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 The World of Elaria

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Arius
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Posts : 313
Join date : 2009-08-21
Age : 33
Location : Between Worlds

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Level: 30
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PostSubject: The World of Elaria   Mon May 03, 2010 4:34 pm



IN THE BEGINNING…

In the beginning, when even the elves were young and the world was unbroken, the gods warred.

Their battle lasted for eons, and many were lost, their names forgotten over time. Each time a god fell in battle, a part of his or her essence infused the land, and with their divine spark created life, bringing a new race into the world. In this way, men, dwarves, tieflings, orcs, and all of the other intelligent races were born, from the ashes of the dead gods.

As these new beings came into existence, the war in the heavens was soon mirrored on the Continent below, for the newcomers strove against the elves for dominion, for power, and for a place to call their own. The elves had never before known the horrors of war, for they had been the only intelligent race upon the Continent, and as the centuries went on, they found ways to convert their magic—which had once been used to aid nature and beautify the land—into a deadly force that few could stand against. Likewise, though, the other races soon learned the secrets of magic, and the war raged on for countless generations.

Finally, the gods were able to subdue the greatest and most evil of their brethren: Tiamat. All of the gods—even those dark deities who found Tiamat’s insanity and cruelty overwhelming—put all of their remaining powers together and delivered a final, killing blow the five-headed goddess, one that they were sure would destroy her for all time.

The gods, though, underestimated Tiamat’s power.

As the final blow fell, Tiamat diverted all of her substantial power into projecting a magical barrier that absorbed much of the force of her brethren’s attack. Instead of being destroyed by this devastating offensive, Tiamat found herself blasted from the heavens to strike the center of the Continent, fracturing the world and killing millions. Though she was not killed in the process, Tiamat’s power was greatly diminished, and it was the course of centuries before she could build up enough strength to act again.

For their part, the gods were horrified that their actions had resulted in such death and destruction, and that Tiamat had been unleashed upon the mortals below. There was little they could do, though, for if Tiamat had been simply weakened by their final attack, then the gods themselves had been almost entirely drained of their power. With nothing left to them, the war was over, and they returned each to their own dominions, with several of them taking up those dominions whose patron deities had been killed in battle.

Below, the planet was in turmoil.

Tiamat’s earth-shattering impact had reshaped the face of the world, and nothing was as it had been. The results of this disaster, though, were not all bad, for the warring between the races stopped for the most part. Realizing that their fates had been completely rewritten, men, elves, dwarves, and several others all banded together to aid one another in rebuilding their shattered homes. Other races, though, took advantage of the chaos and the weakness of their enemies, and formed alliances of their own. Armies of goblins and orcs, with tieflings, demons, and others, marched across the broken world, building great ships and engines of destruction. They sailed across the new seas, waging war yet again on those races they deemed inferior.

In the centuries that followed, the planet was once again wracked by war and destruction.

Into this chaos, with her powers rejuvenated enough to once again wreak havoc, Tiamat came. In the hundreds of years of her slumber, the evil goddess had created hordes of minions, spawned from the power of her dreams. These creatures came to be known as dragonborn, and kobolds, and other lesser beasts bred purely for war. But the greatest of these creations were, by far, the dragons.

Created in her image, legions of dragons swept over the world, uninhibited by the oceans and seas that had formed around the splinters of the Continent, their powerful wings carrying them wherever they were ordered to go. These beasts were the core of Tiamat’s army, and before them even the greatest of elven, human, and dwarven warriors crumbled.

Seeing the destruction wrought by Tiamat and her army, those gods inclined toward goodness and order realized that, without their intervention, the mortal races would soon become extinct. One of their number, Tiamat’s own brother Bahamut, volunteered to sacrifice his godhood and power in order to be sent down to the planet, to aid those races who fought valiantly—and vainly—against Tiamat’s hordes. A great council was held in the heavens, and Bahamut’s request was granted, and he was sent down to aid the mortals in the shape of a stunning platinum dragon.

At first, Bahamut’s presence was seen as a sign of defeat by the alliance of good, for surely the sight of such a powerful, flawless dragon streaking through the sky meant that their efforts had been in vain, and that the Draconic Horde would soon overwhelm them. As he approached their army, the elves and their allies unleashed all they had against the dragon, who simply shrugged off their onslaught and landed before them, resplendent in his divine glory. When it was obvious that the platinum dragon meant them no harm, the rulers of the elves and men, along with the dwarves and their other allies, listened in awe to what Bahamut had to tell them, and they readily agreed to his request to aid them.

With his infinite knowledge, Bahamut taught the mortals new tactics, and he helped them to create new weapons that would take advantage of their draconic enemies’ weaknesses. He gifted them with new forms of magic, infusing their mages and wizards with the power of draconic force. But greatest of all, the benevolent dragon god aided them by having a large portion of his deific essence forged into a blade of unspeakable power to be wielded by the king of the elves: Ascalon, sword of the dragon-slayers. This magical blade was capable to destroying even the most powerful of Tiamat’s creations, and with each dragon slain, the sword became stronger and stronger.

With these new improvements to their equipment and magic, the allied races soon found themselves forcing their enemies back, and claiming several major victories as well. With Bahamut leading them, even with his diminished strength, total victory actually seemed possible. The great dragon god’s presence had another, entirely unexpected affect upon their draconic enemies as well, as several of the enemy dragons and dragonborn began to turncoat, betraying and abandoning Tiamat’s army to join up with Bahamut’s.

With their ranks swelling and their powers increasing, it wasn’t long before the elves and their allies forced the Draconic Horde back to the land of their origin, the land where Tiamat held dominion over all, ruling over her creations with cruelty and violence. Sensing that without her personal intervention her army would fall, Tiamat took to the field, easily crushing all who opposed her with her divine strength. Even Bahamut, weakened as he was from the creation of Ascalon, fell before his evil sister, though she found herself unwilling to kill him just yet, preferring for him to watch his people be annihilated before destroying him.

It was then that Veran, king of the elves, stepped forward and challenged Tiamat to single combat. Blinded by arrogance and her own indescribable power, the five-headed goddess accepted Veran’s challenge, unaware of the powerful weapon that he carried. Since Acalon’s creation, King Veran had worn the blade in each and every conflict against the Draconic Horde, slaying many of Tiamat’s most powerful generals, which strengthened the blade, giving it the power needed to slay even a god. The battle was joined, and though Veran suffered greatly at the hands of Tiamat, who foolishly chose to simply toy with the elf, but in the end he was the victor as he saw his opening and plunged Ascalon into the goddess’ chest, the enchanted blade unleashing all of its pent up power and destroying Tiamat utterly.

Seeing their goddess’ demise, the Draconic Horde fled, and many of them are killed as they turn and run, ignoring the enemies still at their back. Though a great portion of the evil army was destroyed that day, hundreds of thousands of draconic warriors managed to escape, choosing to bide their time until they were once again strong enough to avenge their creator’s death.

The army under Veran and Bahamut had, against all odds, achieved their victory, though the cost was great. The elven king succumbed to the wounds inflicted upon him by Tiamat, leaving the ancient people leaderless until a new ruler could be chosen. The blade that had ended Tiamat’s reign, Ascalon, was lost for all time, and it was generally agreed that it had been destroyed along with the five-headed dragon goddess. Bahamut, his injuries obviously fatal, called out to the other gods, begging them to use their combined power to free his divine spark from his physical shell, so that he could once again be among them, now that his goal on the planet had been accomplished. Though their strength was still greatly diminished from their ancient war, and from the act of sending Bahamat to the mortal realm in the first place, the united deities were able to bring their brother back to him, and he ascended into the heavens as he bid farewell to his faithful followers.

Thousands of years have passed since the ancient Dragon War.

The forces of Tiamat still roam the world, waging war upon the other races, though their numbers and power are greatly lessened. Others, though, have come to their service, including orcs, demons, and many others of those races considered “dark” by the other mortal beings. The war, for them, has never truly ended, and they still seek to avenge the loss of their goddess.

The kingdoms of men, and of elves, prosper, as do the realms of the dwarves and the other races of the alliance. Trade is good, and peace reigns, but for the periodic encounters with the remnants of the Draconic Horde. Over the past few centuries, small wars have broken out among the other races, but they are typically resolved with few losses, at least few in comparison to the great War of old.

Despite this period of peace, rumors claim that the forces of the Draconic Horde are once again preparing for a major offensive. Still others say that the blade of legend, Ascalon, has been found, and that such a discovery heralds the return of Tiamat, and that her shadow will once again plunge the world into darkness…
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Arius
Dungeon Master
avatar

Posts : 313
Join date : 2009-08-21
Age : 33
Location : Between Worlds

Character sheet
Level: 30
XP to Next Level:
0/0  (0/0)
Hit Points:
189/189  (189/189)

PostSubject: Re: The World of Elaria   Mon May 03, 2010 4:37 pm

Much of the world of Elaria is still undiscovered, with only the eastern continent and the archipelago containing the Black Lake and its outlying islands being fully mapped and¬-―supposedly―inhabited. This goes only so far, though, as many of the people living on the continent know very little about the area around the Black Lake, and vice-versa, making it quite difficult for citizens of either place to have access to maps of the other. As such, only maps of the eastern continent are presented in this sourcebook, with maps of the lands surrounding the Black Lake to be featured in a future volume.

Here are the notable locations:

ARKHOSIA: This is the homeland of the dragonborn (particularly the evil dragonborn who still serve Tiamat). The island was once mountainous and uninhabitable, but after hundreds of years of hard labor, the dragonborn managed to tear down most of the mountains block by block and carve themselves great, majestic cities in the stone. Arkhosia was nearly leveled when the allied army of elves, men, dwarves, and others laid siege to it during the ancient Dragon Wars.

THE BLACK LAKE: This is the place where Tiamat fell, her impact shattering what was once a single, large continent into several smaller ones. The water is black and sulfurous, and nothing can live in it.

THE BLIGHT WASTES: A sprawling desert stretching across southern Westenra. Legend says it was once a primeval, ancient forest before the Westenrans destroyed it with their constant warfare.

CADAL MOUNTAINS: This mountain range is the result of Tiamat's violent collision with the Continent eons ago. Unlike the Mordain Mountains to the north, the Cadal Mountains are a wild and unsafe place, infested with goblins and (according to rumors) dragons. Few venture here, and even fewer return.

CASSANDRA’S SEA: This stretch of ocean was named after an ancient princess of Westenra. She was kidnapped from her room in the palace by soldiers from Indra, who immediately put her aboard their ship and attempted to sail south, back to their island realm. The Westenra armada made chase, and a great sea battle was waged, ending in the accidental sinking of the Indran vessel, and the loss of Princess Cassandra. The sea has borne her name ever since.

THE CRYSTAL SEA: So named because of the massive, crystalline icebergs that drift throughout the water. These icebergs make the sea incredibly beautiful, but so dangerous that it is nearly impossible for any vessel to sail through it.

FRONTIA: The eastern-most of the human kingdoms, Frontia is the cultural capitol of the known world. The people of Frontia are peaceful, preferring to tend their fields or spend their time in study. As such, this country has produced some of the finest artists and intellectuals on Elaria, while lacking a powerful standing army. Years earlier, a group of intrepid Frontian explorers set out on a journey across Cassandra’s Sea, discovering the western continent and establishing a small colony.

HARGORN EMPIRE: This so-called orcish "empire" claims three islands and a portion of the shoreline surrounding the Black Lake. The empire itself is made up mostly of orcs, but includes some of the "lesser" races that have fallen under their rule, including some goblin tribes, kobolds, and even rogue humans. The warlike orcs make no secret of their desire to one day occupy the entire known world, and become a true empire.

HEVA: The kingdom of the high elves, whose buildings are carved from pristine crystal and the cold northern ice itself. Elven magic keeps the weather clement without melting the ice, and their structures are elegant, graceful, spiraling masterpieces created from ice and living crystal.

INDRA: Another human country, though not a true “kingdom” per se. The people of Indra are religious zealots, who believe that all of the other nations and races are terribly wrong by worshiping multiple deities. The Indrans believe that there is only One supreme being, and that all of the other so-called "gods" worshiped by the other races are simply facets of this One being. They are unyielding in this, and have started several religious crusades against the kingdoms to the north in their attempt to unify the world under their beliefs. Indra is almost perpetually in conflict with Westenra, for the old grudge from Princess Cassandra's kidnap and death lives on in the hearts of Westenra's people.

LORIEL: The forested realm of the wood elves. The elves have created in the forests of Loriel magnificent cities in the trees, and their natural magics have done much to beautify and pacify what was once, in the distant past, a dark and foreboding place. The wood elves have no real king of their own, for they all acknowledge the high elven king as their own.

MORDAIN MOUNTAINS: This mountain range was created when the Continent was shattered, and it stretches from the center of the eastern continent north to the landmass' tip. It is here that the dwarves dwell, having rid the range of goblins centuries ago. They build great subterranean cities beneath the mountains, and few members of the other races have been allowed to see them. Lately, it seems that more and more goblins have been sighted here, making many think that the goblins are preparing to wage war on the dwarves to reclaim what was once theirs.

THE NORTHERN WASTES: A harsh, icy wasteland with no known inhabitants.

THE SEA OF TEARS: Legends say that this sea was created from the tears of the allied army when King Veran of the elves and Bahamut fell in battle against Tiamat and the Draconic Horde.

SOUTHERN WASTES: Like the Northern Wastes, those of the south are a harsh, inhospitable place. Few have explored the wastes, but it is generally believed that they are uninhabited.

VILNIS: Another human kingdom that has long had associations with the elves. Of all the human realms, Vilnis is the closest to Elaria’s first race, and people from Vilnis are often allowed to pass over the border into elven lands safely. Vilnian humans are longer lived than those of the other human countries, due to their elven heritage.

WESTENRA: This is the largest and most powerful of the four human kingdoms. They have the most land and the largest standing army. Westenra is a land hardened by warfare, for they are always fighting the goblins in the Cadal Mountains along their western border, and the religious fanatics of Indra―their blood enemies―to the south.
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