Mythos.   Posted by GM.Group: 0
 GM, 8 posts
Wed 5 Nov 2014
at 15:41
"Those things men call dreams?  These are but ripples in the true Dreams."
-Varman, Priest

God, the Church and the Two Dreams

At the start of things, there was nothing but God.  He daydreamed, it is said, and His dream became the reality that is the world. This Original Dream was bountiful and majestic, populated by beings both good and evil, bird and beast.

Soon after, He dreamed up mankind and allowed them to multiply and spread over His world.  Some believe God wished to see how man would affect the balance of His world, some believe the reverse, that the world was created to test mankind, His greatest creation.

Either way, as he watched things unfold, God fell again into a deep slumber and remains so to this day.  In His greatness, God is said to be capable of having two separate dreams at the same time.

One is of a world idyllic, peaceful, verdant and perfect.  This dream is called Heaven.  The other dream is of a damned existence defined by torment, misfortune and pain and populated by the demons cast out of the world.  This dream is called Hell.

It is said that when God awakens, one of these dreams shall come to pass and all of reality will be reshaped in one of the two images.  It is said that when a person dies, he falls into one of God's dreams and the things he does while alive will weigh toward which dream that is.

The Church

The church exists to remind men of God's greatness, of the Two Dreams and of the perils of following the path to Hell.  They say that though sleeping, God can hear the prayers of men and will at times grant them.

The symbol of the church is a cross with a circle in the center.  This represents the fact that all men live at the crossroads of the two dreams.

The mission of the church includes helping people find the path the Heaven, and also watching for signs that God is awakening.  If He is, the hope is that Heaven will be the chosen dream to make reality, which the church preaches will happen in more dead go to Heaven than to Hell.

The church warns that demons and spirits in Hell will, naturally, seek to shift the balance in the other direction.

As God is sleeping, sometimes the dreams of men are entwined with those of the almighty.  The Bible contains many passages from the dreams of those closest to God, and priests are often consulted on the meaning of dreams.

The church itself is only loosely organized.  Most priests/priestesses and monks operate more-or-less autonomously in the capacity of serving their town or local populace.  Priests and Monks regularly travel and start new chapels or abbeys where needed with very little oversight.

Most of the work of a priest or Monk is in helping the needy, and helping people to be virtuous so that they may cross into the Dream of Heaven.  As other religions are fringe in The Kingdom, there is little need for conversion.

Alternate Factions

Some adherents to the faith maintain less mainstream interpretations of events.  The One Dream theory posits that God never awoke the first time and that our existence is still a dream in God's mind as are Heaven and Hell.  This might imply an even closer interlinking between the world, Heaven and Hell and a more drastic change when God does awaken.

There is also the Unified Dream theory which states that Heaven and Hell are not separate dreams, but two facets of an impossibly complicated single dream in God's mind.  This might imply that when God awakens, both Heaven and Hell will come to pass simultaneously.

"You who live here do not understand what the Dream of Hell truly is.  A land of fire?  Life in chains?  No, these are too simple a torture.  Hell is the casting off of all rules of realty, the abandonment of sanity and the collapse of all systems.  Hell is the undescribable, the unnamable, and the impreceptable terror."
-Thun Glenn, mad philosopher: supposedly quoting a Balaan.

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:00, Mon 02 Oct 2017.

 GM, 9 posts
Wed 5 Nov 2014
at 18:39
The First Men
"We are but echos of the First: weak copies occurring again and again through the ages."

The bulk of the mythology focuses on the first generation of mankind created by God, and the great heroes among them.  They are collectively called "the First" or "the First Men".  Each has countless tales of their great feats, exploits and adventures.  These stories make the First out to be larger than life, performing feats of impossible prowess, skill and marvel.

These stories have been told and retold and integrated into the culture and speech of humanity in the form of idiom, curse and slang.  Because stories of the First Men are passed down largely through strong oral tradition, there is great variance in details, especially by region or family.  As there is no central authority on such lore and very little is documented, the tales continue to evolve.

It is not uncommon for a man, particularly in the warm embrace of alcohol, to proclaim that his bloodline hails back to one or more of the First.

Hyrium, the First King and Galeena, the First Queen

When mankind was created, there were many small tribes fighting over food and land.  Eventually there came to be two great leaders, Hyrium and Galeena.  Each brought countless smaller tribes into their ranks and united mankind into two great kingdoms.  Eventually, they came to warring with one another in what will always be known as the greatest war in history.

After a hundred years of conflict, Hyrium and Galeena finally sat down to talk.  IT is said that when this happened, each was smitten by the others prowess for leadership as well as physical beauty.  They were married the next day and united their kingdoms into the first great empire.  All of the First attended the wedding, and it is said Belarius provided the most bountiful feast ever seen.

It is said that Sherax designed for them the most beautiful palace in history, and that Kragga's beasts helped build it all on the couple's wedding day.  It is also said that the passion and intensity of their lovemaking that first night brought the castle to rubble such that it had to be rebuilt the following morning.

Along with Juggernaut and the First Weapon Master, Hyrium and Galeena lead the forces of humanity to drive off the demonic hordes and send them into the dream known as Hell.

Hyrium and Galeena are agreed to be the greatest leaders in history, able to sway entire armies with a few words.  It is said that each one was so persuasive that they could even argue arrows out of the air.

Juggernaut, the First Warrior

Most stories of Juggernaut focus on his indominability (both of mind and body), his strength and great feats of violence bloodlust.  Stories commonly involve the foolish underestimating his strength and dying in gruesome fashion.

Juggernaut is said to be capable of physical feats the likes of which no normal man can accomplish, such as running through castle walls, lifting and throwing a cow, or stomping the earth with his feet and causing earthquakes.

Patron of warriors.

Magalan, the First Weapon Master

It is said Magalan invented arms and armor as well as the techniques to use them.  His stories focus on martial prowess and skill in combat, often with him besting an opponent from a position of seeming disadvantage.

Magalan is said to have forged the first sword with his bare hands, to have once trained an army overnight and to be able to swing his sword so fast that he became a blur.

He is patron to warriors and blacksmiths.

Kragga, the First Beastmaster

Invented animal husbandry and single-handedly tamed and domesticated modern farm animals, dogs, etc.  Sometimes said to have taught humanity how to make love.

Stories of Kraga focus on her benevolence toward beasts, protection of nature and animals and her wits.  They also focus on her charm and strength.

She is said to be able to control beasts with her mind, at times even taking their form.  She is also said to be able to calm the most heated heart with but a touch and make all who see her fall in love.

She is patron to shepherds, huntsmen, farmers etc.

[Unnamed] The first Spy/The First Traitor

Referred to as "the Unnamed", "the First Spy/Traitor" or "The Great Traitor", it cannot even be agreed upon whether this First ever had a true name or whether it is male or female.

Normally the villain in stories, tales of the Great Traitor focus on repeated betrayals of the other First Men and acts of deception.  It is conceeded that the Great Traitor was clever, but this is rarely glorified.

It is said that Hyrium and Galeena led a great quest to bring the Unnamed to justice, but were not successful after years of hunting.

The Great Traitor is said to be uncatchable, able to hide in plain sight or take the guise of those you know and trust.  It is said he can hear and see through walls and that in the darkness no weapon can harm him.

Patron to spies, assassins and thieves.

Sherax, The First Engineer

It is said that Sherax was the first to unlock the secret of fire, and from there she invented the blade, the axe, the wheel, weaving, brick making, hammers, nails and a slew of other basic technologies.  She is also credited for teaching mankind to build carriages, houses, walls, dams and other structures.  It is said that Sherax had a mighty workshop and forge on the side of God's Kiln in the East.

Stories of Sherax focus on her inspiration for technical marvels and solving the problems of others by invention.  A normal story has Sherax wandering the forests and encountering a peasant with a problem.  The peasant will demonstrate several elaborate but failed solutions, leaving Sherax to dazzle the peasant with an amazing solution.

Sherax and Magalan are sometimes together in story, sometimes as lovers.

Sherax is said to have made the first fire through pure force of will and creativity.  It is said her houses do not even need fires to warm them and her castles are impregnable.

Patron to engineers, academics, builders and craftsmen.

Belarius, The First Farmer

Soft-spoken and humble inventor of farming, brewing and baking.  Sometimes animal husbandry is attributed to Belarius instead of Kragga.  Sometimes wine is said to be his invention, though sometimes it is Min.

In some stories, Kragga and Belarius are lovers or even married.  These stories focus on their quarrels.

It is said that he could plow an entire field in a day using nothing but his hands and a strong stick.

Patron to farmers, brewers, vintners and cooks.

Min, The First Artist

It is said that he invented paint, pottery, weaving, music, instruments, dance and poetry.  His stories focus on art, beauty, expression and bringing joy and love to a dark world.

It is said that his voice could make anyone fall in love and his paintings were so beautiful that anyone seeing them could not look away.

He is patron of artists, performers and artisans.

Mun, The First Craven

Brother to Min.  He comes up in the stories of other First, normally as the butt of jokes or as a comic foil.  He is known for his laziness, cowardice and foolishness.He is also commonly the focus of cautionary tales, especially those for children.

Saazelari, The First Academic

Invented writing, books, science astrology and alchemy.  Stories about Saazalari commonly involve him questioning convention or seeking explanations in the world.  He is commonly featured in tales for children, but is as commonly cited in arguments of logic and philosophy.

It is said that he could speak any language, read an entire book in seconds, do impossible calculations instantly and see the future.

Patron of scientists, alchemists, astrologers, writers and scholars.

Ruuk, The First Thief

It is said he invented locks and then robbed those who bought them.  His stories focus on his craftiness and ingenuity though he is often a villain in the tales, especially in stories of the other First Men.

It is said that Ruuk could move without disturbing a blade of grass, that he could become invisible at will.

Patron of thieves, assassins, pirates, merchants and pickpockets.

This message was last edited by the GM at 12:28, Mon 15 Dec 2014.

 GM, 11 posts
Wed 5 Nov 2014
at 22:13
Demons, Angels and Castoffs of the Dream
"Trust not in demons or other Castoffs... they are older than you can imagine and crueler than you can conceive."
-Horran, Priest

Demons are evil creatures that were in God's original dream of the world, but were largely driven into Hell by the First Men.  These appear frequently in legends of the First Men and of creation.  Demons can take many forms, from that of men or beast to monstrous perversions of such.  It is generally held that all demons, no matter the form, will bear a mark of some kind that can be identified as demonic.

Common demons in story and rumor include: Succubus, Incubus, The Shadow (a demon who took the form of dead loved ones), The Ripper, The Butcher (a demon who killed people and served them in stew) and Wraiths (ghostly versions of dead loved ones).

Some still lurk in the corners of the Kingdom or crop up from time to time, summoned by individuals known as Demonspeakers for their own purposes.  Demonspeakers  have learned to speak the language of Hell and who use it to summon and control demons.  Witches (both male and female) are said to have exchanged their very souls to Hell in exchange for various powers and boons.  They act as agents of demons in this world.  Under Royal Decree, both demon and those who consort with them are to be destroyed on sight.  The Paladins are an order charged with compliance of this mandate.

The Church agrees that demons belong in Hell, but also that they were part of God's original dream and so may have a place in the world as well. Insomuch as demons may tempt people to end up in Hell and thus shift the balance toward God realizing that dream, they are considered to be enemies.  Thus the church certainly supports demon hunting but does not itself engage in such, instead preferring to instruct people against falling to evil.

Paladins are warriors who hunt down demons, witches and demonspeakers in the name of the Kingdom and of mankind, and though they are usually holy men, they are not formally part of the Church itself.  The Paladins are well-funded by the Royal purse, and thus offer very generous bounties for information leading to the capture or destruction of demons, demonspeakers and witches.

Much less discussed are the denizens of the Dream called Heaven.  These creatures are called Angels and are beings of pure goodness.  It is said that they were in the world from the Original Dream of God as were demons.  In a great war between the two, most of the angels were driven into the Dream called Heaven.

Angels feature from time to time in tales of the First, though at that time they were already far rarer than demons.  In tales they normally serve as guides, teachers, informants or prophets.  Angels often take the form of spectral humans or glowing white animals like horses, dogs, cats, etc.  To encounter an Angel is a very good omen.

The angelic equivalent of the Witch is the Archangel, which are people chosen to act as agents of Heaven in this world.

The Order of Paladins is charged with keeping tabs on reports of or the presence of Angels but are under oath not to destroy or impede them.

There are other creatures left over from God's original dream, some of which are evil and some of which are good.  Any such creature that is not considered a demon is called a "castoff of the dream".  Notable examples in lore are Dragons, changelings and unicorns.

Ogres are a unique group of castoffs of the dream who retain a good-sized presence in the north.  No man living has proof of having visited their empire.  In the north a constant vigil is kept out for Ogre raiders or war parties, though one has not been confirmed (at least to the King's satisfaction) in a generation.

Notable Demons, Angels and Castoffs

Archellis - Angel who features as a guide in many stories of the First.  Often appears as a glowing white bird of some kind, or as a star or both.  In a common story, Archellis takes the form of a glowing owl to lead lost children home in the night.

Boggle-Pop - Small mischievous creatures featured in many children's tales.  They look like four-legged spiders about the size of a cat with a single large eye in the center of their bodies.  They move by hopping around and get into all sorts of mischief such as moving items, knocking over vases, hiding coins, starting small fires, etc.  Children are always on the lookout for these creatures and especially keen to catch one.

Butcher, the -  This demon is featured prominently in many stories of the First.  Posing as an enormous red-skinned man in a dirty apron, The Butcher would set up small stew-carts along well-traveled roads.  There it would waylay the unsuspecting, chop them up and serve them in his stew to others.  Depending on the teller, the Butcher is eventually apprehended and sent to Hell by one of the First, though he always seems to return and find new ways to trick people into eating his 'stew'.

Dragons - Enormous lizards with bat-like wings, thick armored scales, flaming breath and acidic spittle.  Supposedly driven to the ends of the earth by Hyrium and Galeena, though very few were actually slain.  There is a suit of armor in the Royal Palace that is said to be made of dragon scales and is impervious to near all blows.

Lost Ones, the - Some believe that The Original Dream was somewhat fractured, and there were fragments of other dreams, meaning other realities, that still exist when God brought the world into existence.  The Lost Ones are said to be the denizens of these fragments of other realities who became trapped in our world.  They seek to find their way home.  In dreams, they are said to guide men forward, though not always where one wants to go.

Ripper, The - A demon who is said to be able to move between houses by means of closets, latrines, cabinets and other small doors.  Children are told that it then enters one's room at night and, if it finds you out of bed, it will rip off your fingers and toes.  If you cry out, it will rip out your tongue with it's long fingers.  It is said to make low moaning noises that may sound like the muffled cries of ones parents.  Many parents will say that the only way to avoid the Ripper's ire is to stay in bed under the covers and ignore its sounds.  Most people stop believing in the Ripper somewhere around puberty.

Shadow, the -  A demon of legend who takes the form of dead loved ones.  In most stories, The Shadow will impersonate the recently dead and prey upon mourners for sympathy.  It will then use this to wreck pain and torment upon all who encounter it.

Succubus/Incubus - These demons work as a team and take the form of humans said to be so virile and enticing as to leave no choice but to consent to sex with them.  According to legend, the Succubus will sneak into the beds of young men and drain them of their life force through intercourse.  The Succubus then brings the poor man's seed to the Incubus, who uses it to impregnate young girls in a similar manner.  Many an unwanted pregnancy is blamed on this pair.

Wandering Haunts, the - A trio that traveled the land before the First men.  One was a demon, one an angel and one is traditionally just called "something else" or "neither man nor beast".  Some claim that each is a representation of a different of God's dreams (Hell, Heaven and The Original Dream, which was originally far more wild than it is now).

Most stories say that they can see the future as well as the past.  Some claim they are experiencing time backward and thus can see ONLY the future.  Some say that due to their nature, seeing past and future, they cannot see one another yet somehow are all on the same task.  Some people say they hate one another and ignore each other out of spite.  Some say that their 'alliance' is a forced bondage, that they are being punished somehow by God.

They are said to appear in visions and dreams to signify a major crossroad or turning point in history or for the individual who sees them.  When they encounter people in stories, it is normally to pass on cryptic predictions or insight.  They are commonly encountered in crossroads and usually near dawn or sunset (crossroads between day and night).  They frequently appear as observers at times of great change, upheaval or very important moments.  It's possible that they in fact CAUSE these moments in history, but many disagree.

They feature into some stories of the First.  Supposedly Juggernaut forced them to bless his axe such that when he killed a foe, the enemy was ripped wholly from history.

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:05, Mon 05 Jan 2015.

 GM, 31 posts
Tue 18 Nov 2014
at 14:21
Magic, Runes and Bone Charms
"...and the Juggernaut raised his axe, imbued with the power of each of the three wandering haunts and which had cut through the walls of the fortress at Iraki, and his enemy fled..."

Although there are many tales of sorcerers, magicians, mages and the like, none are known to exist today.  The more educated would say that such were always myth or possibly that the First Men were inherently magical and from there came the tales.

Nevertheless, rumors and stories crop up from time to time, especially about the Northern areas, the deeper reaches of the marsh, the highest peaks of the mountains or in the foreign lands of Nor and south of the Chal'i islands.

The First had and used a wide variety of magical weapon and tool, normally gifts from Angels, Demons or other Castoffs of the Dream.  These factor into the stories in various ways, often as a lesson in power and responsibility.

Angels, Demons and Castoffs of the Dream are certainly magical, but these powers are inherent to their being, not learned or transferable.

Alchemy represents a more 'scientific' understanding of magic but draws its power from magical reagents (often from magical beings) rather than any magic inherent to the alchemist himself.  Similarly, those who consort with demons are merely using their power, not casting magical spells themselves.

In the outskirts, there are always those who claim magical abilities or artifacts from the Original Dream or the First Men which are imbued with some magical property or another.  Scholars agree that some of these claims may indeed be true, as the mysteries of the First and the Original Dream have never been fully researched.  In particular, the ruins to the east of Losthelm are believed to maintain residual magical integrity which may be capable of being employed by humans.

In particular, there are an abundance of small charms made from, supposedly, the bones of the First Men.  These bone charms are said to have a variety of magical properties such as granting extended life, health, happiness, immunity to various harms, sexual virility, skill in various crafts, luck, etc.  Most take the form of a small shard of bone set into a gold, brass or glass frame designed to be worn hanging from a string around the neck or simply kept on one's person.

Opinions among academics as to whether there is any merit to these charms varies wildly.  However, the fact that most of these charms are fakes made of cow bone is something that most experts agree on.

That being said, the prevalance of fake charms and the dubious nature of 'real' bone charms doesn't stop the general populace from buying, selling and carrying them.  Even those who loudly proclaim them to be hoaxes will sometimes give in to superstition and carry a small charm... "just for tradition sake".

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:24, Thu 04 Dec 2014.