Americana (3.5e Campaign Setting)/History
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|“||That's the Potoma Marsh. Stretches from here down into north Florida country. The local Natives say there used to be a "great white city" in the middle of the mess. Hogwash, of course, but we do find artifacts from time to time.||”|
|—Nicholas Carlyle, Atlantean archaeologist|
The Great War
The Great War is not so-called lightly. It raged for as long as any memory could remember when history began to be pieced together again after it ended. Every living thing on the continent fought it, in one way or another, by one means or another, and by its end any original meaning had been forgotten.
It probably would have consumed everything and never ended until life had, had a monumental discovery not been made in its final year. An author and battlefield reporter by the name of Mark Twain, as the result of years of research and reporting, discovered that--at least in its recent years, possibly longer--the war had been masterminded as a gigantic game of thrones by thirteen great beasts, known as the Dragon Lords: immensely old and powerful, formerly thought to be dumb living weapons of war but in fact immensely intelligent and running their "commanders" as puppets.
He called together the seven most powerful warlords and generals to the old citadel in St. Louis, revealing this information to them. Horrified, they confirmed it by interrogating one of the dragons they had captured, which caused great uncertainty for even the most basic validity of their fight. With utmost haste, they held a great parlay at the stronghold of General Anderson, outside what had once been known as Chicago. There, after nearly a month, they did something that no-one who had known them or lived through the fighting could have ever expected them to do.
They signed a peace treaty, and ended the Great War.
The Treaty of Fort Dearborn
The treaty is long, and complex, filled as it is with the language of the time and mountains of bureaucracy and clauses. In simple form, however, it boils down to this:
- The Generals will go their separate ways, and take with them whoever wishes to follow.
- Peace shall be declared among all men, and no warring or fighting allowed among any group of peoples for at least ten years. This is to be enforced by all nations against the aggressor.
- Any attempt by "the self-proclaimed Lords of all Dragons and kings of the beasts" to start further fighting or disrupt the peace "shall be met with the utmost and most righteous indignation and unified resistance as has ever been seen among thinking peoples".
Exactly to what degree the Generals could uphold the last threat was debatable, but when no response to the treaty was received within a month of its signing, it was considered ratified by the Gods, and the armies went their separate ways.
The Great War was over.
The Age of Glory
The Quiet Years
This is where the archives of the Artisans begin. The first entry was penned by Mark Twain two days after the signing of the Treaty and the breaking of the armies, and it would be gradually barracked by the works of the other archivists as the Order of St. Louis grew.
The Treaty marked the end of constant war--though only the hopeless optimists believed it to mark the end of all war. The Seven Generals parted ways, and the continent fell into an era of seclusion. The Generals each found their way to one of the continent's seven greatest former cities, and the work of reconquest and reconstruction began apace. That history is recorded elsewhere, but for a generation no major expansion or exploration was recorded between the nations.
The different races responded to the end of the war in different ways. Humans, elves, dwarves, and goblins followed the examples of the Generals, forming organized, settled societies and beginning the process of rebuilding lost technology and shattered infrastructure. Some sects of the elves and goblins, seeing conflict at the end of that road, opted instead to split from the new nations and form tribes in the wildernesses and the vast Great Plain--the bulk of what would later be called Natives. The orcs, lacking the powerful leadership of the other races, exploded into infighting and eventually retreated into the hinterlands, fragmented. The lizardfolk remained separated, as they had been. The kobolds, who had been uninvolved in the war and kept in secret to work the will of the dragons, suddenly found themselves without gods or leaders, and as such underwent a short period of disorder before establishing a new government and opening contact with the outside world.
Forging The Links
The foundation of Las Vegas in 30 A.G. was a milestone event, in several ways. Not only was Vegas the first of the "second generation" of nation-states, but its existence signifies that trade through the passes of the Pacifics was strong enough for Vegas' founding to be considered worth the profit.
Several of the Nations were still undergoing birth pains, but beginning attempts at recontact would dominate the period, and the power structure which continues to this day would be first established in the 40's and 50's--the dominance of the seven earliest nations, mostly in the same order of power. Chicago at the top, her massive population and resources held in check by internal strife. New York and Detroit, jockeying for military and technological supremacy with each other. Los Angeles, attempting to enforce violently her dreams of empire. Dallas, attempting the same, but with a great deal more subtlety. Atlanta, spreading influence and will through dreams of peace and freedom--with control of the feedbag backing it up. And Seattle, the mightiest of the great magical enclaves, holding tenuously against the sea, the rain, and the outside world.
The death of Ian Anderson in 56 A.G. galvanized his long-time rival and ruler of Detroit, Alexander O'Hern, to furious action. Believing his own death to be imminent, in the next year he put into publication his work on steam power--the use of steam to drive an engine of machinery. Though he would die shortly after its publication, he died confident that what he had found would change the face of the world forever.
It would be a world none of the Generals would ever see, for he was the last. With his death, the Americ human nations would be left to write their own destinies.
Some notable events in this period include the foundation of Las Vegas, the first Crusade of Regulation (by Los Angeles against the Pirate-King of Alcatraz), the end of the Dallas Unification Period, the performance of the first Broad Street show (The Bountiful Sea, 50 A.G.), and the rediscovery of steam power.
"The Growing Time"
Steam changed Americana. Feeding on coal and riding steel rails, it turned trips which had once taken months into matters of days. It was also, however, a vulnerable invention, and attempts at long, unbroken chains of rail proved the death of more than one dream. Indians and outlanders hated the train, for a wide number of reasons, and resistance to its establishment proved stronger than the still mostly-peaceable nations were willing to test. Between nations, travel would remain a dicey business for decades, and only a few highly guarded rail lines would bridge the gaps.
But bridge they did. As the tenuous rail lines were forged, nations exploded out around them, beginning what the Indians refer to as "the Growing Time"--the time when man seemed to be everywhere, staking a new claim each day. The peaceful days withered away in this time period, as skirmishes with Indians over land rights and food resources erupted into conflict. But the tide was inexorable, and the long-viewed Indians began shrinking back, securing their dominion over the Great Plain and abandoning the border regions to Dallas, Chicago, New Orleans, and the Detroi colony at St. Paul (est. 66 A.G.). St. Paul in particular has a unique relationship to the Natives of the region, but that story is told better elsewhere.
But not everything was good news. Setbacks upon setbacks occurred--the demolition of the kobold kingdom of Kurt'yip'yak in 62 A.G. deprived the Southwest of one of its most stable trading nations (as well as one which expanded its borders underground and out of collision with its neighbors) as well as its underground shortcut through the baking desert of the Paso de Sur. First contact with the necropolis at Tombstone was recorded in 60 A.G., though its undead had been found wandering nearby for some years. The Great Northern Environmental Collapse destroyed the natural order of the entire Northeast, putting the region on the brink of starvation virtually overnight and making Detroit and the Indians permanent, eternal enemies. And in 71 A.G., Alexander O'Hern, Jr., discovered the means for template production.
The world would never be the same.
Some notable events of this era include the transcontinental travel of Edward Collins and Michael Aldrin from San Francisco to New York, the first travel by steam engine (59 A.G., Detroit to Flint), the Great Northern Environmental Collapse, the first encounter of a mooseman, the collapse of Kurt'yip'yak, the foundation of Yellowstone, and the first excursion by steamboat (invented Robert Fulton, Detroit colony at St. Paul, 70 A.G.).
War and the Wire
The Twenty Years War
But the peace which followed the short New Yorki-Detroi conflict would last less than ten years; and when it ended, it sucked the entire continent into a new and massive war. This conflict, afterwards dubbed the Twenty Years War, started out as the most recent of the Holy Audience of Los Angeles' "Crusades of Regulation" against Las Vegas; normally the Neon Fortress would just close its gates and ask the Crusaders to kindly go jump, but Vegas had prospered over the years of peace, and was feeling ready to throw down with its much bigger rival. in no time flat, this latest L.A.-L.V. spat had become an open, bloody battle. San Francisco attempted to act as a mediator and wound up getting sucked in on its own, and ten years later the war had spread as far north as Yellowstone and as far east as New Orleans.
At the same time (about five years into the conflict), a small conflict erupted on the Atlantean border when a group of the "hill-billies" living in the unclaimed Appalachia region took violent offense to that nation's attempts to expand its territory. New Orleans was secretly backing the hillbillies- a fact that was soon discovered- and a small-scale war soon erupted in the south which would seesaw back and forth for three years, eventually ending after New Orleans suffered its first and only attack by forces from farther westward as a result of the larger conflict. The attack galvanized the two nations to end their own struggle and focus on keeping out of the overall war; a vicious retaliatory strike on Houston City by a combined force of New Orlean and Atlantean troops ended all further aggression against the Deep South.
Chicago, meanwhile, saw a chance to gain domination over the West Coast and sent in its own troops at this point, only to be struck heavily on two sides- on the battlefront by a united assault from Dallas and Las Vegas, who gave up their own fight to pound on the hated newcomer, and at home by a sudden attempt by "Big Al", a local crimelord, to take control of the city. The Chicagoans retreated from the field, bringing in their troops to try to messily regain control of the undercity, only to have the Westerners follow.
Detroit saw a chance to rise to ultimate power, with Chicago already trying to hold off half the Americ nations, and ordered its St. Paul garrison to attack the city.
|“||According to those present, St. Paul's Mayordomo took one look at the comparison chart for their armed forces and those of Chicago and ordered his scribes to begin composing a Doctrine of Secession.||”|
|—Oakley Nashton, Missourian Artisan|
Though the decision to revolt was not as without warning as such a quote would have you believe- the Paulites had been feeling rather underrepresented in Mother Detroit for some time- it still came as quite a shock to the Detroi, who immediately began making plans to launch a full offensive to crush their impudent former territory. But the Paulites had a good deal of sympathy in the Iron City, and used their advance knowledge of the plan to forge hasty alliances with New York, the native Minnesotes, and several of the Native Americ tribes.
When the Detroi attack force entered the lands south of the Great Bay, they were struck from all four sides- in front by the Paulite land forces, from the south by the native Ohi, from the north by the Paulite and Minnesote naval forces, and from behind by a massive New Yorki force. The Detroi were completely wiped out, but the Paulites took heavy losses, and as the Minnesotans retreated to their own lands the New Yorki turned around and began to siege their hated neighbor.
This lasted for three years, until finally the Chicagoan and Detroi governments sued for peace. The Treaty of Missouri marked the end of the War, the official recognition of the St. Paul Secession, and the establishment of the Nation-state boundaries as they exist today.
The year is 111 A.G.; one hundred eleven years into the Age of Glory.
Over a century has passed since the Great War ended and history began again. It has been six years since the end of the Twenty Years War. The Nation-States, as ever, are in constant flux, rising and falling in dominance though never quite reaching the level of the Big Seven. But rumors abound of a conspiracy to destroy the Nations as we know them, with its source somewhere out in the vast, trackless wastes at the continent's heart, where bandits, monsters, and the Native America roam.
It is a time of adventure. Of discovery. Of excitement, and conquest, and danger at every turn. And what will happen next is anybody's guess.
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