History of the Land of Tregarde
In the beginning, before the universe, before time, before anything, there was the High Lord; from Him, all things were created. After He designed the planes according to His plans, he devised custodians for those realms. To begin with, he created twelve, who are now known as the Twelve Divinities; they are first of the gods of Tregarde. The Twelve Divinities are listed more in depth here: linktocome ; For the purpose of this discussion, their titles and domains need not be known, only the fact that the Divinities are neither truly good nor truly evil; they simply seek balance in the universe. However, each Divinity has multiple aspects, some of which lean more towards the good or evil alignments that mortals are so fond of debating. Rather than describing themselves as Good or Evil, one of the Twelve will typically describe itself as a being of Creation or Destruction; it is only to mortals that Creation tends to be good, and Destruction tends to be evil.
Shortly after the Divinities were created, they divided reality into a variety of portfolios, and then decided which portfolios each Divinity would control; from these portfolios, each Divinity’s title was derived. After the division of the portfolios, the divinities split into two groups, those who are Creators and those who are Destroyers; as the first step in the process of building reality towards some eventual divine goal, the Creators brought about life into the world; at first, the Mother of All brought about simple plants and animals, populating the world with life that was unable to grow mentally, emotionally, or spiritually; from these first experiments, the Divinities felt confident enough to begin work on their first masterwork, the dragons.
Dragons were granted some of the greatest gifts from the Divinities: lifetimes that could outlast the continents, bodies that could soak up the harshest of punishment, the ability to manipulate reality itself… but the dragons lacked something, some spark of creativity; it was as if their very immortality kept them from changing, kept them from exploring the world as was the Divinity’s hopes for them.
After the dragons, the Divinities moved on to create a race that was more fragile, more inquisitive, more in tune with the natural world… yet one that still had a lifetime that spanned centuries: the elves. Created to dwell within the natural world, learning from it whilst dwelling in harmony with nature, the elves quickly proved to be more creative than the dragons that they had been chosen to replace: However, they were created to be almost too in tune with nature; the elves quickly became satisfied with their lot in life, refusing to venture forth from their woodland homes. The elves were by nature almost too care-free, serene and unconcerned about anything beyond living in the moment.
A more stodgy race was designed, and placed far from the woodland homes of the elves, as well as the temptation to succumb to merrymaking that the elves seemed to favor; the dwarves were created from the very earth itself, and were in many ways the opposite of elves: lacking the whimsy, the care-free attitude of the sylvan folks, the dwarves industriously worked at improving their lives; unfortunately, the Divinities soon realized that the dwarves were almost too patient, almost too much of a perfectionist race; the dwarves focused upon perfecting what they could do, what they could build, what they could craft, rather than seeking out new ways of doing things. The dwarves, although clever, were not truly able to advance the ways of the world. They discovered new methods for working metal, better ways to mine, better ways to build works that would shut the world out; and with that final step, they were satisfied. The majority of dwarves are quite content to never see the light of the sun, working within their shops to constantly perfect their craft. This lack of inspiration once more disappointed the Divine creators, and so they moved on once more.
Race after race was created, the Divine picking this trait or that trait to emphasize, trying to create a race who would truly inherit the world, a race that would constantly seek expansion, that would stand up to adversary and persevere; gnomes, the kobolds… even races that are no longer present in the world.. all were tested, and all failed in achieving the kind of self-improvement that the Divinities were searching for; in the end, the Patron, divinity of order, suggested a race that was created with no preconceived notions, no touch of destiny, no attributes that would be the focus of the race: and so, humanity came to be.
The youngest of the mortal races, humans have only been around for a few thousand years, unlike the tens of thousands of years that dragons and elves have been around; yet, in this brief time, they have more strongly influenced the land of Tregarde than any other race. Humanity quickly rose in strength thanks to its mix of ingenuity, creativity, perseverance, and yes, the ability to simply outbreed the majority of the other mortal races. Humanity spread from shore to shore, building towns, which grew into cities, which grew into kingdoms, which eventually combined into the First Human Empire. The humans brought order to the world, creating a civilization that codified the laws of the land, that studied everything; unfortunately, it was too orderly, and the gods feared an imbalance between the axis of chaos and order upon which the universe rests; on top of that, it was felt that humanity’s ascent was too rapid; so saying, the Creator gods turned to the Destroyer gods, and working with them, set up a mix of races that would truly challenge humanity: The created the races of Chaos, the orcs, goblinoids, giants, and the majority of the so-called ‘races of evil’ and these creations resulted in a new concept: War. Humans quickly turned their creativity towards defense, but were overwhelmed, and thus the first human empire fell.
Humanity fell into a dark period, small outposts slowly fighting off the hordes for hundreds of years, all but the tiniest remnant of culture destroyed in the fires of the races of chaos. Over time, humanity forgot the First Human Empire, even the important lessons that its fall taught; yet, in the end, humanity once more built up a civilization. Over time, the Second Human Empire (as it became known to the longer-lived mortals) developed, but it too met the same fate; the cycle of growth, and then the cycle of destruction as the universe righted itself with an onslaught of the chaos races.
As humanity recovered, the Divine met in council; while their council very rarely touched upon the mortal plane, it did keep the Divinities distracted for decades, decades in which divine magic ceased to function. This cessation did not bother the majority of the mortal races, but the developing human nations who were looking at combining into an empire required magic to communicate, to spread, to ease an already tough task. Without divine magic, the humans sought elsewhere.
The first human to discover arcane magic found it by accident; by focusing his will just right, and by speaking in a certain method, he discovered that he could create fire with a touch; This arcanist quickly gathered other, similarly interested humans to him, and the newly-formed cabal began to study magic. It was determined that by speaking the right words, using the right tools, humans could change reality in ways that did not come from the blessing of some higher power. The sorcerers and wizards of the human realms quickly attracted the attention of the elves, who always love a new kind of art (as they view magic), and the dwarves were always looking for ways to improve their own works; in exchange for teachings in the arcane arts, the elves and dwarves instructed humanity in the ways of the world, as well as warning them of the fall of the first two human empires. So warned, the humans began rigourous training of their best and brightest, churning out soldier after soldier, mage after mage, engineer after engineer; when the foretold army of chaos invaded the human lands, the humans were not caught by surprise.
The very first major clash between the forces of Chaos and Order was a massacre, with humanity nearly wiping the horde from the face of Tregarde; the barbarians were unable to match the might of arcane magics that could rip the earth asunder, move troops vast distances in the blink of an eye, or incinerate huge masses of fighters in one go.
With peace insured, humanity started its Golden Age; relics of this time of wonder still hide within the world, to be found in the shattered remnants of floating castles, flying cities, or the submerged remnants of the undersea citadels of humanity’s mightiest trading houses. Remnants, yes, for all things must pass, and humanity grew arrogant. After the Chaos War, they relaxed their guard, and stopped training human legions, and the magical arts became mere playthings, rather than serious persuits; this could almost be forgiven, but some of the more powerful magisters took to playing Gods; first, they looked around and decided that humanity was too good to be simple fighters, engineers, servants, or merchants; so deciding, they took animals from the wild and transformed their base nature into that of near-human levels of sentience; these furred folk became the new servants, soldiers, and traders of the humans, and the third human empire was built upon their backs.
This insult to the gods would have been bad enough, yet the humans took their arrogance one step forward: It was not enough to imitate the gods, humans thought that they could match the gods; as such, when the Divinities returned from council, they were shocked to find the most powerful of human mages aligned against them. Humanity took the first shot, and it rocked the Divinities to their very core. Retreating into a moment that was outside of time, the Divinities nominated the most wise of their rank, the Sage, and gave him dominion over this new form of magic. So saying, he became the Magister, and his first decision was to strip humanity of arcane magic. The flying castles fell, the glass keeps shattered, the submerged cities flooded; some of the more powerful gate magics collapsed inwards, opening holes to the infernal realms, allowing monstrosities to stride forth to burn the human capitols down. This all happened in mere moments, and then the Magister restored magic to the mortals, with one condition: No mortal would ever again reach the heights of power they had previously attained. The most powerful magics were locked away, with only a few artifacts or relics lingering deep within Third Empire ruins.
The destruction did not end there, either: the Divinities banded together once more in a brief conference, and upon the conclusion of that discussion, one which lasted mere days this time, Chaos opened a gate to his realm and his hordes surged forth once more, decimating the feeble resistance the humans managed to produce.
It is now seven hundred years after the fall of the barely-remembered Third Human Empire; mankind huddles within its tiny fortified towns, afraid to venture beyond safe walls at night thanks to the still-marauding forces of Chaos. It is stated that the thousand year duration of the Third Human Empire must be balanced with a thousand year period of chaos, before the universe will once more realign itself properly.
Welcome to the world of Tregarde.