After the Gods retreated to their dominions and the primordials licked there wounds in the elemental chaos, the world grew. Allowed to flourish, it began to teem with life of all types. Azura, Enevra, and Selena created the race that was to become the eladrin, elves and drow. Orrin fashioned the dwarves of stone and iron. Halflings grew from a tryst of Welin and Theon. Dragons materialized from the elemental forces of the world, guided by Vale and Barthanoes. Orcs, goblinoids, and other monstrous races also arose. Fey arose in the wilds of the feywild, and the power of shadow began to corrupt animus spirits forming undead. Then, the primordial’s returned with their creation; the titans.
The titans (and their lesser creations, the giants) conquered Ardania with little resistance. The eladrin retreated to the feywild, closing that realm forever (leaving those eladrin left on the world to lose they feystep power) and the dwarves became enslaved. Other races like trolls and orcs allied with the giants and their titan masters. The Empire of the Giants lasted for nearly a century, until two almost co-current events occurred; the dragons came from the lands to the west, and a tenacious race of nearly unknown origin appeared: humanity.
The humans rallied the other “lesser” races to their cause, while the dragons waged war on the giants and their kin. In time, the giants’s fell, and retreated, broken and scattered and descendant into savagery. Many dragons returned to the lands of the west, but some stayed (particularly in Ionia) to watch the lesser races. Humanity, allied with halflings, dwarves, and elves, sought to build a powerful union for protection against the giants and other dark races. They called this newly forged empire Jendia.
Jendia stood for nearly two centuries. At times, it was a beacon of learning and culture. Arcane magic was mastered in this time, and many of the greatest magical achievements occurred. At other times, cruel dictators used Jendia as a tool of oppression and lust for power. Jendia stood as a beacon of what good peoples could do, but it was not to last forever.
A powerful wizard named Victor Von Dalion sought more than simple power, he sought immortality. A petty noble in Jendia, he used his influence and guile to position himself as second only to the Emperor. As he grew older, his fear of death became obsession. He first experimented with various forms of undeath; attempting to create the most power forms of undeath (aided secretly by Urthra, god of the undead) but found none to his liking. So he sought another route.
On a dark night, he made a sinister pact with a unknown entity, promising his undying servitude for a chance to live forever. This entity granted him powers beyond mortality, and signed a deal that made Dalion’s soul unable to be claimed by Vaminous, god of the dead. His pact extended to his legions of loyal minions, warping them body and soul until they were no longer human. They became tieflings, servants of Dalion.
Dalion and his forces struck at Jendia in a epic battle called the Immortal’s War. Aided by fallen servants called devils, Dalion was nearly unstoppable. He created an impressive empire of his own, the heart of it his former kingdom Dalia. In time, he would have worn down Jendia and become sole ruler of Ardania. However, the gods, disturbed by Dalion’s power, came to the aid of Jendia. Acting though mortal heroes, They faced Dalion and his army in his nation of Dalia and imprisoned him there. Trapped in his castle and his armies routed, Dalion could only bide his time and wait.
Spared from Dalion’s wrath, Jendia was nevertheless weakened and in no position to defend itself when less then a century later, Nemesis appeared for the first time. It was a subtle influence at first; but soon strange aberrant creatures appeared, paranoia at the viscarant (changlings) became full out inquisition, fear, madness, and acts of unspeakable cruelty became the hallmark of this once proud empire. In short, they were destroyed from within, and Jendia fell into ruin from the invading orcs and goblinoids.
From husk of Jendia, smaller nations arose. The elves retreated to Luminous, their forest home. The dwarves buried deep into Kastamark. Humanity divided up between countless smaller nations and each warred with itself. Much arcane lore was lost. For centuries, the lands of Ardania were shattered. Until one man sought to re-unite them into a new Jendia, the archmage Linius Terrilia.
Aided by the enigmatic Balthazar, Terrilia sent upon conquering the lands and kingdoms of Ardania. At its height, the Terrilian empire conquered all but Thunder Rift, Sithra, Mystia, and Dalia. In time, they too would have fallen, but a counter-insurgent movement called the World Cleanser’s turned the tide on Terrilia, destroyed his war machine and ending his dreams of empire.
That time was known as the age of heroes. While various forces warred with one another (in a collection of skirmished now called the Wars of Law and Chaos) none saw the signs of impending doom; the return of Nemesis to finish what it had startd with Jendia.
Nemesis’ coming was heralded by some of the worst conflict Ardania has ever seen. Discontent to simply corrupt Ardania, Nemesis sought destruction. It would take the combined effort all the era’s heroes, aided by the deities, to face Nemesis’ coming. Despite their power though it seemed nothing would stop it.
It was then that the Heroes of Legend traveled to the Veiled Isle to awaken the spirit of Enderia herself to save all of creation. An epic battle between the Spirits of Life and Death ensued and in the end Enderia was able to turn the tide of the battle and stop Nemesis from destroying all of creation. Though Nemesis was repelled, the world suffered for the battle.
After Nemesis, things began to change. Enderia’s spirit once again rested, but the battle had drained her, and things began to change. Magic began to work differently and the old methods of magic required adaptation and re-learning, leading to chaos. Some magic became so simple and easy that it was merely an effort of will, others required long elaborate rituals to use. No caster was immune, and many found their spells, items, scrolls and potions altered or useless.
Nemesis’ coming broke open the seal on the Feywild, which had long remained dormant. For the first time in thousands of years, the eladrin could return to the World and began to connect with their long-separated kin, the Gold elves of Mystia. Within a generation, the two species re-connected and formed one species, eladrin.
The opening of the Feywild also allowed many of the gnomes to return to their feyish ancestory, and many migrated en masse back to the Feywild. The destruction caused by Nemesis was more than enough to cause many of them to return home, leaving a smaller population who remained on Enderia.
Many of the moon and wood elves, finding their magical lore lost and feeling isolated from their eladrin and gold elf cousins, turned to ancient lost teaching of the druids and essence of primal power. This reconnection to the land revitalized the race and many of them swore off arcane magic for the raw power of nature. The two branches grew close and slowly merged into one.
During Nemesis’ coming, some of the deities took the opportunity to act out some plans of vengeance. Urthra slew Vale in a key moment of the battle, causing widespread destruction and death. Enraged by the betrayel, Barthanoes (who has long nursed a grudge against Urthra) and Valis (Vale’s son) slew Urthra. In the chaos, Dalion somehow enacted a secret ritual to ascend to deity status. He was able to run rampant during this time until Crystalia was able to imprison him in the Nine Hells.
Dalion’s ascension caused turmoil in Dalia as his minions and servants scrambled for power. Many tieflings and humans, tired of the oppressive yoke of Dalion, escaped Dalia and filtered into the other lands. The mass exodus lead to even greater tensions, especially with the tieflings.
Other nations suffered damage during the coming and its aftermath. Fulmonte, splintered after the revelation of its king as a lich, becoming a group of semi-independent city-states now called Sarindale. Other nations suffered smaller difficulties, most in the loss of troops and magic.
Nemesis’ coming also caused chaos in other foreign lands. Nemesis was responsible for the fall of the dragonborn empires far to the West, and many dragonborn escaped the cataclysm of fire by fleeing east across the sea to Ardania. Many settled in Ionia, which was always a stronghold of dragons. While the Ionian people were taken aback by the dragonborn, the dragons (who had long ruled in the shadows) dropped the shadowplay and declared themselves rulers of Ionia and the dragonborn welcome. Many of the dragonborn stayed on Ionia in service to the dragon rulers, but others traveled further onto the mainland.
Similarly, the genasi travelled from the southern kingdoms where they were the slaves of great primordial-worshipping despots. Nemesis caused chaos in their lands too, and many genasi, seeking a better life, traveled north to freedom.
Perhaps most telling of Nemesis’ influence is the explosion of monsters across the land. The Wildlands became alive with humanoids long thought contained. Orcs, goblionoids, gnolls and ogres poured out of the Wildlands, causing grief to the civilized lands. Areas touched by Nemesis became gateways to the Shadowfell and Feywild, leading to greater numbers of undead, shadow and fey creature across the land. Nemesis spawned huge numbers of aberrations as well, many taking to the Underdark to plot and scheme. Lastly, the titans, long slumbering since the fall of the Primordials, awoke and began to threaten the lands again. The whole world seems a little darker and scary as monsters slowly encroached on the “civilized” lands.
Even the planes reacted to the changes, as evident by the stronger connection to the Shadowfell and the reconnection of the Feywild. The deities have refashioned their dominions and the strength of the Abyss grows. It seems nothing was immune to Nemesis’s corrupting touch.
Since Nemesis, things have slowly began to return to normalcy, but some things are forever changed. The world is somehow larger now, with many kingdoms becoming little more than collections of baronies and city-states. New races have changed the face of the cities and towns in Enderia, and the changes in magic has changed warefare, travel, commerce and politics. Monsters roam the land and the national armies, tired from the long struggles, cannot be everywhere at once. It falls to adventurers, be them mercenaries or heroes, to go out and search for gold and glory, and high adventure as well.
What story will you tell?