- The Races of the World | Show
Before the great flooding, the increasing numbers of the human cities were claiming more and more of the lowlands, plains, and coastlines. Their cities grew larger and their populations exploded, diving away the savage races of orcs, goblins, and other monster races in several short wars. Their ships sailed between the continents and the island nations, trading and sometimes conquering. The human race was by far the most populous compared to the other civilized races. For the most part their people allied themselves with the other races to combat the armies of orcs and goblins. Often their cities contained folk from many of the other races as well, as they enjoyed the prosperity of trade with other civilized races.
The Atlantean people are rumored to exist beneath the waves, but most have never seen them and they avoid the affairs of those on the surface. If any had dealings with them it would have been the saurians, but the more civilized people from below would find little in common with the more savage lizard-like race.
The avion people were rare, preferring to live in their secluded mountain communities that were hard to get to by land or their tree-top settlements among the gigantic trees in the ancient forests. Those in the ancient forests often had allied relations with the elven cities, but those in the mountains tended to be more isolationist, except when trading with the dwarves to help war against the invading monsters in their regions.
The Dwarves remained in their mountain strongholds, mining and warring against the orcs and giants of the mountains. Allied with men, many dwarves live among the human cities as well. Sharing in common enemies, they helped the empires of man with their expansion with construction and trade. They also fought wars against the monster races, their forces fighting alongside those of men.
The elven race was in decline, their populations slowly dwindling. Their secluded cities in the forests became fewer as more and more of the younger elves intermingled with the humans and joining the half-elves in cities of men. Those that remained in the forest cities tended to be isolationist and focused on magical studies than worrying about the world’s political affairs unless the armies of evil dared to encroach upon their forested realms.
The gnomes were a curious race full of wanderlust. They were scattered throughout the human lands and dwarven strongholds. There were even a few living among the halflings, elves, avions, and rakashan.
The Halfling communities retained their small, rural communities and traded with the cities of men. Their agriculture goods flowed into the trading networks of the cities. With the expanding of the empires of men, many fell under protection of the various cities that claimed the lands around them. Half-folk merchants integrated into the cities of men as well, yet retained their clannish ways and ties to the rural communities.
Half-orcs were rare among the nations of men, but a few could be found integrated among the cities. Often they were the offspring of women that were raped during orc raids on the rural communities. Others were the offspring of human slaves kept by the orc tribes and mostly remained among the orcs.
Rakashans remained in their remote jungle cities and tropical mountain realms and the plains on the edges of deserts. Their populations still recovering from the major wars fought against lizard-like saurians. They traded with the empires of men, but tended to focus more on their racial enemies of the saurians than the wars with the orcs and goblins. Very few of the feline rakashans migrated to live among the cities of men.
Saurians tended to live in the deserts, jungles, and swamps were they did not come into conflict with the expanding empires of men. However, their ways were too foreign and they were not interested in trade with men, particularly since the rakashans already were. Some of the lizard-like saurian communities did trade with orcs and goblins, rumored to purchase slaves for religious sacrifices.
There were other races of folk, but their communities were rare and any that were present within the human lands were exotic and unusual.
The orcs and goblins still battled against the civilized races in the wilderness regions of forests and foothills. In the mountainous areas, giants led the orcs in their struggle to battle the dwarves. The giants were not numerous, but had small tribes within the mountains and foothills.
- The Dragons | Show
The most of the world’s dragons were red fire breathers and had lairs in the lower mountains and foothills. They flew down to the flat lands to steal cattle and sometimes even raided villages for pleasure. They tended to be older, and started practicing magic after reaching adulthood. Some controlled realms and demanded tribute of those savage races they lorded over. The human expansion was naturally starting encroach upon them. The thought themselves superior to the other dragon species and would as easily battle them if control of territory were at stake.
There were also smaller numbers of other dragon species: The blue, storm dragons tended to stay mostly in temperate mountains and often either got along with their red dragon neighbors or died fighting them. The white, ice dragons lived in the highest peaks in the far north and were the fewest in number among the races of chromatic dragons. The green, swamp dragons were smaller in size and lurked in the fetid swamps and marshes. The brown, sand dragons lived in the deserts and were nearly as rare as the white dragons. The rarest of evil dragons were the black, death dragons that were undead. The black dragons were not a true species themselves, but were created by powerful magic to bring undeath to a dragon when they died and were too stubborn to move on into the afterlife.
There were a few metallic dragons left, but they were also not very common after the red dragons’ crusade to kill them all. The mature and ancient gold and silver dragons that remained could shape shift into elven or human forms, blending within their cities. Some maintained secret lairs as well, those that had not been found by their enemies. Often these dragons in disguise were seen as prominent figures that helped to guide and advise the rulers. Being able to practice magic as well, most were often members of wizard conclaves as they remained their incognito existence among the humans. Those dragons living among the elves did not need to hide their existence as the powerful elven wizards had always been able to hold their own in the war with the evil dragons.
There was legends told of the young gold and silver dragons that partnered with mighty knights to be their flying mounts in the last great battles. It was these dragon riders that had turned the tide and openly displayed the human-dragon alliance that kept the evil dragons from winning. However, most of them had perished in the fighting. Knowing that the metallic dragons were not defeated and they were allied with humans and the other civilized races kept the war from continuing openly as all dragon numbers had been reduced in the fighting. While the dragon riders no longer flew in the skies, the long-lived dragons had not forgotten them.
- The Flooding of the World | Show
In an effort to curtail the increasing numbers of humans and the spread of their cities, an ancient red dragon began researching a ritual spell that he and his fellow magic-wielding dragons could cast that would melt the polar ice caps and raise the levels of the oceans to flood the mostly human occupied lowlands. The fact that it would raise the world’s overall temperature and upset their ice brethren mattered not to them. The potentially damaging blow to the elves was just an added bonus; their ancient wizards had always been formidable foes too.
After years of experimentation and research, the cabal of red dragons headed north and cast the spell. The temperature rise and melting of the polar ice cap played havoc with weather patterns and cause tidal waves that hammered the coasts as the sea level rose. The cataclysm was not instantaneous, though. The red dragons had become exhausted from their ritual spell and fell into a slumber for over a week as the waters rose. When they awoke, they flew to the south and to do it again on the southern polar ice cap. The ice dragons attempted to intervene and a battle ensued. The reds killed a number of the whites and sent the reset fleeing. It delayed the second ritual spell as the red dragons needed time to recover. A second dragon battle came shortly after as the brown, sand dragons found their deserts flooding. They were fewer in number than the ice dragons and lost badly, only a few surviving to go hide in the mountains and sulk for the decades to come. At least the foothills of the mountains were warmer than they used to be.
The human priests and wizards began to look into trying to prevent the flooding, but there was nothing they could do. In praying to the gods for help, the clerics and druids were answered with a gift of knowledge about one of the common ores running throughout the earth and a specific spell that could be used to enchant the ore into levitating. In truth the ore was just altered iron and had not existed as a separate element at all until the gods and goddesses had intervened. They provided the priests with an earth manipulation spell that could channel divine power into the special ore to cause the metal to levitate and defy gravity. Working with wizards that could shape the ore quickly, they were able to spell vast amounts of the ore in the bedrock foundations beneath some of their cities to raise them into the air in and effort to escape the flooding of the rising seas.
Not all the cities and lands around could be raised successfully. In their haste, they had not been able to ensure enough of the special iron was underneath and a few cities broke apart upon rising. Some coastal cities had also been lost before the spells and ore were revealed. The rural communities of the halflings suffered quickly, being mostly in the lowlands and agricultural. Those halflings that survived abandoned their homes to join the human populations. The new floating cities still had to find a way to feed their people, and the halfling folk were there to aid those efforts, continuing to do what they always had done.
The elves had evacuated some of their cities to congregate in their capital. They had consulted and learned to use the techniques of the human priests and wizards. With a tremendous amount of magical power, they seed the earth underneath their city and as much of the surrounding forest as they could with the ore, casting the spells to raise it all up into the air.
The avion people were not affected in the mountains, except that more of the savage monster races had migrated to higher ground and encroached upon their territory. Those avion in the elven forests migrated to the mountains or joined the elven floating city.
The dwarven strongholds were at higher elevations and mostly unaffected. The demand for the special iron became the immediate priority of the civilized races, but it was found in abundance everywhere. After the cities and lands were floating, the need to develop ships that could fly soon followed. With the help of gnomish and human entrepreneurs, the forested dwarven mountains soon became the main source of airship building.
The rakashans had to abandon some of their jungle cities in the lowlands and fought another small war with saurians that tried migrating into their territory that was above level of the rising seas. After defending their lands, they still migrated into the tropical mountain regions as they still needed to abandon the flooded regions.
The saurians had also been flooded out in the lowlands and deserts, but migrated inland with the flooding waters to occupy the continually receding coastline. When moving into the jungles of the feline rakashans, the migration set off another war between the peoples. Many were killed and the survivors instead made new homes in the abandoned flooded forests and jungles where the water remained shallow enough that the tops of trees stood above the waterline. Much of these areas would become new swampland after time.
The orcs, goblins, and other savage races had been forced into the mountains and foothills also received refugees of their brethren that had to escape the rising waters. As a result there were island mountain realms that were entirely occupied by the monstrous races, killing or enslaving the refugees they came across. Orc longships soon began raiding coastlines to plunder and take slaves from the refugees trying to resettle on higher ground of the other new islands around them.
The higher elevations escaped the flooding, but were now island nations instead. Some of the previous islands that existed before the flooding had completely disappeared, small numbers of refugees surviving in ships. The newly created mountainous islands still maintained their mining industries and developed more forestry and agriculture as the climate became more temperate to tropical.
- The Aftermath years | Show
Over the next years, floating cities had trouble supporting their populations as they needed to convert more of their airborne land to fruit and vegetable gardens and provide some grazing for livestock. Out of necessity, population density lessoned as more and more land from below the surface of the sea was raised up to provide new floating settlements. The warmer climate and being able to control the elevation of the city to get above the clouds helped to increase the agricultural productivity. Druids had migrated to the cities, their services being in demand with their affinity for nature magic.
Wooden ships, bound with the enchanted floating ore became the main transportation between the floating cities. Some airships were powered by sails, following the air currents or using a magic user to manipulate them to sail were they wanted to go. Some airships were propelled by gnomish contraptions that were essentially large, manpowered fans. Still over airships were pulled through the air by domesticated flying beasts that were trained to pull them through the air. Fantastical flying beasts (like Pegasus and hippogriffs) became another means of travel between the floating cities for those that could afford them.
In the years following the great flooding, the red dragons demanded tributes of the floating cities. Compared to before, these cities proved to be vulnerable to the aerial attacks of the malevolent dragons until the inhabitants learned new ways of fighting back. Airship flotillas armed with ballistae ensured the wealthier floating cities’ freedom.
Despite adapting to the changing world, the civilized races were not always unified as some tended to become isolationists in their struggle to survive and support their populations. The red dragons had drastically reduced the human population and stunted their expansion.
- The mechanics of floating | Show
The spell to invoke the ore to float was not a difficult spell, only requiring a seasoned spell caster. But it was divine magic, only able to be cast by the druids, clerics and priests, taught by the gods that allowed the special ore to become buoyant.
Once the ore became buoyant, it automatically would gradually float upwards to about 5 feet from the surface below it. The surface could be hard ground or water. Later it was discovered that even flat wooden surfaces could be used to raise and lower the elevation of the buoyant ore. This worked well for the cities, but not for transportation.
Even though it would float on its own, the ore still required other forces to move it laterally or change its elevation faster. To raise or relocate a city quickly, it required powerful magic to actually move them. It required greater telekinesis spells with multiple wizards working together in a ritual casting to amplify the spell effects.
Once the cities were airborne, they could drift with the wind currents unless either anchored to the ground or using other means. To get around this, powerful druids or wizards that specialized in air magic could set up wards to alter the wind’s flow to go around the massive floating islands to keep them from being subjected to the whims of the wind. Some cities initially employed a cabal of wizards to move the city repeatedly, but this became expensive as the wizards had no desire to be shackled to such mundane tasks for their powerful magic.
Gnomish engineers developed crude mechanical contraptions that were designed to fan air. They were operated by people turning cranks or even animals that were hooked up to wheels that could be turned around and around. The contraptions could be used to help speed the changes of elevation too.
Most ships found it cheaper and faster to sail the seas and then rely on the city to send down floating ore pontoons to raise the ship into the sky to dock pier side. However, with the issue being more about traversing the sky instead of floating in it, there were varied ways to go about pulling or pushing them through the sky be tried and invented all the time.
As the cities were able to drift at higher altitudes, so then the ships plying trade between them needed to follow. Many airships were converted from sailing ships, but without a keel biting into the water, sailing them was not able to be done the same way. Smaller sails wer used to help propel them with the wind. To go in any other direction, crude mechanic devices were developed (mostly variations of fans), but they required muscle power to work and could not achieve very great speeds. Mage pilots could use greater telekinesis to move faster, but those powerful wizards willing to be a ship’s pilot were rare.
Smaller boats were easier to fly, most having teams of rowers that used long fans like oars as they propelled their boat through the sky.