Through the adventures, you will find references to Eras. In order to avoid giving precise historical references, despite using real or existing characters and places, Of Iron & Thorns refers to earlier periods enclosed in generic time arcs called Eras.
The First Era
The First Era is the age of biblical Genesis, when the world was created, and Lucifer was banished to Hell for rebelling against God. An echo of this era still reverberates in the Beyond and in remote worlds where time and space do not exist, such as the source from which Xyglorath (IT01) and other formless horrors came.
The Second Era
The Second Era is that of Man of the Ancient Age and the First Imperium. It is the period of Etruscans and Celts, Sumerians, and other ancient civilizations. Some of these cultures still exist but have been banished to the borders of the Empire or far beyond, condemned for heresy by the One Church. Celts, Etruscans, and others are playable races and monsters. One of the iconic PCs, Corio, is a Celt. This is the Era when Christ was born, and Saint Peter took place in Rome as the First Pope. All the popes of the past are still living in a suspended state and interact with the clergy in a peculiar way.
The Third Era
The Third Era is the Age Of No Empire. Most remnants of civilization dwelt in small city-states. It is a Dark Age where civilization collapsed, between the fall of the Roman Empire and the present Era. It corresponds to the early Dark Ages and is a long and unspecified period in history when the land was wracked by chaos. Wars, plagues, and floods brought humanity almost to extinction, a Sword & Sorcery period of formless monsters and lawless barbarians. The Third Age ended with the coronation of Emperor Charlemagne in Rome, the First Emperor of the New Imperium. Lombards and other peoples who lived in this era might also be playable races, albeit mutated by the power of the Church into creatures no longer human in appearance, marked by heresy. Many of the dynasties of the greatest noble houses living today track down their ancestry to the Third Era, albeit almost no documents exist beyond the Great Holy Library in Rome.
The Fourth Era
The Fourth Era is the present. Save for the anarchy of the Third Era, the Imperium has ruled for centuries or perhaps millennia with the help of the pope and the Church. All heresy has been crushed in Europe, and Crusades have been led in an Eternal War against the blasphemers of the Middle East. The unbreakable alliance between Empire and Church has lasted until the past liturgical year when the birth of Frederick II marked the beginning of a conflict between Church and Empire in what is now called The Night of Screams.
A Fifth Era, called The Anno Lacrimarum, The Chaos Apocalypse, is the topic for a future supplement.