The Ascension Gate
The Ascension Gate
For more than 2,000 years, the civilized races of Calagos have bitterly fought for survival. In the days before the Gate War, the world prospered. Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, and a dozen other races lived in harmony. Magic and technology intermingled and became nigh indistinguishable, and truly wondrous things were accomplished. Even death seemed to have no more hold upon the mortal races, so great were their works. Monsters were a thing of stories, spoken of by parents wishing to scare their children. Only the greatest of wizards and techno-priests, those that had managed to pierce the fabric of the universe itself, knew the truth. The world was safe.
Then, the Ascension Gate opened. Little is known about that event, as almost all records have been lost to time or the vast wilds. What is known is that creatures from beyond reality poured through, both good and evil. A vast war spanning eons had come, and Calagos was the next battlefield. The nations responded quickly, fighting demonic hordes and legions of unspeakable horrors side-by-side with shining archons. Still, the tide could not be stemmed. Technology and magic were used in ever-increasing desperation. New races of creatures were born from those times, such as the Tengu and Merfolk, created by magic or some mad science in an attempt to fight creatures from the Beyond. Monsters were summoned from other worlds or created in the vast alchemical labs that remained. It was not enough.
When all hope seemed lost, the Humans turned to their most desperate of creations. A Device, created by the most brilliant minds of Dwarves, Gnomes, and Men, capable of annihilating entire cities. Always deemed too dangerous to use, the desperation of mankind was unleashed, in a flash of blinding light and the fury of the stars.
It was not enough.
It is not known how many times the humans used their weapon. What is known is that the lands upon which this hellish creation was unleashed remained desolate and barren for centuries. Even with such power, nothing could stop the inevitable destruction to come.
Then, the Gate closed. As suddenly as it had come to be, the Gate winked out of existence like a bubble bursting in the sunlight. Many of the creatures tied to other realities vanished with it, leaving behind their mortal servants. The ley lines, the source of magic, were disrupted and left in chaotic turmoil. What few magic-wielders remained dared not touch the mystical energies, for those that did burned out the ability, died, or worse: went mad. Much technology simply ceased working, for even in those complex devices, some magical power was often harnessed.
For nearly 2,000 years, humanity and its kindred species were hunted by the creatures left in the wake of the War. The races became insular and xenophobic, fighting bitterly over the scraps of resources left from their once-great ancestors. Extinction was a certainty, as the power of the creatures lurking in the shadows would certainly engulf and extinguish the light of civilization.
Then, the ley lines began to settle. Magic became something that could once again be harnessed and controlled. Although the ability in many of the races had nearly been weeded out, the few magic-capable that remained began delving into the unknown depths. Mundane weapons found in the ruins of old suddenly grew powerful again. The Exceptional began to surface again, taking up mantles of professions long dead. Soon, some small regions were made safe to settle again, tamed against the dangers of the wilds. Nations began to arise, and some semblance of civilization to return. It has been 200 years since the Settling, and magic use is becoming common, although persons and works of great power remain elusive. It seems to be a time of resurgence for the civilized peoples of Calagos. Everything is not as it seems.
Evil stirs in the cities of man and the dark wilds. Monstrous creatures, hordes of the undead, and abominations from beyond the veil of reality stalk the land. The great cities of legend have fallen, now haunted by things seemingly pulled from nightmare, overgrown and reclaimed by the wilds. The truly wondrous feats of technology that were once commonplace are now little more than rusted relics shrouded in legendary history. The fabled magic works of the greatest nations serve as no more than bedtime stories. The gods of old are myths, worshiped only by cultists and secret societies. This is the world where new legends will be born. This is the time of adventure!