Lore of Camelot: Atlantis
Origin of the Trials
Atlantis was a civilization that had made many great achievements in magical technology. Their kingdom spread throughout the world, though their cultural and technological center was located in the City of Atlantis. Though they wanted to share their discoveries with other civilizations, the Atlanteans had decided that not all cultures were worthy of their technology. They devised a method of evaluating cultures to determine their worthiness. They called it the 'Trials of Atlantis'. Each of the Trials represented a trait that the Atlanteans valued. If all ten traits were deemed present in a culture, the Atlanteans would welcome them in to the kingdom and share the great magical technologies they had mastered. If not, those who survived the evaluation would be sent back powerless and defeated.
The Atlanteans created separate planes of existence for these Trials. These planes held grounds for the ten Trials, arbiters who monitored progress, havens for places of rest, and monsters and beasts that they had collected from around the world. Their sovereignty over these creatures was so great that all of them obeyed the Atlanteans and did their part to be fair in the Trials.
When a culture advanced to a certain point, magical message orbs would be sent to the culture's leaders. The orbs, upon arrival, turned in to an image of one of the Atlantean arbiters. The image would bring word to the culture of the kingdom of Atlantis and then invite the culture to send representatives to attempt to compete for entrance in to the kingdom. The arbiter promised that those who participated would be granted greater abilities at the end of the Trials. The messages were normally sent to cultures once they had achieved some of the criteria the Atlanteans deemed indicative of an acceptable civilization.
Destruction of Atlantis
Atlantis was an ancient civilization that had advanced further in magical technology than any other civilization before or since. They were always seeking to acquire more knowledge, and they were unafraid to experiment with the new things they discovered. This was their downfall.
There came a time when the magical technology of Atlantis exceeded their understanding of the forces with which they tinkered. There is no known record of what magical technology the Atlanteans experimented on before their collapse or what they were trying to accomplish.
Legends passed down mention that they attempted to create cities that fly in the sky and that they acquired the means to control the weather and the very elements that surrounded them. Whatever it was, the result of their application of this new magic resulted in the catastrophic destruction of their beloved city of Atlantis. In one day and one night, the skies crackled and split, the oceans rose up, and the land beneath them exploded in a fiery volcanic blast. No one knows if anyone managed to survive. All that remains now are the ruined pieces of the once great civilization and the planes of the trials they had created.
Though shielded due to the fact that they were located in another plane of existence, the destruction of Atlantis did affect the planes. The magic weakened and many support systems were disabled. Some areas became flooded and others suffered environmental alterations. Among the disabled systems were those that provided the upkeep for the structures and terrain and the ones that kept the plane's denizens in check. Now, the structure show signs of decay and age, and some areas that were physically damaged during the Cataclysm were never rebuilt. Much of the remaining magic of the system is focused on holding the planes in existence.
The Area that suffered the greatest effects was the entrance to the first Trial. This areas was built as a representation of what was finest in the Atlantean kingdom. It was the truest representation of Atlantis in the planes. The builders of the planes felt that those who participated in the Trials should get a taste of the Atlantean world, and that the first impression made on the participants should be include some of the architectural wonders of Atlantis. This area reflected most accurately the destruction of the great civilization. Much of the land sunk beneath the ocean, and fragments of city ruins lay scattered across the ocean floor and surrounding islands. Likewise, the creatures of the first Trial have departed greatly from the original tests.