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Throwback to Goriya

Timeline of Avernum: A History

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Centuries ago

Five Dragons born (exact circumstances unclear) and eventually come to Avernum

Olgai tribe begins its most recent Resting

 

617 or so

Valorim first settled

Blackcrag Fortress built

Darkling Sliths expelled from the Slith homeland under Sss-Thoss

 

710

Empire discovers Caves of Avernum

First Expedition explores Caves and is split up and defeated by Grah-Hoth, Drath, Pyrog, Motrax, slithzerikai, nephilim, and various other monsters

 

730

By around this time, the Empire's policy of exterminating non-humans had begun and ramped up

 

775

Empire begins exiling misfits to Avernum

 

780-781

Micah exiled

Micah attempts to organize Avernites

Erika, Patrick, and Rone exiled at Garzahd's bidding

Aimee, Solberg, and X exiled in turn

Tower of Magi built

Erika and other mages begin conjuring plants, creating edible mushroom strains and cavewood trees, augmenting the glowing fungus, and transcribing spells

Mages assault Grah-Hoth in Akhronath; Erika, Patrick, and Rone seal him in Skarragath

First Slith War begins with sliths under Sss-Thoss

Kingdom of Avernum founded

Castle built

Gnass founded by peaceful sliths

 

790

Micah, long the effective leader of Avernum, officially installed as king

Around this time, Hawthorne becomes Emperor and accelerates the rate of exile

 

805

Patrick leaves the Tower of Magi and founds his own tower; X joins Triad

The Anama Church is born on the newly settled Isle of Bigail

 

813

Krizsan province settled

 

814

Erika asked to leave the Tower of Magi; Linda joins Triad

 

816

Linda develops scheme to summon Adze-Haakai

Solberg flees to his tower

 

817 (A1)

Linda summons Adze-Haakai

Sss-Thsss defeated; end of First Slith War

Grah-Hoth destroys Fort Remote

Treasures of the First Expedition recovered

Pyrog, Drath, and Adze-Haakai slain

Grah-Hoth freed, and then slain

Emperor Hawthorne assassinated by Erika + adventurers

Prazac crowned Empress, while Garzahd controls reins of power

 

818

Empire ceases exiling anyone and begins preparations for invasion

Last Remaining Exit to the surface sealed

Mahdavi replaces Linda on the Triad

 

820

Kothtar built

 

822

Empire steals three Olgai tribe Crystal Souls with help from Gaddika

Empire invades Avernum

Empire takes over the Abyss, kills sliths, subdues Khoth and Sulfras, and attacks Motrax

Olgai tribe awakens from the Resting

Tower of Magi creates Portal

 

823 (A2)

Olgai tribe afflicts Avernum with the Barriers

Bon-Ihrno arranges for Avernite adventurers to travel from Formello to Olgai

Empire destroys Cotra

Barriers removed

Adventurers rescue three Crystal Souls, defeating Garzahd at Ornotha Ziggurat

Mahdavi + adventurers destroy Empire's mass teleporter before it is operational

Adventurers assassinate Garzahd

 

824

Motrax passes away

Athron's brood hatches, including Melanchion

 

828

Tower of Magi begins work on Surface Portal

 

831

Upper Avernum founded

 

832

Rentar-Ihrno sets Plagues loose on Valorim

Sulfras, Khoth, and Athron relocate to the surface

First party of surface explorers sent out

 

833 (A3)

Second party of surface explorers sent out

Tower of Magi disaster occurs; Linda and Mahdavi slain

Valorim cleansed of Plagues

Erika slain by Rentar-Ihrno

Empress Prazac negotiates peace with Avernum

 

834

Seletine and Kelner replace Mahdavi and Solberg on the Triad

Half of Avernum's population begins moving up to settle Krizsan province

 

838

Second Slith War begins in lower caves

 

840 (ZKR)

Fort Cavalier reinforced

 

848

King Micah dies

Starrus becomes King of Avernum

 

855 (A4)

Time of the Shades: Rentar-Ihrno afflicts Avernum with various monsters

Rentar-Ihrno slain

 

859

Northern Rapids opened up

Drake Pillars settled

 

865

Azure Gallery settled

 

870 (A5)

Darkside Loyalists assassinate Empress Prazac

Dorikas slain

Manifred Redmark becomes Emperor

Pathass dies

 

875

Rone dies

 

878

The Blight afflicts Avernum

Third Slith War begins

 

880 (A6)

Cotra destroyed (again)

The Horde Triad defeated

Starrus, Gladwell, and Melanchion grapple for power

The level of civilization in Avernum recedes

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Lately I've been thinking about the chronology of events in Avernum. I did a lot of research into this a decade ago, and alongside Aran and Drakey and others we put together the "Timeline of Ermarian" on EE. A lot of the research was good, but we also made copious accommodations for fanon, particularly Relhan canon, and incorporated some unsubstantiated assumptions, like having more than one Hawthorne. Also, the bulk of the work was done before A5 or A6 came out, so they aren't incorporated quite so rigorously.

 

I decided to go back and look at things again, rechallenge old assumptions about the timeline, and see what the best fit is that I could put together. This is the result.

 

All dates between 813 and 834 are fairly precise. These are all dated closely to X1, X2, and X3. Those games (and only those versions of them) provide actual years, the distance between which makes perfect sense.

 

Dates before and after that period are approximate, within a few years. For the later dates, this is quite certain, we just don't have exact years relative to X3. For the earlier dates, there is a little more wiggle room due to occasional inconsistencies in what the games say. I've looked at all the available evidence and tried to pick the dates that offer the best fit, both directly with direct statements made by the game, and indirectly with other factors like lifespan of non-mages.

 

It's gonna take me a sec to finish formatting this, but once it's in place, please share comments and feel free to argue about it as well.

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Some justification for dates:

 

The First Expedition: There is one reference (in A1 but not E1) to it being "about fifty" years ago, but everything else is consistent with the "over one hundred years ago" claim.

 

780-781: The mages fought Grah-Hoth off 40 years ago, and Micah's had 40 years of rule, per A1. I've pushed it slightly forward to reconcile modestly with Erika's duration estimate in E3 as well as reduce the problem with Micah's age (below). Also to help with that line, I've suggested that he wasn't formally installed by the Council of Avernum until a bit later.

 

Linda: There is some evidence that she might have been exiled in that period, but other evidence that she wasn't there or is too young. I weigh it slightly favoring the "too young" angle. Erika was apparently in the ToM until relatively recently (per Ethridge in A2), so Patrick presumably left first, as his Tower doesn't seem too recent in X1. It is harder to imagine Linda making the Triad with Erika still around; plus, she's clearly younger than X.

 

Starrus, Micah, and A4: Starrus is in his "early twenties" in A4, and became king at 14. It seems unlikely that he was born by X3 -- that would have been news even for Fort Emergence. There are several compelling reasons to put A4 at the earliest possible date: mainly, there are a lot of random people who show up in both A1 and A4. We know some of the mages extend their lives magically, and maybe offered that to Micah; but Julio, Starcap, Carol Hamer, and the like are not in that category.

 

Additionally, the Mertis inn is celebrating its 40th anniversary in A4. It changes names a few times but ultimately, in A6, invokes the name it bore in A1, the Mertis Arms. The building also stays in roughly the same area. So, it would be preferable to have A4 no more than 40 years later than A1.

 

855 means:

- the Mertis Arms was founded 2 years before A1

- Starrus is born in 834, making him 21 in A4

- If Micah was 18 when he became the leader of Avernum, that puts him at 86 when he died; 71 in A3, 61 in A2, 55 in A1. Not totally implausible given his easy access to powerful magical assistance and the assumption that he had a strong constitution to begin with.

- Random NPCs who appear in both A1 and A4 only have to justify 38 years of aging; they could be 25 in A1 and not yet at American retirement age in A4.

 

A5 and A6: Dorikas was a soldier during A2. I'd like to have him a bit younger (and hence A5 a bit earlier) but the portal guy in A5 (forget his name) says he worked on the Tower of Magi Portal as an apprentice about 50 years earlier. That's pretty specific. 870 is likely 48 years after said Portal development.

 

A6 is 20-25 years after A4. There are a few references to the Time of Shades being "about twenty years ago." There's evidence in Gnass that it's exactly 25 years after A4, and evidence in Silvar that suggests 25 or more. 20 would also be hard because A5 is at least 12 years after A4 (to allow time for the Northern Rapids settlement, which surely did not occur while "tentacle monsters" were in the waters), and enough has changed by A6 that it would seem to need at least a few years after A5.

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Triumph   
First Expedition explores Caves and is split up and defeated by Grah-Hoth, Drath, Pyrog, Motrax, slithzerikai, nephilim, and various other monsters

 

I thought the Nephils were native to the surface and didn't appear in the caves until the Empire started using Avernum as a prison? Is it explicitly stated that some helped kill off the First Expedition and / or that some Nephils were native to Avernum? I know the Nephils in X1 have some artifacts of the First Expedition, but I assumed that was from scavenging / taking from cave natives, rather than having acquired them directly.

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I think the implication is that nephilim were dumped before the Empire turned to exiling human undesirables.

 

—Alorael, who also thinks that makes sense. And he's pretty sure the nephilim wouldn't end up so deep in Avernite territory if they didn't have a head start.

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I thought the Nephils were native to the surface and didn't appear in the caves until the Empire started using Avernum as a prison? Is it explicitly stated that some helped kill off the First Expedition and / or that some Nephils were native to Avernum? I know the Nephils in X1 have some artifacts of the First Expedition, but I assumed that was from scavenging / taking from cave natives, rather than having acquired them directly.

Solberg in X1:

"When the sword was broken, the creatures that slew the humans took the pieces as trophies. The Slithzerikai took a piece to their holy shrine, in a swamp far to the south. Another piece was taken by a lich, to an ancient den of undead far to the west... Of the third piece, we know nothing. But some believe the Nepharim took it."

 

It makes sense that nephils might have been first exiled before humans. However, it doesn't make sense that the Empire would have dumped angry, hostile nephils into the caves before exploring them, when they thought the caves might be useful in some way. Perhaps some nephils deliberately went underground to escape from the Empire's genocide campaigns on the surface.

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Triumph   

Right, the problem isn't Nephils getting exiled before humans, but Nephils getting exiled before the First Expedition even took place. "...some believe the Nepharim took it." - does this require that the Nepharim took it FROM the First Expedition? Or could we read it to indicate only that at some later point, after the Empire starting dumping Nephils into the caves, the Nepharim acquired it, presumably seizing it from one of the parties that wiped out the First Expedition? That seems like a preferable reading to one that requires a mysterious Nephilim presence to predate the First Expedition. (Unless, obviously, there is other more explicit evidence of the Nephilim and F.E. interacting?)

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I don't think so, but I also don't think there's any explicit evidence that nephilim were never in the caves until the Empire explicitly teleported them there. And the non-human extermination campaign, which probably predates the First Expedition, would give them good reason to consider fleeing underground. I'm not sure why "no nephils" is a preferred reading when there's no evidence either way -- aside from the Demonslayer piece itself, of course -- after all, pretty much every creature seems to have made it to Avernum somewhere :p

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Triumph   

We're explicitly told that both humans and nephils were native to the surface, and that both were banished to the caves by the Empire. I know the dragons came down from the surface, but, well, they're dragons, they can do stuff normal folks can't. It seems like a much bigger leap to me to assume some Nephils independently discovered the caves, without the massive resources we know are necessary to construct a teleporter, and voluntarily migrated there, than to just assume some of the Empire-banished Nephils came along later and took a piece of the sword from of Avernum's native menaces.

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Humans did that too: see the Ancient Crypt. Okay, there might have been dark magic involved in that, but remember that there were at least a handful of exits from the cave system that the Empire had to go out of their way to close off, on top of the one that remains in A1.

 

The other problem is that nephils are sort of the bottom of the food chain. What "native menace" that was capable of defeating Karzoth et al., would the nephils be able to capture it from?

 

Aha, there was another reference. Hfass, the captured nephil:

"The tomb of a Nephar hero of old, who helped win the first victory against you humans. Hrmmm. In the crypt is a piece of the great blade of a human hero. It is a beautiful sight. I hope to see it again before the giants eat me."

 

That piece of Demonslayer was not in Avernum's hands previous to A1, or Solberg wouldn't be so unsure what happened to it. Presumably, then, it was captured directly from the First Expedition.

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Triumph   

Aha, yes, that definitely confirms the Nephils got it firsthand, rather than poaching it from someone else. Interesting. Did every civilization in the world know about Avernum except the Empire? LOL. #conspiracytheory

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So, Valorim was settled some 200+ years before E3, but Kriszan and Bigail weren't until 20ish beforehand? Do we know why they weren't settled beforehand, were there lots of natural monsters in the way between Blackcrag and there? Or were they sending resources to Avernum instead?

 

Also, who was building the human pre-Empire stuff (that circular crypt in Bigail comes to mind)?

 

One also wonders what the Vahnatai thought when they heard about this "Upper Avernum" plan the humans were working on, did they try to get it delayed to have more time for the plagues to work?

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Zaego   

As for who might have been building the human pre-Empire things, I could imagine that there might have been either other humanoid races who have simply disappeared while waging wars and dying of extinction, or (much more likely) that there might have been other human tribes who had wandered off from Aizo before the Empire was properly formed.

 

Say, like a huge frigate that the Empire sent to explore the other continents; but then the ship crashed to the shores of Bigail and the survivors formed a cult to keep themselves sane, and created the circular crypt that you mentioned. Perhaps they, too, disappeared within the twilight between the past and the present, presumably exterminated by monsters.

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