From the Phoenix’s Ashes Campaign Setting: History

For a long time there was peace between the Federated Enchanterdoms of Zlodin* and the Kingdom of Eburneum*. However, as the Enchanterdoms reached for ever greater heights of magical and alchemical power they began to ravage their lands in search of resources to power it. These quests bore fruit and the secrets of life and death began to yield themselves to the wizards. It was thought that the secrets of eternal youth and immortality must not be long off and mining for the minerals needed grew more and more extensive, and less and less care was taken with the waste from magical resources. Forests and swamps were ravaged in the search for rare plants and reagents. It is at this point that Eberneum, Zlodin’s neighbour, got involved.

The first sign of something going badly wrong for the citizens of Eburneum was when strange, hostile, mutated animals began to cross into their lands. Then the waste from Zlodin’s mining and rituals had reached the vast, fertile plains that stretched between the two nations and began to poison the crops. This caused a rapid chilling of relations and many angry words between the two, and Eburneum began to prepare for what would happen if Zlodin did not cease to poison their farmland. The final straw was when reagent hunters from Zlodin were found to be poaching rare and magical creatures from Eberneum’s lands, and Eberneum began to march to war.

In truth, Zlodin was far from unhappy with this outcome, as they looked greedily towards the larger kingdoms mostly untapped magical resources. Soon the plains were churned to mud by marching armies, and cropland and wild plains alike were watered with blood. The war spread to every front, the mountains, the swamps, and even the air and below the ground. While Eburneum used traditional soldiers from across its vast kingdom, and reinforced them with magic and artifice, Zlodin took any creatures they could find into their fleshforges and warped them into semi-intelligent soldiers and weapons of war.

Eburneum counted on the bravery of her countrypeoples to counter these horrors, and luckily, was right. A small group of commandos slipped through enemy lines and stole the secrets of the fleshforges. Re-engineered into less-brutal augmentation engines, volunteers walked into them and came out as elves (faster, better adapted to archery), dwarves (To mine and fight deep underground or in trenches), foxfolk, catfolk and more. Though these specialized troops were not significantly superior to stock humankind, their loyalty and flexibility gave the kingdom what it needed to hold against the increasingly horrific monsters.

The tide began to turn when the Princess Eliana, sent away for safety at the start of the war to the lands of the Morski sea-peoples returned, having wed and become the chief advisor of the most-influential leader of these people. While in these peaceful times living as the best naval traders and merchants around, they had a long history as raiders and pirates, and had never allowed these skills to fall away, and given an excuse and cause to fight for, the various sea-peoples took up their axes and warlike ways with little hesitation.

The combination of many stout Morski joining their forces and Zlodin burning through its magical resources at a reckless rate early in the war finally turned the tide and allowed Eburnian forces to cross the plains and enter the mountainous heartland of Zlodin. There, in a once lush and pastoral valleys, the Eburnian and Morksi forces found twisted hell-scapes, choked with the effluvia of the gen-forges and scared by the sheer amount of magical and physical resources pillaged from them, barely capable of supporting life.

What happened at the final battle is not known, for there were no survivors among either command, and the reports from the surviving troops are confused and conflicting. What is known is that a cataclysmic force was unleashed, destroying the central force of the Eburnian troops and almost the entire Zlodin army. The blast levelled mountains, made armies vanish or incinerated them and warped reality with its force, to such an extent that geography itself changed in waves away from the blast, moving some landmarks by hundreds of miles.

This wiped out most of the higher nobility of Eburneum and all known surviving wizard-lords of Zlodin. Queen Eliana, forbidden from fighting on the front line by her status as heir, led the first relief forces into Zlodin. They found the common people malnourished and weak, poisoned by crops grown on tainted land. Even the remaining soldiers, given the best food available so they could fight, were eating sawdust-filled bread. Horrified, she invited the survivors back to Eburneum with her, leading the first group of refugees there herself. While it is taking adjustment after so many years of hatred, the images of bedraggled and hollow looking refugees entering the capitol, lead by the strongest bastion of hope their nation had in the final years of the war have done much to drain that anger. Armies are being demobilized and veterans allowed to return to their pre-war forms, or not, as they wish.

This is where the campaign starts. A badly damaged kingdom trying to stand back up, helping the few survivors of its bitter foe. Next time I’ll go into the present issues of the campaign and what I see players getting involved in.

*Names are placeholders made by throwing Google Translate at a bunch of near-random words. Suggestions Welcome.


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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. hmm…how about the Thaumic Oligarchy of Zlodin?

    • I like Thaumic, but I’m not sure about putting Oligarchy right in the name. Really, it is the proper nouns I’m not sure about, particularly Eburneum, which is just the Latin word for Ivory.

      • maybe Thaumic Republic, then? Using the real-world principle of “the harder a country tries to convince you it’s a democracy, the less democratic it is”?

        And I like Eburneum as a “shining city on a hill” type name. Especially knowing it means ivory. Maybe spell it Eburnium for a little more sword and sorcery flavor?

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