Benabik Alvar (benabik) wrote,
Benabik Alvar

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WIP: Under the Arch

So I'm currently designing a Fantasy HERO game. It's kinda interesting because I have to design an entire game from scratch, basically. I just don't have to balance the rules.

I spent a lot of today writing down my notes, which I've mostly just had in my head so far. No game stats are included, and all of this information is available to the players, so I have no problems posting it.

Elder Gods: Knowledge(M), Fate(F), Time(M)
Twin Gods: Making(M) & Unmaking(F), Birth(F) & Death(M)
Elementals: Fire, Air, Water, Earth, Spirit

The Elder Gods
The Elder Gods are widely held to be the creators of the universe as it is known today. The Gods of Knowledge and Fate combined their power to create the universe. The early universe was in stasis, being simply a possibility that it may exist according to a set of rules. Nothing actually happened until the first two gods created a son: Time. The power of the new god allowed the universe to happen instead of simply existing. Between the three of these, all events are given a way to exist, a chance to occur, and time to happen in.

Domains: Knowledge, Law, Science, Truth
Symbol: Book

Knowledge is the head of the pantheon. Even though Fate is as old, her capriciousness allows Knowledge to reign. He is generally regarded as being above needing worship, having few temples or clerics, but nearly every library and court is dedicated to him. While his clerics have very little in the way of flamboyant powers, they are unequalled in divination. It is often claimed that just as

He imparts very little information about the future, but is the master of everything that is or was. Whenever a person desires to know something, his clerics are consulted. Either through the vast stores of books they collect or their holy powers, little information is not available to them. His clerics are not omniscient, but can often appear so. Often the key to gaining knowledge is knowing what question to ask. It is also easier for them to gain small details about something well known than general information about something hidden.

Knowledge is also considered the final arbiter of law. His clerics act as arbitrators, mediators, and judges. Few clues can be hidden from their sight, and even fewer people can lie or dissemble before their power. Do not mistake this as a dispensation of justice. His clerics will aid the evil as much as the good, so long as they follow the law and obey their word. He dispenses not justice, but punishment just as the same knowledge of engineering can be used to make houses or siege weapons.

Domain: Fate, Chance, Fortune, Destiny
Symbol: Coin

Fate's power is often considered to be greater than Knowledge's as his power is constrained by rules and law, her power can allow anything to happen. However, as any gambler knows, her power can not be depended on for aid as any who gain her attention are as likely to fall from riches to rags as the other way around, with some people coming full circle even faster than those who simple go from one to the other. Many of the opportunities she has provided for great good have turned out to cause the greatest evil.

Fate also has few truly devoted clerics, but her favor is sought by nearly everyone. As many people beg for her attentions to gain good fortune as others pray that she looks elsewhere so that chance does not ruin a carefully laid plan. Her few chosen people walk the lands spreading both great fortune and great despair. Most of her clerics walk a single path, bringing great fortune or ill to those who deserve it (although their mere presence often makes the unlikely likely).

However, Fate is not just luck, she also rules destiny. History is made by individuals, and the world often hinges on a single decision. Fate can be found with those people. At all the great battles and near all the great rulers, the very rare clerics who worship her as the incarnation of destiny can be found. They are often hard to find, but they seem to study or guide those people who are meant to change the world. Her clerics never use their power to force anyone into a great destiny, but simply provide the opportunity.

Domain: Time, Causality, Visions, Change
Symbol: Hourglass

The first child of Knowledge and Fate, Time has a unique domain. He does not govern what happens, but simply that things may happen. Without Time, everything would be static and unchanging. He is the most aloof of Gods, rarely using his power to produce change. Although Fate may have fewer clerics due to her changeable nature, Time's monks hold themselves apart from others. They turn their studies inwards and study the long term.

His creation from the earliest powers of Knowledge of Fate give him unique insight into the ways that events cause others. His monks have unique insights into the things that caused something to be and the way that effects ripple from the simplest actions. Knowledge may grant information of the past and Fate may give someone the opportunity to change their present condition, but Time is uniquely suited to give information on what may be. Visions of the future are often vague, telling what may occur or giving omens on how things might change. This is a result of mixing Knowledge's certainty of the past and Fate's ability to provide possibility. Only by combining rules and chance does Time have any knowledge of the future.

The monks of Time are held to strict discipline. Only by ruling themselves completely can they remove the changes they make in order to see how events interact. As a result, a monk's life seems ruled not so much by the turning of the stars, but by the effects they cause. A single monk may live for ages in seclusion, or give up their entire life in one moment and change the course of history (although the latter is very rare). By manipulating this knowledge, a monk may perceive time at whatever rate they choose, giving them the chance to act methodically in the middle of chaos or quickly pass the time when nothing happens.

The Twin Gods
In the earliest moments of the universe, the three Elder Gods observed what they had made. Time watched the interplay of events and spoke to his parents. Knowledge observed the earliest unformed matter and *knew* that it could form into the land and seas. With this knowledge he caused the god of Making to exist. Fate watched this process begin, how pieces of rock and flame came together and saw the *possibility* that the same forces that caused things to form could cause them to break, and so brought the goddess of Unmaking into existence.

Thus were the older siblings, Making and Unmaking, brought into the universe.

Time passed and while some of the stuff of the newborn universe was made into the land, other parts of the universe crashed together in great calamities and the remains became the stars above. Fate was saddened by the fact that her daughter could not cause anything that lasted, while Knowledge was made proud by the new creations of his son. In order to comfort his mother, Time showed Fate what could be happen if some of the new things upon the earth were made to live and the great *possibilities* that life could make. And so the goddess of Birth came to be, and plants and animals spread over the land.

But now Time saw something new. He saw the plants and the animals so overrun the land and the sea that the great races never came to be. He turned to his father, Knowledge, and asked for a way that this could be averted. Knowledge *knew* that the only way to prevent this was to balance the birth of new creatures with the death of old. And so, with a heavy heart, did he turn that knowledge into the god of Death.

Thus were the younger siblings, Birth and Death, brought into the universe.

Domains: Making, Crafts, Buildings
Symbol: Forge

The god of Making rules over the creation of the world, and the construction of new rivers, islands, caves, houses, statues, and tools. It is upon his forge that the world was made, and it is in that image that smiths work upon their forges. It is his hands that sculpted the land, and it is in that image that artists mold their sculptures. And it was the god of Making that showed the young races how to protect themselves with tools, and so it is that all craftsmen pay him homage.

The clerics of the god of Making go into the world and bless newly built towns, craftsmen, and artists. Under their gaze, buildings are made more sturdy, tools stronger, and art more creative. Their power is to imbue items with power, simply making them better at what they do or creating items of wondrous power that give light, cause havoc, or make life easier.

Their temples more resemble a craftsman's shop than a place of worship. Every cleric shows their devotion by working at a craft, and their holy days are marked with fairs and markets instead of fasting or prayers.

Domains: Unmaking, Destruction, War
Symbol: Lightning

The goddess of Unmaking is not a wholly evil god. Although her power causes calamities, it can also be put to use. Items fail, but that keeps craftsmen in business. Floods may wash away buildings, but it also brings new soil. It is by her power that men clear forests for housing, destroy hills for mines, and removes obstacles from their path.

However, it is also under her banner that people wage war. Her power is not only that to break tools, but also that to destroy armies. Her clerics are often well versed in the arts of war, and their power removes their opponents weapons and war engines.

Unmaking is a goddess to be feared and respected. Her temples are places that people go to appease her and ask for peace in their lives as well as places that train people for war and ask for ways to topple their problems.

Domains: Birth, Fertility, Growth
Symbol: Grain

The goddess of Birth is one of the most praised gods, who is appealed to by people everywhere. It is under her gaze that weddings are blessed, and it is in her name that fields are planted. She is called upon to bless unborn children and keep them healthy. It is also by her power the the halfling races were created.

Birth's clerics officiate weddings, birth babies, and bless plantings. They travel far and wide and are called for in field and city. Their powers ensure fertility in people and animals, cause bountiful harvests, and can even renew growth in the injured causing them to heal faster. The clerics spend their time studying life and often can help the sick without calling upon the goddess.

Her temples in the countryside are amongst the fields and plants. They are often open to the air and meeting places for an entire community. In the city, her temples are sites of feasting and celebration for weddings and children. And everywhere, they have beds for the sick and injured to come.

Domains: Death, Afterlife, Decay
Symbol: Skull

The god of Death is held in careful respect by everyone. Her powers can cause or hold back plagues and famines, but also ease the pain of the old and send them to the afterlife. The shades of the dead can be called forth to seek lost knowledge and the restless ghosts can be dismissed so as to no longer trouble the living.

Death's clerics preside over funerals and seances, and are often given a wide berth by others. However, it is also by the death of animals and plants that people are fed so the goddess of Death is often invoked for the harvest. The powers of Death's clerics deal with disease and the dead, and their studies are of the same.

Temples of Death are hospices and mausoleums. The elderly are given into their care so that their final days are not troubled. And the dead are sent there for their shades to be sent to the gods so that they do not linger in this world.

The Elementals
But after Birth brought life to the universe and before Death could take it away, the very basic stuff of the universe was brought to life as the Elementals. They numbered five, one for each of the elements of magic and the universe. But although they were few, they were undying and potent and the powers of the Elementals nearly rivaled the gods themselves. Since they were from the raw power of Birth, untainted by Death, they caused hosts of smaller elemental creatures to exist.

Fire was born first, of the fist light of the Sun and stars. Its elemental demons come from the flames of the Sun and the heat of the deserts. Oldest, and most powerful, Fire burned the things it could, melted most of the rest, and seared the earliest life away. Demons are destructive and terrible, and always feared when they are summoned or discovered.

Earth was born of the new land, it's sturdiness and enduring nature. Its elemental titans rose up from molten lava and the depths of the deepest caves. Earth and its minions are slow but terribly resistant to everything and have the strength to hold up mountains. The slower titans are often ignored when discovered, but it is wisest to stay out of their path when summoned for a purpose.

Air was born third, descending from the early sky. Its elemental zephyrs were born of the terrible storms of the new world. Air is quick, but rarely enduring. Zephyrs are fast messengers when summoned and terribly destructive when focused, but often pass by without leaving a trace like the lightest breeze.

When the first oceans appeared upon the world, under the new sky, Water was born. Its elemental sprays were born of the waves crashing against the land and the rivers running free. Water flows past nearly any obstacle, and can wear down nearly anything given plenty of time. Sprays are the death of many ships, and generally elude capture with ease.

Spirit came last, born of the energies of life itself. Its elemental creatures are the fairies and sprites of the world, born of thoughts and dreams. Spirit is the least powerful of the five elementals, but the fey are the most common of the elemental creatures. Fey are creatures of the mind, full of deceit and illusion.

The Great War
The gods saw the elementals raging free and knew that nothing smaller or more subtle could exist beside them. The elementals saw the gods as meddling and a block to doing as they wished. Thus did the Great War begin. The gods fought the elementals directly, and the foundations of the universe were shaken.

The goddess of Birth brought forth new life to fight the elemental creatures, but her power was now tempered by Death. And the elementals, being unfettered by death, still won. The god of Making showed the new life how to make tools and weapons. But even though the goddess of Unmaking used her power against the elementals her existence also tainted the weapons, causing them to break and be destroyed. And so, the elementals where undeterred and the siblings grew apart from each other.

Yet Fate saw the *chance* that they could win, and Knowledge *knew* how he could make it happen. They brought arcane magic into the universe. And the younger gods worked together with this new magic, but not with their siblings. Making and Birth joined their powers with the new magic and brought forth made things given life, the golems. Unmaking and Death knew they could not make anything new, these powers being held by their siblings, but they worked together to abate their powers via magic and created the undead from creatures that had died, keeping them from passing to the other realm and stopping their decay.

Magic is the power of life itself. While Birth creates life and Death removes it, no god has complete power over life while it is in this world. Living creatures all have an energy that can be manipulated and used. This energy was abundant in the early world, and had the same five aspects of the elementals themselves: fire, earth, air, water, and spirit. Many believe that the elementals were the first expression of magic and the gods simply gave living creatures the ability to manipulate it. The living creatures of the world who were born of Birth, armed by Making, and taught war by Unmaking now wielded the Knowledge of magic against their foes. Many were claimed by Death, but they began to change their Fate.

The first Golems were created directly by Making and Birth. The arcane energies of magic hold together a form, generally made of clay, and imbue it with life. Golems are sturdy and strong, but generally not particularly intelligent. However, when controlled by magic they are a potent weapon.

Undead were made by the gods of Death and Unmaking creating loopholes in their powers. Death allows a creature to remain in this world after their death, or even return from beyond. Unmaking keeps the body of the creature from rotting and becoming usless. Undead come in a wide variety depending on their creation.

Most undead are created from the remains of a body and their shade is summoned to animate it. Depending on the age of the remains, this creates a zombie or a skeleton. Due to the long time spent dead, these undead are very unintelligent. They lack the durability or strength of the golems, but can function even after taking a lot of damage and can be created in large quantities.

Undead created from the very recently dead can actually be intelligent. Liches are shades returned to their bodies so soon that they have lost little of their intelligence and their body has had little time to rot. They do not have the exact motor control and drive they had in life, but keep their skills and gain the resilience of the undead.

With careful preparation, a recently dead person can be turned into a wraith. Wraiths are undead who are actually free of their body. Their body must remain intact and in the area (a few miles at most), but remains corpselike and stationary. Wraith make excellent scouts and their touch drains energy from their victim. Legends exist of wraith that con possess animals and even people. Wraiths can still be affected by magic or imbued weapons and can be destroyed via their corpse.

The Gods' Victory
Armed with their new magic and creatures, the Gods struck back hard at the elementals. The elementals did not work together particularly well and were taken down one by one by the gods. Spirit, being the weakest, was captured first and barred from the universe to remain outside it. Many of the fey remained free, due to their ephemeral nature, but lost any semblance of unity without their elemental. Afterwards, the gods took more care to herd the elemental creatures together with the elementals as each were barred from the universe. It is said that each elemental has its own plane of existence where it and its creatures are bound. However, since the elementals were created from the primal forces of the world, they still touch the world in certain places and their creatures can be pulled forth into this world.

The Dreaming
The Dreaming is the plane of Sprit, and is physically disconnected from the world. However, fey still exist as they were not all removed with the elemental. It is said that the only connection to The Dreaming is dreams, as the name implies. Most say that it is a place of nightmares, where injuries cause real madness and death is as real as it is here. Some others say that The Dreaming is more based on the magical aspect of spirit, a reflection of the real world twisted by people's perception and where force of will rules all.

The Abyss
The Abyss is the plane of Water, found in the far depths of the ocean. It is a dark realm, totally drowned in water, where sea monsters and worse dwell. Sprays bursting forth from the Abyss are blamed for waves that swamp ships and destroy beach towns.

Frozen Wastes
The Frozen Wastes is the plane of Air, devoid of heat or true land. Only ice stretches as far as the eye can see, but zephyrs soar the skies. The Frozen Wastes are connected to the far north, and zephyrs are to blame for the worst of the winter storms.

The Deeps
The Deeps, the plane of Earth, are a network of caves far beneath the ground, where unweary miners may find it. Eyeless creatures and living rock inhabit it, and when two titans clash it causes earthquakes.

Hell is a plane of endless Fire. Demons roam it, combating each other endlessly and burning anything unfortunate enough to find its way there. Because Fire was the most potent elemental, it is said that Hell can be found in any blaze large enough, and demons are often summoned by mages wishing to cause destruction.
Tags: hero, role playing, under the arch

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