There was once a great deity, called The Azken by the few who know of his existence, as Its name is lost to all in the light of wars between the lesser gods. Neither male nor female but both, The Azken danced to create Nahast. Its divine steps separated the heavens from the earth, his rhythm set everything in motion. In the climax of his performance, The Azken gave birth to Its four children, The Powers.
The Powers were born fully grown, springing to existence when The Azken touched the four cardinal directions in the closing spiral of his dance, and each of them sang the music to which The Azken danced, but until then existed only inside Itself.
Larriune was born in the East, and hers was the Song of Life and Creation. Her voice filled Nahast with her element, water, and Nahast was a great ocean from which all forms of life sprang. Azkenik was born in the North, and his was the Song of Death and Endings. His voice put limits to the great ocean by raising his element, earth, from its depths. Xarmagar was born in the West, and hers was the Song of Magic and Chance. Her voice started the first winds, which carried life from the sea to the land and gave all things the chance to change. Finally, Dengaraia was born in the South and his was the Song of Time and Fate. His voice fixed Nahast in cycles and gave everything a purpose.
The Azken and The Powers were satisfied with their work, and their music began to die down, and then The Azken left. Dengaraia knew this was meant to be and urged his brother and sisters to continue the music of Creation, so that Nahast would thrive and, under their direction, the Wheel of Ages began turning.
The Powers noticed that The Azken had filled the world with beings when he left. These were the spirits, who were the mountains and the trees, the stars and the winds. The Powers were content on watching the spirits be, and let them enjoy Nahast to their leisure. But eons passed and the spirits were in the same place were they had been, and The Powers were concerned and decided to put the spirits to the test. Dengaraia gave them the Test of Purpose that would make the spirits work towards a goal or lose their right to rule Nahast.
They failed, and thus the First Age ended.
At the dawn of the Second Age, The Powers created a great creature. Out of the raw elements and the subtle essence of Dream, The Powers created dragons. Dragons became the guardians of the world and began organizing the spirits, setting rules and assigning tasks, and Nahast began to move. This was the Age that would mark Nahast's fate as the Lands of Strife, for the Celestial Bureaucracy that the dragons created made spirits aware of their station and their power, and the tug of war began as spirits bested one another, absorbing the defeated's power and slowly becoming gods. The Powers decided then that the dragons needed a test, just like the spirits had undergone an Age before. Larriune gave the dragons the Test of Imagination, which would have them give up portions of their power to create new and better things, or abandon their place as rulers or Nahast.
They failed, and thus the Second Age ended.
When the Wheel marked the beginning of the Third Age, the first gods had sprung from the conflicts between spirits. They asked The Powers for the chance to define the rulers of the Third Age. The Powers, amused that the spirits would ask for the very thing that would have made them pass their test, agreed. The gods knew only the might of dragons as living things, and modeled the rulers of Nahast from them, birthing the reptilian people that still roam the face of the world. To echo the Celestial Hierarchy, the gods made the reptilians into castes. The reptilians made great advancements and created the first true civilization. They built kingdoms and worshipped the gods and, at their behest, made war with each other. The Powers did not tell the gods that their creations would also be put to the test. Xarmagar gave the reptilians the Test of Change, which would have them consider changing their societies to make them better, or lose their place as rulers or Nahast.
They failed, and thus the Third Age ended.
Having learned a lesson, the gods, now stronger than before as their followers filled them with power, did not ask permission this time, but created the beastfolk, who still wander Nahast in the present. The gods did not urge the beastfolk to create kingdoms, but let them fend for themselves, only occasionally intervening directly as they moved their wars to the Region of Dreams. The beastfolk made tribes and clans, and some of their numbers rose in power and rank, ascending to the state of spirits themselves. The gods tried to curb this, worried that more spirits and godlings would tip the balance of their battles, but The Powers forbid their meddling in this matter, as they had decided to test the beastfolk as well. Azkenik gave them the Test of Satisfaction, which would have them accept the inevitable and live with it.
They failed, and thus the Fourth Age ended.
The eternal war of the gods broke the capital of the beastfolk's realm, creating the Shattered Islands, and The Powers took the reins back in order to create the new inheritors of Nahast. They took the ideas the gods had and molded them into several beings, free of will and attuned to different aspects of Creation. If the gods wanted the worship of the new races, they would have to work for it. The Fifth Age is the age of humans, elves, dwarves, halflings and the rest of the humanoids. It is an age of promise, and an age where the gods fight harder to attain followers, destroy their enemies' and carve their place in the Celestial Hierarchy. It is an age when The Powers opened the gates of the Region of Dreams and unleashed the power of Magic so that the mortals could wield it to challenge the gods and their spirits.
Not even the remaining reptilians and the beastfolk know for sure how much time has passed, but dragons feel that the Time of Testing approaches, and they believe they know what the Test will be, as mere decades ago the half-bloods began to appear, children of two races but part of none. But what the dragons know, they will not tell, and it falls on the mortals to face the Time of Testing alone or cede their place as the kings and queens of Nahast to the race that will come after them.
The Demon War
There was a disruption in the flow of the Wheel during the first turns of the Fifth Age: the Demon War. Some spirits tell it was a vanquished god driven mad by the loss of his worshippers who teared open the fabric of the world and invited Those Beyond to devour all. Others whisper of a mortal drunk on newly-acquired magical power who opened the door. The fact is that a horde of demons and other foul fends invaded the world. Foremost in the fight were the deities who would become the pantheon of Solerne: Zuze'en and her followers.
Empowered by the rallied force of deities and mortal worshippers, Zuze'en struck first and struck fast, securing the gates to the Demon Realms while the mortal armies drove the demons back, then sealing it shut.
For all its simplicity and shortness, the Demon War had a profound effect on the land: it pushed the gods to group together in pantheons and planted the seeds for the mortal kingdoms but, most worryingly, it littered the landscape with demonspawn, the descendants of poor creatures who became inhabited by demons escaping the wrath of Nahast's gods.
Art and story © 2002-2008 Alejandro Melchor.
Nahast Campaign Setting and Product Identity © 2002-2008 Proyecto Nahast
d20 System and the d20 logo © 2000-2007, Wizards of the Coast.
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