Palladium Fantasy RPG
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The Old Kingdom
The Old Kingdom
- The Old Kingdom is a warm, humid land with sprawling plains, deserts, marshlands, subtropical forests to the south, and rolling hills, lush lowlands, and scattered forests to the north and east. Ironically, only a handful of elven cities remain in the northeast near the Eastern Territory, the rest of their once grand kingdom is the domain of monsters. Humans have established a few outposts along the northern coast and near the Eastern Territory but have found the hostile monster races too much to deal with at this time.
- The Old Kingdom Mountains house a large number of Kobolds, a few Dwarven cities, one of the last Gnomish cities, a place of magic (see Old Ones), and lots of Ogres.
- The Old Kingdom Lowlands are littered with ruins, nomadic orc, goblin, and ogre tribes. The temperature can vary greatly because of the magic used during the Elf-Dwarf wars, as can the terrain. It is mostly light forest and scrub plains to the Northeast, Southwest gives way to mostly grasslands that turn to desert the closer you get to Mt. Nimro and Nimrod. Southeast (by Timrio) is light forest, grasslands, and rolling hills. A few ley lines exist, mostly on the mountain range. There are also walls interspersed throughout the Old Kingdom lowlands made by a Dwarven mage during the great war (see Library of Bletherad).
- Despite the ancient ruins, drawings and countless stories about the Age of Elf and Dwarf, none of the "young races," as dwarves refer to humans, Wolfen, Coyles, and others, can truly picture what these ancient cultures were really like nearly 15,000 years ago. Today, the Old Kingdom is little more than a desolate wasteland populated by the so-called monster races. Only the occasional elven stronghold towers above the scrub plains and light forests. Their golden towers and great walls stand as impressive testament to a bygone era. These are among the oldest surface cities in the world and the few places on the continent where one will find several thousand elves at any one location. Yet as impressive as these last walled, elven cities are, they are old, dirty and overcrowded — tottering relics of an earlier age that have not yet given up the ghost.
The scrub plains, scraggly forests and parched earth were once lush forests, grassy plains and farmlands dotted with hundreds of elven villages and towns. Caravan routes crisscrossed the land like a giant spider's web etched into the Earth, and hundreds of travelers walked the well-worn roads every day. Rising up from the hills towered the Elven cities and citadels, where the most powerful kings, wizards and warriors on the planet once dwelled. It was once said that the Elven cities, with their many towers, great stone pyramids and buildings often as high as 20 stories, looked like a giant celestial crown come to rest on the ground. The Elven cities were famous as places of higher learning, magic and science. An estimated 100 million elves are believed to have once inhabited this rich center of the continent. The last of the famous Titans also found refuge in these gleaming cities, along with other friendly races like the fledgling humans, as well as clans of submissive Goblins, Hob-goblins and Orcs which comprised the heart of the Elven labor force.
In the mountains, hills, some lowlands and even under some of the Elven cities laid the innocuous Dwarven Empire. Except for a handful of surface cities and trading posts, the average surface dweller had no idea what wonders laid beneath their feet. Vast subterranean networks of tunnels, mines, villages and cities cut through the earth and mountains like a series of massive bee hives. A Dwarven city often seemed to appear like a glittering jewel at the end of a dark, subterranean tunnel or cave. Magnificent stadiums, cathedrals and entire cities were carved from the very bedrock. The walls of these cities were covered in carvings, artwork and gems. Dwarves have a natural affinity for working stone, thus the walls and archways were often elaborately decorated with intricate carvings, reliefs, gargoyles and statuary. Tiny toy-like statues that fit in the palm of the hand were carved with stunning detail and realism, while statues from the size of a human to a 100' colossus lined their corridors or towered in the center of an underground courtyard or domed meeting hall. The dwarven statues seemed to include every conceivable subject, from aspects of their own culture and religion (gods and dwarven heroes) to surface dwellers, animals, insects, fish, birds, monsters and more! The material used could be as simple as soap stone, quartz, or bedrock to marble, alabaster, ebony, jade, crystal, silver and gold. Many used gems (diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, etc.) or precious metals for additional ornamentation, but whether a simple stone carving or an ornate work accented with gems or precious metals, the workmanship was always impeccable and the object an exquisite work of art. To this day, dwarven statues (old and new), cut gem stones, and jewelry are the most coveted in the world. Where the mighty dwarves tolerated their presence, or in regions not yet claimed by the dwarves, were kobolds, gnomes and the occasional tribe or clan of troglodytes or goblins.
The two Empires would grow and reach heights of grandeur and knowledge that have never been surpassed, but it would all come crashing down during the two thousand year long Elf-Dwarf War. When the fabled war was over, less than a dozen Elven cities remained and many of those were ravaged by the war. Once 100 million strong, less than 10 million survived. The lush forests, farmlands and plains were obliterated. In many cases, scorched earth and scrawny forests remain to this day, though nearly 6,000 years have since passed. And as terrible as all this may sound, the dwarves suffered far greater losses, with over 230 million lost. The part of the tragedy that most seem to forget (or choose not to discuss) is the incredible losses suffered by other races. Titans, already depleted by their war with the Old Ones, lost another 20% of their kind. The mountain dwelling Rahu Men who fought on the side of the elves saw 60% of their race obliterated. Millions of orcs, goblins, hob-goblins and kobolds fighting on both sides were slaughtered; half of which were forced labor and warrior slaves who had no choice but to fight for their bloodthirsty masters. Gnomes and troglodytes were among the innocents caught in the crossfire; 90% of the gnome race was decimated along with 75% of the troglodyte race. Hob-goblins also saw their numbers reduced by 90%, although their involvement in the war was far from innocent.
Why the Old Kingdom (then a New Kingdom) was so heavily populated by subterranean people remains a mystery. Some Dwarven legends suggest that the Old Kingdom was the birthplace of many of the modern races, and the place where the few surviving archaic races (elf, titan, changeling and dragon) finally came to rest after their titanic battle with the Old Ones. The same legends suggest that the eastern mountains that separates the Old Kingdom from Timiro is the spine of Xy himself, the most powerful and evil of the legendary monsters. Many insist that The Tristine Chronicles seems to support this theory, because of this often quoted passage.
- ...and when the swirling maelstrom of magic and chaos came to an end, the dreaded Old Ones did sleep the enchanted slumber deep within the earth, and the world was reborn. The oceans receded and the waters of ancient rivers turned to dust, but the life-giving waters could not be contained and they soon found new courses to run. Mountains sunk to become valleys and where none had stood before new ones rose, as if to mark the resting place of the monsters who sleep. So it was that the Great Old One gave birth to the New Kingdom mountains whose finger does point to the south, just as the burning mountain before the Scarlet Waters and others came into being to mark the passing of the Chaos Lords.
Xy, the ruler of the Old Ones, was often referred to simply as the "Great Old One." Many scholars insist that this passage from the Tristine Chronicles proves that Xy slumbers somewhere below or in the southeastern mountain chain of the Old Kingdom Mountains. Other scholars argue that the passage speaks in generalities and that it is not meant to suggest these mountains are the resting place of Xy. In fact, it was probably this very passage that spawned the Dwarven legend that the mountain is actually the spine of Xy. There is nothing unusual about these mountains and no expeditions by man or dwarf have been able to find any evidence that "The" Great Old One lies anywhere beneath them. Of course, less than 1% of the mountain's subterranean depths have been plumbed. Most scholars agree that the burning mountain is a reference to Mount Nimrod which has been an active volcano since recorded history, and which may have rested closer to the inland sea some 30,000 to 60,000 years ago. Mount Nimro came into existence long after.