Per Sifolis Request
Per Sifolis' request, here is the history of the last world that I ran and the campaign that took place within it: This campaign lasted a little over three years and ended about a year and a half ago.
There were three original characters; Atlantis, a young noble-born mage, Shakira, a mercenary with rudimentary magic abilities, and Valecusious, a mercenary with aspirations of grandeur.
Atlantis and Val left and Shakira was joined by a mage and her bodyguard. I don't remember their names, so I'll call then Dawn and Grant
The only original sentient races in this nameless world were the Elves and Dragons. The two races got along well and there was no strife.
Dragons sometimes polymorphic into elves to live with their friends for a while and they two races spoke elven as their common tongue as draconian is not something that they elves could hope to pronounce. The dragons came in gold, silver, bronze, and other colors.
Elves were complete and total pacifists. They had no words for war, hatred, murder, theft, or anything of the sort. They were scholars, artists, gardeners, and at peace with nature and themselves. They ate meat and believed in the circle of life.
This world was very magical and the elves as a race were great mages. Unbeknownst to anyone, the source of the world's magic stems from an odd three-pedaled pink or crimson flower known as the Bion'eshe. This flower was worshipped by the elves due to its miraculous healing powers and great taste; they use it in tea and to flavor food. In tea it tasted like a combination of cinnamon and ginger, in food it was spicy but not hot. This flower figured prominently in elven culture and can be found in their artwork.
Demons are real and live in the nine planes of hell. They constantly battle for dominance and powerful demons have armies of lesser demons and slaves garnered throughout different dimensions/worlds/universes/whatever.
One demon, Sha'taan, discovered the world of elves while scrying for a new source of power. In his magical eyes, this world shone like a beacon, and he immediately made plans to conquer it and to harness its magic. Sha'taan is one of the most powerful demons on the seventh plane of hell. He only has three or four real rivals and is constantly looking for an edge over the competition.
He gathered his army together and tore a rift into this magical world. He sent his lesser troops across, mostly slaves, keeping his demons with him in case someone attacked.
His slaves were comprised of orcs, humans, bugbears, dwarves, and most of the other sentient races known today.
The demon army assumed that the source of magic was known by the elves and tortured the elves that they found for this knowledge to no avail. They sent back captured elves to Sha'taan as well. He had n luck either.
The elves, being pacifists, ran before this army to no avail. The demon army had powerful sorcerers and creatures that could fly and they found the elves where they hid and slaughtered them. Captive elves of all ages and sex were raped, tortured, killed, and in most cases eaten or fed to other elves.
Eventually a young elf named Eos'an thea 'Diantha (Dawn Flower) killed her tormentor and escaped from one of the torture camps. She made the journey from demon held lands and eventually found others of her race. She told them what went on in the camps and what she had done during her escape. She was feared and ostracized by most of the elves, but a few younger elves listened, as did elves who had been injured or who had lost loved ones.
These elves, called animal elves or wood elves due to their uncivilized killing, started fighting the demon army using the same traps and snares (augmented with magic) that they used to hunt with. They took weapons from the enemy that they slayed and taught themselves how to use them. Soon other elves joined them and the war was on in earnest.
The Dragons had stayed away from the war until this point. It was around this time that goblins discovered a dragon's lair with eggs in it. These eggs were brought through the portal to Sha'taan.
Sha'taan was an inventive sort of bloke and used powerful magic on the embryotic dragons. When they hatched they were black, green, red, blue, and worse. Sha'taan sent these dragons back through the portal with riders on their back.
These riders were his best warrior mages, created from his experiments with captured elves. They had dark skin and darker hearts, and they eventually came to be known as Dark Elves or Drow in the elven tongue (means abomination).
The introduction of the Drow and their corrupted Dragon mounts brought the original (or good) dragons into the war and also convinced the vast majority of elves to fight and they abandoned their pacifist ways forever. Dwarves were corrupted into Duerger in a similar manner, and human became vampires (who led armies of zombies, skeletons, and ghouls).
The last of the pacifist elves, known later has the Grey Elves due to their adherence with outdated concepts like pacifism, fled to a small tropical island. There they realize the importance of the little flower called Bion'eshe.
The demon army had destroyed a lot of these flowers, grinding them under the wheels of their war machine, tramping them under the feet of their armies, and burning them whenever the pyromaniac urge struck or when they started missing home.
The Grey Elves started preserving the seeds of the flowers. They also started work on a massive machine that would end this war peacefully.
As the years dragged by, humans, dwarves, and other "good" races started changing sides. They deserted the Demon army, joined with the elves and dragons, and fought by their side.
The Allies fought the Demon army to a stalemate, and so it remained for over a century. This war was fought on every continent on the planet was quite literally a World War.
Eventually, the Allies started driving the Demon army back. Sha'taan sent more and more of his army across to the elven world and the Allies met up with some true demons for the first time and were driven back.
While all of this was going on, some of Sha'taan's rivals took advantage of his distraction and attacked him. Sha'taan immediately withdrew all of his troops in the immediate vicinity of the portal and turned his full attention to combating this new threat.
His demon army crumbled without his leadership and the Allies farced them back to the portal. While fighting the Last Battle the Allies were able to back the majority of the Demon Army into the city that had been built around the portal.
Sha'taan was fighting for his life; His enemies were streaming past and through his portal. He changed the spell and caused the portal to explode. A portal uses a lot of magic and this one had been held for over a thousand years. All of that magic was unleashed at once and the explosion was devastating.
In hell it destroyed Sha'taan's enemies when they were on the verge of success. It also destroyed Sha'taan's link with the elven world and most of his army. He was weak, wounded, and completely vulnerable to attack, but his rivals assumed that the explosion was a new and very powerful weapon and hesitated out of fear. Sha'taan regrouped his surviving army and immediately set about rebuilding it.
In the elven world the destruction of the portal utterly destroyed the Demon Army and devastated the Allies. The survivors of the explosion fled and the armies disintegrated.
The Elves, vowing as a race never to be unprepared for another attack, based their entire culture on becoming the best guerilla fighters in the world. They also invented several martial arts (Eastern) and became some of the best weapon smiths in the world. Elves are very xenophobic. They were the first sentient race on the planet (outside of the Dragons with whom they are still friends) and most elves, especially the older ones consider all other sentients to be Demon-spawn.
Dwarves fled the chaos and vulnerability of open spaces and built fortresses inside of mountains to prevent them from ever becoming slaves again.
Humans settled the land at their whimsy. Unlike the elves, dwarves, or dragons, they were a short lived enough that they soon forgot their origins and the Demon War fell into story and then legend.
A half-elf by the name of Gabriel wanted to preserve knowledge of the Demon War before it was forgotten. He also wanted to preserve knowledge of the world before the demons arrived. Gabriel joined with several like minded elves and half elves and they journeyed to the isle of the Grey Elves. There they met with the elders and learned of the machine.
When they returned to the mainland they discovered that the humans believed in higher powers that they called Gods. Using this, they started a religious movement and founded what later came to be known simply as the Church.
The Church taught of the battle between elves and demons. It taught how the humans were saved and redeemed by the elves. A Book was written, detailing the history of the demon war and included the chronicles of several human and half elven heroes. They called this book the Bible.
Gabriel found an order of Knights dedicated to preserving another book that detailed where the elven isle was and the machine there. Not wanting the Grey Elves to be disturbed needlessly, nor wanting the demons to find the island should they appear again and conquer the city that the Church was based in, he left clues in three major human cities in the form of large statues, buildings, and in writings.
When Gabriel died at the ripe old age of 342 years he was interred per his son's instructions. His tomb also held clues to the hidden Elven isle.
The first three leaders of the church were male and with elven blood. Gabriel, his son, and his grandson. They lived for a total of 703 years. In that time the Church spread like wild fire and all civilized humans worshiped through the Church. After Gabriel's line died out full blooded humans took over the leadership of the church and kept the leadership and eventually all members of the church male. In time popular views within the church shifted as memory faded with time.
Elves became angels and gained great white feathered wings while they lost the pointed ears and other distinctive elven features. Gabriel was sainted as were other human heroes of the war.
The humans couldn't believe that they came from evil, the histories must be wrong. So they invented a divine Creator who created them in his own image.
Sha'taan became the source of all evil in the world, rather than just the evil creatures and over time his name was shortened to Satan.
Other orders of Knights were founded and the original order of Knights took to calling themselves the Knights Templar (Temple Knights, Guardians of the Temple). A new Temple was built for the Church and the Old Temple is where the separate orders of Knighthood made their home.
It is in a hidden room in the foundation of this tower–like Temple that Gabriel's Book is hidden, as is the original Bible.
Gabriel founded a separate group, the Illuminati (Illuminated ones, ones with knowledge) to protect the knowledge of the elven island and the machine that operated outside of the Church. The Illuminati and Knight's Templar have often acted against each other over the years. They are now rather bitter enemies.
The flower, Bion'eshe, was destroyed during the war. The last few flowers can only be found on the Hidden Island of the Grey Elves. The machine has been completed but the war ended before it could be used. The magic required to create the machine was so great that it noticeably aged the Grey Elves. Only a handful survived the machine's creation and none of them are powerful to activate it.
There are three kinds of magic in this world. Draconic, Elven, and Demonic. The source of the magic is the Bion'eshe. This is unknown to all but the Grey Elves. Draconic Magic is unavailable to other races and the Draconic Tongue is unpronounceable to other races.
Humans can learn to cast both Elven and Demonic magic as long as they can read and speak each language and they have access to the spells.
Elven magic focuses on healing, nature, and animals while Demonic magic focuses on necromancy, hurting others, mind control, and killing.
The campaign that I ran in this world dealt with Sha'Taan's return. It took four thousand years for him to regroup and to rebuild his army. Even though the magic that had so attracted him in the beginning was almost gone, he knew that the planet was full of races that he could enslave and which would give him a powerful base of operations and supply.
He couldn't reopen the portal from his side as he had destroyed it. But it could still be opened from the other side. He couldn't contact anyone on the elven world directly, but he could influence dreams and grant minor visions.
Eventually a vampire named Angra Mainyu dreamed of the demon summons. A powerful Demonic Mage, he immediately cast a spell that allowed him to converse with Sha'taan and together they started making plans.
Angra raised an army of were creatures (created by the elves during the War) and stormed a human city. Under the city is a magical sword, but only someone innocent and pure could remove it from where it hung floating in the air.
Once he had the Sword, Angra would then need to purify himself and the innocent and together, using the Sword as a focus, they could reopen the portal.
Getting the sword is the easy part, Angra could just throw an infant and knock the sword down. But he still needed an innocent who was also a powerful mage. Good luck:
As you know, I play GURPS. One of the rules for Gurps is if you critically mess up a roll while casting a spell, then you roll off of a table. If you roll an 18 (Gurps uses 3D6 for everything) again then you accidentally summon a demon who attacks you and everyone else present.
One of my players, a mage, was terrified of that and kept her character as pure and innocent as possible as a demon cannot harm someone with a pure nature.
Angra kidnapped this character (named Atlantis) and forced her (using charm spells and the like) to help him open the Portal. The other party members rescued Atlantis just after the portal was opened and they fled before the emerging demon army. The Second Demon War had begun.
A few other things happened but the party eventually made it back to the capital city of the Empire that they were from. They informed the Emperor of the invading Demon Army but he just laughed.
The Demon Army showed up within a week and sacked the city as the party (having lost two members and gained two more) escaped by ship. They had some small clues about a mysterious elven weapon that could destroy the demon army.
They did further research and stumbled across one of Gabriel's clues that pointed them in the right direction. Unfortunately, the Illuminati noticed them and soon assassin's were after them.
The party discovered a Book of Secrets hidden beneath the Knight's Tower and got inside the Tower before they were imprisoned by the Templars. They escaped, stole the book that held the Island's location, and shipped out. Now they had the Illuminati and the entire order of Templars after them.
The book was written in invisible ink, but the party figured out that lemon juice restored the writing to visibility. They also discovered that it was written backwards in Elven. They translated the location of the elven isle and set out to find it.
In the meantime, the Templar's entire order sailed to the Island and started setting up defensive fortifications.
The leader of the demon army, a human sorceress known only as the Dark Lady, had also discovered the Island while scrying for the source of magic. She immediately sent her second in command, an eight foot tall human monster known as the Dark General (how do I come up with such original names? Talent, I guess ;-).
The general and his best warriors, all Dragon Riders, flew to the Island and met the Knight's Templar in combat. It is during this battle, that the party finds the island.
They wait until the next morning before landing on the Island. They knew that the weapon was in the center of the volcano in the center of the island. They were nearly there before they were spotted.
I had one NPC traveling with the characters this entire time. Oddly enough, his name was also Gabriel. He was a young silver dragon who polymorphed himself into an elf so that he could travel with the party in order to satisfy his curiosity of humans.
During their travels, Gabriel and a PC named Shakira had fallen in love. The night before they landed on the isle they had made love for the first time. It wasn't until the Dark General and his Blue Dragon attacked that the party found out that they'd been traveling with a dragon the whole time (I gave them plenty of clues but they thought that all elves were weird like Gabriel).
Shakira hopped on Gabriel's back and they fought the Dark General and his dragon. Shakira lived, though barely. Gabriel, the Dark General, and his dragon all died.
Another PC, I'll call him Grant because I can't remember his character's name, was the magically sworn bodyguard of the third PC, an extremely powerful mage named Dawn (can't remember her character's name either, it's been well over a year now).
They made it to the mountain and were met by Angra and an NPC named Vallecusious (sp) who was once a PC. Val had found some demon armour and in a serious lack of judgement, put it on. The armour is addicting, magical, and cursed. It transforms the wearer into a demon and places them at the control of the Dark Lady.
Grant took on both enemies with minor help from Dawn. Dawn scurried past them and into the cavern. The vampire followed Dawn and she ambushed and killed him, though she was wounded a bit in the fight (it helped that the fight occurred during the day and Angra was not at his most powerful).
Grant killed Val but he lost a leg from the knee down and had an arm crippled.
Dawn made it to the machine where she met the last of the Grey Elves. Together they activated the machine. The machine used their life's energies for power. The Grey Elf died and turned to dust and Dawn aged 75 years within seconds.
The machine powered up, started lava flowing through special tunnels that fertilized the Bion'eshe seeds. The volcano erupted, launching the seeds into the winds and dispersing them over thousands of miles.
The machine drew energy from the volcanic eruption to power itself up fully and cast a spell so powerful that it moved the elven planet, the sun it orbits, and other nearby planets to another part of the galaxy.
In my world you have to know the beginning and ending point in order to open a portal or teleport. They moved the ending point, and if Sha'taan finds them again, they can move it as needed. This was the only way that a bunch of dedicated pacifist could stop the Demon War. Pretty nifty, eh?
Dawn retired as a scholar and Grant as stayed as her bodyguard. Dawn slowly regain the use of her magic and Grant did the same with his arm.
Shakira discovered that she was pregnant and retired to raise her and Gabriel's child in peace. As their child is half human and half gragon polymorphed into an elf, we don't know how it'll turn out.