Şehir Dünyanın: Land of the Giants
Giant-forged. Titan-crafted. Land of 10,000 Towers. The home of the Gate of Eternity. The City of Cities.
Şehir Dünyanın is all this and more. It is unique among the prime material planes as it alone was created not by the gods, the primordials, or the cosmos itself, but rather by mortal hands and minds.
There are few records that have survived, but what is known about Şehir Dünyanın is that the giants who built it did so out of a desire to have a safe haven from their enemies. It was fully stocked to withstand any siege. This included divvying up the world into different districts, including agricultural, mineral, and forests. A sea and an ocean, as well as a full mountain range and a desert were also included. These areas were fully stocked with the ecologically appropriate fauna and flora, as well as with creatures of more magical origins for the giants to hunt and use in their arcane experiments. The urban areas of the giants’ city were primarily made for those of their stature [i.e., at least Large size], but they also made some of the architecture more appropriate for their humanoid servants.
And of humanoid servants there were many. All of the races that existed at that time were employed by the giants to do various tasks around the city. From cooking, cleaning, harvesting, crafting, and defending, humanoids did it all. Dwarves, elves, humans, and goblinoids were the primary servant races, though others, such as orcs and gnomes, existed as well. Some races were born from the mixing of these ones, including the goliaths (half-giants), muls (half-dwarves), zilhman (half-elves), and zorkarman (half-orcs). Others would follow later.
For 2,000 years, the giants reigned over their city in relative peace and prosperity. They created the Wall Makers, intelligent and sentient humanoid golems (Warforged) to build the massive walls that delineated the city’s borders. They set up massive canals and aqueducts, roads and sea routes, and pioneered great magical discoveries. They also explored the mysteries offered by the Gate of Eternity, an enigmatic structure that stands on the top of the Spire of the Caged Mountain. All that is currently known about the Gate of Eternity (or the Eternal Gate as its colloquially known) is that it is a portal to the other planes of existence.
However, after those 2,000 years, a great plague swept through the city, killing giant, humanoid, and non-sentient life alike. Even the plants and fungi were oddly affected by the disease. The disease was resistant to any and all treatments – herbal, medicinal, and even magical means failed to cure or prevent it. But the worst was yet to come. A cabal of giant mages who were researching the disease in order to cure it were infiltrated by an evil presence who is only referred to as “Cosru,” a word meaning to borrow from a friend to the point where nothing is left, not even the friend’s soul. It denotes a great betrayal of trust and love, and is one of the greatest insults in the Giant tongue.
Cosru corrupted the ritual that the cabal had created, and when they cast it, it not only failed to halt the disease’s progress but instead spread it even further, and added the curse of undeath to it. All who had died, and all who would die, from the disease would return as vicious undead. Their spirits came back as ghosts and poltergeists and their bodies as skeletons, vampires, zombies, and worse. Cosru slaughtered the cabal, but one managed to escape. Inspired by a prophetic dream from the Raven Queen Wee Jas, this surviving cabalist gathered a small battalion of the Raven Queen’s worshipers, and changed the ritual. Now it not only protected those whom it was cast on from the disease, but also mutated them into the first Shadar Kai. Even in death these warrior-priests of the goddess of death would serve as the first Revenants. Together, they defeated Corsu, driving him back through the Gate of Eternity in defeat, and destroyed the vast majority of the undead serving him.
But even these efforts were not enough to save the giants’ realm. Millions had died and the governing council had collapsed. The giant population was reduced to 1/100th of its original size, and few of those who survived were highly skilled. The conflict with the undead had destroyed vast swaths of territory and most districts lay in ruins. The surviving giants met and the majority decided to abandon this world. Thousands of their humanoid servants willingly followed them. They marched through the Eternal Gate, leaving behind wards and guardians (including armies of archons and angels) to prevent others from following them…or entering the world through the Gate either. The few giants who remained scattered to the four corners of the world, seeking out their own path. A few left beyond the city’s walls, as did many humanoids.
For the humanoids who remained, they were suddenly thrust into the position of having to govern themselves. While there had always been representatives of the servants on the giants’ governing council, never before had they been completely in charge of any decision. At first the humanoids banded together in imitation of the giants’ council. This lasted for about five hundred years, for better or worse, but it collapsed after the assassination of Asteron the Minotaur and his two chief advisors, the Zilhman Birel Kordsmith and Gideon-Smashes-His-Foes (a Mul chieftain) by assassins from the Order of the Whispering Fox, a cult of Bane worshipers.
After that, a period of darkness swept over the world, and the humanoid races struggled once again to survive. During this time period, many isolated groups made covenants with different extraplanar forces in order to exist. From these pacts came forth the races of the Tiefling, the Kalashtar, the Deva, the Gensai, and others. Also during this time, some humanoids assaulted the Gate of Eternity, attempting to break out. While they failed to do so, their attack distracted the guardians long enough for other races to slip through, including the kenku, shardminds, and githzerai. Shapechangers spawned the races of the shifters (through lyncanthropes) and changelings (through doppelgangers).
After a few hundred years, things settled down and the world began to right itself. Various empires rose and fell. The Wall Makers were the first, and ruled a large swath of the world for two hundred years, before they were thrown down by a coalition of humans, elves, dwarves, and eladrin during the War of Forges. As a result, the majority of creation forges were destroyed. Next rose the Tiefling and Dragonborn empires of Bael Turath and Arkhosa, who fought each other to a stalemate. They were overthrown by the gnomish Sindrinyx Imperium. The gnomes lasted longest of all, possessing a masterful bureaucracy and deadly order of assassin-executors in their kenku allies. However, even their empire fell, weakened from infighting.
Since the fall of the Sindrinyx Imperium, the world has split into a variety of sociopolitical states. Kingdoms, duchies, republics, theocracies, city-states, and more populate the land. Most people are either serfs working on some noble’s land, tribesmen in the wilderness, or townsfolk working for a guild. Some places are intolerant hellholes full of scum and villainy while others are paragons of virtue and order. Most places fall somewhere between this scale, as do most people. A thousand years ago, wildens also began to appear.
The most recent event to occur on the world stage is the rumor of an extraplanar army that is invading the city not through the Gate of Eternity, but rather from the walls of the city. This army is supposedly coming from all directions and wields terrible arcane weapons that even the most basic of their troops are armed with. However, no credible source has been able to confirm the existence of this army and nowhere important enough has been attacked.
TIMELINE OF THE WORLD
- Year 0 – The giants begin work on the world. They create the Wall Makers to build the walls of the city. They have other humanoid servant races, but whether these were created by the giants or brought to the world by them is unknown.
- Year 100 – The giants complete their world and begin their reign.
- Year 1000 – Dragons are invited to live in the city. They bring with them their own servant races, the Dragonborn, kobolds, and lizardfolk.
- Year 2000 – The beginning of the Great Plague which will eventually claim the lives of millions of giants and humanoids, as well as poisoning certain landscapes.
- Year 2010 – Cosru betrays his fellow cabalists and introduces the city to the curse of undeath. Shadar Kai and Revenants arise through blessings of the Raven Queen to fight Cosru.
- Year 2012 – Cosru is defeated and flees through the Gate of Eternity.
- Year 2015 – The Exodus of Giants. The majority of the remaining giants leaves. Armies of archons and angels are summoned and left behind to guard the Gate of Eternity.
- Year 2056 – The First Great Council of Humanoids is called. Ceboace the Wise, a female Goliath, is elected Head Councilor. She dies fifty years later in battle against the kobolds of the D’loreth Tribe.
- Year 2106 – Webber Mansoon, a half-elf, is elected head of the Council. He dies of illness 13 years later.
- Year 2119 – Kalishta Twice-Mystic, drow priestess of the god Ioun, is elected head of the council. There is a period of great urban expansion under her rule. She dies 123 years later of natural causes.
- Year 2242 – Poil the Stupid is elected head of the council. His reign is short, ineffective and disastrous, undoing much of the good that Kalishta did.
- Year 2245 – Poil is removed by an emergency vote of no confidence by followers of the god Erathis, who set up a special committee in the council. They rule with mixed success; several cities and towns are fortified, but much territory, especially in the north, is lost to break away provinces.
- Year 2313 – The Supreme Committee loses its power base and Joelnar the Elf Barbarian temporarily takes over. His rule is cruel and capricious.
- Year 2328 – Joelnar is ironically killed in one of his own sanctioned murder-duels by Thugg, an orc warlord. A mighty magician, Thugg refuses to take over the council because it would require that he live in civilization, something he viewed as weakness. Instead, Thugg takes his army of freed gladiator-slaves across the walls of the city and is never seen again.
- Year 2329 – The Sixth Great Council of Humanoids is called and elects the human Verun Nobleborn as head. He consolidates the council’s holdings and reinforces what remains.
- Year 2400 – Verun dies at the age of 106; Asteron the Minotaur elected head of the council. He rules wisely until his death by assassination.
- Year 2492 – Asteron is assassinated by the Order of the Whispering Fox. The world falls into darkness.
- Year 2591 – The humanoids of House Tiefling make a pact with evil outsiders who change them into their eponymous race. Devas and Kalashtar soon appear in the world as well.
- Year 2688 – Shapechangers birth the changeling and shifter races.
- Year 2735 – Gensai first appear in the world.
- Year 2904 – Ewil the Arrogant, a human sorcerer-king, assaults the Gate of Eternity. While he fails to make it through, his attack allows various planar refugees to make it through, including githzerai, kenku, and shardminds.
- Year 3017 – The Wall Makers are gathered together by a charismatic cult leader named the Lord of Blades. Soon after, all creation forges begin making Wall Makers at maximum capacity.
- Year 3027 – The Wall Makers, under the Lord of Blades, declare themselves the true inheritors of the city and begin assaulting all others.
- Year 3057 – The Lord of Blades declares himself emperor of the Warforged, his name for the Wall Makers.
- Year 3257 – The Warforged are defeated in battle and the Lord of Blades killed. The majority of creation forges in the world are destroyed as are the Great Prints, the ritual scrolls for building a new creation forge.
- Year 3369 – Tieflings found the Bael Turath empire.
- Year 3378 – Dragonborn found the Arkhosa empire.
- Year 3444 – The First War of Blood between the Arkhosa and Bael Turath empires begins over rights to the waters of Diamond Lake.
- Year 3469 – The First War of Blood ends with the Treaty of Gatvin. Bael Turath emerges as the victor.
- Year 3607 – The Second War of Blood begins between the Arkhosa and Bael Turath empires.
- Year 3615 – The Second War of Blood ends, with Arkhosa as the winners. The Treaty of Seven Fords is signed.
- Year 3746 – Unnoticed by much of the rest of the world, the Underdark is invaded by mindflayers and other aberrant creatures. An alliance of drow and dwarf kingdoms collapses in the face of this assault. It takes hundreds of years before the mindflayer menace is checked.
- Year 3819 – The Third (and final) War of Blood begins.
- Year 3861 – The Black Treaty ending the Third War of Blood is never signed, as gnomes and kenku of the newly emergent Sindrinyx Imperium murder the royal houses of both empires, as well as most high ranking nobles, government, and military officials. The Sindrinyx Imperium claims all the territory of both former empires, as well as vast swathes of over holdings.
- Year 4337 – The Great Dwarven Civil War occurs. Fractured by the mindflayers, the dwarven kingdoms fight one another over the smallest gains. Most of those who don’t fall to the infighting are conquered by other enemies, including drow, gnomes, goliaths, and mindflayers. The dwarves fracture into three factions: the Azer, who ally with elementals against the mindflayers; the duergar, who sell their souls to Asmodeus and flee even deeper into the underdark; and the Zaki, dwarves who have been forced topside to wander in the mountains.
- Year 4932 – The Sindrinyx Imperium collapses under its own weight.
- Year 5000 – Wildens appear for the first time.
- Year 5390 – The eladrin city of Ail Vaelog planar magic fails and it becomes trapped in the city. It is soon stormed by orcs and goblins of the Kingdom of Grim Snout Feybane.
- Year 5400 – An adventuring guild known as the Band of Five is formed. Originally they formed with the intent of simply making money raiding ancient tombs and other sites, but soon discovers a more noble purpose: mapping the entire world.
- Year 5500 – The Band of Five maps the entire world, including its borders. These are the last accurate maps of the world produced. Oddly enough, the world’s borders have shifted when compared to older maps. At the end of their quest, the remaining surviving members are allowed to pass through the Gates of Eternity by the armies of archons and angels.
- Year 5529 – The Republic of Chithesh declares sovereignty from the Duchy of Phanrec. They fight off the Coalition of Nobleborn and win their freedom with the Treaty of Unger. This sets off a wave of cities breaking away from established kingdoms and nobles to try self-rule. Not all are as successful as Chithesh.
- Year 5698 – Emerisia declares itself the Free City-within-the-City, or the Free City for short.
- Year 5707 – Emerisia wins the War of Mercenaries, guaranteeing it’s freedom as a state.
- Year 5915 – Chithesh is burned to the ground by the Great Company of the One-Eyed Kings, a wandering army of Gruumsh worshipers. This effectively makes Emerisia the strongest and largest non-noble ruled city-state in the world.
- Year 5989 – The last tomb of Diamond Lake is discovered and plundered.
- Year 5994 – Sandpoint’s cathedral burns just one month after a deadly serial killer is stopped.
- Year 5999 – Current year, campaign start.
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