Engine of the Ages

Cursed Myth: the History

[The players and I created this history for the Holy Dragon Empire at Session Zero: Creation Night, using Book of Age’s “Engine of Ages.” It took a round or two before the players warmed up and caught on.

This post includes the history I shared in the campaign document. Others describe the characters and their factions.]

History of the 13th Age

As recorded at Creation Night, etc.

9th Age: Age of Omen

the O Men: silvertongued saviors

With silver tongues and moral suasion, natives of Omen interrupted the Lich King’s Omega Ritual that threw the Midland Sea into turmoil. Called the Big Stop, peoples across the world sent grateful tribute, including the Black Pearl of Charlemaigne and Black Diamonds of the Red Wastes. Giants sent a wondrous material called Snuwu.
Legacy: the O Men: O Men, the faction, endure.

Gold Spear Covenant mind-meld with O Men

Narut Vilika of the Gold Spear Covenant and Jules (yoo-less) Pradlove of the O Men were the first to forge a mystical connection of shared memories and feelings. Soon greater numbers shared the connection, bringing the factions together. Though the mystic bond faded, a kinship  already developed, creating tension with their allies, including between the Covenant and their icon, Orn the Misbegotten.
Legacy: Order of the Diamond:There remains an order of mystic clerics within the Covenant, called The Diamond. To this day, Diamond masters pass on the practice of mystical connection with O Men to their apprentices. Considered fools by the rest of the faction, they seek The Deep Bridge, which they believe is the powerful source of this mystic connection and likely a manifestation of some much earlier alliance or treaty.

9th Age ended

Massive storms and tidal waves across the Midland Sea destroyed trade routes and ushered in an age of isolationism and fear of the sea.

10th Age: Age of Blood

the Old Imperial House expelled the Defenders

The Defenders served the Old Imperial House. But when the Defenders wanted to do something about Flying Castle, Emperor Bruffington VIII laughed at this and expelled the Defenders from imperial service. The Defenders constructed a small catacombs in this age, called The Reminder. Bruffington VIII is kept locked inside.
Legacy: Sigil Mastery: The Defenders mastered Sigil magic in this age, and built the North Tower Sigil Academy alongside The Reminder.

Goblin Liberation Front learned “family” from the Defenders

Toejam the Wise learned the concept of the family as alternative to the horde when he witnessed The Wedding between Defenders. Defender’s tutored goblins to organize as families. But it all went wrong when this transformation led the Defenders to sell goblins as slaves to icons all across the land. The Big Sell is remembered as a Goblin Diaspora.
Legacy: Mad Potato God: The Defenders sent each goblin away with one potato, and the Cult of the Mad Potato God endures to this day.

War between the Cursed Skull and the Gold Spear Covenant

When the Gold Spear Covenant tried to evangelize and convert the people of the Necropolis, Orin the Corpseslasher disemboweled the leader of the evangelists, Thaddeus the Lighthorn. Orin and the Cursed Skull sent them back as zombies. When zombie Thaddeus and his zombie evangelists returned to the Cathedral, and the High Priest of the Sacredest Days mobilized a Gold Spear Covenant army in response. The war ended after grinding to a stalemate at the six-day-long Battle of Demon Coast. Thaddeus' uncle, Thanos Lighthorn, the supreme general of Gold Spear Covenant forces was slain at that battle. A peace accord was soon  signed.
Lair: the Nightmare Marsh: The blasted and body-strewn field of the Battle of Demon Coast became the Nightmare Marsh. It remains a cursed and dangerous place, filled with spirits, remains of the dead, and detritus of battle.

Dwarf civil war & the scandalous rise of Battlehammer the Half-Blood Bastard

When Dragon Emperor Bruffington VII’s eldest daughter, Kyara the Sharp wed, dwarven Queen Stonewall was in attendance. Nurin Lightfoot--a commoner, an imperial footman, and an elf--caught her eye. Battlehammer was born nine months later. When Queen Stonewall died suddenly, her heirs took up arms, and Battlehammer won the civil war, a time called the Shattered Gem.
Legend: Blood Succession: Succession of all kinds and at nearly all levels of dwarven society is determined by a fight to the death. The victor is the Blood Successor.

10th Age ended

The dwarven civil war spilled across the land and embroiled the whole world.

11th Age: Age of Betrayal

the Defender’s Icon Disgraced & Defamed

Daevos the Cursed Merchant out-witched the Lightning Witch. Lightning Witch and Daevos had an agreement: he protected the northern Iron Sea coast. But Daevos betrayed her, pillaging the coast and turned lands against her. Daevos’ Pirate Captain Red Eye was especially hated. Everyone thought he served the Lightning Witch. All remember her as cruel and mad, but the Defenders know the truth and even now are trying to win back their trust.
Legacy: the Witch’s Gift: The Lightning Witch enchanted the northern Iron Sea coast to protect villages there from spirits and wraiths. It’s called the Witch's Gift.

11th Age ended

Volcanoes erupted, with gouts of hellfire and demon-bile. Crops failed and famine stalked the land.

12th Age: Age of Night,
Age of Dawn

One emperor falls in folly & another rises in faith

At the start of the age, when Axis the great city sitting in the belly of a volcano was not destroyed, hubris seized the Old Imperial House. And lo, though the Lich King laid siege to Axis, Emperor Blad the Foolhardy led the Charge of Ronallon Fields astride his great gold dragon mount, Xoldex. They and the whole imperial army were slaughtered and soon rose as undead. Panic seized Axis. But one nun, Ani Xìnyǎng, brought calm in the chaos. She and her sisters gathered all the people they could into Axis’ temples of light. These and the Dragon Throne itself were miraculously transported to Santa Cora in the Exodus of the Faithful. Ani Xìnyǎng was soon coronated Divine Emperox.
Legacy: Gods’ Rescue: And thus it is said that in times of great requirement, one of true faith or desperate need can travel in gods’ time from any holy imperial church, shrine, or temple to the Emperox’s Cathedral.

the Goblin Liberation Front lost “family” but found God

Much was lost in this age, including countless goblins killed in the Great War. With them died the dream that goblins could be anything but a horde. But surviving goblins took refuge with Daevos the Cursed Merchant and were welcomed by his lieutenant Choadington. Through it all, the Goblin Liberation Front held onto potatoes and faith, especially potato growing rituals. Each potato patch has its own potato god. The Blessed Red Potato!
Legend: Gobtopia: A story endures from this age of a mysterious group of goblins called the Lost Family who refused the hospitality of the Cursed Merchant. Staying true the vision of goblin families, they settled in Gobtopia.

an Alliance of O Men and Dwarves

After the Lich King corrupted the island of Omen, natives hailed the dwarves, led by General Osmi the Bearded, as liberators. The Colasi was created at this time, a guerrilla unit of Omen-native resistance fighters and dwarf special ops, who landed in advance of the invasion. Once the O Men relied on their silver tongues, but in this age had to become militaristic, pick up weapons and use actions, not words. The scythe became the weapon symbolic of this transformation.
Lair: Chamber of Ba'lor: O Men and dwarves digging and using undermining as an weapon against the Lich King stumbled upon the Chamber of Ba'lor. Many dwarves died, and their special section of the Cemetery of Heroes is called the Great Tunnelers of Thalu.

Elves are brought to faith by the Gold Spear Covenant

Wartime cooperation between elves and the Gold Spear Covenant sparked a revolution in elven faith called The Great Covenanting. The gift that sealed the relationship came from the Gold Spear Covenant, who built hundreds of small shrines called Elven Ancestor Fanes across the elven wood that claimed traditional elven religion as part of the human pantheon. It all went wrong, however, because it lacked Queen Moro-Līanae’s blessing. The shadowy AntiFanists led by a cave elf crypticly named Grey Rune were widely thought to be supported by her.
Legend: Saint Sybileth and Astarwë: Elves still sing the heartbreaking Ballad of Saint Sybileth and Astarwë, a tale of star-crossed love between a Gold Spear Covenant evangelist and a young traditionalist elf and the enchanted Rings of Lost Love they exchanged.

Gold Spear Covenant fails to reconcile with Elves

While the vast majority of the Covenant refused even to acknowledge the divide with elves, Covenanter Sylvia Traegen assembled a shadowy task force to work with them. Her goal, collaboratively to rebuild Ancestor Fanes in ways that would be more pleasing to them. But she soon learned these AntiFantists just want to watch the world burn. Meanwhile, elves and Covenanters alike remember Tumin the cunning Gold Spear warrior who, at the Battle of Five Seasons in the Giant Walk, turned the tide of battle against Lich King forces.
Legacy: the Parchment Circle: Sylvia herself continues to lead a group of Gold Spear Covenanters and elves who, to this day, gather to read scriptures together.

the Cursed Skull all but destroyed

In their time of weakness and disarray after the Lich King was destroyed, the Cursed Skull were preyed upon by the Divine Emperox’s necromancer-hunting Halos, led by the Godhand. But the foundation for the Cursed Skull's return was laid when Drogo Rottmaw took the reigns. Aware of the danger to the whole organization when Revan was beheaded, Rottmaw took the Cursed Skull underground. And seeds of doubt were planted between dwarves and humans.
Lair: The Lich King's Tomb: The Cursed Skull carried the remains of their fallen lord to Drakkenhall, where they created The Lich King's Tomb. It became rallying point for the faction.

12th Age ended

The Lich King and his Necropolis was destroyed.

13th Age: Age of ???

Written by the GM

A long night of undeath ended and a new age began when Divine Emperox Xìnyǎng’s holy warriors and sacred white dragons and King Battlehammer’s stouthearted armies and Stonehearted Knights conquered the Necropolis and cleansed Omen.

But the alliance of humans and dwarves soon broke. Instead of drowning the Necropolis in the sea, as the King insisted, the Emperox raised the Lux Aeterna over its ruins and gave the island to the Children of the White. The King consolidated his hold on Omen and declared a protectorate in Glitterhaegen. What she rebuilt, he undermined. Where he sent his Stonehearted, she gave her Graces.

Half an age later, King Battlehammer rules the proudest, most prosperous, and most powerful dwarven kingdom in six ages. Forswearing his forebears’ isolationism, he seeks a lasting peace through strength and curses Xìnyǎng's weakness as boding another cataclysm.

From her Santa Cora Cathedral, Divine Emperox Xìnyǎng presides over a resurrected Holy Dragon Empire. She evangelizes trust in the gods and an unarmored peace and fears that, in fighting the monster, Battlehammer became the monster.

Both vie for lands and souls across the world, including Queen Moro-Līanae's, who until her death fiercely maintained elves’ independence while avoiding war. Now the world awaits news from the Great Tree…