Lords of Xen'Drik
Some eighty thousand years ago, Xen’drik was home to Eberron’s fi rst civilized race—the giants, towering beings possessing tremendous strength and intellect. By studying the continent’s ruins, sages have been able to develop a general sense of the lives and history of this lost age, but the precise nature of its people remains a mystery. Scholars believe that the fi rst giants were of a type unknown in the modern age, both wiser and more powerful than the giants of the present day. Some who study them refer to these mighty founders as “titans.”
Though Xen’drik has likely always been a dangerous land, over the course of twenty thousand years, the giants rose from savagery to create a stable and advanced civilization. The lesser races and creatures of Xen’drik were all brought under giant dominion in time. Among the giants’ slaves were the elves, who became common throughout their masters’ cities and settlements.
Sixty thousand years ago, something happened that would change the giants and the fate of Xen’drik forever. Giant explorers made contact with the dragons of Argonnessen, and a group of dragons took a great interest in the fledgling kingdoms. Flights of dragons migrated to Xen’drik to take up residence among the giants, sharing their knowledge of magic with the younger race. The giants quickly mastered these mystical arts, creating artifacts and wondrous locations still beyond the knowledge of modern civilization. The giant nations even taught their elf slaves to use magic, with the elves’ talent for the arcane arts allowing them to overcome the limitations of their size. For a time, dragon and giant lived in harmony, but conflict in Argonnessen eventually drew the dragons away from Xen’drik. In centuries to come, the dragons became insular and broke off contact with the giants; they would not return for thousands of years.
The civilization of the giants prospered for another twenty thousand years, and its empires spread across the continent. Then, forty thousand years ago, the collapse of Xen’drik was set in motion by an extraplanar invasion from Dal Quor, the Region of Dreams. Living nightmares tore into the nations of the giants, and reality itself was scarred by their battles. In the end, an alliance of giant arcanists drew on cataclysmic powers to sever the connection between Dal Quor and Eberron—an action that unleashed destruction nearly as disastrous as the war it sought to end.
For almost a thousand years, magical curses and plagues swept through the land, civil war raging even as the giants’ elf and drow slaves seized the opportunity to throw off their chains. Desperately weakened, the giants prepared to call again on the powerful magic that had banished the quori—magic that might have destroyed Eberron if not for the intervention of the dragons. No one knows the full extent of the power the lords of Argonnessen brought to bear, but in the aftermath, the Xen’drik of old was no more. Eldritch energy spread across the land, leaving a twisted environment and bizarre monsters in its wake. The giants were reduced to savagery and have never recovered, their cities falling to ruin.
For almost forty thousand years, Xen’drik has been a land of mystery, but in recent times the people of Khorvaire and Sarlona have begun to probe its depths. Many fantastic treasures have been recovered from its ruins, but its greatest secrets remain hidden still, waiting for bold adventurers to unearth them.
Explorers, in recent years, sent into Xen’Drik have discovered that nowhere on the continent is in sync with the rest of the world, or even the rest of the continent. Space and time are in constant flux in a way that is is not visible to either those under the effects or outsiders. You could walk perfectly straight on your way out of Stormreach for 8 hours, then turn 180 degrees exactly and walk perfectly straight back and not reach Storm Reach. You could end up on the southern most coast, or the eastern shores, or even be 24 hours away from Stormreach, but in the right direction. This makes exploration of Xen’Drik dangerous, but the artifacts and treasures that lie in wait make it well worth the danger to many explorers.
It has been shown that this effect is less pronounced around the coast, and it can even be overcome. Immensely powerful wizards, along with gnomish inventors, have been able to use a combination of artifacts recovered on Khorvaire, planar binding and dimensional stabilisation to allow Stormreach to be established, but this undertaking took several generations to complete, and only works in a very limited area.
Explorations have even shown that the terrain itself is radically different. You can find an arctic tundra right next to a burning desert, and the two seem to cohabitate peacefully.