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Creation of the World

Most religions have creation myths that claim that their patron deity created the world, or at least played a significant part in its creation. However, these stories vary from religion to religion, and even from region to region even among the followers of the same deity. An added problem with these stories is that they usually claim that the world is only a few thousand years old, but recent examinations of fossils with powerful divination rituals hint that Rothea is at the very least many millions of years old, and possibly older still. As a result, these creation myths are rarely considered at face value in academic circles.

How thinking creatures such as humans came into being is another big mystery. Popular theories involve creation by the gods, creation by dragons, refugees from another world, magical alterations of animals from extradimensional or extraplanar beings, or gradual change of animals through ambient magical energies.

The First City

Interestingly, most cultures, human or otherwise, have legends of a “first city” where civilization got its start. According to the legends this city, usually called “Oreanor” or something phonetically similar, was ruled by powerful mages and full of marvels. But the details differ. The elves claim that they built this city and thus were the first of the civilized races. They then took pity on the other races, who were only primitive savages at the time, and invited them to the city and taught them the ways of civilization. But the other races were ungrateful and soon reverted to their base nature, and the elves abandoned the city just before the others destroyed each other in a magical cataclysm.

While the dwarves don’t generally discuss their beliefs with outsiders, among themselves they tell lengthy sagas about they were enslaved by the rulers of the city, powerful sorcerous beings they call Zargûl. The elves were the favored servants of the Zargûl, and lived a life of leisure while the dwarves toiled, and for this reason dwarves will not trust elves easily even today. But eventually, the gods of the dwarves appeared among their elders, and taught them how to craft weapons and armor, and how to fight their oppressors. When they were ready, they rose against the Zargûl, destroyed the city, and then left to found their own realms.

The hobgoblins claim that the rulers of Oreanor were powerful human wizards, who created various other races as servants - the elves as concubines, the dwarves as miners, the gnomes as craftsmen, the halflings as household servants… and the hobgoblins as warriors (various other races, such as orcs and goblins, were earlier attempts of creating warrior races, and cast away when they were unsatisfactory). But the warrior spirit of the hobgoblins proved too great to subdue, and they eventually rose up against their oppressors, and defeated them after a long and bloody struggle. But their numbers were seriously depleted after this war, while the other races, who had cowardly fled, still had many people, and thus the hobgoblins were unable to claim the leadership over the world as it was their right. But surely, eventual rulership of the world is only a matter of time…

Among humans, the details of these stories vary a lot between different cultures, though most agree that the rulers of this city were human. In the western realms, the stories tend to claim that the city was abandoned after its rulers turned against each other, destroying the city in the process. In the eastern regions, divine retribution for its sinful ways, or for some other offense against the gods, is generally cited for its end. Nevertheless, the fact that stories of it can be found nearly everywhere is considered highly significant by historians.

Age of Legends

Tales of the period after the fall of the First City are even more confusing than those of the First City itself. Supposedly, the very gods themselves walked the land (and several of them appear to have come into existence during this period), shaped the landscape, and meddled directly in the affairs of lesser creatures. Mighty heroes battled fierce monsters, and their exploits are remembered in song even today (though in very garbled form). Most humans and other thinking beings seemed to have lived in small villages or as nomads, and even the recognizable cities were laughably small by modern standards.

Age of Empires

Also known as the “Classical” period thanks to a large number of surviving written texts from that period, this time was characterized through the rise of new cities, and these cities eventually joined with others to form mighty empires. The last and greatest of these was the Atalan Empire, which grew to enormous size thanks to both its invention of nexus towers (though they were fairly inefficient by modern standards) and the military might of its legions.

Feudal Age

But eventually, the Atalan Empire collapsed just like its predecessors, and gave way to numerous small successor kingdoms, mere barbarous shadows of the Empire’s former glory. These kingdoms mostly lost the power to build new nexus towers or even to maintain existing ones, and thus had to derive their power from rural estates where they had to oppress large number of peasants just to feed themselves.

Modern Age

But eventually, the cities gained in power again and relearned the old arts of building nexus towers - and improved on them. Thanks to modern agricultural magic and an efficient network of transportation, the population of the cities have been able to surpass almost any comparable city in history. For the moment, most cities remain independent political entities - but many scholars suspect that this is only a temporary phase, and claim that new empires arise as history repeats itself. The rise of the League of Armach and its neighboring states is the most potent argument for this hypothesis.

The question is whether this time the collapses of past empires can be avoided…

Adventure Ideas

Designer's Notes & Resources

The standard assumption of D&D settings seems to be that history is cyclical - great realms rise and conquer much of the world, only to fall again, leaving behind ruins for bold adventurers to plunder.

I wanted to keep those ruins - this is a D&D setting, after all - but in the Victorian Age there was a sense of progression from a "primitive past" to the "pinnacle of creation" (to wit, the Englishman). And given the existing situation, the civilization of the Flannish Cities will probably expand and progress until it changes the entire world - but you never know what kind of disasters might befall a D&D setting to throw it all back into the Stone Age.

Well, if you are an Urbis GM, you probably do know…


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