In the beginning, the Titans shaped Anesidora. They pulled the mountains from the dirt, planted trees, moved the wind and the seas. They spread life and prepared it for the coming of humanity.
When the world was ready, the gods delivered the Ancients to Anesidora. They built grand cities and strange places, ruling over their grand civilization.
The days grew colder and darker. Anesidora was plunged into ice, the gods fell from the sky, and the cities were abandoned to be retaken by nature. People hid in the gods, living on what was left from their journey across the stars.
Generations later, Anesidora warmed enough for the survivors to rebuild. The ancient magic no longer worked, but they clung to knowledge passed down to them. They built farms, tools, and communities. The world was dangerous, but they had each other.
As humanity spread, those who settled near the gods met the Ascended. They were huge metal beings with the intelligence of men who restored the hearts of the gods. They spread knowledge and magic at the cost of human sacrifice. The people who settled near the gods used the new magic to conquer the people who had settled other places. During this Age, the great monarchies were established by those descended from the most important Ancient crews. Three cultures, Zeus, Odin, and Horus, established their borders and stopped the wars of conquest with a truce.
When the last heir of Zeus died, it sparked a war of succession as Horus claimed the throne. Odin chose to align with Zeus, and after a brutal war, the largest armies that had ever been seen began the long march to Horus. Rather than accept their fate, the priesthood of Horus constructed a God Weapon. They released its power upon the armies, who had made camp near the town of Lerna. In a single flash of holy power, the armies, the town, and all its citizens were wiped from Anesidora, leaving behind a poisoned waste, separating the kingdom of Horus from the rest of Anesidora.
With their armies gone, Zeus and Odin could no longer hold power over their conquered citizens. Rebellion spread like wildfire. As each decade of civil war continued, the winters grew colder.
As crops died and Chione drew closer, people flocked to the god cities for shelter. The population had exploded in the centuries since the start of the 2nd Age, and there was not enough room. Crime, disease, and starvation ran rampant until there was nothing left but desperation and panic. The gods and their citizens picked a few people to be allowed in, before the doors were closed, and everyone else was driven away at the barrel of a gun.
The Chosen hid in the god’s, using their magical heat and living off food reserves that had been collected years before. The Exiled wandered the waste. Millions died in the ice and snow. The few that survived found small safe havens to raise new families or were Changed by Anesidora herself.
It is now the 4th Age and society has begun to recover. For three centuries, the Chosen of the God cities have establish or recolonized towns from the past Age, and the Exiled have split by their willingness to forgive the Chosen.
Horus never lost control in the 3rd Age and quickly established dominance after the snow melted. Since the doors first open, Odin has fought a war of reunification. Zeus has taken an isolation stance, and its people have become ever more increasingly Changed by the power of Kronos.
Meanwhile, smaller God cities are establishing their own kingdoms and areas of influence, Exiled are gathering together into more powerful tribes and civilizations, and the Unliving are growing more common.
In a world that seeks to hurt or control people with each new cycle, most just want to live free of fear, violence, and the oppression of any culture or religion.
Magic is a varied and strange thing. It covers everything from guns and power reactors to mysterious creatures and the unexplainable events of nature.
Magic is governed by the laws laid down by the Ascended, Prometheus, when he first appeared to humanity and gave them the power of magic once again. These are ancient laws from the time of the Titans before the Ancients, and it is one of the duties of the Ascended to hunt down and destroy those who break the Law of Themis.
Only use magic as it was intended by the gods.
Do not attempt to speak to those beyond the horizon, the heavens are the domain of the gods.
Do not attempt to fly like the birds, for you will be struck down by Zeus’ Lightning.
Do not take from their bodies of the Unliving, for their hearts are cursed.
The ancients did not print anything or use keyboards and other similar modern technologies. Instead they used computers capable of directly linking to human minds, allowing them to directly speak to the AI, or Shades, and enter virtual and augmented realities. Since Ragnarok, this process has become known a communion, because people believe they are speaking to the actual spirits of the ancients. And maybe they are?
The hearts of the gods are filled with a powerful light and energy. This light is the source of all magic, and if harnessed properly, they can power and recharge the spirits of magical items. However, it is also incredibly dangerous and can kill if handled improperly.
The ancients left behind powerful magic items with a variety of uses. In order to operate, they require parts constructed in the Godcities or left behind by those who came before. Chosen and Exiled both mine and salvage to produce goods, and some cultures can make their own replaceable parts for the weaker pieces of magic items.
The gods and Ascended have the means to replace some of a mortal body with divine metal. It is only done ritualistically by people with great wealth and influence.
Some parts of the world are still filled with the magic (technology) of the past. They could be ancients ruins or forest groves with tech buried beneath them. Magic is more powerful in these places and shades and wraiths can manifest physical forms. These places can be the homes of wealthy chosen, holy sites, or cursed places. All God-cities are Magical Places.
Anything that goes against the Laws of Themis falls under the Black Arts. In addition, the term is used colloquially to describe any for of Magic or lifestyle that a culture does not approve of. However, Black Art is specifically the perversion of the powers and purpose of Magic.
Necromancy is the looting, control and rebuilding of the Unliving, and considered the darkest of the Black Arts. The Unliving are cursed and their hearts are poisoned. Where they die, nothing grows and those who visit them or take metal from them suffer an early death. Their hair falls out and they waste away slowly, even if they get rid of the cursed metal.
Some have found a way to survive working with the bodies of the Unliving, or have simply accepted their dark inevitable fate in exchange for power. True Necromancers are dangerous and terrifying, and their minions are nigh unstoppable, never clouded by feelings of fear or mercy.
The bodies of the gods are made out of a special, light weight, ultra strong material. Only the power of the gods can break these materials, and even that cannot destroy them. When the material is exposed to the full power of a god, or the Ascended, it breaks up into 2 inch long “shards,” which is where they get their name. Some of these shards were scattered during Ragnarök, but most that were easy to reach have been collected since then.
Most of the Citizens of the God Cities want to rebuild their Gods, so they tax people for them. Due to their religious value, and use in making powerful artifacts and weapons, Godshards are used as currency by the wealthy and powerful. A single Godshard weighs about as much as a gold coin, but is worth the same as thousands of them.
Only high priests and the ascended can forge new items from Godshards, so they are usually kept and traded in their shard form. They're coloration is similar to fluorite.
Humanity has been changed by the power of Anesidora and the Titans. Most humans have minor changes, but some are considered something completely new. Those people whose changes are prominent and external are referred to as “The Changed.”
Shades are spirits of dead ancients that can be helpful to humanity. They inhabit many magical items, ancient computers, or can be tied to areas. Skilled Characters can Commune with these spirits for help.
Wraiths are malevolent spirits that lash out at other shades and want to cause harm to humanity.
Elves, dwarves, and fairies are all members of the fae. They are mysterious beings who live at the edge of even exiled civilization. They have mysterious powers beyond the understanding of humanity and are beings of superstition and pure magic.
In the 1st Age, beings made of metal and godshard served the gods and Titans. When their masters fell, they went insane. Since then, their cursed mindless bodies have continued to wander the world, trying to do what they were meant for, but only spreading chaos and violence.
No one knows the true origin of the Ascended, but there are many rumors and legends. Some say they are great heroes who ascended to become demigods. Others believe they are Unliving who retained their minds and still serve the gods. Whatever the case, they have been essential in rebuilding society and teaching people about the use of magic. Unfortunately, they require human sacrifice, or they turn into unpredictable monsters, much like the Unliving.
Daedalus ignited the heart of Odin, but when he demanded a sacrifice, the people chose to use their newfound magical weapons to fight back. They were able to destroy the surprised Ascended and hosted a great celebration. At the end of the 3rd Age, Daedalus returned from Hades and appeared at Mt. Olympus with an army of the Unliving. He killed everyone he found there. In the 4th Age, he has fully established control of the surrounding region.
At some point during the 3rd Age, Heracles went into a frenzy and killed many tribal people living on the border of Olympus and Tartarus. As the Reign of Chione grew closer and colder, King Creone of Thebes sacrificed his daughter, Megara, to the Ascended. Since then, daughters of the royal line have been regularly sacrifices to Heracles. King Eurystheus currently controls the Ascended and rules the Exiled city of Thebes.
Orion reignited the heart of Artemis and has continued to stay in the region.
Prometheus was the first of the Ascended to reveal themselves. They ignited the heart of Zeus and taught the art of magic to the people who lived nearby.
Sisyphus ignited the broken heart of Hephaestus. He never asked for a sacrifice and instead began to build a great road that connected the Godcities of Olympus, Midgard, and the Nile. To this day, he wanders the “Endless Road,” performing repairs and killing or enslaving those he encounters.
Most ancient items have a counter that goes up to 24 hours before resetting to zero. This is called a Cycle and is used to track and organize time. It’s especially useful, because days and nights on Anesidora are extremely long. It takes Anesidora 100 Cycles to fully rotate, 50 with the sun up and 50 with the sun down. A year is 400 Cycles long.
Each Day and Night syncs with a season that starts at sunrise. The year begins when the sun rises, marking the beginning of Spring, which is still quite cold. Summer is the only warm season, which is still relatively cool. The cold can be very extreme at night, Anesidora rarely gets warm, except in very special locations. When the sun goes down during the winter, Anesidora gets extremely cold and dangerous. Almost all people hide for the fifty days and most animals and plants go into hibernation. This time is called the Nyx Winter.
Large clouds follow the sun, often dropping rain and snow, and the sky tends to be very clear during the night. At the edge of the sunlight is a violent storm, that hits just before each sunrise.
Two multi century long winters have destroyed the civilizations of Anesidora. The first was Ragnarok, over a millenia ago. It was the event and following winter that destroyed the gods, magic, and the Ancient civilization that used to rule all of Anesidora. The second was the Reign of Chione, a two century long winter that froze the planet and killed millions. This event split the Chosen from the Exiled and society has been trying to recover ever since.
During Ragnarok, the Bifrost that let gods come to Earth was shattered. Records show that at one time the Bifrost was connected to Mt Olympus.
There is a black space in the sky above Mt Olympus. It can only be seen by noticing the stars aren’t in the right place from certain angles. Legends say that it is the tear in the heavens from the destruction of the Bifrost, and the gods’ fall from heaven during Ragnarok
During the time of the Ancients, there were three moons:
A large white disc that lights up the night sky during seemingly random phases and a shifting path across the sky
A small blue disc used to track time and direction through astronomy.
The Titan who fell from heaven during Ragnarok and created the cursed land of Yomi.
Pantheism is the belief that all the gods exist in a single pantheon and are deserving of worship. It is the most common religion on Anesidora, and many Exiled tribes follow it, though they believe that they were rejected by the Gods.
Serve the Officers and their heirs
Do not enter the wilderness alone, it holds many dangers
Maintain the holy relics, find them in the waste, take them from the Exiled
Pay the Godshard tithe, so the Gods can one day be restored
Spread the faith
Only create art that glorifies the pantheon
Do not travel at night
Exile heretics and heathens
Do not consort with the Titans or Unliving
Sacrifice your best to the Ascended
Construct a temple to honor the local gods
Do not ask compensation for saving a life
Orthodox Cult Tenets
Reject the Exiled, they can never be trusted
Only bear children to maintain the population
Keep the blood pure, do not mix with the Changed
Convert all other cultures through conquest
Do not trust those who walk in the night
Anesidoran is the belief that the only true goddess is Anesidora herself, the giver of gifts. She is the planet's spirit who provides what is needed and everyone lives at her will alone.
Have many children. Fill the world with your clan
Art and cultural expression is important for the community and self
When Anesidora gives little, take little. When she is generous, eat your fill
Never forget you come from a family, community, and tribe. They are your identity
Embrace other Exiled as family
All things have a price
The Morrigan are a cult among the Anesidoran. They believe that the gods are a curse upon Anesidora. They follow these additional tenets.
Kill the Gods and their followers
Those who give mercy to your enemies are now your enemies
Anesidora is a member of the Pantheon. All religions and beliefs have something good to offer and teach. Members of this faith are very rare and considered weak or nonbelievers by most.
The Gods are beings made of Godshards that fell from the heavens during Ragnarok.
The Living Gods were revived by the Ascended. This is not an exhaustive list and your are welcome to create your own god cities based on some of your favorite myths.
Dead Gods never had their hearts reignited by the Ascended. For many of them, this is because they they fell into the sea and their hearts were never reignited by the Ascended. Some were destroyed completely beyond even the power of the Ascended.
Spiritual gods do not have a physical form and exist in their elements, or everywhere at once.
Titans are beings the size of continents. They shaped the world originally and served the gods. During Ragnarok, they were freed from the shackles of the gods. They do not care about the affairs of men and seek them is to seek your own death and destruction. Fortunately, they sleep in known regions for long periods of time and can be easily avoided. Like the gods, only some of the most important Titans are listed.
The Muses are the daughters of the Titan Mnemosyne. They are Unliving that look like unnaturally tall and thin women with frozen faces. They have been known to wear clothes and cloaks to hide their identity. Seeing them is a sign that a tragedy is about to take place. Legends say they appear right before the fall of great civilizations.