Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Twilight Empire


Conspectus

The Twilight Empire is a large feudal kingdom in a demon-haunted world, full of infernal spirits, undead, monsters, witches, and sorcerers. In a former aeon, the world was peaceful and prosperous, united under the wise rule of the arch-magi and techno-wizards of the Pantarchy. A rogue arch-mage’s attempt to summon and bind gods of the primordial chaos led to the collapse of that peaceable civilization. Hordes of demons and monsters were released from magical captivity, and the few human survivors reverted to barbarism.

Centuries later, civilization has been re-established, but is plagued by evil men and creatures of darkness. Defending humanity are knights, Templars, wardens, and witch hunters, but these groups have their own rivalries, fighting one other as often as they do battle against demons and monsters. Everywhere men are divided by faction, class, sect, and kingdom, and moreover doomed to destruction by their insatiable lusts for wealth, pleasure, and power.


The Fall of the Pantarchy

In ancient times, the Pantarchy ruled the world of Telleth-Rumi, and worlds beyond. The Pantarchs followed the Cosmic Balance, worshipping an array of celestial, elemental, and infernal spirits. They summoned creatures from other worlds, built inter-dimensional gates, and grew etheric ships from living crystal, which they used to sail the black seas of space.

The Peace of the Pantarchs prevailed for thousands of years, until it was broken by the arch-mage Obduras. Obduras abandoned the Cosmic Balance, and sought to become sole ruler of the multiverse. He summoned elder gods from the great Abyss beyond space and time—Tiamat, Abzu, Mummu, and others—their names still echo as curses down through the many centuries. These gods of primeval chaos proved to be Obduras’ undoing, for they overpowered his mystic wards and sigils, sending waves of chaotic energy into the worlds of the Pantarchy. The gates of the Pantarchs collapsed, their bound spirits ran free, and the cities of men were engulfed in surges of formless energy.



The Pantarchy fell, but not before its remaining arch-magi performed the Great Panspace Banishing. This powerful enchantment hurled the elder gods back to their native realm. The few human survivors swiftly reverted to barbarism, and were preyed upon by rogue spirits and monstrous aberrations spawned from the chaotic wastelands.

After several centuries had passed, the survivors began to till the soil, build villages and towns, and rediscover the lost lore of their ancestors. Among them were the Val, nomads who wandered the Endless Plain with herds of horses and cattle. The Val were among the first to domesticate horses after the Fall of the Pantarchs, and they invented the chariot, which gave them an advantage in warfare. They spread to the east, west, and south, settling in much of the northern continent of Septentrion, including the land now known as the Twilight Empire.

The Val were never politically united; each of their kings ruled over a small domain, no larger than a duchy in size. The ancient kingdom of Greymouth was one such royal domain, which gradually grew in wealth and power, due to its control of the mouth of the great Grey River. The kings of Greymouth expanded their territory, conquering other small kingdoms and city states which lay along the Grey River and on the western coast of the continent. 


The Aeons of Man

Knowledge of human history is based primarily upon the Chronicle of Tetractys, which divides human history into seven aeons. Tetractys was the last Scholarch of the Pantarchs, and it is from his records that knowledge of the past has been preserved. The current, seventh aeon is dated from the Fall of Pantarchy, which occurred a little over two thousand years ago. The preceding six aeons are dated from other important events in the history of human civilization.

The Aeons of Man Table

Aeon
Designation
Description
Duration (Years)
1st
Genesis
origin of humanity
c. 200,000
2nd
Exodus
space exploration
c. 50,000
3rd
Judges
galactic republic
c. 100,000
4th
Kings
galactic empire formed after contact with demon lords
c. 100,000
5th
Diaspora
dark age after civil war and chaos invasions
c. 50,000
6th
Pax Pantarchiana
peace of the Pantarchs; chaos controlled by arch-magi
c. 100,000
7th
Post Pantarchiam
after the fall of the Pantarchs
2,279