Atlas   Rules   Resources   Adventures   Stories       FAQ   Search   Links

World in Flames: The Prelude

by Bruce Heard

AC 940: A gigantic ship of the Neh-Thalggu leaves their outer-planar world on a long exploration mission.

AC 950: The Neh-Thalggu discover a mud-coloured object radiating strange telepathic prayers in an abandoned temple. The object has the appearance of a fossilised group of larvae, about the size of an average pumpkin. One of the object's properties is that the larvae seem to have moved a bit every time someone takes a new look at it. Neh-Thalggu scholars seize the object and take it along for further observation. Their journey takes them into the Prime Plane, as the Neh-Thalggu prepare to explore the Mystaran system.

AC 955: Appearing out of nowhere, thousands of space pirates suddenly ambush the Neh-Thalggu ship as it unwittingly travels past the invisible moon of Matera. The hair-rising caterwauls and total boldness of their demi-feline assailants utterly shock the unprepared Neh-Thalggu. Overwhelmed by the vast number of assailants, the Neh-Thalggu attempt to flee and steer their huge, lumbering vessel toward nearby Mystara. With their nimble flying mounts, the Myoshiman pirates catch up and continually board the Neh-Thalggu ship, frantically looking for loot and slaves. In their final act before dying, the remaining Neh-Thalggu form a circle and summon a great fiery flash just as they enter the planet's atmosphere. Ablaze, the voidship tumbles to the surface, in north-central Brun, along with the burning and screaming pirates. A lone goblin shaman sees the fiery arc reaching down from the nightly sky and, thinking it a sign of her Immortal patron Wogar, exhorts her tribe to travel to that region. Thus starts the saga of the Othwa.

AC 956: Late in winter, the Othwa find the Neh-Thalggu crash site under a coat of ice and snow. They first unveil a monstrous jumble of charred, frozen bodies, mostly bones and crab-like pieces strangely assembled to form a twisted temple. Underneath all this, they reach the colossal Neh-Thallgu's vessel itself. The ship's heavy structure, part wood and part metal, buried itself into the marshy ground at the time of the crash. The courageous Othwa start digging into the frozen muck, slowly cutting their way through the crumpled and collapsed holds of the voidship. There they find untold treasures amassed by the Neh-Thalggu during their journey. Many contain powerful magic. Working goblins report hearing strange prayers while they dig deeper into the ship. Their shaman presses them on. The rest of the Othwa tribe takes refuge in the temple of bones as the deadly northern winter rages on outside.

AC 957: With spring come the thawing of the ice and snow in the vast swamps surrounding the crash site. Accidents become all too frequent as mud begins to flood the partially cleared wreck. With great difficulty and many tragedies, the goblins reach the heart of the vessel where they find the fossilised larvae. They painstakingly hoist it out instants before the support beams cave in and thick, sticky mud suddenly floods the shipwreck drowning everyone inside. The black temple of bones, resting solidly on the buried wreck itself, dominates the surrounding land, as a stark reminder of those who will rest beneath it for eternity.

AC 972: The Othwa survive their ordeal in the desolate northern lands, and despite the lack of good resources in the area, many whelps are born, many more than expected. To avoid starvation the goblins reluctantly abandon the crash site and their bizarre temple of bones, to travel south where the deer thrive.

AC 982: The Othwa becomes a thriving tribe of central Brun. The unusual objects they retrieved from the Neh-Thalggu wreck allow them ample and favourable trading with other tribes. Kro-ee, the ageing tribal shaman, also discovers that the fossilised larvae are a powerful artifact. It seems to improve the fertility of the tribe's females and shorten gestation time. For this, Kro-ee thanks Wogar and begins organising the life of her tribe around the artifact.

AC 984: The Othwa are now a major tribe. Their population and territory have grown very fast, and several other goblin tribes were incorporated in the process. Later that year, a very large orcish tribe, the Gronmak, invades Othwaland, demanding the Othwa pay up a hefty tribute. The Othwa refuse and mount a sudden counterattack, using some of the strange magic found in the Neh-Thallgu's wreck. The Gronmak panic and their warchief captured. Soon, the Gronmak bow to their new lords and adopt the worship of Wogar. The Othwa tribe grows on.

AC 994: The Othwa population has far exceeded local resources. It begins a massive migration. Its journey takes the Othwa to Urzud. There, Kro-ee proclaims the Coming of Wogar's Century, and orders a great temple to be built in His Name. She dies of old age before its completion a few years later.

AC 1004: Followers of Wogar from the other goblinoid tribes have been converging toward Urzud for the past several years. There, they pay homage to the Othwa, worship Wogar at his great temple, and bow before the exposed, mummified remains of Kro-ee. As they settle in the region, the other tribes also benefit from the artifact's powers, and their numbers keep growing at an alarming rate.

AC 1009: Urzud witnesses a population explosion. Tribes begin fighting each other over what meagre resources might be had. Infighting degenerates as rivals of the all powerful Othwa take this as an opportunity to strike back. The great mud houses and shacks of Urzud are soon ablaze and its streets filled with piles of rotting corpses and starving, desperate humanoids. All seems lost when the body of Kro-ee unexpectedly sits up and walks out of the dilapidated temple. She steps on a large rock outside the temple and stares down quietly at her people, pointing an accusing finger at them. To the screaming and slaughtering succeeds a sudden silence as everyone is struck with awe and fall to their knees. They bow before her as deeply as they can, trembling in fear. Once the calm restored, Kro-ee quietly shuffles back to her grave. Kro-ee's successor, a shaman called Ugrah, then steps before the fearful mob and addresses them with great conviction, enjoining them to unite and turn upon the rich human lands of the south and the east. There lie the food, wealth, and pleasures that should be theirs by right. And the right of conquerors shall be theirs indeed! The humanoids, sometimes reluctantly, fall back and regroup under the nominal authority of Ugrah-Voice-of-Kro-ee!

Note: In truth, Ugrah had judiciously chosen this time of crisis to animate the dead body of Kro-ee and impress his fellow goblins into submission. The ruse worked and he effectively took control of a vast population of humanoids in the region of Urzud. Ugrah is as much a powerful shaman as a cunning and bold war leader. He also is a good judge of character and chose his war chiefs wisely. He entrusted them with the few remaining magical objects found in the Neh-Thalggu wreck to support their invasion of the civilised lands.

AC 1010: To avoid further starvation and internal strife, Ugrah-Voice-of-Kro-ee orders a long march toward the Known World. Females, their progeny, and half the male population are to remain at Urzud and defend the temple. They are to send regular reinforcements to the Thunderous War Horde. On its way, the Thunderous War Horde slaughters the Othwa's rivals, and assimilates other tribes. By then, the great goblin leader goes by the name Ugrah-Kwa'Othwa-To'Kro-ee-Na'Urzud-Ke'Wogar (or Ugrah, Lord of Othwa, Voice of Kro-ee, Heart of Urzud, Hand of Wogar). More should be added as the goblins smash their way from one victory to another.

AC 1013: The Thunderous War Horde with its multitude of Othwa goblins and their cohort of allied and submitted humanoid tribe at long last reaches the Wildlands, just east of Wendar and Glantri. Thousands of drums herald the marching the Thunderous Hordes.