The Chronicles of Caledain
Humans are by far the dominant species in the land of Caledain. From the bleak wastes to the north of The Giants, to the parched wastes of the Sighing Desert, you can find them.
When the Shining Empire began to spread, many thousands of years ago, the humans of Caledain lived much as the other savage race; the goblins, orcs and gnolls. They lived in small tribes and fought each other with weapons of stone, bone and bronze. They had no writing, little art and no learning beyond that needed for their rough and rugged existence. When the elves came with sorcery, sword and spear to conquer and subjugate, they brought civilisation to the humans, who took to it faster and more completely than the other savage races.
Where the gnolls were used for hunting, the goblins for mining and digging, and the orcs for heavy labour and as arrow-fodder, the humans were made farmers, supervisors secretaries and personal slaves. They were taught letters and arithmetic, metallurgy, alchemy and even magic. They were still very much slaves, but the luckiest were very favoured slaves.
Then, after centuries of subjugation, the slave-races suddenly found themselves free as the Shining Empire collapsed amidst flame and carnage. The humans fled along with the goblins and gnolls into the deep woods and here hid themselves from the armies of demons that rampaged across the surface of Caledain. When these hellish beings had finally been defeated by the combined might of the dwarves and remaining elves, the humans gradually moved out of the wood, back into the fertile plains. Several centuries of warfare followed as the humans struggled to carve out territories for themselves, slowly driving the orcs, goblins and gnolls into the hills and deep forests.
The first major human settlements grew along the shores of the Mesomundian Sea, villages that became towns that grew into cities. Each city became it’s own, self-contained state. As they grew in power and influence, they came into contact with others. The cities traded and warred with equal frequency, alliances being made, ignored, broken or twisted as decades past. Some cities gained prominence above the rest. The white city of Cassia became the Seat of the Gods, the City of Priests, ruled by the Over-Priest, who worships and represents all gods equally. In the southeast, the cities of Ramethoth and Akhenos dabbled in dark necromancy and were said to consort with demons and strange creatures from the deserts. At the entrance to the Mesomundian Sea, at the Straits of Koth, the two rivals Kelpos and Tranta faced each other in a permanent war over control of the sea routes. Delios grew famed for it’s sorcerers, while Carth, Karthis and Mentoth were renowned for their mechanical devices, developed with help from the dwarves in their nearby mountain strongholds.
The lands along the east coast of Caledain are warm and fertile, and the various cities started sending colonists out to build new settlements there. Kelpos and Tranta were the first to do so, and no sooner had their colonists driven out the local orcs and gnolls than they turned on each other. The other cities sent out their own settlers to carve out new kingdoms, and soon large swathes of land had been claimed, bringing in vast wealth for their parent cities. However, after only a few decades, these colony-nations rebelled, declaring themselves independent and throwing off the ties that bound them to the ancient cities.
On the other side of the near impenetrable Great Forest, the barbarian tribes were slowly creating kingdoms of their own. They drove out or slaughtered the goblins and gnolls, and then began to fight each other. Gradually the most powerful tribes conquered their neighbours, carving kingdoms for themselves. Eventually these stabilised as six powerful nations. Using the mighty rivers that cut the Great Forest into three separate sections, these new nations were able to make contact with the eastern kingdoms, and with the dwarves, bringing their existence to the attention of the wider world.