History of Exandria

We, the Creators, did breathe the beauty into this world. We planted the seeds that would blossom into this incredible weave of Exandria. However, what is the purpose of the parent but to teach what they can, then set the children free? Some gods rule through fear, others through love, and others still through perceived fate. [...]

For me, our greatest purpose has passed, the moment we granted your forebears the spark to seek their own purpose. We now stay to inspire, to guide, to guard the Gate, to keep the hate of ignorance we spawned in our hubris from burning away everything. The rest is up to you. We need you, perhaps, but you do not need us.

— Ioun, the Knowing Mistress, to Vox Machina[1]

History of Exandria is a systematic study and documentation of events occurred in the world of Exandria. It was compiled from multitude of accounts, varied in their comprehensiveness and reliability. The creation myths of Exandria and people who inhabit the world, as well as the interpretations of the myths, differ from civilization to civilization, and there is no known definitive story.[2]

Before the Founding[edit | edit source]

The story of the Luxon[edit | edit source]

According to the creation myth believed by followers of the Luxon, a single Light emerged from the darkness at the creation point of the universe. Other lights formed around this Light, but those lights settled as stars; the single Light (which was later called the Luxon) resisted that urge to burn and instead traveled, seeking self-knowledge.[3]

The Luxon traveled without much comprehension, knowing only that they were light in the darkness.[4] Eventually it noticed a solitary planet, and began to embrace the world and gave their light to the planet, cracking the surface and giving it life. The elemental chaos gave birth to titans called Primordials, and they erupted and fought each other[3] and the Luxon.[5]

Finding no consciousness in the elemental chaos and seeing the Primordials' souls being lost to the darkness beyond as they killed each other, the Luxon broke into scattered Luxon beacons that would enact a cycle of rebirth for those who were bound themselves to them. It hoped that those beings would gradually learn and mature, and one day something would find and reassemble the Luxon and be able to answer its questions of self.[3]

The Founding[edit | edit source]

Long ago, this world was one of tumultuous and chaotic forces. Naught but unbridled fires, and churning, saw-like rock made up its substance. Through the ashen skies of Creation Primordial, the gods came from beyond the ether, new and formless. Looking upon this roiling realm, they saw potential for great beauty, great strength, and the chance to learn their own place in creation.

— The Myth of Exandria[6]

The Founding was the first age of Exandria. During this time, the gods brought forth creatures to inhabit Exandria, before splitting into two factions in the war against the Primordial Titans: the Prime Deities and the Betrayer Gods. The age ended with the defeat of the Primordials, and the imprisonment of the Betrayer Gods.

The protean creators[edit | edit source]

Official art of the creation of the dragons, by Ameera.[art 1]

During this first age, gods brought forth the elves, dwarves, and humans, along with many other races. Because the world was still a dangerous place, ruled by elemental chaos, many of their children were killed by these elemental forces. Saddened by the loss of so many children, the gods gifted mortals with divine magic so they could defend themselves and create what was needed. The metallic dragons were created to aid in the defense of the Children of Creation. With the dragons' help, civilization began to establish itself, and mortals first began to worship their creators.[6]

Primordials[edit | edit source]

Official art of four elemental titans, by Kent Davis.[art 2]

The Elemental Titans had lain beneath the land since before the coming of the gods and now rose up to wreak havoc on the gods' creations. Their violence and destruction invited the attention of demons from the Abyss, who came to feast on the remains.[7]

The Prime Deities vs. the Betrayer Gods[edit | edit source]

Screenshot of Prime Deities and Betrayer Gods, by Cyarna Trim and Conceptopolis from "Exandria: An Intimate History" (Mx12) at 2:22.[art 3]

As the Primordials devastated creation, two factions arose between the gods. The Prime Deities wished to stay and conquer the Primordials and make the world safe for their children. The Betrayer Gods, frustrated and saddened by the loss of life, wished to start over elsewhere and abandon this world to the chaos. This divide between gods is known as the Schism[8]

Eventually, Prime Deities, with the help of their mortal champions, destroyed the Primordials and banished the Betrayer Gods from the Material Plane into prison planes.To achieve this victory, the Prime Deities granted the people with the knowledge of arcane magic.[8]

The earth titan[edit | edit source]

The fate of one of these defeated Primordials, an earth titan, is known to Vox Machina. This titan was thrust feet-first[9] into the earth in northern Issylra, with such great force that the impact created the Zenwick Mountains.[10] It lay there for an eternity, its remains excavated for precious metal in the early Age of Arcanum by dwarves whose society eventually collapsed into madness and cannibalism, until it was reanimated by Vecna.[11]

Founding of Vasselheim[edit | edit source]

With peace finally achieved, the people of Exandria were able to found their first major civilization in Vasselheim. For this reason, Vasselheim is referred to as the "Dawn City", and the "Cradle of Creation."[7]

Age of Arcanum[edit | edit source]

Over time, some of the peoples grew arrogant. Seeing their arcane gifts as proof the gods held no sway over their fate, some began to believe that, with enough understanding, they could become as powerful as the gods themselves.

— The Myth of Exandria[7]

During the Age of Arcanum, mortals tested the limits of arcane power, challenged the gods who had created them, and brought about the escape of the once-defeated Betrayer Gods. This era has also been called "the Age of Wanton Necromancy," as it was legal at the time.[12]

Arcane ambition[edit | edit source]

Official art of a flying city during the Age of Arcanum, by Robin Olausson.[art 4]

Mortal mages grew ever more powerful, building flying cities and even learning to create life-forms of their own. Many mages became obsessed with immortality as the ultimate form of power. Others began to attempt to overtake the gods. An unnamed mortal woman challenged and defeated the God of Death himself, ascending to take his place in the pantheon.[8] Another mage, Vespin Chloras, sought to harness the power of the Betrayer Gods and make it his own. He broke open their prisons, in which they had been plotting and creating abominations, and released them and their creations back into the Material Plane.[7]

Ghor Dranas[edit | edit source]

Driven by an urge for domination, the exiled gods enthralled Vespin Chloras, and founded a kingdom of their own on the far end of the world from Vasselheim. The kingdom was called "Ghor Dranas"[7] (which means "gathering of shadows" in Draconic[13]), and was located in the region which would later become Xhorhas in Wildemount.[14] The city of Rosohna was built on the ruins of Ghor Dranas.

Assault on Vasselheim[edit | edit source]

Official art of Erathis and Bahamut battling Asmodeus and Gruumsh at Vasselheim, by Kent Davis.[art 5]

From Ghor Dranas, the Betrayer Gods spread their influence before attacking Vasselheim. The ensuing battle lasted twenty days and nights, and the people of Vasselheim were only saved by the Prime Deities' intervention in the fight.[8]

This assault left both mortals and gods alike shaken. Mortals turned their arcane powers to the forging of weapons powerful enough to destroy the gods, and the gods prepared for war.[15]

The Calamity[edit | edit source]

No record remains of the terrible war that followed, but its effects are still felt today. The sheer magnitude of the energies unleashed in the ensuing battles of gods and mortals alike was enough to fray the boundaries holding back the elemental chaos, spilling unbridled destruction into the world. It completely rearranged the known flow of magical ley energy across Exandria.

— The Myth of Exandria[15]

The length of the world-wide cataclysmic war known as the Calamity is not recorded, but its battles devastated civilization and permanently scarred many parts of the world. It ended with the defeat and resealing of the Betrayer Gods and the construction of the Divine Gate, behind which the Prime Deities also put themselves.[16]

Divine warfare[edit | edit source]

Official art of Erathis battling Asmodeus during the Calamity, by Kent Davis.[art 6]

Following the assault on Vasselheim, the Prime Deities rejoined the people of Exandria again in war against the Betrayer Gods. In the Calamity, nearly all cities were destroyed leaving Vasselheim once again as the sole bastion of civilization. Historians estimate that no more than a third of the world's population survived this war.[15]

Official art of Ioun battling Tharizdun, by Wesley Griffith from "Exandria: An Intimate History" (Mx12) at 4:22.[art 7]

The gods themselves were also changed. Ioun was gravely wounded by Tharizdun, though she survived, still recovering as of 836 PD.[17]

Divergence[edit | edit source]

Immediately following the Calamity, the Prime Deities considered that, while the Betrayer Gods had been banished again, another mage could one day recreate Vespin Chloras's actions. They also felt that their involvement in the war was responsible for much of the environment destruction that had resulted from the Calamity. They chose to leave the Material Plane and to construct barrier known as the Divine Gate, which would prevent any god, Prime or Betrayer, from physically crossing over into mortal realms.[16]

The departure of the gods from Exandria has since come to be known as "The Divergence." It is also known by the names "The Second Spark" and "The Penance".[18]

Post-Divergence[edit | edit source]

Much time has passed since, and the world has been reborn once again. The gods still exhibit their influence and guidance from beyond the Divine Gate, bestowing their knowledge and power to their most devout worshipers, but the path of mortals is now their own to make.

— The Myth of Exandria[19]

This timespan encompasses all of modern history since the Divergence. Monks of the Cobalt Soul and other historians label and number the years in the Calendar of Exandria as "PD", or "Post Divergence".

Vestiges of the Divergence[edit | edit source]

Some of the weapons forged by gods during this war survived through the Calamity and were scattered throughout the Planes of Existence. Eight of these Vestiges of Divergence were recovered by Vox Machina. A ninth was found and reforged by the Mighty Nein,[20] and a tenth recovered from a ship in Emon by the Crown Keepers.[21]

Recovery[edit | edit source]

Influence of the gods[edit | edit source]

Though unable to physically cross over into Exandria, both the Prime Deities and the Betrayer Gods still grant boons from afar to their mortal followers. Vasselheim remains a city devoted entirely to the Prime Deities, where divine magic is common but arcane magic tightly regulated for its role in unleashing the Calamity.[22]

Ascension of a new god[edit | edit source]

The arch-lich Vecna once again pressed the limits of arcane power. In "The Endless Atheneum" (1x106), for only the second time in the history of the world, a mortal attained the power of a god.[23] Vecna sought then to gather worshipers and expand his power.[24]

Unlike during the last war, the Divine Gate stood as a barrier between the Prime Deities and the newly ascended Vecna, who came to power on the mortal side of the gate.[25] Vox Machina, guided by blessings from Ioun, Pelor, Sarenrae, and the Raven Queen, took it upon themselves to confront and seal away Vecna. Atop his tower in the moving city of Thar Amphala, as Vecna led yet another assault against Vasselheim, they confronted the new god. By enacting the same Rites of Prime Banishment that were used to seal away Tharizdun during the Calamity, they successfully exiled him from the Prime Material Plane.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "The Endless Atheneum" (1x106) from 1:15:10 through 1:16:45.
  2. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, Chapter 1: "Welcome to Tal'Dorei", p. 12.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 1: "Story of Wildemount", p. 33.
  4. "Critical Role Campaign 2 Wrap-Up" (Mx10) at 3:33:43.
  5. "Critical Role Campaign 2 Wrap-Up" (Mx10) at 3:34:24.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 5.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 6.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 1: "Story of Wildemount", p. 12.
  9. "Talks Machina #39: Shadows of Thomara" (TM1x111) from 1:10:01 through 1:10:38.
  10. "The Climb Within" (1x110) at 3:37:12.
  11. "The Ominous March" (1x109) from 1:40:39 through 1:41:16. Also see 2:25:42.
  12. "What Lies Beneath the Surface" (1x81) at 2:20:04.
  13. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 3: "Wildemount Gazetteer", p. 142.
  14. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 99.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 7.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 1: "Story of Wildemount", p. 13.
  17. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 1: "Story of Wildemount", p. 23.
  18. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, Chapter 1: "Story of Wildemount", p. 14.
  19. Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 8.
  20. "The Neverending Day" (2x125) at 1:29:16.
  21. "A Glorious Return" (E1x03) at 1:35:28.
  22. "Enter Vasselheim" (1x16) at 40:07.
  23. "The Endless Atheneum" (1x106) at 1:22:54.
  24. "The Endless Atheneum" (1x106) from 1:23:25 through 1:25:00.
  25. "Unfinished Business" (1x100) at 5:37:26.

Art:

  1. Official art of the creation of the dragons, by Ameera (source). This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.
  2. Official art of four elemental titans, by Kent Davis (source). This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.
  3. Screenshot of Prime Deities and Betrayer Gods, by Cyarna Trim and Conceptopolis from "Exandria: An Intimate History" (Mx12) at 2:22. This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.
  4. Official art of a flying city during the Age of Arcanum, by Robin Olausson (source). This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.
  5. Official art of Erathis and Bahamut battling Asmodeus and Gruumsh at Vasselheim, by Kent Davis (source). This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.
  6. Official art of Erathis battling Asmodeus during the Calamity, by Kent Davis (source). This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.
  7. Official art of Ioun battling Tharizdun, by Wesley Griffith from "Exandria: An Intimate History" (Mx12) at 4:22. This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.