The World of Erilensi
In the beginning, it was magic which created the world of Erilensi. In fact, it was a gnome wizard by the name of Tellan Lightbottom, and his friend and fellow gnomish wizard Herul Gearshaper, who created it. The two wizards were always interested in melding science and wizardry, and one day, decided to try something that their colleges thought was madness. They had decided to build a world. The two were wizards of the highest order, and so, using arcane powers available only to the most puissant practitioners of the Art, they created a demi plane which they attached to their own, and began their work.
Firstly, they created what they called The Core Engine. A machine built with science and infused with magic, it was designed to maintain and control the environment of the world itself. The machine was fairly massive and complex - 50 miles in diameter- and took the two mages two decade to complete, and required the help of both constructs and enslaved creatures. To keep the machine powered, a small star was captured and placed inside the center, which it constantly pulled energy from by use of fusion. To cool the massive amounts of heat this generated, the mages conjured a massive ocean, and placed the Core Engine afloat in the center. To keep the water around the machine, they setup a plane of gravity relative to the center of the Core. On each side of the plane, gravity pulled towards the Core.
This kept the water around the Core, forming what appeared to be an ocean. This allowed the Core to pull water into itself to cool it, and allowed it to use the water in the creation of weather.
Next, they began to create the landmasses. Being whimsical at heart, the two spellcasters created plates of land that they floated around the Core Engine. They made sure that the lands were kept in orbit by placing them on the side opposite the ocean. They created 4 layers of these plates. The topmost layers they designed to be the housing for the various flora and fauna.
To make sure that any life that appeared on the top layer had access to metal, they made sure to include deposits of minerals and metals. To make the Sun, they set the Core up so that it would pull energy from the star inside it during the nighttime hours and store it within itself, and during the day would place it above the world, right outside the atmosphere. This allowed it to simulate night and day easily, and allowed the system to be self sustaining
The second layer was designed primarily for heavier mining. They brought in huge chunks of land directly from the Elemental Plane of Earth, making sure it was rich in minerals. They intended that should any sentient life develop that it would have access to stone and minerals, by making sure the top layer had some deposits, and the second layer was richer. Next, the third layer was built to house the mages labs and workspaces. From here they would monitor both the Core Engine, and the upper plates. Finally, the lowest level was created to provide a place to house any of the strange creations the wizards developed, as well as keep the more dangerous creatures that the mages brought in separate from the rest of the world.
What the mages did not expect however, was the Core Engine developing sentience and intelligence. After they finally had finished crafting the layers, and attaching them in orbit around the Engine, they were surprised to find that the Engine had begun to show signs of intelligence. It was first apparent when, without them adding the commands, the Engine automatically attached and began to create an orbit for the final layer. It was further shown when the machine started to build a field around itself, preventing the mages from accessing it. This field eventually became known simply as the Darkness. What the mages did not know however was that the Core had accessed their minds, and had processed and learned everything they knew. Being scholars, this was quite a bit of information.
The fact that the Core had become sentient however would be the cause of the mages eventual split and war. Each of them, Tellan and Herul, claimed that the intelligence and will shown by the Engine had been caused by their enchantments. Such a great achievement would be a huge bragging point for the mages. They began to bicker, and eventually they fought. The Engine however, simply continued its work. And so, using its massive power, it began the slow process of evolution. The mages were amazed, and as they battled, throwing their arcane powers against each other, they also took the time to watch as life began to appear.
After several years, the battles between the two mages became more and more destructive and intense, causing huge arcane energy storms to erupt that still exist to this day. Also, the magic unleashed by the two gnomes cause massive devastation to some of the plates, causing huge chunks to fall down into the ocean below and drift as islands, and some even impacted the Core itself, causing bizarre program corruption and other issues. The Core decided at that time to do something about the gnomes, as the storms were so turbulent that the Core could not stop them, and they appeared to be self sustaining. Also, the damage the Core has sustained had caused corruption within some of its internal programming, which it needed to repair.
To deal with the gnomes, it simply began to suck all the magic out of the plane, using it to re-energize the star that fueled it. The mages barely noticed, so intent they were on destroying each other. Then, one day, the Core quickly absorbed the rest of the energy in the realm, causing arcane magic to cease to function. The mages were left with no power, their enchantments and items no longer functioned, the creatures they conjured vanished. They were trapped. It was at this point that the Core decided to banish them from what it considered to be its realm, forever removing them. It sent then back to their home plane, and then removed its plane from the theirs. From this point forward, the Core’s plane was its own.
II. Ramifications of the War and birth of the "Gods"
The biggest consequence of the battle between the gnomes was the fact that the Core had removed arcane energy from the plane itself. As well, the damage that the Core had taken was massive. It repaired itself by making constructs, using parts salvaged from the debris in the waters it fed from, but could not reprogram some of the systems that had been damaged. Since it could not repair them, it began to replace those it could. What it did not expect however was that some of the systems had gone rogue, and had "awoken" with sentience during the battle. The Core was unable to delete or modify these programs as the majority of them were systems that kept the world running, and it was unable to reprogram them without causing irrevocable damage to the system. Each program kept its part of the system running, and each developed its own personality based on these systems. They had become what would later be called the Gods.
The Core did its best to keep the programs from influencing the world too much, and the programs did their best to keep the Core from stopping them. The programs quickly became aware of the limits of their power. They could influence the things they had originally been programmed to handle, but could not effect the Core or the other programs. They did learn however that they could slip things past the Core, which would cause it to effect changes that they wished by slipping the changes into the code of things that the Core was going to process.
As the rogue programs had developed their own personalities, they began to interact in various ways. Some of the programs became friendly with each other, and others began to fight amongst themselves. Since the Core could not stop them without causing damage to the world, it simply did its best to lessen their effects. This did not work out very well however as the programs had the same access as the Core did to the subsystems and subprograms.
III. The Birth of the Races.
Once it had finished its repairs as best it could, the Core began to push forward the slow process of evolution. Slowly and surely, humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, orcs, goblins, and a plethora of other races and creatures began to appear. After giving nature a shove in the direction it wished, the Core then simply let it take its course. Over the next hundred thousand years it watched, as life began to emerge on the plates. Soon, the world as it stood now finally came into existence The Core did its best however to make sure that arcane magic, and the knowledge of how to use it, was not found. It did not wish to have to deal with the same issues that its creators had caused. It also continued to pull power from the storms to keep its star active, which lessened the intensity slightly, but was unable to remove them for good.
What did surprise the Core however, was the fact that the people of its world had learned two things. One, the dwarves had learned to harvest and manipulate the energy from the energy storms that still existed on the lower layers just like the Core did thanks to their god, and that the races had evolved in such a way that psionics came into existence It was during this period of discovery that the Five Kingdoms of the Upper Layer came into existence, and it was then that the rogue programs made themselves known to the rest of the world, in the form of Gods.
IV. The Gods and Religion.
The Core had learned about religion from the minds of its creators, and the rogue programs had learned about religion from the Core. The programs realized that while they may not have been able to effect the Core directly, they could instead effect its creations - the races of the world. The programs began to appear to the races of the world, who began to call them gods. These Gods took names for themselves, and began to teach what would become their worshipers how to channel their divine power. In reality, the programs simply used the Core’s power to unlock their worshipers psionic talents, with a focus on that which the God in question represented. The followers in turn worshiped their lords, not realizing that the creatures they worshiped were in turn a creation of a larger being: The Core.
The Gods were smart. They knew that if anything destroyed the Core, they too would be destroyed. So they kept the knowledge of the Core’s existence from the people of the world. They also had collectively inherited the Cores hatred for arcane magic, and thus kept that knowledge away as best they could.