Ancient Powers Mortal Pawns

In the world of the Warcraft RPG, the ancient powers rule supreme in their particular bastions, unsurpassed in power, knowledge and ability. Each also possesses its own personality and agenda, which has led each to interact with mortals in its own way.

In some cases, an ancient power may take an interest in a hero early in her life. The powers have an innate understanding of prophecy and divination surpassing that of mortals, and they are often aware of a hero's fate long before the hero takes her first steps onto the path of adventure. A power may send monsters to kill a nascent hero years before she has an opportunity to meddle in the power's schemes, or it may subtly assist her by quietly guiding her toward allies, information or hidden artifacts that will help her achieve her destiny.

When unable to act or unwilling to show their hands, the ancient powers use mortal heroes and villains as agents to further their own agendas — Sargeras used Azshara as his servant in an attempt to open the Well of Eternity, and the human wizard Rhonin was the cat's-paw of the dragons during the Second War. As characters in a Warcraft campaign reach epic levels of play, they may be approached by an ancient power and asked to undertake a quest. Characters must take care when serving an Eternal, however, as completing a task for a power may mean incredible reward in thanks for a service well performed — or utter destruction as the Eternal hides its tracks.

Epochs of Power

The first chapter of Lands of Conflict presents a detailed timeline for the world of Azeroth and a look at how campaigns might be set in different eras of the world's history. No matter when a campaign is set, heroes might find themselves encountering the ancient powers.

• The Dawn of History: Heroes have the greatest opportunity to encounter the ancient powers in campaigns set during Azeroth's earliest days. This was the golden age of the powers, when the dragons and Elune's servants watched over the young world, Elemental Lords still thought the untamed land as comfortable as their home plane, and legends claimed that the world's creators still lurked in the shadows finishing the details of their creation.

Epic campaigns set in this era can lead heroes to encounter the Eternals as they explore the untamed world or to help a young Eternal such as Aviana in the mastery of her abilities. In the late days of this period, as the Burning Legion rampages across the land and Cenarius gathers forces to confront the demons, epic-level characters may find themselves forced to choose sides and fight in the greatest battles of the ancient world.

• The Shattered World: In the aftermath of the War of the Ancients and the sundering of the world, the Burning Legion was forced off Azeroth. Azshara vanished, and the dragons went into hid ing. Even the elementals retreated, and thousands of years would pass before mortal spellcasters discovered how to summon them back across the planar boundaries.

Though the Eternals who survived were largely unseen for almost 10,000 years, characters in epic campaigns set during this era might find themselves encountering Eternals such as the satyr Lord Xavius as he seeks to build his dark army without attracting Elune's attention, or searching for the hiding places of Alexstrasza or Nozdormu. Humbled by Azshara's bold attempt to rise to their level of power, the Eternals of this era remain reserved and distrustful ofboth mortals who seek them out and mortals whom they employ.

• The Time of Portals: Seers and scholars maintain that the Horde's arrival through the Dark Portal heralded the return of the ancient powers to mortal events. In the years since, the great dragons and the Elemental Lords have involved themselves in the war, and both Cenarius and Sargeras have returned. As the dwarves delve deeper into the lost secrets of the titans, some have wondered whether the titans ever truly left. Epic-level characters adventuring in the current age are increasingly likely to find they have unwittingly been drawn into — or run afoul of — the schemes of a returned Eternal.

As spellcasters gain mastery over spells allowing for planar travel, modern-era epic-level adventurers can travel to nearly every hiding place of the Eternals, from the Emerald Dream and the Elemental Plane to Outland (see Chapters Four and Five for more information on these planes). The Eternals appear to have recovered from any uncertainty they suffered during their millennia of retreat, however, and heroes who seek them out do so at their own risk.

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