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Setting: The History of Nasca

Nasca is the Motherrock – the cradle of galactic civilization, so in honour of the fact the campaign is going to be starting this week, I thought I’d write up its history. If there’s anything in particular you need to figure out before then, now’s the time.

Those who originated from Nasca measure time via ages – vast global paradigms that begin and end with world shattering events. There have been 12 so far and Arcanauts takes place in the 13th.
The current age is known as The Age of Stars, which is also what I’m calling this campaign setting (Arcanauts is the campaign itself).

1 – The Age of Darkness
Before civilization really got started, the early humanoid races (humans, halflings and dwarves) were essentially no different from intelligent beasts such as goblins. They lived like the other beasts, surviving from day to day, with only the adaptability of humans, the strength of dwarves and the cunning of halflings keeping them alive.
2 – The Age of Druids
The discovery of primal magic allowed early humans to dominate their environments, cementing their place at the top of the food chain. The dwarves never mastered it in the same way, but were able to keep pace via technological prowess. Halflings could exploit either, though never as well as their cousins. Primal magic lead to an explosion of diversity, including the first elves, half elves, half orcs, half giants, half dwarves, shifters and wilden.
3 – The Age of Gods
The humanoid tribes developed the ability to weild divine magic, settling down and developing agriculture. The races learned to properly comprehend the Gods, understand their wills and draw on their abilities in exchange for worship. Dwarves took naturally to weilding this kind of magic, creating orders of paladins, while humans discovered how to channel divine energy from non-theistic beliefs such as causes or creeds. Divine magic quickly supplanted the practice of primal magic among “civilized” areas, but those in the wild never forgot the old ways. The first records of planetouched date from this era, as practicioners were able to make contact with ‘outsiders’, both friendly or otherwise.
4 – The Age of Arcana
Divine magic was often regarded by philosophers to be incomplete – its laws applying inconsistently to non-deistic casting. It was known that powerful magical beasts could create effects that were neither divine nor primal in nature, and that some people were born with inexplicably similar capabilities. Though initially feared, research into these strange gifts resulted in something new entirely – the field of arcane magic. The ability for anyone of sufficient education to cast powerful spells, and the dedicated facilities required to master them resulted in the establishment of large cities with universities and forums. It also meant the first scientific experiments into the nature of magic, resulting in powerful advances and strange creatures, some of whom (namely minotaurs) formed their own civilizations.
5 – The Age of Exploration
These new city-states were shocked to find Eladrin explorers arriving from across the oceans – already masters of arcane magic, but of a strange unearthly kind. This sparked an era of exploration, sailing the seas and searching for new lands, eventually mapping out the surface of Nasca. In addition, the Eladrin warned of their eternal foes – the subterranean, xenophobic drow, resulting in the discovery of the massive underground system of caverns lacing Nasca’s crust. Drow enclaves assaulted the surface world, plunging Nasca into war both above and below ground. Above ground, Nascan civilization fought off constant assaults, while subterranean incursions were beaten back at great cost by Dwarven Paladins, who prompted the leaders of their race to withdraw to their underground strongholds where they could remain vigilant against future threats. At the end of the war, The Dwarf lords, badly beaten but victorious, bitter from the lack of support from the other races did just that, taking their technology with them.
6 – The Age of Borders
After the defeat of the Drow and the withdrawal of the Dwarves, the surface found itself with its own problems. The massive exploration often resulted in land wars between the races of Nasca, and newfound nations struggled against one another over the few remaining unexplored lands and the first international empires were founded.
7 – The Age of Wills
Shardminds arrived in a massive meteor shower, bringing with them psionic magic, which became a rare and valuable skill taught to few. Even so, it was vehemently fought against by priests for its ability to subvert the will of individuals. This conflict resulted the first monastic orders, created in secret to oppose the outraged clergy. Eventually, advances in philosophy and the regulation of psionics by monks created an uneasy peace.
8 – The Age of Fire
This peace was broken when ancient dragons flew down from the mountains, waging a sudden and bloody war on civilization with the aid of the hitherto unknown dragonborn. Many of the advances of the age of philosophy were lost and monasteries were forced to relocate to cities or be destroyed by the dragonborn hordes. United against a common foe, practitioners of all four disciplines of magic were able to work in harmony to defeat the draconic menace.
9 – The Age of Unity
The empires after the age of fire were united under the four banners of magic, teaching each one in order to create realms of magnificent opulence and mystical grandeur. It was a time of peace and great mystical knowledge, however things were not to be. The scattered reports from that era suggest that artificers were on the verge of a breakthrough in magical technology, which was unfortunately lost as civilization was rocked by cataclysmic magical disasters that obliterated a great deal of information on the final years of the age, and the early years of the next.
10 – The Age of Discord
What is known is that it didn’t take long for the non-magical citizens of Nasca to rise up in revolution against the magocracy, utilizing the very magitechnology they had created to forcibly remove them from power, leveling cities with arcane explosives and waging war on all who practiced the now forbidden arts. Mages, becoming fewer and fewer in number retaliated with the creation of the Warforged – a machine race that brought entire armies to a standstill. Civilization was irrevocably changed as empires changed to be based on magic or mundane ideals.
11 – The Age of Reparation
With civilization shattered and power driving both sides mad, the future of civilization looked bleak, however hope was found in the form of 13 adventurers from all corners of Nasca. Their identities were never recorded – only their titles and the fact that all whom they encountered had claimed to see the stars above reflected in their eyes. They traveled the land, convincing the disparate empires of Nasca to unite once more for the good of all civilization. Their tale was legendary, and their work lasted beyond their lifetimes, with each descendant taking up the mantle of their predecessors to continue the work of peace and understanding.
12 – The Age of Prosperity
When the work of the thirteen families was complete, Nasca stood whole once more. It was a golden age – monsters were pushed away from settlements and into the remote areas of the world, while order reigned over civilization and a new harmony between mages and non-mages ensued. The first of the Whitecliffe line began to preside over civilization, and for more than 1000 years, all was well. Wizards worked to unlock the secrets of the universe, while historians sought to remember lost knowledge and artificers used technology to comprehend the physical laws – scientific understanding was slow, and painstaking, at least until practical uses for that knowledge were found.
13 – The Age of Stars
The ability to channel magic power through specially designed cores allowed for the production of fantastic amounts of energy, enough to travel to the moon and beyond. Early galactic travel involved traveling in repurposed sea vessels at FTL speeds from one planet to the next, under the protection of special wards. Soon after, techniques were refined to protect against the specific hazards of outer space making interstellar travel possible, if impractical for the masses. This changed when the massive Shard Station appeared in the skies, though few knew what to make of it at the time. Shortly it was attacked and taken over by the dragons who reached out to the dwarves for technological aid. The Shard Station was renamed ‘Wyrmweb’ and 200 years later, all corners of the galaxy are inhabited. This is not to imply a ludicrous growth in population, though it has grown, just that colonies are widespread and life is found on many more planets still.

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Categories: Setting
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  1. October 11, 2012 at 10:20 am
  2. October 28, 2014 at 1:32 pm

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