The Drylands (Pathfinder)
First Collapse (AC 0)
The First Collapse marks the beginning of the Entobian-Kval calendar system, which has been adopted by all races that use a standardized calender.
It marks the date when a Couatl appeared and warned the Gripplis and Entobians that their world had been blessed by a infusion of the Kval. A demi-place full of them had collapsed and deposited them into this world. The Coutal told the native inhabitants that while the Kval were useful allies, and would help and protect their nurseries and tribes, the event would mark this planet as interesting and habitable to anyone who was interested and had the knowledge to understand such things.
Since the demiplane was still connected and degrading, certain points in it’s collapse would form a stronger than usual signal, the first taking place in about 100 years, but after that, it couldn’t offer any guidance, although it promised to try and warn them immediately before it happened, in case danger would approach.
Second Collapse (AC 96)
The Second Collapse triggered an influx of creatures from some world or plane with a decidedly psionic bent. They arrived on the westernmost plains of the Western Continent, where they initially were observed but not interfered with.
Some of those creatures were little purple slugs collected by Entobian scouts as pets who found them absolutely charming.
It took awhile for the scattered Entobians to realize that they were seeing considerably less of each other than they were used to, and even longer to figure out that the harmless purple slugs were the reason.
After an investigation by a band of adventurers, the slugs were identified as psionic parasites leading Entobians to their doom in the lairs of Phrenic Scourges.
By the time they figured it out, a large number of scourges had been bred. The Entobians decided they needed to eradicate the scourges before they became any more dangerous, gathered together into a fairly impressive army, and met a very unimpressive lack of success.
They’d never dealt with psionics before, and their natural resistance to enchantment magic proved useless against the scourge. They also weren’t aware of the large number of dark creepers the scourges had brought with them as slaves.
The Entobians didn’t meet a total defeat, but they were constantly mislead, diverted, and had elements picked off piecemeal, while fending off creeper ambushes rather than engaging the actual scourges. While they were able to find and destroy many scourge lairs, the battle of attrition wasn’t in their favor, as their losses became the breeding ground for more enemies.
Eventually, the Entobians had to give up and go home. After that failure, the scourges became bolder and began to enter into the desert itself, even into breeding mounds. This prompted a period of unsual behavior in Entobian society, as they were forced to guard the nesting grounds rather than go into the world as they had before. Fortunately, the scourges’ boldness was their own undoing.
Phrenic scourge scouts had found a breeding mound deep inside Entobian territory that was lightly guarded, not expecting an attack. The scourges infiltrated the border, killed the guards, and began converting the hatching eggs. They were interrupted by the arrival of a war party summoned by a hidden sentry and had to flee.
The rescuers regretfully began killing the scourge infested eggs, as no healer would arrive in time to save them, and it was better to smash them than to allow more scourges to spring forth.
However, when they checked one of the rear chambers they found an Entobian cocoon part way through transformation. They couldn’t tell if the scourges had infested it or not and kept it under guard until a healer was able to arrive and cast remove disease.
The cocoon had in fact been infested, but the larva had been absorbed into the metamorphosis process before the cleric arrived. After the metamorphosis finished and the new matron emerged, there was no change apparent to the Entobians, but an observer schooled in psionics would have recognized that now the matron had psionic talent, even though she never became an actual manifester.
That difference didn’t become obvious until the matron’s own children hatched. These were the first Dromites. Entobians birthed by a parent changed by the phrenic scourge, most spent their life looking like a deformed larvite. They were unable to metamorph into anything but a matron-like creature or to simply gain a male sex. However, they seemed similar to normal Entobians mentally and so they were taken into society.
The new brood quickly demonstrated that they possessed the psionic powers of the scourge, and after a brief period of fear and uncertainty, they were celebrated for it rather than shunned. Helped by other Entobians to study, explore, and nurture their gifts, the Dromites became powerful psionic wielders and subsequent generations of Dromites led the pushback that reclaimed the entirety of the desert from the scourge and greatly reduced the number of scourges in the western plains.
Dromites could only breed with other Dromites, and they eventually formed a separate but closely intertwined culture with the old Entobians.
Third Collapse (AC 280)
Just before the third collapse, on another world a powerful Boggard Priest king was losing a war to a coven of particularly powerful hags. While the legends the Boggards tell now are of a brave warrior-leader off to conquer new lands in the name of the Demoness, the truth is that the Boggards had been forced out of their swamp, and the king needed to find a new home or lose his position.
The Grippli knew something was wrong when their hunters and scouts started disappearing. When the Grippli discovered their people were being sacrificed in Boggard coming-of-age rituals, the local tribes immediately tried to eliminate the newcomers. The Boggards had grown too strong for that, and starting destroying the Grippli tribe by tribe. The independent Grippli clans on the Southern Continent fell. Survivors fleeing to the Eastern Continent at first faced armed resistance from the Eastern Grippli tribes who interpreted it as an invasion, but once interpreters and diplomacy prevailed, the refugees terrified the people living there with stories of the Boggard atrocities.
United, the tribes held the shores against the Boggards and prevented them from gaining a hold in the shores of the Eastern Continent. The next 160 years saw the Southern and Eastern Grippli tribes becoming more similar and bonding together in opposition to the Boggards, with raids across the eastern Inner Ocean from both races.
It’s something of an open question what happened to the Boggard king. He should have been long dead before the Fourth Collapse, but legends of his return and participation persist in unreliable and contradictory terms.
Fourth Collapse (AC 442)
The Unsaid was a denizen of Leng, a world beyond worlds whose location is unknown to anyone. It was the site of a endless battle between the Leng Spiders and the humanoid (loosely speaking) Lengians. Tiring of the fight, a magic user specializing in mind control sought a refuge, a smaller pond where he could be the bigger fish. It was during this search that he noticed the Fourth Collapse.
Skilled but not politically powerful, The Unsaid stole one of the great Black Ships which carried the Lengians between planes of reality. Arriving in the Drylands, he saw the Boggards as his best choice to start his domination and began subverting the Boggard priest kings and thus uniting their tribes into a new empire.
Seeking a place of maximum safety, The Unsaid ordered his tribes into the northern region of the World’s Ocean and induced them to begin constructing a new underwater city, Gurvuraghol. The Unsaid didn’t breathe, and his stolen ship traveled beneath the waves as easily as upon them.
This led to an unprecedented rebellion among the Boggards, who had no desire to leave their swamps. Large numbers of them turned and fought against their former rulers, now puppets of the Lengian. Faced with likely destruction, they sought help from the native races, warning them of the unholy terror from beyond the stars that threatened everyone. This coalition is now referred to as the Mogogol Alliance.
The Gripplis didn’t know what to make of the story of the Lengian, but they agreed to help the rebel Boggards in exchange for the return of the northern swampland of the Southern Continent. They also received help from the Kval and a handful of adventuring Entobians, who have their own legend in Mogogol culture now. The Moldfolk on the Southern Continent agreed to help in exchange for the promise that captured followers of the priest kings would be given to them. It’s not quite clear what happened next, but the Boggards withdrew, and the rebel’s offspring became Mogogols. The Mogogols suspect the Kval, but if it is them, they aren’t saying.
The recapture of swampland on the Southern Continent allowed the Grippli who fled during the initial Boggard invasion to return, and many tribes did. Their culture and language had been changed by the experience, and all the Grippli tribes would remain more interconnected than they had been before.
Fifth Collapse (AC 452)
It was only a few years after the Fourth Collapse before the Drylands had to deal with a new visitation. Uniquely, this was the only time it originated from the same source.
After the theft of the Black Ship by The Unsaid was discovered, the other Lengians tried to discover where she had gone. At the time of the Fifth Collapse, they spotted the Drylands and were able to follow. It’s a matter of debate whether there was actually a collapse at this time or if the Lengians were able to discover the Drylands of their own accord by tracking The Unsaid, but it’s been included as a collapse in most accepted histories.
A small fleet of Black Ships transported themselves and their slaves, mostly humanoids like humans, orcs, and elves but also a smaller but not insignificant number of monstrous races, the most relevant being the Scrag Trolls. They arrived at the Far Islands, which they found convenient for imprisoning those non-water-breathing races they didn’t need with them at the time.
The Lengians were aware of each other almost immediately. Confident in his new fortress and servants, The Unsaid refused to surrender his stolen vessel. Predictably his pursuers attacked, and so they tried to take Gurvuraghol from The Unsaid. Despite being outnumbered by equally powerful casters, The Unsaid had been expecting such an invasion and was well prepared, as opposed to the newcomers, who had experienced inter-Lengian conflict as an extreme rarity. The composition of the pursuers slave army also favored The Unsaid, as only the Scrag Trolls were aquatic and the rest were left on the Far Islands for the duration of the hostilities.
Fortunately for the other races, the undersea conflict had largely no effect on them. If anything, the war was a more peaceful time for everyone else, as the Boggard raids on the Grippli and Mogogol settlements ceased for the duration of the conflict. If it wasn’t for the refugees that filtered into the various population centers, most people might not even know it happened.
The Unsaid was successful, the Scrags scattered and the Lengian fleet was either destroyed or routed. It’s unclear whether any other Lengians remain in the Drylands or if they’ve journeyed on to worlds unknown.
Sixth Collapse (AC 576)
The most recent, and perhaps final collapse marked the influx of fey creatures from the first world. There were plenty of niches in the ecosystems of the Drylands where fey creatures could prosper. Since the Sixth Collapse, there has been a slow migration of fey. The most notable arrival was the great Tor Linnorm that took up residence in the Broken Highlands, displacing the native drake population. The Linnorm brought with it a large clan of enslaved gnomes. Over the years many gnomes have escaped, bringing tales of an unusually intelligent and patient beast who is working on some secret project in the depths of his volcano lair. As the linnorm tends to keep to the Broken Highlands and not interact with the rest of the Drylands, it hasn’t had much effect on world affairs.