Kunark is a continent in the southern hemisphere of Norrath. For centuries, knowledge of its existence was lost to the men, elves, and dwarves of the world. Like most lands on this world, Kunark was first discovered by the dragons.
The Ring of Scale
In the beginning, Veeshan discovered Norrath and marked it with her prismatic claw, claiming it as her own and depositing her children on the icy surface of what would become known as Velious. These dragons, known as the First Brood, were the first living creatures to roam the surface and soar through the skies of Norrath. All the dragons of Norrath were of one faction. This all changed when two dragons of opposite elements mated, which was strictly forbidden by the council of elders. From their egg hatched a crystal dragon, resembling Veeshan herself, whom they named Kerafyrm. When the Arch Priest of Veeshan, Kildrukaun, learned of their defiance, he sentenced the two lover to death. Ironically, he took pity upon the young prismatic dragon, and took great interest in its growth. It was during this time that the dragons split into two factions and the Ring of Scale left Velious for the continent of Kunark. Kildrukaun believed that Kerafyrm would lead the Claws of Veeshan in a great civil war against the Ring of Scale and successfully reunite all dragons under the same banner. The council of elders disagreed with this view, as they saw Kerafyrm as a threat that had to be silenced. So, the Ring of Scale were left alone to rule Kunark. Once the other gods came to Norrath, though, things would never be the same.
The Shissar Empire
Other than Veeshan's children, the first dominant race of Kunark was the Shissar. The Shissar were a highly intelligent, yet savage race of snake-like people. They had established several cities, most notably their capital, Chelsith. As a creation of Cazic-Thule, the Shissar ruthlessly spread fear and dread throughout the continent. They enslaved the Iksar, a race of lizard people also created by The Faceless. Their quick rise to power drew the attention of the dragons, from which the Shissar learned everything they could , and used it to their advantage. Combining the newly discovered magic from the dragons with their own aptitude for necromancy, the Shissar created the world's first liches and blood golems. With their increased might, they struck fear in the dragons, driving them back to a solitary corner of the continent. After establishing their dominance of Kunark, the Shissar Empire sailed north in search of new lands to conquer.
When Emperor Ssraeshza and his army reached southern Tunaria, they were met by the Rallosian Empire led by the legendary ogre known as Murdunk. Surprisingly, Murdunk and Ssraeshza formed a truce. Rather than go to war with each other, they decided to attempt the impossible. With all of the known world already conquered by the two empires, they set their eyes on the planes of the gods. The Shissar laid waste to many of the lesser planes, which were inhabited by long forgotten demigods. The Rallosian army went straight to the top, the elemental planes, specifically the Plane of Earth. Their assault on The Rathe was eventually unsuccessful, even with the help of Rallos Zek himself. As a result, Zek's creations (ogres, giants, orcs, etc.) were stricken with a curse of unintelligence. The Shissar were punished by their own creator, Cazic-Thule, for he was angered by their arrogance. The Faceless granted the Iksar an ultimate weapon to rise up and defeat their masters. Known as Greenmist, the airborne plague disintegrate any Shissar who inhaled it and ripping their souls into the Plane of Fear where they would be tormented for eternity. Emperor Ssraeshza and the other high ranking Shissar escaped, as their great pyramid was summoned into the sky, presumably never to be heard from again.
The Iksar Empire
With the Shissar eliminated, the Iksar empire began to rise. They spread far and wide across Kunark by establishing five separate tribes; Jarsath, Kunzar, Kylong, Nathsar, and Obulus. The Kunzar tribe is arguably the most prolific, for it was the tribe from which Venril Sathir rose to power. Sathir's knowledge of the dark arts of necromancy were unrivaled. He was able to raise an entire army of undead to fight alongside the Kunzar military in order to conquer and unify the four other tribes. Under Sathir's rule, the Iksar built a magnificent city in the southeast known as Sebilis. Following in the Shissar's footsteps, the Iksar of the Sebilisian Empire utilized slavery, via giants and frogloks, to build and maintain their elaborate cities and forts. As Venril Sathir began to age, he became obsessed with eluding death. He was successful in forging an unholy pact with the Prince of Hate, Innoruuk, which would allow Venril to live forever as a powerful lich. Rile, Venril's eldest son, quickly realized that he would never get his turn on the throne and sought to thwart his father's plans. Rile successfully interrupted the dark ritual and trapped his father's soul in an amulet, then burned the corpse. Rile ruled much like his father. The Sebilisian Empire spread across the entire continent by the raw power of fear and dread. Only a handful of giants' tribes remained free, and of course the dragons were still present, although quietly.
The Ring of Scale had watched quietly throughout the fall of the Shissar and the rise of the Iksar. For the most part, neither of Cazic-Thule's creations ever attempted to disturb the dragons' home in Skyfire Mountains. At the height of the Sebilisian Empire, the dragons had seen enough. It was clear to many of them that, if left unchecked, the Iksar would soon have the forces necessary to threaten the mighty dragons. One of the members, Trakanon, recommended crushing the Iksar in a pre-emptive strike. This notion was voted down by the Ring of Scale in favor of a more indirect intervention. Despite this decision, Trakanon led a small group of like-minded dragons into the Timorous Deep where they created a squall that swallowed Rile Sathir's warship, killing the Sebilisian emperor. The rebellious act of Trakanon led to a war that would go on for nearly fifty years.
Atrebe Sathir, Rile's eldest son, quickly took the throne but was more introverted than his father or grandfather. Atrebe was obsessed with necromancy, and often kept to himself, locked in his chambers conducting experiments. Through these experiments, Atrebe was successful in creating various unnatural hybrid races. The most notable of these abominations was the Sarnak, a combination of Iksar and dragon blood. These bipedal dragons would prove to be great warriors for the Sebilisian ground forces. But Atrebe knew that the dragons' main advantage was flight, so he created a hybrid of dragons and frogloks, calling them Sokokar. The Iksar were able to ride these flying mounts into battle, greatly diminishing the dragons' primary advantage.
Ganak took the role as emperor following Atrebe's death. Ganak was a legendary warrior, and well suited for the ongoing war with the dragons. He led the entirity of the Sebilisian forces to the northern shores of Kunark and into an epic aerial battle over what would later become known as the Field of Bone. The battle and the war ended tragically for both sides. A duel between Ganak and the leader of the Ring of Scale, Jaled'Dar, ended when both were incinerated in an explosion of arcane magic. The dragons solemnly retreated back to Skyfire, while what was left of the Iksar made their way back to Sebilis with a heavy sense of loss.
The Iksar decided to alter their politics upon the death of Ganak. They created what would be known as the Emerald Circle, a council of five nobles dedicated to advancing the Iksar empire not only in sheer size but also in infrastructure, architecture, technology, tradeskills, and establishing a more substantial navy for exploration. Differences in opinions among the high ranking officials of the empire eventually led to the Iksar reverting back to consisting of five separate tribes, each with their own ideologies. Unbeknownst to the Iksar, many of these disagreements and squabbles were indirectly created by the Ring of Scale. The dragons, while recuperating from the loss of Jaled'Dar, had begun enacting their original plan to destroy the Iksar before Trakanon had acted out on his own.
The end of the Sebilisian Empire came from within. The froglok slaves and sarnak warriors revolted, causing much destruction within the walls of Sebilis. To make matters worse for the Iksar, while their attention was drawn inward, the forest and mountain giants grew stronger and were able to take out many of the warlord outposts throughout Kunark. Then came the goblin lords from Faydwer, driven out by the dwarves and elves, in search of new lands to terrorize. The final straw though was a massive one. After remaining silent for quite some time, Trakanon saw that the Iksar were vulnerable. He led a direct assault on Sebilis itself, destroying what was left and officially ending the Sebilisian Empire once and for all. Trakanon was mortally wounded in the attack, but felt fulfilled in his quest to eradicate the Iksar.
The surviving Iksar fled to the swamps in the heart of Kunark and established a fledgling city they called Cabilis. Some of the elders referred to it as New Sebilis though. Less elaborate than Sebilis, Cabilis was protected by towering stone walls built with the aid of froglok slaves which the Iksar still captured from the swamps on a daily basis. The remaining Iksar quickly had to come to terms with no longer being the dominant force on the continent. At best they were on equal footing with the Sarnak of Chardok, the frogloks of Sebilis, the giants of Warsliks Woods and Frontier Mountains, and the goblins of Droga. Of course, there was still the ever looming presence of the dragons.
The Age of Turmoil
The Norrathian people of the northern hemisphere finally discovered the ruins of Kunark. After discovering the southern shores of the continent, the High Elves of Felwithe were immediately driven away by swarms of frogloks. The elves returned with larger forces in an attempt to establish an outpost on those same southern shores. They were well prepared for the frogloks, but were not equipped to deal with the forest giants that had moved into the region sometime within the twenty years it took for the elves to return. A third expedition was sent by King Tearis Thex with his own daughter, Firiona Vie, as the leader. This time the elves were successful in establishing their camp, although Firiona was shockingly kidnapped. Enraged and heartbroken by this news, King Tearis Thex dispatched the bulk of his military including the Wood Elves as well as help from some Dwarves in an attempt to rescue her. The small camp quickly grew into a fully functional city, which they named after their lost princess. The dwarven smiths built an enormous statue out of mithril in her honor. The forces from Faydwer were eventually successfully in their rescue attempts after the horrifying realization that the mastermind behind it was the lich king Venril Sathir, somehow risen from the dead after his soul was released from his son's amulet after centuries of imprisonment.
Not long after the establishment of Firiona Vie in the south, the Dark Elves got word of the newly discovered continent and set sail with a coalition of Ogres. After crossing the Timorous Deep, they landed on the northern shores of would become known as The Overthere, which was previously the site of the Shissar capital city. The Dark Elves established an alliance with Venril Sathir, the lich king of Karnor's Castle, and built a functional outpost that would serve as a rest stop for any adventurers of the evil persuasion coming and going in Kunark. The people of Norrath, including some Iksar, quickly spread, explored the ruined continent, and rediscovered the land's secrets.
The Age of Destiny
During this age, the world of Norrath was changed forever by a terrible cataclysm that tore the continents apart. Kunark, although somewhat broken as well, drifted further away from Antonica, leaving it lost and almost forgotten by those that survived the near apocalyptic events of the world. Five hundred years had passed since the cataclysm, and the Iksar were hard at work in attempting to rebuild their empire without the interruption of the other Norrathian people. The giants were driven north by the Iksar, while the Sarnak were isolated to the western forests and their home city, Chardok. The continent was eventually rediscovered, of course. The people of Norrath, including the Iksar returning to their homeland, had a decision to make. Either aid the Iksar in their attempt to establish a powerful empire, or stand side-by-side with the Sarnak to even the odds.