"We are orphans in this universe."
The information below provides background information that can be assumed to be known by anyone who was born on Filgaia. Its purpose is to provide players with common background to facilitate RP; if you want your character to not know this stuff, hey, fill your boots -- it's not like there's a high school for it.
The calendar in Filgaia is Post Collapse (PC). 1 PC is a year after the Day of Collapse. This is the second major civilization-wide collapse in Filgaia's history, dating to when the Diabolos caused such damage to Filgaia that it lost much of its splendor. The Elw left at this time. The increasing desertification and many of the ruins date back to the Day of Collapse. It is now 499 PC.
There are 365 days per year on Filgaia, with each day lasting twenty-four hours. The months and the days of the week are the same as those on Earth (which is something that the Pangalactic Federation personnel who come here wonder about).
Almost nothing is known of Filgaia's origins, but much is suspected. There are a variety of hypotheses surrounding the origins of life on the planet, most of them representing the version of history preferred by the teller's religion.
Most Guardian-worshippers believe humans have always lived on Filgaia, in communion with the Elw and the guardian-spirits that support life on the planet. The Ethos teaches that humanity infringed upon the territory of God in Heaven and was struck down, forced to suffer until they have atoned for their ancestors' sins. The Nisan Sect holds the opposite view - that God wishes for the day that his creations will rise to meet him by freeing themselves of the hatred and jealousy that bind them to the world. And a variety of fringe sects have their own beliefs about the place of Filgaia in the cosmos.
What the truth is, none living can say. Or if they can, they are not telling.
The Zeboim Era
The Zeboim were the inhabitants of a civilization (also named Zeboim, which is occasionally aggravating to historians) that existed many thousands of years before the present day. The Zeboim era is widely believed to have been a golden age for mankind -- there was little suffering or want, their almost unimaginable technology sustaining the needs of all who lived there. The world was at peace.
Until, suddenly, it wasn't.
The origins of the conflict are lost to the sands of time, but most agree that between four and five thousand years ago, there was a war. It was either internal to Zeboim or, more likely, with another civilization -- a few records make reference to a "Great Conflagration," but what that might have been is unknown. The technology that had sustained the Zeboim became their curse, as it was unleashed upon their enemies, their supporters, and finally their own people. The legends agree on one point: a heroine named the Sword Magess, wielding the Guardian Blade Argetlahm, gave her life to stop the Great Conflagration and the great harm done by Zeboim's technology. By the end, almost nothing was left of the Zeboim, save for a few scattered, shattered ruins that have lain dormant for thousands of years.
The few Zeboim-era artifacts or historical records that remain are almost universally intact, a testament to the superiority of the ancient civilization's technology. Zeboim ARMs are highly sought-after by every nation on the planet, and other historical artifacts only slightly less so. The nations of Filgaia believe quite strongly that the seeds of victory for the battles of the present day will be found in the ashes of Zeboim.
The Metal Demon Wars
The Metal Demon Wars are believed to have occurred slightly more than a thousand years ago. Records and artifacts from this time are less rare than those from the Zeboim era, but their comparatively inferior construction means they are more likely to have been damaged or destroyed by the passage of time. As a result, information on the Metal Demon Wars is about as reliable as that of the Zeboim, i.e., not very.
What is known is that the entirety of Filgaia was consumed by a decade-long battle against monstrous metallic creatures known as Metal Demons. These artificial men rained fire and death down upon the people of Filgaia, who were slowly ground down underneath their heel. This continued until the emergence of the Golems -- massive humanoid machines built with a combination of human ingenuity and stolen Metal Demon technology, turned against their brethren in a last, desperate chance for mankind.
The Golems turned the tide of the Metal Demon Wars in the favour of humanity. Buoyed by their success, humans tried to replicate the Golems in a wider scale, creating the oldest known Gears. The combination of Golems and Gear-assisted humans proved decisive, and the Metal Demons were eventually exterminated... though not to the last, as they were to later learn.
But the cost was unfathomably high. Filgaia's population is believed to have been cut to a quarter of its size over the course of the Wars, and none of the nations present at that time have survived into the modern era. The devastation caused by these metal men and their ARMs is a major source of the hatred of advanced technology that runs through Filgaia to this day.
The Day of Collapse
The timing of the Day of Collapse is the earliest event in the planet's history that is precisely known; the first year following its conclusion is recorded as the starting point of the modern Filgaian calendar.
The Day of Collapse is said to have occurred a short time following the repulsion of an outbreak of Metal Demons, which were previously thought extinct. Once again, the nations of Filgaia united to put down the menace with the assistance of powerful Gears, only this time they were far more successful. But this was a curse in disguise; once the Metal Demons were destroyed, the nations of the world turned on each other, pitting Gear against Gear in a conflict that threatened to outdo the Metal Demon Wars in their destruction.
Until one day, when the world was broken.
The surviving legends call it Diabolos: a single Gear, piloted by a single man, who declared war against the entire world. Diabolos flew across Filgaia in the space of a day, flashing from battlefield to battlefield and wiping out the combined forces of every nation on the planet. But Diabolos's pilot was not sated, and began to unleash his rage upon ordinary people, until the rivers ran red with the blood of the innocent. It seemed as though nothing could stop Diabolos's rampage. But then a single soldier stepped forward, standing alone, on foot, facing off against the Gear that had shaken the very heavens.
And in that moment, the world changed forever.
The unknown soldier is said to have swung his blade -- believed by some to be Argetlahm, by others Kahlus Krosse's Sword of Light -- and in that single stroke, Diabolos was shattered. But so too was the land beneath it; the devil Gear's fragments fell to the earth and are said to have poisoned the land, draining all life from it, forming the desert sea that stretches across the heart of Ignas.
Legends and stories of the Day of Collapse are widely told across Filgaia, but no one knows the truth of what caused it, or the identity of Diabolos's pilot, or that of the unknown soldier who confronted it. Only a few nations that existed before the Day of Collapse have survived to the present day -- Nisan, Solaris, and Shevat in particular -- but if the powers that be of these countries know what really happened, they are not telling.
1 PC - Reconstruction begins. The first day of the era is typically marked by the construction -- some say reconstruction -- of Curan Abbey, with a small ceremony that day. The first day of the calendar becomes known as Regrowth Day afterward.
2 PC - The nation of Nisan is refounded by survivors of the Collapse. Mother Jacquelinde, an advisor to the First Mother of the Sect, gives birth to Isolde. Later in life, Isolde becomes the Second Mother of the Nisan Sect.
3 PC - A group of traveling survivors discover a massive field of bones in one of the larger desertified islands -- really more of a subcontinent -- of Aquvy. They swiftly realize this is not merely a boneyard, but a gigantic, ancient battlefield, rife with potential treasure to seize. They set up camp nearby, dedicated to excavating, selling, and studying these artifacts. This camp will one day grow into the industrial powerhouse city-state, Guild Galad.
4 PC - The military nation of Arctica -- which had been fighting Metal Demons through the entirety of the events leading to and following the Day of Collapse -- re-establishes contact with the rest of the world.
Groups of salvagers congregate north of Guild Galad, on the opposite coast of the island. They camp out in a port that once served most of Aquvy, and restore it. After making contact with Guild Galad, the new nation begins a lucrative trade in ARMs. It will one day be known as Celesti.
5 PC - In Aquvy, in the shadow of the Sword Cathedral, the miraculously-intact shrine where the Guardian Blade Argetlahm now rests, an enclave of people slowly gathers. By 5 PC, they begin building a town some distance up the coast. This will slowly grow into the city-state of Meria Boule, the largest trade hub for the entire Aquvy region. Meanwhile, a new religion dedicated to the god Granas, Lord of Light and Defender of humanity during the Day of Collapse, is established east of Guild Galad.
6 PC - A lost army and the tired citizens it's supporting finally come to rest in a desertified subcontinent off of Elru. Over time, their relative proximity to both Kislev and Guild Galad will allow this military city-state to become one of the planet's foremost military powers: Slayheim.
8 PC - The Adlehyde family, survivors of the Day of Collapse, establish a new city upon the site of a pre-Collapse city's ruins. They establish the Kingdom of Adlehyde here, which gradually expands its control over the neighboring countryside.
10 PC - One of the few surviving generals of the most recent conflict against the Metal Demons forms the nation of Aveh. King Roni Fatima, first of his line and name, takes a wife from among the sisters of the Nisan Sect, inadvertently forging a tradition that carries on for hundreds of years.
11 PC - Groups of would-be warlords in the northeastern part of Ignas are given an ultimatum by the head of a local militia: swear allegiance or be put to the sword. When they laugh in his face, Klaus Dolokhov shows them he is a man of his word. Kislev is founded years later, by the man they later name Kaiser.
22 PC - The Church of Granas reforms several small organizations that had been providing medical and humanitarian support, as well as encouraging diplomacy and understanding among the nascent nations, into what is now known as the Order of Ethos.
24 PC - A small port city on the eastern coast of Elru is founded by refugees turned away from the nation of Arctica. The city of Elluria proves a more welcoming trading partner than other nations on the continent, and over time the Kingdom of Ell becomes a power in its own right.
50 PC - As the new and resettled nations of the world slowly find their footing, Arctica calls for a grand summit of the nations, the First Filgaian Summit. Their sole agreement is the Treaty of Iscariot: a relatively simple accord banning weapons of the sort that brought ruin to the world again and again and very nearly again.
215 PC - The First Kislev-Aveh War begins. The war starts out in Aveh's favor for the most part, but Kislev's mountain passes make a decisive invasion impossible. The two nations remain at war for centuries.
250 PC - In response to increased sightings of mutants and other monsters, the Ethos begins a program to train promising young clergy in the art of hunting down inhuman creatures who threaten the lives of its followers. These Etones go on to become a formidable organization in their own right in later years.
349 PC - The Night of Falling Stars. A great number of meteors rip across the skies, giving doomsayers and other would-be prophets materials for years.
350 PC - An expedition by Aveh into the border regions on the edge of the Sand Ocean reveal badlands that are not, as they had been believed to be, uninhabited. In the years since the Day of Collapse, a small number of settlements have evidently endured, built around ancient devices that provide water and small amounts of other resources to their denizens. Low-level diplomatic contacts with these so-called "Seed Cities" are complicated by the fact that they have no central government at all.
352 PC - Aveh attempts to press its formal claim to the Seed Cities, as they lie within the borders of the great northwestern desert, which it has claimed jurisdiction over. The Seed Cities collectively shrug their shoulders until Aveh sends a viceroy with several tax collectors, at which point they object with violence. Aveh sends a punitive expedition that is rebuffed handily by a joint Seed City force; these militia are armed with what they call "gunsmoke" weapons, simple firearms reminiscent of the ARMs from the Day of Collapse. After a disastrous campaign, Aveh offers peace terms: it will continue to claim the region on paper but not ever actually ask the Seed Cities to do anything. The Seed Cities shrug their shoulders and move on.
353 PC - With the Seed Cities more or less recognized as independent city-states, they begin attracting attention from other nations of the world, in particular Guild Galad, which begins a robust exchange in gunsmoke weapons.
354 PC - The Seed Cities of February and Octovren come under attack from unknown bands of raiders. These strange bandits -- widely believed, but never confirmed, to be Aveh special forces -- emerge from over the horizon and strike at their cities, departing with captives.
355 PC - Ongoing raids against the city of Feburary culminate in a massive battle, in which a quarter of the population is taken captive, and the ARM powering the city -- known as a Plant -- is removed and carried away. Due to the harsh desert environment, the city collapses into social chaos, and becomes little more than a sand-swept wreck within the course of the year.
356 PC - Having been warned by the fall of February, the citizens of the Seed cities are ready to fight back. Local militias begin to ambush these raiders in the field, and attacks against the cities are slowed considerably. On mid-year's day, a full division of Gears is marshalled against the city of April, where the fighting is heaviest, only to be met by the sudden emergence of seven unknown Gears of considerable power, which deploy from absolutely nowhere and devastate the attacking forces.
The city of May, meanwhile, is swept by a sandstorm, pinning the raiders in place for the better course of a day. As soon as the storm breaks, they all run -- leaving their weapons and equipment behind in the dust. Citizens of May speak of a man in red with spiky yellow hair who walked the city, reassuring women and children and encouraging the men to stand firm. They credit him for creating such a ruckus that the ‘raiders' were forced to withdraw from the city in a literal wave of bodies, tumbling over each other to reach their transports and flee. The incident gives the man in the red coat the first of his legendary monikers: "Vash the Stampede."
389 PC - The Veruni arrive. None are quite certain where they came from. Some say they hid among the meteors in the Night of Falling Stars, while others claim the Veruni simply appeared from nowhere. There are attacks across Filgaia, which prompts some of the worst fighting. Rumors from across the planet speak of great clashes between Solaris, Shevat, and the Veruni's forces. They are repulsed from much of Ignas and Aquvy, though they establish small enclaves.
Elru bears the brunt of the attack, and the center of the continent quickly comes under their control. Arctica and Garlyle in the north and Elesius in the south fence in the Veruni, which rule over much of the middle portion of the continent. Elluria absorbs yet more refugees in the wake of this attack. The alien Veruni establish their Control Zones across Filgaia, which are isolated and immensely hostile.
Outside of Elru, the Veruni quickly become a boogeyman, rarely believed to exist by many of the common folk. Their few isolated control zones on Ignas and Aquvy only fuel the wild imaginations of those unlucky enough to brush against them.
422 PC - Damaged wrecks from the Day of Collapse are excavated along the Nisan border by Kislev; the find includes several Gears. A major offensive is launched against Aveh, rolling the kingdom back until they begin to excavate and deploy Gears of their own. Adlehyde protests vigorously, pointing to the prohibitions of the Treaty of Iscariot. Aveh and Kislev are unmoved.
425 PC - Kislev discovers an almost intact Gear storage and maintenance hangar underneath a forest on the outskirts of their territory, but much of the structure extends under a nearby town in Adlehyde territory. Kislev moves to annex the town, launching raids to surround it and capture its population. Their advance force vanishes without a trace, and the hangar is found collapsed in on itself, leaving behind nothing but a huge crater full of scrap metal. Kislev's pilots report a man in red rampaging through their formation, destroying machines left and right but never harming any of the troops. The mysterious man is given the codename "The Humanoid Typhoon," which would later come to be connected with the mysterious wanderer, Vash the Stampede -- a man last seen nearly seventy years earlier.
449 PC - The city of July vanishes in a blaze of light that is reportedly seen hundreds of miles away. There are no survivors, and no cause is known. All that remains is a flat, devastated terrain of glittering sand, where granules have been fused into shards of glass.
462 PC - The centuries-long Aveh-Kislev War enters a ceasefire. King Edbart Fatima is revealed to have secretly traveled across the Kislev defensive perimeter -- alone and unguarded -- to visit the capital of Nortune. After spending several weeks observing the suffering the war was causing the ordinary citizenry, King Edbart presented himself to the palace of Kaiser Sigmund, where he offered to cease all excavation of Metal Demon sites if Sigmund would do the same. Impressed by the young king's bold action, the Kaiser agreed, and personally accompanied him back to Bledavik, the capital of Aveh.
467 PC - Alan Smithy, a legendary Drifter, publishes a memoir titled To Those Who Come and Go. The book is published in Kislev originally, but it quickly becomes popular across Ignas and Aquvy. Smithy's book essentially creates both the modern popular impression of the Drifter and modern Drifter culture. The image of Smithy, wearing his duster, ten-gallon hat, and carrying a six-shooter ARM, becomes the popular image of the heroic and despised Drifter. Smithy has left signs across the wastelands for Drifters to find.
471 PC - Political tension grows within the nation of Celesti. Long divided along class lines, Celesti society is divided between those who favor representative democracy and those who favor the current oligarchic system. The situation finally boils over when a key populist figure is assassinated, turning into a full-fledged civil war. Celesti splits into two factions: the populist Aquvy Union and the oligarchic Congressional Knights. The other powers of Aquvy express concern and displeasure, but none are officially involved.
477 PC - Congressional forces lay siege to the Union-held city of Gaura Bobelo, cutting it off from the outside world. The siege persists for a full week, during which a Union soldier wages a one-man guerilla war against an entire Congressional division. When the Congressional forces finally catch the man, he reveals superhuman reflexes, and a weapon unlike anything Celesti has ever seen. What Congressional forces survive beat a hasty retreat, and the Union recognizes the soldier as a war hero. His name is Hauser Blackwell, and he quickly earns the nickname "Black Reaper."
479 PC - The storied warrior Prince Hrathnir ascends the throne of Elesius as third of his name. He commits himself to reforming the warmongering, expansionist kingdom of his father into one of peace.
480 PC - Zera Innocentius is raised to the head of the Granas Sect of the Ethos Church, a position of tremendous influence. His policies and support for adventuring help to redouble the efforts of many Drifters to participate in Ethos backed expeditions, heralding another boom of exploration.
485 PC - Tension in Aveh reaches a high point, as the citizens -- freed from the unifying pressure of their long war with Kislev -- question the monarchy's handling of the desertification that is spreading across their land. In response, King Edbart sponsors a group of scientists, whom he dubs the Council of Seven, to study the phenomenon at Curan Abbey. They later move their laboratory out of the city.
487 PC - Riots in the city of Bledavik claim the lives of King Edbart and his wife; their Prime Minister, Javid Shakhan, calms the people by reforming the centuries-old kingdom into an elected republic. King Edbart's heir, Bartholomew, vanishes from protective custody, and is widely believed to have been killed.
488 PC - Prime Minister Shakhan orders the resumption of excavation in the Sand Ocean, violating the terms of Aveh's ceasefire with Kislev. Hostilities recommence immediately.
Famous war hero Hauser Blackwell disappears from the public eye. Most citizens assume he was either killed in action or captured by Congressional forces. No funeral is held.
490 PC - Slayheim's militaristic policies finally lead to a boil-over within its citizens. An anti-government militia forms, the Slayheim Liberation Army, led by the popular hero Vinsfeld Rhadamanthus. Meanwhile, the Council of Seven's laboratory explodes in a giant ball of flame, killing the entirety of the Council and their assistants.
491 PC - To help aid its weapon development programs, Kislev founds the Battling Tournament, which pits experimental Gears against each other in a Battle Arena located in the heart of Nortune. The inaugural tournament is won by a beastman prisoner named Rico Banderas, who earns the title of Battling King - a title he holds to this day.
Without warning, the Congressional city of Verklarung is rocked by a series of explosions, ending in a firestorm that seeds the winds with toxins. Only a handful of its citizens survive. Several of them identify the perpetrator as a man in a Union uniform -- the missing Hauser Blackwell. The Congressional Knights declare him a war criminal, and offer an enormous reward for his capture.
The tide of the war begins to turn against the Aquvy Union, exacerbated by unchecked sabotage by Congressional operatives. Several months after Verklarung's destruction, the Union surrenders, and the Congressional Knights assume control over what little is left of Celesti. Their first action is to bring Hauser Blackwell to trial in absentia, sentencing him to 4,000 years imprisonment in Ilsveil Prison for war crimes. They never get the chance to carry out the sentence -- less than six months in, the Congressional government collapses from nepotism and uncontrolled corruption, and its leadership is murdered. The surviving citizens band together in small groups for mutual protection.
493 PC - Raiders of unknown origin deploy in large numbers -- supported by Gears -- on the continent of Elru. Their assaults on Arctica and Elluria prove initially decisive, but as the two nations' forces pull back to their defensive lines, the attacking forces suddenly come under assault from an unidentified warrior. The so-called Red Demon of Elru devastates the raiders, scattering them to the winds. Almost at the same time, a massive natural disaster in the center of the continent renders part of the central Elru continent unfit for human life. Arctica and Elluria become more isolationist, hoping to weather the storm, as they now have one fewer ally against the Veruni. The Veruni contain the damage in their zone of control, expanding into the Garlyle region. Refugees from Elru flee to the mainland, with citizens from Cyrum settling near Adelhyde and the citizens and remaining military of Garlyle joining with their allies in Aveh.
494 PC - The Slayheim Liberation Army seizes the capital city of Slayheim, but the detonation of an unknown weapon -- believed to be a forbidden ARM -- transforms the entirety of Slayheim into a field of silent salt. The next year, Vinsfeld Rhadamanthus, now in command of what little remains of Slayheim's government, captures and condemns a soldier named Brad Evans for the crime of activating the weapon.
495 PC - The largest bounty ever recorded is posted through the Ethos. The actual poster remains anonymous, and the reason is given as the destruction of the City of Lost July, a violation of the Treaty of Iscariot The amount is a staggering 60,000,000,000 gella. The target, wanted Dead or Alive: Vash the Stampede. Red coats go quickly out of fashion.
497 PC - Princess Royal Alexia Lynn Elesius performs the Rite of Divine Coalescence, a ritual wherein a woman of House Elesius makes contact with the Guardians. However, for the first time in Elesian history, she fails the rite, and emerges with none of the powers that mark a Princess Medium. She flees the palace in shame, and is seen throwing herself from a cliff to her death. With Princess Alexia's apparent death, King Hrathnir's existing illness becomes critical, rendering him bedridden.
A mysterious illness known as Zopt Syndrome starts spreading through Filgaia. While symptoms can be relieved through medicine, the degenerative illness cannot be cured, and its cause remains unknown even to the most accomplished of medical experts.
498 PC - Arctica abruptly ceases all communication. Nobody knows why, and travelers to the kingdom vanish without a trace. The kingdom of Elluria -- now the only remaining human power on northern Elru -- empties its treasury to purchase and train its forces in the use of ARMs, with the assistance of the Ethos. Fears of a full-scale Veruni assault become widespread among the Elesian populace, while their king languishes.
The Current Year
The first months of the year 499 PC are quite busy, and all of Filgaia is abuzz with a variety of news.
On the first day of the year, a meteor burns its way across the night sky, and is believed to have landed on Elru. What little news has escaped the continent is not good: Elluria is said to be under siege from unknown forces emanating from the meteor, which comes to be known as the "Sorcery Globe." Ellurian citizens in Ignas and Aquvy are attempting to rally the other nations to go to Elru's aid, with little success.
Kislev and Aveh remain at war. Archaeological expeditions sponsored by Adlehyde and spearheaded by Doctor Emma Hetfield discover the resting places of several Metal Demon-era Golems: Land Battle Golem Diablo and Long Distance Bomber Golem Barbados, with excavation under way on the Particle Inhibitor Golem Lolithia.
As the Lacour Arms Tournament approaches, King Justin of Adlehyde decides to make a grand showcase of his nation's deeds. He announces an archaeological fair will be put on in Adlehyde Castle Town itself, dubbed the Ancient Culture Exhibition. With the blessing of the Ethos, it will feature not only a display of historical ARMs discovered within Adlehyde's borders, but the main event will be a public exhibition of the Golems Diablo, Lolithia, and Barbados. Justin calls upon Drifters and Diggers from across the continent to bring their greatest finds for display in the Ancient Culture Exhibition. The King of Lacour, in support of his ally, reschedules the Lacour Arms Tournament to fall shortly after the conclusion of the Exhibition.
In Meria Boule, rumours are emerging that the country's leadership is putting together a task force designed to bolster its defences in the event the eventual winner of the Aveh-Kislev war begins getting imperial ambitions.
In Elesius, meanwhile, King Hrathnir remains bedridden, and his Royal Council is ruling in his stead (over the objections and without the participation of the Royal Knights, who answer to the king alone). Court magician Labyrinthia Wordsworth has recently been branded a traitor, and is said to have fled justice to Ignas.