Has there ever been a canonical myth as to how the Oerth was created? If not, what have you invented as your creation myth?
I've alluded to my own version of the myth in my Gods of the Flanaess series, but here's the complete story for the first time:
Originally, there was nothing before the original creator god or goddess. Different human groups attribute creation to a different god or goddess-the Baklunish claim that Istus the Lady of Fates was the creator, the Flan say that it was Beory the Oerth Mother, a view that many Oeridians and Suel have adopted since their own arrival in the Flanaess. Doubtless other human cultures attribute the creator role to some other deity. For the purpose of this story, we'll assume it's Beory.
With the rise of Beory came life, meaning and existence. But even then the fundamental law was that nothing could exist without its opposite, and with the rise of Beory came the rise of the Dark Lord, Dread Tharizdun. The Dark Lord was filled with rage at the notion of his existence and meaning, knowing full well that he was a depraved truth, an obscene lie. In an effort to bring about the destruction of his opposite, he created horrific creatures to serve as his armies, further strengthening his paradox and driving him to ever greater levels of hatred and malice.
But Beory did not have to face Dread Tharizdun's malice alone. Boccob, the magic of the universe, came to her side, as did Pelor, the god of the sun and even then the giver of life and healing. Other gods came too, gods ranging from Corellon Larethian to Annam to Maglubiyet and many more, joining Boccob in her resistance. Even the gods of evil assisted Beory, for they knew that their existence depended on hers. Their evil still relied on life and existence to function, while the Dark Lord's entropy and nihilism threatened even them.
So did the Imprisoning War begin, wherein Beory and the divine forces assisting her battle the Dark Lord and his nightmarish minions. For millennia the battle raged, and forever it might have, until one solar, one of the first divine minions created by the gods to help them in their battle, made the ultimate sacrifice. He allowed himself to be eaten by the Dark Lord, the purity and holiness of his sacrifice making the Dark Lord so ill that Dread Tharizdun was at last laid low. The Dark Lord was so sickened that he vomited up the first of what would become the demons, devils and daemons, including such monstrosities as Asmodeus and Demogorgon. He vomited up the lower planes as well, which the creatures he released immediately took as their home.
But bereft of their leader, the Dark Lord's elder minions could not stand against the gods. They died in their thousands, and those that were not slain were subdued. In turn, they were locked in a hellish prison beneath what would become the Land of Black Ice in the part of the Oerth that in modern times was known as the Flanaess. Even now, they scream and struggle for release, with the City of the Gods and the Oerthmagic standing as bulwarks against their escape. Dread Tharizdun himself was imprisoned in a distant void, with different gods providing everything from their skills at metalworking to their skills at magic to simple brute strength to build the Dark Lord's prison.
Beory, so saddened and dismayed by the bloodshed she saw, desired to see life flourish again. She also wanted to reward the gods who fought alongside her. So she called the gods together and offered them a great gift, the ability to create mortal beings in their own image. These races would live on the Oerth, and they would honor their creators with worship and glory in exchange for favor and support. Many of the gods, of all alignments, took Beory up on her offer and created the mortal races that now call Oerth home. Many of them reflected their creators' alignments, and the conflicts between them reflected the conflicts of their gods. With Dread Tharizdun now defeated and existence assured, the original alliance between the gods was now broken.
The gods of good, and many of neutrality, gave their creations free will, at the cost of seeing some of their creations turn to evil. The gods of evil gave no such choice to their own creations, so that orcs, goblins and other humanoids are inherently evil, their very essences forever tainted by wickedness.
The gods of evil further took up residence in the lower planes vomited up by Dread Tharizdun. Although they were vastly more powerful than the demon lords and arch-devils that came to rule these planes, the gods of evil could not hope to destroy the creations of Dread Tharizdun, and so they were forced to settle for carving domains on the lower planes and becoming allies or enemies with the lower planar entities that were there already. This explains why the demon lords and their lawfully and neutrally evil kin are in full control of the lower planes, and cannot be destroyed by the gods, although they are far less powerful and can be defeated or even destroyed by the strongest of mortals.
The gods' creations fell into conflict, but Beory was not grieved by this. Good and evil were both essential, she knew, but she saw how most of the mortal races reflected particular alignments. She wondered if a race might connect equally to all those alignments, one that could flourish equally in all parts of nature. So it was that she became both the first and last creator among the gods, as her creations proved the most dynamic of all-humanity itself.
With the rise of humans, a new era began. New gods came to Oerth in the aftermath of the Imprisoning War, either born from the relations between other gods or arriving from other universes. The mortal beings have been in endless conflict and alliance with one another, as civilizations rose and fell. Brave heroes and wicked villains have come and gone. Good, evil and neutrality struggle evermore.
Such, then, is the truth of life on Oerth, from then until now, and on unto eternity.
The dragons knew this, envisioning creation as Io and time as Chronepsis, two dragons intertwined with one another in a complex figure 8. Nothing can come into being without time, but time alone is not enough.
The elves, too, represented this with their god of creation, Corellon Larethian, and his/her sister-brother, Labelas Enoreth. Corellon creates and Labelas marks the limits of creation.
For humans, these concepts are usually named as Boccob and Lendor. Boccob is all the power of creation, which is magic, and Lendor is time, who regulates creation and brings order to it.
Yet there is a missing element that few faiths will speak of openly, confining it to interdicted tomes locked away or in the hands of vile cults. Of the lawful holy texts, only The Book of Incarum in Veluna, said to have been scribed by the hand of a deva, gives it a name: Tharizdun. The Lost God.
Once, when creation worked as intended, there were three parts to it: the act of creation itself, the regulation of it as time, and its natural destruction, only for the cycle to continue with new creation. But creation is broken, because the third part of the triune went mad and had to be locked away.
How this happened can only be speculated upon. Even The Book of Incarum speaks only of Tharizdun's iniquities, not his fall. Some say Ralishaz is the manifestation of the bleeding hole in reality left when Tharizdun abandoned his proper place. Some say Incabulos is the manifestation of the cancer that has infected reality since Tharizdun's banishment. Regardless of the truth of these claims, creation is broken and, without the third part of the triune, it cannot be repaired.
Although the Flan had innumerable lesser deities, they held eight greater gods in highest esteem: the Great Circle. All of these gods were Neutral, for all had their own role in Being. They had together created the Oerth, and they cooperated in maintaining its existence. Each would yield to the others in turn, as needed for the balance of existence, each aspect giving way to the next in an ordered succession without end.
The eight gods of the Great Circle existed as four pairs of partners. These partners worked in harmonious opposition, none contending with the other, their diversity serving to illustrate the fundamental themes of the Flan cosmology.
There were Beory and Nerull, the pairing of Life and Death. All Flan sprang from Beory at their beginning and went to Nerull in the end.
Beory’s sometime consort was Obad-hai, who was paired with Boccob in a duality of Nature and Culture, the foundations of Flan life.
Boccob’s younger brothers were Rao and Incabulos, who represented Logic and Intuition, the two paths to truth.
The final pair was Pelor and Tharizdun, Light and Darkness, both equally present in the world.
For time immemorial the Great Circle watched over the world and the Flan people. The first of the Flan gods to fall from Balance was great Tharizdun, Lord of Darkness. Flan theologians debate whether Tharizdun was corrupted by the darkness He represented, or whether He was already corrupt at the forging of the world and chose to embody Darkness to better hide His secret. Some have even suggested that over time He simply grew jealous that gods and men alike praised the beauty of Pelor while none could see His own dark beauty.
For whatever reason, Tharizdun’s thoughts fell from Balance and He began to desire dominance – a darkness that would envelop and destroy all. Assuming aliases, He sought worshipers outside the Flan, among monstrous races that honored the dark but despised light, on Oerth, under Oerth, and beyond. Their worship filled dark Tharizdun with secret power, but also with evil, and fed His growing corruption. Tharizdun looked for taint in the souls of the Flan druids, a lust for dominance that mirrored His own. He promised power to those in whom He found it, power in return for secretly forsaking the other gods and bearing Him exclusive loyalty.
When the other gods finally realized that Tharizdun had been corrupted, they at first sought to return His heart to the Circle, rather than destroy their eternal unity by moving against Him. Tharizdun feigned repentance but all the while worked to increase His power. By the time the rest of the Circle saw through His duplicity and presented Him an ultimatum, Tharizdun was ready to strike. Humanoids and monsters boiled forth from the darkness inside the Oerth and decimated the Flan. During pitched battles against the humanoids, dark druids betrayed and murdered their colleagues still faithful to the Circle, ensuring their defeat. Suddenly stripped of thousands of worshipers, the other gods were weakened. Then Tharizdun himself, swollen with power, attacked the other gods, each in turn, easily banishing their outer forms and forcing them to retreat to their inner domains.
The universe shook and the Oerth was plunged into darkness. Tharizdun was on the verge of triumph. The other gods of the Great Circle, acting in desperation, sought aid from elsewhere. They appealed to disparate Powers across the multiverse, each seeking and finding beings who were similar in aspect to themselves. This aid turned the tide, and the unity of the Circle allowed them to battle back, supporting each other in their struggle against Tharizdun. The Lord of Darkness, swollen with glory and arrogance, would have no allies, but only servants. In the end, He was defeated but not destroyed, locked in an inescapable prison.
Although victorious, the Great Circle had been irrevocably sundered. The gods had accepted help from other Powers, many of whom did not serve Balance. This exposure corrupted them, even as Tharizdun had been corrupted.
Nerull assumed Tharizdun’s mantle, and now represented both Death and Darkness. His contact with other gods of Death from other worlds had turned his thoughts to evil and he now dreamed of a dead world with all souls in his cold embrace. As centuries passed, he even came to believe that he should have sided with Tharizdun. Knowing that alone he was not a match for the rest of the Circle combined, he began to look for a way to free Tharizdun, confident that after their joint victory he would be able to rule as His adjutant.
Incabulos, god of Intuition, had been the first to warn of Tharizdun’s corruption. He had used his powers to deduce Tharizdun’s plans throughout the struggle and had been instrumental in the Circle’s victory. But his extensive probing of Tharizdun’s mind had sickened him. He had aided the Circle by forging alliances with powerful beings of Chaos. He had ignored as irrelevant the fact that many of these beings were Evil as well. Their influence changed him, and the vacuum left by Tharizdun in His wake pulled him in. Incabulos drifted to evil. The concern and warnings of the other Circle members were seen by him as jealous betrayals, and he descended into paranoia. Eventually Incabulos emerged as the god of Insanity.
Rao, god of Logic, assumed the aspect of Reason in an attempt to hold the Circle together by balancing the growing insanity of Incabulos. His brush with the Powers of Law and Good who had aided him in the struggle against Tharizdun had brought to him a sense of justice and fairness that his pure Logic had lacked before.
Pelor, too, had been in league with Powers of Law and Good. While Incabulos had made the strategic plans for the Circle, Pelor had personally led the Circle in the battles against his dark opposite. At war’s end he had become more than a god of Light; he was now a crusading force for Good as well.
Of all the members of Circle, Beory had watched with the greatest concern the slaughter of her children, the Flan. While the other gods had simply been inconvenienced by the loss of worshipers, Beory was genuinely pained by their suffering. Their affliction had evoked healing and protective aspects in her beyond her traditional role as a life-giving but impartial mother. As Nerull became an active, possessive Death, Beory countered by promoting and sustaining Life. What had been a harmonious balance between the two became a desperate struggle between good and evil.
Boccob and Obad-hai, of all the Great Circle, had most retained their original Neutrality. Boccob, god of Culture, had defended the Circle by discovering and wielding arcane secrets and by fostering Flan sorcerers. The struggle had convinced him that knowledge of magic was the highest expression of Culture. Thereafter he gradually lost interest in anything but the arcane. Eventually he became the “uncaring” god of Magic.
Obad-hai had possessed the wisdom to ally himself with other Neutral Powers only – for the most part, amoral Beast Lords and other gods of Nature. He emerged from the struggle largely unchanged, aside from his bitterness over how the other gods had abandoned the Old Ways. _________________ My campaigns are multilayered tapestries upon which I texture themes and subject matter which, quite frankly, would simply be too strong for your hobbyist gamer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Mp7Ikko8SI
There also was one for the Baklunish Pantheon but I fear that it has never been translated from french to english - For the curiosity of those who speak french and if i can restore the old website of the Ekbir Triad, I will post it. _________________ Armenfrast, Sage d'Ekbir<br />aka Belvor_x (Greytalk / AOL 1995-1999)<br />aka 100523.157 (Compuserve 1994 - 1995)<br />http://www.greyhawk.fr
Les grandes lignes du dogme de la Foi Exaltée sont présentées ici telles qu’elles sont enseignées par les théologiens ekbirites. D’autres religions ont des avis différents.
Avant que le Monde ne fût créé, existaient trois dieux, égaux en puissance et en dignité.
Certains théologiens les tiennent pour co-éternels et inengendrés, d'autres disent qu'ils furent engendrés par Cyndor, l'éternel, le temps et l’infini. Ces dieux sont bien au-delà de l'entendement humain et sont appelés les dieux cosmiques. Le premier de ces dieux, Horsis-Ra était d'une pureté et d'une bonté incommensurables. On l'appelle généralement l'Esprit de Lumière. Le second, Tharizdun, était au contraire maléfique et ténébreux. Ces deux dieux, égaux en puissance, s'affrontaient dans une lutte sans issue puisque parfaitement équilibrée. La troisième divinité, traditionnellement considérée comme une déesse, souvent identifiée à Istus, arbitrait ce conflit cosmique sans prendre parti. Cette déesse cosmique incarnait l'équilibre.
Pour résoudre le conflit stérile entre les deux autres dieux cosmiques, elle proposa de créer des êtres doués de libre arbitre qui pourraient choisir entre le bien et le mal et ainsi proclamer un vainqueur définitivement. Les deux autres dieux acceptèrent et le Monde fut créé pour que ces êtres puissent y vivre. Horsis-Ra créa le Monde et la Vie et tout ce qui est bon et Tharizdun corrompit sa création, amenant la Mort et la Destruction. Les trois dieux cosmiques ne devaient pas entrer eux-mêmes dans le Monde car leur puissance était telle que celui-ci en aurait été détruit. Seules des émanations de ces dieux pénétrèrent la création pour la parfaire et assister les futurs êtres. Ces émanations furent les dieux majeurs. L’Esprit de Lumière eut plusieurs émanations qu'on appelle les Dieux Lointains ou encore les dieux des Paynims. Ils ont pour nom Korshid, Asman, Khaleq et Danesh. Tharizdun eut aussi des émanations comme Incabulos et Nérull et des dieux innommables comme l’Antique Dieu des Éléments. La déesse de l'équilibre eut comme émanation la déesse Istus que certains assimilent à la déesse cosmique elle-même et qui est le destin. Elle mesure la lutte entre le Bien et le Mal dans le Monde et, lorsqu'il y aura un vainqueur, elle le proclamera et annoncera la fin des temps. Les trois divinités cosmiques créèrent de concert Béorie qui est le Monde personnifié et Boccob qui incarne les règles qui le régissent et que l'on appelle magie. Chacun des dieux cosmiques ayant participé également à la création, celle-ci fut neutre à l’image de Boccob et Béorie. Boccob ne s'intéresse pas au conflit entre le Bien et le Mal ni au choix des futurs êtres. Il est le fonctionnement du Monde, il est la magie, il connaît le Monde et comment agir sur lui mais lui-même n'est qu'un gardien de ce savoir et de ces règles.
En même temps, les dieux cosmiques créèrent des êtres pour servir leurs émanations et les dieux à venir. Ce furent les célestes (aasimons, archons, guardinals, éladrins et asuras) pour le Dieu Bon, les fiélons (diables, démons, hordelins, yugoloths et gehreleths) pour Tharizdun, les slaads, les rilmanis et les formiens pour Istus.
Le Monde créé, d'autres dieux naquirent par hiérogamie, surtout par union avec la déesse mère Béorie. Les dieux, émanations d'autres dieux ou engendrés par eux, eurent eux-mêmes leurs propres émanations. _________________ Armenfrast, Sage d'Ekbir<br />aka Belvor_x (Greytalk / AOL 1995-1999)<br />aka 100523.157 (Compuserve 1994 - 1995)<br />http://www.greyhawk.fr
Une fois que le Monde fut créé, les dieux décidèrent de créer ceux qui auraient pour mission de choisir entre le bien et le mal, les Hommes.
Istus vint avertir Béorie que le moment de la création de l’Homme était venu. La déesse-mère extraya alors de son corps deux masses d’argile qu’elle façonna pour leur donner la forme d’un homme et d’une femme. Geshtaï les purifia par aspersion de son eau pure afin qu’ils puissent recevoir les dons des dieux. Olidammara compléta le rite en leur faisant boire une coupe de vin. Ce vin se transforma en sang et les deux êtres devinrent de chair.
Alors vinrent les trois dieux cosmiques. Horsis-Ra leur fit deux dons, celui de la vie et celui de l’amour. Grâce au premier don, les deux êtres reçurent l’étincelle de vie et s’animèrent. Grâce au second, ils purent se multiplier et vivre en communauté. Tharizdun leur fit lui aussi deux dons mais ce furent la mort et la haine. La mort devant inspirer la peur et entretenir la haine. Ainsi, pensait-il, les Hommes glisseraient spontanément vers le mal. Enfin, quand tout fut fini, Istus fit à l’homme et à la femme le don de la liberté pour leur permettre de choisir librement leur destinée entre le bien et le mal.
Le premier homme s’appela Aboukadim et la première femme Oumma. Ils eurent des enfants et enfantèrent toutes les races et les nations du monde. Les premiers hommes eurent la sagesse de pencher vers le bien. Des héros légendaires combattirent victorieusement les adorateurs du mal et les hordes maléfiques. Ce fut le combat mythique de la Lumière et des Ténèbres et la Lumière prenait le dessus. Tharizdun entra alors dans le Monde pour le conquérir ou le détruire. En réponse à cette violation des règles établies par les trois dieux cosmiques, le Bien et la Balance s'unirent contre lui et, à l’issue d’un combat terrible d’ampleur cosmique, il fut emprisonné. Son influence sur le Monde en devint très limitée mais il avait eu le temps d’assurer la pérennité du Mal dans le Monde, son développement et son existence jusqu’à nos jours. Il existe en divers lieux d’antiques sanctuaires où subsistent des parcelles du pouvoir de Tharizdun. Horsis-Ra, lui, dut se détourner du Monde pour se concentrer sur Tharizdun afin de maintenir la prison fermée. Son pouvoir non plus n’irradie plus guère le monde sensible et son nom fut presque oublié. Les émanations de Tharizdun profitèrent de son emprisonnement pour s’émanciper. À l’exception des factions loyales mauvaises qui cultivent le culte du chef suprême et oeuvrent pour sa libération, les forces et les dieux maléfiques ne souhaitent pas son retour et préfèrent rester libres d’agir à leur guise. Le départ des dieux cosmiques constitue l’Hégire. Les Hommes fondèrent alors l’Empire baklunien sous la conduite d’Azor’Alq et des autres héros divins des premiers temps et de leurs successeurs.
L’issue de la lutte entre le Bien et le Mal est maintenant incertaine car le poison semé par Tharizdun au commencement du Monde continue d’agir et de se répandre. La conversion de l’ensemble de l’humanité dans le camp de la lumière est la grande tâche qui doit permettre la défaite ultime du Mal. Alors le Monde sera purifié, régénéré et débarrassé de toute souillure. Il sera comme il aurait dû l’être en l’absence du Mal. La victoire du Bien marquera la fin des temps actuels et la naissance d’un nouveau Monde. Un sauveur que l’on appelle le Mahdi apparaîtra à la fin des temps et parachèvera le triomphe du Bien dans la lutte cosmique contre le Mal. Mais rien n’est joué et le Mal peut lui aussi l’emporter. Il est dit qu'à la fin des temps, si le Mal l'emporte, Tharizdun sera libéré et détruira le Monde. _________________ Armenfrast, Sage d'Ekbir<br />aka Belvor_x (Greytalk / AOL 1995-1999)<br />aka 100523.157 (Compuserve 1994 - 1995)<br />http://www.greyhawk.fr
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