Early Tir Nan Og
The people of Tir Nan Og traveled from far to the West and settled in the swampy forested lands by the sea. They built settlements of wood over the water and towers of stone on high ground. This region was prime hunting grounds for dragons however, and as men killed the giant woolly rhino, mammoths and bears, game became scare for the dragons. Although they could hibernate for years one greedy red dragon tore down the greatest towers and slew all who came against him. He enslaved the men and built an empire ruled by dragons. Then he disappeared and his dragon-barons were slain or fled. Many of the buildings associated with tribute or rule of the dragons have been ruined since.
The snake-like Yuanti have long slithered in the warm forests of the west. They have declined slowly over thousands of years as man has burnt their cities and tamed the jungle. In ancient times Spelljammer pilots used the highest peaks as jumping off points to other worlds until a shining one brought law and the influence of his masters, the Elder Gods. Before the minions of the Far Realm could gain a strong foothold however the feral spirits of the jungle struck. Benevolent feathered dragons joined forces with fire-imbued murderous jaguar and the shining ones fled. The current pantheon is a result of the descendants of that combat. The ruins include aberrant cthulic structures from when the shining one had the upper hand, yuanti city-warrens, spelljammer ports and Neanderthal sites dense with primal magic in painting, pottery and carved stone.
Two separate civilsations have flourished in the dark frozen north. The first is the elemental giants- fire and frost. Once they built titanic towns fit for their Brobdingnagian scale. They numbered in their tens of thousands, herding mammoth, fishing for whale, squid and serpent, hunting land-snake. They made slaves of the earliest humans, huddled in caves, who had trekked north. These men learnt the secret of steel and one man, Odin, learnt the rune magic of the giants. Odin and his folk fought free of the giants and overthrew them. For hundreds of years a war of attrition waged until the giant’s civilisation was no longer viable. Now most giant’s have devolved to living in ice caves or magma tubes, their glorious empire long forgotten, it’s vast buildings of ice or basalt, buried under snow or infested with smaller races.
The second great civilisation of the north was the Wamphyri. Great spires of bone-cement were raised with the bones of fallen humanoids, massive armies of slaves marched under their terrible banners. Undead drakes flew to war ridden by vampire lords. But the hybrid infected pets- a little ghoul blood, part wolf or sabrecat, part humanoid broke free. Over generations they built a shamanistic culture in the wilds and then led the humans in a genocidal war that wiped the vampires out, mostly by killing their slaves and starving them. Only a few managed to hide in dark recesses, and there, in torpor, they remain.
Eons ago in a river delta,as conjunction of celestial movements caused a leak to the Far Realm. Evolved local apes affected by the radiation moved from the simplest hunter gatherers to a cluster of squabbling packs that reaped the fecund fish and grasses that blossomed in the mutagenic power. One ape, stripped of his hair, teeth and nails by exposure to the minds beyond, evolved. He named himself Indra. In half a generation he led a caste of similar men he called “the shining ones”. Law, numbers and a strange script were developed, spawned from Indra’s un-knowable mind. Within 2 generations Indra had created a massive series of 70 mud-baked cities known as Harrapa. Clockwork-mechanical devices infused with windspirits known as Marut were used to maintain order at the behest of the shining ones.
A group of humans were permanently imbued with the power of Law as Deva. However the incandescent power of the shining ones is only at the behest of the Elder Gods, the great minds that shift and stalk the Outer Pale. And they did come. Chaos and destruction, madness and mutation blossomed in their wake. They gorged themselves on the feast of souls. The mystics of Harrapa used every stratagem, corrupting the devas, detonating the shining ones, calling on the elements, entrapping demons and finally waking a primordal lord of chaos whose elemental might crushed Harrapa under miles of rock and water.
Harrapa was buried and the surface of Arcanus unrecognizable. And still, the avatars of the elder Gods live, entombed, slumbering, almost forgotten, without worshipers, waiting for celestial gravity to accumulate and grant them the power to slip free.
Once 8 great city states ruled by dragons filled the center of the continent. But the immensely powerful magic used by the dragon-kings drained life from the ground and the epic wars fought between the cities and against the Empire of Archeron to the south, left the plateau a sand filled wasteland. Each city was forged by the personality of it’s ruler so the ruins are quite different in form and layout.
The dragon kings were epic ranked sorcerer-psionist whose physical shape was altered by a transformation to a new advanced being, who appearance more dragonlike over time.
It is rumored that a different advanced being was responsible for the downfall of the dragon kings. Since that time divine king-priests ruled the sands (Marduk, Gilgamesh) until finally a single empire was forged along the remaining water source. This empire was differentiated by it’s practice of mummifying it’s kings. These dynastic kings have retired rather than just dying, often taking an entire army into death, their necropolises and pyramids being host to a legion of undead guarding their still animate Pharaoh for eternity…
Once the titans ruled the southern continent, in a state called Hyerkania. They taught man on this coast fire . At some point in the distant past their kingdom was thrown into the sea, it’s great remains still visible when the waters are clear.
The first magic of these men was fueled by demonic influence. The followers of Asmodeus built a bloody empire on the broken shore, appropriating some of the great halls of the titans for their foul practices. These are the ancestors of the teiflings, and the empire was known as Archeron. In the fanes of archeron lore was accumulated, learning and thought propagated. Conflict with the city states of Athas to the north and rebellion within Archeron threw down the empire. It is thought that the inhabitants of Corinthia are a mix of the original inhabitants with dark hair and a hooked nose, and the broad faced, light haired barbarians to the north who helped destroy Archeron. Despite the devastation the threads of literacy, logic and philosophy remained.