Introduction

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The World That Was

Anvar, the known world, consisted once of three continents. In the north lies Ilmarin, named for the mythical Ilmari - the Titans of old who held shape the world before disappearing into history, leaving only the ruins of giant strongholds as a testament to their legacy. In the south lies Anaturu, the Land of the Sun, ruled by the mighty and catastrophic dragons under whose wings humanity scurries like ants. And finally, smallest but far from the least, was Virmor the land of the Silver States and the orc tribes of old.

For time beyond counting these lands existed alongside each other, though not without conflict. Empires rose and fell; demons and shadows alike slithered into the world and were repelled only with the aid of the gods, powerful entities who watch over the races who worship them and give aid to worthy causes. In Ilmarin the Dwarven Empire, born of shadow, and Calandor the Realm of Light co-existed peacefully, troubled only by the ogres of the far north and the trolls that lurked in the deep forests. In Virmor new magics and magical materials were discovered and developed by Agryos, the Silver States, and that nation entered a golden age unlike any other.

Though the world was never free from strife and was far from perfect, it seemed to most that it could only continue to grow greater, and richer, and better than before.


The Cataclysm

Approximately two hundred years ago this wishful thinking was put to rest in the events of the Cataclysm. Precious little is known of how this catastrophe came about, but all saw and felt its effects. In the space of a few minutes a single blast, centred in the lands of Agryos, wiped out three centuries of culture and learning in a single devastating stroke. In the days that followed the very earth heaved; mountains toppled, rivers ran dry and great waves raced out to devastate coastal settlements on every continent. Even the world itself was changed, with weather patterns shifting in ways that have still yet to reverse themselves, creating famine and blight in its wake.

Most of the people of Old Agryos died in Cataclysm, either in the initial blast or the upheaval that followed, through pestilence or hunger or despair. Those that survived did so in Ilmarin, a land that previously only the boldest of traders or colonists had ever visited. They were preceded in their arrival by their ancient enemy, as the orcs - through good luck or judgement - had left Virmor before the Cataclysm struck and had already allied themselves with the elves of Calandor. The Agryans were forced to settle on the devastated coasts, with the exception of those who turned their back on their glorious history and pled aid and comfort from the elves as well. Both those that recanted and those who built anew saw a new horror emerge among them in the form of the Manaborn, and were forced to confront the reality of a new offshoot of humanity that provided a constant reminder to what had been lost.


The World That Is

In the times since the Cataclysm the world has changed almost beyond recognition. Virmor is lost, presumed destroyed; the elves of Calandor have retreated into the west and now fight desperately to keep the lands they still hold. Orcs can now be found in the northern highlands as their unlikley allies, and in the valleys below a new human nation has emerged called Peredur, one based on piety and hope instead of arcane might.

In the east the Dwarven Empire has reached its peak, but below the glorious halls darkness still lurks in the mountains and they have ceded most of their ports in the wake of the waves. New Agryos stands as the inheritor of the Silver States of old, huddled around the Inland Sea and seeking to rebuild their former glory. And always on the edges of civilisation lurk the others; ogres, trolls and worse things that wish for nothing more than the downfall of all nations.

At the centre of all this stands Farhaven, the Free City, a place where members of every nation can walk without fear - provided their coin is good and their swords remain sharp. In such a place and such a world, an adventurer with an eye for opportunity might do very well indeed.


In times such as these, the world needs all the heroes it can get.