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99,9999985% Mystara historyby Francesco Defferrari
Assuming that Mystara is more or less a planet as old as our Earth, 4 and half billion years old, the recorded history, from 6000BC to 1000BC, is just the 0,0000015% of the complete history of the planet, 1/642.857 of it. (I hope my math is correct, but anyway you get the idea). In such time a million different civilizations could have lived and died and disappeared leaving not even an half forgotten legend.. But just for our amusement, let's think what could have happened age by age in the remote past of our favorite fantasy world...
(There was also this article on the Vault about this)
Precambrian (From 4600 to 542 million years ago) Time of the Elemental Lords
That's the first age of the Earth and the longest, this time alone is 88% of its life. It's divided in eons:
Hadean Eon: The planet forms as a sphere of magma and there is the formation of the moon too (different hyphotesis). Around 4450 million years ago there is a pluvial period, the Earth cools and oceans form. In Mystara this could be the Creation Eon, when the first oldest immortals are experimenting with the Prime Plane. In My Campaign there was a Original Mother Goddess that created the Immortal Dragons and the Immortal Spirits (the most ancient Immortals). Also we could assume that the Elemental Planes were created before the Prime, and if it was so, then primeval Mystara could have been inhabited at first by Fire elementals/Fire dragons and then by Water elementals/Water dragons, with long living and great civilizations now disappeared in time without a trace. Around 3900 million years ago there is also an heavy bombardment of asteroid on the Moon and the Earth, maybe a revenge of Fire Lords against the winning Water Lords.
In the Archaean Eon, from 3800 to 2600 million years ago, the first photosyntetic bacterias appears but the atmosphere is still poor in oxygen, we could assume great elemental battles between Fire, Earth and Water Elemental Lords/Dragons and the Immortals that favored each group. Also in these eons continents and supercontinents collided and separated, creating and breaking mountain ranges, probably the results of the mentioned battles.
In the Proterozoic Eon, from 2500 to 542 million years ago, oxygen increase and slowly causes more and more severe glaciations to the point of "snowball earth", the planet completely covered in ice. That could have been a great victory for Air elementals, but the eon is also full of earthquakes, volcanoes and floods, so I suppose the other elementals were not defeated yet. In the meantime algas, eucaryotes, sponges and other life forms develop, at the end of the period the first arthropods and worms left traces on the earth: they will change the face of the planet forever...
This age is so far away from modern Mystara that hardly ruins of this time could have lasted till now... but maybe somewhere in the deepest volcanoes, oceans abyss, hidden caves under the earth or in the most ancient glaciers there is still the forgotten palace of one of the ancient Elemental Lords... and maybe there are groups of elementals or great elemental dragons that still plot to take back the planet that once they ruled for such a long time...
Some classic elemental monsters that everyone assumes came recently in Mystara from their respective elemental plane could be in fact the only true original inhabitants of Mystara... some elemental creatures like medusas, krysts or other could indeed have evolved in Mystara and inhabited the elemental plane only later, when the age of the Elemental Lords ended...
About Immortals, I had a Mother Goddess who after a multiplanar war became the patron of many planets and planes and reincarnated some spirits, the original immortals: four dragon immortals, one for air, one for earth, one for fire and one for water, and twelve immortal spirits, among which there are the only four modern mystaran immortals who never had a mortal life: Ixion, Valerias, Hel and Thanatos (plus another unofficial one that I devised for my campaign. Other five of the twelve became later the original Old Ones to protect the Planes from Outer Beings and, of the remaining two, one was killed and another went mad...)
Anyway, later on this, now still on the Pre Cambrian age, a rough timeline/story could be built with the idea that many elemental creatures had in fact a mystaran origin..
The Time of Elemental Lords
The original four Immortal Dragons began very early to experiment with life populating the elemental planes. They were creating and shaping so many worlds and planes that they were at first not much interested in small details, like creatures developing intelligence in one tiny planet. But the Immortal Dragon of Fire in particular was the first to take an interest in Mystara, because obviously a newly born burning planet was the ideal place to him.
At first he populated it only with fire fundamentals, lava lizards, lava oozes and many such creatures, but after some millennia the first fire elementals began to appear and with time they developed civilizations. The Fire Dragon created many proxies in his image to rule the elemental civilizations. But now the other immortals began to notice that something was going on in Mystara, and decided to meddle in the playground of the Fire Dragon.
They decided to bring more variety to Mystara and encouraged the evolution of other intelligent creatures, the efreeti, and also aided some rebellions of the elementals against their dragon rulers. Other creatures, like lava mephits, flame wolves, phoenixes and fire drakes were created by immortal or mortal magic to aid one or another kingdom in the wars between elementals, efreeti and fire dragons. But the Mother Goddess was displeased with such strife so she created helions to maintain peace on Mystara.
After more millennia anyway the other Immortals were eager to populate Mystara with their own creatures and considered unfair that the Fire Dragon had practically occupied the planet for himself when he already had the elemental plane of Fire. So a council of Immortals decided that the planet would have to change, cool and make room for oceans, earth and air too. But the Fire Dragon had grown fond of Mystara and pleaded with the Mother Goddess not to destroy his creation. The Mother granted his request and promised other planets to the other Immortals, but they resented her decision and began to plot against the Fire Dragon. He, fearing the envy of other Immortals, agreed to share his power with others who already had introduced some of their creatures on the planet, particularly energy immortals like Ixion and all the earth oriented Immortals, and so solluxes, hordes, basilisks, earth elementals, krysts, earth dragons and drakes began to populate the cooling surface of Mystara. But the water immortals were not pleased and so they managed to start a massive pluvial period that eventually created the oceans and with them water elementals, hydraxes, undines, water dragons and drakes began to populate Mystara.
That hit the Fire creatures much harder than the Earth creatures and for fire civilizations was the begin of a slow but massive extinction. The Fire Dragons became paranoid and suspected a plot of all the immortals against him, maybe of the Mother herself, and so began to plan his revenge. At first he created fire salamanders, a warlike vengeful race whose purpose was to fight water and earth creatures. At first he was successful and fire salamanders ruled an empire lasting millennia, creating volcanoes to push back the sea and burn the land, but eventually Earth immortals, dismayed for the behaviour of the Fire Dragon, banded with the Water immortals and the salamander empire was chrushed. Volcanoes and lava traps went dormant and the territory of fire creatures were greatly reduced. The Fire Dragon rage was great and he searched the planes for aid against his enemies who were stealing his world. He met Outer Beings and obtained much power from them. Such help will have, obviously, a terrible price in Mystara history. The first consequence was a heavy asteroid bombardment on Mystara and the moons (that I'm leaving behind for now because they should have their own complex history) that destroyed earth and water creatures and revitalized for some time the fire civilizations. But now all the Immortals and the Mother Goddess herself were angry with the Fire Dragon. The Goddess anyway could not bring herself to destroy one of her children, so she simply exiled him on the Plane of Fire. In Mystara, the other immortals had now a free playground and fire civilizations began to decline again, never to recover. The Immortals even decided to kill the Fire Dragons against the orders of the Mother Goddess, but they could not find him. Ixion infact hid him in his home plane because he deemed his survival necessary to preserve at least some space for fire creatures in Mystara, and there the Fire Dragon has been ever since, serving Ixion with his great power and dreaming of the day in which he would conquer back his beloved planet.
On Mystara in this time earth and water civilizations flourished while the fire ones declined. Air creatures instead had only a tiny presence on the planet and so they devised a long term plan to develop photosyntetic bacterias, oxygen and their time of power.
The growing abundance of oxygen infact cooled the planet to the point of terrible glaciations that had a devastating impact on what was left of fire civilizations but allowed the creation of the sky kingdoms of air dragons, air drakes, aerial servants, invisible stalkers, kal-murus and sky wyrms and a great empire of frost salamander on land, that destroyed a great number of earth and water kingdoms during the time of "snowball earth", when the planet was completely covered in ice.
Eventually the Mother Goddess intervened to restabilish balance between the elements and she did so thanks to a unintentional consequence of the Air Immortals plans, the spreading of new life forms like algas, eucaryotes, sponges, arthropods and worms in the now oxygen-rich planet. The warming of Mystara after the glaciations slowly broke the power of frost salamanders and particurarly on land a medusas empire came to rule vast areas of Mystara...
Here is the first map for Precambrian times, when Fire creatures ruled over a burning Mystara 4500 million years ago, in the late period of their dominion when earth creatures also began to live in the planet and the Efreet empire had take over most of the burning land from the Old fire empire of Fire dragons and fire elementals. Brown lands are cool, while dark brown lines are volcanic chains and the reddish brown land is burning land.
Land mass are unrelated to modern ones, but roughly the western half will become Davania while Krists land, Sollux peninsula and Fire drakes realms will become eventually parts of Brun and Skothar.
A note about Fire Drakes: they were not creature from the Elemental plane of Fire but rather the ancestors of fairy folk, among the first spirits created by Immortals after the elemental ones...
This history could give more dephts to modern elemental creatures, groups of them could still be plotting to regain the space that they had in Mystara for a very long time...
After the massive pluvial period 4400 million years ago Water Lords conquered much of the planet and the power of Fire Lords was almost destroyed.. Here most of the central lands are parts of future Davania while Efreet and Fire lands are part of future Skothar, as Kryst islands, and Brun is all underwater...
About the Hollow World I think at least part of it could have been there since the birth of the planet, but probably the immortals began to populate it with dinosaurs at the time of their massive extinction... but more on this later...
The revenge of the Fire Dragon with the creation of Fire Salamanders and the asteroid rain brought Fire creature back to power in Mystara for some time, even if the Water Lords were by no means defeated.
Another one, when the Fire Dragon was exiled the Fire Salamanders empire began a slow decline under the attack of Earth and Water creatures. In the meantime the first small almost ignored life forms were slowly producing oxygen and Air creatures took advantage of that establishing their first realms near the South Pole.
The increase of oxygen was a tactical advantage for Air Lords, the planet cooled and for some time there were glaciations so extreme that the entire Mystara was covered in Ice and Air Dragons and Air creatures ruled unopposed. The Fire Empire, now composed of a mixed population of fire salamanders, dragons, elementals, helions and solluxes made its last stand.
At the sunset of the Elemental Era algas, eucaryotes, sponges, arthropods and worms spread in the now oxygen-rich planet. The Medusan Empire surge to power while the Air Lords are push back to the South Pole and Fire Lords are completely in decline, even if they'll try vainly to regain their former power for many millennia..
Age of the Oceans
Cambrian and Ordovician (From 542 to 443 million years ago)
That was the time of an explosion of life in the earth oceans, with eels and corals-like creatures, strange sea animals like the opabinia, nautilus, trilobites, sponges, molluscs, snails, jellyfish, squids, sea stars, primitive fish and obviously many kinds of marine plants. In Mystara we could assume many kinds of giants sea creatures, maybe intelligents, even if they could have built civilizations very different from the humanoid ones. The Water Immortals and Dragons could have been dominant in this time. Land was a lot less alive compared to the oceans, mostly lichens and mushrooms, and some small worms and trilobites.
The oceans are becoming saltier, shallower and hotter and the Water empire of water elementals and dragons is in decline, other creatures like Giant Squids, trilobites, nautilus and many more (like the Hallucigenia cited before by cab) are populating the seas now. Other elementals creatures like medusas, hydrax, air elementals, ice salamanders, earth elementals and the desert ghosts still have their nations, but worms are also populating the land. Alo drakes, ancestors of the fairy folk, are spreading in many places of the planets..
Here the central land is Brun, while Davania has moved toward the south east... Skothar is almost entirely underwater, except for hydra island and elemental dragon chain.
I imagine that in this age Squids and Worms were the first creature to develop intelligence and civilization, even if their civilizations would be based on magic, empathy and telepathy rather than building things :)
Protius could be born in this age as an intelligent giant Squid.. The ancestors of the burrowers also could have an origin in this era. In my ancient immortals history the Mother Goddess still reigned in this age, maintaing peace in the planes.
Late Age of the Oceans
Later in this age Davania is moving a bit north, parts of Skothar and Brun are emerging as islands.. the oceans are warm, shallow and salty and the Water realms of water elementals are dwindling. Sky kingdoms of air elementals and creatures still exist, as the medusan and desert ghosts empires in Davania, but while the latter is at its peak, the first has fragmented in small nations. The Giant Squids civilization has lost power too, while the shallow seas of this age are dominated by Trilobite, Nautilus and Opabinia realms... If this creatures have developed intelligence, hands and civilizations in Mystara they probably looked something between illithids and crabmen...
At the end of this age on Earth there was an extinction that destroyed about 50% of marine life, maybe caused by the supercontinent Gondwana slowly becoming the south pole, causing lowering of sea level and glacially-driven cooling that destroyed many ecological niches. Another hypothesis is a hypernova explosion that stripped the planet of half its ozone immediatly... In Mystara it could have been the destruction of a not too far solar system by the Outer Beings, an event that prompted the Mother Goddess and other immortals to investigate.. This event anyway destroyed almost everything was left of the elemental civilizations in Mystara as well as the oceans civilizations (giant squids, nautilus, trilobites, opabinias)... Immortals probably saved some of the elementals bringing them to the elemental planes, but the oceans civilizations could have been the first inhabitants of the Hollow World, and maybe they are still there in the shallow waters of Aerical, Suridal or Jomphur....
What's left of them?
About the different elemental civilizations that in this hypothesis populated Mystara for billions of years, some traces of them is probably still around even after so much time... very ancient ruins under the sea, in the highest mountains or volcanoes, or deep under the earth... on the mountains of Skothar something could have been left of the last bastion of Fire elementals, efreets, fire salamanders, helions and fire dragons....
Some traces of the Water empires could still be in the dephts of the Farend Ocean.
Earth elementals civilizations could have left something in the mountains of Brun and Davania, while medusas are very much still present, I'd put them especially around Thyatis, Milenia and Minaea for cultural reasons.. Desert ghosts should also still live mostly in eastern Davania but probably also in the sind desert...
About air elementals, I'd like to have them still living in the south pole with frost salamanders, air dragons, air drakes, aerial servants, invisible stalkers, kal-murus and sky wyrms, and maybe with other creatures arrived later like storm giants, faenare, faedorne and faerie... Such an Air Empire in the south pole would be the most ancient one in Mystara....
Last but not least, if someone has ideas about othere canon/fan creatures and monsters that could be from precambrian-cambrian times please tell!
Silurian-Devonian (From 443 to 360 million years ago)
Life diversified and expanded in this time, first with many species of fish, sea scorpions, leeches, molluscs, trilobites, seashells, corals, then also with armored fish, octopuses, sharks, ammonites. It was named the age of fish (and reefs) for the abundance of marine life at the time. The first complex plants, mushrooms and trees began to colonize lands creating lush and strange looking forests, and with them also arachnoids, scorpions, mites, insects and the first amphibians.
In this time on Mystara the first oozes, mushrooms and worms must have appeared, some of them still existing today. So could have been not only an age of fish and strange underwater civilizations but also an age of oozes and worms.
In the Early Age of Fish
The civilizations of the previous age, opabinias, trilobites, medusas and squids are dwindling, while new cultures are rising in the seas, like ammonites (illithid-like creatures), eurypterids (sea scorpions), ostracoderms (shelled fish, creatures halfway between koprus and crabmen) and acanthodians (spiny sharks, primitive shark-kins) and on land too, like worms, oozes, araneas, miriapods (intelligent centipedes :-) and the first fairy folks, the drakes, within the first great forests of the planet.
In the late Age of Fish
Ostracoderm empire rule the seas, wih the exception of some areas where drakes and eurypterids live. Other races like opabinias, trilobites and some water elementals have created a Water nation, while acanthodians fight the rule of the ostracoderm empire when they can.
On land intelligent worms, oozes and mushrooms are widespread, but besides araneas and miriapods a new intelligent race is rising in the plains of Davania, ancestors of the hivebroods and heralds of the coming insects' age.
At the end of this period on Earth there was a drastic extincion of marine life, probably triggered by oceanic vulcanism. The most affected were corals, that disappeared completely for million of years, brachiopods seashells, fish and trilobites. If a similar thing happened in Mystara that could have been an aftermath of the Elemental wars or a first attack by Outer Beings..
Carboniferous-Permian (From 359 to 251 million years ago)
This is also called an age of insects, that reached noteworthy dimensions up to 2,5 meters on Earth and surely much more on Mystara, where in this age should be the origin of many kinds of giant insects, spiders and scorpions. Amphibians of this age grew up to 6 meters and many species were present, acquatic, semi acquatic and terrestrials.
In the sea Carboniferous was an age of sharks.
In the early age of Insects
Skothar is still in pieces in the north east, mostly inhabited by drakes, dragons and some hivebrood.
Brun is the great island inhabited by worms, now decreasing in number, the therapsid (mammal-like reptiles) and a dragonflies civilization.
Davania is inhabited by araneas, amphibians, some oozes left, formians, hivebroods, thri-keens and probably other kinds of intelligent insects.
In the oceans there is the Shark empire, formed by ancient breeds of shark-kins, koprus and knas too could begin in this era while some sea nations of creatures from the previous age survive in the central sea...
The planet is becoming colder, so a southern realm of ice drakes, ice salamanders and other air creatures is expanding again in the south pole.
In late Carboniferous (305 million years ago) an abrupt climate change severely limiting the extenxion of rainforests favored reptiles over amphibians, and brought a glaciation on the planet.
In the late age of Insects
The southern Sky Ice empire is expanding thanks to the cold climate, but kept in check by the Kolemek empire, created by a race of intelligent, magic users coleopters that I imagine as the creators of Meks.
Thri-keens and formians have a hard time resisting the empires, while Hivebroods thrive on the islands of Skothar.
Other powers of Davania are the Flying nation, created by various intelligent flying insects and the Theramphia forest, where therapsid reptiles rule over amphibians and diapsid reptiles. Crabmen start to appear in the north, while worms are dwindling.
In the land that will become northern Brun and Alphatia, Dragons and drakes have founded a great nation.
The Skarkian empire rules the seas almost unopposed, with some kopru and kna nations, while others more ancient sea creatures have now disappeared.
Permian (From 300 to 251 million years ago)
In the permian the first great reptiles appeared, like Dimetrodon, but they were proto-mammals or mammals-like reptiles, therapsids, while the true reptiles, diapsid, were small and less numerous. Also more amphibians and the modern insects with the families of cockroaches and dragonflies dominants, spiders and annelids.
At the end of the period there was the most severe extinction event of Earth history, with 90% of marine species and 70% of land organism extinct. A supervolcano in Siberia was the possible cause. The planet took 30 million year to recover the previous biodiversity.
In the Age of the Cataclysm
The Kolemek empire rules more than half of Davania, and the warming climate has helped it to destroy the Sky Ice Empire. Other insect cultures and the therapsid, diapsid and amphibian nations are often their subjects, with the exception of the formians that still resist behind a great wall in future Vulcania..
In the north of the great continent and in the island of Brun also dragons, drakes, crabmen, tortles and a new saurian race resist against the empire with piracy and guerrilla.
In the oceans the Kopru empire is allied with/subject to the Kolemek, while kna nations mantain their independence. The sharkian empire, under devilfish attacks, has fragmented in struggling smaller nations.
In my campaign the cataclysm was caused by a Outer Beings invasion of space and planes around Mystara. In the planet the cataclysm completely wiped out the Kolemek empire and hit hard all the insect races.
Eventually the Outer Beings were defeated with the creation of the Vortex, but the Great Mother Goddess was killed (secretly) by Thanatos with the complicity of other ancient immortals. Dragons and fairy creatures, suspecting an involvement of the ancient immortals in the death of the Mother, left the higher planes and came to the prime.
Triassic (From 250 to 200 million years ago)
Slowly reptiles, archosauros, began to replace amphibians and mammals-like reptiles as the dominant life form. Crurotarsi (ancestors of crocodiles) and the first turtle appeared.
On Mystara after the extinction event most of the insect races are gone. I suppose that the Kolemek, being accomplished wizards, could have escaped in other planets of the solar system or in other planes.. other races could still survive somewhere in the hollow world or the hollow moon.. Not all the insect races are extinct on Mystara: Hivebrood has survived in Skothar, Thrii-keen still live in Davania and Formians in Vulcania, but now the dominant powers are the Dragons that founded two great empires in the north and in the south, and are colonizing the seas too. The dominant kind of dragon of this age is not the winged air dragon, but the gigantic wingless earth dragons. Fairy creatures too are colonizing mystara, but for now their kind is made of only of drakes, gakaraks and treants.
In the middle of the great continent an Amphibian empire thrives while therapsid (mammal-like reptiles) are in decline. New races are expanding: tortles, crabmen, saurians and crucotaurs, ancient and giant gatormen.
In the oceans Sea dragons are becoming more and more prominent, but for now the greatest power is the Kopru empire, and Knas and Shark-kins also rule over vast territories.
About Saurians I imagine them as the race from which Ka will come, the bigger ancestors of the Carnifex and the Serpentines.
At the end of the Triassic, around 200 ma years ago, a major extincion event wiped out most of the large amphibian, mammals-like reptiles and crucotarsi (except crocodiles) opening many ecologichal niche and allowing the dinosaurs to have a dominant role in the following era.
Early Dragon Age
At this time amphibian and therapsid has lost importance and are abundant only in the territory of the future jungle of Ka.. The extinction event that wiped out many of them and also thrii-keen and formians could be the result of a war with dragons... maybe some immortals used them to oppose the growing power of dragons in Mystara... So now the dragons empires are expanding and the saurian kingdoms too.
I'd also put in this age the appearance of chameleon men.. they could have evolved from drakes with the magical aid of dragons and Ordana, and they could be the first human-like race in Mystara.
In this age also could begin the evolution of other fairy creatures from drakes that will eventually lead to sidhes, faeries, nixies and later elves and haflings...
Hive lands have shrunk due to geological movements and the expanding of the northern dragon empire.
Sea dragons now rule over most of the oceans and many sea creatures, but free nations of knas, koprus and shark-kins still exist in the eastern sea...
Jurassic-Kretaceous (From 199 to 65 million years ago)
It's the true age of dinosaurs, we know most of them, and many other creatures, like the first marsupial and placental mammals, bees, early birds, flowering plants and leafy trees, even if conifers and fern were still the most common vegetation. Late in this age the first flying birds appear, but the pterosaurs and similar creatures ruled the sky, with wingspans up to 12 meters or more. But in Mystara these should have been the age of Dragons and their favorite creation, intelligent bipedal reptiles.
Around 100 million years ago the first chameleon appeared, and maybe chameleon men and tortles were among the first civilizations sponsored by the dominant dragons.
High Dragon Age
In this long age the power of Dragons is at its peak, probably not only in Mystara but also on surrounding planets and the elemental planes. Saurians, Tortles, Crabmen and Chameleon men are the other races that populate the land, along with the four courts of fairies, which now include not just drakes and treants but also the ancestors of dryads, faeries and sidhes.
In the oceans the mighty sea dragons rule over other races like sea drakes, knas, koprus, shark-kins, nixies, whales, devilfish.
Insect races from a previous age, especially thrii-keen, formians and hivebroods, still exist but their numbers are dwindling. Hivebroods in particular have suffered a crushing defeat in Skothar from dragons and fairies and for thousand of years they will mostly hide underground.
Other races like amphibians, therapsids and crucotaurs still survive mostly in Davania among the saurian nations and the sun fairy court.
Last, a little addendum about araneas: IIRC in canon and fan sources they came to Mystara from another plane.. I put them in Mystara during the early insect age, but I think they could have escaped to another plane refusing to submit to the Kolemek empire, and they will return to Mystara much later in history.. some of them anyway could have stayed in Mystara even during the Dragon ages...
The War of Revenge and the bitter Fall
When Thanatos and other old immortals plotted against the Mother Goddess during the Outer Beings' invasion and eventually secretly murdered her, the unimaginable crime had two witness. One of them was another immortal, the beloved herald of the Mother. Thanatos and the others killed him almost immediately, and they were sure that the other witness was dead too.
He was just a servant of the herald, a minor exalted being, hardly worth any second thought. They were sure he was dead. But he wasn't. He was horribly scarred by immortal magic and lost in a far away dimension of the multiverse, but not dead.
Thanatos and the other immortals who had created the Vortex managed to keep their crime a secret, even if the dragons and many of the lesser immortals, like the fairies, had some suspicions about the death of the Mother. So when Thanatos found out that the servant was indeed still alive and trying to return, he used any available mean to destroy him or, at the least, keep him away from Mystara. The servant was chased through planes and dimensions for more than 150 million years. Immortal assassins, hellhounds, monsters and Outer Beings foul magic were employed to kill him, yet somehow he managed to survive and return to Mystara.
He came in front of the Great Council of Dragons and began his speech saying "The Mother's blood screams in all the lands!".
That was the beginning of the War of Revenge: dragon and fairies invaded the Immortals planes destroying everything and killing anything they encountered. The war was fought without mercy by both sides and soon enough the Immortals were almost annihilated. So Thanatos involved the others in his wicked pact with the Outer Beings, and the Immortals casted a spell that brought devastation upon the entire solar system and almost destroyed Mystara...
A 12 km (8 miles) big asteroid hit the dragons greatest city and caused an apocalypse of a magnitude hard to imagine: at first the impact caused the most terrible tsunami of all times, then earthquakes and volcanic explosion with burning ash rains and huge poisonous clouds, and terrible fires all over the globe, then acid rains and an intense and violent warming, then dark clouds that blocked the sun for years, causing eventually an ice age that killed most of the photosynthetic flora. In many place smaller creatures managed to survive only thanks to mushrooms, that can thrive over decomposing matter without sunlight. But most of the bigger animals were completely wiped out in a relatively short time.
The last earth dragons sacrificed themselves to save what was left of life on Mystara, and eventually the sea and air dragons surrendered. The peace terms were harsh: dragons were stripped of their immortality, had to submit to the Immortals and leave Mystara up to a time yet to be decided. Thanatos obviously wanted the servant's life too, but he had escaped and no amount of immortal and Outer Beings magic was able to find him.
Eocene (56 to 34 million years ago)
This age had homogeneous hot climate, with temperate forest up to the poles and tropical climate up to now temperate areas, but a gradual cooling began when australia separated from antarctica and south pole was formed. At the beginning of the age anyway forests covered the earth and palm tress grew as north as Alaska and only at the end of the eocene deciduous forest and tundra substituted sub-tropical forests in Antarctica. Modern mammals appeared but mostly in dwarf forms because smaller animals coped better with the extreme heat of the age and there were some strange mammals like mesonyx, a carnivorous ungulate. There were some big mammals, as the rhino-like Brontotheres, and the carnivorous creodonts like the hyaenodons. If mammals often were small, snakes and turtles get bigger, pythons in particular up to 13 meters long in the tropical area.
In the oceans sharks still ruled but the ancestors of whale, like the basilosaurus, and of manatee, like the prorastomus, appeared.
Early Mammal Age
For many centuries after the asteroid impact that ended the dragon age few creatures could thrive in the extreme conditions after the disasters and they were mostly creatures from previous ages: oozes, fungoids, geonids, elementals of many kinds. The massive extinction that hit saurian races and the exile of the dragons also favored amphibians and hivebroods.
The Fairy Courts, involved in the war against the Immortals, were at first scattered and greatly diminished in power, but with the years they regained their former glory under the protection of Ordana, and now they have again two great realms in Davania and Brun.
In the southern continent saurians and crabmen have survived too, amphibians dominate the jungle of Ka and new races have appeared: the first pachydermion in eastern Davania, early gyerians in the plains of the north west and the first Golden Realm founded by enduks, sphynxes, faedorne and other creatures, with the open alliance of the southern fairies and the secret aid of dragons.
In Brun tortles and chamaleon men have appeared, sasquatchs populate the north, froglins and gatormen (they appear in Blackmoor d20) have colonized the southern coast of Brun and Skothar. The Hive land is once again powerful in eastern Skothar.
In the oceans Shark-kins fight for dominion of the waters with devilfish, while in the eastern sea mixed clans of knas, koprus and nixies try to preserve their freedom.
Oligocene (34 to 23 million years ago)
There was a global expansion of grassland in this age, grasses plants were recently evolved and began to spread, antarctica developed a permanent ice cap. Mammals became bigger and some like primitive horses (mesohippus and hyracodont), rhinoceros, poebrotherium camels, entelodonts and archaeotheriums (very big boar) and ruminants oreodonts (in North America) spread in the newly formed grasslands. South America was isolated and had its own unique fauna, like pyrotheres, astrapotheres, litopterns, notoungulates, sebecosuchian crocodiles, terror bird and carnivorous marsupials like the borhyaenid. Early feline appeared, like the nimravids, and early canine like the hesperocyon, and the deer-like protoceratid. In Eurasia appeared the Indricotheres, the largest land mammals ever. Mastodons slowly spread in all the globe except south america. Creodonts began to lose against developing carnivora like the miacids but were probably still dominant in this age.
In the oceans whales appeared while the primitive cetaceans archaeocete succumbed to the cooling climate. There were also desmostylians, the amphibian cetaceans, in the pacific ocean. Modern seals and walrus (pinnipeds) appeared.
Middle Mammal Age
In Mystara this should be a time of big mammals too, but with some differences: mastodons probably spread only in Davania, as the "south american" fauna, while probably the animal of Eurasia and North America are only in Brun and Skothar... In Skothar Hive lands expand and creodonts should appear, the ancestors of rakastas.
Dragons have returned but only in the isolated islands that will become Zyxl and eastern Skothar.
In Davania the Golden Realm is flourishing and pachydermions have founded a great empire in the east.
In the western ocean and beyond devilfish rule, often attacking the other civilizations, like intelligent whales and seals, shark-kins, nixies, knas and koprus.
Miocene (23 to 5,3 million years ago)
Cooling continued and also a global trend towards aridity. Mountain ranges rises in europe and america, and hymalaya was created by the collision of india with asia. South America and Australia had their own unique fauna, while the other continents had a similar one. Grasslands have a major expansion and so grazer animals like mastodons, horses and ruminants spread. Modern mammals and birds are now present with some now extinct animals like borophagine dogs, gompotheres (a kind of elephants), teleoceras and aphelops rhinos. Big ground sloth migrates from south to north america on newly formed islands.
Marine birds reached their highest diversity ever, brown algae proliferated, supporting new species of sea life, including otters, fish and invertebrates. The cetaceans diversified, and some modern genera appeared, such as sperm whales. The pinnipeds became more aquatic.
Some animals of the previous age, like entelodonts, oreodonts and creodonts goes extinct in this time for climate change or competition with other animals, or both.
About 100 species of apes lived in this age, one of them 15-12 million years ago was the unknown ancestor of humans.
Late Mammal Age
In the north rakastodon and gatormen are successfully attacking the Hivebroods, limiting the extension of their territory. Primitive garls appear, centaurs spread in the northern continent.
New kinds of fairies have appeared, more similar to the modern ones, and in Davania sidhes, dryads and faedornes have created the Eldar kingdom, with the help of some dragons willing to leave behind the past war with the immortals. Other dragons now live also in the Golden Realm, inhabited mostly by sphynxes, enduks, pegataurs, couatls, fairies, faenares, some elementals, gyerians and others. But some dragons are still looking for revenge against the immortals and have created the Carnifex race.
Very intelligent reptiles with a great talent for magic, the Carnifex are carving their empire in western Davania threatening the very existence of pachydermions, fairies and other saurian races in the area.
In the oceans the devilfish empire has fallen under krakens and shark-kins attacks...
Pliocene (5,3 to 2,6 million years ago)
For most of the epoch the temperature was still higher than today and sea levels 25 meters higher, but by the end of the age Greenland too developed an ice cap moving toward the glaciations of the following age.
South america became linked to north america and the great american interchange took place: sabretoothed marsupial predators and all the ungulate fauna of south america went extinct and only vampire bats, hummingbirds, parrots, porcupines, opossum and the family of armadillos, sloths and anteaters was able to survive and invade central-north america, like giant ground sloths and glyptodonts. Giant south american terror birds like the Titanis were able to invade the north but they will die out at the beginning of the following age, as capybaras did. Most south american animals went only up to central americas, like tucanos, caimans, caecilians, some frogs, monkeys, tinamous birds, for climatic reasons.
From the north to the south went many rodents, shrews, rabbitts, frogs, snakes, turtles, salamanders, tapirs, equids, peccaries, deers, camelids (lamas and vicugnas), otters, skunks, procyonids, dire wolves, gray foxes, great bears, ancient canids, leopards, cougars, jaguars, the american lion, the scimitar cat, sabre tooth cat, condors and elephant relatives. Some of these animals, like the dire wolf, great bears, horses, elephants and great cats will live in the americas through Pliocene and Pleistocene ages but will go extinct at the end of Pleistocene.
This movement of continents caused also a drier cooler climate around the world by breaking the equatorial current, and expanded deserts in africa and asia.
Rhinos, three toed horses (Nannippus), oreodonts, protoceratids, Borophagine dogs and chalicotheres went extinct in the americas, and camels, deers and horses became rarer.
In Eurasia rodents did well, while primate distribution declined. Elephants and alike were successful in Asia, and hyraxes migrated north from Africa. Horse diversity declined, while tapirs and rhinos did fairly well. Cows and antelopes were successful. Hyenas and early saber-toothed cats appeared, joining other predators including dogs, bears and weasels.
Africa was dominated by hoofed animals, and primates continued their evolution, with australopithecines (some of the first hominids) appearing in the late Pliocene. Cows and antelopes continued diversification and overtaking pigs in numbers of species. Early giraffes appeared, and camels migrated in Asia from North America. Bears, dogs and weasels (originally from North America) joined great cats, hyenas and civets as the African predators, forcing hyenas to adapt as specialized scavengers.
I put an isthmus between Davania and Brun, I guess this could be the time when elephants spread to the north and camels went to Davania... also marsupials could have gone from West Davania to the Savage Coast, or the other ways around... In this time also dogs, great cats, bears, horses, boars and cows probably spread in all the continents.
The Carnifex empire rule this age and all Eastern Davania, pachydermions and older saurian races have been exterminated and only the Eldar kingdom, the Golden Realms and the fairies of the north resist against it.
In Brun Cryons appear, while in Skothar the Hivebroods are falling back under the attacks of fairies, froglins, rakastodons and gatormen.
Eventually the High Carnifex will defy the Immortals and will be exiled to another plane, while Mystara will enter into the Giants Age.
Pleistocene (2,5 to 12000 years ago)
Both marine and continental faunas were essentially modern and many animals, specifically mammals, were much larger than their modern relatives. Humans evolved into their present form during the Pleistocene. Starting from around 680.000 years ago, pleistocene became an age of repeated glaciations.
After the exile of carnifex, in Davania a new race of intelligent reptilians evolves, the serpentines, and with them other races that will become the lizardmen, sis'thik and others.
Pachydermions have again a presence in eastern Davania, but the real power of the area is the Eldar empire of sidhes, dryads, treants, hsiaos, drakes, dragons, fauns, centaurs and the newest fairy races as brownies, pookas, leprechauns, sprites, imps and pixies.
The Golden Realm of sphynxes, enduks, pegataurs, gyerians, centaurs, dragons, crabmen and tortles rule over western Davania.
After travelling the planes for million of years, araneas return to Mystara in the Isle of Dawn.
The greatest empire of this time however is the Giants Empire in modern Brun. In the northern continents also aardovai, ancestors of lupins, and brutemen, the first human, have appeared, while garls probably now survive only in remote areas.
Probably the Giant empire had colonies also in modern Skothar and Davania (that in recent times could have become interesting and originals breeds of giants..)
But 700.000 years ago, the servant of the herald returned in Mystara and told the giants the truth about the immortals and their betrayal of the Mother: the powerful giants stormed the plane of the immortals, and to avoid defeat the immortals threw a terrible ice age on Mystara, causing massive extinctions and the utter defeat of the giants empire.
Pleistocene (2,5 to 12000 years ago)
Repeated glaciations and severe climatic changes during the ice age had major impacts on the fauna and flora. With each advance of the ice, large areas of the continents became totally depopulated, and plants and animals retreating southward in front of the advancing glacier faced tremendous stress. Eventually at the end of the last ice age, cold-blooded animals, smaller mammals like mice, migratory birds, and swifter animals like deers had replaced the megafauna and migrated north. The extinctions were especially severe in North America where native horses and camels were eliminated.
First humans Time
On Mystara, this was the time of Brutemen, the first humans, but also of the First Serpentine Empire in Davania. Probably glaciations were harder in Brun and southern Davania, but in Mystara, unlike Earth, we could assume that many animals like horses, camelids and boars survived in every continent.
This should also be the time when elves, sea elves, merrows and modern fairy folks appeared and lupins and rakastas began to differentiate into sub-species. Giants survived in scattered and weak kingdoms, while the Brutemen and the Serpentine empires became powerful in magic.
The sea kingdoms could have been founded in this age by intelligent sea mammals, nixies, sea giants and merrows.
Dawn of the New Races
Eventually both the Brutemen empire and the First Serpentine Empire fell, in part because of their competition, in part for climatic changes caused by the repeated glaciations, but mostly because of the encroaching of new races that the immortals favored over them. So while them and the giants are in decline in this age, other races are surging to power or coming back, like lizard men, troglodytes, lamaras, sis-thiks, araneas, rakastas, lupins, tortles, centaurs, elves, fairy folks and the new humans that are spreading in Skothar.
Dawn of History
And last, we are near the time of Blackmoor: now the glaciations have ended, modern races and animals have appeared while most of the mega-fauna has gone extinct, even if in Mystara some of them survive here and there.
For some time the new carnifex of Yhog and the human empire of Lhomarr are the greatest power in the world, ruling respectively over northern and eastern Davania, while the Serpentine are in decadence, but after the destruction of the two nations the Second Serpentine Empire rises to power again.
Rakastas and humans are spreading all over the world, the beastmen race is born, as halflings (from fairy folks and elves, I guess) dwarves and gnomes (from brutemen).
Tritons could have evolved from merrows and nixies or merrows and humans but I'd like them as heirs of Lhomarr, as in Earth's stories about similar creatures being the heir of Atlantis...
(For 10.000 BC and beyond see also here)