|It’s good to be the God of Nod …|
There have been requests, so here it is. It will also appear in the NOD Companion (coming soon … I swear!) I have generally hesitated to get too much into this, since, in my opinion, this is just stuff from my personal campaign. I’d like others to feel free to concoct their own history of NOD if they use it in a campaign. Still, some folks like to get the “official” word on a campaign setting, so I guess this is it.
We begin with the Primordial History of NOD …
I first conceived of NOD as a campaign setting about 5 years ago. It had two key sources of inspiration. The first was a map that depicted what some folks believed would be the layout of the continents on Earth millions of years from now. Is NOD meant to be the future of Earth? No. Just liked the map.
The second bit of inspiration came from the fiction of Dunsany and Lovecraft, specifically the Dreamlands. Having grown up on more Tolkienesque fantasy, they were both a revelation and a welcome “shot in the arm” to my imagination. I had created worlds that were little more than fantasy versions of the CIA’s factbook – collections of make-believe countries (mostly based on real world countries) and currencies and languages, etc. Tons of background that would rarely come up when a motley band of tomb robbers, religious zealots, scoundrels and necromancers were descending into the unlit depths of the world in search of fame, fortune and experience points.
NOD, therefore, would be a dream world, one conjured by the dreams, fantasies and mythologies of everyone who ever lived (but mostly dreams, fantasies and mythologies that I made up myself, or that were in the public domain – after all, I live in the real world and don’t fancy getting hit with a lawsuit!)
NOD is composed of dreams. In that regard, it has no geological or cosmological history. It wasn’t, and then it was, and slowly, it got itself crammed with all sorts of fantasy nonsense to entertain and annoy people who like to play fantasy games.
The LAND OF NOD once floated in a great sea of undiluted Chaos. Beset by demons and their ilk, and other things born in nightmares, those organisms that tried to eke out a life on the little planet had a tough time of it. Fortunately, what exists in the Material World has a soul in the Ethereal Plane. Like souls tend to flock together in great eddies in the Ethereal Plane, and these collections of souls, united by common purpose, gain a sort of divine sentience. It was thus that Ka, the first deity, was born.
Ka was composed of the souls or spirits of everything alive, and in fact still is. In those primordial days, though, Ka was mostly composed of the spirits of simple organisms and beasts (as they outnumbered sentient beings by a significant margin), and thus embodied (so to speak) the desire to survive.
Seeing its subjects beset by the creatures of Chaos, Ka injected bits of itself into the Material Plane – like sticking one’s fingers into the bowl of jelly. These protrusions of Ka took material form in the Material Plane, and they are called the Kabir. The Kabir might be considered the first of the fey, though in game terms they would be considered outsiders. Their shapes were variable, but primarily humanoid, for humans, the most advanced animals on NOD, gave them the benefit of their own advanced minds.
The Kabir went to war with the demons and other chaos creatures. In this war, they created soldiers from the stock of creatures already living on NOD, and in this way gave birth to the fey, the giants and the dragons. In time, they achieved a sort of victory, and life flourished on NOD. In time, Ka was shattered, or at least smaller eddies formed within Ka. These were the animal lords, each a collection of animal souls united by the drives of their component species, and more alignment-oriented entities, composed of the souls of sentient beings based on their own dedication to philosophical concepts like Law, Chaos, Good and Evil. These entities could also project pieces of themselves into the Material Plane, appearing not only as the planets that orbit around NOD, but also as the various outsiders (devils, angels, etc.) that plague and aid humans and demi-humans.
The structure of the Nodian cosmos was the product of ZID, the “god” of Reason and the Need for Order and Organization, through the workings of the polyhedroids, who are its manifestations in the Material Plane. They derived the crystal spheres that guide the movement of the planets and constructed from raw chaos the Firmament, which holds the undiluted chaos of the cosmos at bay, the churning of this chaos serving as the motivating force that keeps the Nodian cosmos in motion.
The Kabir eventually retired from the Material Plane to the pocket dimension of Fairyland, leaving their fey children behind to serve as nature’s agents on NOD. Since NOD has no innate physical laws to govern it, all that happens in NOD must happen through an intelligent agent. The polyhedroids are in charge of the big things, like gravity and the conservation of matter and energy, while the natural flourishes like the seasons are overseen by the various fey courts.
Next up … a brief history of the elves and gnomes