History

We know very little of the world before the Cataclysm.

What spells might we have known? Where was the ancient heart of civilization? What creatures may have walked this land before perishing in the elemental storms?

All we have left are stories. And, after the Cataclysm, even those are few. Centuries of turmoil and chaos buried our past, and so we work to uncover what truths we can.

The Age of Genesis

c. 4.5 Billion Years BSA

How did our world begin? Neither science, nor magic, nor religion has revealed the full story. But through these fragments of information, we can begin to assemble a whole.

Common belief tells us that the Tectonics came together and assembled our world out of the Elemental Chaos billions of years ago. They warred and fought, causing violent eruptions and brutal torrents, as they compacted down and settled into the shape of our world.

The Age of First Breath

c. 3 Million Years B6A

As the primordial elements settled, new life sparked in the oceans. Cells became creatures became peoples that crawled their way onto land.

As a gift to the “Firstfolk” of Kad, the Tectonics created scaled beasts armed with powerful, elemental breath — the Dragons — to serve as guides and leaders.

The living ancestors of the Firstfolk say Kad’s early reptilian and amphibious peoples lived among and venerated the Tectonics and the Dragons. While many written records were destroyed in the Cataclysm, some of their traditional rites and practices have stood the test of time.

The Age of Assembly

c. 50,000 Years B6A

New species emerged and intelligent life blossomed on Kad, but so too did monsters. Villages seldom lasted long before they were raided and ravaged by the horrors of the wilds. The peoples of Kad sought safety, and the Tectonics created the Giants to help them build walls and weapons.

Their ancient civilizations may have once covered Kad, yet few still stand today, ruins of a time long past. The decaying remains of their great structures dot the landscape in Sen Miëgog and Outgarden, and others may yet be hidden within the sands of Northern Ardea, the cavernous depths of the Ettin Mountains or the furthest reaches of our great world.

The Age of Awakening

c. 30,000 Years B6A

For thousands of years, the peoples of Kad lived in balance with the Old Gods, content with their gifts and guidance. For some, however, this was not enough.

Heretical spellcasters tapped into forbidden magic from worlds beyond. As they looked out into the Outer Planes, otherworldly beings looked back. These New Gods came to the peoples of Kad offering power and a place in their cosmic plans. Some refused, holding true to the Old Gods — the Tectonics and their Dragons and Giants. Others, however, agreed to their terms.

The Tectonics saw that mortals hungered for magic and created the Djinn, elemental spirits that could guide the peoples of the Augural Strand into this new era of magic. The Djinn were willing to lend their power to mortals as gifts or in carefully brokered trades.

The Age of Cataclysm

c. 10,000 Years B6A

Few who witnessed the dawn of the Cataclysm lived long enough to see its end, but some of their stories have survived. The most detailed account yet discovered is the Ignasa Codex, a collection of narratives written in Old Common that claim to recount the Cataclysm’s entire 10,000-year span.

The authors claim that a band of marauders sought to steal the heart of the world. As they traveled down to its core, they came upon Weld, a great Tectonic of metal. Undeterred, their leader, Odin, stepped forth and reached toward the gem.

In a moment of divine wrath, time and space shattered around them as man and Tectonic were merged. Thus, the “Ironvein” was born, a titan of flesh and metal. At the Ironvein’s command, the natural world fell into chaos. For thousands of years, the elements waged war, desperate for rest yet unable to quell their frenzy.

Until about 600 years ago, when the legendary hero Caelus arose. With Augur, the Tectonic of the North Wind, at his back and the nine champions, known as the Blackmantle Magi, at his side, Caelus fought back against the Ironvein. With a final swing of his sword, Caelus and Augur struck the titan with a blow so great that it would carve through the land, leaving behind the rift now known as the Mountain Barrows.

Bastior, beloved among Blackmantle magi of Caelus, spake:—”It is done. But where is mine lord?”

The magi found not a body slain.

Unmade were Caelus, North Wind, and the Ironvein. Fallen in thine place, the graven blade of their unmaking, forged anew, a haunt of iron and breath. Upon its hilt, engraved: In one each corpse returned.

The Ignasa Codex

In the deepest crater of the Mountain Barrows, the Magi found the still-intact sword of the legendary hero. It’s believed that Caelus, with no viable way to kill a Tectonic, imprisoned the Ironvein within the blade but in so doing bound himself to the sword as well. The weapon was later dubbed the legendary Sword of Caelus.

In memory of Caelus, the nine champions established the Blackmantle Arcanum along the newly-formed Mountain Barrows, and each Magus created a college of their own in their homeland.

Inspired by Caelus’s sacrifice, each of the original Blackmantle Magi made a pledge. At the end of their lives, they would transfer their souls to weapons. Each sentient, soul-bearing relic was to be entrusted to the headmaster of its namesake college so that the champions could continue to offer wisdom for all eternity. Despite pulsing with powerful spiritual energy, the Sword of Caelus is the only one of sentient Blackmantle relics to never speak. Spellcasters who have had a chance to study the weapon believe that the struggle between Caelus and the Ironvein has prevented either voice from surfacing.

The Sixth Age

Present

In the years immediately following the Cataclysm, the peoples of Kad frantically began building clans and settlements, claiming their slice of the free world. Feuds led to clashes which led to warfare. As the newly-organized factions threatened to plunge the region back into chaos, the Blackmantle Magi called for the first “Imperial Circle.”

Leaders from all across the strand, from the Mountain Barrows to the coast of the Cetacean Sea, answered the summons. Together, they negotiated a peace treaty, a promise to never again let the region succumb to war lest the Tectonics rise once again. They called this treatise the Accords of Augur, named for the guardian Tectonic that aided the Magi in the final battle of the Cataclysm.

The leaders divvied up territories, forming 10 independent nations. In time, the five northern states united to form the Ampere Alliance, Ardea split into its northern and southern nations, and Quickthorne broke off from Waefolk as the forest awoke. These, along with Rotkrater, Sen Miëgog and Bulwark, make up the eight nations we know today.

The Imperial Circle declared the old castle island off the coast to be a free state where all are welcome and named it Caelus Castra in honor of their legendary hero. Along the northern slopes of the Mountain Barrows, the Magi constructed an academy, the Blackmantle Arcanum, a place to forge a new generation of champions.