The world of Vana’diel is a crossroads of magic, swords, and technology. It is also a battlefield where those who believe in light face monsters that thrive in darkness. The struggle centers on the control of crystals: sacred stones that are the fundamental source of all creation.
The monsters showed no mercy as they laid waste to beautiful towns, ravaged the land, and polluted the streams and rivers of Vana’diel. But the people united to seize victory from the jaws of the beastmen, earning themselves temporary respite from a life-and-death struggle.
Twenty years have passed since the people’s great victory. But now, even as the memories of battle have begun to fade, a new evil grows inside Vana’diel…
And it hungers for the power of the crystals.
Long, long ago, an ancient race, descended from the gods, flourished in Vana’diel. They traveled through the sky, extracted gold from stones, and gave birth to grasslands across the world.
But one day, they decided to build a pathway to the divine entrance of paradise. Enraged by such a brazen display of insolence, the holy gatekeeper destroyed their path and cast their homes to the bottom of the sea.
Shortly thereafter, the goddess Altana awakened and saw the ruin that had had once been Vana’diel. Saddened, She wept five divine tears. When the five tears fell upon the earth, they gave life to the five races of Vana’diel.
But the god Promathia saw this from His place in the shadows. Promathia saw fit to condemn Her work, cursing the people with eternal conflict amongst themselves.
He created terrible beasts and spread them across the world, commanding them to fight the people of Vana’diel and occupy their minds. Never again would they think to open the door to the gods.
The beastmen thrived in the ensuing era of darkness.
But the demihuman Galka and Mithra, blessed with bodies powerful enough to resist the advances of the beastmen, grew in number as well. They fought tooth and nail to cast the hordes from their homelands in an age of unending battle and chaos.
The Tarutaru race grew weary of the never-ending conflict, and wandered the world in search of peace. After discovering an uncharted continent, they named the land Windurst and settled down to build a brighter future for their kin.
Several decades after the Tarutaru’s long journey had come to an end, a young Tarutaru girl lost her way in one of the mysterious towers scattered across the outskirts of Windurst. It was there that the secrets of magic were revealed to her, and this knowledge would spread to her entire race. The Tarutaru worked as one to harness and understand the mysterious power that had been given to them. So began the Great Age of Magic.
Empowered by their expanding magical abilities, the Tarutaru united themselves as the Federation of Windurst, and worked to drive the hordes of Yagudo beastmen from their lands. The Tarutaru prospered, unified by their knowledge of magic and the solidarity of a new federation. It was a glorious age for their people.
But revealed secrets cannot be suppressed, and the knowledge of magic slowly spread to all the people of Vana’diel. Within a short time, other races – and even beastmen – began to employ magic techniques for themselves.
Filled with regret, the Tarutaru entered an era of isolation. They closed their borders to all but their longtime friends, the Mithra. And so, a once-proud civilization became more and more out of touch with the rest of the world.
The use of magic brought both happiness and conflict to the other races of Vana’diel. Perhaps the most satisfied were the proud Elvaan, who made their home in the Kingdom of San d’Oria in the northern reaches of the old continent. With the Tarutaru monopoly on magic broken, the Elvaan were able to create powerful orders of knights who feared no adversary.
Beastmen strongholds and Tarutaru villages alike fell before the power of the knights of San d’Oria. Within a short time, nearly the entire Quon continent had come under San d’Orian control.
But pride comes before the fall.
The nation of Bastok, founded by the Hume and Galka races, lay on the southern edge of the Quon continent. Fortified by the growing economic and intelligence-gathering abilities of the Hume race, Bastokan forces crushed the elite San d’Orian knights at the Second Battle of Konschtat. Cutting-edge firearms technology turned the tide of battle and cemented victory for the people of Bastok. This humiliating defeat sent the Kingdom of San d’Oria into an age of internal turmoil and civil war. Piece by piece, territories that the Elvaan had conquered slipped from their grasps.
The fall of the Kingdom of San d’Oria ushered in an era of prosperity for the Republic of Bastok.
Hume tradesmen spread across Vana’diel in an unprecedented era of economic development. Bastok’s fortunes grew as Humes sold products forged from the precious metals and rare ores extracted from their mines. The trend only accelerated with the appearance of the engineering genius named Cid. Ever practical, the Humes set about creating another nation-state: the Grand Duchy of Jeuno. Jeuno had long been a tiny fishing town on an isolated island between the two continents. The construction of great bridges transformed the sleepy village into a teeming metropolis of trade and industry.
The one known only as the Shadowlord appeared without warning, and his name remains synonymous with terror to this day. Consumed by hatred of all living things, he enslaved the beastmen and employed them in simultaneous attacks against the nations of Vana’diel. So began the Crystal War.
After years of peace and prosperity, the nations fell one after another, unable to halt the relentless onslaught. The nightmare spread across the lands of Vana’diel like hellfire.
In response to the seemingly unstoppable beastmen assault, Grand Duke Kam’lanaut of Jeuno convinced the people of San d’Oria, Windurst, and Bastok to unite as the Allied Forces of Altana and defeat the beastmen once and for all.
A stalemate ensued for some time. Finally, at the legendary Battle of Jeuno, the Allied Forces of Altana were able to gain the upper hand. They claimed total victory over the beastmen at the merciless Battle of Xarcabard.
Finally, the heroes of the five races cornered the Shadowlord in his stronghold of Castle Zvahl, where Volker, champion of Bastok, delivered the final coup de grace.
Thus the Crystal War drew to an end, with victory marred by the uncountable corpses scattered throughout the devastated lands and cities of Vana’diel.
Although the war had ended, the long-suffering nations of Vana’diel pledged to maintain their alliance. Each nation built a consulate in their sister countries. The Duchy of Jeuno unveiled enormous airships based on ancient technology, bringing the nations of Vana’diel closer together, and promising a new era of peace and prosperity.
Or so the nations of the world had hoped.
In reality, the beastmen had regrouped and continued to construct strongholds throughout the world. Although they lacked the organization of previous eras, they launched a new campaign of looting, plundering, and terror against the people of Vana’diel.
Still, the three great nations continued to mistrust one another. Rather than dispatching their own forces to deal with the beastmen threat, they began to employ a new generation of independent youth to deal with the situation on an individual level.
These stalwart people are called adventurers. They are intrepid souls who follow their own beliefs, moving freely from city to city in spite of their own national allegiances.
Truly, it is the dawn of a new era in Vana’diel history.