The Story of Telara: Explaining the Lore of Rift

Do you want to know more about the story behind Rift? Follow along with Staff Writer Paul "LockeColeMA" Cleveland as he explores the game's lore.

By the end of February, Rift will hit the shelves with its pre-ordered players getting into the game a week before the official March 1 launch date. Also, the upcoming open beta event will give both the Guardians and Defiant another opportunity to hunt rifts, explore dungeons and make legends of themselves while Trion tests for bugs and server stability. But who are the heroes of Rift's world of Telara? And why are there even rifts to destroy? Staff Writer Paul “LockeColeMA” Cleveland takes a look at the story behind the fantasy MMO after the jump.

If you're a fan of Rift's lore, you'll definitely want to check out the upcoming exclusive dev blog entries we'll be publishing this week and next week by lore leads Nick McDowell and Morgan Lockhart. Until then, keep reading below for Paul's Rift history lesson!

The World of Telara

Of all the worlds in the universe, only Telara was constructed entirely of sourcestone at an unprecedented nexus of the elemental planes. Elemental energies that come into contact with sourcestone become tangible, and Telara, so heavily influenced by every element, boasts incredible diversity and wealth. Telara’s resources are capable of providing its people endless prosperity, if only they could share the wealth and keep the world safe from those who would plunder it. Though Telara always knew its share of strife, the Blood Storm and the rifts brought entire new plateaus of horror, leading to the edge of oblivion.

According to the official lore from Trion, the five gods of the Vigil created Telara out of pure sourcestone and placed it at the nexus of the elemental planes, allowing the equilibrium of elemental forces to sprout life and magic upon the world. Sourcestone is presented as something akin to pure magic: Only sourcestone shapes the shapeless, materializes the immaterial and expresses elemental energy as tangible places and things. Sourcestone is power incarnate and, for better or for worse, Telara is a veritable goldmine of the stuff. This worked out fine for the races of Telara, many of which used the native sourcestone to establish magic or magical technology and live pleasant lives. Unfortunately, the sourcestone also drew the attention of the Blood Storm, led by the dragon of Death, Regulos.

The Blood Storm

The Blood Storm roamed the cosmos, cracking worlds for their sourcestone like marrow from living bones. Their trail of annihilation led them to Telara and, in the forms of vast dragons, the Blood Storm fell upon our world in a frenzy of greed.

A thousand years before the start of the game, the six elemental dragons comprising the Blood Storm invaded Telara. Originally the Blood Storm would destroy planets in an effort to send everything to oblivion according to Regulos's whims. However, due to Telara’s amazing amount of sourcestone, the other dragons began to want the world for themselves alone and fighting broke out among them all. This gave the Vigil and the mortal races of Telara time to banish the Blood Storm to the elemental planes and erect a ward to keep them there. Soon after the Vigil went silent. 


Of Mice and Men and Elves, Dwarves and Bahmi

The races of Telara had already been around for thousands of years, and only by combining their powers were they able to stop the Blood Storm. Elves had been on Telara “since the dawn” of time, created by the Vigil god Tavril. Over the years two distinct races had developed; the High Elves were all but destroyed during the war with the Blood Storm thanks to Crucia, the dragon from the Plane of Air. The Kelari elves turned from Tavril during the war after all the destruction, choosing to make pacts with spirits and lesser gods that would offer more direct protection. As a result, they were exiled by the High Elves and moved to a series of islands to practice their arts. During the Mathosian Civil War, the Shade destroyed their islands and forced them to the main continent, where they joined the Defiant in order to survive. Their faithful cousins, the High Elves, stayed with the followers of the Vigil and joined the Guardians.

The dwarven race was created by the Vigil god Bahralt and imbued with the god's desire to create. Dwarves have thus always been natural crafters and keen tradesmen with other races. When the Blood Storm arrived, Laethys, the dragon from the Plane of Earth, attempted to enslave the dwarves and make them lust for treasure and toil for his plunder until they dropped dead. Rather than give in to the temptation, the dwarves fought the dragons and joined with the Guardians during the current conflict.

Time for a pop quiz: what happens when you get beings from the Plane of Air and humans together in a town? Most often you'll have a slaughtered town of humans, but just once, during the Blood Storm Wars, the unthinkable happened. Led by their prince Bahmi, a group of elementals, the Shalastiri from the Plane of Air, took pity on the humans of Telara and joined them in their fight against the dragons. After the ward was erected, the Shalastiri were unable to return home and instead stayed with the humans and bred. The offspring called themselves the Bahmi after the prince of their ancestors. Due to their planar origins they found themselves distrusted by the majority of Telarans; but the Eth humans found their mixed parentage fascinating and accepted them completely. The centuries of alliance have led them to be part of the Defiant faction in the current game.

Finally we come to the human race. Humanity was created by the skills of all the gods, but long before the Blood Storm invaded Telara they had split into two distinct groups. The Eth moved to the southern part of the continent, while the Mathosians moved north. The Eth remained mostly nomads until the Blood Storm War, while the Mathosians studied with the High Elves. During the war, the Eth discovered and used sourcestone-powered weapons and technology to fight the dragons. However, after the war the Vigil forbade the use of such technology and the Eth refused to give it up. Over time the Ethian cities were destroyed by their own people, in an effort to keep cultists from using the technology to destroy the elemental ward, and the Eth returned to their nomadic ways. Meanwhile the Mathosians created a large empire founded on piety and chivalry. All went swimmingly until 20 years ago...


Continued on Page 2.

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Love the Defiant storyline so far.
# Feb 11 2011 at 2:36 AM Rating: Decent
2 posts
I can't help but play the Defiant and think "Al Bhed", but hey, I still love 'em. The concept of being created from sourcestone in the future with future tech, then sent back in time (with schematics for said tech) to save the world? I love it. Plus the dichotomy between faith (Guardians) and science (Defiant) makes for a much deeper story than simply "I hate the other faction because they are green".
Good writeup - one question
# Feb 10 2011 at 9:15 AM Rating: Decent
1 post
This clears up a lot for me, but I am still confused about one thing.
What happens at the end of the guardian starting zone? I didn't quite understand. Some amount of time passes (20 years?) and you come out of some portal. If someone could explain that, or link to somewhere that does, I would appreciate it.
Good writeup - one question
# Feb 10 2011 at 9:55 AM Rating: Decent
2 posts
The Guardian Starting zone actually takes place during the end of the Mathosian Civil War. Your character (lore wise) ends up being the one who ends the war and dies, being ressurected (again) 20 years later. To help with current events. So, Guardian starting zone starts, in relation to current game time, starts in the past as opposed to the Defiant starting zone which starts in the future.

Crazy man, that's just craaazy. I love it!
Decent Synopsis
# Feb 09 2011 at 6:06 PM Rating: Decent
1 post
Please fix the black words on black background ... very hard to read.
The write up is very watered down, but it will definately help those not wanting to read through the main RIFT site for more accurate information... Decent synopsis!
Decent Synopsis
# Feb 10 2011 at 2:52 PM Rating: Decent
9 posts
That's not how I understood it at all. From the opening CG it appears that your character dies from Aedraxis' summon of Regulos. You start the game as an ascended at the end of the shade, when you banish Regulos and close the rift of death the vigil takes the character from the telara and returns them 20 years later. Other guardian's still exist during this time but for some reason the vigil sent you 20 years ahead.

Edited, Feb 10th 2011 3:54pm by MorganCasey
Decent Synopsis
# Feb 10 2011 at 7:41 AM Rating: Excellent
Annoying Ass
ZAM Administrator
12,049 posts
EntreNous wrote:
Please fix the black words on black background ... very hard to read.
The write up is very watered down, but it will definately help those not wanting to read through the main RIFT site for more accurate information... Decent synopsis!

What background are you using to see the article? ZAM has different skins for each forum type; I can read the article fine using the ZAM skin (black writing on grey) or the Rift skin (white writing on dark blue).

I did water down the story - the lore is HUGE in this game, and I'm sure our wiki will be updated over time with all of it. This was just to be more of an introduction Smiley: grin Hoping to get another article soon on the main NPCs for each faction.
Retired News Writer for the ZAM Network
WoW - Aureliano the Insane - level 90 Druid on Sen'Jin
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Good Job!
# Feb 09 2011 at 5:07 PM Rating: Decent
1 post
Great lore so far! Hopefully we can read a lot more on it in the future, maybe they'll even release a few books about it. Thanks RIFT team for a new and exciting game with a great story!

Edited, Feb 9th 2011 6:08pm by zeroblazin
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