eing the History of the Ages, through the current Age of Hope

Please note: this is more detail than most characters are aware of. Please keep your character's background in mind when considering how much of this history they know. Also, remember that as with most such histories, it is neither complete, nor completely accurate. You will find out more... the hard way.

he age of nnocence

In the beginning, the world was ruled by the Elves. Alone among the races they the talent to use magic, and they used its great power wisely.

The Elves shared the world with four other races. The Dwarves in their great iron citadels worked wonders with iron and steel. The Gnomes' never-ceasing inventiveness filled the world with colorful crafts and laughter. Halfling farmers, bakers, and brewers provided for the needs of nearly every town. And humans, always inquisitive, traded and shared with all the others, learning nearly everything -- but never magic. Not all the races were entirely peaceful, and the Humans and Dwarves periodically broke out in violent disagreement, but with the steady and powerful influence of the Elves to soothe things, actual warfare was nearly unheard of.

This Age of Innocence spanned thousands of years of tranquility and balance. Longest-lived amongst the races, the Elves lived in a state of grace and it is said that murder was unknown to them. In such an environment, epic endeavours flourished, with the greatest being the continual expansion of the arcane arts. It is said that the development of the spells of the fifth level alone consumed over a thousand years.

But long-lived as the Elves were, even their lives were finite, and death comes even harder when it ends not only decades of life, but centuries. So inevitably the greatest of all explorations, led by the Arcane Council, was the search for immortality.

The quest lasted more than a millenium, and many thought it a dangerous folly. Surely the world would not allow itself to be buried under a race of immortals, for without death removing the oldest generation, what would keep each new generation from doubling the populace?

The answer to that riddle was found when the secret to eternal life was discovered. Each new life must replace an existing one, to preserve balance in the world. The High Elves and the Drow accepted the sacrifice and from that day on never again lost another to age. The other clans decided differently. The Grey Elves and the Wild tribes already waited centuries for the precious gift of a child, and the thought that they might never see one again was unbearable to them.

The wise men knew that this new power would bring about the end of the Age of Innocence.

he age of trife

A wizard's power comes from his study of the arcane. With the limits of age removed, the High and Drow Elf mages continued to increase in power beyond all other clans. Within a mere thousand years, they had pushed the boundaries of the arcane so far as to unlock the spells of the seventh, eigth, and ninth levels. But there are other urges beside the quest for power. For one who desires a child, being forced to wait millenia for the accidental passing of another immortal can bring near-madness. For the first time in history, and it is said first amongst the Drow, murder took the place of accident.

Horror struck these people who had never before been exposed to murder. Then horror turned to hatred, and hatred led to the blood feuds. After centuries of worsening chaos, the High Elves and the Drow pulled apart into two separate factions. Before long they were blood enemies. Without any prior experience at such conflict, and scoffing at mere Human and Dwarf council, the conflict burned out of control into full-fledged warfare.

Both sides enlist allies amongst the other Elven tribes. And grudgingly they admit to the value of the Humans and Dwarves as allies. For the first time, destructive magics are actively developed and become an intense focus of study. The Drow are either more willing or more capable to explore the dark arts, and in doing so become tremendously powerful but also scare away their own allies.

Eventually the Drow stand alone. In a act of unspeakable power and evil, they create the Drow slave races, including orcs and goblins. The point of no return is passed and the Great War begins.

he reat War

  • Year 1 :Begins as skirmishes by Drow to first capture isolated groups of High elves for sacrifice, then entire villages.
  • Year 10: Eventually the Drow are destroying entire cities. It becomes clear that Drow are attempting to tip the balance of the races until the High Elves will become extinct.
  • Year 12: The High Elves rally all the other Elves to fight with them, and begin a systematic conquest to drive the Drow out of the High Kingdoms.
  • Year 13: Top wizards on both sides finally pull out the plugs. Devestation becomes incredible.
  • Year 14: The Battle of Korvalti. The greatest champion of both sides lead their personal armies into a battle that rages on for 5 days without an hour's rest. It has never been clear what happened, but at the desperate height of the battle, hideous forces were unleashed that destroyed both armies, the entire Kingdom of Korvalti, and over a million people. To this day, no plant will grow in the deserts of Korvalti, and no village can stand there.
  • Year 20: Drow are driven into retreat in the frozen Northern continent.
  • Year 21: The High demand (rather haughtily) the Drow to never leave the borders of Ice.
  • Year 22: The Drow see this as a trap, inevitably leading to their destruction, and magically kidnap the entire capital city of the High Elves, moving it to the Northern Ice continent.
  • Year 23: Penultimate battle. Thousand-year-old archmages on both sides invoke forces previously concidered too dangerous to allow loose in the world. The Northern Ice continent is lost, buried in magical ice, stronger than steel. Huge numbers of losses on both sides.
  • Both sides withdraw, regroup. Dwarves are so badly hurt, and without their leadership, they withdraw from conflict entirely, retreating to safety of deep caverns.
  • The Drow create a new servant, more powerful and evil than their "sub-elf" slave races. These Dark Servants are unleashed upon the land to strike down key High Elves. But something goes wrong, and they end up possessing elves at random. Massive bloodshed, terror, and hysteria ensue as elves turn against their own families. A Dark Reign of Terror lasts for three years. The Order of the Sunbrand begins during this period.
  • The High goal finally shifts to match the Drow: extinction of their enemies, and the Grand High army sets foot on the Icelands for the first time.
  • Elves teach magic to humans for first time ever, in order to allow a massive spell that there are no longer enough elves to cast.
  • Year 40: Final Battle. The Southern Ice continent sinks beneath the ocean, with the High King and his army lost along with millions of others. Nearly all of the remaining High Elves are lost, and the Drow race is generally believed to have become extinct. A final curse: "Those who have died are not released, though they will slumber a thousand years".
he age of ope

In the aftermath of the Great War, the Drow, the High Elves, and the Dwarves have been left leaderless. Each of these formerly great races retreats to obscurity, licking their wounds and struggling to survive.

Humans use their newfound magic, and relative numbers, to rise to dominance in the resulting chaos.

A dark age follows, much like the fall of the Roman Empire. Vast numbers of people die as diseases rage unchecked, cities crumble, people flee to the countryside, and ancient monsters are free to roam the land.

Slowly civilization is rebuilt, some of the old secrets are recovered, and the worst of the problems are beginning to be addressed. Things are getting better, but there is a long way to go. Some cities are starting to be reinhabited. Great magics, relics of the old civilization are scattered around, not fully understood. There is no one alive who is known to understand the ancient Drow script.

After several hundred years, the rest of the races view the world as theirs, and view everything before the modern age as irrelevant history. As a sign of how little is remembered or believed from the older history, there is once again a search for the secret of immortality.

For the last decade or so, there has been a disturbing development. Slowly at first, then with increasing frequency, the ancient dead have been leaving the ground (especially old battlefields) and walking in the world of the living. In recent years, they have become more of a threat to travel than brigands. Some of the cities that were being reclaimed have been once more abandoned due to the infestation of undead.

These are troubled times indeed. But there is hope that things will get better and the world will be put right again.

ack to the Age of Hope