Much of the world's history has been lost, but a few bits and pieces survive through various cultures. The longest-lived species, of course, know the most, but most of the world has seen a standard back and forth between species. Sometimes the Orcs conquer, a few times the Dwarves have burst from their mountains, once even the Humans reigned supreme. Several species bear grudges against one another due to these ancient histories, but truth be told everyone has struck everyone else more than once.
Currently, the species enjoy a certain amount of balance.
Several cultures hold territories and cities across Arethil, the continents being quite diverse in all areas. Some kingdoms are inter-species, holding no real distinction between human, elf, or anything else. Others are xenophobic and foster a distinct hatred of anyone that might come from the outside. Natural barriers most often divide these territories from one another.
The Age of Chronicles
In the last several years, the recording of history has drastically increased. In addition, knowledge of the past and history has improved. Because of this, the Elbion Timekeepers named the contemporary age as the Age of Chronicles. They predict that this Age will be full of discoveries and changes.
The current year is 370.
Below is the known history of the Age of Chronicles:
- 364 - The Elbion Guild of Timekeepers and Historians declared the beginning of a new age – the Age of Chronicles.
- 365 - Eastern Falwood experienced wildfires. There were claims that towers of smoke could be seen from Alliria.
- 367 - After severe flooding in the Iuk-'u Delta, an ancient temple of an unknown religion was unearthed by the receding water.
- 369 - The Catographers' Guild of Alliria published an updated map of Arethil.
- 370 - The Great Ones arise from the depths and destroy Bhatharik and Elbion
- To learn more about the past Ages, please see The Ages Article.
- Humans: Humans are without a doubt the most wide-spread and prolific species in the world. There are many hundreds of different races, inhabiting anything from forests to deserts to plains, and everything else in-between.
- Elves: Elves are one of the cornerstones of Arethil. For as long as anyone can remember, the Elves have existed. For this they have always held a certain amount of influence among other species. Though not as prolific as the dwarves, humans, or even orcs, there seem to be dozens of different Elven races and cultures found all over the world.
- Orcs: Orcs are the intimidating warrior people of Arethil. To many, they seem savage and uncivilized; to others, they are one of the last beacons of what it means to live with the land. They consist of uncounted tribes scattered around the world, each with their unique customs and traditions.
- Dwarves: The dwarves – or Arragoth, as they are known in their native tongue – are a short stocky folk of great reputation. The species has been a fixture throughout many lands and ages, living both in merchant cities and fortresses buried deep in the mountains. They are generally an accepting, if gruff people, renowned as great smiths and artisans as well as warriors.
- Kivren: These mysterious aquatic beings are xenophobic in nature and are a rare sight close to the mainland. They are surrounded by tales of siren-like creatures that have led many sailors to a watery grave.
- Naga: A species of aggressive, snake-like sentients that live on an isolated island just south of the Iuk-'u delta. They are hostile, bellicose raiders whose native language has yet to be translated.
World Building in Arethil
Some arcane wonders such as airships and golems still remain, but these items are incredibly rare and beyond the comprehension of most people. We would prefer to keep the technology level low and treat the exceptions as rare relics of a lost age whose creation is still unknown.
There might be a few rare alchemical creations akin to Greek fire. Equivalents to Black powder, for example, is a rare and expensive alchemical creation. Thus there are no ball and musket weapons or other advanced weaponry or technology available. If you have a question about a particular piece of technology and if it fits to the setting, please feel free to ask the staff.
Extraplanar Lore and Locations
As it stands in terms of world building, while other realms are not off the table, we are currently focusing on the the world of Arethil. Extraplanar locations and lore thus tentatively aren't the focus of creation at this time.
Magic is a profound power that allows the user to affect the world with their mind. There are multiple definitions of the term magic as well as explanations of the source of magical power. Some view it as another form of energy natural to the world. Some see it as a gift from the gods. It would take ages to cite them all and examine them. Yet regardless of who wields magic, there are some truths that have never been broken...
- The Danger of Magic: Magic has a price. The price is always some type of energy – mystical, natural, divine, or otherwise. The higher the price, the higher magical power, and vice versa.
- Magic's End: Magic has an end. In time and without intervention, a spell's effect fades. Could be seconds, years, centuries – but things such as curses and enchantments never last forever. Only the physical scars of their power will remain.
- The Sanctity of Time: No one has ever reversed, stopped, or quickened time itself without the cost of their own life in the attempt. It remains the domain of gods.
- Thread of Mortality: Life is finite. Nothing is immortal. Death has never been undone without life as a payment.
- The Trouble with Distance: Instantaneous travel is impossible without a portal stone. History's greatest mages have only managed to "blink" their bodies a few feet – and with a small but noticeable delay in time.
A few notes regarding portal stones:
- Alliria: A grand melting pot of a metropolis that bridges the strait of the Allir reach. The merchant capital of central Arethil.
- Bhathairk: A large orc stronghold at the eastern edge of the Taagi Baara steppes, rich in trade and culture.
- Cerak At'Thul: An ancient fortress located deep within the crescent of the Black Bay in the far southwestern seas, inhabited by slavers, pirates, and other such ilk.
- Elbion: A wealthy trading port in northern Liadain with a renowned magical college.
- Fal'Addas: An ancient elven city. Difficult to find in the depths of Falwood, but nonetheless welcoming of travellers.
- Vel Anir: An imposing human fortress city ruled by a king.
- Find all: settlements
The night sky of Arethil is typically broken up into constellations, but these are completely different from species to species. Even different tribes of orcs have different stories for the patterns they see in the sky.
At certain times of the year aurora can be particularly bright in the night sky, all the way to the equator. There are many explanations for this phenomena among different cultures. A wizard of Elbion once claimed that he would use a powerful artifact of flight to reach the aurora and harness its magical power. He was last seen floating high above the city.
Arethil has two moons. The scholars of Elbion document them as Lessat and Pneria and thus most humans in Liadain know them by these names. Lessat is the larger of the two, blue and green in color. On a clear night white bands and faint white rings can be seen across the orb. Pneria is a much smaller moon and appears rusty orange on a clear night, with dark patterns crossing its surface. Lessat, Pneria and the sun all follow the same path across the sky.
Pneria crosses the sky twelve times in a solar year. The full moon of Pneria is used as the start of a month in several calendars. A Pnerian month is the time it takes for the moon to go through one cycle, which takes thirty days. It follows a traditional lunar cycle where it transitions from a full moon to complete darkness, and then back again. Notably Pneria also changes size throughout the month – when full it is nearly twice its smallest size.
Lessat is several times larger than the sun on the sky. It takes three cycles of Pneria for Lessat to move across the sky. During this time its rings seem to wobble slowly. Pneria will cross in front of its face every month and a half. Once every four months, Lessat catches and swallows the sun.
Three times a year when Lessat catches the sun Arethil is plunged into total eclipse for a day. The sun slowly disappears behind the moon. During this time the rings of Lessat seem to become brighter, even seeming to grow a wider halo, though the light still isn't enough to keep the world from becoming cold and dark for the day. This event has great significance in a number of cultures – the elves of Falwood believe this is a constant cycle where the sun dies and the light around Lessat is given off for its rebirth.
Another feature of the night sky are the Blood stars, most often visible in the north during early winter evenings. They are a tightly packed constellation of clearly red stars that stand out, especially on a very dark and clear winter's night when a faint red aura can be seen around them.
There are thirty days in a Pnerian cycle (i.e. month).
There are twelve Pnerian months in a year.
There are three Pnerian cycles in a Lessati cycle.
Lessat eclipses the sun for a whole day, three separate times per year.