The Empty Throne: Journey to Creation
Brief History of Thedas
The Chantry teaches that for almost a thousand years the Mage Lords of the Tevinter Imperium, using their unmatched Magical powers, subjugation of lesser humans, trade deals with the Dwarvish Kingdoms and enslavement of the Elves, ruled all but the distant regions in Thedas. However this was not enough for the power hungry Magisters, who were tempted by the Old Gods, great draconic beings who were like unto dragons as kings are to commoners, to enter the Fade and usurp the Maker’s throne.
It took a third of the Lyrium in the entire Empire, and the blood of tens of thousands of slaves. But eventually they managed to rip apart the Veil and physically entre the Fade.
Stepping into the Golden City, seat of the Maker, they watched as it turned black from their sin. The Maker cast the Magisters down, twisted and tainted by their own corruption and sin, to become the first Darkspawn. For two centuries these Darkspawn waged a war across Thedas, known as the First Blight. It was only when a group of warriors from all races and classes joined together and became known as the Grey Wardens, did they drive the Darkspawn back to the Deep Roads. The Blight had left the Tevinter Imperium and the underground Dwarven Kingdoms shattered.
It was at this time of chaos that former slave and Alamari tribeswoman Andraste sang of the Maker and the devastation that the Magisters of Tevinter had wrought over the earth. Seeking to free Thedas from their dominion, she convinced her husband Maferath, a great Alimari general, to lead his forces against Tevintar. The host was the largest force of Alamari soldiers ever seen.
The invasion at a time when they were weakest, coupled by a huge slave uprising led by Shartan, led to many defeats on the battle field for the Magisters. However Jealousy coiled in Maferath’s heart, for his people loved Andraste more than him, and she loved the Maker more than him. So he joined in conspiracy with the Archon Hessarain, and handed his wife over to her enemies.
In the Tevinter capital of Minrathos, in front of enemies and allies alike, Andraste was burned alive. However the Archon, touched by her suffering, pierced the Profits heart with his sword, ending her life.
Following this act of betrayal Maferath was slain by his sons and his land was divided up between them, never again would the Alamari spread so far. During this turbulent times following the end of the Exalted March and the First Blight, the tale of Andraste spread far and wide, with many converting to the faith of the Maker. In -160 Ancient Archon Hessarain himself converted to the Andrastraian teachings, writing canticles that are still sung in the Chant of Light today.
It is now 9:40 Dragon, ten centuries have passed since Andraste’s death, and her teachings have spread throughout Thedas. Even to Tevinter, where Archon Hessarain converted to the Chant of Light, became an Andrastraen country. Mages are no longer rulers, being kept in Circle of Magic and guarded by Templar. However even within their gilded prisons the Mages are allowed a certain amount of autonomy with regard to their circle’s own direction, with Templar and Chantry approval of course. Elves are also treated no differently, althought they are no longer slaves and were granted land in the Dales for Shartan’s noble sacrifice, this came to an end when the Divine declared an Exalted March on the Dales destroying their nation, the reasons for this are disputed (it is believed that the Elves refusal to convert to the Chant was a driving factor), but it led to a split among the Elves, those who wished to keep the old ways known as the Dalish, travelling clans who are weary of humans and keep to themselves, and the City Elves who live in alienages (a walled off and often squalled part of a city) and often get jobs as servents or criminals, and often have to deal with racisim either actual or institutional.
It was the southern Empire of Orlais that helped spread the faith. Founded by Kordillus Drakon in -3 Ancient, Kordillus was a fervent believer in the Maker, and helped codify the Chant of Light and create a hierarchy for the faith led by the Divine, seated at the Grand Cathedral in the Orlaisian capital of Val Royeaux.
However the Centuries since have not been as peaceful as many in those early days had hoped. There have been four Blights since the first, each highly destructive events, but all stopped by the Grey Wardens using their treaties will all major races and countries. Such a time of destruction is the one time when all nations and factions come together to battle a greater threat.
There was even a schism in the Chantry itself. The Tevinter Impirum, long having deep cultural, societal, historic and religious problems with the Chantry in Orlais. Chief among the grievences was the treatment of Magic. Tevintar’s Mages, unlike the other nations, were not low born and treated with fear, they were the rulers, and Magic was viewed as a great gift among the lower classes, as such the Chant’s second commandment: “Magic is meant to help man, and never to rule over him”. The Clerics in Tevinter interpreted this to mean that Magic should be used to serve the greater good as long as Mages didn’t attempt to control people’s minds, this view freed the Tevinter Mages to participate in government. This heresy was an outrage to the Orlesian Chantry, the pressure on the Tevinter Clerics to revert their viewpoints and bring their Mages into line with the rest of Thedas was so great that the Clerics revolted forming the Imperial Chantry. In 3:87 Towers the schisim was finalised, with the Tevinter Clerics electing Valhail, a male member of the Circle of Magi, as the Black Divine in Minrathous. This led to the White Divine in Val Royeaux to launch four Exalted Marches against Tevinter, naming the new Age Black for her Imperial opposite. None of the Marches reached Minrathous thanks to the Tevinter Mages who, free from Chantry oversight, were able to unleash the full might of their magical power. The Orlesian army only retreated when the Archdemon Andoral rose, beginning the Fourth Blight. The schism between the Imperial and Andrastian Chantries continues to this day, with neither the Black or White Divines recognising the others authority.
Between the Fourth and Fifth Blights, a new race came to Thedas, the giant ox-men known as Qunari. Preaching a new faith and determined to convert the whole of Thedas to it, the Qunari first settled Par Vollen to the north and invaded the Tevinter island of Seheron before conquering Rivain and attacking the rest of the continent, they conquered quickly because of their highly skilled soldiers and their technology including gaatlock which powered their cannons and enabled them to destroy castle walls. The invasion of the Qunari was a threat not only to the various nations but also to the Chantry itself, threatened with a faith that could destroy them. Thus it is the only time outside of Blights, that the all the Nations of Thedas, along with the Imperial and Andrastian Chantries have allied together. The Black and White Divines even ordered joint Exalted Marches against the invaders. The Cirle of Magi proved a great ally for the Thedosions, the Qunari had Magic users (known as Saarebas) but they were kept chained and not allowed to openly practice their magic, thus the Qunari were unprepared for the open and often vicious desplays of Magic from their enemies, and the Mages proved capeable of countering the Qunari’s technology. It was only after three Exalted Marches, numerous successes and defeats, and 154 years of conflict, did they manage to push the Qunari off the continent. A peace agreement was then met between the Qunari and the Human nations, known as the Llomerryn Accords, in return for being ceded Par Vollen, the Qunari agreed to leave Thedas and end all hostilities. Only Tevinter failed to sign the Treaty or send envoys, siting the still occupied island of Seheron as the reason, to this day the Tevinter armies continues its hostilities with the Qunari on the island, and only managed to drive the ox-men out briefly in the late Storm Age. There are still Qunari believers in Thedas, they are few and always in hiding as most are spies for the Qunari. There are also non-Qunari ox-men leaving in Thedas, known as Tal-Vashoth, they are exiles from Par Vollen for the refusal to follow the Qun and are usually known only as Qunari, most working as Mercenaries.
The modern world of Thedas has a long and varied history with many stories and tales to tell, and even history which is far more detailed than what I have listed before you. Thedas is a large continent with many cultures and races to explore and be a part of, I wish you well on your adventure.
The Mage-Templar War
In recent years, the Mages of the Circle of Magi have begun to chaffe under the collar of the Chantry and the boot of their Templar handlers. No place was this more noticeable than in the city-state of Kirkwall. The Champion of Kirkwall, Michelangelo Hawke, who saved the city from a Qunari invasion and slew the Arishok in single combat, attempted to hold the two sides back from war, however with the destruction of the Chantry and the death of the Grand Cleric, the Champion had to pick a side and choose the Mages, viewing them as unjustly treated (coupled with the fact that his younger sister was among them and his father was an apostate), and slew Warden-Cammander Meredith who was deemed insane by even her subordinates. He led an exile of Mages from the city. This was the spark that started the Templar-Mage War.
Within a year countless Circle had revolted over the Kirkwall Rebellion and the Right of Annulment that caused it, however a motion for independence by the College of Enchanters was rejected. However following an attempted assignation of the Divine, and the subsequent Revolt at White Spear during a meeting of the College of Enchanters led to the Deaths of neumerious Mages and countless Templars, many Enchanters fled the destruction thanks to the Divine, who asked to meet with the Lord Seeker and those under him. With all fifteen Circles now in an active state of Rebellion, the College of Enchanters retreated to Andoral’s Reach and held a second vote on independence which narrowly passed leading to a split among the Mages.
Because of the Divine’s interference at White Spire, Lord Seeker Lambert, speaking for both the Seekers and the Templar Order on the death of the Knight-Vigilant, declared the Nevarran Accord, which had governed the relationship between the Chantry and those two groups for almost 900 years, to be null and void, freeing them from Chantry control. Thus the Rebel Mages and Templar Army began to battle freely.
After being driven from Andoral’s Reach the Mages fled to Ferelden, with many skirmishes occurring in the Free Marches and Orlais. Lord Seeker Corin, who replaced Lambert, moved to Therinfal Redoubt, following the failure of the Battle of the Hinterlands, Corin decided to pursue the war from within Ferelden.
The War has nearly destroyed the Chantry, without the control of the Mages and Templars, and the whole of Thedas ready to tear itself apart in response. The Grand Cathedral, in a last ditch effort to end the calamity and gain peace on the Continent, sent secret word to several individuals throughout Thedas in the hope that they could help end the conflict and set up a Conclave. And this is where our story begins.