The Origin Stories
“When Joria was created? Who said anyone ‘created’ it? I’m sure the Divine Gods would make such claims. But it was never that way. The Elemental Shamans would tell you it was their Gods and the earth, wind, air and fire that that we step upon, fly through, breath and endure; but they are wrong. I’m sure if the Astral Sea could speak with its beautiful, winding voice it would weave a story of formation and foundations. Of a great maw erupting in the Kilanti deserts, where whispers and visions would intoxicate a traveller with grandeur, mysticism and terror. It would speak of mountains that expanded as far as the eyes could see; oceans deep and teeming with spawn of kraken, and of ancient forests that never let in the sun of Oren.”
-Sevellian Amberhaven, Wartrotter Troubadour
The Astral Founding
The world of Joria came into existence twelve millennia ago when an abundance of energies coruscating in the Astral plane ruptured the walls of planar reality. This amalgamation of energy: divine, elemental, psychic and pure magic spewed forth with terrifying speed and equal chaos; instantly creating a new material plane with all its raw power and geography. In this one instant a massive shockwave caused the Astral plane to shudder, as new Gods were created to oversee this realm and ensure its survival, or its downfall.
Joria in its infancy was a place of visceral power, where mountains shouted their anger with eruptions of magma, oceans echoed and churned with tidal waves that obliterated everything in their wake and winds of such terrifying ferocity that it was the God’s decree that no living beings endure such chaos. And so several millennia passed as the lands and energies that swept through them calmed to a point where the creation of the elder races would occur.
The Era of Elemental Upheaval
After the Astral Founding had taken place and the chaos of creation had subsided, it was time for the Divine and Elemental Gods to divide their authority and domains. The Elemental Pillars: Gods of Earth, Air, Water and Fire were content with their collectively powerful spheres of influence; passive and uninterested in the growth of their divine counterparts. The Divine Pantheon on the other hand fought incessantly to command domains that would eventually become the foundations for their followers.
It was during the seventh millennia that perhaps the greatest devastation was wrought upon Joria. When the Divine Pantheon, weary from their in-fighting decided to over-extend their grasp for power into the peripheral domains of the Elemental Pillars, a vicious backlash occurred. Regardless of alignment, the Elemental Pillars attacked the Divine Gods, sending their lumbering armies of elementals to fight the benevolent or wicked creations sent forth by the Pantheon.
For centuries the land itself trembled under the wars of Gods, a once calming storm raging back into full fury as the skies rained ash, the earth jaggedly split in half, and the full power of Divine chosen destroyed everything in their paths. It was during the height of the war that Zoren, Divine God of Death in his misshapen wisdom attempted to stop the conflict by absorbing the power of all deities, Divine and Elemental alike. Seeing this as a direct attack upon their dominion, the Elemental Pillars, at first operating independently of one another allied together to fight Zoren directly.
Overwhelmed by the onslaught of a massive elemental invasion, Zoren desperately fought back against the assault by summoning forces of his domain originally restricted even to him. Suddenly Elementals and Divine creations alike collapsed into husks and disintegrated into dust; the true supremacy and devastation of Zoren’s mastery over Death revealing itself. Such extreme power though ultimately corrupted Zoren; his forsaken rituals and spells turning a once neutral God into a being of incredible evil.
Realizing the full potential of Zoren’s newly manifested abilities the Divine Pantheon grudgingly put aside their feuds and hatred and took to the field in assistance of the Elemental Pillars. No longer did divine creations cross sword and fist with raging Elementals, but rather stood by their side; implacably marching upon Zoren’s planar fortress. Completely surrounded, Zoren’s last gasp was heard throughout Joria as the land itself withered and died from the explosion of divine energy. But Zoren had been defeated, and a lesson learned for all Gods involved. The Era of Elemental Upheaval came to a close when the wars ceased and all those involved returned to solitude.
The Age of the Dawning Sun
The Age of the Dawning Sun began three millennia after the Era of Elemental Upheaval, and it is the most agreed upon starting date of the Jorian calendar. This is when the Divine Pantheon and the Elemental Pillars formally agreed upon plans for the introduction of the Elder Races and other fantastic creatures. Each God allowed slivers of their essence to create life itself, sowing the seeds necessary to create Humans, Elves, Dwarves and countless other intelligent races that now inhabit Joria’s many lands.
The slow but steady growth of each race was highly variable; dependent on many factors such as geography, weather, and relation and proximity to other beings. Small, internecine conflicts would break out between factions and peoples, and shape the cultures, borders and histories of every race from one side of Joria to the other. Rudimentary civilizations would rise and fall, from vast human empires bent on conquest and domination to sprawling Elven kingdoms of the Rillistani Islands. As technology and magic progressed through the centuries, the races took their separate paths and the most powerful nations now in current day came into existence. This leads to the current age: The Time of Awakening.
The Divine Pantheon
Before Humans, Elves, Dwarves and other elder races roamed Joria, the Gods oversaw the lands and domains privy to them. Divided into two distinct groups, the Divine Pantheon and the Elemental Pillars made up the vast majority of divine and elemental power. The Divine Pantheon was a collection of extraordinarily powerful beings that oversaw the creation of the elder races and the beliefs and divine links associated with them. From the orderly and good deities of Avaela, Justicarius, Oren and Xentha to the malign and evil deities Lekatus, Lloth, Mundagore, Sentilla, Vache and Zoren, an eternal battle raged for the hegemony of every sentient being’s worship.
The Divine Pantheon consisted of ten deities, although only nine continue to exist to this very day. The ‘Good’ deities often band together to face off against their numerically superior evil counterparts, but are usually highly individualistic in their dealings. They are the following:
Avaela is the Goddess of Nature, Growth and Rebirth; a matronly figure worshipped by Elves, Halflings, Eladrin and Shifters and often Rangers, Druids, Seekers, Wardens and Shamans.
Justicarius is the God of Justice, Law and War; a mighty figure of epic proportions sternly worshipped by Humans, Dwarves, Deva, Minotaur, Half-Orcs and Goliaths and often Battleminds, Paladins, Clerics, Fighters, Barbarians, Warlords and Avengers.
Oren is the fatherly God of the Sun, Light, and Celestial power. He is commonly worshipped by Elves, Humans and Gnomes and Paladins, Clerics, Invokers, Ardents, Monks and Rune Priests gravitate towards him.
Xentha is the mighty Goddess of Sorcery, Knowledge and Wisdom; a secretive deity worshipped by Humans, Gnomes, Dragonborn, Shardminds and Tieflings, and often Mages, Warlocks, Sorcerers, Swordmages, Bards and Psions.
The ‘Evil’ deities are anything but monolithic, as often in conflict with one another then with the good deities. They rarely align themselves for a greater cause, but when that happens Joria’s very foundations shake. They are the following:
Lekatus is the God of Tyranny and Willful Control, a conniving and selfish deity worshipped by evil despots, gang lords, brigands and common thieves, as well as Fighters, Rogues and Warlocks.
Lloth is the cunning Spider Goddess of the Underdark, Shadows and Darkness and is the ultimate figurehead of the Drow. She is worshipped by Drow, and often Duergar and other meddling Underdark races.
Mundagore is the savage God of Unbridled Strength, Battle and Martial Dominion. He is a powerful deity commonly worshipped by Orcs, Half-Orcs, Minotaurs, Gnolls and many ‘uncivilized’ races. In addition, Fighters, Barbarians and Rogues often flock to his calling.
Sentilla is the devious Goddess of Trickery, Politics, Wealth and Deception. She is an underhanded deity often worshipped by those in places of power and others who wish to usurp them. She regularly counts Rogues, Warlocks and Mages as her followers.
Vache is the God of Undeath and Necromancy, a sinister deity worshipped by followers intent on raising the dead from their restful slumber. He is often worshipped by evil Mages, Warlocks, Sorcerers, Clerics and Avengers.
Zoren was the God of Death and the Guardian of Souls. At first a neutral deity, he was twisted to evil during the Era of Elemental Upheaval, and then banished by the combined strength of all the deities, Divine and Elemental. He was originally worshipped by all who wished for their fallen to safely pass onto their Gods, although his domain has now been vacant for seven millennia.
The Elemental Pillars
When the Astral Founding first established Joria, its elements crashed freely upon the lands and were in desperate need of control before the newly founded continents and oceans destroyed themselves. Thus, the Elemental Pillars came into creation; four incredibly powerful deities that would shackle the forces of earth, air, water and fire to their command. These elemental Gods are extremely reclusive, rarely speaking to one another let alone any mortal or divine being. Only in times of great need will they make their presence known. The Elemental Pillars consist of the four Gods and their respective elemental domains are as follows:
Goreoth is the God of Earth and Stone, a mighty deity that is worshipped by Druids, Barbarians, Shamans, Mages and Seekers. Dwarves and Goliaths venerate Goreoth as highly as any Divine God and commonly ask for his blessings, although rarely if ever receive them.
Saphnelle is the Goddess of Air and Wind, an elusive deity often worshipped by Druids, Shamans, Rangers, Mages and Seekers. Elves and Eladrin provide offerings to Saphnelle in the hopes that her powerful winds will guide their arrows and blades.
Betheenas is the God of Water and Ice, a relentless deity commonly worshipped by Druids, Shamans, Fighters, and Mages. Sailors and Soldiers of all races venerate him before voyages or when on duty in Joria’s icy regions.
Ignala is the ferocious Goddess of Fire, a raging deity commonly worshiped by Druids, Shamans, Mages, Warlocks and Sorcerers. All races pray to her to ensure their fires never give way to eternal darkness.