The Dreaming Dark that surrounds all worlds is a timeless expanse. Only within Creation is time counted. Within the Dark, many variations of each Creation exist simultaneously--those that are, those that were, and those that might have been. Here are a few stories from these shard-like worlds. Which of these is real? That's a question for the philosophers.

Channels of If

The three world-lines presented here all branch from the same starting point--the first day of Spring Dawning, 204 AC. In each, a group of individuals was pulled from prison cells under the Temple of the Four in Kaelthia and presented a choice--a choice between freedom (and death) and responsibility (and servitude). Each chose responsibility and were sent to the town of Yuuras-Zaali to serve as Adventurers. The only difference between the world lines at this point was the identities of those in this group. Each of the following present the changes between 204 AC and the time indicated for each branch.

World-line: Overthrow the Government! (235 AC)

In this world-line, the group of adventurers spearheaded a revolt against the corrupt government of the Council Lands and instituted a system of communal ownership of land and other real property. In the aftermath the high elves, the mountain dwarves, and the dragon-born clans all left the Council Lands. The elves settled at the western edge, along the shore of Lake Coinyn. The dwarves headed east into the mountains and founded a city there. The dragon-born headed west and assisted the Remnant Dynasty against the Frost creatures that threatened it. The remaining population turned in on itself and shrank away from expansion.

Changes

Lower technology/magic
Without the high elves and the mountain dwarves and without the culture of commerce, the technological and magical advancement of the Council Lands slowed tremendously (especially in the area of weapons and armor). Only the lower-quality goods are available for purchase
Xenophobia
The people of the Council Lands have turned away from the outside. Anything strange or unusual is met with violence.
Threats from outside
  • Goblins fleeing north away from Twisted Lands
  • Stone Throne expansion from the south
  • Orcish aggression in the north

World-line: Adventures in Kingdom Building (215-220 AC)

In this world-line, the adventurers discovered both powerful artifacts and tremendous wealth. They parlayed that wealth into political power. The peaceful order of the Council Lands was shattered as a result. The dragon-born population was led in a crusade against the Frost; the charismatic leader of this crusade (one of the adventurers) founded a kingdom dedicated to the destruction of the true dragons. This kingdom is located at the north of the Frost-bound mountains and is expanding into orcish territory (peacefully and otherwise). The mountain dwarves, led by King Theobard III left the Council in 206 AC to found a city and kingdom under the eastern mountains. A group of scholars, mages, and adventurers set out for the flooded regions to the north with the aim of raising the sunken ruins of Laisirand and creating a city dedicated to knowledge and learning. Another band, much more religious, colonized the north-east shore of Lake Coinyn and dedicated themselves to peaceful farming and the destruction of the "unclean" (meaning goblinoids and orcs as well as any other monsters). Another adventurer rebuilt the burned-out manor overlooking the town of Fuar-Uulan and has established herself as the Lady of that township. All of this has left the Council Lands much reduced in strength. In 212 AC, the Council was unable to reach consensus on future plans and dissolved--each of the major townships and cities became their own governing body.

Changes

Higher technology/magic
Both the new dwarven kingdom of Karad Goran and the city-states resulting from the breakup of the council have put a high priority on magical and technological advancement. All PHB items are available for purchase and magical items are starting to become available.
The return of aristocracy
With the fall of the Council, the people reverted to the older ways--raising up Kings and Lords. Some of the nations are directly monarchistic--others have the outward form of a council but the council is chosen hereditarily. The city-states are not at war but are not always friendly to one another.
Threats from outside
  • Goblins fleeing north away from Twisted Lands
  • Stone Throne expansion from the south
  • Rumors of a major military force in the north absorbing orcish clans.

 

World-line: Yo, I heard you like councils... (215-220 AC)

This group of adventurers had grander plans than just reforming one nation. They solved the problem of the expanding Twisted Lands, made peace with the goblin tribes, discovered the Byssian nation, and have {SPOILER}. They then brought all the nations together into a federation--each nation is sovereign in its own lands, but the nations meet in council in Yuuras-Zaali to handle international squabbles. The Adventurers Guild has been seconded to the Federation as trouble-shooters and has become an organization staffed by volunteers instead of conscripted convicts.

Changes

Higher technology and magic
Magical items are now being produced and are starting to come up for sale at high prices.
Prosperity and expansion
With the increased security and stability comes a large increase in expansion. New towns are being formed and adventurers are heading off to explore ancient ruins.
Threats
  • Political instability in the Council Lands
  • Threats in the Wild-lands (formerly the Twisted Lands)
  • Orcish aggression in the north
  • {SPOILER}