Age of Arcanum

The Age of Arcanum was the second age of Exandria, following the Founding. It includes the Calamity and ended with the Divergence.[1] It is indicated to have possibly lasted thousands of years.[2][3][4] During this time, mortals tested the limits of arcane power, challenged the gods who had created them, and freed the once-defeated Betrayer Gods. This era has also been called "the Age of Wanton Necromancy," as there were no laws against it at the time.[5]

Records and relics of this age, as with other pre-Calamity history, are rare.[6]

Beginnings[edit | edit source]

The Age of Arcanum began after the people of Exandria destroyed the Primordials and banished the Betrayers. The Prime Deities had granted the knowledge of arcane magic to mortals so that they could protect themselves and defeat these threats. During the Age of Arcanum, the people of Exandria developed this new knowledge.[7]

Society in the Age of Arcanum[edit | edit source]

The Age of Arcanum marked the first peacetime the world had known, and initially, it prospered. Vasselheim become the first true city in the last days of the Founding, and continued to flourish throughout the age. The arcane abilities gifted from the gods allowed people to build rapidly. Flying cities powered by brumestone, such as Zemniaz, Aeor, Avalir, and Kethesk, were a hallmark of this era. [7]

This was also a time of intercontinental migration and the development of new races. Some rock gnomes migrated from their original home in Issylra to the western coast of Gwessar,[8] and tieflings, who are believed to have been born from Issylran warlocks, also sailed east to flee persecution.[9]

Domunas[edit | edit source]

The continent of Domunas was home to the twin cities of Avalir (a flying city) and Cathmoíra, its terrestrial counterpart. Avalir's society was largely arcane focused, whereas Cathmoíra was home to the Gau Drashari druidic order.[10]

Issylra[edit | edit source]

During this time, Issylra was not only home to Vasselheim, but also Thomara, a dwarven society in the Zenwick Mountains that eventually fell to cannabalistic practices relatively early in the age.[11] Many of the flying cities originated from this continent as well.[12]

Marquet[edit | edit source]

Cael Morrow, an elven city, was considered one of the greatest in the world during the Age of Arcanum.[13] Marquet was, during this time, a "lush", forested continent.[14]

Gwessar[edit | edit source]

In addition to the immigrants from Issylra, Gwessar was home to elven societies, including the city of Syngorn.[15] The Qoniira Tetrarchy, located in the Rifenmist Jungle, was also present during the Age of Arcanum.[16] A massive, subterranean aboleth society with its capital in Salar spread below Gwessar's western coast including where the city of Emon currently sits.[17] Lizardfolk were birthed from the K'Tawl Swamp during this time and built the Kuul'tevir civilization, and the serpentfolk city of Vos'sykriss on what is now Visa Isle dates back to the Age of Arcanum as well.[18] Uthtor, a society in the Cliffkeep Mountains, is rumored to have existed beneath what is now Kraghammer.[19]

Wildemount[edit | edit source]

On Wildemount, societies of dranassar lived in what is now Xhorhas and Blightshore,[20] and the Ki'Nau people lived in the Swavain Islands and along the Menagerie Coast in such locations as Sepesca and Obarra.[21] The dwarven stronghold of Xagonstar[22] and the city of Old Haxon, the latter of which is rumored to house some of Vecna's vaults, were both built on the Miskath Strand prior to its fall in the Calamity.[23]

Arcane experimentation[edit | edit source]

The mages of this era ceaselessly pursued knowledge and innovation, creating new creatures[18] and constructs.[24] Many people believed that their arcane abilities served as proof that they were no longer beholden to the gods.[7] Mages such as Vecna, and Halas Lutagran pursued immortality,[25] and necromancers such as Siff Duthar[26] and Opash[27] were common. Some, like Clemain Astural, made otherworldly pacts in pursuit of their knowledge.[28] Other arcane practitioners, particularly the Aeorians, experimented with changing or altering the flow of time itself, and succeeded.[29][30]

With this hubris came corruption, however. Many societies fell to greed and became mired in arguments, and some mages began to set their sights even higher.[7]

Challenging the gods[edit | edit source]

A mortal mage whose name has since been forgotten challenged the then-god of death and developed the Ritual of Seeding that permitted a mortal to achieve godhood, becoming The Raven Queen. While she was accepted by the Prime Deities, her actions served to lead others to have similar aspirations of divinity.[7] Vecna, who had established a base in Thar Amphala in the Shadowfell a century prior to the Calamity, had been using the celestial solstices to attack Exandria. He hoped to use the same Ritual of Seeding to ascend to godhood himself, but was slowed by the forces of Yos Varda, a champion of Pelor, and then defeated by his lieutenant Kas the Bloody-Handed.[31]

Vespin Chloras chose to pursue his ambitions by releasing the Betrayer Gods, imprisoned since the beginning of the age. The Betrayer Gods established the city of Ghor Dranas on the opposite side of the world from Vasselheim, and from there, with armies of fiends and mortals, launched their attack on the Dawn City. The ensuing battle lasted twenty days before the Prime Deities and their allies prevailed,[7] but the people of Exandria were already skeptical of the gods and turned their focus to weaponry and spells that could defeat divine foes, such as the Vestiges of Divergence.[32] The Prime Deities aligned with their creations, ready to fight off the released Betrayer Gods for good. This led to the war now known as the Calamity.[33]

The Calamity[edit | edit source]

The war that came to be called the Calamity destroyed most of civilization, and only one-third of Exandria's population survived.[34][35]

The Divergence[edit | edit source]

With the Betrayer Gods defeated and banished, Melora planted the Arbor Exemplar in the Barbed Fields. The Prime Deities imposed self-exile and created the Divine Gate, which served as the end of the Age of Arcanum.[36]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 7.
  2. Guuthal terrorized the world "during the Age of Arcanum in its first millennium," said in a way that implies multiple millennia. "Curious Tides" (1x89) at 3:12:45.
  3. The lore places the fall of the Thomara clan "thousands of years ago" in the "early Age of Arcanum". "The Ominous March" (1x109) at 1:40:50.
  4. Members of Vox Machina understand the early Age of Arcanum to be at least 1500 years ago. "The Climb Within" (1x110) at 21:05.
  5. "What Lies Beneath the Surface" (1x81) at 2:20:04.
  6. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 1: "Welcome to Tal'Dorei", p. 16.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 1: "Story of Wildemount", p. 12.
  8. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 26.
  9. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 28.
  10. "Excelsior" (E3x01) at 1:50:42.
  11. "The Ominous March" (1x109) at 1:40:48.
  12. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 3: "Tal'Dorei Gazetteer", p. 145.
  13. Call of the Netherdeep, Chapter 5: "The Drowned City", p. 121.
  14. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 3: "Wildemount Gazetteer", p. 159.
  15. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 4: "Character Options", p. 154. Syngorn is indicated to have pre-dated the Calamity, and to have been the only surviving city by the time the elves fled to the Feywild.
  16. "A Glorious Return" (E1x03) at 1:54:55.
  17. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 6: "Allies and Adversaries of Tal'Dorei", p. 217.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 6: "Allies and Adversaries of Tal'Dorei", p. 222.
  19. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 3: "Tal'Dorei Gazetteer", p. 96.
  20. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 4: "Character Options", p. 173.
  21. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 3: "Wildemount Gazetteer", p. 75.
  22. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 3: "Wildemount Gazetteer", p. 152.
  23. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 3: "Wildemount Gazetteer", p. 155.
  24. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 6: "Allies and Adversaries of Tal'Dorei", p. 239.
  25. "The Neverending Day" (2x125) at 40:05.
  26. "A Favor in Kind" (2x16) at 24:58.
  27. "Curious Tides" (1x89) at 3:09:10.
  28. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 75.
  29. "Commerce & Chaos" (2x31) at 1:38:40.
  30. "The Genesis Ward" (2x135) at 2:46:52.
  31. "The Endless Atheneum" (1x106) at 1:20:23.
  32. "Return to Vasselheim" (1x43) at 27:49.
  33. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 1: "Story of Wildemount", p. 13.
  34. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 5. The Calamity is described as "a terrible war that wiped out most of civilization more than a thousand years ago" (as of 812 PD).
  35. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 1: "Story of Wildemount", p. 11. The Calamity is described as "a terrible war that wiped out most of civilization nearly a thousand years ago" (as of 835 PD).
  36. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 1: "Story of Wildemount", p. 14.