AlThai has greatly changed in the 14 years that have elapsed since its first conceptualisation as a sci-fi: from an Earth under threat, a classic D & D setting up to the current high-magic variant, in which players take on immortal gods of near omnipotence. Therein, however, lies the setting’s difficulty: How do I, as a mortal, credibly portray a being that has lived for aeons and may hope for many more millennia? With a lot of patience …
A brief overview of the world is available here!
The world AlThai is the heart of the multiverse, the pivotal centre of its existence. Here live, fight and love the overdeities – immortal beings who in turn carry a single world in each of their hearts, shape them and protect them in their dreams. Many of these worlds, however, have already been lost, its overdeities passed away, and AlThai itself faces extinction, should not the overdeities be able to prevent that history repeats itself…
“From the Shores of the Summer Lands to the Summit of the Wintertooth …”
AlThai appears on the material plane in the guise of a planet of fresh greens and deep blues, orbited by three satellites. The world AlThai itself revolves around the twin suns Ain and Aon and is alone on its path – no other planet shares the space with this heart world. Enveloped in a cloud of stardust, AlThai forms the centre around which all other galaxies and solar systems revolve. AlThai is the origin.
The three moons are She’tan, the birthplace of the overdeities, Chi’an, named after the Principles of the multiverse’s creation, and Kith’an, the smallest and most distant satellite, whose name stand representative for the differentiating Abstracts, the servants of the Chi’an. The overdeities do not know religion themselves because they are in more or less direct contact with the Creative Principles of all existence, which they respect but do not worship.
AlThai has only one known continent of the size of Earth’s Pangea, covered by a dense jungle and featuring all kind of climates from its northern ice to its equatorial deserts.
The Overdeities, the Children of the Dance
The events of creation will not be further elaborated herein. However, it is important to note that existence and temporality, the creations of the Chi’an, in all their aspects, variants and shapes, are in contrast to the absolute potentiality of Omnil, pre- or better non-time. The All-Nothing is the utopian simultaneity of everything possible and impossible, a non-existent place before and after time without development, but full of constant change. Existence fixes and limits possibilities, gives them meaning. The meaning-less non-being, therefore, rubs against existence, penetrates into it to dissolve it, to release its possibilities again. The last bastion against this resolution is the heart world and thus the overdeities.
The spirits of the dance came into being as the children of the moon soul She’tan’s, celebrating creation and life in perpetual song and dance. Masks of light and shade, laughter and dream adorned these disembodied beings who called themselves She’tair. Now and again Abstracts or even Chi’anar, aspects or avatars of the Principles of creation, took part in this dance – at least in the early days of existence. When time but more and more changed from a small stream into a torrent, addressing Omnil received increasing attention of the Chi’an.
This struggle reached AlThai, or more precisely, She’tan and the She’tair in in the form of the “Voice,” an aspect of the All-Nothing, whose whisperings stopped some of the moon spirits in their dance. Almost simultaneously, the Pandorian was born from corrupted Chi’anar. This being can be considered the antithesis of the creative will that gave rise to the multiverse. From the edge of creation, he began his campaign towards the centre. World after world fell and became one with non-existence. To protect the worlds, the Principles devised keepers and chose the moon spirits She’tair for this task, who should protect the worlds in their dreams.
Seeking to prevent this, the Pandorian sent a wave of sheer impossibility against the moon. Weakened by this enormous effort, he could then be banned for now, although She’tan and its children seemed doomed. In agreement with AlThai’s world soul, the Chi’anar opened just in time a handful of gates that lead down to the planet, so that at least some moon spirits were able to escape the. However, most vanished in the fire of nothingness that hit the moon and devastated more than half of it.
The souls of the surviving She’tair were connected without their knowledge with the other worlds of the multiverse, they thus became their guardians, the overdeities.
Peoples and Realms
On the material plane, the She’tair appear as humanoids standing about two metres tall, endowed with terrible beauty and grace, whose mere sight would be fatal for the most intelligent creatures of the outer worlds. The most similar in appearance to them are those beings who are known as Elves. However, this comparison should not hide the fact that an elf is a She’tair only so much as a lizard compares to a mighty dinosaur. A She’tair is less a breathing creatures, but rather a consciousness that gave itself physical form and can change it at will. Sexes as such are unknown to the She’tair.
The great exodus of the moon spirits happened on the planet in the south of the main continent, where they soon gave themselves physical form. Exploring their new world, some She’tair began a trek north and thus, over time, four more or less isolated and distinct peoples developed: The Shikai in the northern mountain and valley region, the Vaskai in equatorial desert, the Fistai in the jungle, and the Ithaai in the southern plains. The Fistai and Ithaai were originally a single group, but which fell out over a disagreement about the spirits of the earth. While most of the Fistai sought to live in harmony with the world, the animals and spirits, and to respect the sovereignty of the One Forest, the Ithaai-to-be believed themselves to be chosen to rule over everything. Staging themselves as High Lords of their race, they created an enormous fortress, the Golden City, and demanded tribute from all other groups. However, this would not yet become the trigger for the First War of the Oerdeities, but alienated the different groups from each other.
Even though, the She’tair indeed constitute the major population of AlThai, they are nevertheless not alone. A handful of the moon spirits stranded far remote from the other on an peninsula, where they were welcomed by the local earth spirits. Instead of giving themselves form, they underwent a symbiosis with these spirits and thus allied themselves with AlThai itself. These Pelesh’tair had physical bodies and became real, breathing lifeforms. Until their almost complete extinction 30,000 years ago, the people of Pelesh’tair thrived in lively exchange with the other She’tair with whom they should later establish contact.
Other beings include various natural and animal spirits, where “spirit” refers neither to dead nor bodiless creatures, but rather refers to the embodiment of an idea. So there are, for example, animals of enormous proportions, which are the symbol of their species and are often blessed with great intelligence.
Worth mentioning as the only other humanoid beings are the giants or Caishi’tair, but their number is negligible. Formed out of the darkness and the birth pangs of AlThai itself, they are not dissimilar in shape to the Pelesh’tair, albeit almost twice as large. They are surrounded by an aura of melancholy and live completely withdrawn in caverns beneath the mountains of the world.
23,000 years ago, some Shikai discovered animal beings who were very similar to themselves: apelike humanoids, who at first hardly seemed intelligent, but soon began to produce tools and to leave signs. Unlike all other creatures of creation, these beings had no knowledge of the Cosmic Principles and started to worship things and phenomena around them as gods. Since they did not know, they had to believe. The first few thousand years, the Shikai were fascinated by these creatures, but their interest soon turned into disgust and revulsion when they became aware of the increasing aggressiveness of these humanoids. These creatures hunted, killed and ate each other! A group of Shikai decided on exploring the origin of these creatures.
The First War of the Overdeities
It took nearly 6,000 years until the Shikai put all the pieces together: The creates increasingly spreading over the world like a plague had been engineered by the Ithaai! This was not the only thing deeply shocking the remaining She’tair: it also became clear that the Ithaai had listened to the “Voice” in all the millennia since the flight from the moon and that they worshiped it as a god.
When the Shikai, renegades in his eyes, now asked the Ithaai for clarification and attacked their deity, the high emperor of the Ithaai declared war on the Shikai. Although the Shikai were far superior to their southern cousins in numbers, they lacked in combat power. Over millennia of paranoid war preparation the Ithaai had steeled themselves for conflict. As a last resort, the Shikai turned to the Master of Flowers, one of their own, but who walked the dark paths. His warriors bred from the creatures of the Ithaai gave the Shikai the military upper hand for a short time.
However, they lost in the end. When they had driven back the Ithaai from their northern regions, their adversaries asked for a truce the Shikai granted only too happily. Yet, when they marched south to negotiate with the Ithaai after a period of one hundred years agreed upon after the war, they found themselves in front of an enormous barrier, that dvided the entire continent in the middle and reflected the environment like a mirror. This barrier could neither be damaged by sword nor magic, while its touch alone was fatal. The priests of the “Voice” had sacrificed themselves to place a thin slice of Nothing between the south and the Shikai.
As punishment for their impartiality in the war of the realms of the Vaskai and Fistai were divided by this barrier. The Ithaai retreated into isolation behind the walls of their Golden City.
13,000 years have passed since the end of the war. The Ithaai in their isolation have almost completely forgotten the war and shroud it in a mythical past. Only with the Vaskai do they entertain trade relations – and this only suspiciously.
The Shikai, however, stoked their hatred for their cousins to the south and the “Voice” and eagerly await the fulfilment of a prophecy that a Messenger from the dream whispered to them:
“If the mistress of the dead sheds her tears in front of the white prince, the nothing will part and the north winds will reach the south again.”
The departure of a female Pelesh’tair from the Realm of the Deathlords to the Vaskai and the sighting of a group Ithaai in the One Forest have already caused to the north to prepare for war. Will the War of the Overdeities repeat itself?
Note: The persons mentioned are player characters. The Pelesh’tair Haiei is the last of her tribe and looking for Malach’Athar, an undead who flees from the consequences of a mortal love and his own repressed feelings. The sighted group are young Ithaai who fled after a failed assassination attempt on the high emperor of the Golden City to find a world completely unknown to them on their doorstep.