Before the Day of Darkness, the world of Dar-Khazad was prosperous and rich with natural resources. Dwarves tended deep mines of gold, silver, and Mithral. Dwarven smiths forged weapons of great power and fashioned all manner of shields and armor. Elves thrived in vast forest cities and crafted bows of great beauty and accuracy. They practiced magic and wrote songs of peace and harmony. Gnomes created great machines that could move huge mounds of dirt and hurl massive objects skyward. Halfling scholars scribed great papers of learned knowledge and experimented in science and chemistry. Humans built monumental cities where all the races gathered to conduct business and meet on important matters. Yes, the people of Dar-Khazad sang; basking in the glory of music, art, poetry, magic, peace, and prosperity. Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, and Halflings embraced one another as brother and friend.
Most believe the Day of Darkness fell upon Dar-Khazad about 125 years ago when the Horde descended upon this peaceful world like locusts devouring all in their path. Although the armies of Dar-Khazad fought bravely, they found few victories. One by the one cites, castles, and strongholds were trampled by the Horde. Survivors of these lost strongholds fled for the capital city of Dar-Khazad; the city of Armoroth. As the war raged, each race moved their knowledge and wealth to Armoroth for safe keeping. Among the many treasures taken to Armoroth were four sacred relics. The dwarves brought their Great Forge; a forge that held the secrets of Mithral and fire. From the Halflings came the Balance of Wisdom; a set of scales that held the secrets of understanding and knowledge. From the Elves came The Heartbow; in it were the secrets of contest and archery. Finally, from the humans was the Star Gem of Armoroth; a relic that had protected Armoroth for centuries. The Gnomes, fearing that Armoroth was not safe, buried their sacred relic, the Great Machine, deep in a secret cavern; a place they hoped would not be discovered by the Horde.
Aided by four powerful off-worlders, Armoroth is where the civilization of Dar-Khazad made its final stand. With the off-worlder’s help, the forces of Armoroth held off the Horde for nearly a month. Using remarkable feats of magic and swordsmanship, the off-worlders slew thousands. When defeat was near, the wizards of Armoroth gave the Forge, the Balance, the Bow, and the Star Gem to the off-worlders and asked that they be kept safe and returned one day when Dar-Khazad was rebuilt. The off-worlders agreed and returned to their home; a place called Oerth. Without the off-world’s aid; Armoroth was soon lost and thus, a once proud civilization was lost.
Using survivors as slaves, the Horde stripped Dar-Khazad of its natural resources. Cut down its majestic forests, drained many of its lakes and scarred the face of this once beautiful world. When they had taken most everything of value, the Horde killed the slaves and left behind a breeder colony of Chit; malicious insect-like creatures with a natural hatred for Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, and Gnomes. They departed as quickly as they arrived.
There is little comfort on Dar-Khazad and food is scarce. Its majestic cities lay in ruins and are now home of the Chit. Metals such as iron and steel are rarely, if ever encountered. Metal weapons and armor are so valuable that they are considered artifacts. Masterwork weapons and armor are considered priceless.
There are few towns or villages in Dar-Khazad. The few villages that remain live under constant threat of attack. One of the largest villages is the village of Jadon; a community of almost 300. It is assumed that the characters are from Jadon or have moved to Jadon (players can expand on this thought, if desired).
Jadon is located at the base of Fire Forge Mountain. A small mountain made of black rock that for some reason the Chit avoid, or at least have not chosen to attack. The people in Jadon have it better than most. They grow mushrooms and fungus in the abandoned mines of Fire Forge and hunt Pa-Tau in its deep caverns. The mine has several natural springs and thus is a source of life as it provides food, water, and, shelter as the mine shafts are protected by huge stone doors too thick for the Chit to batter down.
Those who live in Jadon share very close ties. Everyone in the village knows everyone and everyone else’s business. This is not considered rude or nosey; this is just normal life. Villagers share an uncommon closeness and are always willing to offer a helping hand. When someone gets sick or dies, the entire village morns; as this is a loss for Jadon and a victory for the Chit.