Introduction‎ > ‎

History

Some 400 years ago, workers discovered what has come to be called the Calendar Obelisk in the ruins of an ancient city of mysterious origins beneath the City State of the Invincible Overlord. The Calendar Obelisk, and a series of rune-inscribed metal plated found in a strange metal chest near the obelisk, revealed a recording of what is called “the Chronology of the Dragon Kings,” the history of an ancient kingdom—believed to be the Orichalans—predating the City State by many, many ages, in 52-year and 104year cycles.


The then current Overlord, a Warrior-King named Balozkinar, constituted a council headed by Ralibarn the Wise, Patriarch of Odin, and including a group of the most prominent sages and clerics of the city, to study the runes and the Obelisk. Their study forced the revision of the existing calendar and changed the view of the history of the Wilderlands. This gave rise to Balozkinar’s Corrected Commoners Calendar (“BCCC”).


Balozkinar’s Corrected Commoners’ Calendar is now used in the northern city states and their tributary villages, as well as in Thunderhold and the town of Warwik, and several other settlements which have interacted with the City State. The BCCC Year 0 is tied to the old Commoner’s Calendar Year 0. Despite the recent evidence from the Obelisk, the Year 0 was left intact to make the transition to the new calendar easier for the people.


The BCCC includes 18 months of 20 days each followed by a 5 day celebration at the end of each year. This calendar is progressive, as our own Anno Domini (AD) system. Thus, the year 100 BCCC would come before the year 101 BCCC just as 100 AD came before 101 AD. Some people still follow an old calendar known as the “Commoners’ Calendar” which sometimes leads to confusion as to the timing of certain celebrations. These problems are resolved by the Town Crier. Both the BCCC and the original Commoners’ Calendar are presented below.


The default year of any Wilderlands campaign is 4433 BCCC, and all products referencing the Wilderlands or the City State presume this default time frame.


It is generally accepted by proponents of the BCCC that the City State of the Invincible Overlord was founded on the ruins of an ancient city in 3075 BCCC—5,466 years after the Uttermost War and 11,683 years after the creation—based on the findings of Ralibarn, the Patriarch of Odin, and his counsel. These dates are accepted and endorsed by the Overlord but contested by just about every other religion and, as described in the Judges History, below, completely wrong. Nevertheless, they form the basis of the common calendar of the lands.


History and Politics


Generally, people know little history beyond what has happened in their lifetime or the lifetime of their living parents—which in the Wilderlands is rarely more than an 80 year span of time. People in the Wilderlands have much more immediate concerns and most have not traveled more than 40 miles from their place of birth.


Any knowledge of history or politics by the populace centers around the major northern cities—Viridistan, the City State of the Invincible Overlord, Tarantis and the City State of Valon. The southern cities of Tula and Rallu are legendary to most northerners and are the stuff of wild speculation, as is the Kingdom of Karak and its capital of Populva (or “Popul Vuh” as the Karakhans spell it). See the Cities chapter for more on these locations.


The following history is a general overview of the history of the Wilderlands since the founding of Viridistan. This general history, while not commonly known to most denizens of the Wilderlands, is at least available to be learned. The information given here is from the point of view of the scholars and scribes of the City State of the Invincible Overlord.


History prior to the founding of Viridistan is detailed in the Judge’s History, below, though some general details are known to players and are detailed here. See the Judges History section below and the Timeline section below for more information. Note: Portions of the history related below refer to cities and geographic features that are not on the Player’s Map.


THE UTTERMOST WAR


Few know what it entailed or when it was, but all know that it existed. It is rumored to be a battle in great antiquity in which the gods themselves participated. Legends tell that a great race called the Markrabs as well as great dragons fought against one another with races that no longer exist.


THE HOLY CITIES


The circle of the five above-ground villages and their accompanying caverns are known as The Holy Cities, a location sacred to the god Mycr. Legends tell that the Holy Cities have existed since the creation and were totally incinerated in the Uttermost War aeons ago but have been since rebuilt.


THE EMPIRE OF KELNORE


In ancient times, following the Uttermost War, there arose a great kingdom called the Kingdom of Kelnore. Its capital was known as the Ivory City, and is believed to be near modern Tarantis. It is said this great kingdom covered most of the Wilderlands and that many of the ruins that abound in the lands are from that ancient kingdom.


GHINORAN SUCCESSOR STATES


Some time during the Empire of Kelnore, a great prince led a number of states in succeeding from the empire, founding what came to be known as the Ghinoran Successor States. The remnants of these successor kingdoms can be found in the south and west of the Wilderlands, in the cities of Lenap, Tlan and Chim, as well as the northern kingdom of Damkina, which reportedly were ancient capitals.


THE WAR OF THE PIOUS AND PHILOSOPHERS


In ancient history, whether before or after the fall of Kelnore it is not known, there was another great war again involving the gods themselves, though this war was instigated by the followers of the gods. There came in the lands an essential rift between those who promoted the gods and arcane powers (called the Pious) and those who sought to abandon those forces and seek the ways of science and learning (called the Philosophers). It is said that at that time the Philosophers matched with machinery what many priests and wizards could accomplish with magic and faith. After much destruction and a near annihilation of the existing civilizations, the gods intervened and the Pious emerged successful, throwing away much learning and scholarly study. The lands were thrown into a dark age.


THE DRAGON KINGS


Though the time of their reign is not accurately known— whether it was before or after the War of the Pious and Philosophers—it is believed that a great kingdom once existed where the City State is now built and that they were led by a series of “Dragon Kings.” The Dragon Kings are believed to be the ancient Orichalans, who have been hunted to near extinction. The only remnant of this kingdom is the markings on the Calendar Obelisk found in excavations done in the City State. The Dragon Kings ruled the area, it is believed, from 575 until 2927 BCCC, according to the Chronicles of the Dragon Kings. Some believe their rule was actually far older than the dates mentioned and that those dates are in error. It is unknown how or why their kingdom came to an end.


VIRIDISTAN FOUNDED— KNOWN HISTORY BEGINS


Most known history in the Wilderlands starts here, with the founding of Viridistan and the creation of the Viridian Empire.


Known as the City State of the World Emperor, the Immortal City, the City of Vines and the City of Spices, Viridistan was founded in 101 BCCC—predating the founding of the City State by approximately 3000 years. Like the City State would be, Viridistan, too, was founded on the ruins of an ancient city that according to legend was destroyed ages and ages ago in the Uttermost War. Its founders, the Viridians, were a short, stocky people with green skin—rumored to be the descendants of the union of gods themselves and merfolk. The Viridians defeated and subjugated the mermen of Trident Gulf and the Wild Men now known as Tharbrians at the Battle of Freemen Fields and founded their great city, Viridistan. So began their cruel empire and the subjugation of many races. The rest of the Wilderlands at that time consisted of mostly savage remnants of civilizations.


VALON FOUNDED


In 120 BCCC Valon was founded to the south of the great glacier by ice-wizard-priests of the god Aram Kor. Due to their isolationist nature and relation with the mer-elves of the Uther Pentwegern Sea, the eventual city state of Valon remained aloof from the upcoming power struggles between Viridistan, the Tharbrian wild men and the City State.


WINGED APES


According to the ancient legends or tomes, around 971 BCCC, just as civilization was beginning to take hold in other parts of the Wilderlands, a horde of winged apes flew into the region where the City State now stands. They crossed the Plateau of Bendigroth, the Cloudwall Mountains, and the Mermist Marshes (near what is now the City State). They then turned south and wandered throughout the lands of Barbarian Altanis for many months before going back from whence they came. Through their entire circuit, they left a broad swath of death and destruction: burned fields and villages, massacred armies, slaughtered herds, and fouled springs and streams where once sweet water flowed.


THARBRIAN MIGRATION


For over a thousand years since the victory of the Viridians over the Tharbrians (Wild Men) at Freemen Fields in 101 BCCC, the Tharbrians gradually withdrew from their ancient homelands of the Targnol and Zirzus Plains and the hills between, leaving them to a patchwork-quilt of succeeding races, human and otherwise. In that time, the culture of the Tharbrians had gently adapted to the life of the horse-nomad. Lesser hordes of Tharbrians have periodically swept through the Lands of the City States, grazing their vast herds of horses and avoiding any contact with settlements. Such lesser migrations occur about seven or eight times every hundred years and follow predictable routes along lines of least resistance.


THE FIRST THARBRIAN INVASION


The first of the invasions of Viridistan by the Northern Horsemen came in 1333 BCCC. Since the northerners were unfamiliar with the lay of the land, they were caught in an awkward position on Bendigroth by two Imperial Vasthosts from Viridistan and were slaughtered by the thousands. These were the days of the strength of the World Emperor, and, upon hearing word of the great victory, he commanded a ten-day festival. The battle was loudly heralded in many heroic songs, and legends grew of the awesome might of the Vasthosts.


THE SECOND THARBRIAN INVASION


The Tharbrians returned in 1759 to 1760 BCCC but followed a different path—on this journey, they followed the north coast, burning one quiet fishing village after another. They encountered a teeming port city on whose ruins the Town of Warwik now stands and laid patient siege to it. When supplies continued to come into the city by sea, the Wild Men stormed the walls. The city was taken at frightful cost due to the Tharbrians’ inexperience in such matters, and it was destroyed so completely that, when the horde trotted off to the south, not one stone lay on top of another. Yet, the horde had lost too many men to be much of a further threat, and, upon being found and decimated by Dwarves from the Majestic Fastness, they turned and withdrew down the ancient Emperor’s Way through the Majestic Mountains.


TARANTIS FOUNDED


As the above events unfold on the Pazidan Peninsula and to the east towards Viridistan, the city of Tarantis was founded on Dahute Bay, very near to the ruins of the legendary Ivory City—the capital of the ancient Empire of Kelnore which fell to ruin over 5000 years ago. Tarantis was founded in 1792 BCCC (2,541 years ago) by two nomadic tribes, the Gishmesh Tribe and the Paldorian Clan, whose ancestors participated in the sack of the ancient capital of Kelnore in its final days. The Gishmesh Tribe originated just south of the Lake of the Crown Beast and followed the Azurerain River, finally selecting the present location of Tarantis on which to settle and build a permanent base for their raiding operations. The Paldorian Clan, skilled sailors and fishermen, originally lived southeast of Tarantis but moved up the river to find better fishing. The merging of these two disparate clans was the result of numerous raids upon the Paldorians by the Gishmesh. Over the course of time, due to intermarriage and increasing familiarity to one another, peace was declared, the raids ceased and members of the two tribes became merged into one group, though the aggressive Gishmesh were still the dominant force.


Originally only a cluster of dwellings and a few mercantile and craft establishments protected by earthworks, the growing city found an increased need for protection after several raids by the ruthless Karzulun—a nomadic tribe east of the area of Tarantis—between 1882 and 1885 BCCC nearly obliterated the town. In 1885 BCCC, the city of Tarantis was officially laid out, rebuilt, and fortified with high stone walls for protection. In that year, also, the first hereditary monarch came to power and began to organize the existing government of Tarantis. However, the dominant strain of the aggressive Gishmesh made total rule impossible; the government only managed to restrain total anarchy in this raucous city, not to control it.


THE THIRD THARBRIAN INVASION


In 2097 BCCC, the Wild Men came again in even greater numbers. They encountered one Imperial Vasthost in the Eleph Territories near Pac Cave and destroyed it, pursuing and murdering the fleeing survivors all the way south to Shimmertree Vale where they gave up the chase and turned back. They found themselves caught in the bight of the Sharryn River and a river which has since been called Flee. There, in Glint Valley, they turned back to find another way east and were converged upon by three Imperial Vasthosts and entire Vastthrongs of crack mercenaries, and the once-beautiful valley became a killing ground. There are five great and ugly hills in that valley now, each consisting of ten thousand charred skeletons. The valley gained its name because a lightcavalry scout from the Imperial forces first detected the Tharbrian horde by spotting reflected sunlight from their arrayed Helmets.


After that terrible slaughter, it was the Tharbrians’ turn to flee before a vengeful, pursuing army. The greater portion of the Wild Men fell back to the north; their pursuers broke off at the Plain of Lethe. Another group of Tharbrians fled south, harried at every turn by Vasthosts that seemed to them to rise out of the ground: through Brotbuckle Briars, along the eastern foothills of the Starrcrag Mountains, through the Berserker Wilds and Bestial Barrens, through the Haunting Range at the Pass of Dyta, and on into the Blistering Dunes. By this time, most scholars estimate, this faction of Tharbrians numbered less than a thousand. They scattered into the desert and, upon finding that they were no longer pursued, turned back into the southern foothills of the Haunting Range. In the narrow strip of grasslands between mountain and desert, they formed a new tribe and became peaceful and prosperous. They eventually adopted a matriarchal hierarchy among local, sedentary communities.


SKANDIKS MOVE NORTH


From 2200 to 2300 the warlike Skandiks migrated into the region of the Pagan Coast. The Skandiks capture Ossyr Lee and rename the city Ossary. In 2240 they begin their struggles with the amazons of Sea Rune.


TARANTINE MERCHANTS’ ASSOCIATION


Between the years 2266 and 2309 BCCC, Ryobl the Red of Tarantis attempted to bring complete law and order to the city, but his efforts were largely unsuccessful, and, after several attempts were made on his life, he disappeared, never to be seen again. His legacy to the city is evidenced by the highly successful Tarantine Merchants’ Association. After the disappearance of Ryobl the Red, Grantadt, his successor, organized the skillful pirating operations that ply the waters between the City States to this day.


For a small fee, the Tarantine Merchants’ Association license and insure the passage of a ship. If it is unlicensed, the pirates are free to seize the ship. The goods of the seized ship are then sold to the Tarantine Merchants for considerably less than value, enabling them to make a handsome profit in the resale of the goods. In return, the pirates receive some portion of the license fees, the proceeds from the sale of pirated goods, and the protection of the government of Tarantis. This has led to Tarantis being called, derisively, the city state of pirates.


LEAGUE OF THE ALTANIANS


In the twenty-fourth century BCCC the first League of Altanians was formed. Over the course of that century, a common effort by the barbarian Altanian tribes to make economical use of their grazing lands was noticed by the City State of the World Emperor’s spies and duly recorded by his scholars. In 2398 BCCC, one of the many tribes of Altanians migrated north under the leadership of its young Chieftain, Larsandrow. Since the barbarians keep no written records, little is known of the career of Larsandrow Longsword except through the legend lore of the tribes and heroic songs of the bards. However, if half the legends told of him are even half-truths, then he was the match of any Warrior-Lord now living. His blade carved a legend that echoes in many religions. For a time, much of the region near what is now the City State was ruled by roving Altanians, who also had expanded southward to slaughter the hated Orichalans.


SKANDIKS DRIVE AMAZONS FROM SEA RUNE


In 2398, while the rest of the region is dominated by the Altanians, the Skandiks, in a year-long war, drove the Amazons from the strange city of Sea Rune.


THE GREAT PLAGUE OF VIRIDISTAN


In 2490 to 2503 BCCC, a great plague struck Viridistan, slaying eight of every ten of its inhabitants. This was the beginning of the decline of the Viridian race from its position of world dominance because in addition to devastating the Viridian race (which were exceptionally vulnerable to the plague), it greatly weakened the fighting strength of the Vasthosts.


TULA FOUNDED


In 2495, Tula, the eventual City of Mages, was founded by exiled wizards. Rumors say that some of the founders were demonbrood exiled from the Demon Empires to the south. Regardless, all agreed that the city would be a location for all races to study the arcane arts. Tula is now home to people of all races and to the many specialized schools of magic. It is also home to the powerful chromatic wizards.


THE FOURTH THARBRIAN INVASION— THE BATTLE OF HAVOCIA


In 2817 BCCC, the Tharbrian horde came south again, gamer than ever before. It crossed the Sharryn River at Quiff, skirted the Gigabolt Mountains to the north, and swept down into the South Mantle of the Plateau of Bendigroth. There, near the village of Havocia, they were met by five Imperial Vasthosts, but it was near sunset, and the two armies set up camp, preparing for a long fight the next day. The Vasthosts set up camp in a great crescent with one Vasthost in the center and somewhat isolated from the others. This proved to be their undoing, for the crafty Tharbrians’ camp was only a ruse; they deserted it at midnight and attacked the lone Vasthost in its tents. The clamor of battle was heard in the other camps, but, by the time help arrived, the Vasthost had already been completely crushed. Rather than be converged upon from both sides, the Tharbrians turned against one side of the crescent and then the other, and the Imperial Army was destroyed. By the time the sun rose, the Tharbrians were killing prisoners.


WILD ROAMING OF THE THARBRIANS


The defeat of the World Emperor at the Dark Battle of Havocia had its roots in the earlier plague because the Vasthosts were never again as well trained or equipped or of such high morale as they were before the plague. After the battle, the Wild Men roamed at will, burning, killing, and plundering; there was no longer any army to meet them on the field of battle; the Emperor had withdrawn what was left of his forces to man the city walls. However, many formerly faithful tributary villages, having had their protector fail them, no longer paid tribute or supplied recruits, even after they had been rebuilt. Without recruits to rebuild a sufficient army to go out and beat them into submission or money to equip recruits or hire mercenaries, the World Emperor lost the greater portion of his power base.


Viridistan itself had not fully recovered from the plague; half the city’s buildings still stood empty. When a fire struck later that year, the army was there to fight the blaze; still, most of the city burned. It was said that a Tharbrian spy set the fire, and a great purge of the guildsmen and commoners began. At least two thousand died in the fire, and there were 1,420 executions for treason in the ensuing winter. Thus, Viridistan itself had to rebuild as a result of a Tharbrian invasion just as so many villages had to do so many times. The decline of Viridistan, begun with the plague years before continued in earnest now.


FOUNDING OF THE CITY STATE


It is generally accepted that the City State of the Invincible Overlord was founded on the ruins of the ancient capital city of the Orichilan Dragon Empire in 3075 BCCC. The discovery of the Calendar Obelisk and the record of the Dragon Kings on the obelisk confirm that an ancient civilization did in fact occupy the site on which the City State is built. Viridistan demanded tribute from this new city, which the Overlord paid grudgingly.


FOUNDING OF WARWIK


The ruling faction of Warwik had been an allied group of noble families in the upper crust of the City State’s society and possessed great power. In 3220 BCCC, when a coalition of these families sought to gain partial control of the City State through manipulation of the Senate, the Overlord reacted in a most violent manner and sent assassins among these families to weaken them while tightening the economic stranglehold through the various Guilds and mercantile shipping companies. Eventually, in 3227 BCCC, the Overlord crushed his opposition through public humiliation and then banished them. They traveled north with their several hundred stillfaithful followers, found the ruins of the port that the Tharbrians had razed years ago, and built there the town of Warwik, vowing one day to wreak vengeance upon the Overlord.


THE DEMON SIEGE


In 3227 BCCC, the same year he banished the disloyal families that went on to found Warwik, the Overlord set a great army against the Emperor, joined by the wild Tharbrians, the bitterfoes of Viridistan. The inner dissent in the Overlord’s power structure seriously weakened his war efforts; though a unified Overlord army may not have made a difference in the Demon Siege, it might have resulted in the destruction of the World Emperor at an earlier opportunity, on the field of Ukrak Morfut.


The Emperor, with a fury born of desperation, united all the Vasthosts that remained to him at the Holy Mounds twenty miles north of the city. The great Elsenwood Forest blocked any direct approach from the north by an army; the Overlord Vasthosts were then passing through the Brigand Hills south of the Gigabolt range and would probably skirt Elsenwood to the east by following the coast of the Trident Gulf, and the Wild Men, at last report, were crossing the Kendhras River and would most likely go west of Elsenwood, seeking to approach Viridistan through the old battlefield of Freeman Fields. The Emperor marched north with his entire army to meet the Vasthosts of the Overlord.


This army differed from all others known up to that time; it relied heavily upon the works of spell-casters who worked both at long range and on the battle line to protect the troops and wreak havoc among the enemy ranks. Moreover, the Imperial archers were stocked with special carbelium arrows made of a red metal which cuts through iron as if it were butter, and, to provide a major strategic advantage, the Emperor’s forces knew of many trails that led through the heart of Elsenwood which would provide quick passage through the forest.


The two armies met near the village of Ukrak Morfut some eighty miles north of Viridistan. There, though outnumbered three to one, the Imperial forces fought the Overlord’s army to a standstill. The wizards’ speciallyresearched spells caused great disarray among the throngs of the Overlord, the baggage train, and other rear echelons. The Emperor left a crack Vasthost to delay the advance of the foe and sped south with his main army through the depths of Elsenwood to the Uiscur Bogs where the Tharbrians had forded the River Leander. The Tharbrians, too, became entangled in the web of sorcery woven by the Imperial Wizards, even though they were stronger than the Overlord’s Vasthosts. The Emperor then fell back to Viridistan, having shown himself to be a master of strategy by staving off forces that totaled seven times his own.


He had given a second coven of wizards, working day and night in Viridistan, the time they needed. When at last his many enemies converged upon his Immortal City, the World Emperor had gained command of some reinforcements. Sources disagree as to exactly how many there were, but all agree that they were demons led by the DemonPrince Demogorgon himself!


The battle was long and furious; the Overlord’s generals had brought enough magical aid to combat magical creatures in the wilderness and so were not entirely unprepared. However, the powers of the demon horde and their awful Prince were great, and they proved to be greater than those of mortal men. The siege was broken, and the two armies fled in disorder to their homelands. Many speculations have been made as to the exact nature of the bargain struck with Demogorgon and what had been given him to persuade him to summon such power. Perhaps it was the final desperate step of an empire in decline.


The City State of the Invincible Overlord, though it had halted its tribute to Viridistan for a time, resumed payment of tribute, though at a decreased rate, and the Tharbrians were apparently so filled with awe and terror that they decided upon other lands as their goals, for the great invasions ceased; only the more common, less warlike, grazing tribes have passed through the lands since, with the same frequency before.


SKANDIKS ENCOUNTERED


Though the Skandiks long ago moved north into the region of Ossary, it was not until 3227 that the Overlord’s fleets encountered Skandik longships while on their way to raid Viridistan. Over the following years, the Overlord sent numerous forces against the Skandiks, failing to ever drive them out of their strongholds.


RALLU FOUNDED


In 3333, Rallu, the eventual City State of the Sea Kings, was founded on the tropical southern tip of the Isle of the Blest by Thellagon the Mariner and a group of travelers from the north. The men of Rallu claim descent from the ship captains of ancient Kelnore. Initially, the location of the city was kept a secret, though it traded with the outside world at their sea ports.


THOR FIGHTS ALONGSIDE SKANDIKS


In 3491, the Overlord sent a force overland—rather than over sea, which had proved a disastrous mistake in the past—to attack the Skandiks at Sea Rune. The men of Sea Rune had drawn up a shield-wall upon a little hill, prepared to die like warriors and earn their passage to Valhalla, when the god Thor himself appeared, summoned by the Skandik Jarl at Ossary in response to a desperate plea for aid from his subjects at Sea Rune. The men of the Overlord fled in terror, leaving their dead to be plundered by the joyous men of Sea Rune. The Overlord resolved never to attack the Skandiks again.


FAILED ATTACK BY WARWIK


In 3494 BCCC, the town of Warwik launched a campaign to crush the Overlord, but this attack was rebuffed. To this day, the citizens of Warwik plot and plan the overthrow of the Overlord.


MODRON A THRIVING CITY


Founded some years ago when a group of wanderers freed the imprisoned Goddess Modron, by 3780 BCCC, the village of Modron had grown into a thriving port city whose inhabitants worshipped Modron and Proteus, the Shepherd of Neptune. Legends tell of huge merchant vessels from far off Karak and incredible wealth brought by traders from the Isles of the Blest for pearls and dwarven artifacts. The city was renowned for its pearls and underwater sponges, which it obtained from the mermen of the nearby underwater kingdom of Crespar.


THE BLOODLESS BATTLE OF BARRAD


In 3788, the Overlord dispatched three Vasthosts to assault the Viridian Emperor. When the host neared the village of Barrad, all three of the Vasthosts as well as the entire population of the village of Barrad dropped dead in their tracks due to unknown causes. Since that time, believing the remnant of the demon-magic from the prior battle was still at work, the City State of the Invincible Overlord resumed paying its yearly tribute to Viridistan in full.


ORC MIGRATION


Starting about 3900 BCCC and lasting for nearly 1000 years, orcs from Dearthwood migrated east, pillaging the lands. By 3922 they had arrived in Lightelf and wreaked much havoc. In 3930 they attacked the citadel of the Shield Maidens and had attacked Sea Rune. Soon after they attacked Modron, having already disrupted trade between the dwarves of Thunderhold and the city of Modron.


BALOZKINAR’S CALENDAR CREATED


In 3970, the Warrior-King Balozkinar, then Overlord of the City State, finalized the revision of the modern calendar (which, as detailed in other parts of this chapter, is horribly inaccurate).


MODRON ABANDONED AND FALLS TO RUIN


In 3983 BCCC, a huge migration of orcs stopped the flow of dwarven merchandise once and for all and the far travelers no longer docked at Modron. In less than 50 years, the once flourishing area lost most of its population and the followers of the god Proteus and the goddess Modron blamed each other’s deity for the loss. Civil strife erupted and the temple of Proteus was submerged in the holocaust. The final death blow for the city was delivered by Skandik raiders in longships which carried off the few remaining women and men into slavery. The survivors fled when orc scavengers moved into the ruins for a final pillage, hefting tons of marble. The Temple of Modron, being underground and underwater, was left unscathed and the mermen of the underwater kingdom of Crespar renewed their vows to the Goddess of the Rivers.


PROVINCE OF TARANTIS FORMED


In the year 4020, a protective province of Tarantis was formed; close ties between the clans and tribes in this area and the Paldorian Tribe brought the Province of Jarmeer into existence especially to protect the villages of Tallulah, Bastinadi, and Borsippa, which were the targets of frequent raids by forces of the Overlord. A second protective province was formed in 4145, called Ganzir-Galad and located directly east of Tarantis. The area of GanzirGalad has a long and bloody history of wars with the Karzulun raiders, and the protection offered by association with Tarantis has not been as effective as was hoped when the province was formed.


BLACKHART CRAG REMINDER


Further evidence of the Emperor’s strength came again in 4105 BCCC as a result of what has become known as the Blackhart Crag Reminder, when a surprised Emperor archer Equithrong decimated an Overlord Vasthost with its special carbellium arrows. Since the “Reminder,” the Overlord has continued minor testing of the Emperor’s strength and (at least until recently) had always been met with more than adequate arrows or sorcery.


THE GNOLL TIMES


Beginning in 4100 BCCC and lasting nearly 100 years, the Gnoll Times refer to a great migration of gnolls from the east into the lands of the City State. By 4149 BCCC, the gnolls had invaded the lands around Grita Heath. In 4171 gnolls besieged Bryny, an important though small village near the City State along the Rorystone Road. In 4187 a large gnoll army passes by Lightelf to the south. In 4187, the gnolls attacked the citadel of the Shield Maidens as well as the city of Sea Rune.


THE ALLIANCE WITH THUNDERHOLD AND CITY STATE REAFFIRMED


Though the two powers had grown apart and isolated in the Gnoll Times, this great alliance was reaffirmed in 4200. Dwarves, many of whom had left the City State to return to Thunderhold, returned to the City State in great numbers. Trade increased between the two cities and the Rorystone Road was again patrolled in the north by the dwarves and in the south by the forces of the Overlord.


RALLU REVEALED


In 4217, the location of the city of Rallu was revealed to the outside world during the reign of Forgon the Foolish. He was quickly assassinated and replaced for his efforts.


VIRIDISTAN RULED BY CNENINADUS THE MYCRETIAN


In 4226, Cneninadus the Mycretian ascended to the throne of Viridistan. This event is notable because in the thousands of years of Viridian history, all but two of the Viridian emperors of the Immortal City have been evil: Reddisorn the Golden, Conqueror of the Great Wind and enemy of Kukalan, who ruled from 2089 to 2272 BCCC, and Cneninadus the Mycretian. Cneninadus’ reign approached the Golden Age of Reddisorn in its encouragement of the arts, education and civil rights but had not the peace and tranquility he sought. It was unheard of for any Viridian to become a follower of the god, Mycr; indeed, most had been Natchai, a religion that entailed human sacrifice and blood-thirsty greed, was far removed from the lawful and good principles of the Mycretian god. The Mycretian distaste for human sacrifice and the powers of the Dark exacerbated the enmity between Cneninadus and the eleven other (then existing) Viridians and so his reign was marked by bloodshed and attempted assassinations. He was finally murdered by the current emperor, Hautulin Seheitt, and eight demons in 4283 BCCC.


HAUTULIN SEHITT (THE “GREEN EMPEROR”) ASCENDS TO THE THRONE OF VIRIDISTAN


Using dark sorceries and summoned demons, Hautulin Seheitt slaughtered Cneninadus the Mycretian in 4283 BCCC and ascended to the throne of Viridistan. Known as the “Green Emperor,” Hautulin Seheitt, and his wife, Murielle Eidn, are the last pure-blooded members of the once haughty and powerful race of Viridians.


THE GREAT SLAUGHTER OF PAIN


The Green Emperor, a Mer Shunnan, was a high priest of Armadad Bog at the time he took power. In the Great Slaughter of Pain in 4284 BCCC—the year after he took power—Seheitt decimated the Mycretians in Viridistan and their sympathizers, even making raids into the caverns of the Holy Cities to kill two of their Prophets. Some contingents of the Imperial Army occupy several of the above-ground Holy Cities today, using orc slave labor to harvest and export the grapes grown there for use in making wine in Viridistan.


MODRON REBUILT


In 4283 BCCC, the City State funded the rebuilding of Modron on the ruins of the old city in order to protect the Overlord’s merchant ships from river pirates. Rumors tell that a giant sea snake named “Maelstron” swims in the waters between Modron and the City State and that it has an allegiance to the Overlord. The original name of the city was retained because it equated with magnificent warships and high-wizards in songs of the bards. The past fifty years has seen the new port again filled with sailors, buccaneers and traders.


EDARIO I RULES TARANTIS


In 4340 BCCC, Edario I, formerly a captain of the Nighthawk, the finest ship in the Tarantine fleet, overthrew the ruling monarch of Tarantis, a 12 year-old boy named Greataust II, who suffered from a mysterious illness which kept him bedridden. The overthrow was hailed by the pirates and people of Tarantis as a necessary change because it was believed that the advisors of the ailing king were siphoning large portions of the city treasury into their own pockets. The young king was banished with a small retinue of retainers and a nurse to a lonely citadel far to the south of Tarantis. Several years later, it became known that a raiding group of bandits had burned the tower to the ground and murdered all within.


Edario I, the new monarch, established a secret spy group known as the Blue Cobras to be his eyes and ears in every level of society in order to crush any repeat of his successful attempt to overthrow the government. Edario also passed a law that all future rulers of Tarantis would be required to serve in the naval branch of the service. As a result, his son, Atar, born in 4363, became a cabinboy at the age of 9 on the ship Gishmesh, the sister ship of the Nighthawk.


ATTACK OF THE GISHMESH, TALE OF ATAR THE LION


In 4373, when Atar was 12 years old, he had his first taste of combat with the warships of the Invincible Overlord, which attacked the Gishmesh while she was on a routine sea patrol. During the bloody battle that followed. Atar, who was hiding in a lifeboat nearby, lowered it into the water, escaping under cover of the smoke created by the war fires and a mysterious blue fog that rolled suddenly in from the west. After six days a t sea with no water or rations, the boat drifted ashore just south of the town of Bastinadi. Atar, although nearly dead from fatigue and exposure, managed to drag himself to the village. Atar returned to Tarantis and was given a heroes welcome, despite the death of his captain and the sinking of the Gishmesh. Of the crew of the Gishmesh, only Atar returned alive, and he was given the Medal of Paldor for his supposed bravery. He was commissioned aboard another ship and later proved to be an able leader and a fierce fighter. When he was seventeen, he was given the command of the Nighthawk II, the successor to his father’s ship. As captain of the Nighthawk, he conducted more successful raids than any other captain in the long history of Tarantis.


ATAR ASSUMES THE THRONE OF TARANTIS


In 4385, Edario’s fears were realized when he was felled by an Assassin’s dagger, but Atar the Lion (as he had become known) became his father’s successor despite the efforts of the group that had murdered Edario to overthrow the government. At the age of 22, after mercilessly routing and executing the aspirants to the throne, Atar the Lion was crowned ruler of Tarantis. On the eve of his coronation, Atar married his childhood sweetheart, Larrette Lafaite, an act which infuriated many of the more influential nobles who had unmarried daughters they had hoped to align with the ruler of Tarantis. His second official act was to appoint his closest friend, Monach the Canny, as Chief Advisor, following twelve days of riotous feasting, drinking, and merrymaking.


Atar the Lion has ruled Tarantis ever since. His reign, although marked by much violence and tyranny and marred by political squabbles, payoffs, and scandal, has resulted in a more ordered life among the people of Tarantis and the provinces.


ATAR AND THE SEAHAWK REACH AGREEMENT


In 4423, in a brilliant political move, Atar the Lion reached an agreement ten years ago with an individual known only as the Seahawk to move the pirate operations away from Tarantis to a nearby secret location. This move by Atar has done much to diminish the squabbling within his cabinet over the operation of pirate ships under the auspices of the city state.


VIRIDISTAN DEMANDS INCREASED TRIBUTE


Since the Blackheart Crag Reminder, the successive Overlords of the City State have continued to test the strength of the Viridian Emperor with minor forays, seeing that the empire is in decline and believing that one day forces of the City State can again attempt conquest of Viridistan. Generally, these “testings” are resisted by sufficient wizardry and arrows to drive off the forces of the Overlord. Recently, however, some of these “testings” have gone unresisted, with the forces of the Overlord being able to move deep into the Targnol Plains without spotting a single significant armed force. There seems to be no logical pattern to which “testings” are resisted and which are not, leading many to believe the emperor is either mad or is losing power. Tales from Viridistan tell of the emperor strangely building up the wall north of the city that divides it from the Elesnwood to the north. Rumors also say that it has been years since the emperor himself has been seen in public and that when he is seen he wears a strange magical veil. The Overlord grows eager at the thought of plundering ancient Viridistan.


Despite this lack of resistance, the emperor has outrageously increased the tribute due from the City State. Spies between the two cities are thick and talk of war is in the air.


TODAY


The Wilderlands stand thus on the brink. The Overlord believes Viridistan may be ripe for the picking, which may bring to an end the ages of Viridian rule. The king of Tarantis has expanded his sea power. The Green Emperor is the last of a dying race, seemingly losing both his mind and his authority. The Successor States of Ghinor have climbed back to a semblance of civilization. Merchants from Karak trade openly with the people of Tarantis, providing them with magical products of wonder. The horrific demon barges from the Demon Empires to the south have not been seen in nearly one hundred years. The Skandiks sail the seas in the warships as do an increasing number of pirates. Into this volatile world step your characters. Who is to say what chapters of history they may write.