Pathfinder: The Phoenix Chronicles
The past 500 years
Below is a brief history of the past 500 years before the start of the The Phoenix Chronicles. This is the history as is known to the humans, gnomes, and halflings. The Elves and Dwarves have their own histories of the Dark Times, and while many events are similar those nations went through their own troubles and trials.
NOTE: This is not general character knowledge1, but is rather player knowledge to establish an understanding of the setting and mood. Characters can be assumed to have a functional knowledge of what’s happened during their lifetime in their homeland or general areas they have traveled.
The History of the Land of Dragmar
(Note: All dates are written as B.D. or Before Dawn and N.E. or New Era. This is a term being used by some scholars and scribes, however not all human accounts include the same dates or the same terms. Individual kingdoms often will refer to events in terms of their own royal lineage. BD is another construct to make the history easier to understand.)
300 B.D. – The Height of the Previous Age
This is considered the Golden Age of man by many scholars. It is regarded as a time of myth and legend. The 7 Great Kingdoms of Men (Dragspire, Trion, Portsmouth, Alanbar, Z’har, Glaudhelm, and Woldspire) are prosperous and strong. While there are occasional disputes it is regarded as a time of peace and an age of reason for all. The dwarven Kingdoms of Dugharnt and Rokhild trade freely, primarily with Dragspire and Trion, and the Elven Homeland, the Great Forest of Kevelond (often called the Deepwood) trades with the Kingdoms of Glaudhelm and Woldspire.
200 B.D. – The Winds of Change
Accounts differ drastically as to what the cause of the change in the weather patterns was. Some Southern regions refer to the Great Drought or the Burning Times, but at the same time the North fell under a bitter winter that continued for decades and became known as the Eternal Winter.
190 B.D. – The Great Famine
Conditions worse as the Great Drought and the Eternal Winter continue for over a decade. With fewer and fewer successful crops in the South and North people begin to migrate toward the central Kingdoms of Portsmouth, Dragspire, Glaudhelm, and Woldspire. The Kingdom of Trion has refuges begin to come in from the Northern Hills and Forests as life in the frozen climate becomes harder. As the hunger spreads bands of violent humans forming gangs and raiding groups become more common.
180 B.D. – The Fall of the Southern Kingdoms
As the arid southern regions turn into ever widening stretches of desert the Kingdoms of Alanbar and Z’har crumble. It is rumored that some of the royal family members escaped to either Woldspire or Kevelond. Nomad tribes and strongman communities rise up around the remaining oasis.
175 B.D. – The Dwarven Retreat
As the northern regions suffer from an ever deepening Eternal Winter the Dwarven Kingdoms of Dughart and Rokhild pulled back from the human outposts in the Northern Reaches retreating into their mines. As the Dwarves pull away the human communities, which existed primarily as hunting and trading outposts.
170 B.D. – The Year of Darkness
A dark cloud cover settled over the land. History speaks of years without sunlight. This stressed the already suffering crops even further. Close to 1/4 of the human populate succumbs to famine during this first year. Though the unnatural cloud cover lasted longer than a single year the death toll during the first year was staggering. As if strengthened by the darkness the Eternal Winter moved south, swallowing Trionshearth, the capital of the Kingdom of Trion. Accounts are wildly conflicted and no one knows the true fate of the City. The three remaining noble houses (House Felwain, House Gilstein, and House Dunthorp) in the Southern reaches of Trion begin a brutal fight for control of the Kingdom.
160 B.D. – The Crawling Death
Thought at first to have been brought on by the famine and disease plaguing the Kingdoms, this affliction, which became known as the Crawling Death, begins to spread throughout the realms. Immune to all but the most powerful of magics and divine interventions, this disease claims countless lives. Many theories spawn as to it’s origin and nations begin to accuse each other, and the other races, of spreading the disease. Xenophobia and speciesism spread. The Elves follow the Dwarves in retreating to their own homeland and cutting off contact with the humans. Those left without a true homeland, the half-elves, haflings, and gnomes, suffer great persecution during this time.
150 B.D. – The Clash of Kingdoms
Ever lessening resources inflame border tensions between the remaining Kingdoms. Dragspire violently seizes control of regions previously held by Portsmouth. In response Portsmouth lays claim to the lands of the three remaining Houses of the Kingdom of Trion. Weakened from their own conflicts they succumb to the larger foe and join the Kingdom of Portsmouth, keeping rights to their house titles and lands in exchange for swearing fealty. Raiding parties from the Southern Deserts plague the foothills of Woldspire. The Kingdom of Glaudhelm remains the most unscathed, both because of it’s central position as well as the strong leadership of the Royal Family. Throughout the land monstrous humanoid attacks become more frequent and severe, rising out of the southwest.
100 B.D. – The Monster Wars
Ever increasing monster attacks suddenly become far more organized. Reports of ravaging bands turn into reports of regimented monstrous troops. Monstrous leaders are sighted commanding raiding parties that soon grow to the size of armies. Rumors of human and even elven traitors soon crop up. In the early days of the Monster Wars many human cities, towns and keeps fall their forces.
80 B.D. – The Rallying Cry
After years of trying to defend their individual Kingdoms, King Adhein of Glaudhelm calls for the Kingdoms of Men to unite against their evil enemies. This combined defense helps push back the rising tide of monsters for the first time since the start of the Monster Wars.
75 B.D. – The Battle of Bloodfield
After a five year campaign against the monstrous armies, the humans score a decisive victory during this battle. Several of the leaders of the monster army are killed, including the demon who is thought to have been the leader of the entire army, Wargstrum. The victory came with a heavy price. During the battle Prince Oldien, King Adhein’s son, was lost, causing the King to lose hope. Instead of pursuing the retreating foe he becomes convinced it is a trap and pulls his armies back. The Elves emerge from Kelevon to harry the retreating monsters, causing them to scatter further where they appear to den up in many of the fallen cities and keeps.
50 B.D. – The Second Year of Darkness
The humans retreat to their respective kingdoms to lick their wounds and the elves go back into the Deepwood now that the threat of monsters has been contained. The darkness that has plagued the land thickens, however, and a black acidic rain begins to burn at the crops, causing much ruin. The famine is not as widespread this time, mostly due to the heavy losses taken during the monster wars, but the sheer darkness and depression weighs on all humankind and even the Kingdom of Glaudhelm begins to fall into decline.
25 B.D. – The Walking Death
As if it could sense human despair, the creeping death returns even more insidious and aggressive than before. Many writings from this time talk about the ending of humanity, the end of the world, and the wrath of the gods. Many cults rise up and panicked rioting is common. There are stories of entire villages burned to the ground with the villagers in their homes by cultists or fearful neighbors and the monsters begin to stir at the borders of the four kingdoms.
0 B.D. 0 N.E – The New Dawn
Without explanation the black rains and dark clouds move away with the spring of this new year and the darkness begins to fade. The Eternal Winter starts to thaw and give way to the first true spring in the Northern Reaches in over 100 years. Monsters still appear at the borders of the kingdoms, but the attacks are less common and not as organized. Weather patterns return to “normal” but it has been so long since normal was around that it feels like the dawning of a new era, all but the oldest of the elves have forgotten what the golden age was really like.
25 N.E. – Emergence of the Elves
The elves begin to come out of the Deepwood, the Kingdom of Kelevon once again establishes trade relations with Woldspire and Glaudhelm. Trade is more dangerous, however, with frequent raids from the monster dens. Tensions still run high between the races and gnomes and halflings often serve as intermediaries whom no one truly trusts, but they trust more than the other side.
50 N.E. – Return of the Dwarves
Like the elves, the Dwarves begin to once again establish trade with the northern kingdoms, though now they primarily trade with Dragspire and Portsmouth as the Kingdom of Trion has fallen. The three old houses from the Kingdom of Trion become more powerful and influential as they see profits from the northern expansion of trade once more. As trade with the Elves and Dwarves increases some of their own tales of the Dark Times begin to circulate.
125 N.E. – Trade from the South
Caravans begin to come to the north from various cities and oasis in the Southern Desert. While raiding bands and nomadic tribes are still common there is evidence of a growing civilization in the south as well. Tales of a great trade city to the south inspire explores and merchants anxious to find new markets.
150 N.E. – The Free City of Allabar
Trade explorations pay off when a sea faring route to the trade city of Allabar is established. While the northern kingdoms and central kingdoms faced darkness, to the south they went through what has been called the Trials of Fire. Legends circulate, though it is hard to separate truth from myth.
200 N.E – Current Day
Though 200 years have passed since the New Era began all is not well. Monsters still roam and the Walking Death can still be found throughout the land. As humans expand back into areas lost to them for over 200 years they are encroaching on the old ruins and monster dens from the Monster Wars. There are plenty of opportunities to be had, but many wonder if the darkness has truly passed, or if it is just always a change in the wind away from returning….
1 If your character has a specific knowledge skill that is applicable, such as Knowledge(Local) or Knowledge(History) or Knowledge(Nobility) contact the GM for more detailed information.