|Massenpreost Despotanfras language|
|Massenpreost Despotanfras religion|
The Massenpreost Despotanfras - also known as "The Ancients", "The Ancestors" and "The Precursors" - were a race of humanoid reptilians - said to be physically resembling Lizardmen - that created the first historically recorded city-states on Continental Artograch, and are also credited with creating the very first known civilization on Artograch.
This is Secret History. Even though it is factual part of the lore/canon, no character should know about it. Especially not a player-controlled character.
Unbeknownst to the other races, the Massenpreost Despotanfras share one similarity with the Dwarves - the fact that both of them are foreign to Planet Artograch. Both races arrived to Artograch from outer space, but their cultures were vastly different. While the Dwarves were originally a technologically advanced spacefaring civilization that built computers and nuclear power plants and relied on gunpowder-powered kinetic weapons, the Massenpreost Despotanfras technologically never advanced beyond the Bronze Age. Instead, they invested all of their intellectual capital into psionics, magic and new revolutionary ways to harness this mysterious yet powerful source of energy. The Massenpreost Despotanfras had such an advanced knowledge of spellcraft, that they managed to build magic-powered spacecraft without industrialization, chemistry or knowledge of physics. Their magic-powered spaceships however were not without fuel - several different crystals were required to provide mana to propell the ships and power their magical weapons.
Unlike the Dwarves who intentionally colonized Artograch, the Massenpreost Despotanfras accidentally landed on the planet: they were stranded on Continental Artograch by mistake, believing that the planet had all the crystals required to fuel their spaceships. Lacking the necessary fuel, they attempted to contact the mother planet and ask for assistance, but their cries for help remained unheard: the nebula in the star system not only prevented other ships from locating the planet, but also blocked psionic communications. Forced to fend for themselves, the Massenpreost Despotanfras began building up their civilization in Southern Etrand. Without the crystals that powered their space ships, they were effectively little-more than a Bronze Age people that lacked technology.
The Massenpreost Despotanfras civilization
The Massenpreost Despotanfras built their civilization, their cities alongside the River Golea and the "reverse delta" that is located in modern-day South-Western Etrand (a group of river sources that all flow and merge into the Golea). With the exception of their temples, they did not build any structures overland: their pyramids function as temples, habitats for the priestly ruling class, and as entrances to their underground cities.
The Massenpreost Despotanfras did not have a unified state, but instead were divided into city-states. When a city-state was conquered by another city-state, the victor either vassalized the vanquished (instead of annexing them), or destroyed the city completely and forcibly deported all of its population into their own city. The Massenpreost Despotanfras themselves functioned within their racially-based caste-system as a ruling class of priest-mages, the only ones allowed to learn magic (it was in fact mandatory for every one of them), the only ones allowed to reside overground, the only ones allowed to be priests (in fact, it was their job, alongside ruling), and the only ones allowed to be the governors (effectively also functioning as an aristocracy). Below them, were the Lizardmen, who were a caste of soldier-slaves - they did not have to do any menial labour, had the freedom to own private property, but were considered properties of the city-state and were forced to fight for it. At the bottom were the Goblins and Ogres, who were chattel slaves forced to do menial work - they had were considered private property of private individuals (Massenpreost Despotanfras and Lizardmen alike could be slave-owners), and they did pretty much all the menial labour.
The downfall of this ancient and enigmatic race is attributed to a lizardman named Hwortrang Zarrek, who became the first emperor of the Ancient Lizardman Empire. It is said that he somehow learned to use magic by secretly spying on the Massenpreost Despotanfras, learned a lot of things about them, and their origins, and then informed his fellow Lizardmen of it, teaching them magic, and then starting a coup - in his own city-state, the Lizardmen, with the help of the Goblins and Ogres rose up in rebellion, killing all the Massenpreost Despotanfras. After the event, they went on to conquer every other city-state, systematically exterminating the Massenpreost Despotanfras race.
According to Ancient Lizardman records, "the Ancients" were completely exterminated, with not a single refugee remaining alive. Given how no one has ever seen a Massenpreost Despotanfras specimen ever since that time, it is safe to assume that the Lizardmen were correct, and they did in fact hunt them down to extinction.
Durign the existence of the Ancient Lizardman Empire, the Massenpreost Despotanfras were always depicted as a race of oppressors, tyrants and despots, one that "deserved to be hunted to extinction" - however, even from the very start, there was some duality in this depiction: while the Lizardmen at the time openly admitted their hatred towards this race, and happily gloated about having exterminated them, they also had a degree of respect for their magical abilities, and even went as far as using their language as a liturgical language - the Lizardmen went on to preserve every bit of Massenpreost Despotanfras lore they could preserve, which is precisely why we have an accurate idea how to pronouce their language.