I’ll be at PhilCon this weekend running a demo of a still-in-development campaign setting, Chronicles of Salbazan. Though the campaign centers of a newly discovered world and the player-characters send to explore it, those characters come from an already populated continent: Lurra. Until recently, the people of Lurra believed that their continent was the only landmass that survived the Divine Cataclysm. The death of the gods, the sense of isolation, and the battle to rebuild civilization shaped the five nations that eventually emerged from the ashes.
The last century, however, has been a time of peace and prosperity. Humanity survived and now thrives. People trade freely across borders. Most believe their rulers to be fair and just. The horrors and monsters of the past have faded into legend and myth. The players have grown up in a time where the only true heroes are those found in old bardic tales. Though they possess a variety of skills and talents, psychologically, they are unprepared for what they will find on Salbazan. Because the creatures they discover there only exist in history books…and nightmares.
Timeline of Lurra
Much of Lurra’s history was lost during the Divine Cataclysm. Fragments of scrolls and tomes recovered from ancient ruins hint at extraordinary advances in magic and science: flying transports, fully functioning prosthetic limbs, automations that were capable of doing the work of a dozen workers, communication devices that could deliver messages at any distance, and more. But little physical evidence of such things has ever been recovered, and so there is much debate regarding how many of these marvels were real and how many of them were merely the fictions of creative storytellers.
According to the oldest known tome on the subject, The Folly of the Gods, the Cataclysm was started because the gods were dying. The gods had grown proud and arrogant in their power and began to withhold their blessings from their people for petty reasons. The mortal races, unable to depend on the gods in their times of need, turned to themselves and developed magical and engineering feats of wonder. Then the mortal grew arrogant and believed they no longer needed the gods at all. This caused the gods to start losing power, as they no longer had the faith of mortals to strengthen them.
The gods promised great power to those mortals that would restore their worship among the people. Unscrupulous leaders, already greedy for supremacy over other countries, began using their newfound gifts from the gods to impose their will. Eventually religious wars erupted across the world, with the followers of some gods all but wiping out the followers of others. Eventually, the gods themselves joined the battle to protect what followers they had left. But the natural world was not equipped to handle the immense energy of so many gods, and the fighting caused the planet to tear itself apart.
Entire continents crumbled into the oceans. The oceans themselves boiled in some places and froze over in others, destroying entire aquatic ecosystems. Lurrak itself was once twice its size, but by the time the Cataclysm ended, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, and other disasters had reshaped the continent to its current form.
Pre-Cataclysm and the 1st Era
In the immediate aftermath of the Divine Cataclysm, civilization completely collapsed. There are no known records from the first two centuries that followed. While scholars assume some people did attempt to chronicle events, without an infrastructure in place there would have been no way to preserve them. The oldest known document from the time period is The Folly of the Gods, written by an elven mystic named Fendelrethri. Fendelrethri’s account is written from his own memory of events and conversations with other survivors from the longer lived non-human races. Only a few dozen copies were produced before Fenderethri’s death. While considered a historical account, a complete copy of the tome has never been found and so scholars have been left filling in the blanks based on what has been recovered.
It is from Fenderethri’s account that Lurrak acquired the dating system currently in use. He used the date 1 AC to represent year one after the Cataclysm. BC refers to before the Cataclysm. Unfortunately, because Fenderethri himself was a child at the time of the Cataclysm, there are few events referenced in the BC era.
In the Empire, the year is written as Era + year in the era. Outside the Empire, the year is written as the year since the Divine Cataclysm. For example, the year 4047 would be written as 5E 47 (47th year of the 5th Era) in the Empire but written as 4047 AD everywhere else.
“AD” and “6E” are generally not appended to most recent events in mundane communications. A person born in 4980 wouldn’t recite their birthdate as 4980 AD or even 5E 980. They would probably just say that they were born in 80 (presuming they are human and it is understood that they cannot possibly be centuries old). AD and E designations are generally only used in formal or legal communications, or when specificity of date is important (such as historical records).
32 BC: Fenderethri’s birth. This would make him 32 when the Cataclysm struck, a child by elven standards.
20 BC: Grand Inquisitor Sebastian Flamebringer launches the Exalted War to convert the people of the lost nation of Kaldaban to the worship of the god Zenaph. Though there had been a series of smaller battles across Lurra for decades before this event, this was considered the largest and most aggressive incident and is considered “the beginning of the end” of the pre-Cataclysm era.
17 BC: Revered Mother Josephine of the Roses orders the armies of the lost nation of Cambadonia to attack the lost nation of Ceavos in retaliation for the assassination of her predecessor. The account references “airships raining fire” upon cities and “great missiles that split the earth asunder” and other weapons of mass destruction.
12 BC: Tomas of Kendry uses an unspecified weapon to collapse the mountains of Kern, devastating the Temple to the god Akdrosiav and wiping out the city-state of Kernshadow. This event also causes flooding of the Tischbole River and destroys several other towns.
4 BC: The god Paladori fully manifests on the island of Doros to protect his remaining followers from the onslaught of the Temple of Bright Moons, which followed the twin gods Elastrara and Gavanero. While Paladori is successful, most of Doros is destroyed in the process and his remaining followers later die at sea.
3 BC: A group of unidentified gods do battle across the Kagathi Plains on the lost continent of Kalaeuram. The continent is split in two by this event. This event also triggers a series of natural disasters across Lurrak.
1 BC: The Year of Devastation. Unable to handle the weight of the gods fighting across the surface, the planet begins to self-destruct. Continents collapse into the oceans. Volcanoes erupt. Mountains crumble.
1E 250/250 AD: Several nomadic bands join together and form the settlement of Highcairn in the swamps of what would become Padura. Though the settlement will be razed and rebuilt dozens of times over the millennia, Highcairn is recognized as the oldest continually populated settlement on Lurrak.
1E 327/327 AD: Fenderethri cites this as the year that he completed Folly of the Gods.
1E 600/600 AD: The city of Obsidian is “founded” by Lautand Stormstrike, though archeological evidence shows that a settlement was already in the area by this time. Lautan is the first of many warlords to emerge in the region. Imperial dogma claims that Lautan is a direct ancestor of the First Imperial Dynasty, and the Empire is named in his honor. There is no direct evidence that proves this belief, and some scholars speculate Lautan was not even the most successful warlord of his time.
The second era is a time that sees the rise of the great powers of Lurrak. By the beginning of the second era, dozens of small countries have sprung up across the continent in an effort to restore civilization.
2E 33/1033 AD: Clavinus Titanmaul takes the title of King Clavinus I and establishes the Kingdom of Lautanda.
2E 175/1175 AD: Queen Desdemona I leads her army into neighboring Rurdaran and conquers it with the help of King Frederick’s own brother, who becomes Archduke of Rurdaran and the first true “noble” house of Lautanda.
2E 227/1227 AD: King Solomon I conquers Turnamal.
2E 260/1260 AD: King Solomon II conquers Maldorn and declares himself Emperor. The Kingdom of Lautanda becomes the Empire of Lautanda. The Obsidian Throne is crafted from obsidian glass mined near the city of Obsidian.
2E 263/1263 AD: By a charter from King Solomon II, Captain Issak Darkwaters sails his ship, The Ebon Wave, completely around Lurrak and completes the first true survey of the continent. The following year, he begins his search for new lands. He sails north for six weeks before turning around emptyhanded.
2E 266/1266 AD: Captain Darkwaters sails west in search of new lands. Though he stays at sea for six weeks, he is finally forced to return when the ship suffers significant damage from an attack from a sea serpent. Half his crew is lost in the attack.
2E 270/1270 AD: Captain Darkwaters, with two Imperial Battlemages aboard for protection, sails south of Lurrak to search for new lands. He stays at sea for eight weeks and identifies two archipelagos: The White Seal Islands (named for the native seal populations) and the Blood Archipelago (named for the blood red sand of the beaches). Neither island chain shows signs of civilizations or resources of value. He is forced to return back to Lurrak due to low provisions.
2E 274/1274 AD: Captain Darkwaters leaves Lurrak for his final journey, heading east in search of new lands. He never returns.
2E 429/1429 AD: King Yaven the Scarab united the tribes of Mortuko and begins work on the Palace of the Sun.
2E 500/1500 AD: Construction of the Palace of the Sun is finally completed by King Cheros the Crocodile. Cheros also expands the borders of Mortuko through a series of skirmishes and political maneuverings.
2E 762/1762 AD: Imperial forces attempt to push into Mortuko but are repelled. This is the Empire’s first major defeat.
By the beginning of the third era, the borders of the five kingdoms begins to form as smaller nations and city-states begin to join forces against the greater threats of Lautanda and Mortuko. This Era is also romanticized as the Age of Heroes, the time when the great mortal heroes begin to push back against the monsters that have plagued Lurrak and establish humans as the dominate force.
3E 100/2100 AD: Mortuko conquers the city-state of Semberlyn. This event causes the various city-states in the area to form the Republic of Padura to protect themselves from Mortukan aggression.
3E 350/2350 AD: Discovery of the Destatori Atlas, an almost complete atlas detailing the planet Lurra before the Divine Cataclysm. The Atlas is used to confirm details found in The Folly of the Gods.
3E 374/2374 AD: Attempting to push into the God’s Spine Mountains, Imperial forces are stopped by the dwarves of Clan Mendiak, who had survived the Cataclysm and simply been hiding from the other races. By 2400, refugees from other areas fleeing Imperial aggression will settle in the mountains, and the dwarves eventually welcome these refugees in and formally declare the Kingdom of Mendiak.
3E 500/2500 AD: General Tamerus the Dragonblooded hunts down the red dragon Thromaxial and kills it. This is the first known account of a dragon being slain. Up until this event, most settlements troubled by dragons attempted to appease the creatures, and many dragons lorded over mortal settlements like demigods. Over the next millennia, mortals will actively hunt down dragons across Lurrak.
3E 600/2600 AD: The First Imperial Dynasty ends when the Battlemage Cassius Aelius leads a rebellion against Emperor Sistenin, who had grown increasingly bloodthirsty in his conquest and had even had some of his own nobles executed in horrific ways for minor failures. Aelius is accepted as the rightful Emperor when he is able to sit upon the Obsidian Throne, “proving” his own divine lineage. The Aelius Dynasty begins.
3E 640/2640 AD: Emperor Cassius II establishes the Imperial Temple and declares his father Saint Cassius the Just. This begins the tradition of elevating members of the Royal family to sainthood.
3E 780/2780 AD: The last elven city, Albanashi, is destroyed by the black dragon Deltorventrax. The dragon is later slain by a group of elven survivors and Imperial mercenaries.
3E 851/2851 AD: The United Tribes of Ohanea officially forms to battle Imperial aggression.
The 4th Era is a time of widespread war and aggression, with Lautanda and Mortuko expanding their borders and engaging in bloody skirmishes with their neighbors in an effort to seize more land.
4E 101/3101 AD: Lautanda absorbs the nation of Bethessa and builds Fort Valerian on the spot of the former capital.
4E 142/3142 AD: Mortuko conquers the City-State of Malvantus.
4E 200/3200 AD: After fifteen blood years of battle, Lautanda defeats Mortuko for control of the nation of Kitshu. Fort Tamerus is built on the spot of the former nation’s capital, putting it almost directly on the border of Mortuko.
4E 289-304/3289-3304 AD: The Demon Wars. An orc shaman named Gruhkrag frees the demon Pamiu from its pre-Cataclysmic prison. The demon takes possession of the shaman and builds an army of possessed orcs, hobgoblins, and ogres to attack the kingdom of Cardiff. The royal family manages to escape the capital and pleads to Lautanda for aid. The war ends in 3304 when Daniel II defeated the possessed shaman in single combat and Imperial clerics manage to banish Pamiu and his demons back to the abyss. Cardiff becomes part of the Empire, expanding the empire’s range across the continent.
4E 768/3768 AD: The Aelius Dynasty ends when Emperor Daniel III dies without an heir. His wife Elara becomes Empress Elara I. She fasts for three weeks and prays to Saint Cassius the Just for his blessing before attempting to sit on the Obsidian Throne. When she successfully takes the throne, the Imperial Temple calls her Elara the Blessed.
4E 769/3769 AD: Empress Elara the Blessed married General Titus Manius. The following year, she gives birth to Prince Cassius.
4E 790/3790 AD: Empress Elara relinquishes the Obsidian Throne to her son, who becomes Emperor Cassius IV and officially starts the Manius Dynasty.
5E 350/4350 AD: Pallamax, a green dragon that haunted the swamps of Padura, dies at the hands of a band of hunters. It is believed to be the last dragon of Lurrak, and there are no sighting of dragons after this time.
5E 875/4875 AD: The plague that would become known as the Red Death first appears in Ohanea.
5E 900/4900 AD: Emperor Radru II ascends to the Obsidian Throne and immediately reaches out to the other kingdoms to negotiate peace. Working together, the five kingdoms are able to develop a cure for the plague. By 4904, the plague is considered eradicated.
5E 905/4905 AD: The Five Kingdoms agree to the Charter of the Red Citadel, a Council of scholars and sages that would serve to mediate disputes between the five kingdoms. The Red Citadel is granted a small island off the coast of Lurrak to serve as its fortress. Though the original members of the Council are appointed by the various kingdoms, the Charter grants it full autonomy to select, discipline, and remove its members in the future.
5E 926/4926 AD: Construction on the Red Citadel is completed.
6E 6/5006 AD: Current year