The last ruling house of the Toren empire, which oversaw its downfall was the house of Atrax. King Atrax was actually its longest ruler, also its last ruler, and he was a very powerful and advanced wizard for his time. He dedicated the vast majority of his early rule to seeking out artifacts, knowledge, the focal points of essence; and he discovered its purpose as it becomes kind of the manipulating matter behind exploiting magic for any means. He became obsessed with the pursuit of that knowledge as a very accomplished wizard and one of the ways he pursued that ever-longing learning was to try and achieve immortality; and in his pursuit of immortality he discovered that manipulating the life-force of a soul essentially is to greater increase your ability to focus the essence, because each person's soul acts as, in some way shape or form, a conduit of the essence across the plains. So that's essentially how the gods are capable of reaching into the material plane- one of the ways- is through the souls of their divine beings, which are the four great races and their descendants. In his pursuit of immortality he came across some more dark applications of the essence and in doing so- discovering these artifacts along the ley lines that are in Verra- he came into contact with forces that existed outside of the material plane in the void itself. Now these were unbeknownst to him The Ancients as well The Others and manipulating that kind of contact. – Steven Sharif
King Atrax began to manipulate the essence in a way that was trying to capitalize on everlasting life, on immortality. So in doing so he came into contact with the ancients; and the Ancients took advantage of this- was their first contact with any of the divine races actually- and this is what led the Ancients to begin their pursuit of Verra: to start that process of the Harbingers eventually finding Verra and coming to the planet to pervert what the gods- the seven gods- had created through their second creation. Now the Ancients kind of created this contact with Atrax through summoning rituals that Atrax had learned through manipulating the essence; and it was through these contact rituals that Atrax learned how to achieve immortality. But the Ancients were deceptive in actually not informing Atrax how this would deform his conduit, his soul essentially that exists with the Essence. So he underwent a process of essentially lichdom where he was the first lich and the first undead on Verra; and it was from him and his pursuit of immortality that undeath became a reality on Verra; and it was his subjects that suffered as a result of his desire to become immortal. So he began different rituals on his subjects, which allowed the undeath to propagate across the world in his population over time. So he would- before he became a lich he experimented on his citizens; and that's what really was the origin of the undead and this undead the Ancients- one of the unique things about the Ancients was in their first discovery of how they could use the Essence and what the Others taught them was they became immortal themselves. But they became immortal in a more pure form, essentially kind of akin to the godhood that exists among the Pantheon; and that kind of prohibited them from encompassing this undeath component. But they did not teach that to King Atrax. So that kind of talks a little bit about the origins of the undeath on Verra and undeath in general. – Steven Sharif
- King Atrax was a powerful and advanced wizard for his time who dedicated the majority of his rule to seeking out artifacts, knowledge, the focal points of The Essence. He discovered its purpose, manipulating matter and exploiting magic for any means.
- His goal was to achieve immortality; and in this pursuit he discovered that manipulating the life-force of a soul essentially increases one's ability to focus the Essence, as each person's soul acts as a conduit of the essence across the planes of existence.
- In his pursuit of immortality he came across other dark applications of the Essence and in doing so he came into contact with forces that existed outside of the material plane: in The Void itself. Unbeknownst to him these were The Ancients and The Others who began manipulating that contact through summoning rituals that Atrax had learned in his studies of the Essence.
- Through his summoning rituals Atrax finally learned how to achieve immortality. But the Ancients were deceptive in actually not informing him how this would deform his conduit (his soul) that exists with the Essence. Atrax eventually underwent a process of becoming first Lich and first undead on Verra.
- It was from this pursuit of immortality that undeath became a reality on Verra: Atrax had begun different rituals on his subjects, which allowed the undeath to propagate across the world, causing suffering amongst his subjects.
- The Ancients had previously learned from The Others how to use the Essence to achieve immortality themselves. Unlike Atrax, they became immortal in a pure form, more akin to the godhood that exists among the Pantheon, which prohibited them from encompassing this undeath component themselves. This pure form of immortality was not taught to King Atrax.
- After his lichdom was achieved Atrax continued to enslave his undead subjects, having them procure ancient artifacts from around the world so that he could further pursue his manipulation of the Essence and magic.
The ancient capital city of Torall... was the center of one of the greatest and first civilizations of Verra. This was actually a very rare civilization known as the Toren empire. The Torens were essentially half elves. They were a mixture of what was once the predecessor to the Aelan kingdom- the humans, and the Pyrian elves. – Steven Sharif
- The Torens were half-elves: A mixture of what was once the predecessor to the Aelan kingdom- the humans, and the Pyrian elves.
- King Atrax was the last and longest serving ruler of the Toren empire.
The ancient civilization of the Torren empire and their capital city of Torall, which houses one of the great dungeons of Ashes of Creation; which is the Fallow's Hold. Fallow's Hold is essentially where many of the artifacts that had a close alignment to the Essence on Verra because of their proximity to these ley lines and these kind of sites that exist throughout the world: They were all brought here to King Atrax even after his lichdom was achieved, because he continued to enslave his subjects, the undead essentially, to procure these artifacts from around the world so that he can continue even in his immortality to learn about the use of Essence and magic and manipulation of it; and he constructed a great vault here through his affiliation with the master builders essentially of the Dünzenkell dwarves to create a massive complex underground from the city of the capital of Torall. Now Fallows hold is a very dangerous dungeon and there are constantly changing traps that exist. – Steven Sharif
- Fallow's Hold was commissioned by King Atrax and built by the master builders of the Dünzenkell dwarves with whom he was affiliated.
- Fallow's Hold was originally built as a great vault to house powerful ancient artifacts that were procured from around the world by Atrax's undead slaves so that he can could further pursue his manipulation of The Essence and magic.
- Fallow's hold is a very dangerous dungeon with many constantly changing traps.
Ancient artifacts (Relics)
- Relics include the four ancient artifacts of Verra that were originally discovered by King Atrax in his pursuit of the power of The Essence. These artifacts were in close alignment to The Essence on Verra due to their proximity to the ley lines of Essence spread across the world. These artifacts were originally housed in the vault of Fallow's Hold, which is one of the great dungeons of Ashes of Creation, located near the capital city of the ancient Toren empire, Torall.
- The Golden Chalice was believed to bring everlasting life but was actually allowing the corruption of manipulating The Essence to enter the soul through the physical representation of drinking something.
- The Crown represented a direct link The Ancients had into the thought process of King Atrax that the Ancients were able to manipulate.
- The Sword brought unusual power through manipulation of the evil side of the Essence, which is how Atrax maintained his dominance over his people: through physical might, essentially striking down any foe that opposed him among his administration.
- The Staff enabled Atrax to project his magic across great distances, which enabled him to extend his power and manipulation throughout the lands of Verra and allowed him to maintain vigilance over his realm.
- Relics are placed in a node's reliquary.
- Limited access to the relics stored in a node's reliquary are granted to registered attackers after successfully destroying that node in a node siege.
- The Ancients learned from The Others how to use The Essence to achieve immortality. This was a pure form of immortality, more akin to the godhood that exists among the Pantheon. This immortality prohibited them from encompassing undeath in the manner of King Atrax.
- The Ancients were imbued with all of the traits of the Gods, whereas the four parent races of Verra had those attributes spread amongst them.
- King Atrax unwittingly alerted the Ancients to the location of Verra in his efforts to discover and exploit The Essence.
- The Ancients arrived at Verra through the Harbingers, which are comet-like celestial bodies powered by a very strong source of magic that essentially acts as a bridge between The Void and the Material plane where Verra exists.
You're going to see lieutenants, captains, generals, and raid bosses and they're all going to take different forms because their whole perversion of Essence through the corruption is to take creation on the material realm, that the Pantheon of good Gods did, and twist and bend it to the corruption that exists within the Essence, because they view that as a more powerful form, a more raw and arcane form of what magic is meant to be used for. There's no point in these false constructs of morality when utilizing and harnessing the power that comes from the Essence. That is a social construct that was created by inferior gods, according to the Others; and it limits the ability of their creation to really capitalize on what the Essence is to be used for in its pure, innate nature. – Steven Sharif
- The Ancients' race exists in a cast-oriented system because the Essence has a profound effect biologically, physically, and visually on the appearance of the creatures that are manipulating it and are corrupted by it.
- Grunts are the peons or soldiers on the front lines who are specifically geared toward combat, or magic utilization, or specific environments or climates.
- Lieutenants have wing structures and more asymmetrical appearances.
- Captains and generals are also ranks in the caste system.
- Large raid bosses and/or world bosses are monolithic in their appearance and unlike what standard creatures look like. These are huge, imposing creatures.
The gods... wanted to represent their qualities, their characteristics, their attributes within creation with the creation of something, so they started with a race that are now known as The Ancients; and they imbued them with all of their qualities. Essentially now that that turned out to be a mistake because with those types of qualities all in one species there was a a pride that happened- a desire to become more; and that led a little bit of conflict between the Ancients; and actually there was a partition created between some of the the gods within the pantheon that embraced the idea of introducing the Ancients as part of essentially their plane of existence and teaching them the ways of the Essence, in all of its facets: not just what can be used for good, but also what could be used for evil as well. And three of the gods kind of split off and went against the quorum that was established about not interfering with the Ancients after they started this down this road of learning more of the essence and how to manipulate it; and these three gods are known as The Others. So the others really kind of embraced teaching the Ancients knowledge of the essence that they had learned through their eternal existence; and this caused a celestial battle to occur; and the pantheon of the Seven were able to defeat the others; and they banished the Ancients and the Others from the material plane and from the plane of the gods to the void which is the furthest from being connected to the essence. – Steven Sharif
Pantheon of gods
The ten deities within Ashes of Creation formed a pantheon of gods that existed in a realm outside of the material plane. There was a celestial struggle among the gods that fractured them into good and evil. Some gods influence the corrupt side of beings that exist in the Universe. It is possible through questing and player decision to join or worship those gods.
- The Others are three of the ten gods who embraced teaching all facets of The Essence (both good and evil) to The Ancients, and elevating them to the plane of the gods.
- The Seven gods' opposition to the Others resulted in a great celestial battle. The Seven were able to defeat the Others, banishing them and the Ancients to The Void. They went on to create four divine races and split their qualities between them.
- The Gods are capable of reaching into the material plane through the souls of their divine beings. In the case of The Seven these are the four great races and their descendants.
There were these pantheon of gods that existed in a realm outside of the material plane that Verra exists in and they were really beings of what's called The essence. The essence is essentially this almost metaphysical energy or life-force that can be manipulated to create magic and/or what we would we would view as magic; and different planes have different degrees of strength when it comes to their proximity to the essence. The material plane is not the highest on that on that scale of being close to to the essence; and the gods exist on a plane that is the most connected to the essence. – Steven Sharif
- Goddess of Love.
- Goddess of Creation.
- The Phoenix is the celestial avatar of the Goddess of Creation.
- Goddess of Fate (Norlan).
- God of Hope (Resna).
- God of Truth (Shol).
- The sphere of influence of the three "Other" gods has not yet been revealed.
Story of creation
The story of creation tells us of a race of beings known as The Ancients. Created in the likeness of what was once The Ten. The Ten imbued all of their qualities into one race to have stewardship over all of creation. The power of the Ancients grew and a rift divided the Ten in how to accommodate their new creation. Three of the Ten separated from the others and began to teach the Ancients the Secrets of the Essence. When the Seven learned of this, a great celestial battle ensued. Eons passed and you watched as the fight continued within the celestial kingdom. Some say it was the fight that created the stars and heaven we see today. With every blow between the Ten a star was born. When the battle was complete, the others and the Ancients were banished by the Seven into the Void. The Seven found the error of their ways and decided to split their qualities into four races instead of one; and this is how the Humans, Elves, Orcs and Dwarves came to be. You watch as the Seven created Verra and placed each of the races within their respective locations. As the story came to an end, a dark figure at a distance grew closer to you. Until all you could see was the darkness. And you wake up in a sweat after a nightmare. – Steven Sharif
The essence is a stream that exists across all planes of existence, but it exists at different levels of strength essentially at different levels that can be utilized; and the void is the furthest... There is a very minute amount of essence that can be found within the void. However the planes of existence that are in Ashes of Creation- they are connected across bridges created by the essence. So these ley-lines in a sense that exist within the different planes provide conduits of access and on Verra, which was a planet that was made after the ancient- the celestial battle. – Steven Sharif
The Essence is a metaphysical energy or life-force (Chi) that can be manipulated to create what could be viewed as magic. There are different planes of existence (realms) with varying degrees of strength (of magic), determined by their proximity to the Essence. The planes of existence in Ashes of Creation are connected across bridges created by the Essence.
- The Gods exist on the plane of the gods, which is the most connected to the Essence.
- The material plane is not the highest in terms of proximity to the Essence. Verra exists in the material plane.
- The Void is the plane that is the furthest from being connected to the Essence. Only a minute amount of essence can be found within the Void.
- There hasn't been a definitive understanding of how many planes of existence there are.
Souls acting as conduits is a very integral component of some broader features in the storyline. If you think about souls being a conduit for Essence and you think of the gods as masters of the Essence: If you think of the Essence being separate from the Gods- let's say they're parallel to eachother- one didn't create the other, but they coexist in this almost symbiotic form with one another; almost to the point where their manipulation of the Essence is perfection: They can perfectly manipulate it and lesser beings; and I say 'lesser' in a sense of their alignment or closeness to Essence. They're still perfecting that manipulation and some never achieve perfection almost to the degree of ascendency or enlightenment- Essence being that sort of Chi that exists. In that regard, when a perfect being such as the gods- and I'm not saying 'perfect' as the correlation between sin and not sin, I'm thinking perfect in the sense of how you can control and manipulate the Essence: That control is perfection for them. – Steven Sharif
When you think about souls being a conduit, what are conduits used for? Conduits are passages; they're methods by which Essence can travel between realms, between planes. And there hasn't been any definitive understanding of just how many planes exist. We understand that there is a disparity between the planes when it comes to their connection to the Essence, and because Essence is so powerful; and it flows through these planes almost like a river. You can think that conduits help to maintain that flow and/or even exaggerate the flow; and there might be something at play, that I don't wanna touch necessarily, as to why one would want to create these types of conduits, these souls, this creation on the material plane: Something of significance. – Steven Sharif
- The gods are masters of the Essence, but they are separate from it. One didn't create the other, but they exist together in a symbiotic form; where the gods have achieved an almost perfect manipulation of the Essence and of "lesser beings" who exist further from the Essence.
- The Essence is so powerful it flows through the planes almost like a river. Soul conduits help to maintain or even exaggerate this flow. Detail surrounding this has not yet been revealed but is said to have some significance in the story.
- King Atrax was the first ruler of Verra to discover the purpose of The Essence, allowing the manipulation of matter and exploitation of magic for any means.
- The Tulnar have souls and these souls act as conduits for the Essence.
- Shape-shifting (changeling) is done so through the Essence by focusing on that specific type of magic.
- Any form of changeling or shape shifting that's capable is done so through the Essence. There’s a few ways that a soul can become attuned to a specific type of magic in manipulating the Essence; and overtime as you manipulate the Essence in the same way, your soul can start to develop a tendency to gravitate towards that type of magic. So in that sense- those shape shifters and/or changelings that are capable of changing their form- they do so because they have mastered to a degree that type of magic; and their souls have become attuned to that type of magic. – Steven Sharif
- The Ancients themselves are more sedentary in their physical form and less capable of instantaneous shapeshifting. Their physical manifestations as Lieutenants, captains, generals, and raid bosses were honed over time due to their perversion of the Essence through corruption.
- They are literally bred into a role and that role has perfected over time because through the delineation of specific subsects of the soul of the conduit that this race has, those different castes become attuned to different roles. That's why they are traditionally in a caste society. – Steven Sharif
- The Ancients and The Others used the Harbingers to travel to Verra, thus beginning the Apocalypse.
- The Ancients flowed out of the conduits that opened at the center of the Harbingers and began conquering Verra.
- Harbingers that exist on Verra as dungeons are where the Ancients are capable of pushing into the material plane. They can continue to do so under the guise of the effects of corruption as it spreads.
The worst thing that the Harbingers brought was not the Others, but the corruption that they spread. It twists and distorts everything it touches. It whispers in the ears of men, and guides their hands toward terrible ends. There does not seem a means to stop it - our prayers do nothing, our spells are ineffectual. The awful truth is that the Others could simply watch as we burned Verra to ash ourselves.
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- Interview, 18 July 2020 (56:11).
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- Blog: Creative Director's Letter, January 2021.
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- Interview, 19 July 2020 (50:10).
- Podcast, 15 November 2020 (42:22).
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- May newsletter.
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- Livestream, 8 April 2018 (AM) (16:50).
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- Dillias diary.
- Week 1, entry 1.