Before the events of the first game, the elven court was decimated by humans, an invasive race new to the Blessed Continent at the time. The elves split into two factions. The son of the slain king Inioch, Meandor, led the dark elves and the Cult of Storms, a group that intended to wipe out the humans. Inioch’s daughter, Julia, led the wood elves and the Keepers, a group that had no genocidal intentions. These factions and others clashed in the Valley of Wonders, around the ruins of the razed elven court. The High Elf race was founded many years later when Julia married a dark elf and reunited their two races. Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Empire began as a joining of races for mutual protection and the sharing of knowledge. Though it set out with benign intentions, once the Empire was through expanding, humans seized power and pushed forward with technology and commerce.
The Commonwealth Empire means to sweep aside the old ways and assimilate the world. The Elven Court takes exception to this, and wants to rally the ancient races to stand in defense against imperial ambitions, hence the central conflict of Age of Wonders III.
The Elven Court Campaign follows the Rogue Elven Princess Sundren of House Inioch. During a meeting at the Council of Origins, Thannis is killed and Gamblag blames both Sundren and Thannis of treachery, declaring war on Sundren and joining the Commonwealth. With the help of the Arch Druid Reskar Shapechanger, Sundren manages to defeat Gamblag and recover the body of Thannis. Sundren and Reskar then proceed to establish a haven for Draconians, meeting the Goblin Theocrat Nomlik in these lands. With his help, along with the help of the Orcish Sorcerer Groshak, they manage to defeat all opposition in these lands, including a Commonwealth Dreadnought draining the lands. As Reskar rules over his haven, Sundren and Nomlik strike a serious blow at the Commonwealth by destroying the Commonwealth factories in Xablor Province and defeating the High Priest Voraditius, freeing many enslaved goblins in the province. At Thannis’s funeral, the Elven king Saridas vows retribution against the Commonwealth and prepares for all-out war while Julia does not share his genocidal intentions. Afterwards, Sundren and her party heads to the Sapphire Archipelago to attack Isabella’s pirate forces. After a few battles, Sundren meets Merlin, who reveals that the Shadowborn, a secretive organization of which Isabella is part of, planned to push the Elven Court and the Commonwealth towards war. Sundren is then given a choice after Merlin disappears: either she tries to stop the war and spare the humans at the risk of being marked renegade by the Elven Court and face desertion by Groshak or she remains loyal to the Elven Court and purges the Archipelago of all human presence and follows Saridas to all-out war, something that Nomlik won’t like.
The Commonwealth Campaign follows the Human Dreadnought Edward Portsmith. After taking the oath of command, he quells the rebellion at Brisska Province with the help of Emperor Leonus’s niece, the Sorceress Laryssa Mirabilis. They then travel to the Haunted Nervinkiln to acquire Melenis’s Power Source and drive out the Elven Sorcerer Werlac. There, they meet the Elven Warlord Valery and drop the Oscillator gem off at a Dwarven Outpost controlled by Commonwealth Dreadnoughts Drugal and Gormsog. Laryssa then proceeds to study the gem when she goes missing along with the gem, with Svengir being suspected of stealing the gem. As they approached him, Svengir reveals that he never stole the gem and orders the Drugal and Gormsog to betray and crush both Valery and Edward. Fending off attacks, they manage to defeat Svengir and both traitorous dwarves, only to find Laryssa and the gem not in the province. Laryssa is then revealed to have taken the gem with her and was branded a traitor. Edward is ordered to find and kill her. On the way, they meet the Orcish Rogue Sulthor and the Draconian Carishar, who claims to have been attacked by Laryssa. As Edward makes contact with Laryssa, she reveals her true intentions and Edward is given a choice: either join her and the Torchbearers to stop the war between the Commonwealth and Elven Court against Valery’s wishes, or remain loyal to the Commonwealth and carry out her sentence.