« on: December 11, 2010, 07:33:23 PM »
Welcome to Athanos.
This is a world caught in a perpetual Ice Age. Survival is harsh, and resources are scarce. People survive on what they can eek out of the soil and by hunting and gathering. Population is low.
But it was not always like this.
From the Tale of the Lands, as spoken by Elder Ishraak of the Three Scars tribe (kobold):
The Age of Dreams
It is said, around campfires, that eons ago, the gods came to this world and saw that it was good. They populated the world with their creations, and there was peace. The great dragons, the versatile human, the graceful elves, the powerful orcs, the resilient dwarves and more. These were the first races. All were immortal, all were great in the powers of magic.
The gods were perfect, but their creations were not. The first races grew prideful. In their arrogance, they sought to usurp the place of the gods. In their power, they create other, lesser beings to serve them.
The elves created the magical denizens of the forest, the wise giant owls, the pure unicorns, the playful blink dogs.
The orcs created the goblins, a more wretched race you will never find, to bully and dominate, the bugbears to fight, and the hobgoblins to command their armies.
The dragons created the kobolds and the draconians, guardians, slaves, warriors.
The dwarves created the gnomes, allies to earth.
And the humans... ahh, the humans. The cruel created the halflings, beings like themselves but smaller, weaker and easier to enslave. The atrocities visited upon these poor beings were legendary. The wise created the aasimar, resolute warriors of good. But these were not the only ones created. The elan, the mermen, and many others. The humans created more than the other first races put together, but each done selfishly with a purpose. None for companionship.
Wars broke out, and the prayers to the gods became twisted, hateful. The gods, pure but not incorruptible, grew darker, and began to vie with each other just as their creations battled on Athanos itself. And so sin entered the heavens, and no one, not even the gods themselves, have been able to cleanse it since.
The Age of War
For hundreds of our generations, war between the races ebbed and flowed. Great armies and greater magicks tore things asunder. Enitre cities reduced to dust. Immortal but not unkillable, the first races slowly diminished. The dragons suffered the most, for they were the most powerful. Time and again, great alliances of humans, orcs and elves assaulted them in their lairs. But no race were unscathed.
The war in heaven, too, were deadly and savage. Entire hosts of angels died, entire hordes of devils. Even some of the gods, it is said, died, but we have no record of them now.
This could not long continue, and it did not. From the great beyond, where the gods first came, another force grew, and this force overtook the gods at their weakest. We do not know what it is, not could we comprehend its methods, but it subjugated the gods, and broke their creation to reformed it anew. For a heartbeat, the world grew still, and afterwards, everyone knew in their hearts that not all were the same as it was before.
The Age of the Fall
It was subtle at first, for the first races tried to cover it up. The wars stopped almost overnight, and each retreated to their own lands. But word eventually got out: The first races have lost their great magicks, and their immortality. The gods were helpless as the slaves turned on the masters and war once again erupted across the lands. More civilisations fell, until little of the ancient knowledge and powers were left. That was when the gods were given a choice: humility or destruction.
The Age of Penitence
The force from beyond waited until most of the powers that gave the first races its arrogance was gone, before acting again. It gave each god a choice: restricted access to the world in exchange for their freedom. They took the deal and returned to their creations, humbled and determined to salvage what they could. It was a brutal lesson, for much of the races were destroyed. But with the lifting of their immortality, the races started breeding at a faster rate than before, a trait shared by their ex-slave races. The prideful first races have been reduced to the level of their slaves.
And so the peoples of the world grew numerous again. Many of the slaves had escaped their bondage, and only the halflings and goblins truly remained as slaves. Entire new societies and nations were formed, and for four thousand years, there was relative peace on Athanos. War was inevitable, but none on the scale of that in the Age of War.
The Age of Winter
And then, three hundred years ago, something happened. A new force? The old one displeased at the actions of men and gods? We do not know, and may never know. The earth shook on that day of Cataclysm. Many of our warrens fell, and thousands died. Few of the underground races fared as well. We looked to the surface to escape, but there were no escape to be had. Great blizzards raged across the lands, freezing every man, woman and child in their tracks. Cities fell once more, and civilisation ceased to exist. Creatures never seen before on Athanos attacked what little that remained. Great giants and small men, all of ice and snow. Feral creatures that walk upright but bear little resemblance to beings of reason and intellect.
The nights lengthened, until all the world is in a perpetual winter. But we survived, and so we will continue to survive. In our veins run the blood of dragons, and we will not submit to mere weather. So too with our allies in these now harsh lands, for the blood of gods run in their veins. And one day, we will return Athanos to its former glory so that all men, women and children can live in peace, prosperity and harmony.
So say I, Ishraak, Speaker of the Three Scars.