The Great Circle (3.5e Campaign Setting)
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A ball of reality floats in a sea of madness, its comfortable being is surrounded by horrors indescribable. The Planes cling to each other for dear life, even as eternal wars rage between creatures. Madness is an ever-present threat to all creatures and everything that those creatures have built. Madness comes into the world in the form of Abberations, the chaos and horror of the Far Realm given some semblance of shape. And sometimes, intelligence. Madness is not necessarily malevolent, it is not the same as evil. But it is always dangerous, threatening even to the most depraved. It is that which cannot truly be known, but which lurks in the back of the mind. It is the thing for which there are no words, but which everyone knows about. Those who say it is not real are merely pretending so that they do not live in fear of it.
For eons uncountable, the Great Old Ones ruled the universe. They were the first to create forms out of primordial chaos, squamous and changeable though they were. Shub-niggurath then swallowed the rest of the primordial chaos, and from it birthed several creatures: the Elder Things first, then the Mi-Go, the Aboleths, the Illithids, and the Doppelgangers. These became the servitor races. The Illithids served Hastur, whom they named the King in Yellow, and for them the Old One created the byakhee. It was the Elder Things who first discovered another force in the universe, which was not chaos: arcane magic. They rebelled against their masters and creators, inventing an arcane sign which could keep them away: the Elder Sign. The Elder Things began to ward planes against the Great Old Ones, and those planes then began to manifest moral and ethical alignments. Creatures which embodied these principles arose. So was formed the Great Circle of Outlands, so called because these worlds were taken out of the swirling chaos.