Parent Pages: History

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History

Recent History

The Old Kingdom

About four hundred years ago, the Archipelago was one kingdom, ruled by the ancestors of the ruling family of Storm Haven Island. The old castle with throne room are still there today.

The kingdom was composed of Humans, Dwarves, Elves and many others, working together in peace, with a few wild, untamed islands inhabited by the usual assortment of humanoids, like Goblins, Orcs, Ogres, etc.

This kingdom prospered for nearly two hundred years, during which even dragons spent time among men for friendly trade. Some are still around and remember this “golden age.”

There were still criminals and the like, but these were brought swift judgment and the worst were sent to the Isle of Sandwich, which served as a penal colony.

The Couriers

This age ended when the kingdom's navy became a private organization, due to financial difficulties the ruling family couldn't resolve. The navy became the Couriers and their prices were simply too high to keep the kingdom together. As a courtesy and to aid in the rule of law, they still ferried prisoners to the Isle of Sandwich, all fees waived.

The Couriers were just trying to feed their families. The current farmers and fishermen found though-out the region on otherwise uninhabited islands are the descendants of Courier families that were moved, so they might get food for the men and women aboard ship.

Financial Trouble

Without the means to communicate readily, the kingdom fell apart into small domains, mostly restricted to individual islands. They were still peaceful for the most part, with neighboring islands trading as they could, mostly through the Couriers.

During this time, the Cult of Profit rose from obscurity and saw it's pinnacle, as more and more became worried over the financial troubles of the entire region.

Fifty years later, piracy came to public attention as more and more Courier captains saw more profit to be had raiding other ships instead of ferrying messages and cargo around. As a response, the Law Keepers started a massive recruitment drive and began hunting the pirates mercilessly.

War

Ten years after this, some of the new kingdoms began wars over land, money and sometimes just general feuding. In the end, the reasons mattered little. These wars brought about an organization of Mercenaries that hire themselves out to the highest bidder.

Some of the Law Keepers tried to intervene, making peace where they could, but it was truly a lost cause.

Four decades passed with bloodshed reaching every corner of the Archipelago. Many were wounded severely, some losing their eyesight permanently. At this time, the Order of the Unseeing Eye was seen as a godsend, helping the blind to see in new ways, both metaphorically and literally. They defused the tensions and made peace where others had failed, simply by getting each party to see the other's point of view.

Oddly enough, they usually started negotiations by blind-folding the angry rulers and making them work together on some unrelated task. In the most extreme cases, they actually magically blinded them, promising to return their sight as soon as they agreed on just one thing. This was done with their permission, as both parties were usually sick of the fighting, but were unable to come to any kind of agreement.

The Iron-Crescent Bridge

Another time of peace began and trading commenced once more. The Dwarves of Iron Hall and the Elves of Crescentia traded quite a bit during this period, as their islands are adjacent. To ease in trade and reduce shipping costs, the Dwarves started a massive construction project to span the distance between the two islands with a huge bridge.

To accomplish this, they contracted out much of the work to the Gnomish Tinkers (who happen to live beneath the Dwaven tunnels), carefully watching to make sure their work wasn't jammed full of explosive gnomish gadgets. They also hired several Modron engineering teams in order to keep the construction on schedule. After thirty years of labor, the bridge was finally complete.

It has a noticeably Gnomish flare to the design, but was built using Dwarven and Modron construction techniques. Small artificial islands dot the waters beneath it, supporting it's weight. These were entirely the work of the Modrons, as neither the Dwarves nor the Gnomes thought it was possible, actually laughing at the suggestion, at least until they proved it by building the first one. The largest of these sports a smallish port city and docking facility, including an amazing dry-dock system designed by the Modrons. The Modrons run this port city for reasons unknown; it was their idea to build a larger island in the center with a small city.

To offset some of the expense of construction, the Dwarves decided to impose a high tariff on anything shipped over the bridge by the Elves. This made Dwarven goods less expensive than Elvish equivalents, ruining several of the trading opportunities they'd hoped for.

Finally, after another ten years, the debt incurred to construct the bridge was paid off. The Dwarves, in a streak of greediness, decided to keep the tariff, which the Elves were quite upset about. Even though the tariff was lowered several times in the next ten years, it wasn't enough to satisfy the Elves, so they ceased all trade with the Dwarves. Shortly after, they became unfriendly and occasionally fought battles, mostly over control of the bridge. Currently, they're in a state of cold war, where almost anything could easily set them down the path of war.

The bridge is currently in the care of the Modrons, who have been keeping it in good repair and enforcing the tolls and tariffs the Dwarves set up. They do this for a reasonable cut of the profits.

Toward the beginning of the difficulties between the Dwarves and Elves, the Modrons attempted to make peace. Unfortunately, their overly-lawful nature put an end to this; they started by reminding the Elves that the tariffs are perfectly legal.

The League of Adventurers

Sometime during this recent period, the League of Adventurers just sort of sprang into being and became a force to be reckoned with. No one is quite sure how long they've been around. Apparently, only they know, since for a long time they were a clandestine group, operating beneath the view of others. According to them, they prevented several wars before they were officially organized and recognized twenty years ago.

The Princess and the Crusade

Ten years ago, a small girl named Dia Tempest and the eldest daughter of the King of Storm Haven Island, claiming to have received a vision from her god, insisted that they begin a crusade to convert non-believers to their religion. Her family agreed and began preparing the kingdom for war, carefully hiding their plans from all around them. They built ships and conscripted 75% of the men of their nation into the army. After spending five years training them, they conquered several small, neighboring islands, forcibly spreading their religion.

Dia trained herself to lead the troops, rapidly becoming a charismatic leader that they would gladly die for. New comers to their religion seem to rapidly come to the same point of view. Some have been witnessed entirely changing their lives after hearing her speak just once. Most suspect some form of magical brain-washing and are preparing for the inevitable war. The Dwarves and Elves just to the north seem not to have noticed this new development, due to their own squabble.

Ancient History

The Black Crown

More than two-thousand years ago, on one of the many worlds of the Prime Material Plane, the Black Crown was nothing more than a mere human wizard, with great ambition and a lust for power that would chill most men to the bone if they knew the extent of it.

In his travels he met and befriended a demigod, the son of a human woman and a god. After traveling together for many years, he began to grow old. In his aged state, he coveted the immortality of his friend and eventually betrayed him, slaying him with the foul necromantic spells he'd spent a life-time collecting.

This was not the end, however. He next butchered his friend's corpse, extracting the heart to use as an ingredient in the potion required to become a Lich. He also fashioned the bones into a crown that would serve as his phylactery, the vessel for his soul. Unbeknownst to him, using a demigod for these processes seriously increased his power level to unimaginable heights. It also made his phylactery into a powerful artifact-level magic item. These despicable actions did not go unnoticed by the father of his former friend.

Soon after, he raged across the land like a vengeful god, destroying his enemies with minimal effort. He conquered his native continent on short order, as no ordinary mortal could even slow him. He thought himself unstoppable and in his arrogance, grew careless.

The Backlash and the Hunt

The wizards of his world, good, neutral and evil, banded together to fight him, while the priests of the fallen demigod's father assisted in any way they could.

Within months, the Black Crown was on the run. The wizards magically determined who he was and were hunting him mercilessly. There was no corner of the globe he could hide in; they were just too persistent and their combined magics too powerful. He won nearly every battle, but could not win the war.

Being aware of other planes of existence, he sought refuge on the Deep Ethereal. Almost anything can get lost there, after all.

However, having left the mortal plane, his greatest enemy was finally free to send more powerful servants to hunt him, among them angels with gifts uniquely suited to the job.

He wandered aimlessly for ten years, looking for a place to hide, always with a pursuer or two hot on his tail. Eventually, he came across a spell to create a demi-plane.

The Demi-Plane

After a few months of study interspersed with more running, he researched a variant of the spell that would create a demi-plane with several unique properties useful to him. One of these properties was an inter-planar block on communication, tracking and travel magic. This would hide him from his assailants for years to come.

During his research, he also discovered a way to draw pieces of the Prime Material Plane into his new demi-plane.

For a short time, he gathered the resources he would need: several new spells, a gemstone to serve as the seed itself and a special oil to treat the gem with at the end of the process.

Finally ready, he cast several protective spells to hide himself while he worked and began the arduous, 100 day process. It was a success. After a few more days, he had a small plane, just a few feet across.

He sighed and began work on another spell, designed to create a massive planar portal, large enough to draw the island he once called home into the fledgling demi-plane. This spell literally ripped a piece of the Prime out and forced it into the demi-plane, along with a fair bit of ocean. Part of this spell altered reality around the removed island, causing those within a few hundred miles to forget it was ever there.

Unfortunately, his mortal enemies had taken up residence in the last decade, poking through all his research notes, killing his servants, and generally wrecking the place. Several days of death and destruction followed as he killed every last living thing on the island.

Lack of Heat

After a few weeks, the entire demi-plane grew cold. The Black Crown made one big mistake when he designed the plane: he didn't take into account the fact that many Prime worlds gain much of their heat from the core of the planet. Without that source of heat, his new home was rapidly growing cold.

New Goals

His task complete, his refuge prepared, he turned his attention to a new line of research: becoming a god. He was certain his refuge would be discovered eventually, so he decided he'd need such power to defend himself.

After many years passed, he determined he would need more materials for his work, so he used his magic to draw islands from many Prime worlds, putting together an Archipelago, complete with people. People he would need for his work, both as undead slaves and raw materials for research.

Through disguise and magic, he carefully manipulated these people into believing they had always been in this place. He also manipulated them into believing that nothing happened. “It was all just a storm in the night.” Most of the islands were isolated in the first place, which made this easy to accomplish.

The Witches

One of the islands had witches and warlocks on it, who all immediately lost the ability to manipulate magic in the process, due to their unique bond with their home world. This was due to the way the Black Crown intentionally isolated his demi-plane.

The witches and warlocks knew something was fishy and after several years figured out how to tap extra-dimensional sources of power to shape their spells. Each clan chose a different plane, most focusing on an elemental plane. The largest clan used the Plane of Shadow.

Finally having regained their powers, the largest clan set about discovering the truth, while most of the smaller ones went back to business as usual.

This largest clan was the Rayna clan. The same clan that had three members in the Crusaders of Light.

The Modrons

Having brought in a number of living things that would require higher temperatures, the Black Crown contacted the Modrons, who are known for their experience working with pocket dimensions. He paid them vast sums of money along with the opportunity to study the inhabitants of the plane up close (Modrons are always curious and trying to understand people).

The Modrons immediately brought in the Modron Cube (a small chunk of Mechanus, their home plane) and began digging out and enchanting massive tunnels at the base of the plane, below everything else. Next they opened a huge elemental vortex to the Plane of Fire and used it to power a massive boiler system. The tunnels were used as steam lines to transfer the heat wherever it was needed. In turn, the steam heated the rocks and lava pooled under many of the islands in a way that resembles nature.

The Modrons will not discuss these details with anyone, as it would spoil the experiment.

The Language Primeval

Still seeking godhood, or something like it, the Black Crown stumbled upon a reference to the Language Primeval, the original tongue of magic. He'd always dismissed such rumors in the past, but he also came across references to the unbridled power of creation, tamed by magic.

According to legend, the first wizards to walk his home world used such powerful magic on a daily basis and it even rivaled the power of minor Gods.

This knowledge was eventually codified into five Lores, four of which were taken to remote corners of the globe to be guarded in secret.

After extensive research, he determined the locations of the five Lores and pulled them into the demi-plane.

The First Lore, representing the sounds of the language, was secured deep beneath Mathghamna, the fortress that now serves as the headquarters of the Wizard's Guild. This is the one that stayed behind. The land surrounding Mathghamna was drawn into the demi-plane and eventually came to resemble a natural island. It's now known as Arcanus. The Black Crown did nothing to protect this Lore, thinking leaving it buried was enough. He was quite wrong, since Japheth Arcane of the Wizard's Guild discovered it years ago.

The Second Lore, representing the alphabet of the language, was secured in the city of Atlantis. When the Dragon of Shades (an avatar of the Plane of Shadow itself!) attacked, the island sunk into the ocean, taking the Lore with it. The city was drawn into the demi-plane and placed at the bottom of a deep ocean trench. The Black Crown thought this to be sufficient protection.

The Third Lore, representing the words of the language, was unfortunately lost during transportation and turned up many times in history, always in the hands of a powerful wizard. Most recently, it was owned by a necromancer named Morgoroth, living in a land called Avonleigh. This was also a land-locked area that came to resemble a regular island. To keep this Lore safe, the Black Crown isolated Avonleigh in the Tatters.

The Fourth Lore, representing the grammar of the language, was locked away in a trap-filled underground complex given sentience through magic. [FIX ME: Add details of where this one is and how it connects to the Living Dungeon adventure]

The Fifth Lore, representing the spells of the language, was considered the most dangerous Lore of all. Thus, it was sealed in a temporally-distorted maze and then disintegrated. It can only be accessed by traveling the proper path through the maze, to a series of moments locked in stasis, when it still existed. Each of these moments has the book open to a unique page. The temporal flow in the maze is ever-changing and difficult to navigate, making studying the book without it's guardian's cooperation practically impossible. The guardian is a minotaur-like creature of immense power and was made immortal by binding his essence to the maze itself. The island with the Time Maze beneath it is Minos.

[Explain stuff related to the Warlock Strife and expand on the Fourth Lore]

[Explain the goals of the Black Crown's enemy]

[Explain the Black Crown's connection to the Crusaders of Light]

More to follow…

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