The history of Halda is quite old, but the history of the mortal races is rather short in comparison. For accurate historical accounts, most people turn to either the Elves or the Dwarves. Dragons often know far more than either, but do not often interact with the mortal races.
Elven history goes back further than any other mortal history, but its scope tends to be narrow. Dwarven history is more detailed and accurate in general, but only goes back with any detail to the Founding of the Law. Many Dwarves criticize elven historians for focusing on popular details over important details, and often worrying more about narrative style than accuracy of detail. Elven historians are more concerned with the lessons of history than the details, and they criticize Dwarven accounts as being little more than common bookkeeping.
Other races keep their own histories as well, but when scholars want details on the past they tend to turn to the Dwarves or the Elves.
Elven History: Elven history is largely verbal. While written accounts of most elven stories exist, it’s considered proper in Elven society to ask a lore keeper to recount a given story rather than to go reading up on it. The art of the telling is as important to an Elf as the knowledge itself. Elven historians will often have ranks in Performance: Storytelling equal to their Knowledge: History. Elven creation myths are treated as historical facts by the Elves, a practice scoffed at by the Dwarves who are quick to point out that no Elf could have witnessed such things.
The Elven record begins with the creation of the world as a dark and featureless sphere, upon which great entities called the Ain created all that is. For more details on this, see Religion.
After the world was formed, the Ain broke apart and became all manner of life. The greatest of these became the Dragons of the first age. Of the lesser Ain, the Elves were the first to awaken to consciousness, some 50,000 years ago or more. This was the start of the second age. In those days, elves were wild and free spirits roaming the land at will. But seeing that the other lesser Ain were but dumb creatures, their joy could not last. So the Elves labored to help the lesser creatures and show them their potential. They learned to speak to all things and teach them of the world. This was the start of the third age, roughly 10,000 years ago. The oldest elven cities date back to this era.
Unfortunately, there were those among the lesser Ain that were too ambitious and grew jealous of the Elves and their high station. Many of these made war upon the Elves, and though they could not match the Elves for power, they caused massive destruction with their sheer numbers.
The Elves were reluctant to raise their power against these lesser creatures, so instead they devised to banish them to the farthest reaches of the world and hope that time would cool their tempers. Upon learning of the Elves’ plan, some of the lesser Ain saw the error of their ways and repented. These the Elves took under their wings and raised up to become the race of Gnomes. But the rest were banished to the far reaches, where they are presumed to have been the ancestors of all other races. Modern elven reckoning begins from the year of the Banishing, and the beginning of the fourth age. It is now the year 7612 of the Fourth era in Elven reckoning.
In the fourth age Elves began to build their great civilization, the oldest of all mortal kingdoms. Elves were not immortal in those days, but they were long lived. Most reached the age of 200 before passing on, and a few lived to see 3 centuries. These early years were the times of great heroes doing epic deeds. As Elven civilization and power grew, they came to the attention of Dragons. Most historic accounts of this time are actually heroic epics about battles with dragons or other great beasts. Whole cities were destroyed, yet the Dragons could not wipe out the Elves. In the year 3103 of the 4th age the greatest of the Dragons, a gold called Elata, daughter of Io, came to the Elves in peace. She decreed that Io, the great god of all Dragons, having seen that the Elves had learned so much and advanced so far on their own power, and seeing the mercy with which they treated the Gnomes under their care, had decided to bless the Elves with the immortality of the dragons, that they may look after the lesser races that were even now growing throughout the land.
With peace now established between Elf and Dragon, many of the Gnomes wished to head out into the wilds and find the Ain that had been banished so long ago. In those early days, many young elves accompanied them. But as they traveled and explored the wild islands to the west, the Gnomes spirit of adventure grew, while Elves often found themselves longing for their homes. Most of the elves returned to the Golden Wood after only a few years out in the world. Gnomes would come and go, bringing news of the outside world. In 3650 they discovered a race of lizard folk in the south, but they were primitive, barely capable of speech and possessing none of the signs of a proper society. In 4063 the first Humans were discovered in small farming villages. They had developed further than the lizard folk, but not by much. Many of the Gnomes settled among the Humans, who came to call them Halflings. Following tales of the savage beasts that raided Human settlements from the north, Orcs were discovered in 4065, but they did not seem interested in learning from the Halflings as the Humans were. Halflings taught the Humans the secrets of ship building and sailing, and together they reached the shores of Ohm in 5234. They met the Dwarves soon after.
The rapid spread of the Halflings through the world did not lead to the golden age that many Elves and Gnomes had envisioned though, as the treaties with the Dragons did not hold outside of the Golden Wood, and many settlements became easy targets for Dragons that raided their livestock. The world was also filled with many other great and powerful beasts, most of which were not intelligent enough to be bargained with as the Dragons. As Elves grew accustomed to their new longevity, they focused more time on the studies of magic, and through their teachings the Halflings spread this knowledge so that the other races could begin to defend themselves from the Dragons and other threats they faced. Dwarves largely shunned this aid, as they had begun learning their own style of magic and were distrustful of the Elves.
For the most part, the remainder of Elven history focused on happenings within the Golden Wood. Events in the world outside moved to fast for the older immortal Elves to care to follow. Even the discovery of Goblins and their spread is barely a footnote to most until they see how it plays out in the long run.
Dwarven history: Dwarves love the written word and have an obsession with verifying facts. Their culture and religion are both based on the dual virtues of Truth and Law, and their historical records reflect this. As such, Dwarves keep meticulous and detailed accounts of happenings all over the world. Dwarves have a complex grading system on how trustworthy the facts of any story are, and many Dwarven scholars make it their life’s work to evaluate and examine the details of old events in hopes of presenting them in a more accurate light. Dwarves put the greatest faith in thoise stories which were witnessed by other Dwarves and have records and evidence to back them up. If a story does not measure up to their standards it may become an aspect of mythology and religion, still believed but always taken with a grain of salt.
As such, Dwarven history begins with the founding of the Law at the great council. This is year 0 in Dwarven reckoning. Anything that happened before then, regardless of how well credited, is considered part of mythology, and such records are considered semi-sacred texts. The great council met and debated for over a decade before the signing of the Law, which was the first time all of the clans unified as a single kingdom. as such, Dwarven records go back much further, but are covered in Religion. It is now the year 4223 of the Law, making year 0 in Dwarven reckoning coincide with the year 3389 in the Elven calendar. Most humans use Dwarven reckoning, with the exception of Farlend, which counts its years from the nations founding.
Dwarven records are far too long and detailed for most other races, but that very thing is also why many Human scholars trust Dwarven records above most others. In the early days after the founding of the Law, most of the records deal with the settlements of various disputes as the once fractured clans learned to get along and live with each other as a single people. In the year 100, they commemorated the first century of unity by establishing a common hold at Blackspire dedicated to the founders. In 525 Blackspire keep has expanded so much that it is named the new capitol of the Dwarven nation.
For other races, the most significant event in Dwarven history was the Kobold treaty of 1264, which gives any intelligent creature the protection of the Law within Black Stone, provided they also obey the Law. This ended years of minor skirmishes and general hostilities with both the Kobolds to the south, and a Giant settlement in the northern spires. In 553, this was expanded to allow the recognition of non-dwarves as Dwarven citizens, extending full rights under the Law, including land ownership. Although this was and still is a rare occurrence, over the centuries Kobolds have become a part of nearly every Dwarven community, making up as much as 10% of the population of some Dwarven cities as fully recognized citizens. In the past, it has also led to three Kobolds elected to the high council, as well as a goat with magically enhanced intelligence.
Between 800 and 1400 the Dragon war raged. Several dozen young Dragons migrated to the Glass Spire peaks at the end of the 8th century, and at first the Dwarves extended them every hospitality as they did with all of their neighbors. But as the Dragons grew, it was clear that the wildlife of the mountains would not sustain so many Dragons. It started with a few livestock raids, which in 812 led to the first attempt by Dwarven guards to arrest a Dragon to stand trial. The resulting battle cost the lives of dozens of Dwarves. many of the other Dragons were outraged that something as insignificant as a mortal would dare try to force its ways upon a Dragon, and numerous raids and skirmishes followed.
This was a particularly troubling time for the Dwarves. The Dragons were young enough that they didn’t pose a great threat to the Dwarven army, by mobile enough to wreak havoc across farms and smaller settlements. In addition to this, the Law did not recognize Dragons as a nation, and so the initial response was to treat each Dragon as an individual and respond to their actions as crimes rather than acts of war. To further complicate matters, many Kobolds regarded the Dragons as near gods and took up arms to defend them.
For the next several centuries Black Stone was in a state of constant alert. The young Dragons continued to grow and grew bolder, while the Dwarves developed new weapons and tactics to counter the threat. The stereotypical depiction of a Dwarven warrior among humans is actually the arms and armor of a Dwarven Dragon-slayer of this era, as it led to many of the advances in armor and weapons humans think of as Dwarven. Over the centuries, the Dwarves managed to kill 9 of the dragons, and many others fled for more prosperous hunting grounds. But Dragons continued to be the greatest threat to Dwarven lands, and periodically an older more powerful Dragon would come to raid one of the younger Dragons, leaving devastation in its wake.
in the summer of 1360, an elder blue Dragon came upon a skirmish between a young adult red and a group of Dwarves. Seeing the Dwarves on the losing side, he intervened and subdued the red. When the Dwarves moved in for the kill, the blue forced them back and insisted that if the Dwarves killed him without a trial, they were not true Dwarves. Captain Tulik Bronzeblade, the leader of the squad of Dwarves, pointed out that in the battle the blue had also caused severe damage to a nearby bridge, and if they were to arrest the red, they must arrest the blue as well. Suprisingly, the blue agreed, and did not resist arrest.
The trial of Blue (for he would give no other name to be entered into the record) is often retold as a favorite Dwarven story. Blue was wise, cunning, and well versed in the ways of the Law. He defended himself in a three month trial, but was found guilty of involuntary destruction of public property, a minor offense. In respect for the fair treatment he received in his trial, he not only upheld his sentence of paying for the repairs, but aided in the reconstruction and placed enchantments on the bridge that make it near indestructible. In recognition of his honor of the Law, the bridge has been renamed Blue Dragon bridge.
After nearly 600 years of fighting, many of the Dragons had grown tired of the constant battle with such an unyielding foe, and so many of them sought out Blue’s council. Blue became famous as an intermediary between Dwarves and Dragons, helping many Dragon that might have earned a death sentence under Dwarven law receive amnesty in exchange for a century of service defending and reconstructing the Dwarven lands. These sentences were enforced by powerful magic cast by Blue himself. To this day, a blue Dragon is often seen as a sign of justice and mercy in Dwarven society.
Dwarven society saw major growth during the years after the Dragon war. Dwarven law now recognizes each Dragon as an independent nation, and treaties have been brokered with many of them. In 1488 the first dragon bond was formed with a mortal, a Dwarf (see The bond). In 1536 the first Orc raiding parties arrive in Ohm. Finding the few low-lying dwarven settlements too difficult to assail, but the plains largely unsettled, many of the Orcs begin establishing small villages along the northern shores. The settlements do not grow very well, as the Orcs do not know much of farming and are reluctant to be taught. Orc Hunters begin trading with the Dwarves, and the first Dwarven trade village, Icehold, is founded in 1550. Relationships between Orcs and Dwarves remain strained but friendly to this day, as Orcs value the freedom of their way of life, but also value Dwarven goods.
This was the first sign the Dwarves had that sentient races other than Dragons lived out among the islands. Dwarves have never been much interested in living too far from the stone of the mountains, and sailing had never been a part of Dwarven culture. Dwarves who violated the Law were often outcast and lived on the plains. Many of these became friendly with the Orcs, some of whom traveled with them when they sailed back to the islands. Thus, the first Dwarven contact with Humans and Halflings was by outcasts Dwarves with an ax to grind. This discouraged most from seeking out the Dwarves at first, but as the Halflings continued exploring it was inevitable they reach Ohm
In 1810 the first Halflings and Humans arrive on Ohm. Initialy, interactions with the new arrivals was minimal do to the Humans and Halflings settling in the plains and woodlands near the shores where they first arrived. But as they spread further inland trade was established and it became clear that the humans would quickly spread to cover much of the lowlands. The Dwarves made it clear that this was fine, so long as no attempts were made to infringe on their borders. Interaction with the Dragons and Orcs had made Dwarves a bit more weary of outsiders, but they were also knowledge hungry and sought the stories of the Humans and Halflings.
In 1926 human settlements reached close to the edge of Dwarven territory, and fearing Humans may not uphold the agreement their forefathers made, the Dwarves established a series of small outposts along their borders. many of these were the foundations of modern Dwarven trade towns.
As Human settlements spread to the north, many of the Orc settlements went back to their old ways of raiding. This led to years of minor conflicts that the Dwarves did not wish to get involved in, save for teach the Humans how to better fortify their homes. Most of the current animosity between humans and Orcs goes back to these early conflicts.
Human cities begin to grow and prosper in this period, while Dwarves begin advancing more technologically, making many breakthroughs in alchemy and engineering. The first Dwarven trade caravans appear around 2100, and in 2319 the Dwarven trade guild is officially established. The import of exotic goods and materials combined with the relative peace of the time cause many to call this the golden age of Dwarven civilization.
In 2730 the Human city state of Dyne is founded by the uniting of three growing towns under Lord Dyn, the first Human to share bond with a Dragon. It becomes the kingdom of Dyn in 3200 when the Dyn military captured two neighboring cities and annexed them. As the largest single Human settlement in the world, it continued to spread through conquest or annexation of its neighbors. In 3256, Black Stone responded reinforced its borders by beginning construction of a massive wall joining the various trade cities and outposts. As no war has ever occurred between Human and Dwarf, it’s assumed the king of Dyn got the message.
In 3685 a large number of Human settlements in southern Ohm form a treaty to oppose potential expansion by Dyn. After a number of failed attacks, Dyn turns its military might north towards the Orcs, but Dwarven threats keep the conflict minimal. The Orcs of Ohm have shifted from raiding to farming in this time, but are still great warriors and hunters. They have established a small kingdom as well, called simply Orc Home, but it is unstable do to infighting among the village chiefs.
In 3725, the southern union solidifies its power as a single nation, named for its capitol, the holy city of Numala. Rumor persists that Numala has withstood all military advances from Dyn do to some ancient secret magic located in the holy city. A peace treaty is signed, and trade established between the two, but in the next few centuries many ambitious kings of Dyn will attempt to conquer their neighbor, with no success.
In 3960 a great Orc warrior named Gro’zog the Bold (see Religion) slays his second dragon in the north. Eager for a place among the gods, he dies attempting his third, and the angered Dragon burns every Orcish settlement within a hundred miles of its home, including Orc home. Few survive, and those who do choose either to retreat to their settlements back in the islands, or attempt to live among Humans or Dwarves.
Other histories: Most other races rely on either Elven or Dwarven accounts for the earliest histories. Many do not have proper historic records, simply stories and legends. Gnomes largely follow the Elven histories until the past millennium or so, when they began establishing their own cities. Orcs care only for the stories of their individual tribe, and often exaggerate or flat out lie for the sake of boasting. Goblins first appeared roughly 400 years ago. No one knows for sure where they came from, but they have been spreading rapidly through the islands every since. Goblins are particularly curious about their past, and in recent years it is common to see Goblins petitioning Dwarves and Elves alike for access to historical records. The Dwarves are often helpful, while Elves tend to find their presence distasteful. Humans tend to rely on the Dwarven account of early history, with more recent Human historic accounts being more focused on their individual kingdoms. Kobolds that live in the swamplands care little for their origins or past, while those that live in the mountains among the Dwarves often follow Dwarven accounts.
This is meant to be a brief over view only. More details may be present in other sections, particularly each kingdom will have more details on its founding and major events.