History of the Gods
The gods and primordials clashed in battle over the world, and beings on each side created life on the world to fight in their name. The war raged on, and much of the material world was destroyed in the struggle for control. By the end the gods, although fewer in number and no longer tightly allied, beat back the primordials and asserted their dominion over the world and its inhabitants.
The First Age began, and the world was not what it once was. The gods, without the ability to control the Elemental Chaos, could not restore it to its former glory. They could only shape what was left, and restore balance. The gods were delighted by the life that now roamed the world, and each took for himself the allegiance of some of the mortals. The First Age was a time of peace and prosperity as the mortals explored their world, built civilizations, and came to know each other. Their deities freely walked among them and used their divine power to bestow gifts in return for their worship.
The gods found that they became stronger as more and more mortals worshiped them, and they began to covet each other’s power. What started as cautious undermining and shadowed subversion grew into all out civil war. The material world once again became a battle ground. The skies thundered and the ground cracked from the unbridled divine power as the gods fought to destroy each other and gain the worship of mortals. Many deities died, and their energy was scattered throughout the cosmos. The war ended without a clear winner. The surviving gods saw that their greed had nearly destroyed what they sought to control, and they retreated to the Astral Sea, swearing to remain aloof from mortal concerns.
The Second Age began, and for the first time mortals had no will to obey but their own. They grew and changed, built and destroyed, learned and forgot as they saw fit. Life on the material world was not peaceful, but it was bountiful. But there were beings of power in the cosmos who saw that the gods no longer protected the world, and even some mortals who desired more power than their small allotment. And the energies of dead deities, forgotten by those who had locked themselves in the Astral Plane, were ripe for the picking. New beings arose and proclaimed themselves gods. They once again divided the allegiance of mortals and demanded their worship.
One small deity still watched the world from the Astral Plane. Vecna had never been powerful among the other deities, and he craved possession of the world above all else. He returned, and began whispering in the new gods’ ears. He sowed distrust among them, quietly promising each of them aid in exchange for a bit of power. They came to rely on his whispers, his secrets, and gladly offered him what they considered the scraps of their might. The bits and scraps grew, and Vecna grew with them. As chaos spread among the gods, so it spread among their people, and both gods and mortals were once again on the brink of war.
Vecna returned to the Astral Sea and warned the old deities that divine war was once again imminent on the material world. He told them that their dead comrades’ powers were being used in the same struggle for dominance which had slain them. The wroth deities destroyed the upstart gods and returned to the world. They made a new pact: to watch over the mortals and their world, but to have no hand in their doings. Some suspected Vecna’s influence in what had happened, but he had grown too strong and to challenge him would start a war all over again. They used the power of the dead gods to create new ones of their own choosing, who would govern the responsibilities given to them faithfully. Their final act before withdrawing from the mortal world was to eliminate all record and remembrance of the false gods.
The Third Age began. Centuries passed, and mortals saw both peace and war. Kingdoms rose and fell, but the cosmic balance remained intact. One deity, however, was not content to merely watch over the mortal world. Vecna exulted in his new power, and hated that the pact forbade him to exert it over the mortals. He began urging his followers to bring more worshipers under his influence. Slowly, quietly, they followed their master’s dark bidding. Their endeavors once again brought strife to the world. The gods didn’t notice until it was too late, and they were forsworn from taking a direct hand in mortal affairs.
This time salvation came from the mortals themselves. Champions arose and were able to challenge Vecna himself. A mighty battle ensued, and in the end the mortals triumphed over the god. But Vecna did not die as was believed; instead he fled through a secret hole to a place far and apart from the world. Not even the gods knew he had escaped. But his haven was distant, and he could not make his way back. So he lay still, biding his time until the moment came when he would return.