Rise of the Empires
The World of Aetheria
For over a millennium since the end of the great war between the Gods and the Primordials, the world has been ruled by great empires. Civilizations that spanned most of Aetheria have spread throughout much of the world. Two of the greatest empires of the time were the Empire of Arkhosia and the Empire of Bael Turath.
Arkhosia was ruled over by mighty dragons and their humanoid kin, the dragonborn. A proud empire, who’s ideals of honor, nobility and strength led to peace and prosperity. While the largest and richest nation of the time, some of the dragons and their servants desired more, and soon looked to set their sights beyond the borders.
The Empire of Bael Turath was once ruled by humans, and one of the greatest centers for arcane magic in the world. Unfortunately, their lust for power led to many of the humans entering into pacts with Asmodeus, ruler of the Nine Hells. While it did bring untold power, the effects of the pacts changed the humans bodies, leading to the tieflings of today.
War was inevitable, and with the declaration of both sides came one of the most tragic and violent periods of known history. Great armies clashed with both sword and magic, rending the landscape and blighting much of the landscape. Arkhosia’s great floating citadels were sent plummeting to the ground, leaving craters several leagues long and causing earthquakes destroying nearby settlements. Both empires fell because of the war, and both the dragonborn and tiefling races went into a slow decline.
Hundreds of years later, the humans forged their own empire in the ashes of Arkhosia and Bael Turath. The Empire of Nerath brought about a new golden age the likes of the world had not seen. Peace and prosperity returned, new cities were raised and new roads were built. The evils of the world were destroyed by the great crusades launched by the Imperial Legion. Trade was established between the planes, bringing in untold riches and wealth. The greatest triumph of all was that the races of the world had finally been united under one banner. The Flame Imperishable shone brightly above the capital city of Nera.
But like all great empires, it was only a matter of time before the empire fell into decline. In it’s final years, an unknown figure who called himself the “Ruler of Ruin” emerged from nowhere and led a great uprising of gnolls against the Empire. The capital city of Nera was razed, the great Gates of Destiny, who have said to cow any army with it’s magnificence, lay crumbled and defiled. The then-Emperor Aldoran was killed. The Empire fell into chaos. In one last desperate attempt to save the Empire, the last great provincial ruler, King Elidyr, took up the Imperial Crown and led the Legions in the charge against the gnolls. Alas, Elidyr perished during the fighting, and with no remaining leadership, the great Empire fell. The Flame Imperishable snuffed out.
The world has not recovered well since the fall of Nerath. The evil that was once nearly eradicated began to return with a vengeance. Goblins, orcs and gnolls raid villages and cities, evil cultists perform their evil rituals without restraint. Only the bravest merchants and traders dare venture the ruined roads, for bandits roam freely without fear of reprisal, for there are very few guards that patrol the roads anymore. Great warlords, bent on conquest, raise great armies to bring even more untold devastation. Many people believe the gods have abandoned the world.
The Dark Times have lasted to the present day, one hundred years since the fall of Nerath.
While there are great city-states and kingdoms that have emerged from the Dark Times, they are but few points of light in the darkness, barely able to prevent the evil from destroying the world completely. There is hope however: brave adventurers travel forth from their homes righting wrongs, destroying evil, finding lost treasure and magic, and becoming great heroes known throughout the world.
Some of these adventurers hold an even greater destinies; ambitions so great that empires will form out of their wake. Fear not dear readers, for if ruling the lands is too great of a task, many other dangers will arise that will threaten not just the world, but all of creation. How will YOU shape the world, hero?