ArchLord Developer Diary #1 - The Lore
The developers of ArchLord explain the history of the land and races that feature in the game.
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ArchLord, the massively multiplayer game from developers NHN, takes place in the fantasy realm of Chantra. The game is scheduled for release in Europe and North America this autumn, and promises a top-level game aim of becoming the ultimate ruler--or ArchLord--of the world. The game promises player-versus-player combat on a massive scale, as well as the normal gameplay you'd expect from an MMORPG. The land of Chantra and the human, orc, and moon elf races available in the game have a long history--as the developers explain in this three-part lore of the land and races.
A Brief History of the Chantra ContinentNHN Corporation
1.1. 7 BD (Before Dulan)--Beginning of Written History
Long ago, the Elementals infused their power into the very stones of the continent of Chantra, creating a land of magic and mystery whispered about in legends around the world. The most seductive story was that five of the gemstones--Archons--bestowed unimaginable power upon their bearer. Adventurers from many lands sought to make this power their own--including humans and orcs from the western continent. But though they were in a new land, they brought their old racial hatreds with them.
Two heroes emerged in Chantra around the year 7 BD: the human warrior Nathan and the orc magician Walcure. Both set out on their own quest to find the Archons. Their paths crossed in the heat of the Windrill desert as they searched for ancient ruins. Their instinctive hatred gripped them and they launched into a fierce battle, magic against strength and steel, clashing for hours on end. But they were evenly matched, and finally they collapsed from exhaustion. Recognizing each other as formidable fighters, both worthy of respect, they shared their water and formed a lasting friendship.
Together they continued the quest for the Archons, finally finding the old ruins. The tumbled rock and broken roads of the ancient city were not entirely abandoned, however. Destiny had one final trial for them. As they explored the remains of the city they discovered a great hall. Wandering deep into it, they saw before them a throne richly decorated with carvings of warriors in fierce battle. As they stood there marveling, a man stepped from behind the throne. He was dressed in armour matching the carvings and raised a menacing sword. This was Salamander, the last remaining guardian of this once-amazing city. He was left by the ancients to defend their treasures to the end. He launched into a ferocious attack. It took the skill of both heroes to defeat the great Salamander.
As the mighty warrior fell, a huge door at the rear of the hall slid back to reveal two incredible weapons. Both carried an Archon, infused with primordial Elemental power. The sword held the Archon of Fire, and the staff held the Archon of Earth. Moving forward, each claimed one; Nathan chose the sword, and Walcure took the staff.
Their adventure finished, they knew it was time to return to their own people. As the battle brothers parted ways, they lifted a ring from the fallen Salamander and split it between them as a reminder of their shared journey and newfound allegiance to each other.
Nathan earned a reputation as a righteous warrior and built a great castle on Chantra called Manas. Walcure came to be called the greatest magician in all of orc history. Countless tales of their achievements were told for generations, and over time, even their weapons took on names of their own. Nathan's sword became known as Brumhart, while Walcure's staff acquired the name Gaiahon.
But the most important event of their lives would happen six years later.
1.2. 1 BD (Before Dulan)--Secret Conspiracy
One night, six years later, Nathan and Walcure were both awakened by an eerie sound--a wailing cry only they could hear. It seemed to come from their magical weapons. Mystified, they both travelled to Serend to consult Gracia, a wise archer of the Moon elves. They arrived at the same time, and Gracia knew why they had come. Her own bow, Evengarda, contained two Archons and was also wailing. She explained that a magician called Cyripus had gained an Archon of his own, and was calling the weapons--trying to unite all the powers of the Elementals in one person. Trying to become an ArchLord.
With all five Archons, Cyripus would be nearly invincible, and the three heroes knew that one person could not be trusted with such enormous powers. Nathan, Walcure, and Gracia banded together to find Cyripus and defeat him. At last they confronted him, and a battle ensued in the same ancient, desert ruins where Walcure and Nathan had gained their Archons. All three fought him tirelessly, but finally it was the Moon elf Gracia who took down Cyripus with her bow. It cost her a deep wound from his magic, but the heroes triumphed. They had no respect for the power-hungry magician, so they abandoned the body in the ruins, Gracia's arrows still piercing Cyripus' chest.
Afraid of being tempted by the power of five united Archons, the heroes decided to hide the one they gained from Cyripus. At the time, a great city named Dulan was being constructed, with a mighty castle at its heart. Together, the heroes buried the final Archon under the castle's foundation stone and sealed it with magic.
The secret of its resting place was never revealed, but Nathan had witnessed the full extent of the power of the Archon, and he became cautious of the Archon inside Brumhart. He asked the Noum to craft a magical scabbard, which would seal in the power of the sword as long as it was sheathed. From then on, he drew his weapon only when absolutely necessary, and strong cautions were handed down as the sword passed on through generations of his descendants.
1.3. Dulan 498--Birth of Ugdrasil
Another significant alliance between humans and orcs happened centuries after Nathan and Walcure died. The human Sylvia and the orc Urzark were two magicians who fell in love and lived together quietly in the small village of Serend. They had a son named Ugdrasil, meaning "star of the East". He was a very smart boy and very gifted with magic, but most people in Chantra disapproved of interbreeding between the races. So the only other person who knew about Ugdrasil was the family friend and great magician Kaliur. He was the guardian of Walcure's magic and had inherited the staff Gaiahon.
However, secrets can't be kept forever, and when Ugdrasil was 2 years old he was discovered by a corps of human knights led by a magician. They attacked the family. Sylvia had time to use her magic to hide Ugdrasil. Urzark magically summoned Kaliur to come to their aid. But when he arrived, both parents were already dead. He discovered where Ugdrasil was hidden and took the boy as his apprentice.
1.4. Dulan 500--Birth of Zian
By now Dulan had grown to be the main human city in Chantra and a hotbed of political intrigue. Leon of Manas was the descendant and heir of the great warrior Nathan. He carried Brumhart and was considered a promising new hero. His childhood friend and battle brother, Ernan, was just as ambitious, but far less honourable. He began to see Leon as a threat to his own ambitions, and attributed his success to the magical sword he wielded. He planned to ambush Leon the next time he was alone.
This soon happened, under tragic circumstances. Leon's wife died giving birth to Zian, a healthy baby boy who was the last of Leon's family. He took the baby with him on a journey through the Taas forest, and this is when Ernan chose to strike.
When Leon sensed the danger, he hid his tiny son in a basket under a bush and went to face his betrayer. He did not survive the battle. Ernan cared nothing about the boy. He took Brumhart and left the forest.
To his dismay, he found that the magic seal prevented him from even drawing the weapon--he was not a descendant of Nathan. In desperation, he travelled into the deep caves of the Noum, who had made the magical sheath, but they refused to break the seal. In his anger, Ernan threw Brumhart into a pool of molten lava within the caves.
Back in the Taas forest, an Elajin monk was travelling cautiously on foot. He heard a baby cry and discovered Zian hidden in the underbrush. The baby was playing with a signet ring bearing the crest of the Manas family. The monk, Kenneth, knew how dangerous Dulan had become, and guessed at the baby's fate. He took Zian home with him to the monastery. Zian grew up there, learning discipline and the art of the warrior.
Part two of the lore of ArchLord will be posted on August 21, 2006.
1.5. Dulan 507--The Meeting of Ugdrasil and Zian
By the time these boys were 7 and 9, their world had descended into chaos. The eastern side of Chantra, where the orcs mainly lived, was in a constant state of war as clans battled each other for dominance. Not even the great magician Kaliur was willing to remain there. He took his students and apprentices and left for the no-man's-land desert in the middle of Chantra. The Elajin monks fled the western region of Chantra, where the human factions fought each other for supremacy. The thirst for power had intoxicated everyone, and refugees were thrown together into Windrill, a place of desert and ancient ruins. But among the refugees old blood feuds flared, even among children.
There, in the desert at a place near Elka, Zian and Ugdrasil encountered each other as they were both sent from their respective camps to draw water from the river. When the orc and the human saw each other they immediately attacked--Ugdrasil with his young magic and Zian with his new warrior skills. The result was a tumble into the river. There they both struggled to avoid drowning and deeper instincts soon took over. The boys helped each other survive the rushing current. Finally Zian pulled Ugdrasil to safety, and a friendship was born. They played together in secret while their groups camped near each other.
But they were the only human and orc who could see past the old hatred. The no-man's-land soon erupted into a racial war, and no place on the continent of Chantra was safe. Ugdrasil and Zian fought side by side trying to stay alive in a world gone mad with bloodlust. These years made a deep impression on both boys. They shared a longing for peace, but each had their own philosophy of how to achieve it. Zian was sure the conflict could only end through mutual understanding. Ugdrasil was convinced it would require an overwhelming force to maintain a lasting peace. As they watched mighty warriors on both sides fight to the death, they knew someday the conflict could erupt between them as well.
1.6. Dulan 515--The Revival of Cyripus
In the year Zian turned 15, there came a subtle shift in the human wars. King Ladeus II of Dulan lost his queen and with her, his will to live or fight. The nobles in his court grew concerned and encouraged him to go to the field of battle and see for himself how the war progressed. He took a large group of supporters and advisors with him as he travelled. Among them was Ernan, the ruthless warrior who betrayed Zian's father. He had risen through the ranks and now commanded a large force, keeping an influential place at the king's side.
As the party moved into Windrill, near Elka, they stopped by the river to rest their horses. Ernan had always enjoyed exploring old ruins, and found some nearby to entertain himself while the king rested. As he explored deep into the fallen walls and broken streets, he came across a corpse--not unusual in such a war-torn time. But this corpse was dressed in magician's robes not seen for centuries. It had two exquisite arrows, still protruding from the chest. They looked expensive and Ernan wanted them. He went to the body and pulled the arrows free. Ernan instantly felt a shock course through his hands into his heart. He collapsed, unconscious.
When he opened his eyes, he was not the same man. Ernan had found the body of Cyripus--and the soul of Cyripus was not dead. It refused to leave, clinging to the rocks, the dust, and what was left of his decaying body. Now the soul of Cyripus inhabited the body of Ernan. He was still weak--his powerful magic would not return for some time. But Cyripus understood how to use Ernan and his trusted place with the king to begin regaining a more mundane kind of power, which could lead to something bigger.
Cyripus used the position of Ernan to influence the king with his own agenda. From that day on, the focus of the war turned from wiping out enemies to amassing ancient treasure. The king even turned on his own people, forcing them to hunt for old relics and relinquish family heirlooms. The king's son, Prince Cerion, worried along with the people that his father might have gone mad with grief. They didn't realize an ancient evil was manipulating him...
1.7. Dulan 515--The Return of Gracia
Men and orcs have short life spans compared to Moon elves. The ancient hero Gracia still lived long after Nathan and Walcure were gone, but she had retreated from the chaotic world to live peacefully among the Kobolts. The fight with Cyripus left her with a bitter injury, mostly healed now but a nagging reminder of the battle. A piece of his magic was still lodged in her bones, and on the day he awakened, that magic revived as well. She felt the searing pain and knew Cyripus was alive again somewhere, and gaining strength. Gracia did her best to ignore the pain and what it meant. She had been apart from the world so long she didn't want to be dragged back.
But one day, when she was absent from the little Kobolt village for just a few hours, the army from Dulan came searching for ancient relics. They destroyed her home and her friends. When Gracia arrived and discovered the devastation, she realized she could no longer turn her back on the world. The chaos would reach every corner and small village if it were left unchecked. She knew Cyripus was rebuilding his power base, looking for the Archons--and she knew she must get them first. The entire world was in danger, but for Gracia this fight was personal. She would do whatever it took to eliminate all traces of her ancient enemy.
Part two of the lore of ArchLord will be posted on August 21, 2006.