Landmark Universe Timeline
Late 1600s: Local tribes leave the Challahasse Valley following a particularly savage winter, claiming that the region is haunted by evil spirits. Oral traditions tell of a shambling white stranger who brought plague, fire and famine to the Challahasse one year before the exodus. Later occultist historians have tentatively identified this figure as The Book Master.
Early 1700s: European settlers arrive via the Challahasse River, founding the settlement of King's Towne. Despite warnings from nearby tribesmen, the settlement thrives in the fertile valley, becoming a major trading center by the 1750s, renamed Port Chamberlain by the predominantly Anglo-Saxon community.
1773: Chamberlain is decimated by an unknown plague; historical documents describe streets littered with blackened corpses and fires raging through the West shore (aka Radcliffe Corners). The "Black Scourge" rages uncontrolled for at least two years, after which the records fall silent.
1777: British Forces arrive to take possession of Port Chamberlain, encountering a population lain waste by disease and starvation. Survivors report that Death and The Devil waged war in the heart of the city, obliterating thousands in the process. Noting the stench of rotting flesh in the air, the British beat a hasty retreat in the face of the plague. Chamberlain is effectively quarentined until the end of the war.
Early 1800s: Gradual economic recovery as trade resumes on the East shore. Renamed Chamberlain in 1810, the city enters an era of increasing prosperity which lasts until the Civil War. Meanwhile, Radcliffe degenerates into a vast ghetto teeming with smugglers, brigands and cut-throats. All semblance of order breaks down on the West shore, with local gang leaders assuming the power of feudal lords.
1855: Reports of a mysterious masked vigilante begin circulating around Radcliffe. Dubbed The Deathspeaker by the local press, he is Chamberlain's first recorded costumed hero, described as "a tall, gaunt figure clad in a flailing ebony cloak". Armed only with a black rapier and a matching set of revolvers, he launches a prolonged reign of terror against Radcliffe's criminal element, successfully driving the gangs off the streets by 1860. His true identity is never revealed, but reports of a similar vigilante are made as late as the 1890s.
1861: Chamberlain's male population dwindles as volunteers join the Union Army during the Civil War. Crime and corruption spills over from Radcliffe as black marketeers seize control of the city's administration. Crooked politician Earl Makepeace is elected mayor, founding a dynasty of murderous autocrats. Chamberlain descends into the abyss over the next seven years; it is rumored that Makepeace sold his soul to The Devil in return for political power.
1868: Riots and looting break out across Chamberlain as returned veterans go to war with Radcliffe's crime lords. The Deathspeaker resurfaces after an eight year absence, followed by several masked adventurers including The Six-Shooter, The Pistoleer, and The Chamberlain Kid (all of whom are later revealed to be Civil War vets themselves). The four eventually team up under Deathspeaker's leadership to drive the scum back to Radcliffe.