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The Age of Blackmoorby James Mishler
Tserdain, 3rd of Yarthmont
NOTE: Most map references regard the Outer-World Precataclysmic Map of the Hollow World Boxed Set, though if you have the Blackmoor maps from the DA series, you will understand even more...
ANOTHER NOTE: The climate of Mystara during this period tended to be warmer on the average than in the "Modern" times of the Thyatian Empire; thus, the Temperate Zone reached higher into the upper latitudes, as did the Sub-Tropical Zone. The poles eventually came to be covered in small ice caps that thoroughly hid the holes to the Hollow World from the sights and technology of the Blackmoorians (except to the rare intrepid explorer who made it there on foot. Of course, most of their tales of a Hollow World dominated by Dinosaurs and Cave Men were rejected outright by the general populace as the ravings of madmen).
YET ANOTHER NOTE: During this period the land masses of Mystara were divided into two major groups, the Northern Continent, which consisted of "Brun" in the west and "Skothar" in the east, and the Southern Continent, "Davania". For simplicities sake I have divided references to the Northern Continent into those pertaining to the western portion "Brun" and those pertaining to the eastern portion "Skothar", and used those names thusly, even though they were considered a single continent throughout the period.
STILL ANOTHER NOTE: Technomancy is a word some of you might be familiar with; basically, it is the fusion between Technology and Magic (e.g., the Flying City of Serraine from PC2 is a Technomantic device, as are the various Gnomish and Dwarven "technologies" from Gaz 6 & 7). The terms Technomancy and Technology often seem to be used interchangeably in this history; this is because to the Blackmoorians, Advanced Technology was, in their way of thinking, an outgrowth of Technomancy. And on Mystara, it actually is, for certain aspects of RW scientific principles DO NOT WORK WITHOUT MAGIC in the Mystaran Solar System, or for that matter, in this corner of the Mystaran Galaxy. Some day, I promise, I will get around to explaining all this further... suffice to say that the reason that the TECHNOLOGY of the FSS Beagle didn't work was because it was not developed with the TECHNOMANCY that was required for it to work properly in this corner of the Galaxy.
LAST NOTE, I PROMISE, REALLY I DO: PLEASE understand that I do NOT represent this History to be Canonical Mystaran history by any means! However, I DO feel that it is a *valid interpretation* of the history of Mystara as based on the facts at hand, and does not in any way, shape or form contravene Canon. It does, however, extrapolate from Canonical materials and clarifies certain parts of Canon. Above all, this history is presented to be enjoyed and used as a springboard for your own adventures and explorations into Mystara...
10,000 through 8000 BC
By 10,000 BC the Wurm Glacial Period had come to an end. The Northern Continent, the Cradle of Human Civilisation, was slowly emerging from the long period of barbarism. The Brute-Men, a race of Humans adapted to the frigid conditions of the glacial period, were slowly being supplanted by the more prolific and technologically successful Modern Human races, the Oltec, Neathar and Tangor peoples. The Oltecs were native to the continent of Brun, the Tangor to the continent of Skothar. The Neathar peoples originated in the harsh arctic region that connected the two continents, the "Frosthaven Land Bridge". The Dwarves, an offshoot of the Brute-Men race, lived in the hills and mountains of the continent of Brun; they were not, at this time, a subterranean race. By this time they had already domesticated the goat and the dog. Giants were still active in Brun in that day, though their Golden Age was long passed; except for the Kingdom of Gandhar in the northern "Dawn Territories", there were no organised Giantish realms that had survived the glaciers. (Humans were in the Palaeolithic stage; Dwarves and Giants were in the Mesolithic stage, having long-forgotten their great glories of the past; some groups of Giants had maintained a Bronze Age level of technology, but they were for the most part xenophobic and isolated).
The Southern Continent was even more active in the renewal following the glaciation. Ordana, an Immortal of the Sphere of Time, purged several clans of Yuan-Ti of their Serpentine nature, and from this core of beings formed the Elven race. The Elves inhabited the forests in the southwestern section of Davania, along with numerous groups of Faeries (Sidhe, Sprites, Pixies, etc). The Enduks inhabited the north-western section of Davania, where they were slowly building a civilisation under the patronage of the Immortal Ixion. Their land was also home to many of the other creations of the Serpentines, such as Shedu, Lammassu and Sphinxes. The Lizard Men, Nagas and Yuan-Ti inhabited the north-eastern section of Davania, where they were dominated by the remnants of the Serpentine Empire. The Halflings (Hin) were also native to the Southern Continent, in the central regions; they had evolved from escaped proto-human slaves of the ancient Serpentine Empire (successor to the Carnifex Tyranny). (Elves were in the Chalcolithic stage (Copper and Stone), as were the Enduks; the Lizard Men and Serpentines were in the Iron Age, but were quite sedentary; the Hin were in the Mesolithic).
8000 through 6000 BC
By 8000 BC the population of the Neathar clans began to outstrip the ability of their technology to subsist in their lands, and whole clans and tribes began drifting into the southern lands of Brun and Skothar. Neathar clans and tribes began moving into lands already inhabited by the Tangor and Oltec peoples; war was the result as often as not, with the conquered tribes often being absorbed into the conquering tribe. Differentiation and assimilation began, and new tribes evolved over time, with technology developing further, especially war technology. Also at this time the Oltecs learned how to domesticate the dog and the goat, a trick they learned from the Dwarves; this technology quickly spread to the Neathar and thence to the Tangor. The Dwarves had by this time domesticated numerous plants, most importantly Barley, which became the staple of their diet (as bread and beer). Giants began domesticating various creatures, from Polar Bears to Dire Wolves; some of the isolated Giantish groups had contacted their kin by this time, bringing many groups out of the Stone Age into the Bronze Age, including the Kingdom of Gandhar. (Humans were in the Mesolithic stage; Dwarves were in the Chalcolithic stage; Giant groups varied from Mesolithic to Bronze Age).
The Elves in the far south had not changed overly much over the last 2000 years; they lived in a state of harmony with their Faerie brethren, their homeland a veritable paradise. In the west the Enduks continued their stately climb to civilisation, having domesticated various plants and animals (notably potatoes and the Llama); they had also built great stone towers from which they were better able to view the sun and the stars, as astrology had become a major part of their faith by this time. Around this time the Lizard Men rebelled against their Serpentine masters, and the Serpentine Empire fell into anarchy. Groups of renegade Lizard Men formed their own kingdoms throughout northeastern Davania, notably in the "Aryptian Basin", centred around a slowly drying lake. The Nagas had also set up their own kingdom in the far-eastern section of Davania (from "Yasuko Tribal Lands" to the south and east); the Yuan-Ti remained loyal to their Serpentine masters. The Hin, isolated from the rest of the continent by expanding deserts and massive mountains, developed slowly, enjoying a peaceful, near idyllic state. (Elves remained in the Chalcolithic; Enduks were in the Early Bronze Age; the Serpentines remained in the Iron Age, and their rebel Lizard Men servants had fallen mostly into the Stone Age, while the Lizard Men civilisations around Lake Arypt had maintained a Bronze Age technology; the Hin had entered the Chalcolithic).
6000 through 5500 BC
By 6000 BC the Oltecs had begun to use beaten copper and gold, and had domesticated several plants, notably Maize (they learned this process from trade with the Dwarves). The Neathar and Tangor peoples were still hunters and gatherers, living in light plains and forests. Their technology continued to develop apace, however, as the need for more land became even more important as their populations grew. The Tangor had begun to domesticate the Aurochs, and both cultures had domesticated the dog. The Dwarves had discovered bronze (either independently or from the Giants), and with a burgeoning population, many Dwarven clans began migrating out from their ancient homeland. A fair number of Dwarven clans reached Skothar, where they settled in and around the mountains in the north, where the only major tin deposits on the continent were found. The Giants continued their simple existence, now and again warring with the Dwarves who would try to steal their tin, bronze and gold. (The Oltecs had leapt into the Chalcolithic, while the Neathar and Tangor entered the Neolithic; the Dwarves were in the Bronze Age; the Giants continued to remain fairly steady, technology wise, and several groups remained in the Stone Age out of sheer stubbornness).
The Elves continued to be sheltered, protected and nurtured by the Faeries and by the will of Ordana; they did not need to work or suffer. The Enduk civilisation was in full flower; they had begun to build an Empire. By this time the Enduks had spread from the "Adakkian Sound" in the east to the "Far-End Ocean" in the west, and from the "Izondian Deep" in the north to the "Jungles of Pelatan" in the south. They had some contact with the Hin, who by this time had spread from their valleys and hills north of the "Ice Peaks" to the shores of the "Adakkian Sound". The Hin, whose population had become too large for their territory, benefited from the lessons in agriculture and technology that the Enduks taught them. They adopted these techniques just in time to adapt them to defence, for large groups of Lizard Men began drifting in from the east. The Lizard Men civilisation in the "Aryptian Basin" had fallen, as "Lake Arypt" dried up completely in the mid 62nd century BC. The Lizard Men of that region, more advanced than their cousins surrounding them, spread out across the eastern portion of the continent, conquering all the local Lizard Men kingdoms, spreading Bronze Age technology throughout the region. Invading Lizard Men shattered the Kingdom of the Nagas; numerous Naga clans retreated across the "Cestian Land Bridge" to that peninsula, while the remaining Nagas continued to resist the Lizard Men barbarians in their successor kingdoms. A number of the Bronze Age Lizard Men barbarians rejoined the Serpentine Empire, breathing new life into that tottering regime. (The Elves, again, remained in the Chalcolithic; the Enduks and the Hin had entered the Bronze Age; and the Serpentines continued to exist in the Iron Age, while the surrounding Lizard Men and Naga Kingdoms were in the Bronze Age).
5500 through 5000 BC
In 5500 BC Chromatic Dragons, huge powerful beings from another galaxy, arrived on Brun in the lands inhabited by the Dwarves and decimated the Dwarven civilisation (which lay in and around the "Wyrmsteeth Range"). The Chromatic Dragons formed their own Draconian Empire, and began enslaving numerous Neathar clans in the region. The Oltecs, now in the Bronze Age, were continually harassed by the Draconian Empire to the northeast, and their development in the more esoteric elements of culture were subsequently stunted while defence became the most important issue. On Skothar the Dwarven migration had combined with the continuous Neathar drift to cause intense cultural revolution among the Human cultures. The Neathar of Skothar and the Tangor had quickly assimilated the metallurgical and agricultural skills brought to the region by the Dwarves, and as a result whole new societies developed nearly overnight. The Human population of the middle lands of Skothar jumped from the Neolithic straight into the Bronze Age. Several kingdoms sprung up overnight, mostly to the south of the Dwarven lands, where the land was easier to farm and there weren't as many monsters inimical to Humankind. Among the new kingdoms was a small realm known as Thonia. The Thonians were the first Human culture on Skothar to domesticate plants, notably Wheat (like Dwarven Bronze, Barley spread to the Human population, but the Humans also domesticated other plant species). The Dwarves of Brun had been decimated and enslaved by the Chromatic Dragons; the only remaining free Dwarven lands were found on Skothar, to which a very few Dwarves from Brun were able to flee with their tale. The Dwarves of Skothar, hoping to assist their brethren on Brun, began developing new weapon technologies with which to combat the Draconian menace, as the scales of the Dragons were more than a match for the Bronze weaponry of the Dwarves. The Dwarves developed Iron, which was rather more capable than Bronze of dealing with the tough armour of the Dragons. The Giants of Brun, though caught off guard by the Draconian invasion, were more than able to hold their own against the Dragons. Some groups of Giants joined the Draconian Empire, while a larger number left their ancient homelands and immigrated to the Kingdom of Gandhar, which successfully resisted all Draconian attempts at invasion. (The Chromatic Dragons didn't have any technology, as they relied on brute strength and innate magic to get what they wanted; the Dwarves of Brun and the Oltecs were in the Bronze Age, while the Neathar of Brun were in the Neolithic; the northern Neathar of Skothar remained in the Neolithic, as did the southern groups of Tangor, but the Human tribes and kingdoms of the central regions were Bronze Age; the Giants, again, varied from Stone Age to Bronze Age).
The Metallic Dragons, ancient enemies of the Chromatic Dragons, arrived on Davania in the area inhabited by the Enduks. The arrival of the Metallic Dragons, unlike the arrival of the Chromatic Dragons, was not an invasion. Ixion, the Patron Immortal of the Enduks, had been contacted by Odin, the Patron Immortal of the Metallic Dragons, regarding the coming invasion by the Chromatic Dragons. The two Immortals had decided that a union between their peoples would be the best way to keep the Chromatic Dragons from taking over all of Mystara, and thus the Enduks were given Prophesies of the coming of the Metallic Dragons that were to be their allies. The new empire founded by the Metallic Dragons and the Enduks was known as the Golden Empire, for the leadership among the Metallic Dragons, and thus the Empire, was generally in the hands of the Golden Dragons. The Metallic Dragons, unlike their Chromatic enemies, had knowledge of many forms of technologies, and quickly brought the Enduks into the Iron Age, that they might better combat the Chromatic Dragons. The Elves of the south continued to live in their paradise, though the new developments in the world around the Elves had started to make Ordana reconsider the nature of her protection of the Elves. To the east, the Serpentine Empire was on the move again after long millennia of quiet existence. The Lizard Men Legions of the Empire quickly conquered the majority of the independent Lizard Men kingdoms and barbarian tribes, and then went on to gobble up the Naga Kingdoms of the east (though the barbaric Naga clans of the "Cestian Peninsula" were left alone). Thousands of refugee Lizard Men made the difficult trek across the still growing "Meghales Amosses Desert" to the lands of the Hin, where they were initially unwelcome. However, the Enduk allies of the Hin let them know that the Lizard Men would be made welcome in their empire, as servants. Most of the Lizard Men gladly joined the Golden Empire, where though they were second class citizens (slaves, actually), they enjoyed an infinitely better existence than they would have had they remained in the Serpentine Empire. The advance of the Serpentine Empire was halted at the northern edge of the "Meghales Amosses Desert" by an army of Metallic Dragons, Enduks, Lizard Men and Hin. Though the Serpentine Empire had a number of Elder Dragons at its disposal, the costs of battling such an alliance would have been too costly, so the expansion of the Serpentines was halted then and there. (The Elves, again, remained in the Chalcolithic; the Enduks were Iron Age, as were the Hin; the Serpentine Empire was still Iron Age, though many of the conquered Lizard Men remained in the Bronze Age).
5000 through 4500 BC
On Brun, the Draconian Empire continued to grow, pushing the Oltecs deeper and deeper into the forests, hills and mountains. The continuous advance of the Chromatic Dragons kept the Oltecs from developing their civilisation any further, save the addition of Iron Age technology, which they learned from bands of vengeful Dwarves that arrived from Skothar. Assistance came from far to the south: the Golden Empire provided military and magical aid to the Oltecs in order that they could resist the attacks of the Chromatic Dragons. A fair number of Oltec clans fled to Davania with the assistance of the Metallic Dragons and the Enduks. The Neathar slaves of the Chromatic Dragons were not easily broken, and the Chromatic Dragons often had to put down slave uprisings. Many Neathar escaped to the west, where they hid in the deep forests of the northern wilderness of Brun, living a Stone Age existence. The Dwarves of the Draconian Empire were as wilful as the Neathar, though a number of clans became the willing servants of the Chromatic Dragons. Many Dwarven clans escaped underground, where they adapted to a subterranean lifestyle.
On Skothar, the Kingdom of Thonia, which had been the first kingdom to adopt Dwarven iron and learn its secrets, had conquered most of its civilised and barbarian neighbours to become the predominant nation on the continent. In 5000 BC a revolution on the part of the nobility against the Royal Family engendered the creation of the Republic of Thonia, and the first Imperial, or ruling council was elected. The majority of the Thonian population was of a combined Neathar/Tangor extraction; tall, lean build, olive or dusky skin with long, flowing black or brown hair and black or brown eyes. The northern principalities were populated by Neathar folk, while the southern principalities were Tangor in origin. The tribes outside the Empire evolved rapidly through contact with the Empire, either by trade or war.
The Neathar clans of the far north of Skothar had adopted Odin as their Patron Immortal, as he was the enemy of Hel, the Patron Immortal of the Draconian Empire to the west. These clans became known as the Skandaharians, and they became well known for their seamanship, for they controlled the Skandaharian Sea and raided the southlands via the North Sea, the Black Sea and the Western Sea (Skandaharian Sea = uppermost landlocked sea on Skothar, North Sea = "Sea of Brun", Black Sea = southernmost landlocked sea on Skothar, Western Sea = "Alphatian Sea"). Though they were mighty on the sea the power of the Skandaharians was much reduced on land, as they continued to live their clannish existence, and their military tactics remained barbaric. Thus, they never conquered any lands, merely raided.
The lands between the Skandaharians and the Thonian Empire remained a region of unwholesome swamps, forests, plains and wastes, home to dozens of primitive, nomadic and barbarian Neathar tribes. These included the barbaric Afridhi and the nomadic Peshwah, as well as the ancient Dwarven realm of the Regent of the Mines. The Northern Marches, as it was known by the Thonians, was never well mapped or settled during this period, as the riches of the south had beckoned to the Thonian masters. The border between the Empire and the Northlands was set at the Taff River, and there it stood throughout the period of the First and Second Republics.
The Tangor of the far south, from the "Bellissarian Peninsula" in the west to the great mountains east of "Tangor Bay" had adopted no overall identity, and were quite diverse. Each clan, tribe or kingdom was separate and distinct, and the variety of cultures throughout the Tangor region was astonishing (this included the original Karimari Peoples, now found in the Ulimwengu Reserve on the Serpent Peninsula). From the beginnings of their empire, the Thonians coveted the rich spices, mines and pastures of the Tangor, and continually invaded their territories. While the Thonians initially had easy victories against the disunited tribes of the Tangor, they were eventually beaten back by alliances of the various tribes, who came together in the face of a common enemy. No great empires ever formed amongst the Tangor, however, and much like the Skandaharians they remained disunited.
Far to the south Ordana had decided that the childhood of the Elves was over. As the world around them had advanced, and the Elves had not, it was decided that the Elves would be free to live and survive on their own. They were brought into the Iron Age literally overnight, through the magic of the Faeries and the Immortal Ordana. Allied with the Golden Empire to the north, the various Elven kingdoms began a meteoric rise rivalled only by that of the Thonians of Skothar. The Elves spread out from their forested lands in the south to the "Jungles of Pelatan" in the north. Many clans migrated far and wide; several clans even settled far to the north, on Skothar, in the forests of the Northern Marches. They brought with them several clans of Halflings, who settled in the meadows and fields. Both groups travelled to the lands near to Thonia that they might keep tabs on the developments in the Human kingdoms of that region, and report back to the Golden Empire and the Elven Realms.
The Golden Empire grew in might and power. It assisted the Oltecs of Brun in whatever manner possible, as they were bearing the brunt of the aggression of the Draconian Empire. Numerous Oltec immigrants swelled the ranks of the population of the Empire; these peoples quickly adopted the language and trappings of Enduk civilisation. Many of these people settled among the Hin to the west, where they assisted them in their battles against the incursions of the Lizard Men of the Serpentine Empire. The Serpentine Empire continued to send war parties into the lands of the Hin, mostly for the amusement of the Serpentine Masters. Once again, hemmed in by the Golden Empire and the seas, the Serpentine Empire began rotting, and fell into decadence. Late in this period the Empire fell into a minor civil war; the losing side gathered together as much wealth and magic as possible and fled in one of the ancient Flying Vessels.
(By this point, pretty much everyone, save a few fringe groups like the Neathar of Brun and several Tangor tribes of Skothar, was in the Iron Age. Those who weren't were usually quickly conquered by other kingdoms).
4500 through 4000 BC
By this time the advances of the Draconian Empire had been halted by the combined efforts of the Golden Empire and the Oltec tribesmen. At this point Hel decided that the Chromatic Dragons needed a servitor race that was more tractable, or at least more capable of being intimidated than the Human Neathar, and that were definitely more prolific than the Dwarves. Thus, she created the Beastmen, a wild, chaotic race which did not breed true. The Beastmen were a thoroughly vile race, created from the reincarnated souls of evil beings. They readily cooperated with their masters, the Chromatic Dragons, and the remaining Neathar and Dwarven slaves of the Draconian Empire were either slain or escaped to join their brethren elsewhere.
Three great hordes of Beastmen were immediately sent out against the enemies of the Draconian Empire. The largest was sent to the south against the Oltecs; the second largest, against the Neathar; and the smallest was sent across the "Frosthaven Land Bridge", straight into the lands of the Skandaharians, the followers of Odin. Whole clans were sent into the tunnels of the Dwarves, to root them out and destroy them. Great slaughter occurred across the Northern Continent. The Oltecs were again pushed back by the Beastmen invasion; their very existence at stake, the Golden Empire sent massive reinforcements, and the Beastmen invasion was halted, though the Oltecs had lost a lot of territory. The horde sent against the Neathar was chewed up in the deep forests, as the Neathar had adopted guerrilla tactics; already semi-nomadic, it was easy for the Neathar to use their knowledge of the land to their advantage. The survivors of that Beastmen horde decided not to return to the Draconian Empire, and instead they retreated to the north and west, to settle in the "Borean Valley". The last horde was continually harried by the Skandaharians, who viewed the Beastmen as worthy opponents, and would not leave the Beastmen alone even when they tried to escape. Eventually, a major force of the Beastmen fled into the Northlands, where they settled far away from any of the human lands. Another force fled into the lands of the Afridhi, where they were utterly extirpated, and thus the mountains of the Afridhi earned the name "Goblin Kush", or "Goblin Killer" (the Beastmen were known to the Thonians as Goblins, or sometimes as Orcs). The Beastmen that had been send into the Dwarven delvings had no more success than their brethren; few returned to the surface.
The Thonian Empire was also invaded by several Beastmen hordes, which caused the collapse of the Second Republic. When order was finally restored to the Empire, and the Third Republic firmly in place, it was decided that the Taff was not a suitable border, and that more manpower was needed to keep the barbarians and monsters from howling out of the north. The new borders were to be the Misagua River in the west and the Black Sea to the north; a wall, known as Joloxon's Wall after the Emperor who had it built, was built across the narrowest point of land between the North Sea and the Black Sea (the "Hadrian's Wall" of the Thonians, it came to be known as "Joloxon's Folly" after that region sank and turned into the Shallows in 4040 BC). The opportunities in the North were many, and though colonists migrated in moderate numbers, the Thonian lords still didn't feel that the North was being populated quickly enough. Thus, many subjects became the unwilling colonists of the Northlands, sent there upon being convicted of any minor crime, or even on trumped up charges. Slowly the north became peopled with Thonians, who came into conflict with the native Neathar, Dwarf, Elf, Halfling and Beastmen populations.
Early in this period a strange Wizard built a city high in the Superstition Mountains; he named this city Starport, and the realm he built around it the Duchy of the Peaks. All manner of vile men and women were attracted to the wealth he offered for their services. Strange magics and decadent entertainments were the rule in Starport, such that even the Skandaharians chose to avoid the realm more often than they chose to raid it. Wealth continued to pour out of the city, seemingly in unlimited amounts. Many Wizards were trained in the city, and they spread across the wilds of the Northlands, where they settled in their towers and conducted vile experiments.
Time passed in the Northlands, and more land came under cultivation by the Thonians. The city of Maus was built, as was Blackmoor and Vestfold, and eventually even the lands across the Misagua River were settled by outcast Thonians. While the Northlands were still hardly more than borderlands, the lords of the Thonian Empire felt that they were once again safe from the threats of barbarians and monsters, and again the Thonians turned inward, and their empire began to crumble from within. Peace reigned for several hundred years as the empire festered in its own quietude. Then, near the end of that period, the Northlands began to experience unusual events, strange occurrences and violent migrations with increasing regularity.
First came a coup in the Duchy of the Peaks in 4050 BC; the old Duke was overthrown and fled to parts unknown. A steady stream of claimants to his throne disappeared in coup after coup, until one held onto the throne, and peace again settled on the realm. The wealth of the Duchy had apparently disappeared with the old Duke, as the new Duke resorted to renting out his armies as mercenaries in order to generate the funds needed to maintain the extravagant lifestyle of the city of Starport. Then, in 4040 BC, the lands north of the city of Maus began sinking into the seas, while at the same time a spur of land began rising from the western bay of the Black Sea. Shortly thereafter the master of that noxious land, the Egg of Coot, announced that he intended to bring the entirety of the Northlands under his dominion; his claim was backed up the incredible power of his magics and his strange technologies. During this period the Duchy of Ten successfully defended itself from the advances of the Empire, setting the stage for further rebellion in the north. Shortly thereafter the Skandaharian raids increased several fold, as their chances at raiding Maus, Blackmoor and Vestfold doubled with the sinking of the Shallows. And then, to top everything off, the Afridhi began their vicious journey to the Empire, conquering land after land, with no assistance from the Empire forthcoming. The entire North exploded into rebellion.
Nothing changed drastically on the Southern Continent during this period. The Golden Empire continued its support of the Oltecs on Brun. The Elves of the Kingdom of Evergrun rose to rule the entire southern lands of the Elves, and declared themselves an Empire (which they had been from the beginning save in name). The Elves of the "Jungles of Pelatan" joined the empire as the colony of Grunland. The Hin, allies of the Golden Empire and the Empire of Evergrun, formed a confederation between their various kingdoms, baronies, shires and republics, called the United Hin Dominions. The Serpentine Empire took little note, as it had fallen even deeper into self-absorbed debauchery and xenophobia.
4000 through 3500 BC
In 4000 BC the Thonian Northlands, led by King Uther Andahar, rose in rebellion against the Thonian Empire. Against all odds, and against all enemies, the Kingdom of Blackmoor arose victorious. During the rebellion, a strange craft from a far- distant part of the Prime Plane fell from the skies into the Valley of the Ancients. Technology from this craft, the FSS Beagle, slowly disseminated throughout the North, and the already extremely active University of Blackmoor began working overtime on the possibilities represented in the technologies from the vessel. The Kingdom of Blackmoor quickly assumed supremacy on Skothar, primarily through the use of the new and innovative magics and technologies from the University, placed in the hands of people with the will and ability to take advantage of the windfall. The lands of the Elves, Dwarves and Halflings of The North joined wholeheartedly in these efforts, and as a result, the three races were made citizens of the growing kingdom.
By 3900 BC the Empire of Thonia had crumbled into ten major principalities and numerous minor duchies, counties and baronies, all squabbling amongst themselves in the ruins of their forebears. Blackmoor quickly moved in to fill the power vacuum. By 3800 BC, the year that the new magical science, Technomancy, was added to the curriculum at the University of Blackmoor, Blackmoor had entered the early Renaissance. The neighbouring regions, Skandaharia, Thonia and the northern Tangor kingdoms followed more slowly, remaining decades behind in technology and magics. The Technomantic development of reliable and readily available Black Powder Weaponry in 3750 BC changed the nature of warfare. Using their new technologies, Blackmoor finally put an end to the menace of the Afridhi Empire in 3680 BC; the Afridhi Army and Priesthood had to be slain to every last man and woman before the Afridhi Territories were pacified and annexed by the Kingdom. The majority of the Afridhi were sold into slavery in the Thonian Principalities and in the Tangor kingdoms. The extermination of the Goblin Races (the Beastmen of Skothar), always a goal of the Thonian High Church and many others, came to be a reality in 3650 BC, when the last known tribe of Goblins was extirpated. The Blackmoorians enforced the "Pax Technologica" on the Thonian Principalities in 3620 BC (The Treaty of Dragonia), and recreated the ancient Thonian Empire in a revitalised form. Still a hundred years behind Blackmoor in weapons development, the numerous states of the new "Empire" were forced to recognise the King of Blackmoor as the Holy Thonian Emperor and Patriarch of the Thonian High Church (still based in Mohacs). The Kingdom of Blackmoor itself was never formally inducted into the Holy Thonian Empire.
Naval technology proceeded apace, and Blackmoor began exploring the world at large. By 3600 BC Blackmoorian explorers had mapped most of Brun and Davania, and discovered Empires and Kingdoms that had been merely myth and legend for hundreds of years. Many of these explorers never returned, but those that did told fantastic tales of the lands they saw and the riches they could acquire. They also brought back solid evidence of the existence of "Goblinfolk" on the continent of Brun. The Patriarch of the Thonian High Church (the Brother of the then current King and Emperor) declared the beginning of a Great Crusade against the Goblin Races (The Declaration of Purity, 3500 BC), which, combined with support for colonisation and exploration on the part of the King and Emperor marked the beginning of the Blackmoorian Colonial Era.
The developments on Skothar turned the attention of the Draconian Empire away from the Oltecs. The Dwarves under the lands of the Chromatic Dragons began counterattacking, and actually pushed the Dragons and their Beastmen servitors out of many of the mountain valleys. The Dwarves declared their reconquered lands the Free Dwarven Principalities. Unburdened of continual attacks by the Chromatic Dragons, the Oltecs were finally able to develop their civilisation beyond simple, spartan defence. The Oltecs turned to the mystical and magical arts, and developed them in coordination with the Golden Empire of the Southern Continent, which colonised the southern reaches of the "Serpent Peninsula". The Oltec tribes formed kingdoms, and by the end of the era, a single kingdom had risen to such prominence that it declared itself the Oltec Empire.
Again, this era, like the last, was pretty uneventful on the Southern Continent. The only major events were the arrival of several Blackmoorian ships during the later part of the era, the settling of the Enduk Colony on Brun, and the acquisition of Black Powder Weapon Technology by the Elves (stolen from Blackmoor by their allies at Ringlo Hall). The Blackmoorian explorers that arrived in the lands of the Serpent Men disappeared, while the explorers that landed along the shores of the Golden Empire were treated politely, shown the power of the Empires Armies and thence were guided back to their ships. The explorers that arrived among the Hin and Elves were well treated, for these groups were well aware of the treatment that their cousins in the north had received. Needless to say, the Blackmoorians were extremely surprised and unsettled to discover Black Powder Weapons in use in the Elven Empire, but they had figured that the development was independent, as the Elves had made sure that their designs were distinct from those of the Blackmoorians.
3500 through 3400 BC
By 3500 BC the geopolitical situation on Mystara appeared thusly: On the Northern Continent, the Kingdom of Blackmoor was the greatest power by far, with the Holy Thonian Empire in its pocket and all other states of the continent of Skothar well cowed through the use of Blackmoorian Technomancy. The other states of Skothar, the various minor Skandaharian and Tangor kingdoms, remained free mostly due to the lack of interest on the part of the Blackmoorians, who felt more was to be earned through less effort overseas. On Brun, the Draconian Empire was beginning to quake under the concerted attacks of the Dwarves of the Free Dwarven Principalities. To the west lay the newly emerging Oltec Empire, grown powerful in magical and mystical prowess. In the northwest were two peoples, distinct from each other and intermittently at war. Most numerous were the prolific Beastmen of Borea, living their primitive existence in the tundra and taiga of the north. In the great mid-continental forests lay the domain of the Neathar, majestic in their Stone Age barbaric splendour. Here and their lay remnants of the former ages; the ancient Kingdom of Gandhar, land of the Giants, and the mysterious land of the Aranea, who were hidden in their deep rain forests along the northwestern coast. (The Blackmoorians were at a level about equal to the RWs Late- Renaissance/Early Colonial (with the odd bit of SuperScience), the Holy Thonian Empire in the Early Renaissance, and the Skandaharians and the Tangor were in the Late Middle Ages. On Brun the Beastmen of Draconia, the Dwarves and the Oltecs were all in the Early Middle Ages, while the Beastmen and Neathar of the north were in the Stone Age).
On the Southern Continent, the lands were divided up among the four power blocs, and there was a very simple balance of powers and alliances. In the northeast lay the decadent but still powerful Serpentine Empire, enemy of all else that lived. In the far south and southwest lay the Empire of Evergrun and its colonies, including Grunland. In the northwest lay the Golden Empire of the Metallic Dragons and the Enduks, eternal enemies of the Draconian Empire and the Serpentine Empire. And in the middle lay the United Hin Dominions, allied with both the Golden Empire and the Empire of Evergrun, while taking the brunt of the rare forays out of the Serpentine Empire. (All these lands were in the Late Middle Ages, save the Elves, who had risen to the level of Mid Renaissance through their connections on Skothar. Though the Golden Empire and the Serpentine Empire had access to much higher levels of technological knowledge, they simply had not as yet seen the need to bring that knowledge to bear).
By 3500 BC Blackmoor had over a dozen minor colonies from Evergrun through the Oltec lands. Little more than trading posts, these colonies paved the way for later invasions, both militarily and culturally. Blackmoor began colonising Brun wholesale, specifically in the southern "Dawn Territories", which were then known as New Thonia. The peoples of New Thonia enslaved the local Oltec population (who were not under the aegis of the Oltec Empire). United with the Dwarves of the Free Dwarven Principalities, the Thonian High Church began a genocidal crusade against the Beastmen of Draconia, invoking the wrath of the Draconian Empire (the First Beastmen Crusade, 3480 through 3420 BC). The Chromatic Dragons discovered during that war that they had been unwise to eschew the advancement of technology, as many of them died under the volleys of the Blackmoorian guns. In the end, the Chromatic Dragons were forced to make a treaty with the Kingdom of Blackmoor (The Treaty of Gandhar, 3420 BC) that not only forced them to renounce their alliance with the Beastmen, but also forced them to recognise the Free Dwarven Principalities and cede the lands to the south to Blackmoor. Rather than be slaughtered, many Draconian Beastmen fled to the north, where they joined their brethren in the "Borean Valley". Many of the functions formerly held by Beastmen in the Draconian Empire were thereafter performed by Human slaves bought from Blackmoor or the newly formed Azcan Empire (mostly Neathar and Oltecs).
During the First Beastmen Crusade a rift occurred in the Oltec culture. The Azcans, one of the conquered barbarian Oltec groups, declared their independence from the Oltec Empire, formed the Azcan Empire, and began to wage a genocidal war on their former masters. The Azcans embraced what little Blackmoorian technology was available; with the Black Powder Weaponry of the Blackmoorians they not only held their own against the formidable might of the Oltec armies, but they were also able to gain no small number of victories over the Oltecs. Many of the captured Oltecs were sold into slavery, in trade for the Black Powder Weapons of the Blackmoorians (who only sold them the guns and the powder, not the technology to make them). Thousands of Oltecs fled the wars by migrating northwest of the "Black Mountains", where they lived in the plains, tundra and taiga of that fierce land, among the westernmost Beastmen tribes.
The Neathar of Brun were not unaffected by these developments. Their language rapidly evolved into numerous dialects, and the cultural unity felt by the tribes began to break down. Independent Neathar tribes no longer recognised a kinship or common origin with their neighbours. The wars with the Beastmen to the north flared up, as the population of that land expanded dramatically with the influx from the east. The Beastmen quickly began advancing into Neathar territory. The Neathar were quickly brought out of the Stone Age and into the Iron Age through war and by contact with traders from the Free Dwarven Principalities (which included no small number of Blackmoorian traders with their technological wares). Armed with the Black Powder Weapons of Blackmoor, the Neathar were able to hold their own against the Beastmen.
During this century Blackmoor conducted intermittent trade and war with the Elves of Evergrun. The technology of the Elves, Hin and the Golden Empire progressed rapidly as they adopted more and more from the Blackmoorians (again, through Elven and Hin connections on Skothar, though all three powers had begun to develop their own technologies, and several Universities were quite actively engaged in Technomantic research). The Elves were the middle men for trade between the Golden Empire and Blackmoor, as the Golden Empire had closed its doors to the Blackmoorians, and had successfully repelled any violent attempts to enforce trade. The Hin traded openly with the Blackmoorians, gave them lucrative tariff and duty treaties, and even ceded several small port cities to them that trade might be facilitated easier (actually, the Hin didn't want the Blackmoorians tramping all over their countryside, so they kept them contained in a few areas). Some little trade, mostly in contraband items, came out of the Serpentine Empire (specialty slaves, drugs, noxious magics, etc). These transactions were conducted mostly with pirates, dark wizards and less savoury merchants. Wealth poured out of the Southern Continent and into the coffers of many merchants, nobles and priests of Blackmoor, as well as into numerous middle men in the southern Thonian cities.
3400 through 3300 BC
By 3400 BC the cities and states of Thonia had nearly caught up with the technologies of Blackmoor. Blackmoor and its masters, more concerned with trade, exploration and wealth, had more or less ignored the developments on Skothar over the last century, and had allowed the development of new technologies to fall to the wayside. Thus, when in 3370 BC the major cities and states of the Thonian Empire rose in rebellion against their Blackmoorian overlords, the Blackmoorians were surprised to discover that their technological advantage had evaporated, and were hard pressed to maintain their own kingdom, let alone their empire. Defence of the Kingdom was bolstered by Elven, Dwarven and Skandaharian mercenaries. For forty years the Thonian Wars consumed the continent of Skothar as each different city and state pressed for advantage within the failing Holy Thonian Empire. Blackmoor, meanwhile, had closed its borders and was furiously working on re-establishing its technological advantage. The remnants of the FSS Beagle were once again brought from their vaults and their secrets were studied in detail. Each decade the Blackmoorians leapt forward a five decades in technological development. When once again the armies of Blackmoor coursed from their homeland, they were unlike any forces ever seen across the whole of Mystara in Human history. Skandaharian Hussars were armed with repeating rifles; Horseless Carriages, powered by Steam Engines, were mounted with Gatling Guns and Rocket Batteries; the Dwarven LandDrakes were armed with a massive-bore cannon and flame throwers; Elven SkyShips were armed with all manner of bombs and cannons (Castle Falkenstein meets Warhammer 40K meets Flintloque). Even with the incredible leap in war technologies, it was a close thing, as the Thonians outnumbered the Blackmoorians by more that eight to one, and had somehow gained access to incredible and unusual magics the likes of which had been unknown until then. But Blackmoor again established its dominance over the Holy Thonian Empire (the Battle of Marban Green, 3335 BC). It took another five years to reign in the remaining armies and factions, and by 3330 the wars were over. The Concordance of Mohacs (3330 BC) re-established the supremacy of Blackmoor, but unlike previous centuries, the Thonian princes, nobles and merchants would have a voice in their rule, as the Holy Thonian Empire was dissolved and the Fourth Republic of Thonia, aka the Principalities of the Republic of Thonia, was founded.
This grace and generosity to the conquered was an odd note in Blackmoorian history, and was in fact owed to a single man: King Uther VII Andahar, "The Red". Uther was so named not for any predilection for slaughter, rather he was so named for his shockingly red mane of hair, which he had gotten from his mothers side, his mother having been a Princess of one of the most powerful Skandaharian Kingdoms. Uther had spent his childhood living amongst his cousins in Skandaharia, and there he learned of their ancient democratic traditions: the Elder Council, the Thing and the Trial by Peers (traditions that had fallen to the wayside in more "civilised" realms). When he ascended to the throne in 3360 BC (at 20 years of age, for which he earned the epithet "The Boy King"), he reformed the laws and codes of the Kingdom of Blackmoor to fit his own ideals of justice (the laws and codes of Blackmoor had long fallen into ill repute as an ossified, tyrannical system). The reinvigoration of the Technomantic Curriculum at the University of Blackmoor was also his doing, and the development of the new technologies was a direct result of his own interest in Technomancy (he was a dual classed Fighter/Mage). A new age dawned in Blackmoor (called the Reformation, 3350 through 3270), and many believed that Uther the Seventh was the First Uther reborn; Uther did little to stifle this belief, as it was good propaganda. He even reinstituted the King's Companions as an Order of Knighthood, and its membership was made up of all manner of peoples, including Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Skandaharians and even an Oltec.
Over the course of the Thonian Wars Uther discovered that many of the rebel princes were being surreptitiously aided by the Serpentines, from the far south, and in fact, that many of the rebel organisations had been infiltrated by Serpentines and their various servants; he also discovered that many of the Old Guard among his own Nobility had been infiltrated by the Serpentines. The resulting invasion of Thonia in 3335 was not so much a war against all Thonia, rather it was a crusade against the Serpentine-corrupted rebels, who were wiped out without mercy (there was also a purge of the Nobility in Blackmoor at this time, which rarely made it into the history books). The other rebels were treated more humanely, and were given terms of surrender. Thus, when the Fourth Republic of Thonia was formed, Uther created a government that would be more open and thus less susceptible to Serpentine infiltration. Uther then took the war to the Serpentines in their own home, quietly, for he had never openly revealed the nature of the Serpentine conspiracy. Uther battled the Serpentines until his passing in 3300, at the ripe age of 80 (Uther actually attained Immortality in the Sphere of Thought as an Epic Hero with Odin as his Patron; he has not been overly active on Mystara in the last millennia, as he is more interested in pursing the Serpentines and their allies, who are very active villains throughout the Multiverse). He was succeeded by his grandson, Uther VIII Andahar, who was the elder Uther's protégée, as dedicated to the elimination of the Serpentine threat as his grandfather (and wielder of SnakeBane, a sword forged by his grandfather in the flames a Gold Dragons breath, and wielded by him during the end of the Thonian Wars; like his grandfather, Uther VIII was a dual classed Fighter/Mage).
Another social development at this time was the schism in the Thonian High Church. The Patriarchate in Mohacs had been led by a cadet branch of the Royal Family of Blackmoor for over a century at this point, and had become thoroughly Thonian, and corrupt, in that time. From the beginning of the Thonian Wars the Church in Blackmoor severed ties with the Church in Mohacs; during the Reformation, the Church in Blackmoor adopted many of the philosophies of the King, several of which were anathema to the Thonian High Church (paralleling many of the forms of the RW Reformation, especially as regards the power of the Priesthood and the selling of Indulgences). By the founding of the Fourth Republic, the Church in Blackmoor had severed ties completely with the Thonian High Church and had formed its own organisation, the Church of Blackmoor, with the King of Blackmoor as the Patriarch (3330 BC). Over the past decades the Northern Provinces of Thonia had undergone a similar evolution, and together they formed the Reformed Thonian Church (3320 BC), with the Patriarchs from each Principality forming a Theocratic Council in place of a single, overpowering Patriarch. Except for their united positions on the Second Beastmen Crusade (3220 through 3200 BC, see below), the only cooperation between all three Churches was the Canonisation of King Uther VII as Saint Uther the Red in 3280 BC (who then became Saint Uther the Elder upon Canonisation of his grandson in 3220 BC by the CoB and the RTC).
By 3300 BC Blackmoor's general level of technology had reached a level commensurate with that of the late 19th century of the RW, while they were even more advanced in some military aspects, notably the rare Dwarven LandDrakes (tanks) and Elven SkyShips (biplanes). The Principalities of the Republic of Thonia were not that far behind in general, but they had no access to the higher-order military technologies (which were state secrets of the Kingdom of Blackmoor). The Skandaharian Kingdoms had also entered the new age, as they were by this time closely tied with the Kingdom of Blackmoor through marriage and trade. The Tangor Kingdoms had moved more slowly into the new technologies, but they were more concerned with magical and clerical development than technological development (The Tangor had their own battles being fought, silently, between the Priesthood of Korotiku and the Priesthood of Thanatos, who was assisted by the Serpentines. Neither side was eager to add higher levels of war technology to the fight, as the battle was for dominion, not for destruction).
On Brun, the Oltecs and the Azcans were continuing their genocidal war; the war was at a stalemate during this entire period, as the Azcan's weapons trade with the Thonians had dried up due to the Thonian Wars. The Oltecs that had fled northwest across the "Black Mountains" were evolving a new nomadic society among the Beastmen of that land, and near the end of the century a trading post called Yazak was founded in the middle of the steppes by several adventurous Thonians from New Thonia. The New Thonians had begun advancing into the various independent Oltec and Azcan Kingdoms south of the free Dwarven Principalities (which was purportedly the "Protectorate" of Blackmoor due to the Treaty of Gandhar, not that any of the locals were aware of the fact), claiming and settling lands as new colonies of Blackmoor or the various Thonian Principalities; this region came to be known as "New Blackmoor", though there were Skandaharian, Dwarven and Elven colonies in that region, and many Blackmoorian colonies actually claimed independence from the motherland. The New Thonians and New Blackmoorians continued to deal in the slave trade with the Oltecs, Azcans and Draconians (whence came the Neathar slaves) (Slavery was never really considered evil in that time, and was one of the few less civilised cultural traits that remained during the entire Age of Blackmoor. The Dwarves of the Free Dwarven Principalities had outlawed slavery, of course, having escaped from slavery themselves. There was an organisation founded against slavery in 3340 BC. Based in the Free Dwarven Principalities, the Brotherhood of Freedom was dedicated to the eradication of slavery everywhere; while it was in general a peaceful and scholarly organisation, some splinter groups turned to terrorism starting in the mid 3200's BC). The Neathar entered into a new phase of their development as several tribes formed into three major kingdoms. Warfare was kept to a minimum, as the greatest threats were not from other Neathar but were rather from the slavers out of the Draconian Empire and the Azcan Empire. Near the end of the century a new Blackmoorian colony was opened up south of New Thonia, among the numerous isles of the southern seas. Called New Paradise, the isles were colonised initially by the outcasts of New Thonia, who returned to a more simple existence. Later, expatriate Thonian Nobles arrived and claimed the various isles or portions of isles for themselves. The New Paradise colony was annexed by Blackmoor in 3310 BC.
Meanwhile, the Southern Continent was heating up. After its long sleep, the Serpentine Empire again began testing the resolution of the Hin with numerous incursions of Lizard Men Legions. These incursions drew the attention of the Elves, Enduks and Metallic Dragons away from developments on Skothar, allowing the Serpentine conspiracy to do its dirty work there. In 3350 BC the incursions became a major invasion, and the Hin were hard pressed to resist. They called upon their allies, the Empire of Evergrun and the Golden Empire, and both lands responded wholeheartedly with military and magical support. The Elves taught the Hin the secrets of Black Powder Weaponry, and by 3340 BC the tide had turned, and the Lizard Men Legions were turned back. A decade of peace settled over the Southern Continent as the Hin rebuilt their shattered land. Then in 3330 BC a huge army crossed the deserts at the same time that a tremendous flotilla of Serpentine War Barges landed on the shores of the Golden Empire. The new Serpentine Legions were armed with fantastic weaponry and mounted on incredible animals, the likes of which had not been seen in millions of years! Lizard Man Legionnaires armed with repeating rifles were mounded on Velociraptors, Gatling Guns manned by Yuan-Ti were mounted on Triceratops, and giant Pterodactyls flew through the skies guided by Yuan-Ti, dropping bombs everywhere. Other new combatants included the Sis'thik, Lizard Men who were able to operate in the desert unhindered, and the Chameleon Men, who were able to blend in with their surroundings, being natural spies, ambushers and assassins. Hin resistance crumbled, and the Hin population fled into the hills or through the "Pass of Brasol" to Evergrun, the land of their allies, the Elves. Assistance from the Golden Empire was not be forthcoming, as they were defending their own lands against the Serpentine invasion. The Metallic Dragons, though they had the knowledge to develop technologies to combat the Serpentine War Machine, no longer had the time or materials to do so.
Apparently, the Serpentines had decided that it was time to reclaim the Southern Continent and conquer their wayward servitors. The chances for the Allies seemed bleak, as the Serpentine technologies and magics were too powerful for them to combat. The Serpentine Empire ran roughshod over the lands of the Hin and the Golden Empire. Then, in 3300 BC, the Serpentine Legions were recalled to their motherland. Civil War had erupted, as the Emperor and the entire population of the Imperial City had been destroyed in a savage attack by the Blackmoorians. Led by Uther the VII in his last crusade, the Blackmoorians brought all their technomantic weaponry to bear. The most advanced SkyShips and Submersibles (a century ahead of anything used in the Thonian Wars, on the level of artifacts in that time) came in close to the Imperial City and unleashed crack squads of Skandaharian and Blackmoorian warriors, armed with the last remnants of the weaponry scavenged from the FSS Beagle. Uther VII himself (in excellent condition thanks to judicious use of Potions of Longevity), armed with Battle Armour, a Hand Blaster and his magical blade SnakeBane, slew the Serpentine Emperor in his own throne room. After finishing off much of the populace of the Imperial City, Uther and his troops retreated, leaving behind one of the last of the Atomic Weapons of the FSS Beagle, modified with Technomancy in order that it would function correctly. And function it did, as the entire Imperial City disappeared in a 10 Megaton blast. The Serpentine Empire dissolved into chaos and Civil War. The Legions were recalled, and the Serpentine menace was ended.
3300 through 3200 BC
3300 BC dawned with a rosy hue, due as much to the violent destruction of the Serpentine Capital as to the promise held in the future for the Kingdom of Blackmoor. For peace once again reigned across the continent of Skothar (with the exception, of course, of the usual Skandaharian and Tangor brush wars). King Uther VIII ruled wisely, as had his grandfather before him. Technology developed apace, and social evolution followed slowly behind. While slavery was never abolished over all, the Kingdom of Blackmoor effectively abolished the slave trade within the Kingdom with the Edicts of Westport (3285 BC). Through the Edicts, it was made illegal to sell slaves that had been brought from overseas in the Kingdom of Blackmoor (the Colonies were exempt, though if a slave from the colonies were brought into the Kingdom he or she would become free). Unfortunately, the Chamber of Notables of the Fourth Republic (the Upper House) stalled and killed any legislation regarding the same issue that came out of the Chamber of the Estates (the Lower House), mostly because the slave trade in Thonia was controlled by the nobility, who also controlled the Chamber of Notables. Thus, slavery remained an institution in Thonia, while it slowly died out in Blackmoor (not through any lack of will on the part of the slave owners; for with their cheapest source of labour, the overseas trade, ended, and the slave merchants of Skothar charging far too high a price per slave, the economic reasons behind slavery in the Kingdom dried up. Most slaves were sold into Thonian hands, and sharecropping became the agricultural system of the Kingdom).
Uther VIII passed away in 3270, and his less than capable son Melyon III took the throne. Melyon turned his eyes to the riches available from the colonies and began a program of mass colonisation, which antagonised the overseas Allies and natives. To finance his program, Melyon leased the colonies to various trading and mercantile corporations, both from Blackmoor and Thonia (much as whole regions were leased by the British Crown in the RW). These included the Van Vriesz Mercantile Corporation (Westport), the Rotherman-Campbell Investment Union (Southport), the Van Rijn Eastern Continental Consortium (Maus) and the Imperial Teigh-Mohr Combine (Mohacs).
The Van Vriesz Mercantile Corporation was mostly concerned with the development of trade with the Draconian Empire and the Free Dwarven Principalities, and thus were the major trading force in Northern Brun and in the Western Sea. They employed numerous Skandaharians, and were the main force behind the settlement of the Western Isle (the modern Kerothar Mountains of Alphatia; most of Alphatia was submerged during this period, except for the mountainous regions, much as was the case following the Official WotI). The colonies they placed on the Western Isle were mostly populated by Skandaharians, and the major colony had a Skandaharian name: Jannevarland (from "Far Land Discovered by Janne", as the Western Isle was first discovered by Janne the Blue, a Skandaharian explorer, in 3800 BC). The Van Rijn Eastern Continental Consortium dealt primarily with the Oltec trade, also dabbling a bit on the Southern Continent among the Hin, their specialty being Tea and Tabac (They owned the Mid-Continental Isle, considered the gates to the "Izondian Deep"; Vrijnport, the largest port between New Thonia and Evergrun, was found on the Mid-Continental Isle). The Rotherman-Campbell Investment Union was given a monopoly over trade with the Golden Empire, as their merchants were the only ones that had developed a good relationship with the Enduks (they shared a common faith, as many of the folk of Ten were of a minor sect of the Thonian High Church that revered Ixion exclusively; in later days, the filthy-rich masters of the RCIU would come to be known as the "Sun Princes").
The Imperial Teigh-Mohr Combine was a union of two companies founded specifically to engage in colonial development; their primary interests at that time were the extraction of raw materials from the colonies and the transport thereof to the growing industrial regions of Skothar. The ITMC was given extensive concessions in New Thonia and was given the Blackmoorian and Thonian colonies of New Blackmoor "in fief", though no actual feudal duties were owed unto the King (the Thonian Overseas Possessions had become Protectorates of the Kingdom of Blackmoor in the Concordance of Mohacs). The ITMC sent a large fleet of settlers and mercenaries to claim its territories, and in the process ruthlessly put down a rebellion on the part of the colonies that claimed independence. They also absorbed the Skandaharian colonies (paying the respective kingdoms for the privilege), but they left the Dwarven and Elven colonies alone, as the Free Dwarven Principalities were not that far distant, and the might of the Elven Empire was well regarded at that time. The ITMC imported thousands of Oltec and Neathar slaves to work the great plantations, dig in the mines and serve the corporate masters.
Back on Skothar, the Skandaharian Kingdoms were finally coming into their own, and several universities in those kingdoms began to outstrip the research abilities of the University of Blackmoor. Though they had not the resources of the University of Blackmoor, namely, the major materials from the FSS Beagle, a number of those high tech items had fallen into their hands over the past century. Similar developments were occurring in the Tangor Kingdoms, which had undergone a series of wars at the beginning of that century. The Wars of Unification (3310 through 3280 BC) brought the disparate Tangor kingdoms under the control of a mere seven kingdoms, each well organised and militarily capable of resisting any Thonian colonialism (which had been a possibility discussed in the Chamber of the Estates near the end of the last century; the unification wars were made possible by the retreat of the Serpentine race from the battle between the followers of Korotiku and the followers of Thanatos; the followers of Korotiku were victorious). Both the Skandaharian Kingdoms and the Tangor Kingdoms began staking their own claims in the colonial land rush. The Skandaharians claimed the entire Western Isle, and received half of it in the Stardock Accords in 3260 BC; they also received concessions in the Western Sea and in trade with the Draconian Empire. Other Skandaharian colonies were founded on the isle of "Zyxl" and among the Giants of Gandhar, who awarded the Skandaharians a monopoly on trade between Skothar and their kingdom. The Tangor colonised regions of the Southern Continent, notably along the western coast of the Golden Empire (see the Colonial Exchange Accords, below), the "Serpent Peninsula" and the isle of "Oceania", which became a major producer of sugars and spices, worked by thousands of Oltec slaves.
Melyon III died in 3255 BC, drown drunk in his wine cup amidst the riches within his treasure chamber. There followed a series of lesser kings of his line, which debilitated the treasury on frivolous escapades and allowed the might of Blackmoorian technology and warcraft to decline. For example, in 3248 BC King Marrok II had the entire City Park of Blackmoor City walled off and secured against intrusion in order that wolves might hunt undisturbed within the city limits (rumours that he himself was a Werewolf were never proven). There were some very eccentric Kings of Blackmoor during the period, but most of them were merely decadent and simply squandered their heritage. At the same time, the Colonial Corporations grew in wealth and power, gaining more and more rights and privileges. In 3240 BC the Skandaharians surprised the world with their announcement that they had launched and successfully landed a manned Technomantic craft on the Moon. Shock and surprise in Blackmoor and Thonia awoke the older nations to the fact that they had again fallen behind in Technomancy. For five years the Kingdom of Blackmoor refurbished the University of Blackmoor and sponsored many different research projects into the Technomantic Arts. By 3235 Blackmoor had also landed their own crew on the Moon, and actually one upped the Skandaharians by sponsoring the organisation of a colony on the Moon.
(One of the more successful projects sponsored by Blackmoor was the research of a certain Technomancer into the nature of time. This Technomancer actually built a Time Machine and used it to return to the past... and fell right into the plot to kidnap King Uther the First in 4000 BC! He had a pivotal part in the rescue of the King from the Prison Out of Time and thereafter helped the King build the new Kingdom of Blackmoor. Then, after twenty years in the distant past, he travelled to his own future, based upon the reports of other time travellers, and witnessed the Great Rain of Fire. Knowing he could not do anything to stop the GRoF without undoing his own existence, he travelled again to the past, this time to 3900 BC, and persuaded the descendants of his family in that time to go with him to a far away world, that the elements of the society that he had helped build would survive. This man eventually went on to become the Immortal Khoronus).
But the advent of the Mystaran Space Age was delayed when, very suddenly in 3230 BC, Goblinfolk began raiding county, town and city all across Skothar, seemingly pouring from the holes in the earth. Chaos ensued for a decade as war crossed the continent. City after city was taken over by Goblinfolk seemingly from within, and the destruction was horrendous. Thonia blamed the Tangor Kingdoms, the Tangor Kingdoms blamed Blackmoor, the Blackmoorians blamed the Skandaharians and the Skandaharians blamed the Thonians, each claiming that the Goblinfolk had been brought in to cause the downfall of the other nations. The resources put into developing a space program went into weapons technology, which again took another leap forward. As to the question of whence came the Goblins, no answers ever came forth from any state, as no one truly knew the origin of the Goblinfolk. Naturally, this was a very confusing situation, as the Goblinfolk had been extinct on Skothar for some four centuries, and no one had been willing to test the Doctrine of Purity (which called for the excommunication and death of anyone who aided, abetted or in any manner whatsoever dealt with Beastmen on Skothar). Thus, it was hypothesised by the Thonians that the Beastmen had migrated underground from their homeland on Brun (The Goblin Hordes had actually been summoned from elsewhere and magically transported to Skothar by the Serpentines, in vengeance for the destruction of their capital in 3300 BC). In 3220 BC, after the last of the Goblin Hordes had been subdued or destroyed, the three Churches of the Thonians declared the Second Beastmen Crusade (3220 through 3200 BC). The crusade united the various factions of the Kingdom and Republic (which, like the various major states, had all blamed each other), and helped stimulate the shattered economy.
New Thonia was invigorated by the arrival of thousands of troops and the new technologies that had been developed during the Goblin Wars. New Thonia and New Blackmoor were used as staging areas for the crusade, and the wealth and power of the ITMC grew exponentially. The Thonian crusaders united with the Giants of Gandhar and the Dwarves of the Free Dwarven Principalities, and during the twenty years of the war, slaughtered tens of thousands of innocent Beastmen and pushed the remaining Beastmen into the far-northern reaches of Hyborea (the CTN, the Neathar State, had remained neutral and protected its borders from both sides). The Draconian Empire, once the allies and masters of the Beastmen, were unable to aid them in any fashion, as their own technology was decades behind that of the Blackmoorians. The crusade eventually lost favour in Blackmoor and Thonia when the costs ran too high. During the long crusade the economy of Skothar had improved and the Kingdom of Blackmoor once again began its plans for a Moon Colony. The Moon was successfully colonised by the Blackmoorians in 3200 BC. The Skandaharians landed a colony mere months after the Blackmoorians, and an Elven expedition was underway before the end of the year.
This century on Brun was as mixed in blessings as on Skothar. The Oltec-Azcan wars proceeded apace, with the Azcans gaining the upper hand in the mid 3250's. Thousands of Oltecs were sold into slavery during the following decades, slaving away in the New Blackmoor, New Thonia and Tangor colonies as well as on the continent of Skothar (save in the Kingdom of Blackmoor and the Skandaharian Kingdoms; the Skandaharian Kingdoms had a long tradition of farms owned and operated by the ancient clans, so slavery had never become an economic reality there. Most of the kingdoms even banned thraldom, one of the successes of the Brotherhood of Freedom). The Draconian Empire waxed rich from the trade with Blackmoor and Thonia during the Second Crusade, and the new finances helped stabilise the fading empire. The Free Dwarven Principalities also benefited from the crusade, as their metals and weaponry were put in high demand due to their quality and proximity.
The Neathar lands had been "invaded" at the beginning and middle of the century by Blackmoorians and Thonians fleeing the despotism of the colonial masters in New Blackmoor. These peoples joined forces with the local rulers and in 3225 BC helped to bring the Neathar together into a political union, called the Consolidated Tribes of the Neathar. This was a democratic government in which every man and woman 25 years or older could vote. The government was formed of the Grand Council (Lower House, 3 year terms), which had a number of Representatives from each tribe or city based on population; the High Council (Upper House, 6 year terms), which had only one representative from each tribe or city; the Council of Elders (Judicial Branch, Lifetime), which was a body peopled by appointees from the Grand Council, made up of men and women who were 60 years or older that had served at least one term on the Grand Council (some were "grandfathered in", of course, at the beginning); and the Chieftaincy, which was a council made up of the local Tribal Chieftains and City Mayors, from which was elected a Grand Chief (popular vote, President, 6 year terms). With the assistance of the Blackmoorian émigrés, the CTN caught up with the rest of the world in technology, and their influence began to be felt across the continent by the end of the century (The CTN was, by the choice of its peoples, the epitome of the "Green State" in which the ecology came first Thus, many of the Neathar continued to live in highly natural setting. Urbanisation was rare, and most people still grew their own gardens and hunted in the Tribal Hunting Reserves for their meat. The former "nobility" of the short-lived Neathar Kingdoms formed the core of the Neathar Rangers, the forestry group that patrolled the borders and took care of the Hunting Reserves). The founding of the CTN spelled the end of the Neathar slave trade, and near the end of this century the Azcan Empire suffered an economic depression that forced it to halt its attacks on the Oltec Empire (though the Draconian Empire barely noticed, as it was still growing stronger from the Blackmoorian trade).
The Southern Continent was not inactive during this period. The Elves had proceeded apace with Blackmoor, and had established several colonies on Brun and among the Tangor (part of the Colonial Exchange Accords, signed in 3250 BC by four of the Tangor Kingdoms, the Golden Empire, the Empire of Evergrun and the United Hin Dominions). Elven Technomancy developed along with that of Blackmoor, however, their technology was slightly more "Green", and worked more with natural power than with the artificial power sources of Blackmoor (Blackmoor used coal, oil and gas to generate electricity, while the Elves tended to use geothermal methods developed in "Vulcania" as well as the natural generating powers of air, wind and sea). Of course, the war technology of the Elves was spared no "Green" give or take, as they were well aware of what the grasping lords of Blackmoor were capable of, having seen the worst of what the ITMC could do in its colonies. The Golden Empire had dissolved into several separate states at the beginning of this century, though they all remained together under the aegis of the Golden Empire, which handled all international issues. Each individual state was based on a different party that had different ideas on the future goals of the Golden Empire; the Golden Empire had lost its purpose once the Draconian Empire had lost its fangs. The United Hin Dominions was undergoing a similar fate, as with the fall of the Serpentine Empire at the beginning of the century, the cause for union had dissolved and various philosophies sprung to the fore. The basic differences between the several Hin parties were those who believed in isolationism (vis a vis Skothar and Brun) and those who advocated Hin Colonialism. Near the end of the period the UHD fell into civil war over the issue, with several minor parties vying for independence from the two major parties (The Hin Civil War, 3215 through 3170 BC). The Serpentine Empire, after several decades of civil war, settled into a very quiet period of extreme isolationism and xenophobia (during which they were completing their plans for the (unsuccessful) destruction of Blackmoor through the introduction of the Goblin Hordes).
(Technology at the end of this period had reached the RW equivalent of late 20th century in Blackmoor, Thonia and Skandaharia; the Tangor Kingdoms were early 20th century, as were the Dwarves and Neathar, while the Draconians, Oltecs and Azcans were in the late 19th century. The Elves were about at the level of Blackmoor and Skandaharia, while the Golden Empire and the Hin were in the late 19th/early 20th century. The Serpentine Empire was in the mid 19th century, with the addition of very powerful magics, which they chose to develop in opposition to the technologies of Blackmoor).
3200 through 3100 BC
3200 BC dawned with even more promise than that of the previous century. The Elven Expedition to the Moon landed safely and actually visited the brand new Blackmoorian colony of Port Uther as well as the Skandaharian colony of New Jarnland. The visits spawned an era of good-feelings and camaraderie among the three spacefaring nations, and gave rise to the Lunar Accords of 3194 BC that assured that the moon would remain the "Domain of all the Peoples of Mystara for all eternity". This accord also gave rise to the foundation of the TransLunar Corporation, the first international private corporation founded to explore the possibilities for the colonisation of other planets. By 3185 the TLC had designed and tested a Technomantic vessel that would allow travel between the planets within a period of weeks rather than months, and the race for the planets began.
The first manned Solar Exploration Vessel, the TLC Venture, launched from the Port Uther Colony on the Moon in 3180 BC, bound for "Mars". The trip took 5 weeks, and when it arrived, it landed on "Mars" and made contact with the natives... a silicon based race of seven foot tall, four armed humanoids, dominated by a warrior culture. The explorers chronicled ancient ruins of cities, citadels and canals on "Mars" that they dated to circa 3,000,000 BC, ruins that the local race (dubbed the "Sandfolk") claimed were built by their long-dead masters, the "Ancients". The Sandfolk claimed that they were not originally native to "Mars" but came from elsewhere, brought to that planet as a servitor race for the "Ancients". DNA coding showed that their claim was most likely true, as they were not related in any way to most of the local flora or fauna. They also claimed that there were at least a half dozen other sentient races living on "Mars" that had also once been the slaves of the "Ancients". The Captain of the Venture made a deal with the local Warrior Council, a trade of goods from the Venture for claim to several ruins and canals in that Councils area. After determining that the local biosphere would support Mystaran flora and fauna, the Venture returned to Mystara with samples of "Martian" life, including several Sandfolk, their Camarilla mounts and other forms of plants and animals. Their return to Port Uther Colony was heralded as the beginning of the new age. By the end of the decade over a dozen colony ships had arrived on "Mars" and founded seven colonies: three Blackmoorian, two Elven, one Thonian and one Neathar.
By 3170 there were a round dozen colonies on the Moon, representing most of the major nations of Mystara. Solar Exploration Vessels had been sent to "Venus", "Damocles" and "Jupiter". The TLC became the first MegaCorporation in that year, as their wealth skyrocketed and they opened offices on the Moon and "Mars". The ITMC joined their ranks within five years after "acquiring" (i.e., conquering) an extensive stretch of "Martian" wilderness from the local races. The ITMC had diversified extensively during the last several decades after pouring their wealth generated during the Second Crusade into various types of Technomantic research and development. Their colonies on Brun remained as despotic as ever while the Technomantic development centres were near the industrial regions of Skothar. In 3150 the ITMC became the first MetaCorporation with their development of the TransPlanar Motivator, a Technomantic Gate to other Planes. Naturally, the TPM system required incredible amounts of energy and rare materials to make and operate, so the trade between the Planes was rare, and only in extremely expensive and precious items (gems from the Elemental Plane of Earth, rare aromas from the Elemental Plane of Air, etc.). The ITMC leased TPM's for incredible sums of money and grew even more powerful, as did those companies that leased the TPM's; these companies also joined the ranks of the MetaCorporations (A MegaCorporation was a corporation that had at least one colony, whether Mystara or otherwise and had offices open on at least one other Planet or Moon. A MetaCorporation was a MegaCorporation that had developed or leased the TPM technology; by the time of the GRoF there were a dozen or so MetaCorps while there were over 100 MegaCorps).
Technomancy sped along at an incredible pace, no longer in the hands of the elite of the national Universities, as the Mega and Meta Corporations had sponsored their own universities. The wealth of the Corporations outstripped that of many of Mystara's nations, and the Mega and Meta Corporations became political entities unto themselves. Even when Robotics was developed in 3120 BC, the Corporations did not give up slavery; it was apparently some horrid character flaw in the Blackmoorian culture, that men and women enjoyed holding the powers of life and death over others.
By the end of the century, colonies were on the major accessible planets and moons out to "Saturn". The political situation was simple. Most Kings, Emperors and other heads of state were merely figureheads for the various Chambers, Houses and Councils that were thoroughly owned and controlled by the Mega and Meta Corps. The UHD reorganised itself as the Hin Cooperative after their Civil War, which then collapsed completely in 3153 BC, shattering into numerous small Dominions, some of them dominated by various MegaCorporations. The ancient Oltec-Azcan war carried into space, as did the rivalry between the Elven Empire and Blackmoor, which had simmered for a very long time. The Serpentine Empire, the last holdout from the Old Order, finally opened somewhat, allowing certain MetaCorps access to specific regions and secrets for untold and presumably unholy costs. In 3105 BC, the TLC announced that it had finally broken the Light Barrier, and had successfully built and tested the first FTL ship.
3100 through 3010 BC
The TLC FTL Ship Venture (named after the first Solar Exploration Vessel) launched from the TLC "Phobos" Shipyards in 3100 BC, heralded the beginning of the Mystaran Interstellar Age. It arrived in the "Epsilon Eridani" system in just under 11 months, excelling the best expected speeds of the designers. "Epsilon Eridani" had been chosen because it was the nearest single-star system, and it had been (rightfully) theorised that the nature of Double and Triple Star Systems might be inimical to the Technomantic workings of the TLC Star Drive. The Venture discovered a very strange "planetary" arrangement in the "Epsilon Eridani" system; they discovered sentient races living in an extremely dense asteroid field surrounded by a common atmosphere. The denizens of the "Eridani" system, who called themselves the Pytherians, had achieved a high level of technology (about equal to 20th century RW) through the use of Biomechanics. The Pytherians appeared to be Humans in nature, save for green skin and silver hair. First contact with the Pytherians was difficult, for there were an incredible number of different nations and states throughout the asteroid field (the Pytherians had developed Sky Ships to traverse the great distances). Eventually the Venture discovered a state that was somewhat friendly, or at the least, eager to see what the Mystarans could provide. Trade agreements and colonisation accords followed, and the first interstellar contact was successfully completed.
The TLC FTL Venture returned to the Mystaran solar system in 3098 BC with the spoils of its trade with the Pytherians. Biotechnology became the byword of the decade as the scientific fallout from the discoveries made their way into the general populace. Cybernetic systems were developed to an extensive degree during the first decades of this era, tying man to machine. Technology again took another leap forward as the scientists of Mystara absorbed the new technologies. Other FTL ships were built; expeditions returned from numerous other star systems with varying degrees of success. In 3055 BC the first FTL Mark II ship, the ITMC FTL Binary, successfully explored the "Alpha Centauri" system (the bugs related to the differing magic fields extant in a multi-stellar system had been fixed, see "Multiphasic Technomantic Drive Field Generation and the Axiomatic MultiSpheric Phenomenon" by Percival Aleyn, University of Blackmoor Press, 1950 AE). By 3040 BC, tens of thousands of Mystarans had settled a score of planets circling stars within a 20 LY radius of Sol, and expeditions had been sent to stars within 100 LY. In 3030 BC a new drive was developed by the TLC that would make star travel a matter of weeks rather than months. By 3020 BC the interstellar colonies within 20 LY had come to be regarded as the "Core Colonies" while those within 50 LY became regarded as the "Border Colonies"; those beyond were the "Fringe". Technologies reached unparalleled heights, even excelling that of the Federation from whence came the FSS Beagle. Then, beginning in 3010 BC, the entire last millennium of advances was wiped out in chaos and war.
3010 through 3000 BC
Civilisation started deteriorating on Brun in 3010 BC, when the Oltec-Azcan war flared up to an unparalleled level of ferocity. Several Oltec and Azcan Cities disappeared in atomic bursts before the Allies could enforce a peace on the two empires. Shortly thereafter, a massive Depression, unparalleled in history, struck the world, as factories ground to a halt; a general malaise had settled over the peoples of the world as though they had simply lost faith in the ancient institutions of Empire, Kingdom, Republic and Corporation. Strange cults began cropping up, many of them based on the Millennialist Philosophy (which believed that the 1000th anniversary of the founding of the Kingdom of Blackmoor spelled the End of the World). The lower classes, thrust into horrid conditions by the Depression, flocked to these cults. The upper classes, who still enjoyed a certain amount of wealth and privilege, turned to debauchery on a scale formerly unknown to Human civilisation. The Free Dwarven Principalities declared war on the Draconian Empire in 3008 BC, while on the Southern Continent the various Hin Dominions once again flared up into war. The Mega and Meta Corporations increased demands on their interplanetary and interstellar colonies to insane levels, backed by threats of horrid violence, and the colonies crumbled into despotism or anarchy. The Tangor Kingdoms fell into anarchy in 3007 BC, while the Golden Empire fell into chaos shortly thereafter. Riots started in the Thonian Principalities in 3005 BC and the Oltec-Azcan War again flared into violence shortly thereafter. Tremendous explosions were seen and detected on the Moon in 3004 BC, with no contact following thereafter; ships sent to discover what had happened often were destroyed by defensive systems before they got remotely close to any settlements; those that they were able to get to were discovered to have been utterly destroyed. In 3003 BC the "Martian" territories flared into war, while on Mystara the Elven Empire closed its borders, allowing no one in or out, and the riots in Thonia had spread to Blackmoor; the University of Blackmoor burned in the fires. Madness ruled the day throughout Mystara from 3002 on; scientists, technomancers, wizards and priests who were as yet unaffected by the madness worked feverishly, trying to find a cause, technological, technomantic, magical or Immortal for the worldwide disasters (one of these was John Rafiel, a nuclear technomantic theoretician turned philosopher who worked with sensory deprivation, cybernetics and the InterZone (the Mystaran "Internet", tied into the various energies of the Outer Planes) seeking answers to the chaos that had engulfed the world). By the time the scientists, technomancers, wizards and priests had discovered the cause in 3001 BC, it was too late.
Sometime in the past, perhaps between fifty to a hundred years before, a very subtle genetic disease had passed into the Human genetic code on a massive scale; whether it was from an alien world or otherwise was unclear, as it had aspects of both Mystaran and alien DNA. But what had happened as a result was clear. The DNA disease sequences had undergone a series of mutations beginning in 3010 BC, catalysed, they believed, by pollutants in the atmosphere, and the new codes caused massive degradation in Human thought processes, causing madness, paranoia and homicidal tendencies. Humans weren't the only ones affected, either, as Dwarves, Hin, Elves and even Giants were also affected in similar as well as differing ways. The nature of the disease was Technomantic, or so it was believed, as neither pure technological nor magical curatives or purgatives had any effect whatsoever; even clerical magic was used to no avail. Technomancy was used, but more often than not with lethal results; sometimes the subject mutated into some horrible, insane, blood-mad creature. By 3000 BC the entire world was engulfed in madness and war. Finally, a fleet of colonial warships arrived from other star systems and bombarded Mystara with an incredible number of bombs and energy beams, apparently attempting to purge the planet of the disease. Whether the attack was prompted by madness or simple logic was never discovered, for the entire fleet perished in the counterattack. The last remaining missiles and weapons were used in a mad final paroxysm of death as the few remaining military installations targeted whatever they could find. The Great Rain of Fire had scoured Mystara clean, and no vestige of Blackmoor remained...
Coda: The Truth Behind the Great Rain of Fire.
The progenitors of the disease that caused the madness that eventually led to the Great Rain of Fire were, of course, the ancient Enemies of Man, the Serpentines. Having been thoroughly chastised by Uther VIII in 3300 BC, the Serpentines had turned to magical ways to bring about the fall of the Kingdom of Blackmoor. They turned to their ancient magics for a method of revenge, and in 3230 BC they cast a spell of incredible power, the likes of which had not been seen in tens of thousands of years, which summoned and placed tens of thousands of beings resembling Beastmen on Skothar. The invasion of the "Beastmen" was resisted by the Blackmoorians much better than the Serpentines had thought, so in 3200 BC they turned to their ancient Technomantic tomes and facilities to search for a means to bring about the fall of all the Human races (Humans, Dwarves, Elves, Hin and even Giants). It took nearly a century of study, but in the end they had created an altogether horrible disease (requiring essences from the Dimension of Nightmares) that would require over a century to work its way through the human population, in order to ensure that it would infect all of humanity over all the planets that the Human races had spread to. The disease was released into the biosphere of Mystara in 3110 BC, and the catalysing agents were released in 3010 BC, first in the Oltec and Azcan Empires as a test, and then further afield over time. The disease had the desired effect, but the Serpentines had not counted on the backlash that would occur, for they had not fully predicated the level of technology that the Humans would acquire over the period of a century, and as a result the Serpentine Empire itself was destroyed in the Great Rain of Fire, the very race nearly extirpated by the consequences of their own plots...