Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Ideas of the Fall: Some Thoughts on What I Would Add When Running Gods of the Fall

My review of Gods of the Fall left me with some ideas about the setting. While there were some naming conventions and setting ideas that didn't work as well as they could have for me, the setting overall, and the concept of the game itself, is very compelling.

I'll throw this disclaimer out here right now--I'm not saying this is the way the setting should have been, or that I'm making it better. These are ideas that I had about how I would run the game, after reading and reviewing the game. Hopefully if you are reading this, you will enjoy the ideas, but some of this is just me thinking out loud and using the internet as my notebook.

The Cycle of Dooms

The Five Deeps are evidence of the Cycle of Dooms. At the beginning of the world, the Fates decided that gods that become complacent are dangerous for the world. For this reason, they wove the Cycle of Dooms into the world. Whenever the proper set of circumstances has come to pass, the home of the gods falls from the sky, the old gods die, and the new gods are born.

The time between the Cycle of Dooms was once much greater. The older ages of the gods lasted much longer than the reign of the last few families of gods. The reason for this is found in the pride of the gods and their willingness to truly refresh the world. The more devastated the thinking beings of the world are by the Fall, the more the world renews itself.

The last few families of gods left humans and other species more intact than previous civilizations. Some did so because of their pride in the mark they made personally on the old societies. Some did so out of pride in their family or nation. But the more beings understand and remember about the time before the Fall, the more likely the Cycle of Dooms is to repeat, even more quickly.

The most painful decision that the new gods may have to face is to scourge society to allow it to flourish anew, keeping only the absolute most important ideas of the past, and casting aside all others in order to survive. The gods must do that, or perhaps face their own fall much sooner than any god would want.

The deepest secret roiling through the aether, however, is that perhaps, just perhaps, the key to breaking the Cycle of Dooms isn't to scourge society, but rather to recognize the final tasks the gods were meant to fulfill, and then allow themselves to pass beyond.

The Krakens

The Krakens are a huge range of mountains cutting across the outside of the Nightlands. Few contemplate the name of the mountain range, but among some of the Nefar, there are legends of horrible creatures deep beneath the mountains, with terrible beaks, mouths, teeth, and tentacles. It is for this reason that the Nefar are displaced from their underground home.

In some ancient records, there is a legend of a powerful fleet of pirates ruling over the oceans, and humans devising a way to fight back against them. They created powerful sea creatures that crushed and devoured the fleet. The Pirate King, however, entreated sorcerers loyal to him, and converted many of his ships into airships, and began to harass the lands not touched by the shore.

Humans gave their creatures the ability to adapt, and soon their beasts not only could attack the Pirate King's troops on the ground, but the creatures, working together, raised the mountain ranges with their digging and probing, creating a wall that became harder and harder for the airships to move beyond.

This began the ancient rivalry between the Nefar and the humans, as the Nefar were displaced. The Pirate King may have been defeated, but thousands of tribes of goblins, orcs, and ogres swarmed human settlements to take what they needed to survive, now that the human's living weapons had moved from the deep sea to the deep earth.

Those In-Between

There are beings that few thinking creatures have ever encountered. These beings live In-Between, in the void between their home world that is falling apart, claimed by Entropy, and the this world. They can be seen as shapes out of the corner of the eye. Tiny, huge, man-sized, these beings are nearly impossible to actually see, only briefly perceived.

In ages past, the In-Between have attempted to ask for help, to communicate to with the inhabitants of the world. The In-Between have found a means to alter the physical world, but only through some ability to manipulate some fungal growths in the world.

The In-Between attempted to communicate images of their former, beautiful world through the mind-altering spores of some of the fungal creatures. After thousands of years of attempting to communicate, the In-Between realized that they were dying, and they began to manipulate other fungal growths to break down nutrients in the real world and transfer those nutrients to the In-Between.

While the legends are now lost to time, some ancient records view the In-Between as beautiful fey creatures, enticing beings to another world, and potentially causing them woe and trouble. The spores of the fungal creatures were thought to literally transport the "kidnapped" beings to another world.

Here Be Dragons

In ancient times, powerful, greedy sorcerers became dragons. Traditional dragons. When the gods saw a sorcerer that became too powerful, they would wait to see if other sorcerers would reign them in. If this did not happen, they would arrange for their servants to deliver a message to the sorcerer. If this didn't dissuade the sorcerer, then the gods would enact the Curse of the Dragon upon the sorcerer.

Not all evil sorcerers fell under this curse. Only those that became immensely powerful, and who hoarded magic from the rest of the world, would fall under this curse.

While some would argue that turning sorcerers into dragons granted them yet more power, the Curse of the Dragon forced them to spend time with their hoarded treasure, far away from civilized lands. Dreams of ruling the world or stunting the magical grown of other spellcasters were quashed. The drive to guard the treasure became all.

Why did the gods not simply destroy the Sorcerers who would be dragons? Because treasure they wished to be hidden from men could be placed with dragons. Dragons could be compelled to act as tools of the gods for brief periods of time. The Curse of the Dragon converted a Sorcerer set upon greed and power into a tool for the gods to use.

For the last few centuries, even the most evil of sorcerer attempted to be careful, lest they hoard too many items. They trained apprentices for a price, so as not to hoard the knowledge of magic. Eventually the term became an ill-remember legend, which few gave any credence. The term dragon was cautionary among dedicated spellcasters, but it lost its meaning.

With the Fall of Elanehtar, the Curse of the Dragon is not laid upon any sorcerers now, and this has given rise to dangerous, powerful threats not known for ages.

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