The Shadow of Dragons
The Mythic Age (The Pre-Time)
The Mythic Age was a time of myths and legends. So far back in time, most events were remembered only in distorted tales and conflicting traditions. This was a time where the gods were still very active in the world.
In the beginning was a point of infinite potential. A tiny disturbance caused this epitome of perfection to erupt, splitting existence asunder. From the detritus coalesced the Astral Sea and the Elemental Chaos. The gods and primordials arose out of the respective planes. Other lesser entities, possibly the angels and slaads, also arose during this time.
Driven mad by the shard of evil, Tharizdun planted it in the Elemental Chaos, resulting in the Abyss. The shard corrupted several primordials into demon princes. Unable to control the demon princes, Tharizdun was then imprisoned by the other gods.
The Time of Creation
The primordials created the titans as helpers to create a world out of the creation-stuffs that eddied between the Elemental Chaos and the Astral Sea, discarding bits which are too bright or too dark. These pieces clustered into the Feywild and the Shadowfell. The world was then one of elemental fury, engulfed in an endless cycle of destruction and rebuilding.
The primordials created hell hounds.
Fomorians rose as the Feywild’s answer to the titans of the world, while death giants coalesced out of the Shadowfell as the world began to know mortality. Fomorians created cyclopses as servants and took gnomes as slaves.
Fascinated with the new world, the gods attempted to improve on the primordials’ work. They created natural life, tamed the churning elements, and created the sun and moon in the world. Some sources claimed that angels were formed out of the astral essences as divine assistants to create mortal races during this time.
Io fused astral spirits into the raw elements. The greater spirits became the dragons, while the lesser spirits became the dragonborn to serve the dragons.
Corellon discovered the Feywild and created elves to inhabit it. (The name of this unified elven race is contested.)
Moradin chiseled dwarves from the bones of the earth. The Axe of the Dwarfish Lords was given to the first dwarves by Moradin. The envious primordials demanded dwarves of their own. Pleased that the primordials appreciate his creations, Moradin gave generously and returned to his work.
Humans were created by a god whose name is now lost.
Melora and Sehanine created the halflings, but abandoned them as their interests waned. Later, Avandra adopted the nomadic race as they exemplify her ideals.
Unable to properly create his own race, Zehir convinced Avandra to teach him how to alter the creations of others. Avandra did so, but attached a condition that Zehir may do so only with the creator’s permission.
The titans created the giants to serve them, taking inspirations from the smoother, symmetrical creations of the gods.
The Age of Chains began as the primordials gave the dwarves to the giants. The giants carved an empire upon the backs of dwarven slaves. Moradin could not hear their cries over the sound of his own hammering. (Other legends claimed that Moradin heard, but waited patiently as he could not face the wrath of so many primordials alone.) Eventually, some dwarves became infused with the elements, becoming galeb duhrs and azaers.
The Primeval War
Enraged at the gods’ meddlings, the primordials set out to destroy the world rather than let it become the gods’ play-thing. The gods fought to save it and their mortal servants. Each god selected an aspect of creation to champion and care for during the war, defining their portfolios.
Lolth created the art of weaving after watching spiders make their webs, becoming a deity of fate who wove the strands of mortal destiny.
When the horns of the gods sounded for war, Moradin finally noticed the plight of the dwarves (or was ready to face the primordials, depending on the myth). Enraged, Moradin aided the other gods in the war by supplying weapons and armor.
The abominations, such as astral stalkers and the Tarrasque, were created as living weapons by both sides of the conflict.
The primordials created archons as soldiers out of elemental spirits to fight angels and exarchs. The gods sought to subvert the creation of these elemental soldiers by reshaping elemental spirits. Medusas and doppelgangers were believed to be earth and water elementals reshaped by Zehir and Sehanine respectively.
In his arrogance, Io faced Erek-Hus, the King of Terror, alone. The primordial cleaved the dragon god into two halves, becoming Tiamat and Bahamut. The dragon gods slew Erek-Hus, then battled each other until Tiamat fled. Thereafter, the dragon gods contributed to the primeval war alone. Another legend claimed that dragonborn were made where Io’s blood fell.
The first hydras sprang from the spilled blood of the primordial Bryakus.
The primordial Haemnathuun, the Blood Lord, was slain. His corpse was cast into the Astral Sea. His black blood filled the maze of tunnels which will eventually become the Keening Delve.
The gods attempted to kill Orcus with a host of angels when the demon prince was away from the Abyss. The demon lord created rot harbringers to mock the failed attempt.
Orcus created his artifact Wand of Orcus. The wand’s skull was said to belong to a god of virtue and chivalry, although other sources claimed it belonged to a human hero instead.
By banding together in small groups, the gods set out to destroy the mightiest primordials who usually operate alone. This tactic eventually won the gods victory. Exhausted by the war, the gods created astral dominions and retreated into their divine realms.
The Aftermath of War
Some demons fled the Abyss and came to the natural world, possibly spawning the rakshasa race. (The rakshasas themselves discounted such ancestry.)
The Raven Queen abandoned her dominion in the Astral Sea to inhabit a grim winter fortress in the Shadowfell.
With the gods exhausted after the war, Asmodeus killed his divine patron, the creator god of the humans, possibly after having conspired with Zehir. (Some sources claimed Zehir was the one who did the foul deed.) With the creator of the humans dead, Zehir claimed humans as his own (since the dead deity could no longer deny permission). The other gods defeated Zehir and freed the humans from his control.
For the crime of deicide, the other gods cursed Asmodeus and his followers with monstrous forms and imprisoned them in the murdered god’s dominion. Asmodeus seized divinity and created a rigid hierarchy of power. Having devised a way to subvert and harvest mortal souls, the devils also require infernal pacts to breach the bindings of Hell.
Brother Eiulo, possibly the last servitor of the deceased human creator, penned a massive tome called The Codex of Betrayal. From the choice of words used in this text, some suggest that the god may have been one of knowledge or good.
In a divine battle, Corellon shot out Gruumsh’s eye with an arrow.
Possibly tired of sharing power and jealous of the affection between Corellon and her sister Sehanine, Lolth led her chosen ones against the other elves. She may also have descended into the Abyss in search of power and became corrupted (perhaps driven mad) by the Heart of the Abyss. War raged in the Feywild, ending with the banishment of the drow and their goddess. Some elves departed for the natural world. Those who remained in the Feywild to rebuild the ruined kingdoms became known as eladrin, a Supernal name given to them by Corellon.
Levistus slew Asmodeus’ consort, Bensozia. Asmodeus imprisoned him in a massive iceberg in Stygia.
The Reckoning of Hell: With Beleth’s information, Malagarde manipulated Moloch into rebelling against Asmodeus, alongside other archdukes. The rebellion failed. Moloch was exiled from Hell. Asmodeus deposed Geryon, the Lord of the Fifth, and elevated Levistus in his place. This sudden shift in power-politics engendered enough confusion and fear that, soon after, Asmodeus was able to successfully elevate his daughter Glasya as the Lord of the Sixth without serious opposition. Glasya slew the Hag Countess and usurped rulership of Malbolge.
The Dawn Age
The Dawn Age was a time of mortals rising up to dominate the world, after the gods have retreated to their astral dominions. The chronology of events during this time is extremely shaky. Without inter-event references, it is difficult to determine whether an event occurred before or after another event.
When the world was young, a tribe of humans, called the Shadar-Kai, came to fear death and made a pact with the Raven Queen to be her servants in exchange for a shadowy form of agelessness. Since the shadow form isn’t true immortality, they used pain to prevent succumbing to the ennui of the Shadowfell.
Eladrin founded several realms, including the Anauli Empire, the Realm of the Twin Queens, and the Empire of Cendriane.
Mithrendain was founded in the Feywild. After repelling fomorian invaders, the fortress grew into a city within decades.
The mind flayers came from the Far Realm and created an empire, using the gith and the duergar as slaves. (The theory that the mind flayers came from the future is a misinterpretation of the Sargonne Prophecies.) The gith revolted and became divided after winning their freedom. The githyanki fled to the Astral Sea, while the githzerai fled to the Elemental Chaos. The githyanki formed an alliance with red dragons.
The proto-yuan-ti founded the empire of Zannad, mastering flesh-contorting magic to improve themselves into the modern yuan-ti. But the magic warped their minds as well, and their society slowly rotted from within.
Hobgoblins carved out an empire with goblins and bugbears as servants. They developed magical methods to breed beasts for various purposes. Goblins and bugbears may have been the results of magical breeding projects. The empire fell due to civil strife and possibly fey interferences.
An evil elf witch-queen was exiled by a hero who broke the magic tiara that allowed her to spy on her subjects as a golden eagle. She and her descendants became cursed with half-bird forms, becoming the first harpies.
The Lost Age
The two to three thousand years following the Dawn Age, but before the rise of the great empires of the Imperial Age, are noted by a peculiar dearth of knowledge. Little information has been unearthed concerning this “Lost Age”, and entire scholarly careers have been wrung from a single Lost Age discovery.
The Imperial Age (The High Age)
The Imperial Age was the time of two great empires – dragonborn Arkhosia and tiefling Bael Turath.
Rise of Two Empires
The dragonborn of Bahamut finally triumphed over those of Tiamat, forging the empire of Arkhosia in the wilderness of the north, ruled over by royal lines of mighty dragons.
Bael Turath was founded by southern humans. When the empire expanded beyond the grasp of its power-hungry nobles, they swore to retain their rule even at the cost of their humanity. After destroying a few houses that refused, the nobles summoned devils and used rituals to seal their infernal pacts, becoming the first tieflings. Boosted by the new-found powers, the Hell-Chained Empire continued to expand.
The tieflings of Bael Turath created the kruthiks by infusing reptiles with fiendish blood.
Bael Turath and Arkhosia came into contact, descending into “decades of warfare”. (Other sources say the wars spanned “hundreds of years”.) Border skirmishes grew with each year. Several full-scale wars broke out, including the War of Wings.
The War of Teeth began. Serpentus Rift, one of the seven Jewels of the North, was destroyed by a massive earthquake dragon, possibly unleashed by the tieflings. The threat was ended by an entire dragonborn army.
The final War of Ruin broke out. A ten-year siege ended when the tiefling general Achazriel tunneled into Razortear, an Arkhosian fortress. Both sides suffered heavy losses, and the Battle of Razortear marked the beginning of the end for both empires.
After nearly 2500 years, the Imperial Age ends with the mutual destruction of the southern tiefling empire of Bael Turath (encompassing present-day Marghul, eastern Aldar, parts of Sureth, and much of the Orcral) and the northern dragonborn empire of Arkhosia (encompassing present-day Nerath, the western Hallrag Fells, Dolkrak, Nalarn, and parts of Sureth).
The Fallen Age
The present age, starting shortly before the rise of the human nation of Nerath. The power vacuum left behind by Bael Turath and Arkhosia allowed Nerath to rise as a new human empire, uniting many different peoples. When elven forests or dwarven mines were overrun by monsters, the survivors often fled to the nearest human town.
1 to 1000
~ 100 The first skull lords arose from the ashes of the Black Tower of Vumerion, either created intentionally by the human necromancer or came forth spontaneously from the foul energies of his fallen sanctum.
~380 – Orcs and their kin and allies spread out across the Orcral. Grum-Toral is founded by the Orcish King Grimvoor.
~400 – The Eladrin begin to enter the world from the Feywild. This causes great strife with the Elves, and the forests of what would become Glimhane are host to skirmishes and small battles.
412 – The Eladrin and Elves put aside their differences and unify to fight off the enroaching Orcs from the north. The Orcs strip the northern Glimhane Forest for wood and food before they are driven back past the hills of Girnor. Grimvoor disappears. The joint Eladrin/Elven city of Fenabeth is founded to ward off further attacks.
503 – The great black dragon of the south, Xeferanath, is slain on Mount Direnni, west of Lake Somen, by an unknown band of adventurers. Some say they were from a tribe of the northmen, some say they were Elves from the Glimhane Forest, while others claim they sailed from the northeast.
581 – Nerath of the Beartooth is born in a Beartooth village somewhere north of the Witham River.
612 – Nerath of the Beartooth tribe of northmen conquers the last of the other northern tribes, and declares himself Nerath, King of Nerath.
637 – Jason Exridge, future King of Turrion is born in a small village near the Hillbranch River.
644 – Nerath of the Beartooth dies of old age. His only son, Lelmaar inherits the crown.
659 – Sir Jason Exridge, called The Wulfblood, gathers an army to rid his beloved homeland of the ravaging tribes of Gnolls. He personally slays the demon Alachek, summoned by the Gnoll king Tearfang Rotten-Eye. With the people united behind him, he founds the city of Exridge and the nation of Turrion.
699 – A Snake Clan plot to replace much of the royal family of Turrion, including King Jason Exridge himself, with shapeshifters, is uncovered. A brutal purge follows, all but striking the Snake bloodline from the world. Thousands are hunted down and killed, though it is whispered small enclaves survive to this day, and wait for the chance to strike again.
719 – Archul Dolhame, future king of Dolkrak, is born.
727 – King Jason Exridge of Turrion dies of old age.
760 – After a prolonged two-front war with the Drow to the east, and Duergar-led Gnolls to the north, the Dwarves beneath the Dolbarris, Morhelm, and Greysmelt Mountains found Dolkrak. First Underking Archul Dolhame, ruling from Lagrimbar, drives off the invaders on both fronts.
881 – King Lelmaar of Nerath established Fort Dolor in the Blackspine Mountains in the winter.
882 – The loosely-aligned city-states of Melora’s Sound, under threat from the expanding nation of Nerath, unify and found Nalarn. Nalarn is ruled by Emperor Justin Nerva and a Civic Council of twelve representatives – two each from the founding cities.
831 – Noax the Goblin King mounts an attack on Dolkraken capital of Lagrimbar. The goblins and their allies had tunneled below the city, and broke through several areas simultaneously in a cunning attack. The dwarves eventually drive them off, and force Noax to flee north into the Hallrag Fells.
840 – King Archul Dolhame of Dolkrak is poisoned by agents of the Drow and dies.
919 – First Emperor of Nalarn Justin Nerva takes his own life with a sleeping poison.
979 – The Bane-worshipers operating around Lake Somen found the city of Pallos after being visited by visions said to come from Bane himself. Their influence spreads rapidly, and many in the surrounding cities and villages are either converted or slain. The nation of Marghul is born.
1000 – High Priest Antanar Hessus of the Holy Realmic Church of Bahamut marks the new millennium as a time to “strengthen the resolve of all followers of the Platinum Dragon, and end the corruption of Everin by the evil and the foul once and for all”. This translates into a much more strict doctrine for the Church, heavily aligned against any non-divine magic. For twenty years, purges, burnings, and torture are commonplace as the doctrine is taken to the extreme in what becomes known and remembered as The Long Night.
1001 to 1250
1019 – Antanar Hessus is assassinated by his own inner circle. At a private meeting of the Seven Most Holy, his six attendants draw long knives and stab Hessus repeatedly before cutting his throat. Over the next few years many of his edicts are reversed.
1069 – The minotaur city of Saruun Khel beneath Thunderspire in the Nentir Vale was abandoned after a civil war. The surviving minotaurs were cursed by Baphomet with mindless fury.
~1075 – Bandar Mayne, future High Lord of the Grassea and First King of Sureth is born.
1084 – Gnolls of the War Dancer tribe attack and pillage the northern isles of what is now Rulos. It is never discovered where they obtained their curious black-sailed ships or the knowledge to sail them, but they use them to mount raids on several island settlements, as well as towns and villages all along the coast of the Anvil Bay. They are eventually driven off, never to be seen again.
1105 – The Marghulian Invasion begins as Marghul marches on all of her neighbors – they strike deep into Glimhane, and sieze much of what is present-day Aldar and Sureth. Their overland forces also seize some of the Orcral territory, while the Marghulian navy disrupts trade across the Meridal Sea. It is later discovered that they also intended to use the Moon Door, a portal to the Feywild in the town of Moonstair, in an attempt to attack the Eladrin homerealm.
1107 – With the influence of Turrion spreading to the east, and Marghul invading from the south, the various horselords of the Grassea gather in the great tent-city of Ras Salat. They select Bandar Mayne as High Lord of the Grassea, King of newly-united Sureth, and push the Margulian forces out of Moonstair and south to the Felmight Peaks.
1113 – The Marghulian Invasion ends as their forces abruptly turn and leave the forests of Glimhane, and stop all hostilities on their other fronts. The reason for the sudden turn is unknown until it is announced that the Marghulian Queen Xersci was assassinated by her daughter Pella, who siezed the throne and ordered an end to the war. Rumors still run rampant as to whether this is the true story, but no other details are ever unearthed.
1114 – Sureth cedes a tract of land east of Alwhar to the kingdom of Turrion in exchange for recognition as a sovereign nation. This cleverly sets up Alwhar as a center of trade between the two nations.
1142 – The King of Sureth, Bandar Mayne, is killed in a horsing accident.
1169 – Human settlers from Nerath move north into the Nentir Vale, establishing Fastormel, Harkenwold, and Winterhaven.
1174 – King Eothyr III of Marghul commissioned the Society of Imperial Artificers to create an adaptive artificial being. His son, King Elidyr, redirects the project for war, resulting in the Warforged. King Elidyr led his armies against the orc of the Orcral marching beneath the Ruler of Ruin’s banner.
1179 – A Nerathan hero named Aranda Markelhay obtains a charter to build a keep at the portage of the Nentir Falls. She raises a simple tower at the site of Moonstone Keep, and under its protection the town of Fallcrest begins to grow.
1208 – The great city of Castorfel is built by the mad Marghulian High Priest of Bane, Elsen Castor. He claimed to have received messages from Bane himself with the location for the city and many specific instructions. A massive effort is put forth to sail men and equipment to the unclaimed island in the Meridal Sea. For several years the city flourishes but in 1216 he declares the city to be the the capital of his new empire and independent from Marghul. In 1221 the Marghulian navy discovers the city in ruins and all of its people vanished.
1251 to 1400
1260 – Roland Everett, future Last King of Nerath, is born.
1274 – Drow from the Underdark beneath Lolthspire assault Ashcliff. The dwarves suffer heavy losses, but the incursion is repulsed.
1279 – Prince Roland Everett of Nerath leads his troops to destroy an infestation of Orcus’s cultists in the Nentir vale. The cultists were attempting to create a portal opening to one of Orcus’s unholy sites in the Shadowfell. The portal was sealed, and Shadowfell Keep was built to contain the threat.
1280 – Kalton Manor was raised in the Nentir Vale by Lord Arrol Kalton, but the tenants were driven off by monsters from the Witchlight Fens.
1281 – Asalar Everett, King of Nerath is slain in combat defending the city of Timberworth from an attack by the Bloody Ear goblins. His son Roland Everett is crowned King that spring.
1284 – The loosly-affiliated pirates and smugglers of the Rake defeat a large Turrion navy in a pitched battle. Donair VonRulos is the self-proclaimed “Pirate King” and hero of the battle. He schemes, negotiates, threatens, and cajoles the various victorious groups into endorsing the nation of Rulos. They promptly go on the offensive and win their freedom from Turrion rule.
1288 – A band of adventurers called the Silver Sons venture deep beneath Lolthspire and slay the Lich Queen Volkil. The survivors return to their native Turrion as great heroes.
1296 – Nerath assembles its army to deal with the troll king Vard, who marched forth from the Kingdom of Vardar to make war on Nerath.
1299 – The Nerathan army smashes the Kingdom of Vardar, King Roland Everett slays the troll king Vard and razes troll settlements all over the Vitterfulk Fells.
1311 – A massive army of Gnoll tribes, joined by Troll remnants of the Kingdom of Vardar, and led by the gnoll king Gnulfite Rotten Eye, assemble in the Deferggen Wastes and marches west to war on Nerath.
1312 – Eladrin and Elves from Glimhane, and some troops from Nalarn join the Nerathan defense against the invaders. Nerath pleas for assistance from Dolkrak, but the dwarves are reluctant to venture north from their mountains.
1313 – Dolkraken general Kerar disobeys orders and takes his troops into battle against the gnolls. Despite this, Nerath falls to the invaders. King Everett is slain in battle with the Rotten Eye, Hungry Sword, and Red Skull gnoll clans. The forces of good are scattered. Kerar is sent to Ashcliff as “punishment”.
1314 – Shadowfell Keep is abandoned after Sir Keegan succumbed to the influence of the portal and slaughtered the keep’s residents.
1320 – Several passenger ships from Rulos dissappear at sea en route to the Turrion port city of Varsten. Several months later, two men claiming to be survivors of the ship Stormrage wash ashore in Newsummer. They make claims to have passed through a storm to a realm of endless seas in an endless night, where they sailed upon a great glass tower rising from the sea. Within, they claim to have found a portal which led to an island somewhere in Melora’s Sound, but the two men disappear suddenly.
1329 – Gardmore Abbey in the Nentir Vale was destroyed by evil forces after the paladins reputedly brought back a dark artifact for safekeeping.
1366 – Rulos and Turrion go to war over trade across the Rake. Turrion siezes Eastmoor and Westmoor, and assaults Seagard. Rulos rallies an impressive defense on the banks of the Skim, while their ships from the north win a counterattack at Eastmoor, cutting the Turrion invasion force in half. The two nations barter an agreement granting the lands of the Warwood to Rulos in exchange for unrestricted and unmolested shipping to and from the city of Endsport.
1369 – Troglodytes occupy Hrak Azuul, the Fungal Fortress, deep beneath the mountains of Lolthspire.
1385 – Earthquakes wrack the mountains of Old Nerath, destroying many trade routes and isolating the Nentir vale. With the fall of Nerath, Nalarn’s northern border is uncertain, and shrinks over the next few years. The area now known simply as the Unclaimed Badlands is formed. Much of the upper levels of Shadowfell Keep collapse at this time.
1389 – A fierce horde of orcs known as the Bloodspears descend from the Stonemarch in Old Nerath and sweep over the Nentir vale. Fallcrest’s army is defeated in a rash attempt to halt the Bloodspears out on Gardbury Downs. The Bloodspears burn and pillage Fallcrest and go on to wreak havoc all across the vale.
1401 to Present
1442 – With the assistance of the Elves and Eladrin of Glimhane, the desert-dwelling people of the Al Aziz Mountains and Al Kalima Mountains drive off their Marghulian occupiers and push them back past the Kadhar Steppes. The three great Houses of Beladi, Saeed, and Wardak form the Empire of Aldar.
1454 – The wizards Hasifir, Niame, and Samazar came to Saruun Khel and established the Seven-Pillared Hall beneath Thunderspire in the Nentir Vale.
1467 – An adventuring group known as the Light of the Sun, out of Old Nerath, battle an evil wizard deep within a barrow in the Nentir vale. They manage to drive him off, but are ultimately defeated and believed slain.
1469 – A band of monsters called the Red Hand invade the Elsir vale in Old Nerath, but are destroyed by adventurers.
1476 – Adventurers slew the white dragon Frystiomagythant, freeing the twice-destroyed Fort Dolor from yet another impending destruction.
1480 – Souls of the dead become trapped in the Shadowfell and used to power a ritual that attempts to awaken The Sleeper, an ancient creature of evil that manifested as a black comet hurtling towards Aerth. The heroes of The Hand of the North defeated the great shadow dragon Urishtar and restored the natural order, causing the comet to explode in the sky.
1481 – The first Phaenite temple of Ioun is founded in the small Nerathan village of Winterhaven.
1482 – PRESENT DAY