Atlas Rules Resources Adventures Stories FAQ Search Links
Alphatian Mythologyby Ripvanwormer
Alphatians see the world as a dichotomy: Air and Fire are the two primal concepts, which correspond to Thought and Energy. Where other Mystaran peoples might see the multiverse as a struggle between Life and Death (Entropy), Alphatians see death/entropy as a force that could ally itself with either of the two really important concepts. Of course, Alphaks has done a lot to try to associate Death with Fire.
Since modern Alphatia was founded by the followers of Air, they might teach that air and thought were the first concepts to exist, and fire and energy were created by air and subsequently turned against it. Entropy is a side-effect of this ancient betrayal. Before there was Energy, everything was formless, timeless, eternal Thought. Using the power of Energy (magic), Thought was able to create Matter, which Entropy corrupts. The corruption of Matter and Energy by Entropy produces Time.
To Alphatian mystics, then, Thought might represent an idyllic, "pre-Fall" state that they seek to regain. This might be done by inventing a type of magic that works without the use of Energy, which works by Thought alone. Radical Alphatians (especially those with no magical talent) might believe in forsaking magic entirely in order to secure eternal life in the Sphere of Thought. Only then can they break the cycle of reincarnation produced by the interaction of Thought and Energy.
Mainstream Alphatians would instead believe that the Fall was irreversible - indeed, perhaps desirable, for without energy and change there would be no growth. The attempt to favour Air over Fire or Fire over Air created a disaster - the death of their entire world. Therefore, the best path is one of Balance. Energy is important, vital to the multiverse as it exists today, but it must be balanced with careful Thought. Magic is a combination of Thought and Energy; energy alone cannot produce magic without sapient direction, and thought alone cannot create magic without energy to aid it. Together they can do anything, anything at all. They can create and destroy matter, manipulate or stop entropy, and travel through time. The proper role of the devout Alphatian is to ensure that neither Thought nor Energy becomes too strong or too weak in their personal lives and in general.
The two concepts might also be associated with Law and Chaos, in proper old-school D&D alignment terms. Air would be Law, representing structure and careful deliberation. Energy would be Chaos, pure uncontrolled power. In this way, Air and Fire can be used to categorise nearly everything. Air is coolness, control, femininity, order. Fire is heat, randomness, masculinity, chaos.
Even though Law is normally associated most of all with the Sphere of Matter, to Alphatians Matter is just a side-effect of Thought and Energy's interaction. Its orderly qualities, in their view, come from Thought's influence, while its substantial nature comes from Energy. That matter alone is not necessarily orderly is proven by the elementals of chaos known as erdeen. Thought alone creates structure but no substance, form with no content. Energy alone creates content only with no form - Chaos.
The Immortals, I think, are secondary to this. They're all made of varying amounts of Thought or Energy. Alphaks is Energy in its most destructive form. Thanatos might be equal amounts Thought and Energy, forming the most entropic corruption of both. They may be honoured, but they are not as important as the fundamental dichotomous forces that empower them.