Thuria is a fictional supercontinent created by Robert E. Howard which first appeared in "The Shadow Kingdom", the first of his King Kull stories which was published in 1929 in Weird Tales. It is the setting for the his King Kull stories and the background history for the Hyborian Age of his widely more successful Conan the Barbarian stories. It likewise starred in the King Kull line of comics published by Marvel Comics. In both Marvel Comics and the Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of roleplaying game of Modiphius Entertainment, the Mythos is involved in its history.
History of the Thurian Age
Before the Thurian Age
10s of thousands of years ago, elder monstrous races ruled the land. In the land that would become Valusia, the Serpent Folk established an empire. Till the elder races were overthrown and for the most part exterminated, circa 100,000 BC, by the rising race of man. Who would go on to establish their own kingdoms. The beginning of the Thurian Age.
Over 20,000 years ago, on the Thurian super continent were seven great empires dominated most of the continent, of which the western empire of Valusia was the greatest. To the west of them was the small continent of Atlantis, and to the west of the Atlanteans were the Pictish Islands. On the eastern shore of the Thurian supercontinent was a human empire ruled by non-Thurians, a people who came from a continent far to the east across the sea. East of that empire were the large islands of Lemuria. South of the Thurian continent was a mysterious human civilization.
From the island continent of Atlantis, a barbarian who would start out as a pirate and then become a mercenary within the Valusian army would seize the decadent throne of Valusia. His name was known as Kull the Conqueror, and he not only revitalized the Valusian kingdom but crushed the last remnants of the Serpent Folk in those lands and it was thought he wiped them out.
Circa 20,000 BC, a great cataclysm devastated the world. Atlantis and Lemuria sunk beneath the waves. Parts of the Thurian supercontinent sunk or vanished under the waves, forming great inland seas and lakes. The Pictish islands were thrust up forming the mountains of a new continent. Cities were toppled and nations wiped out by earthquakes, volcanoes, and flooding.
On the Thurian coast was an Atlantean colony to which surviving Atlantean refugees fled to in their ships. A great colony of Picts had survived untouched on Valusia's south. Many Lemurians made it to the eastern Thurian shores only to be enslaved by the non-Thurian empire and kept in servitude for 1000s of years. In the west, the remnant kingdoms of the Picts and Atlanteans waged war against each other and within 500 years reverted back to barbarism. To the southeast, a remnant of a non-Valusian civilization, survived as Zhemri. Further to the south, the lands are still dominated by pre-human races. A lesser cataclysm soon followed which completed the ruin of the barbarians and created a great inland sea dividing the west and east of the continent.
In the west, the descendants of the Picts and Atlanteans have been reduced to a primitive stone age state. In the east, the descendants of the Lemurians have risen up and overthrown their masters, and like savages they stalked the ruins of a strange civilization. The former masters fled westward, where they would establish two mighty empires. In the lands along the river Styx, they overthrew a pre-human race, and established the kingdom of Stygia. To the north of Stygia, they established the empire of Acheron. The empire of Acheron would become the greatest power in the western world, a kingdom ruled by dark sorcerers. Further north a barbarian tribe was rising to primacy, the warlike tawny-haired fair-skinned Hybori which slowly treks southward. 1,500 years after the lesser cataclysm, the Hyborians tribes have conquered or destroyed weaker tribes to the south and west of them. To the north, the first Hyborian civilization has emerged, the kingdom of Hyperborea. The Hyborian barbarians would end up coming under the yoke of the empire of Acheron, and would eventually rise up against their overlords and overthrow Acheron.
To the west of the Hyborians, the ape-like Atlanteans are beginning their long climb up from savagery. The Picts neither progressed nor retrogressed, as they remained savages. Far to the south lies the mysterious ancient kingdom of Stygia. On their eastern shores were nomadic clans, known as the Sons of Shem. To the southeast of the Hyborians the ancient people of Zhemir have rebuilt their civilization, establishing the kingdom of Zamora. To the southwest the kingdom of Zingara will emerge from the mixing of various peoples, the original natives, their Pictish conqueror, and the Hyborian conquerors of the Picts. Far to the east, the Lemurians are building their own civilization on the wreckage of the one they destroyed, the civilization of Khitai.
Historical Deviation in the Marvel Universe
Birth of the First Superhuman Races
In the Marvel universe (Earth-616), there were some major differences in the Thurian Age. For one there were three races that came into existence due to the genetic manipulation of mankind by aliens. The Eternals and Deviants who emerged in one million BC due to the manipulations of the Celestials (space gods). 100s of thousands of years later, the Inhumans a superhuman race was created by the alien Kree.
- Eternals = A beautifully perfect superhuman race (who were long-lived but bred slowly) which lived mostly apart from the world. They possessed super-science and developed fantastic technology. By 750,000 BC they established themselves in northern Asia, and established colonies on the planet Uranus and on one of Saturn's moons, Titan.
- Deviants = It's a race of monstrous mutates (who had unstable genes and bred quickly), who were warlike and expansionist, waging wars against both humans and Eternals. A race which produced wonders of science and technology. By 20,000 BC, they had cities both underground and on the surface.
- Inhumans = Who possessed advanced technology and by 28,000 BC had landed on both Mars and the Moon. For a time they among humans who feared them and saw them as demons. Due to the human increasing numbers and their attacks on the Inhumans, they went into isolation.
Age of Dragons
Sometime between one million BC (the emergence of the Serpent Men) and 500,000 BC, the Dragon Kings (spawn of the Elder God Set, related to the Serpent Men) ruled over mankind from Lemuria during the Age of Dragons. A time of giant reptiles, and from them emerged a superior breed who became necromancers and kings. Their rule did not extend over the Eternals, Inhumans, and Deviants. After a 1,000 year war, by 500,000 BC, the humans had overthrown them and slaughtered nearly all of them. A small group continued to exist in Lemuria and attempted to regain the world with the help of dark gods, but were defeated and slain by the barbarian Thongor.
Centuries or millennia after the era of King Kull of Valusia, circa 20,000 BC, the Deviants had conquered most of the world. Nearly all of mankind had enslaved, except for the humans of the Atlantean empire which still held out. The Eternals had failed to stop their conquest of the world and were by then mostly living in isolation, and so were the Inhumans. Many humans willingly served their Deviant masters, and both Lemurian and Muvian mercenaries waged war against Atlantis. While Atlantis was under siege, a series of incidents occurred that would doom the Thurian Age.
Celestial Second Host
To stop the Lemurians, King Kamuu of Atlantis was forced to open the magma pits to drive them back, which unfortunately made Atlantis seismically unstable. The Deviants panicked when the Celestials returned to Earth after a million years, and fired upon the space gods with little to no effect. In retaliation the Celestials destroyed Deviant Lemuria. The magic being performed at that time by Atlantean sorcerers amplified the effects of the Celestials' attack and the magma pits of Atlantis. Which resulted in the submerging of Lemuria, Atlantis, and Mu, and the deaths of nearly all of their inhabitants. The Deviants who numbered in the millions were reduced to thousands and were forced to go underground.
The Eternals helped some refugees from Lemuria make it to land, creating the legend of Noah's Ark. One of the Muvian cities survived, and continued to exist as an underwater domed city with air breathing inhabitants. Some surviving Atlanteans would become Homo Mermanus, water-breathing humanoids, though exactly when and how it occurred is so far unknown. They will eventually reestablish Atlantis and later Lemuria (Pacific Ocean), both underwater. Splinter groups and colonists would establish other underwater cities.
Elder Races of the Thurian Age
The Elder Races of Marvel's Thurian Age
In the Prime Reality, the Elder Races emerged on Earth millions of years ago, before the genetically engineered superhuman races emerged. Most of these Elder races were created through magic by the gods, and most of them by dark gods. The most prolific of the gods when it came to creating these races was Chthon, one of the Old Ones. He created the N'Garai, the Man-Bats, the Wolf-Men, the Ape Men, the Goblins, and the Harpies. From his brother Set, came the Serpent Men, the Dragon Kings, and the Man-Serpents. The spider god Omm produced the Spider-People. Oshtur in turn created the Bird-Men to fight against the darker Elder races. It is unknown as to who created the Giant-Kings. The Elder Spirits came from outer space. The most famous and well known of the Elder races were the
- Wolf-Men = They were Chthon's most successful creation. Who held the Earth in terror for millennia. Shapeshifters descended from the Wolf Lords, colossal god-like wolf demons created by Chthon.
- N'Garai = A race of demons who ruled Earth for Chthon until the forces of Heaven overthrew their regime on Earth a million years go. Forcing them to retreat to their home dimension. Where they bide their time to return to Earth.
- Serpent Men = Their empire was centered on Valusia and ruled over men till they were overthrown by rising man, bringing about the Thurian Age. They continued to possess power in tropical and arid lands far south of the seven Thurian empires. Where they plot to regain their power over the Earth.
- Dragon Kings = Who over 500,000 years ago ruled the Earth from Lemuria during the "Age of Dragons" until they were overthrown and exterminated by the newly created race of man.
- Elder Spirits = A race of invisible shapeless aliens who crossed the void of space to reach Earth. For a time they ruled the Earth but upon the rise of man in Lemuria they retreated to Thuria and when man established its dominion there, they went into hiding. Waiting for the time to reestablish their rule over the Earth.
The Elder Races of Modiphius's Thurian Age
During the Thurian Age, there were at least three known Elder races on Earth. Which were the Dwellers of the Deep, the Serpent Folk, and the Winged Ones. All of which possessed civilizations grander and mightier than those of the later humans. By the time of the Thurian Age, mankind had become the dominant species on the Thurian supercontinent. Breaking the power of the Serpent Folk and forcing the surviving remnants underground. It is not clear if they did the same to the Winged Ones or if their decline preceded those events. Only the Dwellers of the Deep have remained relatively untouched as their civilization lies deep underwater in the seas.