Marks of Power
Doman was once a place of magic. Elves and Dwarves ruled the land, and the power of the Gods could be seen everywhere. “The Sunfather”, was discontented though. He wanted something special, something to call his own, hence he created Humans… at least that’s what any priest will tell you.
Human civilization grew quickly, mostly due to Humans being a much more prolific race than the Dwarves and Elves. Soon Human settlements were found everywhere. The Great Empire of Themul was founded and the Humans began to spread out. At first the Humans were on good terms with their neighbors, indeed trade flourished between Man, Dwarf, and Elf. Only the Goblinoid tribes remained aloof, feeling that they were superior to the other races. They especially resented the Humans and the great power they were swiftly amassing. They convinced the Orcs and the other “monsterous” races that the Humans were a threat that must be extinguished.
Thus began the Race Wars. Goblinoid tribes surged into the Southlands, killing everyone in their way. Even Elves and Dwarves fell under their blades. This greatly angered “The Earthmother” and “The Son of War,” the patrons of the Elves and Dwarves. The fighting was harsh and bloody, the Goblinoids outnumbered even the Humans three to one. Conquest seemed inevitable.
“The Daughter Arcana” Goddess of Knowledge, saw that without her aid the minions of Evil would wipe out the other Races. She stepped forward and gave the struggling Humans “The Gift.” Until then only the Elder Races could use magic. Giving Humans “The Gift” was a controversial decision; most of the Gods believed Humans were not ready for power and responsibility that comes with weilding magic. Ultimately, though, it turned the tide of the War. The Humans, now armed with magic, led the Prime races into battle and drove the Goblinoids back into the North. The hoards were defeated, but not destroyed.
All of the races suffered heavy losses in the Race Wars. This was more significant for the less numerous Dwarves and Elves. The Elder races became more aloof, retreating somewhat to try and rebuild their civilizations. They seemed content to let the Humans shape Doman.
The centuries passed, Human civilization grew and the other Races declined. The Elves, who once were spread over all of Doman, now kept mostly to themselves in their forest nation, Glenfaddich. The Dwarves likewise remained in their cities to the North East, in the region now known as Gontal. Everything to the South belonged to the Humans. They created a great civilization using “The Gift.” It was an era of enlightenment and prosperity. Peace reigned.
With power, however, comes the possibility of corruption. The King of Tanelorn, one of the minor Human nations was not content with the power he possessed, he craved more and decided to take all of Doman as his. To further this aim he made a Pact with dark forces who granted him great power, but at the cost of his humanity. His true name has forever been lost, but at the moment he made his Pact he became the Warlock King. Through a combination of force and charisma he convinced his people that it was their God’s given right to rule over all. He allied himself with the Goblinoids who had never forgotten their earlier defeat. He gifted some of the Goblinoids with magic, and lured members of the other races to his side with promises of “immortality and untold power.” The Warlock King raised a fearsome army.
Once again, Humans, Elves and Dwarves joined forces to repel the invaders, but even the combined might of the Races was not enough to defeat the Warlock King. Perhaps because of the dark Pact he made, the Warlock King proved to be an unbeatable foe. Fighting at the head of his armies, he could shrug off wounds that would kill any living creature and his magic cut a swath through the armies of his enemies. It appeared this time that Evil would triumph and eclipse Doman.
Out of the chaos a group of Adventurers appeared. Known now only as “The Heroes,” they possessed abilities never before seen in Doman. Some believed them to be blessed by the Gods for each bore a Mark that bestowed great power. They rallied the armies of the Prime races and together they fought back against the armies of the Warlock King. Eventually they drove him back into Tanelorn, where a mighty battle was fought. The Heroes engaged the Warlock King directly in his palace and somehow managed to defeat him. Victory came at a horrible cost though; knowing he was beaten, the Warlock King lashed out with his magic and forever altered the Dwarves, Elves and Humans who fought in the army on the borders of Tanalorn. Dwarves became Goliaths, Elves became Shifters and Humans became Tieflings, thus was the birth of the Kingscarred Races.
Whatever they did to defeat the Warlock King, it must have destroyed the Heroes for they were never seen again. Soon after the King’s War, as the conflict came to be called, “The Daughter Arcana” stepped forward again and informed her followers that the Warlock King was not killed in the final battle. Unfortunately even the Heroes were not powerful enough to do that. She bestowed upon Doman her Three Gifts: Using her magic she formed a barrier around the remains of the nation of Tanelorn to contain the Warlock King and his allies. She created an Order devoted to the Arcane arts and charged it with maintaining the barrier should the Warlock King regain his power and seek to conquer Doman again. Finally she gave her followers a series of prophesies called The Oracle. It stated that the Warlock King would one day escape his prison and again threaten Doman. It also stated that a new group of Heroes would arise to combat him and finally destroy him. This group would also bear the Marks of Power and together they would reshape Doman into a place of everlasting peace.
If the Race Wars hit Doman hard, it was nothing compared to the damage caused by the King’s War. It is believed that the very fabric of magic was damaged in the climatic final battle. “The Gift” diminished and children born with the ability to wield magic became a rarity. The God’s influence on Doman also began to decrease; fewer and fewer priests received Divine powers.
The decline of magic greatly affected the Races. The Dwarves saw their numbers diminished, and their power wane and left Doman entirely. Where they went is a question no one can accurately answer. Some believe they retreated underground and have rebuilt their civilization beneath the region now known as Gontal.
The Elves also retreated. They closed the borders of Glenfaddich and the number of Elves who traveled Doman fell to a mere handful. The Kingscarred Races scattered and tried to find a place in a world they no longer belonged in.
Only the Humans seemed to thrive after the King’s War. They quickly filled the lands left by the Elder Races. The Nation of Sheridar was created in the North to keep the Goblinoids contained and Aridan and Calaran were formed. Even the former Dwarven lands were settled and renamed Gontal. See NATIONS to learn more about the different countries and how they fit into Doman.
It has been 1000 years since the King’s War. The Empire of Themul has fallen into decadence and Calaran has fallen under the rule of the Church of The One True God. Magic is rare and Elves and Dwarves are considered fairy tales to most commoners. The Order of Magi has become a powerful political group, and they wait patiently for the time of The Oracle. It is a time for new legends, a time for new heroes, a time for new magic. Now is the time…