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Heroic icons

The Archmage (Julianne Moore) has preserved the Empire for centuries and created astonishing new lands. She has also threatened the fabric of reality with experiments you’d have to be brilliant or hugely arrogant to attempt.

The Elf King (Lee Pace) rules the Court of Stars, the one place where wood elves, dark elves, and high elves come together as peers and allies instead of as rivals or enemies. Honed by centuries of experience, the King’s innate magic at least equals the Archmage’s spells.

The Empress (Jodie Foster) rules the world’s greatest human kingdom, known as the Dragon Empire for the mounts of its mightiest warriors. All the signs suggest that the age is turning, but will the Empire fall or shift to a new balance?

The Great Gold Wyrm (Helen Mirren) is the world’s protector and the inspiration for holy orders of paladins and independent heroes. Although the Gold Wyrm’s physical form seals the gap that prevents the Abyss from erupting into the world, her dreams and the agents she employs still move through the world, helping those who will fight and even die for what’s right.

The Hierophant (Morgan Freeman) hears all the Gods of Light and speaks for those who please him. He is part oracle, part mystic, and part metaphysical engineer, since he created the Cathedral, an ever-expanding temple with rooms or entire wings for each of the faiths he favours.

The Queen under the Mountain (Miriam Margolyes) is ruler of Forge, the dwarves’ new homeland beneath the mountains. She’d love to reclaim the dwarven Underhome lost to war against the dark elves and the creatures of the deeps. But now that the Empire is stumbling, the dwarves find themselves holding the mountain walls that shield the Empire from the orcs and monsters of the north.

Ambiguous icons

The Crusader (Angela Bassett) is the armoured fist of the Dark Gods. So long as followers of the Gods of Light stay the hell out of her way, the Crusader turns her wrath against the demons that would destroy the world her own gods want to rule. Follow the Crusader if you must win at any cost.

The High Druid (Omid Djalili) is the champion of the resurgent Wild, and the spiritual and magical leader of spirits of nature and the elements that were chained by the Empire but are now working themselves free. He might be the great force that shakes the Empire to pieces or the hero who destroys the destroyers and points to a new way to live.

The Queen of Shadows (Polly Walker) is part thief, part trickster, and part assassin. To some she is a hero; to others a villain. She has squandered the riches of the dwarves, murdered the hopes of a dragon, and plundered the dreams of a god. Her exploits have changed the world, but none can tell you her ultimate goals or motives. Your attitude toward the Queen of Shadows depends on how you feel about anarchy, and perhaps how you feel about anarchy happening to you.

Villainous icons

The Diabolist (Jonny Lee Miller) controls fiends and tampers with forces even the Archmage avoids. He likes his victims screaming and his chaos pure while claiming that the demons he summons would otherwise overwhelm the Great Gold Wyrm who seals the Abyss. There are two differences between him and his demons: First, he likes keeping destruction personal rather than universal. Second, he’s capable of kindness, so long as it comes as a great surprise.

The Mother of Liches (Dame Judi Dench) is the ruler of the undead, a fallen tyrant who intends to conquer the Dragon Empire and restore her ancient kingdom. She’s not entirely insane and mostly understands that ruling a kingdom is not the same as destroying it.

She Who Is War (Michelle Rodriguez), the leader of the Orc hordes, is a figure of legend. The last time she walked the land the Mother of Liches fell, in part because of She Who Is War’s attack. Who will fall before her hordes this time? Who won’t?

The Three were among the first dragons to walk the world. The Red (Grace Jones) is a living engine of destruction. The Blue (Fiona Shaw) is a sorcerer, perhaps even the original mother of all sorcery. The Black (Frances Barber) is mistress of shadows and assassins. Unlike the Great Gold Wyrm, who must fight alone, the Three have learned to join forces

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The Overthrow raggedhalo