CRB is a repository of all the creative things that float through my mind about the RPG Pathfinder. Two major features are random character generation and building characters based on the god they worship. Anything that seems like it adds to the creative aspects of the game will pop up from time to time, including location descriptions, adventure ideas and even short stories. CRB won't just be my own creativity, it will open the floor to anyone who has an idea sparked by what I present to you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

It's the End of the World As We Know It

In the history of gaming, one of the well trod stories has always been the heroes preventing the End-of-the-World; surmounting forces that most people wouldn’t dare face, and stopping everything from coming to a halt. End-of-the-World prophecies abound on worlds like Golarion, just like they do on our own world. There’ve been at least five prophesied “World’s Ends” since 2012 and I’ve survived all of them.

Now the apocalypse means different things to different cultures. In some cultures the end of the world is literally that: The Earth gets destroyed and we all call it a day. In others, the end is just a transition period. Not a literal cessation of life, but a change in the age of the earth. And then there are some who think the end times mean that just humanity ends but the earth continues on.

On Golarion there are gods who bring about the end. There are the four horsemen who usher in whatever that “end” is. Then there’s the god who cleans up when it’s all over: Groetus, who will do away with Pharasma and her Boneyard after the last soul has been weighed. Then he’ll shut off the lights, and clean-up for the next universe.

What there isn’t, is one specific way the varied peoples of the inner sea think the world will end. Maybe when Aroden still lived and prophesy was immutable there was, but now it’s all an unknown. So instead of one definitive prophesy of the end times we have, like the real world, many from the differing cultures around Golarion.

The Great Gobble

Goblins, as we all know, will eat anything. So it isn’t any wonder that the goblin End-of-the-World prophecy revolves around eating. Most civilized folks wouldn’t believe the goblins smart enough to ponder the end of the world, but many goblins do. And to them it is all one glorious feast.

The goblin soothsayers tell the story of a great rift in the surface of the world, from which a giant feast begins to pour forth. When the goblins partake of this food from the darkness they will grow big and strong. Some say the food itself will make the goblins as big as giants. But the food never slakes their appetites, it makes them grow.

As the goblins grow they will begin to devour everything around them; animals, small creatures, people, giants, dragons. They will eat and eat and eat until nothing is left on the world but massive goblins. When it is just the goblins left they will begin to devour each other, each goblin making the other more powerful, until there is but one massive goblin.

The winner of the great gobble will then eat the world, which of course is full of tasty things like a giant pudding pie. And when the earth is no more the gobbler will swallow the sun and bring the fire of life into his belly. This great and powerful goblin will then eat the gods making him the biggest, fieriest thing left.

The smoldering goblin behemoth will finally be sated once he’s eaten reality, except he will have over-stuffed himself. The great gobbler’s belly will rumble and grumble until it finally explodes. From the mess of the goblin winner’s insides will come a new world, one ruled by goblin kind, where they can eat and light things on fire forever and ever.

The Things In The Deep

The goblins aren’t the only ones whose prophesies of the end starts with things coming from underground. When the dwarves began their search for sky and drove up from the deepest parts of the world, they weren’t just seeking a new home, they were fleeing things even older than they were. When the dwarven doombringers speak about the end of all things, these creatures from the deep play a huge role.

The dwarven end starts with volcanic eruptions. Not just one or two but every volcano, active and dormant, on the face of Golarion will supposedly blow all at once. This mass movement of magma from the deep places is a sign that things that should have stayed buried have arisen.

Panic will have already set in as millions die from these eruptions, and then the flow of the evils that are known will begin. All the creatures that have stayed in the Darklands for millennia will be driven forward, much like the dwarves drove the orcs before them. These evils will find the upper world a little more habitable as it is covered in ash, blocking out the sun so they may roam freely.

Soon after the known creatures from the deep make surface fall, the being that will end the world arrives. Dwarven lives being long, “soon after” is relative, two or three human generations may suffer under the yoke of the creatures of the Darklands before the undescribed deep evils materialize. In the end though, they will emerge, and they will bring fire and stone with them rushing the world around them. No life shall escape their wrath and once every last being is eradicated, they will return from whence they came.

The Whispering Way

The dwarves may have their own fears about the end of the world, but it could well be they were the cause of it. The orcs that were impelled before them claimed the Hold of Belzkan and later became the personal army for Tar-Baphon the Whispering Tyrant. After the Whispering Tyrant’s defeat the Orcs were driven back into Belzkan, the hellish land they were forced into by the dwarves, and so swore vengeance on all humanity.

The orcish prophesy of the End-of-the-World begins with the Whispering Tyrant, who believed by defeating Aroden he could destroy all humanity. The orcs believe this will one day come to pass and they will cause it to be. They do not care if they are wiped out with humanity so long as the dwarves that drove them from their underground home, and the humans who seek to keep them in the Hold of Belzkan, go with them.

The orcish oracles have seen in the entrails the rise of a great orcish warrior, one who will unite all the orcish tribes into one great power. This massive horde of orcs will descend upon the world, slaughtering all in their path. They will search far and wide until they find the body of the Whispering Tyrant. There a great orc savior will sacrifice himself over the corpse and Tar-Baphon will rise once more.

With Aroden destroyed the Whispering Tyrant will be able to tap into the power that the god of men once controlled. With this energy, Tar-Baphon will be able to cleanse the world of every living thing. Humanity will be wiped from the planet leaving only the undead to rule the world. For his sacrifice the chosen orc will be raised as a powerful undead creature in his own right, and he will serve as the right hand of the Whispering Tyrant.

The Outsiders

Some prophecies bring the end from within Golarion, some from things upon Golarion, and some of the elves have prophesied that the end will come, not just from off of Golarion, but from outside of the universe. The elves, being one of the oldest races on Golarion, have seen many things. Their fascination with the arcane has brought them knowledge from the far reaches of the known worlds and beyond.

In some forbidden tomes, there are ancient writings that speak of beings of immense power that exist beyond the known planets and planes of existence. Creatures whose minds and bodies are completely alien to anything in the known worlds. They speak of minds that bring nothing but pure insanity upon their touch. In this time of lost prophecy, in a world gone crazy, some elves posit that these beings will be the end of everything.

What is worse is that this knowledge has been slowly spreading, and not just among the elves. Recently cults of half-elves who are fed-up with being scorned by both their human and elvish relatives have given in to the idea that these creatures will end the world. They have dedicated themselves to these beings and seek to destroy everything since they cannot be accepted. Those elves who have foreseen this prophecy fear these cults may very well succeed.

There are many other End-of-the-World prophecies on Golarion to be sure but you can try these out for size. What does the end of the world in your game look at? Do you players play a part in thwarting it? Or do they hasten the end times with their actions?

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