Because you guys asked for it.
Some details have been left out for reasons that are my own. None of this should be considered to be player knowledge beyond what was already sent to you guys in the pre-campaign documentation. Any attempt to capitalize or use the new stuff in game will be met by blue bolts, and dead PCs. No shit. This is being presented for infotainment purposes only...
The Five Ages of Arre
Amongst the powerful arcane types in Arre, there is sometimes used a reference to the “Five Ages of Arre.” It is typically found in arcane documents of historical significance, or if someone is really wanting to sound like they know more than they do.
This is not common knowledge. It isn’t even uncommon knowledge. The vast majority of sages and learned folk in Arre don’t know any part of the story that takes place before the Oracle War. Of the few that do, only a fraction know any of the story that took place before the Oracle Elves. Of those, almost none know anything at all about the 2nd and 3rd Age. Of all the NPCs ever created for my Arre campaign, I can only think of a few that have knowledge of the whole story. And one of those is Thoth himself.
The bulk of this was written back in 1999 according to the Word file, but I have paper notes that predate that.
There is no plan at this time for any of the below to enter into this or any future leg of my Arre campaign. If you guys happen to run across any of those few NPCs that know this complete story, it is doubtful that this will even come up. They will probably be blasting you…
So here we go:
When Arre first became capable of sustaining life, it was noticed by the Eldest races of the Universes for it’s incredibly high levels of magical potential. The first race to colonize it was the Dragons. The Dragons began to harness this potential, and the other races became either jealous or afraid of them.
The Nemesis, one of the Eldest Races and at the time second in strength only to the Dragons, coveted this powerful magic. They created a siphon/battery thing, and managed to sneak it in the area that came to be known as Griffon Heights with the intention of retrieving it later. When the Nemesis came back to get it, they were discovered. This touched off a massive war that dragged in all the Eldest races, destroying some completely, others simply beaten down so hard that they have devolved over the passing eons.
The Dragons did not discover the battery thing until well after the war was over. By then, it was too late. The thing had become well rooted and saturated with raw magical potential. The Dragons could not destroy it or remove it. They did their best to contain it.
Most of the Dragons on Arre left when the planet began to develop its own native life. Even more left during the great Draconic Civil war that split the Chromatic and Metallic dragons apart forever. Those that remained stayed mostly to themselves, working on whatever it was they were working on, still able to harness levels of magic simply not available anywhere else in this Prime plane.
It was during this time that the battery thing began to manifest its own identity. While it lacked mobility and maturity, it was absolutely juiced to the gills with power. It reached out to these newly developing life forms and chose the strongest of them to dominate into an existence of servitude on a racial level.
The battery became the entity known to the people of Arre as the Oracle, and this first servitor race is only known as the “Elder Things” even to those few NPCs that know the story this far back.
The Elder Things served as the body of the Oracle until they developed the means to cast off their yoke. But the Oracle, being damn near omniscient and all, was one step ahead of them. It had been developing another servitor race, one of a feline origin.
The genocide of the Elder Things at the hands of the race that become known as the Children marks the end of the First Age of Arre.
The Children grew very strong. Some of the remaining Dragons managed to reach out to them seemingly without the Oracle being any wiser. Staying true to their feline heritage, they rose up in rebellion with the aid of their Dragon allies. Once again, the Oracle was ahead of them.
It had been fostering yet another servitor race. This time it used the Lizard Men as its stock. But the Children were strong, and backed by the Dragons. Many were killed, but they managed to get away to the southern part of the continent. There they raised the Wall up from the ground to block the Lizard Men. (I know in the “Things to Know” doc, I wrote that the Lizard Men came before the Children. I got it wrong there. This is the correct history.)
When the Wall was raised, the aftershock of the magical discharge released caused worldwide devastation. Ley lines were torn apart, unleashing torrents of magic across the world. When the lines finally began to ‘clot,’ the magical potential of Arre was greatly and permanently diminished. The sudden existence of a geographic feature the sheer size of the Wall altered the weather patterns of the planet. The Oracle was also severely weakened by this release.
The independence of the Children, and the creation of the Wall mark the ending of the Second Age of Arre.
When the first Elves and Men of Arre began to emerge, it was apparent to the Oracle that the Lizard Men were somewhat inferior. This time the Oracle chose one of the races of elves, thinking that Man would be far too much of a challenge to keep bound in service. While it knew that the Lizard Men would probably serve it forever, it also knew that they just lacked the potential of the elves. So, it chose to destroy them instead.
The Lizard Men did not go down without a fight. Even though they were taken completely by surprise, they managed to fight their way to the relative safety of the northwestern part of the continent (far to the west of Deeploch and the Duernwood). Away from the influence of the Oracle, they began to devolve slightly. And they have almost no memory of their time of service to the Oracle.
The betrayal of the Oracle marks the ending of the Third Age of Arre.
It was during the Fourth Age that the Oracle began to take a direct hand in the events of Arre. It would send out it’s elves to deliver sometimes cryptic, sometimes seemingly innocuous messages and directions. Sometimes an Oracle Elf would deliver such a message to a specific person, sometimes to an entire community. People just tended to do what the Oracle said.
No one is known to have actually seen the Oracle. There exists no description of it that any sage of repute calls accurate. There was an order of knights called the Knights Oracle that guarded the entrance to the valley thought to contain it with several citadels and other fortifications. This was thought to be slightly odd, because no one ever had reason to want to attack it. Until the Oracle War erupted.
The Oracle War has its roots in the Sirocco War, though this isn’t exactly common knowledge either. See the other handouts for basic information on those two events.
What is not well known, but speculated about for sure, is the unseasonable blizzard that struck during the Battle of Iolore during the Sirocco War was sent by the Oracle to weaken the Children’s army, and allow the defenders of Iolore time to mount a defense.
The Oracle didn’t stop there. The Children had opened up gigantic portals to both the Elemental Planes of Fire and Air in order to create the hot winds that raised the temperatures on the continent so their army would be able to operate at maximum capabilities. The Oracle seized control of the portals and brought horrific devastation to the lands of the Children south of the Wall. The effort to do so was somewhat draining for it, despite its great power. It fell into something resembling sleep. This part is known almost no one besides the Children and the handful mentioned above.
It took centuries for the Children to recover, and when they did, they took a different approach. Instead of waging war, they would insert themselves throughout Arre, soliciting help. They were doing quite nicely at that until the Oracle woke up.
The Oracle War started when it sent a message through its elves to every place north of the Wall where the Children had set up embassies. The message was short. It said that the Children were responsible for the Sirocco war, and would bring about the end of the world.
This turned out to be true, at least for the Oracle. The destruction of the Oracle at the end of the Oracle War marked the end of the Fourth Age of Arre.
The people who decide such things also marked the passing of the Oracle by resetting the calendar. Now years are followed with “AO,” meaning “After Oracle.”
Each age lasted for a different amount of time, but none was shorter than tens of thousands of years. The First Age was the longest, followed by the Second, then the Fourth, with the Third Age being the shortest. The entirety of written history (at least north of the Wall) happened during the Fourth Age. The Children are very secretive about their collected histories, and have only shared them with their most trusted allies.
House Rules, World Building, Questions, all go here.
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