Demons, Devils, and Dragonsbane
The Dark Age
“When the Spellfountain exploded, the blast was enormous. We could even feel the tremors from across the sea, here in Farun. It was on that day that we knew our cause was lost.”
- Lady Elizabeth Varr, in The Veiled Alliance – What We Fought For
The Dark Age exists in the alternate universe where Aphnorelthon, Morak, Aramil Tolrin, and their allies did not defeat King Valerian Sarilob during the Siege of Garilla. It officially began when the Spellfountain, the source of all arcane magic, was destroyed by King Valerian Sarilob in the year 1012. There are no longer arcane spellcasters on the Material Plane. All arcane spells began with a command (incantation, rune, etc.) to locally import the energy that was harnessed by the Spellfountain. Without the Spellfountain, arcane spellcasters can no longer access the energy required for arcane spells while on the Material Plane. (Fun Fact: The energy is theorized to be cosmological in origin, from the rotation of the various planes about the larger Astral Plane).
The destruction of the Spellfountain triggered a series of events that forever changed the political landscape of Gamon.
Main Events (in a rough chronological order):
- The Exodus: In 1012, a week before the destruction of the Spellfountain, The Cleric of Boccob Alex, The Cleric of Heironeous Jordyn Cacoilo, and the remnants of the Holy Order of the Last Gates revealed the location of the gates to Valhalla, Olympus, and Heaven in the heart of the Magocracy. They escorted hundreds of arcane spellcasters, most notably the leaders of the Magocracy and the Veiled Alliance, through the gates to other planes so that they would retain their arcane spellcasting. The Veiled Alliance now exists as an extraplanar force that seeks to thwart the Kingdom of Farun from afar.
- The Fall of Fengar: On the day of the Spellfountain’s destruction, several notable individuals teleported to Fengar to attempt to stop the destruction of the Spellfountain. These include (but are not limited to, as records are inaccurate): Aramil Torlin, Cyrus O’mally, Azura, and Sedriel Neolas of the Castle of Solace. Despite their efforts, Valerian had the Talisman of the Sphere and the Sphere of Annihilation, and with the help of Farun’s other nobles, he was able to destroy the Spellfountain. Cyrus, Azura, and Sedirel died, and Valerian’s power increased as he slew two minor deities. Aramil survived using Time Reversal, having one copy of himself get caught in the blast and the other Dimension Door to safety. Duke Octavian anticipated this tactic and intercepted Aramil, now powerless without magic, during his escape. Valerian let Aramil live, but only because he was responsible for the death of the deity Vecna.
- Fengar, the great Dwarven capitol, now lies in ruin after the Spellfountain’s explosion. The Dwarven Kingdom has fallen to pieces. Most of the dwarves were enslaved by the Drow, and those that weren’t have formed a resistance force that operates in the deepest tunnels of Voron.
- A large portion of the undead army growing between Azuria and the Elven Lands was obliterated upon the destruction of the Spellfountain, as these undead were held together by arcane magic.
- The Veiled Alliance was quickly defeated after the destruction of the Spellfountain. Those arcane spellcasters in the Alliance that did not leave during the Exodus could not stand up to the superior numbers of Farun’s armies without their arcane spellcasting. Furthermore, the common people began to fear King Valerian after feeling the sundering of arcane power, so public opinion rapidly turned against the alliance and its members found themselves without the support of their captured cities. By 1014, Farun had regained control of all of its cities.
- The Magocracy is no more. Once the Spellfountain was destroyed, the Magocracy’s warmages became powerless. Though the Magocracy had several clerics and non-magical soldiers in their armies, they could not stand to the military might of a united Farun. They formally surrendered in 1017, and Farun reclaimed its former territory from the Magocracy. The elves, gnomes, and magical humanoids who enjoyed citizenship in the Magocracy are now second-class citizens in Farun. Some are slaves in all but name.
- The remnants of the United Nations (the Elves, the Azurites, and the Theocracy) joined to form the Holy Covenant in 1018, after they became the only nations that allowed free worship of the Good-aligned deities. They are currently at war with Farun and the Confederacy. They declared war on Farun as they formed; later on, in 1024, they declared war on the Confederacy and often send raiders to try and rescue dwarven and gnomish slaves from underground Drow cities.
- The alliance between the Kingdom of Farun and the Northern Confederacy is no more, as the Confederacy unexpectedly lost its arcane spellcasters due to King Valerian’s actions. The two powers formally declared war on each other in 1020.
- Thanks to King Valerian, Farun has banned the worship of all deities. Most clerics were either killed or forced into exile. The Church of Humanity was formed in 1030, and now exists everywhere in Farun, where reason and the potential of mortals is taught to be superior to the divinity of the deities. The opposition to faith on a grand scale has weakened the gods. Valerian discovered that the faith of the masses is the source of divine power, so by turning that faith against the gods and towards humanity, he was also able to create his own ur-priests: clerics with no deities, only domains, who can prepare divine spells but are directly opposed to the gods.
The rise of anti-theism (and anti-magic in general) in Farun has caused a scientific revolution of sorts in the Kingdom, where humans have conducted various experiments to try and prove that they needed neither the gods nor arcane magic to wield power and build a better society. This led to the rise of Artificers in Farun : individuals who are able to produce effects that emulate magical abilities through various techniques that were developed by scientists who studied the nature of divine magic.
Furthermore, the brilliant minds of scientists and Artificers in Farun over the next 100 years following the start of the Dark Age have led to the inventions of steam power, trains, watches, gunpowder, and even airships. The discovery of gunpowder has enabled Farun to have a much larger standing army, as it is easier to train commoners to shoot rifles than to use swords (though the rifles are not terribly accurate and often jam). These technologies were eventually stolen and re-adapted by the Northern Confederacy, who now has a vast network of air-pressurized subways connecting their cities among other things. Steam power and gunpowder eventually found their way over to the Holy Covenant, but their adaptation there was limited to naval vessels, as most people in the Covenant rely on the deities and the “old ways.”