The following is an excerpt from Ubin Qraharad’s ‘On the Origin of the All World; A Brief Guide to Everything.’ Some notes have been added to reflect conflicting views. -

“Since the beginning of time, the planes have existed, sometimes overlapping*, but always separate. The Ethereal, the Celestial, the Abyssal. Planes of fire, ice, earth, and air. Planes of fantastical magic, or chugging machinery. And in the middle of all, the Material plane held the center. Upon these planes, limitless life existed. Above the planes ruled myriad gods, each claiming dominion over their own. Through their powers, mortals were given great gifts of divine magic. Many mortals, through luck of birth or studious work, gained access to their own magic, called arcane. The arcane and divine wove together in both peace and war, and the planes saw much conflict, and much growth. Then came the Cataclysm.

For no known reason, the planes conjoined upon the Material realm. All the disparate planes crashed together in a catastrophe beyond reason. Billions of lives were lost. The All World was born in a wash of blood* and arcane energy.

As the survivors reached out in prayer to the gods who had long protected them, they were answered with silence. The voices of the gods, and perhaps the gods themselves*, were lost in the Cataclysm, and the gifts they bestowed were lost with them. With the Cataclysm, divine magic was lost to the followers of the gods.

In the millennia since, life has spread again over the All World, with each people claiming their niche. The immortal species, the Celestial and Abyssal, always low in number, were left only a scant few. They alone hold memory of the planes in their separate state*. Long lived species, such as Elves, and Dwarves, and those naturally imbued with the arcane, thrive again upon the All World. More fragile species, such as humans, are all but gone from their former glory, either scattered in small nomadic tribes or clinging to a single remaining bastion.