The Demon War Military Conflict in Vallanna | World Anvil
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The Demon War

The widest and most destructive event since the start of the Age of Unification, The Demon War was a seven-year conflict in which the nations of Vallanna and Ashalla were ripped apart from within by the insidious and malicious spread of an evil, demon-worshipping cult, under the sway of an extremely powerful Arch-Demon - Val'Gorath - who had been initially summoned onto the Prime Material Plane through the actions of a young, untrained magic user named Gideon Alodar.   Over the course of the war, over two million civilians in both nations would lose their lives, alongside huge numbers of military personnel fighting to defend them.   The war was finally brought to an end in a climactic battle in the ruins of the ancient dwarven city of Auricheim, deep in The Auric Wastes (The Battle of Auricheim), wherin the Arch-Demon Val'Gorath was defeated and banished by Crown-Prince Aegic Enarren and his group of brave adventurers, The Azure Chain, while an army of inspired Vallannan and Ashallan troops engaged Val'Gorath's demons and cultists throughout the city.

The Conflict


Roughly a year prior to what most historians consider the 'start' of the Demon War, on the night of the Midsummer Festival, Gideon Alodar, a young man with a small amount of untrained magical talent, living in the village of Mossbell, while attempting what he thought (in error) was a spell to summon a friendly magical companion for a girl with whom he was in love, instead summoned from the lower Planes, a violent, insidious demon, named Val'Gorath. The entire town was gathered to celebrate the Festival, and were easy prey for the Demon, who slaughtered every man, woman and child in Mossbell, save for the young man who had accidentally summoned him.   Ashamed at what he had done, Gideon was forced into reluctant service of Val'Gorath, and over the course of the next eight months, acted as a recruiter for the Demon, gathering the first followers who would pledge themselves to the evil entity. The cult of Val'Gorath quickly swelled with the lost and dispossessed, and began to spread in secret among the many cities and towns of The Kingdom of Vallanna and The Kingdom of Ashalla. As their membership grew, they inevitably attracted individuals of power, alongside the more mundane mortals who finally found themselves with a purpose in life - disgraced former members of The Grand Arcaneum of Vallanna, secret-worshippers of the evil deities, and many more with abilities overlooked by society, and with an axe to grind with the status quo. The acquisition of these powerful individuals allowed Val'Gorath to begin summoning lesser Demons into the Prime Material Plane to his service, all the time planning on claiming the world as his own domain.   Aside from the cult's own activities, this was a period of growing unhappiness among many members of the lower-echelons of Vallannan society, who saw themselves as unappreciated and overworked by the ruling classes. This was fortuitous for Val'Gorath and his cult, as they would be able to stoke the growing feelings of unrest among the populous, and move more freely through the growing societal shadows.


The first open moves by Val'Gorath's cult, considered by many to be the start of the war proper, would be to forment violent rebellion in what had previously been peaceful protesting and grumbling by unhappy members of the citizenry in several larger cities of Vallanna. The flashpoint event would be when a formerly disgraced wizard, now a member of the cult, posed as a protesting farmer during the annual Dawnlight Equinox Festival in Laranna, cast a series of powerful spells into the unsuspecting crowd. Hundreds were killed or wounded, including the young son of the Duke of Laranna, and many ancient buildings within Laranna's Old Town, including several temples to 'Good' deities suffered damage. The wizard loudly proclaimed that the time of hypocritical civilisation was at an end, praising Val'Gorath's name before immolating himself on the steps of the Duke's Palace.   Despite such incediary events, response from the government was slow, as they believed that the initial series of attacks were isolated incidents by disgruntled peasants. By the time that more perceptive minds began to comprehend the threat facing the land, the cult's reach and spread was undeniable. Travel between settlements became increasingly dangerous, and smaller villages and towns soon became cut-off, as travelling merchants and caravans refused to brave the hostile countryside.   As the threat grew, eventually the Armies and Navies of Vallanna and Ashalla were gradually mobilised in defense of their realms, but found themselves ill-equipped to fight the guerilla war that Val'Gorath's cult were waging.


As the opening years of the conflict unfolded, the larger towns and cities of the land would be transformed into overcrowded fortresses, taking in refugees fleeing from their undefended homes across the countryside. The smaller settlements would become increasingly cut-off and isolated - easy targets for the cult of Val'Gorath. Now operating in the open, the cult would summon more and more Demons from the Abyss to fight alongside them, causing wanton death and destruction wherever they went. They would still refrain from openly attacking well defended strongholds and fortresses, but would grow increasingly bold in their activities otherwise.   The armies of Vallanna and Ashalla would fight valiantly where they could, but were ill-equipped to fight the unconvential, guerilla-style war that marked the opening years of the conflict. Their commanders, trained and accustomed to a more traditional form of warfare, struggled to adapt to the hit-and-run tactics of the cult, and were unprepared for the savagery of the demons which were fighting alongside the mortal cult-members.   The cult would show no regard for national or regional borders, operating throughout the lands, from the western coast of Ashalla, to the northern reaches of the Windward Peninsula, all throughout the inner regions of Vallanna, and even in small numbers on the Amethyst Isles.   As his forces inflicted horrific atrocities across the land, Val'Gorath himself would retreat into The Auric Wastes, finding the region's strong and unpredictable magical field to be nourishing, and grew further in power as a result. Making his lair within the ruined ancient Dwarven city of Auricheim, he would use the innate magical field of the Wastes to ease the summoning of countless numbers of lesser demons, as well as more powerful demonic allies who would act as his inner circle. Prior to his journey deep into the Wastes, Val'Gorath would cast aside Gideon, the young man who had summoned him, seeing no further use for the boy, although out of an unexplainable feeling of gratitude to the boy for putting him on this path of power, would not kill him. This would later prove to be an error in judgement that would cost Val'Gorath the war.


Cut-off from the farming communities that fed them, and packed to bursting with refugees and additional military forces, conditions in the cities throughout the war quickly became terrible for those living there. Despite the efforts of benevolent mages, clerics and druidic orders, starvation was a constant worry, and crime levels would skyrocket as a burgeoning black market sprang into being.   Out among the countryside, conditions were difficult in other ways. Those that stayed in their homes in smaller settlements would do their best to continue their lives as they had prior to the conflict, but lived in constant fear of coming under attack from the ravening groups of cultists and demons that roamed the countryside, with little hope for defense from the military. These fears were well founded, and many towns and villages found themselves raided, put under siege, and in many cases, outright destroyed.

The Engagement

Over the course of the conflict, the cult would not have things all their way, despite their early victories. As the war wore on, commanders with new ideas more suited to the conflict at hand would rise through the ranks of the Vallannan and Ashallan armies, and successful defenses were mounted in many small towns. The rangers of High-Hill were the quickest of the brigades to adapt their tactics to that of the cult and the demons, accustomed as they were to reacting to the unexpected in their traditional duty, guarding the lands from encroachments from the The Auric Wastes.   By and large, however, for much of the conflict, the unpredictable and unconventional nature of the cult and it's demonic allies meant that they operated with impunity, committing atrocities without number throughout the two kingdoms.   Consistently, however, the cult failed to gain a major foothold in both the woodland realms of the Elves and the subterranean domain of the Dwarves. With long lives and long memories, these two great peoples had long since developed defensive strategies for their respective homes that made it very hard for unwanted invaders to make much headway.   By the time that the war had entered its fifth year, Val'Gorath had consolidated his position within Auricheim to such a degree that he rarely ventured from The Auric Wastes personally. The idea of creating his own demonic kingdom within the Wastes had begun to forment itself within his twisted mind, and seeing that his followers and forces in the mortal lands were making gains wherever they operated, began to bring more and more of the actual demons summoned by the cult in the earlier years of the war to his side in Auricheim. This would eventually prove to be a fatal tactical error, as it would concentrate his demons in one location, and leave the cultists without one of their most powerful weapons. This was not initially apparent however, as the fear and terror tactics of the cultists were still effective on their own against a weakened and demoralised populace.   In the final, seventh year of the war, the tide would be turned in favour of the mortal realms. Having spent most of his adolescence living under the pall of the war, and having grown up hearing the stories and legends of the heroes who had built and defended the land, the Crown-Prince, Aegic Enarren, would, against the wishes of his father, lead a small group of like-minded adventurers in a guerilla war of their own against the Cult of Val'Gorath. This group would come to be known as The Azure Chain. Through no small amount of skill and luck, they scored a series of key victories against the cult, foiling various plots, and in turn kindling a semblence of hope once again in the flagging forces of the land.   Ever since being cast out of the service of Val'Gorath, Gideon Alodar had been living as a hermit in the out-of-the-way village of Smallfell, in The Drakeseat Mountains. Hope had abandoned him, and he had become convinced of the inevitable victory of Val'Gorath, and the downfall of the mortal realms. Soon however, he began to hear whispers of the exploits of the young Crown-Prince and his companions, and sensing that he could help put an end to the horror for which he was responsible, came forward, informing the Crown-Prince of his inside knowledge of Val'Gorath and of his location at Auricheim - a piece of information which had thus far eluded the Forces of Order.   Having gained the blessing of his father, the King, Crown-Prince Aegic rallied an army of brave warriors from both The Kingdom of Vallanna and The Kingdom of Ashalla to travel into the Wastes and confront Val'Gorath once and for all. The battle was bloody, with many laying down their lives in an effort to end the war, but eventually, the Crown-Prince and his companions were able to make their way to the ancient King's Hall, on the lowest level of Auricheim, where Val'Gorath had made his lair. There, in a final, climactic battle, the Arch-Demon was finally defeated, and banished back to the Abyss.
Included under Conflict
Conflict Type
Battlefield Type
Start Date
02/03/1240 AoU
Ending Date
18/09/1247 AoU
Conflict Result
Victory by the Forces of Order, following The Battle of Auricheim.



~70,000 Cultists
Unknown numbers of Demons of the Abyss
Unknown numbers of Unaffiliated Bandits and Mercenaries
Army of Vallanna (~100,000 Troops)
Navy of Vallanna (~7000 Sailors; 60 Ships)
Chevaliers d'Ashalla (~40,000 Troops)


~45,000 Vallannan Troops
~17,000 Ashallan Chevaliers
~2 million civilians


Chaos; Death; Wanton Destruction.
Defense of Vallanna; Defense of Ashalla; Banishment of Arch Demon Val'Gorath and other Demonic Incursions.


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