Hard Times in Sol Rasa
A Brief History of Sol Rasa and Irra Minor
The Age of Discovery
Nearly five hundred years ago the continent of Irra Minor and the Coil Peninsula were lands unknown to humankind. The native elves and serpentfolk lived in isolation with their own ways. This time came to an end with the arrival of sailing ships from the old empires of Irra.
The men of Irra had traveled from the northeast across the Cul Sea. They had left behind them densely populated kingdoms. All these monarchs sought to expand their holdings and standing by seeking out and claiming lands far from their centuries old city-states and holdings.
The first successful colony in Irra Minor was a port town built up on bayou of a mighty river delta. The Argast River was a gateway deeper into the interior of the continent and its natural wealth. The barrier islands of the delta also afforded ships some safety from the great hurricanes that struck the Cul Sea and the Coiled Gulf. The swampy and tropical shores offered few harbors like those of Irra’s rocky coastlands. Despite the climate and the costs of maintaining a city on such insubstantial ground, the port of Sol Rasa slowly rose into a colonial jewel of power for the distant rulers who shared its foundations.
The humans found the land of Irra Minor inhabited by the elves. They were divided into many tribes and had adapted to various climes of the lower and upper continent. Although elusive the elven tribes slowly came to accept the newly arrived humans. Some elves adapted the ways of the humans or at least sought to trade their knowledge or skills to the newcomers in the settlements.
Further south along the coasts of the tropical Coil Peninsula, the humans discovered tribes of serpentfolk. The colonizers clashed with these clans. And took many of them for slaves. Bringing them back to Sol Rasa and Irra Minor to do the backbreaking work of building new infrastructure for the fledgling colonies. The thick jungles of the peninsula prevented humans from exploring further inland. This left many areas uncharted and a mystery to the humans.
Over the first hundred years Sol Rasa grew at a steady rate. Smaller outposts and towns were built further north in the temperate forests and hills of Irra Minor. Many royal families sent over younger blood relatives to watch over the growing wealth in the new world. Most of these families took up residence in Sol Rasa. Quickly transforming it into a city of wealth and a seat of power for the new lands.
Barely two hundred years ago the rumors of a plague in Old Irra was talked about in the courts of Sol Rasa. Letters arrived from distant relatives announcing the death of kin. The news began to take a dire tone as the cities of the old country came to be described as charnel houses. It was not long before the plague arrived in Irra Minor and the streets of Sol Rasa. Many smaller outposts in the new world completely vanished as their populations died from the plague or fled.
Seeing their advantage the serpentfolk rose up in a rebellion. Sol Rasa’s ruling families were unable to contain the uprising. Meanwhile out of the jungles of Coil Peninsula many smaller settlements were wiped out by attacks attributed to serpentfolk. Unable to stop the revolt within the walls of their city the ruling families granted the serpentfolk freedom. Many of the former slaves returned to Coil Peninsula though a number remained in Irra Minor. Some settled into the swamps and bayous where they made treaties with the swamp elves. And a small number of them integrated into Sol Rasa’s population.
The plague raged for nearly a decade and all communication was lost with Irra and the old country. While the plague had taken its toll for the most part Sol Rasa was recovering. No news came from the old world. Ships have tried to reach the continent but few return. Those survivors talk of being chased away from the coast by strange ships and how the shores seem deserted and haunted through the captain’s spyglass. But, no one knows what has happened ashore.
After the Plague
Cut off from the old world and greatly reduced in strength. The colonists of Irra Minor turned to Sol Rasa as the heart of their limping civilization. The old families elected a new Emperor. Augustine Ergot was the man, who had stopped the serpentfolk from slaughtering the citizens of Sol Rasa. And it was him who claimed that the plague was of arcane origin. He stopped all practice of magical arts except for a small number of schools and magic councils. These councils continue to direct access to magic in Irra Minor for centuries to come. Augustine was very popular with the people and it took little effort to convince those who remained of the higher social classes to elect him to start a new Imperium.
Many plague survivors gave birth to different types of creatures. The Dwarves and halflings were all originally born from human wombs. But, their numbers quickly grew and they passed their mutant genes down to their children. This strange side effect of the plague only enforced the belief that the plague was of magical origin. And led to more than one purge of magic in Sol Rasa and other communities. Many arcane secrets were lost in these book burnings and destruction of magical knowledge.
The old country is only tales and rumors now. A story told to children or something to scare young sailors. The world of mankind and its allies revolve around Sol Rasa. The linage of Ergot continues to rule over the Imperium of Irra Minor. Though the royal family seldom makes public appearances. The old families of Sol Rasa are still in power but it wanes as the years pass. Many of their bloodlines have succumbed to madness and strange ideas. They mostly stay in the secure neighborhoods of Sol Rasa. Their influence can still be felt far and wide. The real power of Sol Rasa is divided up among the various guilds that hold the Emperor’s blessing and writ to prove it.
For the last couple decades beastmen and other strange races have arrived in Sol Rasa as traders and visitors. They come from lands and islands in the deep southern sea. They bring much needed trade and knowledge.
The Imperium’s presence on the Coil Peninsula has been reduced to a handful of fortified outposts. They exist purely to retrieve necessary natural resources from the peninsula. All the while defending themselves from aggressive serpentfolk raids. There are telltale signs that a great serpentfolk kingdom lines deeper in the undiscovered jungles.