The History of Arnas : A Fictional D&D Kingdom
Some time ago, I wrote this long history for the kingdom of Arnas, which is the kingdom my PCs have recently discovered. They just helped the youngest prince with a Doppelganger invasion in one of the small villages that make up the vast realm.
At first, it was just a little “side-quest” sort of thing, like a cave full of kobolds or something. But as I built the adventure, I started to build Arnas as well, and decided that it would be the main realm my player’s PCs would adventure around in (because so far they don’t seem to have any other purpose than wandering around taking care of small groups of goblins and suchlike).
I built up a history, and painted it with buckets of Epic. I was trying to create something like a miniature Middle-Earth, but with a slightly more bunch-of-events-thrown-together history, which allowed for more possibility in dungeons having to do with said events.
So I made it all up and had one of my NPCs as the author and had him give it to the Paladin PC, who got a +3 bonus to History for reading it.
Here it is. (Warning : it’s reeeeeally long.)
History of Arnas
Scratching the surface of a deep legend
Arnas’ history is divided into three ages: The Ancient Age, The Golden Age and the Dawning Age.
The Ancient Age
At the beginning of the Ancient Age, only humans lived in Arnas. The kingdom spread out over all the forest, but had only one major “village”, called Ungesen, later to become the capital of the great realm. The rest was a handful of small villages scattered throughout the forest. Then came the first king of Arnas: Dirfan Gerinen. Dirfan was great, valiant and wise. He led many conquests, and throughout the first half of the Ancient Age, Arnas expanded tremendously. Small villages sprung up all over the forest, later to become main capitals of the kingdom, such as Dragorrhim, Helmadir or Jubali.
He fought many a battle with the monsters lurking in the dark and twisted corners of the wood. He even slew the black dragon Streith Lòm, earning him the title of Dragonslayer, amongst many other noble titles.
Some say Dirfan lived for over two hundred years. This is possible, though unlikely. In any case, his name passed on into legend, and he became one of the greatest heroes in Arnasian history.
He had eight sons, and after his death, they all fought for power over the throne. They plotted and planned against each-other; but they were all brave and intelligent, and equal in every way. So much that they eventually killed one another. All of this happened within a year; and at the end of the year, once all the brothers had passed on, the queen, Dirfan’s wife Anglathena, revealed her secret pregnancy. Dirfan’s last child. She was afraid to expose the truth, for fear of the brothers killing the newborn baby.
The boy, named Dirif, was raised to be like his father, and when he came of age, sat on the throne. His reign was just, and he continued the conquests his father had begun, as did his descendants. And so on for most of the Ancient Age, up until the very end.
At the end of the Ancient Age, Dirif’s descendant, Dargur, a born warrior, sat on the throne. He had been struggling for many a year with the threat of a Drow invasion, and it seemed Arnas’ defences were about to give way. At the final battle, known as the Call of the Grey, when all hope for Arnas seemed lost, a horn sounded in the distance. The Elves had come to their aid. They came from the West and swarmed up the hill that was the battlefield, driving the Drow back to the Shadowfell.
The leader of the Elves was Lirith Silverbow. Dargur invited the Elves to share the kingdom with the humans. At first, they lived separately, with Lirith as king of Elves and Dargur as king of men. Then, when both fell defending each other in the battle of Driven Crest against an Orc army, and Arnas realized that neither had children to claim the throne, the two races merged under one ruler. The line of the Gerinen and the Silverbow had ended. The reign of the Threneven had begun.
Toren Threneven, a human, was put onto the throne when the two leaders fell, and this marked the beginning of the Golden Age.
The Golden Age
Because the two halves had been united under one king, the Elves and the Humans were able to communicate with greater ease. The Elves, fair and wise, poured their wisdom into Arnasian culture. The men learned much from these graceful beings, and Arnas grew once more; but this time in knowledge and wisdom rather than in size. That is why it is called the Golden Age: It was a long period of learning, of industrial revolution and peace.
The humans learned more about nature, and the forest surrounding them. They learned to adapt themselves to life in the treetops; they learned to navigate through the woods without ever getting lost. They grew closer and closer to the race of Elves, and eventually, the first Half-Elves were born.
The Threneven kings were intellectuals of nature, and learned fast. They gathered much knowledge; and soon knew as much as there was to know about the woods of Arnas. They eventually decided to start learning of a different subject, and studied minerals and the power contained in special stones. They learned to channel that power into spells; they learned to infuse regular stone with the power. In particular, Terini Threneven, the Half-Elf maiden, learned how to infuse stone with power from the outside world, such as the power of the elements or the power of the Astral Sea. She created the Shirian Stone, said to contain the light of the dawn, the warm glow of the sunset and the will to do good.
Near the end of the Golden Age, other races started to come to Arnas: Dwarves, Gnomes and Tieflings. The Threneven disapproved greatly; but being rulers of peace, they decided to step down from the throne instead of fighting off the newcomers. This marked the end of the Golden Age and the beginning of the Dawning Age.
The Dawning Age
The Threneven then became the Elderon, the Human and Half-Elf people, and the only ones to know the secret of Stone Infusion. They lingered on for a long time, for about two centuries of the beginning of the Dawning Age, under the service of the new king, Èrenal Elderhall, another human. They created the Guardian stones, magical stones of protective power, to keep the smaller villages safe from attack. Then, they vanished.
None but they know whether they fled to the outside world, or if they linger still in the forest, hidden at the heart of the kingdom. One thing is for sure: the reason they left. They disapproved of the coming of the Dwarves; and no race feels comfortable around Tieflings. So they left their company, it being too much for them to take.
Èrenal Elderhall was a dreamer. He did not encourage war, yet felt that peace bored him. And so, he changed the name of the capital, Ungesen, to Silvengrey, in memory of the first Elves that came to Arnas. He had Arnasian architecture redesigned: golden halls were replaced by silver archways, wooden huts by houses in the trees. He even replaced the Arnasian banner: instead of a golden sun with a horse galloping in the center, on a red background, it became the pale star Sildarin, the beloved star of the Elves, on a silver-and-white background.
He built a library in the palace of Silvengrey, the palace in which all kings before him had resided. In this library, he kept many books speaking of the Ancient Legends of Arnas, especially surrounding the Gerinen, the first kings of the mighty realm. He himself wrote many a tale, speaking of faraway lands, populated by magical creatures such as Dragons, and, of course, Elves. He dreamed of leaving Arnas to go on an adventure, join a party of travelers and explore the World. But he was bound to his duty as ruler, and so could only continue to dream.
His daughter, Elessari, was of similar frame of mind, and encouraged her father’s dream, supporting it when she could. And so, when she came of age, she offered to take over the throne of Arnas to allow her beloved father to accomplish his goal. He gladly accepted, and set off on an adventure. He joined a group of travelers, and became part of the Quest of the Golden Sea, which is spoken of in tale and legend.
Elessari became the first female ruler of Arnas, something most Elves approved of and most humans disapproved of. She was known as the Emerald Maiden, because of her rich, green eyes which glowed with the warm glow of the sunset, and her hair, which was golden as the dawn. In this way, she appeared to be the human embodiment of the Shirian Stone, for she was also motivated by the will to do good. Some say her mother was exposed to the stone’s power while she was pregnant with Elessari, causing her child to gain the power.
Elessari had many descendants, two of which were twins, named Erthe and Scea. They were always together, always of the same accord, and never disagreed; they therefore decided to rule at the same time, as brothers. But their hearts were not powered by the same good that drove their ancestors, and Scea eventually murdered Erthe to take the throne for himself.
He himself was destroyed soon after, for he lost his sanity because of the guilt that haunted him after killing his brother. His mind was disintegrating, and he was in constant agony. In his last moment of sanity, he pleaded his only child Wynde to end him once and for all. Wynde shot him in the heart with an arrow, with his eyes closed, daring not to look at his father, for he also felt guilty for killing him. But the guilt was not of the same kind; and Wynde’s heart was pure, and so he took up reign as his forefathers had done, and ruled as well as his ancestor Elessari.
It seemed to him his reign would be uneventful and peaceful; but an Elf, of the immortal Elenalfirin, who had the gift of foresight, warned him that the day would come when one of his children would betray him and all of Arnas. He then knew he had to be watchful.
He had three sons, all of them fair and noble. The middle child, Trie, became fascinated with the undead. At first, he read story after story about phantoms, wights and skeletal armies. Gradually, it became an obsession for him. His thoughts grew dark and twisted, and eventually he decided to give his soul over to Vecna, evil deity of secrets, and Orcus, demon prince of the undead, and became the Lich prince Sarguanan. He delighted in the pain and suffering he delivered unto Silvengrey, attacking only the people instead of the capital itself. The only construction he destroyed was an archway of white stone, towards the North.
Wynde had been keeping a close eye on his son for a long time, and was able to swiftly counter the blow Sarguanan delivered. He and the Arnasian army managed to wound the lich permanently, and he fled to the Grey Mountains south of the forest. The wounds on the people of Silvengrey gradually healed, although the remnants of the white stone archway that the Lich prince destroyed in his rampage, though still stand, were never rebuilt.
Soon after Sarguanan’s retreat, a vine of pure white blossoms climbed over the bone-white pillars; the flowers opened, and never closed. This broken archway was named NimAnnon: the White Gate, and the flowers called Uiloth: Everlasting Blossom.
The line of Elderhalls continued, and eventually came Ergothorn Elderhall, a firm ruler, arrogant at times, but just. He had a daughter and five sons. The second eldest son, Ergin, became the one destined for the throne, for the eldest son, Thornar, refused the honor as he did not deem himself worthy or capable of such a mighty kingdom.
After the fourth son, Ergothorn’s wife, Reninen, fell mortally ill and passed on soon after. Ergothorn was heartbroken; but knew he could not carry on alone, and so decided to remarry. He soon fell in love with an Elf Maiden, Silsith Silvoe, descendant of Lirith Silverbow’s sister, Lianni Silverbow.
Together, they had Eàlderil Elderhall, Half-Elf prince of Arnas. He strongly resembled Èrenal in features and behavior; and he too dreamed of adventures and quests. His father, wanting the protection and safety of his youngest son, forbid him of leaving the forest.
But Ergothorn, before marrying Silsith, was briefly in love with a human woman, and she bore his fifth son, Aru. Ergothorn knew not of the existence of the child, but Eàlderil knew he had a half-brother, and they soon forged the strongest of friendships. Aru became something of a ranger as he grew, and would often venture into the outside world, bringing information about quests and adventurers back to Eàlderil. In this way, Aru became the young prince’s eyes and ears for everything that happened outside of Arnas, and together they planned for the day Eàlderil would leave for the Quest of which he dreamed of.
Non-Royalty Historical Figures
Dresdenistar: The leader of the Drow that attempted to take over Arnas at the end of the Ancient Age. As her army fled, she vowed to return one day with a terrible vengeance. However, as she called this vow out to the two armies, she was struck in the chest with a silver arrow fired by Lirith Silverbow. She perished, and could therefore never complete her vow.
Sargi Frothlest and Tristi Histar: Sargi was a Human and Tristi an Elf. They lived in the Golden Age, and carved wood into musical instruments for a living. They discovered Gîlorn, a tree with pale and shining bark, and wood that was soft and easy to carve when fresh, but stone-hard when dried – it would then take on an ashy-grey tint. This wood was perfect for carving simpira, a special Elven flute. They started to experiment with different shapes and sizes of simpira, trying to see which fitted the material best. Before long, they discovered that their Gîlorn wood was enchanted wood; if they carved it into a small, thin simpira, and soaked it for three nights, the sound the flute made sounded like the wind through the branches of the Gîlorn trees. The music was beautiful, but it was very difficult to produce any particular tune: all it sounded like was different pitches of wind. But Tristi managed to compose a song for the flute, and it was the most beautiful song ever made. Tristi named it the Maialindë.
Davok Goldenaxe: The first dwarf ruler to lead his people into the forest of Arnas. It was either an immensely brave act, or an incredibly stupid one; because they strongly disliked and were strongly disliked by the Elves. There were many disagreements, but eventually it all settled down and the Dwarves set up home near the Tenlince Mountains, a tiny chain of mountains to the South-East corner or the forest: it was for the many minerals found in this mountain that they had dared come in the first place.
Maximillien Shadowleer (human), Toresten Frengest (dwarf), Katalianne Havensky (halfling), and Lissitar (race unknown): The four companions that traveled with Èrenal Elderhall on the Quest of the Golden Sea, in which the five of them had to travel to the Feywild and bring back a phial of golden liquid from the Sea, then use that liquid to forge five magic swords (known as the swords of the Golden Sea),the only weapons that could defeat Kashar, the evil deity of anguish and agony. The five are remembered as the Lebend Dagruk: the Five Slayers of Evil Beings.
Ellonar Elenalfirin: The wise and immortal Elenalfirin Elf who warned Wynde of his son, who was to become a lich. He was one of the youngest of the Elenalfirin, having only been born in the middle of the Ancient Age, and not in the kingdom that the people of Lirith Silverbow had originally come from.
Sandara: Human woman of Silvengrey, with whom King Ergothorn Elderhall had Aru. When Aru was twelve years old, she was killed in an accident in which she was trampled by an overly nervous horse. Aru had learned to fend for himself long before, and though the loss of his mother caused him great sadness, he did not suffer and was quite content with a life in the forest, until his half-brother, prince Eàlderil, invited him to live at the palace at the age of fifteen.
The Silver Arrow: The arrow that Lirith Silverbow used to slay Dresdenistar, leader of the Drow. It is said that the arrow never missed its target.
Simpira Maialindë: The mystical flute that Sargi Frothlest and Tristi Histar made out of the wood of a Gîlorn tree. It is the only instrument of its kind and makes the sound of wind blowing through trees when played.
The Shirian Stone: An Infused stone crafted by Terini Threneven, containing the light of the dawn, the warm glow of the sunset and the will to do good.
Storm Biter: The sword Scea used to kill his twin brother, Erthe. Because he used it for the murder of his kin, it became a cursed blade. Erthe’s blood could never be washed off the cold steel.
The Arnasian Ring: Magic rings gifted to each member of the royal family of Arnas, depicting two snakes devouring one-another’s tails. The snakes are made of enchanted silver, for the Elven members, and platinum (not enchanted) for the Human members. The eyes are usually rubies, although Elessari had hers made with emeralds. Prince Eàlderil had one made for his half-brother Aru in secret.
WHEW. There you go. I’m pretty proud of it myself; though it could use a bit more work.
Some of the names were based on Quenya and Sindarin (mostly Sindarin), which are the Elven languages Tolkien invented. Those names are : Elenalfirin, meaning Elf Immortal; NimAnnon, meaning White Gate; Uiloth, meaning everlasting blossom; Gîlorn, meaning Star Tree; Simpira, based on simpina, meaning Flute; Maialindë, meaning Beautiful Tune; Lebend Dagruk , based on Lebend Dag Uruk, meaning Five Slay Evil beings; Ellonar, based on Ellon, meaning Elf-man.
There are also names based on other names : Elessari on Elessar, Isildur’s father; Eàlderil on Eärendil, Aragorn’s Half-Elf ancestor; Shirian (as in Shirian Stone) on Shire, because the Shire has that warm, golden, peaceful feel to it.
And now this post is over three thousand words long.
Let me know what you think of it!