House of the Magus
The main continent of Eberron, at least from the point of view of the humans and their closest kin, is Khorvaire. In ages past, the goblinoids ruled the continent. By the time the first human settlers arrived 3,000 years ago, the goblinoid nations were already in ruin. Their time had passed, and the stage was set for humans and the other newer races to carve out their own age.
On Khorvaire, humans settled what became known as the Five Nations. Dragonmarks began to appear, and the dragonmarked families developed into the mercantile houses as time went on. Humans interacted with the races they encountered—trading and forming partnerships with dwarves, gnomes, elves and halflings, conflicting with and driving off goblinoids and other monster races. In time, humans and their allied races controlled the central region of the continent. They settled large portions of what is now the Eldeen Reaches, Aundair, Breland, Thrane, Zilargo, the Mournland, Karrnath, the Talenta Plains, the Mror Holds, and the Lhazaar Principalities.
Eventually, the great and wondrous kingdom of Galifar arose from the joining of the Five Nations—the original human settlements. During the reign of the Galifar kings and queens, human lands expanded, the dragonmarked houses stabilized, and wonders such as Sharn, the City of Towers, and the Korranberg Library were established. The shining kingdom was legendary, even in its own time, and for good cause.
Many of the most amazing accomplishments of Khorvairian civilization came to pass during Galifar’s almost nine hundred years of existence. The mastery of magic and the arcane arts, which developed through the efforts of the Twelve, King Galifar I’s Arcane Congress, and similar enterprises that followed, led to the construction of great cities, wondrous monuments, magical conveniences, and powerful weapons of war. Massive civil works projects, bolstered by magic, paved the way for the metropolitan centers of central Khorvaire. Magic helped crops grow and herds prosper, so hunger rarely struck the inhabitants of the kingdom.
In its day, Galifar stretched from the Barren Sea to the Lhazaar Sea, covering every mile of the continent. In practical terms, the crown claimed the entire continent but was only able to govern the central region with any proficiency. The farther one traveled toward the edges of the continent, the more wild, undeveloped, and uncivilized the land became. This fact was especially true in the areas that would eventually become the Shadow Marches, Droaam, Darguun, and Valenar. These frontier regions attracted some humans, but were more likely to be home to the monstrous races. The humans that did make the trip to these areas fell into a few categories: explorers, profiteers, missionaries, and settlers.
Profit made an excellent incentive for sending people into the wilderness. There were resources to discover and gather, trade routes to open, maps to create, and money to be made. Some explorers set out for crown and glory, others just to see what was out there. More often, however, explorers were attached to profiteering projects designed to open up some part of the wilderness for use by the civilized regions. This led to the construction of trading posts and supply outposts from which additional expeditions could be launched.
Trading posts developed into settlements in some locations, and there were always those who sought to find new and better lives in new lands. Settlers had hard lives, and many fell victim to monster raids and other hazards, but a few settlements survived. The human–orc communities of the Shadow Marches, for example, are in this category.
Missionaries occasionally delved deep into the wilderness to bring the message of their faith to the natives. Some, such as the Sovereign Host, went to teach. Others went to destroy, as with the lycanthrope extermination launched by the Silver Flame.
In 894 YK, King Jarot, the last king of Galifar, died. With his death, the kingdom of Galifar collapsed. Civil war erupted as his scions refused to uphold tradition and instead battled for the crown. This conflict, which became known as the Last War thanks to headlines plastered across many years’ worth of Korranberg Chronicles, lasted just more than a century.
What eventually united most of the nations involved in the Last War was a common enemy. King Kiaus I of the country of Karrnath turned to necromancy to augment his military forces. Soon enough the obsession and madness consumed him. He extended his life through lichdom convinced his heirs were unworthy to continue his military campaign. Eventually his true name would be all but forgotten as he became known as simply the Lich-King. His mastery of necromancy only grew stronger and the forces of Karrnath became swelled from the abundent supply of dead the war produced. Eventually the dead far out numbered the living forces and the Lich-King seeked to bring death to the rest of the world.
Seeing a threat far worse than each other the other waring nations banded together to oppose Karrnath. The war-forged were created specifically to answer the rising threat of Karrnath’s undead army. Try as they might, the Lich-King’s power only grew and after his forces completely decimated the country of Cyre, leaving behind the blighted region now known as the Mournhold, much hope was lost.
Perhaps the whole continent would have suffered the same fate if it wasn’t for the betrayal of the Kiaus’ own grandson. Kiaus III conspired with agents from the other nations to kill and overthrow the Lich-King. After the Lich-King’s death, Kiaus III new king of Karrnath and the rulers of all the other nations of Khorvaire signed the treaty of Thronehold ushering in the first era of peace in over a century.
The war had forever changed the continent. It caused great destruction, but also creation. The war had spawned advances in science, technology, and increased industrialization. The creation of the War-Forged race, the proliferation of firearms, airships, and technology all came about from this era.
Another result of the war is a growing underlining weariness of the dangers magic, the very force which once helped build the many wonders of civilization. While most magic is still very common through out Khorvaire the practice of necromancy has become taboo is most places outside of Karrnath.
It has now been two years since the treaty of thronehold and the people of Khorvaire are still adjusting to peace. Something most have never seen before in their life time.