Two-thousand years ago, our Heroic Explorations setting wasn’t too different from Earth’s own Iron Age, with the addition of nonhuman races, powerful magic, and active gods. There are a number of powerful empires, but nothing on the scale of the earlier Atlantean or Elven civilizations. There are powerful Dwarven kingdoms as well, but the Elves are still sequestered away, and the other races don’t organize above the community level.
The ancient Atlantean wizard-kings had been sealed away by the Elves twenty-thousand years ago, but no spell lasts forever. Each had grown in almost unimaginable power during their exile, even compared to their earlier might. Their return to the world was heralded by death and destruction across the globe as each ancient established a domain, dominating the locals with pathetic ease. The only thing that could stand against the wizard kings were the other wizard kings.
Once again their battles rocked the world, and this time there were no immortal spirits to oppose them. In the end, it fell to Adventurers, who traveled to the realm of the gods and secured a great pact; the gods would seal away the wizard-kings, but in doing so they would have to leave with them. Mortals would be alone in their world, with only very rare connections to divinity.
The bargain was struck. The gods left, bringing the wizard-kings with them.
Life Goes On
Empires continued to rise and fall in the absence of the gods over the next thousand years. While the gods had gone, the religions left behind to venerate them remained potent political forces, providing spiritual guidance to their communities and shaping the course of geopolitics.
Many fell beasts were left behind by the wizard-kings, propagating and growing in power over the centuries that followed, unchecked by divine might, until the wilderness between cities became the monster-haunted nightmare we all know and love. Left behind, too, are the numerous Dungeons of ages gone by, scars on the face of the world, resources to be exploited by those with the guile and willpower to wager their life against the unknown.
- 400,00 BCE: Atlantis founded, beginning the era of human domination.
- 20,000 BCE: Atlantean civil war. Island sinks. Elves begin clean up efforts
- 18,000 BCE: Era of elven dominance begins. Those elves that reject the plan become the first Ranger order.
- 15,000 BCE: Human slaves throw off yoke of elven oppression; Avalon removed from time and space
- 13,000 BCE: First human civilizations arise. Indus Valley/Catal Hyuk equivalents.
- 9,000 BCE: Humans in late neolithic
- 4,000 BCE: City state unions. Like Mesopotamia, Minoan on Earth.
- 3,000 BCE: Writing rediscovered. Arcane magic isn’t far behind. The first small kingdoms.
- 2,000 BCE: First empires. Call it the Bronze Age.
- 800 BCE: The Etatian Empire is founded.
- 0 CE: World War Wizard. Ancient Atlantean Wizard Kings return. The Gods seal them away, but are themselves removed. Dawn of the Common Era.
- 200 CE: The Empire of Etat falls due to internal conflict and pressure from barbarian tribes.
- 1000 CE: A conquering adventurer unites many of Etat’s former provinces and declares it a new Etatian Empire.
- 1200 CE: The provinces of Vaquero are conquered by the Alem Caliphate
- 1300 CE: The Last Wizard-King returns, and in thwarting him Avalon is returned to the world. The Elves decide to remain aloof.
- 1325 CE: Vaquero expels the Alem invaders, and opts to remain a separate nation rather than rejoin Etatia.
- 1480 CE: The Norse kingdoms form the Staten, in order to compete with modern nation-states.
- 1490 CE: The Vaqueran army fails to invade Avalon. The Elves decide they cannot simply sit out eternity, and begin establishing colonies with surprising efficiency.
So, there we go. Call the current year 1500, reckoning from the defeat of the Wizard Kings. We have given ourselves a rich history to dig through when designing our world of magic, mystery, danger, and excitement.