This is version 3.2 of this page constituting the state of things on Uurth as of Early Spring in the year 542 AC6.
If you encounter bad HTML or just would like to nudge the completion or improvement of something please feel free to email me at email@example.com.
(Last Major Modification of this page occurred on Thursday February 24, 2011.
The last minor revision was on Monday February 28, 2011.)
This page is intended to provide a window to explore the fantasy world of Uurth. In addition to maps, other useful information such as local politics, rulers, and personalities (NPCs) will be available. To the extent possible, the history and present day state of the world will be presented. If you like what you see please let me know! Although I'm not currently seeking "official" contributions to this material, if you use it (and particularly if you extend it) please let me know about it!
The world map at the top of the page is hotlinked for navigation to specific locales. Just click on the area of interest and you will jump to a more specific page associated with that area. All embedded maps on these pages are hotlinked to contain as much information as possible. If no "more specific" map page exists for the locale that you click on then you'll get the information for the whole area covered by the map. (I.e. Most of the world map isn't covered by more specific areas, since the original game existed within the small green-shaded area; so if you click outside that area, available information is more limited.)
All of the maps that are used on these pages also exist in their original editing format. In most cases this means a Paint Shop Pro ".psp" format file. (Currently Corel Paintshop Pro X3.) Most of the originals are meant to be printed on 8.5 inch x 11 inch paper. (I.e. normal size sheets of paper.) When these are properly scaled for printing, the gray grid lines that appear in the background are a 1/4 inch grid. If you would like to run a game on Uurth, I will be happy to share copies of these originals with you converted to a format that is most useful to you. (I use PSP because it supports layers that are configurable in ways that I find really useful. This lets me draw one map, and use it in different ways based on which layers I make visble.)
Please keep in mind that cartographers in fantasy worlds don't always get the details right....
The planet Uurth has 6 major continents. The largest one (at the center of the map) is Fidrallong and has been the home of sentient life throughout the ages. The Northern Tip of Fidrallong is blocked from the body of the continent by the terminus of the Backbone Mountains and is a Pleistocene reserve (filled with dinosaurs) protected by the High Draconic Council. (This seems to be just about the only point of agreement between the elders of the Metallic, Colored, and Jeweled draconic families....)
The region located within the curve of the Northern Peninsula and the Great River Delta is the center of civilization in this age. Sseveral major nations are located here, including the Phonicon Empire, Eanf Republic, Halcyon Trader's Freestate, and the Lakefort Holdfast. The body of water within this curve is the Ouadeson Gulf (pronounced: 'oooh-Wad-eh-son').
Representative groups of all the major races exist in this area, most within their own separate kingdoms.
The North Polar Continent (often known as just "Poland") is a rocky, glacier covered, wasteland except along the peninsula known as the Southern Arm. The Southern Arm is home to many dragons of various types and is generally considered off limits to non dragonkind. It is rumored that great resources are to be had here... but few have ever returned from there with anything except a stern warning from a "friendly" gold or silver dragon not to return. At the base of the arm (in the "Polar Arm Pit") is located the city of Varnhelm. Varnhelm is the seat of the Nordic Raiders and contains the Dual Gates of Good/Evil. Each gate is built into a sheer cliff wall and protects a pathway to the utter north. Each path ends at a co-located shrine at the North Polar summit devoted to either the essence of pure Good or Evil (depending on which path is taken to get there). In the present age, the followers of the Evil god Dreviloe dominate the Raiders and control all access to the Gates, denying all access by seekers of Good.
The other continents are almost entirely unknown in the present age and their names either vary widely in the historical texts or are lost.
In addition to the major continents, several significant subcontinental islands exist. The island of Zylog is located off of the north northwest coast of Fidrallong and is the home of the Centaur people.
The history of Uurth is largely unknown. Uurth experiences periodic "Cataclysms" at greatly uneven 5000 year intervals. Cataclysms are time periods where major disasters occur at a pace and intensity that causes unmanageable and unrecoverable mass destruction. Cataclysms are a mixture of earthquakes, meteor stikes, fires, floods, and other disasters. These events are preceeded by portents and signs and then typically begin abruptly and continue for a decade or more. During a Cataclysm it is common that 90% or more of the population of all sentient races are killed. Stange energies released by Cataclysms are blamed for the changes that sometimes cause new races to appear and these energies contribute in a positive way to recovery and rebound of life after the Cataclysm ends. Some sages believe that magic as it is known and practiced on Uurth could not exist without the lingering afteraffects of Cataclysmic energy.
In between the Cataclysms are cycles knowns as "Ages". The shortest known Age, between the 1st and 2nd cataclysms was 1,527 years. The longest Age was between the 4th and 5th Cataclysms and was 8,536 years. Sages believe this to be the 7th Age and it has been 542 years since the end of the 6th Cataclysm. The 5th Cataclysm was particularly bad and some sages argue that it was a "double cataclysm" since there was a 5 year lull in the middle of the otherwise longer than average 50 year event.
What is known of the prior Ages is summarized below:
The first Age has no distinct beginning. What is clear is that at some point writing appeared and the beginnings of magical theory were explored. Worship of the Primal Deities is evident as is the worship of several "lost gods" (believed to be the original and soon abandoned faiths of some extradimensional immigrants). The division of the world's peoples into several distinct civilized races had only begun and the only distinctly observable separations in this age are that of the long lived "Sylvan" and sturdy "Neanderthal" types. It is worth noting that the record does not clearly mark these divisions until the very end of the age.
In many ways the first age was also the greatest. Over the entire world knowledge grew and magic spread. Empires that have never again been matched appeared and fought devastating wars. At the end of the age only two major powers remained to fight over the last scraps of unconquered territory. These empires were headed by the Arch-Mages Atrien and Harlokken. The arch Wizards were both massively ambitious and neither cared about ordinary people. Although both empires saw the other as their primary enemy, an opposition movement of the people began to form. This opposition was led by Norton Hamar, a hero of the people known for his natural ways and quick swords. Confronted with a common enemy that was undermining both of them, the Wizards attempted to cooperate and eradicate the threat. It is believed that an act of treachery in this alliace caused their "Final Solution" to backfire and directly caused the First Cataclysm.
In the end Norton Hamar became the first known Ascendant Deity after shepherding the people of his homeland through the disaster of the First Cataclysm.
This age was characterized by strife and a rejection of all things magical or learned. Were it not for efforts by the High Silvans (the proto-elves) it is almost certain that no knowledge of this or the first age would have survived. Fragmentation of the races was at its peak, and distinct separation of the "Terran" (future dwarves, gnomes, goblins), "Atavistic" (orcs, kobolds, etc.), "Gigantic" (giants), and "Near-Human" (humans and halflings) races was underway. The Sylvan separations were also taking place with the most distinct being the appearance of the Elven race. Not all lines are as pure as the scholars would like to believe and continued breeding across racial lines has blurred the lines sufficiently that robust pairings are possible between members of almost all modern races. (Notable exceptions are Atavistic/Sylvan and general Terran/anything incompatibilities. Few, if any, such pairings ever produce offspring.)
The struggle of reason against fear and uncertainty in this age was captured by the warefare between Aeryn Fey, leader of the High Sylvans, and Kaarg the leader of the Atavistics (Pro-Orcs). Both became Ascendant Dieties as a result of thier efforts.
During the 3rd age the Giant races differentiated and fought for control of the land. It was during this age that the Terran races truly established their subterranean natures since underground was one of the few places not easily dominated by the giants. The smaller Sylvan races flourished (being too small to concern most giants) while most of the larger surface races took a beating. The Near-Humans and the Elves struggled to regain the lost magic and practical knowledge of their forefathers in order to fight their large competitors effectively.
The 3rd age also produced two Ascended Dieties. Melchor Rockfather (The Rockfather) led his people to subterranian existance and is venerated by all Dwarves, Goblins, and Gnomes to this day. Likewise, the Giants forged the great artifact, The Crown of Diefication, that grants to their high king the power and abilities of an Ascended Diety. Strictly speaking, each Gigantus Primatia is not actually an Ascended Diety, but only channels the abstract power of the Crown to function as one while they rule.
During this period, each of the civilized races explored their specialties, and sought causes of the cataclysmic cycle. The Gnomes separated from the Dwarves during this time and the uncivilized Terran races were driven into hiding. During this time the Military orders of Togodac attempted to purge the world of Dreviloe's followers and recapture access to their ancient shrine in the North. (They failed in these goals.) These holy wars grew progressively stronger and more frequent until ended by the 4th Cataclysm.
At the end of the 4th Age, Paxil Treldan was a powerful tradesman and legendary sailor. Seeing that the end of the Age had come, he did all that he could to protect as many as he could, and in the process, earned the eternal worship and respect of the Halfling people. He Ascended as a result, becoming their avatar and champion.
During this Age followers of Gliveraw gained power and worked to maintain stability and order. The Great Mages of the era worked on "The Solution" to end the Cataclysms. The result of their efforts appeared to be success until the 5th Cataclysm arrived suddenly after a long interval. It was particularly devastating to areas of strong faith in Gliveraw and to the halls of the powerful research academies where the Great Mages worked.
The 6th Age was one of confused disorder, with the various uncivilized races having almost free reign. Many nations arose but few persisted or flourished for long. The magical sciences lagged behind the progress of previous ages due in part to the depletion of magical talent by the previous Cataclysm.
The current Age holds both more promise and peril than any of of the previous ones. Emerging from isolated pockets of safety with amazing rapidity, the 7th age began with unprecedented energy. The magical sciences were reestablished quickly with the assistance of troves of ancient knowledge unearthed from the 4th and 5th ages. The effort of explorers in this age to locate and understand ancient things has led to tremendous advances and fed territorial and traditional rivalries. Frightening signs often associated with coming Cataclysm (meteors, astronomic variations) are occurring after a mere 542 years, but not yet at levels that are threatening.
There are reasons to believe great change is upon the world. After more than 25,000 years of indestructibility, the ancient Tower of Harlokken was destroyed in the year 503 by it's modern master; and it is rumored that he arranged that a similar fate befall the lost Tower of Atrien almost a year before that. On the other hand, dark forces centered around the Cult of Harlokken and others associated with the undead are more active today than in any prior age. Dragons, which have remained aloof from the affairs of mortals since the dawn of time have been seen involved with local affairs.
For detailed history of the current Age see the assorted regional and national histories.
The deities of Uurth can be classified into three types. These are: Primal, Ascendant, and Other. The Primal deities each represent an aspect of pure being (good/evil/law/chaos/neutrality), and, as a group, form the creation force of this world. The Primal deities are without specific form and are indestructible in their essence. When one of the Primal deities does assume a corporeal form, that incarnation is only an image and contains nothing irreplaceable. (Some argue that the Primal deities are simply aspects of one single greater omnipotent being referred to very rarely as "The DM". )
The Ascendant deities are a group of once mortal beings, that with the assistance of one or more Primal deities have achieved everlasting existence and power. The extent of this power, it's character, and it's availability to followers are unique to each deity, depending almost entirely on what that person was like in life and what his/her goals remain in the afterlife. The Ascendant Deities DO have a "specific essence" and this essence could be destroyed or banished under certain circumstances.
Other deities operating within the scope of Uurth's Plane are of various character. Certain powerful outer-planar beings are worshipped as deities and as such fall into this category. Other instances include powerful "Pre- or Post-Ascendant" individuals in various states of Life, Unlife, and Death. (In the case of Fallen Ascendants, a residual essence sometimes remains attached to Uurth and can attempt to engineer a return from death's exile on the outer planes.)
Consult Calderon Melphistor's Guide to the Pantheon of Uurth for a current list of deities and their most often observed traits and history.
In the present age there are few major personas that are of Global importance. In general, most of the NPCs in the game are of mainly local relevance. The following list summarizes what is known about those few to possess almost universal significance:
"The High Necromancer of Fetranth"
A possibly mythical figure, He is believed to be preparing to emerge from his 350 year exile within the Halcyon Waste (also known as "The Zone of Eternal Death"). Rumor holds that he is seeking Ascendance as the new "God of the Undead". (Other, less often spoken, rumors indicate that he has ALREADY achieved Ascendance and that he is planning his first "unholy" war to establish himself as the preeminent worshipped power in this world.)
Also called "The Mad Alchemist of Gevbeck" on occasion, is an eccentric tinkerer in the magical arts with a specialization in Alchemy. Possibly the most powerful magician alive in this age, he nevertheless rarely performs repeatable experiments. He is as devoted to the causes of Goodness as he is Chaotic (which is VERY) and is prone to forget what month and year it is (among other things). He maintains a "potion shop" in Gevbeck (the capitol city of the Eanf Republic) and sells his various experiments to unwary customers. (The shop was recently destroyed and he is now in the process of reconstructing it.) He has a companion named Leopold (a gnome with "Ogre Feet that make Storm Giant noises" when he walks). Leopold helps Alcore manage his affairs, an activity that consists of reminders of appointments and the correct spell components to use while casting. Alcore and Leopold are known to travel extensively and even take trips to other planes of existence on occasion. There are a number of published accounts of his visits to "The Inn of the Open Flame", a shared environment that is found on the ADND-L listserv at ADND-L@LISTSERV.UTA.EDU. (I hope to get these accounts edited and on-line here someday.)
Emperor Edmund Phonicon
Also called "Edmund the Usurper", Edmund is William Phonicon's younger brother and has seized the throne after colluding in the death of their father, the previous Emperor of Phonicon. Edmund's collusion with members of Dreviloe's priesthood and his obvious ambition make him an obvious and immediate threat to all who stand in his way.
King William Phonicon
Also called "Emperor William the Rightful", he prefers to simply be addressed as "King". He is ruler of those territories known as the Loyal Kingdom of Phonicon (LKP) and by right of ascendance should be the ruler of all Phonicon. William Phonicon is unusual in his line due to his respect for the people he rules. Also a pragmatist, when his last remaining territories were in danger of being consumed by the armies of Edmund's Empire and by encroachment by forces of the Lakefort Holdfast, he joined with the Eanf Republic and surrendered his absolute monarchy in order to gain their alliance. His rule today occurs within the constitutional framework of the Republic, much to the chagrin of his traditionalist subjects.
Darius Vex is a powerful Invoker Wizard who emerged from the chaos of the Eanf Reformation. A hero of the Revolution, he rapidly emerged as the leader of a new "less rigid" generation of wizards. Darius received his magical education under Lord David Pyros, the last master of Tower of Harlokken in Wilmar. He was one of two aspiring apprentices under Lord Pyros and was Lord Pyros's favorite. Instrumental in the plans that destroyed the Twin Towers of Atrien and Harlokken, he is viewed by many as possessing some of the most sought after magical secrets of the age. (A condition that has made him the avowed enemy of the great Academy of Magical Sciences in Gevbeck.)
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