Mesa Old School Gaming
“Imagine the confluence of two great rivers. Now imagine a glass fishing float filled with a dark liquid caught in a giant eddy created by the rivers. Now imagine a piece of cork floating in the center of that float. Our world is that piece of cork, eternally caught between the twin rivers of Chaos and Order protected only by fragile glass but constantly in danger of shattering on jagged rocks.”
_Soron of Themopoli in the intro of his great work “The Manual of the Planes” _
Two powerful beings created the world.
The first was the All Mother; she created the mortal world from matter drawn from the Elemental Chaos and was served by her numerous primal children.
The second was the Wise Father; he brought order to the chaotic world. He was served by mighty servants, known as the demi-gods.
The Wise Father and his servants taught the mortal races the secrets of mining, farming, herding, metal working, and the other skills to survive in the chaotic world.
The All Mother was unconcerned for she knew that not even the mighty Wise Father could maintain order in the world as it was made from chaos.
Not all were happy with the Balance of Chaos and Law. Foremost was The Great Serpent; the All Mothers most powerful child. He saw the presence of the Wise Father as a divine incursion, corrupting the mortal races with unnatural order. He begged the All Mother to fight the invaders, but she refused.
The Great Serpent was a master of poisons and deceit and planned to usurp his mother to wage war. He concocted a mighty poison that sent his mother into a deep sleep. He the secreted her away to prevent her other primal children from waking, blamed the Wise Father for her disaperance, and claimed leadership as the mightiest of the primordials.
The Great Serpent led the attack on the followers of the Wise Father and soon a war was being fought on the planes and the mortal world. The primal and the divine forces took great losses. The Wise Father saw the damage created and knew the war would destroy all who lived on the new world. Using himself as bate he trapped the Great Serpent in a magic prison, but in order to maintain the mighty spell he himself had to remain within. With the Great Serpent removed from power the primal forces disbanded in chaos.
The Divine Split
Asmodeus, the Wise Fathers greatest general was not content with mere victory. He sought to hunt down and destroy the remaining primordials. The surviving demi-gods could not reach an agreement and the two sides warred. The forces loyal to the Wise Fathers wishes of peace eventually one out, but both sides took losses.
The twelve demi-gods who chose the ways of the Wise Father survived the conflict. Mortals who worship these demi-gods call their faith by many names: the Fatherhood, The True Way, The Divine Order, or simply The Twelve. An organization known as The Church seeks to fulfill the original goal of the Wise Father through worship of the Twelve and preaching loyalty, charity, order, and family.
Nine of the rebellious demi-gods survived the celestial war and were banished to plane that became known as the Nine Hells and they became known as devils. They are: Bel, Dispater, Mammon, Fierna, Levistus, Glasya, Baalzebul, Meshistopheles, and Asmodeus. The Nine Banished Lords can still grant divine favor to those who offer them worship, but their power is limited compared to the Twelve. Most worshipers of the Nine seek power and dominance much like the demi-gods they serve. The devils cannot leave their planar prison, but their servants can be summoned through rituals by the most faithful followers.
The Primal Children
After the capture of the Great Serpent the primordials collapsed into disorder. Some wished to continue the war, others to live in peace, other had there own personal agendas. The prison of the All Mother was never found and none could breach the prison of the Great Serpent. Now only a few primordial seek to free either. Most are content to shape their own realms in the Primal Chaos or the mortal world. A few are still bent on driving the divine influence from the mortal world, but most have come to accepted the presence of the divine powers in the world.
Mortals still worship the Primordial, especially those spirits that dwell on our have regular contact with the mortal world. The worship of primal powers is much stronger in the outlying areas of the settled kingdoms. Primal worship varies from location to location and is based on the spirit being worshiped. Most traditions of worship give little more than passing reverence to the All Mother and focus on spirits who give more tangible benefits. The primal worshipers who still seek the resting place of the All Mother say that her dreams echo into the Primal Chaos and even into the world in a few sacred places.
The local parish church forms the backbone of “The Church” and these churches are spread through out the land each having its own parish. Each parish reports to a local bishop, bishops report to cardinals, and the cardinals report to the Grand Exarch of the Wise Father. Church services are held every Sunday, and every month has a holy day devoted to its patron demi-god.
Numerous saints, holy men and women who have been elevated to the status of mythical protectors, form part of the Churches Pantheon. These Saints normally represent a minor aspect or religious calling. For example saint Bacchus is the patron saint of feast, wine, and debauchery. Small sects of priests devoted to saints like Bacchus dot the land.
There are also several monastic orders attached to the Church, with monasteries and abbeys reporting to the local bishop. Monastic orders often border on the fringe of main church and may be primarily devoted to of one demi-god. This can range from pacifistic orders of wandering healers devoted to Tanis to secretive urban orders devoted to Deka.
The Church discourages the worship of primal spirits, but recognizes the reality that the spirits do have an influence on the lives of their followers. Most lay practitioners will offer prayers or small offerings to the local spirits and celebrate local primal feast days. There are fringe groups within the church that preach balance between worship of the divine and the primal, but it is rare for the demi-gods to grant favors to those who are not wholly devoted.
The Twelve Demi-Gods
Arnn: God of Justice (order and law)
Deka: Goddess of Knowledge (books, history, magic)
Delphine: Goddess of Fate (luck and gambling )
Hendal: God of Trade (money and wealth)
Jahnnaina: Goddess of Agriculture (banquets and sunrises)
Koroth: God of War (strategy)
Kylee: Goddess of The Hunt (herding and animals)
Midori: Goddess of Art, Music, Poetry (love)
Morin: God of Travel (stars, ships, maps)
Tanis: God of Healing (growth, birth, gentle passing)
Teeya: Goddess of Invention (inspiration and machines)
Woradin: God of Community (home, family, smithing)