It is the year 542 in the age of weaving. Year 1 was the year a new technique of magic, known as “weaving”, was first devised by a human initiate. This discovery catapulted the world into an age unlike any that had been seen before. Weaving allowed mages to tie magic to objects with unprecedented permanency. Unlike the magic of yore, where tying permanent magic to objects was a long and costly process, weaving drastically reduced both cost and time. While the specific types of magic that can be used when weaving are rather limited, the relatively low cost makes weaving indispensable.
Initially, weaving was used to create niche luxury goods for wealthy individuals as the cost was still prohibitively expensive for the majority of people to afford. A small consortium of mages from the Emerald Spire (a mage’s college in the now sub aquatic city of Arborium) figured out numerous ways for inexperienced individuals to weave. While these methods were nowhere near as effective or powerful as true weaving, they would allow for large groups of people to create minor magical items cheaply and quickly. This led to a massive change in the life of an everyday citizen. Farms were the first to gain massive benefit from this technology and soon droves of people were moving to the cities as they were no longer needed as farmhands. Cities exploded in population, within a few years many of the major cities doubled in size. Massive housing projects were built to house the influx of people and grand factories were constructed to employ them.
As human cities expanded and more and more people began to take up basic weaving, Cities demanded more resources to fuel these factories. Human mining efforts were unable to keep up with demand and thus many human kingdoms forged close ties with the neighboring dwarven lands. Trade deals were established and materials began to flow from the great dwarven mines. Estia crystals which are used to focus magical energies were the most prized import, but basic minerals like stone, iron, and coal were brought in.
The naturally crafty gnomes also benefited greatly from this new industrialization. The vast majority quickly integrated into human cities and a great many carved out lucrative careers as engineers, artisans, and the like.
This great expansion in resources did not come without cost however. The new industrial human and dwarven powers began to heavily pollute the world around them. Forests were decimated, water polluted, and the skies darkened with toxic fumes. The mix of natural and magical pollutants led to wildly unpredictable effects from horrific mutations, to birth defects, to spellplague to perpetuate in the areas hit the hardest. A consortium of elven and fey interests formed hoping to curtail the expansion of these destructive industries. A small handful of innovations were eventually implemented to reduce the unchecked pollution, but it was not enough to stop widespread destruction of natural life. Global temperatures rose, and with it, the sea level. Human cities were driven to the highlands, drow were forced to the surface (and promptly made peace with the surface elves to avoid extinction), spellplagued jungles spread across islands.
This is when dragons stepped in. Seeing no other options, both chromatic and metallic dragons began attacking industrial centers in order to punish man and dwarvenkind for the path they had gone down. The advent of cannons was to be the dragon’s downfall however. While a single dragon could easily destroy five dozen cannoneers, there would always be more. It is estimated that over a hundred dragons were slain during this time. The remaining dragons are said to have been either hunted down or left with the elves.
Seeing that even the mighty dragons could not stop the destruction caused by this new world, the elves lost hope. In the year 227 they embarked upon a mass exodus from the world, taking with them many of the intelligent creatures that inhabited the world such as giant eagles and unicorns. Nobody is sure where they went and each scholar has their own hypothesis.
Of the magical creatures that didn’t leave, none have become more prolific than the merfolk. With so much now submerged, merfolk have had access to resources of old cities as well as territory in which to live. While their society doesn’t interact much with that of surface dwellers, they have been known to trade for resources or protection from the other sub-oceanic race the Kuo-Toa (nasty little fish headed buggers who have also expanded greatly since the ocean’s rise).
In more recent years things have stabilized. The rising seas eventually leveled out and the world reached an unsteady equilibrium. The massive, warm seas became quickly filled with all manner of deadly beasts making trade by sea too dangerous. Never to be stopped, man and dwarf turned to the skies instead, building airships to transport goods across the treacherous seas. Rocs, griffins, and the like were hunted to extinction as the skies became more integral to trade, leaving man the unquestioned ruler of the skies.
With the rising sea level, territory became more scarce. While humans and dwarves were capable of sharing increasingly dense cities with relatively little bloodshed, orcs, gnolls, and goblinoids (goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears) were not so peaceful. Eventually, humans and dwarves captured and forced thousands of these creatures into labor camps. There was no land for them to live in relative peace and most did not integrate into city life. In 354 a massive organization of goblins rose up against their oppressors and were brutally put down. In recent years there has been a growing movement against the flagrant slavery going taking place across the world, but it has yet to gain any major traction.