A History of Azoria, and the Beginning of the Fourth Era
It is the year 465 of the Fourth Era. The world as it is known, has changed dramatically, and in the last 465 years, has struggled to recover itself from the great Calamity. It was then, that a giant from the black soared across a night sky, tearing the stars from their places, and bringing years of storm and chaos. Thousands perished during the Calamity, and many were uprooted; destined to walk the plains as nomads.
Orcs, Gnomes, Sprites, and many of nature’s magical creatures became myths. Their remains are the things of study, and their broken kingdoms are the places of adventures. That is what the world has become. Those who were birthed after the great storms know not of the struggle, but of adventure. To them, the world is a frontier once more. Trade routes have become the pathways to freedom and exploration, and there is once again a sense of renewed wonder in the world.
Theologically, Azoria is in a state of transition. During the Third Era, King Leonid established the religions of the Old Gods. The Old Gods granted magic and fortune to the people of Azoria, and in return, there were great celebrations, rituals, and, unfortunately, sacrifices. To the followers of the Old Gods, the Calamity was their departure – the giving of the opportunity for change and reflection, during a time of tension and strife. To the followers of the Old Gods, they believe the deities will return once again at the end of the Fourth Era, and bring new wonders never before seen.
There is conflict over religion, as there often is. There are many – particularly humans – who worship the New Gods. Churches have sprouted in dedication to the New Gods, and those who favor science and technology have renounced the Old Gods and their followers as uncivilized and barbaric in their rituals and lack of new knowledge. To this end, many of the followers of the Old Gods can be found among the nomadic tribes and those ostracized by society.
Because of the New Gods, and the interest in alchemy, technology, and science, there has been a rise in the creation of machines. Rudimentary vehicles, steam-powered golems, and structures that aid in the workplace have been invented by government-sanctioned Tinkerers, and have given the human kingdoms an powerful edge in negotiations. Technology has moved in, and magic has been tossed aside. As magic has been erased by the worshipers of the New Gods, it has been outlawed in human cities, and the art has been all but forgotten. Sorcery and witchcraft can only be found in the farthest reaches of the frontier.
These days, the Elves are the wanderers of the land, traveling in nomadic tribes across the plains and forest. Many of their ways have been forgotten, with the loss of a large number of their Elders during the Calamity. Humans look at them with upturned noses, believing that the Elves have become uncivilized, and no longer believe in their contributions to society.
The Dwarves, on the other hand, have become solitary in their nature. Once willing to travel the world and interact with other kingdoms, the advent of flying machines has made them afraid of venturing out from their mines and mountains. They are seldom heard from, unless approached by others in search of metals or crafted items.
Halflings, for the most part, still exist in society, but will never be seen in positions of great power – at least not legal power. Their human appearances allow them to walk freely in human territory, but their statures make them the butts of jokes and as such, they are rarely taken seriously. Many have turned to underground thievery and other such criminal activities as a result.
For the most part, the kingdoms of Azoria are at peace. Government and the strong arm of the law have kept revolt and civic unrest at bay, but deep down, the people no longer care for their leaders. King Magnus of Azorius, the great kingdom, has become blind to the actions of his government. His obsession with the technologies his Tinkerers create has his table of advisors manipulating the government on their own. He has rarely been seen, following the death of Queen Emelia, and his young daughter, Lydia, hardly has the political backbone to take charge.
Across the plains, King Deremor of Golgaria, and his three sons, Rurik, Ertai, and Beremor, exist in relative prosperity, utilizing the skills of their Tinkerers to make new military creations. Rather than the advancement of their kingdom’s comfort or efficiency, they strive to improve their might and ranks by filling it with golems and constructs. One of the sons, Ertai, has taken an interest in the Old Gods, despite the pleadings of his kin, and the displeasure of his people. The resulting political conflict has him often leaving the kingdom for extended periods of time, and practicing magic out in the plains or forests. The remaining sons act as Deremor’s generals, with Beremor being his father’s right hand on many of the decisions and dealings of Golgaria.
Human factions are littered across the continent, some in well-established villages, and others in wild, nomadic tribes. Adventurers encounter these groups, and have posted signs or warnings to others; the wildlings are very dangerous, and often attack small bands of travelers. For this reason, though, adventuring can be a very lucrative business. Many lawmen and government officials would sooner pick a group of adventurers in a tavern for a small handful of gold, than risk their own, well-trained people on the roads.
That is the world as it stands today, in the 465th year of the Fourth Era. Mysterious wilds, lost ruins, new machines, and a vast expanse of frontier to explore. The world is still recovering, but your adventure is only just beginning.