Friday, March 26, 2010

Creation Myth for Fourth Edition

When 4E was being designed, the writers made a point of leaving the history of the world vague and distant, allowing the GM to do with it as they wished. For my own world I wanted to shake up the beginning of time a little bit. Rather than a war between Primordials and Gods being the foundation of the world, I wanted a bit more mystery to it, and a story closer to more traditional creation myths. What follows is my best attempt to do just that.

How the World was Made

Ask a thousand men and you will get a thousand answers. No one can be sure exactly how the world came to be, yet none will be deterred from the search for truth. What follows is the best account which can be pieced together from the thousands of legends and scriptures which supposedly hold the story of creation.

The Ur-Gods (or Primordials as they are commonly known today) were the first to come to the Universe. It was they that shaped the world from the cosmos. It is thought that the astral sea existed long before they arrived, though for what purpose is unknown. The Ur-Gods are said to have entered the cosmos from elsewhere, they brought with them bits of other worlds, as only one of them could create from nothing. It was Uruk who became the provider of the other gods, for they wished to mold new things with the matter he would call. They built the world as it pleased them, and then took their leave.

It is thought that the Ur-Gods have left the world and the planes, but what has happened to them is unknown. It is known that there were left remnants of their power, and a few of these primordials were left imprisoned within the elemental chaos which supports the world. This was the creation of the Primordial Uruk, the place from which all matter was gleaned. The Elemental Chaos was made as a blessing, yet this creation was flawed, rough, and lacking beauty, it was the other Ur-Gods who gave meaning to the matter, and sculpted it into good things. The Primordials used this matter to shape the world as it is today.

The other Ur took what Uruk had summoned and used it to build a magnificent world. The earth was crafted by the great hands of Kig, and bathed in air by An. Before the first races were introduced, Nammu blessed the land with water pulled from Uruk's chaos. Once the land was made, the favored races of the Ur-gods were put upon it. The first creations were: The Dwarf Moradin, wise and patient. The Elf Corellon, beautiful and skilled. And Io the Dragon, strong and with powerful magic. 

For a time things were good, but it came that the races felt great fear and cold, as in this time Nilu had snuck upon the world. Nilu was a lesser god of the Ur, but he was the most subtle and dark. He cast a shadow in the lightless world, and created death as his gift. Seeing the fear in the people, Moradin, the first Dwarf, asked that the gods give them something to oppose the darkness and evil which threatened to engulf the fledgling creation. The first response was Ninu, twin to Nilu. In every way Nilu was dark, Ninu was bright, she gave the lands the power of birth, creating the well of souls, from which new living things could arise to oppose death. This well was filled with the tears of the Ur-Gods, Uruk contributing the most as his grief at not shaping the world was great.

Even with the well of souls and birth, the people of the land had difficulty, for who could teach these children? The first had been born with knowledge, but these new lives were blank. It was then that the Ur-God Utu gave his gift to the world, he took his great spear and swirled it through the primordial ring, as the gods lived upon Uruk's creation. The last element of Uruk's ring clung to the blade. His spear now burning bright with fire, was then cast at An, who's breast was pierced by the blade. The sun shown from this mighty conflagration, and An still burns today, gifting us with light to live by.

Uru had been considered the wisest of the Ur, yet they did not understand his actions. Some wished for war, while ohers wished to simply abandon their creation, it had been their sins that made it, let them trouble it no more. It was then that Uruk spoke for the first time since he had created the elements. He said to look upon the world. In their arguments the gods had turned away from arras, yet now they saw tribes, the children of their creations. On looking closer they discovered what Uruk had seen, a man had appeared, from where they did not know, yet he and the other races had come together and made a table at which they could speak and sit. This astounded the Ur, as they held the power to shape things so close, and to see it in their creations filled them with a satisfaction, their work was done, and with this they departed.

Before retreating to wherever they went, Nilu and Ninu each cut a part of their flesh and placed it into the world, while Ninu's flesh went to seed and grew the magnificence of life that became the wild lands of the Fey, Nilu's seed destroyed all that it touched, creating the blighted, dark, lands of shadow and death. An had given his life for the people of the world, so his wife Ina wished to remain as his counterpart, she could not approach his fiery body, and so she follows him diligently as the bright moon.

Several other minor primordials had yet to give any gifts to the races, and refused to leave. The greater Ur-Gods did not want to interfere further, so the Satu (ungifted) as they came to be called took residence deep within the elemental ring of Uruk, imprisoned there so as not to be a danger to the world, until such times as they are called to by the first-born children of the Ur. These Primordials slumber to this day, though there are some who would call upon their anger and use it to destroy the world the Ur-Gods made.

Has anyone else tried to do something similar with the "built-in" mythology of 4E? Or do most people tend to work from scratch? I would be interested to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The City of Veneline - Part 3

I had originally hoped to complete this portion of the Veneline series two weeks ago, but unfortunate circumstances arrived which prevented me from doing so. Well, without further delay, part 3 of the City of Bridges.

Breacan Mac Cahail
Breacan Mac Cahail is the owner and proprietor of Mac Cahail's restaurant. A native of Trathyr (or another northern land of your choice), he came here to escape the Midden wars and regain his former wealth. At one time he owned a large portion of the vineyards which lie upon the slopes of Veneterra. Breacan is very charming and courteous, especially with the noble women of Veneline. He is an expert on wines and while he maintains an air of nobility about him, Breacan often brings food to Veneline's homeless.

Janaolo is the Elven owner, and madam, of The House of Purple Silk. As such she is possibly one of the most powerful people in Veneline. Discretion is her game, and there is no safer place to whisper a secret than her establishment. Janaolo has a hand in every element of her business, picking each employee by hand, no matter how trivial the job. Of Janaolo's past, nothing is known, other than the whispers which surround the beautiful Elven matron.

Vincelli Demogeon
Vincelli is the current Droge of Veneline. His time in the position and as a member of the Ten has made him cynical and trusting of no one, yet his rule has been marked by a rare stability between the noble houses. Vincelli has a rare gift for balancing the wishes of many, and convincing others to accept compromise. However when decisiveness is needed Demogeon is hard and uncompromising with his decisions, he certainly has no shortage of enemies.

Racherd Dimenth
Master of the Venete Tam Consortium, this Halfling is a shrewd businessman. Racherd has hauled himself up by his bootstraps, and every coin in his pocket was hard earned. As of late some worry he has become too paranoid, especially with the arrival of a Dreadnought to bolster the consortium's naval presence.

Alrerich Ethn
Headmaster of the Collegium, Alrerich is a stern man who has balanced the needs of his school and responsibilities to the nobles for many years. More than once a noble house has tried to muscle him out for refusing to put up with their brat's antics.

Proprietor of The Rhemoraz Bar, Orde'lin is a bit of an enigma. No one could tell you exactly where he came from, beyond waving a hand to the north. The back wall of the main bar bears a massive black-metal harpoon which supposedly was used to slay the beast from which the establishment gets it's name.

Ciro Borducci 
One of the Ten, he has worked harder than most to achieve his position. A self-made noble family of only a few generations, the Borducci's have risen to power quickly, and there are a lot of folk who would be interested to know how he has done it.

A foreign soldier, he currently heads the soldiers in the service of Ciro Borducci. He has displayed remarkable tact in his position, as any grief he caused would inevitably be used against his master. That doesn't mean the man is without his vices, one vice in particular. Temethridan is a frequenter of several whore houses in the city, and it can only be a matter of time before his activities catch up with him.

Arod Rivach
A dissenter amongst the populous. Arod is yet to develop a large following, but he has spoken publicly about the lack of equality in the city, and his supporters are growing vocal themselves. There are many nobles throughout the city that would lift a drink to the man's disappearance, and perhaps even some coin.