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Gnomish Timeline

by Marco Dalmonte


This timeline takes into consideration the official TSR sourcebooks for Mystara ("canon") as well as Ohad Shaham's original idea about the gnomes of the elements and the sea-gnomes timeline. Thanks to Ohad and Geoff Gander for their contributions and ideas.

Gnomish Timeline

3060 BC: Garal Glitterlode creates a new species he calls Gnomes and places them in the outer fringes of Evergrun, near the south pole. These are the ancestors of the Ice Gnomes.

3000 BC: The Great Rain of Fire hits Mystara and the planet shifts on its axis, causing the poles to cover new previously inhabited areas. Earthquakes, storms and volcanic eruptions abound everywhere. (HW)

2900 BC: Seeing that his creation, the gnomes, are in great danger and have little chances of surviving, the Immortal Garal creates another stock of gnomes (much like Kagyar will do with dwarves) and places them in Brun (Rockhome and Northern Reaches area). These gnomes prove to be more tinkering and more versed in fantasy physics than the first breed. However, the first breed is tougher and more resourceful than what Garal predicted and they manage to survive, migrating from Evergrun to Vulcania and beginning their new life in that harsh land. Some of them are common earth-gnomes while others begin to live very close to volcanoes or high up in the mountain caves.

2700 BC: Within two centuries, two different cultures develop among the gnomes who live in Vulcania and the clans split. The so called Ice Gnomes live up the mountains in inhospitable conditions, but thanks to their particular stamina they have now become masters of the cold climates (somewhat between Icevale Elves and Kogolor dwarves). The second group is an offshoot of the Ice Gnomes who has adapted to live inside the volcanoes, using and benefiting from the hot energies of the gases and the elemental plane of fire. Some of them have even invented a technology capable of travelling through any wormhole in a volcano and pop out in the Elemental Plane of Fire, so there are gnomes in that plane too. These are called Fire Gnomes (they are unknown to anyone but the Ice Gnomes and Thimhallan). The two groups do not go along well with each other because of their different biases.

(Ice Gnome: Fire is bad: remember the Great Rain of Fire! Fire Gnome: What the heck are you talking about? Fire makes life comfortable!)

2500 BC: Gnomes living in the Rockhome area start exploring the neighbouring sites. Some of them move permanently in the Northern Reaches when the ice sheet recedes, establishing both seaside aboveground and underground complexes (the Falun Caverns) where they live. Others migrate at the foothills of the Cruth Mountains and settle south west of Rockhome territory (in what will be later called Darokin). Among these are the gnomes who will found the city of Serraine.

Gnomes keep contacts with the dwarves living in the Northern Reaches area.

2000 BC: Antalians move south to nowadays Vestland. The gnomes keep away from the humans.

1800 BC: The old dwarven race is replaced by Kagyar with the modern dwarves. Some of them are placed in Rockhome, where they will eventually found their kingdom in BC 1400. Others inhabit the mountains of Vestland and Soderfjord: these dwarves (the ones in the Northern Reaches) call themselves "Modrigswerg". They have not yet been tainted by the Dark Elves by this time. (HW)

1500 BC: To the south, the Nithian culture begins its climb to greatness. Pflarr creates the Hutaaka and puts them in the southern Altan Tepes mountains. (HW)

1100 BC: The Nithian Empire expands in all directions. Colonies are settled in islands nowadays known as the Isle of Dawn, Minrothad and Ierendi. On the land the Nithians push south into nowadays Thyatis and north into the Northern Reaches. First contact is made with the dwarves and gnomes. (HW)

1060-1050 BC: Antalians and dwarves with bronze technology fall before the Nithias with their iron and magic. Humans are enslaved, while dwarves get killed for resisting. Half the gnomes of the Falun clan are taken to the dungeons of Nithia for arcane magical experiments. To be noted that this clan is made of earth-gnomes and so called sea-gnomes, who are experts at sailing and building ships (much like the Minrothad sea-elves). The other half (mostly earth-gnomes) manage to avoid capture by retreating deep into their cavern complex and devising new traps to hinder the Nithian conquerors. First Gnomish Exodus: Gnomes flee to avoid the Nithian persecution and their gruesome experiments. Many flee where the Nithians haven't gone yet, that's to say Davania.. and the more southwards the better. They avoid landing on the Jungle Coast (Nithian colonies there - at its peak the Nithian Empire stretched from the Isle of Dawn to the Savage Coast and from Norwold to the Jungle Coast) and sail until they arrive in the Vulture's peninsula - the Empire of Varellya at that time. They are however mistaken for halflings or halfling-kin and after the first squabbles erupt, the gnomes move inland and resettle south of the Aryptian desert in a secluded valley. [*]

1050 BC: Evil Nithian necromancers research a way of creating a servitor race resembling the Hutaakans by reincarnating gnomes using the blood of trolls. The entire Northern Reaches have been conquered in the attempt to get more specimen. After a few years the first hundred gnomes are turned into gnolls. (GAZ10)

1000 BC: The Nithian experiment goes bad as the gnolls are not submissive as the Nithians predicted. They are strong, barbaric and they bred at a frightening rate. Thousands gnolls break free from their masters and invade the Traldar lands. [**]

In Nithia, the remaining gnomes are put to slavery working in the pyramids.

800 BC: The Nithian colony of Thothia experiences a heavy drought. Assistance is needed from the mainland but the Nithian galleys are too slow to bring grain in time.

795 BC: Empress (Pharaoh) Shadla "the Learned" discovers the gnomish slaves affinity to water and their skill with technology. She promises the gnomes partial freedom if they manage to design advanced vessels that do not require rower slaves (at that point in history oceanic vessels were yet to be invented). [***]

773 BC: The gnomes finish building a huge ship shaped as a wood and metal whale. They name it "Leviathan". Pharaoh Shadla is sceptic about putting humans in the ship and is also afraid of losing grain. She orders that the gnomes be put into the leviathan to operate it and to simulate the weight of grain. The Leviathan is set on a test sail accompanied by Nithian war galleys to prevent escape.

Once deep at sea the Leviathan suddenly begins to sink in the water. The Nithian captains try to rescue the ship but without success. The truth is that, using their technological knowledge, the sea-gnomes created a submersible ship powered by water elementals and used it to escape slavery.

772 BC: In a fit of rage, Shadla orders the death of hundred gnomes in Nithia. Then she issues a proclamation promising to spare all those gnomes who would have helped the Nithians building sea-going vessels. Many gnomes begin to collaborate with Pharaoh Shadla to save their lives. Those who refuse are put to death.

Ranivorous contacts Shadla and she is slowly corrupted by his false promises of greatness. The entropic corruption of Nithia begins.

771 BC: The Leviathan settles on the floor of the Alphatian Sea. Gnomes contact the local sea races and with their help start building an underwater city where to live.

750 BC: After learning all she wanted from the gnomes, Pharaoh Shadla (inspired by Ranivorus) orders all the gnomes living in Nithia to be sacrificed to the gods in order to protect the first great Nithian sea expedition to the west. In fact, her real fear is that gnomes could reveal others the secrets of their skills and Shadla wants to prevent this from occurring.

730 BC: The sea-gnomes finish the construction of the city of Deepreach, an impressive submersed city very similar to Aquas but powered by gnomish technology mainly. With the help of the local merfolk, they begin to explore the Alphatian Sea.

700 BC: Thanatos, Immortal of the Sphere of Entropy, helped by the Immortal Ranivorus, completes the corruption of the pharaoh of the Nithians. The pharaoh turns the Nithian empire toward worship of Entropy. (HW) The Nithian colonists in Thothia turn away from the Entropic faith of their homeland and increasingly turn to a new form of mysticism. (HW) Nithians arrive on the Savage Coast. They interbreed somewhat with Oltecs. (RS)

500 BC: The Nithian Empire, having incurred Immortal dislike, abruptly ends. The Immortals alter the climate, divert the headwaters of the River Nithia, promote social unrest, deny magical powers to their clerics, and take other actions which cause the Empire to collapse catastrophically. The Immortals use magic to ensure that almost all trace of the Empire is wiped from the face of the Known World. The colonies are systematically destroyed - - except for Thothia, which has already turned away from the Entropic faith which led to the destruction of Nithia. (HW)

492 BC: At the battle of Sardal Pass, the humanoids are routed, the orcs utterly massacred. Ubdala dies. Hordes routed south and west, crowding Cruth mountains and Altan Tepes. Gnomes kicked out of their former position in the south and west of Rockhome, where the humanoids spread. (GAZ10)

490 BC: Kobold clans are driven into the uplands of the Northern Reaches from the west. They overrun and exterminate the surviving gnomes living in the Falun Caverns, and occupy their subterranean kingdoms. (GAZ7) The Immortals transport the Valoin Gnomes on a Floating Continent in the HW. (PWA2)

495-490 BC: Second Gnomish Exodus. Many gnomes flee the goblinoid invasions that are rocking the Known World going in two directions: southwards (Davania) and westwards (Hule and the Savage Coast). Many run westwards, where they establish their colonies (the ancestors of the Hulean and Savage Coast gnomes). A few clans build ships and take for Davania instead, settling for a brief period in the Milenian lands.

440 BC: The gnomes living in Davania hear of some strange short fellows, not halflings for sure, dwelling south near the Varellyan empire. They take interest in these rumours and think they could be descendants of the Lost Clans, who according to the legends sailed southwards many centuries before. One third of them moves south to uncover the truth, while the others stay in northern Davania. Contacts with the explorers are lost within the year. [****]

330 BC: After many centuries of natural crossbreeding, the first waterborne gnomes are born in Deepreach. The majority of the sea-gnomes remain normal air-breathing gnomes with an incredible affinity for water and sailing, though.

300 BC: During the exploration of the Sea of Dread, the sea-gnomes of Deepreach discover the Twaelar civilisation in the southern area near Thanegioth. After hearing of the misdeeds and corruption of the surface dwellers from the gnomes, the Twaelars vow to mistrust them and to stay away from them as much as possible. This is just one of the causes of the Twaelars' isolation policy which still applies in the present.

251 BC: A legendary gnome craftsman named Glimreen Gemeye discovers a jet engine artifact of the destroyed Blackmoor civilisation near Serraine. (PC2)

150 BC approx.: Gnomes start building the flying city. Nagpa and Tabi soon joins the gnomes. (PC2)

91 BC: Sphinxes join the group working on the flying city. (PC2)

14 BC: The outer shell of Serraine is completed. (PC2)

0 AC: Highforge Gnomes settle in Traladara territories. (GAZ 1)

9 AC: Gnomes contact Faenare to join the group that is building Serraine. (PC2)

16 AC: Building of the Great Library of Serraine started. (PC2)

39 AC: On Ambyrmont 1st the Flying City of Serraine makes its maiden flight. (PC2)

91 AC: The Great Library is completed. (PC2)

200 AC: Gnomes from the flying city of Serraine make contact with the Alphatians. Some of them respond to their invitation and remain in the Alphatian continent to establish a colony of earth-gnomes in Stoutfellow.

400 AC approx.: The amazing Gnomish city of Torkyn Fall is destroyed by Dragons. ("Dragonlord of Mystara")

V cent. AC: On Serraine the whole Flaemeker clan is hurled into the Void by an experiment went awry. The immortals transport the clan on a Floating Continent in the HW (PWA2)

778 AC: The flying islands of Valoin and Flaemeker collide giving birth to the new flying continent of Oostdok. (PWA2)

978 AC: Heldannic Knights invade Oostdok. (PWA2)

1010 AC: With the help of Alphatia the Gnomes on Oostdok free themselves from the Heldannic Knights. (PWA2)

1011 BC: After Alphatia's sinking and the Behemoth's awakening, numerous problems arise for the sea-gnomes in the Alphatian Sea, including attacks from sea-beholders and new merfolk immigrants. (see Underocean Timeline)

1016 AC: With the Thyatians passing more and more frequently in their seas, the Twaelar fear they will be soon discovered and enslaved, and thus have declare war on the terrestrian, helped by the sea-gnomes living with them. (see Mystaran Almanac AC1016)

[*] Once pushed away by the Varellyan, these gnomes split quite by accident. A few of them discovered Thimhallan (city of Technomancy) and went to live there. The others popped up in the Lost Valley and began to brood and to seek revenge against the humans. There is now one gnomish kingdom in the Lost Valley region founded by these fleeing gnomes, who dream one day of returning and freeing their brethren. They have no idea the Nithian Empire collapsed millennia ago, and still think there are enslaved gnomes in the northern continent. All their life has been devoted to build the ultimate weapon to defeat their enemies and once they are sure of their victory, they will head north once again.

They are now a very dark folk, obsessed with the past and their flight (a sense of guilt is also haunting them and they want to atone by killing their old enemies -similar to Feadiel clan) and bent over a personal vendetta. As for the object of this revenge, it was primarily the old oppressors (Nithians), but as the years have passed and the experiences with the humans have taught them, the entire human race is to be blamed for their suffering (they may have got clues about the humans' involvement in the Great Rain of Fire as well). First Nithians, then Varellyans and now the human race (at least until a human culture proves its valour and trustworthiness, something which has not yet happened - after all, after thousand years passed in a segregated valley, there haven't been so many opportunities to meet new people).

[**] There is a very interesting note to make here. If the gnolls were created in BC 1050 (as HW says), that means they bred into the thousands within 50 years (according to HW)! Assuming a few years to get to the Traldar lands, and several more for word of the war to spread (so Milen can flee), we're looking at no more than 40 years or so between the conversion of gnomes to the appearance of a great horde. If this is correct, then the Nithians would have to have carried out mass alterations (unless it's possible that gnolls could breed so much) - so a lot more than hundred gnomes would have to be captured.

Two theories can be used to describe what happened. The first is that gnolls really breed too fast, even though this doesn't explain why the Known World is not yet overwhelmed with gnolls by now. The second one involves a bit more of imagination. It deals with Outer Planes and basically we can assume that the creation of the gnolls took place in an outer plane where time flows faster than on Mystara (there are many). The Nithians didn't want to risk anything with their magical mass-breed alteration and so decided to run their experiment in an outer plane connected to Nithia via wormholes. Unfortunately for them, the gnolls were able to fight off their control and rebelled, then found the wormholes and many of them used them to reach Mystara before all the gates could be closed. So the gnolls' invasion came to pass only 50 years after their creation, while in fact 200 years had passed in that Outer Plane (the creation process required a great deal of time and was later followed by a decades long attempt to teach the gnolls the basics of the Nithian culture, obviously with nefarious results: the gnolls gained too much willpower and intelligence to rebel against their masters).

[***] By BC 1,000 the Nithians had colonies on the Isle of Dawn, Ierendi and Minrothad, and this could have been achieved even without seagoing vessels (the Phoenicians were master sailors but didn't have oceanic vessels). However, by BC 700 the Nithians were already in the Savage Coast, so even if the Nithians hadn't ocean-going vessels by BC 795, they certainly invented them by the middle of the eighth century. The sea-gnomes' knowledge was indeed used to produce fine sea-going vessels that helped the Nithians become master sailors as well.

[****] These gnomes actually stumbled upon a very interesting site during their trek and stopped there. In this secluded valley not far from the Diamond Ring, they found a very precious mineral (Mystara's version of adamantium) and started mining it out. However, they were soon attacked by great metallic beings who seemed to patrol the area and were forced to flee. The truth is that there are some Mek Masters buried under this specific location in the Vulcanian range. The meks who patrol the area saw the gnomes' excavations as assaults to their masters and their duty was to blast them.

But the gnomes were not discouraged by the first losses and tried to regain their mine during the next decades. After the first disastrous battles the gnomes devised a countermeasure to fight off the meks: earthshakers. Originally they built three samples (one being the mecha depicted in CM4) and used them against the meks. However, these proved extremely bulky, difficult to control and took too much time to build. So they went with a new design, trying to scale things down.

After centuries of failed projects and useless junk, they managed to capture a mek and to dismantle it in order to study it. They were finally able to produce their own version of meks: Advanced Gnomish Exoskeleton Battle Armours (AGEBA), basically smaller earthshakers manned by one gnome only stationed inside the mecha. The AGEBA is average 6' to 7' in size, so a gnome is quite comfortable inside it. The only problem with these mecha is that they tend to break up and loose pieces quite often during the battle, and the gnome pilots are not so quick at using them to respond to the meks' attacks. For this reason there is a secret project going on in this gnomish clan (possibly with the help of some gnome technomancer from Thimhallan) to update and modify the AGEBA into the new-era superior combat chassis: the EVA (Empathic Variform Armour), a more resilient battle Armour made with the special mineral the gnomes have been able to mine out so far. Theoretically, it should be capable of adapting itself to its pilot's mental orders much like an external part of his body, but each pilot has to be "magically" attuned to each Armour before using it. It's still under construction though...