From Kevin McPherson who came up with all the backstory for Kunark:
“Yes [I came up with the Shissar], from my ICE Rolemaster campaign, actually. By the time this lore was in a world of mine, I had kicked 2nd edition D&D to the curb in favor of Rolemaster.
I had a lot of lore from that particular campaign, and so I wrote out a 5000 year history first. And timelined the major and semi-major events, especially those that were prophetic.
So the 5000 year history of Kunark had many hidden things cited in the timeline that the common person wouldn’t know, to which design was privy, and these hidden things could be revealed to the adventure as they delved into dungeons deep.
Steps I always take when developing a RPG campaign ( and of course Kunark ) are:
1) Develop a history and back story, preferably one that stretches over 1000’s of years, and many “ages”
2) Think about the main players in each age, the faction groups and their leaders, and minions, their alliances, motivations, and then derive major and medium events, and hidden plots, based on these.
3) Try to always make the past more epic than the present, make that revelation of hidden knowledge very delicious…make the finding of past artifacts most desirable.
4) Have re-occurring villains transcend ages. These could be undead lords like Venril, or they could be gods or other supernaturals.
5) Think about the current motivations and plots for all the major player factions and leaders in the current time…what they are looking to achieve not just in the present, but in the future.
6) Develop an end game. What do the heroes ultimately do, uncover, and have to fight, to end or win the campaign?”