World History

Base Concept – World’s Largest Hunger Games

Once per year, the government of Nerath sends a group of their young people into the World’s Largest Dungeon. This honors a bargain struck between the people of Nerath and the Elemental Chaos, at the site where the armies of below were fought to a standstill. Will this be a year where the youth of the world finally succeed?

Kicking Off Point

The world’s cosmology is based on D&D: Points of Light, with the Mortal World connected to several other planes of existence. The inhabitants of the Mortal World call their planet Nerath, though that is also the name of one of the regions on that world.

World History

Nearly a hundred years ago, <something> – completing a connection to the Abyss through which the denizens of the Elemental Chaos poured into our world. Though it initially seemed hopeless, the people rallied together to fight, and over decades slowly turned the tied and began to push back our foes. In a final, desperate push for victory, the war’s greatest icon – Snow – led the charge that would win the day. It failed, and Snow was taken by the enemy.

But instead of pushing their advantage, the forces of Chaos fell into retreat. An emissary was sent to us with The Accords, a set of binding cosmic rules. Our world would not be destroyed, as long as we agreed to send at least one group of young people into the Abyss each year. These Tributes would attempt to complete the most fiendish, herculean task they could imagine – the “World’s Largest Dungeon”. Doing so would free the mortal world from the bargain, and seal the connection against further incursion.

Failure to send Tribute would mean forfeiture, and a new Great War sweeping across the land.

What Happened?

Dwarves Dug Too Deeply, Eladrin Enchanted Too Fancy, Humans Chased Them Too Aggressively, Orcs WAAAAAAAAGH’D too Hard, etc.: It’s everyone’s fault. The overall sprint towards power skipped over the steps involved in learning to control it in too many places and on too many occasions. There are rumors among the remains of the wise that forces from within the Abyss had infiltrated mortal society, teaching their infernal tricks to all who would listen.

Civilization had reached a peak of achievement, with adventurers common and various societies having progressed to great power. Then, things began to go wrong. Demons, led by Orcus, sought the power of four artifacts created by the gods to seal the power of the Primordials, but were defeated. As knowledge of the Primordials became widespread, the situation deteriorated. The Dwarves, in particular, contacted the Elemental Chaos in their search for mastery over the volcanic forces beneath Highpeak. The disciples of Vezzuvu, Queen of the Burning Mountain, spread through their society. The Children of Chaos began their quest to free the Primordials even as other societies proved equally susceptible to the lure of power, and a Great War broke out between all the peoples of the land.

Awakened from his undead slumber by the death and negative energies of a mortal world embroiled in conflict, Orcus sensed an opportunity like none other. He leaked a corrupt ritual meant to pierce the now thin barrier between worlds, and whispered of its “cleansing” nature to the cursed tiefling peoples. Seeking a remedy for their condition, they completed the ritual – allowing Orcus and the forces of Chaos to explode out from the weakened portal beneath Highpeak.

What Was the Overall Magic & Technology Levels Before the Great War?

Wildly uneven. The great dwarven city of Highpeak was widely acknowledged as the center of the greatest advance of technology, with its complex water-management systems channeling a whole region’s worth of runoff into an underground sea. Four days’ travel from Highpeak, however, one could find human and halfling tribes, the remnants of farming communities, living in dire poverty as the dwarves feasted. Similarly grave inequalities prevailed throughout the human lands, while the enchantments favored by the Eladrin wreaked havoc on their neighbors’ weather.

What is it Now?

The overall level of magic and technology in the present is quite low, with most communities reduced to Iron Age barbarism. Many rely on one of the supernatural power sources for their mere survival: the primal power-source flourishes, but some still turn to the arcane or divine for protection. A few of the more-prosperous nations remember secrets like the forging of steel, and a semi-secret cabal known as the Sign of Progress works to recover and spread the lore of the past. Another, known only in whispers as Snowfall, focuses on the destruction of the same and vigilante justice against those they deem likely to bring the demons back.

What is the General Attitude in the World?

The general attitude in the world is fearful but determined. People cling to what they have, share with those they trust, and travel little. To humans, the deep forests – some quite new, growing up in regions depopulated by the war – are haunted places full of boogeymen; to the surviving elves, these are the frontier and it is the mountains and deserts that are haunted. All remember what they lost, and tales of the past, if perhaps a white-washed version, are common tavern fare. Those who do travel never go alone: the world is still infested with the war’s other survivors: the minions and armies of the Abyss.

World History

[PA] World's Largest Dungeon jdarksun