Friday, July 15, 2011

Timeline 101

So, I am working on a campaign book at the moment. I am basing the layout and content on Paizo's Inner Sea campaign setting guide thing. They have a pretty neat timeline in it that is pretty fantastically informative, so I am trying to expand upon my own timeline. I want to throw up a semi-complete version of my timeline here and also want to talk for a moment about a few things. 

The timeline is ten thousand years long. That is a long ass time. In our world, we move from the death of Jesus and metal weapons to the internet and cell phones that can use the internet in the span of two thousand years. Fred and I were discussing the industrial revolution of The Known World yesterday (which is like last week at this point). My logic for the extended timeline is twofold. 

Fantasy worlds always have that never ending faux-medieval setting where no one can ever fathom anything like the printing press or any other key technologies that advance the technology beyond steel weapons and masonry. I have replaced the never ending faux-medieva settingl with a never ending faux-Old West setting. Sort of. Basically, it amounts to, because everyone else does it.

The second reason is sorcery. Sorcery can prevent the need for a lot of things, even if it is dangerous and unreliable. Don't need cannons so much when you can launch fire from your fingertips. Don't need a telegraph or post system or even a written word when you can use psionics or sorcery to beam your thoughts to someone on the other side of the country. Now, wizards and psions represent a small percentage of the population (in most nations), so sorcery and psionics alone can't account for a slower technological advancement. However, I feel that these sorcerers and psions are detrimental to the advance of technology in a second way. In our world, the scientists and guys who make breakthroughs are the people that are intelligent and curious about things, they want to understand how things work and have ideas about how to figure that out. In a fantasy world, a lot of these curious and intelligent types would be putting themselves to work unraveling the mysteries of sorcery and psionics, rather than physics and masonry and metallurgy. So basically my second reason is, ta-da, a wizard did it. 

Anyway, the following is an updated timeline. It isn't complete because there are a few things Fred and I discussed that I'd like to really find a place for in it. The timeline is written from the standpoint of common knowledge, or knowledge you could find relatively easily in a classroom on history or a library. Fred had some concerns about it being too informative from those standpoints, as there are no truly widespread forms of commuication like the internet, and most races are at each other's throat. His thought was that the earlier sections should have more in common with myth and folklore than hard fact, it was a good point. However, several races of The Known World are immortal and were actually there several thousand years ago, and Kusseth is kind of a melting pot of The Known World and has members of all races and nations, so I feel that it isn't too unrealistic for an informative timeline like this to be accessible to most people. Who knows, it is what it is. 

-0 DK: The ancient kingdom of Kaleshmar is obliterated by a catastrophe of enormous proportions. Scholars say an arcane experiment gone awry is believed to be the cause. Complete chaos and destruction ensue and the only records of the time are legend and lore. 

-16 DK: An unnamed soldier of ancient Kaleshmar begins organizing refugees into large groups to survive the chaos of the aftermath of Kaleshmar. 

-51 DK: The black skinned giants of The Great Ravine begin building their black pyramids.

-1012 DK: The Uncout that will become the Niht clan raise a green backed moon banner and begin fighting the beasts of The Beast Lands as a large group for mutual protection. 

-2793 DK: The ancient empire of the Glenwighta meets that of Whurent and they clash in battle.

-3806 DK: The empire of Vyanthnem undergoes an ideological shift and the two kings, the Silver King and the Briar King, split their nation in two: the Vyanth loyal to the Silver King, and the Sereth loyal to the Briar King. 

-4120 DK: The leader of the Sereth, the Briar King, uses his sorcery to fill The Great Ravine with stone and dirt and sand, destroying the giants living there and raising his own kingdom in its place. 

-4506 DK: The people who were once of the kingdom of Kaleshmar drag themselves out of the dark ages of their civilization and begin to build and develop their society once more, outlawing magic. 

-5006 DK: From the far, far north come ships full of bloodthirsty humanoids led by a creature named Volung, they settle near the foothills of the ancient Dwenoren fortress of Whurent and carve for themselves a bloody kingdom hidden in the wilds. 

-5493 DK: The ruler of the Sereth disappears, and when he leaves, his lands begin to die and return to the sand and stone they once were. 

-6506 DK: A shipful of Abraxens becomes shipwrecked on the western shore of what will be called The Known World. They settle in what will become known as The Beast Lands and join together with the primitive Uncout tribes already living there. 

-8043 DK: Construction on a tunnel that crosses The Narrow Sea begins. 

-8306 DK: The Elduman armies that will one day become The Fallen Empire of Man leave the lands of the Old Empire journeying north and begin rebuilding the bizarre city that will one day be called the Necropolis.

-8375 DK: A clan of barbarians from the wild untamed land known as The Beast Lands cross The Great River and migrate to the mainland. These Uncout are somewhat more civilized than those they leave behind. 

-8396 DK: Eldumans cursed with the sorcerous taint that infected them in the bowels of the Necropolis migrate east.

-8397 DK: Fell Humans begin raising their empire, The Fell Peaks and encounter the Glenwighta race.

-8399 DK: The Fell Humans decide that it is not enough to possess only the surface of The Fell Peaks, and begin waging war on the Glenwighta empire. 

-8405 DK: The Fell Empire successfully subjugates the Glenwighta race using the sorcerous power of their blood to bend the minds of the Glenwighta. They cap this conquest by destroying every written record of the Glenwighta empire, including its very name. 

-8419 DK: The Old Empire sends a cavalry force to investigate the unexplored lands north of their kingdom. Most meet with The Fallen Empire of Man, but some split off and form a clan of nomads inhabiting The Plains of Dust.

-8423 DK: After four years of settlement building by the cavalry force a large caravan of settlers leaves The Old Empire and settles just outside the gate town of the now tamed lands. The settlers call these lands The New Empire. 

-8429 DK: Warriors from The Plains of Dust encounter Dwenoren for the first time and capture them, so they can show them to emissaries from The New Empire. 

-8474 DK: In an effort to get more out of the dregs of their society The New Empire creates prison camps near the Dwenoren mountain ranges. These camps are actually forced labor camps and the prisoners are worked to death in the mines and lumber camps. 

-8499 DK: Officers of The Old Empire's navy desert and found Haven in the far north.

-8603 DK: A massive and incredibly successful revolt occurs in the Kusseth prison camp that quickly spreads to other camps.

-8609 DK: Despite six years of attempts The New Empire fails to put down the mass revolts in the prison camps and the former prisoners declare themselves the free nation of Kusseth.

-9003 DK: Whole towns in every nation are suddenly leveled leaving only scorched earth behind. Caravans never reach their destinations while platoons of border guards and armies mysteriously go missing. A long line of mysterious and bizarre events occurs, with no explanation. Every nation suffers, but no one claims responsibility. Each nation assumes another is to blame and a whole continent goes to war. Except for the Old Empire, who seal the gate to their lands and cut off all communications with the Known World. All Old Empire diplomats disappear as well. 

-9130 DK: Kusseth miners from the Beltan mining camp dig deep and discover an ore that will one day be called beltanizine. Dwenoren commandos raid the town and slay all the miners, stealing the beltanizine. Later it is discovered that beltanizine is made up of fragments of lost Kaleshmar that are saturated with the arcane energies of the catastrophe that destroyed that land.

-9206 DK: Cenn's Reavers, a mercenary band in the employ of Kusseth, take the Fell Peaks capital city and alter the Fell Peaks/Kusseth border permanently for the first time in the war.

-9209 DK: Dwenoren smiths begin to develop rudimentary forms of gunpowder and gunsmithing techniques. Over the next five hundred years they refine their art and slowly the knowledge of firearms is distributed throughout the world. 

-9606 DK: Pale creatures from the sea begin seasonal assault on the coastal tribes of The Beast Lands.

-9872 DK: A waning population leads artificers in the Fallen Empire of Man to begin experimenting with a form of man-sized machine called the Soulless. In coming years these sentient constructs will become the main staple of Fallen armies. 

-9906 DK: Miners turned soldiers of Kusseth begin construction of a great mass of trenches and tunnels they believe will let them into the dwenoren stronghold of Whurent. The Dwenoren dig their own trenches and tunnels and The Great Trench becomes one of the most blood-soaked fronts of the war. 

-9985 DK: What some singers and poets dub as The Age of the Meatgrinder ends. War drags to a standstill because there aren't enough people left to maintain a front, let alone two or three at a time. 

-9990 DK: A slave labyrinth of Glenwighta is able to successfully free themselves from their masters with the aid of Hellian rebels.

-9995 DK: leaders of the Witch Hunters in The New Empire seize power and take control of the empire, imprisoning King Rudolph II and his council of advisors. 

-9995 DK: The last of the giants leave the mountains of Whurent, finally giving up their claim to their ancient homeland and sailing north in search of a more hospitable home. 

-9995 DK: Wandering adventurer Reginald E.C. Walthuler meets with Volung of Volungshemle to purchase the services of the latter's warriors as protection for Walthuler's undisclosed upcoming venture. 

-9995 DK: Commander Kothos of Mesl launches an expedition into Whurent through a previously undiscovered bolthole in the nearby mountains and after a week of bloody fighting, is able to set up a relatively permanent underground outpost.

-9995 DK (Fourthmonth): The Kusseth city of Tolon is almost obliterated by the curious course of meteors from the sky.

-9996 DK (Thirdmonth): Steeltown is secretly built in one of the mines of The Fallen Empire of Man and a year later, the Rankethlek enter into full rebellion against The Fallen Empire of Man. 

-9996 DK (Fourthmonth): Cenn the Reaver is murdered by sellswords in the streets of Hell, and the city riots in celebration.

-9996 DK (Fourthmonth): The rebel Nakmander and the upper echelons of his organization make a terrorist attack against Kusseth City itself and so weakens the country that he is able to wrest control of Hell back from Kusseth and can finally restore the name Meroteth to the city. 

-9996 DK (Seventhmonth): The Fallen Empire brings their most potent sorceries to bear against the rebellious city of Steeltown, and are dumfounded when they have no effect on the fortress city. They then decide to wage more conventional war against the Rankethlek with their own Soulless and hordes of undead, with little or no effect on the cannon studded and wolf-iron armored walls of the city. 

-9998 DK: Laram, Son of Volung, and all of Cenn's Reavers that were Children of Volung return to Volungshemle and refuse to serve any other king but the father of their race. 

-10000 DK: Nakmander, the Sorcerer Magistrate of Meroteth disappears from his city.

-10002 DK: Volung and his children cease selling their services as mercenaries and begin returning to Volungshemle en masse.

-10004 DK (Ninthmonth): Nakmander returns suddenly to prominence in Meroteth and erects a strange sorcerous artifact atop the and uses it to lay waste to armies that come against his city. 

-10005 DK (Firstmonth): Following his return to Meroteth, Nakmander flies north to Whurent on a secretive mission.

-10006 DK: (Firstmonth) Nakmander flies south at the head of a fleet of zeppelins, searching for a new land.

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