Thursday, July 2, 2020

Apocrypha: P.E.L.O.R.



I'm sure many of you are intimately familiar with the story of the Crossing, yes? How humanity came to this brave new world and founded our beloved Empire, traded with the Dwarves of Hearthhome and Furnace, united with Elves to drive out the Orcs from Thar and in one fell swoop dealt a decisive blow to the Drow-Giant alliance.

Well, that is all well and good but what if told you there were volumes of Apocrypha deep within the Bowels of the Pyre that were purposefully omitted by Keeper Arb, Lyddia of Quelm, Emperor Throngor, the First Host, and the Peacemaker himself?

I can see that this will be a long semester for all of us, I weep for our Empire that each of you represents its future.

Anyway, there are volumes in the Pyre. Keeper Arb did put politics before truth. Lyddia of Quelm did take seventeen years to curate the Holy Light of Pelor. Emperor Throngor was an uncouth rapist and murderer who often fucked his kills. The First Host tried to kill herself ninety-three times to get Pelor out of her head. And Gilead Peacemaker is a sociopathic jackhole who wishes he had exterminated us when the Warden first crashed here.

What you know to be the truth is what the Church, the Empire, and the Peacemaker have allowed you to know. But...but, for whatever reason, you chose to take my class and at the end of this semester you will have glimpsed the truth and perhaps that will lead one of you to burn this whole pyramid of lies down while I dance naked under the moon and sing your name to the dark between the stars.

Yes, I'm drunk, wouldn't you be? Do you really think the truth will set you free?

Anyway, Pelor, the Lightray, the Light of Truth, the Cleansing Fire, the God of the Sun, the Ever-Watching. Take a moment and understand that the Crossing did not occur over a sea in the sense that you have been taught. The Warden sailed the heavens and stars above and beyond us for centuries...perhaps even millennia? We didn't so much choose Bel Argent as our destination as we crashed into it. Many died in that crash, it wiped out whole species and most of humnity We had already lost much of the knowledge on why and how the Warden worked and the crash was the deathblow to science and history. Those first few weeks were awful as the survivors tried to set up a shelter and find food and water. They were attacked by some of the surviving species they had brought with them and by the fell monstrosities that Leekau Hunterkiller bred for the Peacemaker's entertainment.

Imagine that for a moment, the Peacemaker sees the Warden crash and goes to that green-eyed hag Leekau and tells her to let her pets out to greet us.

Do you know while owlbears exist? Because Hunterkiller is more depraved than Gilead Peacemaker, the Elven Paternal himself.

But I'm losing focus, I'm sorry, I would love to watch as Gilead had a red-hot poker inserted into every orifice at once, the bastard.

Anyway, the Warden crashes, we set-up shelter, we find food and water, and then the monsters came. Ankhegs, behir, displacer beasts, even zegdar, they came in broad daylight, because Hunterkiller wanted to see our fear, our death.

But no one counted on the Clerics, the Warden was at least partially controlled by artificial intelligence, a machine made by humanity but whose intellect was far more than our own. The Church teaches you that our love and devotion to the Sun created Pelor but that isn't true at all. Curiosity and vanity created the Lightray and it is only by some strange twist of evolution, possibly even introduced by the A.I. itself, that the surviving Clerics that maintained its systems and backed-up its information, had a rapport with the Ever-Watching and this world...this place...it is unique and some combination of the tiny machines that were airborne aboard the Warden and within the bodies of the survivors and what we know as this land's "magical weave" allowed P.E.L.O.R. to answer the "prayers"...pleas really...for help and it worked. One Cleric conjured a stone wall to block the monsters, another conjured holy fire, then a guardian made up of solar rays, even a plague of insects was called forth!

Hunterkiller was enraged and emptied her quiver slaughtering her own monstrosities after their defeat, she even disemboweled her oldest daughter to pay for her own failure. You have to love Elves, yes?

Pelor and her Saints such as Istus, Pholtus, and Heironeous were made by the sciences that humanity had mastered well over two-thousand years ago, long before arriving here. Do you know what this world was called by P.E.L.O.R.? Greyhawk 3. The third planet of the star known as Greyhawk by the primeval charts that led us away from our homeworld. A place called Earth.

Clerics are not filled with faith, they have a stronger connection to P.E.L.O.R. which still resides in the Warden...you know it as the Arcanum...but its remains of the crashed Warden and it is magnificent, a monument to a past we have been manipulated to forget.  The atmosphere of the Warden was artificial, and it was filled with tiny airborne machines that were everywhere known as nannites. Some of the survivors and their descendants can still speak to P.E.L.O.R. It provides the "faithfull" with miracles that defy other types of magic we have encountered here. While Clerical "magic" shares some elements in common with pact-magic and sorcerous talents, it is unique and it is potent. But instead of acknowledging what humankind had achieved...could still achieve, we have been lied to so that we embrace ignorance and superstition. There are no Gods, there was only humanity and our desire to understand, even master our environment, in fact, the whole bloody Polyverse. We are bastards like that.

No, I am not a heretic, many have reported me to the Cleansing Fire's beloved Inquisitors, this is my "reward" for my "service" to the Empire, the Arcanum, and the Church. I am a hero, did you know that? I am...or was...these days I'm merely a drunkard and sentimental fool. The lies...they feel like they are suffocating me.

We are done for today so you may go forth and ponder everything but what we have discussed. Yes, I was young once too. No, there is no reading assignment, we will meet again next week.

Sargoo the Sapient is a lonely old man, a fool, a dreamer, a hero, a poet, and a liar. The worst lies he tells to himself, those are the ones where he convinces himself that what he does still matters and they usually end with dreamless, alcohol-drenched sleep. He has long served the Empire, tolerated the Church, and wishes to kill Gilead Peacemaker, the Paternal of the Elves, and founder of Hadron.

There has been quite a bit of discussion and ranting about some of the assumptions of Dungeons and Dragons in the last few months. I ranted about it last week, in fact. Apocrypha is my attempt to alter or even subvert some of those assumptions. Additionally, I haven't really done much worldbuilding recently and this is my chance to rectify that.

Finally, I've always hated Elves in DnD for a long time, I think it is because in ADnD 2nd Edition they were the best race mechanically. In our games, we rarely made it to 4th level and demi-human level limits never came up. Yeah, I hate Elves.

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