Many centuries ago far in the past of the events that take place in Dark Domains, the Halvon Sana region of the great continent, that spur that juts out into The Great Ocean on the northwestern tip of the continent, was completely dominated by the first great empire of men, the Kappan Empire. The empire split two great ancient elf kingdoms and absorbed many elf and dwarf settlements into their borders. The empire exerted control all the way south to Yanmao and Pechmerle, often threatening to swallow those smaller states into the empire.
For three hundred years the Kappan Empire grew and dominated everything from global politics to control of the seas to the governing of trade routes. Always their enemies were jealous but unable to counter the giant nation that seemed to have unlimited men and an unshakable will. Not to mention untold riches that seemed to flow from the north and which provided unlimited access to mercenaries and scientific and magical advancement. Wizards, scientists and artisans flocked to Kapfental to join the court and make princely sums. Not all of these travelers were of high moral standards and indeed some of them brought knowledge of things that were best kept unknown. The royal family studied all of it, good and evil, searching for secrets that could expand their holdings and protect them from enemies.
The capital of the empire sat on the shores of the Trohim Sea, a great inland body of water that remained ice-free even during the arctic winter months due to geologic activity under its surface. In this distant capital, far from outside influences, the empire was run by the imperial family, the Voll-Kappans. Over time as they became more isolated and more decadent the Voll-Kappans focused their attention less and less on the borders and the population. They expended their energy to matters that seemed only directly related to their personal well-being and the safety of the capital Kapfental. Thus when the inevitable backlash struck they were slow to recognize it and even slower to respond. By the time they could stop the aggression of the “usurper states” half the empire had been lost and they had more dead soldiers than living ones. The devastation was so terrible that the area east of the capital where most of the fighting took place was called Tireisis, land of the dead.
Unwilling or unable to accept the situation that was in front of him the last emperor of the Kappan Empire, Jakob III, turned to the dark magic and shadowy science that the family had dabbled in for the last century. He focused on animating the dead and leading many expeditions into the Tireisis. His final official action as Jakob III, Emperor of the Kappan Empire was to move his court and capital into the heart of the devastated land. This exodus marked the black years, six years of no word from the emperor, no control of the nobles and no policies for the outside world. Slowly it began to appear that Kappan was leaderless and powerless to defend itself in any meaningful way from a determined opposition and the states of the great continent banded together to once and for all dismantle the Kappan Empire.
The last war on Kappan hit like an anvil as all of the major states and scores of smaller fiefdoms and kingdoms marched north towards Kapfental. The road led them through the Tireisis and in the heart of that wasteland, surrounded by dying trees and desecrated ground they were set upon by an army of the dead led by powerful lichs and wraiths. The entire army of the dead was controlled from the top of a nearby barren knoll by Jakob Voll-Kappan himself, now utterly unrecognizable as human. Immediately he was branded The Necromancer, a name that sticks to him to this day. The human forces, where not shocked and routed by their opposition, were put upon with ferocity and relentlessness that only the dead can manage. Even the stoutest knights and veteran soldiers began to be pushed back by the tide of those that don’t require rest and felt no pain.
A battle that was deemed to be a foregone conclusion at the start ended with a rout of the forces of the coalition and the Necromancer rising to power in the heart of the Kappan Empire. It was the necromancer himself, through the messages sent to the various nations that rose against him and delivered by the animated corpses of their fallen comrades that announced the changing of the Kappan Empire to The Tireisis. All states were required to ship their dead north on monthly ships or caravans. The Days of the Dead followed. They lasted less than a year but the terror and the sheer evil of those days drew every great king, petty noble, archbishop, guild master and clan leader to undertake the journey south to the great city of Sycar to plot a strategy to meet this gathering evil.