The word “civilization” on Aris generally refers to the societies built by the races of Humans, Dwarves, Elves, Halflings and Gnomes. While there are other societies on Aris, most notably the Drow, Dragons, Thri-kreen, and Duergar, they represent a minimal impact on world history as a whole. Although fascinating in their own right, the societies of Goblins, Orcs, Kobalds and Giantkin could hardly be considered “civilized” so are therefore not a subject covered in this summary.
At this juncture, it is appropriate to discuss the timekeeping methods of modern Aris. The Arian year is 372 days long. This year is divided into four 93 day seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The year is further divided into twelve months of 31 days. Each race seems to have different formal names for these months, but in the Common Tongue, is sufficient to say “Firstmonth,” “Secondmonth,” etc. The first day of the year occurs at the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. The majority of Aris uses the Kordian calendar, which is based around the destruction of the city of Kellis and the creation of the vast desert, Scorched Earth. B.S.E stands for “before scorched earth,” and Y.S.E. stands for “years of scorched earth.”
It is generally accepted that the first civilization on Aris began when the first Sorcerer King, Ayamees, united the nomadic tribes of the south and founded the city-state of Kellis around 3398 BSE. The rule of the Sorcerer Kings is characterized by everything from times of great learning and prosperity to periods of tyrannical rule and misery. The most famous of the later was the rule of Sivok III from 1509 BSE to 1352 BSE. During this period, magic was regulated by the state of Kellis to the point that no citizen could practice magic or possess a magic item under the pain of death. Only royalty were allowed to practice “the Art,” as magic was commonly known during that period. The advancement of magic was considerably lessened during those dark years. However, the rule of Sivok III also produced advances in psionics (the study of the ability of the mind to alter physical reality), the Mageslayers of Sivok (a forerunner to the modern Renegade Hunters), and most importantly, the creation of the Conclave of Wizards by Azure Dynas Dor. The Conclave would later defeat Sivok III in the War of Staves and establish itself as a world power all the way into the modern era.
The monarchistic Kellis persisted until 456 BSE when Abdulan II established a democratic society based around a ruling council. During the 450 years that the Council ruled Kellis, wizardry entered a golden age. Powerful spells raised islands and leveled mountains. Many of the wondrous items common today were first created during this time. Magic was widely propagated so that even the lowliest commoner knew a cantrip or two.
This golden age of Kellis was ended abruptly when barbarian hordes sweep down from the vast tundra known as Deepfreeze and invaded the southern lands. Kellis was quick to respond to the threat of invasion and would have likely bested the barbarian hordes easily but for the elite battalions of warriors called the Forsakers. Epitomizing the barbarian’s mistrust of anything magical, the Forsakers had made blood vows not to use any type of magical items or spells. In fact, they were to destroy any magical items or spellcasters with whom they came in contact. As a result, the Forsakers had built up a tremendous resistance to the arcane arts that Kellis had built its society around.
The War of Ice raged for five years until the barbarian horde had fought all the way to Kellis’ doorstep. As the last mages of Kellis fell outside their beloved city, a dabbler in the magical arts, whose name has been lost to history, activated of powerful magical artifact called the Kellis Stone. The magical energies roared out of control and a massive explosion decimated the city of Kellis and the barbarians. The explosion also set the vast forests surrounding the city ablaze with a magical fire that burned until only ash remained. This is how Scorched Earth was created.
The next 350 years are now called “the Burning Times”. Not only did the destruction of Kellis cripple the region economically causing large scale famines and plagues, but it also unleashed a new scourge upon Aris: the Hell Gate. The explosion tore a hole in the fabric of the Multiverse leading to the Nine Hells of Baator. In 8 YSE the minions of Hell swarmed over the face of Aris. The first Hell War began. The devilkind were eventually defeated by the citizens of Kordian Narr, a city-state forged by an alliance between the wondering humans and the dwarves of Dorn’s Delve. The fiendish invasion was thought to have been a one time occurrence. Yet 169 years later (the thirteenth cycle of thirteen) the armies of Baator marched across Aris again. They drove the elves into exile and destroyed the city of Kordian Narr. The world was plunged into darkness and the peoples of Aris were nearly destroyed. The knowledge of exactly where the tide turned against the powers of the Nine Hells has been lost, but legends speak of “the return of the Lord of Magic” and a “light that pierced the heavens.” The remaining peoples of Aris, with the aid of the Conclave, defeated a large portion of Hell’s armies but were unable to liberate the Emerald Wood, the elven homeland. 169 years after the second Hell War, sightings of infernals were again made near Kellis. This time, the Conclave realized that the appearance of more Devilkind indicated a reoccurring phenomenon. Divinations revealed the location of the Hell Gate and an attack force was assembled to capture the portal. So began the third and final Hell War. The battle was long and difficult. The Devilkind were well fortified in the ruins of Kellis and it is rumored that Bel himself, the great pit fiend and Lord of the Ninth, led the Hell spawn in battle.
In 365 YSE the peoples of Aris won the day and drove Hell’s armies back to Baator. A great fortress was assembled around the Hell Gate and Church’s to the gods sent powerful faithful to guard the gate. This fortress eventually grew into a prosperous city and is known today as Hell’s Gate. The Emerald Wood was re-taken and Aris enjoyed many years of well earned peace.
In 533 YSE the great wyrm red dragon, Ashardalon, appeared in the skies north of the Kilkannas Mountains. He laid claim to the lands of the North and demanded tribute from the people in exchange for their continued existence. His tyrannical rule lasted until 789 YSE when the archdruid, Dydd, dealt him what was thought to have been a mortal blow to the heart.
From 789 to 1585 YSE, many new city-states like Lyruleth and Haven grew prosperous in an age of increased commerce between city-states and travel abroad by the people of Aris. Many of the Churches grew to their current position of wide influence as evangelists and faithful traveled abroad, spreading their doctrines. Aside from minor confrontations, like the Ogre Wars of 1051, Aris knew a peace not seen since pre-history.
800 years after his apparent death, Ashardalon was discovered by the Nine Companions to have survived by using the demon, Ammet to replace his injured heart. The Nine Companions also discovered that Ashardalon was the cause of the Plague of Innocents beginning in 1585 YSE. The Plague of Innocents was thought to be a disease that killed newborn creatures of all kinds by destroying their life-force. However, the real cause was that the great wyrm had gained entrance to the Bastion of Unborn Souls on the Positive Energy Plane and was feeding upon unborn souls to fortify his failing demon heart. The souls Ashardalon was consuming in turn never took residence in the newborn creatures. The Nine Companions: Vincent of Fox Glen, High Priestess Valdess, Lord Hennet, Fvoltig, master of arrows, Rurik “Tank” Holderhek, Liftrasa Holderhek, Avenal the Ranger, Nicktosh of Moradin’s Hammer, and the last descendent of Dydd: Arlanna of the Wilds destroyed Ashardalon and ended the Plague of Innocents. Unfortunately, tens of thousands of the civilized races of Aris didn’t survive the Plague.Now is a new time for the world of Aris. The Plague of Innocents has brought many peoples together, and torn others apart. The Church of Rushmoore is growing increasingly more powerful, uniting more every day under its banner. New lands have been discovered across the vast ocean. Who knows what perils or wonders the world may face next?