The Verdant Passage
The History of Athas
Athasian history is largely folklore, as most are too concerned with the present problems of survival to dedicate time to lessons of the past. Yet, bard’s lyrics speak of a land of plenty, honor and glory. While some credit these stories to the silver tongues of bards, many put credence in the tales of previous ages.
The Blue Age
It is rumored that the Athasian sky was once an azure hue, under a sapphire sun. The majority of the world was covered in water and halflings rose to build an empire, led by nature masters. A blight, a great brown tide marked the end of this age as the sea began to die.
As the brown tide spread, most halflings fled into the higher ground as their nature masters attempted to counter the tide, focusing the sun’s energy. They were successful, but they released a great force that contorted the land and the halfling civilization was largely destroyed.
The Green Age
Under the now yellow sun, new races filled the mountains, forests and fertile valleys, unscathed by the receding waves. Great cities spring up and religions develop, though no true gods exist. Psionics develop during this age and nearly all life has some psionic talent. An unprecedented age of cooperation and standard of living marks this age.
The Age of Magic
A misshapen pyreen, Rajaat, discovers the principles of magic on Athas and publicly teaches the way of the Preserver, while secretly researching and teaching the way of the Defiler to a select group of humans. He learns how to extend the life spans of himself and his closest defiler students and elevates his “Champions” using the sun’s energy. He succeeds, but the sun turns a dark crimson.
The Cleansing Wars
Rajaat and his Champions set out to destroy the races of Athas created during the rebirth, in an effort to return to the Blue Age. Many of the races are eliminated, while others are decimated. The Champions discover Rajaat intends to give Athas back to the halflings, the oldest race and rebel. Rajaat is trapped within the Hollow.
The Age of Sorcerer-Kings
The remaining Champions each claim one of the city-states of the Tyr region and gain godlike powers to channel the powers of the elements. While they cannot use these powers directly, they can grant them to devotees, the Templars. Borys becomes a dragon, never before seen on Athas and the devastation of the world continues as the sorcerer-kings wage war with defiling magic.
The Current Age
With eight city-states in the hands of sorcerer-king defilers, tightly controlled by their Templar minions, and one tenuously led by three rival Trade-Lords, the tablelands are a harsh and cruel place, where slaves outnumber freemen two to one, and even those who call themselves “free” are only free to ply their trade as long as it serves the will of the sorcerer-kings.