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History of Threshold

by Stefan Beate

I am trying to piece together the historical "layers" of Threshold.

Shrine of Key-Hamintep: a remnant of the presumed oldest permanent settlement of the area by ancient Nithians, who rose and fell within a century (1500-1400 BC). Odd is the apparently high level of development, to which the Shrine is testament, and their complete and utter failure within a short time span. So, all their skills were not enough to cope with the problems at hand.

Thereafter, the Hutaakans and Traldars settled the area. It would make sense that they used what the Nithians left back, and resettled the place. Zendrolion gives the place the name of Tetlaqa in the HIstory of Karameikos in Threshold 1. (Or is this canon, and I missed the reference?). This ends with the Beastman invasion c. 1000 BC. As Threshold is not too far away from the Lost Valley, it is quite logical to inhabit that settlement.

So, we have 500 years of more or less continual settlement of this place. The Nithians built quite solid, IŽd assume. Therefore, the casual remark that there are many ruins below Threshold in K:KoA is probably right. After c. 1000 BC, the place lay probably fallow for a long time, maybe even for thousand years. This would explain quite some decay, but not the sinking of these ruins. Is the ground unstable enough to sink ruins? As this is an area close to a lake and adjacent to a river, this might be the case: soft ground, not well suited to carry the heavy stone buildings of the Nithians. Or might this even be a backlash of the immortals curse that hit the Nithians - their material legacy sinking below ground?

Whatever the reason, the place was resettled eventually, around the time the first emperor of Thytis was crowned, and given the name Lugsid. Within time, the neighboring settlement of Zadreth along with the Temple of the Shield was established as well. The intervening time and remote location saw towards the ignorance of the new settlers to the history of the place. If there were any worked stones still visible, they would probably have been used for building - say, the old city wall might have been erected partially from those stones (not at all unusual in the real world - worked stone was too valuable to have it lying around or even throw away if still usable). Within this era, IŽd place the erection of not only the temple, but also of a monastery in the city proper - the only remnant of this are the two sarcophagi found in K:KoA (Adventures book, p.11).

(Btw, the idea that the subterranean channels in the first adventure from K:KoA end south of the city is nonsensical. Judging from the map on p. 6 of K:KoA Adventures book, the channel outlet is in a straight line from west to east from the cellar in which it all starts. Looking at the placement of The Juggling Ogre on the color map, this would be approx. at the waterside terminus of the New Wall, placing the crypt below or even outside the city wall. Furthermore, the road layout in the adventure does not fit the roads on the color map, and the buildings shown do not adhere to the 50 ft. distance decree. I would place this within the Old City, perhaps the block north of the town hall. The channel exit might be right below the northern bridge, and closed off by an ages-old and seemingly rusted in place grate, or even a secret door looking like stone.)

The village was abandoned around AC 800, but resettled from ca. AC 900 onward, this time under the name Vatresh, later to be renamed Threshold by the Thyatians. A hundred years should suffice for most wooden constructions to be thoroughly rotten, but stone constructions are surely restorable. The phase of abandonment is relatively short, and can only be explained with widespread depopulation of the area, if the details of this settlement are forgotten already. So, in all probability, not many families from the "olden days" should be there, if any.

My take would be that from the pre-traladaran era almost nothing is left visible. Threshold today is for the most part not older than a hundred years, as most buildings from the Lugsid era were wooden, and have not survived a century without upkeep in a climate with harsh winters and ample rainfall. The oldest visible structure is probably the old city wall, and the bridges could be quite old as well. And these are also not pre-traladaran, so they may be partially as old as a thousand years - which is quite old, to be sure, but not even close as the 2500 years of the oldest subterranean structures.

A short timeline of Threshold (dates are estimates, and open to discussion. The second abandonment is quite short.):

1500-1400 BC: Nithian settlers (Shrine of Key-Hamintep)
1400-1000 BC: Traldar/Hutaaka settlement, Tetlaqa
1000 BC - 1 AC: abandoned ruins
1 AC - 800 AC: Traladaran settlement, Lugsid (maybe old wall built? At some point here, a monastery existed)
800 AC - 900 AC: abandoned
900 AC - 970 AC: Traladaran settlement, Vatresh (the old town of today)
970 AC - 1000 AC: renamed Threshold, building decree by baron, outer wall built, dam and weir built
(985 AC: old mill on Fogor Island burnt down)