Inferred History of the World, Per the Monster Manual (and a little PHB)

Note 1: I’ll finish up the monsters. This is just a bit of a sidetrack

Note 2: The eras are totally me taking poetic license to keep things from just being one big list. 


Cthonic Era

  • Time of no gods. Aboleths rule the world. Presumed origin of other aberrant species.
  • Gods rise. They war against the ancient horrors, using weapons like the Kraken.
  • Gods win. Things sort out into less abberant kind of reality. Presumably the inner and outer planes shuffle into order, including the creation of numerous celestial and infernal races and creatures.
  • Asmodeus and his circle of hags create Books of Keeping (and the Yugoloths)
  • Primus casts a stone into Limbo. It becomes the Slaadi birthing stone.
  • Creation of the Couatals and the loss of their god.
  • Birth of Dragons signal the end of this era.

Lost Era

  • Giants are created
  • Dinosaurs roam
  • Vaati empire spreads across many worlds. Falls in conflict with the Queen of Chaos.
  • Now unknown humanoid races populate the world. May have been early humans, dwarves etc, or may have been other races entirely. Known or suggested races include Fomorians, precursor Gith, precursor Grimlocks, Kuo-Toa
  • An unknown humanoid race breeds Quaggoths. Psychic potential suggests they may have been of use against the Mind Flayers.
  • Naga created as a servitor race by unknown masters.
  • Divine conflict leads to creation of Hydras.
  • Fomorian empire rises, then falls. Fomorians flee to underdark.
  • Mind Flayer empire spreads, enslaving early humanoids. First Grimlocks created. Gith Rebellion (and subsequent schism) signals the beginning of the end for the Illithid.
  • Efreet and Azer construct City of Brass. Efreet attempt to enslave Azer (unsuccessfully)
  • Dragons and Giants go to war. Numerous monstrous weapons born of this conflict, including Behirs and Rocs.
  • Creation of Elves ends the era

Eldest Era

  • Elven expansion drive Quaggoth underground
  • Elven civil war drives Drow underground
  • Harpies emerge.
  • Emergence of young races[1] (humans, Halflings, goblinoids, orcs, maybe dwarves) ends the era.

Ancient Era

  • Tiefling empire rises, then falls to fiendish corruption
  • Vecna ascends to godhood. Acererak does not.
  • Arcane tinkering births monstrosities like the Bulette and Owlbear. Fiendish intervention adds more delights, like the Chimera, Merrow, Gnolls and Ettin.
  • Fall of the Yuan-Ti


  • Rise and fall of Gulthias
  • Whoever built pyramids

  1. This term is largely elven propaganda. Evidence indicates that humans were around as far back as the illithid empire (some became Grimlocks) and other races may be similarly ancient.  ↩

17 thoughts on “Inferred History of the World, Per the Monster Manual (and a little PHB)

  1. Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin)

    This shows what worldbuilding you can tease out of a Monster Manual, especially one oriented toward that sort of thing. Well done. Rob. Sharing this.

  2. Theodric the Obscure

    Very nice! I really like this. Forgive the academic for me in asking this, but did you happen to put down page references? That would be super useful, especially in any case where information does not occur in the entry where you might assume it would be.

  3. Mark Taylor

    Great work! Very interesting stuff here. The only thing I might speculate on is that given that FR is the ‘default’ setting now, those “Now unknown humanoid races” are probably the Creator races of FR – The Fey, Sarrukh, Batrachi, Aearee, and human (although the elves would never admit humans came first). Personally, I take ‘human’ to mean hominids in its broadest sense, which definitely would include the proto-Gith, but also maybe the giants themselves.

    1. Rob Donoghue Post author

      I am pretty sure you’re right, but it’s nice that they leave it loose, since different answers to that question in different campaign worlds introduces a lot of possible awesome.

  4. silverwizard

    I am super happy about that fact you immediately zeroed in on the concept of it being Elven Propaganda that the younger races are called that


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