Our story picks up in a time of transition for the world. I suppose to understand what this transition is from, one must understand where the world has been, and is today. That history, however, is somewhat subject to speculation and lore, and it is difficult to separate the truth from that which is…embellished.
History speaks of an empire that flourished in this very world, but fell under the weight of it’s own actions. The Durilian Empire covered all the known world, stretching from the islands of the Great Eastern Sea far west, beyond the Greyslate Mountains into the west, to an area that is little know today. It stretched to the Ice Desert in the north south to the warmer climate and dense Teric Jungle, and some say beyond.
What ultimately caused the empire to fall is unknown, but whatever it was, the event is known as The Fracture. The time of the fracture ranges from 300 to 1,000 years ago, although most agree it was closer to 500 years ago.
If you are to believe the less superstitious, you would believe the story that barbarians form the west pushed into Durilia and defeated their armies, weakened from centuries of military expansion and over extended. Those who doubt this theory suggest that a barbarian hoard could not successfully cross the expansive Nessek Desert, which starts to the west of the Greyslate Mountains and extends to parts unknown and unexplored.
Another theory is that disease ravaged the population. Yet if Durilia was as large as believed, it is unlikely that all of the nation would have fallen victim to this, and portion would remain.
The most popular theory among most who live in this area is that of a great battle between powers that mortals could not comprehend. It is believed that the Nessek Desert was once a temperate forest, but the expansive desert is now what remains of their battleground, a burn on the surface of the world as a reminder of the awesome power of the gods. Durilia was simply a casualty of this battle.
Whatever the cause, the world descended into an extended period of darkness. People were scattered, and what were once believed to be large population centers disappeared, with small clusters of people forming villages that at the most, would number 1,000, but more often were several hundred.
Contact between the different races was also drastically reduced. Dwarves have lived in the underground mines that cut beneath the Greyslate Mountains, but typically can be found in the northern portion, extending under the Ice Desert. Elves have settled in the southern portion of Henrack Forest, a temperate forest found east of the Greyslate Mountains. Other races have survived in pockets where they can. Animosity between the races is minimal, since populations are sparse and no one is pushing to expand territory. At that same time, communication between the races has also been minimal. That, however, is starting to change.
Thirty years ago, a young man, Devik Strack, living along the east coast noticed that landowners were not doing an effective job protecting those who were farming their land. Instead of rallying local farmers against these barons, he opted for a more diplomatic approach.
He met with Barons Dagritan, Garelk, and Rathonnel. What is proposed was consolidation of their resources in order to police the area better. The barons felt this plan would not work, as each had a captain, and it would be difficult to put one in charge, effectively demoting the others. But Devik had an answer to this problem.
With the three keeps of the respective barons located in a triangular formation, he felt that the areas within the triangle could be easily managed at lower cost to the three if they allowed joint management of these forces. This would allow additional resources to be put towards management of those farms outside the triangle. The “center” forces would be overseen by Devik, while the three respective forces that covered the areas outside the triangle would remain in control of the captains.
Out of options, the barons reluctantly agreed. Their choice would pay off well.
Within two years, the triangle was relatively free of bandit and other rogue activity. While not perfect, criminal activity outside the triangle had reduced. With the increase in goods and wealth, Devik was able to convince the three barons that it was time for a new order.
A central seat of government was established. The three barons would sit as a three member ruling body. A walled city was built on the farmland equidistant from the three keeps. The new city was named after the triumvirate that would rule it…Daggarrath.
Devik was promoted to Captain of the Guard, with all policing bodies and forces reporting to him. From this walled city new skills were called upon. Dwarves were enticed to come and bring their stonework stills. As the need for wood grew, contact with Elves became more common, and they started to visit this new hub of human activity. Trade began to flow through Daggarrath.
With the success and prosperity of this city, other landowners were enticed to merge with Daggarrath. Those that found themselves under the protection of Daggarrath’s forces prospered, while those who did not fell victim to increasing attacks from rogues and bandits. Attempts were made to blame this on strong-arm tactics, suggesting Devik controlled these unwanted elements, but arguments were made that it was only natural for bandits to venture to areas not protected by the forces of Daggarrath. There were some strong-arm tactics that were hard to deny, but also difficult and unpopular to go against.
Approximately 7 years after construction of the walled city had begun, it was noted that the jails were becoming full. Food coming into the city was slowing down, as a fair bit of farm land was consumed by the city, and a generation was leaving farming to move to the new opportunities in the city. Devik had a solution.
Three work camps were established for prisoners. To the south, a farming camp was set up. Those criminals whose crimes were not too serious, and who might be freed into society again tended this. To the southwest, a logging camp was built, where a rougher class of criminal worked. To the northwest were the mines, a virtual death sentence. Designation to this camp was for the worst criminals, and rarely have those who worked there been allowed to return to society. Criminal punishment was swift and harsh, but the popular support was overwhelming, as the payback was a safe city and safe countryside in an otherwise unsafe world.
It has been 28 years since the formal founding of Daggarrath. Devik Strack continues on in his position of Captain of the Guard, having never aspired to political power. He is admired for his life of service to the city and its people.
Our adventurers have come together in the small town of Raggart, to the west of the Greyscale Mountains, and east of the Nessek Desert. Lead by a young warlord named Erick and looking to make a name for themselves, they set off for Daggarrath.