View Full Version : Minor historical events

2011-11-25, 07:56 PM
I'm working on a more detailed version of my campaign world's timeline, and I need minor historical events to fill in the gaps between major upheavals. So, thought I, why not ask the Playground?

I'm looking for events that are noteworthy, but not game-changing. They can be technological, political, magical, societal, etc. Military events are okay as long as they don't involve major wars; border skirmishes, peacekeeping actions, and monster hunting are cool. For example:

-Olaf Gunderssen invents the Gunderssen smelting process.
-The city-state of Southbyrne breaks its treaty with Waystone and allies with the Victan Empire.
-Blight strikes southern Arcis Sanctis, ruining the year's grain crops.
-A necromantic cult with ties to several prominent officials is exposed and exterminated in the undercity of Waystone.
-The dwarven Highguard is deployed to the border with the Victan Empire in response to Victan "military training exercises."

What I DON'T want:
-World wars
-Assassinations of major figures
-Major magical phenomena (large numbers of mages die or lose their powers, a certain school of magic gets more or less powerful, some other plane crosses over with the Material).
-Divine intervention

I'm primarily looking for things I can use in my setting, but I don't see why it has to be just for my benefit. So, feel free to post ideas for any setting. If you're interested in my setting, here's a (relatively) brief summary.

The world started out as a Forgotten-Realms-esque world: lots of magic, medieval stasis, great and terrible empires. About 1100 years ago, the one and only major magical event in the world's history occurred: a cabal of elven research wizards, while trying to find a way of accessing the Astral Sea, managed to destroy the Ward keeping denizens of the Astral Sea from coming to the Material Plane. The absence of the Ward led to about six months when demons could easily transit to the Material Plane, causing massive destruction and panic. Eventually, an elven hero-figure returned from obscurity and mostly fixed the Ward, but vanished in the process.

The aftermath of this incident led to a great deal of paranoia among the three empires (dwarven, elven, and human) of the time. The alliance that had been in place was broken as each empire accused the others of being infiltrated by demons (and they were all right, but to a lesser degree than they feared). A coalition of religious orders conducted an Inquisition which rooted out almost all of the demons, but also caught up a lot of innocent people. A good chunk of the empires' leadership was purged during this Inquisition, and their replacements were largely incompetent or corrupt.

Around 2 centuries after the Ward failed, another magical accident occurred. An elven ley-tap (a sort of magical power generator) was sabotaged and destroyed a small city when it blew up. While this was nowhere near the severity of the Ward incident, the elves blamed the humans, starting a major war. A series of atrocities committed by both sides escalated the war, and eventually the orc tribes to the east got caught, entirely by accident, in the crossfire. The orcs' response was to join in the war en masse. If, at this point, the elves and humans had put aside their grievances, they might have survived. However, they continued to fight until it was too late. Even when the dwarves entered the war, the only thing that could be done was to delay the oncoming horde long enough for a small number of civilians to evacuate into the west. The three empires were overthrown, the orcs settled down to stay, and the survivors started to rebuild.

Now, here are the eras I'm interested in:

The Era of Steam:
In the process of rebuilding, the human refugees went in the direction of technological progress combined with magic. They invented the steam engine and related technologies, refined the firearms that they already had, and started to combine steam power and magic (by creating magical devices that could run on the output of a steam engine, for example.) The eventual creation of primitive magitech AI led to intelligent, steam powered war machines, which kicked off an arms race that led to a world war.

The Steam Wars:
During this war, technological progress was rapidly accelerated: the major players created superweapons, supersoldiers, and spells of mass destruction and used many of them for almost 150 years. There were atrocities committed by every side, but peace was eventually brought about by a council of intellectuals from several sides. This council became a peacekeeping organization in the post-war world, relying on economic clout and covert operations to end any threat to peace before it became serious.

The Council Era
Since the Great Peace, the Council has kept hostilities to a minimum. Wars are fought by proxy, either using minor powers to do the fighting, or employing deniable adventurers to perform sabotage and espionage. A high priority is tracking down and securing many of the weapons outlawed in the Council Accords: weapons and spells of mass destruction, rogue supersoldiers, and the occasional magically created monster.

As of the time of the campaign, there are 7 major powers:

-Arcis Novis: Human nation, founded in the northern part of the ruins of the old human empire. They have better steam technology than other human powers, they use electricity for weapons, communication and power, and they have a better education system than other human powers. They are vaguely Roman/Italian-inspired, as heirs to the old human empire, complete with Roman legions (with lightning cannons, but still).
-Arcis Sanctis: Human nation, founded in the eastern part of the ruins of the old human empire. They are a theocracy, but are not technologically backwards. They have an excellent health system thanks to many, many priests, they control lots of good farmland, and they repress any religion but the state-approved, lawful-neutral one. Like Arcis Novis, they are Roman/Italian, but they hew closer to the Vatican than to Rome.
-Adurean: Wood elf nation, founded by refugees from the old elven empire. Adurean is isolationist in the extreme, ruled by local lords because the queen is a hedonist. The entire nation is forested and sparsely populated, and modern technology (mainly steam power) is outlawed. The military is mostly militia, backed by druids, wooden constructs and a cadre of professional rangers.
-Dwarven Confederacy: Dwarf nation. It is the only one to survive the orcs mostly intact, which was accomplished by sealing off the major dwarf-halls and waiting the orcs out. Because the king and capital of the old empire fell, the empire became a confederacy of independent cities. Most of the dwarves are traditionalists, and eschew modern technology, but they still have powerful magic and are the best craftsmen (in terms of quality, not quantity) in the world. Their military uses massive stone constructs, which may or may not be their ancestors' spirits imbued into statues. Some younger dwarves are agitating to abandon the old ways, and many emigrate to human nations when they complete their apprenticeships.
-Numrond: High elf nation, founded by refugees from the old elven empire. Ruled by a committee of powerful families, which are subservient to a few ancient elf ancestors, called Sidhe. The Sidhe reside on the feywild, and are not benevolent rulers, but they are counterbalanced by the elven wizards, who side with the commoners. They eschew most modern technology as well, but they are able to duplicate its effects using magic. They can create magic items cheaply, thanks to devices called ley-line taps, which provide near-infinite power in a steady stream.
-Victan Empire: Human nation, founded by humans taken as prisoners by elves. Militaristic, but also culturally and technologically advanced. They had a cultural golden age after the Steam Wars, which was ended when their present Empress stole the throne from her brother. Now, they are highly militaristic, expansionistic, and subject to brutal political repression to maintain the Empress' power.
-Waystone: Human/Halfling city state. Originally founded by halflings, then modernized by human refugees. Waystone is a single, massive metropolis (the largest city in the world) surrounded by scattered villages and small towns. Politically, it is ruled by a queen who is in the process of handing over power to an elected assembly. They have control of the only trans-continental inland water route, are very advanced in alchemy (aka chemistry), and have a military that can deploy sizeable forces to any point in the world via teleportation in under a day.

2011-11-25, 08:26 PM
These ideas are tailored to your setting as you represented it:

Well, you could have a darkhorse candidate be elected to the assembly of Waystone during its first general elections. So long as the person isn't a major player in the assembly, it wouldn't be that major an event compared to the ellections themselves, which are going to happen anyway.

More political ideas:

Councilor (insert name here) dies of natural causes, is replaced by his/her son/daughter, who mostly continues his/her policies.

Minor minority group agitates for political independance. They succeed in forming a de facto government and request recognition under the Council Accords.

less political ideas:

A new cache of forbidden superweapons is discovered. It is possibly the largest such discovered in several years.

A group of citizens protest the erradication of former supersoilders, demanding they instead be rehabilitated and given the rights of other citizens.

2011-11-25, 10:21 PM
The kingdoms of Samral and Ka'arna are united with the wedding of heirs apparent; United Ka'arna-Samral is split between their twin sons twenty years later.

Eustace the Serene transcribes the Vivenomicon from the divine whisperings of Hannippe, Goddess of Joy. He, and all who read the book, slip into a catatonic trance which is notable for the Mona Lisa smile that they all wear.

The Star of Triannis, also known as the Shining Beacon Sapphire, disappears from the Great Lighthouse in Triannis-by-the-Sea. The fist-sized jewel remains missing.

Every eleven years, during the worst blizzard of the winter, a northern town is besieged by a large pack of (dire?) wolves.

Thorgar the Bald brings a dwarven army to the aid of King Damberg in Carstonia, inspiring Carstonian knights to shave their heads.

Valen the Valorous slays the last hatchling of the Terrible Worm Falandier.

2011-11-25, 10:46 PM
A new kind of plow is invented
The "Insert name here" Guild was ran out of business but the "Insert name here" Guild took over, doing largely what it's predecessor did.
The "Insert name here" Mercenary Group disbanded, bandit attacks rise
The "Insert name here" Town wins the rights to gather resources from the nearby lands (Weatherwall has won the rights to the stone quarry to it's southwest)
The old monarchy's name died out, the old rulers daughter is wed to someone & the royal name has changed
A resent trauma of a Baron (or other noble) has triggered a new law outlawing red clothing in the presence of the Baron
The Red Elk of Trapper's pass is killed
A sudden cold snap in planting season has killed the crops causing an undue reliance on trade to a local nation/town/noble.
A clergymen is the center of a scandal, the people grow wary of the faith.

2011-11-25, 11:44 PM
* The princess causes a scandal by running off and marrying a commoner/member of discriminated against-species/other outsider.
* Religious fervor sweeps [region] after a series of visions featuring servants of [deity] appear before a number of the faithful.

2011-11-26, 11:25 AM
A small unimportant village is taken over by some evil organization. It is rescued by a order of gnomish paladins.

2011-11-26, 02:05 PM
natural disasters on a much smaller scale
small revolts in very isolated areas
assassination of minor royal figures

2011-11-27, 07:42 AM
A cult craze sweeps Arcis Sanctis, focusing on a hedonist lifestyle fueled by overuse of divine magic, but it is quickly surpressed by Arcis Novis inquisitors (or whoever ensures the purity of faith)

Adurean rangers uncover a smuggling ring that planned to get steam technology and blueprints across the borders. It is suspected that they planned an assassination of the queen.

A high-ranking Victan officer simply dissapears, seemingly without warning. No trace is found of him, and no clue as to why he vanished.

A spectacular display of steam technology greatly influences this years noble fashion. Steam-themed clothing and dress reminding of engineers and inventors becomes all the rage.

A famous Waystone poet finishes his newest work, "The City of Brass". Critics all over the world agree that it is one of the finest works ever to be produced.

A group of preachers wander the world, all preaching nearly the same message, but all claiming to have no knowledge of each other. This is widely believed to be a hoax, but they have gained followers in some regions.

During excavations for a new government building in one of the dwarven towns, a sealed cavern comes to light. Artifacts contained within shed valuable light on some of the lesser-known parts of Dwarven history.

A failed experiment to create a magical beast ravages a Victan city and embarasses the local officials, who are hard pressed to find a plausible denial.

Numrond farms produce a large number of very amusing-looking turnips, locals suspect rogue mage between bouts of snickering.

2011-11-27, 08:44 AM
A new style of music is created and sweeps the nation, embedding itself in the cultural consciousness. Also works with a new sport, a new food, et cetera. Could be anything from running with the bulls to pelota to the blues to checkers to their onion soup becoming famous around the world.

If it's a kingdom, there's a succession crisis. At the monarch's death, multiple figures are viable candidates for the throne. Whether the conflict is violent or bloodless, this is sure to fill up some time and create the perfect atmosphere for a crisis down the line.

Similarly, the current ruler is too young to take the throne, so a regent is put in place. This could be as simple as a short regency era, after which the regent peacefully steps down for the monarch when he or she comes of age, or a full-on change of government if a political coup is involved.

A major change in political policy or orientation--perhaps a constitution of some sort is introduced (whether it's the Magna Carta, the U.S. Constitution, or the Great Law of Peace), written or unwritten, though this is a pretty major event. It could also be something like a redirection of funds in a particular direction, or the creation of a new class ie., the institution of serfdom, the introduction of a formal caste system, the institution or abolition of slavery, the rise of aristocracy, or the birth of a middle class. Or it could just be the institution of a new law, major or minor.

A new political figure rises in prominence (new king, new advisor, new councilman/senator/minister/whatever), signaling a change in the nation's priorities.

The invention and promulgation of the printing press. Usually accompanied by an increase in literacy.

Relations change with another nation--perhaps they sour due to political gaffes or border conflicts, perhaps they sweeten due to trade relations, political agreement, or a shared conflict. The mind boggles.

A wonder of the world is built (the Pyramids, Notre Dame, Brunelleschi's Dome, the Statue of Liberty, et cetera).

A great person is born (Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Shakespeare, Patton, Einstein, Archimedes, Socrates, Diogenes, etc). You could even have a whole bunch of great thinkers co-existing, changing the entire cultural scene--think the Italian Renaissance, the French Belle Époque. It's a nice opportunity to insert a whole bunch of new ideas into the cultural consciousness. Good set-up for revolution, too.

A particular city rises to international prominence. This works with particular neighborhoods in a city as well. The fun part, of course, comes from the reason why--perhaps its become a hub for writers, philosophers, musicians, or artists; the center of a golden age.

The introduction of a new weapon or tactic, changing the face of war (gunpowder, pikes, trebuchets, phalanx, cannon, perhaps even particular uses of magic).

2011-11-27, 10:43 AM
1940 EP: The Dwarves of the coastal fortress Hostahur make contact with a merfolk civilization in the sea region. Form the 'Seastone Treaty'; an exchange of protection (essentially fortifying the mouth of the bay) against Sahaugin threats for a steady supply of obsidian and silver from deep sea deposits.

1934 EP: New religion emerges in border settlment of Terinyo. Religious leaders of Pelor, St. Cuthbert and Heironeous express wariness and concern, warn people that new religions may be enticing and exciting, but they have not withstood the test of time.

1932 EP: Mass cult suicide in Terinyo settlement. Warrants posted for Nerull cult agents.

1931 EP: Dwarves of Hostahur sever treaty with neighboring merfolk, alleging that promised-for goods were never delivered. Merfolk allege that the goods were supplied, retaliate with raids on coastal settlements throughout region.

1929 EP: Boat carrying daughter of Jeriah Ulf is scuttled by merfolk raiders, daughter presumed drowned. The planned marriage allying Ulf and Blackrose families is thereby canceled. Arguments over other potential arrangements between the families leads to an economic split. Prices of magic items and alchemical goods spike.

1925 EP: Three coastal villages are raided by merfolk in continued retaliation for what is becoming known as the Seastone Rift. Pressure against the dwarves of Hostahur increases from the human settlements, stressing a need to make amends and stop the raids.

1924 EP: The Church of Heironeous commits a paladin and small contingent of church initiates to each village under siege, to aid in city defense and directing the relief efforts.

1923 EP (Winter): Ranking paladin of the Church of Heironeous slain, allegedly by bandits, in coastal village of Altia.

1923 EP (Fall): Rumors of reavers of Erythnul circulate and are soon proven true. This group is luring in those shipowners and merchants who were put out of business by the merfolk raids, and the individuals rendered homeless by the raids, serving as outlet for their frustration.

1922 EP: Reavers of Erythnul attack and slaughter the people and animals of a caravan en route to Hostahur, carrying goods from the Blackrose merchants. Rumors about the end of the Blackrose circulate.

1921 EP: Mercenaries are hired and dispatched to deal with the Reavers.

1920 EP: Mercenaries are found hanging from a tree.

2011-11-28, 06:50 AM
Here are a whole bungh from Eberron as inspiration Sharn Inquisitive (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/archeb/si)

2011-11-28, 10:48 PM
Here's an example from my campaign.


2011-11-29, 12:37 AM
Simple ideas:
A new kind of ukulele is invented, just because. Bards everywhere rejoice.

A new holiday arises that celebrates the hottest day of the year. On this day every year, peasants light an offering of a vegetable on fire in honor of the sun that nourishes their crops.

Platform shoes are developed by a halfling cobbler with an inferiority complex.

A famous muckraker journalist is murdered, ending a career of exposing corrupt politicians and shady merchants. No suspects are ever named...

A battle of the bands between several troupes of legendary bards ends in all sides and spectators becoming enchanted. It takes weeks to resolve the problem, as each wave of investigators in turn falls under the spell.

Perhaps a little too large-scale for your tastes:
Spices (or any luxury good really) from far away are discovered by distant explorers, and merchants rush to secure trading rights. The great merchant families now compete on a much larger scale, and banks are established to help them avoid exchange rate and wealth-transportation problems.

A temperance movement starts up in one kingdom, as thousands call for the abolition of alcohol within its borders. When the prohibition begins, bootlegging and smuggling become common, leading to a rise of crime in nearby population centers. On a positive note for the elves, the local dwarves abandoned the kingdom for... more festive areas. Years later, the law is repealed to the surprise of all the ruler's subjects, and that man becomes known as King Roderick the Tipsy.

The largest nation begins to have difficulty with communication among its less magical citizens because of its growing size and distances, and thus courier businesses arise that can quickly transport packages, letters and trade goods for those who cannot afford to pay a wizard to do it. Congratulations, you now have (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongol_Empire#Mail_system) a primitive postal and transit system. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_roads) Trade flourishes from the better protected highways and trade routes, but when the nation collapses due to internal strife, the mail system largely falls apart due to neglect. The well-built roads remain to this day, however, even in the wilderness.

2011-11-29, 02:13 AM
The Nether Scrolls are founded thus sending the fledgling nation decades ahead of there time... MAGICALLY! ...OH minor stuff... nevermind :smallannoyed:

A New technique for casting magic is found which allows spellcasters to completely ignore the material components of minor spells (Eschew Material feat is created)

In the subsequent years following the development of this technique other such tricks are developed that allow greater alterations of magic (Other Metamagic feats are created)

Following the creation of these techniques the Archmage whom originally developed them mysteriously disappears leaving his school to be tended thus allowing the world to have a magical boom. (A creative reason for why magical items are easily found in random dungeons)

In the years following the Archmages disappearance multiple people around the world begin exhibiting natural affinity for Arcane magic, these people are now known as Sorcerers (Creative way for Sorcerers to be introduced)

Decades after the discovered of natural magics the study of Arcane magic falls into decline where as Natural Arcanist are treated as superiors (a reason why Sorcerers are much more common then Wizards and a justifiable reason to limit your Wizards research)

After centuries of absence the Archmage returns to the world as a Lich and re-opens the formerly closed Wizard Colleges. Wizardry, while not commonly performed is re-introduced into the world and is much more accepted in Human and Elven communities. (Idk i just needed filler)

The Orcish hoards begin constant raiding on the Elven Wizard Colleges with assistance from the Human Wizards they manage to repel the Orcish hoards, this event causes great conflict between the Orcish, Humans, and Elven.
During the battle of Evalintrous Hill, the Human arcanist develope a new technique that well surpasses the normal limits of magic. (Explanation for Epic magic)

The spellcasters whom developed the advanced style of casting are known as Archwizards and are viewed as Heroes in the magical community, however they are very solitary. (Reason for why Epic casters are rarely found)

After centuries of seclusion from the Archwizards. Knowledge of Arcane magic is now as it was before the return of the Archmage. (The real reason why Wizards are rarely found)

ANYWAY~ I stole some stuff from the History of Faerun... subtract points for uncreativity :smalltongue:

EDIT: oh drats... these seem like major events... :smallfrown:

2011-12-01, 02:30 PM
Here's a list of 100. (http://dndwithpornstars.blogspot.com/2011/11/100-random-weird-historical-events.html) Some are decidedly less minor than others, but this should be a good start for inspiration.

Be warned, while I promise the page I linked to is SFW, not every entry on the blog is, and you will likely be shown a warning screen telling you so.

2011-12-01, 03:54 PM
Building projects
The life of artists and poets and the works they created

2011-12-01, 03:57 PM
The archmage Vartaand presents his work The five principles of energy, and brings great changes to the philosophy of evocation. For his work the archmage was rewarded a rather large sum of gold by the Arcane Council. Vartaand later founded the Crystal College, a place for arcanists of all races to study and learn the magical arts.