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Ashes of Atlantis

In the ages long ago, the world was a fey place. Spirits roamed the land, and fey races walked the unsullied natural world. Elves lived in the deep forests and jungles, and dwarves haunted their great halls of stone carved into the great mountain ranges. Dragons slept, untroubled by ambition or avarice, while the Orcs were still just unthinkable nightmares.

Long ago, there existed in the Atlantic ocean an island-continent named Atlantis. Atlantis was populated with the humans who had fled the encroaching ice that enveloped their old homeland of Hyperborea. The Atlanteans were powerful priests and mage-philosophers who had developed magic into an exact science.

Once settled in Atlantis, the Atlanteans spread their reach far and wide, for although Atlantis was lush, very nearly a paradise on earth, it was nonetheless poor in minerals and metals, especially in the precious gems that the Atlanteans adored and used extensively in the crafting of their magical technology.

The Atlanteans established cities and colonies in many places, particularly places where mining was rich and resources readily available. The northern seaboard of Europe and the eastern coasts of North America were favored. A few colonies were established in the Mediterranean, on the coasts of North Africa.

Where they established colonies, they brutally repressed the races living there, seeing them as naturally inferior or aberrations of man. The Elves of the deep forests of Europe suffered the greatest, yielding acre after precious acre of their beloved woodlands to the interlopers. Dwarves were frequently enslaved for cheap labor and for their skills with stone. Other races were either enslaved (if considered aesthetically pleasing) or simply eliminated where found.

But there were places that even the Atlanteans would not venture. The strange constructions they found in Antartica they left alone, for it filled them with dread. The great mountain fortresses and pyramids of Central and South America filled them with an unreasoning fear. They were inhabited by the degenerate descendants of men who had come from the ancient and terrible continent of Mu. It was from one of these dark, horror-filled vaults that the Atlanteans first encountered the Great Old Ones whose worship would be their undoing.

The greed and callousness of the Atlanteans were renowned everywhere, but in these qualities were the seeds of their destruction. Living ever longer and longer, filled with ennui and the desire to experience new things, they slowly turned from the old gods they once worshipped and delved deeper into the worship of a new pantheon, gods whose name at first dripped from the lips of the mad, the crazed and the insane who returned from the strange pyramids of Mezoamerica – names such as Shub-Niggurah, Tsathoggua and the greatest among them, Cthulhu.

The Atlanteans grew ever more jaded, more callous and inexpressively more evil, descending into barbarous and disgusting rites consecrated to the worship of these great evil elemental entities. Nobody alive knows exactly what happened to cause Atlantis to destroy itself in three days of bloody terror and destruction, but after the ash settled and the winds blew away the remains of the smoke and the fire the continent of Atlantis was no more – where the graceful spires and towers of the Star-mages once reared themselves to the distant, flickering stars there now existed only a great expanse of water.

Atlantis was no more. Within a decade, its far-flung colonies were reclaimed by the very races they had so brutally subjugated, and Atlantis soon drifted into legend, joining its predecessors of Lemuria, Mu and Hyperborea. Only scattered groups of humans remained, and they were swiftly subjugated or driven into the most inhospitable regions by the other races, in particular the Elves, whose long memories and terrible treatment at Atlantean hands was never forgiven.

Ages stretched on, and mankind rose from barbarism, erecting the first cities of the Ancient Era on the flood plains of Mesopotamia. From there mankind exploded outwards, moving into regions where the other races had previously neglected.

The Mediterranean was one such place – lacking the dense forests the elves loved, and the great peaks the dwarves adored, men were able to quickly push out the small outposts and colonies that other races had established.

The Middle East and India were other such places, and China had long been home to the children of Mu, and slowly and surely the human races grew, discovering the rudiments of philosophy, technology, farming and other skills the other races had long taken for granted, and humanity entered a golden age.

But the Golden Age is about to end. The Elves have not forgotten their old grudge, and the Celts, a powerful barbarian people shaped and molded by the Elves, is their weapon. Once already have they unleashed them on the unsuspecting Mediterranean nations, and now the Elves prepare the hammerstroke that they hope will end human civilization.

In the south, a great nation of Orcs and Half-Orcs prepare to throw of the shackles of their oppressors, and lay claim to their destiny.

In the East, an evil lurks, growing stronger and stronger. And humanity’s greatest general has bowed his knee to it.

In ancient Atlantean ruins piles of treasure and powerful magics await, guarded by scions of those great old ones that brought ruin to Atlantis. Woe to them that would awaken these beasts, or worse, bring back the tablets and scrolls that bear on them the seeds of their destruction.

In the Mediterranean, three cultures clash. The disciplined and nascent Roman Republic, the demon-worshipping Carthaginians, and the vast but tired Hellenistic kingdoms vie with each other, unaware of the threats encroaching on all sides.

This is the world of Ashes of Atlantis – a world that seems eerily familiar, and yet very different. It is a place where Roman legions march accompanied by priests who chant prayers granted by the divine power of the Twin Consuls. It is a place where Greek elemental mages match wits with the demonic summoners of Carthage. Where a swordmaster of Tyre can cross blades with vengeance-maddened Elves, and the necromancer-priests of Egypt raise great pyramids to their glory on the backs of Orcish slave labour. It is a place where merchants of the Indus valley barter large gems on the behest of their Rakshasa masters for relics and artifacts recovered from Atlantean ruins.

As a player, you play a character living during this time, when the flickering flame of human civilization threatens to be extinguished by forces both without and within. Can you make your mark in the ancient world?

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