World:Shattered Academy/History

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Just recently...

  • The king of Burgundia has died mysteriously, throwing both the succession and his kingdom into turmoil.
  • A stranger with a silver arm and mysterious companions has been gathering support for his cause in taverns and courts throughout Albion.

In the past few years...

  • The forces of the Rakashan Empire have seized the city of Byzantium, last relic of the elven Byzantine Empire (successor to the Remans). A few years later, the Rakashans defeated the Sarmatian Necromancer's troops at the massive Battle of Varna, producing a stalemate at the two nations' border. But the way lies open westward, across Hadriatica to Oenotria....
  • The nobles of the Iberian kingdoms have begun to display an obsession with "cleanliness of the blood," demonstrating freedom from the debaucheries (whether social, chemical, or magical) of the Rakashans.
  • The Allemagne dwarf John Goodmont has developed a machine which supposedly can create books faster than the best mundane scribes.
  • Albion lost all of her former mainland possessions (except the town of Caletum and the small province of Northmarch) to the armies of Frankland, aided by Burgundia. The weak king Henri VI seems to tolerate blame and infighting among his noble advisors.
  • About fifteen years ago, the Galicians discovered a series of nine volcanic islands (the Azores) over 900 miles west of their coast. Little is known of them but they are sure to be full of danger and adventure, much like the more southerly Purple Islands (inhabited by spirits) or the Islands of the Dogs (inhabited by dog-headed men).
  • Polscian orcs invented the tactic of calling a truce just before the full moon, then delivering their young general Kazimir Grazyna unarmed to their enemies as a show of their "good faith." Grazyna, however, is a werewolf, thus bringing about the saying, "Never trust an orc signaling truce."
  • Some twenty years ago, massive storms broke some of the dikes in the Lowlands, killing tens of thousands.

In your fathers' and grandfathers' time...

  • Nobles and scholars have rediscovered many of the lost works of the Reman Empire, and made their own discoveries: personal firearms and airships powered by chained elementals are some of the results. The elven poet Petrarca describes the previous 900 years as a sort of "Dark Ages."
  • The art of casting arcane magic was re-discovered, largely from a few grimoires smuggled from the ruins of the library in Alexandria, in Rakashan-occupied Aegyptus.
  • The Iberian states warred against their Rakashan neighbors in the south, and occasionally fought each other.
  • The Rakashan Empire relentlessly expanded in the east, squeezing Oenotria's buffer states (including the now-defunct Byzantine Empire).
  • The Theutonic Knights steadily declined, in both territory and prestige, under pressure from Polscia and Lithuania.
  • The "Kalmar Union" joined the thrones of Norge, Sverge, and Jutland into one kingdom.
  • The "Peasants' Revolt," or "Wat Tyler's Rebellion" in Albion is crushed, but nobles realize they cannot oppress the lower orders without danger.
  • Albion and Caledonia fought a major war, with Frankland aiding the Caledonian cause.
  • Over the past century, Albion's Frankish possessions, which once enveloped the northern half of the country, have been steadily retaken by a re-invigorated Frankland. Burgundia often allied with Albion, though she recently switched sides.

Centuries ago...

  • About a century ago, the Blue Death swept across Europa, killing one of every three inhabitants. In the aftermath, labor has become more expensive, helping create a new class of merchants and artisans.
  • Bad weather almost 150 years ago caused crop failures, resulting in the Great Famine that killed millions.
  • The great Oenotrian trading houses emerged, at first along land and river routes, and later involving airships. Many artisans and craftsmen perfect techniques and goods.
  • Some 300 years ago, many nobles released serfs from their ties to the land, and instead began charging them rent as peasants. Better tools allowed peasants to level forests and drain swamps. Many new villages arose, and cities grew.

In the dim mists of time...

  • Intermingling of elven, Dawn Folk, orcish, and dwarven blood, in various mixtures and combinations, produced the "middle-folk" known as humans.
  • Dwarvish sea-raiders from the northern countries raided all along the Europan coast and up major riverways (even into Novgorod and beyond). Many settled and intermingled with locals; most "pure" dwarves in the south now live only in mountain enclaves.
  • The Reman Empire held sway over all the lands around the Great Rift. However, corrupt nobles, disease, and infighting led to the Empire's fall when waves of orcish invaders swept in from the eastern steppes, over-running the entire empire. Cities declined.
  • Originally, it is said, dwarves lived in the far north of Europa, Dawn Folk in the islands and middle area, and elves along the rim of the Great Rift. Orcs inhabited the far east. Saurians, apparently, have always lived in the Bottomlands. The origin of Rakashans is unclear, though they are rumored to have the oldest arcane magical tradition in Europa.
  • Even the most potent wizards of modern Europa command a mere fraction of the power of the mightiest sorcerers from the Shadowed Age. Magical artifacts from earlier times are still found around Europa, to the great interest of lords and mages alike.
  • Ancient tools, or even ruins and magical relics, sometimes turn up in places all across Europa, indicating a wide-spread civilization predating our written histories. Many of the ruins contain cyclopean portals sealed with lead, bearing undecipherable runes of silver.