Moon’s Grave World Info
None of what follows is necessary for understanding the game world but it sure was fun to write. Maybe a few of you will find it as fun to read.
Eons ago, the Moon was the most powerful and beloved of all the gods. He blessed his worshipers with great power. His Moon Sages (often abbreviated to “mages”) used this power to rid their society of all poverty, disease, and hard labor. Those who lived under the rule of these Moon Sages were called “Magekin.”
In time, the Moon Sages grew greedy and decadent. They battled for wealth they didn’t need, they squabbled over petty annoyances, and when they fought, they often devastated entire cities with their cataclysmic power. Such destruction attracted the ire of other mages and, in time, every one of Lord Moon’s sages was locked in generational blood feuds.
Their power grew and their conflict became more dangerous not just for themselves but for everyone on the continent.
A group of wise and powerful people from all over the world gathered to discuss this problem. This Anti-Mage Council debated for years how they should address the threat of careless mage wars.
Their first idea was to appeal to Kendritha, the Empress of the Undead, to help fight the mages. Even though she was a vehement atheist who had no love for the Mages' theocratic society, and even though she was at risk of obliteration along with everyone else, Kendritha didn’t care to fight the Moon Sages. She liked the the widespread death as it helped her build the ranks of her zombies and ghosts.
Their second idea was to appeal to other deities. Some gods pled to Lord Moon on the behalf of the mortals out of compassion or fleeting interest but the Moon’s apathy was strong and the ally gods grew bored before long. The council’s pleas went silently without results.
All the while, angry mages obliterated city after city in fits of rage and the Anti-Mage council grew desperate. They scoured every library in the world, debated for days on end, and experimented with their very lives trying to find a way to protect the world from this threat. At last, they came upon a potential solution but it would not be easy and if it failed, the consequences would be dire.
It took decades to prepare. On several occasions, their plot was at risk of discovery by the Moon Sages. Had their intentions been known, all the mages in the world would have allied to eradicate them. Coordinating a secret ritual with hundreds of participants is no trivial matter. Many paid with their lives to ensure it would continue.
For ten long years, acolytes chanted and prayed and incanted in shifts – exhausting themselves in a rite must not be interrupted. At last, the hard work and precise calculations paid off: a beam of energy shot from their conjuring circle at the precise moment that it stood under the Moon.
An explosion rocked the heavens and sent a deafening boom that was heard the world over. Shards of the Moon’s colossal body came crashing to the ground, carpeting the sky in smoke and dust, and sending waves that scrubbed entire continents of life. They were the last tides the world would ever see. The Moon, king of all the gods, was dead and humans are to blame.
Lady Sun’s Wrath
The Moon’s widow, Lady Sun, could not handle the grief.
She killed innumerable gods and used their blood to power rituals that would make her light burn brighter, her gaze pierce deeper, and her might reach further than ever before. Her followers' dreams became more vivid and clear as she demanded that they serve her in a campaign of vengeance against the world that took her love.
Some of the pantheon tried to console Lady Sun. Their pity was met with rage and she would either kill them or drive them away. Those few that didn’t leave were soon enslaved. She abrogated their domains, annexed paradisaical afterlives and captured the mortal spirits that resided there.
Innocent souls were torn from the rewarding afterlives they’d worked so hard in mortality to achieve. The fabric of their existence was shredded and used to forge a new breed of monster: A being of flame and wrath, the horrible, angelic Sunspawn – destined to eradicate all life on the earth.
Scorching radiation beat upon the world without mercy. Lakes and rivers evaporated. Forests reduced to ash. Every living thing that could not retreat beneath the ground was burned or asphyxiated. While the inhabitants of the world huddled in crevasses and cavities of the earth, Lady Sun amassed an army.
Before the Lunacide, Lady Sun had a relatively small cult of worshipers. Only a few million bowed to her. After she unleashed her wrath on the world, those numbers dwindled to tens of thousands but the remainder were swift, strong, and ravenous zealots powered by the blood of dead gods and the harvested souls of countless afterlives. They would do anything she asked.
She demanded a body.
The cult found the perfect vessel: A young virgin who was intelligent, humble, and strong. She would make the perfect host for the goddess. The blood of a thousand innocent souls was spilled one fateful night to let the Sun possess her body. The sky darkened, leaving only a dim glow where her blazing sphere once flew, and the flesh of this virgin began to radiate a brightness almost as immense as the one that left the daylight sky.
Lady Sun now walked the earth as a mortal woman; setting ablaze every human city she’d come upon.
The Star Children’s Campaign
Far away in the heavens, beyond the domain of Lady Sun, alien gods watched curiously as a distant star grew suddenly radiant, nearby stars disappeared, and then the whole region went inexplicably dark.
Among those alien gods was one named Ving of the Cerulean Heavens. He and his siblings were so curious that they set out to discover why these celestial bodies were behaving so strangely.
When they arrived, they found countless gods in chains. These wretched beings wept at the feet of Ving and his family, begging for the sweet release of death. Some of Ving’s siblings gave it without hesitation. Others took this opportunity to capture slaves for themselves.
Ving was not here for thralls, plunder or mercy. He was here for knowledge. He asked the local gods what had transpired and, upon learning the history, he cast his gaze upon the planet where Lady Sun now walked. This strange turn of events further piqued his interest. Why would a divine being condescend to such squalor? He had to learn more.
He entered the dreams of many humans and began conversing with them, learning the tale from their perspective. As he did, many worshiped him and begged him to take them away to his own domain. Ving was not ready to go home. In order to coax more information from these mortals, he offered hope – a false hope but hope nonetheless. He told them that he would not help them escape but that he was here to defeat the mad tyrant, Lady Sun.
A new religion, called the Star Children’s Order, exploded into the world. Its gospel of promise attracted every soul it touched; a new has god arrived to slay Lady Sun! Could there be any better news?
After a year of exploring vicariously through his adherents, Ving realized that the next step in his quest was to obtain a body himself and perhaps meet the widow goddess. When he asked for an avatar, there were thousands of willing souls eager to offer themselves. He found a suitable host and entered the world with an army of servants waiting for him.
Lady Sun was not interested in conversing. Ving’s mere presence was an insult that only kindled her wrath. Every attempt to parlay was rebuffed by beheading the messenger and writing on the head a new promise to torture this pretentious newcomer.
Ving didn’t like her attitude and soon decided that he would give his worshipers the fight he’d promised them. Armed with his facade of compassion it was easy for him to amass his own army – even drawing from the ranks of his enemy. Among those who refused to worship him, Ving was able to secure strong alliances. The most powerful being the undead Empress Kendritha, the Lich Witch, who helped him animate the world’s bounteous mounds of corpses as hulking golems.
The two gods met with their thralls on the coast of a great sea. Banners stretched far into the horizon for both sides. The forces clashed and thousands died in the first few minutes.
Ving’s troops lured many Sunspawn into the water; where they smothered the angels' flaming bodies. The water boiled from the enemy’s radiant heat but Ving’s warriors endured it to bring down the mighty enemy. The Sun’s phalanx punished this move by driving Ving’s forces deeper into the water where they would ultimately drown. The hoplites in turn were driven into the water by Ving’s flesh golems who smashed the solar cultists with titanic fists and dyed the sea red with solarist blood.
The gods found themselves locked in a mighty struggle. Their bodies grew gigantic as their brawl rolled into the sea; the Sun’s mighty heat started a roaring boil and darkened the sky with enormous pillars of steam. For months, the gods grappled, kicked, bit, and smashed each other, shaking the earth as they did. When fatigue finally set in, Ving was able to gain the upper hand and strike the Sun’s head into a mountain – rendering her unconscious.
The alien god wanted nothing more than to finish her but was too exhausted to do anything but fall in the water.
As his foe lay bleeding, a dragon swooped down from the sky and whisked her away to safety.
Ving was inwardly furious but his body was still. So great was his fatigue, he couldn’t muster a grimace of disapproval. All he could manage was to open his submerged mouth and drink the sea to quench his godly thirst.
The Dragons' Bargain
When Lady Sun first began her crusade of ecocide, dragons begged for mercy. Every time, the pleading dragons were killed for their insolence.
The frustrated wyrms and drakes gathered at the lair of the mighty Astral Dragon Queen to seek her counsel. She was more ancient than any living creature and her mind could reach into the very fringes of the cosmos. If anybody could find a solution to the Sun’s assault, it was she.
From the mouth of her cave, the eldest of the Torchwings called out, begging audience with the Astral Queen. No answer came for days. The dragons waited anxiously. Had she left? Had she died? Why, in the hour of greatest need, was she not here?
When at last she emerged, her psychic presence radiated sorrow. Every dragon’s heart sank as they saw her, somber and forlorn. This was not the hopeful message they’d come seeking.
“I know of Lady Sun’s rampage and how it threatens us all. Alas, I know of no way to stop her.”
Many dragons angrily protested, spouting flames and lightning from their mouths as they said: “Lies! You have the power to force her!”
But the Astral Dragon Queen shook her silver-scaled head. “That, I will not do. I can never violate the free will of another being. It would make me no less atrocious than the Sun herself.”
“Even in the face of extinction?”
She did not answer the question but instead admonished: “We must do our best to mitigate the Sun’s damage. Use our powers to salvage what life we can.”
There was murmuring and hesitation but it soon became apparent this was their only option and so the dragons took flight.
When the Sun tried to evaporate the oceans, Frostclaws would spew their icy breath to solidify the water. When she marched her armies over straits, Tectonic dragons would move continents to block their path. When she set fire to forests, Torchwings smothered the blaze with their inflammable scales.
Their efforts seemed so futile. Even when sparing a forest or two, the smoke still lingered, poisonous in the sky. After sparing an ocean, they would only find it tainted when it thawed. Herculean effort tried to contain the damage but the Sun’s minions were numerous and persistent. Woodscales grew plants as quickly as able to help cleanse the air and the Twilight dragons deep in the ocean churned the currents to keep acids from poisoning the deep.
But the Astral Dragons, at their Queen’s behest, simply waited.
Once in a while, the other dragons would engage Lady Sun’s armies and stave them off of human cities and precious forests but such victories were few and not of utmost priority.
After a century of fighting, the wyrms and their drakes were exhausted. Many secretly hoped they could die now and have the fighting over.
When Ving and Lady Sun met at the coast, concourses of dragons waited, hoping they could join the fray but the Astral Dragons requested they remain neutral. Hesitantly, they complied.
From mountains they’d only recently made, the dragons were perched, watching the boiling mêlée with baited breath. When Lady Sun finally fell, none dared blink.
It was then that the Astral Queen took flight.
They all expected her to end the nightmare by raking her colossal claw across the solar avatar’s body. They waited to see how she would gnash her teeth upon the mighty goddess, snapping her frail, girlish body in two.
Instead, the Queen gently carried the enemy to the heavens. Only her children, the Astrals, were allowed to follow.
The Avatar of Lady Sun awoke in the heavens, floating above the dim, orange sphere that she once was. Weightlessness was strange for the goddess and she paused to marvel at the sensation for a moment before realizing the silvery scales that surrounded her.
“You!” the Sun spat, “Why have you brought me here?”
The Astral Dragon spoke directly into her mind: “I could have let you die, my Lady.”
The Sun scoffed.
“But you know that we all need you. Without you, our world dies and all of dragon-kind with it.”
“You can die now then!” The Sun exclaimed as she swung her arm, sending an arc of flames sweeping across the ranks of Astral Drakes and instantly incinerating dozens.
The goddes glanced to see what effect the murder would have upon the Queen and was annoyed to find no visible response. The Astral Wyrm remained eerily still in space, only her silvry whiskers waving in the vacuum.
“You would let your progeny die?” the Sun spat as she lashed out again with another sheet of plasma that vaporized more.
The wyrms responded by focusing their immense mental powers to shield their siblings from the flames. This effort saved a few but not many as Lady Sun shot again and again into their ranks. The sight of her children dying began to wear at the Astral Queen’s resolve and she almost felt herself reach out with psionic claws to tear the Sun’s mind asunder – but she refrained.
Lady Sun smirked and prepared one more burst. Her outstretched hand pointed at the eldest of the Astral Princesses but nothing came. She thrust impotently several more times before realizing what had happened.
“Get out of my mind!” The Sun goddess shrieked.
Suddenly realizing what she’d done, the Dragon released her. In that same moment, blazing fury seared through the Queen’s colossal wing. Princesses flew into the path of the beam to shield their mother from its heat but their sacrifice was in vain as the Sun’s heat lanced through each of them and the Queen in the same instant.
The Sun felt a trickle down the side of her head. She touched her temple to find the gushing red fluid that warmed her cheek, then remembered her battle with Ving. A realization drained her radiant face of its color. She should have been dead long ago but the Dragon was using her power to hold closed the wound. Were it not for the dragon’s effort, she’d be dead. What’s more, the psychic wyrms about her had the power to block her soul from returning to its celestial body. They could easily damn her to drift as a ghost in the cosmos.
“I peered into your mind, my Lady. I know your grief better than any. You are right to seek revenge but only on those who wronged you.”
Lady Sun was growing dizzy with the loss of blood.
“Kill the humans if you must but leave us alone.”
At the Queen’s command, the dragons used all that remained of their energy to move the Sun’s soul back into her star; leaving the avatar, the queen, and all her young to drift lifelessly through space.
The sea where Ving and the Sun fought receded. Humanity chased the disappearing water into the basin as it was one of the few bodies that wasn’t dangerously acidic. As the water flowed deeper into the crevasses, humanity followed, finding refuge from the Sun’s renewed heat in the deep places where exotic fish once swam in a place devoid of light.
Wherever pools of water remained, small cities formed. These city states would occasionally battle over resources and their clashes would usually kill enough people that the survivors could subsist on the water and food that remained.
Long after all surface water had dried up, and people had to dig deeper and deeper to find any lingering moisture, explorers in the deepest known trench made a startling discovery: A new river had sprung in the enormous canyon and flowed in the shade without evaporating.
Countless people came flocking into this canyon where they could enjoy both open air and cool water at the same time! They soon formed a settlement and carved homes into the canyon walls. Scant sunlight was able to reach some parts of the canyon but not so much that it was oppressive.
Here, a growing economy formed along with public works that kept the water sanitary and people prospering. For the first time in centuries, crops grew without baking to death as the river cooled the canyon air.
Deep in the river below, strange fish and other sea life could be found. The extra food helped the canyon’s population explode and the first signs of civilization crept back into the face of the world.
It wasn’t until later that the people of the canyon had learned what dangers lurked in the river. A swarm of lobster-like monsters, twice as large as a man, emerged from the waters to feast upon the unsuspecting population. These crustaceans had hard shells that repelled most attacks as pincers bisected people and long mandibles slurped up their innards.
The horrific events of that first assault earned the canyon settlement the name “Hell’s Breach.” The locals have since learned to deal with the threat but they must be ever vigilant.
Unbeknownst to the inhabitants of Hell’s Breach, this canyon is the resting place of Ving of the Cerulean Heavens. The river is the very sea that he drank long ago. Today, he spews the river forth from his belly to sustain the local wildlife which amuse him. This he does to pass the time while he recovers from his wounds. He hopes to rise from the crevasse and seek revenge against the Sun.
After fighting for centuries to keep the planet from annihilation, the dragons were exhausted. When they convinced Lady Sun to only kill humans and leave the rest of the world unscathed, the great wyrms fell into a long-needed rest.
Ages passed and dust piled upon their slumbering bodies. Their magical auras helped plants grow when they would not elsewhere. The scent of these apex predators was enough to scare desert monsters away. This made the land atop and near sleeping dragons one of the safest places for people to settle and so they did, never knowing that a great beast rested beneath their homes.
When they awoke, the dragons were considerate of the creatures that homesteaded their backs. Suddenly realizing why they were able to survive in the inhospitable world, the humans begged for their dragons to stay nearby. Being powerful psychics, the dragons knew exactly how hard of a bargain they could drive. The humans, desperate to maintain their economic and defensive edge against the world, eagerly agreed to the terms: In exchange for resting still and not destroying the cities, the dragons obtained full dictatorial power over these cities and demanded an annual human sacrifice which must be a consenting woman (because willing meals are most tasty).
A meal is as much a psychic experience for a dragon as it is a culinary one. Just as people might distinguish beef by whether it was fed on corn or grass, a dragon enjoyed the psychic flavors that came from the person’s lifestyle; the culture, and experiences shaped the mind and therefore the psychic flavor of the meal.
This lead to innumerable mandates on the sorts of recreation, art, labor, and pass-times the whole society could have – to increase the chances that any random willing woman would make the best meal possible for the city’s ruler.
In the transpiring generations, the dragons grew complacent and even more lazy – only waking once or twice a year to eat the sacrifice or to stretch what limbs were not buried under buildings. The people were happy to have the dragon sleep because whenever she would wake, she would start making new demands on the city – piling new draconian regulations up to further refine the psychic flavor of the sacrifice.
Plight of the Magekin
Upon Lord Moon’s death, the society that had built around his worship was the most devastated. In an instant, their utopia came crashing down (figuratively and not). Their massive, intricate cities that were once so opulent and convenient were now labyrinthine prisons with no obvious way out. Their spontaneous food supplies withered in but moments and their massive populations faced immanent starvation. Yet hunger was the least of their problems; living countless generations without having ever been exposed to a single pathogen meant their immune systems had atrophied to nothing and what would be a little sniffle for everyone else was a deadly plague to them.
Tens of millions died within the first few weeks from agonizing fevers and ceaseless vomiting. Survivors resorted to eating the dead to thwart starvation only to pick up new germs as they did, and start a second wave of death.
The piles of bodies from magekin cities grew taller than the tallest buildings of any other society and the stench carried for leagues in all directions.
Many ships were lost at sea without their lunar magic to guide or propel their vessels. These were the lucky ones as they were able to catch fish and sustain their smaller populations until the oceans turned acidic or dried up.
By the time Lady Sun and Ving fought, one tenth of a percent of the magekin population remained. They lived as nomadic wanderers, searching the world for fallen shards of their dead god’s body. These ancient rocks radiated just enough divine energy to rekindle their enchanted blood and ward off disease.
They began collecting as many Moon shards as they could find and building entire cities around them. In time, the divinity of those stones faded and they had to ration them. To preserve the energy, they began constructing transparent domes around their cities and fumigating all the surrounding area so no living thing (and therefore, no disease) could approach their homes.
Today the surviving world is dotted with the transparent bowls that house crowded populations of Magekin descendants.
The second time Lady Sun obtained an avatar, she came to the lizard folk who rampaged about the world as nomadic raiders. Though quite devout, her worshipers were not all useful in a fight and she would need mighty forces to enact her revenge.
She told the reptilians that if they helped eradicate humans, she would spare their people of her wrath and set aside a region where her light would not beat so harshly and they could live in peace. The leaders of the tribes told her they would consider the offer and that if she returned in a week’s time, they would have an answer for her.
Lady Sun left to raise forces elsewhere and the lizard people debated among themselves what they should do: Side with unfathomable evil, or risk extinction at her hand. It wasn’t long before they’d settled on a decision. They were prepared when Lady Sun had returned.
“We’ve chosen to help you,” the lizard chiefs told her, “To prove it, we’ve already sent our forces to the nearby human villages to begin the campaign against them. They’re there, waiting for reinforcements from you.”
The Sun was ecstatic and she sent a small contingent to each city to help conquer the humans and destroy their men. But to their surprise, the forces of the Sun found the cities fully prepared for their arrival and reinforced with lizardfolk warriors. The betrayal swiftly dispatched the Sunspawn minions and kindled the Sun’s wrath forever after. She vowed that day that her curse upon humanity would also apply to the lizardfolk.
The many tribes united into one Great Tribe which is today ruled over by Runda, the Pillaging Queen. She fights the forces of the Sun, uprooting any solar cultists she finds and swarming around the flaming angels that they chance upon.
Runda believes that humanity owes her their lives because of the many generations that have fought against the Sun. There are many human cities that agree and gladly pay tribute to her for the decades of protection her Tribe has offered. When she encounters a city that doesn’t agree with that sentiment, she takes what she needs by force.