoms, while its equatorial region was divided among several warring, vicious warlords.
Out of the desert came a brilliant young necromancer who realized that the undead didn’t suffer the ill effects of heat nor dehydration — nor did they divert any of the scarce water or food supplies from their living masters. While certainly not a novel concept in and of itself, this necromancer leveraged it to become the most powerful warlord in the region, quickly subjugating his neighboring warlords, although not all through force of arms — many were simply bribed into his service, although a few were said to have suddenly developed an oddly pale countenance.
At the same time, one of the southern kingdoms raised its own undead army and began conquering its neighbor kingdoms, relying on an uncanny ability to move entire armies undetected right up to the walls of the capital city, laying siege to it before anyone knew the king’s eye had turned toward their lands.
The successes of these two necromantic leaders — both of whose names have since been erased from history — lead to a new arms race on the continent, as kingdoms worked feverishly to produce undead armies powerful enough to counter those of their neighbors. It was natural, then, that some of these nations’ leaders turned their necromantic arts to their own personal gain as well.
Soon the continent was consumed by all out war, as undead armies ravaged the lands under their vampire and lich lords. An alliance of some of the northern kingdoms allowed them to stand against their foes without themselves resorting to necromancy, but the rest of the continent has fallen into disarray, with territory and cities changing hands so frequently none could rightly be called a nation.
Perhaps inspired by the staunch resistance in the north, the seven most powerful liches decided to form their own alliance. Calling their allied forces the Hegemony — an allusion to the fact that each lich maintains their own forces and they will eventually each take a slice of their conquered territories to rule as their own — these seven liches were almost immediately recognized as the most powerful force on the continent; those following such things knew it was only a matter of time before this Council of Seven ruled over the entirety of Hershim.
That time came in 1084, with the simultaneous sacking of the 4 major cities in Stormhold and the nation’s subsequent collapse; the Hegemony under the Council of Seven became the undisputed rulers of all of Hershim.