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Mystara 3E - Chapter 6: A Brief History of Time

by Roger LV Girtman II

"He who fails to remember the past is doomed never to repeat it, for he shall be dead!"
—Moglai Khan, the Golden Khan of Ethengar

MYSTARA is one of the oldest enigmas of the Multiverse. Its creation is a mystery that may never be solved; it is thought to have taken place before the birth of any being still in existence. (If any Immortal being was around at the place and time of the forming of MYSTARA, he's not admitting it.)

Creation of the World
No living being knows how MYSTARA was created. Every nation and every race has its own belief; almost every culture believes that the Immortal most beloved of that race created the world, but naturally each race prefers a different Immortal and credits him or her with the making of the world. The Immortals themselves, though, know they did not shape the world
When the world was formed, it was not created in the shape most people believe it takes. Most humans believe it to be a vast, mostly-flat plane, over which the sun and moon cross daily; but they are wrong. Scholars and astronomers lean to the theory that the world is a solid sphere handing suspended in space; and though they hit closer to the truth, they also are partially wrong.
The world was formed as a hollow sphere, a balloon with a rocky skin about a thousand miles thick. The whole thing didn't have enough mass sufficient to generate a gravity which would hold an atmosphere in place, so a thin layer of magical material was inserted at the centre of the planet's skin; this layer might be called the gravity belt by scholars if they knew of its existence. The Immortals do know of it; they call it the World-Shield.

Life and the Immortals
Once the world was shaped, life was created upon its (outer) surface over thousands or even millions of millennia. Some species and races evolved naturally; others were created by ancient, elemental Immortals and by unknown forces.
As some of these races learned to manipulate magic, they too began creating entirely new species. And as they probed ever deeper into the workings of magic, some of them learned of the path they could take to Immortality. A few of the ones who learned of the path actually set out on it. A very few of the ones who set out on the path actually achieved Immortality.

MYSTARA and History
Not long ago (by Immortal calculations), the history of the human and humanoid races entered a very active phase. Cultures rose quickly and fell violently. Great wars were fought. Heroes lived who later were to become legends. Incredible calamities shaped the course of history in the outer world.
And, as all these events were taking place, the Immortals were reacting to them.

In Earliest Times
Before the dawn of recorded history (about 7,000 years ago, or BC 6,000) all the sentient races were in their infancy: they were very primitive, very simple peoples.
Humans were divided into three great races:
Neathar were light-skinned humans. A very prolific race, they multiplied quickly and spread all over their area of the world. Before the dawn of history, the Neathar tribes were all hunter-gatherers; most followed great herds of beasts through open plains territories. The Neathar were the ancestors of the Blackmoor race, which nearly destroyed the world; most of the light-skinned later races are their descendants (including the Thyatians, with all their descendants, the Hinterlanders of the southern continent, and the men of the Northern Reaches).
Oltecs were copper-skinned humans. They were great explorers, seafarers, and travellers; Oltec-descended cultures are found all over the Known World. The original Oltecs preferred deep jungle and forest terrains, though their descendants have adapted to almost every clime. Descendants of the Oltecs include the Atruaghin and the Jennites.
Tanagoro were black-skinned humans. Like the Neathar, they had a great warlike tradition and followed herd-beasts to support their tribes. However, they were not as prolific as the Neathar and consequently did not spread all over the globe the way Neathar-descended peoples did. Descendants of the Tanagoro include the folk of Tangor, on the continent east of Alphatia, and the Pearl Islanders.
In addition, many later races resulted from interbreeding between the races. The Ylari, Atruaghin, Ethengar and Nithians were descended from Neathar/Oltec crosses; the Traldar were further descended from Neathar/Nithia crosses.
Dwarves lived chiefly in hilly, rough territory of the northern continent, making their livelihoods as goatherds. These dwarves were not like the modern Rockhome dwarves: They liked rugged outdoor terrain as much as they liked glittering caves, and were a merrier, more open race of demihumans.
Elves lived in a literal paradise. Their deep-forested nation, in the temperate regions of the southern continent, was a land which did not know bad weather, illness, or hunger; the elves were nurtured by the nature-loving Immortal Ordana who created them, and wanted for nothing.
Gnomes did not yet exist as a race; their creation took place many centuries later.
Halflings lived in the rolling hills and forests of the southern continent, some distance from the elves, whom they respect greatly.
There were no monstrous humanoids in the world at this time—the orcs, goblins, trolls, ogres, gnolls and giants which were to later plague the world did not yet exist. Lizard men were largely relegated to hidden swamps, secluded valleys, and the most desolate of deserts, far away from the other sentient races.
The timeline below describes the history of MYSTARA from the dawn of the modern sentient races to the modern era.

Timeline of History
Following is a timeline of events on the outer surface of MYSTARA, which we know as the Known World.
The timeline is given with Years BC (Before Crowning) and AC (After Crowning), referring to the crowning of the First Emperor of Thyatis, which took place in a year that modern historians call "AC 0."

This was followed by the "outer world" timeline as it appeared in the HW DM book.

The Future
AC 1,001-AC1,009
Wrath of the Immortals
AC 1,004: Unbeknownst to any mortal, the Council of Mystara—the governing body of all Immortals, order Rad to cease his study of the artefact called the Radiance, declaring it to be too dangerous. Rad refuses, believing his work to be vitally important. A rift is formed amongst the ranks of the Immortals as battle lines are drawn.
The Immortals Vanya and Valerias, on opposing sides and unaware of each other, have taken on mortal forms in the Empire of Thyatis. Vanya becomes Emperor Thincol's lover and adviser. Valerias turns her identity's estate into the social centre of the Empire and seduces the empire's leading families, setting them at each other's throats.
The Thyatian and Alphatian Empires both start to show signs of patriotism of the highest degree, especially the military, who exhibit a "my Empire is best" opinion, and show off about it.
AC 1,005: The Known World is at war. The Alphatian wizards declare war on the Glantrian wizards, and Thyatis allies with Glantri against Alphatia. The Desert Nomads invade Darokin.
AC 1,006: Karameikos declares independence from Thyatis. Alfheim is corrupted and conquered by the Shadow Elves. A meteorite strikes the Glantri/Darokin border.
AC 1,007: Refugees from Alfheim (now called Aengmor) settle in Karameikos.
AC 1,008: Plague year in the lands north of Karameikos. Karameikos remains relatively unharmed.
AC 1,009: The war between Thyatis and Alphatia concludes with the invasion and near-destruction of Thyatis and the sinking of Alphatia's main island. For an entire week, magic fails to function.

AC 1,010 and Beyond
The future of Mystara is yours to mould. Before TSR, Inc. dropped the MYSTARA line of products, it moved the timeline of the campaign forward to the year AC 1014 and beyond, through the world-changing campaign adventure, Wrath of the Immortals, three Poor Wizard's Almanacs, and later Joshuan's Almanac. Fans of the setting around the world have also created different timelines for the future, some incorporating the "official" timeline developed by TSR, some not.
The VAULTS of PANDIUS can be scourged for dozens of ideas and adventure paths to develop the future for your own campaign. Fan created timelines of particular interest which can be found therein include Wrath of the Immortals II, the MYSTARA Net Almanacs, and the World in Flames Adventure Path. Further supplements and accessories in this line will assume the standard timeline as depicted in Wrath, but yours may end up drastically different. In such an event, we will do our best to ensure that further development in the MYSTARA d20 line of products will be as useful to alternate futures as to the canon future.