Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Cataclysms of Elthos


As a World Weaver I've spent a good deal of time considering and planning for the Great Cataclysms of Elthos. They lay latent in the World's Back Story, waiting patiently for the right time and conditions for them to be set in motion.  Elthos has 12 Major Cataclysms, one for each of the Major Celestial Powers.  None of them have thus far played out in the game, primarily because I am playing my world in a very down-to-the-ground local adventure mode.  That means I tend to play low level campaigns, as opposed to Epic, often starting Characters out as 1st Level village kids ranging in age from 10 to 14, with chores and ordinary village lives, who then get caught up in the inner-world adventures of the Fey somehow or other.   Thus my adventurers rarely catch wind of anything even remotely related to the 12 Major Cataclysms.  They simply do not come up, and nothing is so much as rumored about them.  It is, from my Player's point of view, as if they do not exist. 

But the Cataclysms, in the hands of each of the Celestial Powers of Elthos, do exist, albeit slumbering uneasily in the depths of the Back Story... only awaiting the Player Characters to fall upon the right Relic at the right time, for Gates of Destiny to open, for the releasing one of the Major Cataclysms, or even potentially opening the Terrible Gate of Doom to the Ultimate Cataclysm... the End of Ages, or the End-War of the Elkron, my World's version of the Apocalypse.

Just to explain a bit about the Ultimate Cataclysm... The End-War of the Elkron is the final battle of supremacy for the the Rule of the Elthos Universe.  The Elkron are the unseen but widely worshipped Celestial Powers who have interacted little with the World of Elthos since the Dawn Age, but have observed much of the affairs of the races they created.  The End-War occurs when the entire Universe of Elthos must endure the final battle of the Elkron, as all their Seeds of Destiny bear fruit and the Cosmic Stratagems of the Elkron are finally revealed and all Fates and Destinies are played out.   As it must be, the World of Elthos will someday be torn asunder by the Elkron as it must always and eventually be returned into it's primordial state of existence.   The Victors of the End-War become the Ruling Elkron in the next Universe, as the Elkron are reborn for the next Cycle of Existence, as will ever be so long as the Universe of Elthos is breathing.

There are, of course, much lesser Cataclysms of the Elkron that are not nearly as dire as the End-War, and much closer to be played in-game than the End of Ages Campaign.  I really do not expect any of the Cataclysms to be played out any time, soon, however, but that said, the 12 Major Cataclysms, and scores of Minor Cataclysms that are tied to the various Seeds of Destiny of the Elkron stand a much higher chance of being played than the End-War. 

These Minor Cataclysms could be triggered relatively easily by Player Characters who might choose to follow the paths of the Elkron in order to achieve one of the Greater Quests (aka Seeds of Destiny) strewn around the World.  But then again, I honestly don't really expect the Players to stumble into any of the Minor Cataclysms either.  I really created them in order to fill out the Grand Picture of the Elthos World, at the macro-Cosmic level, just so that my World has that aspect in place, even if it remains entirely latent to the actual in-Game Campaigns.  But of course, since they are there, you really never know... some Player Character might actually trigger any of them, if they happen to stumble upon them and do just the wrong things at just the wrong times.  The Elkron who created the particular Seed of Destiny won't object, believe me.   They are looking forward to it with a relentless and voracious intent.

As an example, which I won't describe in too much detail just now for obvious reasons, I can offer a certain something hidden deep within the Temple of the Sun in the Kingdom of Palamir.  In that temple there is a dreadful chest, hidden an bolted to the ground at the center of a secret hall deep beneath the temple, that is made of solid gold and inscribed with great glyphs, and inscribed with dire warnings.  The Priests of that Temple are taught to preserve it, and never to open it until the time that the Elkron of the Sun himself shall ordain it.  If anyone, such as a Player Character, should ever manage to battle his way through violence to the chest, or worm his way through deception, and then happens to open the unlocked chest of gold, they will learn a great deal about what the Elkron are like.  It will signal the opening of one of the Gates of Destiny, and undoubtedly, a Minor Cataclysm will be set into motion, and one of the Seeds of Destiny may be fulfilled.  Such are the ways of the Elkron.  It should be considered that the Elkron did not create the races of the world so that they could dote on them and pamper them and build civilizations for the fun of it - but rather as tools to be expended for the purposes of Universal Domination and Ultimate Victory.

Perhaps one day when the time is right I will begin a Campaign at the Epic Level of Elthos known as 'The End of Ages'... and in that Campaign the Player Characters may very well find out just how Great, and Mighty and Terrible the Elkron really are, and just how little humanity and it's petty conflicts really matter in the great scheme of things.   Great, Mighty and Terrible indeed.
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