Campaign of the Month: June 2012
Religion plays an incredibly important role in this world. The most important of which is that the creator, the Nameless One, also known as the Maker, bestowed a special boon on the good races of the world before he vanished into the void from whence he came. The maker gave the five races of the Sacred Fruits, Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Halflings and Humans, as well as those races they beget, such as Half-Elves and Half-Orcs, the Gift of Five Lives. This means that they can die four times before their spirits are taken on their final journey to Maal, whence they be judged and discover their eternal fate. Please read Death, Resurrection, and the Spirit World for more details.
The following is a brief description of the origins of the universe and the creation of the gods and races of the world as commonly believed by those who dwell in the Free Kingdoms. This is the Doctrine taught by The Great Church, as well as by most of the holy orders, and by the varying faiths and churches throughout the Kingdoms.
How the Universe and the Maker were born
In the beginning, the universe was perfect, and good, and empty [pure law and good]. Then came the force of change and evil, called Shachté or Corpus Infernus [pure chaos and evil]. In this meeting of perfection and change, there was a flash, and the Nameless One, the Maker [neutral Creator God], an all-powerful being, uttered the first sound: His name. In speaking His name, He summoned Himself from nothingness.
How the Elements were created
In the First Epoch of creation, the Nameless One was alone in the darkness. He created a palace for Himself in the void and pondered His existence. At last, He began to create. Speaking four words, He created the four elements: fire, water, earth and air. Knowing He could do anything with these four powers, He created a vision of what would come. He watched this vision for some time, seeing that by His action a world would be created and it would be filled with life. Then He acted as the vision foretold.
How our world was created
In the Second Epoch of creation, the Nameless One built four pillars from the four powers [the elemental planes]. Each pillar was one of the powers in its purest form. Then He created a great sphere and placed it on top of the pillars. This sphere is our universe. At first the universe was empty [filled with nothing but ether and shadow], and then the Nameless One created a central sphere [the prime material plane], filling it with all of the parts of the sky: suns, moons, stars, winds, and vapors. Then He created land under the sky: mountains, hills, valleys, plains and cliffs. Then He surrounded the lands He had created with the waters: oceans, seas, lakes, rivers and streams.
The Birth of the first being, the God of Fire
Having created a world where life would grow, the Nameless One waited. But life did not come, so He made it – a companion He called Kador [lawful evil God of Fire]. To Kador he have the gifts of life, will, and fire [these three elements form a soul], and ever after, only creatures with these three gifts were complete. The Nameless One was so pleased with Kador that he gave will to the earth, the sky, and the waters also. The He delivered to Kador three prophecies:
The Three Prophecies of the Nameless One
First, He declared that much life would come to the world and that it was Kador’s duty to give the gift of fire to all those born of the world. He declared his sacred plan, along with the Maker’s gifts. Second, He whispered a long decree into Kador’s ear. Third, He proclaimed that as all of creation was born with the uttering of His name, so too would all creation cease when His name was spoken again. This said, the Nameless One departed from the sphere and was never heard from again.
The Birth of the Elemental Gods
The earth, sky, and waters, having heard that much life would come to the world, tried to create it, but were unable. Eventually, Kador tricked them into unifying. All the parts of the earth unified and woke with life as Rontra, the Earth [LG Goddess of Earth]. All the parts of the sky unified and awoke as Urian, the Air [NG God of the Air]. All waters unified to awake as Shalimyr, the Water [CN God of the Waters]. Kador have these three fire.
The Birth of the Tree of Life, the Cursing of the Fifth Fruit
From the joining of Shalimyr and Rontra arose a great and lovely tree, called Eliwyn [N Tree of Life], and on it blossomed five fruits, tended to by Urian. This was just as the Nameless One decreed from his vision. Kador, however, demanded the fifth fruit on the tree for himself, but the other three would not allow it. Kador had become corrupted by the Corpus Infernus [this is the power of pure corruption; the assumed state of all life is lawful good, but this power can drag life away from good or law or both]. Kador was drunk with power and believed himself higher than the others, likening himself to their father, and angered by his father’s plan. Their refusal to give him the fifth fruit angered him, and he cursed it so that the child within would be weaker than a god but more plentiful – and would rebel against those who grew in the other fruits.
The Birth of the Four Main Gods
The other four fruits ripened and in them brew four young gods: two brothers, Terak [LG/LN God of War] and Tinel [CG/N God of Magic]; and two sisters, Morwyn [LG Goddess of Healing] and Zheenkeef [CN Goddess of Inspiration]. Terak, Tinel and Zheenkeef could not wait for their fruit to ripen, so they forced their fruit to fall. Tinel and Terak landed at the same moment. Then their sister Zheenkeef fell. At last, Morwyn’s fruit finished ripening and she fell. When all four gods emerged, Kador came to them and offered fire to the eldest. Each brother insisted that he was the elder. Kador gave all four the fire, pleased at having sown dissent among them, and then tried to steal the fifth fruit he had cursed.
The Birth of the First Race, the Div
The fruit burst open at his touch, and from it came the div [precursors to Genies], the first race of the world, weaker than the gods but more plentiful, for there were thousands of tiny div. Their blood was fire and they did not age or grow ill. They ran all over Kador and he shook them off, scattering them across the world and forming three great tribes of div: the Marid, the Shaitan, and the Shee. It is thought by some that some of the Shee were responsible for the great civilizations long forgotten, that some mortals have named the Azlanti.
The First War and Death of the Gods and Tree of Life
In the Third Epoch of creation, the races of the div spread further across the world. Terak, Tinel, and Zheenkeef engaged in the lesser war of the gods, using the fire given them by Kador to make weapons: Terak made the axe; Tinel made magic; Zheenkeef made inspiration. Terak and Tinel fought to be the eldesrt, and Zheenkeef believed that if she destroyed them both, she would gain the title. Morwyn watched in horror. All four gods began teaching the div and granting them powers. Eventually, Terak and Tinel were tricked by Zheenkeef and killed each other using Eliwyn, the Tree of life, which was also destroyed.
The Birth of the God of Death, the Corruption of the God of Fire
In the moment that the two gods were killed, Mormekar [N God of Death], the Shadow, was created. He told Morwyn that while death was in his power, so too would be rebirth, as promised by the Maker’s Gift, but only if he possessed fire. Morwyn, Mormekar, Urian, and Rontra called to Kador for fire, but he refused to give it, even though he had been commanded to do so by the Nameless One, the Maker; Kador had become so corrupted by the Corpus Infernus that he was now completely evil.
Rebirth of the Gods and the Tree
Since Kador had betrayed his duty, Morwyn gave Mormekar her fire, which she had never used to make a weapon. Mormekar used it to burn the bodies of Tinel and Terak on a pyre built of the wood of Eliwyn. Zheenkeef so loved the dancing flames that she threw herself on the pyre and was consumed. When all was burnt to ash,nothing happened, and Morwyn fell to her knees and wept. When her tears hit the ashes, Eliwyn sprouted forth anew with five fruits, and at the foot of the tree were three infants: Therak, Tinel, and Zheenkeef reborn. The Nameless one’s vision was now fulfilled, knowing that Kador would rebel and try to unmake what he had made. Thus these five fruits were given the five gifts – five chances at life by the maker at their birth (see The Maker’s Plan and The Five Gifts, below).
The First God Born of the Womb, The Creation of the Celestials
Morwyn and Mormekar raised the three infants and had a child of their own, which they named Maal [LN God of Justice]. As Maal and the other gods grew, Morwyn made her three great works. First, she called the most powerful of div to her. There were many who had been given great powers by her siblings in their war, and these div she made into the celestial host, separating them from their people but teaching htme the songs and wisdom of the gods. The chief of this host was the archangel Iblis [a Huge Solar who is now a LE Duke of Hell]. Second, she discovered, with the eyes of a healer, why it was that her siblings had gone mad and killed each other, and she created a cure. Third, she concocted the three great laws.
The Casting out of the Demons
When Morwyn’s works were complete, the gods were all fully grown. She called them to her and explained their illness – they were infected by the Corpus Infernus. To cure them, she had used her power and the power of the celestial host to build a prison outside if the world. This place she called Hell [LE plane]. Opening a portal to Hell, she expelled the Corpus Infernus from the gods and the celestial host, and this raw stuff of chaos and evil became what men call demons. This done, the gods would descend no further into evil.
The First Laws of the Gods
She then shared the three laws with the gods: first, that the gods would never make war against one another; second, that the gods would use their strength to guide the div and the new races ripening in Eliwyn’s fruit; and third, that no one god would rule the others. As the eldest, she would lead, but she could not order the other gods to obey and follow.
The Creation of the Devils
These laws agreed to, the gods all turned their attention to Kador, who had turned evil and had to be cured of Corpus Infernus or be cast out. Kador had prepared for this and had given great powers to several div, making them as great as any of the celestial host – perhaps greater. His servants were named Lilith (with whom he procreated, giving birth to countless dark beasts, Baal (his fiercest warrior), Dispater (the clever), Mammon (the mad and power-hungry), and Leviathan (a Marid he had stretched into a sea-creature larger than any ocean). He also sought to make a creature in his own image, as the Nameless One had created him, and this creature he called Mephistopheles. He would call his servants “divils,” which would later become the word “devils.”
War of the Gods, Birth of Dragons
The gods attacked Kador and his minions in the Great War of the Gods, but were driven back by a great deluge of fire unleashed by Kador just as Leviathan swallowed Shalimyr so that the waters could not douse the flames. Fire spread everywhere, and those div caught in the deluge had their skin burnt away. Most died, but some were transformed into creatures of pure fire and power – the dragons.
Imprisonment of the God of Fire
The gods attacked a second time and this time broke Kador. The fire he was entrusted with was taken from him and placed into the five fruits of the tree so that all the children of the world born from those fruits would possess it. Kador and his servants were cast into the prison Morwyn had made for them, Hell, and most of the children spawned of Kador and Lilith went with them.
Birth of the Young Gods
The gods had prevailed and there was peace for a period of time. Morwyn took Terak as a second husband, and together they had twins, Anwyn [LG Goddess of the Hearth], and Korak [NG God of the Forge]. Tine and Zheenkeef married and also had twins, Darmon [CG God of Travelers and Messengers] and Aymara [CG Goddess of Art and Love]. They raised these children happily and all was well.
Rebellion of the Div
Before long, the remnants of the Marid and the Shaitan grew restless. The div had been used and abused in every war of the gods and sought now to overthrow them. They rose up, as Kador had foretold they would, and were put down by the celestial host led by Iblis. The gods knew they had to expel the div from the world, for they were cursed by Kador. The Marid were sent to the pillar of water and the Shaitan to the pillar of fire. But the Shee, the silent third race of div, had never partaken in any war. They had remained hidden about the earth (again, rumored to have created the vast ancient Azlanti civilization); yet Kador had cursed them too.
The Birth of the Fey and the Elves
The gods gave each Shee a choice – to be stripped of the fire in their blood and become mortal or to be stripped of the gift of free will. Those who agreed to be stripped of the fire were gathered by the gods and placed, sleeping, under Eliwyn, for they were a new mortal race called the elves and would wait for the ripening of the other fruits. Those who agreed to be stripped of their will were allowed to remain in their hiding places around the world and were called the fey. Those of the Azlanti race are thought to have all taken free will, and their great civilization came to an abrupt end).
Birth of the Dwarves
The children of the gods grew, and yet the fruits still did not ripen. Finally, Zheenkeef grew impatient and went to the tree. She grabbed the sleeping elves to play with them, hurling them into the woods; but some awakened and bit her hands. Yelping, she shook her hands and the elves fell into the water and the earth, to the tops of snowy mountains and to the steamy jungles. Her hand covered in blood, she grabbed the first fruit and hurled it across the earth. Meanwhile, Korak, the none-too-bright son of Terak and Morwyn, was playing across the world. He was hit in the head by the bloody fruit, thus gaining some of Zheenkeef’s inspiration, but being knocked unconscious for many years. Out of the fruit rose the dwarves, and they made great halls in Korak’s head. The great mountain kingdom of the Bitori dwarves is called Marak-Dün, literally translated as “Sleeping God”.
Birth of the Gnomes
Zheenkeef plucked another fruit and then noticed she had bled all over it. She licked off her blood and hurled this fruit across the world. It ripped apart as it soared, scattering a portion of the race across the lands. The rest of the fruit is said to have flown off the end of the world. From those scattered seeds came the gnomes, who had been touched by her inspiring blood, tongue, and breath, yet few in number, they long to be reunited with their brethren.
Birth of the Halflings
The next fruit she kicked and it bounced across the world, squashing the people inside – who were supposed to be tall and willowy – to half their size. The fruit deposited these creatures into nearly every nook of the world. Thus were born the halflings.
Birth of the Humans, and the Fifth Fruit
Hungry from her labors, Zheenkeef plucked the fourth fruit and gobbled it up. This made her quite ill, and Morwyn made her vomit up the fruit and all the gods worked to reconstruct the contents. The people inside the fruit, humans, had lost something of themselves in the process – which is why they are so short-lived – and were made into many different forms by the gods, which is why they look so different from one another. Angered and ashamed, Zheenkeef grabbed up the many different races of humans and scattered them across the world. Some of her madness touched the minds of these humans, and the shame and anger she felt affected the way these humans see the world. Thus is the reason that each human race has developed its own sense of creation, some creating false gods and forgetting knowledge of the true gods of the world, some only remembering and revering small aspects of the gods, or attributing characteristics of several gods to their own image of the gods. The gods love all humans, even if they refuse to admit the truth, and strive to convert the false or misguided into the fold of the Lords of Heaven. The fifth fruit remained untouched and still has not ripened.
Making of the Land of the Dead
The children of the gods grew to maturity after this, and there was an age of heroes as the gods walked among the mortal races giving them great gifts and teaching them countless tricks. During this age, Maal and Korak built a great realm for Maal [the land of the dead] under the earth, beneath the roots of Eliwyn, so the he might oversee the souls of the dead, those who perish of old age or who have lost the five gifts of the Maker.
The Three Companions find the Three Sisters
Some short time after the completion of the realm, Maal, Darmon, and Korak wnet adenturing together looking for wives. On their journey, they found three sisters: Naryne [LN Goddess of Nobility], Thellyne [NG Goddess of the Hunt], and Canelle [CG Goddess of Victory]. While Maal and Naryne immediately agreed to marriage, Darmon and Korak’s love for the other two sisters (Darmon’s for Canelle, Korak’s for Thellyne) went unreciprocated. Regardless, these three sisters joined the family of the gods.
The Gods Divide over Chaos and Law
In the Fourth Epoch of creation, the age of heroes came to an end. The gods, forbidden to fight against one another directly, taught the mortal races to think like them. They cultivated followers and used these followers against one another. Though Corpus Infernus was not in them, they still had powerful disagreements. Some believed strongly in the importance of individualism [chaotically aligned], while others wished to see strong societies and laws [lawfully aligned]. The two sides gave some of their followers great powers to work their will on the world, speaking to them directly, even walking at their sides.
The Separation of Heaven and Earth
Eventually, though, the struggles of the servants of the gods grew so ugly and intense that the gods almost came to war again. This was too much, and the gods agreed on a Compact, a system of laws that prohibited them from directly ordering the mortal races to do their bidding. The gods had been living in the earthly sphere [the prime material], but they then set themselves apart, creating a great mountain away from the world and living at its spire [the seven Heavens]. The gods have come to be known as the Lords of Heaven. Maal’s Kingdom was also separated from the earth, with only a dark river connecting them. In the wake of the gods departure, they left behind sacred places in the world, places of holy power, where the god’s guidance and presence could still be felt, and where worshippers could seek the blessings of the gods. These areas of sanctified ground, as they are called, have become the locales for shrines, temples, cathedrals and druid circles. Additionally, mortals have been given the knowledge and the ability to sanctify, and make an area holy, with a connection to their god.
The Creation of the Compact, Gehenna and Elysium
Rather than instructing mortals directly, the gods created a system, called The Compact, in which mortals might be given powers to serve the will of a god only if the mortals came, to their own free will, to worship that god. This new order gave the gods power from the belief and prayers of mortals. To make the mortals’ choice to serve the gods meaningful, the gods agreed to allow the dark forces to tempt mortals toward darkness. In their effort to contact the demons to arrange this, the gods discovered that Kador had conquered hell with his followers, the devils, and that he was now called Asmodeus. Connected my this, the gods determined a method to keep Asmodeus in check, allowing the devils and demons (now located in an infinite Abyss [CE plane] that they had burrowed our of the sphere) to battle over the souls of the wicked that had lost the Maker’s last gift. The gods then created the daemons and the guardian angels to track all the small acts of wickedness and goodness, placing them in shier own planes (Gehenna and Elysium, respectively).
How Things Stand
The gods put in place the following order of the world, which prevails to this day: Mortals have free will. They are instructed by the earthly servants of the gods (the clergy and other mortals who worship the gods) to do good, but are tempted by evil mortals and the powers of Hell and the Abyss to do evil. At all times they are watched by the guardian angels and the daemons that keep great ledgers of their deeds. Although the Purification (see Dying and Raising, below) is believed to clense a person’s guilt of any sins or crimes committed during the previous gift, when a body passes away due to natural aging, regardless of the remaining gifts, the spirit travels across the dark river and is judged. When a mortal loses the Maker’s last gift, and die their final death, their souls are similarly claimed by Mormekar and led down the dark river to Maal’s Kingdom, where they stand before the King of Souls and tell the tale of their lives. If they have led undistinguished lives, they wait in Maal’s Kingdom to be reborn to a new life. A life that will have no connection nor memory of the previous life. If they have led lives of brutal evil [chaotic evil] they are sent to the Abyss for punishment; of petty evil [neutral evil] to Gehenna [NE plane] to be punished by daemons; and of cunning evil [lawful evil], to Hell and the embrace of the devils. If a person has lived a life of great good or terrible tragedy, she may be admitted to the halls of Maal to live in bliss for eternity. The most devoted are claimed by the gods to ascend to the mountain of Heaven and become servants of their gods for eternity.
The Fall of Iblis
This is the order of things as it stands now, with the gods drawing the mortal races toward good – though arguing over the nature of good – and the creatures born from or severely tainted by Corpus Infernus
Drawing mortals toward evil. This system, with the heavens and the dark powers untied to focus their attentions on the mortal races, did not sit well with everyone, and eventually the chief of the archangels, Iblis, rose up against the gods in protest. His protest was put down and he was cast into Hell to abide with the devils he had helped defeat long before. Since the creation of the Compact and the uprising of Iblis, there have been no major conflicts of the gods, and the mortal races have come into ther inheritance of the world, which they enjoy to this day.
The End of Things
There are many theories about the apocalypse, the End Times, when all existing orders will be brought to an end. The three main theories are: Someone or something will speak the Nameless One’s name and bring an end to existence; Asmodeus, who was Kador, will free himself from Hell and achieve his revenge against the gods; or the fifth fruit, still on Eliwyn’s bough, will ripen and fall – and that which emerges from it will change the world.
The Spawned Races
Most races of the world that were not created from the sacred fruits, such as the Nokol-Orai, Mün-Golai (orcs), the Colosai (ogres and giants), Ovar-kin (goblins), Sethi (jackalfolk), Therathai (lizardfolk) and Vermani (ratkin), are said to come from the union of Lilith and Kador long ago. Those members of the races that live today are a pale shadow of those that fought in the Greater War of the Gods against the celestial host. They bear little resemblance to the terrifying creatures that Lilith mothered, having degraded over the years. Although these beings have a soul and are mortal, unless they have traces of the blood of the races that were formed from the sacred Fruits (such as half-orcs – having a human parent), they do not benefit from the gift of the Maker, and their spirits usually proceed directly to Hell upon their death; Maal does not bother with judgement upon these cursed souls.
The Blood of Div
The forefathers of the fey were members of the third tribe of the div, the Shee, who refused to give up their immortality and their powers and chose instead to be bound to the earth – to lose their free will. To this day, the fey are more powerful than the mortal races, but they do not participate in earthly matters; they are forever tied to their homes and their functions.
Creatures such as the centaur have ancient fey blood but they are not considered bound by the same restrictions as the other, more magical fey. These races fall under the jurisdiction of the Compact, and the Maker’s gift, have free will, are not immortal, nor are they as powerful as the true fey races. Sorcerers who developed their abilities due to fey blood also fall into this category.
The pixie, faun, and other true fey-blooded creatures, on very rare occasions, are born or are unexpectedly imbued with free will. Forever changed, these creatures become truly mortal and their magical powers are much diminished from their true fey-blooded kin. These creatures now have souls and are almost always outcast from the communities to which they were born, forced to make their way among other races, ostracized. They fall under the Maker’s gift as well.