Bleeding Edge (3.5e Campaign Setting)/History
The history of Accolade is broken up into Ages, major eras of events of arbitrary length, their changes defined by major shifts in power or environment. The current time is 173X AK, during the Age of Man. It is 100 years since Vulpeculae fell, and the world is finally opening up their gates and cleaning up the mess the previous age had left them.
The current calendar defines things in the terms of Before Katechon and After Katechon, referring in this case to the age of giants and the katechon it represented as a damper preventing the rise of humanity, which eventually did (typically attributed to a mythological king known as Palulu). With the end of the giants, humanoid species blossomed and grew powerful eventually taking over the world in their place.
Most of these times are irrelevant for the setting taking place in current times, but it allows campaigns to take place earlier in history and fleshes out any ancient ruins which scatter the planet.
Age of Waves
In the beginning, there was the great ocean. The land was new and unfinished, barren volcanic expanded of island surrounded by endless water and slick with organic slime and debris. It is an age of eldritch forgotten things, of primitive creatures, thick sheets of algae, and of the aboleth. Little is known of this age other than what the aboleth are willing to divulge, and their tales are full of misdirection and deceit. All that is known, supposedly, is that is was an age said to be before even the gods begin to meddle with life below.
~2 billion to ~600 million BK (Land of Ooze): The beginning of life was a very boring time, dominated by oozes and dreadful unspeakable things. For most of history, the world was a huge ball of organic gunk. From that gunk, a few complex creatures arose, notably the aboleth.
~600 million BK (Aboleth Empire rises):First of the sapient beings, the aboleth swam the primordial oceans which covered most of the world. There, they built strange and alien structures underwater to things which could not reasonably be called "gods", not by the modern sense.
~500 million BK (Great Cataclysm): History of the Great Cataclysm is sketchy, for there are no records or history of it other than what dubious knowledge is gained through magic and asking the aboleth themselves. It may have been natural, or a result of aboleth meddling, but a great extinction event occurred which threatened all life and nearly wiped it all out.
~495 million BK (The Waters Recede): Possibly as a consequence of the Great Cataclysm, the waters of the primordial ocean receded and volcanic activity rose, turning islands into vast continents and reshaping the planet itself.
Age of Fog
The end of the age of waves was marked with a great disaster of unknown portent, believed to have been a supervolcano, a meteor, or perhaps something else, something related to the interference of the gods themselves. Whatever occurred brought down the aboleth and scattered them across the underground seas of the world, and brought to the surface a land of gray fog and pale twilight. Life struggled, but endured, leaving little in the way of civilization and even less for historians to glean from.
~440 million BK (The Era of Fungi): After the land was exposed, fungi and mosses blanketed the planet in thick sheets. The world was once again boring and dull, but soon life would find its way to awakening again on the arrival of the gods.
~400 million to ~300 million BK (The Era of Reshaping): Though the gods are often implicated in various small acts of creation, none of the gods are implied to have created the world itself. This honor goes to the sun, which is seen more as a force than a being or entity, save in some heretical sects. So it was that the gods arrived on Accolade after its creation, and they began to shape the land and sea, and that which lived within. This time is known as the Era of Reshaping and it is a time of great change, violent weather, and curious creatures.
~375 million BK (The Formation of the Underdark): It is said that the underdark was a direct result of the experiments of the gods. Failed creations were buried, and sometimes entire land masses would vanish under the waves. Rather than vanish, they slipped into the caves as the ground became thick and layered until the darkness of the underground passages swallowed them up.
~365 million BK (The Fog Recedes): As the god's experiments came to an end, the great and mysterious fog which hung over the world retreated and the full brightness of the sun once again shone upon the world. It is in this time that life began to flourish in full once more.
~360 million BK (The Expansion of Plants): The world had been dominated by slime and fungus before, but now plants had spread across the surface transforming the barren land into something more familiar.
Age of Monsters
In the time between the end of the deep fog and the rise of civilizations that we know of, there was the age of monsters. In this time, dinosaurs ruled the land among other beasts of fantastic size, and what little sapience could be found was huddled in primitive civilizations with little advancement and extreme barbarism. It was an age of the now forgotten serpentfolk and other scalykind.
~250 million to ~65 million BK (Land of Dinosaurs): As life exploded once again, the world was dominated by giant scaled and feathered beasts known as dinosaurs. Their reign lasted a long time, until another disaster brought their world down. However in rare corners of the world these primal beasts still walk, few in number but full of vigor.
~90 million BK (Serpent Kingdom Established): Little is known about the Serpent Kingdoms (believed to be a collection of city states rather than a uniform nation). If it implicated as the first civilization, an Iron Age civilization that was build by scaled ones and especially by a now extinct species of Yaun-ti. The current Yaun-ti are but echoes of this once great race. Unfortunately, most of their history and relics have completely vanished, save for the impressive Serpent Road.
~63 million BK (Construction of Serpent Road): The Serpent Road was a wonder of the world, a massive walled roadway said to spread across the entire planet. This cannot be true of course, though the land at the time was pressed together in one massive continent. However true its claim, this great wall was buried and eventually sank into the Underdark. Now, fragments of the road seem to dot the underdark's landscape. It's said that thanks to the warped effects of the Plane of Shadow, that one can still walk the road and end up somewhere.
~64.5 million BK (Birth of the King of Monsters): The age of monsters was named so not only for the massive dinosaurs which ruled the land, but also the believed creation of the King of Monsters. Though no one knows how or why it had come, it is known that it brought disaster to the Serpent Kingdoms. It is also believed to have been targeted by the gods, who dropped the heavens upon it to finally stop its wrath.
~65 million BK (Hyperborea Impact): 65 million years ago, the heavens fell on the planet and wiped the slate clean once more. Known as the Hyperborea Impact, it destroyed civilization and removed dinosaurs from being the dominant predator of the land. It poisoned the land for millions of years and though life survived, it struggled under clouds of darkness.
Age of Dragons
It is said that the stars fell upon the world, and the age of monsters ended. In its place the remains of scalykind arose in a different form, following the whims of powerful dragons ruling over an endless swarm of kobolds and similar beings. Humanoid species had begun to arise, yet their dominion over the world would not be for some time yet.
~65 million to ~500,000 BK (The Era of Ash and Ice): From the fall of heaven on earth to almost recent times, the planet had suffered an extended ice age which was often mixed with ash. It is believed Accolade had formed a ring during this time formed from earth blasted into the depths of space.
~10 million BK (The Primal Dragons Appear): Dragons are not the first race, but they are ancient indeed. They are said to arise from primitive lindwurms and other serpent-like creatures that were imbued deeply with magical energy. It is said that the first dragons arrived boiling out of the earth (leading some to speculate the Hyperborea Impact was the fall of Arsatum herself). They were as great and terrifying natural disasters given flesh. Some suspect this is also the time of the supposed nation of Alhazredia, but no proof is available.
~2 million BK (Appearance of Humanoids): Humanoid species began to develop, and it is not known which of them appeared first. Elves claim that it was them, while dwarves claim that it was them, and yet some orcs claim that the greenskinned folk were the first. Whoever it was, their numbers and variations were many but they would spend a great deal of time in the caves and shadows before they would get a chance to shine, for this was the age of dragons. They stood no chance.
~1 million BK (Olm Established): The dragons established rule over nations built on the backs of kobolds and other dragonblooded kin. There they made great wonders, but little progress for their attentions were often to the exaltation of themselves rather than the betterment of their kind as a whole. The nation was peaceful on the outside but full of strife and political dealings within. These tensions would eventually lead to civil war, and then destruction as they turned their great advancements towards the production of weapons.
~10,000 BK (The Scathing): And so it was that war came to pass, and all of the dragon's intellect and magic was turned towards weapons against one another. It is a weapon best forgotten, for whatever they used scorched the earth and burned the skies, leaving nothing but death in its wake and the end of Olm. After the destruction the survivors retreated into the earth once more to lick their wounds and vow to never again gather in number as they did, lest they completely destroy all life next time they fight. Thus, the surface was left to the humanoid shaped beings and their recent mutation, the giants.
Age of Giants
Great wars broke out between the draconic nations and in apocalyptic fire, the age of dragons ended and the remaining dragons retreated into the depths of the world to be lost and forgotten. Thus rose the giants, strongest of the human shaped creatures and who build great kingdoms which towered above the land, and above it. It was an age of glory and majesty, but also one of ever-growing mistrust and fear, a fear which would eventually lead to ruin.
~10,000 to ~7500 BK (The Long Winter/Settling of the Underdark): For 2500 years, the world was once again a realm of cold and darkness as another ice age consumed the planet. Among the strongest human-like beings were the giants, whose fortitude allowed them to spread in spite of the harsh climate and terrain.
~7900 BK (Tritones Dae Established): Deep below the waves, free of aquatic dragons and untouched by the fires above, the merfolk of old had finally united and began the legendary aquatic realms of Tritones Dae. They interacted with the surface very little, but one could claim it was they who were the realm dominant species of Accolade now.
~7500 BK (Pharos of Light): Somewhere in the ashen depths, the giants discovered a great secret known as the Tears of the Sun. With the tears, they could banish away the thick clouds and toxic miasma of the dragon's war and create untold power. And so the most clever of the giants began to construct great cities and devices fueled by these tears, starting with the creation of a legendary lighthouse known as the Pharos of Light. It was there they pieced the clouds and brought back the sun to the world.
~7000 BK (Scaedugenga Established): With the world being restored and powered by the tears of the sun, the giants quickly grew in power to become the dominant species of Accolade. It was a time of glory and wonders, though eventually it would succumb to jealousy and fear as all nations do.
~3000 BK (Breakup of Tritones Dae): Because Tritones Dae was separated from the world, its break up is mysterious and unclear. It is believed that sahaugin had been growing in their ranks for some years, and finally the pressure of invasion brought the kingdom down. Though others claim that they had unlocked some ancient secret of the aboleth that they wished they hadn't.
~500 BK (Decay of Scaedugenga): It was no secret. After 7000 years of rule, Scaedugenga was far past its prime. Corruption and depravity had become the norm. Fear and mistrust was among the ranks. Humanoids and beings of small stature were oppressed and the kings were tyrants and madmen. They persisted, but by 500 BK the rot had set in.
~300 BK (Uru Established): Far away, a supposedly humanoid species began gathering power under a new patron. They claimed the ancient capital of the dragons for themselves and began building a magic rich kingdom of pyramids and god kings. As Scaedugenga faltered, they were unable to stop the rise of this nation and many other smaller and now forgotten nations built by humanoid hands.
~60 BK (Narakam Established): In the Green Hell, ancient Narakam officially was conquered by the greatest warlord, starting its cycle of violence and danger. Its said exiles would end up in the rainy plateaus that would one day become the Loch Confederacy.
20 BK (Tears of the Sun Stolen, Breakup of Scaedugenga): The mythological King Palulu is said to have stolen the tears of the sun from the giants, bringing their power to rising humanity and finally putting a nail in the coffin that was the age of giant's rule. The giants were the katechon to humanity, and with them gone humanity was allowed to grow and flourish. However, the calendars place the transition from BK to AK at the rise of his kingdom which he supposedly built with the fading remains of the tears of the sun.
Age of Man
The age of giants had begun to decay as all ages had, though the giants resisted the seemingly inevitable march of history. Their control finally broke when the pitifully small humanoids (whose exact species was unknown) stole their most precious source of power, the Tears of the Sun. It is a tale often attributed to a mythological king, and first king of the humanoid species, Palulu the Endless. Thus began the age of man, where humanoid species not only survived but thrived with kingdoms of their own worldwide. Before, humanoid kingdoms did exist but it was in this age where they truly took foothold in the world. It has been 173X years since the age has begun, and humanoids have already progressed so far and so fast. Almost too fast. Some worry that the age of man will be a very short one indeed.
0 AK (Kingdom of Palulu Established): And so the first major power of man, the Kingdom of Palulu, rose. It was a mixed nation of several humanoids, but they worked in harmony under their lord. Unfortunately the kingdom would be short lived, for after the King's death political strife and chaos would result, one day breaking up the vast kingdom into many parts all over the land. It is uncertain where the Kingdom was centralized, but it is believed to have been in Esperant.
15 AK (Tower of Heaven Destroyed): The remains of the giants attempted to construct a great tower in the north, in the once state and now nation of Mat-Gugu. Legends tell tales that the gods grew angry and destroyed the tower, while others speculate that it was an attempt at using a remaining tear to perform some act or ritual. Whatever occured, it ended up in disaster for the giants and destroyed the last vestiges of their civilization.
140 AK (Breakup of Kingdom of Palulu): After 140 years of rule, the Kingdom of Palulu shattered into pieces, some which immediately took to war with one another. The exact nations involced were many and minor, their names placed in footnotes and noted only for their short lived nature.
141 AK (Iroas Dominion Established): Formerly part of Palulu, though always unique in their culture, primitive Iroas was first known as the Iroas Dominion. Their culture spread back much farther, back in the age of the giants, but they officially gained nationhood and lost it a generation later. It is rumored that a nation known as Alfar existed in this land before it, and that Iroas actually was Alfar. The creation of Alfar is unknown, but it was believed to be one of the many small micro-nations of humanoids which sprung up during the age of giants.
177 AK (Kathib Established): Kathib had by this time turned from savanna to harsh desert, but it was still populated by various lizardfolk. It was this time that the modern incarnation of Kathib arose and consolidated its power.
155 AK (Vrch Established): The giant survivors took to the far north and formed Vrch, a struggling but persistent nation largely dominated by frost giants.
190 AK (Conquest of Iroas by Obero): Several small wars rocked the landscape since the fall of Palulu's kingdom, and so it was eventually that one group known as the Orbero took a shot as Iroas itself, and won. Thus began their age of constant conquest in the land of Iroas.
200 AK (Breakup of Uru): Ancient Uru could hold itself together no longer. Its people rebelled, supposedly sealing their leaders away in their own buildings and temples, and buried them alive. The kingdom was destroyed, and anarchy followed.
~269 to ~510 AK (The Tales of King Elegast): The supposed tales of the elven god Elegast began in the mid to late 200s, detailing his life as a mortal and his eventual conquest of several lands and exodus to idyllic Alfallon.
404 AK (Aur Golau Established): King Elegast is said to have traveled to a land untouched by mortals since the earliest ages, Afallon. There he established his kingdom and eventually died in these lands.
434 AK (Conquest of Iroas by Blackwater): Iroas switched hands again, going from Orbero, to anarchy, and then in their moment of weakness they were taken by another nation known as Blackwater. In this case, Blackwater was a group of conquering orc pirates which were precursors to modern day Loch. Their rule was loose but brutal, and once again Iroas was held under another's thumb.
507 AK (Kingdom of Karlikov Established): The Blessed Kingdom of Karlikov formed from the gathering of the primitive Kleosian Church into a single ruling body. They spread out into the word bearing the word of their religion and the silver blades of their power.
~510 AK (Death of King Elegast): King Elegast is said to have died and risen to a god in the early 500s. For the elves, it marked an end of a golden age.
640 AK (Zaeim Established): Built on the ruins of Uru and finally bringing peace and unity to the lawless former nation, Zaeim took the magic of old and made it the base of their power. From then all, all would be ruled by magic in Zaeim.
963 AK (Vulpeculae Established): A great human nation appeared, Vulpeculae. Though small at its time, it would soon grow in power and renown, matching Zaeim in its strength and eventually exceeding it.
999 AK (Iroas Confederacy Established): At long last after many years of fighting off tyrants Iroas was once again free. For about 12 years.
1011 AK (Conquest of Iroas by Vulpeculae): And so it happened that Iroas was once again under the thumb of a foreign power.
1212 AK (Loch Confederation Established): The random pirates and communes of Loch finally got together, rejecting nearby Narakam and its ways and taking to the sea as a united force. What was once random barbarians and bandits was now a naval superpower.
~1333 to ~1629 AK (Elf-Orc War): The Loch Confederation had discovered Afallon and attempted conquest, which began a long and bloody war known as the Elf-Orc Wars. It was really more of a series of smaller rapid wars, and it ultimately ended in stalemate and the closing of Aur Golau's borders.
1550 AK (Homaro Kingdom Established): Humans established another foothold, separated from the whims of Vulpeculae and built on an attempt at becoming a master of trade. They had formed several deals with Loch to turn them from bandits to businessmen. It was met with partial success.
1590 AK (Breakup of Karlikov Empire): The Karlikov Empire had since spread to almost all over the world, but it had grown to big and had become a massive sluggish mess unable to cope with the rapid changes of the new age. And so it was decided that the empire must be broken up, until only Karlikov of the north remained.
1591 AK (Schonheit Established): With the break up of Karlikov, this small nation obtained its freedom and began acting as a power of its own.
1592 AK (Anders Navigates Around the World): The Loch Confederacy lays claim to the common ditty "In 1592, Anders sailed the ocean blue. From coast to coast it was then seen, that the seas belonged to green."
1597 AK (Conquest of Iroas by Homaro): Homaro agreed to free Iroas from the thumb of Vulpeculae, though it didn't seem to promise freedom from themselves.
~1602 AK (Dier Established): Dier had been used as a dumping ground for undesirables, especially for the now defunct Karlikov Empire and Vulpeculae. In the early 1600s, after a brief period of violence, Dier was recognized as an independent nation of its own.
163X AK (The Eclipse): The event which shaped Accolade, and destroyed the kingdom of Vulpeculae. The Eclipse is the event where the entire nation seems to have gone mad in one night, before its major cities were rocked by strange supernatural disasters and strange curses and miasma began pouring out from the land itself. At its center point now lays the Worldwound, a bloody lake which monsters boil up from and the remains of the capital sink into the gore. During this time and many years to follow, monster attacks went on the rise. Only recently have they begun to sink.
1640 AK (Kingdom of Anser Established): With the destruction of their homeland, survivors of Vulpeculae, at least the sane ones, fled to a nearby state yet uncorrupted by the curse. There they established the Kingdom of Anser, after the paladin which led them here.
1666 AK (Vul Noctis Established): Meanwhile, those survivors of Vulpeculae who had remained in what was left of the buildings gathered their forces together. They could not claim Vulpeculae's title, and so they became Vul Noctis.
1680 AK (Liberation of Iroas/Democratic Society of Iroas Established): It was only recently, but finally Homaro gave up its territory willingly. The people of Iroas were now once again free to rule themselves.
1690 AK (New Zadarmo Established): Duergar had escaped from the underdark, and they simply would not return to their homelands below. Partly out of mercy, and perhaps out of annoyance, a portion of the Kingdom of Karlikov was released for their use becoming this small and curious nation of duergar and giants.
1713 to 1717 AK (Underwar): Perhaps due to New Zadarmo's appearance, but more likely due to the mad desires of the drow, the underdark arose to the surface en masse to destroy them. It was a worldwide effort that touched almost every part of the globe, and could be considered one of the first world wars of the modern age.
1719 AK (Burya Established): Splitting from Karlikov establishment were the Buryans, who declared independence from their former homeland.
173X AK (The Current Time): And so it brings us to the current age. The monsters of the Eclipse are beginning to fade to the point where containment is not the only option. Others have begun actively delving into the forbidden cursed lands in search of adventure, treasure, secrets, and danger...