According to what became known as The Tale of the Goblin King, some 8,000 years ago a group of unlikely adventurers took part in an epic adventure that saved the world from total annihilation. A similar event was recorded some 200 years later. And again after another 150 years. The history of the continent of Altsoba is riddled with stories of grand quests to save the world from some form impending doom. While the story about the goblin king is nothing more than an inspirational fairy tale about an imaginary folk hero told to the children of the monster races, a surprising number of similar stories can be traced back to some small grain of truth, most of them relating directly to one of the many bloody conflicts that took place during The Eminence Wars and The Age of Rebirth. A number of times throughout history, the world has found itself on the brink of driving all civilized life to extinction, a grim truth finally realized at the beginning of The Age of Rebirth, so named for the world’s finally beginning to attempt to bring an end to the violence that so nearly claimed it.
In a moment of desperation at the end of yet another bloody war, the world’s most powerful nations met in a historic peace conference and agreed to withdraw to their own territories and close their borders, believing their only hope for survival was complete isolation from those around them. Though it was seemingly impossible for them to achieve true world peace and several conflicts took place throughout The Age of Rebirth, their solution was largely successful. With the world’s most formidable armies all poised to strike against any one daring to break the peace treaty, there was no longer anything of significance to be gained from an open conflict with another nation that would outweigh the losses they would inevitably suffer. Neighbors of these nations took notice and quickly began to form alliances and swear allegiances, seeking the protection of the nations they favored from others that would undoubtedly consume them in time. Over time, boundary lines were drawn and a committee of representatives from each nation was formed to meet regularly and ensure the lasting peace that has continued for more than two millennia.
Throughout The Age of Rebirth, nations discovered that with an increasing lack of necessity of military strength to ensure their survival, their priorities were shifting to the rebuilding of their countries. The production of stronger weapons and creation of more powerful spells began to pale in significance to restructuring their collapsing economies and feeding their starving people. What little weaponry did exist largely became seen as a waste of resources. The energy that could be put into casting spells could be better spent building and operating machines that could do the work of a hundred men. The effort of swinging a sword was illogical when compared to that of pulling a trigger. Any waste of a nation’s nearly depleted resources became criminal. As the years passed, the old ways died out to make room for newer and more efficient methods. People gradually forgot the ways of the arcane and even the divine, and the worship of gods and the mastery of the planet’s energy became the stuff of legend. While there were always those that refused to allow the past to fade into oblivion, they largely came to be seen as fanatics that couldn’t let go of times long gone.
In the nation of Imaran, the millennia passed much as they did for the other nations until an incident nearly 300 years ago in a construction site in Imaran’s countryside. While laying the foundation for a new settlement, the construction crew dug into what opened up into a massive underground cavern that appeared to have swallowed an entire village. To this day, exactly what was found there remains classified information, but a number of ancient artifacts were uncovered that turned out to be everything from weapons to religious implements to scrolls containing magic written in languages that hadn’t been spoken in hundreds of years. Originally destined to end up on display in a museum, it became apparent that they had more potential than simply being an ancient culture exhibit when what appeared to be a traveler’s satchel was discovered to be capable of carrying more than fifty times its volume without increasing its weight. The contents of the underground village were immediately labeled as government secrets, but through under a mysterious set of circumstances, video of the excavation filmed by the historians and archaeologists first called to the scene was leaked and spread across the internet. The response was immediate – fear, panic and greed swept across the nation that hadn’t had any more contact with magic than stories of the world nearly destroying itself with it.
In the 300 years since the discovery, Imaran has been in a state of constant change. Having failed to keep their discovery a secret, they have instead decided to use the people’s enthusiasm to their advantage. Though they’d uncovered a wealth of information – in fact, nearly all magic in use today results from the discoveries made in that first day – they knew enough to know that there was more to learn. Since, the nation as a whole has sought out to learn more – any minor piece of information could lead to the discovery of an entire new branch of magic application. This is the reason that Imaran’s oldest and most prestigious institute of learning, Warrior Queen Annissa Memorial Military Academy, has opened its doors to the public for the first time in nearly 8,000 years and begun a new course of study to teach any willing to learn all they need to know about going out into the world and bringing back knowledge of the past – under any circumstances necessary. Money, prestige and far more await whoever makes the next great discovery.