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The Founding is widely considered the first age of Exandria. During this time, the gods brought forth creatures to inhabit Exandria, before splitting into two factions in the war against the Primordial Titans: the Prime Deities and the Betrayer Gods. The age ended after the defeat of the Primordials, along with the Betrayer Gods, which made the world safe for civilization to flourish.

History[]

Not all sources agree about the nature of the gods, or about their history. Each culture has its own creation myths, and there is no definitive story, but the earliest known records are kept in Vasselheim, and the chronicle of Vasselheim provides the foundation of the most commonly believed accounts of Exandria's early epochs.[1]

Luxon creation myth[]

Luxon approaching Exandria -Bright Queen 1

The Luxon approaching a primeval Exandria, by Cris Peter and CoupleOfKooks from The Tales of Exandria: The Bright Queen #1.[art 1]

Worshipers of the Luxon believe that it predated the Founding, and that its influence was already at work in the world before the gods arrived: giving birth to the Primordials, and sacrificing most of its essence to begin a cycle of rebirth so that its children could better themselves over successive lifetimes.[2]

There are at least two accounts of when the Luxon separated itself into beacons and scattered itself across the world.

  • By one account, the Luxon found no consciousness in the elemental chaos and, seeing the Primordials' souls being lost to the darkness beyond as they killed each other, the Luxon broke into scattered beacons that would enact a cycle of rebirth for those who were bound to their light, in hopes that those beings would gradually learn and mature, and one day something would find and reassemble the Luxon, at which point the Luxon would ask them, "What am I, and what is my purpose?"[3]
  • Another story holds that it was not until the Protean Creator gods came and created mortals who lived, procreated, and died that the Luxon became curious and scattered itself, hoping the mortals' souls would bond to the scattered beacons so they could learn all there is to know.[4]

The Protean Creators[]

Long ago, this world was one of tumultuous and chaotic forces. Naught but unbridled fires, and churning, saw-like rock made up its substance. Through the ashen skies of Creation Primordial, the gods came from beyond the ether, new and formless. Looking upon this roiling realm, they saw potential for great beauty, great strength, and the chance to learn their own place in creation.
– 
The Myth of Exandria[5]
[!h]

According to the chronicle of Vasselheim, during the Founding, gods arrived from another realm and brought forth the elves, dwarves, and humans, along with as many other races as they had the inspiration to create. There is disagreement about whether the gods who made the first races, and shared their ideas with them, made those races in their own image or took on forms inspired by their creation.[6] Evontra'vir claims that the gods are refugees who became conquerors, and that they are not makers but crafters and shapers who transform the material they find, though this might be a reflection of "us" rather than the gods' immutable nature.[7] One of the gods, Asmodeus, told Zerxus Ilerez he arrived in the world as a celestial of light along with other deities and began to shape the world and their creations with them. Many others had created many virtuous things before Asmodeus finally contributed.[8]

The Creation of the Dragons - Ameera

Official art of the creation of the dragons, by Ameera.[art 2]

Because the world was still a dangerous place, ruled by elemental chaos, many of the gods' children were killed in the earliest days. Saddened by the loss of so many children, the gods gifted mortals with divine magic so they might better defend themselves and tame the elements. The Dragons Metallic were created to aid in the defense of the Children of Creation, and they pledged to protect the weak against tyrants. With the dragons' help, civilization began to flourish and mortals first offered worship (and purpose) to their creators. The gods only gained their name, form, and purpose when the mortals of this world began to worship them, though it's plausible they each had their own distinctive thoughts and feelings beforehand.[6]

The Primordials[]

Elementals Screenshot from Exandria An Intimate History

Official art of four elemental titans, by Kent Davis from "Exandria: An Intimate History" (Sx61) at 1:42.[art 3]

The chronicle of Vasselheim holds that the Primordials—elemental titans—had lain beneath the land since before the coming of the gods, but they were provoked by the attempt to tame the land, so they rose up to wreak havoc on the gods' creations. The great cataclysm attracted beings of both Chaos and Order. Chaotic demons arrived from an amorphous emptiness that mortals called the Abyss and gorged on the mortals' suffering. Lawful celestials came from a far-off realm.[6]

According to Ebenold Kai, the gods and the Primordials together built up the world, but eventually began to fight for control.[9] By another account, the Primordials rose up when the gods granted mortals divine magic, upsetting a balance that had existed before then.[10]

Predathos[]

At some point between the gods' first interaction with the elemental titans and the Schism, a mysterious entity called Predathos reached Exandria. This entity created twisted life forms in the world and didn't fear the deities, since it resisted their magic, devouring first Ethedok the Endless Shadow, god of darkness and winter, and then Vordo the Fateshaper, god of fate and order. After losing two of their own, the remaining deities collaborated with the elemental forces of Exandria, and together they imprisoned Predathos, trapping it with a piece of planet that would become the second moon, Ruidus. This account, drawn from highly guarded secrets of Vasselheim,[11] contradicts the standard chronicle of Vasselheim, according to which the gods were unaware of the Primordials before the titans rose up and unleashed their wrath on the mortal races.[6]

The Schism[]

Prime deities and betrayer gods Screenshot from Exandria An Intimate History

Screenshot of Prime Deities and Betrayer Gods, by Cyarna Trim and Conceptopolis from "Exandria: An Intimate History" (Sx61) at 2:22.[art 4]

According to the chronicle of Vasselheim, as the Primordials devastated creation, two factions arose between the gods. The Prime Deities wished to stay and conquer the Primordials, leaving the land safe for their children. The Betrayer Gods, frustrated by their losses, gave up; some gave in to madness, and some began twisting their creations and joining forces with the Abyss.[12] Asmodeus gave a somewhat different account: he claimed the gods had made promises to the Primordials, and somehow those who stayed true to them were called "Betrayers". Further, he claimed the Prime Deities had encouraged mortals in misunderstanding some of their divine siblings as evil abominations,[13] and in a more heated moment, he alleged mortals "did something" to the Prime Deities to turn them against their siblings, and so he blames mortals for being the cause of the Schism.[14]

The Prime Deities enlisted the help of the celestials, and the Betrayer Gods imposed order on demons and produced armies of devils. Corellon was the first to teach mortals the ways of arcane magic, so that they could defend themselves without borrowing divine power.[15]

The Prime Deities, with the help of their mortal champions, ultimately destroyed the Primordials and banished the Betrayer Gods from the Material Plane.[12] Tharizdun was imprisoned beneath Gatshadow Mountain.[16] By one account of history (admittedly improvised by a guest DM), the Betrayer Gods had been banished so thoroughly that they could not grant their divine magic to their followers, and worship of them was pointless.[17] Pelor and Melora defeated two mighty Primordials, Rau'shan the Emperor of Fire and Ka'Mort the Empress of Earth, and sealed them away under Mount Ygora; later, druids tended to the location as a holy place called Toramunda, which eventually grew into the cities of Avalir and Cathmoíra.[18][19]

The fate of one of the defeated Primordials, an earth titan, is known to Vox Machina. This titan was thrust feet-first[20] into the earth in northern Issylra, with such great force that the impact created the Zenwick Mountains.[21]

The founding of Vasselheim[]

With peace finally achieved, the first true civilization was able to take root. It was called Vasselheim, the "Dawn City", and the "Cradle of Creation."[12] This is believed to have happened tens of thousands of years before the events of Campaign One.[22] After the founding of Vasselheim, the races ventured forth to discover new lands. The world was named Exandria.[23]

Civilizations other than Vasselheim[]

Before the age came to an end, the Kuul'tevir, noble predecessors of the lizardfolk, built cities with magic nearly on par with the elves'.[24] An unknown civilization had a settlement in the area that became the Ivyheart Thicket.[25] And arriving through a portal from the Far Realm, aboleths and other aberrations conquered the Underdark beneath the Bladeshimmer Coast and drove their slaves to build their capital: Salar, the Unseeable City. They slowly began expanding toward the surface, and their psychic energies gradually produced the azuremite of the Crystalfen Caverns.[26] Not far away, Yug'Voril may have been established during this era.[27]

The end of the era[]

At the end of the Founding, primeval elves felled the ferocious Molten Titan and it was sealed beneath the ground, giving birth to the Daggerbay Mountains.[28]

References[]

  1. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 12.
  2. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, pp. 32–33.
  3. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 33.
  4. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 41.
  5. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 5.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 13.
  7. See "Roots Between Worlds" (3x74) at 3:32:29.
  8. See "Bitterness and Dread" (E3x02) from 4:11:30 through 4:14:25.
  9. See "Axiom Shaken" (3x43) at 3:22:52.
  10. See "Bitterness and Dread" (E3x02) at 1:56:29.
  11. See "Axiom Shaken" (3x43) at 3:02:19.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 6.
  13. See "Bitterness and Dread" (E3x02) from 4:11:30 through 4:17:35.
  14. See "Fire and Ruin" (E3x04) at 1:22:48.
  15. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn, p. 14.
  16. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 19. See also p. 51.
  17. See "Bitterness and Dread" (E3x02) at 1:57:20.
  18. See "Excelsior" (E3x01) at 2:22:54.  See also 3:05:10.
  19. See "Bitterness and Dread" (E3x02) at 3:31:26.
  20. See "Talks Machina #39: 'Shadows of Thomara'" (TMx39) from 1:10:01 through 1:10:38.
  21. See "The Climb Within" (1x110) at 3:37:12.
  22. A little over 800 years after the Divergence, Vasselheim "is believed to be tens of thousands of years old."  See "Enter Vasselheim" (1x16) at 45:10.
  23. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 6.
  24. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 123.
  25. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 54.
  26. The caves predate the Age of Arcanum, and the veins of azuremite were formed from "millennia" of exposure to the aberrations' psychic energies before the final battle of the Calamity. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 86.
  27. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 71. "Thousands of years old" may imply something earlier than what was described as "early Age of Arcanum." The Crypts of Thomara are "early Age of Arcanum" and alternately described as "thousands of years" old or "well over 1500 years, if not longer."
  28. See Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 86.

Art:

  1. The Luxon approaching a primeval Exandria, by Cris Peter and CoupleOfKooks from The Tales of Exandria: The Bright Queen #1. This file is a copyrighted work. Its use in this article is asserted to qualify as fair use of the material under United States copyright law.
  2. Official art of the creation of the dragons, by Ameera (source). Used with permission.
  3. Official art of four elemental titans, by Kent Davis from "Exandria: An Intimate History" (Sx61) at 1:42. Used with permission.
  4. Screenshot of Prime Deities and Betrayer Gods, by Cyarna Trim and Conceptopolis from "Exandria: An Intimate History" (Sx61) at 2:22. Used with permission.
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