The Destruction and Aftermath
For centuries, the Gallidonian Empire flourished on many levels: artistic expression, “scientific” advancements, better understanding of the world, greater knowledge of magic and its uses, more efficient economies, better standards of living, etc.
After five millennia of orderly rule, the line of Emperors and many of the Noble Houses became complacent, decadent; retreating within their own domains in an ever-increasing sphere of isolation. As the rulers of the Gallidon Empire turned inward and continued to ignore the provinces and indeed, the world, the jealousies, grudges, and grievances of the past and present gradually rose to the surface. Rival houses tested each others’ weaknesses; and the former solidarity among the Gallidon Empire ruling class, that allowed them to manage such a far-flung empire, crumbled.
In the 5,101st Year of the Age of Gallidon, few were prepared for the suddenness and severity of the internal strife that erupted in the Imperial City.
The Greater House Kreal, masters of the mystical discipline of Illusion, had initiated a plot to eliminate rival Houses from Imperial favor. Standard gossip points to The Imperial Consort, mother of the Childe of the Isle (the Heir) and a daughter of House Kreal, as the mastermind behind the plot. Several theories abound about the motive, leaving many questions about why House Kreal would choose to embark on such a dangerous political game. Whatever the truth, events quickly gained momentum and spurred a polarization of other Noble Houses and the Imperial Court. Some Nobles took sides, some left the Imperial Isle, and many simply tried to hole up in the Imperial City to wait out the confrontation.
Over a two year period, the Imperial City was ripped apart by the subtle conflict started by House Kreal — the Emperor Gallidon was unable or unwilling to intercede. In the end, the summer of 5,101 AG saw the political, shadow infighting emerge into the light as open warfare. The Imperial City and Isle were devastated in an intense, all-out eight-day engagement of open warfare — warriors, assassins and sorcery of such magnitude that it escaped the control of many of its conjurers. It was the Destruction.
Runes of Gallidon unfolds seven years after the Destruction, in the year 5,108 by the Imperial calendar. Since the Destruction, the Imperial Isle has been unapproachable. It remains constantly under siege by storms so severe that no craft has managed to enter them and return to tell of it. The Empire of Gallidon is fragmenting but has not been destroyed.
Theories and rumors abound: Gallidon resides on the Imperial Isle, planning for his return; Gallidon is dead and the Nobility are greatly weakened as a result of their internal struggle; the Nobles are responsible for the state of the land; the entire story of the nobility’s creation was nothing but a grand masquerade and they will now be wiped off the face of the planet by the true deities; Na’naat has grown unhappy with the nobles and is preparing for her return to save the world and its people.
Parts of the continent have completely slipped out from under anyone’s rule and some areas are revolting against the nobility. An uneasy stability is emerging — seven major Kingdoms dividing up part of what was once the mighty Empire of Gallidon. However, a good portion of the continent falls outside the seven Kingdoms. These unclaimed lands are devolving into different states: primitive, barbaric tribal lands; desolate wastelands; city-states ruled by Lower Noble Houses, commoners, etc.
Adding to the uncertainty comes numerous stories from these Wastelands and even the Kingdoms, each more fantastic than the last: tales of warriors capable of killing nobles without suffering a death curse, spirits incarnate, creatures never before seen, and — most disturbing to the nobility — commoners wielding magic. Even the authenticity and origins of the nobles come under attack from certain regions. New religious leaders attract groups of followers in areas hard-hit by the fall of the Empire; some are crackpots, others seem as intelligent and resourceful as they are charismatic.
The Noble Houses, Greater and Lower, have not noticed a change in the power or ease of use of their sorcery, but many are growing concerned about what appears to be a shredding of the long-standing rules regarding how their world is supposed to work.
While the influence of the Gallidon Empire has not disappeared overnight (for example, Imperial currency is still recognized in most areas, standards of trade are often consistent across Kingdoms, etc.), it wasn’t long before local customs emerged within the territories. Much of the Imperial Order remains in place but more changes each year.
The Imperial Isle remains wrapped in a stormy shroud, keeping its secrets for the moment, while the rest of the world moves into a new age…