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Archon Setting Background

Archon Setting Background

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Published by Matthew Oberlies
The background for our game, Drifter
The background for our game, Drifter

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Published by: Matthew Oberlies on Jul 15, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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Setting Background: Archon
 
 
Once, before the Fall, Archon was a peaceful place of innovation and creativity. The Drifters came
 
there to observe others’ creations and to draw inspiration for their own, and the ingenuity of theseimmortals and their children multiplied and increased without bound. Creators and Created workedtogether to discover the laws of magic and the natural way of the universe, and for a time there was no
 
misery, no anger, and no misfortune—only constant discovery.And so it remained, until the Drifters discovered the place at which souls were wrought, and desired tomake their own.All the Drifters left for this place, the so-called Forge of Aesthelyn, and to this day no one knowsexactly what happened to them.The Drifters left their most trusted creation in charge of Archon: Zer, the greatest mind among themortals. Zer had been given the gift of eternal life, for the Drifters knew not how long their questwould last, nor how their creations would fare without them. And though the Drifters did not trust their creations enough to give them the secret of the forging of souls, one of them—Lys Stryanth—thoughtthat Zer was different, and secretly connected their minds.For ten thousand years, Zer watched over his charges, and over time he grew more and more distant ashe became engrossed in also watching the Drifters’ journey through Lys Stryanth’s mind.Then the Drifters entered the Forge.It was a place that existed without time. Zer saw it for one unfathomable instant that wassimultaneously eternity and no time at all—and then Lys Stryanth was gone. The shock of losing half of the senses he had enjoyed for ten thousand years, coupled with that impossible glimpse of the Forgeof Aesthelyn, drove Zer mad.His charges had forgotten him by now; they knew that one day the Drifters would return, but Zer hadnever been more than a curiosity, and was quickly dismissed when he receded from their world. Whenhe returned, claiming in his madness that he had come to take the place of the Drifters, the first few hetried to command refused. Those were slain, and the rest were made powerless as punishment for their  brethrens’ rebellion.In time, as the Smiths of Aesthelyn learned what had transpired, they tried to mend the damage their realm had done to Zer’s soul. But he felt their power and would not let them touch him, and they wereforced to send a being to Archon to overpower him. Rather than go themselves and inflict upon the restof the world what had happened to Zer, they created a new soul, designed to be more powerful thananything the universe had seen before.But the Smiths did not understand time, and they granted this soul to a being that had been taintedalready by Zer’s madness. This, coupled with the battle with the former occupant for the body’s mind, broke the Smiths’ control over their agent, and the new soul immediately began to destroy everything itcould see or feel or reach. It was only because it was using so much of its power that Zer was able todestroy it before the universe itself died.
 
For their second attempt, the Smiths created thousands of souls of lesser power, but still more than amortal
 
could ever hope to comprehend. These were scattered across Archon, and they hid their power so that they could work in secret. Zer’s rule was cemented once more as the damage of the firstCelestial slowly healed, and thinking to prevent a second incident, he decreed that any being whose
 
form was unlike his would be destroyed. The new Celestials slowly surrounded him, disguised as hismost loyal followers, and for a time it appeared peace would be restored.Then the Drifters returned. No one knows what happened in their absence, but when they returned theyhad changed, and had drawn away from the influence of time. They set about destroying or enslaving
 
or changing the things that had existed for as long as anything could remember, and even Zer and thelegions of Celestials of Aesthelyn were helpless against them. In desperation, the fragments of the firstCelestial’s soul were forged into a new whole, and this being was sent back into the world. This time
 
the Smiths kept their hold over it, and one by one it gathered the lesser Celestials under it and drove theDrifters into hiding. Finally, when there was no opposition left, the Celestials brought the power of Aesthelyn to Zer, and at last his soul was mended.When Zer realized what he had done, he left Archon, thinking to atone, and the great Celestial that had
 
ended the conflict returned to the Forge, leaving the world in control of its underlings.Over a thousand years, the Drifters realized what had happened and began to return again. They nolonger caused havoc, but instead set themselves up as gods over the mortals, drawing power from theworship and secretly warring with each other. Slowly, they began to disappear, until only a handful of 
 
them were left, and the first among them was Lys Stryanth, the god of blood.These false gods, though they did not slaughter their subjects, were neglectful at best, and when Zer saw that they had taken over Archon, he knew at last how he could claim his redemption. He wouldfree the mortals from the Drifters’ rule, and though he could not return to the old golden age and
 
 prevent the Drifters from leaving in the first place—in correcting his madness the Smiths had groundedhim again in time—he would give them back all he remembered from those days.So Zer returned to the world and, knowing he could not wage war against the usurpers withoutdestroying what little had been rebuilt, became the god of light.It has been untold millennia since those wars. None alive remember them but Zer, the god of light,
 
knowledge, and hope, who refuses to share his memories for fear of revealing his shame. Only a fewrelics survive—the sword of Zemel Godslayer, which pierced the heart of Lys Stryanth; the fabledBook of Stone, which holds the secrets of the first Celestial’s first life; other things that mortals cannot
 
see, that their minds could not fathom. The Drifters keep Zer’s mad law against nonhuman sapience,though they know not from where it came; they grant their powers to once-mortal pawns, in ignoranceof the meaning of the visions they show. At first a flood of Drifters traveled to the past, hoping to find
 
the origins of the universe, but none of them came back, and the flood dwindled to a trickle. Celestialsfrom the Forge of Aesthelyn appear still from time to time; the few beings that try to search out their  purpose or their source are rarely heard from again.For a time, there was simply advancement among the mortals and silent scheming among the
 
immortals, and it seemed that the golden age would be attained again, if with fewer to guide it.
 
Then a new being rose up, a being calling itself Dismay, and it was worshipped though it did not claim
 
to be a god. The Stoneborn began to whisper about prophecies of the end of time, and Celestials sawevil marks appear on living souls. The Gift began to fail on occasion, and mortals drew power fromtheir own anger. Laws of the universe changed, and all could see that this new being was the cause.The worshippers of Dismay faded into secrecy, but not before the Drifters saw in them the Paradox— 
 
the being that was its own creator. The thing that was outside time.The result of their meddlings and the creature that would destroy them.And now, all over the world, Drifters and lesser immortals give the Gift to their subjects, raising uparmies or new gods, protectors or destroyers, servants of Dismay or shields against it.This is the world into which you are born.
Gifted
 He came for you in the night. He came for you at noon. He found you in a crowd of friends. He foundyou sitting alone in the shade. Everyone’s story is different, but however he did it, Ceros found you andgave you the Gift.They threw you out. They tried to keep you, to help you, until things started happening. You werechased out by an angry mob. You were chased out by rabid dogs. You left because you were afraid for them. You left for no reason at all. Everyone’s story is different, but however it happened, you werecast out.You heard rumors and found them. They heard rumors and found you. You stumbled on their camp bychance. They had been watching you for years and only now revealed themselves. You found dozens of them. You only found one. You found an army. Everyone’s story is different, but however it happened,you found them. The others like you. As if you were drawn by fate.And one more thing is always the same. You are growing stronger.You are Empowered.You are mortal no longer.
Celestial
 You know not from where you came. That knowledge would destroy you.You know not your purpose. Your creators’ motives are unfathomable.

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