The Realms of Adventure
Once-fallen Netheril stands again astride northern Faerûn. Peopled mostly by humans, this mighty and arrogant empire threatens every neighboring land with subjugation. If it succeeds in its tyrannical aims, its expansion won’t end there.
The current Netherese Empire is a shadow (literally and figuratively) of ancient Netheril. Those who now rule Netheril avoided the destruction of their empire by escaping into the Shadowfell. The Netherese returned from the Shadowfell in 1372 DR, their empire reduced to a single city ( Shade Enclave). They have conquered the lands of Anauroch, to the point that the Bedine nomads who live there now consider themselves Netherese. The lands of Sembia live under oppressive Netherese rule.
The worship of any deity other than Shar is strongly discouraged in Netherese-controlled territories. Most Bedine have converted to the worship of Shar. Savvy Sembians know that worshipping as the Netherese do gives them a trade advantage, and worship of any other deity is strictly forbidden in Shade Enclave.
The Empire of Netheril and Shade Enclave are ruled by the Twelve Princes, ancient wizards infused with shadow energy who saved the city from the original empire’s fall. These twelve wizards still live, their bodies and souls infused with shadowstuff.
If there are internal politics among the Twelve Princes, such divisions do not extend beyond the borders of Netheril. The Twelve Princes present a unified front with regard to policy decisions and administration of the Empire.
Most ordinary Netherese are humans, but the mightiest of Netheril’s defenders are shades. They are dangerous and extremely capable agents of the empire, but individuals might pursue personal agendas, depending on their status with imperial commanders and rulers.
Many shades came along with Shade Enclave when that city returned from the Shadowfell. Others arose when they bargained for or were granted the essence of shadow.