First of all a note for my group in Castletroy, this entry will contain spoilers. I am not going to mark them thus, so if ye stumble upon this and do not want any potential surprises ruined, better stop reading here.
For all others, please read and comment, I'd love to hear your suggestions on our setting.
As I did not have much information on the Auran empire, when the campaign started, but still liked what I had seen, I basically advanced the timeline, to use what I could, without contradicting the official implied setting. The region my players are roaming is essentially Northern Gaul, which used to be the kingdom of Soissons. Instead of succumbing to the Francs, this last imperial rump state continues to fight for it's very survival. As I could not find maps of the Auran empire (even though I know some have reportedly available for download), I basically modified a map of France, changing the perspective (it now looks, as if Britanny were the most northern part), changed the shoreline a little (Britanny is for example a bit bigger) and as I don't really know France's geography in the dark ages too well (and wanted to leave some creative space, as well as making it a bit harder to figure out for the players), my own Duchy of Novudunum differs quite a bite from the real thing. This will be seen through the campaign, as I am planning to extend to Iberia and North Western France into a a gulf region, like the Gulf of Mexico, created by a meteor, as this would be cool to place for a sunken city.
Storywise my Auran empire has been overrun and the last child Taurkan was forced to retire, about a hundred years ago. Much of the land has fallen to beastmen, barbarians, warlords etc. Novudunum (old name of Soissons) holds out as an independant realm though had to pay a terrible price to hold the invading hordes at bay (losing its capital and much of its nobility as well as many wizards, who held out there converting the place into essentially an undead wasteland, a lingering evil and contaminated site, that heroes obviously can investigate).
Now external threats are mounting to the last place in the West, where the empire still stands. New foes arise around the borders and the old Dux (ruler of the region), is about to die. Unbeknowest to my players his passing will also set in motion a vicious rivalry for power, where family members and other contenders join the, at least initially, veiled fray.
The Dux obviously is not dead yet and I hope that players will see this phase of upheaval as their chance to grasp at power and become true rulers of the land. Right now they are just adventurers, exploring a dungeon and later heading of to Carthage aeh, I mean Freeport ;)
As the kingdom of Soissons really existed and indeed was the last west Roman rump state, I think it makes a great base to start a campaign. Now, this would obvioulsy been after the sack of Rome by the Visigoths, Odoaker's rise to power and so on, but then again Northern Gaul appears perfect for an ACKS campaign, as the Pyrenees to the west and the Alps to the South provide some excellent protection, as well as tangible barriers between different provinces. This would add to mystery and white spaces on the map, as for example questins like:"Is there still a senate?" would mean that PCs had to actively investigate, perhaps crossing the mountains themselves.
On the other hand, it can be used as a small sandbox and a political entit of it's own (handy in ACKS).
I am really looking forward to that stage of the campaign and would like to hear your feedback and ideas on how to improve this setting.