There are a lot of stories that deal with multiple worlds – from Hindu cosmology, Yggdrasill. Portal fantasies often have a “place between worlds” and there are many – Narnia (the wood between the worlds), Midkemia (the Hall of Worlds), The Magicians (the Neitherlands). This is our table’s version of these. An interesting thing we got was how the “early” ages of a world tended to be all about “beings” creating landscapes, plants and animals, and only later do the first people come about, and so starts the inevitable clash of civilisations, pollution, and “dying earth” at the end.
“Alone was the sea of night,
until came the fruitful light.”
“The rain of all-things does fall
through form and chaos for all.”
To-Holon is the everything. All that exists. Worlds are created in the fruitful-light (prim) and fall down to their ending in the sea of night (kaos). All worlds start “pure”. Elemental. But the “fall” is the growing intrusion of kaos. Change, life, death, corruption. It all continues until the world falls apart. Each world has its own gods, species, history.
Until one group learnt to walk across the night to other worlds. Leaving their dying world they learnt to survive and grow. They built bridges between worlds. A whole network that sustained their civilisation. They began to treat these worlds as their own gardens. Planting, cross-pollinating, weeding. But they wanted more.
They investigated. They learnt how to manipulate the prim and kaos. They made themselves as gods and created such wonders. But they grew proud and believed their works greater than those made by the gods and the prim. They tried to tear down the “inelegant” works.
So began the Shattering. The war for To-Holon. The new and old Gods, The Kanon, Prim, and Kaos fight and die. As they fall they collapse bridges and shatter worlds. The servants of the three factions roam the surviving worlds for new resources to continue the fight.
What does all this mean? Well, not a whole lot for a bunch of lvl 1 adventurers. But it can inform and gather many game-settings. It gives us some factions/structures.
Kanon-gods: The new gods, the mortals who rose up and stole power from the Prim and Kaos – god of thievery, god of conquest, city-gods and god-kings etc. They use magic and technology to build and protect their possessions (be it land, people, or whole worlds.) They even fight amongst themselves for the scraps that are left in the rubble of the Shatter.
Prim-theoi: These are the Prinicipalities of Law. The Shining Host. The things that create worlds and try to keep them running. Elementals, Spirits of Order and Creation. They don’t care for civilisations – more will rise – but care for the “natural order” and try to preserve it from the influence of the Kanon or Kaos. Any infection must be removed.
Kaos-daimon: These are the Parasite-Gods of Chaos. Destruction, Decay, Change and Entropy. They try to return things to the original state, Void, the formless Sea of Night. But their war against the Prim is eternal, and they are patient. They see the Kanon as cheats – stealing sustenance from the mouth of Kaos.
There is a natural progression. Worlds/Realms/Planes are created. Elemental forces give shape – Stars, seas, mountains, storms. Life. But Kaos always worms its way in. Mountains erode, mortality arrives. As the worlds fall away from the Prim and approach Kaos the decay becomes stronger. In the war against entropy the Prim tries to create ever increasing complexity, but the worlds always fall and die. The Builders tried to stop this, but only started a war where Prim and Kaos became personified and struck back against the “un-natural” creation.
The roads between worlds still exist, but have become twisted and tangled. Sometimes when a world is destroyed, the road will snap back and intrude onto other worlds, creating pathways where there were none before, or even pushing worlds to collide into each other.
This basically mean I can put “portals” into ancient ruins that lead to other settings, or have temporary portals appear randomly !
Where am I going with this? I don’t know.
While there are some great “random world creators” out there (like this on a Blasted Cratered Land) I would like to somehow incorporate the differences between worlds near the prim, as opposed to worlds near kaos. Maybe using something like the mechanics behind The Gardens of Ynn