I’ve been thinking more about my ideas for a Pleistocene inspired setting and how I can combine it with the general outline I’ve already drawn out for my new mystical wilderness world. And I really like where things are going.
The world consists of three primary realms. The natural world of Earth, Water, and Air sits at the center as the home of humanoids, animals, and various nature spirits. It’s the realm of the elements from which druids draw their magical powers.
Above the natural world exists the celestial realm. It’s the world of stars and moons, home to strange and elusive beings that are pure spirits with no physical substance, and the source of the magical powers wielded by mystics (clerics).
Beneath the natural world is the underworld. It’s the realm of demons and infernal fire. The infernal fire is found in the essence of demons and volcanoes. Sorcerers and warlocks gain some of their magical power from the infernal fire, but also draw on the energies of the celestial sphere.
In addition to the three main realms, there are also the forces of elemental fire and elemental cold. They are the driving forces of the seasons but also the cycle of the ages. The elemental fire is manifested in the sun, while elemental cold seems to come from both everywhere and nowhere. Nobody really knows for sure if fire and cold are equal but opposite forces, or if cold is simply the natural state of the world that will reassert itself whenever the warming influence of the sun is waning. But some people believe that there is a counterpart of the sun beneath the eternal ice of the north pole.
Ancient myths shared by most temples and cults tell that for most of the existence of the world, all the lands were covered in ice and snow, cast in eternal darkness without the warming light of the sun. But like the changing of the seasons, there is a cycle of the ages, and after hundreds of thousands of years, the sun will reappear and the world awaken from its long sleep. Glaciers melt and forests grow back, and new animal life returns to the world. But eventually, these ages of the sun will end, and the world return to its natural state of lifeless cold and darkness.
The oldest tales of known history begin with the end of the last Great Frost. This world became inhabited by the fey, giants, and serpentmen who made its wild forests and plains their home for many thousands of years. However, their world ended with the beginning of the Long Winter some 10,000 years ago. The Long Winter was not a true Great Frost that would end all life on the surface of the world, but the sun became dim and the great glaciers in the far north began to grow and expand south, covering much of the known world under their ice. During the Long Winter, the fey went to slumber in burrows under the earth. The giants survived in small nomadic clans roaming the cold tundra at the feet of the glaciers. And the serpmentmen fled far to the south where the warmth of the sun allowed for forests to survive. During this time, even the gods went to sleep, with only the celestial goddesses of moonlight and darkness watching over the frozen world.
The Long Winter lasted for 6,000 years until spring finally returned to the known world and the great glaciers began to melt. Plants and animals returned to the warming lands, but this time they were also accompanied by people. As they explored these new lands, they came upon old ruins of the elder races and discovered in them the secrets of magic. These first sorcerers became the first mortal kings, establishing both the Western and the Eastern Kingdoms, which became the centers of the newly rising civilizations. Not all barbarians were happy with the rule of kings, and many clans continued traveling further north into the expanding forests to evade their reach. With the Western Kingdoms and the Eastern Kingdoms regularly fighting among themselves, with each other, or against the ancient Serpentmen Kingdoms that have survived in the South, there are always people looking to the wilderness in the North to seek a new life among the barbarian clans. A vast land promising freedom and adventure.