Dwarves reside in the Barlus Mountains that run a jagged line across the heart of the Wildlands. Here they control the flow of much of the Wildlands natural resources. Nearly all roads from east to west must pass through the mountains and thus they wield influence over much of the Wildland’s trade. The elves, which bear credit for miraculous feats through their ability to manipulate magic, have organized in the forests.
The Wildlands, however, were not always divided. The Wildlands was once a burgeoning nation of abundance and peace. This was during the time of the Grand Arkon Jurah. Nobody knows the origins of the Arkon, although many canonical texts during those times attested to his persistence throughout history. What is known is that the Arkon appeared one day in the cosmopolitan capital of Borcade, bearing gifts and offering up his innumerable talents. He healed the sick, helped nobles plan out their cities and aided the elves in honing their connections with magic.
At first, he was treated with caution, as one would suspect, for he was not born of this world. Their trepidations, however, faded when they saw powers unlike anything the people of the Wildlands had ever seen. Soon, the Arkon had gained prominence like no other leader since the beginning of time. And still, as the Arkon reached near divine status wherever he tread, he always came with gifts. He advised many of the most powerful kings and queens and each, in turn, learned to trust his wisdom. Then, when it seemed as if the Wildlands might rise up as the most prosperous nation in all the world, the Arkon Jurah disappeared. As months dragged into years the blame and bitterness spread like a plague. The united kingdoms quickly severed apart, cleaved into smaller factions as mistrust absorbed them.
The religious texts of the time, however, had portended that this event would come to pass. Another Arkon was not to grace the Wildlands for another five hundred years. When he did return, however, they stated that he would bring a prosperity unlike anything that had ever been seen and all the races of the lands would live together in harmony. Only the true Arkon, the texts decreed, could bring together all the disparate groups of the Wildlands. Still, they noted, there was reason for great fear, for imposters may come bearing the mask of the Arkon and seek to rule over the Wildlands, rather than serve it. While the true Arkon would bring lasting peace and unity, the False Arkons would twist the wills of men for their own gain.
And so it came that one day, nearly 500 years after the Arkon, Jurah, had disappeared that an Arkon was found bearing offerings in the western city of Abolith. The news spread quickly and thousands rallied behind the returned Arkon. But then a message came, carried with considerable haste from the mountains of Barlus. News had it another Arkon had arrived there too. Confusion and alarm percolated through the cities and towns of the Wildlands as reports abounded of numerous False Arkons. Some had the power to heal, others to use magic unparalleled by even the adept elves. Still others seemed to be able to see into the future, providing predictions that invariably transpired. And so these mysterious beings, the Arkons, or Treskan’s as some would later come to call them, wondered the lands, gathering followers as they did. Even amongst the races, factions began to align behind different self-proclaimed Arkons.
The true Arkon, as well as his false imitators, slowly began to gain the allegiances of troops of followers, asking favors of them to help lead the Wildlands to an age of supposed peace. And while they sought favors they also continued to give their followers the use of their services and abilities. Ask too much without offering up their wisdom and power and they risked losing the faith of their followers. On the other hand, a Arkon who gathered great support but focused on nothing but dispersing gifts, would be susceptible to attack or manipulation at the hands of factions who were being led by other proclaimed Arkons.
Assume the identity of an Arkon and navigate the complex landscape of the Wildlands. Ask favors from the different races to further push towards the goal of uniting all of the tribes. Be wary, however, for if you do not give offerings to the Wildland’s leaders, you will never be able to forge the coalition you seek. Be wary too of the other purported Arkons, for they seek to silence all other Arkons they see as False.
Orcs first found themselves in the Wildlands in the early days, after a band of some six hundred orcs, fleeing persecution in the nation of Bavok, fled south and arrived at the Wildlands northern shores in the Sagaraz Bay. Quickly they settled into the unfettered land, establishing the settlement of Mu’Ja Nar that still stands today. For nearly a decade the burgeoning population grew through hunting and gathering sustenance. Then, around 450 AF, a band of orc hunters tread deep into the woods, traversing many great tributary rivers and arrived at Toridon where they came across their first other inhabitants. At this time Toridon was a well-established dwarven city built into the great black rock cliffs of the Barlus mountain range (a mountain range that stretches diagonally nearly the whole length of the Wildlands). The hunters were taken captive, then eventually released after a meeting was brokered between the orc and dwarven leaders. The dwarves saw opportunity in the foreigners, naturally adept at combat and traversing the open plains, to help them in extracting resources from the western human establishments of Krescent and Abolith. And so the deal was set that the dwarves would let the orcs settle the grasslands without interference and would supply them with finely crafted weapons, arrows and food stocks and in exchange the orcs would deliver cloth (silk), spices, gold, silver and artifacts that they pilfered in their raids from the human settlements on the coast. Although the orcs nearly always pocketed a disproportionate share of the loot on the excursions, the dwarves seemed content with the arrangement.
While the elves arrived in the Wildlands earlier than the orcs, for a nearly a century they resided solely on the eastern side of the Barlus mountains, their development confined to the city of Tempest. Thus, the Orcs aligned themselves with the dwarves and fought bitterly with the humans for many years to come. The partnership with the dwarves allowed the orcs to expand their reach and focus their efforts less on hunting and gathering, and more on war and domesticating the wild beasts of the grasslands.
Around 510 AF, after one particularly brutal raid where they had been ambushed by a legion of cavalry and lost a full two thirds of their party, the orcs met a mysterious figure. His skin was purple and his eyes glowed a faint blue. He spoke a strange tongue and yet, in some deep, residual part of their minds it was familiar, a sound that harkened back to a time long ago, like a bard’s tune that draws one back to a childhood memory. His hands emanated soft blue light and with it he healed the injured, cured the infirm and helped domesticate even the most wild and dangerous beasts into reliable steeds. Quickly the orc chieftains and leaders rallied around the man who called himself the Arkon. He told them he had also met with the other great leaders of the Wildlands and he wanted to bring peace. Through cooperation, he espoused, each of the races could reach new levels of prosperity and advancement. And from 510 AF – 568 AF the Wildlands forged an interconnectivity that had previously been thought to be impossible. Cities sprang up, populations boomed and war seemed an afterthought, like folk stories one reads when they are young but they know such tales are foreign and far away. The orcs, along with all of the races, erected great monuments to the Arkon, praised his insight and leadership and anointed him the highest law in the land. Then, in the long doldrums of the year 568 AF a strange occurrence transpired. The Arkon did not meet with the chiefs at their winter solstice, nor did he attend The Herding, an established tradition at that point for nearly thirty years. They sent word to the other kings, counselors and leaders and got a chilling refrain, they had not seen the Arkon for many months. Then, like coping with a mysterious death that never gives closure, the orcs were forced to adjust to this new time, where the Arkon was not with them. At first things continued on much like they had, but soon a human lord in the city of Krescent decided he no longer wanted to uphold their old contracts. He argued that the orcs received undue excess in the times of the Arkon and that he was merely adjusting things back to a reasonable medium. In 569 AF, equipped with the Baks (a mix between bison and lions) as steeds, the orcs launched what was one of their bloodiest wars to date. The chieftains blamed the human lords for the death of the Arkon, deducing that the reneging on the contracts was likely a calculated plan after they had killed the Arkon to grab more power. The orcs, whose numbers had grown to nearly thirty thousand in the preceding years, mustered up an army and marched to the coast. The lords, predicting the move, summoned armies from east and west and called their allies in the elven council to their aid.
What would several years later be called the Age of Silence by scholars in the great libraries of Abolith, a period that stretched from 568 AF – 1044 AF, began with a war that claimed nearly fifty thousands lives, with a great brunt of that loss coming from the orcs. After briefly holding the city of Krescent the orcs were soon pushed out and settled back in the Desert of Eyes. With the male population especially decimated, the orcs were unable to meet their trade obligations to the dwarves. When the elves, under a since passed High Councilor named Kissana, came to the orc camps and enslaved the orcs, the dwarves stood silent. While the orcs decried the treachery of the dwarves, the dwarven leaders claimed that despite delivering on their weapons and food stocks both during the war in the west and for nearly a year afterwards, they had received none of their agreed upon bullion or artifacts in return and thus, the terms were void. And so began a dark and bitter period in the saga of the orcs time in the Wildlands, were their populations were subject to great persecution, enslavement and abuse as they moved around frequently and became highly decentralized, with small tribes moving all over the continent. Still, the orcs’ battle acumen, daunting physical size and communion with the wild beasts of the land made them a continual threat, wherever they went and whatever their numbers. With their skills, several thrifty tribes began to slowly regrow, their rancor over the abuse of their kin never forgotten. Then in 1044 AF, an orc chieftain by the name of Detharg, met, who he presumed, was the Arkon, brought back to life and re-incarnated to help restore the orcs to their former glory….
350 AFOrcs arrive in the Wildlands
450 AFOrcs encounter the dwarves at Taridon
510 AFThe Arkon arrives
568 AFThe Arkon disappears...
569 AFThe Age of Silence begins after a crippling war leaves the orcs without 2/3 of their population
572 AFOrcs face enslavement and bitter persecution from the elves
590 AFOrcs muster a small band of fighters and raze the elves capital city of Tempest
1044 AFAn outsider claiming to be the Arkon arrives and is met by chieftain Detharg...