Requiem of the Four Realms
“The world of Zuura, like most places where so-called civilized beings meet, has a long and gory history of war. In antiquity, the wealthy city-state of Astin Vey began a campaign of conquest that would eventually swallow four fifths of the civilized world. The Magelords of Astin Vey were uncontested in their power, each one a nigh-demigod with his own twisted morality, her own area of magical expertise. One thing linked them: Magitechnology.
Specially, the harvesting and entrapment of souls, elemental energies, and extraplanar beings by means of a Soul Crystal and then using that energy to create works of magic and engineering. Of course that power was bent towards war, it was all but inevitable. Great iron-hided Striders clomped through settlements, searing rays lancing out from their heads to spear knights and commoners alike on beams of unimaginable heat. Airships blackened the sky with their numbers, dropping air-burst Alchemist’s Fire munitions over crops, herds, and people.
With the bulk of the world within their grasp, the Veyans calmed their conquest machine and shifted to a new goal: apotheosis. They believed, in their hubris, that their powers were such that they could truly become gods themselves. This arch-heresy was the last straw for the deities of the world, and in an unprecedented event, virtually every deity of every moral alignment dispatched living avatars to the world of Zuura. These Avatars anointed and blessed humans, elves, dwarves, even orcs and hobgoblins, and raised them up as living weapons to punish Astin Vey for their treachery. The war was swift and decisive, but also very damaging on the material and spirit of the plane of existence in which Zuura hung.
Unbelievably, the kilometer thick magical shield around their home city-state of Astin Vey could not be breached, even by the likes of Bahamut and Tiamat side by side, the Platinum Dragon swatting down airships and stomping upon warships as the Queen of Dragons assaulted the shield with all five of her potent breath weapons. Eventually, it was decided to seal the Veyans away since they could not be eradicated. The Avatars took back their blessings and charms, save from a worthy handful of truly valorous warriors, and they undertook a magickal working of such colossal power that the stars stopped moving in the night sky, the seasons ceased to turn, and other, subtler changes occurred in the world at large. It worked, and the Veyans were sealed. In one final act under the supervision of the Avatars, the leaders and heroes from all the diverse people of Zuura signed the Articles of the Pax Arcanum, forever swearing off heretical magitechnology and swearing to maintain vigilance against the possible return of Veyan Magelords to the world."
- “Being An History and Accounting of the Rise and Fall of the Veyan Empire, Cycle 3, Volume 14.” PI 680, by Corellius Blayne
The year is now PI 821, that is 821 years since the fall of the Imperium. While civilization regrew in the aftermath of the war, it was in a very confused and mixed together way. In most of the world, “racial homelands” of the intelligent species is an obsolete complex. The peoples of the world live and work together, frequently huddling in fortified settlements that act as Points of Light in a long, empty dark.
Chayla Truemattock, daughter of the disgraced explorer Farad Truemattock (yes, of the ballad ’Farad’s Folly’ fame, although the part about him bedding a goat is pure fabrication), has organized an expedition to continue her father’s quest: To locate the lost Dwarven Thanesmeet of Sahrkaru-dum. It was said that when every Dwarven settlement beneath the Eastern Autumnlands fell before the cannons, spells and beasts of the Magelords, Sahrkaur-dum held strong. For centuries, historians and generals have asked why and how that is. It also represents a rare untouched sample of a “racial homeland” settlement, which has both anthro- and dwarfopologists baying for its rediscovery. Along with about eighty skilled tradesmen, crafters, builders, miners and laborers, Chayla has hired numerous adventurers to aid her in this venture.