The known sapient races in the game world share an ancestor. Thousands of years before the present, the area populated by humans was flooded, and a few families built what were essentially big wooden boxes for them and their herds. The flood waters carried these boxes for months until they landed in various parts of the world, and random mutations took different directions for each set of survivors. Only millennia later did they learn to make steerable ships and reunite.
The flood myth
About a millennium and a half after humans awakened, God wanted to do a server wipe in the game world because the vast majority of humanity had become what modern video gamers call griefers. So a select few communities of people that still respected God were given plans for a great triple-decker barge, about the size of half a football field, carrying the local land animals. Under the guidance of a master carpenter in each community over the course of several decades, the arks were complete.
Forty days of hurricane-force winds and rains flooded virtually all inhabited areas of land (which was probably not the entire planet). But the people in the boats were safe. After a few months on the high seas, the water found its own level, and the boats washed up on dry land separated by thousands of kilometers. Plant seeds, preserved in the salt water, began to germinate once again. But because the flood destroyed biomes and replaced them with new biomes, several kinds of plants and fungi went extinct.
As each family left its ark, the people and animals spread to fill the immediate area. This produced a severe population bottleneck, leading to speciation as the isolated populations dispersed. Over the first few generations, the loss of genetic variation among founders caused certain alleles to become fixed in each population. A few dozen more generations of random mutation produced more genetic drift in both the people and their livestock as they adapted to a lifestyle appropriate to the area. For example, many species that depended on plants and fungi that went extinct had to adapt to meat.
Floods in different worlds
Various religions in the real world have their own accounts of the flooding of the populated world. In the Judeo-Christian story, the Nephilim (giants resulting from illicit sex between rebel angels and human women) were the last straw. By AM 1656, there was only one God-fearing family, and the carpenter's name was Noah. The Bible doesn't give the name of Noah's wife or his sons' wives, but the book of Jubilees gives the name Emzara, though some punsters call her Joan (a feminine form of John, which in turn comes from the Hebrew Yochanan meaning "God's grace") as an allusion to Saint Joan of Arc (CE 1412-1431).
In the game world, God stopped slightly earlier, while there were still a half-dozen or so God-fearing families. Each family landed in a different part of the world, leading to the emergence of several distinct races descended from humans.
Behind the scenes
|Behind the scenes information|
The flood is the second attempt to come up with a trigger for speciation. The first, mutation due to a nuclear accident, got rejected for being way too Shannara.
- Answers in Genesis: Flood
- CreationWiki: Global flood
- GlobalFlood.org: Dr. John Baumgardner's work to unveil the mechanism
- Christian Answers: Could Noah's Ark really hold all the animals that were supposed to be preserved from Flood?
- How did land plants survive the Genesis Flood?
- Flood legends from around the world
- What would happen to a human Galapagos? on Worldbuilding Stack Exchange
- Replicating the biblical flood on Worldbuilding Stack Exchange
- rationalwiki:Noah's Ark lists the challenges of building even one ark, let alone several
- As does What would it take to build a ship capable of crossing the Pacific? on Worldbuilding Stack Exchange