The universe is infinite in all of its dimensions. Infinitely high, infinitely long and infinitely deep. It possesses an infinite quantity of time and is layered by an infinite number of planes. And an infinite number of parallel dimensions wend forth like intertwining threads from each of an infinite number of universes.
This is a universe of many fantastical creatures, places and events. The wealth and variety of differing beings, creations and abilities can be traced down to that volatile substance commonly known as magic. This universe is suffused with the stuff, like radioactive particles drifting through the endless space. It is this that makes the act of magic possible, that enhances the evolution of materials and creatures giving birth to other planes and immortal beings. That allows an idea to turn into a physical concept.
In certain places this unseen ‘arcane dust’ gathers together and creates living eco-systems. Smaller clusters of dust create entrances to heavens and hells and turn ordinary springs into fountains of youth. The arcane particles create places where the ordinary laws of physics can be twisted and warped.
Throughout the universe in interweaving, web-like flow of arcane particles exists, as yet undiscovered. To one day see the entirety of this flow would reveal a tree like spread of particles, as though reaching downward with roots and upwards with branches, meeting in a singular point in the middle. These streams connect the various planes to this universe and trans-planar travel is only achieved by passing through these roots.
Hidden deep in the cosmic ocean of this particular universe, drifting amongst the many incomprehensibly large galaxies, is a planet in a unique solar system. It is known as Yggterra.
A fertile planet, Yggterra is home to a temperate climate, with varying environments across its surface. Frozen tundras to the north and south, deserts, jungles, flatlands, wastelands, marshlands and mountain ranges covering the places between.
In the early days of developing civilisations the inhabitants of the planet once constructed an enormous tower on its equator in an attempt to reach their god. The tower crumbled and its inhabitants were scattered across the globe, where each developed unique cultures and a new way of living dictated by their environment.
The vast plain where the tower once stood, mostly forgotten but known by some as the Plains of the Fallen, is still marked by the tumbling stones, now rocks dotting the landscape. The precise location of the tower is marked by a several mile wide depression in the ground. Eroded over time, the rocks contain no trace of manmade carving. Sandstorms sweep across this landscape forcing the nomadic tribes that live there to hide in the shadows of the boulders.
Far west across this plain the earth is ground into fine grains of sand. Amid this enormous desert clings the country of Gekh thriving in the shadow of an enormous wall of cliffs that loom above its northern border. Springs and underwater rivers pulse through the ground beneath the cliffs with natural springs bursting forth from rocky crevasses at sparse intervals. The shadow cast by the cliffs is the only place of peace from the harsh beating of the Sun’s rays.
The people of Gekh revere their dead and dedicate their lives to worshipping a pantheon of gods that exist in the underworld. Mummification rituals are used to preserve the bodies of the wealthy dead. The dead are judged by the goddess Ma’at and granted passage into the underworld. Such is the reverance of the dead that the priests of Gekh have developed rituals to bring select, honoured, individuals into a second life. This act is reserved only for the most dutiful of servants, the prevention of passage to the underworld being a grave crime to commit to those of high society. The willing subjects, once dead, are stripped to the bone, rubbed and preserved in sap their souls brought back and tied with ‘soul snares’ to these bones. The royal guard, protectors of the Pharoah, ruler of Gekh, is comprised entirely of these reanimated skeletons.
The west of Gekh borders a channel of water known as Leviathan’s Trail, across this water, and visible on a clear day, is the island nation of Pheone. Here the people once worshipped Great Spirits who shaped their land and raised the primitive people to cultural significance. The magicians of Pheone practised a form of magic tied to glyphs, drawing forth power from the carving of mystical symbols. Civil war signalled the collapse of a strong nation and after centuries of decline the burgeoning Bretonian Empire has made a vassal of Pheone. Under its rule the ancient glyph casting has been demonised as the work of Daeva’s, evil spirits. Still recovering its economical and militaristic and traversing a narrow pathway of diplomacy with the empire has left the nation divided with small settlements existing in its southern wasteland and on the heavily forested western islands.
The Bretonian Empire’s seat of power and origin, Breton, is situated south of Leviathan’s trail and further west across the continent of Panmodun. Here the people live under the current Midas Dynasty, the monarchy being ruled ostensibly by birthright. The empire’s advanced technology has given them the opportunity to expand and encompass neighbouring lands under their rule, sometimes through force but more often through the lure of trade. The empire’s state religion, Edonism, is monotheistic, worshipping The Almighty. Old pagan white witches who provide herbalistic remedies and small charms are becoming rare, replaced by Edonite priests who practise divine magic to cure the sick and ailing of the nation. The current emperor has recently fallen under the thrall of a black witch who stands beside the throne under a guise of good intentions.
Southwest of Breton are the wild highlands, a mountaineous area and a verdant paradise uninhabited by humans. Here the various nations of the fairies reside. The dark fairies, the flower fairies, the fairies of the seasons and the elements among others. The Tuatha de Danann have the most recognisable social hierarchy of these fairy nations. The fey folk by nature are capricious and unruly with strong magic that has yet to be understood by outsiders. Any who wander by intent or by accident into these lands rarely return, those that do, often return ailing from some terrible curse or else arriving home several hundred years after they left. Hidden somewhere within these lands is the entrance to Tir na Nog, the homeland of the fairies suspected to exist on another plane.
Back along the wide strip of land, to the eastern border of Breton lie two more Panmodun nations. Separated from each other on their north and south borders by a dense mountain range are Deutscheim and Oerlis. These two nations have suffered bitter disputes and minor skirmishes with each other for years until their western neighbour Breton subjugated them. In the foothills of the mountain range live the dwarven people, reclusive since their persecution and slavery in the hundreds of years of war they had been caught up in.
The highest peaks of this mountain range have become the holy land for the worship of The Almighty by Edonites. A city of priests and devoutly faithful having been constructed in the high climbs with pilgrims regularly making the arduous journey. At the heart of this city lives the Edonite Pope who guides the faith of all of the Edonite nations. He wields tremendous power, able to excommunicate entire countries, declare crusades and dictate diplomatic disputes.
East of Deutscheim and Oerlis is the land of Norgardt. A technological rival to Breton, Norgardt has thus far resisted the Empire’s rule but its resistance is dwindling due to the relatively small size of the nation. It is most famous for its alchemical research and pioneering stance on compulsory education, allowing, those that can afford it, to enroll in one of the many state run alchemical academies. The alchemy practised by the people of Norgardt combines scientific knowledge with magical transference of energy, utilising this the alchemists have begun to develop means of transforming one material into another and were the first to create steel.
The southlands of the Panmodun continent are a mix of swamps, marshland and bogs marring the dips and valleys of the mountainous terrain. The indigenous people exist in small tribes and worship pagan gods. Rumours circulate of dark cults and necromantic magic. A popular tale is of the witchdoctors who kill their victims and revive them as zombies and slaves.
Back to the Plains of the Fallen and to their south is the large open land of Samsara, a single nation populated mainly by sparse communities and no unilateral ruler. At its centre is a capital of sorts, the largest metropolis in the land that accepts trade from all corners of Panmodun and is therefore enormously multicultural. The cityscape is dotted with large domed temples for worship of the Samsaran gods though many smaller altars can be found in the backstreets for the worship of other religions.
To the east of the Plains of the Fallen, past humid jungles, is a land yet to be fully explored and recorded by the chroniclers of the Bretonian Empire. It is thus known as a mystical land with strange beliefs and a language that is difficult to follow due to the sparseness of translators. Most famous are the dragons that inhabit the rivers and live in the clouds. The people live harmoniously with, though often at the whim of, nature spirits inhabiting each and every object, from the trees and leaves to metal and water. They live in seclusion, deliberately limiting their transactions with other cultures.
Covering the vast northern region of Panmodun are huge swathes of woodland that give way to cold tundra. The tribes that live here raid and pillage each other’s land. Their culture praises warriors, prideful of bravery and strength, a death in battle revered as the ultimate goal of any man. The wild and untamed land of the north is well known for the large variety of fearsome beasts, the hunting of which is a regular sport for the warrior tribes.
West, and north of Pheone and Gekh, is Vulia home of the once mighty Vulian Empire. The Vulian people have returned to the worship of their local pantheon of gods, having previously been responsible for the vast spread of Edonism. Like their northern neighbours they pride strength above all else, a state of mind giving rise to the coliseum and the social acceptance of blood sports. A notable difference in this belief is that the Vulian concept of strength also encompasses intelligence and tactical thinking.
Across the ocean to the west can be found the Arcadian Isles. An archipelago of many island nations populated by ‘man-beasts’, centaurs and satyrs amongst others. Each island worships a patron deity and is governed individually, though the entire archipelago draw together as one nation when circumstances demand as such. The Arcadian Isles mark the entrance to the as yet undiscovered continents that lie across the ocean.
In short Yggterra is a planet populated by all manner of magical creatures from the lowly but populous humans to the centaurs of Acadia and the hill giants east of Norgadt. Where each nation has developed unique magical practises and where at any time a slew of gods are putting plans into action.