The biggest spoiler warning I can offer Edit
Seriously. This is the underlying pinning to every mystery and idea in the campaigns. Don't want those? Don't fucking read this! Simple!
What connects the three time periods? Edit
Simple: Our Lady of Being a Lich. I call her that because A.) I think it is funny, seriously, it makes me giggle a little every time I remember it B.) she doesn't have a name. Or a beginning. Or an end. She is stuck in an infinite loop. As far as the writer of this is concerned, Our Lady of Being a Lich is the first and last lich to exist in Eiyama. The potential for an incredibly powerful, immortal being to upset the balance of the universe the Patrons have worked to maintain is far too great, and so she has been contained to this infinite loop by the interventions of the Patrons themselves. Now that they know what to look for, anyone trying to replicate her discoveries is obliterated by the Patron's servants before they become an essential part of the stability of the history of the universe and can't be destroyed so easily.
To try and make things simpler, the bullet points of the time loop she is in:
- A young woman arrives in the eastern reaches of Calaset and begins a cult of personality, convincing her followers she has the secrets to eternal life. No one knows where she came from.
- The young woman's cult slowly spreads throughout all levels of society. The government begins to see her as a threat and starts cracking down on her and her followers.
- This plays directly into her hands, and she uses this to stir up increasing levels of unrest, until an all out civil war begins.
- She uses her incredible magical power to force a quick end to war, and is installed as the new leader.
- Her first act as leader: declare a vast westward migration.
- During this time, she runs into a variety of Orcish societies. A combination of arrogance and lack of patience leads to open warfare. Attrition on both sides leads to the vast army of undead and necromancers that is associated with Our Lady of Being a Lich, and the nomadic existence of the Orcish peoples on Calaset.
- It is around this time that Our Lady of Being a Lich becomes a lich for the "first" time.
- The First Undead War Begins. Our Lady of Being a Lich is unable to conquer the western coast via sheer overwhelming might, so she backs off into the shadows and begins preparing.
- After approximately 2,000 years of waiting, training, and planning, she rises again. The Second Undead War beings. (Firestorm time period)
- While her armies are eventually defeated again, she gains some crucial insights into her ultimate goal: the summoning of an aspect of Selvans and the destruction of them, and the ending of mortality.
- Armed with this new found knowledge, she spends approximately a 100 years gathering necessary components, and scouting out ritual sites.
- She attempts to implement her plan. Somehow, she is defeated, her true phylactery found, and destroyed. The explosion caused by this destroys the peninsula near the cities of Tai'an and Tai'la. (Old Wounds time period)
- Another approximately 100 years passes, and a new version of her forms around the largest of the shards of her exploded phylactery, with only part of her memories and soul. The "original" Our Lady of Being a Lich actually still lives, having teleported into a demiplane before being actually killed. At this point, she approaches the New Our Lady of Being a Lich (typically living as the queen of the humans on Calaset), and convinces New!OLBL to go back in time and try to succeed where she failed. "Original" OLBL teaches New!OLBL what she needs to know to go back in time, thus closing the loop. At this time, Original!OLBL usually either dies as part of the ritual to send New!OLBL back, or is killed by New!OLBL out of paranoia and jealousy.
Notice that there is a very vague timeline, and that there is a reference to multiple possible endings to the loop. This is because every game group's version of these campaigns is a different iteration of the loop, and some of the specifics of the timeline can be altered by the heroes of those campaigns. The only constants are the bullet points listed here. This loop is the Patrons of Eiyama's simultaneous prison and punishment for her, for attempting to destroy one of them, and nearly succeeding. Thus, all three campaigns exist as a track that Our Lady of Being a Lich runs over and over, for all of eternity.