The cosmology that underpins my game universe.
In the Begining
Way back, back beyond the earliest memories of the old dwarf, and even beyond the earliest memories of the oldest god – there was nothing. Or absolute chaos, depending on which priests you listen too. But then, it was so long ago that it doesn’t make much difference really. However most faiths tend to follow two main schools of thought
The Interventionist School
There was a noise, or least something happened. Some say it was just a noise, although most priests agree that the primal over-god Ey-Oh came into existence – and most of those agree that Ey-Oh was deaf, blind and barely aware of its surroundings. Instead Ey-Oh swum in the soup of chaos (or nothingness) until it started to take a shape and form a structure of its own. His (or her, sages can’t agree) swimming created Planes of Fire, Earth, Water, Air, Hope and Despair – with the Ethereal Plane weaving in around and about them. Great swirling nodes of elemental material swirled through the Ethereal, eventually leaving great inter-planar rifts in their wake – and it was the outpouring of Elemental material through these planar rifts, that created the prime material planes.
There are many Prime Material worlds, and each one is a nexus point where rifts from all six of the great planes have come together. The ball of Elemental Earth that spewed from a rift created the land, Elemental Water created the sea, Elemental Fire made the sun etc …. Over time flow though the rifts slowed, and the flow of elemental matter has come into equilibrium.
Eventually Ey-Oh struggled to swim. She was a creature of the old universe of Chaotic Nothingness, and could not understand the order of the new universe, and his existence came to an end. But gods don’t die quietly, and Ey-Oh was no exception, rather than passing away quietly, Ey-Oh exploded in a great burst of Life, Magic and Immortality.
Many sages and priests, who follow this school of theology, believe the Ey-Oh recreated himself. Many say he able to sense his universe around him Ey-Oh remains as the great over-god and all others pale into insignificance when compared to him. Most say that Ey-Oh is The Universe itself.
The Natural School
Other sages and priests follow the Natural School of Creation. They believe everything stsrted with the creation of the world, when the sky and the earth were one. As there was no sky or earth, as a result there was only an empty void. However, one day, a gap formed in the void. All that was lighter than the gap headed upwards and formed the sky. All that was heavier than the gap fell down to become the earth. Rain fell from the sky creating a great mire before a clear blue drop of life-dew fell, settled into the newly created swamp and grew into a great tree. The tree stood firm on the ground and pushed up the Sky. With each day the sky grew ten feet (3 meters) higher, the Earth ten feet thicker, and the tree ten feet taller. And the bubble expanded.
After a while the tree grew seed pods which, when they burst gave forth the Elements, time, positive energy and negative energy. However the release of all of those conflicting energies caused a huge explosion and the bubble that contained the earth and sky was blown apart – creating lots of little bubbles with their own little bit of earth and Sky. At the same time, life, magic and immortality were released into the world. The energies coalesced to make the elements planes. The void that was left became the astral and ethereal – we live in one of those little bubbles, while life, magic and immortality pervade everything in the universe. It is said that the tree is still there, invisible to most, stretching from the heavens to the hells, passing through the Astral and the Ethereal, and linking all of the bubbles together. The elements trapped inside our world bubble became the Primordial Powers, and between them they nurture all life on earth.
But all of that was so long ago, the Universe has changed many times since. After The Universe was created, gods and people came into being – but no one really knows how. Each race, indeed each nation, have their own ideas – but it is unclear and many cycles ago. What we do know is there has been at other eras before the start of this one, and we know that, in Cosmic terms, we are only just at the start of this era.
The end of the last Era
After the eternal winter the great snake drank the sea, the wolf ate the sun, cows turned to lions and ate everything. The armies of the righteous, the chosen who had died in battle, those whose hearts were lighter than a feather, and those who had gone into the east with the sun were mustered and they fought together against the undead legions of the underworlds. Gods, demons and giants fought to the death, then the fire came and the seas rose up. Everything was destroyed. This is known as the Gods War.
And the start of this Era
Except that it wasn’t the end of the Universe, just the end of that cycle. The Great Powers are beyond the Gods and out of their reach, while the The Tree of Life is indestructible – and life goes on. Some hid within the trunk of the great tree (Ethereal plane), others became as birds and flew to the topmost branches (Astral), others hid in the great mounds and wells around the roots (Elemental Planes). Many small groups survived to repopulate the world when it was healed.
Eventually they returned and the new Era started.
Note: Spells like Plane Shift, Shadow Walk, Create Demiplane and Planar Refuge made it possible to escape and wait out the apocalypse. Even some mid-level casters would have been able to escape, and presumably take their entourage with them. Each one is, potentially, a seed for the new tribe.