Recorded history begins around 3000 years ago with the founding of the dragonborn southern empire of Arkhosia. 2500 years ago in the east the tiefling empire of Bael Turath is founded. Both nations have a policy of expansion. 2000 years ago these great empires began to encounter one another. This led inevitably to conflict between the two great powers, and 1800 years ago the first war between the empires broke out.
0 – Founding of Arkhosia. The dragonborn worshippers of Bahamut finally triumph over those who worship Tiamat, forging the empire of Arkhosia in the arid lands of the south, a unified array of dragonborn city-states ruled over by royal lines of mighty dragons, led by the dragon emperor known as the ‘Golden One’. A massive and complex dragonborn bureaucracy is needed to support and keep in line dragonborn nobles, the empire is protected by an equally massive military, headed by the Moonscale Clan- and in particular the dragonborn general Surina Moonscale.
300 – The Arkhosians found the floating mountain stronghold of Ustraternes to help to oversee their holdings.
500 – The tieflings found Bael Turath, in Vor Kragal.
700 – The Arkhosian Empire expands its territories with the aim of bringing civilisation, knowledge and security to the untamed places and ignorant peoples. It employs mostly peaceful means, rather than by force. Within three centuries Arkhosia rules a large portions of the known realms. Many tribes and nations, of a variety of other races, deem it better to live within the borders of the powerful empire, than to fend for themselves in a dark world.
1000 – The tiefling Bael Turathi Empire expands its territories by force, enslaving the nations it conquers. Within two centuries, Bael Turath comes to rule a large portion of the known realms (see below).
1000 – The tieflings found the city of Sarthel, it grows to prominence as the northern capital of the tiefling Bael Turath Empire.
1000 – Bael Turath and Arkhosia come into contact. Border skirmishes grow year upon year.
1200 – The War of Wings erupts between Arkhosia and Bael Turath, as both expansionist empires lay claim to the island continent of Saris. The war is so named because of the predominately aerial forces deployed by both Empires.
Over the following 860 years Arkhosia and Bael Turath continue to wage war, rising in intensity and ferocity. Increasingly desperate and ill-considered acts of war wreak catastrophe. 1200 years ago Bael Turath unleashes elemental forces against Arkhosia which begin the transformation of the Arkhosian homeland into an utterly barren Desert of Desolation. However Bael Turath is affected by its own magic, the tiefling Empire’s homeland becomes increasingly uninhabitable, the elemental magic also turns the vast forested areas of Valin, the elven lands into dry arid plains. 1000 years ago the War of Ruin sounds the death knell, within a century both Empires collapse, leaving chaos and and a new dark age in their wake.
1250 – The human hill tribes of the Nentir Vale construct the necropolis Andok Sur, they use it to inter their honoured enemies alive.
1400 – Arkhosian Myrdroon leads an army of storm giants and white dragons against the tiefling capital of Vor Kragal. His Spear of the Skylord destroys the demon Middendark, a tiefling ally, and is shattered. The storm giant lord is slain by poison arrows shortly after.
1500 – The Vampire Lord Zarguna takes control of the necropolis of Andok Sur, and transforms it into a vibrant city of the dead, he terrorises the local hill tribes.
1600 – The War of Teeth begins. The Serpentus Rift, one of the seven Jewels of the South, is destroyed by a massive earthquake dragon, possibly unleashed by the tieflings. It takes a massive dragonborn army to end this threat, although the dragon escapes alive.
1750 – An earthquake buries the necropolis of Andok Sur beneath the earth (this may have been the work of the Turathi earthquake dragon…).
1800 – The foul elemental magic of Bael Turath succeeds in affecting the climate of Arkhosia, leading to droughts and failed crops. Unknown, initially, the tieflings foul elemental magic begins to affect their own empire. Both empires continue to suffer, their populations fall dramatically, and so begins the road to their eventual destruction.
1950 – The Troll Kingdom of Vardar is founded by the Troll King, Vard in the north, near the town of Moonstair.
2000 – The final war, the War of Ruin, breaks out. A ten-year siege ends when the tiefling general Achazriel tunnels into Razortear, an Arkhosian fortress. Both sides suffer massive (unsustainable) losses. The Battle of Razortear marks the beginning of the end for both empires.
2010 – The southern elven nation of Solaneillon breaks apart into the separate states of the Emerald Blade Barony, Duchy of Solandir, Tithinia and the Thorndeep.
2015 – Vor Rukoth is destroyed when a hellgate is opened in an effort to defend it against an Arkhosian army.
2030 – The silver dragon Arantor and his protege Imrissa agreed to aid Arkhosia by attacking the Turathi outpost of Monadhan. Too late, the dragons discover the outpost contained only infirm, elderly, women and children- all have been massacred.
2050 – Io’vanthor falls when corrupt cultists of Tiamat open the city gates to Turathi invaders, thinking the Turathi would slay the remaining worshippers of Bahamut, and then they in turn would slay the Turathi. However, Bael Turath is destroyed at the same time, the Turathi forces are forced to live in the ruins of Io’vanthor.
2050 – Vor Kragal disappears after a mysterious cataclysm that buries the city beneath the earth. The Anatheaum of Bael Turath, the great temple where the original pacts were signed that gave birth to the tiefling race were stored, is destroyed.
2060 – The Golden One, and many other dragon lords die in the final battle against the forces of Bael Turath. The surviving dragon lords flee the battlefield, leaving the Arkhosian survivors to fend for themselves.
2060 – The slaves of the former nobles of Bael Turath revolt against the surviving tieflings. Many tieflings flee and hide themselves in human tribes and nations, they learn to live ‘normal’ lives, like the people they enslaved in the past.
Following the collapse of Arkhosia and Bael Turath, smaller communities begin to flourish in the lands once claimed by these empires. 800 years ago in the east, human barbarians found the Empire of Karkoth, and 500 years ago in the west humans, elves and dwarves come together to found the Empire of Nerath. Both empires expand and grow in strength before finally coming into conflict 300 years ago. The conflict results in a clear victory for Nerath, the Karkothi withdraw allowing Nerathi expansion to go unchecked.
2100 – The Nentir Vale is home to primitive human hill tribes who raise the Sword Barrows in the Gray Downs for their honoured dead. They also raise simple stone forts in the Gray Downs and the Old Hills.
2100 – Human tribes settle the warm southern lands once part of the Empire of Arkhosia, and found the nations of Adretia, Rethmil, and Solandir.
2180 – The Kars, a human barbarian tribe from eastern Selduria, conquers the Kingdom of Surth and the Realm of Dol-Thamar, founding the Empire of Karkoth in the east. The Throneholds are established in Dol-Thamar.
2200 – Minotaurs found the city of Saruun Khel beneath Thunderspire Mountain. They pacify the human hill tribes of the Nentir Vale and open up trade routes.
2400 – The Empire of Karkoth expands to occupy the Broken Lands, Blisterforge, the Vale of Slaughtergarde, and the Icebound Wastes. Taking advantage of its new-found strength, Karkoth overruns the elven land of Tarsembor, destroying large areas with a rain of colourless fire, and putting its inhabitants to the sword.
2400 – The Troll Kingdom of Vardar begins to collapse due to civil war.
2450 – A barbarian warlord, the Winter King, forges an alliance with a fey lord (the Frost Prince) and conquers the tribes north of the Frostjaw Mountains. After five years he, and his army, vanish.
2500 – The Nerathi League, an alliance of human, elven and dwarven city-states, comes together to form the basis of the Empire of Nerath.
2590 – The minotaurs of Saruun Khel are cursed by Baphomet with mindless fury for worshipping Torog, their civilisation collapses into civil war.
2550 – A dragon laired in caverns beneath a waterfall on the Nentir River (at the future site of Fallcrest) terrorises the local hill tribes. Vendar, a barbarian warrior of the hill folk, confronts the creature in its lair and slays it, becoming a hero to his people.
2600 – Town of Fastormel founded on shores of the Lake Nen by the Empire of Nerath. The Lord Mage Starris, rules from The Mistborn Tower.
2610 – The Nerathi Wizard-Emperor Magroth comes to the throne. History will remember him as “Magroth the Mad”.
2640 – Nerathi Emperor Magroth forges a pact with Orcus. In return for dead warriors to bolster his Shadowfell armies, Orcus makes Magroth immune to all natural weapons. Magroth turns the Nerathi legions against enemies real and imagined, and dedicates the dead to Orcus.
2650 – Following a pronouncement that all first-born children of Darani are to be sacrificed, Nerathi Emperor Magroth is murdered by his bodyguard Krondor, who takes on the aspect of shadow so he can kill the emperor. Krondor is in turn slain by his brother, knight-commander Kalaban. Magroth’s death triggers a spell of vengeance, all inhabitants of the city of Darani are killed, and the city is drawn into the realm of Shadowfell by his magic. Magroth continues to rule as a lich, while Kalaban serves as a death knight in the dread domain sealed in the Shadowfell.
2650 – Emperor Torreon replaces Magroth as the head of the Empire of Nerath, sanity prevails.
2650 – Gardmore Abbey is founded by Nerathi Paladins of Bahamut, on the Gardbury Downs. The paladins carry out a campaign of conquest, securing the north for Nerathi expansion.
2660 – Nerathi Prince Tarmagel invades the lands of Iron Wolf barbarians in an effort to put an end to the raiding of Nerathi lands, he subdues the restless savages. The barbarians lands are later attacked by orcs, the Nerathi soldiers and the Iron Wolf warriors join forces to smash the orc incursion. Tarmagel and the warrior-princess Selfreya of the Iron Wolf tribe fall in love, the crown prince takes her for his wife. The union allows the Iron Wolf people and the other tribes of western Selduria to remain free from Nerathi rule, as honoured allies their warriors serve valiantly in Nerath’s legions, for the remainder of the empire’s days.
2680 – A fort is constructed at Winterhaven by a minor Nerathi noble Lord Kali Padraig.
2690 – The adventurer, Aranda Markelhay, builds a tower at the site of Fallcrest.
2690 – The red dragon Calastryx terrorises the east of the Nentir Vale, and wipes out several new Nerathi settlements.
2695 – The Nerathi Lord Mage Starris defeats the dragon Calastryx, imprisoning the beast in Forgepeak, in the Dawnforge Mountains.
2700 – The Knights of Gardmore Abbey crusade into the Stonemarch to end the orc threat. They wipe out hundreds of clans, a near genocide for the orcs of the north.
2720 – Through its alliance with the Iron Wolf barbarians, the Empire of Nerath is drawn into conflict with the Empire of Karavakos.
2750 – The paladins of Gardmore Abbey discover a Temple dedicated to Zehir in the Witchlight Fens, they begin a crusade against the Yuan-Ti. However, Zarel, the daughter of the head of the paladin order, is corrupted by the Yuan-Ti.
2780 – The Empire of Nerath in alliance with the Eladrin of the Cerulean city, breaks the power of the Karavakos, sealing him inside the Pyramid of Shadows.
Following the routing of the Empire of Karavakos, Nerath continues to expand, including into the northern lands. Nerath’s great success however leads to its downfall. While civilising the northern lands Nerath’s forces pacify, with extreme prejudice, the humanoid tribes and the wild men that inhabit the region, alas the humanoid tribes soon recover their numbers.
A gnoll hero known as the White Ruin rises up and leads a massive humanoid army out of the Stonemarch, north of the Nentir Vale. The army marches south, burning imperial outposts, towns and villas to a final battle on the plains before the Imperial City of Nera.
In the battle the Nerathi Emperor, and his heirs, are slain- as is the White Ruin, the monstrous armies disband, but not before destroying the capital city and routing the remaining imperial armies. The Empire collapses as its nobles bicker and turn against one another.
A few years later the Bloodspear Orcs emerge from the Stonemarch and assault the Nentir Vale, wiping out the last remnants of the Nerathi Empire, and putting Fastormel and Fallcrest to the torch. This is recorded as The Bloodspear War
2790 – A hobgoblin warlord named Hur-Tharak arises in the southern lands of the Dragondown Coast. He is aided by priests of Asmodeus and devils and poses a threat to Nerath. The paladins of Gardmore Abbey conduct a crusade against him and destroy his fortress, the Infernal Bastion, bringing home many treasures.
2792 – A cult of the demon prince Orcus create a gate connecting an unholy Shadowfell site to the mortal world. Undead flood through the rift, the Empire of Nerath dispatches legionnaires to eliminate the threat. The empire’s soldiers destroy the undead, seal the opening, and build a keep (the Keep on the Shadowfell) to watch over the location, and contain the threat.
2800 – A century after the Knights of Gardmore Abbey carry out their crusade against the Stonemarch, the orcs of the north finally recover from the losses they suffered. They harbour a deep hatred of the human empire, and long for their revenge.
2800 – King Elidyr replaces his father on the throne as emperor. The Nerathi Empire is at its peak with holdings across much of the known world. The Imperial Army is over ten thousand strong, headed by the Imperial Shields who are sworn to defend the Nerathi royal family. The Imperial Shields are supplemented by the Stoneguard, a cadre of golems constructed to defend the Nerathi crown by the Royal College of Magicians based in Nera.
2800 – Kalton Manor is raised by Lord Arrol Kalton, however he and his men are driven off by monsters from the Witchlight Fens.
2840 – The Vile Rune orc clan come out the Stonemarch and descends upon Gardmore Abbey, they destroying the abbey and the paladins.
2880 – White Ruin, a Gnoll warrior, unifies several tribes of gnolls, and then builds an army in the Stonemarch which includes tribes of goblins, orcs, minotaurs, and many demons. The Army of the White Ruin begins its assault on Nerathi lands.
2880 – Fallcrest has grown into a prosperous town.
2887 – Civil war breaks out in the dwarven Glintshield clan hold in the Ironwall Mountains, other dwarven clans are drawn into the conflict.
2890 – The Battle of Nine Sons, and the Fall of Nerath. In the plains before the capital city of Nera, the armies of the Emperor Elidyr, and White Ruin, battle. Elidyr’s nine sons are all slain, and in the final confrontation the King and the gnoll leader White Ruin strike each other down and, according to legend, both are pulled into the Abyss to continue their fight forever.
2890 – The Karkothi turn to the worship of the Chained God, Tharizdun, and the Empire of Karkoth begins to rise in power as Nerath falters and fades. Karkoth dominates the east.
2895 – Shadowfell Keep is abandoned after the Captain of the Guard goes mad and kills his own men.
2900 – The Bloodspear War: Bloodspear orcs descend from the Stonemarch and assault the Nentir Vale. Fallcrest’s army is defeated on Gardbury Downs, and Fallcrest and Fastormel are sacked and burned. Fallcrest is later re-established, Fastormel however is abandoned. The Bloodspears lay siege to Hammerfast eventually break into the city and attempt to overrun it- the dwarves hold out. The orcs also wipe out the community of Lake Dunmere in the Dawnforge Mountains, and destroy “Kobold” Hall.
2910 – Hammerfast is rebuilt, however it is attacked again by orcs dedicated to Gruumsh, and after a number of battles a compact is agreed between the priesthoods of Gruumsh and Moradin.
2940 – Exiled dwarven slavers found the city of Turak-Tol, near to Vor Rukoth.
2940 – The Monastery of the Monks of the Enlightened Flame in the Dawnforge Mts is destroyed and the monks wiped out by marauding gnolls.
2965 – An earthquake brings down the walls of Shadowfell Keep
2965 – A triad of Wizards establish the Seven Pillared Hall in the ruins of Saruun Khel in Thunderspire Mountain, the order later becomes known as the Wizards of Saruun.
2965 – Baron Harken retires to the Nentir Vale and builds a keep, Harkenwold is born.
2970 – A halfling adventurer founds a camp outside the ruins of Vor Rukoth.
2970 – The Iron Circle rises to power in the south and takes control of the southern cities of Adretia.
2980 – Karkoth’s forces strike north and besiege the northern borders of the elven realm of Vailin.
2982 – Goblins overrun the town of Kiris Dahn, in the Nentir Vale, and rename it Gorizbadd.
2990 – Fallcrest has been rebuilt, it is a city again.
The Empire of Nerath is no more. The capital, Nera, is a gnoll-infested ruin, and its armies are a distant memory. The Nentir Vale is a wild land with points of light in the form of small settlements which huddle against the surrounding darkness.
The Nerathi world covers a wide array of territory, with the continental regions from “Conquest of Nerath” providing the most detail. These regions were subsequently expanded upon by an article series in Dragon Magazine called “Nerathi Legends”, which looked at specific parts of the map and showed how they looked in the present day of the setting.
The Nerath region lies on the western continent, and is a temperate zone of forests and plains, with extensive rivers that feed a number of swamps. It’s bordered on the north, east and south by extensive mountains, with only a handful of comparatively small passes connecting it to the interior ocean between the two continents. The Sunless Citadel exists in the mountains to the far north-by-northwest of Nerath.
South of Nerath lies the Iron Circle, a subtropical to tropical territory consisting of arid savannahs, deserts and mountains, giving way to tropical jungles in its eastern and southeastern regions. The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth lie on its southern coastline.
The Karkoth region takes up most of the eastern continent, stretching from arctic icefields and frigid mountains in the north down to tropical plains and forests in the south. The Temple of Elemental Evil was built on this continent, and it is also home to the Vault of the Drow.
Separated from Karkoth by a mountain range, Vailin is a tropical region whose coastline is thick with jungles, which give way to plains as one heads southeast towards the continent’s interior. White Plume Mountain can be found if one travels far enough southwest into the “center” of Vailin.
A nameless island-continent lies between the two continents. Containing plains, deserts, swamps and forests, its is home to the Tomb of Horrors.
The most well-known part of the setting is the temperate Nentir Vale, which was once a northern frontier region of the human-run Nerath Empire, which was overthrown by gnolls. The Vale itself was ruined by orcs taking advantage of the chaos. It’s recovering. Slowly. Still kinda shitty, though. Has some lakes and rivers, some woods and mountains. Some plains and swamps. In other words, a little of everything.
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