Featured image by Caio Santos of Critical Role‘s Marquet.
Critical Role announced that Campaign 3 will be set on the continent of Marquet in the fantasy world of Exandria. But what do we know about this land far southwest of the more familiar Tal’Dorei and Wildemount? Be warned that this article will be discussing SPOILERS from Campaign 1 of Critical Role, as well as content from both the Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting and the Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount.
Secrets Buried Beneath Sand and Ash
Though the Marquesian Desert makes up 70% of Marquet in the present-day, the continent once housed a far more lush biome. Amidst these verdant lands was one of the most prominent civilizations in the Age of Arcanum (its name lost to history). In Critical Role lore, the Age of Arcanum preceded the divine war known today as “the Calamity”. It was an era as much of innovation and prosperity as it was of arrogance and greed.
An archmage thought he could control or usurp the very gods themselves. And so the evil Betrayer Gods were released back into the world and the Prime Deities defended their creations. The civilization that Marquet once housed was ended in the early years of the Calamity. The battles waged on Marquet were so great that the sprawling vegetation was incinerated and destroyed. The ash of so many conflagrations smothered what few plants survived. The fields and gardens gave way to the desert.
Intercontinental Explorers and Merchants
As a land with few resources or cities, the Marquesian people turned to trade to sustain themselves. This resulted in Marquet influencing the formative nations in the world of Critical Role. Explorers from Marquet sealed away the Great Leviathan, Uk’otoa (*Uk’otoaaaa…*), from the Swavain Islands. They then proceeded to colonize what we now know as the city-states of the Menagerie Coast.
In Tal’Dorei, a legendary Marquesian spicemonger helped fund the construction of the city of Emon. His financial assistance was so instrumental that the market district still bears his name: “Abdar’s Promenade”. Emon would go on to become the capital of the newly-christened Tal’Dorei. (As well as the future home of a certain glorious merchant of arcane curiosities and artifacts.)
“Incredible, Frightening, Beautiful…”
Beyond the pebble beaches and luxurious extravagance offered by the port city of Shamal is the Aggrad Mountains. The immense Marquesian Desert beyond seems to promise nothing except scorching heat, deadly sandstorms and ravenous monsters preying upon caravans.
However, hidden in the center is a secret oasis jewel: Ank’Harel. Founded and protected by the mysterious J’mon Sa Ord, the grand city could not be more different than the blistering sands that surround it. A center of culture and power for Marquet (if not Exandria as a whole), it has gone without war for almost four centuries. However, beneath the safe streets, factions scheme to unearth the treasures and knowledge still buried in the desert. And they will go to any lengths to eliminate the competition.
Little do the denizens of Ank’Harel know the true reason their city is so untouched. It is the same reason that their ruler seems ageless: J’mon Sa Ord is actually an ancient brass dragon named Devo’ssa.
At the time of Ank’Harel’s founding, half of Marquet was ruled by the tyrannical red dragon known as Thordak. When he attacked the city with an army of serpentine followers, Devo’ssa struck with a vengeance. After just two weeks of battle, every Thordak follower on Marquet was dead and a mortally-wounded Thordak himself fled into the Ozmit Sea. Indeed, until his reappearance in Tal’Dorei and Critical Role, it was presumed the “Cinder King” could not possibly have survived. Such are the powers of J’mon Sa Ord.
What Comes Next?
What new stories and secrets will Critical Role uncover in Marquet for Campaign 3? We will just have to wait until October 21, 2021 to find out! Are there any facts about Marquet or the Marquesians that we have left out? Let Geek Girl Authority know and consider this your proficiency bonus on all the news and lore checks for Critical Role and more!
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