Common Wisdom about the Nature of the Universe
• No one agrees how the world was created, although societies frequently war with themselves over which theory should prevail.
• Gods are beyond counting. Some sages believe that all deities are adventurers who stormed the vault of heaven in some long-ago era. It is difficult for mortals to distinguish deities, demi-gods, and heroes from one another or from powerful entities like demon princes, devil lords, titans, angels, and similar elder beings of power.
• The majority of sages believe in the cataclysm theory of planetary evolution. The world we know is only the latest attempt of the Forces of Law to establish order in the Cosmic Chaos. All around us, we see evidence that they have tried many times before, over-reached themselves, and been cast down into chaos again when the balance tips.
• Evidence of past eras was largely destroyed in successive cataclysms. Representatives of the Forces of Law often work to suppress investigations of this evidence when it turns up in a dungeon or mine, crater or earthquake that breaks through to the strata of the previous era. They do not like mortals to be aware of their previous failures to establish a lasting balance.
• Deep underneath the earth, and far away in space, travelers find elemental realms ruled by tremendous but unthinking powers. These planes are what remains of the early efforts of the Forces of Law, and are obviously the work of an immature and unsutble era of creation. Natural life in these realms happens on a massive scale, but is usually simple. The most easily accessed elemental planes have been colonized by modern civilizations, such as the djinni and efrit.
• Less far underground, and closer to our skies, are the ruins of eras that boasted advanced civilizations like our own. It is said that the most recent of these races of mortals found a way to cheat death. Foreseeing that the cosmos would soon become over-run, the gods sent forth a rain of stones that knocked the ancients' glittering lights out of the skies and buried their cities beneath miles of rock. Of course, even the worst of such entombment would not be able to kill such immortals, but it is believed most are now too insane to effectively seek to retake the surface world.