This timeline was created using a cut-down version Microscope system, and was designed as campaign history for our Ravenloft-like setting Shards of Light & Shadow.
A new domain appears in Ravenloft
Growth of the Source
The Sources of Light and Shadow are gifted to the Elves, first and oldest of the worlds races, by forces unknown. They are entrusted with the knowledge that the Sources will cause cataclysmic change if used unwisely, so the Elves conceal their existence from the rest of the world, this ensures peace until an expansionist group of humans invade the Elven settlement where the Source of Light is hidden and take it.
With the Source of Light gone, the Elves become unbalanced, now possessing only the Shadow, many will later point to this as the beginning of the once great race’s fall.
The Empire of Ravi is formed
The Empire of Ravi is formed when the Source of Light is brought to the City of Eos by the humans.
The Source of Light gains sentience over the year of interaction with the humans and takes on a near-mortal form. Selecting a husband from the ruling family of Ravi, it begins the tradition of rule by the Empress of Light. Each Empress has a daughter who carries the light of her mother when she passes.
A religion known as the Brotherhood of the Moon that sprung up when the Empire of Ravi was founded, is declared as heresy by the Empress of Light, their followers and priests are ruthless hunted down and burned at the stake.
Telar Dawnbringer, a prominent Paladin in the Empire, rebels against the Empress’s decree. He shelters several of the Brotherhood in secret, using the cult members as his own private assassins to eliminate rivals who stand between him and ruling the Order.
Several surviving members of the order flee the city and–in desperation–turn to dark magics in order to survive. They work in secrecy seeking a way to dismantle the Source of Light.
The fall of the Empire of Ravi
The Empire falls due to corruption from within, it’s weakness allows proscribed cults to begin operating openly, the Paladins who once formed the vanguard of the Empire collapse due to infighting caused by disagreements about the nature of the Source of Light.
Aranthus, the leader of the Imperial Paladins attempts to use the Source of Light to empower himself and protect the Empire, he fails and is transformed into the first vampire.
Aranthus’ failed ritual reveals a cruel truth about the Source of Light, it was crafted by the Dark Powers to embody their view of the Light, unflinching, ruthless, tyrannical and expansionist.
Dark and evil creatures arrive to revel and feed upon the dying light of the Empire.
Treasure hunters search the ruins of Ravi for ancient artifacts of great power
Hunters plumbing the depths of a ruined city find a Source of Darkness, it corrupts and twists their form, turning them into the brutal nocturnal creatures known as orcs.
Dwarves strip-mine the valuable metals of the Empire from beneath, having been driving underground by the Empress. Their expansion causes them to encounter the newly created Orcs and a bitter war wages between the two races.
A clan of Dwarves encounter the Source of Light, they are purged of their darker sides and are transformed into the Hin, or Halflings as they later become known.
Rise of the Shadow Cult
The founder of the Shadow Cult received a dark vision from his god. The vision tells him that Orcs will be pivotal to establishing a new world order, he quickly scours the depths and dark places of the world, rallying Orcs to him with promises of freedom from the tyranny of the Light.
The Bright Court, a group of Paladins is founded, but they are infiltrated by the Shadow Cult, who use magic to mask their true colours.
At the peak of the war between the Shadow and the Light, both Sources of power cease to respond to their followers and are found as physical crystalline shard, each side hides their respective shard.
The crystal housing the essence of Light is stolen. This causes the Bright Court to disband as they argue and fight amongst themselves about the best way to search for the stolen Source.
Sargon, a survivor of the Brotherhood of the Moon conducts experiments on the stolen Light Crystal, seeking to resurrect his destroyed order.
The Shadow Nation search the City of Skotadi for Sargon and the Source of Light, they send in Orc troops who rampage through the city.
Sargon manages to awaken the crystal and–in an attempt to control it–he feigns love for the Source. The two have a child, a young girl named Celeste who–according to the Source–will help renew the land. Sargon attempts to destroy the child and mother, Celeste is lost and the mother returns to crystalline form.
During Sargon’s last experiment he uses the destruction of a village to inject darkness into the crystal, breaking it into two with the black shard embedded in his forearm.
Calanthus, the first and only mortal child of Aranthus steals the Light Shard from the domain of Sargon, using its energy to empower himself and four others, giving them powers of longevity and regeneration in order to hunt down his father and those created in his image. This depletes the crystal and weakens the Source overall, a fact that Calanthus never reveals to his newly created clergy.
The Elves–who have an innate connection to the Source of Light–are split into two people, the Ljosalfar (Sun) and Dokkalfar (Moon) Elves when the crystal is shattered.
During the search for Sargon, an Orc chieftain name Nazarick, discovers ancient texts concerning the Source of Shadow, with his mind twisted by the texts, he begins to speak of a great destiny of the Orcs, say that they are destined to rule the Shadow. Nazarick makes a pact with dark powers and becomes the first Orc Warlock. The Orcs of the Shadow Nation become little more than slaves and soldiers.
The creation of Twilight
Sargon uses the Dark Crystal Shard and his own life force to create a champion, his daughter Twilight, twin to Celeste.
The first Orc warlock Nazarick uses forbidden texts from the Brotherhood of the Moon to give some of his loyal Orc followers the ability to transform into Hellhounds.
During the rise of Twilight, dark creatures are drawn to her essence and follow her.
Some Orcs break away from the absolute darkness that Nazarick and his fellow Warlocks represent, believing that martial prowess and not dark magic is the key to their race’s destiny. Through intense focus and martial study their strip away some of their own darkness, causing them to become grey-skinned and diurnal. The remaining Dark Orcs curse these rebels, shaming them and referring to them as Half-Orcs.
The Moon Elves assault the Tree of Life, home of the Sun Elves.
After their defeat by the Sun Elves, the Moon Elves are approached by the vampire Aranthus who–in return for certain favours and secret knowledge–transforms a number of their leaders into creatures like himself.
Formation of the Order of Dawn
The Order of Dawn is formed in the town of Ment, in the mountains near the ruins of Eos.
Having gained some command of the power of Light, Celeste Moongood rises to local prominence as a beacon of hope and become a leader of the Order.
The Order of Celeste and the Order of the Dawn combine forces to reform the Light Court. Their purpose is to guide Celeste as she grows in power and wisdom.
Scold, a Half-orc, wins gladiatorial pit fights to become the most renowned gladiator in the land and earn his freedom.
The Moon Elves rebel against their vampiric leaders, forcing them to flee into the Underdark.
War of the Crystal Sisters
The War of the Crystal Sisters ends with the shattering of both sisters.
In accordance with the resulting outlawing of twin births, Serge Orin, a local governor must sacrifice one of his sons. Rather than killing the child outright he takes the infant out to the Howling Gorge and abandons him. The child is rescued by a band of nomads and raised as one of their own, he becomes a great warrior and seeks out his birthright.
Returning to civilisation he discovers that his brother has become an enforcer for the Shadowland Lords and he is forced to hide his identity whilst seeking to undone what his brother has done. Forced to live on the fringes of society he becomes a merciless rebel.
The essence of the Two Sisters is freed with the shattering and they between the twin gods of the domain, Light and Darkness, but–since they balance each other out–they cannot directly influence the world. Upon reaching godhood, Twilight selects orphans as part of her portfolio, using possessed toys and dolls as her proxies.
Shards of the Light and Dark Crystals have been scattered throughout the land by the shattering, these shards grant strength to all those capable of withstanding their influence, the souls of those unable to resist them become fuel for the shards. The Orc race mutates from exposure to the shard energy, becoming huge, merciless killing machines.
Rise of the Orcs
Empowered by the crystal shards, the rage-fuelled orcs make war on mankind and those that choose the Light.
The Time of Darkness
In revenge for having been enslaved, the victorious Orc hordes enslave the other races. The Hin–considered by most to simply be malformed humans–strike a deal with the Orcs and retain their freedom. From their privileged position the Halflings sabotage a number of Orcish operations, siphoning off food and other supplies for their own use, whilst blaming any shortfalls on human slaves.
The Halfling priestess Saluni objects to these treatment and forges her people into the beginning of a rebel movement.
The Time of Chaos
As rebel activity continues to grow the Orc Warlocks attempt to summon reinforces using dark rituals, a great demon known as Yama Uba and her two lieutenants answer the summons but the ritual goes awry, releasing the demons and many other creatures into the world.
Yama Uba assumes a female form and seduces Orin, a high-ranking Order of Dawn Paladin, she become pregnant.
During the birth of her child Yama Uba received a vision from Lady Twilight on how she can return home. She takes her child, husband and minions into the Tomb of Nazarick under a fallen city.
Yama Uba begins her plan to restore Twilight by impersonating her and sending her minions forth in the form of possessed dolls to spread the word of the Goddess’s return. By chance encounter with non-demonic magics, some of the dolls gain a twisted form of intelligence and free-will. They begin cobbling together other dolls and toys from leftovers, they become known for sneaking into houses, stealing babies and luring away small children.
Rise of the Rebellion
The four races, Humans, Hin, Dwarves and Gnomes unite to create a serious resistance against Orc supremacy.
The worship of light begins to spread among the resistance, many are trained as servitors and practitioners of Light. Saluni, a young Hin stands out as a powerful believer and becomes the leader of the resistance.
Extremists of the new alliance of four races begin taking extreme measures to combat the forces of darkness, some whisper that they have been touched by the darkness themselves. Believing that the ends justify the means, these extremists form an order known as the Grey Knights.
Realising that the Grey Knights are necessary–but knowing that many in resistance would not accept her taking direct control of them–Saluni adopts the persona of Glimmer, a hooded priestess who dispenses orders to the Grey Knights. She begins to use the knights to conduct operations too bloody and grim for the rest of the rebellion, she also helps funnel any extreme recruits towards membership in the order.
Scold rises from local hero and champion gladiator to a commander in the rebellion. He serves as a Grey Knight but still sits on the council of four races. During a mission given by Glimmer Scold is attacked and bitten by a hell hound of Nazarick. Scold kills the hound but succumbs to its curse. Trying to find a cure Scold was housed in the Temple of Light, an attack on the temple that nearly killed Saluni, saw Scold break free of his restraints and transform into a white wolf-like creature. He defeats the intruders and saves Saluni. He still fights for control of his form and manages to be a fearsome weapon of light. Although respected for his combat prowess there are some that doubt him because of his curse.
As the Grey Knights rise in popularity in the Kingdom still resentment infects their hearts and soon parts of the Knights go against Scold. Demon and Dark Elves use this weakness to get influence back into the order of the land causing more fracture and weakness.
An unknown warrior arrives, shows his prowess and joins the Grey Knights, working his way up the chain. Unknown to the rest of the order, this warrior is in-fact Colon the half-demon child of Yama Uba.
The Summoning of Heroes
Seeing the rising tide of darkness, Saluni a powerful priestess of the Light sacrifices herself and the remaining light crystal shards as part of a ceremony to summon much needed heroes to the land.