Echoes of the Dawn
So much of this world is defined by lore and legend. Each society has their own stories, but there are a few dominant myths that seem to be accepted by all (to some extent):
- The sentient races of the world are all descendant of a common primitive ancestor. When the Gods battled with the Primordials (and each other) they took this progenitor race and split it, each claiming their own worshipers and transforming those creatures into earthly representations or aspects of themselves. These newly created races were used as tools and soldiers in the Dawn War and then either set free to grow and evolve as a species, or abandoned by their uncaring masters (depending upon whom you ask). The only people that disagree with this history is the Genasi, who claim to pre-date the Dawn War and the progenitor race, perhaps even the Gods.
- Humans (who have no single, specific, deity) are the youngest of the races. A number of Gods, realizing that they would never be able to defeat the Primordials on their own, joined forces to do battle. They created the Humans as an amalgam of their individual races, a “neutral” force that could be empowered/controlled by any of the Gods in the union, and would be able to perform well at any of the tasks set before them. In the last few decades, there has been an increasing belief amoung the Humans that they are, in fact, the original progenitor race from which all others were created.
- This world was the battleground for the Dawn War between the Gods and the Primordials. Incredible destruction was wrought on a global scale, tearing the world to pieces. The known lands today are all that remain; a flat, disc-like island, floating in the Astral Sea.
- If one were to dig far enough (or find the right path) below the surface, he would emerge into the Elemental Chaos, where the raging fury of the defeated Primordials continues to wreak havoc and destruction. At the very bottom core of the Elemental Chaos, the Abyss is believed to exist.
- The greatest and most powerful magic has been disallowed on the mortal plains. Anything beyond the most basic cantrips is looked upon with suspicion, if not outright hostility by the local clergy and other authorities.
- In order to finally defeat and cast out the Primordials, the Gods created powerful objects that acted as seals, staunching the flow of arcane power into the mortal world and at the same time trapping the Primordials in the Elemental Chaos. The Gods of Magic and the Fey tasked the Eladrin to serve as guardians of these seals, as well as enforcers of the ban on high-level magic.
- The dimensional walls are very thin in this world, and the different realms exist in very close contact. The realms are very much like distorted “mirrors” of each other; places, people, and creatures have duplicates (or twisted reflections) in the mirror realms, and events that take place in one can have unexpected effects in the other.
- Major geological landmarks (Bael Waterspouts, Gods’ Teeth mountains, etc.) are believed to be prisons or tombs for living creations and powerful constructs from the Dawn War. These areas are often irresistible for ambitious adventurers and warlords seeking weapons of immeasurable power. Others, such as many Eladrin and Dragonborn, see it as their duty to prevent such things from ever being brought forth. As well, many tribal peoples (such as Goliaths) worship these sites, believing them to house not only the weapons of the Gods, but the sleeping Gods themselves.
- Since the Dawn War ended, there have been those who have predicted it’s imminent return. There have also been groups who have actively worked towards restarting the great battles, just as there have been groups dedicated to preventing such a thing from ever happening. Religious orders, apocalyptic cults, power-hungry wizards, and insane despots, all take a great interest in the legends surrounding the Dawn War, and how they believe they can manipulate the ancient powers to their own ends. In the last 10 years, there have been signs that the old powers may be stirring. Dimensional instability has been increasing, with more and more of the mirror realms crossing paths. Unexpected and unpredictable displays of magic are becoming more frequent, and more powerful. Even social and political tensions amoung the dominant races are on the rise. Every year that goes by seems to bring with it more signs that the world’s greatest fear may be coming true: the Dawn War is starting again.