Thursday, March 23, 2017

Wheelhouse Setting 1: The Breaking

The Old Ones looked to the moon and dreamed.

It held sway not only over the precious magic they coveted, but over their hopes, their aspirations. The curved shape was called the Laughing Moon, and as it rode the night sky the Old Ones knew power that shaped the very world. It was great magic, though maybe not meant for mortal desire. With the taste of such forbidden fruit came the hunger for more. Yes, the Old Ones loved the moon and all it offered. And naturally, as with all things, they broke the very thing they loved most.

When the world ended, magic and reality collapsed together. The effect was devastating, reducing cities to ash. The world was utterly destroyed in the aftermath of the moon’s breaking—shattered into fragments and held together by fraying threads woven in the splintered Dreamscape. Millions died, and without magic, the races that knew this inherent power began to waste away.

Even the gods and the other divine races, those that did not perish in the fall, fled forever. Religion was extinguished and soon the very memory of the gods and the titans slipped away to myth and eventually even their names were forgotten.

The moon, which had always held sway over magic, was now broken, hanging as a ruined curve in the sky, the debris from its destruction still strewn about it, trapped in orbit. The races that relied on magic for their existence, those that had lived and ruled throughout the long ages of Mythren, withered and died. The mortals that survived knew no inherent magic. The spells and secrets of the arcane world were virtually lost as the basic need for survival outweighed the curiosity of an intangible power.

The world, or what remains, is now a collection of scattered pieces like islands adrift on a boundless ocean. These divided land masses are called “drifts,” and between each one lies a sea of debris known as the Upfall. The overhead sky is haunted by the broken moon—a reminder of the insatiable greed of the Old Ones and the consequences of their overreach. But littered throughout the drifts are the ruins of what once was. And more, the echo of those numerous collapsed realities still linger.

It was during the aftermath of the Breaking that the Wheelhouse appeared. The land masses would certainly have disintegrated over time were it not for the stabilizing power of the Wheelhouse which connected to each drift like the spoke of a wheel. There is no record of its construction. No map exists of what the lands looked like before its coming. It is a great tower, so massive in size it could house an entire town within its walls. Multiple spires rise from it, balconies overlook the surrounding landscape, and windows show only light, but offer no glimpse to what is hidden within. Storm clouds forever churn above its highest reaches as arcs of lightning crackle overhead and the sound of thunder fills the air for miles. 

But the terrible truth is that the power of the Wheelhouse is at long last fading, and the magic housed within it must constantly be replenished. The only way to do this is to allow the magical pool in the base of the Wheelhouse to absorb magic leftover from the world before the Breaking—forsaken artifacts without history or context that lie scattered over a shattered world, or coveted by the dying races who rely on that magic for their very survival.

The memory of what existed before has fallen to the “soothsayers.” Some of what the soothsayers have shared is real. Much is not. There are the soothsayers who exist to share history, and there are those who exist to maintain the lies necessary for civilization to crawl from the ashes, forgetful of the horrifying reality that led to the edge of existence. The commoners who have survived have been told these lies to keep them from uncovering the hidden truths below the surface of the broken world. But those truths do remain, and the bandiar—those bound to fate—have the ability to uncover those truths and bring them to the light.

These heroes are neither gods nor men, but something in-between. They exist perhaps to hold this world together by the fraying threads that remain. Their loyalty, however, is not to those who live within the Twelve Towns and certainly not to any who exist beyond in the Remains.

Rather, they are servants of the Wheelhouse itself.

Children of the Breaking.


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