Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sun, Moon, and Gribbly Things: Part 1

The Past
The past used to be a perfectly normal fantasy world. Then Armageddon happened. More on that later. 

After Armageddon, three gods emerged as survivors. Those gods now have an uneasy detente a la 1950's Cold War. Early enough for some Red Scares, but not early enough for the tension to become routine.

These three gods are Amaunator, Selenis, and Great Cthulhu.

Great Cthulhu was an accident. 

As these gods warred, they absorbed the loser's portfolios. Some dying gods merged to form new hybrids. Divine magic got utterly screwed. These portfolios are as follows:

Amaunator: Life, Light, and Law

Selenis: Death, Nature, and Hope

Great Cthulhu: Knowledge, Power, and Madness

The Present

There are no more magical races anymore. Everyone is a human.

That short, stubby female with burly shoulders and a well-trimmed beard? A human. That, tall, grey-skinned man with protruding lower canines and large muscles? A human. That three-foot-tall, jolly barkeeper with a big nose? Still a human.

There are now literal devils in the world. These, too, are humans. Asmodeus/Satan (after a merge with Zehir) is dead. Forever. His memory has been wiped from all the memories of the devils. Along with his inclinations. These devils live in the nation of Tesyria along with a large population of "typical" humans and a growing population of tieflings.

Angels are different. Angels are literal incarnations of a deity's beliefs. Do anything that goes against their god's literal rules, and they will fuck you up. Demons are gone. The Abyss was shattered in the first stages of the Apocalypse

Also, everyone is a cultist. You pretty much have to pick one out of three or get picked on.

There is no heaven and hell anymore. When you die, your soul is wiped clean by a space windshield wiper and then transported to another meatbag waiting to be born. Sometimes the wiper messes up. 

Of course, that doesn't stop humans from believing in an afterlife. There are ways to experience one. Amaunator's cultists believe in an afterlife. They go through a special ritual upon their induction that essentially sets them up for an endless hallucination of an afterlife in the seconds before they die. Selenis's cultists know that there probably isn't afterlife, but she sometimes bestows this special hallucination on a faithful cultist as a reward. Great Cthulhu's cultists know and don't bother informing the others that there is definitely no afterlife. When cultists of Great Cthulhu die, they end. They like this because everyone gets the same fate, no matter who you are.

Civilization has been artificially restored under the auspices of the new caretakers.

There are three major nations.

Tesryia is a former normal (normie) nation with a healthy population of devils and a rapidly growing one of tieflings. Their capital city was the last great stronghold of Bane and the place where Asmodeus/Satan made its last stand and was crushed. The Blackkeep still bears scars of that battle. It is said that every 666th hour an angry, malevolent red ghost appears in the Keep and kills everyone within sight.

Orcrist is a nation of the most populous strain of humans on earth: Orcs ad half-orcs and goblinoids. Bugbears in three-piece suits wander the streets talking business and incorporation while goblins lounge around near gaudily, clumsily painted pillars and argue philosophy.  This is a nation where everyone feels a bit of dissonance between their old instincts and their new way of life. There are rumors of criminal syndicates and occasionallly the odd berserker incident.

Luther is a nation of haflings, normie humans, and dwarves. It is known for its stout construction, warm, comforting feel, and skyscrapers that frequently have as many floors belowground as they do above. Luther feels like the archetypical home. It has a slight problem with feral halflings and gribbly things.

There are no elves, statistically speaking. Gruumsh won the war against Corellon Larethian but was killed by Lolth, who in turn died to Zehir right before he merged with Asmodeus. There are perhaps less than a hundred elves in existance. These elves remember, and it has driven most of them mad with grief.

Orcs lived, but Gruumsh lost.

Dwarves lived, but Moradin died.

There is no longer a strong association of a god with a particular race. That was the old way, and the new supergods have realized this and are tentatively trying out non-racial connotations.

The Gods

The gods are really, really new at this. They are scared shitless. Their entire existence depends on worshipers, and if they fuck up badly enough, people will remember what was wiped from them en masse and rebel, which means the gods will lose their powers en masse and the only sentient beings intentionally keeping reality from unraveling (e.g, Amaunator and Selenis) will cease to be. Great Cthulhu will be free to return from where it came from.

The detente will not last forever.

Amaunator and Selenis are already eyeing godly pacts (the effects of which are things like an afterlife, other planes coming into existence, et cetera). They are mostly trying to decipher the motives of Great Cthulhu when not super busy and failing miserably.

Besides maintaining civilization and the massive memory wipe (which is taking all of their effort at the moment) they haven't really created or re-created any other planes. There are definitely fragments still extant, though...

The Remains

A scattering of all human strains and elves who remember what the world used to be. Less than two thousand total. The Sun and Moon were effective. Mostly in their dreams, although a few have hallucinations. The few elves who do remember and who have not gone mad have formed an organization of about several dozen elves and maybe two or three non-elves. They call themselves the Gethsemane, and pray every night to gods who do not answer. 

What happened to the dead gods?

Most of those who were not absorbed, if they could summon up the strength, became vestiges. Now there are a lot of vestiges. They still continuously fight with each other and loathe each other, but most of them hate the new order more. And they plot against the living ones in a dimension their dead thoughts are slowly beginning to shape, like soft mud yielding to the gentle pressure of a corpse.

The non-divine planes are fine but disconnected. There are no ways to get to the Elemental Planes without a Plane Shift spell, for example.