Ashes of the West
The World and History
North America – The Past – Roughly 1000 B.C.E.
3000 years in the past, the human civilization of North America was altered to become elves. This event caused a period of confusion, but the civilization quickly returned to events as usual. Most of the records from this period are lost or kept hidden from outsiders, making living through unfolding events the best way to determine what happened.
Europe – The Dark Ages
This period of time was considered “dark” because of the abundance of dragons. Wars were rarely fought, even among the differing races of Europe, as no neighboring nations or cities had feuds more pressing than the possibility of dragons descending from the sky and wiping out all traces of civilization. Dragon hunters, sponsored by most governments, eventually made a difference. Many dragon bloodlines retreated back into their lairs and demesnes, and the races of Europe were able to rebuild.
North America – The Colonization War
Following the retreat of the dragons from the known places of the world, humans spread like a plague across Europe. Running low on space and barred from the subterranean networks by dwarves, they constructed great ships and spread to other landmasses.
Landing on the eastern shores of North America, the human colonists encountered the civilization of the elves. Faced with a stronger, faster, smarter, and more magically talented foe, Europe continued to send ship after ship of soldiers to fight an increasingly damaging war. With a lesser birth rate than the invading humans, the elves were eventually pushed far to the north, leaving the more habitable zones to be colonized by the surviving humans. Those elves that remained or were too slow to retreat were captured and forced into slavery.
This war with a strong foreign military ensured that the human colonists never saw the need to break away from Europe in any sort of American Revolution, as European soldiers and supplies were sorely needed.
South America – Attempted Colonization
In the early days of the Colonization War, some colonists sought out a safer land to make into their new home. Instead, they attempted to colonize South America. Rather than elves, they came into conflict with the orc tribes. Few humans escaped, and no more ships were sent to South America.
The World – The Invasion
Around the time when a less altered timeline would have been facing an American Civil War, a very different threat emerged. This threat was that of aliens, descending from the skies in their ships and laying waste to civilizations around the world. After two years of destroying the native populations and cities, the alien ships spontaneously crash landed, many of them exploding on impact. At the same time, the eastern half of North America was blighted, becoming a desolate zone of desert, ash storms, and demonic monsters. This area is now known as the Dead Wastes, though none are sure how it came to be.
North America – Reconstruction
With the world devastated, the survivors of the invasion began to rebuild. Without any way to communicate with possible survivors in other parts of the world, and without knowing if there were any other survivors, new governments were formed. The biggest of these was the Coalition of Free-States, which quickly engulfed the smaller governments and free towns of the western half of America. The Coalition gathered much support from the survivors, abolishing elf slavery and forming a strong military to protect its member towns and cities from bandits, northern elves, and the possibility of creatures emerging from the Dead Wastes.
Following a period of increasing aggression from the northern elves, the Coalition put into effect the Elven Exclusionary Act of 1882. This act led to banning of all elven immigration into Coalition territory, and the construction of a wall separating the Coalition territory from the elven north. Additionally, it gave official rights to the elves still living in Coalition territory, who often fell victim to racism and lived as second-class citizens.
Around the same time, a group of Coalition citizens and deserters from the military migrated south of the Coalition, where they founded the City-State of Freehold upon the concepts of chivalry, honor, and freedom. Over the years, more citizens traveled to Freehold, hoping for a future free from the harsh laws of the Coalition. This eventually led to a war with the Coalition, but the conflict did not last long and neither side was significantly hindered. After the brief strife, the two governments began to unofficially trade with each other, as official economic interaction was banned by laws on both sides.
For nearly 100 years this truce continued, with both sides building up their might; the Coalition to combat the northern elves, should they ever return in force, and Freehold to ward off the creatures that lurked in the Dead Wastes and the bandits that nested to the south.
North America – Current Events
Since the session began, you’ve ruined so very many things.
The Coalition has lost the city of Beryl, a significant number of Khatovar wizards, their elected counselor for the Department of Intelligence, a section of the Wall, and the Tower of Charm. Additionally, they are in the early stages of another war with the Corinium Ascendancy.
The City-State of Freehold is in an even worse position. While they did recover Freeport from the Stormcrows, half of their territory is now a part of the Dead Wastes. Farmland is uncommon, and it is reported that the Stormcrows have been entering the remains of Freehold proper. Word from Eastwatch is that it escaped relatively unscathed, and nothing has been heard from Freeport since it was the site of a three-way battle. To make matters worse, the Lord-Commander of Freehold was murdered and Lord Advisor Albert Bryson was the one behind Freehold’s current predicament.
The Corinium Ascendancy was the main target of an escaped Dominator. The city of Corinium is in flames. The few survivors of Corinium are unsure of their sanity and leaderless following the murder of the Corinium Senate and Consuls. Towns directly between Dustman’s Cairn and Corinium have been flattened, and the Coalition is clashing with the military of the Corinium Ascendancy north of the Wall. To make matters worse, many artifacts of great power have been lost, and the settlements near and within the northern Dead Wastes are being wiped out.
Most of these misfortunes can be traced back to the actions of the group.