Saturday, December 31, 2022

OSR: Palace of the Sun and Moon: Dungeon23 Challenge

The Orzane, the Pigmen of the Midlands, have a long and storied tradition of myth and folklore, much of which is common knowledge.  In all the lands they conquered, the Orzane erected created pyramidal structures to display the glory and majesty of their Gods.  There the priests of the Imperial Faith offer sacrifices to appease the Dragon-Mother's murdered flesh and to honor the Gods, lead the people in showing their devotion, host enormous rituals to ensure the success of the harvest, victory in war or any number of other things.

Some of these Pyramids are mere shrines, intended only for mortal use, but others are Temples where a Divinity lives when not in the Celestial Court.  There are many Gods in Nukaria, and not all are high-status enough to sit in Heaven.  And while all the Law Gods of Nukaria thereotically offer fealty to the Throne of Order, many are only sporadically invited to visit the Highest Court and attend Anuman, King of the Law Gods and Protector of the Settled Lands.

And while Anuman is Supreme Master according to the oaths they swore, in practice he is much too busy to micro-manage the affairs of the lesser Law Gods, who are usually free to do as they wish within their domains, provided nothing they do endangers their King's dominion, nor draws the attention of his sharp-eyed wife or brutal assassin of a son. 

Yet just like the pretty oaths that mean much less than they first appear, the reign of Anuman has not been as smooth as the priests and inscriptions would make it seem.  For while his reign has been unchallenged for millennia at this point, Anuman's kingship was almost ended before it began. 

A Long Time Ago, After the End of the World...

The Dragon-Goddess Tiamat, Mother of Chaos, destroyed the world and laid it to ruin.  Marzan, Son of Anuman, slew her and used her body to repair the world.  Afterwards, he returned to the battered ruins of Heaven and asked for the crown.  He was expected to take the throne himself, and had he done so, it's unlikely such a crisis would have followed.  But instead, Marzan planned to give it to his Father, Anuman, who was wiser and more experienced than he.  But as far as everyone else was concerned, Anuman was an inferior choice, weak and limp-wristed, a scholar and a musician, not a King or Commander. 

As such, many of the other Orzanian Gods protested Anuman's ascension.  When Marzan ignored them, some declared their intention to break their oaths, while others insisted on another taking the throne.  And while these squabbles distracted the Orzanian Gods, other pantheons took notice.  What had once looked like the sudden and irresistible victory of these upstart Gods suddenly became an opportunity to take it for oneself.  So the other pantheons began scheming.  When one took the first step toward seizing the throne, the Orzanians retaliated and just like that, the Court of Heaven was split.

The Law Gods broke apart along factional lines, each Pantheon battling for the throne.  The work of repairing the world was put on hold and the peoples of the Earth were left defenseless and unsupervised.  It was perhaps inevitable that the fighting would spill out of Heaven, and when it did, it triggered a series of Jihads and Holy Wars that later historians would define as the 70 and 7 year war, a far too tame story for a war that drowned the world in blood and turned the newly organized tribes of men against each other.

The history of the Scouring of Heaven and the 70 and 7 Year War is far too elaborate to be contained here, but the relevant details are these.  Eventually, the lesser contenders for the throne of Heaven were defeated or collaesced behind two factions, the Orzanian radicals and their allies and the older powers and their representatives, Solgar and Lunnette.

Solgar and Lunnette, or Sol and Lune, were the old Sun and Moon Gods from before the Great Deluge brought on by Tiamat.  They had been fairly minor functionaries, but both had proved themselves vastly under-utilized.  With a fresh infusion of power, Solgar and Lunnette proved terrible foes.  They battled the Orzanian pantheon to a standstill and nearly claimed total victory a half-dozen times.  Yet they could never truly defeat Marzan and his forces.

But just as it seemed that this conflict might drag on forever, Lunnette received a message from Unta, Imp of Suffering and former attendant to the lover of the Dragon-Goddess.  He said that he hated his new masters (true) and that they were cruel to him (asurdly true) and that he knew of their weakness (likely true).  But at the same time, this was Unta, the most craven, deceitful and clever creature in all the known worlds.  To trust him would be folly.  It was almost certainly a trap.  But at the same time, Solgar and Lunnette did not feel they had any better options.  So they took the information offered by Unta and struck. 

It would have been a devastating, crippling blow that would have spelled the doom of the Orzanian Gods.  But it was, just as they feared, a trap.  There is a reason why no one trusts a traitor. 

And with that, Solgar and Lunnette were defeated and the Orzanian Gods achieved dominion of Heaven and in time, all the Law Gods and Nukaria.

But there remained a small question.  That of real estate.

from here

Heaven Sweet Heaven:

Solgar and Lunnette built themselves a new palace atop the distant Clouds.  This structure was their command center and base of operations from which they planned to rule, once they achieved victory.  Let the Orzanians keep the ruins of the old Celestial Citadel.  They spared no expense on constructing their new home, sending towers out in all directions, domes flowering out as arcades wound and grew like roots.  For a time, on clear days, you could see two Heavens floating in the great vault of the sky.

After the Orzanians Gods won, Solgar and Lunnette's Heaven disappeared- a defensive measure late in activating, it was assumed.  And since it did not reappear and the chief conspirators were gone, the other Gods dismissed the whole notion as unimportant. 

And so the Second Heaven disappeared from the minds of Men and Gods, becoming little more than an interesting footnote in some semi-heretical texts.  But no one, not the scholars, not the priests and certainly not the Gods, expected it to reappear. 

How did you find out about this?


1- For the last few decades, every ten years near a certain mountain peak, a floating palace complex appears out of the ether for an irregular amount of time.  Sometime it only stays for a few days.  Other times it stays for weeks, and once it stayed for almost three months.  Then it vanishes again.  Those who entered and returned brought with them unimaginable riches and treasures beyond the wildest dreams of men.  And it has almost been 10 years since that strange structure appeared...
2- In an ancient Wizard's laboratory, amid the mouldering books and mad scribblings, there was references to a floating castle full of divine wisdom and celestial power.  This Wizard planned on claiming it for himself, before Fate ruined those plans in a most permanent way.  But his maps seem accurate.  It's a shame no one ever got to use them.  Perhaps you can remedy that. 
3- A stranger in a magical ship shows up in port.  He has some crazy plan and is definitely up to no good.  But the money he's promising, it's too good to pass up.  It's only when you're too far away to object that he will reveal his plan to loot an ancient divine construct that occasionally slips into our world.  Mom was right, you really should have become a baker. 
4- When the floating castle appeared in the sky, everyone started screaming and yelling.  But shortly thereafter, when it didn't do anything but sit there, it was decided that someone should be sent up there to go investigate it and see if it was dangerous or potentially useful.  And since you all were the only ones able to get up there/crazy enough to try, you got the job.  Good luck!

from here

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