what I know:
Dragons serve a similar purpose as reapers, but much less effective. This was started by the elementals in response to gods and demons and angels threatening to wipe out the people of the world due to their warring.
There was a giant empire. It was wiped out.
There was at least one massive battle between dwarves and dragons. Possibly dwarves and at least one other race as allies? Does this mean the dwarves were a civilization that the dragons targeted? Were the dwarves somehow involved in the dragon-giant war? Were the dwarves somehow involved in a separate empire-dragon war? Perhaps the dwarves were slaves to the giants and rebelled when the dragons attacked, but then had to fend off the dragons as well? It’s also possible that the dwarves were the first race to substantially survive a draconic attack — not as well off as they once were, but not scattered to the winds as other empires have been. I’m kinda liking that, but I need to consider the implications for the dwarven race.
Multiple empires have been wiped out. What peoples? some options:
- spinxes (!!)
- fey (not a race, sue me)
- mind flayers
- megafauna, including the tarrasque
- an empire built on golems/constructs (possibly opens the door to warforged) — ooh, how about if it were kobolds!
- linnorms???? not sure what their relationship to dragons would have been, though
- doppelgangers? (how the heck would you wipe them out?!)
- something reptilian, anyway
- illumins (or however the heck you spell it)
- one or more of the existing races, just in greater empires (see notes on dwarves above)
- undead?? not sure how they’d have an empire big enough to qualify
Enough time should have passed/progress been made since the last wiping out that the idea that the dragons might come back is reasonable. Not so much that it is inevitable.
Hold on a sec, what if gods and/or outsiders are the remnants of one of these groups?