Welcome to Eralfast
The Fourth Age is unique in that it arrives after the world shattering God Wars that recently nearly destroyed the planet. Previous ages arrived mostly by victories or glorious undertakings. However, had the Third Age continued and the war not been waged the world of Eralfast would likely be a swamp of outer planar interlopers coming to hitch an easy ride at the expense of the native peoples, gods, creatures and other rarities. In this MYTHOS the world of Eralfast is but one of millions of Prime Material Planes (called WORLDS or Planets.) Eralfast is a rare Prime world because of its location on the axis of many tethered astral routes that lead from one Outer Plane to another. Outer Planes are non-prime-worlds that exist in a more spiritual or etheral state. Two easy to follow examples of ‘outer-planes’ would be: Hell or Mt. Olympus. Eralfast is called “The Crossroads” by many star hopping dieties, demons, KiRin, Giths, or other such astral travelers. Consider it almost like a star-gate station for lack of a more heady explaination. A world that has doors to many other worlds both Prime and Outer. Eralfast also has many doors that alter the state of time and space and dimension.
A great magical device called The Octagon (by humans) once governed the travel and the amount of influence the ‘star hoppers’ could levy upon the native prime world Eralfast. The Octagon was created by a consortium of both Outer and Prime GODS to limit and restrict the ebb and flow of space and time on Eralfast. Because the shortcut of the crossroads was so tempting to forces wanting to sneak in the backdoor (or yesterday) of their enemies, the dimensional swiss cheese of Eralfast was once a battleground forced into a state of near constant Astral struggle and warfare. Simliar to a ‘HUB’ that holds the spokes of wheel, the world was essential for the wispy fragments of space/time to function properly (despite the unreality associated with such things.) If order were not protected in some sense, it was deemed possible the HUB would simply wear out or fail – thus closing forever many important trade and travel routes among highly advanced or devine beings. Eralfast was not (and IS NOT) the only such HUB planet in existance and other (longer) routes from place to place were never in danger of failing. However, the routes of Eralfast were KNOWN and well established and thus very powerful. (To step away a little from traditional D&D think ‘star trek’ terms of a worm hole. The worm hole that could flash one from the Delta to the Alpha quadrants might take about 45 seconds, while travelling the traditional way at light speed would take about 45,000 years.)
The Octagon protected the world as designed for thousands of years. But jealous forces, and there are always jealous forces in such tales, plotted to destroy it and open the HUB for free and unlimted travel to all. A great weapon was forged by many great Deities. It was designed to have the power to shatter the Octagon and destroy it. The weapon was the sword Argyle. Having been forged in the same spirit as the Octagon and with the cooperation of many major deities of divers alignments the weapon proved adequate for the job. The great gem was shattered into 8 peices or ‘shards’ … and as predicted the dimensional doors all popped open again and no authority was powerful enough to close them.
This led to total chaos. Time shifts warped the history of entire cultures. Even deities who spent too much time on the Prime World Eralfast were affected. The fabric of reality (already tenuous) unravelled into near entropy. Eralfast became a wasteland. It is here the First Age began, and why.
And it must also be said that by the end of the Third Age the unthinkable actually happened. The power struggles led to open warfare between the mighty gods. Eralfast was their battleground. It is a miracle indeed than any life at all has survived on this world.