This is my synopsis of the DCC#35 material plus some of my own woven together in an attempt to help players gain some geo-political perspective of my version of Áereth. It was written by me in order to run a game full of courtly intrigue right after I started merging my world with that of Áereth. Thanx a million Lexxi... I didn't modify this for the DCCRPG setting, so it diverges from the "appendix N" feel. The map at the bottom will (I hope) be helpful in understanding the text. Though, in all the shuffle, I think I forgot to hand this map out to the players... oops. Such lapses are one of the reasons why I finally decided to put everything down in a BLOG format: one stop research for the players.
This is written from the Human perspective…Unless your character is a sage, minstrel, bard, or wizard, etc. they won’t know most of this beyond generalities. I figure the Players need to be able to visualize and understand the world in order to take full advantage of opportunities and recognize clues. Normally this is taken care of by the numerous novels and such that support the existing game worlds… Áereth doesn’t have this, and so a bit of explanation is needed to take full advantage of the game world. There is a lot of material available, and I’ve tried to condense it all into a more digestible brief in order to make things easier. You may want to have the attached map file open to clarify some of the points below.
Humanity, the youngest of the races of Áereth, has had a turbulent ride through history. Crawling out of the mists of the Gods imagination onto the Isle of Nos Caen more than 20,000 years ago to spread across the face of the world just as all the other races had. While the Elves claimed the seas and the deep forests; and the Dwarves claimed the mountains. The Gnomes refused to choose one home and so fractured, scattering into the Wyld Gnomes, living at ease in all the wild places of Áereth. The Humans and the Halflings have always chosen to be nomadic and wander the places that were left to them by the elder & more powerful races.
For most of Human pre-history, they were ruled (like everyone else) by the Dragon Kings, but the elder races were more “civilized” and so garnered most of their Lords attentions and found positions of honor within the Dragon Empire as well as knowledge beyond Human understanding. When that glorious Empire fell; the Sphinx & Naga races (the most powerful servants of the Dragon Kings) divided the known world between them. Those who swore fealty to their new Lords followed them into the southern sands and jungles to help build new Empires in the wreckage of the Dragon Wars. It is during this period that the Humanoid races see their first schisms; between those who would follow the new masters, and those who would not. This is when the races of, Deep Dwarves, Svirfneblin, and Deep Gnomes; as well as the Drow and Wild Elves were born. When the Sphinx’s & Naga’s attempted to gain the trust of Wyld Gomes, the Gnomes who left the wilds for civilization became the for-runners of the Gear Gnomes.
After the War of the Brothers & the inevitable fall of the Khonsurian & Serpant Empires; many of the surviving Humanoids began a slow northern migration. The Elves, Dwarves, Humans, Halflings, all returning to their ancestral homes as refugees; Gear Gnomes found homes wherever they could, and stuck mostly to larger cities. The longer lived races fared better than most and quickly regained the majesty and vigor of their Races’ Elder days combined with all of the knowledge acquired in their travels and struggles. Humans & Halflings reverted to small, nomadic Tribal Clans… again.
The Elves and Dwarves reigned supreme over their domains both in the Northlands and much of the Southern lands for many times many years; and there was glorious peace and harmony, until the Giants banded together & started the War of Divine Right. The war ended with the sinking of the Isle of Lirea, which scattered the Giant’s Armies, but broke the collective spirit and will of both the Elves and Dwarves.
This is the true beginning of the Age of Humanity. The Druids act as sheppard’s for Humanity; selecting the brightest and teaching them the ancient knowledge of magic. Within 1600 years of the fall of the Isle of Lirea, the Druid Kings have guided Humanity into the first Human Empires of Erhiem, Kothia, & Nimoria.
These first empires only represent a fraction of the Human population; & even at the zenith of their power, the bulk of Humanity is still found within the Tribes of Abylossian's roaming the Northern and Eastern lands. It was inevitable that the Imperial push for new territory would spark the Abylossian Tribesmen into open warfare. The Abylossians’ started by slaughtering the Druids and sacking Erhiem & most of Kothia; but in doing so, they over extended themselves and their mighty horde splintered and faded back into the lands of tundra and ice to the north. It was Nimoria that managed to survive and prosper, but only because its rulers turned to dark magic and demonic pacts to secure their power. Eventually they tried to expand… right into the territory claimed by Elves and Dwarves.
Nimoria’s demonic armies marched out to clear away the non-human refuse and make room for Humans as the rightful rulers of Áereth. The War started in 1810dc and ended in 1814dc; when the demonic armies were soundly vanquished and the Nimorian Empire spends the next 300 years fighting to maintain its own existence as the Half-Demonic noble houses fight amongst themselves.
They say that Crieste was once a grand and glorious Empire founded over 1000 years ago in
2290dc (druidic calender) by Gunere Numon after his army vanquished the armies of the last Demon King of the Old Nimorian Empire. They may be right, there are certainly great cities and powerful works of magic the likes of which only an Empire can build. The existence of the great road systems, the teleporting grid whisking merchants, the important folk & cargo of the Empire from place to place are certainly profound and unavoidable evidence of the Imperial Past. The Crystal Viewing Network (CVN) still transmits the bardic entertainments and news of the day to the public houses & those that can afford private subscriptions, but for most of your lives this thing called Empire has been naught but an ephemeral shadow. Mostly this is due to the fact that the Last Emperor (Ostad II) was kidnapped in 2903… beginning nearly 300 years of political & financial Chaos.
Yes, the trappings of a mighty Empire surround the people of Crieste, but these enduring works are made inconsequential by the simple fact that there was no one to give the orders anymore. The Princes & Lords wouldn’t agree on a successor and took advantage of the fact that no one was in command of the Imperial Army or Navy to settle old insults and feuds that the Emperor had kept in check. This continued until the Lords realized that they had more power and were better off without an Emperor (approx. 172 years). Their “wake-up call” was when the Southern Province seceded in 3075dc, taking most of the Empires mineral wealth with them when they departed.
The Council of Lords declares war on the Southern Province and attempts to retake the territory, but the Lords take individual command of the their troops and fail to fight in a coordinated fashion. They lose a substantial portion of the Empires finest troops with this blunder. Afterwards, the Northern Lords try to continue on as if nothing had happened, propping up the economy with the gold from the Colonial tribute fleet & new trade agreements with the Dwarves for Iron and other metals.
Late in the year 3098 Bloody Jack the Pirate hijacks the gold fleet. He is captured, but dies before revealing the location of the gold. Without an Emperor to commission a new fleet, the supplies to the Colonies & the gold shipments to Crieste are ended; the Colonies get independence by default. Now the Council of Lords could no longer afford to ignore things, so they meet early in 3099 to declare silver as the new coin of the realm after the largest deposits of silver ever found within the Empire are discovered in the sleepy mining town of Silverton. By 3100dc the provinces were dropping away & declaring independence faster than autumn leaves in a storm.
To the north, the Province of Valsund breaks apart into feuding factions. They have now fought for so many generations that they have forgotten why they fight and their former province is known simply as the War-lands. Their neighbors to the west, the province of Luithea, declare independence after the sudden death of their king and the rapid ascension of his son to the throne. It is a stable country for the most part, that makes its money by selling mercenaries to the factions within the War-lands. What’s left of the Imperial forces in the occupied sections of Nos Caen are driven into the Straits of Ymtal as the remnants of the Druids regain control of the island.
East of the Ul Dominor Mountains, the province of Thire leaves the Empire, but manages to retain friendly relations; the Province of Lerheti dissolves under the brute force of the Tribal Horde known as the Scourge. What is left of the armies of the Empire of Crieste are fully deployed in order to deal with the slow advance of the Scourge; so they are incapable of stopping the tide of secession. It isn’t until the nations of the Elves & Dwarves join the Human forces in 3180dc that the Scourge is slowed in its progress; by 3196dc they’d succeed in halting the Horde’s Advance. The cost was terrible, and success came only after the Clans of the Cinai were nearly exterminated after they refused to leave their lands. Their final stand allowed for precious time to reorganize and regroup the Allied forces of Dwarves, Elves, & Humans within the Free Cities of Leherti. Still, the once mighty nation of the Theocracy of the Lance, and the newly independent nation of Thire have lost nearly half of their respective territories and have had to rely upon help from Crieste and the non-human alliance to remain intact. On the other side of the Scourge; the Dark Fae that have seized the western 1/3 of the Corsan Forest in the name of the Tarkhan Khurzog. The Free Holds are so overflowing with refugees that the Robber Barons that rule the place are in danger of collapsing under the press of humanoids.
The fear of total collapse of the Empire was finally sufficient to overcome the personal agendas of the Princes & Lords; on the Summer Solstice of 3197D.C. the Council of Lords appointed a 7 year old boy named Vilgar Numon I as Emperor of Crieste. They selected Lady Moritannia to be his regent until the Summer Solstice of his 16th year.
The New Crieste Empire (NCE) is wholly concerned with killing the Ogre Mage Tarkhan Khurzog & pushing the Scourge back into the northern wastes, so most of the peasantry has been relegated to supplying the armies with both kit & kin. These days there is barely enough food for everyone after the Nobles take the lions share for themselves and their armies. Lady Moritania has left domestic control largely in the hands of the temples of Thormyr the Protector, Justica the blind seer of Truth and they have enforced order. Gorhan the Valiant, his daughter the Goddess Aristimis, & his adopted son Thormyr (aka: Honorus the Steadfast) have sent many of their clerics and loyal followers to defend the Empire from the Tribal Hordes to the east.